I've been meaning to write a post about the Brewers post season run for some time now and figured I should get to it before the actual post season starts.
First, yes it will be the greatest weekend in Wisconsin sports history. Brewers hosting the D'Backs on Saturday and Sunday in the NLDS, the #7 Badgers at home vs. #8 Nebraska on primetime on Saturday night, and the Packers play a division game on Sunday afternoon (at the same time as Game 2 of the NLDS). Plus, Emerson has a soccer game on Saturday morning…
So it's certainly going to be an exciting weekend, but I'll personally be focused on the Brewers and baseball in general. The final day of the regular season last Wednesday was about as a good as baseball gets. With one game to play, both division wildcard races were tied, the Brewers were fighting for home field advantage, John Axford was going for the MLB lead in saves, the Brewers were trying to set a franchise record (which they did) for wins with 96 and the NL batting title was up for grabs between Ryan Braun and Jose Reyes (who bunted for a single and then sat the rest of the game. Golf clap.).
For a complete rundown of Wednesday night, I'd recommend this article, "Did We Just Witness The Most Awesome Night In Baseball History?". To which I'd answer: Yes.
At any rate, back to the Brewers.
It was a great season to be sure, probably the greatest I'll see in my lifetime. I was lucky enough to go to a lot of games this year and either watched or listened to all but about 15 of the 162 games they played. If there was any year to pick to follow the team as close as I did, this was obviously it.
It's been an exciting season.
So I'm pretty familiar with the team going into the playoffs. Home field advantage will be huge for us. I wished the standings would have worked out a bit different. Opening at home against the limping Braves would have been awesome, but if the Cardinals beat the Phillies and we move past the D'Backs, we'll have homefield advantage through the World Series…
I've been a huge critic of Casey McGehee this year. Nice guy, but as I've pointed out many times on Facebook and Twitter, he's a terrible hitter and fielder and has single handily lost us several games this year. If we're going to go far in the playoffs, he needs to sit. You just can't have a guy batting .223 in your lineup against the best pitchers in the game.
Everywhere else, we're either solid or have the advantage. Our pitching can go up against anyone in the league – yes, even Philadelphia – and when our bats aren't sleeping, we're among the best at scoring runs. Our defense is the one weak spot to be sure. It's going to be a tough series against Arizona, but I think we can pull it out with home field as the advantage.
Outside of the actual games, it's awesome to see how the City is responding to the Brewers. While we love the Packers down here, the Brewers are Milwaukee's team and they've been fully embraced even by those who only have a passing interest in baseball. The excitement and energy is amazing and this town is ready for a win. I know people who've rearranged entire lives around the upcoming weekend.
Most importantly, it's good for Milwaukee. In tough times, it's nice to have something that everyone can rally around that unifies the City, the suburbs and the entire State. The deeper we go into the playoffs, the unity will only get stronger. Long after the baseball season is over, that feeling of unity and a collective experience will stay with us, win or lose, and hopefully remind us going forward that we have a lot more in common than we might think.
Enjoy the greatest weekend in Wisconsin sports history. Drive safe and don't get in the car if you've had too much. Most of all, go BREWERS!
AAAAHHHHH!! GOTTA GO!