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Lynn Henning in the Detroit News today, 11/13/2020, wrote an article saying that it hasn't been  officially announced yet but the Whitecaps are moving up a notch in the baseball hierarchy from low A b

I mean it was Fifth Third Ballpark for 21 years, I think a change is okay.

People love to talk about Fifth Third ballpark; love it or hate it. Please put all of your thoughts in this thread instead of cluttering other threads.  Thanks! Joe

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Oh boy,  here we go.  It's the worst minor league stadium I've been to.  Well,  second worst.  Kalamazoo is definitely worse. 

 

Its just so dang boring. But I've highlighted some changes that could make it nice. Also would love a stadium downtown,  but I get why that's a long shot. 

 

And there's no such thing as a bad day at the ballpark. 

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  • 2 years later...

So this is just a proposed list by Major League Baseball on their effort to eliminate some minor league teams in the system. One of those teams is the Double A Erie Seawolves, an affiliate of the Detroit Tigers.        
 

https://ballparkdigest.com/2019/11/18/more-details-emerge-on-mlbs-assault-on-hometown-baseball/

(Here is the proposed list of all teams on the chopping block)

This relates to West Michigan and the Whitecaps because the team could be in line to move up to Double A baseball. 

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/mlb/tigers/2019/11/18/tigers-could-lose-two-minor-league-affiliates-including-erie-mlb-reorganization-plan/4228666002/

Again this is all just a proposal and far from a final list but the Whitecaps would possibly move up a division under these plans. Considering West Michigan is one of the best minor league markets, this sounds very plausible. In 2018, the Whitecaps had an attendance of 386,609, which would place them 2nd in all of Single A baseball teams behind Dayton. 
 

For now, minor league baseballs restructuring is still in its infancy, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye out for.  

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7 hours ago, EastCoaster93 said:

So this is just a proposed list by Major League Baseball on their effort to eliminate some minor league teams in the system. One of those teams is the Double A Erie Seawolves, an affiliate of the Detroit Tigers.        
 

https://ballparkdigest.com/2019/11/18/more-details-emerge-on-mlbs-assault-on-hometown-baseball/

(Here is the proposed list of all teams on the chopping block)

This relates to West Michigan and the Whitecaps because the team could be in line to move up to Double A baseball. 

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/sports/mlb/tigers/2019/11/18/tigers-could-lose-two-minor-league-affiliates-including-erie-mlb-reorganization-plan/4228666002/

Again this is all just a proposal and far from a final list but the Whitecaps would possibly move up a division under these plans. Considering West Michigan is one of the best minor league markets, this sounds very plausible. In 2018, the Whitecaps had an attendance of 386,609, which would place them 2nd in all of Single A baseball teams behind Dayton. 
 

For now, minor league baseballs restructuring is still in its infancy, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye out for.  

I wondered this too, but part of the plan is to make these leagues more geographically condensed and there is no AA league nearby. So, either the Caps stay in the Midwest League, or jump to AAA and be maybe a Chicago team affiliate. 

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8 hours ago, cstonesparty said:

Take a look at the leagues in minor league baseball and their geographic regions and you'll see that Midwest League is where the Whitecaps most logically fit.
https://www.milb.com/about/leagues-teams 

At this point in time a realignment could mean a move up to be more with market and stadium sizes such as Indy......Another example of Des Moines being “grander” than GR, very nice, larger stadium downtown and marketing well done closely resembling the Cubs and including all of Iowa

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11 hours ago, GR8scott said:

At this point in time a realignment could mean a move up to be more with market and stadium sizes such as Indy......Another example of Des Moines being “grander” than GR, very nice, larger stadium downtown and marketing well done closely resembling the Cubs and including all of Iowa

The level of upheaval that would occur if Toledo lost AAA affiliate to G.R. would be massive (the Iowa Cubs comparison).  Not to mention the PCL expanding all the way to Michigan would create more questions and conflicts.  I can't see that happening.  So AA in G.R. would mean Whitecaps are the furthest west of the Eastern League teams, contradicting the MLB goal of more compact travel for minor league teams.  It's simply most likely that they'd retain A level Midwest League affiliation here and AA would shift east. 

The likelihood of Erie retaining the team seems pretty high.  They're pouring money into the Erie stadium, which would resolve some of the issues MLB is pointing at with facilities.  It also fits well for compact travel.  

The whole realignment is likely to explode into highly contentious lawsuits anyway and is years into the future before implementation.   And I would guess that the Whitecaps owners are likely very pleased with their current operation...

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  • 11 months later...

Lynn Henning in the Detroit News today, 11/13/2020, wrote an article saying that it hasn't been  officially announced yet but the Whitecaps are moving up a notch in the baseball hierarchy from low A ball to high A ball  while the Tiger's current high A team, the Lakeland Tigers, will be doing the reverse, moving from high A to low A.  The way this will work will be the whole Midwest League will be moving up to high A and a couple of teams will be dropped, and the whole Florida State League will drop to low A.

