The Wave Vol. 19 Issue 3 - 2024

Page 1

Where kids catch on fast.


On behalf of the entire Whitecaps organization, we can’t wait for you to experience what the 2024 season of Whitecaps Baseball has in store! A lot has happened around the ballpark since last season, and we could not be more excited to welcome you back to see what’s new.

On the field, we enter the 2024 season with a new leader in the clubhouse, Tony Cappuccilli. Tony brings an impressive resume to West Michigan, and we are looking forward to seeing him take the field. In terms of on-field talent, get excited for another extremely talented High-A roster to roll through West Michigan this season. Remember to come out early and see them before they continue up the ladder on the road to Detroit!

Beyond the action on the field, our organization has been working tirelessly this offseason to reimagine the FUN and create the best fan experience in baseball. From new food items to fantastic promotions to an awesome slate of non-baseball special events, the 2024 season is stacked with experiences that will bring you back to the ballpark time and time again. And on top of all that, as evidenced by the stadium construction down the third baseline, we have also begun the process of reimagining LMCU Ballpark to make sure it’s ready for future generations of Whitecaps fans!

Most importantly, like every season, I want to welcome fans back to the Whitecaps brand of FUN, COMMUNITY, EXPERIENCES. Welcome back to summer nights at LMCU Ballpark: hot dogs and peanuts, the sounds of baseball, laughter with friends and family, that look of awe when a young fan walks through the gate for the first time, the talent on the field, the ooohs and ahhhhs of a fireworks show, and of course, welcome back to the FUN. This truly is West Michigan’s ballpark.

And last, but certainly not least, I can’t forget to say “Thank You” to our fans for your continued support of Whitecaps Baseball. It’s been an incredible ride over the last thirty plus years, and as we continue the work of reimagining LMCU Ballpark I know the next thirty seasons are going to be just as much fun. We couldn’t do what we do without your support, and it pushes us every day to make sure that 2024 is the best season of Whitecaps baseball yet.

So, thank you Whitecaps Fans; you truly are the best fans in baseball!


Thriving with sickle cell is impossible.

Thanks to his care team, his mom, and his relentless spirit, Abe lives a pretty typical life for a 7-year-old — running, playing and going to school with his friends.

Abe, 7

From TrIple-A Bench Coach to HIgh-A Manager:

Tony Cappuccilli’s Major Opportunity with the West Michigan Whitecaps

COMSTOCK PARK – In the world of baseball, it would be easy to assume that a move from Triple-A to the High-A level is something of a demotion.

That is far from the case for Tony Cappuccilli, however. In fact, joining the West Michigan Whitecaps this season represents one of his biggest baseball opportunities yet.

This past January, the Tigers named Cappuccilli the 15th manager in the Whitecaps 31-year history. He spent the previous two seasons in the Detroit Tigers’ organization as the bench coach for the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens.

“In Toledo, I got to work with two great managers (Lloyd McClendon in 2022 and Anthony Iapoce in 2023) and I learned a lot from them,” Cappuccilli said. “But the opportunity to manage a team was something I really wanted to get an opportunity to do. It’s probably easy to look at it as going down in levels, but that’s not necessarily the case because the job entails more responsibility.”

The 43-year-old Cappuccilli (pronounced cap-uh-CELLI)

has been steadily climbing the coaching ranks in recent years. Prior to the stint in Toledo, he spent four years as a minor league coach and manager with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization that included an Arizona League Championship with their rookie-level affiliate team.

He also has collegiate coaching experience with the University of New Mexico, University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV), and Irvine Valley College.

A native of Huntington Beach, Calif., Cappuccilli received his first coaching job at his alma mater, Edison High School, where he was an All-American player and even once held the Orange County career home run record. He played college baseball at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he helped the Wolf Pack win a Big West conference championship at catcher and reach the NCAA Regionals and spent one season in the Frontier League before steadily starting to climb his way up the coaching ladder.

“I was kind of been brought up to believe that if go through the proper steps, then opportunities will come as they’re earned,” Cappuccilli said. “Maybe I took kind of the slow path to get here, but I’m thrilled for the opportunity.”

That career road map also included stints coaching a high school team in Washington, serving as an assistant coach in the Cape Cod League, and filling the role of head coach of the Anchorage Bucs, a college summer baseball team in the Alaska Baseball League, from 2011-14.

“That was awesome. So cool,” Cappuccilli said of his time in Alaska. “Up there in the summer for two months and working with kids from all over the country. I’m not sure I ever would have another opportunity to go up to Alaska for baseball, and to have had that chance was just incredible.”

Now, Cappuccilli has the opportunity to work with an entirely new roster looking to chase their own baseball dreams.

“When you’re in Toledo, you have guys that already have major league experience or are one step away. A lot of those guys are trying to find that thing that will get them to the big leagues and keep them there,” he said. “They’re one small step away from getting to where they ultimately want to be, and we’re trying to help them find whatever that is so once they get there, they get opportunities to stay there.

“In High-A ball, guys are further away from that point. The daily focus on development and learning is going to be a lot of fun. While you can do that in Triple-A, the emphasis on those areas is a lot greater in High-A because there are so many things that come up in game situations and things that happen on a game-to-game basis that you can learn from and develop, and that experience is going to be huge.”

Cappuccilli replaces Brayan Pena, the Whitecaps’ manager for the previous three seasons who is now the Tigers’ minor league catching coordinator.

While the Whitecaps have enjoyed considerable success with former catchers taking the helm – past catchers-turned-managers include Matt Walbeck, Joe DePastino, Andrew Graham, Mike Rabelo, and Lance Parrish – Cappuccilli knows he has big shoes to fill with the popular Pena moving on to a different role with the organization.

“I’ve gotten to spend a lot of time with Brayan. Wonderful dude, absolutely love the guy,” Cappuccilli said. “We were actually laughing about all the social media posts asking, ‘Where’s Pena going?’ when the announcement was first made. I was worried that I was going to be hated before we even had our first game.

“But I’m excited for him. Brayan is going to be a huge asset for the catchers in the organization. I’m sure when he gets to come back to see West Michigan, it’s going to be a lot of fun to be around him.”

Joining Cappuccilli this season is hitting coach Franciso Contreras and returning pitching coach Dan Ricabal. Rounding out the staff are newer faces in associate pitching coach Collin Murray, athletic trainer Justin Wagler, and strength coach Kevin Kleis.

Cappuccilli jokes that while he peaked as a player in high school (“I struck out a lot,” he says with a laugh) he’s looking forward to the applying the experiences he’s had both as a coach and player to help the Whitecaps compete in the Midwest League and players advance in the Tigers organization.

“It’s the balance of competing every night and focusing on preparation and development,” he said. “You always want to win and that will be the goal when we go out every night, but success and failure is not going to dictate how we do our day-to-day work. The wins will come, but we really need to focus on the process of getting better and improving every day.”

Based on West Michigan’s reputation not only around the Midwest League, but all of minor league baseball, Cappuccilli has the foundation established to help build on the Whitecaps’ long-standing tradition of success both on the field and in the community.

“I’ve not only heard about it from the Tigers, but people from other organizations. I have friends on other teams that have talked to me about what a great set up we have, and how much they enjoy coming here and playing. Friends of mine talk about it being the best place in the league, the best fans, the best field, everything just a great atmosphere. I’m excited for all of those things.”

