Stick It For A Ticket: Brewers Allow Free Baseball Game Entry For Those Vaccinated Just Before
As vaccination rates slow across the country, incentive programs are quickly spreading. Ohio has its Vax-a-Million state lottery, New Jersey offers free glasses of wine and some employers are paying people to get a shot.
In Milwaukee this week, the Brewers converted vaccination into a free ticket.
Nationally, about half the population has been vaccinated. Milwaukee is close to 45%. Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson is a baseball fan and used baseball lingo to describe the challenge.
"We do want people to step up to the plate, we want to knock it out of the park, if you will. I mean, we want to get people vaccinated," she said.
Johnson is especially trying to reach younger people at places they gather. One of the places is American Family Field, where the Brewers play.
Prior to games Wednesday and Thursday, unvaccinated people could come to the atrium of nearby Helfaer Field, and get a shot. After 15 minutes of waiting to make sure there were no adverse health reactions, the newly-vaccinated could get two tickets to attend that day's Brewers game.
Prior to Tuesday evening's game, WUWM's Chuck Quirmbach visited with tailgaters in the stadium parking lot, including Mike Huntsman. He said the ticket offer convinced him to make time to get his shot.
"Sure, why not, absolutely. I'm not saying I'm ashamed I haven't gotten it yet, but I just missed appointments and opportunities to get it," said Huntsman.
Some other tailgaters say they've already been vaccinated, but like the team's plan because they want to be part of big crowds again.
But devoted, and unvaccinated, fan Marco Martinez said the ticket giveaway isn't winning him over. "If they offer me a zillion different baseball jerseys to get the vaccine, I'll definitely be on board. I get a new jersey every week. You can ask my wife," said Martinez, laughing, as he wife looked on.
Others, writing on the Brewers Facebook page, have attacked the team for straying into a health care controversy. After all, this is politically divided Wisconsin, where Republican politicians fought mask mandates, with some even questioning the need to be immunized.
Brewers President Rick Schlesinger said he understands the fans objections. "We're going to never bat 1000 with any kind of messaging we do. There's always going to be certain fans or certain people who have different opinions," he said.
Schlesinger said the Brewers are convinced that the vaccines are safe, and if any fans were concerned about attending a three-hour baseball game just after getting a shot, they could return home and get a ticket to a different game.