PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — With snow blanketing the field and the winter wind blowing through the concourse, you may have to close your eyes and imagine seeing the green turf and hearing the crack of a bat at the home of the West Michigan Whitecaps. 

But it’s closer than you think.

“We’re going to play baseball on April 12… the Whitecaps will be on the field,” Whitecaps Director of Marketing and Media Relations Steve VanWagoner said.

There’s a difference between the hardcore Major League Baseball fans and the fans who typically show up for the Whitecaps.

“They’re there more for entertainment,” VanWagoner said. “A lot of fans don’t even know what the score of the game is. They’re just having fun.“

Preparations for the April 12 opener at the Lake Michigan Credit Union Ballpark come as talks continue between MLB and the player’s union over the latest lockout.

VanWagoner says the lockout isn’t necessarily a bad thing for minor league teams, like the Whitecaps. Only players who’ve made it onto a big-league team roster are locked out.

So, while they may not play in the big ballparks, they will be on the field in the minor league parks, like LMCU.

“It kinda impacts the psychology, I think a little bit, for fans. They want to see baseball. It’s time for baseball.  And we have it at LMCU Ballpark,” VanWagoner said. “It’s a communal thing. They want to be in the crowd, with their friends, with their brat and something to drink, and baseball is that romantic thing happening in the background.“

Tickets go on sale Feb. 22.

Starting Tuesday, the Whitecaps will begin revealing their promotional events for the season and ticket deals.

“All the new stuff we’re bringing to the ballpark from Super Splash Day and other events to the return of Star Wars after a two-year hiatus, that’s going to be fun,” VanWagoner said.

If the lockout continues, the Whitecaps and other minor league teams may be the only game in town.

“We need Major League Baseball to come around, and it will happen,” VanWagoner said. “But in the meantime, it could be a benefit to the Whitecaps.”

For more information on the West Michigan Whitecaps, visit the team’s website.