New stadium is a grand slam

Opening day set for May 30 in downtown Utica

This summer, downtown Utica will host a triple play of action when three new professional baseball teams compete at the Jimmy John’s Field.

Jimmy John’s Field is home to the Utica Unicorns, who are part of the United Shore Professional Baseball League, also known as the USPBL.

The three-team league is set to kick off for opening day on May 30. All three teams will play at Jimmy John’s field, which is located off of M-59 on the corner of Moscone Drive and Auburn Road in downtown Utica.IMG_1025WEB

“It’s a really cool way to see professional sports,” teacher Warren Day said, “while not having to go downtown or to other cities.”

Along with the Unicorns, the East side Diamond Hoppers from the Saint Clair Shores area and the Bloomfield Birmingham Beavers will also round up the three-team league.

“I don’t think Unicorns was the best name choice. I liked the 59ers better,” senior Cameron Brown said. “I think they will end up changing it after a couple of years.”

While the Diamond Hoppers and the Unicorns will call Jimmy John’s their home field for now, the Beavers will be the visiting team. However, each team will schedule both 25 home games and 25 away games, no matter who they play that day, to ensure a level playing field and no home team advantage.

Several Utica High students have already been employed at Jimmy John’s field.

“I am really excited to start working there. I think it will be good for the area,” senior Sarah Hayes said. “It will create jobs and be a reason for people to come to Utica.”

The field seats over 2,000 people, so it has the capacity to attract fans from out of town.

Opening day is expected to sell out, considering the high interest in the new league. The ceremonies for opening day will begin at 12:00 pm on Monday, May 30. The ceremony will include a parade from Eppler Junior High to the field, which will feature the Utica High School marching band and the Utica Veteran of Foreign Wars. Once the parade reaches the field, there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony prior to the game.


“We are extremely excited to be a part of opening day,” band teacher Keri Pruse said. “It is a way to support the community and perform on a large scale.”

The band will perform patriotic music for the VFW, including the National Anthem before the game on the field. After that, the Unicorns take on the Beavers in the first game ever played at Jimmy John’s Field. Following the game, kids will be allowed down onto the field to run the bases.

It will be a jam-packed summer of baseball with 20 games in June, followed by 23 games in July and 21 in August. After the 11 games in September that includes a playoff, there will be 75 games total played this season at Jimmy John’s Field.