I spent the past weekend in Orlando, attending a conference, and couldn’t help but notice the difference in temperature from Wisconsin to Florida. It was -2 when I left Wisconsin and in the 50’s when I arrived in Orlando. Fifty degrees, where I’m from, is a sign that the best time of the year is right around the corner, spring. Spring is a time when the snow is melting and the grass is greening, trout fishing is about to open, and baseball is getting ready to occupy my life until the fall.
I have been playing baseball my whole life, from t-ball as a 5-year-old, to a men’s league team as an adult. I have travelled all over the United States playing, been a part of two state championships, and have gotten to know some great guys along the way. All the memories I have as a player also coincide with the memories I have as a fan, of the Milwaukee Brewers.
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I remember going to Milwaukee County Stadium as a youngster and taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells that a big league stadium has to offer. Seeing all the people, watching Bernie slide down his slide, hearing the Harley as it passed on the warning track around the field, cheering as the wiener race was happening, and witnessing Jeromy Burnitz hit a walk-off home run in the ninth inning, to defeat the Montreal Expos 4-3, are things that I could never forget.
I will always remember listening to Mr. Bob Uecker on the radio, calling the Brewers games and reminiscing about how awful of a catcher he was in his own time. His unforgettable, “Get up, get up, get out of here, GONE!” call is something I anticipate on every fly ball that a Brewer hits. Listening to his stories and then realizing that he has not updated the game for a few batters, and all of a sudden the inning is over, is something that always made me laugh.
Seeing Miller Park for the first time was truly remarkable. To go from an old-school outdoor stadium that would be freezing in the beginning of the season to a state of the art, retractable roof palace was quite the transition. Every time I drive by, whether for a game, or just travelling by, I am in awe of its beauty.
One of my favorite memories here was a game I attended against the St. Louis Cardinals. Sitting in the second row right behind first base, a pop up drifted right in my direction and I thought it was mine as soon as it left the bat. As the ball came down, it drifted just out of my reach and into the glove of Albert Pujols, who was right next to the rail. So close!
With the beginning of the 2015 season drawing closer, my anticipation is growing for the possibilities of what could happen. Is this the season that the Brewers make it to the World Series? What young player will have a breakout campaign? Who is going to emerge as the closer of the future? Will Ryan Braun bounce back and be the force that he once was?
These are just a few of the things that I am excited for, and the anticipation will continue to grow. As the snow starts to melt and the weather begins to warm up, baseball will be right around the corner, my favorite time of the year. What memories will be made along the way this season?