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Welcome to Opening Day at Miller Park

by Mark Daniels

The Baseball season is here at last. Welcome to Miller Park for the 2014 season opener for the Milwaukee Brewers as they take on the Atlanta Braves. The joint will be jumping as fans arrived early for the most extravagant tailgate parties of the year, buoyed by spring like temperatures at last. Inside, plenty of new things at Miller Park, from brand new grass, helped along with special grow lights on loan from the Green Bay Packers. Considering the frozen tundra like winter, the huge lights on rollable supports did the job as the carpet looks mid-summer lush. There's a new video board which will get a workout now that instant replays have been expanded to include managerial challanges this year. There's even a new mascot that could put the racing sausages to shame, Hank the dog, adopted by the club when it strolled into the Maryvale complex this spring. Before the first pitch, Brewers owner Mark Attanasio and General Manager Doug Melvin met with the media for about 40 minutes.

There was plenty of optimism coming from both but the dark financial clouds hovering a small market club may never go away. Attanasio said it's hard not ignore the 230 million dollar payroll being shelled out by the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, tops in the big leagues, then there's the New York Yankees who slide to number 2 at 203 million. The Brewers are in the middle of the pack, an expected payroll in the neighborhood of 93 million dollars. Attanasio talked about the challenges of trying to compete on a level baseball diamond when the financial ledgers aren't nearly so level:

Game 1 of 162 is about to begin with everyone in first place.