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May 21, 2007

Our trip to Milwaukee

As many of you know, last weekend Cheesehead Craig, Freealonzo and I ventured into the great state of Wisconsin to witness first hand the wasteland that is Milwaukee. Sure, we went primarily to see the Twins play the Brewers, but I was also interested in seeing the devastation that Miller Park has brought to that once great city. You see, the taxpayers of the five county area around Milwaukee are paying for Miller Park out of their own pockets, and from what I've read from commenters here on this blog I was expecting to see a lawless cesspool of decay and hopelessness. All because of Miller Park! Oh the humanity! Why, Bud Selig, why?

The devastation was worse than I imagined. You see, I found out the people of Milwaukee actually don't care about paying for Miller Park anymore! That's right, they have actually moved on, and some would say they may even be proud of it! I know! Have they forgotten about the children? Or the puppies? Puppies are dying, and yet they have the audacity to enjoy baseball! Miller Park has turned Milwaukee into a bunch of happy people that enjoy spending a summer afternoon watching baseball! Democracy is dead!

miller01.jpg

Freealonzo, Gabe (our wonderful host), and Cheesehead Craig all enjoy some free beer after the Miller Brewery tour. Me? I did not enjoy the free beer. In fact, I gave my free beer to Craig. I must say it is very upsetting to me. I know I'm supposed to like beer, but I absolutely do not. It is like when someone squeezes a lemon wedge into my water. I can taste a little of the lemon, but it mostly tastes like an extremely watery, and horrible, lemonade. That is what beer tastes like to me. I know I am supposed to taste hops and malt and alcohol, but mostly I just taste an incomprehensible swill. Go figure.

miller1a.jpg

Here is a picture of some of the history of the Miller Brewery, the "Girl in the Moon." The tour was decent, but I would have liked more history. For example, where did this logo come from? I mean, the tour guides spent about 90% of the tour explaining how beer is made. Who cares how that vile concoction is made? Tell me more about prohibition when it was banned!

miller2a.jpg

This is a picture of the Pabst Mansion (thanks Freealonzo!). I apologize for the bird crap on the window, but ever since Miller Park opened birds have started crapping everywhere with impunity! We didn't actually get a tour of the Pabst Mansion, much to my unhappiness, because my comrades thought it might be "boring." They wanted to go to Miller Park. As you might imagine, it was not lost on me that Miller Park has obviously turned Milwaukeeans into uncultured swine. When will the devastation end?!?!

miller02.jpg

Ah, Miller Park. We had some great seats along the first baseline. This is a picture of Torii Hunter's home run blast in the game on Saturday. After this shot all 15,000 Twins fans rose to cheer and mock our gracious hosts. It was fun.

miller03.jpg

A closeup of the ball leaving Torii's bat. Needless to say, I am an amazing photographer.

miller04.jpg

Another example of the debauchery caused by Miller Park: the Sausage Races. It pained me, but I actually enjoyed watching these idiots running around.

miller05.jpg

Aha! The highlight of the journey! With the victory on Friday night, and the victory I witnessed on Saturday night, I actually won the bet with Cheesehead Craig! After years of futility, I have finally won a bet with my neighbor. We bet on who would win the series, and the Twins were able to finally come through for me! As per the terms of our wager, Cheesehead Craig must now wash my car whilst I eat a Chipotle burrito purchased by him! Victory is sweet! I'm not going to wash my car for a month!

miller06.jpg

But back to the lawless wasteland caused by the construction of Miller Park. It is a sad state of affairs in Milwaukee. With the passage of the state law to build this monstrosity of a ballpark, Latrell Sprewell was finally successful in passing his "mandatory spinning rims" bill in the Wisconsin legislature. Now, all cars and trucks in Milwaukee are required by law to have spinning rims, and all that money goes straight to feeding Sprewell's family. A man's gotta eat, you know.

miller07.jpg

A closeup of this tragic "turn" of events. Unbelievable.

miller08.jpg

So often we see only pretty pictures of Miller Park, but this is a picture of the backside, or the "butt," of the ballpark. Not so pretty now, heh? And amazingly enough, the people of Milwaukee are still happy with this place.

miller09.jpg

As I walked around Miller Park on Sunday I ventured into the Twins bullpen area. Apparently this year Twins veteran pitchers are making the rookies carry around a "My Little Pony" backpack. I find that very appropriate for a trip to Wisconsin.

miller10.jpg

Our seats for Sunday's game were very, very good. These were by far the best seats I have ever had for a baseball game. It is a shame that Ortiz stunk up the joint, but quite honestly I was just plain in heaven being this close to the field. It was spectacular.

