Miller Park Stadium Preview

I had a friend come visit this weekend and took her to her first Mariners game. It would have been nice if the Mariners could have won against her former temporary home of Houston (and she wanted them to), but the Astros are still quite formidable and it just wasn’t going to happen. We still had fun though, and I had some garlic fries for the first time in a while. The sunset was gorgeous, the weather was nice, it was a good night.

Less than five days now before I leave for Chicago, and still so much to do.  This is the first time I will be away from home for a 4th of July; it’s not a holiday I am passionate about by any stretch, but usually I am home or at a nearby friend’s place, doing what everyone else is doing that day; hanging out and grilling, maybe having a few drinks, and enjoying the weather. This year? I’ll be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at a Brewers game being played against the Baltimore Orioles. Normally when I do these trips, I try to book a game against a team I don’t really care about, so I feel comfortable cheering on the home team; I told myself a while ago for these outings that if I’m in your stadium, I’m on your side. I tried to get around having to be against the O’s, but it was the only week that the White Sox, Brewers and Cubs were all going to be home within the same relatively short time, so I did what I had to do. I do mean to cheer on the Brewers, of course; but right now my biggest fear is being the only one in my section clapping for an Orioles bomb or a double play without realizing it until it’s too late. Maybe I’ll try to keep myself occupied with fried cheese curds and my camera so I don’t pull a faux pas on foreign soil.

I had a look around the Brewers website today and it looks like there is no shortage of stuff to do at Miller Park. Like other stadiums this year, they have done a revamping of their food and drink options, to better reflect the area they’re in (link, as I cannot hyperlink because of some dumb work firewall: http://milwaukee.brewers.mlb.com/mil/ballpark/food-and-beverage/).  I have a hard time choosing what I’m going to eat at most stadiums; with limited time and limited knowledge, making a decision on just one meal is difficult; but the Brewers have solved that problem for me by making those fried cheese curds available, so barring any other discoveries when I get there, either that’s my lunch, or Karen and I can share an order and find something a little more substantial to add to the fray.  They also have a beer called Central Waters Mudpuppy Porter that I’d like to try. It’s nice to see a beer list where the letters “I”, “P”, and “A” are not prominently listed (sorry, fellow Northwesterners, IPA tastes awful).

Speaking of puppies, I had until this morning completely forgotten about Hank! Bernie Brewer makes sense as a mascot, but muppet humanoids are a little freaky, so I am looking forward to picking up some Hank memorabilia. If you are not familiar with Hank and his adorable story, you can find it here: http://stories.barkpost.com/meet-hank-the-milwaukee-brewers-new-mascot/.  Hank has his own merchandise kiosk over right field, and I intend to drop by and see what sorts of trouble I can get myself into. Stuffed Hank, please? You have made a sale, my friends!

A bit of disappointment on gate opening  times, sadly. Miller Park opens only an hour and a half prior to game time, giving me little chance to leisurely get into everything I would probably want to see. A meal at Friday’s Front Row is probably out, since I want to also take in the monuments, Wall of Honor, and if time allows, maybe Bob Ueker’s “Last Row” statue, but that one is on their Terrace level, and I’m not sure if that is open to the public (the website isn’t clear). The later opening gates may force me to make some cuts in what I really want to do around the park, which is technically fine – the Brewers are not one of my teams – but I’m coming a long way to do this, so it’s kind of a bummer that I might not get to see everything. We do have a parking pass, which I had the forethought to pick up with our tickets, so that could make things a little easier as far as getting to the stadium, but I’ll need to really make sure I look at a map so I can cram everything into the first hour and get food and actually be able to watch the game. It looks like a lot of the Hall of Fame-type exhibits are around home plate and third base, so maybe it will be  manageable, since that is the approximate area our seats are in; there is something called the Home Plate Plaza, which I am assuming is an open spot for the public art and other bits of interest for the team.  They also have an All American Girls Wall of Honor, Autograph Alley, and retired uniform numbers of multiple players.

A Google image search for Miller Park shows what looks like a gorgeous brick, steel, and glass building with a clamshell-style roof enclosure. I would love to be able to see a game outdoors, but the weather in that area is going to be a little iffy – lots of heat and thunderstorms – so we’ll see. I’m not sure how many the park seats, but it looks larger than Safeco. The upper deck also has seats over LF – think another two tiers of seats over the bleachers in our park here in Seattle. And windows everywhere! Four decks of seating make for an impressive structure. I expect to be blown away when actually there, it looks incredible in photos. I have no idea if they have anything planned for the 4th, or if the windows even allow for fireworks to be set off, but it won’t matter; there will be baseball, it’ll be a great new experience, and I can hardly wait.

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