[Edit.: Another loyal Nation member files a report from a visiting park. Matt Mallin (Matt WI) attended two games at Miller Park this weekend and wrote this account of his experience. Thanks, Matt! – spm]
Greetings from Wisconsin, my fellow Reds fans. I’m an Ohio ex-pat living in Wisconsin for the past six or seven years. One of the better aspects of summer here is taking in a game at Miller Park. I usually make it to 3 or 4 each year, whoever Milwaukee is playing and this weekend I was lucky enough to attend the Saturday and Sunday games as the Reds faced the Brew Crew.
For those who’ve never had the opportunity, Miller Park rates pretty highly for me as a place to take in a game. The park itself is a few miles outside of downtown Milwaukee proper, just off I-94. You’d think that might be a liability of sorts, but the Brewers organization has “tapped” into the fact that Wisconsinites love their sports and their beer… tailgating is a significant portion of the experience even before setting foot inside the stadium. Lots of grilling, corn-hole (bag toss, whatever you want to call it), and, yeah, beer (though it’s still very family friendly). The stadium itself is top flight, really not any bad seats, and of course they have people wearing costumes of encased meats each game. What more do you want?
I was with a group of five guys, some who are Brewers fans, and one of which was my older brother… he taught me to be a Reds fan growing up in the Toledo area as we listened at night to Marty and Joe on WLW in the room we shared. Our group set up a quality tailgate Saturday afternoon, and then hit the game with excellent seats courtesy of one of my brother’s neighbors who had access through work.
I really enjoyed watching Latos throw on Saturday, and left with a heavy heart after the Braun homer. That one especially hurt as the only negative experience I had all weekend happened to be a guy who wouldn’t stop defending Ryan Braun to me after I might have booed Mr. Braun. Maybe. Like I said, there was tailgating involved here folks.
A short night at a nearby hotel later, we were back for the rubber match, and well, we all know how much better that one worked out. Somehow, we got even better seats, just off home plate near the Cincy dugout… very lucky. Saw a fair smattering of other Reds fans at both games, and on the whole had an excellent Father’s Day weekend. Hat tip to Mrs. Matt-WI for taking kid duty and indulging me for this one.
Highlights in no particular order: Billy’s home runs(!), Latos, Bruce doubling up Gomez on Sunday from the warning track, and Super Todd’s Sunday homerun… I mean, wow. And odd stat of the weekend: Our group played “mound ball” (betting game of whether or not the ball stays on the mound at the end of each half inning) on Saturday night and there was not a single winner. Sunday, when we didn’t play, Mesaraco and the home plate ump were rolling it on there like champs. The lesson as always? Mind your sample sizes… Saturday’s o’fer is tomorrow’s big streak coming down the pike.
I’ve included a few pics… one of my brother and I tailgating – one of the few times it’s sanctioned to be wearing similar outfits. I’m on the right with the sandals as you’re looking at the pic.
Billy and Todd sizing up Estrada just before first pitch on Sunday.
Joey up with the bags loaded.
And in honor of Father’s Day, I decided throw in one more… this one is actually from last season when I took my older daughter to a Reds/Brewers game. As you can see, we have issues to work out. Her younger sister, on the other hand, is all about the Reds and Joey Votto with me … and thus she’ll always get the car keys first when the time comes.