So, that is my trip to Milwaukee. Thanks to Gabe for hosting, Craig for driving, and Freealonzo for being the Twins fan I could high five. I can't wait for next year!

Posted by snackeru at May 21, 2007 10:33 PM

Comments

Click my name for my review of the trip (Cheesehead has a nice review too). Later I may share my haiku travelogue.

Posted by: Freealonzo at May 22, 2007 9:30 AM

It was a great time and the seats were spectacular, the pictures don't even do them justice.

It's true, I have lost a bet to Shane (hangs head in shame). I guess a 7-1 record is better than oh, 1-7.

It was so depressing seeing all the old factories torn down near the stadium and pretty condos and new businesses being built in their place. It's like people want to be closer to the stadium. To do it, they are destroying the vital history of the city. I mean what will Milwaukee's image be if not one of run down, abandoned factories? For shame!

Great post Shane. Oh, and it was Shane who did not want to go into the Pabst Mansion. It was too "spendy" for him. Plus, he did not want to miss out on the cute tour guide at Miller Brewery. He seemed quite smitten.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at May 22, 2007 10:07 AM

No comments about the roof? open or closed? outdoor baseball? c'mon!!! elaborate!

And I think if the cost of our Pohlad trough were spread across even 1 additional county, there would be less angst.

Posted by: what about the roof? at May 22, 2007 10:16 AM

It was so depressing seeing all the old factories torn down near the stadium and pretty condos and new businesses being built in their place

Why didn't this happen as promised near the metrodome?

Posted by: WTF at May 22, 2007 10:33 AM

Did you know that Milwaukee has one of the most obese populations in the Country? (apparently second only to Springfield, not sure what state)

Did you know that Milwaukee is one of the most segregated Cities in the Country?

Did you know that Milwaukee is one of the more economically depressed cities in the Country?

Did you know that Milwaukee has the highest percentages of binge drinkers in the Country?

Just think if the citizens of Milwaukee actually used their tax dollars to fix real problems and not to build arenas to watch sausage races!

Posted by: P.O.'d Taxpayer at May 22, 2007 10:34 AM

To answer PO'd questions:

1 - Yes. They've contacted Richard Simmons about it.

2 - Yes. It's sad, but true. I dare say every city has gone through times like these. Milwaukee is no different. How this applies to a stadium is beyond me.

3 - Yes. It was built on an industrial economy. They are making the change over to a service economy. This takes a lot of time, like decades.

4 - Yes. They tend to be centered around the UW-Madison campus.

5 - No. Throwing money at problems does not solve them. Unless, like yourself, the problem is not getting laid. Then money can be quite useful in this endeavor.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at May 22, 2007 10:41 AM

open or closed?

CLOSED! HAHA - These morons drove 300 miles to sit in another dome. How was your "outdoor baseball" experience?

Posted by: hahahahaha at May 22, 2007 10:45 AM

Nice pictures of my old stomping grounds. I used to live about 2 blocks away from the Pabst Mansion and walked by it every day on my way to school. Of course when I started living there the stadium hadn't been built yet and birds would never crap in public.

Posted by: Tim M at May 22, 2007 11:13 AM

I have to say, I enjoyed my trip to miller park in 03, when i was living in madison. i really liked the miller tour, even though i dont like millers beers.

i still say shane, you just havent found the right beer. you might also be a hard cider guy, jiminstpaul should really get on the whole 'making a beer that shane likes' thing.

as for Milwaukee, I'm not really sure how the money spent on Miller Park could have fixed the "segregation problem" thing about Milwaukee... it's a city of ethnic neighborhoods... always has been. i dont know how throwing money at it will change the fundamental nature of a city built around immigrant neighborhoods. (this is true of german, pole, mexican, hmong, african american)

as for ancillary development around a stadium site, the reason for the Dome's flop is pretty simple: the Star Tribune. The Strib owns the land surrounding the dome on two sides, there is a hospital on one side, and power station on the back side... the only places for development near the dome are owned by the strib, and they make a killing off the surface parking (they lease the lots to other companies). THAT's why the development hasn't come to the dome area. (it's also why the strib pushed so hard for the site in the late 70's)

Posted by: CJ at May 22, 2007 11:53 AM

Shane,

What days was it open versus closed over the weekend? I spent most of it landscaping...where I paid an extra $.60 toward the ballpark. Yikes, I had to scale it back significantly. Also, what of the glassed-in outfield?

