Results tagged ‘ Great Lakes Loons ’
Twice within the last few weeks, Fifth-Thrid Ballpark in Comstock Park, home of the West Michigan Whitecaps, has been graced with the presence of the Fox Sports Detroit Girls-Lauren and Allison. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to make the trek south to attend either of these games. The first visit was on May 25, just days after we were there ourselves. Just getting back from vacation, there was just no way to get the time off work again, or come up with the funds for another trip. With this first opportunity missed, I was confident that the girls might make another stop in Grand Rapids. Return they did, on June 7. This time, with just one day notice of their appearance, and the fact that I’m coaching two Little League teams, we were again unable to make to the Whitecaps game! Two opportunities missed, but I’m confident that maybe we can catch up with them sometime this summer, or even this winter at a hockey game. Lauren and Allison are scheduled to appear in Midland on my birthday weekend next month, when the Great Lakes Loons host the Lansing LugNuts, so if anyone is looking for a present for me, I have a great suggestion!
Lauren and Allison are great ambassadors for sports here in Michigan. They are active on Twitter and Facebook, and often reply and interact with the fans whenever they can. From all that I’ve read from other fans who’ve met them, it was a very positive experience. Trevor follows the girls on Facebook also (big surprise), and Lily looks up to them as role models. It’s nice that they’ve stepped into my little world of Minor League Baseball, and I’m hoping I won’t miss the next opportunity.
Photos courtesy of Fox Sports Net/Fox Sports Detoit/Fox Sports Detoit Girls
After two frustrating one-run losses to the Great Lakes Loons (2-1 and 4-3), the West Michigan Whitecaps finally upended their in-state rivals 5-2 on Thursday night. Already in a 2-0 hole in the first inning, they came back in the third. After a triple by Jeff Holm, Chad Wright drew a walk followed by and Eugenio Suarez double to score Holm. Wright scored on a sac-fly by Dean Green. Suarez on leads the Whitecaps in RBI’s with 19, with Green following with 17. West Michigan took the lead in the eight inning off a clutch hit by Jason King. His single drove in the winning run, and stopped his brutal slump.
“You never want to go 0-20, but everyone is here for a reason.” King told the Grand Rapids Press. “You make adjustments until something good happens. It’s just part of being a baseball player.”
Brandon Loy also contributed with a triple that drove in two runs, to help the ‘Caps win a rare close game. They have a 6-10 record in one-run games so far.
“We’ve been in a lot of one-run games,” Loy told the Press. “It’s big to get a win like this. Hopefully it’ll get us on a roll. When a team gets hot, it’s usually a game like this that starts it. It definitely gives us momentum.”
On the hill, West Michigan starter Brennan Smith had a solid night. He gave up only three hits and retired 19 of 20 batters from the last two outs in the first inning to the sixth inning.
“I had a rough start in the first inning, but I kind of settled down and threw my off-speed pitches for strikes,” stated Smith. “We’re used to playing a lot of close games, but no one is getting down. We keep battling.”
I hope this win get the ‘Caps on a solid winning streak, and they get above .500 and battle for the title. We’ll be down next weekend to see them play, so I’m hoping they can give us plenty to cheer about.
West Michigan Whitecap Dixon Machado is up a MiLBy Award this year, in the Best Minor League Photo catagory. If you like this pic of Mach ‘turning two’ against the Great Lakes Loons on August 7 at Fifth Third Ballpark, hit this link to vote for it:
The photo is in third place now, with 11% of the votes, so maybe we can push it up a couple of notches for the win.
Photo courtesy Emily Jones/MilB.com
One week ago, I was sitting at the ball park in 80 degree weather. As I sit here now, I’m looking out the window at a snow/ice storm that could rival any that we got pounded with in January. Funny what a difference a week makes. This also marks one week of the Whitecaps 2011 season, and the team has yet to play a game on the road. The first three games of the season were postponed in Lansing due to un-playable field conditions. The last two nights, the ‘Caps games in South Bend have been postponed due to rain. Lucky the team has played a few homes games in between to stay loose. After winning on opening day against the Lugnuts, West Michigan was only able to scrape up one win against their other in-state rival, the Great Lakes Loons. With a record of 2-3 there’s no use panicing, but just hoping they can get some games in. Also hoping all the make up double headers won’t hurt the rotation too much. UPDATE: The Whitecaps finally played a double-header in South Bend, beating the Silver Hawks 8-1 and 6-3 improving to 4-3 on the season. Here’s some pics of the first week of 2011.
