Congratulations to the Storm Lake Whitecaps

Congratulations to the Storm Lake Whitecaps on a very successful inaugural season and for winning the Championship game of the Pioneer Collegiate League this year!

It was truly rewarding to watch them play and see their program progress throughout the year. Several members of the Carroll Athletic Association (and many host families) have made the short trip to watch our Merchants play the Whitecaps in Storm Lake.

The Carroll Merchants were in their inaugural season one year ago, so we can appreciate what it takes to bring back the wonderful tradition and excitement of this level of baseball.  We’re very pleased with how the Merchants second season has gone (except maybe the last game). This happened through growing support from the host families, the Carroll business community, city leadership and of course, the fan base. At the Athletic Association, we always talk about the “game experience.”  Everything we do is about enhancing that experience.  We tried many new things this year.  Some have worked and some of them didn’t.  I can assure you, we will not stop trying to make it bigger and better.

When we had our winter meeting so many months ago and we had a chance to meet Joe Kucera, we aren’t surprised they’ve been as successful as they have been. To make this project work, you need strong leadership and large-scale cooperation from local government, businesses, host families, volunteers and most importantly from the community. 

We realize that one man or an ambitious couple can’t do all this on their own, but Joe and his wife deserve a tremendous amount of praise for what they’ve started and accomplished so far. I know they want it to be bigger and better next year. We have no doubt they will make it happen. But they will need support and help from the Storm Lake area. Host families are the cornerstone of the league. Players build special bonds with their host families and they make the economics of summer baseball work. Corporate sponsorship and strong support from the local government is critical as well. Of course, the whole thing culminates with the game-day experience itself.

We also realize that for the overall league to be successful, each team has to thrive in its own way.  We are committed to the Pioneer League and summer collegiate baseball. We hope to work with, and assist Storm Lake to continue to grow the Whitecaps for many years to come. A strong league benefits each team and each community.

Congratulations again to the Whitecaps and thank you to Joe and his wife for an incredible job! Both Storm Lake and Carroll have deep baseball traditions and we are already planning for and anxious for next season!