The only thing that may take a little getting used to is Grand Rapids’ notable status as Beer City, USA since Cappuccilli considers himself more of a bourbon and coffee aficionado. In fact, this is how he describes himself in a bio on “Dad, husband, french bulldog dad, baseball coach, coffee lover, certified bourbon steward, ordained wedding officiant.”

While Cappuccilli may be a certified bourbon steward, he’s certainly willing to see what all the hype is about.

“I’m not normally a big beer guy. I can’t even remember the last time I had a beer,” he said. “But I’m willing to try anything because I’ve heard all the things about the city’s reputation.”

broadcast information

If you can’t make it to LMCU Ballpark, don’t worry! You can catch Whitecaps Baseball all season long! Live radio or stream the broadcast, tune in for Whitecaps baseball wherever you are.

Listen live on 106.1 FM The Ticket, as Dan Hasty and Nate Wangler call the action all season long.

Go to the Whitecaps website to stream the audio broadcast fans/audio-listen-live

Watch every Whitecaps game on the Bally Live! App for no additional cost.

Stream all Minor League baseball games including the Whitecaps with the MiLB At Bat app. Details and directions: live-stream-games/subscribe

MiLB First Pitch App Have the Minor League Baseball First Pitch App? Listen all season long right from your phone.











The Whitecaps players are just beginning their journey to the Majors. Most players drafted out of high school start in the Florida complex league. short-season leagues help the players get accustomed to the life of a professional baseball player. Within the Tigers’organization, most players play their first full season in Lakeland and then advance to the Whitecaps, right here in West Michigan!






2125 N. LAKE ST. LAKELAND, FL 33805






2125 N. LAKE ST. LAKELAND, FL 33805











110 E. 10TH ST. ERIE, PA 16501

midwest midwest league league












January 25, 2024


The Whitecaps Community Foundation hosted a radical evening in support of the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids’ Ted Rasberry Youth League by organizing an unforgettable Baseball and Ballads fundraising Bash! Over 300 attendees joined in, enjoying classic 1980s music, attire, and the presence of baseball legends from the 1984 World Series Championship Detroit Tigers team. Dave Rozema, Lance Parrish, and Dan Petry engaged in a fireside chat, reminiscing about the glory days of that magical season. Earlier in the evening, Jeff Greenberg, General Manager of the Tigers, addressed the audience about the exciting upcoming season the Tigers have in store for their fans. Lastly, the Whitecaps honored Matt Manning by inducting him into the Whitecaps Hall of Fame as the newest member representing the class of 2024.

The event proved to be a tremendous success for the Ted Rasberry Youth League, raising over $32,000! The funds contributed to the YMCA will provide support for youth baseball and softball for another season. Since the program’s inception, the YMCA and the Whitecaps Community Foundation have provided 35,000 children with the opportunity to play ball, experience the power of teamwork, and learn valuable life lessons from the countless volunteers who make this program possible.


quotes of the night “

We had a great time and loved hearing the stories of past players, getting a chance to mingle and hearing about such a great cause!

- Guest of the Event


Whitecaps Word Search












Quality milk starts on the farm…

Dairy Foods from Farm to Table

Have you ever wondered where some of your favorite foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt come from? Lots of milk and dairy foods are made locally – right here in Michigan!

…is delivered to your grocery store…

…then travels to the dairy plant…

…and brought home for you to enjoy!

1. What the Whitecaps hope they do every time they play a game.

2. To cause (something) to become three times as great or as many.

3. What the batter does to the ball with the bat

4. The player position behind home plate

5. The player who uses a bat to hit the ball

6. Our favorite River Rascal

7. The small white object that players catch and throw to each other

8. The player who throws the ball to the batter

9. This is called when a batter swings and misses the ball


Mark off each word as you hear it at the ballgame or see the object in the stadium. How long will it take you to cover all the words on your bingo card?

2. Logos:

3. shoes:

Calling all baseball fans age 14 and under! Come be a part of The River Rascal Rookies and enjoy the experience with the West Michigan Whitecaps. As a member of the The River Rascal Rookies each child gets a one-year membership, which includes:



• 2024 ID BADGE





















Burgers & Hot Dogs

Nachos & Super Pretzels


Chicken Fries

Pizza Super Slices


Large Bag)

Caramel Corn

Bosco Sticks



Corn Dog

Tiki Hut Build-A

Burgers, Hot Dogs & Chili Dogs

Nachos & Super Pretzels

Crispy Chicken Sandwhich

Fries Popcorn ( Large Bag)

Caramel Corn


Burgers & Hot Dogs Nachos & Super Pretzels

Crispy Chicken Sandwhich Chicken Fries

Pizza Super Slices Popcorn ( Large Bag)

Caramel Corn Bosco Sticks Foot Long Corn Dog Gluten Free

& Crackerjack*

Mitten Pour of ‘84*

Mitten Goblin Juice*

Perrin Black

Robinson’s Popcorn
rice bowlS
Cheese Wedges
Frycuterie Box
Dugout Tots
3B Crash’s Cravings



Who Are We?

The Whitecaps Community Foundation is the nonprofit extension of the West Michigan Whitecaps. The foundation is dedicated to enriching the lives of youth and their families by providing them with access to fun, baseball, team-dynamics, leadership, education, and recreational opportunities. With the help and generosity of West Michigan residents and community partners, the Whitecaps Community Foundation continues to make the West Michigan area an inclusive and diverse place for fun, community, and experiences.

Our Programs

Below are the five core programs of the Whitecaps Community Foundation. These five programs are designed to help us achieve our mission of providing families and children access to social, education, and recreational programs.

Ted Rasberry Youth League
Reading Club Youth Clinic

PLAYER WORN GAME JERSEYS WILL BE AUCTIONED TO SUPPORT THE WHITECAPS COMMUNITY FOUNDATION AND OTHER CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS. The Whitecaps Community Foundation is dedicated to enriching the lives of youth and their families by providing them with access to fun, baseball, team-dynamics, leadership, education, and recreational opportunities.

Sunday, May 12

Thursday, August 8

Saturday, June 22 Saturday, August 10

Friday, July 19Sunday, July 22

Friday, August 23

Wednesday, August 7

Saturday, August 25

Jerseys will be awarded “off the back” to bid winners at the end of each game. Winners are invited to join the Community Relations team at Guest Services at the top of the 9th inning to be escorted on the field to collect the autographed jersey from the player. For more information and to bid for each auction, go to



Ricabal manager

athletIc TraIner

pItchIng coach assocIate

InformatIon AssIstant sam reatini clubhouse manager

roster 2024

through the lens

through the lens

Look Through the Lens of whitecaps mascot, roxy, as she shares her perspective during a whitecaps game.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network believe that when communities are healthy, everyone benefits. And it all starts with Michigan's youth. Our Building Healthy Communities program is a statewide initiative designed to prevent chronic disease, improve the mental health and well-being of students and staff, and create healthy school environments. The program improves health, reduces obesity, increases student attendance and boosts academic achievement. Since 2009, we’ve contributed to the health and well-being of over half a million kids in more than 1,100 schools across Michigan.

