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Rafters Liz Kern Part of New Ownership Group of the Green Bay Bullfrogs

(Green Bay, Wis.) – Northwoods League President Dick Radatz, Jr. announced that ownership of the Green Bay Bullfrogs has been transferred from the Northwoods League to Green Bay Baseball LLC. The new ownership group consists of seasoned Northwoods League operators including lead owner Steve Schmitt, Vern Stenman, Conor Caloia and Liz Kern. The group has been involved as owners or operators in the League for a combined 50 years. The group currently owns and operates Northwoods League franchises in Madison, Wis., Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. and Kenosha, Wis. 

Kern has been named Vice President and General Manager of the Bullfrogs and will be relocating to Green Bay the first week of December to oversee day-to-day operations of the franchise. For the past four years, Kern has served as the General Manager of the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters. She was named the Northwoods League Executive of the Year and Ballparkdigest.com Executive of the Year in 2010. Kern has guided a team in the League’s second smallest market (out of 18) to the eighth best attendance in the circuit averaging nearly 1,400 fans over the past four seasons. 

In 2010, Schmitt and Stenman founded the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters bringing minor league-style baseball back to the community for the first time in more than 20 years. The Rafters have quickly become a phenomenon in the area garnering unprecedented fan and corporate support. The Rafters hosted the 2011 Northwoods League All-Star Game and have made several significant stadium upgrades including the installation of Milwaukee County Stadium seats, the construction of a walk-in souvenir stand and multiple club seating areas. 

John Fanta, who had been Kern’s Assistant General Manager the first four seasons of the Rafters existence, was recently promoted to General Manager and will continue to run the day-to-day operations of the Rafters in his expanded role.  The Rafters ownership group of Steve Schmitt and Vern Stenman will remain intact.

“It has been an absolute privilege to work alongside Liz the past four seasons.  She has put her whole heart and soul into making the Rafters a fun, affordable, entertainment option in Central Wisconsin and I know she will do the same in Green Bay.  Liz has set a great stage and I am looking forward to the opportunity to build upon what she has started here in Wisconsin Rapids,” said Fanta.

 “Given the track record of this ownership group, we are looking for big things ahead with our Green Bay affiliate,” Radatz, Jr said.

“We are excited to be a part of the Green Bay community,” the group said in a joint statement. “We think there is a great opportunity to enhance the game day experience for Bullfrogs fans and we are confident the best days for baseball in Green Bay are ahead of us.”

“I can’t wait to get to work,” Kern said. “Our organization prides itself on providing great family entertainment and I am honored to be a part of the next chapter of Northwoods League Baseball in Green Bay.  I look forward to building a great partnership with the City of Green Bay and the area baseball teams.”

Stenman and Caloia will be involved in the day-to-day operation of the Bullfrogs with Kern. Between the four teams, the group has more than 20 full-time employees and 500 seasonal employees. The Bullfrogs plan to hire at least two new full-time employees plus several seasonal positions and internships. In addition to the Bullfrogs full-time staff, the ownership group will have several organizational experts based in other markets to consult on marketing, ticket sales, concessions and operations. 

The first order of business for the new ownership group will be to reach out to ticket holders, corporate partners and the local baseball community to hear their vision for the future of the Bullfrogs. The Bullfrogs will host a listening session in early December to start the discussion on improvements for the franchise. The new ownership group assumes the Bullfrogs lease for Joannes Stadium with the City of Green Bay that runs through the 2016 season. 

For more information on the Bullfrogs please contact Conor Caloia at 608.509.3367. 

The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 20-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 115 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including MLB All-Stars Max Scherzer (DET), Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (WAS), Curtis Granderson (NYY), Allen Craig (STL) and Ben Zobrist (TB). All league games are viewable live and free of charge via the Northwoods League YouTube channel. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com.