After a day of revelry and adventure in Wisconsin’s biggest city, Brew Town, we met up with a dear old friend, Charles Huyett, and his 13-year-old son, Elijah, and the four of us made our way to Miller Park for the Brewers’ meaningful game against the Tigers. I’ve (Brent) known Charles since age 18 and his wife even longer; he’s about as kind and thoughtful of a person as you’ll ever meet, he helped keep me sane through college and seminary, he likes to fly model planes, and he enjoys Tarheels basketball more than any reasonable person should. We had a blast and it meant a lot that he’d trade two bison, four pounds of sugar, a horse, and a wagon wheel in order to make the long and arduous trek from his home in the literal middle of nowhere about 30 miles outside Milwaukee. Anyhoo, trailing the Cubbies in the NL Central by just one game with only three to play, the Brewers were sure to be hunting for a win, and we were excited to see the imminent NL MVP play some ball in Christian Yelich. Coming from a couple guys who crown Mike Trout as the best ever, trust us, this Yelich kid is gooooooooooood.
In a separate post, Gregg adamantly concluded that the exterior of Miller Park was “hideous.” While this is certainly true in part, what strikes you more than anything as you approach Miller Park is that it just seems unfinished. One side of it looks like an abandoned industrial warehouse. From another angle, a couple 50 by 50 foot sliding doors are open while others are closed offering little uniformity. And the roof, which Miller Park rightfully boasts is the only one of its kind because seven distinct sections fan open and closed from two different directions, looks as though it’s under construction. It wasn’t. It hasn’t been since my senior year of high school. So, we’re good with the brick and the steel and the industrial vibe and the unique roof and all that, it’s just that none of it comes together leaving Miller Park to appear as though it will open to the public next April.
As we spent the next four hours or so inside Miller Park, here is what we concluded: when you’re in your seat the ballpark is a fantastic experience, and when you’re not it ain’t. From your seat, the sight lines are great, the videoboard in center field is massive and well-placed (assuming you don’t have outfield seats), the roof actually does look pretty epic when it’s closed, the field is in great shape seeing as the sun doesn’t know how to get to Milwaukee, and Bernie’s slide in left field is just plain fun to watch all game. When you’re not in your seat, the ramps between sections are convoluted and hard to find, the main concourse feels miles away from the field with no visibility of it as you walk, the walkway connecting the upper sections is non-existent and all moving about must be done on the concourse, the main team store is by the left field foul pole, the “hallway” connecting right and left field gets as narrow as just a few feet wide in center which is ridiculous, and they sell so many darn standing room only tickets that in the middle of the sixth inning it felt like Disneyland on the first Saturday of summer.
As Gregg mentioned, the Uecker statue in the upper sections behind home plate was cool, Bernie is definitely an above average mascot, the “Selig Experience” needs to go, and the cheese curds are delish (thanks Charles). One last thing. And it’s a big thing. At each and every ballpark we’ve visited, Gregg and I throw down for a large soda in a souvenir cup so that we have a memento from each place. Aforementioned collection when all is said and done will have cost each of us about $4,500. Could you fathom that the Brewers simply decided to not have souvenir cups for the 2018 season? Imagine, a major pro sports team in the second largest city in the Midwest doesn’t have a branded cup at any of their concessions stands anywhere in the facility. We were outraged. So, the Brewers won because we were forced to buy an EMPTY, branded cup from the team store for MORE than one would have been with an actual drink in it.
As for the game, both teams dropped a three-spot in the first including a towering home run from, you guessed it, Yelich. There was good pitching at times and mostly solid defense, but after the visiting Tigers tied the game in the top of the 8th inning with a two run blast to left, Ryan Braun was gifted a home run in the bottom half of the frame by Detroit third baseman turned right fielder, Nicholas Castellanos. With the flyball in his glove outstretched above his head, Castellanos bumped into the right field wall and the ball gently rolled out, along the yellow stripe on the top of the wall for what seemed like a minute, and then finally over the fence. The crowd went wild and the Brewers collected the final three outs in the top of the 9th for the 6-5 win. These Milwaukeeans are a simple folk. They love their beer, they love their sports, and the love to complain about the weather. We fit in just fine and enjoyed the hospitality. I just can’t wait until Miller Park finally opens next season.