After a lengthy writing hiatus, I am officially back in action. I began my Midwest swing today in Milwaukee and got off to a great start. More on the stadium later, but I must first thank the Wasiullahs - Masood, Karin, and Amir - for being incredibly hospitable today. I dropped in on Masood at his clinic and he drove me to his house in the middle of the day, Karin drove me around all afternoon and evening, and Amir will be taking me to the airport in the morning. All around awesome. Also, a BIG thank you to my Uncle Paul for helping to get me in touch with the Wasiullahs, and to Eileen and Karin for an entertaining Brewers game.
Now on to Miller Park, the home of Hall of Fame announcer Bob Uecker. This entire post is dedicated to Mr. Uecker, who will be undergoing heart surgery on Friday and will miss nearly three months of baseball. In his honor, I will make so many "Major League" references that Charlie Sheen's head might explode. "He's not the best color man in the league for nothing, folks!"
Harry Doyle: That's all we got? One goddamn hit?
Colorman: You can't say goddamn on the air.
Doyle: Don't worry - nobody is listening anyway.
Location: The park is located pretty close to downtown, but is really just west of it. I think. I don't believe there is a major source of public transportation to get there, but we walked up the day of to get our tickets at will call and purchased a preferred parking pass for $13. We parked about 1/4 of a mile from the stadium and had no trouble getting out. It was the best parking experience I've had thus far. As far as the location is concerned, I think it's OK - there's a VA hospital and the Potawatomi Casino nearby, but Miller Park really seemed to be the only thing around.
Ballpark: I'm going to show you a picture of the first base side of the stadium. It looks nearly identical to Minute Maid Park from the outside. It has some red brick, beige-ish limestone on the outside, and green metal trim. It has a retractable roof which kind of looks weird on the top. I'm gonna go ahead and say that I much prefer the roof at Minute Maid to the one at Miller Park. And I SWEAR I'm not being biased.
In addition to the remarkably similar architecture, the Brewers have a yellow slide in left field that Bernie (the mascot) slides down every time the Brewers hit a home run. I think I prefer a train full of oranges and our raging bull animation on the scoreboard. That's another thing that separates MMP from Miller Park - our scoreboard and videoboard are pretty awesome, but theirs are kind of weak. Outside of Yankee Stadium, I haven't really seen another stadium that compares electronically thus far with MMP.
They have a TGI Friday's in the outfield that is open 365 days a year and hasn't failed yet, unlike Ruggles, and a pretty good amount of premium seating areas if you're looking to splurge for a half birthday present. Other than that, there weren't that many amenities or things that stood out about it.
Outside view. Identical color scheme to The Juice Box.
Food: The SCPI (Stadium Consumer Price Index) was $12 even - $7.75 for the large draft and $4.25 for the dog. For an extra $0.25 cents though, you can upgrade the dog to a brat. You better believe that was the easiest decision I've made all week. I was kind of disappointed with the condiments to dress the brat, in addition to the overall food variety in the stadium. They did have Dippin' Dots though, which is somehow still "The Ice Cream of the Future." If someone can explain to me how that's even possible, I'll buy you your own gallon. I found the beer variety surprisingly average. You would think that with a name like Miller Park taps would be flowing from the heavens, but I guess my expectations were too high. Anyway, I paid for some of the things I bought tonight with my "American Express Card - don't steal home without it."
Demolishing brat. Not my beer. It's a prop. Plus I am REALLY tired.
Game: The game was FUN, thanks to my Milwaukee hostesses Karin and Eileen. We got to the game relatively early an walked around and chatted with the game day staff, who were incredibly nice. We grabbed pictures with models of the sausages that race around the stadium in the 6th inning, and then took our seats that Karin got from an incredibly nice ticket sales rep named Regis. Anyway, I was particularly excited to see the Brewers play because I really like the player Ryan Braun is shaping up to be. That and he's Jewish. He might even be a SuperJew. Pretty soon it will be "Greenberg, Koufax, and Braun" that little league mensches look up to.
The game was pretty much always within one run until Pittsburgh Pirate Ryan Doumit hit a grand slam in the ninth inning, ending an INCREDIBLE 22-game road losing streak against the Brewers. Think about that. For the past 22 times (which stretches back to 2007) the Pirates and Brewers had played in Milwaukee, the Pirates lost EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Glad I could come in and shake things up a little bit because I kind of hate the Brewers through my hate for Bud Selig. If you don't understand why I hate Selig, just ask me. It involves the Astros, the Brewers, the DH, steroids, his teeth, a buffalo - live or stuffed, preferably stuffed for safety's sake, a no-hitter, the MLBPA, revenue-sharing, etc. I could have easily written another Plan II thesis on the topic. Rant fin.
Sausage Race!!!!! GO CHORIZO!!!
Braun being awesome. And possibly having his back leg out of the batter's box.
Karin, Eileen, and "Joe-bu"
Summary: The stadium is pretty, but they are all beginning to look that way. Eileen asked me in the 4th or 5th inning what I will remember about Miller Park that distinguishes it from other parks that I have seen so far. I have been trying to do that for the most part, but Miller Park - aside from the sausage races and the slide in left field - doesn't really offer anything unique. It does have a little league park on the stadium grounds, and the home plate of that little league field used to be the home plate at Milwaukee County Stadium. Kind of cool. I had a good brat, and the Brewers fans were some of the best I've seen so far. I guess what made this game experience so exciting for me was the company. Otherwise the stadium itself was kind of blah. Experiencing Milwaukee was great, though! I look forward to coming back to a concert week called Summerfest at some point in my future.
Miller Park at night.
Milwaukee River from the Wasiullah's backyard. Good stuff.
Harry Doyle: And the post-game show is brought to you by....
Harry Doyle: Christ. I can't find it. To hell with it.
Giveaways: 1 A's Snuggie, 1 sticky Padres calendar