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September 23, 2013 at 9:05 am ET
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Fan Appreciation, Milwaukee Style

As it usually goes, beautiful September days in the Midwest are rare, and when you see one, you have to put down the controller and stop playing Batman Arkham City for a few minutes and contemplate doing something outside before you’re snowed in and you’re playing Arkham City until Smarch. Lousy Smarch weather.

There were some festive fall street fairs within walking distance, but that means other people would be clogging the streets. There’s football, and since none of these teams has a song about how bad they are and anyway, I don’t care about football. And then there’s Chicago baseball, and we know how that turns out.

I hadn’t been to a Brewers game in a while, and it was Fan Appreciation Weekend in Milwaukee. The fans selling their tickets on Stubhub for $6 must have felt really appreciated. I’ve been to a few late season what’s-the-point? games and I’d never really seen a total fan appreciation event. The White Sox have a “garage sale” of items they can’t sell anymore (Jim Thome t-shirts, team card sets from previous years, Ken Griffey Jr. wall decals). But no one’s giving away bobbleheads, no one’s giving away Kevin Gregg’s uniform, no team is allowing one lucky kid to play 3rd for the the last three innings of the last game. These never seem like big events.

“We’re not going to see any of you for the rest of the year, especially in October, here’s some stuff nobody wants, barely on sale.”

So I checked the StubHub and sure enough, $6 tickets. (I should mention that as much as I enjoy StubHub, it’s never clear if the price they offer includes fees. I swear, I’ve bought what I thought were $20 tickets and then they tack on digital delivery fees and whatnot, but I used Paypal and the price was $3 for the ticket, $1 for the service fee, and $2 to email the ticket to me). What the heck, why not?

Parking was cheap. I think this was the other perk of Fan Appreciation Weekend; you’re not paying $20+ to park a mile from the stadium (and after navigating Milwaukee’s awesomely confusing highway system, but that’s for a columnist writing for our sister publication, “Bugs and Cranks and Urban Planning”). Because it was Football/Emmy/Breaking Bad Sunday, the lot was virtually deserted. There were a lot of Cardinal fans, so when I did look out into the mostly empty stadium, there were patches of redbird redshirts filling in some desolate gaps in the seats.

I took a walk down a bit of the Hank Aaron nature trail. That’s a real thing, there’s a trail named after Hank Aaron. By the way, still no #44 Brewers t-shirts in the gift shop.

I stopped by one of those trailer team shops in the lot. You know, it’s like a food truck but with with tacky team hats and clothes and knick knacky stuff you don’t need. I don’t recall seeing anything on sale. When I got in the stadium, I checked out the gift shop and whatever counts as a sale seems too expensive. Where is the BARGAIN stuff, MLB? Jeez, maybe you should drop the price down on the 12″ Ryan Braun stuffed toys because, well, BECAUSE.

Why are hooded sweaters in gift shops $120? This is Milwaukee, you must have a low manufacturing price-per-unit because EVERYONE HERE MUST NEED ONE!

I did get a freebie: a magnet with next year’s schedule. I don’t see why “interleague” games need to be designated as such on a National League team’s schedule, the rules are the same for your home team no matter who is showing up. Also, who cares about interleague now? It’s been going on for so long and thanks to the Astros**, it happens every baseball day. It’s a regular part of baseball, stop treating it like it’s the most special thing that’s happened to the game.

Now, when you go to a game, you’ll notice contests you have no control over. “Row 5 in the section you’re not sitting in won free custom team T-Shirts. It’s the section where anyone who is sitting there clearly has the money to buy a jersey, but we’re giving them free stuff and you get a scratch-off card.”

And for Fan Appreciation Whatever I got a scratch off card. I almost forgot about it on the way in, so I scratched it off.

“Free Loge Level Ticket To A 2014 Brewers Home Game!”

No way! Hey, it’s only good for a few select weekday games in April or May, and I’d have to pay $5 to send in this card with a request if I didn’t drive up from Chicago*** a few weeks before the season starts to pick my game (is this one of those things we can’t take care of on the internet? Like with a code, like how them rock albums are done downloaded?). Despite that inconvenience, or even for the $5 to mail it in, I felt like I had lucked out. I NEVER win anything. I never win anything at baseball games. Even if this is clearly just a ploy to get warm bodies into the stadium next year, I felt like I finally won …

… wait, warm BODIES? I looked at the scratch off card. “Free Ticket.” ONE free ticket.

I won ONE free ticket.

Who offers just ONE of an entrance to an entertainment event? “Thanks for calling, you’re the winner of our radio contest! You will see Metallica. Yes, you and…well, you alone, will have front-row, and you will not know the people moshing next to you!”

Is the idea that you’re at the game with someone who won one ticket? Is the idea that you say to your friends, “Hey, I got tickets…I mean, I got A ticket to see the Brewers on a Tuesday night. Come on up with me … well, see if you can find a ticket in section 202, row 7. It’s normally a season ticket holder named Dave, see if Dave’ll sell you his ticket for that game so I’m not sitting next to some strange guy named Dave.”

What is the POINT of ONE free ticket?

I enjoyed the game. Thanks Brewers, I’m glad I got to see your lovely stadium at least once this year, and thanks StubHub ticket seller for the $6 ticket.

 ** You know, the Astros? They’re a team?

*** We don’t call Miller Park “Wrigley North” for no reason, Brewers fans.

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