Derek

Posted by: Derek at May 22, 2007 12:14 PM

Hey Derek, I want a can of pop. Give me 60 cents. Oh, and I want one every week for the rest of the year too.

Posted by: we were jobbed at May 22, 2007 12:42 PM

Hey we were jobbed,

I'll give you 60 cents a week but in return I want you to do something so amazing that I will sit down and watch you do it on TV, so interesting that there will be literally hundreds of blogs dissecting every move you make; that the local papers spend pages describing how you did your job. Then every so often I want you to excel so good at this activity that there is a possibility that we get really excited, we take off work to watch, we spend money on T-shirts and hats with your name strewn across, that if you succeed we through a party in your honor and if you fail we are saddened for days. I want you to have employees who are so good at what they do that we debate how good they are, compare them to employees from the past and if they die way too young shed tears at their televised memorial services. This thing that you do has to be so compelling that I will take a weekend to travel to another City to watch, that I will look forward to the night I can watch you outside, and that I actually respond to inane comments from people who hate what you do.

If you can do all that, I'll gladly pay you 60 cents a week. Until then just shut up.

Posted by: Freealonzo at May 22, 2007 1:04 PM

^ Post of the week!

Posted by: The Tube at May 22, 2007 1:08 PM

Free - I might oblige, but the misses would probably object to an audience. She's shy.

Posted by: we were jobbed at May 22, 2007 1:41 PM

Oh, and by the way; if paying for this piece of crap were limited to the few that actually feel that way about stupid baseball - It'd be a heckofalot more expensive for you than 60 cents.

Posted by: we were jobbed at May 22, 2007 1:44 PM

Is anyone familiar with the expression "beating a dead horse"?

Posted by: Jeff A at May 22, 2007 1:53 PM

I like the way stadiumheads like to represent that there's this army of supporters out there. First of all there are maybe 20,000 in the metro that actually, religiously follow baseball. Probably 1/2 them are season ticket holders. The rest of them get their tickets for free from work or a vendor or a customer or a friend and figure "what the hell." They'll see maybe 2 or 3 games a year. Neither of these groups spend much, if any money downtown or nearby. Save for parking and the customary stadium trinket, they'll be heading for the exits shortly after the 7th inning stretch, win or lose, to beat traffic and "get outta dodge" there's no hobnobbing at any local eatery, if there are any close by. And if there is, they seat what? a hundred people max? Yea, there's an economic boom for ya!

Don’t even talk about outstate people and the awesome FSN ratings. These clowns can’t muster a 4 share in prime time!? And that’s throughout the region! In fact, that’s what they are, clowns. They’re funny. They make me laugh. And the stadiumheads that follow them around and glorify them and their achievements are like little oompa loompas. They’re funny too.

Posted by: army of none at May 22, 2007 2:11 PM

I guess not.

Posted by: Jeff A at May 22, 2007 2:13 PM

Actually, I think this futile exercise is more like digging up the dead horse from its grave and continuing to beat the decayed carcass. Especially since it was one year ago today that the ballpark bill finally passed the Minnesota legislature.

Happy anniversary!

Posted by: The Tube at May 22, 2007 2:19 PM

I want answer! How was the traveling 3 amigos outdoor baseball experience?

Posted by: what about the roof at May 22, 2007 2:23 PM

You want answer? You can't handle answer! Son, we live in a world that has baseball stadiums. And those stadiums have to be built by men with vision. Who's gonna do it? You? You "what about the roof"? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for your precious pennies and curse the Greet Machiners. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that building this Twins stadium now, while tragic to you, probably saved millions of dollars. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saved millions of dollars ... You don't want answer! Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me building stadiums. You need me building stadiums!

Posted by: Shane at May 22, 2007 2:35 PM

You're not a very good "ranter."

Just appease me. The roof was closed, wasn't it?

Posted by: what about the roof at May 22, 2007 2:38 PM

You're goddamn right I ordered the Code Red!

Posted by: Shane at May 22, 2007 2:39 PM

That must've been pretty disappointing. To drive all that way. To relish outdoor baseball and then....but alas, it was not to be. Bummer. I feel sorry for you. No, really. I do.

Posted by: what about the roof at May 22, 2007 2:43 PM

As one of the traveling 3 amigos (actually 20,000)I can say the "outdoor" baseball experience was disappointing. The Brewers needn't close the roof at all on Saturday and they could have opened it midway through Sunday's game. (Click on my name to read more).

