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Whitecaps celebrate home opener nearly a year after 2020 season cancellation

West Michigan Whitecaps - courtesy whitecaps.jpg
The West Michigan Whitecaps play a game in this photo taken before the cancellation of the team's 2020 season. (WWMT/Whitecaps)

The West Michigan Whitecaps were scheduled to play their first home game in 662 days Tuesday.

The home opener for the 2021 season was set for 6:35 p.m. May 11, 2021, nearly a full year after the team's 2020 season was cancelled due to COVID-19.

“At 6:35 p.m. tomorrow, when Keider Montero throws the first pitch, for the first time ever we’re going to pause the game for a moment to celebrate,” Jim Jarecki, the team's vice president and general manager, said Monday. “That first pitch will be for health care and front-line workers, first responders, fans, and our staff, coaches, and players. We have so much to be grateful for.”

It would be the first game played at the newly renamed Lake Michigan Credit Union Ballpark, after the credit union struck a 10-year partnership with the team in February.

It was also the first time the team would play as the Detroit Tigers' Advanced-A affiliate, after 24 years as the Tigers' Low A affiliate.

According to a written statement from team leaders, the game was already sold out.

“Baseball and fun are back for the summer,” Jarecki said. “We have health and safety protocols in place so everyone can have fun and do it safely. It is Whitecaps baseball and that means we’ve been working on the show. The sights, sounds, and tastes will all be better than you remember.”

Skylar Mayton, a Forest Hills Northern High School student and former contestant on NBC's "The Voice," was expected to sing the national anthem prior to the first pitch.

Team leaders also said the first 500 fans would receive an LMCU Ballpark/Whitecaps ballcap, and the game would end with the first Family Fare Fireworks show of the season.

Tickets for upcoming games and events were still available on the Whitecaps website.

The first pitch celebration could be joined by listening to The Ticket 106.1 FM or streaming online.