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Take me out to the ballgame

The Rockers kick off season under a new name and a new meaning to entertainment

By Rachel Sankey

The Green Bay Rockers gear up for a new season under a new name and level of entertainment. Submitted Photo

Batter up Greater Green Bay!

The Green Bay Rockers are revving up for a summer season like no other.

From the Green Bay Bullfrogs, to the Green Bay Boohyah and now the Green Bay Rockers, the Northwoods Collegiate baseball team has seen lots of changes since 2007 – including a change in stadiums from Joannes Stadium to the newly built Capital Credit Union Park.

Mark Skogen, CEO of Festival Foods, bought out the Green Bay Boohyah prior to the 2021 season, and made the change to the Green Bay Rockers last fall.

John Fanta, vice president and general manager of the Rockers, said the team’s most recent change comes with an exciting new season full of opportunities.

“We’re kind of trying to find ways to be more engaging and to have a new energy at the stadium,” Fanta said. “We wanted more of the party and fun entertainment experience for all ages. So if you’re five years old to 95 years old, we want to provide the best experience for you at the stadium.”

The front gates to Capital Credit Union Park. The season starts on Monday, May 30, but the Rockers kick off the first home game on Tuesday, May 31. Press Times Files Photos

Baseball with a side of music

Leading up to this season, Fanta said the Rockers team had several discussions over adding in a new sector of entertainment, and said the central theme always landed on music – since it is something everyone can relate to.

To incorporate more music into the games, he said the staff worked during the off season to plan pregame concerts, 45-50 minutes before the start of the first inning to get the party started even before the first pitch.

“It’s a great opportunity to grab a nice cold beverage prior to the baseball game starting and then also get to listen to the band continue through the first few innings of the game,” Fanta said.

Some of the bands that will play the pregame concerts include: The Cougars, Logan Spicer, Johnny Wadd, Ben Wagner and The Mullet River Band. The majority of the bands, he said, are local.

Every Thursday game (with the exception of one) is set aside for dueling pianos. Unlike the other music acts, who play through the first three innings, Fanta said the dueling pianos will stay for the entire game.

He said Capital Credit Union Park also received a recent facelift with the addition of a new stage in the Bud Light party patio to enhance the music experience.

The patio is an all-inclusive area that has all-you-can-eat burgers, brats, hotdogs and more though the fifth inning, as well as all-you-can-drink domestic and craft beer from an hour before the game through the seventh inning.

“I think we have an area and a space for all different kinds of groups or individuals at the stadium, and (the party patio) is kind of the fun zone,” Fanta said. “The music will be projected throughout the entire facility – so whether you’re enjoying a night in one of the suites, if you’re out on the grass berm and letting your kids jump around in the new inflatables – everybody will be able to enjoy the music and have a good night.”

An inside-peek into the Capital Credit Union Park. With the addition to pregame concerts, John Fanta, vice president and general manager of the Rockers, said attendees will be able to enjoy the music from anywhere.

Daily promos

On top of all the new activities going on, Fanta said there are specials for each night of the week.

They are listed as follows:

On Mondays – Free hot dogs are available for the first 90 minutes after gates open.

On Tuesdays – The Rockers will give away a 50-inch TV to the first winner that participates in baseball bingo, where every space on the bingo card corresponds to a play on the field.

On Wednesdays – People can bring their dogs to the ballpark and watch the game on the berm for a special ticket price of $6.

On Thursdays – Domestic taps are two-for-one through the fifth inning, presented by Bud Light.

On Fridays – A post-game fireworks show, courtesy of Pepsi.

On Saturdays – Kids run the bases, presented by Culvers.

On Sunday – Capital Credit Union provides baseballs to attendees after the game, and children are able to play catch on the field.

“There’s something going on for the family every night of the week,” Fanta said. “Aside from the live music and the promotions that happen, there will be face painters and balloon artists. It’s going to be a party out here.”

To kick off the first home game Tuesday, May 31, the first 1,000 fans will receive a vinyl record from The Cougars.

Out of the 1,000, one winner will receive a golden record, which wins them the title of “Rockstar of the Year,” and wins a season backstage pass to the Bud Light party patio.

With a new name comes a new mascot. Rhodie, Fanta said, embodies the Rockers theme of fun and rockin’ entertainment. Submitted Photo

The deeper meaning

Though Fanta said the Rockers staff’s main mission is for everyone to have fun and enjoy a night of entertainment, the team’s mission runs much deeper than that.

“With a lot of ancillary things going on in the world, such as the gas prices being really high, we provide an affordable, family-friendly venue; you don’t have to drive far,” he said. “And if you’re local, it’s really some of the best baseball in the country. It’s the Northwood’s largest summer collegiate league in the country, with 22 teams playing a 72 game schedule, and 36 of those are home games for us.”

Another view of the stadium. Fanta said attendees should walk in expecting to feel like a rock star.

Feelin’ like a rock star

For those who have been to games in past seasons, or even those who have never attended a game before, Fanta said everyone should come in expecting to feel like a rock star.

“They should walk in like they’re the most important person,” he said. “They should be coming ready to have fun. That’s what we’re about. We want you to leave the stresses and troubles of life at home and come here for three hours and lose your inhibitions and have fun.”

With the Rockers providing a new meaning to baseball, Fanta said he is excited to cater to both the huge baseball fan and the casual one, and everyone in between.

“There are a lot of events going on, and then there happens to be a baseball game in the background,” he said. “Whether we’re winning or losing, at the end of the day, we want you to have a good time up here. There’s some stat out there that 75-80% of people never remember the final score, and that’s exactly how we want it. You don’t have to be a baseball fan to enjoy the game. Listen to some live music, grab a beverage, bring the kids and have a great night.”

To purchase tickets for a Rockers home game and to see the season schedule, head to northwoodsleague.com/green-bay-rockers.

Rachel Sankey is the associate editor of Green Bay City Pages. She can be reached via email at [email protected].

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