Behind Enemy Lines - a trip to Miller Park
I have every other Friday off, and there I was, minding my own, when my dad and brother show up out of the clear blue and ask me to a Brewers game. Why, might you ask, would they do that when we live far closer to Wrigley than Miller Park? Because those two knuckle-draggin' inbreds HATE the Cubs, and before the night was over, I met hundreds, nay, THOUSANDS of others who feel the same.
In ten words or less, it's a nice park/food court/tavern, and quite clean. In fact, nearly 10,000 Brewer fans had been tailgating since I dunno, noon or 3 or something, and when we strolled to the gate about 6, the parking lot was smokin', as in grillin'. Funny thing is, though, as we were leaving, you wouldn't have known a single soul ever was out there. Wisconsin people clean up after themselves!! WOW! What a concept! Let's start doing that, ourselves, when we go to Wrigley? Kay?
Anyway, a brief story of the game, by numbers -
8 - inches, as in the number of inches Ryan Braun's first inning homer cleared the left field fence by.
1 - hit, as in the number of hits the vaunted Brewers offense managed against the Great Josh Fogg in the first five innings, that one being the Braun homer.
147 - mopes wearing t-shirts that said 'Cubs Suck'. The rivalry, as one sided as it is, is certainly brewing (ha!) north of the Cheeze-n-Sausage Line. They have something going on every half-inning, like they do in the minors, way more than just the Sausage Race (which was a complete blowout by Hot Dog, btw). There's always some contest or something where they stick a microphone in the face of some random Brewers fan. Nearly every time, once their 15 seconds of fame was up, the random fan took the opportunity to shout "Cubs Suck". Good times.
(Note to Brewers management - last night was a sellout, the 14th you've had this year. You've done a fine job of putting a product on the field. You can stop all the bush league nonsense between innings. You don't need that anymore. Keep the Sausages, tho.)
4 - number of times I yelled "Gooo Cubs Gooooo!", every time the Reds rallied for runs.
21 - times I questioned myself for being an idiot for rooting for a team Dusty Baker was mis-managing.
1 - fabulous managerial move by Baker, as he was able to send Adam Dunn in to pinch-hit with a tie score and the bases loaded in the seventh with one out. For once in the past five years, I looked upon him in admiration. So what happened? The strongest man on the field ran the count full before literally squibbing a 2-foot 'clout' that Jason Kendall was able to pick up and step on home for the force, seemingly quashing the Reds' rally.
So then what happened? With Hairston the Lesser at the plate, the next Scott Riske pitch was Riske indeed, bouncing off of Kendall's shin and all the way into the Brewers dugout, as the deciding run crossed the plate.
Anyhoo, it was a quite decent night of baseball watching and amateur scouting. There is something quite wrong with the Fresh Prince, he is no longer the intimidating force. Of course, now Braun is. Hart and Hardy are as good as you know they are. I actually saw Bill Hall get a hit off of someone else besides the Cubs.
But the biggest thing I walked away with is that in the hierarchy of Groups of People Who Hate the Cubs, I have to rank them as of today in this order:
1. White Sox "fans"
2. Brewer fans
3. Sam Zell (sell the damn team, already!)
4. Cardinal fans
5. my dad and brother
The rest of the ride this year should be interesting.