Joliet Slammers Win Championship, Renew Lease

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On Tuesday, the Joliet Slammers had two very important victories.

The team won the Frontier League championship by defeating the Washington WildThings in game 5 on the road in Pennsylvania.

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(AHJ Photography)

As the team was celebrating their 4-2 victory, back home the city of Joliet and their fans were celebrating a new lease that will keep the Slammers in the city of Joliet… for now.

As Indy Ball Island reported, the city of Joliet had not renewed their lease with the Slammers and were possibly looking at other options for the stadium.  That changed on Tuesday when the city council approved a five-year lease to allow the Slammers to continue renting the city’s Joliet Route 66 Stadium.

At first glance, a five-year lease sounds fantastic for fans;  however, there are many opt-outs built into the new lease that weren’t there in the previous lease.

The drop in attendance has some city officials worried about cost and revenue.

The new lease now calls for the Slammers to pay $75,000 to the city annually. The previous amount was only $25,000.

And after multiple complaints about the over quality and experience, the new lease states that the “Team shall guarantee to the city, its fans and invitees, first class treatment with respect to the cleanliness of the operation and quality of the product, the efficiency and tastiness of the concession services and such friendliness befitting of a minor league professional team venue.”

Another added provision is that the city of Joliet can terminate the lease with the Slammers (with a minimum of one-year notice) if the city lands an affiliated minor league baseball team.

Slammer representatives and city officials now must meet monthly – instead of annually – “to discuss any other matters that pertain to the use and or lease of the stadium.”

For further details on the lease and specific complaints the city and fans had against the Slammers this year (including concessions, marketing, advertising, and overall fan experience), check out the article from the Joliet Patch “Hug Not Happy With Slammers Stadium Lease.”

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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.

 

Writing and sharing stories about Independent Baseball.

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