Learn more at

DOB: 7/30/2002

DRAFTED: RD 1 (2021)

SCHOOL: heritage Hall H.S. ok THROWS: R BATS: R Jackson Jobe RHP

DOB: 12/21/2004

DRAFTED: RD 1 (2023)

SCHOOL: Franklin HS, Franklin, IN THROWS: l BATS: l

DOB: 10/04/2000 DRAFTED: RD 1 (2022)


DOB: 8/18/2004 DRAFTED: CB-A (2023)

SCHOOL: Monsignor Bonner H.S., Drexel Hill, PA THROWS: R BATS: l

DOB: 2/21/2000 DRAFTED: CB-A (2021)


DOB: 2/19/2000 DRAFTED: RD 6 (2021), Atlanta

DOB: 7/06/2000


DOB: 2/20/2001

SCHOOL: Arizona Western JC THROWS: R BATS: R

DOB: 12/12/1997 DRAFTED: RD 6 (2019), minnesota


DOB: 12/03/2000 DRAFTED: RD 4 (2022)

SCHOOL: San Diego State THROWS: R BATS: R troy melton RHP

COMSTOCK PARK – Ashley Gonzalez’s official job title with the West Michigan Whitecaps is People Operations Administrative Lead.

Since even she knows that phrase can be a bit of a mouthful, though, most people in the team’s front office refer to her by another honorific: Office Mom.

Whether it’s organizing staff events or bringing in her two miniature dachshunds, Phoebe and Nala, to the office, Gonzalez usually can be found making sure everyone at LMCU Ballpark has exactly what they need exactly when they need it.

“I make sure things are running, people are happy, and I do my best to make the office a fun place to be,” she said. “I make sure everyone has the necessities to get their jobs done.”

Her presence on the team can’t be overstated.

“She absolutely is our Team Mom,” Whitecaps Director of Marketing Lynn Tuori said. “She keeps everyone on time and in line, both in and out of season. She is seriously fabulous and incredibly important to us.”

Gonzalez has already worn a variety of hats in her six years with the Whitecaps. She got her start with the team in 2018 as a Concessions Supervisor. At the time, Gonzalez was working at an assisted living facility when her friend, Brandi Quist, recommended she apply for a position with the team since she had grown up a Detroit Tigers fan, regularly attended Whitecaps games, and played softball growing up in Grandville.

In 2020, she joined the front office as a Food and Beverage Assistant, and moved into an Operations Coordinator role in 2022. Her most-recent promotion started in 2023.

“I like to have my hands in everything,” Gonzalez said. “After I got to the team, I was hooked and wanted to know how to do everything at the ballpark.”

That’s why even though her regular job duties require her to maintain a more typical 9-to-5 schedule, it’s not uncommon to find her at LMCU Ballpark during games helping where she can or trying something new. (She’s learning new skills in the box office this season and has her eyes on learning more about groundskeeping next.)

“The majority of the time, you’ll find me at games because I love to attend and I get FOMO when I’m not here,” Gonzalez said. “I might be running food to suites, taking cards at parking, I’ll literally be anywhere and do anything at the ballpark because I love being here so much.”

When she’s not at the ballpark, she often can be found playing board and card games with her husband, Larry – they have more than 200 at their home in Byron Center – or spending time kayaking and fishing at the family cottage in Lakeview.

More often than not, though, she can be found at the ballpark, in part because she loves the game and in part because she’s a self-proclaimed “people pleaser at heart.”

“Over the course of being here the past six years, I think I’ve proven myself to the standard that people say, ‘We want her to be involved with everything,’ ” Gonzalez said. “I think a lot of people here trust me with a lot of things.


Players Roberto Campos, Erik Pinales, and Marco Jimenez made an appearance at Wyoming High School May 7, 2024

whitecaps look back

COMSTOCK PARK - While West Michigan closed out the first half of the 2023 season losing 13 of 17 games, the Whitecaps also enjoyed a variety of highlights, including rehabilitation stints by Detroit Tigers pitchers Beau Brieske and Tarik Skubal in June.

Following the all-star break – and a late-June postponement due to poor air quality caused by the Canadian wildfires - the Whitecaps set their sights on competing for first place in the second half of the Midwest League season. A 10-13 record in July, however, made it difficult to gain traction, as did the regular round of roster changes, which included the promotions of Justice Bigbie, Chris Meyers, and Danny Serretti to Double-A Erie.

Fortunately, there were plenty of reasons for fans to cheer in July 2023, including these notable moments:

Moving on up: Following a strong start, the Tigers promoted 2022 first-round draft pick Jace Jung to Erie on July 23. In 81 games with the Whitecaps, the second baseman had 14 home runs and 43 RBIs to go with a .254 batting average and stellar .377 on-base percentage. Jung, the No. 2 Tigers prospect heading into this season, started his professional career in West Michigan after getting selected 12th overall in the 2022 draft. In 111 overall games with the Whitecaps, he had 102 hits, 15 homers, and 56 RBIs.

Welcome back: The Tigers’ top pitching prospect, Jackson Jobe, made his return to West Michigan on July 27. After experiencing lumbar spine inflammation during a bullpen session in spring training, the right hander joined Single-A Lakeland in June and gave up only four runs and 14 hits in six games. In 15 2/3 innings with the Flying Tigers, Jobe also had a 14-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Jobe also pitched well in eight games with the Whitecaps, going 2-3 with a 3.60 ERA, 54 strikeouts, and only three walks in 40 innings.

Spencer for hire: Another former Whitecaps pitcher returned to West Michigan as the Tigers’ Spencer Turnbull started his two-game rehab stint in late July. Turnbull, who went 11-3 in 22 starts with the Whitecaps in 2015, had been on Detroit’s injured list (IL) since mid-May with a neck injury. Starting for West Michigan against Fort Wayne on July 25, Turnbull gave up no runs, no walks, two hits, and struck out one in the first two innings of a 4-1 loss. He started again on July 30 against the TinCaps, surrendering only a two-run home run in the first inning, and finishing with four strikeouts and no walks in three innings of work.

Melton moves: Pitcher Troy Melton, the Tigers’ No. 10 prospect, struck out a season-high eight batters during a 7-1 loss to South Bend on July 21. Melton, who was the Tigers’ fourth-round pick in the 2022 draft, joined the Whitecaps in May after a strong start in Lakeland, where the righty had a 3.38 ERA and 33 strikeouts in seven appearances. In 16 games with the Whitecaps last season, Melton finished with a 3-1 record, 2.48 ERA, and 61 strikeouts in 65 1/3 innings.

marvel packed inside a pizza box overflowing

waffle fries to the crispy delight of tater tots, the creamy appeal of cheese wedges to the explosive flavor of jalapeno bacon firecrackers, each bite is a journey of indulgence. Dip into a variety of mouthwatering sauces, including rich nacho cheese, tangy BBQ sauce, and zesty

chili, to elevate your fry experience to new heights. Whether you’re sharing with family or friends, there’s plenty to go around in this ultimate feast. Discover the Frycuterie Box exclusively at the Queso Castle and embark on a flavor adventure like never before!

Fun at the Ballpark

Ballpark at the silver Slugger silver slugger silver slugger

COMSTOCK PARK – Silver Slugger is a term familiar to many baseball fans, notably as the award given to the top offensive player annually at each position in each league.

The West Michigan Whitecaps also like to use the phrase “Silver Slugger” as a term of endearment for a certain segment of fans who regularly attend games at LMCU Ballpark.

That’s one reason why every Wednesday home game is known as Silver Slugger Wednesday, when fans over the age of 50 can purchase half-off box or reserved seat tickets with a valid ID.

