Wrapping up my recaps of my trip to Wisconsin with the main reason I went: Reds @ Brewers, Sunday, August 18th.
I think this may have been my first tailgate for a non-Penn State game, certainly my first baseball tailgate. Brewers tailgating seemed different than what I saw at a Phillies game a few years ago. This is something they’ve always done, not just when they got good, because, well, the Brewers haven’t had much of a run.
For the tailgate, we had some brats along with the previously mentioned Bavarian mustard. The nice family next to us even came over to chat. They were very Wisconsin (the accent) and I guess noticed that we weren’t very Wisconsin.
When it came time to go in, I had only half finished my Gatorade, we also had some brats left. My friend said to just take it in. What? My bottle was already open, and it’s not water. Sealed bottles are the only type of beverage I’ve heard are sometimes allowed in stadiums. I was assured it would be no problem. And it wasn’t. Nobody questioned me on my way in.
I had posted previously that during August home games, the Brewers were giving $10 vouchers to everyone and they could be used on food or merchandise. With the tickets being $15 on StubHub, that is altogether a pretty good deal.
The first reaction, even from the outside is how large it is with that retractable roof. Inside, you get the feeling that they didn’t go cheap on putting this thing together. I believe the only other retractable roof stadium I’ve been to is in Seattle, where they spent a fortune since they had to secure it against earthquakes.
Everything else is standard fare for the new stadiums. The seats are all great and there is plenty of space to walk around on the concourses.
Another thought, and this applies to many newer stadiums, is the open views in the outfield when there isn’t much to be seen. The other similar one is Kansas City. I guess having seats out there doesn’t make a lot of sense, smaller cities have trouble filling what they have. Still, I like the upper levels to connect via walkway.
Bernie’s Slide – I did get to see a Brewers home run and I did get to see Bernie go down the slide. Hats off to Bernie. He’s always standing out there, ready to go as soon as a ball clears the fence.
Sausage Race – It was a relay the day I was there. Kids as mini-sausages were ready for the hand-off. I think the excitement level would have been amped up if I had a favorite in the race.
Ice Cream Helmet
Here’s where it all fell apart. My friend already has a Brewers Ice Cream Helmet. So I didn’t consider it being a problem. In line, I didn’t see any helmets. Then I started seeing people getting ice cream in dishes. I saw someone at a closed register and went up to ask. He was very knowledgeable and said that they don’t have them any more. My only option was a huge helmet filled with nachos. Don’t have them any more? Were people not happy with them? Did they cost too much? This should be a ballpark staple. If you are cutting costs that much, just keep some around and charge an extra dollar.
I went around the whole stadium to see if maybe there was a stand left. I came across one stand that was ice cream only, but they didn’t have them. I was tricked by old Dippin’ Dots stands that are now used to sell popcorn or nuts. So much for the future, eh, Dippin’ Dots?
The current list of helmet fails: San Francisco, Oakland, LA (although that may have been a ticket issue), and now Milwaukee.
Can I call a meeting of stadium owners so they can start to make an effort on lines at these stadiums? The only excuse to not have enough concession lines that it never gets more than two or three people deep, is a lack of space. Miller Park is not suffering from this issue. More lines means more revenue. The markup on these concessions makes the expense of paying someone next to nothing. There has to be solution. I’d like to see more attempts at trying different approaches. One item per stand? Try it. Separate lines for cash or exact change? Pre-purchase vouchers for items, or have machines to buy the vouchers so credit cards don’t take too much time? Just try something.
Overall, I liked the stadium. I’m not sure there is a bad stadium left in the majors. The Twins and Mets have newer stadiums (I didn’t like the old ones) and I didn’t mind Tampa Bay. It is hard to differentiate yourself at this point. You can only do so much with the in-game experience if your team has been out of the playoff race most of the season.
Back from my weekend trip to Wisconsin. I probably don’t need to explain the purpose of the trip because when someone takes a trip in the summer, Wisconsin is usually at the top of the list. I went because my friend is in a Phd program at UW – Madison and I haven’t seen a Brewers game at Miller Park yet (I was at the stadium a few years ago, but the Brewers were on the road). I’ll try and share some posts over the next few days to recap the trip.
flickr set (warning, pretty much all the pictures are from Miller Park and none of them feature people)
QI Infocloud Sadly I only discovered QI a few months ago. I’m upset at everyone that I didn’t find out sooner. I don’t remember exactly where I found out about it, but it wasn’t from a friend. The show is on the BBC and the show is just a panel that discusses some amazing, or Quite Interesting facts, that are so amazing, you get mad you didn’t already know them.
This Infocloud site is a great web time killer to find out a bunch of facts on various topics. You can pick from the cloud of topics, or, cause you can’t really pick, just click ‘Lucky Dip’ for a random one.
St. Louis Cardinals – Baseball Village
Watching the Phillies end their season again, until they sweep the Tigers this weekend, only to blow it again next week, while visiting St. Louis, the announcers highlighted the construction of the Cardinals Baseball Village. I’ve seen enough of these entertainment complexes near newer stadiums. They are usually feeble attempts to show that stadiums actually improve the surrounding community. The Cardinals one is right next to the stadium and will have bleacher seats to watch the games, plus a Cardinals Hall of Fame. I was a big fan all around.
I don’t think I knew Jack Handey was an actual person. Or at least that while he may have been a real person that multiple people wrote the Deep Thoughts on SNL. Apparently he is a real guy and this NY Times piece is a good look at him and his career.
