This is a weekly feature in which I (and maybe you, too, readers) detail the various reasons for hating your ballpark. This week: The Milwaukee Brewers' Miller Park.
Err Bud: Miller Park is the pleasant brick timeshare for Cubs fans built along the Menomonee River, whose mighty waters, for many years, swept the fecal matter of baseball fans into the currents of Lake Michigan. Cynics might find something of a metaphor in this for the career of Bud Selig, once a mere local nuisance whose presence has spread foully into the wider world. Miller Park is Bud's kind of place, a tribute to the onetime used-car dealer's distinctive brand of hucksterism. At first, Selig promised a new stadium financed entirely by the Brewers. Then, Selig proposed a contribution of $105 million toward a $140 million stadium. That became a $90 million contribution toward a $250 million stadium, of which $50 million would come in the form of loan from some vaguely crooked public-private alliance.
It is now Milwaukee's $400 million lemon, the "ultimate stadium wheel-and-deal," it's been written, and "one of the biggest public bailouts in urban planning history." It cost the public $310 million. It cost George Petak his seat in the state legislature, and deservedly so. It cost the mascot his enormous vat of beer. And above all, on a windy day in 1999, during the installation of a $50 million retractable roof that probably isn't necessary more than four weeks out of the season, it cost three men their lives. Last September, Bud Selig sat in his home in Bayside, watching on television as the Brewers celebrated their first playoff berth in more than a quarter-century. Mostly, he thought about two things — the ballpark he built on the backs of taxpayers, and the introduction of the wild card — and apparently Bud Selig began to feel very good about himself and all that he had accomplished. "Before he knew it," reported the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Tom Haudricourt, "the commissioner of baseball had tears in his eyes."
The view from the stands (everything sic'd): "As a Chicagoan, every time I take the two-hour hike up to Miller Park, I marvel at the human skeleton's ability to support unconscionable levels of obesity. The park itself is wonderful. But when your clientele averages a size 52 pants, you better build a stadium with a colossal supply of fatty food options, wide seats, and parking no more than 60 feet from the stadium. Nothing captures the essence of Wisconsin like Miller Park's star, intra-game attraction: In the middle of the sixth inning, tens of thousands of Wisconsinites rise up to cheer as 5 encased meats race around the infield. You get the sense that this is someplace special - someplace great - a place where heart disease and hypertension aren't just societal health risks... but ways of life. Other than that, the park is great... until you think about how many people died trying to build it." (Jim T.)
"I seriously hate Miller Park and Brewers fans. God created the Earth in six days. He created Brewers fans in 2001. The club used to draw around an average of 20,000 (sometimes less) in the 1990s, and all the sudden they have great support. Fuck all of them. I'm the fan of a NL Central team (not the Cubs or Cardinals) that unfortunately spent two years living in Wisconsin and I was never treated worse at a baseball game than I was in the 12 games I attended at Miller Park. Most fans at Miller Park at any given night didn't give a shit about the team before 2001, and most of them know as much about baseball as Prince Fielder's smelly jock strap. Many Brewers fans are so loyal that once Milwaukee is eliminated from playoff contention, they feel no remorse about wearing Cubs hats and cheering for the Northsiders. Don't judge them harshly, though. They were Cubs fans 10 years ago." (Matthew H.)
"As a Cubs fan, my friends and I frequently travel to 'Wrigley North' to catch games. This year, we went to the April 12 Sunday Night Baseball game. My friend secured good seats, second row just about on the left field foul pole. There were four of us, seats 5-8. We show up a late, just before game time (we caught the end of the Masters before heading in). Anyway, we go down to our seats, and there is a family sitting in seats 1-4. Dad, mom, daughter (maybe 19) and son (16 or so). The problem is, being Wisconsin mouth-breathers, they are fat as fuck. Honestly, the daughter, who was supposed to be in seat 4, was spilling into the area of the bench marked 6. Each of them looked like the spawn of Dom Deluise and Rosie O'Donnell, but blonde. When my friends and I tried to cram in, the daughter had the nerve to yell AT US for trying to sit there, and told us there wasn't room. Clearly. Anyway, after shoehorning ourselves in, we proceeded to find out exactly why 'sconnies look the way they do. In the first six innings of the game (they left after 6!), the girl alone polished off the following: a bratwurst, a soft pretzel, a slice of pizza, fried cheese curds, and cheese fries. Oh, and about 4 miller lites. Welcome to Miller Park." (Brian)
"I am a lifelong resident of southeastern Wisconsin (and as such, have spent most of my life observing fat, hideous, drunk xenophobes), and I have seen more fat, hideous, drunk, xenophobic people in Miller Park than in the rest of the state combined. It's bad enough that most of the fans couldn't name more than five players that play for the team (unless, of course, 'Fuck the Cubs' is the name of a new utility infielder), but they don't even understand basic baseball stategy (e.g., booing a one-out bunt by the pitcher with runners at the corners). Oh, well. Fuck the Cubs anyway." (Timothy H.)
