Last week we had the opportunity to take in a major league game at yet another midwest ballpark. This time the destination was Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for Friday's Milwaukee Brewer - Pittsburgh Pirates game. These two teams are among the bottom of the National League Central. The Brewers not getting everything out of their talent, while the Pirates continue to trade off their good players in one continuous "build for the future."
Miller Park was built at the turn of the century. It sits next to the former home of the Brewers, Braves and football's Green Bay Packers, County Stadium. Old County Stadium was a great venue to watch baseball. Outdoors with plenty of parking and Bernie the Brewer sliding into a mug of beer after every home run by the home team. In moving to newer Miller Park, many of the same characteristics carried over. Still plenty of parking along with the opportunity for outdoor baseball, but Bernie the Brewer now has a water slide, another trademark of the dairy state and its numerous water parks.
However the game day experience has gone down along with the play on the field. Tailgating continues in the parking lots outside the park, but once inside the empty seats are becoming more noticeable. On this night the roof was open, the first time on my few trips to Miller Park. With a breeze out of the west, it could not be felt causing a very warm feel when the temperatures were in the 70s. Cheerleaders were now part of the experience, and they did a routine to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." Cheerleaders have a part in sports, but not during the seventh inning stretch. And in 2011 the basic scoreboard will be replaced by an HD board, and it can't come soon enough. Although we made an appearance on the big screen, the fan experience could be enhanced with a better jumbotron presentation.
Below is a sampling of the night: