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American Family Field - Home of the Milwaukee Brewers
Formerly known as Miller Park
If not for the efforts of former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, American Family Field would not exist.
Miller Park might roll off the tongue easier but the company no longer owns the naming rights to Milwaukee County Stadium’s successor. The Milwaukee Brewers have called the stadium their home since 2001.
Fun fact: The Baltimore Orioles may have distanced themselves from their franchise beginnings but they were the original Milwaukee Brewers. They were among the initial American League charter members in 1901 but moved and became the St Louis Browns in 1902. Funny enough, the New York Yankees were the Baltimore Orioles before moving to New York in 1903. The more you know!
There’s a long history of professional baseball in Milwaukee and many of the teams have been called the Brewers in homage to the German immigrants who owned breweries in the city. From 1902-1952, the Milwaukee Brewers were a minor league baseball team playing at Borchert Field. They were an independent team for a number of years but were the AAA affiliate of the then-Boston Braves during the 1946-52 seasons. The Braves wanted to get out of the Boston Red Sox’s shadow so they ended up moving to Milwaukee and would call it their home through 1965. Aside from some exhibition games and a few White Sox games at County Stadium, there were no MLB teams in Milwaukee until Bud Selig bought the bankrupt Seattle Pilots in 1970. Major League Baseball has been in Milwaukee ever since.
The classic tour at American Family Field lasts 75-90 minutes. My tour started as a private tour although four late arrivals ended up joining us at our second stop. Tour stops always depend on availability and such. It was a non-gameday tour but we didn’t go to the Brewers bullpen. Nor did we go to the Interview Room but it wasn’t for the lack of trying—there was a meeting taking place at the time.
Tours are reasonably priced with tickets costing $10-15 depending on age. Children 2 and under are free. I don’t know if I’m going to rank the ballpark tours when all is said and done but the tour is definitely better than Yankee Stadium. Baseball fans get to take in so much at such a bargain price, starting with the Selig Experience.
The Selig Experience opened during the 2015 season and is free for fans to attend. There’s a mini-theater where audiences can watch a brief video on Selig’s history as a baseball fan and his efforts in bringing professional baseball back to Milwaukee following the Braves’ departure to Atlanta. Following the video, a screen lifts up to reveal an animatronic version of Selig. From there, attendees can view a recreated version of his owner’s office and a small exhibit of Brewers artifacts, including the baseball from Robin Yount’s 3000th career hit.
After Covid, the Stadium Club—a previously enclosed area of the stadium—was converted into a X-Golf. People can still take in the game with seats inside or outside the club. Hours vary on gamedays but it is open all year round to my knowledge. Apologies for the reflection in the window but it gives you an idea of the view from the area.
Because of the Pink concert on August 14, the Brewers groundskeepers have been hard at work in getting the field ready for playing conditions once again. One of the ways that they do this is by using grow lights to help with the grass. As you can see, the concert stage did a number on the grass out in center field.
According to our tour guide, the team is going to be doing a lot of work in the outfield, including a larger video board. Supposedly, they will be removing seats so that fans can just stand up and enjoy the view. But as things stand, here’ a look at what’s in right field including the Toyota Territory, Johnsonville® Party Deck, and Vizzy Loft.
Our next stop on the tour was the Northwestern Mutual Legends Club. The club sits 160-320 people depending on whether or not the patio is open. It offers an upscale experience year-round while paying tribute to the history of baseball in Milwaukee.
The club pays tribute to both the Milwaukee Braves and Brewers as evidenced by the players and jerseys in the above and below photos.
Our next stop on the tour was taking in one of the suites in the PNC Club Level. This level features 40 Club Suites, four Party Suites, and the Wintrust Executive Suite. The advantage of leasing a suite for multi-game or single games is that it’s one of the few areas in the stadium that have air conditioning. If you’re sitting in regular seats and it’s raining outside, you better hope that the outside temps are decent. Otherwise, it’s going to get hot inside. The suites allow for watching the game inside or sitting outside.
The PNC Club Level is not just limited to the suites. Fans can also sit in the seating bowl on this level. They’re very comfortable, too.
Our next tour stop was in front of a window where we could take in a sight of Helfaer Field. The Little League stadium was built on the former home of Milwaukee County Stadium. Milwaukee County Stadium’s home plate is commemorated with a historical plaque on the third base plaza. They’ve been shortened for scale but the foul poles used at Helfaer Field are the original foul poles that were used at Milwaukee County Stadium. It’s another way that Milwaukee is keeping its baseball history alive.
As we made our way into the press box, we got a glance at the Scoreboard Operations room, which also features the organist. For some reason, Grogu is also there but okay. I haven’t gone on tours that take you directly into the broadcast booth but Bob Uecker is such a legend that they can’t not take fans in there! He doesn’t use a computer during the game so they tape down the stats for reference.
The broadcast booth also offers one of the best views from behind home plate. How about that view to take in the game? In the distance, one can see the retired numbers on the roof track beam for Rollie Fingers, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Bud Selig, Paul Molitor, Bob Uecker, and Robin Yount. While he’s been in the booth for 53 seasons, the 50 honors Uecker—it’s not a number that is unavailable to players.
Our next stop was the press box itself. They clean up the foul ball dents during the offseason.
As we made our way down to the clubhouse and field level, I saw something that I’ve never seen before in a ballpark—at least not out in the open, anyway. A bathtub and shower! According to our tour guide, nobody has asked to take a photo while standing in the tub.
The Brewers clubhouse is expansive but they don’t allow fans inside during tours. Instead, we have the opportunity to take in the visitor’s clubhouse. Unfortunately, a meeting was taking place so we didn’t get to start a press conference in the Interview Room.
I’ve been inside the visitor’s clubhouse at Wrigley Field but this one is so much nicer! Wrigley has folding chairs where this one is really state-of-the-art.
No trip is complete without a stop in the dugout. In this case, the visitor’s dugout. Every team tour is different in which dugout that they allow fans to visit.
The field or seats behind home plate offer the best view of where the Brewers display their pennants, etc.
Our guide pointed out the Uecker seats in section 422 while on the field. These seats are $5 in cash only when gates open, partially obstructed, and not available on Opening Day or during the postseason.
Above those seats, one can see the retractable roof.
Finally, it’s not a trip to the stadium without taking photos with the statues. I’d have gone selfie-style with closer angles for these but my tour guide was nice enough to offer a ride back to the train station. The Brewers honor Bud Selig, Hank Aaron, Robin Yount, and Bob Uecker with statues just behind the home plate entrance.
Milwaukee is a short train ride away from Chicago but it was definitely worth it to get back to American Family Field for the tour. I highly recommend taking a tour if you have an opportunity to do so.
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