On their debut album, Music from Big Pink, The Band captured what was in the soul of America. It was a strange concept given the fact that the band comprised five Canadians, but as they toured the country with Bob Dylan, their outsiders’ perspective gave them all the insight and material they needed to record one of the greatest albums of all time.
So, what does this have to do with the Milwaukee Brewers? Read on.
I was born just outside of Boston. I have rooted for the Red Sox since the day I was born. In fact, my childhood bedroom’s wallpaper bears the Red Sox logo. So, just as The Band’s Robbie Robertson observed the chaos, rage and redemption of the 1960s as a foreigner in a new land, I, as a Red Sox fan living in Brewers Country, can tell you that there is something special and fun happening here in Milwaukee.
All summer there seemed to be a wary optimism following each Brewer win. The satisfaction of a hometown win came with the fear that it was one game closer to the inevitable Brew Crew decline. Yet here we are. The Brewers not only won 96 games, they clinched a playoff berth in St. Louis and then, in game 163, they won the Central Division in Miller Park South (sometimes known as Wrigley Field). Let’s start there.
As I’m sure all Brewers fans can attest right now, there is nothing more satisfying than beating your rival. People in Boston still talk about the famous four days in October 2004 when the Sox shocked the world by coming back from a 3-0 series deficit against the Yankees before going on to sweep the World Series (against the Cardinals, no less) and break an 86-year championship drought. It is a high that can carry you through anything.
Case in point: I have to get my muffler fixed tomorrow and I don’t even care – in fact I’m looking forward to it – all thanks to the second-hand high from seeing Bob Uecker get doused with champagne after the Brewers took it to the Cubs. However, that is all in the past now. You can get in trouble dwelling in the past. (See the last-place 2014 Red Sox.)
So, let’s look ahead. I’m not going to go position by position to tell you how the Brewers can beat the Rockies. By now, you guys know your team: Your bullpen is nasty, Christian Yelich is an MVP and Craig Counsell is making all the right moves.
What you might be overlooking, however, is how much fun this team is having. I think that is the most important thing in any season, let alone the playoffs. In 2004, the Sox rallied around the charisma of guys like Kevin Millar, David Ortiz and Pedro Martinez. Then in 2013, the Sox powered to a World Series title with the chemistry of a group of veteran players who came together, grew their beards out and genuinely wanted to win for each other (and for the city – the Boston Marathon bombing was early in that season).
This year in Milwaukee, have you seen pitcher Brent Suter before each game? He practically pops a lung singing his Lo Cain song, and this is a guy who lost his season to injury. Not to mention that he’s also the first guy on the dugout steps anytime something good happens. Or what about the “Show me the love” signal each guy uses after a big hit, or the Yelich/Travis Shaw bromance? Bottom line: there isn’t a guy in that clubhouse who doesn’t enjoy showing up to the ballpark each day. The playoffs are stressful and can be an absolute grind, so any team that stays loose is giving themselves a massive advantage.
Let the playoffs begin. Bring on the Rockies, and whether the Brewers’ season lasts just this next week, or the next month, enjoy this, Milwaukee. There is something special going on.