A few weeks ago, ESPN began an NCAA basketball bracket-style tournament called The Battle of the Ballparks to determine the best ballpark in Major League Baseball, as voted on by the fans. It happens to turn out that Milwaukee, for whatever reason, really likes to vote.
When thinking of the best stadium, most people would pick classic stadiums, such as Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium, or go with newer favorites like Pittsburgh’s PNC Park or San Francisco’s AT&T Park. The fans who would put Miller Park at the top of their lists would most likely be limited to Brewers fans. Apparently, that’s all that was needed.
As the tournament went on, it became clear Milwaukeeans were really getting behind their stadium, forcing Miller Park to advance farther than most thought it would–or should. This prompted Jim Caple of ESPN to urge voters to come to their senses, as he thought Miller Park didn’t deserve to advance as far as it had. What irks me is Jim Caple’s downtrodden tone towards Miller Park. Yes, it hurts that he’s talking about my hometown team and stadium, but it’s also unfair. Yes, I see you’ve run in the Sausage Race and love the stadium mustard, but comparing Miller Park to an airport terminal? That’s a little much. But no hard feelings. At least we have an actual stadium (sorry, Tampa).
And since I live in Milwaukee, I was able to witness the fervor that engulfed the city as Miller Park advanced to the finals. That’s an exaggeration, but it made front page news, and man, you should have seen my Facebook wall: plastered with “get out the vote” campaigns.
In the end, Miller Park beat out the best stadiums in baseball; in the final round, Miller Park defeated AT&T Park by a margin of 58% to 42%, with the total vote tally coming in at 132,000.
So maybe the end result doesn’t really reflect the overall attitude of baseball fans everywhere; I know I don’t agree with it, but heck, go Milwaukee. And who knows, the gubernatorial recall election may have had an effect, maybe Wisconsin just forgot to stop voting.