Kalamazoo, Mich. – On the Fourth of July going to a baseball game is no longer just a fun outing with family or friends, it’s a patriotic duty. There truly is no better way to celebrate America’s birthday, than celebrating America’s pastime at the ballpark.
While many of their families and friends will be hitting up the beach, having bonfires and lighting off fireworks, the Kalamazoo Growlers will be entertaining the expected 5,000 fans that fill the seats inside Homer Stryker Field on the Fourth of July. To the outsider, this may seem like another game but to play on such a holiday is a memory that no growler will forget.
“I’m excited to be playing on the fourth,” said outfielder Grant VanPutten. “This is the game I have been looking forward to all summer.”
Baseball has captured the imagination of Americans more than any other sport and it holds a special place within American culture. The game has gone through the Great Depression World Wars and financial crisis’s, yet still remains the same and stronger than ever.
“It’s been an outlet for people whether they are rich or poor,” said infielder Ryan Spaulding. “It brings people together who normally wouldn’t in any other circumstance.”
What makes baseball unlike any other sport, is that you not only learn the basic fundamentals of how to play, but you can also learn the basic fundamentals about life as well.
“Baseball teaches me about failure and that you can fail 7 out of 10 times and still be considered a good ball player,” said infielder Dylan Ahern. “It has taught me life lessons that I’ve been able to use on and off the field.”
The majesty of Fourth of July and America is woven into the hearts and minds of us all. It is a staple of what America is and stands for. The experiences that we take in on this day certainly seem to live on with us for the rest of our lives.
“My best memory on the Fourth of July was when I went to a game and Adam Dunn hit a walk off home run,” said Ahern. “I just thought there is nothing more American than hitting walk off home run on July 4th.”
The Kalamazoo Growlers are hoping to be playing in front a sold out crowd. Estimates up to 5,000 people are expected to fill the seats of Homer Stryker Field and cheer on Kalamazoo’s hometown team. By far the largest crowds the Growlers have seen this year and with the game being on the Fourth of July, the Growlers want to put on the offensive fireworks before the actual ones begin.
“Knowing that we have the support that we do motivates us to play the best that we can and give everybody a good show,” said infielder Jesse Puscheck. “Fourth of July games are exciting because it makes your realize all that our country and troops have fought for to ensure our freedom.”
Many major league teams dawn the red, white and blue game day hats and jerseys and the Growlers will do the same with a special edition red, white and blue hat. Along with the hat will be custom made jerseys that show the American flag through the Growlers logo. Special jerseys, hats and more for truly a special night to be had at Homer Stryker Field.
“This will be something I will never forget, I am excited for the whole experience,” said VanPutten.
Once the game is done, the party truly begins at Homer Stryker Field as the only fireworks show in Kalamazoo will be rising above the stadium. Fireworks are a must for any Fourth of July event, but have been a staple for years at baseball stadiums across the country on Independence Day.
“Baseball has been such a big part of American history and there is no better way to spend a summer night then at the ball park,” said VanPutten.
Many people all over the country will flock to baseball stadiums to celebrate America’s birthday and America’s pastime. The memories made, the lessons learned and the experiences had on this day is why Fourth of July and baseball go hand in hand.
Make sure to grab your tickets for this patriotic day as the Growlers will take on the first half winner of the Northwoods League South Division the Lakeshore Chinooks on July 4th. First pitch is set for 7:35.