on September 11, 2009
"Juuuuust a bit outside…" Many people may remember this movie line from the film Major League as Cleveland Indians announcer Harry Doyle gives his play by play commentary from the booth. Some may recognize Harry Doyle as Bob Uecker, commonly referred to as "Mr. Baseball." The role came easy to him considering that for the last 38 years he has been the announcer for the Milwaukee Brewers. Bob Uecker began his professional playing career in 1962 when the Brewers were the Milwaukee Braves. When the Milwaukee Braves decided to move to Atlanta, it took only five years before baseball came back to the city. The Brewers moved into the same stadium that the Braves vacated, Milwaukee County Stadium. The Brewers played here until 2000 when it was replaced with the modernized Miller Park. The stadium was used in Major League as the Cleveland Indians stadium which must have made it that much easier for Bob Uecker to play his role in the movie. Today the Brewers play their home games at Miller Park, named for the Miller Brewing Company. Although there are other stadiums with retractable roofs, Miller Park is the only with a fan-shaped convertible roof. The roof opens from the center and out toward first and third base simultaneously which allows for opening and closing of the roof within ten minutes. The roof mostly consists of glass panels which allows for natural grass to grow on the field. The park is right off Interstate 94. There is plenty of parking around the ballpark and it is very easy to get in and get out. There is not much waiting in traffic and from the time we got back to our vehicle and on the Interstate, it literally took five minutes. The ballpark is tailgating friendly. The parking lots open three hours prior to the game and all tailgating must end an hour after the ballgame begins. The ballpark provides tailgate bins in the parking lot for people to discard their charcoal. Parking prices are extremely cheap compared to some ballparks where they can reach around $25-$35. By purchasing in advance, you can park in general parking for $8 and preferred for $12. You can buy on the day of and the highest you will pay is $18 for preferred parking for a weekend game. Sports Illustrated rated Miller Park as the best ballpark based on value per dollar spent. That was no truer than once we got to our seats. I spent $40 for a ticket on the club level. A long escalator takes you to the club level where we were greeted with carpeted floors and air conditioning in the concourse. Suites lined the hallways with concession stands intermingled. We got to our seats which were located behind home plate and under a covered canopy. We avoided the sun and the temperature couldn’t have been better. We didn’t even have to leave our seats to get food as our section included a wait staff. That brings up another interesting aspect of this ballpark which is food. They sell the typical brats, nachos, hamburgers, but they sell foods that I haven’t seen at other ballparks. Instead of ordering a brat, I opted for the Chorizo Sausage while my wife had me searching the ballpark for Fried Cheese Curds. I even noticed that you can order shaved corned beef, but it is pretty pricey at $9.75. Their prices are very reasonable for everything else and even the beer is only $4.50 as compared to Yankee Stadium, where it cost me $8.25. As you may have guessed, they only serve Miller products. Just to the left of the scoreboard in the outfield is the "Kalahari Splash Zone." Every time the Brewers hit a home run, the mascot, Bernie Brewer, slides down the water slide where a steady stream of water shoots up into the air. Sadly, I was not able to witness this since the St. Louis Cardinals held the Brewers to one hit and making this the shortest ballgame that I have ever attended, just over two hours. Also surrounding the scoreboard is the Ring of Honor, which honors those players in Brewer history who have had their numbers retired. To date there have only been four players to be honored with this distinction, those being Paul Molitor, Robin Yount, Rollie Fingers, and Hank Aaron. Along with Jackie Robinson’s #42 which has been retired by all Major League teams, the Brewers have conferred a unique honor on Bob Uecker. To recognize his fifty years in baseball as player and announcer, they have placed a "50" on the Ring of Honor. In the middle of the Preferred parking lots is Helfaer Field, a little league baseball field. Some may wonder why there is a little league baseball field there. When Milwaukee County Stadium was demolished to build Miller Park, a portion of the stadium was kept, specifically, home plate. The home plate of Helfaer Field used to be home plate for County Stadium. Now a piece of history has been preserved.
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