The season may be over here in Milwaukee, but Miller Park has seen it’s second consecutive year of 3 million plus fans. For me, the home season started with a win and ended with a bang, all in all bringing my record this year to 12-10. (Clearly, the Boys prefer my presence more often than not.)
Some of the best moments from Miller Park this season? Well, why don’t we take a look back…
April 10 vs. Chicago Cubs
Opening Day was finally upon us. Ryan Braun belted a 2-run homer to take a 3-2 lead. Reminiscent of the final, Wildcard clinching game to end last year, no? It would be the only game of the series that the Brewers would win, but the weekend was pretty damn fun. I’m already looking forward to Opening Day 2010.
April 27 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
As if free Club Level seats weren’t enough, the Brewers were in the midst of that crazy winning streak against the Pirates. Not only was this game a come from behind win, but it was a one-inning undoing of Matt Capps for the Crew to secure a 5-run lead. It was also Trevor Hoffman’s first appearance at home and even though it wasn’t a save situation, it was the first of many times I’d hear Hell’s Bells. Amazing.
May 8 vs. Chicago Cubs
It was Danny Gokey day in Milwaukee and I was just as pumped to see him sing the National Anthem as I was to attend the 4th of many matchups against the Cubs. The Brewers won, Aramis Ramirez separated his shoulder and it was way back when when JJ Hardy still contributed to the team. His homerun put the Brewers on top and then Hell’s Bells came out and saved it.
June 24 vs. Minnesota Twins
This was probably the hottest night ever at Miller Park, but I stuck it out, even though the Brewers were down late in the game. I honestly don’t remember the details, but what I do remember is missing an entire play that put Jason Kendall at 3rd base, and then a throwing error scored him to tie it up? Honestly, that may not even have been the case. Either way, Milwaukee came out on top and it was a pretty exciting game. Just really hot.
July 25 vs. Atlanta Braves
The Hottie worlds collided that night at Miller Park. Ryan Braun and Ryan Church faced off and although neither did anything particularly spectacular, both were equally hot and I was in heaven. And the Brewers won 4-0.
August 30 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
The winning streak was broken up already and the week prior, the Pirates swept the Brewers. But the Brewers returned the favor this weekend at Miller Park. Jeff Suppan had just come off the DL and was making his second start, just in time to finish out the sweep on his own bobblehead day. It also helped that it was a Leff’s sponsored tailgate party and so the game would’ve been a blast anyway.
September 23 vs. Chicago Cubs
Already having dropped the first 2 games of the series, and on the verge of being knocked out of playoff contention, Milwaukee managed to pull off a win in the final showdown with the Cubs. It was the last time Mol, Nik and I would all be together at Miller Park and also was the last time we’d hear Hell’s Bells played. (Tear.)
September 26 vs. Philadelphia Phillies
There are many reasons this final game is so memorable. Let me start from the beginning. Nik and I were enjoying some drinks in the parking lot when we see 4 golf carts go by with what appears to be a large amount of Brewers. Indeed, it was nearly the entire bullpen! As part of Fan Appreciation weekend, they were driving around giving out tshirts and other things to the tailgaters. We missed out on the giveaways, so we headed in to Miller Park for the final time this season.
Since we were sitting in the seats from my 9-pack, I didn’t even need to look for the location. We got to our section and a guy was sitting in my seat. I politely asked him to move, he asked was I sure he was in my seat, I said yes and he moved. We watched nearly the entire game from these seats. About 7 innings later, my dad texted me, pointing out we were 1 section over. Oops. But, as Nik, Mol and I always say, if you’re cute and act like you know what you’re doing, you can get away with pretty much everything. This guy just got up, like he was wrong. We all had a good laugh about it.
Also, it’s the last time that I’ll eat Cactus League nachos this year. That in itself is so sad, as I will be craving them again until next April.
