Roam If You Must, But Come Home When You’ve Seen Enough – Balls 789-794 (August 9, 2017)

Minnesota Twins 4Milwaukee Brewers 0

Miller Park – Milwaukee, WI

August 9, 2017


Sometimes the easiest plays are the toughest to make. Kind of like how the closest stadiums are one of the last stadiums you try catching a ball at.

For some reason, I’ve waited until now to visit Miller Park in hopes of catching a baseball. It’s only a 5 hour drive (the closest to Minneapolis), but that proximity can be taken for granted. It’s sexier to take a road trip and go to far away places, but ask any Minnesotan and they would probably all agree that it isn’t a road trip to write home about if you take a 24 hour trip to Wisconsin. Add to the equation that you can travel an additional 1-2 hours and be in Chicago to see TWO stadiums in a much more “buzzing” city and Milwaukee gets the shaft.

But before moving on let’s talk about Milwaukee quick:

I pulled into town the night before at a very reasonable hour. I figured that by getting there earlier (original plan was to take off early the morning of the game), I could hit up a few non-baseball places and take in a little bit more of the town. I had been in Milwaukee once before and actually went to a game at Miller Park, but that was before I started chasing baseballs. I never actually explored Milwaukee proper, either – I am guilty of being seduced by Chicago’s glamorous skyline and her crown jewel of the National League, Wrigley Field. It was a whirlwind attack of Wisconsin’s largest city, and one I didn’t want to recreate this time around.

The quick run-down of my “points of interest” were as follows:

  • Comet Cafe – Great little greasy-spoon/bar close to the lakefront. I got the Vegan Deep Fried Ribs and an order of Vegan Mashed Potatoes, along with a Cream City Cola. I cannot recommend this place enough.
  • Rush-Mor Records – I met perhaps the nicest record store owner that I’ve ever encountered, and I’ve been to quite a few across the nation. This place is smaller, but packed with good tunes. I picked up a couple local 7″s, an LP by Asia Argento, and maybe a copy of Yeezus.
  • Classic Slice – They don’t fool around with this name, all you need is a slice. I ordered the Vegan MKE and it was awesome. The place had a cool vibe, too – skateboards depicting local business hung on the wall and local/small-brew sodas in the fountains.
  • Acme Records – This record store was very eclectic and looked beautiful inside. This is the type of place I’d love to own if given the chance/funds to do so. Many of the records I flipped through I either didn’t know or never got to see in the wild. I picked up a couple rare Bongripper albums and The Dandy Warhols Are Sound.

But by the time I finished off my three Wednesday stops, it was time for the main event…

BORDER BATTLE!

I will not complain about seeing baseball, but to market this as a rivalry is beyond foolish. Outside of sharing a border and having other sports have actual rivalries (Badgers/Gophers and Vikings/Packers), the “rivalry” between these two clubs has NEVER existed. Sure, since moving over to the National League in 1998 it is easy to see why there wouldn’t be a recent rivalry, but even before that, these two teams never really had bad blood or competed against each other for any meaning. When they were both in the American League and the Twins were good, the Brewers were bad, and vice versa. The Twins have really only had bad blood with the Yankees (thwarted int eh playoffs numerous times in the 2000s) and White Sox. I guess it’s hard to market a division rival as your rivalry series, so the push of Brewers/Twins was chosen by default due to proximity.

Even if you agree with my feelings above, baseball must be doing something right, because the amount of traveling fans each team has in the opposing stadium is commendable – both series drew higher than the season averages at Miller Park/Target Field. So what does this all mean? I guess this proves that despite my best logic, I look like a fool.

I arrived at the gates at about 3 pm, then had to figure out parking. (Pro Tip: Parking lots, though bountiful around the stadium, do not open until 4:10 for a 7:10 game.) I chose to walk a mile and park for free because the man himself, King of Miller Park, Shawn Bosman, told me that it is what he does. You don’t argue with a guy who knows what he is doing.

