COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. (WOOD) — The West Michigan Whitecaps will return to Fifth Third Ballpark for their home opener on Saturday.
The Whitecaps are coming off a big year after winning the Midwest League Championship in September. They are already off to a good start after beating the South Bend Cups 9-4 to kick off the season on Thursday.
Starting this year, the games are expected to be safer for fans. The Whitecaps have added more netting around the dugouts to prevent foul balls from hitting spectators.
“This was not an easy decision for us. We talked about this for quite some time, did a lot of research. After the MLB recommendation to expand the netting, we decided that this was a good time to do that,” said Steve McCarthy, Whitecaps vice president of sales. “Really the game is so much faster now and there’s a lot more distractions for fans and so we think this is a testament to our commitment to safety.”
They have also added more table seating, as well as expanded one of the decks.
It will be the first time fans can try the winner of the 2016 food contest — Dutch Love, a combination of turkey pot roast, gravy, cheese curds and French fries wrapped up in a pita.
The Whitecaps take on the South Bend Cubs at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Gates open at 2 p.m.
The first 1,000 fans through the gates on Saturday will get a replica 2015 Whitecaps championship ring. McCarthy says there will also be a band, petting zoo and fans will be able to play catch on the field before the game.
If the Whitecaps win 5-3, one fan will win $53,000 as part of a promotion from Fifth Third Bank. You need to register for the giveaway before the game starts.