Minor League Baseball is having a contest to determine the best ballpark food. To be socially relavant, they are calling it a #foodfight. It’s the sort of thing I have to warn you in advance that you will become hungry or drool on your keyboard.
It’s broken down into four categories: Gut Busters, Hots N Dogs, Local Legends, and Scrumptious Sandwiches.
Your natural instinct might be to stick with Gut Busters, but don’t sleep on the other categories. You might even find something local. I’ve been to the State College Spikes, but I had no idea they had a spam pizza (nominated in the Local Legends category).
But really, must go to Rochester and haz cheeseburger plate.
With all these new stadiums getting All-Star games, I can’t post about visiting the stadium. I went to the Metrodome in 2004, well before Target Field. I was living in Minnesota that year for a co-op. I convinced the co-op/internship program to pick a Twins game when the Phillies were in town. To add to the excitement, Larry Bowa got thrown out during the game. That’s all I remember. That and that it was a football stadium so the seats didn’t face home plate, but straight forward into the outfield (from the 3rd base line).
Target Field looks nice and the Twin Cities in July is a pretty great spot for an All Star Game. Compared to this year in KC, the Twin Cities have a lot more going on and it isn’t nearly as hot.
When will the All-Star game come back to Philly? I expect 2015 and 2017 to be some order of DC and Miami. Meaning 2019 for Philly at the earliest. The Phillies missed out with the new stadium buzz since they last had it in 1996 (I was there!) and then the new stadium opened in 2004. Also, the early 2000s Phillies weren’t a big deal so no one was all that excited about coming back. Now is a different story but we’re caught in a round of new stadiums.
A look at the Top 50 baseball players of all time. This is long and totally worth reading.
I found this through another blog (I forget which). I went to add this blog to my Google Reader and found the most recent article is called, ‘In Defense of Tim McCarver’. Ut oh. I’ll give it a read though, maybe there is decent point in there.
Interesting article on the Rockies attempt to use a 4-man rotation. I heard about this during the Phillies-Rockies game yesterday, since I’m not a usual follower of the Rockies. I don’t think you can fault the Rockies at all for trying something different. They’ve never had any luck with pitching. It has a lot to do with their location, but even if it didn’t, trying to work something out with the pitching staff you’ve been given should be applauded. So I have no idea why anyone would read The Denver Post if the criticism mentioned in the NY Times article is their usual baseball coverage. You’d think the Rockies would be in a better position to do these things, from the aspect that they aren’t an old team with lots of ‘old school’ baseball people around who are terrified of doing things differently.
As for the actual proposal: 4 starters, limited to 75 pitches, and 3 relievers for middle relief and some starts. Why so limited? Why not go with 8 pitchers for this project, pair them and limit everyone to 75 pitches. There has to be some benefit of pairing 2 almost starters together if they have some characteristics that make them difficult for a batter to follow. Lefty/Righter, hard throwing/change-up master, any combination that would throw off the batter’s balance.
I’m not sure I can get the pitch data exactly like I want. A simple per team home/away pitch/out report would do.
Looking at yesterday’s game against the Phillies is a decent enough single sample. It was a home game, they only gave up 5 runs (on 6 hits) and 4 walks. Seems about average. The pitchers (and pitches): Pomeranz (80), Torres (31), Ekstrom (11), and Betancourt (4). That’s 126 total pitches. This is just one game, so those numbers are fairly meaningless.
I still think this is worth a shot, just with the actual pairing. They can even market this like tag-team wrestling. Advertise the starter and reliever together. Develop a whole ad campaign of all these odd couples having to do everyday things together. Go all in Rockies.
Lots of weekend series getting underway tonight, so moving this to a Thursday post. You can still make your picks.
Stay Away Series: Astros/Cubs and Padres/Rockies. Both evenly matched not so good teams.
Interesting Series (to me): Phillies/Marlins (for last place in NL East), Nationals/Braves (top of NL East), Tigers/Rays (underperforming and stuck in the middle of their divisions).
Division Leader Matchups: White Sox/Yankees and Reds/Giants.
ESPN Sunday Night: Mets/Dodgers. Mets were on last week. There are a bunch of other more interesting matchups this weekend.
Series of the Weekend: Reds/Giants. I was going with either of the division leader series, this one edged it out with the Giants currently tied for the division lead and the Reds with only a 2-game lead over the Pirates (not counting that they already won today) and Cardinals.
This past weekend was the 11th of the baseball season. For Baseball Series Picks on Ice Cream Helmet this season I decided to focus on just weekend series (and by I decided I mean Evan suggested the idea and I decided it was worth a shot). I was curious how teams had been doing in their weekend series. Partly out of curiosity, and also to help with future picks.
Picking these series has been more difficult than expected. I had to change the scoring to give more points to correct picks because just doing a net of picks was leading to a lot of negative scoring weekends. This weekend I tied my best yet, going 7-3 for 11 points. I’d done that once before. Evan holds the single weekend high with 12 points back in Week 3. He did so well he must have retired, he hasn’t made picks since.
The following table shows each team’s record in weekend series. I mentioned 11 weekends have passed, but it is possible to have a no decision in a weekend series due to 4 games series or rainouts. The lesson: go with the Dodgers. The Phillies have been bad this year but especially terrible on the weekends. Lucky for them the Padres and Cubs haven’t shown up for many weekend games.