Baseball has always been the ultimate American summer pastime, and we Clevelanders are fortunate enough to have three minor league teams in the area: the Akron RubberDucks, the Lake County Captains and the Lake Erie Crushers. While the venues are smaller than their MLB counterparts, their intimate vibe is perfect for the whole family. After last season’s minor league season was canceled, each area team is planning for a summer filled with themed events, fireworks, music and giveaways. Here are three you can’t miss.
Akron RubberDucks: For nine years, Jaleel White’s performance as Steve Urkel made Family Matters appointment viewing. White and the Akron RubberDucks are taking us back to the ’90s with the “Did I Do That?” Family Matters night June 26. In addition to White throwing out the first pitch, the night will also include a Steve Urkel bobblehead giveaway. “When we’re able to tie in some great character from pop culture, we get the chance to see people’s eyes light up and smiles on their faces,” says Jim Pfander, general manager and chief operating officer. milb.com/akron
Lake County Captains: Shane Bieber’s mercurial rise from middle of the road minor league pitcher to Cy Young Award winner is incredible. On July 24, the Lake County Captains (whom Bieber pitched for in 2017) will pay homage to Bieber’s journey with its Shane Bieber bobblehead night. “He was only here for a month, and predictably he was really good for us,” says Andrew Luftglass, manager of broadcasting, media relations and social media. The bobblehead features a superhero-inspired Bieber ripping his jersey open to reveal a Captains jersey. milb.com/lake-county
Lake Erie Crushers: On July 18, the forecast at Mercy Health Stadium calls for a candy rainstorm. Don’t worry though, the Crushers will still play on. In honor of Stomper’s birthday, the Crushers are putting together a sweet event, holding their annual candy drop, sponsored by b.a. Sweetie. “Every year we celebrate Stomper’s birthday with all his mascot friends and a candy drop,” says Allison Albers, promotions and merchandise manager. lakeeriecrushers.com