Lost in the elation of yesterday's win was a single moment in the game that really pissed me and other like minded Brewers fans off. With the Brewers up five runs in the eighth inning and K-Rod due to bat at the top of the inning the Brewers called upon a pinch hitter. The hitter chosen by Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was Casey McGehee. Casey McGehee took about two pitches before hitting a foul pop-up that the catcher caught for the out. As Casey McGehee headed back to the dugout he was treated to a chorus of boos from the crowd at Miller Park. #areyouseriousbro
I am not here to defend the season of Casey McGehee. A .626 OPS is not good. In fact, it is very bad. He underperformed badly and now he has (seemingly) been replaced in the lineup by Jerry Hairston. If you are one of the people who believes that Casey McGehee is responsible for all of the Brewers losses this season then this is exactly what you wanted to happen. Adding to that, a pinch hit at bat when the Brewers are up five runs in the late innings is exactly the time you should want to see Casey McGehee swing the bat. If he gets a hit, great. If he doesn't, the Brewers are still up five. He was the second bat off the bench after Mark Kotsay. He didn't have anything to do with the game's outcome. He can't ruin anything. He has done nothing to deserve a boo.
Before I dig deeper into this idea of booing someone during a playoff game when your favorite team is in the midst of (possibly) it's greatest run ever, I want to tell you a story. It's about a former Brewer who was beloved by the crowd. You couldn't walk from your seat to the bathroom without seeing two or three people wearing his jersey and he always got much bigger ovation than his talent level would indicate. During his last season with the Milwaukee Brewers this player struggled mightily which is to say he played like shit. At the same time the Brewers had a highly touted prospect in the minor leagues who played the same position. It didn't take long for this player, this beloved player, to become hated by many fans for his crappy season. The fans resented him for taking playing time away from this prospect. How dare our former favorite take away this prospect's playing time? Why doesn't he just go away already? I can't wait til the Brewers are rid of this guy once and for all! He gave me herpes!
Does this sound at all familiar to you? If you hadn't figured it out this is the story of JJ Hardy and Alcides Escobar, but it could easily be about Casey McGehee and Taylor Green. Casey McGehee was (wrongly, but still) the team MVP last year. His jerseys were everywhere and you always heard people saying he was a throwback, a guy who just looks like he belongs on the Brewers. Now? He's lucky people don't spit in his food. And we all forget this now, but Hardy's last season with the Brewers was just as bad. For a player that has recently been called (by Brewers fans) "one of the best shortstops in the game" and "someone the Brewers never should have let get away", it's kind of funny how much time can change our opinions.
|McGehee OPS||Hardy OPS|
The reason that I tell this story is because you just never know. This season could turn out be an outlier or it could be the sign of things to come. You don't know. Casey McGehee has been bad this season, but that doesn't mean that he is bad. More importantly, no matter what happens he doesn't want to be bad. He is working hard to fix this. His teammates don't boo him, they want him to succeed. He has had success in the past and there is no reason to believe he can't have success again. He is going to do whatever he can to regain that success. He is trying his best and that is all we can ask of him. He does not deserve to be booed for failing because failing is human (just ask every girl I've ever been with.)
Furthermore, Casey has not failed 100% of the time. He has been bad, yes, but he has also done some very good things. Consider that the Brewers only have homefield in this round because they have one more win in the regular season than the Diamondbacks do. What if Casey doesn't get the game winner in the 10th against the Cardinals? What if he doesn't have 3 homeruns and 5 RBIs in that five run Brewers win? What then? Are they on the road right now?
All of this is not even why booing Casey is wrong. There are two much bigger reasons why booing Casey (or anyone) is the stupidest thing you can do at these games and they are:
- POSITIVE ENERGY. Do you want the Brewers to win? Do you want them to go all the way? Then cheer your brains out. Do not boo. Shower them with love and be rewarded for it. They feed off the energy. The power of positive energy is real.
- THE FUTURE. Twenty years from now Casey McGehee is going to be throwing out a first pitch or doing an autograph signing and you are going to lose your shit. You will try to tell your kids about Casey McGehee and how he was on the 2011 Brewers team that changed your life. They will ignore you and go back to doing virtual cocaine on their iPad 50s, but you will try. You will tell them about his three homer game and how you always loved him. You won't remember what his OPS was or his BA with RISP. You will only remember the good times. Casey will bring you back to this season and you will love him for it.
And really, that's what it's all about. This is the best time to be a Brewers fan. The guy has had a terrible season, but it's over now and it didn't cost the Brewers a playoff spot. Get over it. He's doing his best. He's not even starting. Don't boo him. The Milwaukee Brewers are in the playoffs up two games to zero. This is awesome.
Let's just enjoy it.