By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published May 28, 2024 at 6:01 PM Photography: Lakeshore Chinooks Facebook

The Great Milwaukee Summer is HERE! Your guide to what you'll be doing, where you'll be drinking, who you'll be hearing and how you'll be getting a sweet tan this summer is on OnMilwaukee. The Great Milwaukee Summer guide is brought to you by Geis Garage Doors and Peoples State Bank

The Brewers botched their series this week against the lowly Marlins, so how about some positive local baseball news to report instead: It's almost time to play ball up in Mequon, as the Lakeshore Chinooks are primed to throw out the first pitch of their 2024 season. 

Stepping into the box for their 12th season in the Northwoods League – a summer baseball league that serves to help develop collegiate players on the rise – the Lakeshore Chinooks will take their first hacks of 2024 on Memorial Day Monday on the road, taking a crack at the Kokomo Jackrabbits before rumbling with the Royal Oak Leprechauns. But after extended start out in enemy territory, the Chinooks will finally come home and make their 2024 Kapco Park debut on Friday, May 31 at 6:35 p.m. against the Madison Mallards, with a whole summer of supreme baseball action to follow just up the freeway from Milwaukee.

Whether you've been hooked by Lakeshore before or you're finally just dipping your toe into the Chinooks' waters, here's a grand slam's worth of reasons why you should give the team a spot on your summer's lineup card. 

1. Major-league quality ... 

Kapco Park and the Northwoods League may seem like a long ways from the likes of AmFam Field and the MLB – but it's actually not that far of a leap, as many players have gone from playing in Mequon to the majors. Across their eleven seasons thus far, 18 former Lakeshore Chinooks have graduated to the show – including notable names like Harrison Bader and current Brewer Owen Miller. And many of the visiting clubs have fielded some serious future talent in the Northwoods League over the years as well, showcasing the likes of Pete Alonso, Corbin Burnes, Max Scherzer and Mike Trout before they became superstars. So while you may not recognize many of the names at a Chinooks game right now, you might just recognize them a few seasons from now taking the mound in the World Series or at the plate during the MLB All-Star Game – and you'll be able to say you saw them first just up the road at Kapco Park. 

2. ... for minor-league prices

The only thing better than getting to humblebrag about seeing an all-star before everyone else? Getting to humblebrag about seeing an all-star before you have to start pay all-star prices.

Indeed, at Lakeshore Chinooks games, you have the chance to see Ted Williams batting average future talent for Mendoza Line prices. Tickets for games at Kapco Park start at just $10, with reserved grandstand seats going for a mere $13 and boxes costing $16. And that's all without mentioning their weekly ticket deals. On Mondays, for instance, military members and veterans get half-off on Chinooks tickets. Wednesday games cut their ticket prices in half for fans ages 55 and older, while high school and college fans get the same half-off deal on Thursdays. For the whole lineup of weekly ticket promotions, click here – but if it's game night at Kapco Park, you can likely see the Chinooks clear the bases while keeping your wallet loaded. 

3. Fun for your whole lineup

In addition to the game itself and the general entertainment courtesy of the Lakeshore crew and their loveable scaly superfan Gill, Kapco Park will host several theme nights perfect for the rookies on your family's roster – featuring visits from Bluey, Paw Patrol and more on Kids TV Takeover Night on June 22 as well as Minion Day on June 30 in honor of the new "Despicable Me" movie coming out in theaters the following week. For a bonus sugar rush beyond the type delivered by cotton candy or funnel cake, the Chinooks will also host an early Trick or Treat Day on July 7 – complete with a Wonka-inspired Gilly Golden Ticket giveaway (though without the risk of getting wedged into a chocolate river pipe or exploding into a small purple moon). 

While the rookies will enjoy all of that fun, the family managers will enjoy that it can come on bank account-friendly prices. That's especially the case on Sundays, when the Chinooks host many of their family-centric promos (as well as their postgame base runs and autograph sessions) while also offering a deal with four grandstand tickets, four hot dogs, chips and soda for just $44 total. That's my kind of RBI (Real Bargain Indeed).

4. Pro-level promotions

Lakeshore Chinooks bobbleheads for 2024X

And that's just the kid-centric entertainment, as across the board, the Chinooks have another 1920s Yankees-esque lineup of promotions and themes for 2024 that'll make you feel like a winner no matter what the Kapco Park scoreboard reads.

