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My Baseball Road Trip Part 2 - Milwaukee, Chicago, Cincinnati

Yes, yes, I did it again. Did he say again? Yes, he did it again.

Yeah, I’m back from my second annual baseball road trip, and it was a success once again. We did things differently this time, though. We spent a little bit more cash, didn’t book hotels in advance, and split everything three ways instead of four. We hit Milwaukee, Chicago, and Cincinnati, went out at night, and toured breweries. We packed a lot more into our three days than last year, but I’ll try and keep the review mostly baseball related, since that’s what The ODC cares about, I think.

Milwaukee – Miller Park
We kicked things off with the home of the Brew Crew, a near-10 hour drive that had us arrive at 9am for a 12-noon game. Oops, time change, so that’s actually 8am. Big Jim lied to us and said we could enter the park at 9, so we went to book a hotel and grab breakfast quickly. When we returned, we had to explore the outside of Miller Park for a while before we were allowed in. Not a terrible thing, but it was cold and the outside of Miller Park is fairly plain – a Robin Yount statue, a Hank Aaron statue, and an incredible Little League baseball field on the property, complete with walls and a scoreboard. We didn’t join in on any of the pre-lunch tailgating going on (Brewers fans appear hardcore, who knew), and we went inside at 10:30.

Inside, Miller Park was what I expected – a lot of Miller-related stuff but a beautiful park regardless. From the KidZone that made me wish I was under 14 to the custom engraved bats being made to the Mr. 3000 flashbacks, the park is a really good one. Ben Sheets and Chad Billingsley dominated through 6 innings but Sheets was lit up in the 7th, turning the game into a bit of a bore. Ryan Braun, fresh off an 8-year contract signing, hit a home run at one point allowing us to see Bernie Brewer slide down his infamous slide in deep left field.

And then….the Miller Brewery tour. Not much to say other than you have to do it if you’re ever in town. Next morning, off to Chicago.

Chicago – Wrigley Field
We opted against stopping at U.S. Cellular Field (White Sox) because we’d go there again eventually and B.J. wanted to do some high-end shopping. That didn’t really do it for me, so I bided my time until we took the Subway to Addison St., home of Wrigleyville. Wrigleyville is pretty cool, with a lot of vendors selling merchandise and a lot of sports bars, some that even have bleacher seats on top for fans to watch the game without a ticket. The street doesn’t compare to the inside though.

We’re talking Wrigley FREAKIN’ Field here. It was awesome, words can’t really describe. The afternoon weekday game, the ivy, the scoreboard, the historic feel and look, everything adds up to make Wrigley an awesome experience. It didn’t hurt that B.J. and I scored a picture with Chicago Bears defensive machine Lance Briggs, who was there to sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame. Oh, the game – Cubs win! Cubs win! Kerry Wood with the save and Alfonso Soriano with 2 home runs on Alfonso Soriano shoe-bag giveaway day!

We went out at night and man is Chicago pricey (and dressy). Also, 100% of men in Chicago are weirdo creeps at the bar…I won’t go into anymore detail but it was strange, to say the least. Next morning, up early for the 5-hour drive to The ‘Natti.

Cincinnati – Great American Ballpark
Our GPS screwed us a little bit, since there are two 100 Main Streets in Cincinnati, one of which is a slum house in the boonies. Wait, rewind, the day was ominous even before that. When we stopped in Hickville, Indiana (a place that made B.J., the dressiest and most superficial person I know, want to live there in five years, for whatever reason), the car wouldn’t start back up. The battery had come loose from a pothole, easy fix. But add that to the GPS and it was no surprise that Macker left the lights on in the car while we were in the park, so we had to get a post-game jump. Didn’t turn out that bad, as some friendly locals invited us over for a beer while the parking lot cleared.

Regardless, Cincinnati was awesome. The rain held off and gave way to a pitcher’s duel between Fausto Carmona and Aaron Harang. Unfortunately, Ken Griffey Jr. went 0-for-4 and we didn’t get to see home run number 598, but at least we got a double (double!) Brandon Phillips bobblehead. With the Reds down 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Adam Dunn knocked the laces off of a ball to deep right field, a 3-run shot to win the game for the Reds (make us 2-1 on this trip and 5-2 overall, cheering for the home team). Not much more to say than Walk. Off. Jack. Great way to end the trip.

So seven stadiums are down now, possibly eight with a trip to Detroit this weekend (I’m in Windsor anyways). 2200km, 21 hours of driving, $125 for tickets, and some really good baseball. Not many ways to beat a weekend like that.

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4 Responses to “My Baseball Road Trip Part 2 - Milwaukee, Chicago, Cincinnati”

  1. AJ Says:

    “I’ll try and keep the review mostly baseball related, since that’s what The ODC cares about, I think.” - Hmmmmmm, not sure about that one.

    Blake, are you trying to do a jig with the mexican sausage? And more importantly, who won the sausage race? These are things I am dying to know…

  2. Blake Murphy Says:

    The Mexican sausage won and is now leading the season standings.

  3. Blake Murphy Says:

    Didn’t know where else to put this—

    But it looks like we’ve hit the right stadiums so far. In terms of % of capacity filled so far in 2008:
    PNC Park (Pittsburgh) - 40.6%, 28th
    Yankee Stadium (New York Y) - 89.2%, 5th
    Fenway Park (Boston) - 104%, 1st
    Miller Park (Milwaukee) - 79.8%, 12th
    Wrigley Field (Chicago) - 97.6%, 2nd
    Great American Ballpark (Cincinnati) - 53.9%, 19th

    And, of course…
    Rogers Centre (Toronto) - 50.2%, 22nd (blech)

    Not really a point to this, other than that the median team is only selling 60% of their tickets, which has to be a huge concern for MLB. Other interesting attendance stats:
    -The Braves are the most watched road team. Minnesota is last.
    -9 teams fail to sell half of their tickets. Only 4 sell 90% or more.
    -The Jays aren’t even helped by a big stadium, placing 20th in average attendance.

    Other interesting Jays notes:
    -Rogers Centre is almost the most ‘average’ ballpark in the league, placing 15th in ‘ballpark factors.’ Arizona’s park is the most hitter friendly so far this year, while Tropicana Field (Tampa) is the most pitcher friendly, somehow.
    -Ryan Spilbroghs of the Rockies has the longest homer of the season at 472 feet (at Coors Field, of course). The highest average HR distance belongs to B.J. Upton and Carlos Delgado at 419 ft.
    -Adam Dunn leads the league in ‘no doubt’ home runs with 7. I’m sure his walk off is included in there.

    Useless stat mongering, whooo!

  4. Brad Says:

    Cool, man. We hit up Cincinnati during last year’s leg of our baseball road trip and found it to be average, at best. Milwaukee and Wrigley are on the docket.

    Check us out if you have a few:

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