By: Joe Strupp
Would Cleveland Indians fans drive to Milwaukee, Wis. to watch their team play? The Plain Dealer seems to think so. With severe snowstorms canceling four home games this past weekend in Cleveland, Major League Baseball has decided to move the team’s next three-game series, against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, to Milwaukee.
So, for die-hard fans of “the Tribe” who may travel the 430 miles to Beer City, the Plain Dealer has published a guide to Milwaukee, complete with the best food and hotel ideas; local casino alternatives; and even where to find the favorite custard of Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, a Milwaukee resident and former Milwaukee Brewers owner.
The Cleveland daily has even printed a map to Wisconsin, with tips for how to avoid traffic problems through Chicago. Sports Editor Roy Hewitt said the sudden change did not cause major problems for the paper, which is sending just one writer to Milwaukee. “That is what we do with most road games,” he said. “It is just more expensive, but our writer is used to traveling and making quick changes.”
Hewitt said he has spoken with the sports editor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in an effort to find a stringer there for a possible story on Clevelanders following the team for this trip. He also said the Plain Dealer may use a Journal Sentinel story on the out-of-towners if one is written.
In Milwaukee, meanwhile, the Journal Sentinel is not ignoring the unusual game being played in nearby Miller Park. Garry Howard, Journal Sentinel assistant managing editor/sports, said one of his staffers will cover the games, with a regular story, box scores, and a photo each day. He also said that one of his reporters will write a story on Cleveland fans for the Plain Dealer.
“We are doing a story for them, they are paying him,” Howard said.
A fan forum on the Journal Sentinel site has more than 300 comments from Milwaukee fans, with most glad to have the opportunity to attend the game, for which tickets are selling at a paltry $10 per seat.
On a Plain Dealer Web forum, the move has sparked a bit of an online fan fight, with some Milwaukee residents teasing their Cleveland counterparts over having no roof on their stadium and losing their team to Wisconsin for three days. “Hello Cleveland! We Milwaukeeans are looking forward to hosting your great team for the next three days in our beautiful COVERED ballpark!” one comment stated. “Your loss is our gain, and there is a lot of buzz here about this opportunity to host this historic series.”
The Journal Sentinel editorial page, meanwhile, weighed in with a welcoming editorial that stated, “Some may call it just old-fashioned Midwestern hospitality. OK, but it’s also about even more baseball for metro Milwaukee,” adding “Mi stadium es su stadium.” But the Journal Sentinel editors apparently couldn’t help but rub Cleveland’s face in the fact that their stadium, Jacob’s Field, has no retractable roof, as Miller Park does. “A roof comes in hand,” the editorial said.
The Journal Sentinel also noted that this series is somewhat like life imitating art, reminding readers that Milwaukee once stood in for Cleveland on the big screen when the 1989 film “Major League,” about a fictional Indians team, was filmed at Milwaukee County Stadium, the Brewer’s former home.