Great Lakes Loons
|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|
|League titles (1)||2000|
|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 (even a night when fans were actually offered a dollar to come to that night's game) also 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.
Dow Diamond will host the All-Star Game again in 2017.
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. There have been 41 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. In 2010, a trio of past Great Lakes players made it to the show. Cleveland Indians catcher Carlos Santana, Orioles third baseman Josh Bell, and pitcher Kenley Jansen of Dodgers all spent time in the big leagues. Dee Gordon won the 2015 National League Batting Title.
Other notable former Loons include Josh Lindblom, Dee Gordon, Nathan Eovaldi, Javy Guerra, Rubby De La Rosa, Jerry Sands, Steven Rodriguez, Shawn Tolleson, Josh Wall, José Dominguez, Andrew Lambo, Matt Magill, Allen Webster, and Scott Van Slyke.
Great Lakes Loons roster
|Michigan Battle Cats (1995–2002)|
|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|
|Battle Creek Yankees (2003–2004)|
|2003||73–64||3rd||Mitch Seoane||Lost in 2nd round|
|2004||71–68||9th||Mitch Seoane (13–18) / Bill Mosiello (58–50)|
|Southwest Michigan Devil Rays (2005–2006)|
|2005||72–67||4th (t)||Joe Szekely||Lost in 1st round|
|Great Lakes Loons (2007 – present)|
|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)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Great Lakes Loons.|