The boy of summer, Part 2

August 15, 2019

Ballpark #18, check!

Ballpark #18

Miller Park

Milwaukee, WI

August 9, 2018

Brewers vs. Rangers

As the home of the Milwaukee Brewers has a retractable roof, there was no chance of a rain delay. We did, however, pick the very night again the home team chose to honor its newest inductees into its Wall of Honor. Since the Brewers’ former stars were always thorns in the side of the Cubs (or the White Sox when the Brew Crew was in the American League) I was not inclined to celebrate the likes of Ricky Weeks, J.J. Hardy or Trevor Hoffman.


It’s a very different experience when you’re taking in a game between two teams you don’t care about, or when it’s the home team that you’d really like to see lose, because it helps your Cubbies in the standings. At home, this would¬† definitely be a TV game with the sound on mute and my nose richly stuck into one of my ebooks.

Because of the roof, the interior of Miller Park had a minimalist, erector set appearance, while the olive drab paint gave it a military barracks feel. Okay, so I’m not a Brewers fan.

“…Schlemiel, schlimazel, hasenpfeffer Incorporated”

But I am a bit of a Milwaukee fan. As with Minneapolis, the city embraces its setting for a TV sitcom, in this case Happy Days, and features a bronze of The Fonz along its riverwalk. (The city hall clock tower was also featured in the opening credits of the Laverne & Shirley spinoff.) Both shows advanced the mythology of the innocence of the 1950s in this country, and our walk around the city’s historic Third Ward that day reflected that sense of both preserved innocence and optimism, the Cold War and McCarthyism notwithstanding. (Joseph McCarthy was a U.S. senator from Wisconsin.)

Our Uber driver that day typified the warmth and civic pride Milwaukeeans seemed primed to convey, pointing out the notable architectural wonders of the city that would be of little or no note were they located in New York or Chicago.

But the city has a right-sized feel to it, and when we stopped off for happy hour along a stretch of welcoming bars, we were pleased to learn ours offered a free shuttle to Miller Park, with a return to an after-game party featuring a former Packer notable.

There are some cities on this bucket list baseball tour of mine that I believe I’m going to be very happy to get in and out of as fast as possible. I thought that would be the case for Minneapolis and Milwaukee, but I was wrong. So I’m probably going to be wrong about those other cities when I get to them. Which should be one of the big reasons to travel anywhere in the first place.

The beer that made Milwaukee famous

I don’t consider myself a seasoned or an experienced traveler. True, I’ve been to a lot of places compared to many people, but I don’t find travel particularly enriching or broadening. Anything I’ve learned, I’ve learned from books and the ones I’ve tried to read in advance of traveling to a particular place have not helped me enjoy or understand that place any better than just showing up and seeing what happens. Surprisingly and gratefully, Carol has had more or less the same outlook, which is why we’ve proven so simpatico on the road.

We’ve yet to be any place we wouldn’t visit again. Even Naples, where we couldn’t wait to leave, we know that a better hotel in a better section of town would make for a better experience. And the way we like to travel together, we could go to any place we’ve been before and not see anything familiar.

Oh, the Brewers won 6-5 on a walk-off home run in the 9th. When we’d left in the 6th it was only 2-1. See? We could watch a replay of that same game again, and see stuff we hadn’t seen the first time. Typical, I’d say.

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