We Checked Out the Milkmen and DockHounds’ First Rivalry Series

The teams faced off for the first time ever, to the delight of local baseball fans.


RELATED: LAKE COUNTRY DOCKHOUNDS GIVE OCONOMOWOC A BASEBALL TEAM TO CALL THEIR OWN 


The Milwaukee Milkmen and the Lake Country DockHounds – the area’s two independent professional baseball teams – took their budding rivalry to the Franklin Field diamond for the opening weekend of the new American Association season.

The Milkmen took the first two games of the series against the DockHounds, who are in their inaugural season, before Lake Country got its first-ever win on Sunday, a 6-5 come-from-behind victory capped by two runs in the top of the ninth inning. 

The teams will meet 10 more times during the regular season.

The DockHounds talked a little smack on social media prior to Friday night’s matchup, which marked the first game for the Lake Country franchise. 


 

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The DockHounds backed it up at first, scoring two runs in the top of the first as the team showed no signs of opening night nerves. But the Milkmen pulled out the victory behind newly acquired slugger Keon Barnum, who belted a pair of long home runs. 

The Milkmen won a back-and-forth battle on Saturday night, coming away with a 10-7 victory before the DockHounds pulled off their first win on Sunday.

Franklin Mayor Steve Olson and Oconomowoc Mayor Robert Magnus made a friendly wager on the weekend series.

“We were originally going to wager a lifetime supply of lip balm for Dorothy’s ruby slippers, but Mayor Magnus wouldn’t have it,” Olson said. Carmex lip balm is Franklin’s biggest export while Oconomowoc is known for holding one of the very first preview showings of the Wizard of Oz in 1939, they explained. “Instead, we’ve agreed on the dunk tank challenge,” Magnus said.

Photo by Rich Rovito

Since the Milkmen took the series, Magnus has agreed to get dunk tank soaking the next time the two teams play at Franklin Field, which will occur when Milkmen host the DockHounds in a four-game series beginning Aug. 15.

The teams next meet in Oconomowoc for a three-game set starting on June 28.

Milwaukee wore different uniforms for each game of the weekend series and introduced the team’s new cream jerseys for the series finale on Sunday, which feature a throwback design. 

 

Milwaukee’s spirited Bo Vine, named the league’s top mascot last season, entertained fans, especially giddy children, with his hijinks. Louie, the DockHounds’ costumed perpetrator of merriment, will entertain LakeCountry’s home fans.

About 35 miles separate Franklin Field and the Dockhounds’ base in Oconomowoc. Several DockHounds fans made the trek to Franklin to get the first glimpse of their new team in action.

The 12-team American Association features players with an array of experience, some fresh out of college and others seasoned veterans, including a few with major league experience.

The Milkmen won the American Association championship in 2020 in just their second year of existence, overcoming a challenge-filled season due to the COVID-19 pandemic that led to a shortened schedule with only half of the league’s teams participating.

Photo by Rich Rovito

This season marks a transition for the Milkmen, who are without two-time American Association player of the year Adam Brett Walker II, who grew up on Milwaukee’s North Side. A fan favorite for his booming home runs, Walker signed this off-season to play in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball after two seasons in Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee lineup this year is anchored by Barnum, who held the league’s single-season home run record until Walker set a new mark last season. The DockHounds made a splash with the signing of veteran Taiwanese star Dai-Kang Yang, who recorded the first hit in the franchise’s history.

The DockHounds will play their home games at the new Wisconsin Brewing Company Park in Oconomowoc. After traveling to Sioux City, Iowa, to take on the Explorers in a three-game series beginning Tuesday, the DockHounds will play their home opener on Friday against the Winnipeg Goldeyes.

Meanwhile, the Milkmen host a three-game series at Franklin Field beginning Monday night against the Cleburne Railroaders.

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Rich Rovito is a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine.