Tag Archives: Miller Park

"Where Were You In '82?" Doesn't Matter Anymore

Let me ask a new question: Wasn’t it great in 2008?

Being in the stands on Sunday afternoon when the Brewers clinched the Wild Card and their first trip to the post-season in 26 years was nothing short of amazing.  I have seen some very exciting games in a number of different sports, and I was there for every home game when the Milwaukee Bucks nearly made the Finals in 2001.  But I think this was probably better, or at least, more surreal.

When I got to the park at about 20 minutes to 12 on Sunday, I just wanted to take some time mill around and soak up the atmosphere on what I knew could be the last day of the season.  I listened to or attended almost every game in 2008, and overall, it was a great time to be a fan; I wanted to cement some things in my memory, regardless of what the day’s outcome would be.

I watched the Brewers take batting practice for a while from a number of different vantage points– I tried to push my way toward the field near homeplate.  I stopped for a few minutes in right field and stood with the kids flexing and patting their gloves, waiting for a ball to fly out.  I slowly made my way all the way around the stadium, and as I recall now, I had no thoughts of the team moving on at all.  I’ve never seen it.  I had no idea what to even imagine.

Dave and I settled in to our seats, and for the first 6 innings of the game, I didn’t have a lot of confidence.  How can you when it’s been so long, and you’ve been thrilled but ultimately disappointed by this team so many times over the years?  Sitting amongst a swath of fans from Chicago, who always seem to know just how to condecendingly twist the knife never helps.

Then it was the 7th, and we realized that CC had gone from laboring to dominating.  It was a 1-run game, and nobody was going to pile up a bunch of hits.  If we could manage to push a couple across, I started to like our chances.  They tied it at 1 with PATIENCE AT THE PLATE, and after 161 games and 7 innings, the season was down to the last 6 outs.

When we got to the bottom of the 8th, one of the Cubs faithful in front of me said something like, “Aww, not Homerun Howry!”  And he turned out to be absolutely right.  Braun blasted that 2-run shot after Mike Cameron had singled, and the stadium exploded as the dreams of 40,000 people began to come into focus.  A scoreboard check showed that the Brewers were up, and the Mets were down.  If both could hang on for a couple more innings, it was going to happen.

I wasn’t nervous during most of the game.  I had sort of resigned myself to the notion that we would either not make it, or at best not have our fate decided that day– quite honestly, I felt like Milwaukee would be traveling to Shea Stadium on Monday for a head-to-head matchup with New York.  But once they got the lead, I broke into a cold sweat.  The Cubs remained a great team, and they were only down by 2 runs.  I needn’t remind the Brewers faithful of what had happened just 10 days before.  They were up, but not quite in.

The difference on this day was CC.  What an amazing performance to cap such a remarkable season!  If the Brewers go anywhere in October, it will be because of this guy.  And if he leaves for greener, lu$her pa$tures after it’s done, I know that I’m one fan who won’t blame him.  I’ll just hang on to the memories of this glorious summer of baseball that finally pushed through to fall.

So now it’s time to shake off those unflappable monkeys that are the 1982 Brewers– it’s true, this incarnation hasn’t won a league championship yet, but they have a chance every bit as good as that group did 26 years ago.  The stories of these current players are no less compelling.  The fever around the city is no less severe.  Like Favre and White and Holmgren finally silenced the ghosts of Starr, Hornung, and Lombardi up in Green Bay 12 years ago, so can these players do for the Brewers.  Not because anyone wants to forget the great days in the past, but because we want to believe they’ll be here again.

Twinkies and the Weekend

Schrubbe couldn’t make it to the baseball game last night, because of the flooding up in Oshkosh.  He didn’t miss much.  Just 12-20 thousand g-damn Twins fans making a ruckus and the Brewers doing exactly squat at the plate.  Seems like they’ve had a tendancy to make average or below-average pitchers look like Cy Young a lot this season…

Anyway, Michelle went with me to the game instead, and we still had a good time.  It was hat day, so we got those, and the weather was really nice for a game.  Summer is 100% officially here, and I don’t mind one bit.

I have to make a run today over to my new apartment building to confirm which unit I want– the one that I’ll probably move into is occupied right now, so I wasn’t able to see it the other day.  Worst-case scenario, if there is something horrific about this one (I don’t anticipate that, but…) I will take the other that I saw on Thursday.

When I get home, I think I’m going to get busy with packing.  I’m going to pull all my stuff down from the hotter-than-hell attic, and see if there’s anything there that I can get rid of.  If not, it’ll just be time to start putting stuff back in boxes and getting it set to move.  Two weeks to go, and I’ll be on my way out.  After this afternoon, I’ll know my exact new address, too, so I could make calls to arrange for moving my electricity and cable services, forward my mail… I could probably get the trailer booked, too.  So I’ll be busy.

