Independent pro baseball team Milwaukee Milkmen to debut in 2019
Wisconsin will introduce its first American Association of Independent Professional Baseball team, the “Milwaukee Milkmen,” in 2019. ROC Ventures – a management firm in the sports, entertainment and real estate industries – introduced the team on Monday, Sept. 17. Wisconsin’s first independent team will begin building a roster of professional players for its inaugural season this Spring.
“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 ROC Ventures chief executive officer Mike 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.”
ROC Ventures invited fans to submit ideas for the independent team’s nickname and mascot via an online application process in February. The top 10 names were selected and narrowed to five, and eventually three choices before being opened to fan voting.
The winning name, the Milwaukee Milkmen, is an ode to “America’s Dairyland” and the state of Wisconsin, one of the U.S.’ leading dairy producers.
ROC Ventures is planning a brand-new, 4000-seat stadium for the Milkmen, which will also host the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s college baseball team. The $125 million development will also include various entertainment and active lifestyle features for the community. ROC Ventures aims to elevate fan engagement with its design of the new baseball stadium at “Ballpark Commons” in Franklin, Wis., a suburb of Milwaukee. The Milkmen plan for “unique food and drink offerings” and “in-game experiences between innings and one-of-a-kind events,” which hope to differ from Wisconsin’s minor league baseball teams, the Beloit Snappers and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
Ballpark Commons, which is also home to the Rock Sports Complex, is a mixed-use complex. The facility already features a stadium, apartments, retail and an indoor and outdoor golf range.
The Milwaukee Milkmen join 12 teams as part of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. The North Division – which the Milkmen will likely join – includes the Chicago Dogs, Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks, Gary Southshore Railcats, St. Paul Saints, Sioux Falls Canaries and Winnipeg Goldeyes, while the South Division is home to the Cleburne Railroaders, Kansas City T-Bones, Lincoln Saltdogs, Sioux City Explorers, Texas AirHogs and Wichita Wingnuts.
The league, which was founded in October of 2005, recruits former major and minor league players. Amongst its notable alumni are three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (Fort Worth) of the Washington Nationals, as well as Mariners left-hander James Paxton (Grand Prairie). Former Milwaukee Brewer right-handed pitcher Brandon Kintzler played for St. Paul in 2009, while current Brewers hurlers Junior Guerra (Wichita) and Aaron Wilkerson (Grand Prairie) also pitched in the league.
Sources: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, American Association of Independent Professional Baseball