In Sports

Can you smell that brat smoke?

The Athletic releases MLB stadium survey; how did Miller Park do?

Today, The Athletic released the results of a stadium survey it conducted among baseball fans.

Nearly 9,000 fans responded to the survey that asked respondents to rate, on a scale of 1 to 5, a bunch of criteria, including location, atmosphere, amenities, sightlines, aesthetics and overall quality.

The winners were all modern, open-air ballparks that put fans close to the action and, in most cases, are located in downtown areas.

The top five:

  1. Oracle Park, San Francisco
  2. Petco Park, San Diego
  3. Target Field, Minneapolis
  4. PNC Park, Pittsburgh
  5. Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore

So where did Miller Park rank?

Nearly dead center at No. 14.

"Brewers fans love their roof," wrote Sean Gentille. "More than 100 voters said it was their favorite part of Miller Park, including in this review: 'Bernie's slide is fun, every Brewers fan would tell you that. But practically speaking the retractable roof is the biggest perk. It doesn't get warm enough for true outside baseball until mid to late May in Wisconsin, yet the Brewers can play every game comfortably from Opening Day on with no cancellations, a huge advantage over most Midwest teams.'

"And hey, while we're here, let's just use that voter's drawback selection, too, because it echoes a lot of people. 'Because of Milwaukee's strong tailgating culture, the stadium was kept outside of downtown so as to have huge parking lots for people to drink/tailgate before the games. Yet I would've moved it to downtown and created more of the mixed-use entertainment districts we have seen pop up all over the sports landscape'."

I don't disagree much with this ranking, personally. Other than the Brewers and the roof on a rainy day (and a 16-ounce can of Happy Place ale), there's not a ton I love about Miller Park, where so many of the seats feel so distant from the field and which feels like it's located in a desert of endless parking (which I know and appreciate is a boon to tailgaters).

I do love stadia like PNC Park and Petco Park and Busch Stadium, with their downtown skylines right outside and their intimate, almost vintage-style vibes. (And, at Petco, those fish tacos!)

To me, CitiField in New York is like that, too, so I was surprised it finished 15, just behind Miller Park, but like Milwaukee's stadium, it's surrounded by parking lots and feels far from the downtown action.

The Pirates' PNC Park, by the way, was the clear winner in a category that asked, "If you could adopt any other park as your local stadium, which would you choose?"

I'd vote for it in that case, too. It feels like an endless party outside, has great sightlines and food inside and a stunning view of the Pittsburgh skyline just beyond center field.

In the end, most of us love any stadium our beloved team calls home.

"It's a shithole," as one fan said of the Oakland Coliseum, "but it's our shithole."


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