Miller Park (Milwaukee)
Wide angle shot of Miller Park at night
|Location||1 Brewers Way
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53214
|Owner||Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District, Milwaukee Brewers|
|Operator||Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District, Milwaukee Brewers|
|Field size||Left Field – 344 feet (105 m)
Left-Center – 371 feet (113 m) (Not Posted)
Center Field – 400 feet (122 m)
Right-Center – 374 feet (114 m) (Not Posted)
Right Field – 345 feet (105 m)
Backstop – 56 feet (17 m)
|Scoreboard||1080 display, 5,940 square feet video board, 55 feet high x 110 feet wide|
|Broke ground||November 9, 1996|
|Opened||April 6, 2001|
|Construction cost||US$400 million
($535 million in 2016 dollars)
Eppstein Uhen Architects
|Project manager||International Facilities Group, LLC.|
|Structural engineer||Arup/Flad Structural Engineers|
|Services engineer||Arup/Kapur & Associates|
|General contractor||HCH Miller Park Joint Venture (Hunt Construction; Clark Construction; Hunzinger Co.)|
|Milwaukee Brewers (MLB) (2001–present)|
Miller Park is a baseball park located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is home to the Milwaukee Brewers and was completed in 2001 as a replacement for Milwaukee County Stadium. The park is located just southwest of the intersection of Interstate 94 and Miller Park Way (Wisconsin Highway 175). The title sponsor is the Miller Brewing Company. Miller's contract with the stadium was for $40 million, and runs until 2020.
Miller Park features North America's only fan-shaped convertible roof, which can open and close in less than 10 minutes. Large panes of glass allow natural grass to grow, augmented with heat lamp structures wheeled out across the field during the off-season.
Miller Park is one of the largest construction projects in Wisconsin history. It was built with US$290 million of public funds from a 0.1% sales tax that began January 1, 1996, and is scheduled for retirement upon completion, sometime around 2017. The tax is applied on purchases in Milwaukee County and four surrounding counties: Ozaukee, Racine, Washington, and Waukesha. The tax was controversial, in part because of the notion of using public funds for a privately owned sports team. The state senator who cast the deciding vote in the funding bill, George Petak of Racine, lost a recall election based on his vote for the stadium.
Groundbreaking took place on November 9, 1996, in a parking lot behind County Stadium. Originally scheduled to open in 2000, Miller Park's construction was delayed after three construction workers were killed in an accident. A Lampson Transi-lift crane 3 (nicknamed "Big Blue"), brought in to build the roof, collapsed while lifting a 450-ton roof section, during windy conditions, on July 14, 1999, killing three workers. A camera crew was filming construction of the stadium on that day and captured the collapse on video as it occurred. Repair work and an investigation forced the Brewers to stay in County Stadium for one more year, until 2001. There was some talk of having the Brewers move to Miller Park in the middle of 2000, but it was determined that too many corners would need to be cut for it to be a realistic possibility.
The stadium has a retractable roof, built in a unique fan-shaped style, with the roof panels opening and closing simultaneously in a sweeping manner from the first- and third-base sides toward center field. The complex and massive roof was a significant factor in the $392 million cost of the stadium. It allows the seating area to be heated 30° warmer than the outside temperature when closed, allowing games to be played in inclement weather and in more comfortable conditions than an open-air stadium. The idea of the stadium having a retractable roof had been considered right away in the initial design, as to help counter the unpredictable Wisconsin weather in the early spring and late autumn.
The design team was appointed after a design competition in the mid-1990s. The architectural concept for the stadium was developed by the Los Angeles-based sports and entertainment team NBBJ, who worked closely with a Los Angeles-based team of engineers Arup, who were responsible for all stages of the structural and building services engineering design for the stadium, with the exception of the mechanical mechanisms that move the roof structure. The original versions of these mechanisms were designed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America as part of a design and build contract, but they have now been replaced by new designs after their failure. The executive architect responsible for the delivery of the final stadium design was a Dallas-based team of HKS, Inc. In addition to these major players there were a significant contributions from local teams including Eppstein Uhen Architects.
The original grass playing surface was installed on March 10, 2001, with County Stadium's surface infield dirt and home plate transplanted into the new stadium.
The unconventional fan-shaped retractable roof has not been without complications. Major elements of the pivot system behind home plate and the outfield roof track have been replaced, even after the crane incident.
At the end of the 2006 season, the roof's bogie system was replaced at a cost of over $13 million. The 10 new, 24-feet-(7.3 m)-long, 60 horsepower (45 kW) bogies were paid for with money from the settlement between the stadium district and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of America. Six of the bogies weigh 66 tons apiece, while the four others weigh 49 tons. The work was completed by lifting sections of the roof approximately six inches with Enerpac hydraulic lifts, while a 300-ton crane replaced the bogies individually. "The bogies will last for the life of the facility", said Mike Duckett, executive director of the Miller Park stadium district. The project was completed by the start of the 2007 season.
