The Brewers are 4-6. Last season at this time they were 5-5. They have a -14 run differential and have given up 50 runs. OMG WHAT DOES IT MEAN?! ARE THEY DONEZO!? Let's try not to worry about it because it is ridiculously early to worry about anything and take a trip down memory lane to the 2011 season as we review the Milwaukee Brewers' "The Next Step" DVD.
The 2011 Milwaukee Brewers season was the best, everything about it was the best. I loved the pitching, the hitting and the defense (okay, maybe not the defense.) I loved the coaching (okay, maybe not the coaching either.) I loved Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Yo, Axford, Tony Plush, Beast Mode and everything else. 2011 was a year when everything seemed to go right for the Brewers and it truly was a magical regular season. The recently released Brewers DVD "The Next Step" given to fans last Sunday at Miller Park sets out to capture the feeling of last season and does a pretty strong job of it, hitting a lot of the key moments of the season that brought us so much joy a year ago with a cast of talking heads who enjoyed it just as much as we did.
The DVD features a wide array of talking heads that set out to paint a complete picture of the 2011 season. Nyjer Morgan (in some weird sunglasses), Corey Hart (in a beanie), Zack Greinke (with a sunburn), Yovani Gallardo, Randy Wolf and Shaun Marcum all contribute for the player's point of view, but it is John Axford who steals the show with the most insightful comments and analysis throughout. He just seems like he was born to do this. I can't wait for him to appear on VH1's "I Love The First Three Years of the 2010's" next year. On the management side we have Doug Melvin (who is apparently incapable of smiling), Brewers COO Rick Schlesinger, Mark Attanasio (giddy as a schoolgirl) and manager Ron Roenicke. Finally, on the broadcast side we have Brian Anderson and Bob Uecker who doubles as a narrator. In addition to his talking head and narration, Uecker's radio calls also highlight many of the package's best highlights which really makes viewing this DVD feel special. I could honestly watch Braun's walk off against the Marlins on repeat for the rest of my life and never get sick of it. Such a great moment, such a great call, such a great time in life.
The DVD covers the entire season, but it really makes the clinching of the division feel like the special moment that it was. Too many times in baseball we get too caught up in the playoff results to appreciate the regular season. The Brewers won 96 games last season and won their first division in 29 years. Seriously, stop and think about that for a second. That's amazing. When the Brewers made the playoffs in 2008 they called the DVD of the clinching game "Once in a Lifetime", but this really was a once in a lifetime experience. There are hundreds of thousands of Brewers fans who weren't alive in 1982 or weren't yet aware of baseball and that was our/their moment. This (outside of all the amazing things that are going to happen this season) is going to be what hooked them for good and made them Brewers fans for life. Wild Cards may come and go, but Division Championships are forever. Never forget that.
By the time the DVD gets around to the playoffs there is only about ten minutes left which is the way it should be. The memories, the stuff that dreams are made of, that all took place during the 162 game season. The playoffs are a crap shoot, a reality show for non-baseball fans to check out every fall to see what this baseball thing is all about. Yeah 5-6 isn't good and it definitely doesn't make for a storybook ending, but 101-72 is freaking awesome. (And still better percentage wise than the Cardinals 101-79. Just
reaching saying.) It's something every Brewers fan should be really happy and proud to be apart of. Unfortunately, that is not the world that we live in and most people just remember the last game and not the 172 that came before it. Winning the World Series would be awesome, but I'm a journey kind of guy and I'd put up the journey the Brewers took us on last season up against anyone's.
Still, the DVD does a nice job highlight the Brewers playoff run and Division Series win against the Diamondacks. This is where John Axford really shines as he recounts what it was like to blow his first save in what seemed like forever in game 5 and then watch his team comeback to bail him out. You really feel his emotion about the whole situation and when he says "To have a moment like that and to come together as a team and to be able to celebrate that way, that was just unbelievable." I'll never forget that day (I also will never remember that day, but that's a different story) and I am glad to know John Axford feels the same way. I have to admit I got goosebumps and it was the perfect way to end the DVD.
What? There's still five minutes left? And they cover the NLCS?
My feelings exactly, Ryan. I don't need to hear things like "at least the team that beat us won the World Series" or anything about how the Cardinals were "clicking on all cylinders" and the Brewers weren't. That doesn't really do much for anyone and doesn't fit the narrative of "2011 was awesome."
(I would normally complain here that the DVD acknowledges the errors that led to losses in the St. Louis games, but ignores Roenicke's awful managerial decisions in game six (you know, how he started the wrong guy and then compacted the problem by saving the best bullpen guys until it was too late) and how that is messed up, but I promised myself I was letting it go and I have to try. (Narveson! Really!))
The DVD ends with all of the talking heads discussing their excitement for 2012 and how everyone now has playoff experience so they can surprise some people this year and bla bla bla. I understand why they put this stuff in there, but I don't think it was needed. Everything after the NLDS was more of a downer than an upper. Nothing could get me as excited for another Brewers run as watching them clinch the division from last year did. If you're ultimate goal is to get people excited and sell more tickets that's the way to go, but maybe that is just me.
Overall, I think this DVD is excellent and I think everyone who loves the Brewers should make a point to pick one up. It's definitely worth the hour of your time it takes to watch it and worth whatever price it is they charge for it. Oh wait, that's right this isn't a commercially available DVD and it was only given to people who were at the game last Sunday. That seems ... stupid and shortsighted and wasteful.
I give this a high recommendation, but unfortunately there is no way for you to watch it at this time. Hopefully someone will put it on the internet (like this) so everyone can see it and not just the 30,000 that were at that game. Or you could check ebay and buy your own.
For gifs from this DVD check out LOLBrewers.
Tags: beast mode, Bob Uecker, brian anderson, Corey Hart, doug melvin, gallardo, insightful comments, john axford, last sunday, management side, mark attanasio, memory lane, Miller Park, milwaukee brewers, prince fielder, randy wolf, Ryan Braun, schlesinger, vh1, zack greinke