Lugnuts Notes: Home and Away series against West Michigan Whitecaps

May 25 and 26

  • Whitecaps 2 games, Lugnuts 0 games
  • Lugnuts are 23-26 (.469)
  • Third place, 5.5 games behind the Whitecaps, two behind the Battle Cats, and one ahead of the Wizards.

Saturday’s game looks like it was all right, but Sunday’s was a sorry affair. The Whitecaps played a poor game, but the Lugnuts let ’em win it anyway. WOOD Radio’s broadcast (1300 AM) of the game was on tape delay, so I got to hear the worst part of the game again from Whitecaps announcer Rick Berkey while I drove home. Can’t say I liked it any better the second time, but I like listening to Berkey.

The Journal says the Royals intend to fill the vacancy created by Blosser’s injury with a draftee. Perhaps they’ll find us some pitching, too.

The team’s reported attendance through Sunday is 171,263. That’s about what the Battle Cats [Battle Creek’s Midwest League team] drew for all of last season; their attendance was eighth (of fourteen) in the league. Obviously the teams have differing opinions about the importance of these things….

Here’s the best team attendance for each full-season minor league, through Memorial Day’s games:

American Association         Buffalo          193,437
International League         Richmond         165,040
Pacific Coast League         Salt Lake City   194,684

Eastern League               Trenton          135,101
Southern League              Birmingham       102,193
Texas League                 San Antonio      133,131

California League            Rancho Cucamonga 149,040
Carolina League              Durham           107,141
Florida State League         Brevard County    51,614
Midwest League               West Michigan    171,738
South Atlantic League        Delmarva          90,353

Obviously there is demand for minor league baseball in Michigan.

Lansing’s ticket sales, to date, have topped 450,000. I’m impressed; I think you can call this experiment a success.

A couple interesting things:

Dean Travel is offering a tour to see the Lugnuts visit the Rockford Cubbies on July 20. Call the team at 485-4500 for more information.

Manuel Delgado tells me he is selling photographs taken from above Oldsmobile Park on opening day (night). I haven’t seen them and offer this mention without comment or endorsement. Contact him for information at [link removed].

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1 Response to Lugnuts Notes: Home and Away series against West Michigan Whitecaps

  1. joel says:

    Rick Berkey, like most sports announcers, has his detractors. I’m not one of them….

    One of my LugNotes objectives was to educate my readers about where the local team fit into professional baseball’s universe. Thus the attendance discussion.

    A colleague at work took, and enjoyed, the Rockford bus trip. She sat next-section-over at the Lansing park, and we occasionally saw each other at games.

    I saw at least one of Manuel Delgado’s photographs later in the year. It was excellent; I’m glad I plugged his effort.

    The Midwest League on the Web in 1996 (part 2)

    Midwest League news coverage and team fan pages on the web, as of the end of the 1996 season:

    • Beloit: The Snappers were covered, quite well, by the Daily News. Timothy Prentiss had created a fan site, but it was terrible–its best feature was that it featured the team logo in many sizes.
    • Burlington: The Bees had no local press coverage on the web, though the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald covered them a bit. Chuq von Rospach–a San Jose Giants fan–created a minimalist-but-useful single-page website for the next-farm-team-down from the team he watched (Chuqi’s famous in some circles). And Saginaw News photographer Jeff Schrier had an award-winning piece about Bees pitcher Aaron Kneiper, who’d pitched for Central Michigan, on the Michigan Press Association’s website.
    • Cedar Rapids: The CR Gazette covered the Kernels, and MWL news, better than any other league paper, at least online; the Dubuque T-H also followed this team somewhat. Gazette photographer Chris Stewart had a personal website which featured many Kernels pix.
    • Clinton: The only web coverage of the LumberKings during the 1996 season was a calendar/table showing the team’s schedule (and game results) on the KCLN website. I had an unexpected run-in with the station manager when I reported an error on this page; he later apologized.
    • Fort Wayne: The Journal-Gazette had an excellent, albeit slow-to-load, web presence early in the web’s existence, and WCCO in the Twin Cities occasionally posted news notes about the Twin’s farm teams.
    • Kane County: I wasn’t aware of any online press coverage of the Cougars in 1996, though I’d not be surprised if the Daily Herald published an article or two that I missed. Jon Mielke had an excellent fan site for the team (and was very supportive of my efforts). David Malamut’s notebook wouldn’t show up until 1997.
    • Lansing: The Luggies had no online press coverage. On the fan side there was me.
    • Michigan (Battle Creek): There was no online press coverage for the Cats in 1996 (Crystal Evola would do fine work after the Enquirer finally went online, I think in ’98). Joe Hulsebus, who was actually a Whitecaps fan, had a decent fan page for the Cats.
    • Peoria: The Chiefs had no online press coverage in 1996, and no fan page. Good thing they had the strong team website.
    • Quad City (Davenport, IA): Neither of the QC papers had an online presence in 1996. Advertising agency Anne Holmes and Associates had a nice photograph of the ballpark on their website, which is one of the few I’m mentioning today which has been online continuously. And Astros assistant farm director Dave Rawnsley occasionally talked about the Bandits–or at least the Bandits’ players–in what amounted to a blog on the ‘Stros website (Dave’s blog was, by the way, truly excellent–perhaps the best stuff he’s written).
    • Rockford: The Rockford team was often sort of a black hole for news. (It would improve the next summer when the Register-Star built a website–but there was never either a team website nor a fan website for this city during its MWL existence.)
    • South Bend: The Silver Hawks had no local online news coverage in 1996. The big league White Sox covered their farm system a bit, which was unusual at the time.
    • West Michigan (Grand Rapids): The ‘Caps had no online news coverage in 1996. Joe Hulsebus hosted an excellent website devoted to the Whitecaps; we occasionally exchanged e-mails and encouraged each other. (Joe had a perfunctory Midwest League page, too, but took it down when I started building my Fan’s Guide.) Oakland’s team offered a bit of web coverage, too. And Tim Lux, who was then WOOD-Radio’s webmaster (and a student at GVSU), posted a strange photo of the Old Kent pressbox on his personal website.
    • Wisconsin (Appleton): There was no online press coverage of the T’Rats in 1996, which is a bit of a surprise. The Mariners offered occasional farm system news on their website, which was (as I’ve already mentioned) unusual. An anonymous fan site called The Timber Rattlers Index was pretty much a waste of pixels.

    The World Wide Web was young in 1996. I’ve called the early baseball website developers “cowboys” in the past, and stand by that characterization–none of us knew what we were doing. Some of us did better than others. One of the Web’s strengths is that it makes self-publishing easy. It’s also one of the Web’s weaknesses.

    In the event you’ve just stumbled onto this entry, here’s an explanation of what I’m up to.

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