Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Today is a day in which we count our blessings, from family to friends and everything in between. Perhaps the biggest thing that lies in that area in between for me (and many of you, I presume) is Milwaukee Brewers baseball. Ever since I was old enough to understand what a baseball was, the sport and I have had a fiery passion for one another. I tip my hat to the computer game Backyard Baseball, as I believe that was what ignited the love for me (who didn’t love hitting dingers with the Secret Weapon, Pablo Sanchez?)
With that being said, I want to share some of my favorite Brewers memories with you all. Remember, this team almost left Milwaukee back in the 90’s but a certain man named George Petak saved the franchise with his “yes” vote for Miller Park. Without that vote, none of these following memories would exist.
So let’s get started! Here are 47 Brewers memories that I’m thankful for! (Note: these are not in any specific order)
- Stepping out of the concourse and laying eyes on the field
Man, I was four years old when this first happened. And let me tell you — the feeling hasn’t changed. I always get that knot in my stomach when the atmosphere of the ballpark came over me and will for every game I go to the rest of my life.
- The smell of roasted peanuts
Seriously, when are they going to make a candle with that scent? When they do, I’ll be first in line.
- Seeing Bernie go down his slide
When Miller Park was finally opened, I was 5 years old. That being said, I was incredibly fascinated by the ENORMOUS slide up in left field and always cast my eyes up there when the Brewers went deep to see Bernie go down.
- Games at County Stadium
Now, since I was only four years old when when I went to a majority of these games, I don’t remember too much (such as the players, outcomes of games, etc.). But I do remember the view from the seats and seeing Miller Park being constructed in the background.
- Playing in the playground up in the terrace-level concourse
I’ll still walk by this today and the memories will course through my head. I’ll admit, there’s always a temptation to take off my shoes and join in the fun. So many exciting times up there!
- Bringing in leftover brats, liters of soda and bags of peanuts and licorice
This tradition was started by my father and is still carried out whenever we go to games. It’ll surely stay in the Stoltz family for years to come.
- Seeing Scott Podsednik hit two HR’s in a game
This one came in the middle of the Crew’s 10-game win streak back in 2003. They were taking on the Pirates. Peapod was one of my favorite players on the team and I went absolutely nuts in the crowd when he went yard both times.
- Getting free tickets thanks to the Racing Sausages
Alright, this one came from the game above. The Brewers had actors that portrayed the racing Pittsburgh Pierogies. If the sausages beat them, everyone would receive a free ticket to an upcoming game. And guess what — the good guys won.
- Seeing Randy Johnson go yard
To this day and until I see a perfect game/no-hitter, this will be the wildest in-game moment I’ve witnessed. Doug Davis was on the hill and he was having a pretty rough year. The Big Unit connected and ended up his only career home run.
- Playing catch outside of the ballpark
I’ll always bring my glove to any Brewers game I go to. I might not bring it in, but I always keep it in the car for a good ol’ game of catch while the grill is being fired up.
- Going to batting practice
This was when I was a kid. I always loved the adrenaline rush of catching a ball in BP. I’ll never forget the first one I caught. Damion Easley, the mega utility man tossed it to me on the third-base line when he was a member of the Florida Marlins.
- Listening to Uecker growing up
My family never had cable TV when I was a kid, so to listen to the Crew, I’d flip on the radio and hear Ueck calling the games. His voice is synonymous with my childhood and I’ll share a few of his favorite calls further on in this piece.
- Ryan Braun’s walk-off against the Rockies
This was during the magical run of 2011. Braun smashed a bomb to left-center to win it in 11 innings. This was even more special because I was watching this game with my Grandpa.
- Going to the player’s parking lot after games
Back when I was a teenager, my brother and I would always stay by the gates for hours once the final pitch occurred. We’d play catch while we waited and boy, was it always worth it. We talked to Braun for 15 minutes one night. But the coolest player we ever met? Trevor Hoffman, who would always come out to his car riding his skateboard.
- Meeting new fans from around the big-leagues
The most recent example of this came this past year when my friends and I sat and talked baseball with some Reds fans. That’s the great thing about sports, you don’t have to know anything about someone and you can still carry a conversation for 3+ hours.
