Eastlake’s own Lake County Captains celebrated the four millionth fan in franchise history on Friday night. That fan, and the others in attendance, could not bring home a win, however, as the Class-A Indians affiliate fell 3-2 to the Fort Wayne TinCaps, despite a ninth inning rally effort.
It marked the start of a seven-game homestand for the Captains, who will host Fort Wayne through Monday before welcoming in the Bowling Green Hot Rods for a three-game set from Tuesday through Thursday.
The first 2,500 fans in attendance at Classic Park on Friday were given scratch-off cards for a chance to win giveaways and special offers throughout the game. In addition, it also marked one of three separate fireworks nights throughout the Indians organizations, as fans in Eastlake, Akron, and Cleveland were dazzled with postgame pyrotechnics.
The lucky fan with the winning scratch-off ticket was in for a treat, as that fan and guests would have their seats upgraded to The Officer’s Club club seats for the night, would be able to throw out a ceremonial first pitch, would get to spend a half inning as a guest public address announcer, would visit the radio booth during the game, and would view the postgame fireworks from seats in the dugout. The fan also received a 2016 Captains baseball autographed by the team, a Captains Kids Season Pass for kids in the group, and a pair of 12-game ticket packages for this season.
The Lake County Captains started play in the Class-A Eastern League in Eastlake for the 2003 season. They reached the one million fan mark in 2005, exceeded the two million fan threshold in 2008, and toppled the three million mark during the 2011 season. Based on attendance figures, the Captains were 1,126 fans short of the four million mark prior to Friday’s game and with advanced ticket sales, they were guaranteed to surpass that number for the game.
Fans who missed any of the four millionth fan festivities can make up for it by attending Saturday night’s Ghostbusters night at Classic Park. The 6:30 PM start will feature Ghostbusters characters, clips, and fun facts on the video board. An Ecto-Mobile will also be on display on the concourse.
The Captains (27-21) are in third place in the Midwest League’s Eastern Division, three games behind the South Bend Cubs (29-17) and percentage points behind the West Michigan Whitecaps (25-19). They are 13-10 at Classic Park this season.
Photo: Chris M. Worrell/Plain Dealer Correspondent