Kalamazoo's minor league baseball team, the Growlers, have their home season opener on Wednesday, June 2nd. And the team hopes fans will fill the stands - sort of.
All pandemic restrictions on outdoor events in Michigan wwere lifted June 1st, 2021. That means the Growlers can seat up to 3,000 fans at Kalamazoo's Homer Stryker Field. Growlers General Manager Brian Colopy says the team is thankful that the community helped it get through a difficult 2020.
“We couldn’t have gotten through last year without the City of Kalamazoo and everything that’s a part of it. The sponsors, the ticket holders, the fans, the City, the actual government here. I mean it’s such a great special place.”
Colopy says the team faced some of the strictest attendance limits in the nation last year as the Growlers’ were allowed to only seat 100 fans at each game. Colopy says that made things difficult last year.
“In Kalamazoo, and in our region, we were under the most, the absolute most, restrictive regulations in the country. A hundred fans a game in a 5,000-person stadium? Even in Traverse City, Michigan, two or three hours north, they were at 500 fans.”
Colopy says improvements at Homer Stryker Field over the years will allow the Growlers to fill seats without overcrowding fans.
“Over the years we’ve already adjusted our seats and everything, so they are a little more spaced. We have different areas, so I just think over the years it’s already naturally there. We’re never going to cram 5,000 in here. This summer what we’re hoping for is more of the 3,000 person crowds like we’re used to.”
Colopy says the Growlers’ plans a full schedule of promotional events this season. And he says the team is taking precautions against COVID-19 by following state regulations.