EDITORIAL: Brewers open Miller Park with excitement, win
The Brew Crew and their fans entered a new era Friday night with the long-awaited and much anticipated opening of Miller Park. This is the same ballpark that opened a year late after the crane incident that killed three ironworkers in July of 1999.
Commissioner Bud Selig, whose family owns the Brewers, threw out the ceremonial first pitch – a strike. President Bush followed with a one-hopper of his own from the mound that found the glove of Brewers manager Davey Lopes. It’s got to be tough to throw strikes when you’re wearing a bulletproof vest underneath your warm-up jacket. Fans had to pass through metal detectors to get to their seats for the inaugural game.
The Brewers proved to be bulletproof themselves Friday night as they beat the Reds, 4-3, in the first regular season game in the new ballpark.
On Thursday, bronze statues of ex-Milwaukee greats Hank Aaron and Robin Yount were dedicated outside the ballpark’s main entrance. From there, fans can see County Stadium, or what’s left of it. The pile of rubble stands for more than just that for Brewer faithfuls.
The new $400 million stadium features a state-of-the-art, seven-paneled roof that can open or close in 10 minutes. The retractable roof allows for grass instead of artificial turf.
The hype that comes with a new stadium means there’s hope in Milwaukee. Or is there? The ballpark is a great marketing ploy and it surely will bring fans. But I’m still concerned about producing something a little more important – wins.
It starts with the pitching staff. On Saturday, pitcher Jamey Wright (1-1) held Cincinnati hitless until the seventh inning as the Brew Crew went on to beat Griffey and the Reds, 6-1. It was the first day game at Miller Park. Wright flirted with perfection on Saturday proving either that the new stadium may not be a hitter’s ballpark, or that he simply had a great day at the office.
Rookie Ben Sheets gave up five runs and six hits in six innings last Thursday night as the Brewers lost to Houston, 8-2. The 21-year-old right-hander starred for the gold medal-winning U.S. baseball team at last year’s Olympics in Sydney. Welcome to the big leagues.
As for my season prediction for the Brewers, I don’t have one. I hope for consistence at the pitching mound and from the plate – we’ll see.
I do see a day, though, in the near future when I venture down to the brand new ballpark to partake in the consumption of hot dogs, Miller products and Brewers baseball. This is the season to catch a game. It’s a commemorative year that hopefully marks the beginning of something special in Milwaukee.