By Samantha Haise

For the first time since the completion of Miller Park, The Milwaukee Brewers are rolling out a series of changes to encourage their fans to get excited about the upcoming year.  From the ballpark to the players on the field, the Brewers are introducing substantial changes everywhere we look inside the ballpark.  Here is a preview of some of the many upgrades the Brewers organization has set in place for 2017.

New Team

Though their 2016 record of 73-89 wasn’t very memorable, there was some measurable progress made in comparison to previous years. Our hometown franchise continued their small but meaningful successes in what was their first full year under new GM David Stearns.  The 30-year old Harvard alumnus spent three years as the assistant General Manager for the Houston Astros before owner Mark Attanasio hired him full time here in Milwaukee.

Stearns is said to be making the Brewer’s farm system one of the best in the league.  The plan is for the burgeoning farm system to have a trickle up effect.  Brewers fans have been waiting patiently since the 2011 NLCS for a trip to the playoffs, so it’s fair to say that hopes have every right to be high when it comes to the ‘new kid’ in town.

As for the team itself, two new starters will be introduced at both first and third base. Since the Brewers let home run champion Chris Carter leave at the end of the season, let’s start with who’s on first.  This offseason, the Brewers acquired Eric Thames.  After spending his past few seasons playing the in the Korean Baseball Organization, we’ll be watching to see how he handles the transition back to the majors.

The Brewers are looking at another left-handed bat in third baseman, Travis Shaw, who was acquired from the Boston Red Sox.  The Brewers hope his bat will add a new dimension to manager Craig Counsel’s lineup, and that he can handle the rigors of playing every day.

At Shortstop, the Brewers have invested their faith in rookie, Orlando Arcia.  Arcia played two months for the Brewers in the 2016 campaign.  However, his weak bat needs to improve.

The competition at catcher to replace Jonathan Lucroy remains wide open as several candidates vie for the position in spring training this year.  Ryan Braun is the last remaining member of the championship team from five years ago, but even his position is in jeopardy. If he hasn’t found himself in a secure position by the trade deadline, fans should look for top rated prospects Lewis Brinson and Corey Ray to see the field later this season.

New Park
In the single biggest upgrade to the park since 2001, Miller Park will introduce a full-on rebuild of its food and beverage infrastructure. Some call it a comprehensive makeover while others say it’s another rebuilding initiative.  Semantics aside,  the effort is a long-overdue and welcome change to what was becoming a stale collective menu.

A total of eleven new concession stands along with a food truck will kick off the makeover to boost the credibility of the stadium not only as a baseball park, but as an entertainment destination and a better representation of the city of Milwaukee.

Part of being a Milwaukee Brewers fan is taking pride in the Brew City. In efforts to pay homage to the city that built the team, Miller Park has unveiled a concession stand that will have up to 30 local and microbrews on tap.

The food concessions are getting an upgrade in quality and variety. No longer is it just brats and burgers and giant bags of popcorn. Many of the new stands put quite the twist on what all of us would consider ballpark food.  Some new options include Smoke Shack Barbeque, Holy Moley Doughnuts and Milwaukee’s own Zaffiro’s thin crust pizza. These new, tasty favorites at the park are located all throughout the stadium and are sure to tease your tastebuds as you stroll the many reimagined mezzanines at the park.

But for those of you who really just want that classic brat to go with your Local Brew, an entire menu of All-Natural Klement’s sausage will be sold exclusively at Miller Park.

Other new offerings have roots in Wisconsin’s very dairy culinary traditions. Fans will be lining up for Cheese Curds, Mac and Cheese, frozen custard and tacos, along with and many other ballpark favorites. So baseball players may come and go, but in Milwaukee, cheese, sausage and beer last forever.

New Theme Nights

The goal for any baseball team’s owners group is to put a great product on the field.  Achieving that goal will sell tickets and concessions and team apparel and create success and profits and happy fans.  However, if the owners fall short of that original idea, they need a plan B to fill the stands.  Here in Milwaukee, that plan B is 18 different Theme Nights at Miller Park.

While we may not hit the coveted 3,000,000 number in total attendance this year, it won’t be for a lack of trying.  The Brewers have announced their most comprehensive Theme Night roster ever.  It includes movie and television show franchises, famous bands, hobby theme nights and many more.

There is a theme night for Brewers fans of all ages and tastes.  Whether you are intergalactically inclined (Star Wars Night), love superheroes (Marvel Super Heroes Day), wear tie-dye t-shirts or want to bring your canine friend to the park (Bark at the Park), there are many options this year.

Please note, ticket packages for each Theme Night are limited and the promotional items are only available for those fans who purchase Theme Night ticket packages.

Peanuts Night and Hello Kitty Night should help fill the seats with the kids while the Taste of Miller Park and Zubapalooza should really bring out some of Milwaukee’s finest.

New Hopes for the Future

The time has come for a new generation of sports fan to find themselves backing the Crew as they battle their way to victory. With exciting innovations to the park and new faces on the field, the upcoming season could prove to be the start of something great for the city as a whole.

4/22 – Beatles Tribute Night

4/29 – Runner’s Night

4/30 – Autism Awareness Day

5/10 – Sportsman’s Night

5/13 – Star Wars™ Night

5/26 – Zubazpalooza

5/27 – Taste of Miller Park

6/3 – Marvel Super Heroes™ Day

6/6 – Bark at the Park

6/7 – Stitch ’N Pitch

6/16 – Peanuts© Night

6/17 – Faith Day

8/1-8/3 – Educator Days

8/2 – Hello Kitty® Night

8/9 – Grateful Dead Tribute Night

8/11 – Law Enforcement Night

8/15 – Game of Thrones® Night

9/2 – Coaches vs. Cancer Night

9/13 – Sportsman’s Night