Another issue resulting from the design of the roof and the adjacent large glass panels is that, during day games when the roof is fully open, shadows cover home plate and the batters boxes, while the pitchers mound is in full sunlight. This was a safety concern for batters, and was addressed during the 2010 season, when it was determined that a larger shadow would cover both home plate and the pitchers mound if only one half of the roof was opened. This tactic continues to be used.
In time for the 2006 season there were three additions to the stadium. Two sets of LED scoreboards were added. One replaced the formerly manually operated "out of town" scoreboards along the left and right field walls with a new set of LED scoreboards along the left-field wall. The new "out of town" scoreboards show continually updated information about other Major League games, including the score, hits, errors, outs, and an image of the field displaying the runners on base. A second-tier marquee scoreboard was also added along the bottom of the 300-level of the stadium stretching from foul pole to home plate to foul pole, with the portion closest to the foul lines used to provide open captions of announcements from the public address system and advertisements. The section of the second-tier scoreboard above home plate displays statistics for those unable to see the main scoreboard above the center-field wall. The final addition to Miller Park for the 2006 season was the addition of a field-level picnic area in the corner of right-field. The picnic area has a capacity of 75 and provides a place for fans to watch the game in a leisurely setting and be within feet of the right-fielder. Known first as the Mercedes-Benz Field Haus, the picnic area's name was changed to AirTran Airways Landing Zone in 2009, and later to the current name, the ATI Club.
During the 2007 season, as the Brewers got closer to the team record of home runs in a season, a home run counter was added to the right of the center field scoreboard. In the shape of a gas pump, the counter was sponsored by Citgo, whose name could be seen as a play on words for a home run (C-It-Go). The counter kept track of the home runs hit by the Brewers during the season and when a home run was hit, the player's name was shown on the display as well as the distance of the home run. The Citgo home run counter was removed after the 2009 season.
Early into the 2008 season, the Brewers also added a sponsored strikeout counter to the tier of the second deck of the right field bleachers, which illuminates a K when a Brewers' pitcher notches a strikeout and keeps track of how many strikeouts as a team the Brewers have. Prior to this addition, Bernie Brewer would hang strikeout K's from the railing of his club house, including backwards K's to denote a called strike three.
In 2009, Miller Park's outfield was replaced with "Lo-Mo" Kentucky bluegrass just like the infield was the prior year. The new turf, common in other ballparks around baseball, is denser and has a sand base, instead of the sand and clay mix under the original grass. The turf yields truer hops and fewer instances in which the baseball skips under an outfielder's glove than the previous turf. Also for the 2009 season, the Harley-Davidson Deck was opened on the field level of the stadium in left-center field.
During the off-season between 2010 and 2011, the stadium's original centerfield scoreboard (a smaller videoboard atop a larger black and amber message display board) was replaced by a full length and full color Daktronics 1080p high definition display board which is the ninth-largest screen among current MLB stadiums, along with a public address/sound system upgrade.
Popularity and attendance
In 2005, Sports Illustrated conducted fan surveys that rated Miller Park the best ballpark based on value per dollar spent. Although attendance dropped after the 2001 opening season to a low of 20,993 per game in 2003, attendance rebounded in subsequent seasons. In 2008, the Brewers set a franchise record for attendance with over 3 million. This was 9th among 30 major league teams, despite Milwaukee being one of the smallest markets in baseball.
From 2008 to 2012, the Brewers drew over 3 million fans in 3 out of the 5 seasons, including a record count of 3,071,373 set in 2011, with the other two years having attendance of over 2.7 million.
|Year||Total Attendance||Game Average||League Rank|
From 2011 to 2013, the Brewers had a large home field advantage in Miller Park, going 113-61. This .649 winning percentage was the highest for any Major League team during that span.
- Bernie Brewer, the team mascot, has a club house above the left field seats. Following every Brewers home run and victory, Bernie Brewer slides into a home plate shaped platform (The Kalahari "Splash Zone" was discontinued for the 2012 season). This is different from his old home at Milwaukee County Stadium, where Bernie slid into a giant mug of beer in center field which had been sponsored over the years by Pabst, Miller, and Sentry Foods. During the home run celebration, a short burst of fireworks is shot out from the top of the center field scoreboard, and above Bernie's club house, the call words of Brewers' radio announcer Bob Uecker are illuminated, "Get Up, Get Up, Get Outta Here, Gone!"
- The Hank the Dog mascot made his debut on September 13, 2014. Hank the real dog was found wandering the field at the Spring training complex in Maryvale, Arizona on February 17, 2014. He was named after former Brewer and Braves great Hank Aaron. He would soon become an international sensation.
