Franklin Field - Milwaukee Milkmen
Photos by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71
Milkmen Stadium 7035 S. Ballpark Dr. Franklin, WI 53132
Year Opened: 2019
Milk & Cookies at the Ballpark
Between one inning of play, Van McNeil throws out imaginary cookies to waving fans in the grandstand of Milkmen Stadium. McNeil is known at games “The Milkman” dressed in white, with a cap, and black bow tie. He leads all the in-between inning promotions during games and all the other workers at the concession stands and ushers are also decked out in similar gear. It is all part of the experience of a Milwaukee Milkmen game.
Routine Field is named after an apparel company that is headquartered in Franklin, Wisconsin, on the site of the former Crystal Ridge Landfill that is also home to the Rock Sports Complex that features six baseball fields that is home to 2,000 baseball games a year. The development is spearheaded by ROC Ventures and costs have been reported to be between $160-$180 million. The ballpark sits in construction zones at this time and its potential won’t be fully reached until the other projects open around the ballpark in a few years.
The ball club debuted on June 24, 2019 after the first five home series were played at Kokomo Municipal Stadium in Indiana due to construction delays. The ballpark is part of the Ballpark Commons, a mix-use development that will be home to live, work, and play areas that will include a beer garden, taco restaurant, brew pub, apartments, senior living housing, a hotel, an indoor sports complex, and a performance and wellness village that hopes to be completed by 2021.
Known as Routine Field during its inagural season but after a legal dispute about naming rights left the baseball stadium with a temporary moniker of Milkmen Stadium. Management hopes to find a new corporate name in time for the club’s second season. However, the stadium adds its name to big, bold, and distinctive facilities to the American Association along with CHS Field in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Impact Field about an hour south in Rosemont, Illinois. All ballparks are spacious, detailed for large social areas, and are alternatives to major league baseball in a major metropolitan area.
Food & Beverage 3
There is one main concession stand in the center of the concourse that specializes in burgers, fries, and shakes. A ¼ pound burger sells for $4 for a single, $7 for a double, and a loaded double burger costs $8. All burgers can come with a side of fries for $2. If you don’t consume meat, a veggie black bean burger can be ordered for $5.
The milkshakes come in flavors of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry for $5. There is also a chocolate and banana shake with sprinkles for $6. French fries can be ordered by themselves for $3 along with hot dogs ($3), brats ($5), nachos ($4), and cheesesteaks ($7). The hot dogs and sausages are made by the Milwaukee Sausage Co.
There are a few portable stands throughout the concourse that sell popcorn, grilled corn, and cupcakes. A Mexican food truck is set up in the outfield area, but the longest lines are for the grilled corn that serves up orders from its truck.
Fans can order drinks from the same concession stand as the burgers and shakes with prices for domestic drafts and tall boy cans for $5 to craft and imports for $8. The options include Coors Light, Miller Lite, and Leinenkugel Summer Shandy. Local craft brews include varieties from Lakefront, Raised Grain, Sprecher, and City Lights.
The 4,000 seat ballpark offers various areas of seating for fans on the wraparound concourse. The Leinenkugel Hop Yard is an impressive two-level area on the third base side of the venue that incorporates repurposed shipping containers and the semi-private cabana seats behind the seating bowl of the concourse offers lounge seating and service.
Visitors enter Milkmen Stadium from the outfield entrance located in the left field corner. They’re welcomed by the Leinenkugel Hop Yard area and the team’s official gift shop as they make their way to the main concourse of the stadium. Visitors can buy an all-you-can-eat-and-drink ticket to the Hop Yard and choose from an array of local beers and food, while enjoying the game from various viewpoints of the enclosed area.
The colors of black and white are evident throughout the building that also extends to the advertisements on the outfield walls. Game day staff members are dressed as milk men and women complete with black bow ties offering services at portable stands and the main concession area behind the backstop.
The seating bowl offers plastic theater-style chairs in the colors of gray and yellow that add a welcome change in look not commonly found at other professional ballparks. On the top of the concourse are private cabana-style seating for groups. A large video scoreboard is situated above the grass berm seating in left field known as the pasture. The words “popcorn” can be heard over the sound system whenever a foul ball is hit; the club offers a free bag of popcorn with every foul ball returned by a fan.
