Brewer batteries are in training camp. The Brewers and Amtrak are working to build ridership.
The Milwaukee Brewers today announced a new promotion designed in part to give Brewers' fans a chance to cheer their team on at Wrigley Field just as Chicago Cubs fans do at Miller Park.

The team and Amtrak announced details of an away game trip that includes a train trip to Chicago and special T-shirts for the Sept. 17 game between the Brewers and the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

The promotion is being called Miller Park South. Here's how it will work: On Feb. 20, the Cubs will put individual tickets on sale. The first 100 fans who bring their game ticket for that Sept. 17 game will receive a voucher for a free, round-trip ticket on the Amtrak-Hiawatha train to that day's game.

Along with the free train ride, fans will get a special Miller Park South T-shirt.

After the first 100 transportation vouchers are issued, the Brewers will provide the next 1,500 fans that bring their Sept. 17 game ticket to Miller Park’s “Big League Blast” retail store with a free Brewers-branded Miller Park South – September 17, 2009 T-shirt.

On Sept. 17, Amtrak Hiawatha Train 334 will depart from the Milwaukee Intermodal Amtrak station at 11 a.m. and from the Milwaukee Airport station at 11:10 a.m., with a return trip from Chicago at 8:05 p.m. on Amtrak Hiawatha Train 341. Travel time for the full route (one-way) is only 89 minutes. Upon pick-up of a transportation voucher set, each fan will also receive a map with directions to Wrigley Field. Additional information will be posted on Feb. 20 at the Brewers' Web site and the AmtrakHiawatha Web site. The start time for the Sept. 17 game is 1:20 p.m.
The promotion isn't playing real well with the commenters at the Journal-Sentinel post.

The train-ride part of it is kludgy. Brewer fans have to purchase a ticket from the Cubs (perhaps by making a trip to Chicago) and redeem it in Milwaukee. The promotion is limited to 100 seats, no doubt for cost reasons, but unless the Amtrak capital spending in the stimulus package has identified full-size Atlas cars ready-to-run and we don't have to wait for Christmas, those 100 additional passengers well might overload the train.

They then have to make their way to This Property Is Condemned, in Yuppie Hell. The train arrives at 12.29, if all is well. That allows just enough time to walk east to State Street and ride the Dan Ryan - Howard line north to Addison and maybe be there in time for the first pitch. (Too bad there's not a North Shore Line: the 11.00 Electroliner set down at Wilson at 12.31, and it was not unknown for trains to set down at Addison. Getting it to pick up at Grange Avenue, just northeast of the Airport Station, was another matter).

I did get a kick out of that "only 89 minutes". Yes, when you have to contemplate an hour to the Lake Forest Oasis, another half hour to the interchange near O'Hare, and potentially another hour plus from O'Hare to This Property is Condemned, that sounds attractive. Regular readers will know, however, that the figure of merit for Milwaukee to Chicago is 75 minutes.

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