Brewers fans, do me a favor.
Tomorrow morning, take an early drive. Head out, and park your cars on the corner of 35th and Clybourn Avenue in Milwaukee. Look west, over the Menominee Valley. You will see a beautiful sight. The same thing I saw for years working in Milwaukee. You will see the sun rise, reflecting delicately off the broad glass panels of Miller Park. The stadium at sunrise sits surrounded by a halo of light and reflection in the early morning sun, and let that be a reminder not of the sadness I’m sure you are feeling today, but of the joy that this season has brought to us all.
I consider myself very humbled and honored to have covered the Milwaukee Brewers this year. It was an historic season in many respects. Not only did we see a franchise record 96 wins, we also saw records in attendance, home field wins, and the first postseason road win since game one of the fabled 1982 World Series.
This article is the hardest I’ve had to write since Lou was gracious enough to let me become part of the writing staff at Reviewing the Brew. During Spring Training and the regular season, it is easy to cast off one loss or even a series loss as just part of the long march to the postseason. When you finally reach the playoffs, every single play is magnified to a level of intensity that I did not think was possible. This loss, along with every other loss the Brewers faced in their playoff run is very difficult to bear. Alas, there is no avoiding this feeling, nor will there be any way to avoid it for every game until the World Series Champion is crowned, because we here in Milwaukee and the rest of Wisconsin will know how close we came to that seemingly insurmountable goal.
But there is no reason to despair. It is true, we played poorly in the postseason. It is also true, that the Brewers team witnessed by millions of baseball fans over the last few weeks was not the team that we die-hards fell in love with over the course of a summer. I want nothing more than to spend the next several paragraphs – or perhaps the next several days – drowning in despair and dashing every last hope that I have in the Milwaukee Brewers and resigning myself to a lifetime of mediocre performances for the baseball team I have pledged my allegiance to.
But, in all honesty, I cannot give myself the luxury of downplaying the season I was so privileged to play a part in – however insignificant it was.
It would be easier if I was a Yankee, Red Sox, or Phillies fan. With those teams, you have legions of fans. You have fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers who grew up loving the teams of old. The teams who conquered baseball for glory and built a tradition of excellence. In Milwaukee, there are very few generations-old Brewers families. You don’t grow into being a Brewers fan. The team isn’t bestowed upon you – they have to earn it. You don’t inherit the Brewers, you have to fall for them.
And this years’ team was easy to fall for.
Lucroy, despite his many faults, made you want to root for him with every botched pitch he took to chest, thighs, jaw, or arm. Morgan, despite his antics made you want him to succeed with every display of youthful exuberance and pure love of the game. Kotsay, despite the fact that he’s 80 years old made you believe we had a chance with every pinch hit. Braun and Fielder made it impossible to deny a game was out reach with every swing of their bat.
So, if you want to take a period of mourning, I will not insult you for it. But I will forgo my invitation to the pity party. I will think of the sunrise, reflecting brightly of the window panels of Miller Park, and I will remind myself that life goes on, and that it is an overblown metaphor meant for keeping my disappointment in check.
Because when you get right down to it, it’s only baseball. A tough pill to swallow, I know, but it’s the truth. In the grand scheme of things this loss means nothing. I will still have to wake up soon and go to work; I will still have to carry on my daily life. It will be easier knowing that the Brewers lasted longer than 28 other teams in the Major Leagues, and they still have something to play for.
So you complain all you want. Feel free to whine, bitch, and mourn the postseason that could have been. I will keep moving, knowing that my Milwaukee Brewers gave me everything that they could. It didn’t turn out how I hoped, but it rarely does considering things that are out of my control. So call in to your radio stations and tell the world how YOU would have managed them into the World Series. Write your comments how I’m an apologist. I know that the sun will rise tomorrow, and how it will burn brightly upon Miller Park, and I will be content.
Because I fell hard for the Brewers, and they more than returned the favor.