Here's our guide to the 2016 Columbus Clippers season, as well as a look at what makes Columbus baseball special: the great legacy, the unique traditions and the cheap chow.
Last September, the Columbus Clippers won their third Governors' Cup in the past six years-a history of success the team's Arena District neighbor, the Columbus Blue Jackets, can hardly imagine. Overall, the Clippers have won 10 International League championships, tying them with the Rochester Red Wings for the most in league history. And the Clippers did it in 39 years, while Rochester won its first Governors' Cup in 1939. "Our record of excellence since we became the Clippers in '77 is unheard of and unmatched," says Ken Schnacke, president and general manager of the Clippers.
Schnacke predicts another strong season for his team, with a core group of players from last year's squad returning to Columbus. Huntington Park also will come alive again with a wide assortment of fun activities and special events-often the real attraction of minor league sports. Here's our guide to the 2016 season, as well as a look at what makes Columbus baseball special: the great legacy, the unique traditions and the cheap chow.We Knew Them When
Every year, future stars pass through Huntington Park on their way to The Show. Catching a glimpse of these diamonds in the rough is one of the best things about Clippers baseball. Here are six ex-Columbus players who are now big deals in the majors.
Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians
Career highlights: 2014 All Star and Silver Slugger recipient
Played for Clippers: 2009–2010
Melky Cabrera, Chicago White Sox
Career highlights: 2012 All-Star Game MVP, member of the New York Yankees' 2009 World Series championship team
Played for Clippers: 2005–2006
Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians
Career highlights: 2014 American League Cy Young winner
Played for Clippers: 2010–2013
Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians
Position: Second Base
Career highlights: Hit an RBI double in his first All-Star Game in 2013
Played for Clippers: 2011
Robinson Canó, Seattle Mariners
Position: Second Base
Career highlights: Six-time All Star, won two Gold Glove awards, member of the New York Yankees' 2009 World Series championship team
Played for Clippers: 2004–2005
Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians
Position: First Base and Designated Hitter
Career highlights: Hit 27 home runs in 2014
Played for Clippers: 2010Field of Schemes
The ballpark experience-discounts, wacky promotions, four-legged ball boys-is often the big draw in minor league baseball. Here's what the Clippers have on tap for this year.
For the Glutton:
Dime-a-Dog Night, the granddaddy of all Clippers promotions, is slated for every Monday home game this year, except for July 4. Huntington Park also offers All You Can Eat Seats in the Wendy's Hamburger Balcony. Each seat costs $25 per game and includes an endless supply of hamburger sliders, mini hotdogs, potato chips, popcorn, chocolate chip cookies, bottled water and soda. Bring your own antacid.
For Dog Lovers:
Jake the Diamond Dog will retrieve bats and deliver water to umpires on May 12 and June 8. If one canine isn't enough, Huntington Park (or at least a good part of it) will go to the dogs on April 26 for Puppypalooza, when pet owners can bring their pooches to the ballpark and participate in a pregame puppy parade.
For Sci-fi Geeks:
The Force will be strong with the Clippers on May 14 for the fourth annual Star Wars Night. Fans are encouraged to dress as their favorite Jedi, Sith lord, space bounty hunter or any other character from the beloved franchise. The Clippers also will pull a few lucky kids from the crowd to participate in a costume contest.
For Red-Blooded Americans:
The Clippers will light up the sky above Huntington Park with fireworks following games on May 14, May 28, June 25, July 4, July 23, Aug. 20 and Sept. 3.
For Baseball Historians:
At every Wednesday home game, the Clippers will wear Columbus Jets uniforms to celebrate the defunct minor league team that played in Columbus from 1955 to 1970. The Clippers also will host Throwback Thursdays at Huntington Park all season long, donning redesigned versions of jerseys worn by the Clippers during the early years of the franchise.