This article has been updated since it was originally published on Feb. 8, 2018.
The Milwaukee Brewers are doing their darndest to make sure Miller Park doesn’t turn into Wrigley Field North again this year. Now we'll see if it makes any difference.
The team announced in February a unique opportunity for Wisconsin residents to purchase advance tickets to any of the 10 Milwaukee home games against the Chicago Cubs this season. The presale, the first of its kind for the club, allowed in-state Brewers fans with a valid Wisconsin address the chance to call dibs on and grab up to eight seats early for any of the home matchups against the Cubs. Milwaukee hosts Chicago for a four-game series starting Thursday.
"The Crew wants Miller Park to be filled with loud and proud Wisconsin fans when they cheer on the boys of summer against their division foe this year," the Brewers said in a release.
It was a cool idea and an admirable, attention-grabbing attempt at solving a problem the Brewers, and their own fans, helped create. In recent years, the club increased ticket prices for games against the Cubs, deterring cost-conscious locals and attracting Chicago fans accustomed to paying even more to go to Wrigley Field and happy to drive up I-94 for a pleasant ballpark experience. Exacerbating the problem, Brewers fans – viewing the games as profit opportunities – often sold their in-demand tickets on the secondary market, allowing Cubs supporters to snatch them at a relative discount.
Will the ticket promotion work? We'll find out. Certainly, holding a Wisconsin-only presale is not a panacea to the annual Cubs-fan takeover of Miller Park. There are loads of Lovable Loser-loving losers in Racine and Kenosha who are eligible, and services like Stubhub still will provide resells.
Something that might help this season is the fact that only three of the 10 Brewers-Cubs games at Miller Park are on the weekend, all of them in this series, as compared to nine of 10 in their 2017 series. Let’s hope that if Travis Shaw hits a walk-off home run in Milwaukee again this year, this time the home crowd is deafening.
Interestingly, the Bucks tried this a few years ago for their 2015 playoff series against the Bulls, holding a Wisconsin-resident presale and even giving away tickets to fans who swapped red gear at the game for green. And, while it probably helped a little bit, any Bucks fan who was at the BMO Harris Bradley Center knows there were still far too many people rooting for the Bulls at those games. Our message, ostensibly, to Chicagoans: we want you to move here and work, not drive up and cheer against us.
The Brewers have outright courted Chicagoans in the past (remember when an ex-Bears player threw out the opening pitch in a game at Miller Park?) and Milwaukee fans and businesses have used the series to make money rather than cheer the home team. But the presale indicated the club is serious about retaking its home field advantage. That change in attitude, at least, is a welcome one for the suddenly and encouragingly ambitious Brew Crew.
Anyway, here's what some people on Twitter thought about the news back in February:
They've done Wrigley North to themselves by jacking up the ticket prices. As a Brewers fan, why would I pay a premium to see the Cubs when I am there to watch the Crew and can go to two games for the price of one Cubs game? — Todd Fabos (@TheRichAndFabos) February 8, 2018
So many (most?) of the Cub fans that go to these games are from Wisconsin, and I'm sure it just means more end up on the secondary market — akschaaf (@akschaaf) February 8, 2018
I’m still happy the club can take their money, but it sure does a lot to ensure there is a lot more knowledgeable, ethical and less obnoxious baseball fans at Miller during those series, and a much more even ratio at that. Much appreciated @Brewers — Jonathan Powell (@jonathannashhh) February 8, 2018
Not a bad idea, but the issue isn't availability - it's prices. As long as it's significantly cheaper for Cubs fans to get secondary market tickets to Miller Park than it is for them to buy Wrigley tickets, they're going to flood into Milwaukee. Plus, y'all have much better food. — Josh Zembik (@jzembik) February 8, 2018
Based on interactions I've experienced or witnessed between CHC and MIL fans at MP, I understand wanting to avoid those games.
This isn't foolproof, but at least the Brewers are trying something. — Laura Hemming (@hemming_hawing) February 8, 2018
"Wrigley North" is an all-around better experience than Wrigley South. Brewers did it to themselves by making Miller Park such a convenient, affordable, comfortable and enjoyable experience. I say lean into it: put up a billboard in downtown Chicago saying "Come to Miller Park!" — Nicholas Martin (@nickabdcrane) February 8, 2018
I think it's hilariously sad — Adam Bowen (@AdamBowen13) February 8, 2018
Wisconsin-resident scalpers win. Everyone else loses. — Ryan Madden (@RyanAMadden) February 8, 2018
They know Kenosha is sill in Wisconsin right? — J.S. (@olsenjolsen) February 8, 2018
I get the thought process 100%, but as a brewer fan from Illinois this sucks — Erik (@wisconsin888) February 8, 2018
"A" for effort, however there are too many Cubs fans that live around here. — Craig Lopacinski (@CraigatNeptune) February 8, 2018
By raising prices on these games the Brewers created "Wrigley North". Crew fans don’t want to pay extra to see the Cubs, most prefer to avoid the Chi fans, and the FIBs will pay to come to MKE. Happy the club makes extra money, but it’s at the expense of home field advantage. — JoeDiggity19 (@Joebot19) February 8, 2018
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.