Located in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin suburb of Franklin, the easily named Franklin Field has been in operation since 2019. That year the park was known as Routine Field and after an ugly legal spat over naming rights, the ballpark was briefly known as Milkmen Stadium during the off-season before officially becoming Franklin Field for the 2020 season. Franklin Field seats 4,000 people and is part of a sports complex that has become central to Franklin’s identity.
Milwaukee Milkmen (2019-present, American Association)
May 26th, 2021
Winnipeg Goldeyes 3 vs Milwaukee Milkmen 11
I’ll start by saying that I really like Franklin Field. Bill and I got a 9-pack of tickets for the team’s inaugural season in 2019, and while we’ve been to a fair number of baseball games at a variety of parks since meeting three years ago, most of them have been at Franklin Field.
The field itself is well-designed from both a functional perspective as well as an aesthetic one. For example, the seats are roomy and when taken in from a distance look like ears of blue and yellow corn. There are a variety of seating options from the Hop Yard with its high-top tables, open bar, and bags sets, to the cushy sectional seating of the golf bays, to the outfield grass seats, there’s space for everyone no matter your interest in the game itself. The baseball itself is fun to watch, and usually pretty competitive.
There are a few drawbacks to the Franklin Field experience, however. The food is, simply put, not good. I’ve had most of the items on the limited menu, and about the only decent thing is the French fries. I also find the majority of the “off-field” entertainment incredibly cringe. I don’t mind the activities involving children playing games for prizes, but most of the rest is annoying if not outright uncomfortable. I also find some of the negativity around the visiting team and players, which I’ve never seen to the same extent at other parks, to be in poor taste.
So, while I really like Franklin Field, there is definitely the opportunity for improvement.
Even though they played last season the Coronavirus meant that our Milkmen tickets went unused. That was unfortunate, but necessary, as Franklin Field is always a good time. The first thing that stands out is the great views. This is common throughout unaffiliated and minor league ball, still, Franklin Field houses nary a bad seat. The field itself is interesting as it’s some sort of turf. It takes some getting used to, but it looks much better than astroturf used to look so it has that going for it.
The Milkmen try to make the experience a fun one. That has its positives and its negatives. The positives are when they get young kids involved and when they let their mascot, Bo Vine, do his thing and interact with the fans. However, their more adult-themed attempts at getting fans involved in the game often feel forced. Whether it’s the milkshake chugging contest that makes your stomach turn or the tea time debacle in the fourth inning, they are all fairly bad.
The food is decent, though nothing special. There’s not much in the way of variety and it’s made by high school-age interns which means it’s always a crapshoot as to whether you will get what you ordered and if it will actually be hot by the time you get it. Though, the food is never as much of an issue for me because I stick with my tried and true brat, fries, and soda combo that is next to impossible to screw up.
What truly makes Franklin Field a good time at the ballpark is the intimacy of the stadium combined with how easy it is to navigate to/throughout the stadium and the seats. Yes, I said the seats. When constructing Franklin Field it’s clear that the owners knew that a state full of people who will tailgate before any event meant that the seats needed to be a little bit larger and a mite more comfortable. A great view where you feel like you’re right on top of the action in very comfortable seats is hard to beat.
Lead photo courtesy of Emilie Thompson