Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Divine Misery of a Brewers Lifer

The Brewers finished up a sweep of the Cubs at Wrigley with a 3-1 win this afternoon. This leaves the Brewers just two games out of first place with 19 games left in the season. Over the past four weeks, the Brewers have run up a 12-4 record against the Rockies, Dodgers, Cubs, and Nationals - four of the best teams in the NL. The Crew is legit and they're not going away.

Darryl Hamilton poses at County Stadium, projecting a kind of lovable mediocrity that Aaron Rodgers could never dream of.

I was born in 1982, the only year that the Brewers played in the World Series. I had to wait until I was 26 for the Brewers to return to the postseason and I was nearly 30 before they actually won a postseason series. For most of my life, the Brewers have been a bad baseball team, operating on shoestring budgets and making the dumbest possible personnel moves that said budget would allow. Between 1992 and 2007, the Brewers didn't field a single winning team.

I've always stuck by, and I've occasionally had faith, but I've been trained by history to expect the worst. The NFL season also opened this weekend. I couldn't care less now, but at one time I was a huge Packers fan. I lived and died with the team, as I do now with the Brewers, but things changed as I grew older. I Once I grew out of the haze of childhood - when I left home and started getting girls and learned more about life - I made a choice about my fan loyalties. I had the Pack, who gave me a Super Bowl and legendary players and a huge and active fan base, and I had the Brewers, who gave me Kevin Barker as a full-time first baseman and a lone pennant that predated my ability to speak. I picked the Brewers. I was born into Brewers fandom, like people are born into any number of things they'd never actively wish for themselves, but I also chose to remain... year after year.

There's this rumor that the G on the Packers' helmets stands for "Greatness." What a stupid goddamn idea. It's like superhero movies. I hate superhero movies. They offer nothing to me. I like movies about drunks and losers and crooks. And I don't want to root for a team that forces me to expect greatness. I don't need to live vicariously through my team... I want my fandom to honest. For more summers than I can recall, the Brewers appeared in the dewy optimism of springtime only to wilt like a half-grown flower and die just slowly enough to stink all summer. It's frustrating and taxing and makes me wonder why I should even bother to care... but I can identify. 

And now, to the surprise of me and all of baseball, the Brewers have a chance to shock the world and steal the NL Central from the reigning-champion Cubs. They're not supposed to be here...

I don't expect them to pull it off. I've not really allowed myself to actually expect anything like that. But it's been a hell of a fun season. I just hope I don't get too used to them.


  1. Didn't get to see any of the games this weekend because of work, but from watching short highlights and from what I read about the series, your Brewers absolutely kicked the tar out of the Cubs in every facet of the game. Looking forward to seeing the stretch run (though I obviously hope the Cubs pull it out in the end!).

    1. I missed it because of work, too. But damned if I wasn't following pitch by pitch on my phone while giving boat tours.