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After tumultuous offseason, Whitecaps ready for season opener

West Michigan Whitecaps

What an amazing story: after a January fire that saw part of Fifth Third Ballpark destroyed, the West Michigan Whitecaps (Low Class A; Midwest League) are ready for a season opener tomorrow.

You’ll recall the Jan. 3 fire that wiped out the right-field suite level at Fifth Third Ballpark, along with the concourse installation and the clubhouse below. Immediately, the Whitecaps ownership pledged to rebuilt the ballpark in time for the April 8 season opener. And they did it.

Work has progressed to the point where the suite level will be open and operational, while the concourse below — known for its interesting food offerings — is open. The new concourse concession space will be 1,700 square feet larger and feature two additional points of sale. Also on the docket: a new team store in the old front office. renamed “CapSized.” It will be more accessible for fan during the game, approximately three times the size of the old shop.

The Whitecaps also used the fire as a good reason for additional ballpark expansion down the first-base line. It’s still a work in process: the total project won’t be ready until the 2015 season, but more work should be finished in time for the Midwest League All-Star Game in June.

Take a look at how the work progressed:

Montage courtesy of the West Michigan Whitecaps.

RELATED STORIES: Whitecaps unveil 2014-2015 ballpark improvements; Fifth Third Ballpark restoration begins; Fire at Fifth Third Ballpark caused by space heater; Second small fire put out at Fifth Third Ballpark; Baxter: We’ll reopen Fifth Third Ballpark for season opener; Fire breaks out at Fifth Third Ballpark


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