With the renaming of Miller Park officially happening at year’s end, here at Reviewing the Brew, we’re going to remember the top Brewers moments in Miller Park’s history.
Starting on January 1st, the Brewers home stadium will no longer be called Miller Park, but instead will be called American Family Field. Despite fan uproar about the change, it’s going to happen. The stadium has been named Miller Park for 20 years and has brought some incredible memories to Brewers fans.
We are going to be remembering some of the most important moments that came from this stadium and tell the stories of these days. Today we are going to go back to the home stretch of the 2017 season and remember the Travis Shaw‘s walk off home run versus the Cubs!
Travis Shaw’s walk-off two run homer vs. the Chicago Cubs (9/23/2017)
The Milwaukee Brewers absolutely needed this victory. In the midst of chasing down the Colorado Rockies for the final Wild Card spot and a postseason berth for the first time in six seasons, the Brewers entered play on September 23rd, 2017 on a three game losing streak.
That streak included back to back heartbreaking extra inning losses to the division-leading and rival Chicago Cubs.
The Brewers were not expected to be playoff contenders at this point in their rebuild. 2017 was the second full season in which we saw a David Stearns constructed roster on the playing field, and these players were not only competing but proving that the Brewers were a legit threat.
For this Saturday nationally televised game, 44,067 fans crammed into Miller Park. The teams traded runs early in the game. Eric Thames got the Brewers on the board in the first inning as he delivered a RBI single off of starter Kyle Hendricks, but then Ian Happ returned the favor in the top of the second inning with a RBI of his own off of Brent Suter.
After early offense, pitching kept both teams at bay until the later innings of the game. In the eighth inning Kris Bryant‘s RBI sac-fly gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead. In an attempt to secure the victory the Cubs turned to closer Wade Davis, who was yet to blow a save all season in 32 chances.
Orlando Arcia had other plans.
Leading off the ninth inning Arcia hit a rocket into left field that just barely stayed in fair territory to tie the game at 2-2 and charge Davis with his first blown save!
With no other runs being scored in the ninth, for the third game in a row the Brewers and Cubs headed to the tenth inning. The Cubs had won the first two games in dramatic fashion and were on pace to do so again as Jeremy Jeffress surrendered a run in the top of the inning.
With the lead, the Cubs left Davis in the game for a second chance to end the game. The Brewers, however, once again had other plans with no desire to lose this game and drastically decrease their playoff hopes.
With one out, Ryan Braun hit a double. Next up to bat was Travis Shaw. On the first pitch Davis missed with a curveball. His second pitch was another curveball, this time it was a hanger and Shaw did not miss it.
The ball was hit high and deep into left-centerfield but it wasn’t apparent right away if it had the distance to travel for a home run. As the ball finally landed safely in the Brewers bullpen, Josh Hader nearly jumped to the moon in first pumping celebration, fans erupted in pandemonium, and announcer Matt Vasgersian screamed “”SANTA MARIA!”
It was Travis Shaw’s first career walk off home run and it could not have came at a better time. The win restored hope to reach the postseason and showed the Brewers were legit contenders that season.
Although the Brewers ultimately missed the postseason that year, the team, front office, and fan base all gained confidence from that 2017 ball club. That offseason, Stearns acquired Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich and the Brewers have not missed the postseason since. Without the gritty determination and fight that the 2017 team displayed, who knows if those moves would ever have been made.
Since then there have been numerous amounts of Miller Park memories made. Be sure to stay tuned to Reviewing the Brew as we share more of our favorite memories of the 20 years of Miller Park.