As the decade comes to a close we thought it would be a good idea to look back on what it all meant for the Milwaukee Brewers and their fans. It's the Brewers Decade in Review. SPOILERS: Some of it is good, a lot of it was bad and most of it was forgettable. Just like every decade except for the 80's. The 80's were awesome.
I don't remember much about the year 2000 in baseball and I definitely don't remember much about the Brewers in the year 2000. I was too busy being cool. Listening to Less Than Jake CDs, drinking Carlo Rossi straight from the bottle (my favorite? Vin Rose, of course), doing backflips off of piers (back when I could still do a backflip without breaking my neck) and generally just screwing up the next few years of my life. It was a good time and I didn't really care about the Brewers or how they did. Judging by the looks of things, they didn't either.
Seriously, look at their Opening Day starters:
Kevin Barker 1B
Ronnie Belliard 2B
Henry Blanco C
Jeromy Burnitz RF
Marquis Grissom CF
Jimmy Haynes SP
Jose Hernandez SS
Geoff Jenkins LF
Mark Loretta SS
Uhhh, yeah. Does it surprise you they finished 73-89? Didn't think so. If you think the Brewers pitching sucked in 2009 try a season where Jimmy Haynes is your Opening Day starter. Yikes.
The year 2000 is best known for two things: the last year of County Stadium and the new logo/uniforms. The end of an era was met by the beginning of a new one as that stupid, stupid bats logo would be banished forever. The M didn't even really fit inside the B, which could only be described as "a B as drawn by Arnie Grape." Also, the bats looked like shit. I hated that logo.
As for County Stadium it had a lot of history and a lot of great memories, but if you asked anyone now (or then) if they missed it, they would surely tell you no and if they didn't they are morons. Sure, the constant barrage of audio and visual stimulation can get trying at times (like the faggy Harley sounds), but the overall comfort and quality of the stadium trumps anything else. It's amazing what $310 million of public funding can get you. The shadow of Miller Park loomed over the Brewers all season, as if to say "man, watching this shitty baseball would be a lot better at the new place."
And boy was it shitty. The two bright spots on the season were Geoff Jenkins and the surprising performance of Jeff D'Amico who posted 12 wins and 2.66 ERA, numbers that he never came even remotely close to matching again. The team was out of it early and the fans didn't have anything to cheer for most of the season. Until July 28 when this happened:
July 28, 2000: Bob Wickman, Jason Bere and Steve Woodard were traded by the Brewers to the Cleveland Indians for Paul Rigdon, Richie Sexson, Kane Davis and a player to be named later. The Indians completed the deal by sending Marco Scutaro to the Brewers on August 30.
Sexson stepped in right away and did a great job posting a .296/.398/.559 line with 14 homeruns and 47 RBIs in just 57 games. He immediately became the team's best hitter and starting hitting homeruns that are still waiting to land to this day. He was a good player on a bad team, which made him seem like the greatest player ever and Milwaukee loved him for it. Except, of course, when he struck out. Which he did a lot, 63 times in 57 games.
The Brewers didn't do much better in the drafting department, Corey Hart being the only player of note to be drafted that year (and even he was drafted in the 11th round). They used their #1 pick on Dave Krynzel who didn't really work out for them. It's hard to second guess these things because you never really know how they're going to work out, but they could have had Chase Utley, Adam Wainwright or Xavier Nady here. The future wasn't bright, yet.
In the end this was the beginning of the Richie Sexson era, which can be defined as "lots of losses, lots of homeruns" and that's about all you can really say about it. Unfortunately, things would get a whole lot worse before they got better. Once again, great job Bud Selig.