(04/08/14) - The snow has melted and it's finally time to play ball at Dow Diamond.
"It's a great day for all of us. It's like a holiday. Last night was like Christmas Eve and we're excited, especially after having a long, hard winter," said Paul Barbeau, Loons general manager.
The Loons return to Midland after winning three of their first four on the road. The team has some big plans for fans during Tuesday's home opener against Cedar Rapids.
"Tommy Lasorda is making a visit to celebrate with us. We have the Amazing Christopher, which is this great entertainment act that will be here, fireworks after the game," Barbeau said.
As far as marketing and season promotions go, the batting order is stacked with attractions.
"Carlton from the Fresh Prince of Bell-Air is visiting this summer, as well as some of the cast of Duck Dynasty," Barbeau said.
Ticket sales remain steady, and despite six rainouts last year - the most ever in franchise history - the Loons still managed to bring in more than 231,000 fans.
"Hopefully, if we can have a few less rainouts and some good momentum with the team and our sales efforts, we can surpass that number this year," Barbeau said.
As the Loons begin their eighth season of baseball, the Michigan Baseball Foundation continues to invest in Dow Diamond. Coming soon to the concourse, something new, high tech and very expensive that will enhance the entire game day experience.
"The big feature of that is the largest digital video display in minor league baseball. It'll be right on the concourse, and provide information and entertainment," Barbeau said.
It's with the fans in mind that the Loons owners not only continue to invest in the stadium, but in the Great Lakes Bay Region as well.
"We just announced another round of $100,000 in grant dollars that went out to the region this week. That support translates into good things for the community, so we're happy with it and grateful for the support," Barbeau said.
The Loons opening day parade through downtown Midland began at 4:30 p.m. A lot of people came out to show their support.
For many families, the parade is a tradition. They say they always look forward to the celebration.
The event included Loons players, bands and several community business leaders and organizations.
The first pitch of the home opener is scheduled for 6:05.
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