LMCU Ballpark

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LMCU Ballpark in Comstock Park, MI, is the home of the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Detroit Tigers' High-A Midwest League farm team. Opened in 1994, then-Old Kent Park was built with private funds to bring the Madison Muskies to the Grand Rapids suburb.

The stadium and its team quickly set a benchmark, breaking the single-season attendance record for Class A baseball, 475,212, which had been set decades before in 1949.

Ohio-based Fifth Third Bank bought Old Kent Bank in 2000, changing the stadium name to Fifth Third Ballpark for the rest of the contract. Lake Michigan Credit Union bought naming rights in February 2021.

Situated on 47 acres along the Grand River, it provided a venue for baseball to return to the Rapids area. After the 1954 collapse of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and subsequent folding of the Grand Rapids Chicks, Kent County went without professional baseball for 40 years.

Several expansions later, the ballpark seats over 10,000 - huge for the then Low-A Midwest League. The Tigers drew its top baseball crowd, 11,006, to a 1999 exhibition.

2003 and 2005 saw a series of park improvements including the development of the Miller Lite Party Deck, which features a working lighthouse to accent right center field.

A January 3, 2014, fire destroyed much of its right half, collapsing and destroying a section of the grandstand and concession area. The lack of nearby fire hydrants hindered fighting the fire, which was reportedly caused by a space heater used by a work crew. However, the ballpark would make like a phoenix - team management immediately announced that the ballpark would be rebuilt in time for the start of the 2014 season - just four months away. After a warp-speed rebuild, it not only did so but it also hosted that year's MwL All-Star Game as scheduled. The club used the forced rebuild to make improvements, including a much larger souvenir shop called CapSized.

Similarly, the 'Caps are making lemonade of lemons by using ballpark standards enacted in MLB's 2021 Minor League Reorganization as a springboard to a multi-year renovation plan.[1]

The ballpark has one of eight manual scoreboards in the minors.

Unique Features[edit]

LMCU Ballpark features lawn, bleacher, grandstand, and box seating as well as luxury suites. With the exception of the suites which line the top of the stadium, seating is field level, and all sections provide close and intimate views of the game. There are also several party decks and areas available for rental for larger groups and corporations to view the game.

  • Lighthouse: Located along at the Miller Lite Party Deck, LMCU Ballpark features a working lighthouse - which lights up every time a Whitecap hits a home run. The lighthouse was featured in a 2006 edition of Lighthouse Digest.
  • Waterfall: Built in the spring of 2006, the working waterfall which sits atop the left field lawn seats was designed by a local landscape architecture firm.

Odd Facts[edit]

  • Whitecaps staff shoot hot dogs to the crowd out of their air guns.
  • LMCU Ballpark serves roughly 125,000 hot dogs each season. (10 miles if laid end to end)
  • LMCU Ballpark serves 3,500 pounds of pork chops each season from their grill areas.
  • 6,000 gallons of Pop is served each season (1 gallon for every 100 guests, roughly double industry standard).
  • The Whitecaps feature live trumpet charges and cadences to rally the crowd.

Non-Baseball Events[edit]

  • Boxing at the Ballpark
  • Concerts (notable names have been Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and more)
  • Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournaments
  • Charity Softball Games
  • Carnivals
  • Red Cross Blood Drive
  • Charity walks and races (5Ks, 10Ks, etc.)
  • College / high school baseball games
  • 2006 featured opportunities to watch the Detroit Tigers in the playoffs over the video boards at the park.

Related Links[edit]

Current ballparks in the Midwest League
East Division West Division
Classic Park | Day Air Ballpark | Dow Diamond | Jackson Field | LMCU Ballpark | Parkview Field ABC Supply Stadium | Dozer Park | Four Winds Field | Fox Cities Stadium | Modern Woodmen Park | Veterans Memorial Stadium