Once in a while my fiancé Matt and I remember that we’re young and supposed to be having fun. So last night we went to Friday’s Front Row at Miller Park; I’d never been before, and we had a gift card.
I’m not much of a baseball (or basketball or football or anything-ball) fan, but I do love going to Miller Park to watch the Brewers play. Architecturally, the stadium is, in my opinion, landmark-quality, and even when, like me, you have no idea what’s going on ("Why are all the people booing?") baseball games are a fun, relaxing way to spend an afternoon.
Friday’s was pretty empty and we opted to sit outside because the weather was nice and the view would be better. Seeing Miller Park empty gives me a new respect for the Brewers; when not teeming with people you realize that the ballpark is, in technical terms, freaking huge.
I’ll never understand how the Crew can perform under that kind of scrutiny. I can barely order turkey at the deli if there are too many people behind me in line. I guess that’s just one of the roughly 459 reasons Ryan Braun gets paid more than I do.
As we sat down and ordered our Pepsis, the Pittsburgh Pirates were on the field in the middle of batting practice. It was interesting. Then it was exciting.
Then it was terrifying.
Balls were smashing into the metal pennant signs that hang down in front of the patio. One of them ricocheted off the railing behind our table. At one point one of them was headed straight at me, so I squealed like a little girl and shielded my head with my menu – a completely logical move. Everyone knows that laminated paper can totally stop a baseball moving at like 90 miles an hour. (Is that the right speed? I have no idea.)
I seemed to be the only person on the patio who wasn’t finding this game of whack-a-mole completely thrilling. Matt was actively trying to catch the flying balls – an endeavor I’m pretty sure would have resulted in him breaking his hand – and most of the other tables were disappointed when a Pirate’s practice swing didn’t send a ball right onto their plate.
I guess it's all part of the experience.
"Has anyone ever been hit?" I asked our waitress Erika (totally sweet and a great waitress, tip her well).
"Oh yeah," she said. "I was hit last year – by the Pirates actually. I’ve got a bruise." She gestured toward her hip. "It kind of depends on what mood they’re in, I guess."
Still, I had a great time and I would definitely go back to Friday’s, even during a game, when there’s a chance you can take a fastball to the forehead while 35,000 people look on, a la Drew Barrymore in Fever Pitch. I guess that's the price you pay for the best seat in the house.
Plus, the food was awesome. I’m a Caesar salad junkie; I’ve eaten them up and down the East Cost and across the Heartland, and amazingly until now the tastiest one I’ve ever had was at a Panera wayside in Indiana. But Friday’s at Miller Park was better – maybe it was the vinaigrette. I should probably email them and say I’ve got their new "Where’s the Beef"-caliber marketing campaign. Friday’s Front Row = Better than an Indiana Wayside.
And I had to leave a nice tip for poor bruised Erika, who bore the wrath of the Pirates last year. Matt usually argues with me over my tendency to leave monster tips but he had no objection this time.
"I like to support the franchise," he said.
This was my cue to saddle up my high horse and give him a lecture about how waitresses work three times as hard as other people for three times the grief and a third of the money.
"The Brewers don’t need your money," I said. "The Brewers have enough money."
"Not enough to keep Zack Greinke," he said, with a woeful last look at the field.
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