After emerging from a "spring from hell," Alaska's summer is now official. In case you haven't noticed, and, as baseball funnyman Bob Uecker might say, judging by the attendance you haven't, the Alaska Baseball League is back to play its 2013 season.
The Alaska Baseball League is one of the oldest sporting traditions in the state and one of the most prestigious wood-bat-only amateur leagues in the US. Each summer, for decades, it has helped young collegiate players hone their skills under Alaska's bountiful summer daylight.
Hundreds of future major leaguers, from unknowns to superstars like Dave Winfield and Tom Seaver, have made their way through the ranks of teams that roam the road system from Fairbanks to Kenai for several weeks in the heart of mainland Alaska's made-for-baseball summers.
For Southcentral fans, the 2012 season was marred by dark gray, cool weather, hardly the best for baseball diamonds. But the weather this year is off to a great start, perhaps too great.
The stands at Mulcahy Stadium were sparsely populated for Wednesday's Anchorage Bucs home game against the Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks, perhaps because the weather beckoned people far from the city. But fans at the game were treated to an utterly sublime night for basball. Plus, the home team won.
The ABL has returned. All hail the crack of the bat, the smack of the glove and the Midnight Sun. All glory to the players, coaches and volunteers and their boundless love of the game. All hail summer, and bless the umpires' eyes.
The ABL schedule, rosters, scoreboard, standings and history, plus team websites and much more are available online.