COMSTOCK PARK, MI - The countdown is on! With the West Michigan Whitecaps' 23rd Opening Day next week Fifth Third Ballpark is buzzing with activity. Several upgrades to the facility's seating areas are scheduled to be completed before the first pitch.
The Safeco 4Topps seating area, originally added before the 2013 season, is expanding due to popularity. Twelve tables (including one wheelchair accessible) have been added to the existing 18, bringing the 4Topps area to a total of 30 tables. To make room for the additional tables, the last six rows in sections 215 and 219 have been removed. 4Topps are sold as a table of four for $100 and include wait service.
Chad Sayen, Director of Ticket Sales, said the popularity of the 4Topps tables continues to grow.
"The 4Topps are my favorite seats in the ballpark, and have become a fan favorite as well," Sayen said. "We sold out of the tables for several games last year, and are responding to that growing demand by adding more tables. With the wait staff service, sitting at a 4Topps table feels like being in an open-air suite for four."
A second expanded seating type is the Premium Seats. An additional 228 padded premium box seats and four premium wheelchair accessible spots are being installed in what was formerly reserved seat rows 10 through 17 in sections 215 and 219. This addition is also due to demand, as more and more people prefer individual padded premium seating over the bench-style reserved seats.
Finally, a private barbeque area, the General RV Campground, is seeing expansion as well. Located along the right field foul line, the General RV Campground is being extended into the lower right field lawn area, adding room for 30 and bringing the total capacity of the Campground to 150. The extension will include 16 swivel seats with a food and beverage ledge as well as high-top tables and offers a unique field view near the Whitecaps home bullpen.
Sayen notes that the lower lawn section with its steep slope has been underutilized.
"That area of the lawn section was never crowded, as people prefer to be higher up in the lawn section," Sayen said. "The new extension to the General RV Campground provides a unique view in the ballpark. Fans sitting in this area will be as close to the field as possible, and come the ninth inning, it will be pretty intense to be so close to the Whitecaps closer as he warms up to go in for the save. Hearing the ball pop in the catcher's mitt and seeing up close the mental state that the closer works himself into as he warms up is going to be really exciting, and a new experience for our fans."
The modifications to the ballpark will slightly reduce the overall seating capacity to 9,281.
The 2016 home season begins on Saturday, April 9 against the South Bend Cubs at 4 p.m. Tickets for all 2016 games can be purchased by visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com, by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131, or in person at the Fifth Third Ballpark box office window inside the CapSized Shop. The box office will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday as well as during games.
Discounted tickets for groups of 20 or more, including barbeque packages for the General RV Campground and all other private party areas, are on sale now, as are season ticket packages, including mini plans, partial season plans, full season plans and flex books. Complete ticket information, including season and group ticket prices and perks, as well as promotional schedule information and a PDF download of the 2016 schedule with game times, are available at www.whitecapsbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.