The Happy Traveler: Miller Park and Wisconsin

Miller Park Milwaukee BrewersThere’s much to enjoy while traveling in Wisconsin including the people, the food and the natural beauty of a serene landscape dotted with shimmering lakes and rivers. Worth a visit if you ever find yourself journeying through the upper Midwest.

Miller Park in Milwaukee, home of the Brewers, is nice too, especially if you like baseball. The stadium has a retractable roof which finds little use during summer months but comes in quite handy during the cool, some would say cold, days of early spring.

The parking lot is littered with feelings of great joy and charcoal, hallmarks of a loyal Big Ten crowd. Cornhole, or baggo depending on your regional preference, is the game of choice and you better be careful making your way past the parked cars and tailgaters because you never know when a 2-lb bean bag will fly past your forehead.

On this particular afternoon it was Scooter Gennett bobble head day, at least for the 20K or so fans, and the Brewers faithful were genuinely excited about getting their hands on this priceless plastic memento.

For those that missed out on the promotion, team stores are conveniently located just beyond the gates and the most popular player, judging by jersey sales, remains Ryan Braun although catcher Jonathan Lucroy and outfielder Carlos Gomez provide some stiff competition.

Foam finger in hand, as you head to your seat you will pass several concessions stands all selling beer, brats, and more beer. Unsurprisingly, if you like Miller beers then you will love your time at Miller Park although Leinenkugel, a former independent now loyal Miller lieutenant, has a handful of task offerings including the Canoe Paddler. Grab one. Or two. Better to fit in with the rest of the crowd.

For the amount of drinking that takes place Miller Park remains an incredibly family friendly destination. Weekend afternoon games especially lend themselves to the younger sect and the Brewers do their best to maintain the interest of children. If the action on the field doesn’t captivate the attention of your little ones then venture to the right field concourse where games, slides and other interactive activities provide a tolerable distraction.

The Brewers are good this season and on this Sunday afternoon the stadium was full. The only fans who looked like they might be experiencing some slight discomfort were those sitting down the left field side of the stadium where the early July sun roasted the bare skinned necks and knees of thousands of sunscreen drenched people.

Community if the rule not the exception at Miller Park and nearly every break in the action comes with some sort of grass roots initiative celebrating the accomplishments of a local.

If you’re not from Wisconsin that’s ok too because regulars are more than accommodating when it comes to answering questions pertaining to the team, the town and the location of the nearest restroom.

On this day the Brewers were defeated by the Colorado Rockies 10-4 but the team remains in first place heading into the All-Star break so all is ok in Wisconsin.

Leaving the stadium is as civilized as when you walk in the only exception being the stray cans of Miller Lite. Strangely, all other brands of beer seem to be properly disposed of.




Miller Park in Milwaukee: Home of the Friendliest Parking Lot Bar in America

Our dispatches from the field courtesy of intrepid VMS adventurer Steve continue with a close examination of a parking lot in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. That’s right. The very first thing he mentioned about his trip to Miller Park was that there is a fully functioning bar and sausage haus in the parking lot. Leave it to the fine folks of Wisconsin to do it right. If you’re not going to build a ballpark directly downtown, where it can be surrounding by existing bars and restaurants, then you might as create the sort of infrastructure that encourages tailgating in the parking lot.

And why can’t all of baseball be more like football in this regard? Football fans, what with their cast iron smokers and brick oven pizzas, have created an entire culture around the pregame tailgate. Does this not happen before MLB baseball games because, unlike football where they play only once a week, baseball teams average 3-4 home games over a similar stretch? Probably also has something to do with people coming to ballgames directly from work. Unfortunately, with the national unemployment rate rising to the near cataclysmic level of 9.2%, perhaps some fans are going to have a bit more time to explore leisurely activities.

Getting back to Steve, here are a few highlights from inside Miller Park.

– Brewers fans are unfailingly generous people. After Steve’s girlfriend “accidentally” dumped a beer on his lap a Brewers fan was quick to offer a few baby wipes to help contain the spill. After hearing about this incident I will now pack baby wipes before attending my next baseball game.

– Bratwurst winning the sausage race. My only question, how does the Bratwurst not win the sausage race every single time? It’s the closest thing Milwaukee has to an indigenous encased meat.

– Bernie Brewer = consimate professional mascot. If Milwaukee really wanted to expand their revenue stream they should auction off turns down Bernie’s slide after every Brewer homerun.


View from Spring Training: 2011 Milwaukee Brewers

2011 Milwaukee Brewers

NFL Equivalent – Houston Texans: Before recent NFL seasons, ESPN and SI always rank the Houston Texans as one of their breakout teams and every year the Texans fail to live up those expectations. A string of 8-8 records has had them on the outside of the playoffs looking in.  The Brewers have entered recent seasons with somewhat similar expectations. But much like Houston, lots of hype (potent offense) but not a lot of substance (starting pitching) leads to a mediocre record. Prince Fielder is the vegetarian version of Andre Johnson and Ryan Braun may in fact be Matt Schaub’s third cousin. Lack of starting pitching for the Brewers is similar to Houston’s matador defense and for all we know new Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke use to be a Texans special teams coach.

Google Search: Plenty of change occurred this off season for the Brewers.  The team has resigned 1B Prince Fielder and 2B Rickie Weeks. Their biggest acquisition was a trade for former Cy Young award winner Zack Greinke who will provide stability to the pitching staff, that was until he decided to give us his best Derrick Rose impression and ended up breaking a rib which now puts the beginning of his season in jeopardy.

Famous Movie Quote: Yes, Pete, it is. In fact, it’s pronounced “mil-e-wah-que” which is Algonquin for “the good land. – Alice Cooper from Wayne’s World.

Leave it to Alice Cooper to deliver one of the most memorable lines from this iconic early 90’s film featuring the likes of Wayne Campbell and Garth Algar.  Brewers fans are hoping the Algonquin’s were right when they first named the land and with a revitalized pitching staff (Greinke and Sean Marcum), and a wide open NL Central, Milwaukee could be poised for their first postseason bid in 3 years. Of course, Alice Cooper was also know for biting the heads off of live bats. Or was that Ozzy Osbourne? I get those two confused for one another all the time. 2011 prediction: 88-74, 1st place NL Central

view from Maryvale Baseball Park courtesy of @sandecharles