FARGO – The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks are stepping back into their franchise history later this summer.
The American Association Baseball Club is hosting its “What If…” party on August 13, a game that will feature specialty game jerseys and hats.
The premise is “what if” the RedHawks weren’t the RedHawks and the team chose a different nickname from the finalists prior to the team’s inaugural season in 1996.
“We’re basically playing the game of ‘What if we weren’t the RedHawks?'” said Karl Hoium, assistant general manager and director of promotions for the team. “Expect that we play with a different named team that night.”
The “RedHawks” are expected to face the Chicago Dogs for this promotion. RedHawks was chosen as the team’s nickname from eight finalists which included: Beavers, Pioneers, Prairie Dogs, Prairie Hawks, RedHawks, River Rats, Roughriders and Valley Cats.
The team name contest had over 2,000 entries and approximately 900 suggestions before the team was named the RedHawks before the 1996 season.
“It’s a look back at our history,” RedHawks general manager Matt Rau said. “For one night only, the RedHawks will transform into something else.”
“What If…” Night is one of the unique nights in the RedHawks promotional calendar. FM takes on the Milwaukee Milkmen at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 24 at Newman Outdoor Field, the team’s home opener. The RedHawks started the regular season with a nine-game road trip.
Below is a fan guide to some of Newman’s most notable nights this summer:
Light up the night Newman
The RedHawks have six fireworks games scheduled this summer, with the first scheduled for June 10. The team is also planning back-to-back fireworks nights on July 1 and 2 as part of its July 4 weekend.
“I think it’s just one of those things that people just can’t get enough of,” Hoium said. “It’s good to sit and watch fireworks with your family. Kids love them, I think that’s a big attraction too.
Fireworks nights have been a staple of the promotion since the franchise’s first season.
“There’s really nothing that says summer more than being outdoors, baseball and fireworks,” Rau said. “It’s been as popular since 1996 as anything else.”
Bill Lucas, better known as “Ole”, among RedHawks fans, retired last season after being a fixture on the team since the 1996 season. The character “Ole”, based on a farmer Norwegian, will be commemorated on July 16 with a bobblehead party.
“He’s always been a staple here,” Hoium said. “He decided to hang up his overalls and we wanted to do something special for him. Once the fans see it they’ll be lining up for it, that’s a pretty cool item.
Lucas should be at the stadium for the bobblehead party. The bobblehead features “Ole” in his trademark rocking chair.
“It’s the perfect time to pay tribute to him this year,” Rau said.
Sara Twister, a contortionist with acrobatic archery skills, is scheduled to perform at Newman Outdoor Field on August 12. She has performed around the world at various events, either solo or as part of a larger production.
His website describes his performance as “Archery…with a twist.”
“I think it’s one of our most unique,” Rau said.
Twister is one of two artists on FM’s promotional program this summer.
“She does a lot of street fairs and things across the country. She performed all over the world,” Hoium said. “I’m looking forward to the fact that what she can do won’t just be entertaining for the four or five moments she can be on the pitch between sets. She’ll be in the lobby presenting.
The other artist is “Tyler’s Amazing Balancing Act” which is slated for the July 22 game. The Amazing Tyler – who balances a variety of unique items on his face – has played in several RedHawks games in previous seasons.
“He does something very unique and is able to entertain throughout the game, walking into the crowd talking to the fans,” Houim said. “It’s a big thing for me and he’s great at it. The fans seem to like him so we keep bringing him back.
The RedHawks are hosting a “Cancer Awareness Night” on June 14 and the team will be wearing special game jerseys that will be auctioned off to benefit the Roger Maris Cancer Center.
Rau said the jerseys were going to be throwbacks to the playing career of Roger Maris, the New York Yankees great who graduated from Fargo’s Shanley High School.
“We’re going to create specialty jerseys and auction them off,” Hoium said. “It’s for a great cause.”