But that’s not the only way the Whitecaps strive to make game day experiences special for baseball fans 50 and above, from empty nesters with extra time and resources available for themselves and their loved ones to people who simply enjoy spending a little time outside watching games with a hot dog in hand. Whether they’re looking to spend time with children, grandchildren, or friends, these Silver Sluggers are searching for experiences that allow them to make memories – and maybe take advantage of a few discounts along the way.

Regardless of the reason, the Whitecaps offer endless opportunities for fun. Here are a few places to get started:

Mark your calendars!

July 19–21: Enjoy a Marvel-ous weekend with the superhero fans in your family that includes an opportunity to meet Captain America, Black Panther, and Spider-Man.

July 23: Fans old enough to remember the phrase “Bless You Boys” won’t want to miss the Whitecaps’ salute to the Detroit Tigers’ 1984 World Series champions and celebrate legendary names like Sparky, Tram, Sweet Lou, Gibby and more. Presented By: United Manufacturing

July 24: Throw the kids in their swimsuits, grab a beach towel, and head over to the Meijer Hometown Playground, which will be turned into a kid friendly experience for Super Splash Day. LMCU Ballpark? More like LMCU Water Park!

Aug. 8: The Whitecaps will pay tribute to the Black Sox, who played in Grand Rapids during the 1940s and ’50s, with our Negro League Appreciation game, which honors everything the team did for baseball and the West Michigan community. Presented By: Priority Health

Aug. 9: Hail to the Chief! The team will honor the 50-year anniversary of Gerald R. Ford being inaugurated as the country’s 38th president, including a bobblehead giveaway of the Grand Rapids hometown hero. Presented By: Gerald R Ford Presidential Library and Museum & Gerald R Ford Presidential Foundation

Aug. 10: The Whitecaps once again will partner with the Grand Rapids WhiteWater Project to take the field as the Dam Breakers to raise awareness for the restoration of the rapids in the Grand River. Presented By: Consumers Energy

Aug. 22: Where do your rooting interests lie? Green & White? Or Maize & Blue? Either way, Rivalry Night offers an opportunity to support the Michael Sadler and Chad Tough Foundations. Presented By: DTE

Aug. 23: Friends and family members over the age of 21 can enjoy a night of beer, bungs, and bung hammers when the team again changes its name to the Beer City Bung Hammers.

Sept. 3: LMCU Ballpark will go to the dogs as we enjoy our final Dog Day of the season, when our four-legged friends are welcome to take in the action. Presented By: Bissell

Sept. 6: Bust out your flannels, pasties, and stormy kromers as we celebrate all things Upper Peninsula on Yooper Night. Presented By: Corewell Health Stroke Department

Sept. 7: 80s themes are popular for all ages these days, but some of us actually lived them! So, dig out the neon hiding in your dresser drawer from decades past and display it proudly during our “If It Isn’t Neon, It Shouldn’t Be On” game. Presented By: J&H Family Stores

Fun at the Ballpark

Get a jersey and give back

As much as we all love the Whitecaps’ regular uniforms, the team also regularly wears special jerseys on special nights – and you have an opportunity to get one for yourself. You can bid for a game-worn jersey after these theme games, with all proceeds benefiting the Whitecaps Community Foundation or another local nonprofit.

• July 19-21: Marvel Weekend

• August 7: Kids Can Conquer Night Presented By: Fifth Third Bank

• Aug. 8: Negro League Appreciation Night Presented By: Priority Health

• Aug. 10: Dam Breakers Presented By: Consumers Energy

• Aug. 23: Bung Hammers

• Aug. 25: Las Calaveras de West Michigan Presented By: GENTEX

Promos for every day of the week

• Tuesday Bulletin Nights: Purchase half-off box or reserved seats when you bring a church or community bulletin to the box office. (Please note there is a limit of eight tickets per bulletin.) Presented By: JOY99

• Silver Slugger Wednesdays: Like we said in the intro, fans who are ages 50 and over can purchase half-off box or reserved seat tickets with a valid ID.

• Thrifty Thursdays: Looking for a deal? Everyone in the family can feel refreshed with $3.00 hot dogs, $3.00 domestic beers, and $3.00 Pepsi drinks. And that’s not all: college students and military personnel get half-off reserved seat with valid IDs.

• Sunday Family Days: Kids play catch on the field and get player autographs before the game - then kids run the bases afterward. Bonus: the first 1,000 kids 12 and under through the gates eat free! Presented By: Helen Devos Children’s Hospital

Who doesn’t love a bobblehead? If you’re one of the first 1,000 fans through the LMCU Ballpark gates on these dates, then you can grab one of these one-of-a-kind souvenir handouts:

If these options still haven’t whetted your appetite, rest assured that LMCU Ballpark has something that will suit every palette. Throughout the stadium, you can find vegetarian and gluten-free (and adventurous) menu items, along with a wide selection of beer, ciders, and seltzers from West Michigan and around the nation.

Need something that will suit a larger group? The stadium also offers different suite options suitable for birthday parties, retirement celebrations, special interest groups, or even a casual get together for friends and family.

Visit the LMCU Ballpark box office or to learn more.

Bobblehead fun

lmcu ballpark

COMSTOCK PARK – You’ll have to forgive the West Michigan Whitecaps if they actually don’t ask fans to pardon the dust at LMCU Ballpark the next few years.

The team certainly isn’t trying to be rude. Everyone is just excited about what’s coming next.

In January 2023, the team announced a phased, multi-year construction project designed to completely reimagine the 30-yearold ballpark. It’s all part of a continuing, comprehensive effort to reimagine what the facility can be over the next 30 years – for players, fans, and the greater West Michigan community.

As a result, fans will not only be able to witness the evolution of the next batch of Detroit Tigers players, but also the future of their entire gameday experience.

and that shows growth. We’re reinvesting in the facility and the anticipation is going to be there for a lot of people,” Whitecaps Vice President and General Manager Jim Jarecki said. “Once it’s done, once we get to that end game, this ballpark is going to be in a primo place to take us into the next couple of decades.”

phase 1

An elevated player experience

Phase 1 of construction started in spring 2023 and almost entirely focused on updating the player facilities based on Major League Baseball’s requirements. These improvements included:

Rebuilding the third base clubhouse, which will serve as the Whitecaps’ home clubhouse, moving visiting teams across the field to the newly-renovated clubhouse on the first-base side. The Whitecaps’ new clubhouse offers a larger weight room and training facilities, dedicated spaces for female coaches and staff, and a state-of-the-art batting tunnel.

Upgrading the stadium lights to LEDs which are brighter while reducing both glare and light pollution, which was completed prior to the 2023 season.

“The Tigers are excited. Our affiliation with Detroit dates back to 1997, so they know what this market means, they know what this facility means to players and the community,” Jarecki said. “When they send the players here, they see nothing but the positives. It’s going to continue to be a great facility for the players to play in on a daily basis.”

Phase 1 also featured enhanced group hospitality experiences with a new suite-level club space built above the new batting tunnel on the third-base side.

The upgrades required an extensive planning process as fans tracked the steady progress through the 2023 season.

“Last year was all about discovery, fact finding, going over engineering reports, drawings. It ended up being kind of a delayed start, but we wanted to do it right,” Jarecki said. “This project is a little different than when you’re doing something brand new from scratch. When you have a building that’s already 30 years old, you’re going to find things that maybe weren’t quite expected, and you need to adapt. But we worked through that last summer and took that work through winter.”

phase 2

Transforming LMCU Ballpark

Phase 2 will begin after the last game this September. This phase will include field improvements and a reconfiguration of some group hospitality spaces.