Basically since we left the house, Nik and I had been talking about how Ryan Braun needed to hit a big homerun that night, as it had been over 2 weeks since his last one and since it was our last homegame, we really wanted to see it. After the Crew tied the game at 5 apiece and Trevor Hoffman held the Phils scoreless in the top of the 9th, I kid you not, this is the exact text conversation I had with my friend Mark G.
Mark: Let’s go T. Hoff!
Michelle: Hells yeah. Need my last game to be a win!
Michelle: Counsell singles. RB walkoff for the win. Calling it now.
Mark: That’ll work!
Mark: One down.
Michelle: My plan is working!
(RB walkoff homerun.)
Michelle: Called it. My texts are proof!
Mark: U did indeed! That was fun!
And it sure as hell was fun. Excellent last game, if I do say so myself.
I’m so greatful that I had such a blast at Miller Park this season. The Brewers may not have done as well as we fans would’ve liked, but you know, that’s just how the game goes. Baseball is full of ups and downs and, unfortunately for Milwaukee, there were just more downs this season. I still have a great time watching my Boys, no matter what. What can I say? I’m a lifer!
And to prove my loyalty, I’m closing out the regular season at Busch Stadium where the Brewers will take on the NL Central Champion Cardinals. We were all hoping these games would mean something when we planned the trip, but I’m just happy to get to see all the Boys one last time before next season.
This week is a busy one for me, so this will probably be my only post until I get back from St. Louis. But there will be lots to talk about, I’m sure.
Sorry for the hiatus. I promised a Monday post and, as it’s now Wednesday, this one is going to be a bit longer than I had anticipated. (Good thing I was taking notes all weekend!)
Friday. Brewers 3, Cubs 2
Danny Gokey Day here in Milwaukee proved to be eventful. The poor guy looked crazy tired, but he managed to belt out a pretty amazing National Anthem.
The first pitch? That didn’t go as well. A bit high, but at least it crossed the plate.
Gah, how annoying to have that American Idol camera that close to your face since 5am!
On to the game. Dave Bush, my favorite high-socks wearing pitcher, gave up a couple of runs early on, but then settled into a nice (eh) pitcher’s duel with Randy Wells (?). We all know I’d rather see some action. I guess I did when Aramis Ramirez separated his shoulder diving to stop a Ryan Braun liner to third. And, sorry that he got hurt and all, but the ball was still in play. Run to second, RB. Granted, there wasn’t really any more offense that inning, but still. JJ Hardy smacked a homerun in the sixth for the first Brewers run and Braun blasted one after a wild pitch advanced Corey Hart in the bottom of the eighth to take the lead and prompt a nice 1-2-3 visit to the mound by Trevor Hoffman.
Ah, Hell’s Bells. Can’t get enough! (Love the leg kick!)
Saturday. Brewers 12, Cubs 6
As we were unable to skydive due to low cloud cover (boo!), we all pretty much just sat around and drank until it was time for the game. Then we watched and drank some more. Since it was the longest baseball game known to man (not including a 20-ish minute delay due to the lights going out at Miller Park), you can imagine how much that might have been.
This is the kind of game I love. I’m not much for favoring pitchers and defense in a game. Give me the bats and the long ball. That’s what I live for. The Brewers got an early lead, and held on to it. Yovani Gallardo may have only pitched 5 innings, but he managed to hold the Cubs to 2 runs. The score stood at 3-2 in favor of the Crew until the bottom of the seventh, when Milwaukee batted around and then some, scoring 6 runs along the way, including back-to-back homers by Craig Counsell (haha!) and Ryan Braun. Braun’s came after a pitch by Ryan Dempster in the fifth grazed the top of his helmet. Maybe. Either way, he stared Dempster down before trotting off to first.
The top of the eighth wasn’t so lucky for the Brewers. Jorge Julio and Todd Coffey combined for 4 runs, bringing the Cubs within 3 and prompting Hoffman to warm-up in the bullpen. He could relax, though, as another outbust by Milwaukee bats let him sit back down and watch the rest of the game.
Sunday. Brewers 2, Cubs 4
Ugh. Happy Mother’s Day. Right.
