Playoff Push: It’s hard to believe, but after finishing the first half of the season in last place the Whitecaps are in contention for the final wild card playoff spot in the Midwest League. At his point their majic number is down to three over the Lansing Lugnuts. The ‘Caps helped themselves by racking off 12 straight wins in August, tying a franchise record set July 14-25, 1999. If they can hold on make the playoffs, it would make it six straight years for the ‘Caps and 14 in the 17 yr. history of the team. There current record is 34-29 and are five games up on Lansing.
Quade Takes Over Cubs: Former West Michigan Whitecap’s manager Mike Quade was named interim manager of the Chicago Cubs this month after Lou Piniella stepped down for personal reasons. Qaude managed the Whitecaps to a 77-61 record in 1996, and led the club to it’s first Midwest League Championship back when they were affiliated with the Oakland Athletics. Quade has 17 years and 2, 378 games of experience as a manager at the minor league level and seven years experience at the major league level. He’s in his eighth season with the Cubs, having served as third base and outfield coach.
Guests At Fifth-Third Ballpark: The second half of the season saw some pretty impressive guests visit the Whitecaps. For Tiger Fridays, former players Jack Morris, Mike Henneman, Dick McAuliffe, and Frank Howard were in attendance signing autographs. Also visiting the ‘Caps for soccer night was former Portage Central All-American and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Lindsay Tarplay. She told the Grand Rapids Press: “My older brother played baseball in high school and at Western Michigan, so I grew up watching him. And I played softball for several years, so I’m a big fan of baseball.” Baseball fans are a big fan of you, too, Lindsay. I decided to post the pic of her over the ballplayers simply because she’s kinda cute..
Feeney Sets Record: ‘Caps pitcher Trevor Feeney set a new Whitecaps record Monday night, throwing 179 2/3 innings this season. The mark was formly held by Nate Cornejo who pitched 174 2/3 innings in 1999. If the ‘Caps do sneak into the playoffs, there’s a chance he might being starting game one as well. “I could either pitch five days from now or pitch the playoff opener”, he told the Grand Rapids Press. “It would definately be a big game and a new experience for me. I’ve never pitched in a three-game series before.” West Michigan manager Joe DePastino wouldn’t mind him starting either, and was impessed with him breaking the record. “If we can, he’ll start game one, but it would depend if and when we clinch. There’s a lot of stuff to be determined and what Detroit tells us to do.” The record shows improvement in Feeney, who threw on 151 innings during his first two minor league seasons. So far in 2010 he’s pitched into the seventh inning in 18 of 28 starts.
Quade photo courtesy of the Associated Press
Tarplay photo courtesy of the Kalamazoo Gazette
Feeney photo property of M.I.B.
For the second time in less than a week, a member of the Detroit Tigers has been donning the Whitecap blues for a rehab start. Second baseman/shortstop/outfielder Carlos Guillen was lucky enough to entertain the fans in West Michigan. Guillen went 0-2 with a walk, but the ‘Caps still beat the Great Lakes Loons 2-1. Rehab starts aren’t only fun for the fans, but a thrill for the current Whitecaps players, too, trying to make it to the top. Having guys like Brandon Inge and Guillen in the lineup help out the young guys with some advice and encouragement. One team member who was more than happy to rub elbows with the big leaguers was catcher Robert Brantley. He told the Grand Rapids Press “They’re in the major leagues for a reason. They’ve found out the difference between being here and and there. I watched them like a hawk to learn what got them to that level.” Brantly also stated that one of the things he learned from the Tigers infielders was the importance of relaxing during a crucial at bat. He hit a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth that gave the ‘Caps their 2-1 lead last night against the Loons. Thanks for stopping by, fellas….
Photos coutresy of the Grand Rapids Press
Tuesday night Detroit Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge found himself in familiar suroundings. Instead of Comerica Park in Detroit, Inge found himself at Fifth Third Field in Comstock Park, just north of Grand Rapids, Michigan, on a rahab assigment, after a pitch broke a finger on his left hand. Inge played his first season of professional baseball there as a catcher back in 1999, where he batted .244 with nine home runs, 46 RBI’s and 25 doubles. Inge seemed to have fond memories of his time in West Michigan.
“I love it here, I really do,” Inge told the Grand Rapids Press. “It’s kind of the starting point for me. This was the first full season I had in the minor leagues. This place produces great ballplayers, and it’s the first place you go to where you have larger crowds. People are very loyal here–the most loyal I’ve ever seen.”
In the game, Inge went 2-5 with two doubles and an RBI in a 7-6 loss to the Great Lakes Loons. His broken finger has seemed to healed nicely for him as well. After the game he stated:
“I feel suprisingly good, seeing as I don’t have any pain and I’m happy with where I am right now. In don’t like to sit on the DL very long. A broken bone is a broken bone, but this whole time, for some reason, it hasn’t felt as bad as other broken bones I’ve had.”
Inge is one of the most popular Whitecaps alumni, and was inducted into the ‘Caps inagural Hall of Fame. The Whitecaps also gave out 1,000 Inge bobbleheads back in June as a promotion. He spent about 20 minutes signing autographs before the game, and recieved a huge ovation from the rabid West Michigan crowd when introduced as the starting third baseman.
Photos courtesy of the Grand Rapids Press
Just like all good things, our Little League season has come to an end. I call it a success because we had a lot of fun, and the kids hopefully learned a lot. You can’t judge these things just on wins and losses, ya know. Bitter sweet also because this is the last game for me coaching two of my kids on the same team. Lily will be moving on to girls softball next season. She’s been the only girl in the league the last two seasons. No doubt she proved she can play with the big boys, though…she was one of my best players all season. Trevor is torn between soccer and baseball. All his friends play soccer, so it’s a tough decision for him. It will be too bad if he quits, though, as he really came on at the end of the season, going 4-5 in the last two games and making some nice plays in the field. Maybe I can bribe him with a new glove next year…I know, despicible me. Still two years away from the little one starting tee ball.
Photos property of M.I.B.