That's why I am glad no roof on Twins Ballpark. With a retractable roof it's just too easy for the roof master be be over cautious and close the roof at any hint of bad weather. A little rain, cold, or wind is not going to detract from the game.

Now if "what about the roof" wants to take this response to imply that we were dopes for going to Milwaukee he's just plain stupid. We got away from wife and kids for a couple of days, experienced some Milwaukee culture, watched exciting baseball, had some great food, saw this one woman in a green tube top that was worth the gas money alone, and got to talk smack with a bunch of cheeseheads. Not bad for a couple of days in May, don't you think?

Posted by: Freealonzo at May 22, 2007 2:47 PM

eh? if you're into that sort of thing.

If you couldn't tell; I wouldn't cross the street to see a major league baseball game for free. I don't get it. And how does having a stadium here help you "get away from the wife and kids?" I think you should rethink your position. After 2010 you may never leave town again ;)

Posted by: what about the roof at May 22, 2007 2:52 PM

Okay, I don't know why, but:

"You want answer? You can't handle answer!"

...struck me as just about the funniest thing I've heard all week.

My cube neighbors probably heard me laughing and are getting ready to throw me in the loony bin...

Posted by: tato at May 22, 2007 2:57 PM

...kind of brought to mind a mental image of an Asian Col. Jessup.

Apology in advance for the stereotype, no racial disparagement intended...

Posted by: tato at May 22, 2007 3:00 PM

Actually, it is racial. If anybody here is old enough to remember the Tony Lee bit on KQ - Talk with Tok. "I want answer!" actually comes from that.

Posted by: what about the roof at May 22, 2007 3:01 PM

Well, I was just having fun at your expense "what about the roof" - "we were jobbed" - "army of none" - "hahahaha" - and all the other clever names you are using. I hope you are having fun, because you have brightened my day immensely.

By the way, your comment about the "missus objecting to an audience" was a pretty good one. Well done!

Posted by: Shane at May 22, 2007 3:12 PM

Shoot. What gave me away? How am I supposed to hold up the front of "many pissed off people?"

Posted by: found out at May 22, 2007 3:30 PM

^It's called your IP address.

Not the most tech savvy stadium-hater are ya?

Posted by: tato at May 22, 2007 3:47 PM

Sounds like a fun trip. Thanks for all the great pictures! I remember traveling to Milwaukee with my dad to see a Braves game, back when Hank Aaron, Warren Spahn, and Eddie Mathews played for them.

Posted by: Dave T at May 22, 2007 4:06 PM

So how does one get included in future Miller Park excursions...do we need to bribe our way into the club like Free with the polish sausages?

If so, I'll offer to buy a round of brats or something next season...

Posted by: Snyder at May 22, 2007 5:27 PM

my gripe about the retractable roof is that for the playoffs the rules are set the roof must either be open or closed for ALL games. that's why the Astros, Blue Jays and D'Backs have all played with the roof closed during the playoffs. makes me glad we dont have one to worry about

Posted by: CJ at May 22, 2007 6:23 PM

Roofs suck, i'm glad the twins stadium doesn't have one. For all those who complain, don't go, who cares, the Twins will price the tickets to make up for it anyways. Buy them then.

Posted by: Franklin at May 22, 2007 8:54 PM

Hey Snyder,

We talked seriously about going to KC next year to check out Kaufmann. Maybe you could offer some KC BBQ as a bribe.

Posted by: freealonzo at May 23, 2007 8:04 AM

I may just fly up and meet you guys in KC...That's one of my favorite ballparks and is far and away a better experience than Milwaukee, esp if you like OUTDOOR baseball!!! If you're a Jazz fan, you've gotta hit 18th & Vine which is also where the Negro League baseball museum is located. The last time I was there (2 yrs ago) it was $6 for either the Jazz Museum or the Negro League BB Museum and $8 for both. Even Shane isn't Norwegian enough to throw away that good of a deal!!

They serve Gates BBQ at the ballpark, so don't bother going to the restaurant. If you want to have great BBQ in KC outside of the stadium, go to Fiorella's Jack Stack or Arthur Bryants.

You get many Twins fans attending in KC from Sioux Falls and western Iowa as it's a straight shot from that area and easier to get to than Mpls.

Posted by: kevin in az at May 23, 2007 8:52 AM

A trip to KC sounds excellent...I'd be glad to pick up the tab for some good BBQ.