The playing surface will be replaced for the first time in 12 years. The grass and infield playing surface will be completely removed to make way for the installation of a new drainage system. In addition, the bullpens will be moved to the outfield and lie behind the right-field wall, giving pitchers the same type of experience and viewpoint they will have sitting in the bullpen of a major league stadium. The outfield walls will be brought in to reduce the distance in the power alleys, making the field a hitter’s park and giving players similar angles they can expect when they reach the Major Leagues.

The lawn area will be situated behind the bullpens, allowing avid fans to follow the action on both the field and in the bullpens.

Along with the obvious field changes will come additional changes to the seating areas. Phase 2 brings new terraces to both the first and third base sides to introduce more space for group outings. While the new configuration won’t necessarily add more capacity to the stadium, it will give fans more room to move around the deck and provide spectacular right-field views of the action. The lawn will be relocated to right field near the bullpens.

“Phase 2 will be truly transformational. The new field, bullpens, and wall angles will be on par with major league fields and something the players will appreciate as they continue to develop for their major league debuts,” Jarecki said. “And the improvements to the seating areas will be appreciated by fans as they get the front-row experience of the sights and sounds of professional baseball.”

2024 lmcu ballpark construction update

phase 3

Reimagining the fan experience

Phase 3 is expected to begin in 2025 and is focused on providing the next generation of Whitecaps fans with an exciting new gameday experience. Future features will include:

A redesigned stadium entrance that offers a view of the field as soon as fans reach the top of the steps.

Exterior site activation for more entertainment options in areas outside the facility.

A beach-themed beautification of the facility’s 45 acres.

An updated suite level with a new home plate club area.

An expanded concourse with new and improved food, entertainment, and gathering options, including the construction of private outdoor suites.

A new CapSized Shop retail space and new ticket office.

A 360-degree boardwalk-styled concourse that allows fans to walk all the way around the field and view games from different perspectives.

A state-of-the-art 400-seat center field hospitality club and special events center, which will become the ballpark’s largest space and can be used for weddings, conferences, and other special events.

“Fans will be able to see the ongoing progress,” Jarecki said. “As fans drive on the highway, they’ll be able to see the larger structures and ongoing construction up and down U.S. 131.”

The modernization project has enjoyed a collaborative, team-first approach from the very beginning. The

Whitecaps front office worked with the Detroit-based architecture firm ROSSETTI for more than a year to develop the plans to improve and expand LMCU Ballpark. Locally, Erhardt Construction has been serving as the general contractor, and Progressive AE is assisting with additional project details.

The Whitecaps also will continue to work closely with the Tigers and Major League Baseball officials to ensure they meet the established minimum facility requirements set for every minor league team.

The entire project has an estimated completion of 2028, depending on baseball schedules, construction timelines, and permit coordination with Plainfield Township.

LMCU Ballpark already holds a unique distinction as one of the few privately financed stadiums in all of Minor League Baseball. As a result, the project relies on private investments and targeted partnerships to help with funding efforts.

“We’re making sure we are going the right way about this,” Jarecki said. “We keep going back and forth to make sure everything is right before we make any final decisions. But the anticipation is definitely already there for the community.”

In fact, the most difficult part of the entire project may be playing the waiting game. Fans and players alike have been tracking the renovation progress since the first announcement was first made.

“Everything has been so well received. There have been times in the legacy of the ballpark that really stand out and are etched in people’s minds, the six Midwest League championships being one obvious example,” Jarecki said. “But this announcement was one that really got attention. People grew up at this ballpark. I’ve heard so many times what great memories people have made and what a big community asset this ballpark is.

“We’re not going anywhere, so it’s the perfect time to reinvest in that support.”

from the biggest of the big, to the littlest of the little.

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ballpark a-z guide

ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES: The West Michigan Whitecaps administrative offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. On game days our ticket office is open from 10:00 a.m. until after the game and can be reached at (616) 784-4131.

ALCOHOL MANAGEMENT: In compliance with Michigan state law, anyone under the age of 21 will not be served alcohol at LMCU Ballpark. If customers wish to consume alcohol while at LMCU Ballpark, they must present a valid ID. Violators of the law will be removed from LMCU Ballpark. As part of our alcohol management policy, the Whitecaps offer free cab rides.

APPEARANCES: Schools and other organizations may request a player or mascot appearance by filling out calling the Whitecaps Community Relations Department at (616) 784-4131 ext. 1154.

AUTOGRAPHS: Fans may seek autographs near the Whitecaps bullpen on the first base side before and after the game, as well as near the clubhouse on the first base concourse after the game. In addition, a team autograph session is held on the field every Sunday before the game for all fans. *Please remember that players must focus on their jobs, so please respect their judgment on signing or not signing autographs before the game.

AUTOMOBILE ASSISTANCE: Fans who encounter vehicle troubles while visiting LMCU Ballpark may receive assistance from Whitecaps staff. If your vehicle won’t start or you need some help, simply lift the hood of your car or contact a Whitecaps representative.

BABY CHANGING STATIONS: Changing stations are located in all restrooms along the concourse, CapSized Shop, behind the Pioneer State Mutual Insurance Deck, as well as in the DTE Energy Suite Level unisex restroom behind home plate. There is also a changing station available in the Founders Rooftop restroom.

BAG CHECK: LMCU Ballpark security reserves the right to inspect and confiscate any package or container coming in the ballpark. Purses, backpacks, and diaper bags are permitted but are subject to a search.

BARRIER-FREE SEATING AND PARKING: The Whitecaps provide wheelchair accessible and companion seating in the 4Topps, premium box, box, and reserved seating areas. All of our group hospitality areas, including the DTE Energy Suite Level, feature easy wheelchair accessibility. Elevators are located on either side of the ballpark to take fans to the box seat level. LMCU Ballpark has handicapped reserved parking spaces in all lots. Proper identification is required to use these spaces.

BIKES: We have bike racks available for fans in the front plaza (Gate A). LMCU Ballpark is located right off the White Pine Trail, great for biking! Sponsored by Grand Valley Metro Council.

BIRTHDAYS: Fans wishing to purchase a Whitecaps Marge’s Donut Den Birthday Party Package should contact the Group Sales Department at (616) 784-4131. Birthday messages will be scrolled on the video board during the middle of the 4th inning. The best way to get your announcement made is to fill out the Birthday Announcement page found here or call (616) 784-4131 ext. 1160 and leave a message 24 hours in advance on the birthday hotline answering machine, which is checked daily.

CAPSIZED SHOP: CapSized Shop, the Whitecaps souvenir shop, can be found on the concourse behind home plate of LMCU Ballpark. CapSized is open on gamedays at 10 a.m. The Capsized Shop closes two hours before game time and opens up again when the gates open. Fans will be accommodated during normal business hours, Monday - Friday 10:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. Please call for off-season store hours.

CENTENNIAL SECURITIES DECK: The Centennial Securities Deck is located just behind the left field wall and can accommodate groups of up to 250 people. Groups can rent the upper, lower, or entire deck depending on its needs. For more information, contact the Whitecaps Group Sales Department at (616) 784-4131.

CASHLESS: LMCU Ballpark is cashless. A cash to card kiosk can be found by Gate A. Please visit for more information.

CONCESSIONS: LMCU Ballpark’s concessions are located all along the concourse and Pioneer State Mutual Insurance Deck, with main concession areas located near the main entrance on either side of home plate and satellite concessions located throughout the concourse.

