Tuesday, June 28

Actually, it's pronounced "mill-e-wah-QUE," which is Algonquin for "The Good Land."

As Alice Cooper memorably reminded us in Wayne's World, Milwaukee has had its share of visitors, and this past weekend, it added Kim and I to the list. I had only two requests for the trip:

1) We go to a Brewers game
2) We see the Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion

Due to an unfortunate delay in travel, Kim was unable to join me on Friday evening, so I decided to head on out to Miller Park to catch the Brewers game. At right is a photo of Miller Park taken from the city bus, with a lovely blue tint characteristic of all the photos I took last weekend up until I realized that I had the DROID set on incandescent lighting mode. Good times.

What you'll notice in the area surrounding Miller Park is: nothing. And not the figurative nothing of, "there's nothing to do around here," or the nothing of the area in Detroit around Comerica Park looking like nothing simply because all of the establishments were buried under piles of rubble. No, there are literally no establishments around Miller Park, located as it is several miles outside of downtown. The 90 bus is a convenient way to get there, but the pre-gaming once there is lame.

Unless you drove, of course, in which case you can take part in Milwaukee's impressive tailgating scene. I'd heard rumors that Brewers fans tailgated before baseball games, a practice not common to baseball fans, and it's very true and entertaining - they're got their own little Muni Lot set up in the parking spaces around the stadium, which is cool. I think the scene arose from a combination of Milwaukeeans' well-documented taste for beer and the aforementioned nothing surrounding the field. I guess I should have photographed it, but you likely know what a tailgate looks like. Being early for the game, I walked all the way around the park to get the lay of the land and bumped into a few of the participants in the Brewers' Sausage Race. I wish I had taken a photo of my favorite, Chorizo. I need to hire a photographer or something.

Eventually I found my way into the park with a surprisingly expensive $20 nosebleed seat. Miller Park has a retractable roof, and even though the dome was open both nights I went, it felt a lot more like an indoor venue than an outdoor one. It was big and dome-y, and the lack of a compelling view (with apologies to I-94 and those warehouses and trees) doesn't help.

The interior of the park was really cool - heavy on the sausage and Leinenkugel, as one might imagine, just a well-appointed place with cool bars and stands throughout. I grabbed myself a 24-oz PBR and a vegetarian dog and took my seat. The Brewer fans were great too - I saw an impressive amount of Brewer gear as I walked around town even before the contest, and they were geared up inside the park. They all seem to love the classic glove logo (shown at left), and rightfully so. In case you've never seen it before, it's remarkably clever - the fingers of the glove make an "m" and the thumb and ball form a "b" - "mb," for Milwaukee Brewers. The Sconnies seem totally indifferent to the fact that this hasn't been their main logo for over 15 years, and frankly, even I wanted to buy some of their stuff too. Good choice, Brewer people.

it didn't hurt that they were playing the Twinkies either - hordes of Minnesota fans invaded the park, contributing to both nights I went being sellouts. As an Indians fan, I had no problem supporting the home team against a division rival. I didn't see any other Chief Wahoos (I was sporting my cap, of course), but did talk with a few Friends of the Feather. I liked hearing Bob Uecker call the game when I walked through the catacombs of Miller Park, as well - shades of Major League. I was seated (alone, mind you) next to three Milwaukeeites, chicks with an amazing lack of baseball knowledge (two did not, apparently, know what a strike was) but who very much found Rickie Weeks to be an attractive fellow. Behind me were two Twins fans, a dopey guy and his domineering woman. In front was a group of obnoxious fratboy Twins fans and this Ed Hardy dummy who wouldn't sit down. Finally, near the end of the contest, some fun people sat next to me. I had this exchange with the girl:

Her: Are you a Brewers fan or Twins fan?
Me: [Points to Indians hat]
Her: Are you a Brewers fan or Twins fan?
Me: Neither - I'm an Indians fan.

Things got better after that in both the conversation and the game, as Prince Fielder rallied the Brew Crew to a 4-3 win and everyone went home happy. I went to a bar to watch the Indians, and immediately afterwards regretted having done so. Can we just pretend that Giants series didn't happen?

After trips to Veteran's Park and the Pabst Mansion, and an (ultimately unsuccessful) attempt to eat the world's largest pretzel, we headed to the park once again. Hey, I already had these tickets. I'm not a fortune teller. Immediately upon entering the park, I saw that the Indians had suffered a 1-0 loss. Ugh. Only later did I discover that the "1" was courtesy of a balk.

The second game was a laugher in favor of the Brewers, who clubbed a few home runs and generally ran all over the hapless Minnesoteans. Kim and I left a bit early to check out some nightlife, while steering clear of the rowdy post-Mötley Crüe cröwd sure to be teeming around the Bradley Center.

Miller Park was a cool experience - loved the locals and the park, even if it was a bit cavernous and remotely located. A nice, modern park, not quite up to the standards of AT&T Park or Camden Yards. Thanks for the hospitality, Cream City.

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