Just a small town boy
Living in his Brewer joy...
They took the midnight train to the post season...
I know. That's really, really corny.
But Journey's "Don't Stop Believin" was one of my favorite songs when I was a kid in 1982. (And, yes, I know--you're going to tell me that the song was actually a hit in '81, but you need to know that I was 9 and I lived in the sticks. We were a little behind on the current hits in LeRoy, Wisconsin) That song always reminds me of the 1982 Brewers and the fact they never gave up despite being down 0-2 in that glorious A.L. Series.
Before I continue, I have to explain that I really thought my next article would be about the Packer game that I attended on Sunday. The fact is, it was the greatest game I've attended since the Yancey game, and I can't begin to explain how privileged I felt to be in attendance at Lambeau when Favre tied Marino's TD record. The Packers impressive start to the season has been truly inspiring, and as we made the drive back down I-43, my brother and I decided that if the loss to the Braves proved to be the final nail in the Brewers coffin...
(They kept us updated of the Brewers' score on the Jumbotron, but Tim also frequently tapped into his cell phone/PDA/paper shredder/potato masher for updates. Seriously, the only thing these hand held devices can't do nowadays is assist the Brewers in holding on to a 7th inning lead.)
...at least we witnessed the perfect segue from one season to the other.
But I told Tim Sunday afternoon, and I'll say it again and again until the Brewers are mathematically eliminated--this race isn't over just yet.... Look, I know what the supposed experts have been saying--no team has come back from 3 and half back with only a week to play since World War II. I know hoping for the post season at this point is improbable. Highly unlikely. But you have to believe, Brewers fans. You've invested in the team for this long; don't stop believin' now.
Perhaps I am the perpetually deluded optimist. But I am a playwright--and we playwrights know that you can't have drama without conflict. In order to have your audience root for your hero, you need to give him an obstacle to overcome. And of course, you can't have a storybook ending without first having a little adversity.
And this Brewers team has certainly experienced it's share of adversity--from Verlander's no-no, to Ben "Paper" Sheets' constant crumpling, to that horrible weekend in Atlanta--the Brewers have eaten an ample serving of humbling pie...but yet each time the pundits were ready to count them out, they've gotten up off the mat and flexed their collective muscle again and again...So why not one more time?
After all, there is a history behind my optimism. I take you back to fourth grade, when little Tommy was first unwilling to give up on his beloved Brewers. His classmates at Southview Elementary School ridiculed him and told him he was crazy to think the Brewers could come back from that 0-2 deficit. "It's NEVER happened. Don't you get that, stupidhead?" they jeered. "No team has ever done it before..."
But every record comes to an end. And once-in-a-while the baseball gods smile on your team and they drop that ball off Cecil Cooper's bat into left field, just as he motioned it to do...and history is rewritten...
And there's really no way to explain the joy of a fourth grade boy who carried in the Milwaukee Sentinel the next morning and proudly displayed the paper's headline:
NEVER SAY DIE; BREWERS DON'T!
And so I say, you just never know. Maybe the Cubs continue to be baffled by the Marlins. Maybe Adam Dunn hits 5 home runs in Cincinnati this weekend. Or maybe, just maybe...Milton Bradley injures himself during a temper tantrum and leaves the Padres without their best offensive weapon for the final series... anything is possible...
Regardless, it's been a remarkable atmosphere at Miller Park the last two nights. I've dreamed of being able to do serious scoreboard watching during the final week of September since the day Rene Lacheman was fired. And I was so elated after Hall's home run tonight that I couldn't keep my mouth shut when I encountered Davey Nelson on the employee's service elevator in the 6th inning. Even though we're not supposed to bother the "celebrities" when we encounter them, I had to let Davey know that I won't stop believin'...
Me: So far, so good.
Davey: Yeah, it's going well...the Cubs lost...now we just gotta keep going after it.
Me: Yeah, if we keep winning, that noose around the Cubs neck is gonna get tighter and tighter.
Davey: (a smile) That's right. That's right.
Davey believes, Brewer fans. The question is: Do you?