FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The largest crowd in Fort Wayne's 25-year franchise history saw the TinCaps beat the Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians), 4-0, on the Fourth of July. The gathering of 9,266 at Parkview Field eclipsed the previous high of 9,193 set on July 4, 2015.
"TinCaps fans are the best," said team president Mike Nutter. "And we certainly don't take that for granted. This is a day we circle on the calendar each year, so for everything to come together with great weather, a shutout win, the City of Fort Wayne's fireworks, and everything in between-it's very special."
The TinCaps now have drawn 218,948 fans on the season through their first 39 openings for an average attendance of 5,614. (That's a number that should continue to rise with school over and summer in full swing.) Fort Wayne's average attendance currently ranks second among Minor League Baseball's 60 Single-A teams. It's also better than 25 of 30 Double-A clubs and nine of 30 Triple-A franchises.
Meanwhile, the TinCaps celebrated our nation's 241 years of independence in style with American-flag themed jerseys. The red, white, and blue tops were auctioned off and raised $4,703, with all proceeds going to Honor Flight Northeast Indiana. The team also wore red and navy "Stars and Stripes" caps, which are being sold in The Orchard Team Store. All sales on the hats benefit Welcome Back Veterans.
The record crowd was treated to a team that not only looked good, but that played exceptionally well, too, winning their seventh consecutive home game. TinCaps starting pitcher Michell Baez (pronounced: ME-shell BYE-ez) was dominant for five scoreless innings. He allowed only two singles and didn't walk a batter as he struck out nine using an electric fastball that reached 98 miles per hour. Remarkably, this was his Midwest League debut. The San Diego Padres signed the 6-foot-8 Baez as an international free agent out of Cuba in December and just called him up to Fort Wayne on Tuesday.
Baez and the TinCaps remain home at Parkview Field through Monday. Fort Wayne hosts Lake County again on Wednesday and Thursday before welcoming the Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays) for a four-game set. More fireworks are planned for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The full promotional schedule for the homestand can be found here. Tickets are available by calling 260-482-6400, as well as at TinCapsTickets.com and the Parkview Field Ticket Office.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.