Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Accessibility Review: Miller Park

Miller Park impresses with its accessibility in the parking lot, but the accessibility soon turns not as great. The handicap spots are located in one of the Premier Parking lots, but you only pay $8 like in the general parking lots compared to $15. Be sure to mention this when you are at the pay person, as they were too distracted to notice that we had the handicap placard up, but as soon as Dad asked where the handicapped parking was she said parking was only $8 instead of the $15 she had first asked for. The parking lots are largely used by tailgaters and thus there are port a potties in several locations including at least one that is wheelchair accessible.

Getting into the park is also quite easy, as you can go through any gate and pretty easily be next to a turnstile at the end of the row that has a way of letting you pass to the side of the turnstile. So many parks have you go through a specific entrance or the rows of turnstiles are long and require major walking around if you accidentally end up in the middle, such as we have done several times at the Dbacks in the past.

The first thing that I found not very accessible was the Team Shop. It seems most retail shops do not care to make their displays far enough apart for wheelchairs, but this one was by far one of the worst team shops to navigate through and it certainly did not help that it was also one of the most crowded with people. We mostly just left Mik in one spot while we searched for things like the stickers for the car because it would have taken forever to try to do it with Mik.

The seats we had in 442 were not too bad handicap seating wise. Sure there is the issue of the stupid mascot clubhouse, but that is an issue for everyone in the section. The bar in front of the handicap row is at a good low height to not block the sight line. However, the bar is really close to the seats and even me with short legs felt crowded up next to the bar. Also, annoying was we had 1, 2, and 3 and the only way into 1 and 2 was to come through spot 3, which was where Mik had to sit in his wheelchair. Such annoying planning to have to move the chair everytime we wanted to get in and out. Not quite as bad as the Metrodome, but still annoying.

The worst thing about Miller Park is the ushers. The one in our section was mostly absent, but he would come back every inning or so to kick people out of the section next to us that had been closed off because of a roof leak that caused there to be water in the section. It seems like that is the sort of time they should have been more present in the section.

The worst, though, was when we were riding the elevator. When we went up to our seats it was not too bad and the usher was not too bad, but still he did not exactly stop a group of 8 just going to suites get on and almost having another wheelchair person have to wait for the next elevator. Those fans were polite, though, and we all squeezed in to accommodate the other wheelchair.

The ride down was way different. There was a crowd of people in front of the elevator and only us and one other wheelchair person. The usher allowed the very able people crowd on and did not care at all when Dad approached him and pointed out there were two wheelchairs that needed the elevator. He allowed us to squish in and then three more fans decided to squish in as well. The door did not close at first and he did not even care to ask them to get out, as they had rushed in after he said the elevator was full. They just squished in some more. The other group with the wheelchair was forced to wait for the next elevator. I do not mind waiting for our turn, but these people were rude and could very easily have taken one of the many escalators or staircases down. I just could not believe how the ushers did not even give the wheelchairs priority, which every other ballpark does including often them pulling us out from behind several other groups to be the first to get on the elevator. Sure, you get rude fans everywhere, but usually even the fans make sure that they do not get on before those that actually need the elevators. Basically it seem many of the ushers were rather lazy.

Car Stickers Update: Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers Team Shop was kind of disorganized. Okay, the stuff was on the shelves and where it all belonged, but it was not organized by like stuff very well. This was especially the case when it came to the stickers. Dad found several in one area including a rather tiny reflective one. We almost got a big player one that came with a separate logo one, but we finally located the regular Brewers logo one.

Kj’s Baseball Collection: Miller Park

At the Brewers’ I found a ballpark baseball for their Miller Park. The baseball does not have that interesting of a view of the field, especially since the Brewers logo is over the image. However, it does have a pretty cool and intricate Miller Park logo on one side. Another side also has the Brewers logo just on white.

Mik’s Mini Bat Collection: Dark Wood Brewers

At the Brewer’s Mik chose the dark wood natural bat. He has some natural wood bats, but none of them are dark wood like this one. The logo on it is the Brewers logo with a baseball behind the larger Brewers name.

