The Brewers are charging taverns and bars $300 to run their Miller Park shuttles this coming season. The team says it needs the cash, in part, to pay for traffic control at the intersection of Blue Mound and Story Park where some of the buses come and go.
Wouldn't you think there'd be a cop there, no matter what, considering the way the club is drawing? Why is traffic control deemed optional at that intersection, we wondered on the air? Someone who lives there says, oh yes, it is.
Okay, someone has to pick up the tab for the cop. I get that. But is this just another chance for the Brewers to strike while the iron is hot? Sure, they lose parking revenue from people who leave their rides in a saloon parking lot, but the people that come in the shuttles and buses have tickets and spend money at Miller Park. And, how many times isn't the team pleading with fans to find other ways to get to the stadium because of clogged lots? Don't the tavern shuttles help alleviate the crunch?
The paper says as many as 30 bars run buses to the ballpark. At $300 per, that's $9,000. That seems like a small price to pay for a little neighborhood goodwill. Don't the regular parking fees paid by the thousands of other fans who come by car cover the cost of administering the lots and providing traffic control?
I hope it is what the Brewers say it is, and not a money-grab by the team while times are good. I get why they charge what they do for beer, food and tickets. You've got to make hay while the sun shines. They have to remember, though, that what goes up also comes down. I've heard more than one bar owner grouse about supporting the team in days gone by with big Opening Day parties when the Brewers couldn't GIVE those tickets away now having to beg for seats--or getting totally turned away. These are the people who stood behind the club when times were lean. It's probably not a good idea to squeeze that low-hanging fruit now while times are good because sooner or later, the pendulum will swing the other way.
The first concern should be fan safety. The second should be who pays.