By Rick Coates
Beers and Baseball have had a long love affair dating back to the inception of professional baseball 140 years ago, although in the early years, the relationship was a little rocky as the first version Major League Baseball (National League) prohibited alcohol at their ballparks. That didn’t sit well with some owners who continued to serve beer anyway, including on Sundays. Those teams were forced out of the league and ended up forming the American Association in 1882. The new AA (interesting name) was nicknamed “The Whiskey & Beer League” by the National League owners.
The Pennant winners of the two leagues played in what was known as “The Original World Series”; in those days, the World Series was anywhere from three to 15 games. Major League Baseball didn’t officially recognize the World Series until 1903, so those championships are mythical. (Of note, the 1885 World Series ended in a tie between the Chicago White Stockings and the St. Louis Browns.) Both teams won three games, and one game ended in a tie. Beer eventually gained favor in all ballparks, and, as they say, the rest is history. The only exception, of course, were the dark days of Prohibition.
Michigan is home to five professional baseball teams with all five ballparks showing a lot of love to our craft beer industry:
Home of the Detroit Tigers, Comerica Park serves plenty of Michigan beers throughout the stadium (along with fried bologna sandwiches, bacon on a stick, and loaded tater tots). They even have a dedicated Michigan Craft Beer located near Gate B, behind section 104.
Home of the West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers affiliate) and of course the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival, LMCU Ballpark features the Founders Rooftop along the First baseline presented by Founders Brewing Co.
Home of the Lansing Lugnuts (High A affiliate of the Oakland A’s) where they offer several Michigan beers. You’ll find many craft beers as well as Open Ale House and Rally Cap – the official beer of the Lugnuts, produced nearby at Lansing Brewing Company.
Home of the Great Lakes Loons (Dodgers affiliate), Dow Diamond in Midland offers a great selection of Michigan beers during their home games. Check out The Cove Bar down the left field line for the ultimate selection of Michigan craft beers.
Turtle Creek Stadium
Home of the of the Traverse City Pit Spitters (Northwoods League) and the Short’s Brewing Craft Clubhouse along the concourse behind section 104. On select summer nights, fans get to enjoy an assortment of Michigan craft brews and postgame fireworks.
Edited from the original content (to reflect stadium/team/affiliate changes) from the summer 2017 issue of MiBrew magazine.
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