|League||Northwoods League (South Division)|
|League championships||2 (2005,2013)|
|Division championships||4 (Overall: 2004, 2005, 2008
First half: 2003, 2013)
|Former name(s)||Madison Mallards (2001–present)|
|Colors||Green, silver, white, gold
|Management||President: Vern Stenman
General Manager: Conor Caloia
|Media||Wisconsin State Journal|
The Madison Mallards are a collegiate summer baseball team based in Madison, Wisconsin that plays in the Northwoods League. Warner Park on Madison’s North side is the team's home field. The 2010 season marked the Mallards' 10th anniversary season.
The Mallards are one of 16 teams in the Northwoods League, playing 70 games per season, in June through mid-August. The Northwoods League is a summer collegiate league that provides an opportunity for college players to spend their summers and display their talents to professional scouts. Players must be enrolled in college and have at least one year of athletic eligibility to participate. The league is designed to give college players the minor league experience, providing players an opportunity to play under the same conditions using wooden bats, minor league specification baseballs, experiencing overnight road trips, and playing nightly before fans in a stadium.
The Mallards maintain roughly 30 members on the team, allowing for two catchers, five infielders, and five outfielders and filling the rest of the roster with pitchers. In the summer of 2008, the team consisted of six freshman, nine sophomores, and eleven juniors.
The history of minor league baseball in Madison begins with the early success of the Madison Muskies. A Midwest League Oakland A's affiliate, the Muskies were competitive and gained a healthy following in the years following their 1982 origins. Unfortunately by 1993 the crowds had declined and the Muskies became less profitable. In 1994 the Muskies were replaced for a single season by the St Louis affiliate, Madison Hatters. 1996 began the five-year stint of the independent Madison Black Wolf, but once again low attendance and little interest plagued the team and they were forced to move to a more profitable community.
In 2001 area businessman, Steve Schmitt, introduced the Madison Mallards to Warner Park. The Mallards would be a new team in the young Northwoods League featuring amateur college ball players playing summer ball during their off-season. The gamble was that a successful team could be built using amateur ball players in a family atmosphere.
The Mallards made it to the playoffs in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. They have made two Northwoods League Championship Series appearances, which resulted in runner-up finishes in 2005 and 2008. They won the Northwoods League championship in 2004.
In 2011, the Mallards began their 11th season featuring a new team logo, and entered the season with a newly renovated ballpark. The new grandstands features seats that were once at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore.
The playing surface of the field is mainly grass, and the dimensions from home plate are 308 1/3 feet to left field, 380 feet to center field and 280 2/3 feet to right field. An Amp Energy Vision Video Board is located in left center field, along with 14 flat screen televisions throughout the stadium.
There is a children's playground and picnic seating close to the foul lines. A small grandstand contains the press box, while there are two sets of covered bleachers down each line. The front half of all three areas features seatbacks and arms, while the back half are simple metal bleachers. In right field is the “Duck Blind,” which includes prime seating and all you can eat food and beverages.
The field, built in 1982, is city-owned. The Warner Park stadium seats 7,500 people; however, the Mallards also sell standing room only tickets.
Average attendance at games is 6,000. In 2007 the Madison Mallards, for the second year in a row, drew over 200,000 fans to the park, with a season attendance of 209,856.
Warner Park is sometimes referred to as the “Duck Pond,” a name given to the field because of the mascot, Maynard G. Mallard. As fans wait for the first pitch, Maynard flies into the stadium on a 180-foot-zip line. A large inflatable Maynard Mallard can be seen from the front gate, and the entry path to the ballpark is covered with duck tracks.
Each Mallards home game offers different promotions including cheaper tickets, free accessories, and aid to local and national charities.
Mallards fans are known for their dedication. In June 2008, the first 250 fans to eat a beetle received free duck blind tickets worth $30. "Duck wear" ranges from duck calls to hats and t-shirts. Personal announcements for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. are read every night during the 7th inning.
Foul Ball and a Hot Dog
The Duck Ponds PA Announcer also brings a traditional call at every home game, when a player hits a foul ball in the stands or behind them the Announcer yells out "Weiner" over the speakers. The reason is if you catch a foul ball and return it, you get a free hot dog.
- "Madison Black Wolf". Retrieved 2009-06-17.
- Madison Mallards - official website
- Northwoods League - official website
- Stadium Journey - Ballpark Review