The Franklin-based Milwaukee Milkmen opened the 2021 season as defending American Association of Professional Baseball champions.
In February the Association announced the league would begin the 2021 season on May 18 and would play a 100-game balanced schedule with 12 teams. There would be a North Division and South Division. The top two clubs in each division at the end of the regular season would qualify for the playoffs.
Big news came on July 2, 2021.
After sitting in 1st place in the division for some time the Milkmen ran into tough times and finished in 3rd place, still making the playoffs under an expanded format.
But in early September the team lost to the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks 5-0 in a single-game wild-card playoff, ending their run to win back-to-back championships.
Once again, Adam Walker was outstanding.
I nominated the above for a special award.
But it didn’t make the final list, and the 140 Ton Navy Crane from Broadwind Heavy Fabrications in Manitowoc was crowned the winner.
But how about…
Bo-Vine was voted by fans the Best Mascot in the American Association.
Finally, the biggest news from Franklin’s biggest and best tourist destination.
Some would submit it’s just as exciting or even more so than the Milwaukee Milkmen at Franklin Field.
Lots of people have been waiting and waiting for this new addition to Franklin. If they had their way it would have opened months and months and months ago.
From the Milwaukee Business Journal on November 10, 2021:
Ballpark Commons’ Luxe Golf driving range and beer garden to open in May
By Sean Ryan – Reporter, Milwaukee Business Journal
The Luxe Golf Bays building that will bring a high-tech driving range, beer garden and two restaurants to Ballpark Commons is on course to open on May 27, 2022.
The building will have 57 golf bays on three stories overlooking a 250-yard-long turf range. Doppler technology will track golfers’ drives down to the spin on the ball and allow games such as bull’s-eye where points are awarded for consistent accuracy. It is the latest addition to the Ballpark Commons development development in Franklin by developer ROC Ventures, led by CEO Mike Zimmerman.
“It gives you things like spin rate or a bunch of other metrics that are neat for not only working on your own game, but for instruction,” Zimmerman said.
ROC Ventures has signed up restaurants that will be announced soon to fill two spaces in the building, and plans to operate a heated, covered beer garden there called Hinterhof. A second-floor indoor event space will have room for up to 200 people.
The project has been in the works for years, but like others in the hospitality and entertainment world, it faced delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The original lender to the project backed out after the onset of the pandemic.
“As you can imagine, people were not real bullish on business models that were centered around social interactions,” Zimmerman said.
Over time, the picture changed as Ballpark Commons was able to host professional baseball games at its stadium and other events including an outdoor movie theater. Zimmerman said about 450,000 people have visited Ballpark Commons so far this year.
Lenders also gained confidence as Topgolf planned and opened new locations, Zimmerman said.
“That demonstrated back to the debt markets that, interestingly, these things do survive in the pandemic,” Zimmerman said.
Luxe Golf broke ground in late July after ROC Ventures secured lending from Geneva Capital Group of Chicago.
This is a first golf range business for ROC Ventures, which developed Ballpark Commons, owns the Milkmen baseball team that plays in its stadium, and also the Milwaukee Wave indoor soccer team. The Franklin company has agreements with several technology providers for the Luxe golf range. That includes TrackMan Golf, which provides the doppler technology, and Flite Golf.
People can sign up for membership starting this week to get priority rentals at Luxe. The heated golf suites will have large TVs and food and drink service.
The next big project at Ballpark Commons will be a hotel under Choice Hotels MainStay Suites and Sleep Inn brands. Zimmerman said that could start construction by spring at the latest.
The MOSH Performance Center indoor sports facility opened at Ballpark Commons early this year. The YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee opened a branch in the building this month. The project also brought new senior and market-rate apartments and an office and retail building.
How about a hot dog?
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