Every July 4 game in the Midwest League was well-attended thanks to nice weather and the Independence Day holiday, as well as fireworks, Thirsty Thursday and other promotions offered by the eight home teams.
Although each ballpark drew good numbers, attendance figures varied due to all stadium capacities not being equal and, frankly, some teams typically outdraw others no matter the date.
With that said, the highest attendance in the Midwest League on Thursday was at Cooley Law School Stadium, home of the Lansing Lugnuts. There were a season-high 12,692 people on hand to see the visiting Lake County Captains down the ‘Nuts 13-0 behind a good pitching performance from SP Ryan Merritt (7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K). Also helping boost attendance was rehabbing Toronto Blue Jays 3B Brett Lawrie, who went 0-for-3.
Also breaking five digits in attendance was Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, home of the Kane County Cougars. There were 11,304 people on hand to watch the Cougars beat the Quad Cities River Bandits 7-4. Cougars 1B Dan Vogelbach drove in three runs.
Parkview Field, home of the Fort Wayne TinCaps, set a new attendance record of 8,780. (The previous attendance record of 8,643 was set two weeks earlier, on June 20.) The visiting South Bend Silver Hawks won 6-0 behind a complete-game performance from SP Brandon Sinnery (9 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K).
Fifth Third Ballpark, home of the West Michigan Whitecaps, drew 8,502 to see the visiting Great Lakes Loons beat the Whitecaps 7-5. Whitecaps RF Jake Stewart hit a 3-run homer.
The Peoria Chiefs drew 8,040 fans to Dozer Park for a season-high and best attendance since April 28, 2009. The visiting Beloit Snappers beat the Chiefs 3-2. Snappers SS Daniel Robertson and Chiefs 3B Patrick Wisdom each drove in a pair of runs.
The Dayton Dragons — no stranger to sellout crowds — packed Fifth Third Field with 8,013 fans. Highlighted by a 3-run homer from 1B Daniel Pigott, the Dragons rallied for six runs in the bottom of the 7th inning to beat the Bowling Green Hot Rods 6-5. Dragons 2B Sammy Diaz went 4-for-4 with an RBI.
The Cedar Rapids Kernels drew their second-largest crowd ever at Veterans Memorial Stadium. The crowd of 5,631 fans was second only to the 5,861 at a game during the stadium’s inaugural season (2002). Thursday’s attendance was 42 more fans than the crowd at the 2004 Midwest League All-Star Game. A pair of Kernels, RF Adam Brett Walker and 1B Dalton Hicks, hit home runs.
There were 5,281 fans on hand at Clinton’s Ashford University Field, where the LumberKings beat the Burlington Bees 7-4. LumberKings CF Jabari Henry hit a 2-run homer.
UPDATE: It was announced on July 8 that the Midwest League set a new record for attendance in a single day on July 4. A total of 68,243 fans went to the eight games that day, smashing the previous record of 56,789 that was set on Aug. 14, 2010.