Devon Travis hits .352 with six home runs and 42 runs driven in playing in the first 77 games of the 2013 season for the Whitecaps before being called up to Lakeland.
"The Midwest League was, in my opinion the best league you could play in minor league baseball," Travis recalled. "So many great parks, tons of fans and you think of West Michigan where I was lucky enough to play and it is packed out in the summertime and full of good people."
Even eight years and four seasons in the majors later, Travis is still in touch with his host family from West Michigan.
"I got to stay with Sally and Don Groters who are basically like my grandmother and grandfather," Travis said. "So I got to leave West Michigan not only with a lifelong collection box of memories, but I also got to leave with some friends and now what I consider family for the rest of my life."
The Tigers traded Travis to the Blue Jays in 2014 and he would go on to hit .300 twice in Toronto before recently deciding to retire due to injuries.
He is now a coach in the Atlanta Braves organization.
"What better way to segue back into the game that has given me everything that I have and kind of flip that around and try to give guys that are trying to get that same dream that I had my entire life," Travis said. "Trying to give these guys a little bit of anything I can to help them get there I think gives me that daily satisfaction and just enough bit of baseball that can make me smile a little bit."
Travis is only five weeks into his new gig coaching first base for the double A Mississippi Braves.
While his future is uncertain, he says he enjoys what he is doing now and could see himself making a career out of it.