Monday, September 15, 2008

A terrible, terrible day for Brewers fans

How's this for a day: you lose the third and fourth games of a series -- this after losing the first and second games -- against the formerly second-place team in the Wild Card race. That team is now tied with you in the standings. Then you watch on TV as your archrival's pitcher tosses a no-hitter in your home ballpark, which just happens to be packed with people wearing your archrival's colors, cheering.

I'm usually one for schadenfreude -- I practically threw a party when Tom Brady's knee collectively sent America for the Kleenex box -- but not in this case. The Brewers and their fans, who have patiently waited 26 years for another postseason berth, don't deserve this.

When I think about the Brewers, I call to mind the quote in Field of Dreams about how -- I paraphrase here -- when Milwaukee found out it was getting an expansion team to replace the long-gone Braves, folks went to County Stadium and planted themselves in the empty bleachers, smiling into the evening. I think about the beautiful ballpark now there, how I watched a game with a group of friends from just behind the first-base line. I think about brats and beer, and when I ponder some more, a sense of kinship emerges, one small-market fan to another, heartlander to heartlander (and sorry, Chicago, you can claim the title "Midwest" all you want, but you're no heartland).

Now, after starting this month with a 5.5-game lead in the Wild Card race, the Brewers are on the verge of losing their grip and falling off the edge completely. They're 3-11 in September and show no signs of regaining their footing. Their fan base's nerves are fried, and while it wouldn't be completely accurate to say they're in open revolt, they've said their share of curses recently. Adam Charles of Bugs and Cranks, for instance, gives some PR advice to Corey Hart, who sort of ran his mouth against his hometown fans when he shouldn't have.

The players aren't faring much better. Take Ryan Braun, as quoted by a great baseball beat writer, Tom Haudricourt, on the Cubs: "They're probably drinking champagne and having in a beer shower right now in our locker room while we sulk about what happened here. It's ironic, where we're at as a team and how we feel at the end of this series and see them celebrating a no-hitter on our field. The way things are going, it doesn't surprise me. It's almost fitting." That sort of fatalistic thinking isn't what anyone wants to hear.

But look, Milwaukee: it's not over. The season's not. You have C.C. Sabathia going for you on Tuesday -- you know, the guy who's 9-0 since joining your team -- and of all opponents, you're up against the Cubs, which offers the perfect opportunity to stick it to all those smug, overweening, North Face-wearing Northsiders. Here's the chance to start anew: it's a sprint now, 100 meters for you and the Phillies, and it's gonna be run purely on adrenaline, non-stop, each pitch of every game from here till the end. You're not gonna lack for a thing to do from now until October, not one evening spent wondering, What's on TV? Who, as a baseball fan, wouldn't want that?

In our little corner of the baseball universe, this Royals fan looks on with envy.

POSTSCRIPT: Okay, Milwaukee fans, now look away:

Comment on the blog Fire Ned Yost, from stumby:
If there was as good a reason as any to let Mike Rivera play, Ned has it. Dude is hitting at a .320 clip, and hasn't sniffed an AB in what seems like months. The club is hitting for shit and the pitching is at the least, suspect. (and when I say suspect, I mean shit as well.) So, Kendall catches 8 innings already today only to watch the bullpen blow it more than Jenna in a double feature.

Ned's infinite wisdom reverts to the Billy Martin pull my lineup from a hat school, and we manage 3 runs all as a result of the long ball. I hope he isn't banking on Ray Durham to hit a four bagger every game from the 3 hole, but he probably is.

I cannot believe how fucking amateur this is becoming. I am seriously waiting for candid camera or punk'd or whatever to jump out. Is it April 1st. Tell me this is a joke. Fuck it, I'm going to the ballpark to root for the Cubs.

Comment on Ken Rosenthal's column on how the Brewers will probably fire Ned Yost if the team doesn't make the playoffs, from Badgers-rock: Yost is a smug, arrogant pinheaded prickface!!!!!
I hate the C-ocksucker!!!!
Get rid of him now Melvin.
This guy belongs in a clown suit passing cigarettes
through quarters...f'n ####.

And the Cubs fans come crashing in! Commenter MDBNIU on the Brewers blog Brew Crew Ball:

Don't worry
We’ll leave Miller Park in nice shape so you can have nice funeral procession when you get back in town !!!!! You just got YOSTED !!!!!!

And my favorite Cubs blogger, Wrigleyville23, on Chuckie Hacks:

buck up. it's still tied and the brewers will finish with three against the cubs, who most likely will not pitch dempster, harden, z and maybe even lilly in that final series.

p.s. thanks for the hospitality at miller park tonight.

The only icing this cake needs is an "objective" article written under the imprimatur of an officially sanctioned media organization that really twists the knife with some colorful descriptions, a triumphant tone...

Oh, I think we got something... yes, thank you,

PHILADELPHIA -- White towels violently waved in anything but surrender, instead serving as a rallying cool breeze on an 85-degree September evening.

In time, the raucous hollering at Citizens Bank Park that punctuated the early innings of Philadelphia's 6-1 nightcap win over Milwaukee transitioned gradually to a persistent buzz, if for no reason than the realization that nothing had yet been won.

It just seemed that way in the afterglow of a four-game sweep Sunday night that thrust the Phillies into a tie with the Brewers atop the National League Wild Card standings and one game behind the Mets in the NL East race. The day-night doubleheader sweep served as the exclamation point.

POSTSCRIPT 2: I thought the best part about Zambrano's no-hitter was when he struck out in the bottom of the 7th and made like he was going to snap his bat over his knee, causing the crowd to screech in unison, "Noooooooo!"

UPDATE, a few hours later: Yost fired.

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