I received an email recently from a guy named Brandt who’s been an ‘avid baseball fan for nearly a decade’. He has recently ‘flirted’ with fandom of teams like the Red Sox and Dodgers but really wanted to find the ideal team to follow for the remainder of his years. So he contacted The Brewers Bar because, interestingly, the Brewers were on his shortlist of finalists. Brandt requested strong pillars of persuasion for supporting the Milwaukee Brewers. My reaction is below. If you have any good arguments, please include them in the comments.
First of all, you have made the right choice to include the Brewers on your shortlist of teams who may or may not deserve your eternal fandom and adoration. While being a Brewers fan is tough sledding at the moment, you may get to see a playoff appearance every quarter century or so. All half-kidding aside, the Brewers play in Milwaukee, which is the smallest market in MLB. In other words, the Brewers can always use some new fans because their market is limited by many factors (hey, Chicago!). Brewers fans are a hearty bunch, many of whom like to drink beer or other alcoholic beverages. If you’re a drinker, there are really few teams to compete with the Brewers in terms of beer + baseball = satisfaction. Plus, you may need that firm supply of beer to drown your sorrows as you reflect upon the Brewers’ play. If you’re into grilling food, the tailgate scene Brewers fans proudly reproduce at every home game rivals, nay, beats the tailgating scene at Lambeau Field and most stadiums around the country.
The current Brewers franchise has been in Brew City since 1970 when used-car salesman and entrepreneur Buddy Selig bought the bankrupt Seattle Pilots. The Brewers have an AL pennant, an NL Wild Card and one NL Central crown, and that’s about it. The biggest and most haunting season was 1982, when the Brewers crashed and burned and coughed up the Suds Series to the hated redbirds of St. Louis. While the Brewers of MLB don’t have a storied history you can hang your hat on, Milwaukee does have a great legacy of baseball traditions that includes the Milwaukee Braves (World Series winners in ’57), the Milwaukee Bears, the American Association Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Grays, Milwaukee Chicks and others. The Brewers also have Bernie Brewer, who’s pretty damn cool, and Owgust the Barrel Man, who is ‘the toppermost of the poppermost’ as John Lennon might say. The Brewers have the Ball And Glove logo, which is one of the best logos in sports history. Let’s not forget Bob Uecker, one of the great thinkers of the game’s history.
Brandt, to be honest, we have a lot of great things going, but we can’t match the histories of franchises that have been around for a century. But I think you may understand that already, because as you noted in your message, you have ‘become disenchanted with the way [the Red Sox and Dodgers] so easily lose their identity in the greedy and expensive pursuit of success’. You nailed it, Brandt. With the Brewers, it’s a major miracle that the club was able to approach a $100MM payroll the last few years, let alone get swallowed up by the despair and ravenous appetites of greed and the almighty dollar. We’re just trying not to LOSE money here in Milwaukee.
Baseball is a game, Brandt. It’s a diversion, a distraction, a comedy of errors. Especially true this is in the Brewers’ case. You will find that if you bestow your fandom on the Milwaukee franchise, you will grow beyond belief your faculties for humility, tolerance and sense of humor. You will learn that no matter which way the overthrow sails, into center field or over the first baseman’s head, baseball is just something to let your mind wander…to relieve you of the stress and ills of real life.
Enter the Brewers community and you will not be a fashionable gentleman; you will receive few accolades on a national scale for your selection. However, you will belong to a special tribe that values its fellow members more than most, due to their relative scarcity. Whether you live in Hawaii or Anchorage, Ames, Iowa or San Diego, if you’re a Brewers fan you will be saluted by other Brewers fans because Brewers fans support one another and know that with the Brewers, it’s US against THEM. The odds are long and not in our favor. You may die without a World Series championship for your favorite team should you tread on the ice of the Milwaukee franchise, but enter into the Milwaukee family not lightly, but with a solemn vow that you will forgo all easy thrills of another St. Louis NL Central crown and trip to the NLCS, all romantic tales of chain-smoking Yankees greats, all bizarre curses and conundrums of Wrigley Field. The path will not be effortless, fluid or without sacrifice. It may be formidable as lifting a half-barrel of beer with your pinky finger. But dammit, Brandt, one thing it won’t involve is bandwagons, clichés, endless greed and empty allegiances. Please stand with us, Brandt, and make Brewers Nation one person stronger. We’re gonna need it.
Ball And Glove creator Tom Meindel