As we headed our way north on 294/94, we passed many familiar sights. By the time we were passing Six Flags and Gurnee Mills, we were almost in Wisconsin. My fiancee and I were a little rushed, only because she had worked earlier in the day. We passed under the bridge and were welcomed to Wisconsin, thus entering a less familiar area, ruled by single lettered county roads.
Getting to Miller Park was easier than we even imagined. Follow the 94 signs and don't end up in Madison. I have been to a lot of places in Wisconsin, but never Milwaukee. It was long overdue.
I saw the sign that read "South Milwaukee". Then, I was hit by a stench that could only be described as raw sewage mixed with stale beer farts. It was unpleasant, but not enough to ruin our day.
Exit 308A led right into the parking lot, which was convenient. Everyone was friendly and courteous. Once parked, it was just a short walk across the parking lot and we were greeted by Hank Aaron's statue.
My immediate thought was that Aaron only played two years with the Brewers, but I quickly remembered that he spent the majority of his career with the Braves, who were in Milwaukee for a huge chunk of Hank's career. It made sense now.
It wasn't the greatest game that I've ever attended. There were many booted balls and a few errors, but both teams were scrappy and the home team won. I was a bit surprised to see Ryan Braun's face all over everything. I expected Prince Fielder to be a bigger presence inside the park.
I was surprised to see a Harley ride around the warning track and even more surprised to see a Chevy Cruze driving that same warning track multiple times between innings. The line of Harleys along the back wall was pretty cool and definitely unique to the park.
I was a little disappointed that Bernie the Brewer didn't slide down the big yellow slide when Lucroy hit his homer. Is the "Where's Bernie?" banner part of some contest? Is that why he wasn't there?
The folks were friendly enough. I only had one comment on my White Sox shirt. I heard "White Sox. What?" from some man that I passed on the second level, before the game. It made me chuckle. I spotted some man in a White Sox black jersey at the pitching area on the second level. It was comforting that someone else was in White Sox apparel. My fiancee chickened out and wore a Brewers shirt. I would have picked one up too, but the ones with the retro ball and glove logo (which I'm a big fan of) were too small.
The sewage/beer fart smell only popped up occasionally once inside the park. I'm still unsure as to the origin of that, but it really wasn't much concern throughout the night, just odd.
We walked around Miller Park and surveyed the food stands. Beer, alcohol, beer, brats, cheese, hot cheese, pizza, beer, hard alcohol, burritos?!, nachos with cheese, beer. Tracey picked up a cheese pizza and an order of cheese curds. I tried a pepperoni pizza and the only thing I saw without cheese, a Chicago dog.
I have to say that Miller Park featured the best Chicago hot dog that I've ever had outside of Illinois. All the ingredients were fresh and correct, including the celery salt and kelly green relish. The presentation was appealing enough that I regret not taking a picture of it. I've never seen a Chicago dog with sliced and fanned onions and a vertically sliced pickle, but it tasted great.
The park wasn't crowded, but it was lively. The crowd did get into the game, despite what I've heard elsewhere. Many patrons dedicated a little more time to their alcohol than to the game, but the Brewers were almost as important to all.
With any major sporting event, I know I'm going to hear, "Ice cold beer", at great volume out of the vendors mouths. I will physically hurt the next person who responds with, "It's better than warm beer". I heard that retort over three dozen times in the span of seven innings. I never need to hear that answer again.
I had a blast visiting Miller Park! I would definitely go again. The weather cleared up and the roof was opened right before the starting time, which made the game conditions perfect.
An unexpected bonus for the day: the giveaway was baseball cards!
Thanks for being so hospitable to a couple of visiting Chicagoans, Milwaukee!