LMCU Ballpark
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LMCU Ballpark
LMCU Ballpark
LMCU Ballpark.PNG
WestMichigan Whitecaps DSCN8265.JPG
Former namesOld Kent Park (1994–2000)
Fifth Third Ballpark (2000–2021)
Location4500 West River Drive
Comstock Park, MI 49321
Coordinates43°02?25?N 85°39?35?W / 43.040195°N 85.659832°W / 43.040195; -85.659832Coordinates: 43°02?25?N 85°39?35?W / 43.040195°N 85.659832°W / 43.040195; -85.659832
OwnerWest Michigan Whitecaps Corp.
OperatorWest Michigan Whitecaps Corp.
Capacity8,942 (2018-present)[5]
9,281 (2016-2017)[6]
9,684 (2014-2015)
10,071 (2006-2013)[7]
11,000 (1999-2006)
10,700 (1997-1998)
5,701 (1994-1996)
Field sizeLeft field: 317 ft (97 m)
Center field: 402 ft (123 m)
Right field: 327 ft (100 m)
SurfaceGrass
Construction
Broke groundMay 1993
OpenedApril 12, 1994 (1994-04-12)
Construction cost$6.5 million
($11.9 million in 2021 dollars[1])
ArchitectRossetti Architects[2]
Services engineerProgressive AE[3]
General contractorWolverine Building Group[4]
Tenants
West Michigan Whitecaps (MWL/High-A Central) (1994-present)

LMCU Ballpark is a baseball stadium located in Comstock Park, Michigan, just north of Grand Rapids. Established as Old Kent Park in 1994, the stadium hosts a minor league baseball team, the West Michigan Whitecaps, and other sporting events. The ballpark's Fifth Third Burger was featured on an episode of Man v. Food. A fire damaged some of the first base side of the stadium on January 3, 2014, but the stadium re-opened in time to host the Whitecaps for the 2014 season.

The stadium

LMCU Ballpark is home to the West Michigan Whitecaps, a professional minor league baseball team and High-A Central affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. LMCU Ballpark was originally built in 1994 as Old Kent Park. The name was changed when Fifth Third Bank purchased Old Kent Bank in 2000, then again in 2021 when a new naming rights partnership was signed with Lake Michigan Credit Union.[8]

LMCU Ballpark opened with a seating capacity of 5,701 has been expanded in 1996 to seat 10,700, and 1999 to seat 11,000. It currently has a seating capacity of 8,942, including 7,642 fixed chairback seats.[9][8] The stadium was built entirely with private funds. No taxpayer dollars were used in the construction.[8]

In addition to baseball, LMCU Ballpark can also be used for other events including motorsports and concerts, where it seats up to 15,000. The ballpark hosts a large display of Christmas lights.

The ballpark is also notable for its Fifth Third Burger, a five-pound (2.3 kg), 4,800-calorie burger made with five 13-pound (0.15 kg) burger patties and topped with American cheese, nacho cheese sauce, chili, shredded lettuce, diced tomato, salsa, sour cream, and tortilla chips, all stuffed inside an eight-inch (20 cm) sesame seed bun. On the Season 2 "Baseball Special" episode of The Travel Channel's Man v. Food, host Adam Richman participated in a challenge in which he had to eat this burger in under the final 212 innings of the Whitecaps game (that is, after the 7th Inning Stretch). Adam won the challenge on behalf of "man", earning him a commemorative "Call 911" T-shirt and his photo posted on the Wall of Fame. As of the time of the July 2009 taping, 1,213 Fifth Third Burgers had been sold with Richman becoming just the 157th person to earn the T-shirt.[10][11]

On September 29, 2007, Grand Valley State University defeated Wayne State University, 41-10, in the first-ever football game to be played at LMCU Ballpark. Grand Valley wore "Throwback" uniforms for the event.[12]

On January 3, 2014, a fire broke out in one of the skyboxes, destroying much of the first base side of the structure and several skyboxes. The fire was caused by a space heater set next to a Rubbermaid trash can. Employees at the park at the time were able to escape without injury.[13] The stadium reopened in time for Opening Day, and remodeling finished in time for the ballpark to host the 2014 Midwest League All-Star Game.[14]

On October 8, 2016, LMCU Ballpark hosted an international friendly soccer game between Grand Rapids FC and Aurora United FC of Ontario.

In popular culture

B-Roll footage of a game between the West Michigan Whitecaps and South Bend Silver Hawks at then Fifth Third Ballpark is featured in Champ's Whammy! home runs scene in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Officials with the West Michigan Whitecaps were unaware they would be featured in the movie and only found out after it was released in December 2013.[15]

References

  1. ^ 1634-1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700-1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800-present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800-". Retrieved 2022.
  2. ^ Wallner, Peter J. (January 4, 2014). "Fifth Third Ballpark Timeline: Key Dates, Events and Facts in Stadium's History Before Massive Fire". The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved 2014.
  3. ^ "Donald E Nolte II, PE Professional Resume" (PDF). Next Engineering and Design. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 27, 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ "Fifth Third Ballpark". Wolverine Building Group. Retrieved 2011.
  5. ^ "2018 Midwest League Media Guide". Midwest League. 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  6. ^ "2016 Seating Improvements at Fifth Third Ballpark" (Press release). Minor League Baseball. March 30, 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ "By the Numbers". West Michigan Whitecaps. February 11, 2009. Retrieved 2014.
  8. ^ a b c "LMCU Ballpark History". West Michigan Whitecaps. Retrieved 2006.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "By the Numbers". Minor League Baseball. Retrieved 2018.
  10. ^ Bond, Gary (July 16, 2009). "'Man v. Food' Host Adam Richman Takes on Fifth Third Burger and Wins -- in 27 Minutes". The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved 2009.
  11. ^ "Travel Channel's Man v. Food's Host Adam Richman to Take on Famous Fifth Third Burger" (Press release). West Michigan Whitecaps. June 25, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  12. ^ "Laker Football to Play at Fifth Third Ballpark in 2007". Grand Valley State Athletics. March 14, 2007. Archived from the original on December 8, 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  13. ^ Wallner, Peter J. (January 4, 2014). "Fifth Third Ballpark Fire Damage: 'There Will Be Better Days, Just Not Today'". The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved 2014.
  14. ^ "After offseason fire, Fifth Third Ballpark shines at Midwest League ASG". Ballpark Digest. June 20, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  15. ^ Serba, John (December 19, 2013). "Whammy! 'Anchorman 2' features unexpected footage of West Michigan Whitecaps". MLive. Retrieved 2021.

External links


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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