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Brewers Return To Milwaukee For ‘Re-Opening Day’ With Division Lead

American Family Field Returns To 100 Percent Capacity Friday

Willy Adames drops his bat after a homer
Milwaukee Brewers’ Willy Adames drops his bat as he watches his two-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Saturday, June 5, 2021, in Milwaukee. Aaron Gash/AP Photo

Friday marks “Re-Opening Day” for the Milwaukee Brewers when the team will welcome fans back to American Family Field at 100 percent capacity.

The Brewers will take on the Colorado Rockies for their first game in Milwaukee following a seven-game road trip. It’ll feature many of the activities that couldn’t take place back in April when the Brewers opened their season with a comeback win in front of a reduced-capacity crowd.

Friday’s game will include $1 hot dogs and ceremonial first pitches from former players Paul Molitor and Cecil Cooper — as well as the return of several other Brewers legends: The Johnsonville Racing Sausages will compete on their normal course down the left field line.

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The changes come as the seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases in the city of Milwaukee hovers around 10. The COVID-19 activity level in Milwaukee County is medium, and the trajectory for new cases is falling, according to data released this week by the state Department of Health Services.

The Brewers have hosted vaccine clinics and COVID-19 testing at American Family Field. But Friday marks their first game with no capacity limits since September 2019.

A man and a small boy walk toward the stadium.
Theo Schmidt, right, walks with Bruce Wiring as they prepare to attend the Brewers’ season opener on Theo’s sixth birthday Thursday, April 1, 2021, in Milwaukee. “We’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” said Bruce. Angela Major/WPR

The team is heading home from a road trip that took them to Denver and Phoenix. They had an off-day Thursday, their first since June 7.

“You win a series, an off-day, a nice flight home. I think it puts everybody in a good mood, and it’s a good way to finish it for sure,” manager Craig Counsell said after Milwaukee’s Wednesday night victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“We’ve just got to keep trying to play good baseball and keep trying to put ourselves in a position to win to stay right in the thick of things, so it was big. That was a long stretch, but we were able to play some good baseball,” pitcher Brandon Woodruff said.

The Brewers and the Chicago Cubs sit atop the National League Central standings. The two teams will play a series at American Family Field next week.

Milwaukee is 13-8 this month, having swept series against the Diamondbacks and Pittsburgh Pirates, with the All-Star break approaching in just a few weeks. As of this week, catcher Omar Narváez, shortstop Willy Adames and third baseman Travis Shaw were in the top 10 for All-Star voting.

Fans watch the Milwaukee Bucks play the Atlanta Hawks in the first game of the Eastern Conference
Fans watch the Milwaukee Bucks play the Atlanta Hawks in the first game of the Eastern Conference finals series Wednesday, June 23, 2021, outside of the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wis. Angela Major/WPR

Fans at Wednesday night’s Eastern Conference finals game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks said the return of crowded sporting events — including the huge pep rallies hosted in the Deer District during these NBA playoffs — bring with them a sense of normalcy.

The Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Badgers recently announced they’ll be welcoming full stadiums this fall.