Day 2 on this leg of my journey started with an early AM short flight from Minnesota to Milwaukee. Before heading to the airport, I had the Uber driver take me to Chain of Lakes District in Minneapolis stopping at beautiful Lake Harriet to see the sunrise.
I arrived in Milwaukee a little after 9am Saturday to a steady annoying drizzle.
I boarded a shared van shuttle from the airport to my hotel which made a stop at Marquette University on the way to let off a group of students with their arms filled with boxes for moving day.
Milwaukee, to me, is a lot like Chicago’s much less sexy sister. It has a similar layout (being lakefront with a river winding through the center of town) and some really nice old architecture but not nearly the same level of energy or appeal. The rain didn’t help the experience much either. It would have been nice to take a tour of the Miller Brewery, but apparently you need to book that well in advance. Another ‘nice to do’ would have been a visit the Harley-Davidson Museum.
I did find a great place for lunch and brews on Wisconsin Ave – Mo’ Irish Pub Irish Pub , where I had lunch and killed a couple hours. They even offered free shuttle service to and from Miller Park for patrons. Miller Park is one of the ballparks that’s not conveniently located in downtown and requires some time to get to. The upside is that it’s a great park for tailgaters and, despite the rain, there were plenty of them out there grilling up their brats and knocking back beers. Apparently, they love to drink in Wisconsin.
As much as I hate indoor baseball, the fact that Miller Park has a retractable roof saved me from what would have been my first rain delay (or possibly rain out) on this journey. Being indoors under the roof, we all stood bone dry and the game started on time.
The park is fairly new (built in 2001), is really well maintained and has some nice features such as th
e Bernie Brewer home run slide (a much cooler version than what they had at the old county stadium), a statue of Bob Ueucker seated in the last row of the upper deck (as an homage to the old Miller Lite commercial), statues of Robin Yount and Hank Aaron in front of the home plate entrance and a great team shop. The fans, like in all other Mid-West parks, were polite and friendly and really backed their team despite their dreadful play. More enjoyable than the game was the long time custom sausage races (copied since by just about every other major and minor league park in the country) and the fan sing a long of Roll out the Barrel during the 7th inning stretch. The food choices were decent (including lots of brats and cheese curds) but nothing very special. I was still full from lunch anyway. Beer choices were mainly limited to Miller products, but there were a good selection of vendors selling one of my favorites – the pride of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin – Leinenkugel!
The game was a battle for last place in the NL Central against the Reds. The Brewers had a 3 run lead going into the 9th but their closer Francisco ‘K Rod’ Rodriguez (famous for setting the single season record for saves back when he was an Angel and later, as a Met, for being arrested for beating up his father-in-law in the Met’s clubhouse) gave up a go ahead HR to Joey Votto. Aroldis Chapman cxamer in and nailed it down in the 9th for the Reds.
After the game, I grabbed (what I thought was) the Mo’s shuttle back to Wisconsin Ave. About 5 minutes after leaving the park, they started blaring Middle Eastern music and talking in Arabic. I also noticed we weren’t heading in the direction of Wisconsin Avenue. What to do? I bolted to the front of the shuttle van and told the driver “Pull over, I think I need to vomit”. I’m not quite sure why I said that, but without saying a word he pulled over, I got out, I walked for about a quarter mile and then I called an Uber to take me back to Mo’s where I had a couple of nightcaps before heading to the hotel to sleep.
The forecast for Chicago tomorrow is sunny and pleasant.
Fans – B – Friendly, talkative, knowledgeable. Decent Saturday night crowd dispute the rain and two lousy teams.
Features – B – Bernie Brewer’s Slide, Singing and Dancing to ‘Roll out the Barrel’, Nice Team Shop.
Location – C- – No way to get there from downtown by foot or mass transit – Need to drive or take a shuttle/Uber. Nothing nearby for post game.
Food – C – typical mid-western fare. About 40 different kinds of brats. Decent beer selection.
Game – C – Battle for last place in the NL Central. Nothing too exciting.
Overall Experience – C – Not a fan of indoor baseball and this park has a REAL indoor feel to it, but the alternative may have been a rainout. Not a great game or great food and not a lot of available activities other than watching the game or eating. Would have probably enjoyed hanging out in Milwaukee more if the weather was nicer.