From the air and with its retractable dome closed, Miller Park looks like a giant turtle. It squats on the outskirts of Milwaukee — in the wrong place, because it should be downtown. Instead, it stands alone, next to an interstate and surrounded by surface parking lots. A Wisconsin friend explains that former owner Bud Selig insisted on this location because it allows the Brewers to gobble up parking revenue.
Inside, Miller Park embraces its Milwaukee-ness. The fans make a pretty big deal out of the sixth-inning sausage race. During the seventh-inning stretch, after “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” they sing the polka “Roll Out the Barrel.” The bratwurst, a regional specialty that ought to be a highlight, is typical ballpark fare: overpriced and forgettable. The “special stadium sauce” is the mystery meat of condiments; it tastes like ketchup with a pinch of spice.
Ultimately, we go to baseball parks to watch baseball games. The one I saw on Tuesday night was a gem, with the Brewers beating the Atlanta Braves for their first win of the season. It was the Yovani Gallardo show. He pitched a two-hit, complete-game shutout and scored the game’s only run. To the extent that any pitcher can win a game singlehandedly, Gallardo did it. (I suppose you could grumble that he didn’t hit a homer; he hit a single and needed a teammate to knock him in. But still. The dude’s a pitcher.)
All in all, Miller Park is a very nice ballpark. I’d like to see it again with the dome open.