SoSG Orel and I visited Miller Park for its inaugural season in 2001. I can’t recall the actual game we attended, but it was the last leg of a Cleveland-Detroit-Milwaukee baseball road trip (which I believe took place over a weekend; points to anyone who is able to verify the dates where that trip might have worked). SoSG EK was with us for the first two legs of the trip but had to skip out before Miller Park, leaving Orel and I to shoulder EK’s expected bratwurst consumption levels ourselves (I think I ate four bratwursts during that game).
I remember getting there really early and walking around the park, and at the souvenir store that I believe is in right field, they were putting together a wall of baseballs for which fans could purchase a baseball for $75, sign the ball however you’d like, and then they would permanently affix it to the wall for all time.
Now, Orel and I had a great time at Miller Park. It’s a beautiful stadium, with great sightlines and incredible beer and bratwursts, and Brewers fans were very hospitable and friendly. During the later innings of the game, flush with appreciation for the park and the fans’ kindness, I was compelled to buy a ball and “leave our mark” at Miller Park. Orel was close to being convinced, too, and we debated this investment for four innings.
Finally, we realized the cold truth that even if we bought the ball, we would likely never come back to see it in place. Which made the investment ridiculous, of course. (What’s more, we were going to draw a Dodgers logo on the ball so I assume the ball’s placement in the wall, if anywhere, was going to be pretty much out of the main lines of sight.)
So, we passed on the investment and skipped on our chance to leave our mark at Miller Park.
That said, I’m glad Matt Kemp’s home run ball made its mark at Miller Park yesterday. (Even though it ended up being a batting practice ball that wasn’t even hit by him.)