I don’t want to go on at too great a length about the end of the Brewers season, but I said that I would blog on it again on October 1.
It wasn’t a very challenging prediction that I made last time about how falling 2 games behind with a week and change to play would be an insurmountable lead. The Cubs and Brewers both proved to be pretty average teams, and average teams more or less win one, lose one, win one, lose, etc. That’s basically the way the division shook out, with the Cubs getting a little more lucky than the Crew.
I had written up a post that went into detail as far a fan’s assessment of the season, but it felt like it missed something more important– even though the Brewers wound up on the outside looking in, it was a really fun baseball season that I wouldn’t want to trade. And as much fun as men from coast to coast might have analyzing sports, for me baseball is at least as much about how the memories feel as the numbers look.
I went to more games this year than any season before. Schrubbe and I had a great time collecting the bobbleheads on Friday nights and just hanging out at the park. I was really glad to have organized a couple group outings– I feel like the Bocks are a sports-loving family in general, and a baseball game on a weekend afternoon is still probably the most fun you can have at any sort of event for the money. I was grateful to be able to catch a couple weeknight games with Lorch on the spur of the moment, too– the one we saw in May where Vargas struck out 11 was pretty great.
Michelle became a bona fide fan by the time the season wound down– she was listening to games on the radio even when I wasn’t there. We had a long talk on Friday night after the Crew was eliminated about how we would get through the off-season and the changes that might be in store. My mom has always been at least a casual fan, but I think it’s really cool when your mom can tell you the names of every guy on the roster, and on the last day of the season, even though it doesn’t mean anything, she’s still glued to the TV.
This year was the first time that I was able to go to the park with my dad in September for a game that meant something. We missed the playoffs, but it was so tantilizingly close that one thing I’m going to save up for this year is a pack of 2008 playoff tickets. I want to watch post-season baseball in Milwaukee with my pa for sure.
Probably the best thing about being a baseball fan is the length of the season– it’s a grueling haul from the first of April until the last of September, so there is always a game to talk about. Even after the dust settles from the World Series, the winter meetings are always right around the corner, and by the time you can say “Super Bowl” we’ll be getting ready for spring training.
Personally, I think baseball plays into that stuff about summer that we enjoy the most– baseball-nay-sayers might complain about the speed of the game, or the length of the season, but I think fondly of afternoons bathing in the sun at the ballpark, walking up Bluemound to Mitchell Park, and the smell of charcoal wafting over the freeway at rush hour on the day of an afternoon game. Baseball might be slow, but that’s exactly what you want your summer to be– you want to stretch it out and make it last. You want the optimism that comes with a 162-game schedule to draw your eye to the standings every morning. You want the game broadcast to be the soundtrack of your summer, and as much as you miss Bob and all the players over the winter, you want every spring to feel like coming home.