Were there moments of doubt? Oh, you betcha. Specifically, on Saturday morning, I heard “Wonderwall” by Oasis in the car. You know, the song the PA at Miller Park plays when grounds crew comes out to rake up after the Brewers lose.
“Oh Christ, not that fucking song again!”
I switched the station and – I am not making this up – guess what song came on? I put on my Ben Sheets jersey t-shirt even though I knew he was starting for the first time in 10 days and had previously said he might be done for the season. Posh Tosh and I were walking down to the game when I made a derisive comment about a chick in a car with Ohio license plates.
“Why do you hate on all the other Midwestern states so much?” she asked. “You can’t stand Ohio… Michigan…”
“You forgot Iowa, Illinois and Indiana,” I said. “Just… just… nevermind.”
We got into the game and discovered… that the Crew was already losing 0-2. Although it was a warm day, the roof was closed for some reason – perhaps because, “Sheets likes it hot – he’s from Louisiana” ? – and it was making us rather uncomfortable, crammed into the cheap seats surrounded by Cubs fans, smelling like they just left the stockyards of Chicago, to be sure. When Sheets gave up a hit that scored two more runs, the crowd roared.
“What’s going on?” Posh scowled. “Why are they cheering?”
“Because,” I muttered. “They’re all Cubs fans. Everywhere.”
“What are they doing here?” she demanded. “Where are the Brewers fans?”
“They sold us out.”
You should have seen her face. It was sort of like this. With the Brewers losing 0-4, were treated to three innings of no-hit ball by Dave Bush. This was day, Sept. 27, 2008, when we wished Dave Bush had started instead of Ben Sheets.
Then Manny Parra began pitching – remember him? At this point, the 7th inning, the Brewers still had not recorded a hit. We walked down to the second level and found a spot to stand, with some cheese fries and a pretzel.
But then, through a series of unlikely events, the Brewers got a little rally going. Branyan took a walk, and Alcides Escobar ran for him. Mike Cameron got a single (that photo is actually of him walking earlier against Lilly), and Craig Counsell hit a sac fly to score Escobar.
For the first time all day, the Cubs fans were silent and the Brewers fans had reclaimed their own stadium.
Neal Cotts came in to pitch for the Cubs and promptly hit Ryan Braun in the back with one of his garbage pitches. The bases were loaded. Princey singled in another run. The bases were loaded again. But then the Cubs brought in Michael Wuertz – “he’s just the wuertz” – who got J.J. Hardy to hit a grounder which was used to get the force out at home, and Corey Hart to hit a grounder for the force out at second.
In the top of the 9th, the Brewers brought in their closer Salomón Torres – and really, why not? Down 3-4, the Brewers could win with some late inning heroics and keep their one-game lead over the Mets in the Wild Card chase. But the bullpen blew up, and the Cubs took a 7-3 lead.
We sat leaning on a railing watching the Brewers go out quietly, 1-2-3, to end the game. Blearly-eyed, short on sleep and long on drink, Posh and I left the park as a cavalcade of Cubs fans oinked their way to the escalators.
“Now do you understand?”
“Yes. Those people are awful.“
They played “Wonderwall” again. But despite the loss, and the fact the Brewers were now even with the Mets, the song sounded like it had a little more swagger, a brazen air of defiance. Yes, it sounded like Jay-Z.
“So they said you guys ain’t want me to be here tonight?”
We had, at least, one more day.