I'd list a link to the News story but they put this particular story behind a paywall as they are attempting to get people to start paying for at least some of their articles.  Instead here's a link to the Detroit Tigers Fan blog, Bless You Boys, that tells a bit of the same story (just not as good):

blessyouboys: detroit-tigers-minor-league-restructuring-west-michigan-whitecaps       

Edited by walker
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12 hours ago, walker said:

Lynn Henning in the Detroit News today, 11/13/2020, wrote an article saying that it hasn't been  officially announced yet but the Whitecaps are moving up a notch in the baseball hierarchy from low A ball to high A ball  while the Tiger's current high A team, the Lakeland Tigers, will be doing the reverse, moving from high A to low A.  The way this will work will be the whole Midwest League will be moving up to high A and a couple of teams will be dropped, and the whole Florida State League will drop to low A.

I'd list a link to the News story but they put this particular story behind a paywall as they are attempting to get people to start paying for at least some of their articles.  Instead here's a link to the Detroit Tigers Fan blog, Bless You Boys, that tells a bit of the same story (just not as good):

blessyouboys: detroit-tigers-minor-league-restructuring-west-michigan-whitecaps       

Bless you boys is a good Tigers blog. Very good read. Thanks!

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23 hours ago, arcturus said:

"“Many teams throughout MiLB will need to make significant upgrades to meet the new facility requirements .."

A shame Erie is in limbo.  The improvements to their ballpark look great.  Wondering what if any strings will be attached for the Whitecaps.

Hopefully. 5/3 needs serious upgrading. They missed an opportunity after the fire.

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  • 4 weeks later...

10 hours ago, egrguy said:

W MI moves to high A and Erie stays at double AA. Positive move for the Whitecaps.

Question from a non-baseball fan. "High-A" is still basically 4th tier baseball, correct? Do players from High A typically make it to the "big leagues"? Going from 5th (or 6th?) tier baseball to 4th still doesn't sound like a big leap to me. Trying to understand if it's a big deal, or a slight jump. 

Joe

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2 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

Question from a non-baseball fan. "High-A" is still basically 4th tier baseball, correct? Do players from High A typically make it to the "big leagues"? Going from 5th (or 6th?) tier baseball to 4th still doesn't sound like a big leap to me. Trying to understand if it's a big deal, or a slight jump. 

Joe

It's a decent jump. Players go from low A to high A, so the level of players in WM will be decently higher. 

 

But yes, you will see future Major Leaguers. 

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4 hours ago, joeDowntown said:

Question from a non-baseball fan. "High-A" is still basically 4th tier baseball, correct? Do players from High A typically make it to the "big leagues"? Going from 5th (or 6th?) tier baseball to 4th still doesn't sound like a big leap to me. Trying to understand if it's a big deal, or a slight jump. 

Joe

10% make it to the majors, so basically 2.5 of the players on the team you would see in the majors

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The Whitecaps have had 67 former players make it to play at least one game in the majors.  As far as the bump up to “high A” ball, it really isn’t a huge deal. The Whitecaps and Tigers have long been accused of sending their more advanced players here instead of Lakeland by the rest of the Midwest League.

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  • 1 month later...

Sigh.....

Can we just stop renaming this place every few years? Just call it Old Kent Park permanently for the grounds,  as it has no connection to any business anymore and just means "old Kent" to most people, and call the stadium by whatever bank finances it. 

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33 minutes ago, GR_Urbanist said:

Sigh.....

Can we just stop renaming this place every few years? Just call it Old Kent Park permanently for the grounds,  as it has no connection to any business anymore and just means "old Kent" to most people, and call the stadium by whatever bank finances it. 

I mean it was Fifth Third Ballpark for 21 years, I think a change is okay.

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32 minutes ago, GR_Urbanist said:

Sigh.....

Can we just stop renaming this place every few years? Just call it Old Kent Park permanently for the grounds,  as it has no connection to any business anymore and just means "old Kent" to most people, and call the stadium by whatever bank finances it. 

What Urbanist is sighing about:

fox17: whitecaps-lmcu-announce-new-stadium-naming-rights-deal

Isn't the Toledo ballpark also called Fifth-Third Park?  At least it won't be sharing a name with Toledo.

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6 minutes ago, walker said:

Isn't the Toledo ballpark also called Fifth-Third Park?  At least it won't be sharing a name with Toledo.

Toledo is Fifth Third Field and Kennesaw State is Fifth Third Bank Stadium. I am fine with them changing to a local company for sponsorship.

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35 minutes ago, Pattmost20 said:

Toledo is Fifth Third Field and Kennesaw State is Fifth Third Bank Stadium. I am fine with them changing to a local company for sponsorship.

I'm rather surprised that Fifth Third let that sponsorship go.  It's such a high visibility opportunity and their equity in the sponsorship was pretty substantial to see a competitor take it over.  

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I think Fifth Third is kind of backing its significance out of GR compared to the post Old Kent days.  In just the past year or two - they sold their building downtown, they stopped sponsoring the River Bank Run, and now this.   I don't think 5/3 has much left in GR that makes it anymore significant than any other bank in the area except for a few extra locations in the metro area.

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