Lugnuts Gear Up for Opening Day

By: Tony Tagliavia
By: Tony Tagliavia

The hot dog cannon is cocked, the peanuts are stocked -- and the beer is chilling on tap. Thursday is opening day for the Lansing Lugnuts.

Fans will see most of the familiar sights, sounds and smells at olds park. But there are a couple of unfamiliar sights -- including construction outside the stadium now and major renovations later.

The Lugnuts' General Manager says it shouldn't be a major hassle.

The first crack of the bat. It's a welcoming sign for Lugnuts fans. And the bats are already cracking at Olds Park thanks to Michigan State baseball.

But come opening day, fans will have some unusual sounds to contend with as well. Michigan Avenue is torn up right in front of the park.

"Other than Michigan Avenue it's not going to affect too much," General Manager Jeff Calhoun said.

And there's an upside for traffic-weary fans: With no construction date set for the stadium district development, the parking lot directly across from the stadium will be open. Calhoun says parking and construction won't be major obstacles for fans.

"We've never sold out of parking. Even with common ground with 12,000 people or Lugnuts with 10 or 11...there's always parking," Calhoun said.

He's hoping for those kind of numbers for opening day -- Calhoun says the park's already pretty well geared up.

"There's a few touch ups with light bulbs, things like that," he said.

With most of the preparations done for opening day and this year, the team is looking to next year. Between now and then major renovations are planned. And new seats are just the start.

"The entire cosmetic appeal will be changed. A whole new color scheme, in terms of the concourse. New signage ... It'll look like a brand-new ballpark," Calhoun said.

Some things of course, will never change -- including all the basics needed to ready the roughly 10-year-old ballpark for a new season.

"It's the first of 70 weddings we have, known as baseball games," Calhoun said.

The renovations won't get underway until the end of this season. Most will be done in time for next season.

-- in Lansing, Tony Tagliavia, News 10.


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