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.
The 2001 Opening Day was probably the most anticipated Opening Day in Milwaukee Brewers history. You couldn't drive on I-94 without seeing it, you couldn't turn on the TV without hearing about it and you couldn't make love to a man or woman without accidentally screaming it's name. The presence of Miller Park lingered over everything. At least that's how I assume it was, I was living in Seattle in 2001 watching Ichiro lead a team to 116 wins eating copious amounts of salmon and drinking five gallons of latte per day. Yet I couldn't help but notice what was going on back home and feeling sorry for everyone. A whopping 2.8 million people came to see the new place that season and the Brewers rewarded them by winning their first game there. a game that had President George W. Bush throwing out the first pitch. It would prove to be the high point of the season. In the next 161 games they went 67-94.
The story of the season was the offense. Like all the Selig era teams they could hit homeruns (3rd in the league) and not do much of anything else except lose. Eight players hit ten or more homeruns that season. You'd think with a lineup like that they would have an above average offense and with this group, you would be wrong. They weren't good.
Remember last year when everyone on facebook was doing that "25 Things" list and then tagging you and trying to get you to do it? Yeah, I never did that. Big League Stew did a baseball related one earlier this year, but we weren't well enough known to be asked (yeah, that's why I'm sure of it). Well, in the interest of always trying different things and lack of any great ideas for our 200th POST we decided to participate. Here's what we came up with.
I don't own a single bobblehead and I never have. If I did get one I am pretty sure I would sell it. Unless it was the Jeff Suppan bobblehead because that has no value.
Before the season I told my friends that I would meet my next girlfriend at Miller Park. Thus far this has not happened. (I blame Ryan Braun.)
When I was a kid I went to a Brewers game and got a foul ball via some Happy Youngster-esque means (batting practice+glove+ball out of reach=glove/belt combo) then later got it signed by two players: Fernando Vina and Derek Jeter. I may have been too old to have that glove, but I know that now and knowing is half the battle. The ball is still around here somewhere.
I have an unhealthy man crush on Ichiro Suzuki and can often be seen in a Mariners hat. This does not change the way I feel about the Brewers.
My main influences for Miller Park Drunk are Bill Simmons (like everyone who writes about sports on the internet), Deadspin, Kissing Suzy Kolber and The Dugout, but I would never be here if it wasn't for Scotsmanality (this probably best describes it, this is where Scotsman is now). He always did what you didn't expect him to do and that's something I always try to remember. He did, however, tell me not to start this blog so it's not like he's a genius or anything.
I HATE the Yankees more than any team in any sport. When my son was born a friend of his mother purchased a baby Yankees jersey for him and I told her that it would "never, ever touch his skin as long as I was alive with the possible exception of being used as a baby wipe." This didn't go over well and led to an enormous fight that I am likely still feeling the effect of, but was the absolute truth and to my knowledge has never happened.
Honestly? I never considered myself a "true" Brewers fan until around the time Mark A took over the team. I always supported them, but at the same time I was smart enough to know that the Seligs had no clue how to run a team and never would. History has proven me correct in this thinking.
I have never taken a college course in writing. Does this one surprise you? It's not like we're doing mind blowing work here, but I like to think we're a step above a lot of the blogs out there.
As a kid my favorite player was Albert Belle. Yes, that Albert Belle. I have no explanation for this at all.
My favorite Brewer (that's not currently on the team)? I like to say Paul Molitor, but I remember him more for his work as a Blue Jay. The real answer is probably Dave Nilsson.
One of my life long goals is to throw a decent knuckleball. I should probably stop biting my nails if I ever want this to happen.
I play Baseball Mogul almost every day and have for the past two years despite the fact that the game hates Milwaukee. Seriously, every single game I play as the Brewers has us losing money and last in ticket sales. Drives me insane. (Don't even get me started on their Braun ratings.)
