Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pink rainbows and extra innings: Mother's Day with the Whitecaps

Figuring that a day of peace and quiet is a good gift in addition to the one that came wrapped, I take the kids to see the West Michigan Whitecaps on Mother’s Day each year.

There’s another benefit, too. The ‘Caps declare the game to be Breast Cancer Awareness Day. The team auctions off its pink jerseys and a portion of the ticket proceeds are donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which supports research to find a cure.

The Whitecaps are so well-run that virtually any day at the park is a good one. But this year’s event was particularly eventful.

The pink jerseys are different every year, but this time the team wore a design resembling the glorious Houston Astros’ rainbows that people either love or loathe. I’m in the love camp.

The first 1,000 guests get pink t-shirts, and moms get a carnation. Plus, before the game, kids get to go on the field to either get autographs or play catch in the outfield.
The Whitecaps got attention from around the world with the 5,000-calorie Fifth Third Burger. If you eat it all by yourself, you get a free t-shirt and your photo on the wall. I'll pass.

But things looked ugly once the game against the Clinton LumberKings got underway. The team was down 8-0 after four innings, which sent me scrambling for the best meal in the ballpark, the pulled-pork sandwich. And my daughter used the time to call both Grandmas to wish them a happy Mother’s Day.

The Whitecaps made things interesting by getting two runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth, and tacked on another in the sixth.

Jordan Lennerton of the Whitecaps and Mario Martinez of the LumberKings.

It wasn’t looking good in the bottom of the ninth, and kids were already lining up for the post-game running around the bases when Jordon Lennerton and Gustavo Nunez got on base.

I’m not sure if the reason is the park or the players, but it’s rare to see a home run at Fifth Third Park. So pardon everyone for being a little surprised when outfielder Ben Guez hit his first of the year, bringing the game to an 8-8 tie.

The Caps had two men on base in the bottom of the tenth and twelfth, but couldn’t push one over. And the LumberKings threatened atop the thirteenth.

Tyler Stohr above, and the ever-present Crash the River Rascal and Frankie the Swimming Pig below.

The teams had played into the fifteenth inning the night before, so they might have thought it was Groundhog Day instead of Mother’s Day.

Finally, a sac fly from Brandon Douglas brought home Angel Flores in the bottom of the inning. The team had never before come from so far behind to win a game.

The Whitecaps are a Tigers' affiliate, and these seats behind home plate came from Tiger Stadium.

No comments: