A GREAT view of the field at AT&T Park in Chattanooga during their pre-season open house!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Miller Park Ballpark E-Guide

I have mentioned Kurt Smith's Ballpark E-Guides before and I wanted to mention them again after I used his Miller Park one for help on my most recent trip!

If you didn't read my first mention of Kurt, check out my review of his e-guide to PNC Park in Pittsburgh. 


Make sure you check his site too- there are a LOT of great tips there. 


Before I go on any road trip, I love researching the sites I plan to see, especially the baseball related ones!

Like most people I google, check wikipedia, and I check a few ballpark sites.

I also check the official site of the team, but I have to admit, I have felt very let down by the official sites lately.  There is a real blandness to them these days.  I don't want to use up a lot of time on my blog complaining about that, but they are all so similar these days, and generally unhelpful when it comes to the information a park visitor wants to know.  There is a lot of info on ticket plans, but little info on what makes each park unique.

So, it is a treat to find books specifically about each park.  As far as I can tell, Kurt Smith is the only person putting out volumes about each specific MLB venue.

The volumes are very individual, though they do cover some of the same needed information at each park.  Each guide discusses ticket prices, good deals on tickets, seating sections, how to get to the park, and park food.

In my previous post about Miller Park I mentioned the traffic issues going on with I-94.  Well, Kurt updates his e-guides, so he tipped me off about the travel concerns for the area before I got there!

I also mentioned that I attended a very affordable exhibition game this year at Miller Park, but Kurt's tips about tickets will come in handy the next time I am there.  I like the thought of scoring a Uecker ticket just to say I did it (and to save a ton of $$$)!  I also like the tip Kurt offers on a jersey/ticket deal offered by the Brewers!

Not only do the E-Guides discuss the ticket deals and how to get them, the guides offer general practical advice (he discusses the pros and cons of the various ticket options- like, are the Uecker seats really worth the price?).

Anytime I go to a new destination I want to make sure I don't miss anything.  I think that is the part of the E-Guides I enjoy the most.  Kurt makes sure that you don't miss anything at the park!

Sure, everyone knows about the Sausage Race in Milwaukee, but there are many other things someone could easily miss without being tipped off by a buddy.  Personally, I knew to keep my eyes peeled for a unique food item in a half sized helmet thanks to the E-Guide (I love a food/souvenir combo).

The Ballpark E-Guide to Miller park also tipped me off about the tailgating that goes on at Miller Park!  Even if you are not a tailgater, there is something VERY cool about the vibe that goes on before the game.  You kind of have to keep the tailgating situation in mind, even if you are not participating in the tailgating, because it can influence traffic.  Kurt's guide tells you what you need to know about the pregame parking lot festival, and how to be ready for it!

I came in to the park away from the front entrance.  Without the E-Guide, I may have missed walking by the monument to the construction workers and Halfaer Field.  BUT, since I read the E-Guide, I knew that these were sites that I had to catch as I left the park.  I also knew some history behind these extra attractions!

The E-Guides are packed with simple, general tips that one might not think about when visiting a park.  For example, Kurt mentions that there are many festivals during certain months in Milwaukee.  He suggests being aware of this when you are booking your hotel.

I think Kurt Smith is obsessed with getting the most out of a trip to a MLB venue.  He is very aware of being thrifty with money while at (and around) the park.  He wants to make sure that anyone who reads his guides gets the most out of their experience. 

Kurt is a great guy to know too.  I have sent him some emails here and there, and he always gives a thoughtful response.  As I mentioned before, I sent him a note about my Milwaukee plans before the season started when I asked about his Miller Park Guide.  He sent a helpful note answering everything I had asked him, and figuring out which game to try to go to (pre-season exhibition game or 1st or 2nd game of the season).  Kurt is an extremely helpful guy to get to know if you visit a new MLB park or two each year.

One last point I want to make concerning the benefits to using a Ballpark E-Guide, ESPECIALLY compared to the official team sites.  With the E-Guides, you get many pros and cons of the stadiums.  Kurt tells you that you might have to wait in line for hours for certain tickets.  He tells you about traffic concerns.  The cost of parking is covered.  Kurt is very open about letting you know if he feels that a pricey, over promoted seating or food option is best avoided.  He also lets you know about some bargains that might be tough to catch if you are not paying attention.  You can't get that information from the official sites!

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