The Los Angeles Dodgers tonight will begin trying to end the Brewers’ dream-like playoff run, and many analysts say the Brewers’ streak of untouchable pitching and timely hitting cannot be sustained.
But these analysts have been downplaying the Brewers’ chances all season, even as the Brewers swept the Rockies. The Brewers cannot possibly win with their “out-getters” approach of turning their relievers into starters and starters into relievers. That’s not how baseball is played, they say.
The 2018 Milwaukee Brewers are more than a great team. Regardless of the outcome of the National League Championship Series, they’ve left an impression on Wisconsin, and they have imparted some life lessons for all of us to contemplate.
You can play a 168-year-old game a new way. Brewers manager Craig Counsell introduced baseball fans to a new term to describe pitchers: out-getters. He may have been joking somewhat, but he needed a word to describe how he uses his pitchers. When some Brewers starters struggled this year, Counsell began relying more heavily on his bullpen. The strategy was on display in Game 1 of the Division Series with reliever Brandon Woodruff—the “initial out-getter”—tossing only three innings before Counsell replaced him with another reliever. The critics say the Brewers can’t continue winning like this, but we imagine Counsell—like all innovators—relishes proving his critics wrong.
The boss must be believable. Counsell never could have led his team to this point without his team believing in him. In the business world, bosses often ask their employees to be team players, but getting employees to buy in to their boss’s vision is no easy task. Counsell has his players believing in something bigger than their next contracts. He has sold them on the idea that if they work together, they can become world champions. Counsell is bringing out the best in each player for the good of the whole team. Many bosses strive to do the same, though they often fall short.
The winner is often the most persistent. If all you do in life is not give up, there’s a good chance you’ll succeed. Maybe the Cubs are more talented than the Brewers, but it doesn’t matter because the Brewers are in the NLCS, and the Cubs are not. The Brewers could have settled for a wild card slot, and many Brewer fans would have been thrilled. But the Crew wasn’t content with second place and treated all of September like a playoff series. Here again, Counsell has been instrumental in keeping his team focused on the prize.
Getting hot at the right time helps. A hot streak at the right time can make up for a lot of previous mistakes. The Brewers have won 11 games in a row and had a 19-7 record in September. Performing at your highest level when it matters most never hurts.