It had been about 20 years since I last attended a Major League Baseball game.
I had seen games at old Municipal Stadium in Kansas City, Kauffman Stadium, the Astrodome and Anaheim Stadium during a California visit.
But during my recent vacation, I had the pleasure of attending a Milwaukee Brewers game at beautiful Miller Park. They were taking on the Colorado Rockies, and the stadium was packed and rocking.
I have to say for all the beauty of Kauffman Stadium, Miller Park is more stunning. The roof was open on this night and the temperature was incredibly pleasant for what normally is a hot August night.
The Brewers are in the thick of the AL Central race as they are jostling with the Chicago Cubs for supremacy, while the Rockies are in a three-way throwdown with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers.
What made my experience so enjoyable is that we sat two rows behind home plate, something I’d never experienced at an MLB game. The pop of the ball in the catcher’s glove and crack of the bat were magnified. The way breaking balls drop off the table is stunning as we could see the depth of the sliders thrown.
It was an incredible game from the get-go. Former Kansas City stars Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain are now prominent players for the Brewers and Moustakas drove in the game’s first run with an opposite-field single. It’s evident he’s an immediate fan favorite as the Moose calls rang throughout the park.
It was a tense game throughout. Colorado surged ahead behind home runs by Travis Story and Carlos Gonzalez and it was still a 3-2 game going into the ninth. Christian Yelich had homered for the Brewers.
Moustakas led off the ninth inning by battling old teammate Wade Davis. After an epic at-bat, Davis — who had just blown a save in his previous game against St. Louis — struck Moose out.
But Davis, who just didn’t look right physically and has been struggling all season, gave up a pair of walks before getting the second out.
Up to the plate strode Eric Thames. TV doesn’t do him justice as when you see him up close and personal as we did, the guy is one mass of muscle.
After working the count to 1-1, Davis threw a fastball that Thames uncoiled on. The crack literally was ear-splitting and all of the nearly 38,000 in attendance knew it was gone the moment he struck it.
Miller Park went crazy. Guys sitting in our section were high-fiving me and I didn’t even know who they were. There was a mob scene at home plate that was played over and over again on the local channels and on Sports Center.
For Davis, it dropped his record to 1-5 as you have to wonder if his dominance is finally wearing off.
Maybe most amazing was how quickly we were able to get out of the parking lot. We had a premium pass and my guess is that most of the fans stayed inside the park for a long time to revel in the Brewers’ walk-off win. It took all of 5 minutes to get back on the road.
It was probably the most enjoyable MLB game I’ve ever taken in. The Brewers do a great job of getting their fans involved as there’s always something going on between innings to pass the time.
We also had a chance to sit near local celebrity “Front Row Amy,” who is much like Annie Savoy in the movie “Bull Durham.” Apparently she is at every game, keeping her scorebook, marking every pitch. Fans were going up to her to get her autograph and having their pictures taken and from what we were told, everybody knows her.
If you’re ever in the Milwaukee area and have a chance to attend a game, I say jump on it. They really do it right.