I have been a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers most of my life. I still vividly remember when they moved from Seattle to Milwaukee in 1970. I have stuck with them through thick and thin…mostly thin. The construction of Miller Park brought hope to the Milwaukee fan base. We thought it would generate the revenue to field a contender. When the construction was almost complete fans were invited to come and sign the last piece of the stadium that would be put into place high in the rafters. I signed my name and wrote: “World Series here we come.” But the years of futility continued.
I wasn’t able to go to the rare postseason games in 1982 or 2008. Instead, season after season I enviously watched fans of the Yankees, Red Sox, and others on postseason TV living and dying with their teams. I always wondered what it would be like to actually sit in the stands for the most meaningful games of a baseball season.
This past weekend I finally had the chance to attend a Brewers’ postseason game. What a game it was. The 4-1 Brewers win was one of the most incredible sporting events I have ever attended. Even a casual baseball fan would have loved the atmosphere. Since seven is the number of “perfection,” here are seven reasons why:
- Mood and Attitude. Already on the walk through the parking lot there was an electricity in the air that was far more evident than a regular season game. People were happy and amped up for meaningful baseball in Milwaukee.
- Bunting. Not the type where a hitter dribbles a batted ball in front of home plate…the red,white, and blue kind. You don’t see that kind of bunting in a regular season game. It signifies that something special is happening. Something is different.
- Fan Unity. Playoff baseball crowds are more unified than maybe any other segment of society. The home town fans are all cheering for the same team. Nobody cares who’s Republican or Democrat, Christian or Jewish, black, yellow, or white. A home run means high fives all the way around with perfect strangers.
- Educated Fans. When I attend regular season games I refuse to participate in “the wave.” It’s for amateur fans who aren’t paying attention to the game. Not once did anyone try to start the wave at the playoff game. Everyone was hanging on every pitch, too “busy” to start the silly wave.
- Championship Banners and Field Markings. The new banners and markings on the field meant that the goal of the 162 previous games has been met. There is no mistaking that it is the post-season.
- Importance of Every Pitch. The stakes are much higher. The strategy is amplified. Every hit, error, and throw could mean a change in momentum, a win, or a loss. It’s the ultimate “reality entertainment.”
- The Roar of the Crowd. The cheering is great at regular season games. But watch a baseball leave the park during the playoffs, and the roar is deafening.
Leaving Miller Park with a first-game win in a five-game series put a bounce in my step the rest of the weekend. There’s almost nothing like that kind of exhilaration…at least not for a baseball fan like me.
What’s been your most exhilarating experience at a public event?