It was five years ago this week that my daughter was born. In the hospital, holding her for the first time, it was impossible to comprehend the fact that childbirth occurs all the time. It was such a wonderful, unique experience, I was convinced that the little girl in my arms was the first child ever born.
I didn\’t really have the same experience until this afternoon, when the Brewers clinched their first playoff berth in 26 years. It was so unique, so wonderful, it\’s hard to comprehend that teams actually win wild card berths all the time. Granted, they don\’t often win them in the fashion the Brewers did – on the last day in their last at bat and with a superhuman pitching effort. But the sight of Brewers drenching themselves in alcoholic beverages after the game was so alien, I half expected to see a sasquatch pouring champagne on a unicorn in the background of the Brewers\’ clubhouse during the celebration. (Apologies to John Jaha, who drenched himself in alcohol after every game – usually before getting behind the wheel of his car.)
When the Brewers last made the playoffs, I was nine years old. The sounds of Michael Jackson\’s Thriller wafted through our home, and I was convinced I was related to John Schneider of the Dukes of Hazzard. I began to discover the wonders of the female form by watching the 20 Minute Workout.* My dad bought me a Robin Yount jersey for $16, on the condition I pay him back by earning money through chores. I got a quarter for every time I did the dishes – only later was I able to calculate that the old man got 64 nights of dishes out of me to pay for that crummy jersey. He\’s lucky kids can\’t unionize.
Little did I know at the time that I would be 35 years old before I got to see the Brewers in the playoffs again. For the past quarter century, Milwaukee has been known more to the baseball world for our racing sausages and the availablity of our 15-year old girls than the actual baseball our team played. Ironically, Robin Yount is still in the dugout wearing his #19 jersey. That\’s why, after Ryan Braun\’s 8th inning 2-run homer, I suddenly felt tears in my eyes. All at once, I felt 26 years of decompression. At that moment, every burden of the last quarter century was lifted off my back: Every time Geoff Jenkins swung and missed at a curveball by two feet; every news story about how the Seligs were using tax money to pad their wallets instead of fielding a competitive team; every time Derrick Turnbow came in to throw gasoline on the fire, and Ned Yost condescendingly telling the fans we weren\’t seeing what we were clearly seeing – all lifted.
This was in stark contrast to Saturday, when I sat with my head in my hands for the entire game, watching it all slip away. For Saturday and through seven innings on Sunday, I felt like I was cooking in my skin. I actually had to take some ice packs out of the freezer and apply them to my head and shoulders. I\’m not sure if it\’s physically possible to give yourself a fever, but I felt like you could fry an egg on my head. Brewer Fever, indeed. I caught it.
(Speaking of sicknesses, has anybody checked to see if Corey Hart has rubella? A tapeworm, perhaps? If so, can we get the tapeworm to pinch hit for him? How many rallies is he going to be allowed to murder in broad daylight? Is he using a bat made of balsa wood?)
And now, the Brewers are headed for October baseball. I honestly don\’t know how I\’ll react when the first pitch is made on Wednesday. I certainly don\’t expect the Brewers to win, given how they played in Philadelphia just a couple weeks ago – but somehow, I don\’t think having low expectations is going to make me feel any better if they eventually lose. I mean, as poorly as they played at the beginning of September, this team did win 90 games. It\’s not like they\’re incapable of winning.
Sadly, I was notified by the Brewers that I was not chosen to have the opportunity to buy playoff tickets via their lottery. So if they\’re looking to hire someone to sell hot dogs, pretzels, or give Bob Uecker footrubs during the game, count me in.
The Mets-Marlins game ended at about 4:00, just as my daughter\’s soccer game was beginning. So I ran over there after the game had already started. As I got to the sideline, my daughter ran off the field and said \”did the Brewers win?\” Hopefully, in 26 years, her kids will be asking her the same thing.
*- One day around that time, I went over to a friend\’s house, and had to use the bathroom. While looking through the bathroom magazine rack, I found this mysterious magazine called \”Playboy.\” It featured a picture of a woman riding a bike wearing nothing but shoes. I immediately ran home and told my mom, asking her \”why would anyone ride a bike without clothes on? THAT\’S CRAZY!\”)