NORTHWOODS LEAGUE TEAMS

GREAT LAKES DIVISION

Traverse City Pit Spitters

Location: Traverse City, Michigan

Ballpark (capacity): Pit Spitters Stadium (4,200)

Northwoods League member since: 2019

Miscellaneous team facts: An investment group led by owners of the West Michigan Whitecaps purchased the Traverse City Beach Bums after the 2018 season. The Northwoods League expansion team is led my manager Josh Rebandt. Pit Spitters beat out Black Pearls, Dogmen, Dune Bears, Tree Shakers and Sasquatch in a vote to name the team. Hot dogs are only 10 cents at Monday home games, but sadly there’s only two of them (June 17 and June 22, so you can mark your calendar).

Former Detroit Tigers first baseman Darrell Evans will appear at the June 18 game against Kokomo. Hometown Hero Wednesday include ticket discounts that are pretty common among minor-league teams for military and first responders, but also uncommonly includes snow plow drivers. Many teams (including TC) have a Bark in the Park night where fans can bring their dogs, but the Spitters will allow leashed cats in the stadium July 30.

Battle Creek Bombers

Location: Battle Creek, Mich.

Ballpark (capacity): C.O. Brown Stadium (2,193)

Northwoods League member since: 2007

Miscellaneous team facts: The Bombers compete for the I-94 Cup with the Kalamazoo Growlers. The team mascot is a mosquito named Moe Skeeter.

The team is owned by the Northwoods League itself. A 2007 game against Rochester was nationally televised on ESPNU. The team actually reduced stadium capacity from more than 4,000 to its current level in 2016 to add the “Home Plate Club” — granite half-moon-shaped tables behind home plate featuring chairs from Camden Yards in Baltimore.

Fond du Lac Dock Spiders

Location: Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Ballpark (capacity): Herr-Baker Field (2,000)

Northwoods League member since: 2017

Miscellaneous team facts: The team’s name finalists were Barn Owls, Dock Spiders, Lake Flies, Pipsqueaks and Shantymen. The Dock Spiders play their games on the campus of Marian University and, like the Pit Spitters, are owned by the same ownership group of a Midwest League team, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

The team has three bobblehead giveaways this season, plus an oversized replica championship ring giveaway on June 9.

Green Bay Booyah

Location: Green Bay, Wisconsin

Ballpark (capacity): Capital Credit Union Park (3,359)

Northwoods League member since: 2007

Miscellaneous team facts: The team used to be called the Bullfrogs before rebranding last year as the Booyah, “a communal stew of vegetables and less desirable cuts of meat cooked in large kettles.” The ballpark features the world’s largest booyah kettle, at 2,000 gallons. The team is offering ticket upgrades for the June 19 game against the Dock Spiders to fans who eat a spider.

Kalamazoo Growlers

Location: Kalamazoo, Mich.

Ballpark (capacity): Homer Stryker Field (4,000)

Northwoods League member since: 2013

Miscellaneous team facts: The Growlers play at the same park as former Frontier League franchise Kalamazoo Kings. The team’s unofficial nickname is “The 64s” because of the number of ounces held in a beer growler. The team mascot, Porter, wears jersey No. 64 for same reason. Their Game of Thrones night includes concessions fare such as HoDoritos, Three Eyes Raisins and chicken Little Fingers.

Kenosha Kingfish

Location: Kenosha, Wisconsin

Ballpark (capacity): Simmons Field (3,218)

Northwoods League member since: 2013

Miscellaneous team facts: The city’s previous minor-league teams have included the Twins, Mammoths and Kroakers. King Elvis the First is the mascot of the Kingfish. Before home games, he ziplines from the left field foul pole to deliver the ball for the first pitch. The Kingfish lead the league with six bobblehead giveaways slated for this season. A July 12 promo features a random hot dog in the ballpark with a $100 bill inside it. Fifty fans at each Thursday game receive free lottery tickets.

Kokomo Jackrabbits

Location: Kokomo, Indiana

Ballpark (capacity): Kokomo Municipal Stadium (4,000)

Northwoods League member since: 2014

Miscellaneous team facts: The former Prospect League franchise dons uniforms in the colors of the 1970s-80s San Diego Padres, with brown, mustard and orange colors. The team’s name derives from a car made in Kokomo by Apperson from 1907 to 1926. The June 22 game features a bobblehead giveaway of the team mascot driving an Apperson Jackrabbit car. The team will wear special jerseys Aug. 2 to celebrate the anniversary of Woodstock.