The pink bats usually help, but I guess they only helped the Cubs this year. An early 2-0 lead for the Brewers was quickly erased by a 2-run homer from Alfonso Soriano off of starter Jeff Suppan. They scored 2 more and Milwaukee’s bats were silent the rest of the game. I did have a good time with my mom though, so that’s good. And it was nice to not have any Cubs fans rubbing a win in our faces afterwards. Afterall, the Cubs lost the series and Sunday’s win was nothing to gloat about.
As Monday was an off-day, I anticipated seeing some players at work. Although, of all the guys that have been spotted, I’ve managed to miss them all so far. Lo and behold, I get a text from Mol about 20 minutes too late. Yovani Gallardo was shopping in men’s dress shirts. I was already on my way out the door. Damn!
But I swear I saw Mark DiFelice. No one else did, so it probably wasn’t him. And he wasn’t as tall as I remembered. Maybe I’ll still tell people I saw him to sound a teeny bit cooler.
And last night was definitely my kind of game! While I was at my dad’s softball game and checking the Brewers game on my phone, the score never changed from a 3-2 Marlins lead.
As I walked in to Leff’s afterwards, the whole place erupted. A Rickie Weeks homerun tied it up. This was quickly followed by Prince Fielder’s second HR of the night. (His first was responsible for the Crew’s first 2 runs.) Mike Cameron tacked on a bit of insurance in the 8th with a solo shot of his own and then, Hell’s Bells yet again! It was impressive, of course, but I think that Leff’s needs to blast the AC/DC just as loud as Miller Park does. I just like pretending to have that experience.
In other, non-game news, Milwaukee signed veteran outfielder Frank Catalanotto to a minor league contract. I’m gonna go ahead and say he won’t be in the minors for long. As a left-handed bat, he could be a good replacement for the large-headed Brad Nelson, who, by the way, struck out AGAIN in a pinch-hit situation. Poor Manny Parra kicked *** last night and then that big, dumb, oaf of a guy comes in to bat for him and sucks like always. Smooth move, Ken Macha. Don’t you know this guy is worthless?
And my favorite bit of baseball from the past week was this little quote by Macha, referring to the ball that supposedly hit Ryan Braun in the helmet Saturday night:
“The league frowns upon people throwing at people’s heads.”
Well, folks, I’m back. After 3 days basically spent living at Miller Park, I finally gathered up my notes and am ready to post. Let’s begin, shall we?
Brewers 4, Cubs 3
Good News: Braden Looper had a pretty effective first start in a Brewers uniform.
Bad News: With 10 strikeouts, Rich Harden did way better.
Good News: I found some old friends in my travels throughout Miller Park.
Bad News: I inadvertently ditched my little brother at his first Opening Day. Sorry, Alex.
Good News: Rickie Weeks managed to win this game. Finally, he used everything he knows and knocked in the tying run with a double, stole 3rd and slid in just safely for the win in the bottom of the 9th.
Bad News: That game got waaaay too close for my taste.
Good News: The Brewers rallied to win their 5th straight Home Opener, all 5 since Mark Attanasio took over as principal owner.
Bad News: They did it on only 4 hits. Not cool.
The highlights of Opening Day are generally the same year to year. I never have more fun than when I’m out in the Drunk Lot with my best friends. We had the cornhole out, some serious tipcup action (the girls’ team won, as usual!), despite forgetting grill utensils and having to use marshmallow sticks, the food was great, the beer was flowing–always a good time. I have to say, the game was exciting, but again, too close. Ryan Braun said they’re there to entertain, and they did indeed. But sometimes, my heart can’t take it. I’m very, very greatful for the win, though.
Brother and Sister.
I spent like an hour decorating these. They unfortunately did not survive the ride. They were so cute, too!
At least my artwork came through on the cornhole set!
Girls (and little Bro!) win!
It wouldn’t be a game without Ryan’s bum!
Brewers 5, Cubs 6
Good News: Leff’s Second Day Tailgate was a total success. The ladies and I cleaned up. If it weren’t for those tips allowing us to buy an inordinate amount of alcoholic beverages the rest of the night, we probably would’ve taken the loss much harder.