While the current team quests to add to its championship tally on the field, the Chinooks will celebrate the 10th anniversary its first and lone Northwoods League title in the stands throughout the season – including giveaways like a 2014 championship pennant on opening day, a replica championship hat on June 21 and a 2014 championship team trading card set on June 30. Along with those throwback tributes, the Chinooks will also give away multiple bobbleheads – from a Gill stolen bases counter version on June 2 to an Olympics-inspired Gill bobble on Aug. 4 – throughout the season. And because nowhere is immune from the power of Taylor Swift, the team will host an "Eras Night" complete with free tickets for all the fans named Taylor in the crowd. (Sorry, Travises; nothing for you.)

Going from pop hits to folding chair hits, the Chinooks will enter the ring with not one but two star-studded wrestling theme nights starting on Saturday, June 8, with iconic ref Earl Hebner in attendance and Hacksaw Jim Duggan bobbleheads for the first 750 folks through the gates. And for even more Hacksaw Jim Duggan – who became an unofficial mascot during the team's 2014 championship run after his energetic visit – he'll be the star of this season's second wrestling night on Friday, July 19, hopefully working that same magic on this year's team.

From fireworks, hall-of-famers and furry friends, here's the full slate of game day themes, promotions and giveaways at Kapco Park this season:

  • Friday, May 31 – Championship Anniversary Pennant (750 available) and 2024 Magnet Schedule (1,000 available)
  • Sunday, June 2 – Gill Stolen Bases Counter Bobblehead (750 available), Moonlight Graham Day with a free game ticket and postgame on-field family catch
  • Monday, June 3 – Jr. Chinooks Class of 2024 Night
  • Friday, June 7 – Summerfest Night with ticket giveaway (500 available)
  • Saturday, June 8 – Pro Wrestling Night with Earl Hebner and a Hacksaw Jim Duggan Bobblehead (750 available)
  • Sunday, June 9 – Gill's Birthday Party
  • Wednesday, June 12 – Chinooks Eras Night/Taylor Night with a free game ticket for anyone named Taylor
  • Friday, June 14 – Postgame Fireworks
  • Friday, June 21 – Replica Championship Hat Giveaway (500 available)
  • Saturday, June 22 – Kids TV Takeover Night (featuring Bluey, Bingo, Paw Patrol and PJ Masks) and Brett Siddall Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
  • Saturday, June 29 – Brett Siddall Bobblehead (750 available), Eddy Morgan Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Postgame Fireworks
  • Sunday, June 30 – Make-A-Wish Day and Minion Day, with 2014 Championship Team Trading Card Sets (750 available)
  • Tuesday, July 2 – Dollar Hot Dog Night and Bark in the Park 
  • Thursday, July 4 – Military and Veterans Appreciation Day, with a Chinooks Helicopter Pint Glass (500 available)
  • Sunday, July 7 – Trick or Treat Day, with a Gilly Wonka Golden Ticket Giveaway (1,000 available)
  • Thursday, July 11 (morning game) – Kids & Seniors Day 
  • Thursday, July 11 (night game) – Youth Baseball & Softball Night, with a team trading card set (500 available)
  • Sunday, July 14 – Team Autograph Day, with a logo baseball (500 available)
  • Friday, July 19 – Pro Wrestling Night with Hacksaw Jim Duggan
  • Thursday, July 25 – Christmas in July
  • Friday, July 26 – Postgame Fireworks
  • Saturday, July 27 – Gill's Walk-Off for Cancer Night and German Heritage Night, with a Deutscher Gill Bobblehead (750 available)
  • Sunday, July 28 – Superhero Day
  • Wednesday, July 31 – Mel's Charities Impact Night
  • Thursday, Aug. 1 – Fan Appreciation Night and Jr. Chinooks Class of 2025 Night
  • Sunday, Aug. 4 – 2024 Chinooks Olympic Games, with a Gold Medal Gill Bobblehead (750 available)
  • Wednesday, Aug. 7 – Chinooks Win You Win (2025 game ticket voucher for all if the Chinooks win)

For more information on tickets and the Chinooks upcoming season, visit the team's website – and here's to seeing you all in the stands this summer!

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.