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  • Writer's pictureMarc Viquez

LMCU Ballpark – West Michigan Whitecaps


Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71

LMCU Ballpark 4500 W River Dr Comstock Park, MI 49321

Year Opened: 1994 Capacity: 9,500

 

West Michigan's Outdoor Entertainment Spot


The West Michigan Whitecaps are the High-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers in the Midwest League. They have called LMCU Ballpark, formerly Old Kent Park and Fifth Third Ballpark, home since 1994. The ballpark cost $6.5 million and has a seating capacity of 8,942 plus lawn seating.

The Whitecaps have been successful both on and off the field, capturing six league titles in 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2015 and attracting crowds of well over 5,000 to home dates. They have become the de-facto minor league team in the region of Michigan, located 2.5 hours away from the parent club in Detroit.

LMCU Ballpark will begin a major renovation project. It will be divided into multiple phases, with Phase 1 set to start in a few months and be completed before Opening Day 2024. All phases are expected to be roughly completed in 2028. It will transform the venue into a state-of-the-art facility that will entertain fans for many years, featuring new suite-level club space, new seating, and social gathering areas, and all-new stadium lighting.


Food & Beverage 5

LMCU Ballpark offers a vast array of food and beverages that puts it towards the top in comparison to other ballparks in its league. The ballpark was known for many years for the Fifth Third Burger, a massive 5/3 pound burger that attracted many to eat in record fashion, which has sadly been retired.

Both the first and third base line of the concourse offer concession stands, along with portable stands behind home plate to cover fans' cravings. The two Crash Cravings stands offer hot dogs, brats, burgers, nachos, fries, chicken sandwiches, popcorn, kid’s meals, soda, and beer.

The Queso Castle is down the third baseline, and offers pulled pork and chicken sandwiches, spicy cheese curds, chicken tenders, and poutine. The portables behind home plate offer a beer, taco, steak, gyro, and build-your-own burger cart.


The Craft Clubhouse features 16 drafts from around Michigan, including Bell’s, Mitten, Founders, New Holland, Vivant, and Nyx. Fans can buy a 24-ounce refillable mug and refill it for an additional charge. Mixed drinks are $7 or $10 for a double.

The Whitecaps are known for their Fan Food Vote. In the past other winners have included: Mount Wing-Suvius (onion rings piled high with mac ‘n cheese, buffalo chicken, beer cheese, and green onions) and the Westsider Sandwich (1/2 lb. cheddar-infused kielbasa sausage wrapped in bacon, fried, served on a sub bun), Beer Cheese Poutine (waffle fries with pulled pork, bbq sauce, beer cheese, and green onions), and the Rocky Balburitto (a deep-fried cheesesteak in a burrito).


Atmosphere 4

LMCU Ballpark is the standard design of a 1990s-era stadium. The stadium concourse wraps almost entirely around the field and features numerous party decks and suites behind the outfield walls. The team gift shop is at the main entrance, and upper deck suites and seating are on the second level.

The team colors of dark and light blue are splattered around the stadium. A giant video board and hand-operated scoreboard stand in left field, while a grass berm takes up most of the right field corner.

The Pepsi Stadium Club, a climate-controlled space with indoor and outdoor seating, takes up the majority of centerfield. Adjacent to the stadium club on the first baseline is the Founders Rooftop, which can host groups of 150 to 200 people.

Neighborhood 3


LMCU Ballpark is located outside of downtown Grand Rapids in the suburb of Comstock Park off US-131 and north of the Grand River. It is surrounded by a large parking lot. There are a few restaurants nearby that include Mad Dogs with 25 different visions of hot dogs, and several chain restaurants.

Downtown is a short drive from the stadium and offers more activities during your visit. It includes Brick and Porter, Social House Kitchen & Bar, Tupelo Southern Kitchen, Rockwell Republic, and HopCat. All are reasonable spots for a bite to eat and a drink after the game.

Grand Rapids is known for its microbreweries, and there are several options to choose from. Founders Brewing is located downtown and is very well known. Perrin Brewery is north of the stadium, and Mitten Brewing Company is popular among locals. Others include Brewery Vivant, City Built Brewing Company, and Greyline Brewing Company.

Well-known tourist spots are the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, the Gerald R. Ford Museum, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and the Public Museum.

Fans 4

The White Caps have a large fanbase that has supported the team for 30 years. The team usually ranks number two, after Dayton, in the Midwest League and averages over 5,000 fans per game.

Access 4

The ballpark is easily accessible from ramps leading to the entrance, wide-open concourses with visible signage for concessions and bathrooms, and easy parking outside the stadium.

Return on Investment 4

The cheapest ticket is $10 for a grass berm or standing-room-only, while parking is $8 per car. Box and reserved seats are $15-$17, and padded premium seating costs $19. The concession prices are what you will find at High A ballparks, with beer and alcohol fetching the highest prices. Still, a fan can enjoy a reasonably inexpensive night at the game.


Final Thoughts

LMCU Ballpark is designed for a festive night of baseball. It has an assortment of food and drinks available, a passionate fan base, and plenty of areas to enjoy the game. Future renovations will transform the ballpark and make it an even better place to catch a game.


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Follow all of Marc’s stadium journeys on Twitter @ballparkhunter and his YouTube channel. Email at Marc.Viquez@stadiumjourney.com

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