Milwaukee Brewers fans were worried about the future of professional baseball in their state after a report by WISN 1130 stated that the organization received a stern warning from Major League Baseball concerning the needed repairs to American Family Field. The Brewers themselves reported earlier this year that American Family Field is in need of $448 million worth of repairs. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers wants to dedicate $290 million of the state’s tax surplus to the project between 2023-2025, but Republican lawmakers struck down his budget.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was in Milwaukee today as part of his tour of all 30 ballparks around the league. During this time, he reportedly met with Brewers and local officials to discuss the repairs needed. While there were feelings of doom and gloom leading up to this meeting, fans should be thrilled with what Manfred had to say afterwards.
Rob Manfred Believes Local and State Governments Will Do What Needs to Be Done to American Family Field
When speaking to the media on Thursday afternoon, Manfred said the following regarding the funding for the repairs and who will pay for it:
“It’s important to keep the issue of funding in some perspective. This is a gem of a ballpark. It’s really important that the existing obligation under the lease be funded so that this great ballpark is maintained on a regular basis.
“They’re not going to let that great community asset fall into decay because the people love this place.”
This puts the onus on the state and local governments to figure out a way to pay for the needed repairs. While many taxpayers begrudge this, local government agencies are under an agreement that requires them to pay for necessary maintenance.
The Milwaukee Brewers Are in No Danger of Being Relocated
Perhaps of equal importance, Manfred addressed the concerns that he/MLB would force the Brewers to relocate, as the Oakland A’s are in the process of doing. According to Manfred, he sees the Brewers as the opposite of the A’s:
“There is not a scenario that is in my mind at the current moment [in regards to relocation]. I am more focused on resolving this immediate issue in a timely way so that the ballpark is well-maintained for the benefit of the fans, and moving onto a long-term extension to make sure that the Brewers stay in Milwaukee.
“Milwaukee is the antithesis of what has happened in Oakland, and I’m gonna do everything in my power to make sure it stays that way.”
There will be, I am sure, some nastiness going forward in terms of political battles and perhaps some pushback from taxpayers about using their dollars to fund the repairs. However, thousands of people in the area surrounding the stadium rely on six months of Brewers games to keep the jobs that they have.
Businesses in that area thrive because of six months of Brewers games. A drive down Bluemound Avenue in January reveals less foot traffic and less crowded businesses than during any month in which the Brewers are playing. The fact of the matter is that the Brewers are good for the economy of Milwaukee, and furthermore they are good for the economy of the state.
One way or another, these repairs have to get done.
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