The Kalamazoo Growlers signed with Willis Sports Agents in March of 2018 to assist with their players’ matriculation into Major League Baseball. The team also hired Willis Law to handle their corporate legal matters.
The Growlers are a member of the Northwoods League, which is a summer collegiate baseball league that develops elite college baseball players. The team has been based in Kalamazoo, Michigan since 2013. The Growlers’ name is a tribute to the city’s microbrewing heritage, as well as the black bears that populate the forests of Michigan. Home games are played at Homer Stryker Field in Kalamazoo, which ranked second place in the voting for Best of the Ballparks 2017: Summer Collegiate. In 2015, the Growlers were 5th in the nation for attendance in summer collegiate baseball.
The Growlers are owned by Dick Radatz Jr. Managing Partner Brian Colopy has directed operations since the founding of the team, which has been coached by Cody Piechocki since 2016. The team’s best season was in 2016, when it went 33-39 and finished 5th in the Northwoods League. In 2017, ten of the Growlers’ players were drafted in the MLB draft.
The Northwoods League features 18 teams, which are located in Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ontario. Teams consist of top collegiate talent from across the nation. These players compete in over 70 games in approximately 80 days throughout the summer, which prepares the players for the rigors of baseball at the minor league or major league levels. Over 141 alumni have made it to the Major Leagues, such as Jordan Zimmerman, Max Scherzer, Curtis Granderson, and Chris Sale. In 2015 alone, over 190 alumni were drafted in the MLB Draft. Mets manager Terry Collins is also an alumni of the Northwood League’s coaching ranks.