Brewers fans aren’t the only ones that missed being able to go to the ballpark in 2020. The team missed having us.
It seems kind of cliché. The game goes on regardless of how many fans are there and the players mostly block out the singular heckles as much as they can, but the fans have an impact on the game. They have an impact on the team as a whole.
In big moments, the buzz grows to a crescendo, then we collectively hold our breath as the pitch gets thrown, and reacting a half second later based on what happens. Then the energy kicks back up or gets sucked out and we ride that roller coaster of emotions for 162 games and there’s just nothing like it.
The players may not hear anything in those big moments, but they feel something. They can feel the buzz. They may not hear a singular whistle, or cheer, or clap, but they feel the buzz from the crowd, they feel the energy being given to them, and if affects their performance.
That may have been hard to believe prior to 2020, but after last season, there can be no doubt. With no fans, teams across baseball, not just the Brewers, but all across baseball struggled.
The Brewers constantly talk about how great Brewers fans are, and fans returning might be the most important X-factor for this team in 2021.
Every team says they have the best fans in baseball, you hear it all the time. But it’s not an empty compliment from Brewers players. They fully believe it.
Us fans help give them the energy to play better and give them support, for the most part, when they’re down. Look at the support Brent Suter received on social media after he had a poor outing in the playoffs last year. When everyone had a reason to be angry at him, the vast majority sent him positive, uplifting messages.
In 2020, the Brewers had no fans in the stands. There was no energy being fed to them by the crowd. Without that energy, without that buzz, the entire Brewers offense struggled. Christian Yelich and Keston Hiura, two excellent hitters, uncharacteristically struggled. Avisail Garcia and Omar Narvaez couldn’t get going, either.
Yes, the Brewers are going to be depending on bounce-back seasons from a lot of players, and statistically it’s unlikely that all of them do bounce back. But we can throw statistics and odds out the window because there’s an additional X-factor this year.
Having fans back in the stands is the X-factor that no predictive algorithm or projection site can compute. If last year was a normal year with fans and a full 162 games and all those players had down years the whole season, then yes, it’s extremely unlikely all of them would bounce back. But fans are a completely different variable that’s changed from last year to this year.
Fans being back is going to help this team more than other new additions Kolten Wong or Jackie Bradley Jr. will in 2021. Not that those two won’t help out. They’ll help the team a lot. But us fans being back is going to help that much, the contribution will be greater than any one or two players could bring.
American Family Field will open with 25% capacity for the first month, and that should expand as the summer goes on. By the end of the year, we should be at 100% capacity, hopefully. But even with just 25% to start, having fans in the stands in Milwaukee is going to do wonders for the Brewers players.
They love seeing us as much as we love seeing them. They’ve missed us as much as we’ve missed them. Now that Brewers fans are back, the Brewers will be back to their old selves.
They thrive off our energy, so for everyone going to early games, we’re going to have to try to give four times as much energy to make up for capacity restrictions. Baseball is back, and we’re back, too.