Founded five years ago, the Battle Creek Bombers have already shown their mettle, earning the title of 2011 Northwoods League Champions in 2011. The Northwoods League, one of the nation’s most competitive collegiate summer leagues, offers its top-caliber players minor league internships without jeopardizing their college careers. This season, the Bombers hope to conquer their league again and send more of its players to the MLB, having already done so for alumnus Tony Sanchez, who was the fourth pick in the 2009 draft. Led by Daniel Rockett, their top 2011 scorer with 46 runs and 43 RBIs, the team will surely spend this season launching home runs without the help of covert trebuchets.
While the players focus on the game, their mosquito mascot, Mo-Skeeter, mingles with roaring crowds in the Bomber’s home venue, C.O. Brown Stadium. Patrons can look on from general seating or opt for the more luxurious HBC fan-deck seats, where panoramic views complement an included all-you-can-eat feast with draft beer and hot dogs.
Recognized by Billboard as one of the top 25 touring artists of the 2000s, Trans-Siberian Orchestra explodes onto the stage with a juggernaut of progressive rock and metal infused with symphonic instrumentation and themes. Surrounded by a spectacle of lasers and pyrotechnics, the band's 2012 tour covers the entirety of its millennial concept album Beethoven's Last Night, a rock opera set on the eve of the composer's death as he battles wits with the devil for control of his soul, his 10th Symphony, and his collection of vintage ear trumpets. The show opens with the methodical triplets of Moonlight Sonata played on a lonesome piano, swelling and slowing before the thunderous arrival of drums and electric guitar. Plumes of flames blast from the stage as the group careens into the evening's centerpiece, "Requiem," a hard-rock interpretation of the Fifth Symphony, grounded by light-bending ax solos and tumbling violins punctuated by a heavenly backing choir.
Wings Stadium plays host to more than just board-slamming checks during the Kalamazoo Wings' home hockey games. On select days, the 8,023-seat venue opens its frozen confines to amateurs interested in all sorts of winter sports. Skaters of all ages can glide across the smooth ice during open-skating sessions, and members of the Kalamazoo Curling Club practice and face off throughout the fall and winter. On weekend nights, hockey fans can bring their own skates to a K-Wings home game and finish their night skating and checking the ice for lost incisors.
Blackhawk boasts a history as flavorful as its food, starting in 1830 when Colonel Isaac Barnes built a crude cabin that would later develop into a multilevel trading post, then into an event hall, and finally into the current bar and grill. The historic restaurant, which was rebuilt in the 1970s after a devastating fire, continues to draw crowds with heaps of old-fashioned hospitality, as well as a monumental menu of fire-grilled pizzas ($9.95–$13.95), pastas ($6.95–$9.95), burgers ($6.95–$9.95), steaks ($12.95-$17.95), salads ($6.95–$8.95), and more. The Wet Burrito ($8.95) forms the saucy spine of Blackhawk's Latin American menu with mounds of meat smothered in colby jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, and black olives. The pan-fried walleye ($14.95) is a house specialty, pairing perfectly with frosty suds from the bar.
The nationally ranked Western Michigan Broncos hockey squad is coming off satisfying wins against 12th-ranked Michigan State and look to continue their run toward a bid in the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship tournament. Immerse yourself in the raucous atmosphere of a college hockey game as you watch goalkeeper Nick Pisellini stick-flicking center Max Campbell, and the Broncos squad as they shoot, skate, and pontificate on the ice.