Sunday, August 8, 2010

Brewers Sweep > Packers Family Night

I found it a bit curious on Saturday night when my buddy Hyke was surprised that I was actually attending a Brewers game that evening. For all intents and purposes, I have pretty much given up on this Brewers season, at least as far as postseason or even a .500 record is concerned. But Hyke's surprise was more or less the fact that I was at Miller Park instead of Lambeau Field, as the Packers Family Night scrimmage was taking place. Maybe Hyke doesn't know me as well as I thought he did, because there is no way in hell I'd ever attend the hick fest that is Family Night.

Packers Family Night is awful for the same reasons that it's become somewhat of a success. By having this scrimmage, the Packers give fans who wouldn't normally have the opportunity to attend a game the chance to see Lambeau in person. But if you reread that sentence, you'll see why Family Night is something I would never attend. With apologies once again to Central Wisconsin, the people that gulp up these ten dollar tickets are not a very diverse crowd. You think of your typical hick Northwoods family in this state, and this Family Night is their Super Bowl. So no, I would not have rather attended this event than the Brewers game on Saturday.

Actually hell, I would not have liked to attend this Family Night even if the crowd was a little more urban, so to speak. I know that everyone gets excited to see the Packers because they are without a doubt the go-to team in this state for sports, but this is a freaking scrimmage we are talking about. Against themselves. I just can't get into these glorified practices where half of the people in the stadium are making "At least the Packers scored first" jokes. Maybe I'm just not as much of a diehard as other fans, but the last thing I want to do is follow every practice consistently and watch the battles between the 5th and 6th string wide receiver, whether it's televised or not. While I do care about those things to an extent, it's the preseason games themselves that I follow. I could give two shits about the daily practices, just tell me who gets hurt and I'm good to go.

So with watching or even attending FOX 11's biggest night of the year out of the question, my attention instead turned to the Milwaukee Brewers. I've been sour on the Crew as well, especially as of late, and the game I attended last week with my brother for his birthday didn't help (we have started a bad tradition of ending up going to some of the most poorly played games by the Brewers throughout the last couple of seasons). The crowd on Saturday night didn't seem all that impressed either to start the game, but it quickly turned into the best atmosphere at Miller Park that I've been to since the 2008 playoffs.

Even though innings two through eight proved to have some pretty spectacular highlights (the Randy Wolf web gem being one of them), it was inning one and inning nine which the crowd was buzzing about afterwards. The crowd quickly turned from half-heartily caring to being full-blown excited when Rickie Weeks hit a leadoff home run, only of the inside-the-park variety. I had never seen one of these in person and didn't realize Weeks was going for it until the crowd cheered him hustling towards third, as my eyes were on Jason Bourgeois in center field. I didn't think it was the kind of shot that anyone could hit an inside-the-parker on, but Weeks did it and the excitement that has been lacking for most of the season at Miller Park was back.

The Astros series actually turned out to be a very memorable one for Milwaukee, kicked off with a walk-off hit from Prince Fielder on Friday night. The highlight though for many that attended this series could very well be the sound that has been missing from Miller Park since May - Hells Bells. With a three run lead in the ninth inning, the bells rang again as Trevor Hoffman was given the save opportunity. Ken Macha talked after the game about how he has earned this opportunity, and with a three run lead John Axford was still available should the night turn sour for the all-time saves leader. But Hoffman fed off of the crowd's emotion and delivered three straight outs to pick up save number 597, and the crowd erupted yet again when the sign above centerfield was finally updated.

To me, even though I'm a big Axford guy, this was the highlight of the night. I had attended the game with the girlfriend and I was explaining to her in the first inning how stupid I thought it was that the Brewers still had the Hoffman sign up in the first place. Funny how things work out that way in baseball.

So on a night where everyone seemingly decided to switch over into Packers mode, I still stayed on the Brewers train for one game longer. It really felt like a different season on Saturday night, as the team looked great and the crowd was into it. Even with the dominating victory on Sunday as well, the Brewers are still six games under .500 and still out of this thing. But for this weekend, it was kind of a nice way to honor the Brewers before I do fully switch into Packers mode.

POTG Saturday - Hoffman, the sentimental pick.

POTG Sunday - Casey McGehee


Chris said...

I figured that since you gave up on the Brewers and you had the opportunity to join Wisconsin's finest at Lambeau, you would have done it. Hmm, beer, professional football, Lambeau Field... Sounds like Winks. (if there is no beer sold on family night because of the family aspect, then you wouldn't be caught dead there) If your beard continues to grow, you would fit in with Wisconsin's finest quite well.

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