I haven't been down there since I was in college and I didn't get to see Kaufmann that time.

Posted by: Snyder at May 23, 2007 10:18 AM

A large renovation of Kaufmann was recently approved by the legislature. I THINK it is supposed to be complete by 2009, so you could do a "before and after"-type excursion and let us all know how well they did. I have never been in a massively renovated facility. I was at Lambeau, pre-renovation. I was at Soldier prior to theirs as well.

Oh, and when you talk about the army of Twins supporters, don't forget the shut-ins. They are a quiet bunch, but they are out there!

Posted by: Derek at May 23, 2007 10:41 AM

Chin up Twinkies fans! The Twins season has ended sooner than expected which will free you all up for the upcoming Vikes Season! AP-AD!

And for those of you still holding out hope for your beloved MLB club; No Radke, No Liriano, No Crane = No remarkable comeback like last year.

Posted by: things R looking up at May 23, 2007 11:22 AM

You'd think that people who come here to rip on the Twins (and the stadium) would at least do enough research to know how to spell players' names. Crane? Come on. You can do better.

Posted by: Aaron at May 23, 2007 11:44 AM

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

Posted by: Tom Jefferson at May 24, 2007 8:40 AM

I did not go there for "outdoor" baseball, I went there for Brewers baseball and to hang out for a couple of days with some good friends and have a lot of fun (which we did).

As I've said before, you cannot have "true" outdoor baseball and a retractable roof, they simply cannot co-exist.

I love Miller Park and nothing anyone says is going to change that, so we'll just agree to disagree on it.

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at May 24, 2007 8:44 AM

What a fun time for y'all, and thanks for the recap! Even the thread comments were amusing for the most part...

Posted by: Vicki at May 24, 2007 1:25 PM

Relax Cheesehead...Nobody is dissing Milwaukee or Miller Park
.
I understand your emotional attachment to your hometown, that is normal. However I have visited most all of the ballparks in the country. Miller Park is EXTREMELY comfortable, much like Chase Field here in Phoenix. They're not really ballparks and were not meant to be so. They were meant to fufill the purpose of guaranteeing a game with as much fan comfort as possible. In Milwaukee the goal is to keep fans dry and in PHX it's to keep them from melting.

Purists like myself will enjoy games at places such as Miller Park and Chase Field, however, it never compares to a real outdoor ballpark. As comfy as Chase Field is, I'd still rather be at Dodger Stadium of Anaheim for that matter. The outdoor experience is what fans in MN have been craving. Not so much to drink beer, eat brats and watch baseball like you guys did last weekend - hell, you can do that now at the Metrodome. The driving force for so many MN fans traveling to other stadiums is to get out from underneath the teflon toilet in Mpls.

Cheeser, you would love KC. KC will remind you quite a bit of Milwaukee. They have a tremendous cultural history and fabulous food. And Royals Stadium will remind you of County Stadium before it fell into disrepair.

And yes, I'd still rather sit at Miller Park than the Metrodome, but I'd MUCH rather be sitting at County Stadium rather than Miller Park. I so wish they would have stayed outdoors and built that park closer to DT (revitalizing some of the old warehouses on the south side or somewhere within walking distance to the downtown restaurants and bars.)

BTW, have you taken Shane to the Safehouse?

Posted by: kevin in az at May 24, 2007 5:48 PM

KEvin speak for yourself. I can't believe Milwaukee taxed itself for a sausage race arena when there are clearly so many other problems they should've addressed first.

Posted by: P.O.'d Taxpayer at May 24, 2007 8:16 PM

Kevin,
We did not go to the Safehouse, although I really wanted Shane to see it. That putz, Freealonzo, didn't want to. He said something about it being too scary and he didn't pack extra underwear and pants...

Posted by: Cheesehead Craig at May 24, 2007 9:35 PM

PO'd

Then go do something about it...Your pissing and moaning on here isn't helping the poor in Milwaukee any.

If you want to live somewhere with very limited public expenditures on private enterprise, get on I-94 west and keep going until you've reached Winnipeg. Enjoy your new home.

Posted by: kevin in az at May 25, 2007 2:01 AM

Usually I don't mind the ballpark haters, they are amusing and provide insight to their bitter little lives. However, P.O.'d seems to have combined being stupid with being a jerk. He's one guy that hope just goes away.

Posted by: Freealonzo at May 25, 2007 7:33 AM

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