The Best Seat in the Ballpark

Ever wonder what it’s like to walk along the roofline at Miller Park? For Erik Olson and Chris Stranak, it’s just another day at the office.

Sitting on Top of the World

Undoubtedly, Miller Park’s most recognized feature is the roof. Perhaps you’ve looked up and seen someone standing along the truss and wondered, “What it’s like to walk along the retractable roofline at Miller Park?” For Erik Olson and Chris Stranak from Uihlein Electric, it’s just another day at the office.

What are you doing today along the roofline at Miller Park?

A: Today we are troubleshooting the sports lighting and conducting a vibration analysis on the roof bogey motors.

How do you get to the roof at Miller Park?

A: To get to the roof we take an elevator to the Terrace Level and then walk six flights of stairs to a special landing.  To access the lights, we walk along a “rainbow catwalk” to reach each fixture and panel.  The catwalk is 200 feet above the field at its highest point.

What is it like walking along the roof line at Miller Park?

A: The roof line can be a little overwhelming at first, but once you get used to it, it’s very safe.  We always wear a safety harness and hook into the tag line whenever we’re working on something.  The wind is relatively calm inside the bowl, but when we’re out on the track beam, where the roof rides the rails, the wind can exceed over 30 miles-per-hour.  The wind gusts are sometimes cold; otherwise, it’s pretty comfortable, and you can always duck under a roof panel to catch a break from the wind.  The thing that is unique about our job is we get to see the whole Milwaukee skyline from the top of the stadium and can view the fireworks across different horizons during a night game.

What does Uihlein Electric do at Miller Park, to keep it running for game day?

A: Many hours are spent maintaining and upgrading the facility to keep the fans of Milwaukee happy and proud of their ballpark.  Uihlein Electric services all of the power and lighting as well as the associated roof equipment.  Our job includes maintaining light fixtures, signage, phone/data, air conditioning equipment, and fire alarms.  We also work on the Daktronics display systems including the ribbon board, pro-fence, scoreboard, and marquee.  If power is involved, Uihlein Electric is involved.  For the 2017 season, we were part of the $18 million in renovations made to the food and beverage concession stand areas, as well as updates made to the new Northwestern Mutual Legends Club and Club Suites.

From this unusual vantage point, is there anything else you want to share about your experience?

A: Uihlein Electric provides around the clock care to the facility not only for the 81 home games but throughout the year.  This year will be our 13th season at Miller Park. Miller Park is a one-of-a-kind building, and we are focused on making the fan experience, an enjoyable one.  Sometimes we are teased and asked, “You get to watch baseball for a living?!” We wish it were that easy.  During the season, Miller Park is our home-away-from-home; and when things run smoothly, we know we’ve done our job right.

Facts about Miller Park

  • Official Rules about balls hitting the roof:
    • A batted ball that strikes the roof (truss, or cable) over fair territory: In Play. If caught by a fielder, the batter is out, and runners advance at own risk.
    • A batted ball that strikes the roof (truss, or cable) over foul territory: Dead Ball.
  • The roof at Miller Park is the only fan-shaped convertible roof in North America.
  • The 12,000-ton, seven-panel roof opens and closes almost silently in just 10 minutes.
  • The roof reaches 200 feet above the playing field. Outside, the highest arch towers 30 stories above the ground.
  • Spotlights: 682 consuming 1098 KW of power.
  • Miller Park delivers five megawatts of power during a game day.
  • Two, 1500 KW generators supply power to our emergency loads.
  • There are two, 800-ton Trane centrifugal chillers, and one, 400-ton air-cooled chiller to handle the cooling load on a game day.
  • Miller Park is one of the largest construction projects in Wisconsin history.
  • Miller Park has never had to cancel a game because of weather.