PG is a writer for simplybaseballnotebook.com, he is known for his unique perspective. Here is his take on Miller Park:
When I returned from my first trip to the new Miller Park in Milwaukee, I had several stories I wanted to tell about the trip. I got a chance to see parts of Milwaukee that I had never seen. I also got a chance to see some of the Twins & Brewers up close, which was also a new expierence for me. I found out when I got home that we had even been on television for a few second, representative of the Twins fans that had made the 5-6 hour journey to the City of Beer to cheer on their squad.
I quickly found out that people only wanted to hear about the park. Rather than inquiring about my personal stories, the first question asked was, "So, what did you think of the Park?" I suppose this shouldn't have been a suprise considering I am from Minnesota, where the quest for a simliar new stadium seems endless & hopeless.
Now, when people ask me about the park I can refer them here to simplybaseballnotebook.com. The most important thing to say about the park is that is was definatley built with the fans in mind. The Brewers' fans had to make some sacrifices in order to get the new stadium (ie tax $$ - they are quick to remind you of that), because of which it is designed to cater to the them more than other parks I have visited.
Saturday's (7/14) game drew a record crowd for the new park, a little more than a 1,000 over capacity. Yet, with the stadium nearly bursting with people, I could walk through the concourses without the usual bumping, shoving, & dashing for daylight between bodies like an NFL running back. You could stroll through the wide halls & get whatever you wanted in a few minutes. For Milwaukee baseball fans, the days of long lines at the bathrooms & concession stands are over.
The seats are also well set up. Fans will appreciate the wider seats & ample legroom. This is one park that does not punish a person for being anywhere near 6' tall. Although there are some obstructed view seats, mostly due to foul poles, they are few in number, & even the seats at the top of the 4th deck are acceptable. In fact, I sat in the seats which are farthest from the field in the entire stadium, in the corner of the 4th deck in right field. I could not see everything perfectly, but I could see much more clearly than I could have in comparable seats in other parks.
The interior of the park is almost enough to keep your attention away from the game for the first 1/2 hour or so. It is designed in the now-popular retro style, attempting to make it look like the old parks while retaining the convience standards demanded by modern fans. This means that the decorations are both more prevalent & more interesting than in County Stadium, which stood immediately outside the walls of the new park. Bernie Brewer's large beer mug has been replaced by a large home plate that he slides across after a Brewer home run. Bernies dugout high up in the left field corner. The Jumbo-Tron is both huge & wonderfully clear. Most of the support beams & the front edges of the 4 decks are painted dark green, the same color that was so prevalent in the old stadium.
Now I come to the things I did not like very well about the park. My first problem is actually the stadium's biggest draw-the retractable roof. It is impressive, and with a closing time of only about ten minutes, I am certain it is not an exaggeration to refer to it as a miracle of engineering. The problem is that the structure needed to support the massive moveable roof is so high that, even with the roof open, you get very little of the feel of outdoor baseball. True, if you look straight up, (as long as there is not a deck above you), you can see the triangle of bright blue sky. There are not, however, the other signs that you expect to tell your senses that you are outdoors. For instance, there is no wind. The structure is simply so high that the wind never makes it down inside. The stadium, to support the roof, has to be level all the way around. This means that the outfield walls are not any lower than the rest of the stadium. There are four decks of seats, about thirty feet of glass windows to let light in, and then the roof itself, which must be about forty or fifty feet tall. All in all, the structure is over two hundred feet tall. Therefore, while you can see the sky, everything else that has come to signify outdoor baseball is lost.
One concession that they have made to try to remedy this is by fitting the outfield wall with large doors that can be opened upward to allow more air in. Unfortunately, this did not seem to make enough of a difference, and the atmosphere always seemed to be strangely sanitary for an outdoor stadium.
Another side effect that my group noticed, and was confirmed by the ushers at the park, is that the ball flies out of the park. The deepest part of the field, dead center, is about 400 feet. This would be deep if there were much of a chance of a wind keeping the ball in the park, but as those chances are slim, I would look to this park to gain a reputation for seeing a lot of home runs over the years.
The only other thing that really bugged me about the new stadium was the parking situation. We arrived about an hour before game time, and we were sitting in the line to the lot for so long that we barely made it to our seats for the first pitch. The lot is huge, and well able to accommodate all the cars that might show up. The problem is that there are only three lanes of traffic leading to that large lot, and the line forms more than a mile back of the entrance. Hopefully, the Brewers will have that situation remedied quickly and this will not be an ever-present problem with the park.
EDITORS NOTE: SIMPLYBASEBALLNOTEBOOK.COM HAS BEEN INFORMED THE THE MILWAUKEE BREWERS HAVE FIXED THE PARKING SITUATION SINCE OUR VISIT - MORE LOTS & ACESS HAVE BEEN ADDED.
All in all, I enjoyed the trip to Miller Park. The stadium really is beautiful, and the grounds are coming along nicely, with the statues of Hank Aaron and Robin Yount already in place, reminding the fans of all that happened in County Stadium. The lower level of the park has a restaurant/bar that is open whether there is a game or not, and there is a section of the seats in the left field lower deck that are always open to anyone who wants to come in and see what all the fuss is about. There is also a gift shop in the same area of the lower level, where you can buy anything from Brewers paraphernalia to stadium tour tickets. Miller Park is definitely worth the visit, and is a nice benchmark for the Midwest teams now trying to balance the fan's wish for outdoor baseball with the realities of our climate.