Lakeshore Chinooks

Location: Mequon, Wisconsin

Ballpark (capacity): Kapco Park (3,000)

Northwoods League member since: 2012

Miscellaneous team facts: The Chinooks play on the campus of Concordia University Wisconsin. The team’s ownership of 12 investors includes Milwaukee Bucks GM John Hammond, Milwaukee Brewers great Robin Yount and Brewers play-by-play announcer Bob Uecker. The team is giving away 750 Robin Yount wine stoppers at its July 6 game. Fans at the sold-out July 17 game get a free general admission ticket to Milwaukee’s Summerfest.

Madison Mallards

Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Ballpark (capacity): Warner Park (7,500)

Northwoods League member since: 2001

Miscellaneous team facts: The Mallards led the nation in attendance among collegiate summer baseball teams, averaging over 6,308 fans per game in 2017 and 6,249 in 2018. The club offers Duck Blind seating in right field, which costs up to $41 and includes unlimited food and drinks. Like the Kingfish, the Mallards have a whopping six bobblehead giveaway nights, including mascot Maynard as a beekeeper for Save The Bees Night, June 7. The team’s other mascot, Millie, gets a bobblehead for Game of Thrones night June 14.

Rockford Rivets

Location: Rockford, Illinois

Ballpark (capacity): Rivets Stadium (3,279)

Northwoods League member since: 2015

Miscellaneous team facts: The Rivets replaced the Rockford Aviators (also called the RiverHawks from 2000-12) after the Frontier League team folded in 2015.

The team is partially owned by Northwoods League president Dick Radatz. Promotions include Wrestling Night (July 22), Renew Your Vows (July 14) and Wizarding Wednesday (July 31).

Wisconsin Woodchucks

Location: Wausau, Wisconsin

Ballpark (capacity): Athletic Park (3,850)

Northwoods League member since: 1994

Miscellaneous team facts: Notable alumni include MLB players Casey Janssen, Pat Neshek, Ben Zobrist and Mark Lowe. One of the longest-tenured Northwoods teams, the franchise went by the Wausau Woodchucks from 1994-98. Mascot Woodrow T. Woodchuck has a 1-305 record in base races.

The June 8 game includes an unpainted bobblehead of mascot Woody and a set of paints and brush.

Nothing could go wrong there. An Aug. 1 bobblehead night has Woody dressed in lederhosen, but the Aug. 7 bobblehead giveaway is mascot with bones painted on the outside for a game sponsored by a local doctor’s office.

Wisconsin Rapids Rafters

Location: Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin

Ballpark (capacity): Witter Field (1,560)

Northwoods League member since: 2010

Miscellaneous team facts: The franchise is owned by Big Top Baseball, which also owns the Mallards, Kingfish and Booyah. Witter Field features 234 seats from Milwaukee County Stadium, former home of the Milwaukee Braves and Brewers from 1953-2000. Ever wanted to meet WWE’s Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart? He’ll be at the June 26 game. They have four bobblehead nights, three of them including mascot Rosco in different outfits.

GREAT PLAINS DIVISION

Bismarck Larks

Location: Bismarck, North Dakota

Ballpark (capacity): Bismarck Municipal Ballpark (1,600)

Northwoods League member since: 2017

Miscellaneous team facts: Larks, Bullies and Flickertails were the finalists for the team’s naming competition. Bismarck Municipal Ballpark is one of the smaller NWL fields in terms of seating capacity, but goes back to 1921 and used to house the Bismarck Churchills independent team that was the first integrated team future Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige played for in 1933. Donate dog food or shoes starting July 13 and get a free Larks dog leash or collar. A local funeral home sponsors a “Bucket List” night where fans can win $1,000 toward an experience they submit on the team’s website.

Mankato Moondogs

Location: Mankato, Minnesota

Ballpark (capacity): Franklin Rogers Park (1,400)

Northwoods League member since: 1999

Miscellaneous team facts: The smallest NWL ballpark — known as “The Frank” — houses the Moondogs, who have made the playoffs in eight of the last 11 seasons but never won a title in the team’s 20-year history. Team co-owner Kyle Smith is a former New York Post film critic and current critic-at-large at the National Review. Former Detroit Tigers outfielder Curtis Granderson played for the Moondogs in 2001. June 17 features a date night — two tickets, two meal vouchers, two $5 gift cards to local watering hole Tav on the Ave and two Moondogs koozies for $20.

Rochester Honkers

Location: Rochester, Minnesota

Ballpark (capacity): Mayo Field (2,570)

Northwoods League member since: 1994

Miscellaneous team facts: Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier is an alum, and team owner Dan Archer is a Grand Rapids native who played football for the University of Oregon and offensive tackle in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals. The Honkers have won the NWL title five times, most recently in 2009. One lucky dad on Fathers Day wins a lawn mower, but not a player to push it.

