Manitowoc Bandits Season Preview

May 14, 2009

The Manitowoc Bandits were featured in the Thursday edition of Weekend magazine that hit the racks May 14th and on the Front Page of on Thursday. You can still read the story by clicking

Wisconsin State League

Taking in a Manitowoc Bandits baseball game is an affordable way to entertain the whole family.

“For $20, you can have a family of four completely filled with hot dogs and sodas … and still get a baseball game out of it,” said James Maurer, vice president of the semi-professional team.

“We have fun with the announcements, music between innings, food, just a lot of camaraderie. It’s a great place for a family to grab a seat in the bleachers or the grass and just relax and enjoy the game.”

A nice thing about home games is that local fans don’t have to drive far to follow the sport, he said.

The home opener against the West Allis Nationals begins at 1 p.m. May 23 at Municipal Baseball Field, at South 23rd Street and Grand Avenue in Manitowoc. The season runs through the playoffs, which are Aug. 3-13.

Pleasant spring and summer days often find the Samz family — Joe and Earlene and sons, Carl, 13 and Josh, 11 — biking to the ballpark two blocks from their home.

“We are big fans,” Joe Samz said. “We will go to anywhere from 10 to 15 home games a year.”

Compared to professional baseball, you get to see a more games for less money, he said.

“Both my sons play baseball and I’ve been a coach for years,” he said. “It’s a way to learn the game — and it’s America’s pastime,” Samz said.

Manitowoc Youth Baseball player Austin Tess, 9, of Manitowoc, also likes to watch the Bandits to pick up pointers on “how to do this, how to do that, what to do to get better,” he said. “I watch the pitchers a lot because I’m the pitcher (for his league).”

He attends games with his mom and dad, Jean and Wayne, and sister Lindsey, 11.

“They’re fun to go to,” Jean Tess said of the games. “It’s a neat opportunity to get together with people to cheer (the Bandits) on and socialize. They have really nice things going on.”

Bandits games often feature special events, including Guaranteed No-Hitter Night at 7:30 p.m. June 2. Each fan is treated to a free ticket to a future game if the Bandits pitcher doesn’t throw a no-hitter, Maurer said.

Fans can get free tickets to the Kwik Trip Day game at 5 p.m. July 11 from area Kwik Trip stores during the week leading up to the game.

Perhaps the most fun for the kids is Christmas in July at 7:30 p.m. July 24. “We give away Christmas presents and you open your present at the game and get to take it home with you,” Maurer said. “Presents include everything from T-shirts to games to household items.”

Another favorite with kids is returning foul balls in exchange for Bandits Bucks, which can be redeemed for anything in the ballpark, he said.

Bandits fans seem to get the best of both worlds. They have a chance to get up close and personal to the game and can enjoy the excitement of a challenging competition.

“The talent is exceptional … you not only enjoy the game, but get to know the players,” Maurer said.

Entering its 11th season, the Bandits team has won the Northeastern Wisconsin Baseball League championships for the last two years, he said.

The team has sent two players to the minor leagues — Daniel Morales (Cleveland Indians organization) and Matt Yourkin (San Francisco Giants organization) — and last year promoted two players to the Northwoods League mid-season. One fan favorite, Tavo Hall, now plays professionally with the Haar Disciples in the German league Baseball-Bundesliga, Maurer said.

Tickets to Bandits games are $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and $1 for students. Season passes, picnic passes and group ticket prices also are available. To order tickets or picnics in advance, call (920) 686-9924.

For more, visit www.manitowoc

What: Manitowoc Bandits home opener vs. West Allis Nationals

When: 1 p.m. May 23

Where: Municipal Baseball Field, South 23rd Street and Grand Avenue, Manitowoc

Tickets: $3 adults, $2 seniors and $1 students. Season passes, picnic passes and group ticket prices also are available.

Phone: (920) 686-9924 to order tickets or picnics in advance


Suzanne Weiss: (920) 686-2139 or

The Wisconsin State League is one of the premier semi-professional/amateur baseball leagues in the mid-west. In operation since 1970, the Wisconsin State League is a highly competitive league that features many of the midwest's top current and former collegiate athletes, as well as many former professional baseball players. Keep up to date on everything happening in the Wisconsin State League by following the league online on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. | #WSL