As mentioned in the previously blog I made a road trip to Milwaukee and Chicago to visit some friends and also see Miller Park, Wrigley Field, and US Cellular Field. I will be providing my review below, but first here are some links to find out more information about Miller Park
Sportsguy goes to Wisconsin: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/060825
Anyway here are my observations on Miller Park:
Scalping/Ticket Prices: Incomplete: Unfortunately due to a traffic jam, I was almost 2 hours late for the game. When I showed up there was only one scalper left and I was able to get a really good seat for only $11. I definitely need to go back to see how easy it is to scalp tickets at Miller Park. One interesting note though is that Miller Park has an official area for scalpers.
Aesthetic Appeal: A-: Honestly, I loved the view of Miller Park (which was surprising based on what I have read) from both the outside and the inside. It is a ballpark like no other park I have ever seen. While, I have really enjoyed the retro comeback that starting with Camden Yards in Baltimore, I think it is nice that Miller Park is unique in the fact that it doesn't look anything like a retro park. Below is a picture of me taken by a nice fan sitting behind me:
Thing(s) I wish I would have done: Since I was only at the game for a little over an hour there are plenty of things that I wish I would have done or seen. 1)I would have liked to seen the first pitch. 2) I would have liked to seen a Brewer hit a home run, so that I could see **Bernie Brewer (Thanks for the comment from the Brewer Fan. My mistake) slide down his slide. (Why did they get rid of the beer mug that he used to slide down into? Seriously this is Milwaukee and the park is named after a beer company). 3) I wish I could have seen the view from the upper club. 4) The most important thing I missed out was the tailgating. The parking lot is expansive and Wisconsin is known for its tailgating. I think that a group of 8 people, a grill, and a cooler full of cold ones would make the Miller Park experience that much more enjoyable. 5) I would like to have seen the Brewers win.
Fans: B+: The fans around me were likable, knowledgeable fans. They discussed where Tony Gwynn went to school (San Diego St.) when his son came up to the plate. Also, they discussed the poor use of the bullpen by the Brewers manager. Extra points to the fans for holding up asterisks when Barry Bonds came up to the plate.
Buzz: A+: Like most of the things on this list this is very hard to measure, but regardless there was a certain buzz at Miller Park on that Friday night. Part of this had to do with Barry Bonds and his quest to break the all-time home run record. Also, the Brewers stand a decent shot (65% according to baseball prospectus's postseason odds) of making the playoffs for the first time since 1982. I need to go back to see a random Tuesday night game against the Nationals to see a contrasting atmosphere.
Every time I have been in Milwaukee (only two times now), I have been impressed with the food. The hot dog and bratwurst were reasonably priced and very, very good. I put ketchup, mustard, and the stadium's secret sauce on the hot dog and was pleased with the triple crown of condiments. I liked the secret sauce so much that I considered buying a jar of it at the concessions. Next time I will have to try out some of the other things at the concession stands, but is tough to not get a type of sausage in Milwaukee. (Note to vegetarians like my sister: I would plan a trip to another part of the country before considering Milwaukee)
Fun things to do besides the game: A-: You are in Milwaukee, so eating and drinking are two of the top activities. Other than that I was impressed with the gift shop and also the displays the Brewers had on famous Brewers teams (1957 and 1982) of the past. Also, there was a stand that was selling baseball bats that you could have engraved. This reminded me that my Brother-in-Law once received an engraved baseball bat as a groomsman gift and both of us agreed that was an excellent gift idea. However the top thing to see besides the game is the famous Sausage race in the 6th inning. For those of you who haven't been to a game or heard about the tradition here is a quick overview: 5 sausage (bratwurst, polish sausage, Italian sausage, hot dog, and chorizo) mascots race from left field to behind home plate and then into right field. Milwaukeens (is that what people from Milwaukee are called?) get beyond excited for this race and who can blame then? It sounds really corny, strange, and quirky and while it might be all of those it is also probably the most exciting 22 seconds at any game in any park. Bravo to Milwaukee from coming up with such a strange, great tradition.
After that it is hard to believe there will be any more fun, but in the 7th inning after "Take me home from the Ballgame" is played, the Brewers sings "Roll out the Barrel."
Overall Impression: I loved this park. Some of the stuff I have read about Miller Park has been lukewarm. For instance Jim Caple rated it 19th out of the 30 parks. Now I have been to two of the the parks (Turner Field and Great American Ballpark) rated in front of Miller Park and I would have to disagree with Caple. Miller Park was a highly enjoyable experiance and is a place that I definitely would want to go back to. Hopefully next time I can show up early to the game (as opposed to two hours late) and tailgate to get the true Miller Park experiance. Overall I had an amazing expeiance there and I am optimistic that it could be even better with a little additional planning. I think that M and I are going to have to go to Milwaukee for a 3 day weekend.