All that is now on hold. On July 14 a 567-foot crane called Big Blue, the largest in North America, collapsed while lifting a 400-ton section of roof onto the first base side of the stadium. The accident killed three construction workers and left part of the park in ruins. While investigators probe the wreckage for clues, the Brewers' hopes of playing in their new home on Opening Day 2000 lie buried under 2.2 million pounds of twisted metal.
Insurance will cover up to $20 million in lost income caused by construction delays, but that might not make up the team's losses if Miller Park isn't ready until next summer—the likeliest scenario. "It'll be some time before we can lay out a timetable," says Laurel Prieb, Milwaukee's vice president of corporate affairs. "The construction team hasn't ruled out the original time line."
As the Brewers' president, baseball commissioner Bud Selig had championed the new park. Since groundbreaking ceremonies in November 1996 he had driven to the construction site from his office in downtown Milwaukee twice a day, often eating lunch in his car and watching the park go up. His devotion to the project made it doubly hard for the commissioner to attend the opening of Seattle's Safeco Field the day after Big Blue collapsed. "I wanted to be here because this is so critical to baseball in general and the future of Seattle," a weary Selig told reporters, his eyes brimming with tears. "I hope all of you will understand that my heart is back in Milwaukee."
Chastain's Missing Medal
Last week a woman wearing a gold medal around her neck introduced herself as U.S. soccer hero Kristine Lilly and signed autographs during a U.S men's exhibition game at Denver's Mile High Stadium. Several days later Deanna Felde, a volunteer who had worked in the U.S. team's locker room during the Women's World Cup final in Pasadena, went to the police in Fort Collins, Colo., saying she was being harassed by a Denver TV station. Felde also admitted that the medal she had worn that day in Denver belonged to Brandi Chastain.
"A big misunderstanding," Felde called it. She claimed not to know how the medal got in her bag. Felde told police she mailed the medal to Santa Clara University, where Chastain is an assistant coach. On that count her story makes sense. The medal arrived on Monday and will be waiting for Chastain when she returns from this week's visits with a couple of soccer fans named Clinton and Letterman.