The 'Cats are back in action in June.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Here's a thought to warm Northern Berkshire County baseball fans on this snowy Wednesday: The North Adams SteepleCats open their 2014 season in just 121 days.
But area fans will have to wait 123 days to see their team play its first home game.
The 'Cats will open the season on the road at New England Collegiate Baseball League North Division foe Holyoke on Friday, June 6, at 6:30 p.m., according to the league schedule released on Wednesday.
Former SteepleCats general manager Sean McGrath, now the NECBL commissioner, made the announcement on Wednesday.
"We are anticipating a very special milestone to the start of our 21st season when our 100th alumnus makes his MLB debut. It is even more special because our very first alumnus, Joe Nathan (Tigers), is thriving in the Big Leagues and is baseball's active career saves leader," McGrath said in the announcement. "If you think you may know who the 100th alumnus will be, be sure to visit our website at www.necbl.com to make your prediction."
North Adams makes the long trek up to Sanford, Maine, the next day before coming home for its home opener against Holyoke on Sunday, June 8, at Joe Wolfe Field.
The Vermont Mountaineers will be the opponent for the annual Fourth of July spectacular at Joe Wolfe. Their 6:30 game will conclude with the city's annual fireworks display, and it is part of a two-game holiday weekend homestand for the 'Cats, who host Sanford on Friday, July 5.
The 'Cats' 42-game schedule features 21 home dates and two three-game home stands: June 20-22 and July 12, 13 and 15.
The league's All-Star game will be played Sunday, July 21, in Holyoke.
Most of the SteepleCats' home games will be played at 6:30. The exceptions are Sunday, June 22, against Mystic, Conn., Sunday, June 29, against Sanford and Sunday, July 13, against Rhode Island's Ocean State. Those games are listed as 4:30 starts.
North Adams' regular season wraps up with a pair of home games against divisional rivals: Vermont on Aug. 1 and Holyoke on Aug. 2, the last day of the regular season.
The first of three, best-of-three, playoff rounds are scheduled to begin on Monday, Aug. 4.
"Our fans throughout New England will enjoy seeing a change to our division alignments, which includes two new in-state rivalries, Keene and Laconia in New Hampshire and Mystic and Danbury in Connecticut," McGrath said.
"The All-Star Game returns to Holyoke under second year team president, Clark Eckhoff, which is certain to feature some of the top MLB draft picks in the coming years, like Stephen Strasburg (Nationals), Mark Appel (Astros), or like Red Sox World Series Champions Craig Breslow, Andrew Bailey, and Ryan Lavarnway."