The awards and accolades continue to roll in for the 2011 Division I baseball state champions, Rockford Rams. The Rams were recognized by the West Michigan Whitecaps, the single-A minor league affiliate for the Detroit Tigers. Rockford was only the second West Michigan high school baseball team to win the Division I title in the last 40-plus years, and the Whitecaps recently took time out to recognize the feat. The pre-game ceremony capped the last few weeks of post-championship season recognition for the state champs. Not only did the Rams finish number one in the state of Michigan, but they were recently recognized by USA Today as the number eight team in the Midwest region, which included baseball hotbeds such as Oklahoma and Kansas. The region also includes Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Minnesota and Michigan. The Rams were also ranked in the top 100 teams nationally by USA Today. Rockford had many All Conference, All District, All Region and All State players. One player, Joe Kropiewnicki, was selected as an All State Dream Team player. Ram Head Coach Ian Hearn earned Coach of the Year honors for Division I in Michigan as well. In addition to the recognition, the state championship game pitting Rockford against Temperance-Bedford has been replayed twice on Fox Sports Network (FSN) television. Ram baseball fans have plenty to cheer about and memories that will last a lifetime. Congratulations, once again, to the fine young men and outstanding coaches for Rockford Baseball.
West Michigan Whitecaps
by NICHOLAS J. CONKLIN The West Michigan Whitecaps have been an integral part of the West Michigan sports scene over the past 15 years. With the successes of league championships in 1996, 1998 and 2006, and the many other accomplishments, the parents and families of the players take a large amount of pride in their sons. But, while many of these players tend to come from across the country and even around the world like Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Taiwan, the question of where they live is often one that is forgotten. Unlike major league players, the players just breaking into the minor leagues often do not have the large contracts and salaries of their big league counterparts. With the added movement that many players make throughout the different levels, apartment hunting may be too time consuming and costly for them. That is why the West Michigan Whitecaps decided to adopt a unique and personalized way in which to help house players. By calling upon the support of the surrounding communities, the Whitecaps were able to establish the Keep-a-Cap program. The program has been a team initiative since they began play in 1994. Although totally voluntary, nearly 90 percent of players yearly participate in the program, and over 50 families have been involved since its inception. In order for a family to become hosts, they must pass a selection process as well as a home evaluation. The process typically begins around the beginning of January for the upcoming season. Whitecaps Community Relations Coordinator Anna Peterson begins the applicant process by sending an application to current and past host families. After communicating with the interested family, a home visit is scheduled and then, if the family can be approved, the family profile is complied and sent along to the players. The host families are required to provide the players with a room and bathroom facility, as well as cooking and laundry facilities. However, the players are mainly on their own when it comes to cleaning and transportation—and pay a small fee for their living expenses. Rockford has been one area that has taken to housing many of the Whitecaps over the years. With over six host families in the Rockford area, and over 20 families […]
Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts were honored by the West Michigan Whitecaps at their home game on Friday, August 28, for the service they give to our community. To begin the night’s festivities, leaders and kids joined together for a parade around the field. Various Scouts continued to assist with game-opening activities by throwing a ceremonial first pitch, escorting the players to the field and presenting the colors for the National Anthem. Following the game, the outfield became a field of tents as Scouts settled in for the annual Scout Campout and movie night on the stadium’s big screens.