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Kalamazoo Growlers
Information
LeagueNorthwoods League (Great Lakes East Division 2019-pres)
(South Division 2014-2018)
LocationKalamazoo, Michigan
BallparkHomer Stryker Field
Year founded2013
Nickname(s)The Blues, The 64s
League championships0
Division championships0
ColorsNavy, Teal and Gold      
MascotPorter
Last season40-25-6
OwnershipDick Radatz Jr.
ManagementBrian Colopy
CoachCody Piechocki
Mediahttp://mixlr.com/kzoo-growlers/
Websitegrowlersbaseball.com

The Kalamazoo Growlers are a baseball team based in Kalamazoo, Michigan that plays in the Northwoods League, a summer collegiate baseball league. The Growlers were founded in 2013 and played their first game on May 28, 2014, losing to the then defending league champion Madison Mallards 6-2. The Growlers played their first home game on May 30, 2014, beating the Battle Creek Bombers 13-3. The team plays its home games at Homer Stryker Field.

History

On June 3, 2013, the Kalamazoo City Commission approved a contract with Kalamazoo Baseball, LLC to bring a team back to the city. Kalamazoo had been without a baseball team since the Kalamazoo Kings of the Frontier League disbanded in 2011. The contract stipulated that the Northwoods League would pay expenses associated with the team's home games, practice and the maintenance of Homer Stryker Field. On Nov. 15 of that year, the team was formally introduced as the Kalamazoo Growlers, a tribute to the city's brewing tradition and the black bears that can be heard "growling" in the forests of Michigan.

Seasons

Year W-L PCT Place I-94 Rivalry Cup Postseason
2014 29-43 .403 8th NWL South Won: 5 games to 3
2015 17-55 .236 9th NWL South Lost: 0 games to 8
2016 33-39 .458 5th NWL South Lost: 2 games to 6
2017 28-44 .389 6th NWL South Lost: 1 game to 7
2018 41-31 .569 2nd NWL South Won: 5 games to 3 Wild Card: Beat the Kenosha Kingfish 5-3. Division Championship: Lost to the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders 3-1.
2019 37-35 .514 2nd NWL GLE Won: 8 games to 4 GLE: Lost to the Traverse City Pit Spitters 2 games to 0.
2020 40-25-6 .597 1st NWL MIS Won: 19-13-3 Lost to the Kalamazoo Mac Daddies 4-2
Overall 225-272-6 .453

Rivalry

The Growlers compete for the I-94 Rivalry Cup with the Battle Creek Bombers. The rivalry began in 2014 when the Growlers entered the Northwoods League, ending the Bombers reign as the only team in the league from Michigan. The teams are tied in the yearly series 3-3 and Kalamazoo trails in the all-time series 21 games to 31.

Mascot

Porter
Porter

The mascot of the team is an anthropomorphic black bear named Porter. He was named after a dark style of beer and wears jersey number 64 (number of ounces held in a Growler), which pays homage to Kalamazoo's microbreweries. The original mascot was named Barlee, but the team lost the rights of the name to the Hillsboro Hops of the Northwest League.

Nicknames

The unofficial nickname of the team is "The Blues" which refers to the color of the team's away uniforms as well as two of their alternate uniforms. Another unofficial nickname is "The 64s" because 64 is the number of fluid ounces held in a Growler. The team mascot, Porter, wears jersey number 64 for this reason, and many fan jerseys are sold with the number.

Recognition & Promotions

The Growlers were recognized as a finalist for Ballpark Digest's 2014 Logo/Branding of the Year[1] and the team took home the top prize as the 2014 Summer-Collegiate Promotion of the Year for their "Salute to Selfie" Night which featured a collage of selfies on the player's jerseys which were submitted by Growlers fans.

The team name was chosen in a #NameTheTeam contest. Finalists included "Growlers", "Kraken", "Cabbies", "Kangaroos" and "Clutch". On June 20, 2015 the team saluted the contest by holding a "What If" night where the team changed their name to the Kraken for one game, losing to the La Crosse Loggers 9-7. Similarly on June 4, 2016 the team held a "What Would Have Been" night where they changed the team name to the Cabbies for one game, beating the Battle Creek Bombers 9-0.

In the 2015 season, the Growlers were 5th in the nation in attendance for summer collegiate baseball.

One of the feature items on the concessions menu was the Bear Claw Burger. The Bear Claw Burger was a 2/3 pound Angus hamburger topped with barbeque pulled pork, macaroni and cheese and coleslaw between two Sweetwater’s Donut Mill bear claw shaped donuts. This towering burger was originally sold with a drink and chips for an estimated total of 3,000 calories. It was available at Growlers games during the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

On August 13, 2016 the team wore "Emojerseys" covered in 25 different fan-favorite emojis.[2]

On July 24th, 2018 the team hosted the Northwoods League All Star Game as well as a celebration for the league's 25th anniversary. Three Growlers players represented the South Division in the game, which was a victory over the North Division 2-1. Three Growlers also competed in the Home Run Derby, which was won by Growlers Player Zach Daniels who hit three home runs.

Growlers in the Pros

On August 9th, 2019, John Schreiber became the first former Growler to reach the major leagues when he made his major league debut pitching in relief for the Detroit Tigers.

Name MLB Team MLB Debut Years with Growlers
John Schreiber Detroit Tigers August 9, 2019 2014
Name Highest Level Team Professional Organization Years with Growlers
Caleb Baragar Sacramento River Cats San Francisco Giants (AAA) 2014
Sean Isaac Salt Lake Bees Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (AAA) 2015
Troy Montgomery Erie SeaWolves Detroit Tigers (AA) 2014
Seby Zavala Birmingham Barons Chicago White Sox (AA) 2014
Matt Frawley Trenton Thunder New York Yankees (AA) 2015
Ryan Lidge Trenton Thunder New York Yankees (AA) 2015
Nick Yarnall Rancho Cucamonga Quakes Los Angeles Dodgers (A Advanced) 2014-2015
Camden Duzenack Visalia Rawhide Arizona Diamondbacks (A Advanced) 2015-2016
Charles Leblanc Down East Wood Ducks Texas Rangers (A Advanced) 2015
Tre Gantt Lynchburg Hillcats Cleveland Indians (A Advanced) 2016
Kenny Koplove Lakewood BlueClaws Philadelphia Phillies (A) 2014
Ryan Colegate Lake County Captains Cleveland Indians (A) 2014
Brandon Hughes South Bend Cubs Chicago Cubs (A) 2015
Dylan Busby West Virginia Power Pittsburgh Pirates (A) 2015
Nick Hutchins Lexington Legends Kansas City Royals (A) 2016-2017
Trey Ganns Greenville Drive Boston Red Sox (A) 2015
Brett Sunde Vermont Lake Monsters Oakland Athletics (A Short-Season) 2014
Josh Alberius Batavia Muckdogs Miami Marlins (A Short-Season) 2015
Alec Byrd Boise Hawks Colorado Rockies (A Short-Season) 2015
Dalton Combs Salem-Keizer Volcanoes San Francisco Giants (A Short-Season) 2015
Bryan Saucedo Arizona League White Sox Chicago White Sox (Rookie) 2015

References

  1. ^ Reichard, Kevin. "2014 Logo/Branding of the Year: Akron RubberDucks". Ballpark Digest. Retrieved 2016-02-04.
  2. ^ Manzullo, Brian (15 February 2016). "Kalamazoo baseball team to wear jerseys covered in emojis". freep.com. Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 17 February 2016.