TOWN OF WAUSAU (WAOW) -
Baseball fans are flocking to Athletic Park to catch the Wisconsin Woodchucks in action and their newly renovated park is a major reason why.
The Wisconsin Woodchucks owner says the renovations had a $3 million price tag. But the team is seeing a return on that investment as more fans have been filling up the stands to catch these summer games.
"Way ahead of last year, probably about 50% higher in ticket sales," said Mark Macdonald, Wisconsin Woodchucks owner.
Macdonald is crediting the renovations for drawing the crowds.
"Boy, it's pretty sharp, pretty sharp looking," said Chad Glaze of Merrill who brought his family to watch the game.
The Neighborhood Park addition is a fan favorite.
"It's very nice. I like this open area right here. You don't feel like you're right on the roads. It's very very nice," said Tammi Younker of Tomahawk.
The players on the field are also a big attraction.
"If anyone's come to a game, they'll notice these boys, well men, really enjoy playing the game. They're having a lot of fun, they're playing well, interacting with the fans well," said Macdonald. "It's a really enjoyable team to watch play because they play good baseball. But they have a smile on their face while they're doing it."
Their winning record doesn't hurt either.
"They are in first place in the Southern Division. It's a really tough division with some really good teams," said Macdonald.
Future baseball stars say one of the best features of this park is being so close to the players, they can hear them talking.
"They're like thinking of ways to win and stuff and where to hit it," said Bryce Younker of Tomahawk.
"That's one of the biggest attractions of minor league baseball is the ability to get closer to the players. The players are still young and more approachable and fun and so our fans enjoy joking and interacting with the players," said Macdonald.