The Klement’s Sausage Race has been a fixture for fans to enjoy at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Certainly the race is a treat for fans in Arizona when the sausages come down to spring training.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The fan-favorite Famous Racing Sausages will have to sprint on at Miller Park without Klement’s.
The 25-year sponsorship link is being broken heading into the 2018 Brewers’ season, Klement Sausage Co. Chief Executive Officer Tom Danneker said in a letter Tuesday to his employees.
“Alas, all good things come to an end, and the Brewers have decided to discontinue our partnership with them,” Danneker said.
Brat, Polish, Italian, Hot Dog and Chorizo will still be racing around the perimeter of Miller Park come April, but they’ll no longer wear the Klement’s label.
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“This spring we entered into our regular contract negotiations with the Brewers — just as we have done many times over the past 25-plus years,” Danneker said. “We intended to extend and continue our partnership with the Brewers — and more importantly the Brewers family of fans.
As the Brewers took on the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park, Chorizo fell face-first into the dirt behind home plate.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Unfortunately, the Brewers abruptly and without explanation cut off our negotiations. To our surprise, weeks later the Brewers informed us that they signed with another undisclosed company, and we would not have the opportunity to match the deal or negotiate.”
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Danneker called the action “a surprising and disappointing development,” but added, “what has been true for the last 25 years remains true today: our brand and company are strong; we remain rooted in and committed to Milwaukee; and no one knows tailgating or grilling better than we do — just ask Sports Illustrated.”
Brewers officials had no immediate comment.
Danneker said the company has “already begun talking with other community partners to support, just like we did the Brewers. We will use the opportunity to grow stronger and deeper in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin.”
In his letter, Danneker said that the firm previously “volunteered our licensing rights to Major League Baseball for the good of The Famous Racing Sausages.”
Klement’s has undergone change in recent years.
Founded in Milwaukee in 1956 by brothers George, John and Ron Klement, the firm was acquired in 2014 by San Francisco-based private equity firm Altamont Capital Partners.
The company employs more than 350 people at its two plants in Milwaukee.
The Racing Sausages first appeared as electronic dots on a scoreboard at the old County Stadium. By the late 1990s, the costumed sausages began racing from the left field corner on select Sundays during the season.
In 2000, they began appearing at every home game and their fame spread far and wide across Major League Baseball. Imitators popped up with the Washington Nationals unleashing racing presidents and the Pittsburgh Pirates unveiling racing pierogies.
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The Racing Sausages were even involved in a baseball dust up in 2003 when Pittsburgh Pirate Randall Simon struck the Italian sausage with a bat during a race at Miller Park. Simon, now out of baseball, was suspended for three games and fined $432 for disorderly conduct.
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