Journey to Miller Park

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Journey to Miller Park
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Article originally posted on www.stadiumjourney.com

Miller Park is such an improvement over County Stadium that it’s hard to know where to begin.  First of all, having a retractable roof was a great idea and something that Minnesota fans will be envious of in the years to come.

Additionally, the Brewers organization has made an effort to make the experience at Miller Park as fan-friendly as possible, whether you are a kid, a casual baseball fan, or an ardent baseball fan.  All fans will have fun at Miller Park.

FANFARE Score: 24


Food & Beverage: 4

The expectations must be high anytime you have a race featuring food items at your stadium.  That being said, I was a little disappointed by the options at Miller Park.  Don’t get me wrong, the selection is still better than most parks.  Yes, there are sausages, and plenty of Miller products.  There are also the best soft pretzels around.

When I ordered a soft pretzel with salt only, the girl preparing it rolled her eyes. I asked if I should get more toppings, and she told me that most people do.  I asked to add garlic and she sighed.  I asked, “How many toppings will it take for you not to be disgusted?” She said, “One more.  They’re free you know.”

I was happy to find more than just Miller Lite at the Park, especially the wide selection of Leinenkugel.  Overall, there is plenty to like in this department.

 

Atmosphere: 3

The Brewers haven’t had a lot of success in their history, nor have they had an abundance of it since moving to Miller Park in 2001.  It’s hard to find the history here.  A team that began as the Seattle Pilots in 1969 became the Brewers the next year.

What the park lacks in historical significance, it makes up for in joyful silliness.  Bernie the Brewer slides down his slide in left field after every Brewer home run, and the sausage race has become nearly as iconic as singing the seventh inning stretch.

Speaking of the stretch, the Brewers pair it with the singing of “Roll out the Barrel,” which is frankly just as fun to sing, even if it’s not exactly a baseball classic.

 

Neighborhood: 3

Miller Park is located about two miles from downtown Milwaukee.  So while it probably isn’t considered walking distance for the average fan, it’s a close enough place to hang out before a game.

If you want to get the full German experience while in Milwaukee, I would recommend Mader’s.  It’s a great place for a pregame knockwurst and boot full of beer.

The nearest bar scene to Miller Park can be found about a mile to the south.  There are really two offerings here.  Fourth Base is where you want to go if you want some food before the game.  The kitchen is found right behind the bar, and it smells like delicious grease of steaks, burgers, and fries.

After you’re done at Fourth Base, walk east, to Mollica’s.  This is a dive bar, usually filled with true Brewers fans.  Best of all, they offer a shuttle right to Miller Park, making the mile walk a lot easier to deal with.

 

Fans: 4

One thing to point out about Brewers fans, is that they are one of the few fan-bases that turn out in good numbers to tailgate before baseball games.  Hours before a game you can find the parking lot filling up and the smell of grills heating encased meats.

During games, Brewers fans have a good sense of staying in their seats during game action (at least more so than most), and don’t need the mechanical prodding of a scoreboard to tell them when to cheer.

 

Access: 3

Parking will not be a problem, as there are plenty of lots surrounding the stadium, and they are right off the freeway, so the toughest part will be navigating yourself out of said parking lot.

Bathrooms are abundant enough to prevent gridlock

 

Return on Investment: 4

Miller Park is especially worthwhile for families.  I went most recently with my wife and two-year-old son, and there were multiple play areas for the kids that he really enjoyed.  Additionally, there were photo opportunities sitting in a giant mitt, or with Brewers’ stars Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun.  That doesn’t even mention Bernie and his slide, or the famed sausage race.

Tickets are fairly priced and views are good regardless of where you sit.

 

Etc.: 3

Unique aspects include the sausage race (the original mascot-themed race), Bernie’s slide, and the fantastic look to the park, even when games are played indoors.

 

Final Thoughts

Miller Park is an easy day anyway you slice it.  It isn’t the best park, the most beautiful park, or the most historic park.  But it is the kind of place where you can sit back with a beer and a sausage and take in some baseball.  And isn’t that the point?

Paul Swaney is a co-founder of Stadium Journey

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