Sunday at Fifth Third Ballpark in West Michigan was much more manageable than Saturday. The difference was the number of people in the ballpark. There were 10,528 people there Saturday, making it difficult to walk with ease on the concourse and get food in a timely fashion. Conversely, there were only 5,411 people at Sunday’s game, which was still a few hundred people more than the team’s average attendance this season.
Thanks to a tally board on the concourse, I know what every team’s average attendance and total attendance for the season are (through Saturday’s games).
That’s the first time I saw an attendance report like that in a Midwest League ballpark. I wonder if the Dayton Dragons, who recently set a professional sports record for most consecutive home sellouts, have a tally board like it.
I visited the souvenir store, which is small but has some good deals. Some caps and T-shirts are very reasonably priced compared to how much they cost at other Midwest League ballparks. Many smaller items, such as baseball cards and pins, are reasonably priced, too.
For awhile after the gates opened, the Whitecaps were signing autographs on the field. A few players (third baseman Nick Castellanos, first baseman Clay Jones and outfielders Jason Krizan and Jeff Rowland) signed a used Midwest League baseball I found at Cooley Law School Stadium in Lansing a few days earlier.
It was a hot and humid day at the ballpark, and that seemed to affect the Whitecaps pitching staff, which wasn’t at the top of its game. The Bowling Green Hot Rods scored early and often, and beat the Whitecaps 11-7. The Hot Rods led 10-3 in the middle of the 5th inning and seemed to be on cruise control after that point. Every Hot Rods starter reached base, and SS Derek Dietrich went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, a double, 3 RBI, a walk and three runs scored.