Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Weekend in Milwaukee

Here's the last leg of my road trip with the Dodgers. Vegetarians beware. Part one is here. From Gotham it was a late night flight to Milwaukee where we stayed at the historic Pfister. The Pfister is pfirst class. It’s an old regal downtown hotel that just happens to be haunted. Some ballplayers are so freaked they stay elsewhere, or sleep holding a bat for protection. Carlos Gomez of the Twins was getting out of the shower and his iPod suddenly went haywire so instead of calling AppleCare (or Ghostbusters?) he raced out to the lobby without his pants. I shared a room with the Ghost of Christmas Future. He says “UFC Undisputed” will sell out quick this season so shop early.

One thing I’ve discovered about Milwaukee – it’s in a time warp. The buildings, the cars, the people – it’s 1956. Friday night’s postgame concert featured newcomers Buddy Holly and the Crickets. In an attempt to blend in I wore an “Adlai Stevenson for President” button.

Missed the 60th annual “South Shore Frolic”. Friday’s big attraction for the kiddies: a chainsaw artist. And if that’s your cup of tea, visit the Ambrosia Chocolate Factory where Jeffrey Dahmer was a trusted employee.

I did however get out to Karl Ratzsch’s for the best German food this side of Stalag 13. Order anything with a “Z” in its name.

Miller Park, home of the Brewers, boasts a retractable roof (handy since it snows 300 days a year), cheerleaders, a giant slide where mascot Bernie Brewer plunges into suds throughout the game, and national treasure Bob Uecker (their longtime radio voice).

The retractable roof can be problematic. One sweltering summer day they closed it during a game because thundershowers loomed. But the result was they trapped the heat and humidity IN the ballpark. Someone said that when the fat lady finally did sing she was a size 4.

Miller also has something no other ballpark in the land can match --- the world’s greatest bratwurst. That comes as no surprise, certainly, this is Germantown, but they’re even better than expected. One bite and you can actually feel an artery clog up. Yet it’s so good you finish it anyway. The record for most bratwursts consumed here in one day is seventeen by a gentleman from Menomonee Falls. From what I understand, he’s buried somewhere down the left-field line. The condiments for these brats consist of the usual mustard-onion-relish fare along with sauerkraut and something they call “Secret Stadium Sauce.” Nobody will divulge just what is in this thick red secret goo, but it was allegedly discovered during an early experiment of the Manhattan Project.

And then there are the tailgate parties. Folks here jam the parking lots long before game time and crack out the barbeques and coolers, filling the air with heavenly aromas and grease. If you love block parties with total strangers whose only common bond is the mass consumption of life-endangering substances, you’ve gotta love Milwaukee. I, of course, do.

All in all it was a great trip. The Dodgers won six, Manny hit .349 with three home runs, no one threw a syringe onto the field, I survived a tornado and German cuisine, and the Ghost of Christmas Future also wants to remind you to use zip codes when sending packages through the mail. Thank you.

Have a great summer and Merry Christmas wherever you are!

Free teleseminar info can be found here. Spaces are filling up. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

I question the wisdom of eating something called "Secret Stadium Sauce".

Paul Duca said...

Thanks for letting me know there is an actual Hotel Pfitzer...I though it was just something made up on LAVERNE & SHIRLEY

Jayne said...

Great post Ken but I must correct you on something: It only snows here 250 days of the year!

I must absolutely agree with you about the roof at Miller Park. It's nice to have it when it's snowing in June and when it's actually storming and raining cats and dogs but if it's warm and humid on the outside, it's unbearable on the inside. (and it's worse when the Brewers are giving up a million runs after Manny Parra finally pitches a good game!)

And a note to Anonymous: You may question the wisdom but Secret Stadium Sauce is the ultimate in condiments!

DJ said...

The cheeseburgers at Miller Park are great as well. Cooked right in front of you on giant glass-walled grills on the Main Concourse.

Rays profile said...

One thing you didn't mention is the tailgating in the parking lot. Best-smelling parking lot in baseball.

John said...

The racing meats at Miller Park also are better than the racing presidents in Washington. Plus they're tastier (and based on his race record, I wouldn't recommend eating Teddy Roosevelt anyway).

Mike said...

Even though your descriptions were not necessarily something you'd put on the site of the packaging, I couldn't want a bratwurst more than I do right now. My mouth is watering so much imagining it I'm almost foaming at the mouth.

Milwaukee is really underrated, and I say that as a Chicagoan.

The hotel Pfister is really funny if you're a gay man with the sense of humor of a 9 year old. (Yours truly is part of that demographic - despite having not seen Bruno.)

Michael Green said...

Bob Costas used to talk about a game in Milwaukee not being official until he got his bratwurst. He ended up having a pen pal who was a regular at old County Stadium and actually said he ate bratwurst better against certain teams.

Bob Uecker is a national treasure, and the odd thing is that friends of mine who have heard him on radio say that he does very little shtick--he is a serious play-by-play guy who does the wacky stuff only when the game is lagging. Often, in the history of the Brewers, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

As someone who's done work for the O's and the Dodgers, I'm sure you know Rick Dempsey and the reason why Yankee fans hate the Pfister and the revolving door that acted as an instigator.


Dave Mackey said...

There are only a handful of out-of-town broadcasters I'll go out of my way to listen to on the XM or MLB Gameday Audio when the Mets are on the road - at the top of that list are Bob Uecker and Vin Scully. (Missed him at the recent Mets-Dodgers series at Citi Field, as Vin no longer makes East Coast road trips.)

WV: loadma - What Dad likes to do to Ma if he wants some.