Photos by Marc Viquez, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.43
450 East Walnut
Green Bay, WI 54301
Year Opened: 1929 Capacity: 2,500
Blue Ribbon Special
They have been playing baseball on the same site of the current Joannes Stadium since 1929 but little is known about who played during its first decade. The current stadium was rebuilt in 1988, but if you look at various media publication little is mentioned that there has been two separate ballparks. However, baseball from minor to semi-pro leagues have all found success on the very same diamond for 90 years.
In 1940 the Green Bay Blue Jays called the facility home until 1953 in the Class D Wisconsin State League. In 1958 the Los Angeles Dodgers placed a team in the Three-Eye League adopting the Blue Jays name for the first two seasons before being renamed the Dodgers for its last season in 1960.
In 1970 the Green Bay Blue Ribbons in what was known as the Wisconsin State Baseball League began play at the ballpark. The semi-pro team’s nickname was chosen after a $3,000 a year partnership with a local Pabst Blue Ribbon distributor. The club was a hit on and off the field capturing 13 championships and averaging crowds of around 2,000 for games–especially on 10 cent beer night.
In 1995 the Blue Ribbons folded and a collection of teams occupied the stadium from the independent Green Bay Sultans (1996), another semi-pro club Green Bay Billy’s (1997-1999), and the Green Bay Bullfrogs of the Northwoods League (2007-2018). When the Bullfrogs opened the new Capital Credit Union Park and rebranded as the Booyah in 2019, it left Joannes without a main tenant.
That is when the De Pere Dodgers of the now Wisconsin State League relocated from their ball field five miles south of town into the 2,500-seat venue. The Dodgers were hampered at their home field due to a lack of alcohol sales and both bathroom and concessions being far removed from the grandstand. The Dodgers kept their identify for the 2019 season but announced that in 2020–a half-century after the original team’s founding–it would rebrand as the “new” Green Bay Blue Ribbons.
The Wisconsin State League features many of the region’s top college, former college, future, and former professional baseball players. The seven franchises in the league are non-profit organizations, organized by volunteers in their area communities. The league plays a 30 game regular season and will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year.
Food & Beverage 3
A concession stand is located on the concourse where hot dogs, pizza, and nachos are served at very affordable prices. The hot dogs are $2.50 and fans can pick up a bag of chips or candy to complement their meal. Down the first base side is the beer stand where taps of locally produced Bare Bones Brewery in Oshkosh are poured into plastic cups for the low price of $2.50 to $3. The club is not reinventing the wheel of what is served at the stadium, but the prices are cheap and the food is tasty.
Joannes Stadium features a main grandstand with a press box behind home plate with two bleacher-style grandstands down the first and third base sides. It is a very basic and rudimentary facility but perfect for this level of baseball in the WSL. There are plastic theater-style seats down the first base line of the stadium,
There are some left over features from when the facility was the home to the Green Bay Bullfrogs that include signage on the scoreboard behind the right field wall and the old party deck in the right field corner of the stadium. Perhaps a few changes will be made in the future when the club rebrands next season.
The atmosphere is very laid-back and reminiscent of either high school or college baseball in the northeast of the United States. The people in the stands or either fans of the players or family members checking out the game. There aren’t a large amount of promotions or loud noises being from the PA booth–it’s all about the game..
The ball park is located in Joannes Park in a residential neighborhood about 5 miles away from Lambeau Field, restaurants, and other tourist attractions in town. You would definitely need a car to reach other points in town and these are the places that will be recommended to visit before or after a game.
Lambeau is not a ghost town during the summer. The facility is home to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, stadium tours, 1919 Grill and Taproom, and one of the largest fans shops in the NFL.
Adjacent to the stadium is a community-development that features places to eat, drink, and play games. The area offers a large grass hill that kids enjoy rolling down on during the summer months and a massive playground and replica football field. The sprawling community is expanding and within a few years will offer residential homes, lodging, and more businesses.
Kroll’s West is known for the best burgers and their version of booyah (chicken soup with a rich and flavorful broth popular in town), the Badger State Brewing Company offers a large open green space with games, and the Green Bay Distillery features Wisconsin dishes in a family-friendly environment.
If you happen to be in town when the Green Bay Booyah (Northwoods League) or Green Bay Blizzard (Indoor Football League) are playing, you can make it for a nice sports weekend during the summer months.
During our visit on a Saturday afternoon there was a small sprinkling of fans scattered throughout the stadium. The number was somewhat lower than most games this year (2019) and that was probably due to the fact that a major concert took place in town that very day. Average crowds could peak more towards the century mark for games but the ones who were there seemed to be enjoying the action on the field.
The stadium is located in Joanna’s Park in a residential area of town and only has one entrance as of this writing on the first base side of the venue. There is a small parking lot and once inside the venue access is extremely easy to both bathrooms and concession areas. There are rarely ever large crowds at games providing plenty of seating to be found.
Return on Investment 3
All adult tickets are $3, children tickets are just a dollar, and kids 12 and under are admitted free of charge. The price of a game day program with a really nice retro design is a dollar and the price of a beer is only $2.50. There is a parking lot near the first base entrance that is currently open and is free of charge.
Joannes earns a point for its affordable pricing on tickets and concessions. A fan can easily enjoy two beers, a hot dog, and a game day ticket.
Joannes earns another point for its sheer determination of it being home for some level of baseball during the summer. The semi-pro Wisconsin State League is a bare-bones league where the focus in on the game.