The Milwaukee Milkmen Are Joining The American Association

The votes have been tallied.

The name has been chosen.

The Milkmen are coming to Milwaukee and joining the American Association for the 2019 season.

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The Milwaukee Milkmen are in the heart of “America’s Dairyland” in Franklin, Wisconsin – about 15 miles south of Milwaukee.

The team will be playing at a new 4,000 seat stadium, the Ballpark Commons, that is part of a $125 million development and will also be home to the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee’ s baseball team.

According to the American Association website, ROC Ventures – “which also operates three summer collegiate clubs in Indiana and New York, as well as a professional soccer team and a sports complex in the Milwaukee area” – will operate the league’s newest team.

The CEO of ROC Ventures, Mike Zimmerman, told The Ballpark Digest:

“We’re proud to officially join the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball as the Milwaukee Milkmen, on behalf of the state of Wisconsin,” said Zimmerman. “As an organization, our focus has always been on creating and strengthening community opportunities, and we look forward to providing new, affordable fan experiences to the city of Franklin and beyond through America’s favorite pastime.”

They are diving head first into the dairy theme right from the start. Their official website is stating that they are promising professional baseball that is “udderly different” and that the fan experience will be “MOOOre than just baseball.”

The team provided the Ballpark Digest with a promo video as well:

As it stands right now, the Milkmen will be the 13th team in the American Association.

However, there is still some uncertainty surrounding the Wichita Wingnuts.

The Wichita Eagle reported last week that:

Wichita will spend as much as $81 million on building a new ballpark for the Triple-A baseball franchise that is planning to move to Wichita.

And the city will pay $2.2 million to the Wichita Wingnuts to break the independent baseball team’s lease at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, which will be torn down to make way for the new stadium. City officials hope to have the 84-year-old stadium demolished by the end of the year.

If the Wingnuts team ultimately stays in the American Association, the league would have to look into fielding a road team for the 2019 season to even out the amount of teams.

 

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Frontier League Teams Up In The Air For Next Season

The end of the regular season for the Frontier League is just the beginning of some difficult decisions for various teams and cities.

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News has gotten out that The Traverse City Beach Bums are looking to sell and possibly become a team in the Northwoods League, a collegiate summer baseball league, next year.

The Traverse Ticker reported that an official announcement may be coming this month once the season ends, but everyone with the team is being quiet for now.

“At this time we’re not ready to make an announcement about anything in reference to that,” says Joe Chamberlin, who is slated to become CEO of the Grand Rapids area-based team at the end of the 2018 season. “We’ve known [Beach Bums owners] John and Leslye Wuerfel for many years.”

Beach Bums Chief Financial Officer and General Manager Leslye Wuerfel did not respond to requests for comment on a possible sale.

Read the full article here: Beach Bums Sale Could Be Coming Soon. 

Another team that may be heading in the same direction is the Normal CornBelters.

Last year, the CornBelters discussed moving to the Northwoods League or the Prospects League, but ultimately returned for another season in the Frontier.

Now, they’re still open about leaving the Frontier League and are looking at all their options.

The Pantagraph reported:

As the CornBelters closed their ninth Frontier League season Sunday, team president Steve Malliet sees his franchise in much the same position it was a year ago.In other words, the Belters may have played their final Frontier League game.

“Just like last year, we always take a look at our options at the end of the year to see what we think is best for the organization moving forward,” Malliet said.

Read the full article here: Belters’ Chirino says farewell to Frontier League career

And finally, baseball in Joliet may be coming to an end.

In July, The Herald News reported that the city of Joliet was looking to expand the use of the stadium beyond baseball and it seems as if they were keeping their options open.

The Slammers, who are in a one-year lease with the city that ends this month, said that they need an agreement soon to stay in the Frontier League.

The Slammers’ attorney, Michael Hansen, spoke this week with both the full City Council and the council’s Stadium Committee, noting the team needs to assure the Frontier League that it has a place to play next year.

“We have obligations in the league to let them know that we will field a team by mid-September,” Hansen said. “Time is of the essence.”

As of July when the issue was first brought to attention, it sounded as if the Slammers would be coming back.

Council member Michael Turk, a member of the Stadium Committee who has been asking the staff for status updates on lease negotiations, said he believes the plan is to renew with the Slammers.

“I haven’t heard that we are looking at anybody but the Slammers,” Turk said.

But the city and Slammers so far have not begun negotiations, he said.

“Once we see what they’re looking at, and they see what we’re looking at, I expect it will go pretty quickly,” he said.

Read the full article here: Joliet Slammers prod city on lease negotiations 

Even with the Slammers in the playoffs for the third consecutive season, it appears as though no agreement has been reached (at least not one that has been officially released to the press).

With three teams (so far) that may not be returning for the 2019 season, the Frontier League could possibly be in for changes that affect play for next summer and beyond.

If an odd number of teams leave, will the Road Warriors/Frontier Greys team be back in action?

Will there be any new teams planning to join the league in the upcoming seasons?

Once the playoffs come to an end, I’m sure answers – and probably more questions – will arise.

 

Writing and sharing stories about Independent Baseball.

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