Introducing: the Lemonade League
LANSING, Mich. - When life gives you lemons in the form of no Minor League Baseball season, you create your own baseball season. That's what the Lansing Lugnuts are announcing today: a self-contained wood bat league to be played in July and August entirely at Cooley Law School Stadium.
"Due to factors beyond our control, it was not possible to have a Minor League Baseball season. The thought of not having baseball here this summer was something we couldn't fathom," said Lugnuts owner Tom Dickson. "This community has supported us for over 24 years now - through every up and down our state has been through. We owe it to them to try and activate the ballpark and provide a safe place for community to gather and come together.
"We couldn't be more excited to present the Lemonade League," said general manager Tyler Parsons. "This is going to be a ton of fun, and we're going to mix in some exciting new rules changes that will only enhance the experience. At the same time, the health and safety of players, coaches, staff and fans is the most important, and we are enacting a full scale COVID-19 plan with the support of the City of Lansing and Ingham County Health Department."
The Lemonade League will officially open its season if/when the state of Michigan moves to Phase 5, with an expected schedule of about 20 games from July through mid-August. This schedule would include such crowd favorites as Bobblehead Giveaways, Labatt Blue Thirsty Thursdays and LAFCU Post-Game Fireworks on Friday and Saturday nights. All Lemonade League tickets are general admission: $5 for regular game days and $7 for premium game days, with stadium capacity regulated by the state of Michigan.
In contrast to the usual nine-inning Midwest League game, each Lemonade League game will last only seven innings. If a game is tied after seven innings, a one-on-one Home Run Derby will decide the victor.
Another significant change from the usual Lugnuts game: The Lemonade League will use yellow baseballs.
The league will be headed by former Michigan State Spartans player and current Oakland Golden Grizzlies coach Chad Roskelly, serving as the league's director ofbaseball. Roskelly will be assisted by coaches Riley McCauley (Michigan State), Pete Romsek (Salem) and Cullen Turner (Lansing CC).
"I am excited that this group of college athletes will have the opportunity to compete in a game setting, after their college seasons were shortened," said Roskelly. "Many of these players believed they wouldn't play again until the fall or spring, so for the Lugnuts to provide them with this platform to showcase their skills is awesome.
"The staff's goal for this summer is to aid in player development and provide a competitive but fun atmosphere where they can build relationships that will last beyond the playing field. These athletes will get a taste of what playing in the minors is like, with access to facilities and data that they may have never experienced before. I am excited to get things going and for these athletes to provide an awesome viewing experience for people of all ages in the Lansing area!"
The Lemonade League will consist of players from Michigan State University, Lansing Community College, Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, the University of Toledo, Davenport University, Wayne State University, Grand Valley State University, Kalamazoo College, Saginaw Valley State University, Albion College, Ohio Valley University, and Olivet College. These players will be divided into two teams, one wearing the Lansing Lugnuts' white, black and red jerseys, the other wearing the Lansing Locos' gemstone blue and marigold jerseys.
Lansing Lugnuts director of stadium events Greg Kigar was the driving force in putting the league together and contacting players interested in competing. "From the first day we figured we'd be without Lugnuts baseball, Tyler and I were already trying to figure out a way to play baseball at Cooley Law School Stadium," said Kigar. "The Lemonade League will give back to the Lansing area baseball community and certainly provide a venue for our Michigan-based college players to continue their development. To see it come to fruition, with our owner's support, is extremely exciting. We want to give these guys a summer they won't forget!"
Baseball players interested in more information about the Lemonade League are encouraged to contact Greg Kigar via email at [email protected] or call (517) 485-4500.
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