The Mallards

Pardon me for being tardy in pimping the start of the Madison Mallards season. The Mallards got off to a less-than-quacktastic (sorry) start though, as they dropped their first game to the Thunder Bay Border Cats 6-1.

I have absolutely nothing against the Mallards or their league and I can appreciate their place in the entertainment spectrum of the city. But I get a little tired of hearing people wax effusive at how inexpensive it is to take in a Mallards game at Warner Park. Usually these comments are accompanied by complaints about the expense of going to Brewers games.

Well, as my grandfather would say (at least when he was sober), “you get what you pay for.” Last time I checked the team was in the amateur North Woods League and is comprised of players who often aren’t able to make even minor league rosters. Think of who you can possibly see play when you make the trek to Miller Park: Besides Brewers Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, and Geoff Jenkins, you could have the opportunity to see Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, Andruw Jones, or even Roger Clemens. Take in a Mallards game and you might see — well, Danny Dressman or Bobby Hubbard or even Jordan Wolf. Nice guys probably, but no one likely to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. And I’m sorry, but Mallards vs. the Waterloo Bucks or Rochester Honkers just doesn’t excite me like Brewers vs. Cubs or Brewers vs. Cardinals.

And by the way, you can get into Miller Park for $12, so it’s not like we’re talking about the difference between buying an iPod and buying a ViewMaster. And if you’re going to complain about the gas money spent driving from the Madison area to Miller Park, why not make a whole day of it and take the kids to the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum or go to the Mitchell Park Conservatory? Then you’ll get your $2.89 a gallon worth. Or stop at the Johnson Creek outlet stores on the way. Guys, your lady friend will appreciate it, and maybe she’ll even let you stop off at the Arby’s next door for a Beef ‘N Cheddar.

Again, if you love the Mallards, more power to you. But just don’t compare the experience to going to a Brewers game at Miller Park. I have a baseball-obsessed friend who to me perfectly sums up how seriously you can compare the two: He goes to many Brewers games every year and each time always arrives early and stays far after the final out. He attended the Mallards opener . . . sort of. Actually, he just stuck around long enough to get his free stuff the Mallards gave out on the first night and promptly left. Had to get home to watch Baseball Tonight and see what was going on in the real baseball world.

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