Ball Around The Clock

Matt Meola never pulled an all-nighter in college, has no children to keep him up until the wee hours and never worked the overnight shift at a local IHOP.

Yet somehow the independent Sioux Falls Canaries broadcaster plans to announce all 48 hours of the team’s two-days-of-baseball extravaganza beginning July 18. In a way to celebrate the sport, and hopefully garner national headlines, the Canaries will host 48 consecutive hours of baseball at Sioux Falls Stadium—including three games by the home American Association club.

"I’ve never stayed up for that long in one consecutive string. I don’t know how I’m going to pull it off," the 25-year-old Meola said. "It’s a big challenge. I am embracing this because I want to test myself as a broadcaster and see what we can do to help get some publicity for our celebration of baseball."

Sioux Falls general manager Matt Hansen came up with the idea a couple of years ago as an idea to showcase baseball for an entire day. In making the brainchild a reality, the team decided to make a weekend of it.

Amateur teams from around South Dakota will come in to fill out the overnight schedule and will join youth and semi-pro teams competing over the weekend.

The Canaries plan to make the weekend about much more than just baseball. Local bands will perform on the concourse and special events like video game tournaments will take place periodically over the weekend. Concession stands will be open around the clock, with breakfast offerings in the morning, and a special prize package will be awarded to a fan who makes it through the entire weekend.

The team will wrap-up the weekend with a pick-up game for season-ticket holders and fans in attendance for the final Sunday afternoon game.

"The fan who will be here for an expanded period of time, we want to make sure they have something to entertain them beyond the baseball games," Meola said. "We will basically turn our ballpark into a one-stop entertainment shop in addition to a place to showcase baseball."

Meola plans to prove it all night by broadcasting all 17 games, though he will bring in some local sports announcers to serve as color commentators and pre-record a few interviews to run between games.

"Hopefully I’ll be able to get a little rest," Meola said.