The Brewers and the Lottery: Playing the Odds


I bought a lottery ticket today.

I know, the chances of me cashing in on that multi-million dollar jackpot is the roughly akin to every member of the Brewers 40-man roster independently being struck by lightening on the same day. But I couldn’t resist – there’s always that tiny sliver of hope that I’ll be the one to win it all.

I feel the same way about the Brewers every game, regardless of the team’s standings or previous performance.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for playing the odds.

I look at this year’s team, and the connection between watching the Brew Crew and playing the lottery is pretty clear. You get a couple of shots each week to lay your money down and see what happens. Sometimes, this team is bound to pay off. Most other times, unfortunately, you’re left with empty pockets and a sense of confounded disappointment as to why you keep coming back.

But, you always do eventually. There’s a slight pull to it, you see. You feel it. You might be able to break from it for a little while, but over time it builds up and draws you back in. It’s not that a Brewers game will ever make you rich, or powerful, or anything like that. It’s that you know that you could be missing something special.

With every new game comes a new possibility – even if the team is sliding away from where you expected them to go. If you abandon it now, you know you could miss another great outing from Fiers, or Rogers, or Gallardo. If you cash out and walk away, you’re leaving behind the energetic play of Carlos Gomez, the tactical brilliance of Norichika Aoki, and the continued march of Ryan Braun into the history books.

You’re not going to win every time. In fact, in 2012, you’re playing a rigged game. Just like holding that lottery ticket in your hand, you know you’re taking a long shot. You’re putting money down, and simply hoping for the best. To a large degree, that’s what being a Brewers fan is. If you can’t accept the fact that the Brewers are – and have always been – up against a mountain of the house’s money than you need to re-evaluate why it is you want to bet on this horse. Even when the team is up, it’s an underdog. Since just shy of the dawn of time, Milwaukee has been a city full of them.

I know I probably won’t hit it big in Powerball. I know that Milwaukee probably won’t even smell the postseason from where they’re at. But it doesn’t stop me from taking a chance. I know that Axford is struggling, but I know he’s still got better days ahead of him. I know Roenicke looks like he’s hog-tied, but I know he can lead this team. I know the odds are stacked against all of us, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to give up just because of a long shot. There’s still something in this fight – there’s optimism, there’s hope, there’s education, and there’s still the chance for something special.

Am I crazy to think that? Maybe. Is it childish and foolish to pin your hopes on something that seems so unreasonable? Most likely, but if you can’t strap in for the ride you aren’t worthy of the destination. Everybody seems crazy until they’re the big winner. Every bad situation seems hopeless until you climb out of it.

But you have to try. You have to take the chance, you have to put your faith in something. It just might pay off for you.

So, I’m going to continue to buy in. I’ll put my money down again and watch to see if the numbers turn up in Milwaukee. It might pan out, it might not, but either way I’m throwing my hopes in on the Brewers, now and forever. Because that’s what it takes to be a fan sometimes.

You have to be in it to win it.