In 2008, the Milwaukee Brewers made the playoffs, ending a 26 year playoff drought. The moves made during that season would set the tone for the coming seasons for the team.
The 2007 Milwaukee Brewers won 83 games, marking the first season above .500 in 16 years. Excitement was high heading into ’08. However, the Brewers weren’t a lock to make the playoffs.
With a pitching staff led by the oft-injured Ben Sheets, the Crew got off to a 28-28 start through May. But, a 16-10 June, followed by a 16-11 July, helped put the team in prime postseason position.
The Brewers made a pair of deals in July to help bolster the roster for the stretch run. On July 20th, they traded two Minor Leaguers to the San Francisco Giants for infielder Ray Durham. Though he was a solid acquisition for the stretch run, it was the trade made earlier in July that rocked the baseball world.
On July 7th, the Milwaukee Brewers announced to the world that they were all in for this playoff push. They traded top prospect Matt LaPorta, along with Zach Jackson, Rob Bryson, and Michael Brantley to the Cleveland Indians for ace C.C. Sabathia.
In 17 starts, Sabathia was 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA. He struck out 128 batters while only allowing 25 walks in 130 2/3 innings pitched. With Sabathia and Durham along for the ride, the Brewers went 20-7 in August. That hot month helped set up one the most exhilarating finishes to a season in recent memory.
Over the next 11 games the Crew would go 6-5, leading to a suspense filled final day of the regular season.
Entering play on the final day, the Brewers were tied with the New York Mets for the NL Wild Card. With the division leading Chicago Cubs in town, odds were against the Brewers getting the win.
Then this happened.
When Braun broke the tie in the 8th, Brewers fans could taste the playoffs. Listen to the spectacular call by Brian Anderson and look at the reaction of Braun’s teammates. That’s the look of a 26-year playoff drought sliding away.
The Brewers won because of that home run, and the Mets lost later that day, clinching the Wild Card for Milwaukee. Unfortunately, they faced the juggernaut Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS. The Crew was overmatched. While the 2008 team ended the drought, they lost three games to one.
That playoff run reminded everybody what playoff baseball is like in Milwaukee. Most of all it showed Brewers fans are some of the best fans in baseball. As a result we routinely fill Miller Park.