Tigers Director of Minor League Operations Dan Lunetta said that moving forward with the Whitecaps was an easy decision.
"This is another milestone event in the wonderful relationship that has existed between the Whitecaps and Tigers," Lunetta said. "Be that as it may, this was a decision that required no contemplation. We work incredibly well together and when a partnership has such strong mutual respect and a shared vision, the decision to extend beyond the current agreement is easy to make. Our sincere thanks and appreciation are extended to Lew Chamberlin, Scott Lane, Denny Baxter and Jim Jarecki and of course, the tremendous fan support for the Whitecaps and Tigers."
The Whitecaps have been the Tigers' Class A Midwest League affiliate since 1997. The Whitecaps have won four Midwest League Championships with the Tigers (1998, 2004, 2006, 2007) and have seen dozens of prospects and current stars play in West Michigan, including Brandon Inge, Joel Zumaya, Duane Below, Alex Avila, Ramon Santiago, Ryan Raburn, Brennan Boesch, Andy Dirks, Don Kelly, Will Rhymes, Adam Wilk and Jacob Turner, as well as former Tigers Francisco Cordero, Robert Fick, Cameron Maybin, Jeff Weaver, Casper Wells, Matt Joyce and Jair Jurrgens.
The two organizations last renewed in September of 2008 with a six-year deal which keeps the relationship through the end of the 2014 season; this renewal brings the deal to the end of the 2018 season.
Whitecaps CEO Lew Chamberlin said that the Whitecaps relationship with the Tigers has been special since its 1997 start.
"They've given us great teams over the years, four of which have won the Midwest League Championship," Chamberlin said. "But, just as importantly, they have understood and have been supportive of our community service efforts here in West Michigan. Whether the Whitecaps Inner City Baseball / Softball program, our host family program or one of our many other community initiatives, the Tigers have always been supportive. We are very pleased to be able to continue our partnership for an additional four years."
Just 12 home games remain on the Whitecaps' 2011 schedule; tickets for all remaining games can be purchased by visiting whitecapsbaseball.com, by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131, or in person at the Whitecaps box office (open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays as well as during games). Ticket prices are $13.00 for premium box seats, $11.00 for box seats, $9.50 for reserved seats including the Gentex Family Section, and $6.00 for McCain Foods Lawn seating. Children 2 and under are free.