St. Cloud Rox

Location: St. Cloud, Minnesota

Ballpark (capacity): Joe Faber Field (2,000)

Northwoods League member since: 1997

Miscellaneous team facts: The Dubuque Mud Puppies relocated to St. Cloud in 1997 to become the River Bats. The team rebranded to the Rox in 2012, taking on the name of a minor-league team that played there until 1971. Former Detroit Tigers players Tom Gorzelanny, Casey McGehee and Robbie Weinhardt played for the franchise. This is not a joke: The team used to play at Dick Putz Field. But you can get a free taco voucher at every Tuesday game. The first 300 kids 12 and under at the June 29 game get a free piggy bank and then get to race onto the field after the game to pick up 4,000 quarters on the infield.

Willmar Stingers

Location: Willmar, Minnesota

Ballpark (capacity): Bill Taunton Stadium (1,500)

Northwoods League member since: 2010

Miscellaneous team facts: The Stingers share Taunton Stadium with five others — the Willmar Cardinals high school team, Ridgewater College, two VFW league teams and an American Legion squad. Willmar was the site of a bank robbery by the infamous Machine Gun Kelly gang on July 15, 1930. The Stingers have a giveaway at nearly every home game, but nothing celebrating Machine Gun Kelly. What a crime. Playing in Taunton Stadium, it’s also a savagely missed opportunity to not have a Star Wars Night every season featuring tauntauns.

Duluth Huskies

Location: Duluth, Minnesota

Ballpark (capacity): Wade Stadium (4,200)

Northwoods League member since: 2003

Miscellaneous team facts: The Huskies — and mascot Harley D. Huskie — lost in the 2018 league championship to Fond du Lac. Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Drew Smyly played for Duluth, as did current MLB reliever Mark Melancon. Promotions this season include Facial Hair Appreciation Night and Prince Night, celebrating the late musician’s 61st birthday. The Game of Thrones Night on July 27 lets kids have a pre-game sword fight (no mention of where injuries can be treated).

Eau Claire Express

Location: Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Ballpark (capacity): Carson Park (3,800)

Northwoods League member since: 2005

Miscellaneous team facts: Current Detroit Tigers starter Jordan Zimmerman pitched for the Express. Promotions this season include Cheese Curd Appreciation night and a June 14 game where a fan can win a pre-paid funeral. The July 31 game has a “chance to win” a Burleigh Grimes bobblehead. Grimes was a Wisconsin native and Hall of Fame pitcher from 1916-34 who was the last pitcher officially permitted by MLB to throw the spitball after it was outlawed in 1920. He pitched in 1912 for the Eau Claire Commissioners.

La Crosse Loggers

Location: La Crosse, Wisconsin

Ballpark (capacity): Copeland Park (3,550)

Northwoods League member since: 2003

Miscellaneous team facts: Loggers alumni include former Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer and Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale. Team owner Dan Kapanke was a member of the Wisconsin state Senate before losing a recall election in 2011. If a player steals home on July 10, one lucky fan will win free buffets for a year. Twelve-ounce drafts, hot dogs and 16-ounce sodas (it’s Wisconsin; they prefer “soda” to “pop,” but you can skip the controversy by ordering a beer instead) are only $1 on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Thunder Bay Border Cats

Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Ballpark (capacity): Port Arthur Stadium (3,031)

Northwoods League member since: 2003

Miscellaneous team facts: The league’s only Canadian team, the Border Cats produced current Detroit Tigers pitcher Blaine Hardy (as well as Tigers AAA prospect Jacob Robson, nicknamed the “Maple Hammer”). The Cats haven’t had a winning season since winning the NWL championship in 2008. Every Saturday night game, fans can purchase a steak dinner (including potato and a beer) with a ticket for $35. They have a bobblehead giveaway July 20, but ironically, the Canadian team isn’t nice enough to say who or what it is at this time.

Waterloo Bucks

Location: Waterloo, Iowa

Ballpark (capacity): Riverfront Stadium (5,000)

Northwoods League member since: 1995

Miscellaneous team facts: Certain games include all-you-can-eat and drink tickets for $20. Beer starts at 25 cents during Progressive Quarter Beer Night games and increases a quarter every hour until the game ends. Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Evan Reed played for the Bucks in 2005. Four lucky fans on June 20 win tickets to see mock glam rockers Hairball in concert at a different Iowa team’s baseball stadium, as well as local cover band The Pork Tornadoes. The Bucks host this season’s Northwoods League All-Star Game, but who can compete with The Pork Tornadoes?

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