Mickey Graham, a long-time baseball staffer with the West Michigan Whitecaps (High-A; Midwest League) and the first general manager of the Traverse City Pit Spitters (summer collegiate; Northwoods League), is stepping away at the end of the 2022 season.
The Whitecaps share principal ownership with the Pit Spitters, and his relationship with both has spanned 20 years. Graham has been the organization’s only General Manager, moving to Traverse City from West Michigan in February of 2019 before the start of the Pit Spitters inaugural season.
“It’s great to see the way our community responded to the new team and the new experience we have created; they’ve embraced the philosophy we’ve brought, specifically understanding what a vibrant stadium can do for a region,” said Graham via press release. “For me it’s always been about the fan experience. We’ve focused on making sure that every event is positive for the guest, whether it’s a Pit Spitters game or special event, our concern is always the fan experience.”
In Graham’s tenure, the organization has seen many successes including two Northwoods League championships, in the two full seasons of baseball, shepherding the club through its inaugural season and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as securing Turtle Creek Stadium’s two largest events in the ballpark’s history with an Old Dominion concert in September of 2021 and Nitro Circus in October of the same year.
“We have accomplished a lot over the last three and half years and I think the time is right to turn the reigns over to the next person. I’m proud of the work this staff has done and am confident that the organization is on solid footing and that the best is yet to come for Pit Spitters fans,” Graham said “The Pit Spitters have one of the best ownership groups around and as long as they are at the helm, I feel really good about baseball in Traverse City.”
“Mickey is one of the best to have ever done it. In terms of promotional creativity, driving innovation and building an organization that is truly embedded in its community, you can’t ask for someone to care more about what they do,” said Joe Chamberlin, the Pit Spitters CEO and Managing Partner, via press release. “On behalf of the Pit Spitters, the Whitecaps, and I think its fair to say baseball fans in Traverse City and West Michigan, we wish Mickey the best as he embarks on his next chapter following this season and can’t wait to see him back at the ballpark as a fan next summer.” A search is currently underway to identify Graham’s replacement.
As far as what comes next for Graham, that will come into focus in the coming months. “It’s been a memorable career in baseball, one that I have loved very much, but now it’s time for me to find a new adventure and I couldn’t be more excited about what comes next.”