Lemonade League includes LCC Stars
By Julie Newell
Among the many changes this year has brought, the Lansing Lugnuts hierarchy decided to create a special league that is comprised of two teams: Collegiate Lugnuts and Collegiate Locos.
“The Minor League Baseball season was canceled … so we’ve got this great field, this great facility, and a stadium without a Minor League baseball season,” Lugnuts Radio Broadcaster and Media Relations Specialist Jesse Goldberg-Strassler said.
The Lemonade League includes college players from Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Toledo, Wayne State, Grand Valley, Saginaw Valley, Albion College, Olivet College, Kalamazoo College, Davenport, Michigan State and our very own Lansing Community College.
“We have all these college baseball players around this area who had their college baseball seasons cancelled,” Goldberg-Strassler said. “(We) put together a safe way for them to be able to play college baseball; we’re using the field and we’re giving them the opportunity.”
The players from LCC are George Ferguson, Kameron Marnon, Elliott Patten, Benjamin Riffe, Ryan Steinhauer, Hunter Lay, Mark Connelly, Craig Palidar, Jace Preston and Cal Johnston.
The Lansing Lugnuts worked closely with the Ingham County Health Department to ensure the safety of both the players and the fans during the games.
“For a player to play in the league, they had to make sure to submit that (they) had tested negative for COVID-19,” Goldberg-Strassler said.
He added that the players wear masks when they are not on the field and in the dugout.”
All employees, players, and fans must wear masks. The stadium limited the number of fans to 100 people.
Fans can only enter from one gate. They have to have a temperature check and are screened before they enter the stadium. The fans are only allowed to be in a specific area of the stadium.
The Lugnuts staff has tables set up for the fans, and they can only sit with people with whom they came. Servers take their food and drink orders and serve them at their table.
The Lemonade League made several changes to the game including using yellow baseballs instead of the standard white. Every game is seven innings long instead of nine.
If there is a tie game each team chooses one player to compete in a home run derby swing-off. In the home run derby the chosen players have 60 seconds to hit as many home runs as they can. Whoever has the most home runs at the end wins the game.
Another unique change is the Lugnuts are streaming every game live so fans who could not come to the game can watch it from home. It can be streamed on YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and Twitch.
“This summer handed us lemons, in a matter of speaking, in terms of no minor league baseball season; in terms of a global pandemic shutting everything down,” Goldberg-Strassler said. “So this was just our way of making a little lemonade out of it.”
The Lemonade League concludes Aug. 22. For more information go to https://www.milb.com/lansing.