I rarely tailgate and usually hit the Fridays before the game. I try to keep my tailgating to times I am with a lot of people and we have the time to get there 2-3 hours before the game (I hate missing first pitch). If you are going with one or two people it's kind of pointless to break out the grill and the bags. Fridays has Spotted Cow, but keep me away from the Long Islands. That doesn't usually end well.
I am now a published writer featured on Decider. You can find our story in the Milwaukee Decider or the Madison Decider depending on your location. Can you believe someone actually paid me to make jokes about douchebags?
And since that article decided to use my real name, here's my favorite picture of me at Miller Park. Doing the Lion King with my son at Friday's Front Row.
Alright, that's only 15 but I think that's enough and now you know. Thanks for supporting us for the first 200, here's to the next 200. Check out our article in the Decider. We'll be back later to talk about the newest Brewer and more.
Have you heard about the 2009 All Star game? The Brewers are basically in the top two of every single position. This is pretty exciting for Brewers fans and I was really curious to see how it was going to turn out. To find out I contacted a local mathematician* and had him crunch some numbers for me to figure out how this thing is going to end up. This is what he came up with.
C: Crash Davis
1B: Richie Sexson 2B: Jarrod Washburn 3B: Who cares? SS: Spencer's creepy flesh colored beard
OF: Dave Navarro OF: Terence Mann
C: Jason Kendall 1B: Albert Poo-holes lol 2B: Rickie Weeks 3B: Who cares? SS: JJ Hardy OF: Ryan Braun OF: Mike Cameron OF: Anyone but Gary Sheffield
*By local mathematician I mean a guy I met at a bar who wrote this on a napkin for me.
I've known Mike Cameron since before he was ever a Brewer, before Miller Park existed. Well, not known him known him, but I have been a fan of his work for quite some time. He was the key to the trade that sent Ken Griffey to Cincinatti and I lived in Seattle at that time so we became well acquainted. His defense in Center Field was the best I've ever seen. He struck out a lot, but when he made contact it went a long way and when he got on base he could steal. Basically, if Ichiro never existed he would be my favorite player and right now he is my favorite Brewer. Now? He's the same player with a slight dropoff in defense.
Now I've let my love for Rickie Weeks be known around these parts, but that's mostly because I hate people saying he sucks when he so clearly doesn't. With Mike Cameron I truly like the guy and want him to succeed. I will argue his value to my death. To me he is THE most important guy to this team's success and it might not even have anything to do with how he plays. Take yesterday's game for example. Prince hit a homerun and Mike Cameron gave him a choreographed high-five. Then Mike Cameron hit a homerun and he gave Rickie Weeks a different choreographed high-five. The more I watch the Brewers (and you notice this after wins) I see Mike Cameron do a different high-five for every player on the team. I even saw him give Ken Macha (!) the up-down high-five. Mike Cameron is without a doubt the glue that binds this team together. When CC Sabathia was around he called Mike Cameron a friend. Do you know why? Because Mike Cameron is EVERYONE'S friend. He is probably the coolest guy in all of Major League Baseball and everyone should be glad he is on our team. You know the stories about how the Brewers truly like eachother? That's got Mike Cameron's fingerprints all over it. He's a good guy and he's a winner.
The reason I am bringing this up is not to sing his praises from the mountain tops. It's to prepare you for what might happen. You see Mike Cameron has never hit higher than .273 in a season and he's only hit above .260 in 4 out of his 11 seasons. Right now he's hitting .321 and as much as we'd all like it to be true, 36 is not the season you suddenly learn to hit .300. It's just not. So there is going to be a dropoff and there will probably be a slump at some point. At some point this season you may say to yourself that Mike Cameron sucks and I just want you to know that I will have none of it. Mike Cameron does not suck. He is who he is. He's a plus defender, with above average power and speed. He is good, but he is not this good. He will decline this season and that will be okay because he will still be Mike Cameron and Mike Cameron is still the most valuable guy in the locker room that this team has.
So remember those rules of booing? This is #1 on mine: Never, ever boo Mike Cameron.