Rockford’s new era of baseball starts on May 31.
Rockford’s new baseball team announced on Tuesday its 2016 Northwoods League schedule. The 72-game season starts on May 31 at home and ends August 14 at Kalamazoo.
“The schedule is very fan-friendly, particularly for those who have school-age children,” said Chad Bauer, Rockford Baseball Properties general manager. “The kids are on summer vacation when we start the season, and we finish the schedule right before they go back.”
Standard gametimes for the 36-game home schedule are 6:35 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 5:05 p.m. Sunday.
“We recognize that previous teams didn’t act on the fact that so much of the community rises at the crack of dawn to go to work,” Bauer said. “If you punch a clock at six or seven in the morning, I think you will like being able to watch nine innings and still be able to leave around 9 p.m.”
The opening homestand features a two-game visit from the Wisconsin Woodchucks May 31 and June 1. The three-game homestand ends on June 2 with a game against the Madison Mallards.
Rockford and Madison, separated by barely an hour, will play a pair of split-site doubleheaders. On June 29, Rockford hosts the Mallards in an 11 a.m. matinee, then travels up Interstate 90/39 for a night game. On August 1, the Mallards host the early game, then come to Loves Park for a 6:35 p.m. meeting.
Two other nearby opponents, Kenosha Kingfish and Lakeshore Chinooks, based in the Milwaukee suburb of Mequon, each come to town for four games.
The home finale, against the Kalamazoo Growlers, is scheduled for August 10. Rockford closes the season August 14 at Kalamazoo.
Rockford is a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League, which will play its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2016. The Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 140 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (Chicago White Sox), Jordan Zimmermann (Detroit Tigers), Curtis Granderson (New York Mets), Lucas Duda (Mets) and Ben Zobrist (Kansas City Royals).