How to Enjoy Your First Trip to Miller Park
By Elyse Sikora
As the temperature begins to rise and the aroma of backyard barbeques fills the air around us, one thing is clear: spring in Wisconsin is finally here! Along with the festivals and outdoor activities that are associated with the season, spring also indicates the beginning of baseball season. As this season only comes around once a year, we need to make sure to enjoy it while we can. Thus, this article is intended for those of you who have yet to experience the joys of a Brewer game at Miller Park.
Milwaukee has quite a rich baseball heritage. From the World Series champions, the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, to Harvey’s Wallbangers of the legendary 1982 season, one cannot help but take great pride in the city’s baseball history. Milwaukee has been home to the home run legend Hank Aaron, Mr. Baseball Bob Uecker and Hall of Famers Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, and Rollie Fingers.
So, when you finally realize you’ve been missing out and decide to attend your first game, there are a few things you need to know. By the way, don’t worry about the weather. Miller Park features a retractable roof that will keep you dry and comfortable throughout the game. Best of all, no rain delays!
First of all, if you don’t already have any, get yourself some Brewer’s apparel. Without a proud display of royal blue or gold, you’re sure to stand out. Even worse, depending on the colors you are wearing, you run the risk of being mistaken as a fan for the other team. The Brewer’s retro logos and uniforms have become quite popular in recent years. They feature blue and yellow colors with an “M B” logo resembling a baseball glove. Green Bay Packers or Wisconsin Badgers gear is also acceptable attire. Should you encounter someone wearing a Cubs jersey, make sure to maintain a safe distance of at least 20 feet. If you are the one in the Cubs jersey, don’t be surprised if others keep their distance.
Next, when game day rolls around, make sure to get there early—at least two hours in advance. If you wish to head directly into the stadium, you will be able to see your favorite Brewers taking batting practice. If you bring your kids, be sure to get in extra early. Players will frequently stop to sign autographs and chat with the fans as they warm up for the game. Your son or daughter could head to tomorrow’s little league practice with their favorite player’s signature on their glove or cap. The stadium concourse also features a variety of games and activities that the whole family is sure to enjoy.
For those of you who are older fans, this two-hour grace period can also be utilized for an activity known as “tailgating”. As a cherished activity in American culture, tailgating is a vital part of most sporting events – especially baseball. In order to have a successful tailgating experience, you need to make sure to bring a small grill and a cooler packed with your favorite foods and beverages. Being in Wisconsin, this means you need a plentiful supply of bratwurst and sauerkraut. If you prefer beer, make sure it’s one of Wisconsin’s favorite brews (Miller, Leinie’s or New Glarus). Bring the Budweiser at your own risk. If you don’t have a small grill, don’t worry. The stadium has some of the best sausages around, so if you can’t make your own, make sure to buy one when you get into the game. Also, the Klement’s Sausage Stand in the parking lot serves up a variety of hot dogs and sausages.
Finally, when it’s game time, head towards the stadium. It’s about a ten-minute walk from the parking lot to the ticket gates. So, if you’re planning on seeing the first pitch, give yourself some extra time to get to your seat. When you find your seat, take a second to enjoy the magnificent stadium around you. Built in 2001, Miller Park was constructed with oversized glass windows and a retractable roof. Thus, even inside the stadium fans can enjoy the spring sunshine.
As the game begins, there are a few things you need to keep your eyes out for. First, located in left field is “Bernie’s Dugout”. As the prized Brewer mascot, Bernie stands in the elevated tower and cheers his team on. Anytime a homerun is hit Bernie takes a trip down the slide.
Also, in the sixth inning is the famous Klement’s Sausage Race. Five costumed runners emerge from behind the left field fence to engage in one of Milwaukee’s most storied competitions. The players are the Polish sausage, the Italian sausage, the Hot Dog, the Bratwurst, and the Chorizo. You’ll quickly notice that each player has a loyal fan base and, as a Wisconsin native, you may want to root for the bratwurst. However, when it comes to this race, all bets are off. It’s anyone’s guess who will win.
As the seventh inning rolls around, prepare to stretch your legs out. Stand up and join the chorus of fans as they sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “Roll Out the Barrel”. Should the mood strike you, hop out into the aisle and dance with the fans around you. You just may find yourself on the jumbotron above the center field wall.
You may find that, if the Brewers are losing, others will begin to leave the stadium around this time. However, no matter what the score, you should maximize your experience and stay for all nine innings. You never know, the Brew Crew just might win the game in dramatic fashion. You don’t want to be the one at the water cooler the next morning who didn’t stay to witness the excitement. Even more, the longer you stay the greater chance you have of taking home a major league baseball. Whether it is a foul ball or a player tossing a ball into the stands at the end of the inning, there are many keepsakes from the field that could find their way into your glove.
Whether you’re a little leaguer just learning the game or a seasoned veteran, a ballgame at Miller Park is an experience unlike any other. The entire experience will engulf you not only in the joy of the game of baseball, but also in Wisconsin’s rich culture and history. From the sounds of the game… the crack of the bat hitting the ball, the puff of the pitch hitting the catcher’s mitt for strike three, and the stadium organ… to the sights and aromas of the stadium, a ball game at Miller Park is a memory that you will cherish for a lifetime. Whether you’re spending the day with friends, family, or both, Miller Park is sure to provide you with all you want and more.