160 out of 162 ain’t bad

I, like everyone else in Brewers’ nation, am trying hard not to be bummed about the events of Friday, September 28, 2007. First the Cubs won, meaning that they had clinched at least a tie for the NL Central. Then the Brewers proceeded to lose to the Padres, 6-3, thus officially ending any chance at a postseason run.
The feeling is not unlike being dumped by a long time girlfriend–an exciting start, followed by many wonderful memories…but, in the end, little things start to unravel. Let’s be honest–the Brewers late season collapse foreshadowed the likely result…at least for me. Five, maybe six days ago, I began to accept that the Brewers weren’t going to make the playoffs…but, much like other aspects of life, I clung to the remote possibilities–the, “hey, the Cubs are on the road and we’re at home so, of course, we can make it.” Deep down, the lifelong following of both the Brewers and the Cubs have always resulted in dreams of a World Series title being dashed earlier than I had wanted.
Wow…that was kind of mushy, eh? Reality check, then–even if the Brewers made it, could they really compete with the Mets, Phillies, Diamondbacks and Padres in a short series (hey, I think we’ve already answered that last one)? Not to mention taking down the AL champ? The NL Central winner’s record will be the worst of the 4 finishers–and even worse than the wildcard runner-up. Plus, the Brewers would have been hard-pressed to take the NLDS to 5 games with a healthy Ben Sheets. A playoff rotation of Suppan, Gallardo, and Villanueva would mean a struggling veteran, a rookie, and a reliever converted to starter. No chance, really.
Let’s remember the 2007 season for what it mostly was–some frustrations, but lots of success and lots of hope. Damn, the Brewers led the NL Central for the better part of 4 straight months…and were in it right up until the end. How many times in the 38 year history of the Brewers can we say that? The national media gave the Brewers a lot of attention. Prince Fielder will win the NL home run title. Ryan Braun is a solid contender for ROTY, and Yovani Gallardo impressed everyone as a rookie. Manny Parra pitched a perfect game in AAA. Francisco Cordero is going to finish in the top 3 in Saves. Plus, nearly 2.9 million tickets were purchased for Brewers’ games at Miller Park.
BOTTOM LINE: The 2007 Milwaukee Brewers were the 2nd best Brewers team ever.
Some of the faces from this year’s squad won’t be back…but most of our favorites will–J.J. Hardy…Ben Sheets…Ryan Braun…Yovani Gallardo…Prince Fielder. Doug Melvin has built a nucleus of talent, and has shown an ability to identify key pieces necessary for the future. Anyway, let’s all try to enjoy the last two games of the season for what they are–baseball, without the pressure of the playoffs looming, without frustrations, without getting angry at umpires for bad calls. Let’s watch the Geoff Jenkins and Joe Dillon’s play to win each game for what it is–a game…one game. Let’s listen to Ueck call the game one more time this year before the leaves fall and the snow comes…and, before too long, it will be time for pitchers and catchers to report and to stand outside in 9″ of snow waiting to buy single-game tickets for 2008.

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