Mik's Food Scrapbook: Miller Park

The first thing I got at the Brewers game was some cheese fries in a helmet. They were not too bad, but they had nacho cheese, which I just do not like. Any type of shredded actual cheese would have been way better. Mik seemed to enjoy them, though, as he kept stealing them including giving me a pouty pleading face to get the last fry. He mainly like the waffle fries and not the cheese. Later he had Dad get him his own without the cheese. They were way better that way.

Mik had his traditional food of a hot dog at the game. All I could get out of him was that the ketchup was spicy, but Dad thinks the spicy part was the hot dog. Dad described it as big and broiled. It could not have been too bad, though, as Mik ate it all quite quickly.

I got a Parmesan pretzel to try at the game and Mik decided to take a bite of it as well. He found it pretty blah. The pretzel itself was pretty good, but the Parmesan really did not add much flavor to it. It might have been really great if there was also some salt, as that seemed to be what was missing from it being an really enjoyable pretzel. He did give it credit for actually being a jumbo pretzel and I do not even think they call it that. It was definitely at least twice as big as the supposed jumbo pretzel at the San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park.

Day 22: Field of Dreams

Today on the way to Denver we took about an hour and a half detour to go by the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa. It was not a long stop, but it is was worth it. Mik has been in full pill mode again and has been complaining about stopping here ever since we rescheduled it from Sunday to today. We just let him stay in the car since it was not worth his complaining to make him see it.

The field is not much, but it is kept like the movie and the house in the movie can be seen from the outside. The only real difference was the corn was currently not high due to the time of year. Mik actually noticed this from the car and thought they no longer grew corn and that ruined the whole thing, but the corn is there just not high yet. They also had a good gift shop where we were able to get a mini bat, a souvenir baseball, a postcard, and a sticker for the back of the car.

Overall a short stop, but it was worth going out of our way and finding a way to put it back in the plan. However, I think it might not have been as good if we went more out of the way to see it from St. Louis to Chicago than the way we ended up doing it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Game 11: Colorado Rockies 3 @ Milwaukee Brewers 2

We left for Milwaukee around 2:15pm and got to Miller Park around 4pm. Parking was easy and close as it as been at most places. The gates did not open until only 90 minutes before the game so we had a lot of time to kill. Even though we walked all the way around the park we still ended up waiting in line for the gates to open for over 30 minutes. At least we did get a chance to walk around the park, as they have an interesting Walk of Fame with home plate markers for the retired numbers and other key figures in Brewers history. With the amount of crowds they do get already lining up it seems odd they do not open up early for fans to see more of batting practice.

Once inside the park we hit the team shop and then found the elevator up to our seats. Our seats were kind of crappy, as this stupid Mascot Clubhouse juts out over the field perfectly blocking the scoreboard from sight. Sure, I can live with the scoreboard being blocked in cheap seats because you are right below it and such, but this added thing that could easily have been placed farther away and back is just unacceptable and annoying. At least the sight of the field only included the warning track in left field being blocked, which was not an issue in this game as nothing went there.

Mik got very excited when we got to our seats and realized the roof had been shut and it was another indoor baseball game. When we had driven up to the park the roof was still open, but rain was forecasted and it did sprinkle some while we were inside at the game. Most people think baseball should be played in outdoor stadiums and to some extent I agree, but Mik is totally the kind that thinks baseball is an indoor sport just as much as his beloved basketball since he has grown up going to the BOB/Chase Field. He would have loved the Twins game just for it being indoors if the handicap section had not turned out so horrible. It is kind of funny though that he loves indoor baseball and at the same time the Twins are counting down to outdoor baseball.

The game was not all that interesting today. Not much good pitching or good batting. Mik was rooting for the Brewers since the Rockies have been hot and helped the Dbacks end up in the bottom of their division. I was rooting for the Rockies since the Brewers are on the top of the Cubs division. The Brewers got an early lead with Counsell hitting a lead off triple in the next batter batting him in on a ground out. They also scored another run in the second with a home run by Gamel. With the help of three doubles in the top of the 7th the Rockies went ahead 3-2 and it remained scoreless for both teams after that.