There is still more grass seating down the first baseline that also features trees that add to the natural beauty of the surrounding area of the neighborhood. In the distance behind the left field wall is a large grassy hill that looks like it’s somewhat out of place for this area but blends in nicely with the large open areas in the outfield of the stadium.
There are plenty of promotions from cow racing, cookie tossing, dizzy bat race, and frozen t-shirt contests. Bo-Vine is the team’s official mascot that can be seen during many of these promotions and in the stands walking around during the game.
The town of Franklin is located south of downtown Milwaukee and the complex itself is in the beginning stages of transformation to a live, work, and play area. There are several restaurants in town worth checking out that include the Milwaukee Burger Company, Three Cellars, and the Hideaway Pub & Eatery.
However, a trip up north to Milwaukee is where you will be able to find more attractions that include tours of the new Fiserv Forum, the Milwaukee Arts Museum, the Harley-Davidson Museum, and tours of the Miller and Pabst Breweries. The Milwaukee Waterfront is also worth visiting on a nice summer day.
The Historic Third Ward is home to restaurants with sidewalk tables, scenic river walks, the Milwaukee Public Market, shops and the National Bobblehead Museum and Hall of Fame. There are also a collection of great local breweries in town that include Good City Brewing, MobCraft Beer Brewery, Third Space Brewery, Lakefront Brewery, Specher Brewery, and Great Lakes Distillery.
The Milkmen have played a total of three series at home as of the writing of this article and there is a good showing of fans who are there for an affordable night out at the ballpark and a few taking a curiosity in the new independent club in town. Fans are keeping score from their seats, many mingling with friends, and folks enjoying the new car smell of the ballpark.
Milkmen Stadium is located 15 miles south of downtown Milwaukee and located off of S.R. 36 and near the interstates of 94 and 43. General Mitchell International Airport is located less than 10 minutes to the east. The complex is in the beginning stages of transformation and during our visit certain access roads and entrances were closed off due to construction.
However, once inside there can be somewhat of a congestion at the main concourse area where lines are somewhat long. This area is also somewhat narrow, but the rest of the stadium offers plenty of room to move around and vantage points for photos from visitors.
Return on Investment 5
The Milkmen offer $8 tickets for their version of grass berm seats dubbed “The Pastures” and bleacher and terrace seating sell for $12 to $14 each and includes a hot dog and either soda or beer; when you do the math, this might be one of the better deals in all of baseball. Other ticket prices include the Mosh Dugout Seats for $12, and Scout seats for $16.
The Leinenkugel Hop Yard ($30-$35) and Ascension Club Level ($60-$65) includes an All-You-Can-Eat area until the 7th inning. Merchandise ranges from shirts for $22 to ball caps for $30, concession items are as low as $3 for a locally made hot dog to $7 for a cheesesteak, and the parking is free of charge.
There are daily themes at the games: Mangia and Merch Mondays (food specials and 10 percent off merchandise); Loco Locals & Triple Pay Tuesdays ($2 hot dogs, soda, and pretzels); White Claw Wednesdays and Wine with Bo Vine (Ladies Night); Thirsty Thursdays ($2 domestic beer and $4 craft beer); Fridays feature fireworks; Saturdays are Promo Nights; and Sunday is Family Funday (gates open early for brunch where kids eat free with an adult purchase).
Milkmen Stadium earns several points for its design and amenities that embrace staff members dressed in old-time classic milkmen garb, tickets that include a hot dog and a beer starting at $12, the double-deck Hop Yard that has potential to be one of the hippest parts of the park, and freshly-made burgers and thick milkshakes at the concession stand. A final point is for the large grass hill that is situated behind the right field corner of the ballpark.
Milkmen Stadium is a fancy new facility that will only be challenged by the imagination of its architects who are currently building the Ballpark Commons around it. The enthusiasm by the game day staff dressed as milkmen and the numerous dairyland themes make for a nice alternative to watching professional baseball in Milwaukee.