Tomorrow, Joe and I are putting Grandma’s kitchen floor back together.  So, y’know, fun weekend top-to-bottom.

Home Opener Recap

It was a nice opening day overall.  Aside from the fact that we beat their ass, it was a good pre- and post-game outing.  If you didn’t have a chance to keep up throughout Friday, the pictures that I sent to Flickr periodically are, of course, still there.

Was there ever a mob of people, though!  I didn’t check– was it a bigger crowd than last year?  I assume so, just due to the media talking about it being the 3rd largest crowd ever at Miller Park, etc.  That was the one thing I could do without, and I might even think about handling the opener a little differently next year– there are SOOOOO many people at that park on the first day, and ones that won’t show up to another baseball game all year.  They’re there for the party only, and sure, that’s totally fine, but for someone like me who goes because I enjoy the game first and foremost, it gets a little bit nuts.

I stood in line to pee during the pre-game tailgate for something like 20 minutes.  There were plenty of folks there that weren’t willing to wait that long (they just peed next to their cars).  I think my last Flickr shot sort of says it all about the condition of the parking lot afterwards– it was like being in a paved garbage dump.  I really felt sorry for the folks that had to come in there and clean that place up in time for an afternoon game today.

So, I dunno, y’know?  Like I said, I understand that the home opener is always going to be a big party, but maybe for me, who is going to go to 15 or 20 games during the year regardless, what’s the diff if I’m at the first one?  I’ll probably change my mind by this time next year, but this is certainly the first time I’ve ever considered it.

Milwaukee Opener..!

Headed out the door shortly to get started on the opening day festivities– Schrubbe came down last night, and we’re going to run to the grocery store before braving the traffic mess.

Looking forward to a good game.  The Brewers are a lot better than San Fran on paper, so I think the day should end happily for the hometown crowd.  I’ll try to send up some photos throughout the day onto the Flickrs, so keep an eye out if you’re bored at work.
I would be able to blog from my seat if the fracking “post-via-email” thing would work right.  I might dick with that a little bit over the weekend.

Catch you after the game!

(We Might Have) Time for an Opener

The Crew is in Chicago for Opening Day of the baseball season today, and with the weather that’s predicted, they *might* even get to play.

Either way, if you need a ticket, apparently there are still some available.  I checked online, but declined to buy the single seat in the “dugout box” area for $300.00.

Most publications and prognosticators are picking the Brewers to finish 2nd in the Central this year behind the Cubs.  Milwaukee definitely has a lot of if’s about it (if Sheets stays healthy, if the rest of the rotation holds up, if the Boston-version of Gagne doesn’t show up, if the rest of the bullpen plays their best ball, if none of the young everyday guys regresses, if Jason Kendall is a steadying force behind the plate, and if they can weather the 25 games without Mike Cameron in center), but they could be in for a special year.  Baseball is always a game of if’s, and the speculating, measuring, and analyzing the day-to-day is what a lot of people love about it.

A lot of other people just love the atmosphere of summertime and the ballpark.  That’s why I’ll be there 15 to 20 times this season, starting on Friday against the Giants.  That’s also the reason that, despite the question marks, they Brewers are going to sell a LOT of tickets this year.  They’ve got a very legitimate shot of going over 3 million through the turnstiles this year.

Good luck Brew Crew– catch you at home this weekend after a (hopefully) successful series down south!

Finally Time for an Opener

It has been a bleak, bleak winter in Wisconsin if you enjoy professional sports.

Not to take anything away from the accomplishments of the Badgers and, to an extent, the Marquette men’s basketball team, but if you live in Wisconsin and you enjoy following your hometown pro teams, this fall and winter were fairly forgettable. In every way.

I said to a co-worker back on October 1, “I’m just counting down the days ’til spring training.”

And count them I did.

Now, after the most optimistic spring I can recall since 1993, the Crew takes the field for the first day of the season right here at Miller Park. And if you ask me, there is no team more fun to follow when they’re playing well than your hometown baseball team.

They’ve got the longest season, spanning nearly everyone’s favorite season of the year. They’ve got a fantastic atmosphere surrounding a beautiful park, and a number of young players poised to make some great strides in their respective careers.

And who’s to say how everything will turn out come next October? For today, that doesn’t matter. Regardless of what happens, you can’t beat the feeling of a gorgeous Opening Day, and the optimism of the long summer ahead.

For those of you stuck at work, home, or school today, I will try to update the flickr stream with some regularity during the day…

Off to the game!