Great Lakes Loons
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|Great Lakes Loons
Founded in 1982
Based in Midland since 2007
|Minor league affiliations|
|Major league affiliations|
|Current||Los Angeles Dodgers (2007–present)|
|Minor league titles|
|Ballpark||Dow Diamond (2007–present)|
|Michigan Baseball Foundation|
|General manager||Paul Barbeau|
The Great Lakes Loons, based in Midland, Michigan, is a Low Class A minor league baseball team, affiliated with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team plays in the Midwest League and their home park is Dow Diamond, which opened in April 2007.
The Midwest League came to Battle Creek, in 1995 after the franchise formerly known as the Madison Hatters moved. The team was first known as the Battle Creek Golden Kazoos. Due to a trademark dispute and general fan dissatisfaction with the name (which is a nickname for the nearby city of Kalamazoo), the name was changed to the Michigan Battle Cats on March 9, 1995.
The team was affiliated with the Boston Red Sox (1995–98) and Houston Astros (1999–2002). The team changed its name to the Battle Creek Yankees after becoming an affiliate of the New York Yankees in 2003. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays took over affiliation of the team in September 2004, changing the team name to Southwest Michigan Devil Rays. In September 2006, the team announced its affiliation with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In January 2006, it was confirmed that the Devil Rays would be sold to the non-profit Michigan Baseball Foundation and relocated to Midland, Michigan. The team has been renamed the Great Lakes Loons. The main reason the team relocated was because of the lack of interest from the Battle Creek community. Reduced ticket prices, and even a night when fans were actually offered a dollar to come to that night's game, failed to pique the interest of local residents.
Naming rights for the Loons' stadium were purchased by Dow Chemical, which is headquartered in Midland. The company named the stadium "Dow Diamond." The name is a play on the company's logo, a red diamond.
In November 2006, The Loons named former Detroit Tiger Lance Parrish as the team's first manager since the move to Michigan's Tri-City Area. The first home game was played on April 13, 2007 which resulted in a loss to the Lansing Lugnuts.
The Loons hosted the 2008 Midwest League All-Star Game, in just their second season.
On August 10, 2013, the Loons hosted their biggest crowd ever at 6,189 people.
Lou E. Loon is the team mascot and Ambassador of Fun for the team. He's an energetic bird who loves to dance at home games and make public appearances. The kids' play area at the diamond is named Lou E.'s Lookout in his honor. He often leads fans in his signature cheer, the "Funky Feather", which won "Best In-Game Promotion of the Year" in 2009 for Minor League Baseball.
"Rall E. Camel" was introduced as the team's second mascot in April 2012. He is an honorary deputy ambassador of mischief and is an ostensibly goofy addition to the staff of the Great Lakes Loons.
Notable alumni of the Midwest League, Battle Creek franchise include Rafael Betancourt, Justin Duchscherer, Shea Hillenbrand, Matt Kinney, Jason Lane, Aaron Miles, Melky Cabrera, Roy Oswalt, Carl Pavano, Tim Redding, Chris Reitsma, and Johan Santana. Twenty-two former Loons have made it to the major leagues. Left handed pitcher Clayton Kershaw debuted in 2008 and is now in the Dodgers' starting rotation. Víctor Gárate, another southpaw who is a now a reliever in the Washington Nationals organization made it a year later in 2009. 2010 saw a trio of past Great Lakes players make it to the show. Cleveland Indians Catcher Carlos Santana, Orioles Third Baseman Josh Bell, and Pitcher Kenley Jansen of Los Angeles all spent time in the big leagues.
Former Loons in MLB
There are 16 Loons to have played at least one game in the major leagues. They are: Josh Bell, Nathan Eovaldi, Dee Gordon, Javy Guerra, Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw, Josh Lindblom, Rubby De La Rosa, Jerry Sands, Carlos Santana, Steven Rodriguez, Shawn Tolleson, Josh Wall, José Dominguez, Matt Magill, Allen Webster.
Kershaw was born March 19, 1988, in Dallas, Texas. He did not attend college and was drafted 7th overall in the 2006 MLB draft. He is 6'3", 215 lbs. and bats and throws left-handedly. His MLB debut came on May 25, 2008 against the Cardinals, pitching 6 innings, allowing two earned runs on 5 hits, while fanning 7. He has pitched in 113 games in the majors, starting all but 2, has had 6 complete games, 3 shutouts, and has thrown 681.2 innings. He has allowed 238 runs, 14 unearned, on 540 hits, 44 being home runs. He has fanned 709 batters, almost three times his 249 bases on balls. He is 43-28. On average, he throws 101 pitches per start, has a WHIP ((walks+hits)/innings pitched) of 1.19, and an ERA of 2.96, allowing a batting average of .218. This season, he became the fourth pitcher in the divisional era (since 1969) to have consecutive seasons of 200 strikeouts before the age of 24, behind only Dwight Gooden, Frank Tanana, and Bert Blyleven. He is first in the National League in wins, strikeouts, and innings pitched, and second in ERA, WHIP, win percentage, and complete games, this season.
Lindblom was born June 15, 1987, in Lafayette, Indiana. He went to college at Purdue and was drafted 61st overall in the 2008 MLB draft. He is 6'4", 239 lbs. and bats and throws right-handed. His MLB debut was on June 1, 2011, against the Rockies. He threw one inning, allowing no earned runs on two hits. He has pitched in 17 games, zero starts, complete games, or shutouts, and 20.1 innings. He has allowed 5 runs, all earned, on 13 hits, with zero home runs. He has a 2:1 ratio of strikeouts to bases on balls, being 14 to 7. He is 1-0, has zero saves, one hold, and one blown save. He has a WHIP of .98 and an ERA of 2.21.
Great Lakes Loons roster
- Michigan Battle Cats (1995–2002)
- Battle Creek Yankees (2003–2004)
- Southwest Michigan Devil Rays (2005–2006)
- Great Lakes Loons (2007 – present)
|1995||75–62||4th||DeMarlo Hale||Lost League Finals|
|1997||70–67||4th||Billy Gardner, Jr.||Lost in 1st round|
|1998||79–61||2nd (t)||Billy Gardner, Jr.||Lost in 1st round|
|1999||76–62||3rd||Al Pedrique||Lost in 1st round|
|2000||82–56||2nd||Al Pedrique||League Champs|
|2001||82–55||3rd||John Massarelli||Lost in 1st round|
|2002||79–61||4th||John Massarelli||Lost in 1st round|
|2003||73–64||3rd||Mitch Seoane||Lost in 2nd round|
|2004||71–68||9th||Mitch Seoane (13–18) / Bill Mosiello (58–50)|
|2005||72–67||4th (t)||Joe Szekely||Lost in 1st round|
|2009||81–59||2nd (t)||Juan Bustabad||Lost in 2nd round|
|2010||90–49||1st||Juan Bustabad||Lost in 2nd round|
- Dinda, J. (2003). "Battle Creek, Michigan, in the Midwest League".
- WLUN (sports radio station owned by the Loons)
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Great Lakes Loons