DTE ENERGY SUITE LEVEL: Luxury suites may be available for game rental. For more information, contact the Whitecaps Group Sales Department at (616) 784-4131 ext. 0.

E-MAIL: Whitecaps administrative staff member E-mail addresses consist of the first name and last initial @ For example: JaneD@ for Jane Doe. The general E-mail address is playball@ Whitecaps players do not have individual E-mail addresses through the team.

FAN MAIL: Player fan mail may be sent care of the Whitecaps Clubhouse, P.O. Box 428, Comstock Park, MI 49321.

FAN SUGGESTIONS: Fans with a comment or suggestion may express it in person or by filling out the suggestion form at the Michigan Paving Guest Services.

FIRST AID: The First Aid station is located on the concourse level behind home plate. The first aid station is staffed by certified personnel from Corewell Health.

FOOD AND DRINK: Coolers, cans, bottles, or food will not be permitted in the ballpark, with exceptions for baby products and medical necessities.

FOUNDERS ROOFTOP: Located along the first baseline above the administration building, the Founders Rooftop can host groups from 150 to 200 people. Some features include a spectacular view of the game and the Grand River, rooftop atmosphere, private restrooms, and partially covered seating.

FOUL BALLS: Fans may keep any ball that is hit or thrown into the stands. However, any ball or bat thrown can be potentially dangerous - please stay alert at all times. Those leaving the park to retrieve a ball will need to show their game ticket for re-entry and bags are subject to search.

GATES OPEN: On game days, LMCU Ballpark will open its gates for the public one hour fifteen minutes before game time.

GENERAL RV CAMPGROUND: The General RV Campground is reserved for private parties and is located near the Whitecaps Bullpen on the first baseline. It accommodates groups of up to 150. For more information, contact the Whitecaps Group Sales Department at (616) 784-4131.

GROUP OUTINGS: Groups of 20 or more may book outings through the Whitecaps Group Sales Department. Please call (616) 784-4131 for more information.

KIDS MEALS: The LMCU Ballpark main concessions stands (Crash’s Cravings and Franky’s Favorites) offer a Kids Meal. The meal consists of a regular hot dog, chips, cookie and small drink.

LOST AND FOUND: Lost and found items can be taken to and retrieved from the Michigan Paving Guest Services, located on the concourse behind home plate.

LUMBERMEN’S GRILL AREA: Enjoy a pre-game or in-game barbeque on the first base Lumbermen’s Grill Area. Let the Whitecaps serve your group dinner and then head to a reserved seating section with your group to watch the game.

MEIJER HOMETOWN PLAYGROUND: The Meijer Hometown Playground is just past the first base lawn area and open until the eighth inning. The Whitecaps provide attendants but cannot be held responsible for the actions of children in the playground. Parents are strongly encouraged to monitor their children.

MILLER LITE HOUSE DECK: The Miller Lite House Deck provides a rooftop atmosphere and can accommodate 350 people. It is located just behind the rightcenterfield wall and above the Pepsi Stadium Club. For more information, contact the Whitecaps Group Sales Department at (616) 784-4131.

NATIONAL ANTHEM SINGERS: Those interested in performing the National Anthem prior to a Whitecaps game should send an email and audio file of your “a capella” version of the National Anthem to Ben Love at BenL@whitecapsbaseball. com.

PAGING: The public address system at LMCU Ballpark will be used for paging in extreme cases only. Those needing to page someone should report to the Michigan Paving Guest Services located on the concourse behind home plate.

PARKING: Parking is $8.00 at LMCU Ballpark for cars and $10.00 for buses and RVs. Motorcycle parking is available, courtesy of BMW Motorcycles, for $8.00.

PEPSI STADIUM CLUB: The Pepsi Stadium Club is located behind the right-centerfield wall and provides a plush, climate-controlled area for up to 250 people. The Pepsi Stadium Club also offers 13 televisions, private restrooms and an exclusive bar/buffet. The Pepsi Stadium Club is available for rent year round. For more information, contact the Whitecaps Group Sales Department at (616) 784-4131.

PIONEER STATE MUTUAL INSURANCE DECK: The Pioneer State Mutual Insurance Deck is located behind the right field wall and is reserved for private parties. The Pioneer State Mutual Insurance Deck seats up to 250 people and is equipped for food and drink service before and during the game. For more information, contact the Whitecaps Group Sales Department at (616) 784-4131.

PLANET FITNESS PATIO: The Planet Fitness Patio is located along the third base side next to the visitor’s bullpen. This area has a mix of soft seating and swivel chairs along the field that can seat up to 120 people. For more information, contact the Whitecaps Group Sales Department at (616) 784-4131.

PROHIBITED ITEMS: Prohibited items include outside food and beverages, glass bottles/containers, coolers, alcoholic drinks, smoking including e-cigs, pets/animals (except Certified Assistance Dogs), weapons of any kind. The West Michigan Whitecaps and LMCU Ballpark reserve the right to check any bag or container coming into the facility and confiscate any prohibited items.

PROMOTIONS: The promotions schedule is available online at whitecapsbaseball. com.

PROPOSALS: If you would like to propose at a Whitecaps home game, please contact Ben Love at Proposal requests must be submitted 1 week prior to preferred game date and are limited to one per game, on a first-come, first-served basis.

PUBLICATIONS: The Whitecaps publish The Wave, a free full-color program with scorecard for each series of games.

RAIN CHECKS: In the event that 5 innings of one game are not played, except when the Whitecaps are in the lead at the end of 4 1/2 innings, any ticket from that game will be good for exchange for the same price ticket to any regular season Whitecaps home game or playoff home game this season. All exchanges are subject to availability. There are no refunds for tickets for a rain out game. Also, any rainout tickets purchased from may only be exchanged at the Whitecaps Ticket Office.

RESTROOMS: Restrooms are located on the concourse level on the first and third base sides, as well as on the DTE Energy Suite Level and behind the Pioneer State Mutual Insurance Deck. All of the restrooms at LMCU Ballpark are wheelchair accessible.

SECURITY: The Whitecaps have several security personnel at each game. In the event of a security problem, notify a member of security, a member of the Whitecaps staff, or report to the Michigan Paving Guest Services booth located on the concourse behind home plate.

SMOKING: LMCU Ballpark is a smoke-free facility (including e-cigarettes and vaping). You may smoke outside of Gate C or outside of Gate A at the bottom of the stairs, however, a ticket is required for re-entry.

SPEAKERS BUREAU: Organizations seeking a speaker from the Whitecaps should contact the Community Relations Department at (616) 784-4131 ext. 1154.

STROLLERS: Strollers are allowed in LMCU Ballpark.

TAILGATING: Tailgating is NOT allowed at LMCU Ballpark.

TICKET OFFICE HOURS: The Whitecaps Ticket Office is open during the season Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and during all home games. On weekend home dates, the advanced ticket sales window opens at 10:00 a.m. and closes after the game.

in our Community

From the neighborhood fields to the grand arenas, we stand united in supporting our community and its leagues!

2004 champIonshIp team


COMSTOCK PARK – Twenty years ago, “Shrek 2” was the top film at the box office, “American Idol” ruled the TV ratings, Usher’s “Yeah!” was the song of the summer, and the West Michigan Whitecaps were champions.

