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Last Sunday I took one of my daughters to a baseball game at Miller Park in Milwaukee. The Brewers lost 4-3 in 11 innings. They played pretty poorly most of the game and really didn't deserve to win, but that is another story.
The place was sold out as the play of the Brewers this year has been mostly solid and has earned them what looks like to be a five or six game lead in the horrific NL Central by the time the All Star Break will come around.
The parking lot at Miller Park is everything I had hoped Soldier Field would be, but isn't.
When they announced that Soldier Field would be renovated I was very disappointed. I knew right off the bat that tailgating spots would be lost and that no traffic issues would be resolved. My original hopes were that they would just tear down the decrepit structure and put a new stadium up where the old Poplar Creek music theater was - that way you could have a massive parking lot all around the stadium, with easy entrance and exit right off I-90. But Cook County, the City of Chicago and the Bears were having none of that so we have our current mess, a place where you have to negotiate all of the regular heavy Chicago traffic and THEN enter an area where they are trying to "sardine can" 70,000 more people into a two square mile area.
The Brewers have always done this correctly. For eight dollars, you get a spot in their humongous parking lot to tailgate away before the game - AND you actually have a little elbow room to boot. Some people even had those shade tents set up in the lot, which have been verboten in the Soldier Field South Lot for a long time. Lets compare and contrast - here is an aisle in the parking lot of Miller Park:
And here is one of Soldier Field from last football season:
You can see that the person density is crazy at Soldier Field as the South Lot squeezes in every car they possibly can for that revenue.
The Miller Park atmosphere was much more pleasant as well. The music wasn't as loud and there wasn't the obligatory Van Halen 2 (the official record of the Chicago Bears tailgate) nor insanely loud DefTones. The people weren't half as intoxicated either, making for a much better environment for my kid. I am starting to come around to the side of people who say that professional football fans are the worst of the worst. The only issue in the tailgate lot this day was when the guy next to us fired up "Crazy Bitch" by Buckcherry - when I heard the song I politely asked him if he could just skip that one tune as I had a little kid with me. He was great and fast forwarded it which was cool. I give him and this whole day the big thumbs up.
There was literally an ocean of cars as far as my eye could see.
We stuffed ourselves with cheeseburgers, chips and strawberries. She had some Sprecher Root Beer, while I enjoyed the Sprecher Abbey Triple Ale. That isn't my usual tailgate feast, but it is what my daughter wanted and we both enjoyed the chow greatly. Oddly enough the chips were almost a bigger treat than the burgers - there is no junk food at my house so having a few of those was special. Funny how things that you don't get, like simple potato chips, seem special or unique after not having them in such a long time.
More on this fun filled day later in the week.