Miller: Staying on the Brewers bandwagon
When 44-year-old and 280-pound Minnesota Twins starter Bartolo Colon shut down the Brewers a couple of weeks ago, I reached down to start packing up my Milwaukee gear.
“That's it,” I thought to myself. “When Bartolo Colon shuts you down at home, I guess it's time to listen to all the fantasy football players talk about the unknown tight end on the Saints that is going to give them their league championship this year.”
But while many of the other fans piled off the Brewers bandwagon to board that Packers bus on the other side of the street, I decided to stay on a while longer.
“Next stop … maybe,” I yelled at the driver.
“You sure?” Craig Counsell said as he glanced back at the increasing number of open seats.
“Yeah. The Packers don't play a real game for another 11 days,” I said. “Carry on, my man.”
“I'm glad you're staying on board,” he said. “Remember, we got you this far.”
He was so correct.
I'm a Brewers' fan. My buddies and I go to Phoenix for a week each March to watch the Brewers (warm sunshine), their young prospects (warm sunshine) and mingle with other Brewer fans (warm sunshine).
And then there's Mill Avenue near the Arizona State campus.
So when this vehicle took off in April, I was on board. With the Cubs in the division, I, along with the vast majority of Brewers fans, had planned to get off in mid-May. I was extremely optimistic, but also a realist.
The basketball season that had just ended had been a great ride. The Badgers again delivered, and the Bucks cracked their eggshell and showed the first wobbly signs of a championship team.
My only choice at that time—as a True Wisconsin Sports Fan—was these young Brewers. My fellow fans and I just hoped they stay close for a while, maybe beat the Cubs once or twice, and somehow make it to football season.
April until August is a long spell. What would we, the True Wisconsin Sports Fans, do until the Packers started riding those little bikes to practice?
And then these Brewers started hitting more homers than singles. And Zach Davies, Jimmy Nelson and Chase Anderson pitched well consistently.
And May rolled past and more people climbed aboard.
And June came, and the Cubs were still in their World Series win stupor.
And when the All-Star break came, these guys led the division by 5½ games.
Fans were pouring onto this wagon.
But as usually happens, the wave of late arrivals started to tax the engine. The homers stopped. Anderson got hurt.
And the Brewers had to go on a nine-game road trip to Colorado, San Francisco and Los Angeles. This had to be the final straw.
I started packing up my stuff, ready to jump aboard the green-and-gold bandwagon at the next stop.
“Hey,” the players yelled. “What the hay?”
I felt guilty.
These guys have been great for the past five months, providing homers and great defensive plays. Guys we never heard of before: Travis Shaw, Manny Pina, Corey Knebel, Eric Thames, Josh Hader, Jesus Aguilar, Eric Sogard, are winning games and having a good time.
And then they went 5-4 on the West Coast. Sure, they didn't face the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood or Rich Hill, but they did beat Yu Darvish—in his first game off the DL—and handed the Dodgers their first home series loss since the Warriors beat the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
They deserve fans sticking with them to the end.
“OK guys,” I said. “I'm on board to the finish. Win or lose. I never thought playoffs was a possibility, so we're playing with house money.”
Plus all the window seats on the Green Bay bandwagon are gone.