Michigan Bucket List: Minor League Baseball Parks
| 4 min read
There are certain things that just transport you to a ballpark right away: The unmistakable crack of a bat hitting a ball. The smell of popcorn and hot dogs. And so many foam fingers jabbing in the air as the runners round the bases toward home, to the backdrop of a cheering crowd. Baseball is known as the Great American Pastime for good reason, but you don’t have to travel to a Major League ballpark just to enjoy a good ballgame.
Michigan has three very cool Minor League Baseball parks spread out across the Lower Peninsula. Some of the players you’ll see making line drives and home runs at these parks could play for a Major League team someday. That’s because there are more than 100 of these full-season Minor League baseball teams that are part of what’s called a “farm system” that develops players. Some of the best players eventually are called up to the Majors. So in these Minor League ballparks, you’ll likely be seeing some young, raw talent. You’ll watch players who have been signed or drafted by a Major League team that is the umbrella group for a particular Minor League team. Some might be fresh out of college or even high school, while others higher up in this “farm system” may have some Major League experience.
For fans in Michigan, these ballparks are a chance to see some good games, enjoy the ballpark atmosphere, and spend an afternoon or evening with family, friends and snacks. There’s usually a team mascot, and fun games that involve the fans. There can be other live entertainment, theme nights and special events for fans. Here are the three Minor League ballparks in Michigan, according to the Major League Baseball group.
- West Michigan Whitecaps play at LMCU Park in Comstock Park.
- Team affiliate: Detroit Tigers
- Notable past players include: Cameron Maybin, Nick Castellanos and Brandon Inge.
This ballpark located just off U.S. 131 north of Grand Rapids has been drawing fans since 1994. The park seats more than 10,000 people. It has an indoor club, lawn seating and a string of luxury suites. The park also has eight hospitality decks.
For a team and ballpark event schedule, check the website here:
- Great Lakes Loons play at the Dow Diamond in Midland.
- Team affiliate: Los Angeles Dodgers
- Notable past players include: Clayton Kershaw, Carlos Santana, Alex Verdugo and Dustin May.
This ballpark, located near the Tittabawassee River, has been filling seats since 2007. It has capacity for 5,500 people. In addition to fun ballgames, the community also turns out for other concerts and events at the park, which is known for having some tasty concession items. See the team schedule here
- Lansing Lugnuts play at Jackson Field in Lansing.
- Team affiliate: Oakland Athletics
- Notable past players include: Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Vlad Guerrero and Carlos Zambrano.
This ballpark has room for about 9,500 fans. It opened in 1996 and draws its name from the area’s automobile history. Its slogan, “Go Nuts,” is the battle cry for die-hard fans. The ballpark is also known for getting creative when it comes to its concession items. See the schedule here.
In addition to these Minor League ballparks, there are also some great community ballparks with collegiate players that are the perfect summer spot for a family outing or to meet friends and other fans. Here are a few of our favorites:
Muskegon Clippers: This collegiate baseball team has been playing since 2014. The team’s home games are played at Historic Marsh Field in downtown Muskegon.
Traverse City Pit Spitters: A collegiate summer baseball league, the Pit Spitters started playing in 2019. Their home games are played just outside of Traverse City in the Turtle Creek Stadium.
Michigan Monarchs: Based in Adrian, they formed in 1999 and play their home games at Lake Trust Stadium at Cleary University in Howell.
Battle Creek Battle Jacks: This team plays at MCCU Field inside the C.O. Brown Stadium in Battle Creek.
Kalamazoo Growlers: This team plays at Homer Stryker Field, which is located in Mayors’ Riverfront Park in Kalamazoo.
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