Think Spring! Baseball Will Be Back Soon For These Michigan Teams
Pitchers and catchers begin working out at spring training in Lakeland, Florida today, which means that baseball (and Spring!) are right around the corner. In Michigan we are lucky to have not only have an MLB team full of stars with the Detroit Tigers, we also have three Class A teams that play in the Midwest League, a Frontier League team and two Northwoods league teams. Take a break from the winter blahs, and start getting excited about these seven places where you will soon be able to soak up the sun and catch a game!
Detroit Tigers, Comerica Park, Detroit – The Detroit Tigers play their home games at beautiful Comerica Park in Detroit, next door to Ford Field (home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions). The stadium was built as a modern replacement for Tiger Stadium in 2000. The Tigers were one of the eight original teams in the American LEague, and have had a successful run recently that includes World Series appearances in 2006 and 2012 as well as four consecutive AL Central titles. Their season begins April 6 when they host the Minnesota Twins.
West Michigan Whitecaps, Fifth Third Ballpark, Comstock Park – It may only be Class A baseball, but West Michigan Whitecaps fans have helped their team regularly rank near the top of the league in attendance since 1994. The added bonus for the Whitecaps over other in-state teams is their affiliation with the Detroit Tigers, giving fans a chance to see future Motor City baseball stars as their professional careers begin. Popular promotions in the past have included Tiger Fridays with appearances from Detroit alumni, bobblehead giveaways and the legendary Fifth Third Burger (which was featured on Man vs. Food). The 2015 season kicks off on April 9, part of a six-game homestand that features three games against the Dayton Bombers and three against the Great Lakes Loons.
Great Lakes Loons, Dow Diamond, Midland – The Loons are the Class A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and play their home games at Dow Diamond in Midland. 2015 will be their ninth in the Midwest League. Clayton Kershaw is the most successful former Loon, and the team mascot is Lou E. Loon. A full complement of promotions helps entertain fans of all ages with giveaways, theme nights and celebrity appearances – last season saw visits from Duck Dynasty’s Justin Martin and actor Alfonso Ribeiro (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Dancing With the Stars). Season begins April with a three-game homestand vs. the Fort Wayne TinCaps.
Lansing Lugnuts, Cooley Law School Stadium, Lansing – The Lugnuts are the Class A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays and have been members of the Midwest League since 1996. They are two-time league champs, and have seen more than 50 alumni go on to play in the majors. A popular event each spring is the “Crosstown Showdown” which pits the Lugnuts against the Michigan State Spartans baseball team. This year it takes place on April 9, followed by the season/home opener on April 10 vs. the Lake County Captains.
Traverse City Beach Bums, Wuerfel Park, Traverse City – The Beach Bums joined the independent Frontier League in 2006, and have drawn an average of 200,000 fans per season. They play their games in beautiful Wuerfel Park in Traverse City Township. The season starts May 15, with the first home game taking place on May 22 against the Windy City ThunderBolts.
Kalamazoo Growlers, Homer Stryker Field, Kalamazoo – The Growlers play in the Northwoods League, a summer league for college players. MLB players like Ben Zobrist, Curtis Granderson, Max Scherzer and Jeff Weaver are league alumni. This will be their second season playing at Homer Stryker Field, former home of the Kalamazoo Kings of the Frontier League. Former Detroit Tiger Darrel Evans will be the special guest at a “Hot Stove” event March 9 at the Radisson Plaza and Suites in Kalamazoo, where a name for the mascot will be announced and new team personnel will be introduced. The season begins May 26 and the first home game is May 29 vs. Battle Creek.
Battle Creek Bombers, C.O. Brown Stadium, Battle Creek – The Bombers also play in the Northwoods League, in C. O. Brown Stadium at Bailey Park. The stadium was once home to a Midwest League franchise – the Michigan Battlecats/Battle Creek Yankess/Southwest Michigan Devil Rays. Season begins May 26 with a three-game homestand vs. the Lakeshore Chinooks.