Monday, June 25, 2012

Miller Park Juggernaut Steamrolls To Victory

I wasn't very happy when Miller Park took out Dodger Stadium in ESPN's Battle of the Ballparks (a single-elimination tournament run by public opinion votes). But I was thrilled to see that in the finals, Miller Park took out Big Phone Park up north:

Our Battle of the Ballparks Bracket is complete, and the upset winner over Camden Yards, Fenway, Wrigley, PNC, AT&T and all the others is Milwaukee's Miller Park. Well, it's an upset winner based on its No. 24 seed. It's not such an upset winner if you've been following the votes over the past week.

That's because the passionate fans of baseball's smallest market overcame the odds by getting out the vote for their favorite stadium. While other fans might have taken their matchups for granted, the Wisconsin electorate was so energized you would have thought we tried to end collective bargaining for beer vendors. Perhaps that's a lesson for the rest of us.

Miller Park's victory is an upset, but it is hardly the equivalent of Adam Sandler winning an Oscar. That would have been the case had Tropicana Field won, but not Miller Park. While it was obviously seeded low, as I've pointed out over the years, almost all the newer stadiums are great places to watch a game. The difference between, say, the 10th-best stadium and the 24th isn't a lot, and often just a matter of personal preference (or tax burden).

No one writes sonnets to Miller Park or refers to it as a lyrical little bandbox, but Milwaukee fans showed that they love their stadium just as much as Red Sox fans love Fenway or Giants fans love AT&T Park. The rest of the nation too often ignores them (though definitely not the commissioner) but Brewers fans love meeting with friends for the greatest tailgate parties in baseball, then going inside to watch their team while savoring bratwursts with stadium sauce or stadium mustard (my favorite), reassured they won't need umbrellas if it's raining (or snowing) but should pack sunscreen in case it's sunny.

So there you have it. Miller Park, the "finest ballpark in the nation". Cheeseheads of the world united, apparently.


Greg Hao said...

The only thing I learned from this series of posts is that Wisconsin has the internet. And people with a lot of free time.