Play ball!

Baseball is just around the corner; really. Spring training and the regular season bring us eternal hope that the snow will be gone and it will be warm!

For the West Michigan Whitecaps, their season will open soon enough, and, yes, at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park. Construction continues and crews work to restore the first base side of the ballpark from the disastrous fire earlier this year. 

However, Fifth Third Ballpark will be open Saturday, Feb. 15, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for an open house to celebrate the start of individual game ticket sales for the 2014 season.

The open house will be the first public event at the ballpark since the fire Jan. 3 that destroyed the first base side of the structure and caused heavy damage to the home plate section and the third base suites. The grandstand seating areas and the playing field were not damaged.

The Whitecaps plans to start the Midwest League on schedule with the home opener on Tuesday, April 8, at 6:35 p.m. against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

West Michigan Whitecaps

Individual game tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Pepsi Stadium Club. Online ticket sales will start at 3 p.m., after the close of the open house.

The Whitecaps are making a special offer on Saturday only: Anyone at the open house who buys an Opening Day ticket will receive a free ticket to any April or May game.

In addition, the first 1,000 fans to the open house will receive a commemorative Fifth Third Ballpark “Never In Doubt” t-shirt. The Whitecaps will be serving free hot dogs, hot chocolate and Pepsi products, along with a cash bar. Other planned activities include carnival rides for children, s’mores-making/marshmallow roasting stations, face painters and a coloring station.

Season and group tickets for the 2014 season are now on sale and can be purchased by calling the Whitecaps front office at (616) 784-4131, by visiting, or in person at the temporary administrative offices located two miles from the ballpark at 5716 West River Drive NE in Belmont.

The ticket office at this new location will be open starting next week Monday-Friday from 10 to 5 p.m.

Please note that due to construction, Fifth Third Ballpark is not open to the public except for Saturday’s open house.