An Open Letter To Baseball
As many of you may have noticed, I have been less than regular in my duties as staff writer for Reviewing the Brew. While I have diligently watched and followed our beloved Brewers with the same vit and vigor of months past, for some reason I have shied away from reporting the things that are most important – my emotions and opinions – to you, the reader.
For the most part, it’s easy to explain away. I’ve been busy with those “real-life” responsibilities that I loathe so much; I’ve been toying with other side-projects; I get sleepy after watching night games. The truth is, I may be afraid.
It’s no question that the Brewers are playing some of the best baseball they’ve ever played. There’s little argument that Milwaukee will make the playoffs. This thought terrifies me.
I’m not sure if I can handle the Brewers actually winning. I’ve thought about it without end, and honestly, I’m certain that I cannot be held responsible for my actions should Milwaukee succeed well into the post-season. There is no way that my emotions could or would be restrained to anything that would allow me to function in normal society. Judging by the Brew Crew’s loyal fan base, it’s safe to assume I’m not alone.
With that thought in mind, I took the liberty to pen an open letter to the baseball community on behalf of the team and their fans trying to crystallize the emotions of being a Milwaukee Brewers fan this and every season. What follows is about as borderline as pertinent baseball information gets, so indulge me as a wax poetic for a while.
Dear baseball fans, players, owners, managers, coaches, bloggers, writers, broadcasters, etc.,
While the season is yet long from over, it may come to your attention – perhaps it already has – that the Milwaukee Brewers and its loyal fan base have lately been overcome with exuberance regarding the continued success of the 2011 campaign.
I’m not sure why I am compelled to say this – call it folksy midwestern values or a general sense of humility – but today I ask for your forgiveness. We know little of baseball success in modern-day Milwaukee. Hell, I’ll admit it, we know very little about athletic success in general in Milwaukee. We here in Milwaukee don’t stumble upon greatness often, and when we do we try to cherish it as much as possible. Anyone who’s survived a winter in Milwaukee can tell you how quickly things can turn for the worse.
In a strictly baseball sense, what you are witnessing now is an entire generation of sports fans who are treading new and exciting territory. Many of those in attendance at Miller Park were born after the ’82 Series, and have seen but one miserable jaunt into the arena of playoff baseball since that time. To scores of Wisconsin sports fans, playoff baseball is nothing more than a broadcast that cuts time from Packers coverage in the beginning of the NFL season. We don’t know what it’s like to have a season extended to October. So forgive us if we seem a bit eager to declare our ascendency to baseball’s elite at every possible outlet. When in my brief travels throughout the country I find myself talking about Milwaukee, I am generally only confronted with questions about beer, cheese and sausages. Baseball rarely, if ever, makes an appearance. We are still trying to figure this all out.
We are not like other ‘lovable losers’ in baseball in that a) we have no former periods of greatness or domination to hang our hats, and b) we are not (or at least have not always been) ones to call attention to ourselves. Indeed we are not Chicago; for we have no billy goat and no great curse to fall back upon. We have only failed management to blame, which we are all too eager to share. So eager in fact, that we shared it with the League. We are not Los Angeles; for no celebrity would ever come to Milwaukee on purpose and the Seattle Pilots hardly make for a good origin story when compared to Brooklyn. We are not Cleveland; for we have the decency to hide our shame as best we can from public eyes. We haven’t really existed on either end of the spectrum of baseball lore – we have seemed to content to plod along in the middle of the discussion, happy to receive any scraps of attention thrown our way.
That is no longer the case. There is no more “wait ’til next year” in Milwaukee; this year is next year.We don’t need to wait until the ‘Not Top Ten’ list to see Brewers highlights, and we don’t need to hide behind the old M and B mitt logo as our one piece of national recognition any longer. We have a real team, with real talent, and real potential for success. True, in two or three years we may lose a majority of that to the unholy beast of Free Agency, but for now we bask in the light of winning baseball that shines through our retractable roof. And by God, we’ve earned it. We had to deal with Ken Macha and Jeff Suppan for two years – at the same time. Geoff Jenkins was our franchise player. Do I need to mention Derrick Turnbow’s last two seasons? Through it all, we did what all good Milwaukians do: we kept trudging along slowly like cars in interstate traffic. So forgive us, if you will, if we take some time to relish the view.
Forgive us if we wish to break from the shackles of small-market baseball and strive for lasting success. We promise we won’t engage in the general douchebaggery of Phillies, Red Sox, and Yankees fans. We promise we will be far too drunk to riot in the streets. We promise that we are far too self-effacing to declare ourselves a dynasty. We just want to win. We are drunk on delusions of Grandeur and an incredible run of on-field success. Also beer.
Forgive Prince Fielder for celebrating walk-off home runs. Forgive Ryan Braun for his silly t-shirt company. Forgive Nyjer Morgan for being too strange to live, too unique to die, and too talented to be traded. Forgive John Axford for inspiring jealousy in his glorious mustache.
Most of all forgive me for indulging so much in this fantastic ride of a baseball season. This is, without a doubt the most amazing season of Brewers Baseball I have ever been party to. I know not what I do.