As the Brewers and Cubs continue their four-game series in Milwaukee, I can't help but think about the growing rivalry between these two teams, how the Brewers are now competitive and how Miller Park has breathed life into the city.
There was a time not too long ago in which the highest-grossing home series for the Brewers would be any against the Cubs, whose fans would flock to the city in large numbers and dominate the home-crowd attendance totals.
But the Brewers have been attracting large crowds virtually every game and it is cool to live in Milwaukee and root for the home team.
A reason attending a Brewer game is trendy is that the organization is fielding quality teams and appears to have competent management at all levels. Another reason why is Miller Park.
I was an intern for the Brewers in 1995 and one of my tasks was to walk around County Stadium's parking lot and collect signatures. Enough of these would guarantee that a five-country tax appropriating the necessary funds to help pay for a proposed new stadium would appear on a ballot for the state government to vote on.
There were a lot of strong views on both sides of the fence regarding the impact a new stadium could have on the city. There were those who were strongly opposed to and those in favor of a sales tax, which would affect Milwaukee county and the four surrounding counties.
And boy did those two sides clash in volatile debates and arguments!
In what has been called the most lobbied bill in the history of Wisconsin, the state senate needed Racine state senator George Petak, a republican, to change his vote in the last hour to help pass the bill 16-15 on Oct. 6, 1995. Petak ended up enduring a lot of criticism because his vote did not reflect the wishes of his constituents. It was a bold move on his part and it ultimately cost him his seat in the state senate.
He is still regarded as a hero by many who were in favor of the sales tax, but is demonized by others for going against the majority wishes of his constituency in favor of what he felt in his heart.
I don't live in Milwaukee anymore, but I hear from my family members that the sales tax is still being scrutinized. But one thing is for certain and that is Miller Park has revitalized the Menominee Valley on the city's west side. It's a terrific place to watch a baseball game and has become a very popular destination.
I'm just happy to see that the Brewers are fielding competitive teams and that Miller Park is a living and breathing testament that America's pastime is very much alive and well in the city of Milwaukee.
Now that I live in South Florida, the Marlins are in a critical stage I know so well. If a new baseball park in Miami can do for the Marlins what Miller Park did for Milwaukee, then Marlins fans can rest assured that baseball will thrive in the area that once hosted the Orange Bowl. It isn't the greatest neighborhood, but hopefully a new ball park can breathe life into it similar in nature to the Milwaukee Brewers model.