I can’t count how many times this has happened on the Great North American Baseball Road Trip. Well, actually, I could count, but I don’t feel like looking through each blog to tally it up. What am I babbling about? You’ll just have to wait until the Game section to find out.
The trip from Minneapolis to Milwaukee was primarily without incident. There were no major weather or traffic issues and the car barely needed half a tank to accomplish the mission.
I arrived much too early for the game (two hours) and there again is evidence of how stress-free and speedy the route was. The parking lot was some distance from the gates (so far, the White Sox have the best parking lot-to-gate ratio) and I still needed to walk around the entire stadium to use up time.
There was some confusion by the ticket seller. After I told him I preferred sun, he told me he could get me “better seats on the sun side”. As it turned out, he got me a good seat under the overhang on the shady side. Oops.
Worse, the overhang was the “loge” section, which meant air conditioning ducts in addition to the already unseasonably cool day. About halfway through the game, I slipped down about 4 rows into the sunshine (after the previous tenants had left for the day) and the rest of the game was more enjoyable.
The city: Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Most of you have some idea what Milwaukee is famous for, but let’s start at the beginning like always and we’ll get there eventually.
Those durn French fur traders got to the region first, before losing the area to the British. Petty differences between the three main founders led to strange dealings, including the Bridge War of 1845, where the neighboring towns (named after their respective founders) were ordered to build a bridge to connect the two and one of the founders decided that was a bad idea and sunk his side of the bridge. It was all settled with only a little human damage and no deaths.
A huge influx of Germans (over 1/4 of the population in 1880), added to the unique flavor of the now-joined city. It’s not surprising the reputation for beer grew during this time. During the 1850’s, beers such as Pabst, Miller, Schlitz and Blatz became wildly popular and Milwaukee became synonymous with beer.
Wheat production was important early in Milwaukee’s growth, with steel and iron taking over as the former faded. All the additional industry attracted more population, including a sizable settling of Polish, nearly as many as there were Germans and solidly the second highest ethnic group in the city.
Socialism played a heavy role in Milwaukee’s sociopolitical development, leading to some periods of superb leadership and some times of rough waters. As the city matured and its population became even more diverse, the structure of the local government slowly came to mirror the nation as a whole.
Milwaukee’s professional baseball team was originally the Braves, featuring Hank Aaron, but the team moved to Atlanta. Eventually, a new team was brought into the league, featuring a name unmistakably fitting: The Milwaukee Brewers.
The game: Milwaukee Brewers vs. Atlanta Braves. There’s nothing left of the old “rivalry” between the former Milwaukee team and the current one. The Braves play in the NL East and are right around .500, hoping to sneak into the playoffs. The Brewers continue to struggle to make any headway.
The game got ugly early, with the Braves launching homer after homer to build a 4-0 lead. Milwaukee hit a homer of their own, a 2-run shot to cut the lead in half and then scratched out another run to claw within one.
Atlanta was able to score a run in the top of the seventh on a bit of a lazy play by the Brewers’ second baseman. When the Brewers went down with a whimper in the bottom of the inning, fans groaned.
And then, the miracle of GNABRT returned. Once again, in the bottom of the eighth inning, the home team came together and, after getting two hits (a major effort, considering they had two hits in the previous 7 innings combined), they got a three-run homer to take the lead. Need I say more? The GNABRT record moves up to a stellar 12-4.
The tab: Ticket, $36; Parking, $14; Hot dog, $0 – yes, that’s right, I finally realized what a stupid idea it is to force myself to eat a mangy hot dog at each stadium, so instead: BBQ brisket sandwich, $10.75; Hot chocolate, $2.50; Mixed nuts (pecans, almonds & cashews), $7; Total – $70.25
Miscellany of Day 42:
– A little way into Wisconsin, I made a pit stop at a rest area. Omigosh. It was spotless. It had real fixtures on the sink (hot and cold water handles). I heard one “guest” say, “So this is where our tax dollars go”.
– As I was driving to the hotel, I noticed a home with a phone booth in the front yard. The old ones, that you used to slide the door open. That’s a step up from the statue of a jockey or a flamingo.
– I have developed a little cough over the last couple of days. I hope it’s merely wear and tear of the GNABRT and not germ warfare. I still have a month left on this journey. Maybe I should hunt down some chicken soup just to be safe.
– A follow-up to yesterday’s blog about things tearing or breaking, it appears my wireless mouse is tiring out. The left click button is not left-clicking as well as it should. Put something else on my unintended checklist.