25 West Michigan Whitecaps Games To Look Forward To During Their 25th Anniversary
The West Michigan Whitecaps came to the Grand Rapids, Michigan area in 1994 as a Class A Midwest League affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. In 1997, they changed their affiliation to one with the Detroit Tigers and they have been part of that organization since then. The Whitecaps have steadily had some of the best attendance numbers in their league, and have rewarded fans with championships in 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2015. More than 125 former Whitecaps have gone on to play in the Majors, with notable alumni including Ben Grieve, Cameron Maybin, Joel Zumaya, Robert Fick, and James McCann. The Whitecaps play their home games at Fifth Third Ballpark, which can hold roughly 11,000 people for baseball games. We’ve been fans since the beginning, as this absolutely fabulous throwback photo shows:
The Whitecaps will celebrate their 25th season in 2018, and have a full slate of exciting events planned. We looked through the list of promotions and special events and put together a list of what we consider 25 can’t miss games this season. In addition to the games listed below, there are several season-long promotions tied to games on specific days (Get Tickets at http://www.milb.com/tickets):
JQ99 Bulletin Night (Monday) – Get half-off a box or reserved seat when you show a worship or community bulletin. Limit 8 tickets per bulletin.
Silver Slugger (Wednesdays) – half off box/reserved seats for 50+
Altogas Thrifty Thursdays – $2 20 oz. beers $2 hot dogs and $2 Pepsi products. Also, college night – show a college or military ID and get a reserved seat for $5.
FANomenal Fridays – special events and themed nights with a focus on kids and families
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Family Day (Sundays) – First 1,000 kids eat free! Fans can get autographs and play catch on the field before the game from 1:15-1:30pm. Kids can run the bases after the game presented by Michigan’s Adventure!
This year’s Whitecaps team will be managed by former Tiger Lance Parrish, whose coaching staff includes Grand Rapids native and former MLBer John Vander Wal and former New York Yankees infielder Mariano Duncan. Over the past few seasons the Whitecaps have earned quite a reputation for their new and unique food offerings, which include the five-pound Fifth Third Burger (featured on Man V. Food). Look for exciting announcements concerning ew menu items and the roster of players between now and Opening Day! Here’s our list of games you won’t want to miss:
Opening Day (April 5) vs. South Bend Cubs – Opening Day also happens to be a Thrifty Thursday game, and there will be postgame Family Fare Fireworks. The first 1,000 fans through the gate will receive 25th season replica jerseys.
Pokemon Night and Mad Chad appearance (May 11) vs. Burlington Bees – Pokemon characters and themed events will be the highlight of this game’s entertainment, and chainsaw juggler Mad Chad will also make an appearance. This is also a FANomenal Friday game.
1996 Replica Championship Ring Giveaway/Throwback Jersey Night (May 12) vs. Burlington Bees – This game marks the first of several giveaways this season that feature replica championship rings. For this game, the celebration focuses on the 1996 championship team (featuring future MLBers Ramon Hernandez, Mario Encarnacion, Benito Baez) and the Whitecaps will be wearing throwback jerseys during the game.
Pirate Night (May 18) vs. Lake County Captains – Another FANomenal Friday game, the focus of the night’s festivities will be pirates, and there will be an appearance by the Piano Juggler (plays piano while juggling).
Daniel Tiger Appearance (May 20) vs. Lake County Captains – This Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Family Day will feature an appearance by the star of the PBS Kids show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
Peanut Free Night/Tiger Wednesday with Cecil Fielder (June 6) vs. Great Lakes Loons – No peanuts are allowed in the ballpark for this game, making it safe for those with allergies. This is also a Tiger Wednesday game that will feature an appearance by a former Detroit Tigers player. Cecil Fielder was a Tiger from 1990-96 and his 245 home runs places him 6th all-time on the team’s leaderboard. This is also a Silver Slugger game, and there will be Family Fare Fireworks after the game.
Princess Night (June 8) vs. South Bend Cubs – This FANomenal Friday will feature Family Fare Fireworks and the theme of Princess Night. “Take a picture with the Princesses on the concourse and with Cinderella’s horse and carriage. There will also be a Post-Game Daddy Daughter dance on the field immediately following fireworks.” The 61Syx Breakdancers will also be performing throughout the night.
Phillie Phanatic appearance (June 15) vs. Dayton Dragons – One of the most recognized mascots in all of pro sports will be at this game to entertain fans. This is another FANomenal Friday, with the theme of “What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up Night” – “Doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, news anchors, and many more professions will be at Fifth Third Ballpark to talk to kids about what it’s like to work in their designated fields and can help answer the question, What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?”
Nature Cat appearance/1998 Championship Ring Replica giveaway (June 17) vs. Dayton Dragons – This game will feature an appearance by Nature Cat from the PBS KIDS animated series. The first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a championship ring replica honoring the 1998 Whitecaps, and the team will be wearing throwback jerseys. This is a Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Family Day.
Dinosaur Night (June 29) vs. Bowling Green Hot Rods – Appearances by magician PJ Weber and Buddy the Dinosaur from PBS Kids’ Dinosaur Train highlight the festivities for Dinosaur Night, which is a FANomenal Friday game with a prehistoric focus.