- Autograph Friday’s as a kid
As I said before, we didn’t have Fox Sports Wisconsin growing up. That being said, when I saw these players in person, it was a huge moment for me. I remember being starstruck by Keith Ginter when he was signing down the first base line.
- Using BP tickets that my dad bought
In case you haven’t gotten the hints from previous facts in this piece, whenever my family and I went to a game, our seats usually weren’t the greatest. But who’s kidding, there isn’t a bad seat in Miller Park (unless your view is obstructed). That being said, my dad would always fill up on gas at BP and use the vouchers to pick out some games we’d go to.
- Listening to Dean Rosko fire up the organ
I love this guy. He’s simply the best. Nothing beats a baseball and organ, especially when it’s Dean Rosko keying Copacobana on the loudspeakers.
- Robb Edwards on the PA system
As Ueck is synonymous for my Brewers childhood experience, the same goes for Robb Edwards on the sound system. He has the perfect voice for the job and I couldn’t see (or hear) anyone else fill the position any better.
- The tailgating experience
Nobody does it better than Wisconsin. Nobody. Growing up, we’d always park in the Molitor parking lot. From beneath the interstate bridge and through the crowds of people, nothing beats the aroma of Johnsonville brats searing on the grill. Pass the onions and kraut over here!
- Hearing the saxophonist play after games
This man is a Milwaukee icon. From Brewers games to Bucks games, he’s always out there making a great postgame atmosphere. He knows me too. I always tip him. I’ll always walk by and yell “Simpsons!” He’ll then automatically stop whatever he’s playing and play the beginning of The Simpsons theme. Try it next time you see him!
- Staying up late to listen to Brewers games in bed
We all had bedtimes as kids and I was no different. However, I did find an old portable radio in my dad’s desk once. I never told him about it. After I was sent to bed, I’d always go beneath my covers and tune it to 1320 AM (the Brewers radio affiliate back then in central WI). I heard some great calls growing up.
- Watching the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game on TV
I was six years old when the All-Star festivities came to the 414, but I remember watching it on TV. I remember being devastated when Richie Sexson was ousted in the Home Run Derby and then being starstruck seeing all of these great players play in Miller Park. I also remember being so confused as to why the game ended as a tie.
- Celebrating whenever the Brewers were on WGN
As I’ve mentioned previously, we didn’t have cable growing up. We barely got any chance to see the Brewers play on TV, so we always anticipated them playing the Cubs. At least one game of every series between the two rivals would be on WGN. It was always either hit or miss when that happened too. My brothers and I would go through the guide and hit the info button with our fingers crossed. Many times it ended up being the White Sox, not the Cubs. But when the Brewers were on, we’d go nuts.
- Witnessing my brother finish his bike trip
This was awesome. Two years ago, my brother biked to every MLB stadium to raise money for youth mentorship programs through the Biking for Baseball program. He started in Seattle in April and concluded the trek in October at Miller Park. I was so proud of him and still am today.
- Take Me Out to the Ballgame and Roll Out the Barrel
I love the 7th inning stretch. It’ll never get old. Especially when it’s partnered up with the Beer Barrel Polka. A spectacular combination.
- Getting frozen margaritas with my buddy Cole
My good friend from up here in central WI and I always go to a handful of game. Our new tradition is getting that frozen concoction. It’s the closest to Margaritaville I’ll ever get.
- The excitement of leaving school early to go to games
This was one of the best parts about living in central WI for the majority of my childhood (I moved up there from Milwaukee in 2002). We’d always get to leave school early in order to make first pitch. I loved walking to my elementary school’s office with the note. It was the best.
- Jumping out of bed for Wes Helms’ go-ahead HR
This stems from No. 22 on this list. I forget who the Brewers were playing, but they were down in the 8th inning or something like that. Wes Helms came up to bat and hit a go-ahead shot for the Crew. I leapt out of my bunk bed and ran to celebrate with my brothers. My parents weren’t too pleased because it was well past my bedtime, but I really didn’t care.
