TinCaps have bases covered this season
Fun at Parkview Field extends beyond action around the diamond
This time of year is like Christmas for Fort Wayne TinCaps Vice President and General Manager Mike Nutter as he counts down the days toward a new season.
The anticipation is obvious.
It’s baseball. It’s warm weather. It’s the excitement of thousands of fans filling Parkview Field. It’s a new season.
Nutter can’t wait for April 6 to get here when the TinCaps open the 2023 campaign at the West Michigan Whitecaps. Even more so, he’s amped for the home opener on Tuesday, April 11, when his team hosts the Lake County Captains at 6:35 p.m.
Last season, more than 303,000 fans visited Parkview Field with Nutter saying the entertainment offerings are only getting better this season.
The promotional schedule seems to be an exceptional mix of events, activities, and fun.
“We have more theme nights, more acts like the Nickelodeon Paw Patrol (July 23). There’s an actress coming out from The Office (July 7) again, after we had one last year,” Nutter said of Kate Flannery (Meredith) stopping by this year after last’s appearance by Leslie David Baker (Stanley).
“You know, fans have come to know us for Military Appreciation Night (June 4), the Indianapolis Colts (May 25), things like that.”
Nutter said 40 of the 66 home games will have an event going on, including almost all the summer holidays. Of course, the Fourth of July game is followed by the city of Fort Wayne’s fireworks over downtown.
If you miss that one, not to worry: There are 26 other fireworks nights.
Something for everyone
The TinCaps organization goes a long way to make each night a family-friendly experience.
“There’s no secret but a good product, great service, and a great all-around experience,” Nutter said. “Baseball is the drawing card, but really it’s just simple fun.”
Nutter admits that it’s important to create fun away from what’s going on on the field.
“Not everyone is a baseball fan, we get that,” he said. “Does a day game bring them out or the nostalgia? Is it the pop culture stuff — Marvel (July 18) and Star Wars (Aug. 18)? Those cool things will be back again. We aren’t necessarily all things to all people, but if somebody has a real passion for something, come on out that night.”
Nutter believes TinCap games have become a positive outlet in the community because they are focused on being a positive escape at a reasonable price. A trip to the ballpark can be therapeutic.
“Our kids are hurting,” he said. “People are hurting. There’s a lot going on. Maybe for a few hours they can come out and not worry and just spend time with family and friends. It feels like we are awfully divided as a nation and people want to belong, they want community, and this is a place we can do that.”
The TinCaps will look back at the Fort Wayne Daisies, the city’s All-American Girls Professional Baseball League team from the 1940s and ’50s, on June 3 as part Celebration of Women in Sports Night.
Nutter says the Daisies were a huge hit in 2022.
“This literally, no hyperbole, was one of the coolest things we’ve ever done,” he said. “So we’re coming back with a celebration of the Fort Wayne Daisies players and other women in sports. This region has an incredible history in women’s sports. There will be some really cool stuff going on.”
The Tribute to Indy 500 Night will be on April 27 complete with cars and Indy 500 giveaways. Indianapolis Colts At-Bat Night on May 25 with special guests from the team and an NFL Play 60 youth fitness zone.
For the kids, Nickelodeon Paw Patrol Day debuts July 23, complete with characters Chase and Marshall being present.
Taking on new look
New to the schedule is a salute to the pork tenderloin sandwich Aug. 3-5.
The three-day celebration will be almost as big as the patties. Promising a fair-like atmosphere, the TinCaps will morph into the Hoosier State Tenderloins complete with matching uniforms. Concession stands will also have the Indiana staple.
That’s not the only change of identity the team will experience this season.
The Fort Wayne TinCaps will become the Manzanas Luchadoras de Fort Wayne complete with different uniforms on May 11, June 16, July 8, and Aug. 20 for Hispanic Heritage nights.
The team will also have a different look as part of ’90s Night on July 21. Paying tribute to their former identity, the TinCaps will play as the Wizards, complete with jerseys, the Wizards mascot, and music, fashion, and other throwbacks to the decade.
Things will get a little trippy when the team dons tie-dye jerseys for Grateful Dead Night on Aug. 31. Local Grateful Dead tribute band Grateful Groove will get fans rocking with a pregame concert.