Star Wars Night (June 30) vs. Bowling Green Hot Rods – We always make sure to catch Star Wars night, which will feature costumed characters (501st Legion, Great Lakes Garrison) available for pictures, themed events, and more. This is also a Family Fare Fireworks night and a Gerrit’s Grill Giveaway night (fans will have the chance to win a grill from Gerrit’s Appliance).
Dog Day (July 1) vs. Bowling Green Hot Rods – This Sunday game is a Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Family Day game, and the Whitecaps invite you to bring your dog to the game! Special events include the “World’s Largest Dog Wash” and Corgi Races.
Tiger Wednesday with Dave Rozema (July 11) vs. Wisconsin Timber Rattlers – The Whitecaps’ second Tiger Wednesday will feature pitcher Dave Rozema, who was part of the 1984 World Series Championship team. This is also a Silver Slugger game, and there will be Family Fare Fireworks after the game.
How I Met Your Mother Night (July 12) vs. Wisconsin Timber Rattlers – The ‘Caps invite HIMYM fans to “Relive all the best moments of How I Met Your Mother in one night! Wear your best suit, put on your ducky tie, or live it up like Robin Sparkles” on an Altogas Thrifty Thursday.
Paw Patrol Night (July 13) vs. Wisconsin Timber Rattlers – This FANomenal Friday will focus on the popular Nick Jr. show Paw Patrol. The Whitecaps will be wearing special jerseys, and Chase and Skye will be on hand for pictures.
Human Cannonball Appearance and 2004 Championship Ring Replica giveaway (July 14) vs. Beloit Snappers – Come see a daredevil flying 100 feet in the air as part of the Human Cannonball Act, and stick around for Family Fare Fireworks. The first 1,000 fans will receive a replica championship ring honoring the 2004 team.
Tiger Wednesday with Willie Horton (July 25) vs. Lake County Captains – The third Tiger Wednesday game of the season will feature an appearance by Tigers legend Willie Horton, who was a four-time All-Star and a member of the 1968 World Series Championship team. This is a Silver Slugger game, and there will be Family Fare Fireworks after the game.
Superhero Night (July 27) vs. Lake County Captains – Dress up as your favorite superhero and head to the ballpark, where you can expect to see some of your favorite heroes dressed up and ready for pictures. The game will also feature entertainment from BBoy McCoy, and the “field of dreams” event where fans can get prizes on the field after the game.
Re-name the Team Night “Beer City Style” (August 4) vs. Dayton Dragons – The Whitecaps will pay homage to Grand Rapids’ title of Beer City USA by re-naming the team for one night (name will be announced at a later date). You can expect fun events and most likely a special jersey. There will be Family Fare Fireworks after the game and this is another Gerrit’s Grill Giveaway night.
Tiger Wednesday with Placido Polanco (August 15) vs. Lansing Lugnuts – Placido Polanoc will be meeting fans and signing autographs as part of the season’s fourth Tiger Wednesday. Polanco was a Tiger from 2005 to 2009, and was ALCS MVP in 2006. This is also a Silver Slugger game and there will be Family Fare Fireworks after the game. In addition, this is part of the “Crush the Nuts” cross-state rivalry series with Lansing.
MSU/U of M Rivalry Night (August 16) vs. Lansing Lugnuts – Wear your maize & blue or green & white out to this game, where the ChadTough Foundation and Michael Sadler Foundation will receive proceeds from the evening’s events. This is an Altogas Thrifty Thursday and part of the “Crush the Nuts” series.
Harry Potter Night and Daniel Davis appearance (August 17) vs. Lansing Lugnuts – Fifth Third Ballpark will transform into Hogwarts for the night, as “Harry Potter and his crew will be in attendance along with a wand making station, golden snitch hunt, and pregame Quidditch.” Violinist Daniel Davis will perform, and there are postgame Family Fare Fireworks. This is the final home game in the “Crush the Nuts” series against Lansing.
Tiger Wednesday with Mickey Stanley (August 22) vs. Dayton Dragons – The season’s final Tiger Wednesday will feature an appearance by Mickey Stanley, a Tigers outfielder from 1964-1978 who was a member of the 1968 World Series Championship team. This is a Silver Slugger game and there are postgame Family Fare Fireworks.
Salute to the Griffins Night (August 25) vs. Great Lakes Loons – The Whitecaps will be wearing Grand Rapids Griffins themed jerseys for the evening, paying tribute to another minor league championship team in town. The Griffins are the American Hockey League affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, and are two-time Calder Cup champions. There will be a Gerrit’s Grill Giveaway and Family Fare Fireworks as well.
Fan Appreciation Night and 2015 Championship Ring Replica giveaway (September 1) vs. Fort Wayne TinCaps – As the regular season winds down, the Whitecaps will thank those that make it possible for baseball to thrive in the Grand Rapids area – the FANS! Prizes will be given out all evening, as the team wears throwback jerseys. The first 1,000 fans will receive a replica championship ring honoring the 2015 Midwest League championship team. This is the last home game to feature a Gerrit’s Grill Giveaway, and the second-to-last game with Family Fare Fireworks.