No. 17: Miller Park in Milwaukee

The entrance to Miller Park

Miller Park is one of most uniquely designed stadiums in baseball. The radial geometry retractable roof, considered a technological wonder when the stadium was built in 2001, opens like a fan to expose the diamond and was the first of its kind anywhere.

The Brewers have made several upgrades to the stadium since it was built, including a gigantic video screen and LED out-of-town scoreboards.

Unlike Toronto’s Rogers Centre, which also has a retractable roof, Miller Park has natural grass to give it more of that baseball feel — even when the roof is closed.

ACCESSIBILITY:

Patti says  (3.5 RVs)

The stadium is not in the middle of a walkable area, but there are 12,600 parking spots accessible three hours prior to each home game. Other Miller Park transportation options include a multitude of hotel and bar shuttles, public bus lines, taxis, or rideshare options. There were some bottlenecks on the interstate, but with a little patience it does not take long to get thru them.

We took a shuttle from Milwaukee Brat House that also took us to Summerfest on July 4. Other days we parked in the stadium lots and, yes, we tailgated once. Some say the Brewers have the best tailgating in baseball. I say the jury is still out. (Ask again once we have both been to Kansas City.)

Ron says

There are several simple and inexpensive ways to get to Miller Park.

You can drive to and pay a modest $10-$15 to park in the multiple adjacent lots or take one of the many free bar shuttles to the stadium. There is also the Milwaukee Country Transit System’s Brewers Line, which has multiple pickup spots from the Lake Michigan waterfront west to Miller Park.

The stadium stands by itself off Interstate 94 and, if you do drive, you can experience the best tailgating scene in all of baseball.

ATMOSPHERE:

Patti says

The view from our seats on June 21 with Anu Family Services and the roof was closed

Before this trip, Miller Park was my least favorite of the handful of ballparks to which I had been. When the roof is closed, it is still toward the bottom now through 17 stadiums on our 2018 trip. However, when the roof is open it’s a whole different ballgame.

As the wife of a Brewers devotee, I know these fans love their team. It is fun to see the sausage race, see the statue of legendary broadcaster Bob Uecker in the not so “front row,” and see Bernie Brewer slide down the slide, though not when they are playing your team. I simply have a hard time getting into the game when the roof is closed.

Open it up, and it’s baseball as it should be. Granted, I do like to be warm and dry.

Ron says

Miller Park is a blast. As Patti said, the sausage race — which has been imitated in some form at nearly every ballpark since the Brewers debuted the race in 1993 — is fun. Bernie Brewer has a special meaning for me because both my dad and grandpa are named Bernie.

Miller Park with the roof open on June 23

The stadium definitely does have a different feel to it when the roof is closed. It creates a cavernous environment that is really not conducive for a great fan experience. It is nice to know, however, in the unpredictable Wisconsin weather, that there will always be a Brewers game played when scheduled.

When the roof is open, it does feel more like a baseball game should feel — as Patti said.

What was not fun was on July 4, when the Brewers decided to close the roof after a couple of innings because there was rain in the area. It didn’t rain and it was over 90 degrees outside. The result was a sweltering heat in the ballpark — for fans and players alike — until the roof was re-opened about 40 minutes later.

FOOD: 

Patti and Ron both say:

Brats, cheese and beer are pretty much the staples of Miller Park — and Milwaukee in general, for that matter. But that’s not all that’s available at Miller Park.

Local restaurants Zaffiro’s Pizza, AJ Bombers burgers, Smoke Shack and Holey Moley doughnuts all have spots inside the park. There is also a TGIFriday’s in the stadium and it’s open year-round with balcony seating over the outfield. You do not need a special ticket to sit there, just be there early.

In addition to traditional ballpark fare like hot dogs, popcorn and pretzels, Miller Park also has vegetarian and gluten-free options.

VALUE: 

Patti and Ron both say: 

As you might expect, the beer is relatively inexpensive at Miller Park. The tickets, however, can be pricey — especially against the rival Cubs and Cardinals. Sitting on the 200 level for the June 23 game against the Cards set us back $79 apiece.

Tickets in the upper level, like maybe near the Uecker seat, can be found for as little as $6, so there are inexpensive ways to see the Brewers at Miller Park.

MISCELLANEOUS / EXTRAS: 

Helfaer Field is a Little League field right at the foot of Miller Park

As stated above, Miller Park is an architectural marvel. It stands out along I-94 and as you walk up to the stadium, you’ll see Helfaer Field — a Little League field in front of the stadium with Miller Park providing the backdrop. Home plate is in the same location as it was at the old Milwaukee County Stadium.

There are also four statues outside the park  — of former Brewers owner and MLB commissioner Bud Selig, Hall of Famers Robin Yount and Hank Aaron, and Uecker, whose signature home run call, “Get up, get up, get out of here, gone,” is featured just above Bernie’s slide beyond the left-field wall.

Ron and his nephew, Brock, “racing” the sausages

Miller Park is very kid-friendly and there are several spots throughout the stadium to keep kids entertained. Ron and his nephew posed with the sausages, and that display is right next to an area where kids can test their baseball skills with virtual reality games.

The Selig Experience is another virtual-reality display in the left-field corner that tells the story of how Selig brought baseball to Milwaukee and then later became commissioner of baseball. It is free to all ticketed fans.

THE CITY OF MILWAUKEE: 

Milwaukee prides itself on being “Brew City” and there are a plethora of breweries in the city. The breweries aren’t just for adults as many have things for those not of age — with full restaurants, root beer and other soda, and games.

Milwaukee’s lakefront is absolutely gorgeous with multiple parks from which one can enjoy it. In Veteran’s Park you’ll find a statue of General Douglas MacArthur near a monument to xxx and you can fly a kite, rent various types of bikes, paddle boats or canoes, or simply enjoy a picnic. Just north of Wisconsin’s largest city is Concordia University in Mequon. The school has one of the most picturesque campuses in the entire country.

There is a lot going on in Milwaukee and live music can be found just about every night. We visited a vibrant area along Brady Street on Milwaukee’s east side that had several eateries, bars and plenty of patrons.

There are also several summer festivals and we checked out the strawberry festival in Cedarburg on June 24. Many of the festivals are free of charge, though a big exception is the annual Summerfest.

We went to a trio of concerts at Summerfest, which bills itself as the world’s largest music festival and did give away 25,000 tickets for the opening day. The first headliners we saw were the Imagine Dragons on June 27 followed by the Dave Matthews Band on July 1, and Journey and Def Leppard on July 4 — after we watched the Brewers play the Twins earlier in the day at Miller Park.

If you’re in the Milwaukee area and have the time to head down to Racine, do it. The drive down the lake is gorgeous and seeing the Wind Point Lighthouse is a must. It has its own small beach and 30-minute tours of the grounds can be scheduled online.

Home Run On Wheels, Home Run On Wheels

Follow Ron and Patti as they travel in their RV to all 30 MLB stadiums in 2018. Along the way, they will write stadium reviews, talk about food, baseball and life in an RV, and how you can help a child in need.
There will also be features with MLB players and other sports figures along the way.

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