Whitecaps vs. Lansing Lugnuts
Whitecaps vs. Great Lakes Loons
Photos courtesy of the Grand Rapids Press
Despite ending the first half of the season in last place, the re-vamped West Michigan Whitecaps clinched a wild card playoff spot due to their second half performance. They were a dreadfull 26-43 in the first half and have a franchise worst 76 losses overall. The ‘Caps turned things around, however, going on a 26-12 tear since July 28. This is the seventh year in a row West Michigan will be involved in the Midwest League’s post season, and the 14th time in the franchises’ 17 year history. Whitecaps’ manager Joe DePastino said there absolutely is no complacency that his team is just happy to make the playoffs after dropping to as many as 29 games under .500 in late July.
“None at all,” DePastino said. “When you’ve gone from rock bottom to where we’re at, you want to win it all. These guys want to win it. To do what they’ve done, they would be disappointed if they didn’t finish it off with a championship.”
The Whitecaps might not be favored to win the MWL title, but may have as good a chance as any team. They start tonight at home against the Lake County Captains who finished first overall in the first half, but finished below West Michigan in the second stanza. The ‘Caps played the Captains more than any other team this season (21 times!), and are 7-5 against them since the All Star break. What could be interesting here, is if Lake County activates former ‘Caps All Star pitcher Giovanny Soto who the Indians organization picked up the Jhonny Peralta deal. If the ‘Caps can slip past the first round matchup, it’s possible they could play in-state rival Great Lakes Loons who, at 90-49, have the best record in professional baseball. This won’t scare the Whitecaps too much, though, as they went 7-5 against them in the second half.
Game 1: Whitecaps 2, Captains 4
Game 2: Whitecaps 8, Captains 0
Game 3: Whitecaps 2, Captains 3-Whitecaps Eliminated
Captains go on to win Midwest League Championship
Meanwhile, north of Grand Rapids up in Traverse City, the Beach Bums are making history of their own. Ending the regular season on a three game winning streak at home, the Bums qualify for the Frontier League playoffs for the first time in their five year history. They snagged the wild card bid with a 7-0 romping of the Washington Wild Things on the 4th, and ended the regular season in dramaitic fashion beating the Wild Things again the next night 4-3. Their first playoff game is on the 9th, while hosting the Windy City Thunderbolts on September 11-12. Good luck to both teams, and I’ll be updating this post with the results.
Game 1: Beach Bums 1, Thunderbolts 5
Game 2: Beach Bums 9, Thunderbolts 2
Game 3: Beach Bums 5, Thunderbolts 3-Bums advance to Championship Series
Game 1: Beach Bums 5, River City Rascals 3
Game 2: Beach Bums 0, River City Rascals 8
Game 3: Beach Bums 2, River City Rascals 6
Game 4: Beach Bums 0, River City Rascals 2-Rascals Frontier League Champions
Photos courtesy of West Michigan Whitecaps and Traverse City Beach Bums
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
Monday night the Detroit Tigers will honor the 1984 World Championship team in a pre-game ceromony. All the greats will be on hand including HOF manager Sparky Anderson, MVP Allan Trammell, Lance Parrish, Kirk Gibson, Willie Hernandez and more. It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since the Tigers won it all. Detroit had the best record in baseball that season with 104 wins on their way to the World Series. This is one of my favorite memories about being a baseball fan as a kid.
Luckily, I’ve had a chance to meet some of my childhood heroes through my Minor League baseball trips. A lot of these guys like to give back to baseball and coach in the Minors. It’s great seeing them instruct a whole new generation of players. So far off the the 1984 team I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Tom Brookens (West Michigan Whitecaps), Lance Parrish (Great Lakes Loons), Doug Bair (Dayton Dragons), and Barbaro Garbey (Peoria Cheifs). We also had a chance to meet John Wockenfuss this season, who was traded in 1984 in a deal to the Phillies to bring Willie Hernandez and Dave Bergman to Detroit. We got to meet pitcher Jack Morris, too, but he wasn’t coaching, just signing at a store opening in northern Michigan. Still, he has the most wins of any pitcher in the 80′s, so it was great meeting him. I can’t wait until next years trip to see who we can meet along the way.
Tom Brookens of the Whitecaps signs for the kids in 2007
Lance Parrish of the Loons signs some cards for the kids in 2007
Photos property of MIB