The Whitecaps open their 18th season of Midwest League baseball on the road at Lansing on Thursday, April 7. The 'Caps return to Fifth Third Ballpark for the home opener on Sunday, April 10 at 1 p.m. versus Lansing.
April will be a busy month at the ballpark, with a five-game opening set followed by a six-game homestand beginning on Monday, April 18, and then two home games to finish out the month on April 29 and 30. The Tuesday, April 12 game and the Wednesday, April 20 game are special noon start times, allowing fans to take advantage of warmer daytime temperatures and offering suitable games for kids' reading club program groups.
May is once again a big month for area school groups, with three 11 a.m. games designated as School Days (Wednesday, May 11, Tuesday, May 24 and Wednesday, May 25). Two Peanut Free Games are scheduled for Monday, May 23 and Tuesday, May 24, marking the ninth season of the peanut-free promotion. A total of 19 popular Farm Bureau Insurance Fireworks Nights kick off on Saturday, May 7 at 7 p.m.; fireworks are scheduled for every Saturday game from May through the end of the season, every Wednesday game starting in June, and the final three Friday home games of the season.
June has the least amount of home games on the schedule, with just 12 games during the month. Kids' Summer Camp Day is Tuesday, June 28 with a special noon start time. July and August both have 14 home games scheduled - six of which are Farm Bureau Insurance Fireworks nights. The season concludes with a three-game set at home against Fort Wayne September 3 through 5, ending with a 1 p.m. game on Labor Day.
Weekly promotions including Tiger Fridays (giveaway items of and appearances by former Tigers players), Altogas Thrifty Thursdays ($2 food and drink specials) and Sundays are Helen DeVos Children's Hospital Family Days (team autographs, kids eat free and play catch on the field and) are all locked in for 2011. Three popular special event nights also return: Sprint Breast Cancer Awareness Day is scheduled for Mother's Day, Sunday, May 8; Star Wars Night is Saturday, July 9; and Ferris State University Dog Day is Sunday, August 7.
Many more promotions will be added throughout the off-season, and a complete list of promotional dates will be released in the spring.
The Midwest League, which expanded from 14 to 16 teams in 2010, will remain virtually the same in 2011. There are two affiliate changes as the Kane County Cougars change Major League affiliation to the Kansas City Royals and the Burlington Bees will now be an Oakland A's affiliate.
Game start times are generally 6:35 p.m. in April and May and 7 p.m. from June through September, with the exception of the seven weekday day games previously mentioned. Sundays are 1 p.m. games all season long.
Fans can purchase season tickets and mini plans beginning Tuesday, October 26 by calling the Whitecaps front office at (616) 784-4131. Tickets for groups of 20 or more, including private party areas, will go on sale on Friday, November 19. Individual game tickets will go on sale in early 2011.
The full 2011 schedule is attached and is available on the Whitecaps website at whitecapsbaseball.com. Fans will be able to download the schedule to their Outlook and iCal calendars from the Whitecaps website once all road game times are announced.