Baseballs have broken enough windows over the years. So, it’s nice to see the two concepts come together in a friendlier way – celebrating America’s Pastime with the Window’s Phone Baseball Bucket List.
Three lucky traveling journalists/video bloggers – Steve Gebhardt, John Tarnutolo and videographer Anthony Halwagy – are living a baseball fan’s dream by visiting 11 different Major League ballparks – including Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium for tonight’s MLB All-Star Game.
The tour is sponsored by Microsoft to promote its new Windows Phone – a bright and cheery smartphone competitor for the omnipresent iPhone. While the three baseball lovers get to travel the country and sample the atmosphere of multiple sports temples, they’re also promoting Microsoft’s new phone to game attendees around the country.
CraveOnline caught up to the tour as it swung into Miller Park, the home of the Milwaukee Brewers. Last year’s National League Central Champions were hosting the Arizona Diamondbacks – the team Ryan Braun and company took out of the playoffs before losing to the eventual World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Miller Park opened in 2001 and seats just short of 42,000 fans. The stadium can squeeze in a few extra folks if they’re willing to sit in the $1 obstructed view “Uecker Seats” – named for longtime voice of the Brewers, Major League Baseball Hall of Fame Broadcasting Wing inductee and Mr. Baseball, Bob Uecker.
It’s the only park in the big leagues – and the only stadium in North America – to feature a fanning roof that can open and close in 10 minutes in the event of rain or snow. The bucket list boys didn’t get a chance to witness that spectacle as 90 degree heat settled over the joint to welcome the Diamondbacks from the Valley of the Sun.
Brewer staff lead Gebhardt, Tarnutolo and Halwagy on an insider’s look at the ballpark, including a trip down onto the field while both teams took batting practice and loosed up their arms in the outfield.
After acknowledging that a baseball game would be played out on the diamond that night, all three men headed off to visit the real reason most fans come to Miller Park – the food. There’s nothing pre-packed or fast food-generated for Milwaukee baseball. All of the cuisine – from the basic bratwurst to the gourmet brisket – is unique to the park and made onsite.
John Demartini, Miller Park’s executive chef, introduced to a gourmet southwestern menu prepared for fans to honor the night’s opponent. But, the stars of Brewer baseball’s gastronomy tour were the Giant Slugger and the Meat Parfait.
Before you throw up, understand that the latter is not some horrific concoction of chicken and soft serve. Instead, it’s layers of fresh mashed potatoes layered with pulled pork and barbecued beef made to resemble a dessert.
The Giant Slugger is a decadent creation to behold. There's no better way to put it, so…It's a two-foot weiner – a gourmet hot dog served in a matching pretzel bun. Selling for $26, the dog is covered in chili and cheese, cut up into seven slices and sent out to feed whatever tag team decided to challenge it. The massive frankfurter is a fitting treat for a stadium famed for featuring giant racing costumed sausages every night in the sixth inning.
Gebhardt, Tarnutolo and Halwagy had come from the decaying, but lively confines of Chicago’s Wrigley Field the previous night and found Miller Park an impressive rival.
“This is a beautiful ballpark,” Tarnutolo said. “We loved Fenway and the New Yankee Stadium, but (Miller Park) is easily one of the most impressive we’ve seen.”
“And it easily has the best food of any park we visited,” Gebhardt added. “Hands down.”
The three baseball lovers managed to distribute some Windows Phone paraphernalia, including some actual Nokia Lumia 900 phones for a few lucky fans. As the Diamondbacks closed out a 9-3 whooping on the banged-up Brewers, Gebhardt, Tarnutolo and Halwagy witnessed MLB history as Aaron Hill hit for the cycle for the second time in two weeks.
They barely had a chance to enjoy their huge hotdog before packing up and heading out to the west coast for other stadium visits.
The Windows Phone Baseball Bucket List closes out on Friday, July 13 in Microsoft’s backyard of Seattle.