Batter up! It’s officially spring, and baseball is alive and well in the Great Lakes State. Although our state does boast a Major League team in the Detroit Tigers, attending and cheering for any of the local minor league teams can be just as much fun – and less expensive, whether you live in the area or your family is traveling to Michigan during baseball season.
There are three minor league teams in Michigan, that create a regional draw for families and anyone who enjoys a good baseball game: the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Lansing Lugnuts and the Great Lakes Loons (based in Midland). There are also two Michigan teams in the Frontier League as well, including the Traverse City Beach Bums, and the Kalamazoo Kings (returning in 2012). Our local West Michigan team is the Whitecaps: a Class A minor league team, affiliated with the Tigers, that plays in the Midwest League.
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Attending a Whitecaps game can truly be a family affair, as the stadium is well set up for kids. Lawn seats cost just $6.00 per person, or you can buy tickets in a family-friendly (no alcohol permitted) section of seating for $9.50 each. Kids under age 3 are free for all seats. Parking at the Fifth Third Ballpark costs $5.00 per car and tailgating is prohibited. Lawn seats are often a good option since kids can get up and stretch their legs if they get tired of sitting for long, and there’s a playground located near one of the lawn areas too.
Kids can also join the Crash’s Kids Club – for only $25/year, they get one ticket to every Sunday home game, a free t-shirt, chances to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and be able to watch an inning right from the dugout, and en express lane to run the bases after every Sunday game. There are also several ‘Family Days’ throughout the season where kids can eat free at the stadium (first 1,000 kids), get autographs and play catch on the field before the game, have the chance to run the bases after the game or participate in other special promotions. And there are fireworks after many games as well.
Opening Day this spring is on April 10th, when the Whitecaps take on the Lansing Lugnuts – this game is a Family Day and they’re also giving away knit hats to the first 1,000 fans at the game. Other regular promotions include All Faiths Night on Mondays, Senior Night on Tuesdays, Wellness Wednesdays and Thrifty Thursdays.
Photo courtesy of: Beth and Christian