John Axford, Ryan Braun Give Back to Milwaukee Fans

Sunday’s game against the Houston Astros marks a very special occasion for Milwaukee Brewers fans. It is the culmination of Fan Appreciation Weekend – a special event hosted during the last weekend home stand of the season where the club reminds their supporters that the team works for them.

Brewers John Axford and Ryan Braun added something extra to the affair. Well, more like 5,000 extra somethings. On Friday morning, 5,000 tickets were given away for free for the finale against Houston courtesy of the MVP candidate and the Brewers closer.

John Axford always seems to make time to let people know how much he appreciates their support. (Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE)

The Brewers players have given special emphasis to the fans this season, and have widely credited their amazing last month of play to the fans that have stuck by them through a disappointing first half of the year. The tickets were just one more way of simply saying thank you to all those who keep cheering on the team.

Ron Roenicke chimed in on the Brewers website about the impact Milwaukee fans have on the team:

“[Miller Park] is a pretty special place. The people stick with us and come out to watch us play.

“I know it was a disappointing season this year, especially the first half, and they kept coming out. Believe me, [for] these players, myself, the coaches, it really is a neat place to be.”

-Ron Roenicke, via

Added Ryan Braun – the man whom many fans owe for their seats on Sunday:

“When we weren’t playing nearly as well as we wanted to in June and July, the fans were always there supporting us, and this is our way of saying thank you,…We want them to know how much we appreciate it.”

-Ryan Braun, via

Yours truly was not lucky enough to snag any of those tickets, by the way, but it’s a gesture

Ryan Braun gave away free tickets to Sunday’s game – I’d say it’s the least he could do, but 20 homers is probably more accurate. (Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE)

I feel that should not go overlooked. Brewers fans have often said there is a special, almost unique connection to the team that’s different from any other in baseball, and actions like this by John Axford and Ryan Braun are perfect examples. It’s tangible evidence to how much the fans mean to these players, and to this team.

It’s easy to scoff off the idea as ‘blood money’ – it’s somehow a PR move for John Axford to get back into good graces with his fans. But it’s so much more than that. Ryan Braun and John Axford consistently reach out to fans and the community to let them know they are appreciated. Whether it’s through social media, before or after games, these two take tremendous time out to say thank you to their fans. It’s not a ploy – it’s who they are, and it’s very much what team has always been about.

I was one of the lucky people who got some of Eric Gagne‘s tickets in 2008, and was able to watch the Brewers win a crucial game en route to their Wild Card berth. It was an incredible game, and the memory still sticks with me to this day.

That game, by the way, ended with a walk-off shot by Ryan Braun. We can only hope for more of the same fireworks tomorrow.

So if you do have some of those tickets to the game, by all means enjoy yourself – you’ve more than earned it for sticking with the Crew thus far. But don’t forget that this team needs you just as much.

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