Bad News: We were cleaning up after the party and missed Prince’s first HR.
Good News: Reliever Mark DiFelice was asked for a groundball from Soriano in the 7th and he got the groundball from Soriano in the 7th.
Bad News: According to many who saw the replay, Soriano was out by half a step, but was called safe. The game is now tied 3-3. Two innings later, DiFelice allowed an Aramis Ramirez HR and was pulled from the game.
Good News: The Brewers built leads twice thanks to Prince Fielder’s 2-run homer and JJ Hardy’s 2-run single.
Bad News: The Cubs came back with 2 9th inning homers of their own.
Good News: At least I had Leff’s after the game to help calm me down.
Bad News: There were way more Cubs fans at this game than Friday, and I couldn’t stand it.
Seriously though, I had so much fun at that game. No, it did not help that this game was so close. No, I did not like to see Carlos Villanueva come in only to blow the save, but those things happen. I was just so happy that the tailgate was hugely successful and that, again, I got to spend the day with the best people. Despite the loss, I really did have an amazing time.
Best bartenders in the whole place!
My Uncle Paul warming up with the band before the gates opened. Hilarious.
Full tip jar and Malcolm, the best Beer Guy ever. Great time!
Ladies at the game. In our awesome new hats!
Ladies with John from the Love Monkeys at Leff’s after the game. Drinking our sorrows away.
Brewers 5, Cubs 8
Good News: The Brewers offense did their thing. Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart both had solo HRs, small ball and sac flies worked out and the Crew managed to still score 5 runs.
Bad News: Jeff Suppan sucks. He allowed 6 walks (there were 10 total from Brewers pitchers), his first pitch was a HR to dead center by Alfonso Soriano, he’s got 36 ERs in 32 innings and is winless in his last 8 starts. Suuuuuuper. He should almost always be on the mound because, clearly, he’s just that good.
Bad News: The Brewers bullpen is weak. Jorge Julio comes on to get Suppan out of a bases-loaded, already walked in 3 runs jam and what does he do? Walks in a 4th run. Stupendous. Seth McClung, I’m losing faith in you. Mitch Stetter, as the only lefty working out there, you did your best.
Bad News: Prince Fielder was robbed. A little less pop, or, if Milton Bradley were still in the game, and that thing would’ve been out there.
For being at Miller Park for all 3 games of the Cubs series, I almost had nothing bad to say about the Cubs fans I encountered. Sure, there was some friendly banter exchanged a few times on Friday and Saturday, what with each team having a win so far. But Sunday, I heard nothing but negativity coming out of their mouths. I’ve never heard such rubbish from opposing fans. Every move the Brewers made was criticized. Every time someone walked up to the plate, no matter who it was, someone had something horrible to say about them. I just love to listen to the Cubs fans because I think they truely believe that their team is absolutely perfect. They think Lou Piniella never makes bad calls. Clearly, they never have anyone injured, ever. Their pitchers are always on-point and only throw strikes. Everyone has at least one RBI every time they step up to the plate. The Cubs do no wrong. Ever. That team is the definition of perfection. Gah! They’re all sore losers, but man do they love to rub in the wins. Let me just remind them all that the Cubs are far from perfect. I think the last 100 years or so can dictate that better than I can, though.
And sorry, there are no pictures from Sunday. I didn’t want to document that one.
But tonight, the Reds are in town and it’s Edinson Volquez (8.31 ERA, 0-1) going up against Yovani Gallardo (2.7 ERA, 1-0). The Reds are half a game up on the Brewers and these 3 games are the last at home before the Crew roadtrips it to the East Coast for 3 games apiece with the Mets and Phillies and then heads south for 3 against Houston. The Brewers need to come out on top of Cincinnati in this series before heading out on the road. The first half of this schedule is brutal for Milwaukee and of those 3 cities on the trip, the Astros are the only ones below the Crew. It’s time to step it up, boys!