- The Barrelman mascot made his debut on April 6, 2015. The barrelman served as the team's primary logo from 1970–1977.
- The Klement's Sausage Race occurs during each game in the middle of the 6th inning; it was moved from the bottom of the 6th inning to enable the sausages to create more excitement for the fans as the Brewers prepared to bat. The current "racing sausages" are the Bratwurst, the Polish, the Italian, the Hot Dog and the Chorizo. The chorizo sausage (to salute the region's growing Latino population) was added on July 29, 2006 for one race, and became a full-time participant in 2007.
- During the 7th inning stretch, in addition to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame", fans at Miller Park sing "Roll Out the Barrel", in salute to Milwaukee's beer-making history.
- The Brewers also have statues of legendary Milwaukee players Robin Yount and Hank Aaron outside the front entrance of Miller Park, as well as also a statue of former team owner and MLB commissioner Bud Selig and Brewers longtime radio broadcaster Bob Uecker.
- Another sculpture, Teamwork by Omri Amrany, honors three Iron Workers Local 8 members killed during the construction of the stadium.
- Helfaer Field is a youth baseball facility located outside of Miller Park. It was built on the same spot where County Stadium was located. The groundbreaking ceremony was held in August 2001. It was named in honor of the Evan and Marion Helfaer Foundation, which was founded in 1974. Evan Helfaer was an original investor in the Brewers.
- The Miller Park Walk of Fame was created in 2001 to honor both the Milwaukee Brewers and the Milwaukee Braves. It's located outside Miller Park on the plaza near the home plate entrances. Former Brewer pitcher Teddy Higuera became the 18th honoree in August 2015.
- The Brewers Wall of Honor was created in 2014 to commemorate Brewers players, coaches and executives who meet a set criteria based on service to the club or career accomplishments. It's located outside Miller Park on an exterior wall near the Hot Corner entrance. Brewers TV announcer Bill Schroeder became the 59th honoree on July 17, 2015.
- The Selig Experience is an exhibit to honor former Brewers owner and retired MLB commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. It opened on May 29, 2015.
On opening day April 6, 2001, President George W. Bush and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig had first pitch honors for the stadium. The park hosted the 2002 MLB All-Star Game, which ended infamously in a tie. It was also a major filming location for the motion picture Mr. 3000, which centered on a fictional Brewers player played by the late comedian Bernie Mac.
In April 2007, snow storms in northern Ohio caused the Cleveland Indians to postpone their home opening series against the Seattle Mariners and forced the Indians to find a different location for their home series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Major League Baseball took advantage of Miller Park's roof and moved the Indians-Angels series to Milwaukee. All seats were sold for $10 apiece, and attendance was 52,496 for the three games. The series was a reminder to many of the 1989 film Major League, which featured scenes filmed in Milwaukee County Stadium, though the film was about a fictionalized Cleveland Indians team. The first game of the series was played on the same day that the film's "Wild Thing Edition" was released on DVD. When Joe Borowski came in to close for the Indians, the song "Wild Thing" was played over the PA system, in an homage to the film. Also, the Indians' mascot Slider slid down Bernie Brewer's slide following Indians home runs. These games were the first to be played under American League rules in Milwaukee since 1997 (the Brewers' final season in the AL), and have been the only games played under AL rules in Miller Park.
Hurricane Ike's landfall in Houston forced the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros to play a two-game series at Miller Park on Sunday, September 14 and Monday, September 15, 2008. The park became the first neutral site in Major League history to host a no-hitter, when Carlos Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs threw the first no-hitter in the history of the park against the Houston Astros on Sunday, September 14, 2008. The next day, his teammate Ted Lilly, took a no-hitter into the 7th inning.
Miller Park has hosted a number of memorable concerts including:
- George Strait Country Music Festival – May 19, 2001
- 'N Sync – June 26, 2001
- Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – September 27, 2003
- Randy Travis – July 9, 2004
- Bon Jovi, the Goo Goo Dolls and Robert Randolph and the Family Band (Miller Brewing's 150th Anniversary Celebration) – August 20, 2005
- Kid Rock and Sugarland (Harley Owners Group Anniversary Rally) – August 29, 2008
- Dave Matthews, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and many others headlined Farm Aid's 25th Anniversary concert – October 2, 2010 – The first time the charity event was held at a major league stadium.
- Kenny Chesney – May 18, 2013
- Paul McCartney – July 16, 2013 – Concert set a Miller Park record for largest non-baseball attendance of 44,000.
- One Direction – August 25, 2015
Miller Park was one of the venues being considered for a United Football League expansion team according to former league commissioner Michael Huyghue. Recent expansions and relocation in the UFL have shown a preference for media markets where the National Football League does not operate a team.
