Name: Miller Park
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Opened: 6 April 2001
Architect: HKS, Inc, NBBJ
Cost: $400 Million
Surface: Kentucky Bluegrass
Cover photo: @StadiumJourney
I want to like Miller Park. I really do. Despite living in Chicago and being a nominal Cubs fan, I have respect for our neighbors to the north, for the most part a scrappy team that punches above its payroll. (Except for one conspicuous cheater-who-denied-everything-I'm-so-innocent-until-testing-positive who shall go unnamed. They should have traded/cut/DFA'd that guy.)
A surprising number of people seem to dislike Miller Park's butterfly-wing retractable roof. I actually think it is both interesting looking and actually beautiful, as functional architecture goes. Both closed and open, it has a striking look. It's certainly more interesting than the large-rectangle-building of the other retractable roof parks. (Not a fan of the weird teal color scheme. Minute Maid Park and Chase Field also use this color. What happened to a nice deep forest green for ballparks? Maybe they're trying to match Fenway's trademarked "Green Monster" shade. They shouldn't.)
As for the interior, the seating bowl is relatively close to the field, and -- like almost all new parks -- it's hard to identify a bad seat in the house. The superstructure of the room is such that most of the upper deck and behind home plate always feels like you're indoors, even when the roof is open.
Which is our main beef with this, and almost all retractable-roof ballparks. It almost never is. According to an official team statement, the roof will be open for all games except when the temperature is below 60 degrees for the entire game and/or there is active preciptiation at the start of the game. (If it starts raining/snowing, they can then close the roof if determined necessary.)
But, in practical experience, they seem to be a little more conservative than, well, I would be. Baseball is meant to be played outside, and I would probably have the temperature threshold much lower (45 degrees?) and the precipitation so heavy and sustained that the field would be negatively impacted. A light shower wouldn't kill anyone.
(That being said, in August 2019 a summer storm popped up quickly enough while the roof was open to necessitate a rain delay. To ballpark facility managers with a roof, that has to be about the worst thing that can happen. No doubt the Miller Park crew is teased mercilessly by other groundscrews around the majors.)
The ballpark does have a bit more of a carnival/mall/amusement arcade feeling about it than we like. Okay, you want to put in some fun areas to distract the kids during a long pitchers' duel. We get it. But it seems that more at Miller Park is about the ancillary fun and less is focused on the ballgame.
To balance that, however, is some solid food. And we're not talking frou-frou west cost sushi and grilled calamari. We're talking about solid, midwestern ballpark food. Dogs. Brats. Polish. Beer. And, of course, the sausage races.
And, really saving Miller Park, is an outstanding fanbase. These people love baseball, they love their Brewers, they love Milwaukee, and they love Miller Park. It is a top-10 park for fan experience, maybe top-5. (Which, given Wrigley and Busch Stadium are both also up there, might make the NL Central the most fan-tastic (see what I did there?) division in baseball.
Milwaukee is not at the top of everyone's "must-see" list. But if you do have to go, make sure it's during baseball season and the Brewers have a homestand. It might just be the highlight of your trip.
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