Like the most naive Obama supporter - and that's really saying something - I am full of hope every spring. But 2008 was going to be the year for change. HOPE: Brewers finally have it all coming together in 2008. Solid pitching. Explosive offense. CHANGE: This is the year the Brewers finally make the playoffs. Yes we can.
But every year, disasters both expected and unexpected come together to tube the season. And tonight's game had plenty of that.
Rewind a couple hours. Brewers up 3-1. Now its 3-2. Now its tied at 3. Now we're down 4-3 in 9th. Stomach queasy. Cubs won already today. Brewers can't afford to fall further behind in the division. Slow dread of watching another lead slip away as what should be a great hitting Brewer team can't score runs again. Compounding the indignity is watching Twins fans acting like they own Miller Park.
Bottom of the ninth. Two outs. Russell the Muscle Branyan comes in to pinch hit. It's the scenario you fantasize about as a kid ever since you take your first cut in a t-ball game. Tape-measure blast. Home run. Crowd goes wild. Tie game. Extra innings.
After escaping in the top half of the frame, its now the bottom of the tenth. Prince Fielder connects to center and deep. His follow-through is a high, one-handed flourish that you've seen dozens of times. Will this game-winning homer be the turning point of the season? Will this homer rank with now-third base coach Dale Sveum's Easter Sunday 1987 walk-off dinger that still gives me goose bumps just talking about it? Get up, get up, get...one #@%*ing inch away from outta here.
Prince "Veggies" Fielder missed the glorious game-winning home run by a McNugget. I will go to my grave convinced that a shake of Baco's on the salad he ate for lunch today would have given him the extra protein oomph needed to get that ball over the fence. This was the chance to win it and I don't need to belabor what happens next.
In a patented move, Yost sticks with a tiring reliever too long and the Brewers are now down two runs. (Upon further review, this is unfair. Yost barely had anyone left in the bullpen and he couldn't know how long he'd need to stretch it in a tied game.) Anyway, whatever. Twins tack on a few more and win 9-4.
All I want is to live to see one Brewers World Series victory - but I'd be almost as thrilled with a back-in-on-the-last-day-and-then-get-swept wild card bid. The Packers could never win another game, but I'll always have Super Bowl XXXI. 1996 might as well have been last week the way I remember that season. Will there ever be such a season for the Crew?
Brewers, you're breaking my heart. Watching you is not good for my health. I have officially sworn you off until 1 pm tomorrow.