As the 2004 Midwest League All-Star break approached, though, the Whitecaps’ place at the top seemed about as likely as Usher playing the 2024 Super Bowl halftime show.

But sometimes you just have to let things play out. The Whitecaps ended the first half of that 2004 season in last place in the Midwest League standings. While there may have been nowhere to go but up from there, even the most devoted optimists would have been hard pressed to predict that the team would go on to win the third championship in franchise history. That’s exactly what happened, though, as the team closed out the second half of the season on a 24-6 run that catapulted them into the postseason. Here, several key members of that team reminisce on what made that season so special and how they were

able to turn everything around and capture another championship for West Michigan.

ANTHONY TOMEY (Relief pitcher): “We were the worst team in the league in the first half, dead last. I remember one of the organization’s player development directors came into the locker room in the last game before the all-star game and said something like, ‘Just so you know, a bunch of guys aren’t going to be here in the second half if you don’t get to together.’ ”

GARTH MCKINNEY (Right fielder): “I don’t know what it was that first half that caused us to struggle. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but I do remember at one point (Whitecaps manager) Matt Walbeck basically shut off the music in the clubhouse and basically told us to get with it.”

2004 Championship Team

Walbeck’s managerial career started only a few months after his playing career had ended with the 2003 Detroit Tigers, who finished 43-119 that season and set the record for most losses in American League history. If there was any pressure on Walbeck to win right away, he didn’t feel it.

JIM JARECKI, VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER: “Matt Walbeck was a special manager. Barely had the catching gear off when he became our manager and then to drive these guys to a special season. He was such a steady force for the players. Once we started that turnaround in August, there was no stopping us. Those guys were a machine.”

WALBECK: “We plugged along and 30 games into the second half, we started to find ourselves and I started to figure myself out as a manager. Next thing you know, we’re in the playoffs. I do know that we had a sense of urgency and the feeling of playing scared went away. We just went out and focused on our tasks at hand and I remember having a lot of freedom as a manager.”

GIARRATANO: “I wish I had been there longer. I was only there in April and May and then I got called up (to Lakeland). While I do have a ring and remain friends with a bunch of those guys, it all started at the top with Walbeck. Being a true player’s manager and coach, and having played the game itself, was what really made it happen.”

The foundation of that 2004 team dated back to the 2003 New YorkPenn League, where the Oneonta Tigers short season roster featured future Whitecaps such as Giarratano, McKinney, Tomey, Vince Blue, Frankie De La Cruz, Andrew Graham, Kelly Hunt, and Virgil Vasquez, among others.

GIARRATANO: “That league for most of us, if not all of us, was our first taste of pro ball. Everybody was in the same boat, coming from college or high school, and trying to get acquainted, getting used to being

on the road, meeting with new teammates. You’re starting your journey together. Going through all that together, the crappy hotels, long bus rides, getting up early after a night game and having to play a day game, going through all those experiences creates a brotherhood.”

MCKINNEY: “Our camaraderie was awesome. When you’re together with guys for that amount of time, you get to know everybody, and we had a great time. We had a lot of fun on that team.”

GRAHAM (Catcher): “Great friendships. That was probably one of the closest teams I’ve been on. We all came up together and the team unity was really strong, which is sometimes rare.”

TOMEY: “We were all kind of in the same boat. We weren’t high round picks, we weren’t big name prospects, but we kind of said let’s just get as far as we can, and we just gelled. We were unstoppable that second half.”

WALBECK: “Our team had a sense of humor about it. We’d have Hawaiian shirt Sundays, lots of fun stuff that built camaraderie. We had some real characters on the team, but when the time came to play ball, we were not scared or intimidated.”

JARECKI: “These guys couldn’t lose in August. You don’t want to say anything as it’s happening, but the competitiveness and leadership they brought every day was fun to watch.”

The 24-6 run propelled the Whitecaps in the postseason, where they beat the Lansing Lugnuts and South Bend Silver Hawks before facing off against the Kane County Cougars – who had the best record in the league and beaten West Michigan eight straight times in the regular season.

“They sometimes looked like a varsity team playing against the freshmen team with talent they had.”

TOMEY: “We knew that Kane County was the best team the entire season. They had some big guys, guys who were going to play in big leagues. The (parent club Oakland) A’s were in that Moneyball mode, so they were all guys you’d heard of, not necessarily top picks but top college players. It was a

rivalry we had, but a cool atmosphere to play in.” After splitting the first four games, the Whitecaps won the deciding Game 5 in front of the home fans to complete the improbable in-season turnaround from last place to champions.

WALBECK: “It was exhilarating. The night before, I think we played 16 innings and lost a tough one. But we managed to come back, lay it all on the table, and get after it.”

MCKINNEY: “I get goosebumps just thinking about that. I remember that last out was a pop up between first and second and Eric Rodland bounced off Kelly Hunt. They were both calling for the ball and as big as Kelly was (6-foot-5, 240 pounds) Eric bounced off him and caught it. It was just pure excitement and a dog pile after that. Winning something like that with your friends is pretty special.”

GRAHAM: “I still remember that celebration. I’m from Australia and didn’t know what to expect. Until you’ve been in the game a long time, you don’t realize how rare championships are. The fact that we went to the playoffs that first year was special for all of us. It’s something we all still remember.”

TOMEY: “We had some great times. We found this stupid statue thing, I can’t remember what we called it, but we took it everywhere with us in the second half. After we won and were done celebrating, we ended up going out and burying it in the field after the game. It was just a great group of guys who still pull for each other.”

GIARRATANO: “I really think that the success of that team late in the year is a testament to the friendships and relationships and bonds that these guys had. They’re all friends to this day and I think that started in Oneonta and then they brought that to a great city with a great manager. It was the perfect combination for success.”

While 20 years may have passed since that final out clinched another Midwest League championship, the memories, friendships, and ties to the West Michigan community remain just as strong as they did in 2004. To this day, most of the players still keep in touch, whether it’s attending each other’s weddings, taking trips together, connecting on Facebook, or simply talking smack every fall in a fantasy football league.

GRAHAM went on to win another Midwest title as manager of the Whitecaps in 2015 and has also spent time in the Tigers organization as the manager in both Erie and Connecticut. He is currently the manager of the Lakeland Flying Tigers: “As a player, it’s exciting to win; as a manager; you put a lot more hours in behind closed doors getting prepared for the games. Amazing how different the feelings were. After we won 2004

championship, myself, Anthony Tomey, and Jim Jarecki got to go to Comerica Park onto field and were put up on the videoboard to represent the team. Dmitri Young gave us his suite for the game, and we ate like kings and got to watch the Tigers play. Pretty good way to wrap that season up.”

WALBECK won another Midwest League title as manager of the Whitecaps in 2006. From there, he managed Erie and later coached and managed with the Texas Rangers, Altoona Curve of the Eastern League, and Class A Rome Braves. These days he works with the California Parks and Rec system, coordinating with FEMA after natural disasters strike, and can be found at, a web-based training program designed for coaches and players: “Michiganders are completely loyal and may be the best sports fans in America. You have that sense of pride and, knowing that, you’re always trying to do your best. To experience that fan base and the excitement around the team and each other as a community really made it feel like family.”

GIARRATANO’s rise through the minors culminated in a 15-game stint with the Tigers in 2007. He now works as a commercial real estate broker in St. Louis and helps coach his kids’ youth sports teams: “Baseball is tough. When you travel so much and play on different teams, from high school to college to pro leagues, you lose touch with guys. Everyone intends to keep in touch but that’s not always the case. With this group, it’s the opposite.”

