In Sports

Thursday marked Opening Day - except for Miller Park's roof. Why? (PHOTO: Dan Garcia)

So when does Miller Park open the roof anyway?

Milwaukee is loaded with spring traditions.

Brew City residents are dusting off their golf clubs, jogging along the Lakefront and scooping up some frozen custard, but no tradition is as permeating as the groans over the status of the Miller Park roof. It is certainly a topic that is near and dear to our hearts here at OnMilwaukee – and one that was frequently posited during Thursday's sunny Opening Day win over St. Louis.

While Major League Baseball rules in all postseason retractable roof situations, it allows the home team to make the final roofing decision before each regular season game. According to WUWM Radio, the Brewers' self-imposed threshold is 60 degrees.

"If we look at the hourly forecast and if, throughout the timeframe of the game, the temperature is not going below 60 degrees, and there's no precipitation in the area, generally we would have the roof open," Steve Ethier, the club's senior vice president of stadium operations, told WUMW's "Bubbler Talk" in August 2018.

The Brewers also offer a Miller Park Roof Hotline number, which fans can call with any and all roof-related game day questions.

Temperatures did rise into the low 60s during the tailgate on Thursday morning, but the game time temps was much closer to 50 degrees and dipping with each passing hour.

Of course, 50 degree weather is still palatable baseball weather. Bostonians sat through much colder during the Red Sox run to the World Series last fall, and its not as if Milwaukeeans – many of whom have sat through their fair share of frigid Lambeau night games – have any less resolve. The Brewers could probably stand to be a little more lenient with its roof policy, especially in a situation like Thursday's home opener.

Still, I'm not offended by the Brewers' roof closures. During afternoon games, the sun still peeks through the stadium's glass paneling, and I'm not one to complain about the extra warmth the roof provides. Plus, the arching retractable ceiling is Miller Park's defining feature! It's unique and, as far as canopies go, relatively stylish. If the crown of the stadium looked like Tampa Bay's horror show, I'd be more open to an altered roof strategy. But it doesn't. It's clean, cool and distinct, and it amplifies the crowd noise when, say, Lorenzo Cain robs a home run to seal a win over a division rival.

But even if you're pro-roof or pro-sky, it's a welcome position to be in when the Brewers' biggest pregame concern is how to best orient the stadium. It's a good time to be a baseball fan in Milwaukee; may the Miller Park roof be ever in your favor this summer.


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