Q. Why are the huge Bud and Bud Light signs on at Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport? Who pays for them to remain on every single day/night? Why contribute to light pollution? It seems like a waste of resources. — Candy
A. We contacted the Quad-Cities River Bandits regarding your question. Owner Dave Heller responded:
"Beer and baseball have gone together since the founding of baseball. Indeed, beer was the first consumable to appear in a ballpark. The first ballpark in Brooklyn included a saloon in one of the outfield corners. The Yankees, owned by Col. Jacob Ruppert, a brewery owner himself, sold his Knickerbocker Beer at Yankee Stadium. Here in the Midwest, baseball was especially popular with Germans, who would often drink beer during games.
"In 1930, the Brooklyn Dodgers installed the famous Schaefer Beer scoreboard on the right-field wall. The scoreboard featured letters that lit up to alert fans of umpires' calls: the 'h' in Schaefer lit up for 'hit' and the 'e' lit up for 'error.' Other major league teams quickly followed suit, and today, one is hard-pressed to find any professional ballpark, major league or minor league, that does not feature beverage ads.
"The River Bandits are proud to serve fans a wide range of cool, refreshing beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, at Modern Woodmen Park, voted 'the best minor league ballpark in America' by USA Today. And we are pleased to display ads for Bud, Bud Lite, Miller, Miller Lite and Coors Light at the ballpark. The team pays the electric bill each month, which includes the cost of the electricity to back-light the Bud and Bud Lite signs above the Budweiser Champions Club.
"We regularly receive compliments about the Bud and Bud Lite signs, along with our 80-foot-long high-definition ribbonboard in right field, all of which give Modern Woodmen Park a 'major league feel.'
"The team is currently working with MUSCO, the largest stadium-lighting provider in the country and headquartered right here in Iowa, to install new ballpark lights that will significantly reduce the amount of glare and, in so doing, mitigate any light pollution that might come from the ballpark."