Everything you need to know for Opening Day 2011
Despite the Brewers' 0-3 record to start the 2011 season, spirits will be high (and so will the blood alcohol content levels) today at Miller Park for the home opener.
The Brewers are celebrating the 10th anniversary of Miller Park, which will look significantly different this season thanks to the massive new scoreboard hanging out in center field.
The new board, standing 105 feet high by 168 feet wide, features a 5,940-square foot video board which is the fourth-largest in MLB. It will feature a true 1080p high-definition display, one of only four sports venues in North America (Cowboys Stadium and American Airlines Center in Dallas, Target Field in Minneapolis and Yankee Stadium in New York) to do so.
"Fans who have been watching HD in their living room will be experiencing the same thing, but in much bigger dimensions," Brewers Vice President of Business Operations Rick Schlesinger said.
The $11 million price tag was split between the Brewers and the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball District. The old scoreboard was installed when the stadium opened in 2001 and combined a 1,296-square foot video board and a 2,432-square foot matrix board.
Over the last few seasons, the board's technology became obsolete and replacement parts became harder and harder to replace, leading to the decision to upgrade to the new board, which was designed, manufactured and installed by Daktronics, Inc., of South Dakota.
For a complete history of scoreboards at County Stadium and Miller Park, check out this article at Brewers.com.
Tickets: No surprise here, but tickets are sold out. You can find some on the aftermarket either through a ticket broker or on Craigslist/eBay or other classified and resale services.
Getting there: Long story short, expect delays.
The I-94 resurfacing project has already made a mess of traveling westbound out of Downtown and expect it to be a lot worse this morning. The Brewers and Wisconsin Department of Transportation are encouraging fans to leave a little earlier and plan for extra time traveling to and from games. Canal Street, Bluemound Road and Wisconsin Avenue are available as alternate routes.
The Milwaukee County Transit System will again offer special Miller Park service on Brewers game days. Riders can take Route 90 buses to the stadium direct from Downtown. Buses will leave the Downtown Transit Center beginning two hours before every game, making multiple stops along Wisconsin Avenue.
Normally, those buses will run every 30 minutes but for Opening Day and other games projected to have a large turnout, buses will run every 10 minutes. Following the game, buses will return passengers to Downtown
Parking information: If you're planning on parking at Miller Park today, plan ahead. Lots will open at 10 a.m. but will fill up quickly. You can purchase parking passes in advance at Brewers.com or by calling (414) 902-4000. If you're not planning on tailgating, you can also park at Wisconsin State Fair Park, entering through Gate 7. Parking there will cost you $10 and a free shuttle will be provided from the U.S. Cellular Gate to Miller Park beginning at 10:30 a.m. Those shuttles will return drivers to State Fair Park until approximately 90 minutes after the game. For up-to-the minute information, tune to 1180 AM.
Forecast: Tailgaters may want to stay close to the fire. Craig Koplien's forecast calls for a cloudy day with a very slight chance for scattered, light showers with temperatures around 45 degrees and 15-30 mile per hour winds out of the northwest when the lots open. By game time, the temperature is expected to drop to around 40 degrees, so don't expect the roof to be open.
Gates open early: For Opening Day (and all "Marquee Games" on the schedule), Miller Park gates open two hours prior to first pitch.
First pitch: The Brewers haven't announced who will throw out the first pitch but the smart money is on somebody associated with the Green Bay Packers. Rumor has it they won the Super Bowl or something.
National Anthem: For the sixth straight year, Joseph Attanasio will sing the "Star Spangled Banner." He is the father of Brewers Chairman and Principal Owner Mark Attanasio.
Free stuff: All fans in attendance will receive a 2011 magnetic schedule.
Tweet your heart out: If you're going to the game and are a Twitter user, make sure to include the hashtag #MillerParkOpener.
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