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Get Up, Get Outta Here, Go Away Jim Caple

In Sports on June 22, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Josh Koebert

Jim Caple, we have a problem.

Now, Jim, I normally enjoy your work. You get paid to write about ballparks and quirky stores and other interesting things in the world of sports, and you normally do a fantastic job. I often find your work informative and engaging. Good work, Jim.

But right now, me and you are enemies. You besmirched the name of one of my favorite places on the planet this week on multiple occasions, and this aggression will not stand man. I am more than willing to throw hands with you on this one.

I am, of course, talking about ESPN’s Battle of the Ballparks competition. In it, Caple ranked all 30 ballparks in Major League Baseball and pitted them against one another in a bracket-style tourney, with fan voting determining the outcomes of each matchup. Along the way a funny thing happened: Miller Park kept winning. 

Now, let me tell you why this led to so much wailing and gnashing of teeth. First off, Miller Park was ranked 24th. 24TH! A gorgeous ballpark that is just a little more than a decade old, with a retractable roof, some of the most affordable pricing in baseball, and the best tailgating on the planet was ranked twenty-freaking-fourth.

Want to know where 98-year-old Wrigley Field was ranked? Sixth. I’ve been to Wrigley, I’ve even worked from the press box there. Want to know the best word to describe the place?

Shithole.

Yes it’s a monument to historic and hilarious futility, yes the ivy is pretty cool, and yes, it’s address is used as a joke in The Blues Brothers, all true facts that are well and good. But more importantly it’s falling apart, the seats are cramped, it gets stupidly hot, ticket prices are absurd, and it’s completely vulnerable to mother nature’s insane whims. Plus Old Style is gross.

And those are just the problems the average fan will encounter. Having been granted more access than that in the past I can tell you, the problems with the place run much, much deeper.

Historic cathedral of baseball? Or sadistic death trap plotting the demise of it’s next victim? (Hint: The second one)

Or take Fenway, the other hallowed hall of baseball. I’ve been there too, and while I will admit it is much, much, much, MUCH better than Wrigley, tickets and food are through the roof, the seats are insanely cramped, and a number of the sight lines are horrible. Not to mention the lack of a roof. Yet Fenway landed at number two, largely on the strength of nostalgia and The Big Green Monster.

So maybe that’s the problem, Caple just leans towards older stadiums.

NOPE.

Ranked first and third are PNC Park in Pittsburgh and AT&T Park in San Francisco, opened in 2001 (just like Miller Park) and 2000, respectively.

But you know what? I think I could get over the rankings snub as long as Mr. Caple would let the fans rectify his error in peace.

Of course that didn’t happen. In the final four matchup between Miller and PNC Caple wrote the following:

We may need another recall election in Wisconsin.

This is your bracket, your vote. But a close look at the vote totals and late vote patterns shows that Milwaukee fans have done a great job of getting out that vote. That’s also a way of saying they are heavily influencing the vote as well. How else to explain Milwaukee’s Miller Park, the No. 24 seed, upsetting the No. 1 seed, Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, in the Elite Eight?

This is not said out of malice toward Milwaukee. I like the Brewers. I like Milwaukee. Heck, my parents met there! If it wasn’t for Milwaukee, I wouldn’t exist. And despite what Wisconsin Super PAC ads might imply, I have been to Miller Park. In fact, I even ran the sausage race there.

But as we head into the Final Four, here’s hoping the other cities get behind their ballparks so that the eventual champion is, shall we say, a little more reflective of the national view. Don’t make us call in the Supreme Court to decide this!

Seriously guy? Your lame attempts at covering your butt with that junk about your parents and yada yada yada *fart noise* can’t cover up your incredible bias against Miller Park. I’m a die-hard Houston Astros fan, at times I stone cold HATE the Brewers, but I can admit they have a stadium so kick ass that I want to be there no matter who is playing in it.

Why can’t you at least admit that maybe lots of other people feel the same way and you just don’t “get it?” If the place didn’t click with you on any of your encounters there that’s fine, sometimes people and places don’t connect the way they do with most others. No big deal. But please don’t insist that something is wrong with everyone that it DID connect with. Lots of people love Miller Park, myself included, and we can rave about it for days. Just because Jim Caple isn’t one of us doesn’t make us the wrong ones in contest that is completely freaking arbitrary and based on personal preference.

If you wanted things to go down exactly as you drew it up then don’t include fan voting. I guarantee you will never once get a bracket like this with all chalk on matters relating to personal preference, and to think otherwise is incredibly asinine and unbelievably egotistical. If you were going to get pissy if people disagreed with your rankings you should have simply released your list and been done with it.

Instead you let the fans decide, a system I feel actually is more reflective of a national view than that of one man, and that view sees Miller Park as I do, an incredibly fun place to spend the day eating, drinking, and watching baseball.

In the final column of the competition you try to cover your tracks a bit, congratulating Milwaukeeans and saying how the rankings are arbitrary and based on preference, despite calling it an upset at the start of said column (also despite comparing the stadium to an airport terminal earlier in the day). Listen Jim, Miller Park was only ranked 24th TO YOU. It is only an upset TO YOU. This poll showed a lot of people disagreed, and your insistence on constantly needling those who disagreed and undermined the grand goals of your precious poll was ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as my writing over 1,000 words on what is, ultimately, a pointless topic (well, MORE pointless than most topics in sports anyway).

But hey, Jim, there’s no real reason we can’t be friends. You don’t like Miller Park, I love it. To each his own.

Still, next time you’re in town I’d love to take you out tailgating and try to change your mind.

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