When the Bowling Green Hot Rods and Aberdeen IronBirds take the field Friday, June 11, and Saturday, June 12, they’ll be wearing All Star jerseys from a game that never took place for a league that no longer exists. The 56th Midwest League All Star Game was supposed to take place June 23, 2020, but it, along with the rest of affiliated minor league baseball, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the 2020 game was cancelled, Bowling Green missed out on its chance to host its first-ever Midwest League All Star Game, but it was named as the host of the 2021 contest, which was supposed to happen a few weeks from now on June 22.
However, at the time of that announcement in 2020, no one could have quite imagined that by the time minor league baseball returned, the Midwest League—along with all of the other leagues in the minors—would be gone, replaced by generic leagues innocuously named for their classifications and compass directions. The Hot Rods now play in a league called the High-A East, and it, like the rest of affiliated minor league ball, will not be holding an All Star Game this year.
On a personal note, all of this makes the 2020 All Star Game ice cream sundae helmet that the team’s award-winning general manager Eric Leach very kindly sent me a bittersweet collector’s item. On another personal note, I visited Bowling Green as part of my annual Baseballpalooza road trip, and it was a terrific ballpark, and would have been a great site for the fan fest, home run derby, and other festivities that would have taken place during All Star week.
The Hot Rods will make the best of a disappointing situation by wearing the jerseys for two games, and then auctioning them off, starting today on the LiveSource app and website.