I talked to a few of the locals (and a stranger from Target Field – hey, James!), who were awesome by the way, and took in the scene from the Clock Tower Gate. Shawn arrived around 4 or so and shortly after that we decided to toss the ball. Things were going well until I had an accident. No, I didn’t piss my pants, but I think in this particular incident I would have preferred that. I went to squat for a ball and felt and heard a BIG rip. I had blown out my entire seem along my ass-crack. There was NO way that I was going to be let in to the stadium with this type of peep show on my backside. So I guess that’s the back story of how I ended up with MILWAUKEE BREWERS THEMED SHORTS!*

*Purchase them now at any officially licensed Brewers team store. Hurry, they are wildly popular and won’t last much longer!

Once I was wearing pants that covered up any access to my sewer-drain (quite literally, my “man hole”) I was greeted by Alex and his mom! The Minnesota crew was very well represented – and spoilers, we all took home souvenirs from Wisconsin – so much so that I also saw a person I went to college with, too. I guess if I was a man on the run, going to a Brewers/Twins game in Milwaukee would be a terrible choice.

As we joked around and talked a little bit about baseball, the nerves of catching a ball subsided. My mind went from panic to puzzle solver. I was internally trying to figure out my plan of attack while also listening to what others were hoping to achieve/try for themselves. Without making a conscious decision, I decided to scrap the plans and let the situations guide me. My strong suits are toss-ups and catching balls on the fly if I am well-positioned.

So when the gates opened I run inside, while trying to peek at the field as my guide, and went over to the Brewer’s side down the line. No one was hitting, but pitchers were warming up. Not many fans were over there yet, so I figured that my chances were high. Then in a span of about 5 minutes I got a toss-up from Jeremy Jeffress, Twins’ coach Perry Castellano, and Oliver Drake (second consecutive game for me with a ball from him – thanks, Oliver!).

I was on the board and almost all nervousness was erased. I still wanted a game ball, but my stubbornness about this was also waning. I moved over tot he Twins’ side as they began to take BP. I was half talking in the surroundings and half sandbagging for toss-ups. I knew that the locals in Milwaukee have their spots and I respected that. I also knew that James and Alex were going to try to catch some dingers in the bleachers, so I also respected that. I tend not to play close to where others play because it makes me happy to not only get balls but see others get them. So I was happy when I saw Alex haul in a HR on the bounce in LF.

I ended up getting three more balls on the Twins dugout side – Eduardo Escobar during BP, Jeff Pickler shortly after BP, and Ehire Adrianza just before game time. And that would be it. My streak of game balls came to an end. It’s unfortunate, but at the same time VERY freeing.

But that isn’t the end of the story, nooooooo way. I went out to RF to give Shawn his season ticket holder card back and I’m glad that we also got to talk and take a few pictures together. We circled the stadium and I even got to talk to him girlfriend a bit more. She was very cool and loved talking about dogs, so that made things great, since I got to show off my little Evelyn.

The Twins put Bartolo Colon on the mound and I was expecting them to snap their win streak. But amazingly enough, Bartolo went 7 scoreless innings and got the win. I was especially thrilled to see him take a few swings – Aaron Judge isn’t the template for power, Bartolo holds the real secrets to brute strength, as he is a stunning physical specimen.

Once the game was over and things were final I me t up with everyone again, did a quick recap for the podcast and then walked back to the vehicle with Shawn and his crew (his girlfriend and mom). I got to the car around 11, back to the hotel and checked out by about 11:30 and somehow got back home by about 3:45 am.

***Reminder to MLBNetwork: I would be damn good at a baseball road trip show. I’ve been doing this thing for a few years and have driven enough miles to circumnavigate the globe 1.66 times. To sweeten the deal, I’ve added my first baseball road trip video. I’ll agree it is a bit rough, but for my first time? I’d argue it isn’t so bad… oh, and it was shot and edited solo.***

IMG_7260

Podcast from the gates of this game…

Ball 1 – Jeremy Jeffress

Ball 2 – Perry Castellano

Ball 3 – Oliver Drake

Ball 4 – Eduardo Escobar

Ball 5 – Jeff Pickler

Ball 6 – Ehire Adrianza

MVP Thank Yous:

  • Shawn – for not only getting me in, but more importantly, being a great dude

As you may have been able to tell, I am running low on storage space via WordPress. I have resorted to posting one collage per post, but I miss having extra pix, especially showcasing some panos from new stadiums. If you have a good work around or would like to see them posted somewhere else, let me know. If interest is high enough, I could be swayed to additional platforms.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s