Traverse City (MI) Joins Northwoods League, Re-Branding Contest Underway

PRESS RELEASE – Traverse City, Michigan – Exciting changes are coming to the Traverse City sports and entertainment landscape! Traverse City Baseball, a group of investors lead by the West Michigan Whitecaps, have purchased Wuerfel Park and will begin play as a Northwoods League affiliate in May of 2019.

Fans should expect a new, more interactive experience, complete with innovative promotions, new food options and facility upgrades to enhance the ballpark fun. Joe Chamberlin, CEO of the West Michigan Whitecaps will oversee the project. “We are incredibly excited to bring a new and exciting brand of baseball to Traverse City and the Northern Michigan region. We are confident that our track record of pairing baseball and other community events with fun, affordable family entertainment will translate well to this beautiful ballpark and this vibrant community,” Chamberlin said. The Whitecaps have built a reputation as one of Minor League Baseball’s most successful franchises in their 25 seasons in West Michigan, drawing more than 10 million fans in the process.

The new franchise will be a part of the Northwoods League which is currently comprised of 22 teams across the upper Midwest and Canada. The league attracts top talent from colleges across the country and boasts distinguished alumni such as Major League All-Stars Chris Sale, Max Scherzer, Curtis Granderson, Brandon Crawford and Jordan Zimmermann. 87 of the league’s alumni played in Major League Baseball this season and 161 former Northwoods League players were drafted by Major League Baseball teams last year. Michigan currently has two other teams in the league, the Battle Creek Bombers and the Kalamazoo Growlers.

Northwoods League President Gary Hoover, a Traverse City area resident, is confident that Traverse City will make a positive impact on the league out of the gate. “We could not be more excited to have Traverse City join the Northwoods League. This ballpark and this market have the potential to set the standard for top-tier collegiate summer baseball.”

In addition to new fun, food, baseball and events Chamberlin also announced they will re-brand the team and the ballpark. “We look forward to getting to know Traverse City and this region as we build our local staff, forge meaningful community partnerships and most immediately name this team.”

A name the team contest is currently being held through Monday, October 15th. Official entries can be submitted online at The winner will receive four season tickets to the 2019 season, a suite for one night, a prize package of official team merchandise, the opportunity to throw the first pitch on opening day and a Traverse City excursion.

For more information on Traverse City Baseball, the ballpark and future developments visit Additional information on the Northwoods League can be found at


Filed under League & Franchise

4 responses to “Traverse City (MI) Joins Northwoods League, Re-Branding Contest Underway

  1. Mark

    So the NWL is up to 23 teams now?

    • BallparkBiz

      They are at 20, so add Waukesha, Kokomo and Traverse City, and that’s 23. They are targeting Mitchell, South Dakota, but it doesn’t sound like that one is ready to go. My guess is that there is another one lined up to make it an even 24. It’s pure speculation, but I imagine they could be trying to convince the CornBelters to switch from the Frontier League to the Northwoods instead of the Prospect. Its a huge long short, but I have speculated that Mandan, North Dakota, might be a target. It has a new ballpark under construction:

      It’s right next to Bismarck, which really needs a travel partner. Mandan has a separate population of 22,000, which is pretty small. Bismarck across the river has a population of 72,000. The Larks would have territorial rights (unless they were not given in their franchise agreement), so they would have to agree to it or actually own the team. If I were the Larks, I wouldn’t give up rights, but reducing travel costs and having a cool border battle with a cross-river rival would be fun.

      There are other markets we could speculate about, but I better stop before it gets out of hand!


      • Mark

        Are St Croix not ready to play in ’19?

      • BallparkBiz

        I seemed to recall that they weren’t going to play until 2020, but they will indeed begin play next summer. I didn’t think they had sufficient time to demolish the old dog park and build a new baseball stadium before then. I know it is a longer term project to do everything they have planned.


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