Recap – Step Up to the Plate 2021

For Immediate Release                                                              Contact Jenny Garone 


27th Annual Step Up to the Plate fundraiser raises nearly $44,000- a huge success

Comstock Park, MI –February 18, –2021 –Nearly 400 West Michiganders eagerly opened their party box, settled back in their living rooms, and logged on to watch the annual Whitecaps Community Foundation fundraiser. Step Up to the Plate, presented by Eastbrook Homes, was virtual this year, but that did not keep the Whitecaps from living up to their brand promise – Fun. Community. Experiences.

“The team did a great job taking on the virtual world,” said Jenny Garone, Community Relations Manager for the West Michigan Whitecaps. “Neither our staff nor our fans had ever done it like this. We put on a great show and the community did the rest. We’re very grateful.”

The event touted 9 Innings of Fun and included hearing from Whitecaps Manager Brayan Pena, and many from the Detroit Tigers team including Manager A.J. Hinch, VP of Player Development, Dave Littlefield, Whitecaps/Tigers outfield sensation Riley Greene, and Tigers broadcasters Dan Dickerson and Matt Shepard. 2021 Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for former Whitecaps and current Tigers pitcher Spencer Turnbull and former Whitecaps seamstress Ruth Jacobson also highlighted the evening.

Most importantly, the event raised nearly $44,000, which will support the YMCA’s Ted Rasberry Youth League, giving 1,200 West Michigan youth the chance to play baseball at their neighborhood parks this summer.

“The goal is to gather our local business partners, the Detroit Tigers, other Minor League Ballclubs and give our youth something special,” Garone said. “One of our favorite parts of the evening is listening to the testimonies. Being part of team can be life-changing for these youth.”

Youth from the Grand Rapids area are provided an exceptional summer experience where they enjoy a structured and safe environment to develop their skills to play, grow, and learn about the great game of baseball.  Each child receives all the necessary equipment to participate – a jersey, pants, hat, and a glove. But on top of that, they receive positive support from our volunteer coaches who are becoming their role models. They feel valued and cared for by their community, and learn how to care for others, be respectful, responsible for their actions, honest, and inclusive to all.

In addition to featured speakers and raising funds for a great cause, the event was filled with fun. Lighting that grass scented candle, doing the 7th inning stretch, the Dino Dance and watching the fireworks – it’s safe to say the spectators at this event are ready for baseball at LMCU Ballpark!

The 28th Annual Step Up to the Plate fundraiser is scheduled for January of 2022. Details will be released this November.

About the Whitecaps Community Foundation: The Whitecaps Community Foundation, the nonprofit extension of the West Michigan Whitecaps, organization dedicated to enriching the lives of youth and their families by providing them with access to fun, baseball, team-dynamics, and other recreational opportunities. With the help and generosity of West Michigan residents and community partners, the Whitecaps Community Foundation continues to make the West Michigan area a better place for fun, community, and experiences. For more information contact Jenny Garone at

About West Michigan Whitecaps: The Whitecaps minor league baseball team was established in 1994. The Whitecaps are the High-A Affiliate of the Detroit Tigers and play in the Eastern Division of the High-A Central League. The team’s home games are played in West Michigan’s favorite, largest, outdoor, multi-purpose venue, LMCU Ballpark. For more information visit