Traveling with the Whitecaps: Dow Diamond in Midland a great visit

Dow Diamond in Midland is home to the Great Lakes Loons. It was constructed in a year in 2006. — Daily News/Chip Burch

MIDLAND — If you’ve ever wanted to go to a West Michigan Whitecaps away game, there is a great place to pick in Midland.

Dow Diamond is the home of the Great Lakes Loons, the Whitecaps’ arch rivals. The ballpark is somewhat similar to the Whitecaps’ park, Fifth Third Ballpark, but smaller.

Dow Diamond has capacity for over 6,000 people, as evidenced by the July 3 game against West Michigan where there were 6,004 people there — the eighth-largest crowd in Loons history. Compare that with Fifth Third Ballpark, which has a capacity over 10,500.

The Loons’ home, located on M-20 in downtown Midland, includes lawn seating down the first base/right field line. Unlike Fifth Third Ballpark, that lawn seating extends all the way around the foul pole and goes into right field, coming to an end at the mandatory hitter backdrop area in center field. More lawn seating is available outside left field.

Also along the right field line is a children’s play area, similar to that at Fifth Third. Foul balls can end up in “Lou E.’s Lookout,” but it’s a home run if it ends up in the playground in Fifth Third.

The Northern Lights Pavilion, which has table seating like that beyond the left field fence at Fifth Third, is all down the left field line, and is also completely outdoors.

But for those who can afford it, there are 12 suites available at Dow Diamond, though all are usually occupied during a Loons game. There are 21 suites at Fifth Third, and they are actually smaller than the suites at the Dow.

While up in the second deck, patrons can enjoy a bar that is in the middle of the suite concourse. The bar has a view almost directly behind home plate, along with televisions for viewing both the in-house feed of the game and the Detroit Tigers games, when the two coincide.

One feature of the upper deck is “Lasorda’s Landing,” which is a covered seating area that is still outdoors. It’s named after the famous Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, who helped announce the Loons affiliation with the Dodgers before the team took the field for the first time in 2007.

Fans are even more close to the action compared to Fifth Third.

The one drawback is the right field skyline, which is Dow Chemical.

But that didn’t hurt its cause with others, as Stadium Journey magazine rated it the best ballpark in Michigan, beating out Fifth Third and Comerica Park. It was also voted the Best New Ballpark of 2007 by Baseball Digest.

It’s still possible to catch a Whitecaps game at Dow Diamond, as Great Lakes and West Michigan will get together at the Dow on Aug. 1 and 2. Tickets are $9 for box seats and $6 for lawn seating and can be purchased by calling (888) 837-BALL (2255).

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