The Countdown to Opening Day of Loons Baseball

2 Apr

By Bruce Gunther
Director of Communications, Great Lake Loons

For many, the true start of spring isn’t the day signified on the calendar – March 20 this year – but the Opening Day of baseball season.

With several months of baseball ahead, the realities of a long winter fade. And in our region, where we’ve been inundated with snow, cold, and more cold, nothing looks better than winter in the rearview.

For Great Lakes Loons fans throughout the Greater Bay region, Tuesday, April 8 marks the start of another baseball season at Dow Diamond, and the first sign of spring. It’s our Opening Day and, as always, we plan to get the party started with fun, baseball, and more fun. Enough winter already!

But before getting into too much detail, let’s first consider a few numbers (since baseball is always a game filled with numbers):
IMG_157114 – As in, 14 inches, the amount of snow Loons groundskeeper Nick Wolcott said was on the Dow Diamond playing field less than two months ago. Wolcott and his crew began removing some of that on Feb. 25. On March 7, the tarp was pulled over the infield and sand sprinkled over the outfield to kick-start the melting process.
5 – As in, the number of days later when the tarp was pulled back to reveal … gorgeous green grass!
Dow Diamond Midland, MI Shawn MacDonald_98 – As in, this will the Loons 8th Opening Day game. The first was on April 13, 2007, when beautiful Dow Diamond was opened for business.
9 – As in, the number of players from that first-ever Loons ’07 team who’ve gone on to play in the Major Leagues, including Clayton Kershaw, the highest-paid pitcher ever (and cameo actor on ‘New Girl’). Not bad at all.
9 – Also, as in our new Hump Day Happy Hour promotion, which will take place on nine Wednesdays throughout the season. This promotion will feature drink specials for fans 21 & over from the time gates open to one hour into the scheduled game time.

These facts all have led to this year’s Opening Day Celebration – presented by Consumers Energy – which features the Loons taking on Midwest League rival Cedar Rapids. Game time is 6:05 p.m., but the celebration certainly doesn’t begin with the first pitch.

  • The Celebration begins with a parade at 4:30 p.m. The parade launches at the corner of Gordon and Main streets in downtown Midland, and will be headlined by the Amazing Christopher – a highly-sought after fun-and-dance performer who has performed for presidents, princes and the Queen of England, among others. He’ll also perform during the game.
  • The Amazing Christopher is just part of the parade entertainment; among others in the lineup are the Saginaw High School and St. Charles High School bands, a stilt walker, the Central Michigan University pom squad, Northwood University dance, Northwood’s steel drum corps, members of the Saginaw Sting football team, and the Saginaw Spirit’s mascot, Sammy Spirit.
  • Of course, no Loon celebration would be complete without this region’s “Amabassador of Fun,” the one and only Lou E. Loon. Lou E’s back in town and fired up for another season. And he’ll be joined by Rall E. Camel. Be prepared to be entertained.
  • We’ll wrap up the day with a post-game Fireworks Loontacular, powered by Dow Corning. It will be the first of 13 Loontaculars at Dow Diamond during the 2014 season.

And let’s not forget the baseball part of the equation. The Loons will usher in a new season with a new manager (Bill Haselman, and another group of talented young players who hope to one day become starts like Kershaw. So far, 27 former Loons have made it to the big leagues, a number which will continue to grow.

Now let’s wrap things up with one final number:

1.9 million – The number of fans, give or take a few, who have flocked to Dow Diamond since the first-ever Opening Day in 2007. We can’t wait to add to that number in 2014.

Bruce-Gunther Bruce Gunther is the Loons Director of Communications. He will help manage the Loons internal and external communications, including overseeing all aspects of media communication, including social media. During the season, Bruce supports the local media with their game-day needs and doubles as the team’s beat writer for Loons.com. He also serves the Michigan Baseball Foundation, Dow Diamond, and ESPN 100.9-FM and ESPN1009.com.

A Saginaw native, Bruce is the former sports editor of The Flint Journal and The Bay City Times. He has a B.A. in Journalism from Central Michigan University.

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