Forgetting about the downsides, the final game of the Milwaukee Brewers 2008 season was spectacular. I’ve slowly been sorting and compartmentalizing all the sensory information of that day, as I watch some fairly interesting League Championship Series.
In retrospect, the boys lived up exactly to their expectations. Most reasonable observers would have conceded in March that the Cubs would finish with the better team record, but that the Brewers would make the playoffs. Speaking from personal experience, that can be very, very frustrating.
There’s nothing worse than a young guy than hearing all about how you have so much talent and potential, and if you could have just worked harder or figured it out a little sooner, you could be so much more than you are.
After Sheets couldn’t beat the Cubs on the final weekend of the regular season, Posh said the television reporters were saying the Brewers might not make the playoffs. This drew an emphatic, irrational response.
“What do you mean, they’re not going to make it?!” I shrieked. “Listen, I know it doesn’t make sense, and it’s completely irrational, but my sense of self is tied very closely to this baseball team! If they don’t make the playoffs — that means I’m a loser! For life! Whatever I do, it won’t matter — I’ll be a loser!”
There is something to be said for living up to expectations, however: it’s sure better than failing to reach them.
As sure as I was the Brewers would make it to the playoffs, and win at least one game while there, I was not sure they would be able to win that Sunday. That sinking, uncertain feeling certainly didn’t get quieter when Suppan allowed a lead-off home run. There were a few signs of life, and pending elimination was definitely not on our minds as Prince Field crushed a home run — ahem, dingers — but don’t know if there were many true believers.
In the 8th inning, my parents came down from their seats on the Terrace Level to join us near the right field foul pole. My mom called for us to get together for some posed pictures.
I didn’t want to believe it, but I knew — when mom starts lining you up for photos, the party’s over.
I didn’t talk as much as usual for the rest of the night. I was in pain. Heartache. But there were some quality exchanges. For example, on the escalator leaving the game
Posh: “April isn’t that far away. I’m thinking about getting a 20-pack of tickets. Who’s down?”
Hiking back up the hill to my apartment one last time, I announced I was officially a Dodgers fan for the rest of the year.
“Manny? Joe Torre? How can you go wrong?”
Posh and I had an earlier conversation, possibly regarding my feelings following the New York football Giants beating the Packers in last year’s NFC Championship game, about what becomes of the team that beat yours.
“Don’t you want them to win, so you can say you were beaten by the best?”
“Who cares if they’re the best? We were beaten.”
“So you want them to lose? Why?”
“Yeah. Because — fuck them.”
Fuck Shane Victorino and fuck Brett Myers and fuck Davy Lopes, and yes, fuck Geoff Jenkins. I will not disparage Charlie Manuel’s dead mother, but mostly because Joe Torre told me not to. I’ll be residing in that pleasant alternate reality, Mannywood, until I’m forced to do otherwise. Depending on the World Series match-up, I may reverse this decision, but until then, Phuck the Phillies.
My buddy Sam, a bartender at Maxie’s, is on board.
“I just realized if you follow the ‘A-Rod’ nickname rubric, Manny’s nickname is ‘Man-Ram.’”
I pointed out to Sam that Manny has the most home runs of anyone — ever — in the playoffs. He promptly hit a 3-run home run. Posh text’d me:
“He’s playing like a kid playing ball in the backyard and he knows he’s the best kid.” About Manny. I think I might be a Dodgers fan.
So we’ll see how that goes. In the meantime, he’s a look at the last game in the Convertible Confines for this year, the Thunderstix, and Nic “The Dude” waving his “We Believe” sign like a wild man.