- Listening to my Grandpa talk about his baseball memories
This holds enough content for its own piece. But I’ll never get tired about my Grandpa telling stories from his lifetime. The best is when he saw Roberto Clemente play at County Stadium. That story along with the countless other ones he’s told will be passed along in the Stoltz family for generations to come.
- The runs of 2008 and 2011
Surely this is on everyone’s list, so I’ll just mention them now. I can’t wait for when the Brewers return to this form.
- Playing at Miller Park for the Wisconsin American Legion All-Star Game
This is the top moment in my baseball career. I ended up being the starting pitcher for the North All-Stars. The best part about my outing? I can now say my career ERA at Miller Park is 0.00 with no hits and two strikeouts.
- Pretending to be Brewers players in the backyard
Growing up, my brothers and I created a game where a 9-inning game would be simulated. You’re on defense the entire time and cycle your way through all 27 outs. To get runs, you had to make great defensive plays. It was a blast.
- Sitting in the left field bleachers on a hot summer day
Some people hate it, I love it. The left field seats offer some of the best action. My favorite chant? Bill! *clap clap* *clap clap* Hall! *clap clap* *clap clap*
- Always catching the radio postgame highlights
I still love doing this today. I’d always stay on air to hear the postgame show and Jim Powell run through the game’s action and always continue it today with Jeff Levering.
- Waiting in line for Uecker seats
I mean, is there any better ticket deals in all of Major League Baseball?
- Watching Brewers games with my Grandpa
My love for this great sport has been passed through my family genes and my Grandpa is a key reason for it. I always love going out to my grandparent’s farm. If there’s a Brewers game on, expect Grandpa Stoltz to be downstairs watching it on his big screen TV, which he solely bought for Brewers baseball.
- Retro Friday’s
I was born well after the Brewers ditched the pinstripes and ball and glove logo, but I understand the love for the retro uniforms. Time to bring them back, Brewers! (At least the ball and glove logo, you’re not fooling anyone…just rebrand already!)
- Memorizing the batting order as a kid
That was my talent when I was in second grade. I could recant the Brewers starting lineup with ease. It’d always amaze my teachers at school. I thought there was nothing of it.
- Listening to Uecker’s call of Eddie Perez’s walk off grand slam
I’ll never forget this call the rest of my life. “It hit the pole! It hit the pole! How ’bout that one, folks?!?!”
- My friend (who’s a Cubs fan) troll the Crew
This came from a game this past season. The Fox Sports Wisconsin crew came up to the left field bleachers to shoot for a 2017 commercial. My friend, (@CubbyBehr on Twitter) had to make the most of this opportunity and flared his Jason Heyward shirsey for the camera to see. Keep your eye out for him in any upcoming commercials.
- Keeping score from the seats
There’s never been a duplicated baseball game. Every one is special and it’s always a good time when you have a scorecard and a pencil to remember the game forever.
- Getting a Brewers Gameday
I’ve been doing this ever since I can remember. I always get one at every game I go to and store it away. I have a pretty solid collection going. It’ll be fun to look back at all of them a few decades down the road.
- Seeing the roof close for the first time
This was back right after they built Miller Park. Remember how they would always close the roof after the game, even if it was clear skies above, just to show fans the experience? That was cool. Everyone was astonished at the incredible technology, myself included.
- Catching a unique baseball at Friday’s
One time, my brother and I went to Friday’s before the park even opened. The Brewers were taking BP and I got a player from the Nationals (who were tossing in the outfield) to throw me a ball. Milwaukee has a tradition of writing messages on their baseballs. This one said “Your married?” on it. Yes, someone on the Brewers does not understand proper grammar.
- Getting free tickets behind the Brewers dugout
Thanks to the random stranger who allowed this to happen.
- High fiving random strangers
Another reason why sports are awesome. You get to interact with people you don’t know and let’s admit, high-5’s are awesome.
The Brewers have been such an integral part of my life and these are just some of the reasons I’m thankful to have them in my life. I cannot wait to add more memories to this list as I grow up.
Do you have any Brewers memories you’re thankful for? Let us know on Twitter! (@DisciplesUecker and @Stoltzy3)
And once again,
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE!