Believing in the Brewers

Still riding high after Friday night’s thriller, we eagerly tuned in to this afternoon’s game. Game one of the National League Championship Series. At Miller Park.

The cameras panned the stadium. The fans were roaring and waving those white rally towels. All of it gave me chills.

I almost couldn’t believe what I was watching.

Kates and I were discussing our feelings about the excitement the other night, and the fact that our adventure has caused us to miss a chance at truly experiencing it. We couldn’t decide whether it's harder to watch, knowing that we could be there. Or if it's easier to watch because we have been there -- and we were there this summer. At the least, we’ve managed to keep up with the team this season in ways that wouldn’t have been possible 10 or 15 years ago. ... That said, it has been tough seeing the pictures on Facebook and hearing about so many of our family and friends going to the playoff games this last week, knowing we could have been there, too. (For the record, I've studied the NLCS schedule, thinking that perhaps I could make a run across the state for a game in St. Louis. But with my work schedule and the games in the middle of the week, there's no way.)

To make this series even more interesting, it didn’t dawn on me until last night that we’re watching a rematch of the 1982 World Series. (We attended the 25th anniversary celebration of that series at Miller Park during our epic baseball summer of 2007: Good times)

(Updated 10.10.2011) More good reads ...
a Brewers, Cardinals to renew their rivalry, and perhaps their bad blood, in NLCS
a Central stage: '82 Series foes clash in NLCS
a In NLDS win, Braun shows MVP-level talent
a Spending big not part of Brewers' winning formula

It didn’t look good for the Brewers early today.

Ryan Braun hit a two-run bomb in the first inning and then the Cardinals plunked Prince Fielder on the next pitch, all of which made for an exciting start. But the Brewers eventually fell behind 5-2.

Then, the bottom of the fifth inning happened.
Back-to-back big hits by Braun and Fielder powered a rapid-fire fifth-inning rally, helping the Brewers come back to beat the Cardinals 9-6 for a 1-0 lead in the series. ... The typically light-hitting Yuniesky Betancourt added another two-run home run to cap it. The midgame turnaround came so fast that the crowd wasn't done cheering Braun's big hit when Fielder went deep.
Prince's shot was a laser. Per @ESPNStatsInfo: "Fielder's HR traveled at a speed of 119.2 MPH off his bat. That is the highest speed for any HR hit in 2011."


Then, there was Yuni Betancourt. It took me one night -- an epic doubleheader -- to appreciate Yuni Betancourt. And I was quite pleased when he came to the Brewers with Zack Greinke.

Tweeted Joe Posnanski after his home run today: "As I've often said: You can't get Yuni out when it matters."

The Brewers scored six runs and saw 25 pitches before the Cards recorded their first out in the fifth inning. It took just two pitches for Braun and Fielder to turn a 3-run deficit into a one-run advantage.

It was a darn fun game to watch. Here's another good wrap-up from The New York Times.

Speaking of fun. How about those Packers!?

We watched them tonight, too. Despite a rough start to the game for them also, they turned it into a convincing 25-16 win over the Falcons.

The Brewers are up one game in the NLCS. The Packers are 5-0 out of the gate and looking good. And the Badgers are 5-0 and pushing toward a national title after blasting Nebraska last weekend.

I'd say everything's pretty rosy for Wisconsin sports fans tonight.

Good night.

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