Fielding a team: The place to be
By Kris Leonhardt
The final installment on our series on the Rafters
Over the past decade, Portage and Wood county residents have been flocking to Wisconsin Rapids’ Witter Field, which now features over 200 seats reserved from the former Milwaukee County Stadium, to see the Rafters play.
While market analysis says that 66 percent of the tickets purchased for Rafters games comes within a 12-minute radius of the park, 18 percent comes from Stevens Point and 5.5 percent from Marshfield.
And to cater to Rafters fans, the club is constantly working on was to improve the experience.
“Every year, we always have different things we are trying to do at the ball park. to increase the experience the people are having at the park, but also create that story for people to look forward to in the off season,” said Rafters General Manager Andy Francis.
One notable change for the 2021 season is the enhanced “Home Plate Club” area.
“We did half the extension last year, put four new tables in front. This year, we are actually going to go further up – matching the same kind of U-shape as what the first home plate extension build was back in 2011. This will actually be the first year we can offer that to the public for the people. There has always been this waiting list for the longest time, but we took care of that last year. Essentially, we are adding 450 square feet total for more tables into that area, so we will have 19 total. Each table has four seats, stadium seats on-field level. Within it they get food and beverage included through seventh inning, they get weight staff,” Francis explained.
“It has kind of become, since the inception of it in 2011, the place to be when it comes to having a ticket package within the park. A lot of our founding partners, a lot of our business partners, a lot of people looking for that high-end offering at the ball park tend to go down to that area first. And then, based on availability, then they’ll go into the Founders seats that are within the grandstands.”
Fans will also notice an extended “Point Craft River” area.
“It was something we wanted to do last year, but didn’t have the capability with everything that was kind of associated to what 2020 became,” Francis explained.
For 2021, around 40-50 seats are being added for the Craft River area and a second bar area.
“Off of the Craft River, we (will have) our first ever liquor bar, similar to what we have with the beer stands underneath the grandstands. We will have a 15-foot bar that an individual can walk up to this bar for just a rail drink, or one of the few specialty ones that we’ll have for this year,” he added.
Francis said that the Rafters’ “Kids Zone” will have a new carnival theme, with a ring toss game and other activities you would typically find at a carnival.
The 2021 season begins on May 31 and runs August 14. For more information, visit raftersbaseball.com or call 715-424-5400.