The Brewers look odds on to win the Central Division this year –barring some awful Yostian collapse—and I can’t help but feel, well, odd about the whole thing.
As a matter of introduction, I’ve been a Brewers fan my whole life, or thereabouts. My dad and I have gone to something like 200 games together, and left something like 100 of them early. (We are both anxious, maybe get more emotionally involved than we should, and like to cut our losses. Don’t judge.)
I’m quite used to the Crew melting down or straight up dissolving well before fall. In fact, that turn of events feels comfortable, like a well-worn winter jacket. Also, that jacket has a bunch of holes and the stuffing is falling out. And it has the 1994-1999 logo on the back. And the logo is peeling off.
So this feels great, even exhilarating at times, but it makes me more than a little uncomfortable. The 2008 run was marred, tragically I think, by the aforementioned September collapse. CC and company clawed their way into the playoffs; sure it was on the back of a beautiful win over the Cubs, but in retrospect the Phillies were a brick wall and the Brewers were… I dunno, a snow ball. Or a cream puff! That’s sorta topical.
It’s easy to forget how much better this team is, even if we’re stuck with a McGehee/Betancourt sieve factory between 2nd and 3rd, and stuck watching Yuni occasionally golf for balls that are down by his ankles. Sure, the team’s WAR isn’t off-the charts-great, but it wasn’t off-the-charts great in 2008 or 2009 either. I think this season has shown pretty clearly that solid, Bush-free and Suppan-free starting pitching with shutdown relief can make up for a merely really good lineup.
So yeah, the Phillies are still scary, the Braves will be tough to beat even with home field advantage, and the Cardinals are far from out of it. That’s going to be in the back of my head even if the Brewlots (as my pops likes to call them… Brewers plus Pilots. Get it? Eh?) cruise to their first division title since, um, before I was born.
But there’s something to be said for momentum, something the team seemed to lack late in 2008. I think they have a shot against anyone this year. Whatever happens, they’ve been fantastic to watch lately, and I’ll be well satisfied to watch them win something, even if it’s just the division.
Also, I can’t remember the last time I left a game early. So there’s that.