Last weekend in order to save a little money (west coast is expensive), I changed my original plans from flying down to Texas to driving up to Milwaukee and Minneapolis. I stayed with family outside of Madison which helped save me some money as well. My eight-hour drive up to Milwaukee wasn’t too bad- I listened to the final book in the Hunger Games, so it was almost exciting. Anyways, I arrived in town around 4 pm for a 6:10 game, so drove around the vicinity to see if I could find any street parking. No such luck! The area north of the stadium looked a little rough and I wouldn’t want to walk around there alone at night and the area south had no parking signs all over the place. Some things aren’t worth gambling, like your car in a city you’ve never visited. Reluctantly I paid $10 for one of the general lots. Holy tailgate Batman! Seriously, I’ve never seen tailgating like this for a baseball game. I’ve visited Philly, Atlanta, and KC- all who pride themselves on tailgating- and this killed them all. Every row was packed with tents, grills, and people! Now I know why they call them the “Brew Crew.”
I mingled around the tailgates and made my way towards the ballpark. I stopped at the Sausage Haus, a sponsored tailgate. There was live music, tons of people, and even the famed sausages that run in between the 6th inning were there. I asked a Brewers fan to take my picture with one and I got this. O well! I walked over a bridge to Miller Park and bought my ticket from the stand near the Harley Davidson Gate and made a quick (ish- this place is huge!) loop around the stadium. The roof and outfield windows were open, as it was a beautiful night, but from the home plate entrance, you could still see the distinct fan shape this park is famous for. Though the roof and outfield are modern marvels of steel and glass, the rest of the ballpark is classic brick that looks beautiful under the green structure. The arches along the home plate entrance are no doubt part of the retro park craze that swept through MLB. Across from this gate is a nice memorial to the construction workers who lost their lives while building the venue and behind this is a small baseball field. No one was playing at the time, but there were people in the stands and at the park’s bar. Walking back, I passed a playground– perfect distraction for kids while their parents tailgate!
Eager to see if the inside of this park matched the magnificence of the outside, I entered at the Left Field Gate with the intention of going straight to the field. There was so much excitement at this gate- Autograph Ally, Walls of Honor, and a ton of restaurants and bars- I got distracted! Sometimes when I visit a new park I get a little overwhelmed by everything going on around me- I have to remind myself to focus and get down to the field asap. I can look around the concourse anytime during the game, but I only have a certain amount of time to view the park from field level. Focus renewed, I headed down third base and watched the grounds crew get the field ready for the game. This ballpark feels humongous from the field- there were stands and steel for days it seemed! The windows were open, so that broke up the structure between the stands and scoreboard a bit, which was nice. Looking around I noticed a bunch of adult friendly activities like Friday’s in left field, the Harley-Davidson Deck in left-center field, and the Miller Lite Beer Pen in right field. I also noticed a view dry “family” sections too- probably the only sober folks in this park.
Before the anthem, I walked up to the main concourse which fitting with the rest of the park’s design is huge! The walkways are very wide and lined with concessions and team shops. In between the stands and the concessions are tables for people to sit and eat at. It was like being at a food court at the mall. From the field, I noticed there was suite seating behind home plate, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a little concourse of concessions and standing room directly behind home plate. I ended up watching the pre-game ceremony ( a tribute to the Negro League) and a couple of innings from here. Both teams were sporting alternate jerseys- Grays and Bears in tribute, which was neat. In between some of the innings, they play drinking songs, or that’s what the intoxicated guys next to me told me. They couldn’t believe I was sober at a game. I couldn’t believe they were almost falling down in the 2nd! Even now while I write this, I still can’t believe how drunk the fans I encountered at this park were. Not judging- just astounded!
I continued on my tour walking to right field and found the coolest Kid’s Zone ever made. There were so many games and activities- all free! I could have spent all game in here if there weren’t signs saying the games were for fans 14 and younger- rats! I did get to take a picture with some statues of the sausages, a nice consolation I suppose. Continuing on to the outfield concourse I passed through the bleachers and to my surprise I saw CRT TVs. Guess I shouldn’t have made fun of Oakland! The standing room areas in right and center field both have good views of the field and the visitor’s bullpen, though are pretty empty of attractions (comparatively speaking). I walked behind the batter’s eye to left field and admired the Harleys and took a peek outside at the live band on the patio behind Friday’s. This was cool and all, but if you paid to come to the game, shouldn’t you at least be in the park?
From the left field concourse, I headed up to the 200 level and stopped at Left Field Loge Bar, one of a plethora of bar options at Miller Park. This one like the others was nice, but it’s tucked away from the game. I continued on around this level, pausing to catch a little game action from the standing room before walking around the press box to the other side of the level. The way the park is set up is neat, there aren’t many parks that allow fans to get that close to the media area. On the other side of the press box is an awesome standing room spot. I liked the slight elevation at home plate and the net wasn’t in the way. Happy with this find, I hung out for a few innings before moving on to right field where I found a nice landing to hang out on. It’s right under the strike out counter and to the left are a couple of bar tables for fans to sit at. There were plenty of fans to amuse me here and the view of the city was nice too!
Around the 5th I headed up to the third and final level of this ballpark and guess what I found. An arcade! It was next to a large picnic area and I really liked the open unfinished feel with all the vents running up and down the walls. As I walked towards home plate, the concourse became smaller and I passed the Terrence Bar and another smaller kid’s zone. The concession stand by this area had children’s pricing, so if you have kids bring them up here for a game snack! The view from the 300 level is great, the seats are quite steep. When I walked to left field to get a close-up view of Bernie’s Dugout, I saw a girl face plant into her beer, so be careful on the steps! They started showing the sausages warming up on the scoreboard so I hurried down to the 100 level standing room to be near the finish. I was so excited and man was this race a letdown. It’s from third base to first and though it’s the original, other ballparks like Nationals Park and Progressive Field have perfected it. I was sad. Maybe it was just a bad day at the races (I’ll just go with that).
I stayed in the standing room behind first base for the 7th inning stretch which is always fun and after they played “Roll out the Barrel,” which was fun. A little nervous to be on the road with these folks I left in the 8th with the Nationals securely in the lead (they won 4-1). While I walked back to my car I saw rows of grills just chilling in behind cars in the lots. These fans are very trusting! I left the lot without any trouble, but I heard it’s a mess after games.
For this trip, I spent $18 on my ticket, $10 on parking, $10 on food (I had a sausage of course!), and $65 on gas ($103 in all). Miller Park is definitely in my top 10 parks and despite being the only sober person to this party, I had a good time and would love to come back with a DD!