Photo by Joe Hang
Four score and seven hours ago, give or take a couple days, our fathers at ESPN, notably Jim Caple, brought forth on this continent a new nation, or at least a nationwide Internet poll, conceived in Sports, especially Baseball, and dedicated to the proposition that all fans and their votes are created equal. Which was a pretty novel idea for fans who didn’t live on one of the coasts, where ESPN often thinks you’re more equal, particularly when the Red Sox and Yankees play.
Then, we were engaged in a great civil war, a Battle of the Ballparks, testing whether Brewers Nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, could long endure. And by long, we mean a week, and by endure, we mean clicking a mouse at your office computer while making sure the boss wasn’t looking and, if especially dedicated, using a smartphone to vote, too. And if you really went above and beyond, sending out a few hundred tweets and liking it on Facebook.
We are met in Milwaukee nearby a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, Miller Park, as a favored resting place for those who gave their index fingers that that nationwide Internet poll might be won. And against all odds and the insult of being seeded 24th, it was won, and woe to the fan bases from Pennsylvania and Maryland and California who got in the way. And mo' woe to Caple, who openly campaigned against Miller Park, but later acquiesced and said nice things about it in the end. So it is altogether fitting and proper that fans should do this dedication, and still be so dedicated, even if the Brewers struggle to score more than three runs, or when they do, have the bullpen hold a lead.
But in a larger sense, even larger than the cool center field scoreboard, we cannot dedicate – we cannot consecrate – we cannot ourselves hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here – like Barrel Man and Harvey Kuenn, Robin Yount and Cecil Cooper, John Jaha and Chuckie Carr, Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun, and yes, even Gary Sheffield (when he wasn’t intentionally making errors, because, seriously, what kind of teammate does that?) – have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract or blog.
The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, and frankly, that goes double for ESPN’s nationwide Internet poll, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. Like last season, when they advanced all the way to the NLCS.
It is rather for us to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us, to toast their efforts in tailgating lots and think reverently of them when we down the third brat. That from these honored men and Racing Sausages, we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion, especially if it was a contract year. That we here highly resolve that these men shall not have tried in vain. That this nation, under God, beneath Bernie’s slide, shall have a new birth of freedom. That popularity contests of the Internet, by the Internet and for the Internet shall not perish from this earth.
And that anybody who does one in the future be forewarned to not tug on Milwaukee’s cape.
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