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Premiere men’s fastpitch leads to Boys of Summer tournament in Denmark, Wisc.

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

whitten.sean.1web Canadian pitcher Sean Whitten of the New York Gremlins will be one of the top pitchers in the 2014 Boys of Summer tournament in Denmark, Wisc., July 11-13. Photo By BOB OTTO

“Last year was the first time the Gremlins attended the Boys Of Summer and we loved the atmosphere and fans at Circle Tap.” – New York Gremlins Field Manager Gregg Leather.

DENMARK, Wisc. – In 1967, John Miller bought the Circle Tap Bar in Denmark, Wisc. An avid fastpitch player, Miller decided to build a ball diamond next to the bar. Because as he said in a previous interview, “the only way I could get on a team was to build a ball diamond at Circle Tap.”

Miller said this partly in jest. But truth told, by building that ball diamond, Miller set into motion one of the most prestigious men’s fastpitch locations in all of North America.

Click to continue reading “Premiere men’s fastpitch leads to Boys of Summer tournament in Denmark, Wisc.”

Humble sponsor inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

In 2009, the Bar on The Avenue Buzz of Appleton, Wisc. won the NAFA World Series AA championship. The team sponsored by Mark Miller, consisted of front row, Glen Nelson, Brett Kadlec, Tony Hall, Scott Gillmore, Randy Hartkopp, Chance Schmid, Tony Schaaf, and Bruce Pirkel. The back row, Matt Paulsen, Paul Skora, Todd Lubkeman, Jay Gilray, Wayne Gaura, Trevor Gaura, Jason Gerum, Bob Loshek, and Mark Nelson. Missing from photo are Mark Schroeder, Dale Horton, and Al Weidner. Contributed photo by Wisconsin NAFA Fastpitch.

APPLETON, Wisc. – You won’t find many fastpitch softball awards and trophies hanging on the walls of Mark Miller’s tavern, The Bar of Appleton. And that’s just fine with him. As a sponsor he isn’t in the sport for personal glory. In fact, Miller does everything possible to avoid the spotlight.

That’s Mark, agree two of his best fastpitch friends, Darren Derricks and Tony Schaaf.

“He’s extremely humble,” said Schaaf, who manages the Bar on The Avenue Buzz, one of Miller’s sponsored teams. “He would rather sit back in the stands and watch the game than have it be anything about himself. What he does for fastpitch has never been about him, but for the game.”

What Miller has done for fastpitch is both generous and remarkable in its scope. Now 51, he began playing fastpitch at 15 until he was 30 – not a long-playing career as an outfielder. But when he stepped off the field, he didn’t leave the game behind. He continued on as a sponsor.

But unlike most sponsors, Miller took a different route in passing out the bucks as the owner of The Bar in Appleton, says Schaaf.

“Mark believes that instead of combining teams and making one great team, why not take that money and create 12 teams instead of one,” he said. “He would rather sponsor a lot of grass root teams than one that wins titles.”

Click to continue reading “Humble sponsor inducted into the NAFA Hall of Fame”

Circle Tap Dukes of Denmark, Wis. host prestigious tourney – enjoy short video

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

DENMARK, WI – Fox 11 news produced a short video about men’s fastpitch during the Boys of Summer tournament in Denmark, July 7-8, in which the Minnesota Angels won the championship by defeating the Saskatoon SK Diamondbacks 4-3.

2012 ISC Hall of Fame inductee, John Miller, is featured in the video.
Click to watch video

I also wrote a story about John Miller entitled “Superstar sponsor enters the ISC Hall of Fame.” Click here to read Miller’s story

Superstar sponsor enters the ISC Hall of Fame

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

DENMARK, WI – When asked about his playing career, John Miller quickly downplays his abilities by saying “I was an average hitter and terrible fielder.”

He might be shortchanging his talent some, but when it comes to his contributions to men’s fastpitch softball, the man is a superstar.

Miller will certainly go down in fastpitch history as one of the greatest sponsors ever to field a ball club. And there were more than just one.

The 73-year-old Miller has been involved in the sport since 1952 when he began playing as a 14-year-old. But the turning point in his still ongoing 60-year fastpitch career can be traced to 1967.

That’s the year he bought Circle Tap, a sports bar located near Denmark (pop. about 2,000 near Green Bay). And that’s the year that Circle Tap began building its way to a Wisconsin fastpitch hot spot. All because of moving some earth and raising a fence.

“The only way I could get on a team was to build a ball diamond at Circle Tap,” Miller said.

Click to continue reading “Superstar sponsor enters the ISC Hall of Fame”