Season ends for Whitecaps
The dream season has come to an end for the West Michigan Whitecaps. With a year starting with a fire to Fifth Third Ballpark in January, it would have been a nice story book ending for them to take home the Midwest League crown. Despite falling in the first round to the Fort Wayne TinCaps, in controversial fashion, the ‘Caps still had a stellar season filled with more highs than lows.
Game one of the playoffs saw the Whitecaps and TinCaps tied at five all in the bottom of the eighth innings. With the TinCaps having the bases loaded and nobody out, a ground ball was hit to short stop Domingo Leyba, who was interfered with and couldn’t make the play. Despite the rule clearly stating that the base runner must avoid the defensive player fielding the ball, the umpires let the play stand, and Fort Wayne won by the score of 7-5. In game two in Comstock Park, the Whitecaps used their pitching staff to strike out 15 batters in route to a 2-1 victory. Bennett Pickar’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh inning scored Dominic Ficociello for the go ahead run. Zac Reininger earned the win, working 2.1 shutout innings. In the deciding game three, the Whitecaps fell by the score of 6-2 to be eliminated. After the one hour and 44 minute rain delay, the ‘Caps just couldn’t get anything going.
Despite the early playoff exit, this season has to be regarded as a success. After all, with a 82-58 record this was the Whitecaps first division title in seven years, and it was a positive step just to be back in the playoffs. The ‘Caps also hosted the MWL 50th All-Star Classic that was a huge success, and the early construction to the ballpark didn’t keep fans away, as 391, 653 fans visited Fifth Third Ballpark, good for the largest total since 2002. Wynton Bernard was also the first ‘Cap to be named the MWL Player of the Year since Gorkys Hernandez in 2007. Bernard was also the first batting champion since Robert Fick in 1997, and broke the Whitecaps single-season hit record with 158. He was joined on he post season All-Star team by pitchers Buck Farmer and Kevin Ziomek. New manager Andrew Graham did a great job in West Michigan this season, and I’m looking forward to see how he progresses as a manager as well as the progression of this seasons players through the system. I will certainly miss visiting Fifth Third Ballpark, and can’t wait until next April. The winters are so long and brutal up here, the only way to pass the time is dream about sunshine and baseball!
Photo property of Minoring In Baseball
Mike, I was just in GR last week visiting a friend of mine. We when to the Orbit Room to see Clutch. He kept telling me I have to get out there for a White Caps game. Hopefully, next year!
FYI; I wish BA let Moya bat instead of pinch hitting Suarez. Let’s see what he’s got.
The ‘Caps games are definitely a great time. If you have kids, I recommend going on a Sunday where fans can get on the field and meet the team for autographs and photos. We’ve met many future Tigers this way, as well as former MLBers that are coaching. I think that the Great Lakes Loons are fun, also, if you ever make it up to that area.
Great website you have here, Michael! I found your site through the BBA group list. I’m new to the BBA, but I have been a lifelong baseball fan and now a high school coach and functional baseball trainer. I really enjoy looking through these blogs. Everyone has their own style and it makes for an interesting read every time.
Anyways, I have been going through the BBA list and bookmarking the blogs I like. Your blog is well organized and very easy to browse through and the content you have is great! Keep it up. I wish you luck with yours. I’ll be bookmarking it.
Thank you for the kind words, and welcome to the BBA! I look forward to reading your work, also. Best of luck in coaching and training. That is something I’m very much interested in, also.