Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review of Miller Park from a First Timer

My wife and I headed down to Milwaukee to see our beloved Twins take on the hometown Brewers.  It was the first time to Miller Park for either of us, and despite a couple of things (like the Twins losing like pigs and getting swept for the series, among other things) we had a good time. 

Here's a review from a Miller Park virgin: 

  • Like their football brethren to the north, these fans love their tailgating.  We brought some chairs, beers, and chips to enjoy the outdoors ourselves, but most folks came way more prepared.  Grills were going, bratwurst frying, burgers flipping, parking lot games played, and beer drunk.  Lots and lots of beer drunk.  Here's a photo from the festivities.  

  • And note that this was just the pre-game gathering.  After the game, the coolers came back out and lots of folks chose to wait out the traffic jam by hanging out, sitting outside, and having one or two more cold ones.  Smart folks, these fans, especially with the current construction on I94.
  • The stadium itself is an engineering marvel, with its retractable roof.  While it is aesthetically not very pleasing, it makes up for it in its utility.  The design is ingenious, and while it remained open the whole game, one could see very clearly how the roof functioned. 
  • The configuration of the open roof made for some very tough sight lines for those of us sitting on the first base side.  The combination of sitting in the shadows and having the field in the light made picking up the ball very tough.  I had to really concentrate to see the ball. 
  • Their scoreboard is the best I've ever seen in MLB.  It is huge, clear, and comprehensive.  So comprehensive in fact that I had to text my brother to see what the stat OPS that they were displaying meant.  Turns out it is a combination of On Base Percentage and Slugging Percent that sabermetricians use as a method of quantifying offensive contribution.  Seems like those guys would be better served by finding measurements to calculate how they're going to get out of mom's basement and/or kiss a girl, but who am I to suggest something to stand between a nerd and his statistics? 

  • The off-field entertainment was hit or miss.  Bernie Brewer still slides down from his post for a home run, but instead of falling into a beer stein he lands in a hot tub.  For a team like the BREWERS playing in a place like MILLER Park, it would seem that his rightful place of landing at the end of the slide should be ale-oriented.  Unfortunately for Bernie, that's just not the case.  But whatever Bernie failed to deliver was made up for in spades by the Klement's Racing Sausages.  I seriously could watch those guys every inning.  Too fun. 
  • The game itself was a complete sell-out, as the Brewers had recently moved into first place, Twins fans had driven over for the series, and the day was perfect for a ballgame.  The crowd was about 10% Twins fans in total, and I was surprised at the lack of Brewers gear worn by the hometown faithful.  I'd say about 25% didn't have any Brewers paraphernalia at all which shocked me as I'm used to seeing Twins fans at Target Field loaded down in the stuff.  I was decked out for the game, as was my wife.

  • Unfortunately some tool four rows behind me really wanted to get under my skin, and throughout the game was yelling stuff like "Mauer sucks, as does everybody that wears his jersey."  Guess who was wearing a Mauer jersey?  Not that I was not being obnoxious by overtly cheering or being loud.  I just wore a jersey and came to support my team.  That didn't matter to the drunk behind me, and our entire section had to listen to his garbage all game.  I was proud that I kept my cool - 15 years ago and/or with five more beers under my belt, Mr. Mouth and I would have had a conversation.  But I was there for the game (and my wife), the Twins were getting killed anyway, and I just let it go.  Unfortunately I found the sign as to where to text to get drunks thrown out in the 8th inning; too late to bother so I let it go.  I only had one other drunk get ugly with me - some drunk hot girl that never had anyone say a sideways word to her in her life.  Again I bit my tongue and let it slide.  Not sure what possesses people to act like such dicks, but considering the stadium held 41,000 I was just happy I only ran into only two idiots. 
  • While the stadium was very nice, it sure wasn't Target Field.  Being at Miller Park, an incredible field in its own right, really made me appreciate what a gem Minnesota has.  The hype is really true with Target Field, and I miss being able to attend games there.  Even seeing the field by watching the games on MLB.TV makes me pine for being home in the beautiful stadium. 

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