Greg Peck: A despicable display at Miller Park
Dear Mark Attanasio:
I’ve been following your team, the Brewers, since the club arrived in Milwaukee from Seattle when I was a kid. When we were teenagers, my friends and would attend Opening Day and several more games each year. We relished those battles against the hated Yankees back when the Brew Crew was in the American League.
As you know, ticket prices have gotten nothing but more expensive. I appreciate that you’ve invested heavily in the team and made the Brewers competitive. These days, I usually don’t make it to more than two or three games at Miller Park each season. In fact, Saturday night’s game was my first this year.
My wife and I got together with a high school buddy and his wife. He’s one of the guys who joined our teenage group at games. In fact, he and I rushed the field to celebrate that 1982 Game 5 victory over the Cardinals and expected the Brewers to win the World Series (as you know, they lost the final two games in St. Louis). I told him to go ahead and splurge on club level seats and preferred parking passes for Saturday’s game. Add a couple of rounds of beers inside, and, well, I don’t need to tell you how much we invested in this outing.
We arrived at 3 p.m. so we could enjoy a cookout despite the uncertain weather. My buddy lives in Port Washington, and the years pass quickly, so we usually make a ballgame our annual gathering to get caught up on life.
We were optimistic with Willy Peralta taking the mound for the Brewers. I noticed he hadn’t given up a hit with two gone in the fourth inning. Then he did and melted down faster than the average person sitting out in this weekend’s heat. Those in the outfield seats should have opened their free casino umbrellas to avoid the flying balls off the Pirate bats.
Your team’s offense was equally inept. I pointed out to my buddy that at one point the Brewers had managed just one run in six at bats with runners on second and third. Your $100 million man, druggie Ryan Braun, managed to pop up meekly—I think the bases were loaded—just behind the mound. If his thumb is bothering him too much, tell your manager to sit him and find someone else to fill his position.
I had told my buddy that Carlos Gomez drives me nuts because he swings wildly for the fences too often, or at pitches far outside the strike zone, and does stupid things on the base paths. As if on cue, with the team trailing badly, Gomez tried going from first to third on a single and got thrown out. Sure, he was running with the pitch, but there was absolutely no need to take the extra base and risk destroying what might have been a promising rally. Disgusting. If his brains ever catch up with his enormous physical talent, Gomez would be a potential hall of famer.
My wife and I attended a Beloit Snappers game Friday evening. Beloit is in last place but put on a good show that night. One player hit a grand slam, and the Snappers won 9-6. Compared to the drive and traffic and expense of going to Miller Park, maybe my wife and I need to get our baseball fix in Beloit more often.
Saturday night, we left the stadium after seven innings. Most fans around us were already gone. We sat with our friends in the parking lot, enjoying a snack and more conversation as your team played out the final two innings. When it was obvious the game had ended, we started watching for the patrol officers who would soon chase us out.
“Attanasio should be out here passing out refunds.”
That’s what my buddy, who has three daughters in college, suggested. I couldn’t agree more.
Here’s the thing. I’ve seen too many clunkers in recent years. The Brewers seem to stink up the place too often in front of big home crowds. I realize a team will have ups and downs through the long season. But when I shuck out big bucks to attend a game, I at least expect the Brewers to show up, play smart baseball and compete, win or lose. I suspect most fans would agree.
When my son was young, I took him to a Milwaukee Bucks game. George Karl was coach, and the Bucks were so pathetic in the first half that they got booed off the floor, and deservedly so. Bango’s halftime performance was the highlight. The outing was expensive, and I vowed to never pay to see another Bucks game. My son turned 31 this year, and I never have.
This thought crossed my mind before your team found its footing and won Sunday: Maybe my buddy and I should just plan an annual picnic or a meal at a restaurant and save money and possible repeat frustrations at Miller Park.
I don’t want to give up Brewers baseball like I did Bucks basketball. But the notion gets more tempting every year. Saturday night’s poor performance did nothing to convince me otherwise.