However, the Brewers maintain that Miller Park was not built with the intention of also fielding a football team, though the stadium in the early 90's was planned to have a football layout before the Packers decided to play in Green Bay full-time after the 1994 season and subsequent redesigns as a baseball-only facility.
During the 2014 All-Star break, Miller Park hosted an untelevised international friendly match between Swansea City and Chivas of Guadalajara on July 16, 2014. The soccer pitch was laid out in a first baseline-to-left field configuration, with a narrower width than a standard soccer pitch due to the constraints of the field. The teams played to a 1-1 draw in front of about 31,000 in attendance.
On August 11, 2012 Miller Park hosted an event called "Field of Honor: A Salute to the Greatest Generation". Over 30,000 tickets were sold for the event, which included the premiere showing of Honor Flight, a documentary detailing the Honor Flight movement, where veterans of World War II are flown into Washington, D.C. on commercial flights via donations and non-profit organizations in order to visit the National World War II Memorial in person. The promoters were hoping to best a world record for a movie premiere attendance, previously held for the premiere in Brazil of a soccer film.
The Arctic Tailgate is an annual event where fans camp outside Miller Park the day before single game tickets are sold, which is usually the last weekend of February. The tradition is said to have started as early as the 1990s where Brewers fans would try to be the first to acquire tickets for Opening Day. Since 2006, the Brewers have made it an official event, even providing the waiting fans coffee, hot chocolate, and doughnuts in the morning, discounts on tickets for the first week of games in the season, as well as a free lunch consisting of a hot dog, chips, and a soda, eaten in a heated tent afterwards. Over 101,000 tickets were sold for the 2015 Arctic Tailgate.
- List of baseball parks in Milwaukee
- Teamwork, a memorial sculpture at the stadium
- Selig Monument, a sculpture in tribute to Bud Selig
- "Facts, Figures & Rules". Milwaukee.brewers.mlb.com. MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved November 19, 2011.
- Saturday, September 6, 2003, 6:05PM, Miller Park
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- Miller Park - Ballparks.com
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- Walker, Don (September 21, 2006). "As Baseball Season Ends, Stadium Roof Repair Begins". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Hydraulics Facilitate Repairs on a 12,000 ton Moveable Roof
- Walker, Don (July 13, 2007). "Miller Park Roof Is Back At Full Speed". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
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- 2015 Milwaukee Brewers Media Guide
- Haudricourt, Tom (March 21, 2012). "Uecker to Get Statue At Miller Park". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved March 21, 2012.
- Doyle, Candace (6 June 2001). "Monument, statue honor Miller Park workers". The Daily Reporter. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
- Castrovince, Anthony (April 9, 2007). "Angels-Indians Series Moved". Cleveland: MLB.com. Retrieved February 15, 2009.
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Even Slider, the team's mascot, got into the act, making the trip to Milwaukee so he could twist his way down Bernie Brewer's slide after Kelly Shoppach and Casey Blake hit Indians' home runs. In the top of the ninth, when Borowski came in to close out the game, the Miller Park sound system blasted "Wild Thing", a tribute to the baseball classic "Major League", which was filmed in Milwaukee.
- Haudricourt, Tom (September 14, 2008). "Cubs-Astros to Play At Miller Park". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved April 11, 2008.
- "Zambrano Throws No-Hitter as Cubs Beat Astros 5-0". ABC News. September 14, 2008. Archived from the original on March 4, 2009. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- Gardner, Charles F. (September 15, 2008). "Zambrano's First No-No Is Also First At Miller Park". jsonline.com. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
Zambrano, who pitched the first no-hitter in the history of Miller Park, smiled as he talked about how much he likes to pitch in the Brewers' stadium. "I like the mound, and it's a beautiful ballpark", Zambrano said. "I wish we had a new ballpark, a clubhouse like that."
- Milwaukee Brewers press release, "Miller Park to host 2007 USBC Masters finals", MLB.com, May 24, 2007.
- Farm Aid on the mound Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
- "What hiatus? One Direction lives in the now at memorable Miller Park show". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Walker, Don (September 4, 2009). "More Pro Football in Milwaukee?". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved September 5, 2009.
- "More than 31,000 watch soccer at Miller Park; Swansea City, Chivas Guadalajara play to 1-1 tie". WISN-TV Milwaukee. 17 July 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- "United Announce 2015/16 Pre-Season Schedule". NUFC.co.uk. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
- "Fast start lifts Atlas over Newcastle at Miller Park". 14 July 2015.
- "Brewers Arctic Tailgate". brewers.com.
- Haudricourt, Tom. "Brewers sell 101,000 tickets at Arctic Tailgate". JSOnline.com. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
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