MCKINNEY gave baseball lessons to West Michigan athletes for years after his playing career ended. He now is a plant manager for Wonderland Tire in Wayland and devotes his time to his family and church: “That year we played for the Whitecaps, God started picking my heart. My salvation really started taking hold in 2004. I met my wife at very end of that season, and just days before my first kid born in 2010, we moved back to West Michigan. I have been very blessed to have a good church community that we are a part of, and the blessing that West Michigan has been for me personally and for my family has been really special.”

TOMEY opened his first Jimmy John’s franchise in the Detroit area while he was still playing for the Whitecaps. That entrepreneurial spirit exploded after his baseball days ended. He’s since opened another 50-plus Jimmy John’s locations in the Detroit metro area, launched the “Born in Detroit” apparel line, and created 8 Mile Vodka: “So many great memories. We had a party during the all-star break, a huge bash at my cousin’s house. We did a lot of dumb things, but that catapulted us into the second half. It was an awesome summer. Just a great group of guys who still pull for each other.”


It’s In The Bag

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hall of fame whitecaps

COMSTOCK PARK - Matt Manning’s West Michigan Whitecaps debut might not have been perfect, but it didn’t take long for fans to see why the Detroit Tigers made him the No. 9 overall pick in the 2016 Major League Baseball draft.

In his first three appearances, the right-handed pitcher gave up 11 runs on nine hits over 6 2/3 innings.

Manning didn’t need long to find his footing, though. He immediately followed those three games with six shutout innings against Bowling Green and nine strikeouts in five innings against Fort Wayne. In 16 games with the Whitecaps overall during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Manning struck out a whopping 102 batters before getting named to the 2018 All-Star Futures Game and then making his Tigers debut in June 2021.

Then, on July 8, 2023, Manning pitched the first 6 2/3 innings of a combined no-hitter with relievers Jason Foley and Alex Lange in the Tigers’ 2-0 win against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Despite an inauspicious start, it’s easy to see why Manning was named one of baseball’s top 100 prospects for five consecutive seasons, and why he was ultimately inducted into the West Michigan Whitecaps Hall of Fame this past winter.

“That’s what the minor leagues are for, I think, putting yourselves in those jams,” Manning said in a YouTube video thanking West Michigan fans for their loyalty and support. “I mean, at the time I was 19 and 20 years old and it was the most important baseball of my life. Just those situations, building myself to be the big-league pitcher I am now, are just invaluable.

“Playing for the Whitecaps is where I learned what it was like to play and pitch for a city and not just for myself because I knew everyone who came to watch us play wanted us to win just as badly as I did.”

Make your 2025 Hall of Fame nomination!

Want to have a hand in determining the next Whitecaps Hall of Fame member? Now’s your chance.

Nominations for the hall of fame’s next class will be accepted through May 15. Fan voting will begin on June 1 and votes can be cast via the Whitecaps website until Sept. 1.

Inductees will be determined by a committee that includes members of the front office and local media representatives, as well as online fan votes from a list of former Whitecaps players, managers, and staff. The 2025 Hall of Fame class will be announced in October.

Eligible candidates must meet the following requirements:

Players and coaches

Played or coached for the Whitecaps in his or her career.

Must be out of the Whitecaps organization for a minimum of five years.

In case of death, the candidate must be out of the Whitecaps organization for a minimum one year.

Non-player/non-coach candidates

Other members of the Whitecaps community will be eligible.

Candidates will be judged based on outstanding contributions, support, or significant achievements to the organization and/or West Michigan community.


Criteria of possible candidates will be judged over the individual candidate’s entire career. Achievements with the Whitecaps will be emphasized, but the entirety of a career will be considered. Candidates will be judged on his or her impact on the community, character, sportsmanship, and integrity.

areas & Deck rentals


our largest hospitality area located in rightcenter field. Unique and spectacular view of the field, canvas awnings and a private bar area.

Group Size: 250-350

Price: $4,200

Includes: 300 tickets

(50 additional tickets available for purchase)


Partially-covered seating with a fantastic view of the game. Located in right field.

Group Size: 150-250

Price: $3,000

Includes: 200 tickets

(50 additional tickets available for purchase)


Group Size: 150-250

Price: $3,900

Includes: 200 tickets

(50 additional tickets available for purchase)

Indoor and outdoor seating, private restrooms, HDTVs, climate-controlled settings and a private bar area. Located in right-center field. two

Group Size: 100-150

Price: $2,450

Includes: 150 tickets

(No additional tickets available)


Spectacular view of both the game and the Grand River located on the first baseline. Partially-covered picnic tables, private restrooms and rooftop atmosphere.

Group Size: 150-250

Price: $3,200

Includes: 200 tickets

(50 additional tickets available for purchase)


Two-tier area right next to the HOME bullpen on the third baseline. Swivel field seats with food and drink rail and cushioned patio seating.

Group Size: 80-125

Price: $2,400

Includes: 125 tickets

(No additional tickets available)

Full Deck: $3,000 - 200 tickets

(50 additional available for purchase)

Lower Deck: $2,100 - 125 tickets

(15 additional available for purchase)

Upper Deck: $1,350 - 75 tickets

(5 additional available for purchase)


Fan Code of Conduct

To provide a welcoming experience for all, the West Michigan Whitecaps have implemented a Fan Code of Conduct. Out of respect for fellow guests, players, coaches, and ballpark staff, all guests are prohibited from:

· Trespassing on the playing field at any time;

· Interfering with baseballs that are in play;

· Throwing or tossing objects;

· Using foul, obscene or derogatory language (see below) or gestures;

· Misusing or overconsuming alcohol, including, underage consumption;

· Behaving in a manner that is disruptive, unruly, or abusive;

· Accessing areas of the ballpark without a proper ticket, pass, or credential;

· Misusing tickets, passes, or credentials in any way; or

· Bringing prohibited items into the ballpark.

Derogatory language is defined as offensive language concerning a person’s race, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation, or national origin. Anyone using such language is subject to automatic ejection from the ballpark.

Violations of the Fan Code of Conduct will not be tolerated and may lead to ejection from the ballpark, a ban on attending future games, or other consequences. Guests who are found to have used derogatory language will be ejected from L-M-C-U ballpark.

Guests are encouraged to report violations of the Fan Code of Conduct to the nearest ballpark staff member. This can be done in person, at the Michigan Paving Guest Service location, directly with Ballpark Security, or by calling 616-784-4131.

Sure, we’re home to the West Michigan Whitecaps - but what are we doing the 300 or so days a year that they’re away? LMCU Ballpark is West Michigan’s largest outdoor event destination, and the perfect location for your next special event - any time of year!

Buying a new home, expanding your business, or looking for the best way to keep more money in your pocket? Team up with LMCU, the credit union rated #1 in Michigan and Florida for helping our members earn more and pay less.*

Open an account today. Call (616) 242-9790, visit, or slide into one of our convenient locations.

Pierre & Liliane, LMCU members


Baseball season is also a time for planting trees, building decks, and other outdoor projects. If your summer projects require a dig, call DTE’s partner MISS DIG three days before starting. MISS DIG marks underground utilities before you dig to keep you safe and prevent utility damage. It’s free, it’s smart, and it’s the law. Plus, waiting three days means more time to watch Whitecaps baseball. Learn more at

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