Hi everyone. That was another tough loss last week against Miami, but we have to redirect our focus quickly as we have a big one coming up tonight against our division rival, the Minnesota Vikings. A win in this game could be just what we need to get this season going in the direction we all believe it can.
Last week, I talked about some of the great restaurants and attractions to visit in Madison, a city I am very familiar with. This week, I wanted to discuss the great sports experiences I have been lucky enough to be a part of in Milwaukee, and even beyond that, the variety of athletic events the city has to offer. Milwaukee is our state’s largest city by population and is blessed with having both professional baseball and basketball within its city limits. I grew up constantly competing in both sports so I always felt a connection to both the Brewers and the Bucks.
I grew up a huge fan of the Brewers, and during my adulthood, I’ve been granted two amazing opportunities to take batting practice at Miller Park with the team. On one of those occasions, after getting pointers from CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets, I decided to take my shot at Miller Park. It’s such a unique experience because when you think of all of the other major sports, where else are you allowed to do that? It’s not like we could have Prince Fielder out on the field in shoulder pads during our pregame warm-ups, although my guess is he might be able to hold his own. While I started off slow (unable to get a ball out of the infield, shattered a bat, and taking a lot of heat from the other players), I was able to hit three out of the park. In all seriousness, the batting practice trips have been memorable. They’ve outfitted us in authentic jerseys and even let us swing the bats the players use. And to set the record straight, I will remind everyone that I have outslugged Aaron Rodgers on at least one occasion!
The old County Stadium, where the Brewers used to play their home games when I was a kid, was a decent venue to watch a baseball game. However, ever since the construction of Miller Park, the experience has been enhanced tremendously. Miller Park’s retractable roof and glass windows in center field definitely add to the park’s character, but my favorite part of the stadium is how you can see the field from pretty much anywhere, and there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. From what I’ve been told, the architects and construction crews worked diligently to develop a recognizable, fan-friendly stadium with unique characteristics. It makes sense that a recent fan survey by Sports Illustrated listed Miller Park the best ballpark in Major League Baseball based on value per dollar.
While I would probably list baseball and football as my top two sports, I also enjoy hoops and really like going to a Milwaukee Bucks games every now and then. The Bucks have really turned things around in the last two years since Scott Skiles took over as head coach, and with all of the basketball fans in the Packers locker room, it certainly behooves me to keep up with what is going on. I remember being so impressed with how the Bucks stimulated basketball fans across the state with their improbable run to the playoffs last year, and with their young core of talented players, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see the Bucks reach the postseason again in 2010-11.
Along those same basketball lines, the NCAA Tournament is another awesome event that makes regular appearances in Milwaukee at the Bradley Center. While I enjoy watching the tournament and all of the highly competitive games on my couch like thousands of others during the March Madness season, nothing beats actually having a seat and being there to take in the electric atmosphere live. One great example of this was an amazing comeback I witnessed by the University of Wisconsin Badgers to defeat the Richmond Spiders after trailing by double digits. The NCAA Tournament is the ultimate setting for competition because every year there are teams no one thought would even compete who make legitimate runs towards the title. Whenever the tournament makes its way to Milwaukee, I would recommend trying to catch a game as you never know when you might get to watch a future NBA hall of famer.
In effort to ensure that Wisconsin sports fans are not deprived of any of the big four pro sports, Milwaukee is also home to the Milwaukee Admirals, who have annually been a contender and playoff team in the American Hockey League (AHL). While I haven’t found the time to make it to a game yet, I think this might be the year. I always enjoyed going to Badger hockey games during my college days and have always felt like the game is so much better enjoyed live rather than on television.
Lastly, I would encourage you to check out the college sports scene in Milwaukee as well. There are two schools, Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, that field a number of competitive teams and have had some very well-known pros emerge from their programs. Everyone probably remembers current NBA star Dwyane Wade at Marquette and the run the Golden Eagles made to the Final Four during the 2002-03 season. For UWM, the men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball programs are always in the hunt in their respective Horizon League races.
If you’re a true, all-season sports fan, you really can’t go wrong in Milwaukee. There is such a diverse palette of options from which to choose and the atmosphere and fan support associated with each of the respected teams is always so positive. Hopefully some of my experiences have helped paint the picture of how much it has to offer. I will be back to revisit some of the other great activities Milwaukee has to offer in another entry. Well, that is all I have for this week. Next week I will talk about the city of La Crosse.