Sunday, September 23, 2012

FINALLY I Get to See a Brewers Win

I've been attending Brewers games across the country ever since I joined the Marine Corps back in 1980. (I still haven't seen them in NEW Miller Park -- which is going on 10 years now, and they always seem to be on the road when I'm home.) I've seen them play in Oakland and Anaheim, been to a lot in Baltimore; but since they joined the National League, I've only seen them in Washington, DC. Sad fact of the matter is, I haven't seen them win since Cecil Cooper hit a home run in extra innings in old Memorial Park probably back in 1986? I've seen them get sweep in Oakland when I was there in 1981/2. My buddy, Jeff Raatz, lived and worked for the Angels when I was at Camp Pendleton and Twentynine Palms between 1986-1988, 1989 through 1999, and I'd try to either go to games with him, and then later on with him and my son, Eddie. Heck, he even informed me of what hotel the Brewers were going to be staying at over Robin Yount's last West Coast swing so I could try to get Eddie to meet Robin; but Eddie was a little shaver then and had to get to bed. I left Eddie in the room and hung out in the lobby until I met Robin. Want to talk about an honest to God, down-to-earth guy? We talked for about 30 minutes about our Dads!!! But I digress, the Brewers lost both games that weekend.

When the Expos moved to DC in 2005, my cousin, John Samuels, got me to once again start attending Brewers games against the Nationals. Now, I believe I saw Alfonso Soriano steal his 40th base -- in a Brewer's loss. I remember some long forgotten Nationals' banjo hitting second baseman hitting a frozen rop of a home run in extra innings in another loss. On the same day my mom went into her unsuccessful heart valve surgery, ("No, don't come home, I'll see you next month,") I watched Randy Wolf in his first year with the Brewers pitch as if home plate was high and outside. Yeah, he was supposed to be a control pitcher who'd pound the strike zone. Last year, the Friday night game got rained out and the Nats offered a traditional double-header. The Brewers couldn't lose both games; could they? Well, Livan Hernandez won the first game throwing his junk and pitches slower than the national speed limit, and Yovanni Gallardo was ineffective in the second game.

This year, things had to change. John and I attended Saturday's game but the match-up wasn't good. Wily Peralta was going against Gio Gonzales, who was going for his 20th win of the season. To top it off, Dierkes Bentley was giving an after the game concert. With those two factors, and the Nats in first place in the NL East, of course it was sold out. Tried as we might, we could only get tickets on the first base side in the right-field corner. Wily didn't last through the third inning, Livan Hernandez threw batting practice to the Nats in the fourth, and the Brewers lost 10-4 -- it wasn't even that close of a game.

However, hope springs eternal in the baseball mind. Giovanni Gallardo was pitching for the Brewers on Sunday against, what I hoped to be a throw away pitcher by the Nats, Chien-Ming Wang. The Brewers had won 10 in a row when Gallardo started, 8 straight victories for Gallardo. This had to be the perfect Brewer game; right?

First off, I had to attend because the Packers are playing on Monday night, Redskins were playing on Sunday in their home opener. DC's a football town AND they just sold out the day before. I listened to the sport talk radio network and all they talked about was the Redskins -- shit, their team's in first place in the NL East!  I figured all the Redskins fans would either be at the game or at home watching. I put the over/under at 18k but was wrong. I never heard the actual attendance of the game, but I guessed at over 30k. So when I got to the park, I got John and I tickets right away behind the third base dug out, seven rows up. If you're ever in DC and want an iconic DC flavor, you have to have Ben's Chili Dogs and Chili Cheese Fries. It's like going to Chevez Ravine and getting Dodger Dogs. Zeb came down to a hockey game, Caps and Lightning, a couple of years ago, and I took him to Ben's. It's that good.

Well, the game was kind of anti-climatic. Gallardo went five innings but got the no decision. The sun ended up being more of a factor in the game due to balls dropping in the outfield. I didn't understand Brewers's manager Ron Roenicke's decision to platoon a bunch of pitchers and then go with a sloppy arm in the ninth before settling on John Axford for the final out. But the Brewer's won, and now I got to remember what I wore to that game so I can wear it to the next to see if that's the factor.

As a final zinger to this piece, John has invited me to next weekend's game of the Orioles vs. Red Sox at Camden Yards, where they're going to be handing out Brooks Robinson statuettes to all attendees. It seems he has an extra ticket to the game that he bought months ago for $13.  Now, was it the Brewer jersey with the ManU/Barcelona t-shirt and khaki shorts or the Brewer jersey with USMC t-shirt and grey shorts? Oh, and I'm definitely going over to Boog's Pulled Pork. Sounds like another post.


Anonymous said...

I'm totally digging the old school Milwaukee jersey. Makes me wonder what Robin Yount and Gorman Thomas are up to these days.

Zebster said...

The Brewers did beat the Red Sox the day my cousin (with your ticket) and I went last year or was that two years ago already. Great post, man, and would look forward to another. Would love to see your Brewers make the playoffs instead of the Cards.