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West Michigan Whitecaps to play as Beer City Bung Hammers

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4 hours ago, whitedawg22 said:

 

The nickname isn't just an invention for this jersey - it's something that Grand Rapids markets around.

 

https://www.experiencegr.com/things-to-do/beer-city/ 


As an outsider, I'm really not seeing what makes Grand Rapids so different from any different from all the other cities of consequential size that all have their own assortment of craft breweries and brewpubs.  Besides, with the real Brew City right across Lake Michigan, it just comes off as poor taste.  Milwaukee never tried to step on Detroit's toes and call itself something like "Engine City" despite being home to Harley Davidson and AMC.
 

1 hour ago, the admiral said:

I always wonder how major-league expansion will trickle down to the minors. I didn't realize West Michigan was a Grand Rapids team (I thought maybe Battle Creek? Kalamazoo? Benton Harbor?) so that would be an obvious candidate for AAA expansion. Jacksonville or Vancouver would be another.


Technically, the Whitecaps are in a suburb a good 10 miles outside of Grand Rapids, but that was news to me fairly recently too.

I wonder who a Grand Rapids/West Michigan AAA club would affiliate with though since I doubt the Tigers would ever leave Toledo.  Selfishly, it'd be nice to have Brewers prospects within driving distance again.

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Similarly it's always been weird to me that the Dayton Dragons are a single A team in a city that could fit right in with AA and is larger than several AAA cities. 

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It's triple-A hockey, but I like the AHL's mix of NBA markets without NHL teams and depressed mill towns of upstate New York. No, just kidding, I hate the mix, I want more depressed mill towns!

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21 minutes ago, the admiral said:

It's triple-A hockey, but I like the AHL's mix of NBA markets without NHL teams and depressed mill towns of upstate New York. No, just kidding, I hate the mix, I want more depressed mill towns!

 

The AHL is nothing without depressed mill towns. Long live the Utica Comets.

 

Signed,

A Guy Born in an AHL-Hosting Depressed Mill Town in Connecticut

 

(Though said depressed mill town has stereotypical rich suburbs thanks to being in commuting distance of Stamford and NYC, but ignore that. 😉)

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3 hours ago, the admiral said:

Tigers, Indians, White Sox, Brewers?


Toledo is less than an hour's drive from Detroit, and they've been affiliated since 1987. Not sure I see them ending that affiliation even if it is for another Michigan city.

The Indians just affiliated with Columbus a few years ago.  Not sure they'd end a relationship with a team in their own backyard to affiliate somewhere further away where the fans like their divisional rivals.

The White Sox could definitely work.  New Comiskey is the closest MLB park to Grand Rapids.  But I really feel like Indianapolis would be a better fit for them.  If they have to play little brother everywhere in Chicagoland that's not the city's southside, why not try to drum up a fanbase in Indiana?

The ideal home for a Brewers AAA club is Madison or the Fox Valley, though I'm not sure I see either building a new park anytime soon.  But because they're an NL club, the fans in Grand Rapids wouldn't have too feel conflicted about their loyalty to the Tigers. Besides, if they really want to go all in on this "Beer City" stuff, who better to affiliate with?

 

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15 hours ago, NicDB said:


As an outsider, I'm really not seeing what makes Grand Rapids so different from any different from all the other cities of consequential size that all have their own assortment of craft breweries and brewpubs.  Besides, with the real Brew City right across Lake Michigan, it just comes off as poor taste.  Milwaukee never tried to step on Detroit's toes and call itself something like "Engine City" despite being home to Harley Davidson and AMC.
 


Technically, the Whitecaps are in a suburb a good 10 miles outside of Grand Rapids, but that was news to me fairly recently too.

I wonder who a Grand Rapids/West Michigan AAA club would affiliate with though since I doubt the Tigers would ever leave Toledo.  Selfishly, it'd be nice to have Brewers prospects within driving distance again.

 

I can't speak to other cities, but Grand Rapids was voted Beer City USA in a number of national polls from 2012-2017. Nothing scientific, but it at least gives the claim a color of legitimacy. Founders is one of the biggest microbreweries, and there are a number of other GR breweries that are significant on a regional level. With regard to Milwaukee, I'd argue that it was the most significant brewing city at one point back in the pre-craft era, but is now far behind with regard to influential breweries - there's Lakefront, and that's about it.

 

Also, the Whitecaps are in a "suburb" in name only - Comstock Park is certainly part of the Grand Rapids urban area. I work in downtown GR and can see the stadium from my office on a clear day.

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7 hours ago, whitedawg22 said:

 

I can't speak to other cities, but Grand Rapids was voted Beer City USA in a number of national polls from 2012-2017. Nothing scientific, but it at least gives the claim a color of legitimacy. Founders is one of the biggest microbreweries, and there are a number of other GR breweries that are significant on a regional level. With regard to Milwaukee, I'd argue that it was the most significant brewing city at one point back in the pre-craft era, but is now far behind with regard to influential breweries - there's Lakefront, and that's about it.

