Wisconsinites unite: Miller Park, Ryan Braun in tight contests

MILWAUKEE – Wisconsinites don’t shy away from state politics, but nothing gets out the vote more than supporting our own. And now, two of our local greats need your support.

ESPN.com is currently running a bracket fan vote to determine Major League Baseball’s best ballpark. Titled “Battle of the Ballparks,” Miller Park was originally seeded 24th, despite numerous fan and media surveys in recent years that rated the facility as one of the best in sports. Brewers fans have united, however, and toppled three heavy favorites (Angel Stadium, Dodger Stadium, and #1 seed PNC Park) in advancing to the “Final Four.” The semi-final round of voting has Miller Park up against one of baseball’s most iconic venues, Camden Yards, a worthy opponent in any popularity contest.

Though the current ESPN.com story has posted remarks critical of Miller Park, others nationally seem to disagree with this assessment. In recent national polls, both from fans and media, Miller Park has fared extraordinarily well. In fact, the same ESPN.com’s  2011 “Ultimate Rankings” listed Miller Park as the eighth-best stadium among those representing all 122 major league sports franchises. (http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/teamrankings#table).

Fans can vote today and tomorrow at ESPN.com by searching for “Battle of the Ballparks” in the search engine on the website. The link is also prominently featured on ESPN.com’s main Major League Baseball page.

On the All Star voting front, reigning National League MVP Ryan Braun is in a hotly contested race for the third and final starting outfield spot. In the most recent balloting, Braun was fourth, but just 1% behind third place Melky Cabrera.

Braun currently leads the National League in home runs (20) and is in the NL’s top five in total bases (T1st, 156), RBI (T2nd, 51), slugging percentage (T2nd, .627), extra-base hits (T3rd, 34), runs (T4th, 47), and on-base percentage (5th, .400). He also ranks in the top 10 in batting average (8th, .321) and hits (T9th, 80). Braun also is the only Brewers player ever to be voted in as a starter in four consecutive All Star Games.

The Brewers today are unveiling a “Vote Braun” campaign to help drive momentum in the final week of voting. The campaign includes new creative for signage, billboards, radio/television, and social media.

At brewers.com, all fans voting 21 or more times for their favorite Brewers will be entered into a drawing to win Ryan Braun’s Miller Park Suite for a night, complete with tickets, food and a personal visit from the 2011 National League MVP. There is a maximum of 25 votes per email address.  More information and rules may be found at brewers.com. Additionally, fans voting online will be eligible to purchase Field Outfield and Club Outfield seats for select Brewers games at a savings of up to 50% (details available after voting at Brewers.com).

“Wisconsin sports fans over-deliver in every way, and this shows why it’s not a cliché to say that we have the best fans in all of sports,” said Brewers Chief Operating Officer Rick Schlesinger. “You can look at any measure, from All Star voting to the record attendance numbers at Miller Park, and it says volumes about how the local fan base supports our teams.”