Baseball is a sport that has been built on traditions for more than 150 years. Tonight, tradition will meet the future when the West Michigan Whitecaps host the first-ever game played by using equipment printed by 3D, or additive manufacturing, technology.

(Photo by Mannie Garcia/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mannie Garcia/Getty Images)

Huh, you say?  You're not alone, but here's the deal. Two teams from the Northwoods Little League will take the field at Fifth Third Ballpark tonight at 5:30 p.m. and will use helmets, bats, balls, bases and tees all manufactured by Burton Precision/Universal 3D Print located in Comstock Park. The game is scheduled to last about 45 minutes. The Whitecaps take the field against the Burlington Bees at 7 p.m.

The process of 3-D printing uses computer-created digital models (CAD) to create real-world objects. The printers follow the shape of the CAD model by stacking layer upon layer of material to make the objects.

Burton Precision will also be on-site to custom 3D print figurines for fans for a nominal fee.

Then, it's on to the big game. The Whitecaps take the field against the Burlington Bees at 7:00 p.m. Gates will open at 5:30. Following the game there will be a fireworks display courtesy of Family Fare.

Tickets for any remaining game in the 2014 regular season or playoffs can be reserved by calling the Whitecaps’ front office at 616-784-4131 or visiting

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