 

Also, the Whitecaps are in a "suburb" in name only - Comstock Park is certainly part of the Grand Rapids urban area. I work in downtown GR and can see the stadium from my office on a clear day.


Admittedly, my experience of West Michigan is limited to Kalamazoo, Muskegon, and Benton Harbor.  So I'll have to take your word on that.  But if the park really is that close to the central city of Grand Rapids, they really hurt themselves in naming the team regionally.  Most people have no idea that the Whitecaps are from a Top 40 media market.  If Grand Rapids has enough cache for the AAA level of hockey, certainly it could stand for itself in the Midwest League.

But no city will ever match the sheer influence on not only the art of brewing, but tavern culture in general that Milwaukee has had dating back to the 19th century.   I'm not saying that to take away from Founders or any of the other quality craft breweries that have emerged in placed like Grand Rapids, or Denver, or Portland.  But there's only so much influence they can exert being smaller and (for the most part) regionally distributed.  I would also argue that Milwaukee's lack of well-known craft breweries is because Lakefront (31 years old, which is ancient in the world of craft brewing) and New Glarus are so entrenched here.

It's like how the Yankees have only won one World Series since 2000.  But love them or hate them, they're still the gold standard by which every other major pro sports enterprise is measured.

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10 hours ago, NicDB said:


Admittedly, my experience of West Michigan is limited to Kalamazoo, Muskegon, and Benton Harbor.  So I'll have to take your word on that.  But if the park really is that close to the central city of Grand Rapids, they really hurt themselves in naming the team regionally.  Most people have no idea that the Whitecaps are from a Top 40 media market.  If Grand Rapids has enough cache for the AAA level of hockey, certainly it could stand for itself in the Midwest League.

But no city will ever match the sheer influence on not only the art of brewing, but tavern culture in general that Milwaukee has had dating back to the 19th century.   I'm not saying that to take away from Founders or any of the other quality craft breweries that have emerged in placed like Grand Rapids, or Denver, or Portland.  But there's only so much influence they can exert being smaller and (for the most part) regionally distributed.  I would also argue that Milwaukee's lack of well-known craft breweries is because Lakefront (31 years old, which is ancient in the world of craft brewing) and New Glarus are so entrenched here.

It's like how the Yankees have only won one World Series since 2000.  But love them or hate them, they're still the gold standard by which every other major pro sports enterprise is measured.

 

It's literally across the river from Grand Rapids. But, it's not in Grand Rapids and my guess was there was some local pressure to not give the team the Grand Rapids name. So, instead of Comstock Park, it's easier to do West Michigan. I always had thought it was further from downtown than it is. But, it's quite close.

 

 

 

 

As for the problem with Grand Rapids, is that AAA isn't moving in any time soon. Plus, I'd think the stadium is too small now for it, anyways. AA, the Eastern League's western outpost is Akron and second is Erie. That's a long haul for one team. I thought NYPL having a team in Morgantown (just outside, actually), WV was bad when Mahoning Valley was already far away from the rest of the league.

 

Aside from league size, the league they're in works well geographically. Maybe Bowling Green/Lake County were a bit of outliers moving from the South Atlantic during the last big shuffle, but it is the Midwest League of mostly Michigan, Illinois, and Iowa teams with Dayton/Lake County to the east, BG to the south, and a few teams up in Wisconsin. Plus, being A, they get to be affiliated with Detroit. Something I know from visiting GR in the past is that they're much more fans of Detroit than Chicago. Which helps that the Griffins are Red Wings affiliates, and their NBABCDEFG-League team is affiliate with the Pistons.

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I kinda suspected Grand Rapids/West Michigan had little motivation to move up, and now it's confirmed.  At the AAA level, they most likely wouldn't be a Tigers affiliate, which is probably their biggest selling point right now.

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5 hours ago, NicDB said:

I kinda suspected Grand Rapids/West Michigan had little motivation to move up, and now it's confirmed.  At the AAA level, they most likely wouldn't be a Tigers affiliate, which is probably their biggest selling point right now.

 

I don't know if people really care about that (although admittedly I'm not a big baseball fan). When the team started, it was an A's affiliate, and it seemed to be relatively popular right away.

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Gilbert finally wised up and dropped "Lake Erie" as the Monsters' name.  Might be wise for the WhiteBung CapHammers to follow suit.

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"Grand Rapids Dutchmen" would be an interesting concept. They could wear a lot of oranje.

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18 hours ago, whitedawg22 said:

 

I don't know if people really care about that (although admittedly I'm not a big baseball fan). When the team started, it was an A's affiliate, and it seemed to be relatively popular right away.


Might that have had to do with the ballpark being brand spankin' new?  A lot of Midwest League teams got new facilities in the 90s and experienced explosions of interest because of it.

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