"The fans have a permanent inferiority complex regarding a certain NL team from Chicago. Why one would feel an inferior to the Cubs, I will never understand. However, this means that at any given game, no matter who is playing, even if it is the Minnesota Twins in interleague play, one is likely to hear 'Cubs Suck!' or 'Fuck the Cubs!' chanted during the game. When the Cubs do come in to play, Milwaukee fans bitch and moan that the stadium is filled with Cubs fans. Miller Park jacks up their prices for these games (hey, there's profit to be made here!), therefore pricing all of the comparatively lower-class Milwaukee fans out of a seat. The sad thing is that the prices are still a deal compared to Wrigley, so Cubs fans come in droves, thus causing Milwaukee fans to bitch even more. Thus. the stadium and its fans are stuck in a positive-feedback cycle of stupidity. Being a newer stadium, Miller Park is filled with all kinds of fun family-friendly destinations, guaranteed to bring out people who know jack shit about baseball to the stadium. Thus, instead of watching their mediocre team blow another game in the ninth, or fall apart in the second half of the season, the fans will be eating at a restaurant (T.G.I. FRIDAYS!) or playing in a kids' area. Even worse, every single game, guaranteed, you will see the entire stadium doing the wave. They will do your conventional wave, then perhaps a backward wave, then a forward wave, but really quickly, followed by a very slowly propagating wave." (Ryland S.)
"A group of monkeys compiled the rules for when the roof and outfield panels close. Apparently the roof is not allowed to open until the calendar hits June, there is no percentage chance of rain, there's a full moon, or there's a nearby crane ready to tip. But the biggest problem is that the fans have become overbearing, overexcitable morons that become angry, overbearing, overexcitable morons when the Cubs, Twins or Cardinals pay a visit. There was a time when going to Miller Park was a nice, quiet, relaxing time at the ballyard. But you had to watch shitty baseball. Now the place overflows with fat drunken slobs who cheer wildly for the giant phallic symbols to make their appearance in the middle of the 6th inning, and now you're watching frustrating baseball." (Corey Gloor)
"I'm sitting in the left field bleachers with a couple buddies and (surprise) the Brewers are getting killed. It's like the 3rd inning, when all of a sudden the people right in front of us finally find their seats. Which I have to give them credit for, because they were WASTED. It was a couple, some douche with fake Oakleys and hat sideways like he's all gangsta but is actually a huge pussy and some whore wearing a JJ Hardy t-shirt. (It's easy to spot the slutty girls at Miller Park. Just look for the 7's. ) First thing they do is order grab a round and then they drink some more. They were actually cut off by the beer guy, which I have never seen before. When they weren't drinking or peeing, they were straight up making babies on each other. They weren't even watching the game at all. The huge grope fest eventually catches the attention of the whole section, but mostly my friends and I, who had the misfortune of being 6 inches from this fat girl getting felt up her jean skirt. We started laughing at them after a while and they evenutally realized it and the dude turns around and cleverly says 'fags.' So it's like the 7th inning and they're going at it, when out of God's good graces they stop for a moment. Just like it was out of a movie, the girl just pukes EVERYWHERE. I have never laughed harder in my entire life. The people sitting in front of them got sprayed. It was awful/wonderful. But the best part is instead of helping the poor girl out, this guy IMMEDIATELY just books it up the aisle and disappears. I guess they weren't such good friends after all. Anyway, she sits there for a minute and tries to play it off like nothing happened, but there's vomit everywhere so there's nothing doing. Everyone is just howling at this girl. Eventually she gets up and stumbles off to the whoratory or wherever she was going. Then we grabbed their bobbleheads and left. (Eric G.)
Next up: The Chicago White Sox's U.S. Cellular Field. Got any horrible experiences to share? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.