Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My Tough Luck Road Trips

I have been a Brewers fan for my entire life. My dad raise me this way. I can remember going to Brewers games back in Milwaukee County Stadium as a five year old. Somewhere along the way, I got lost in the game.

Every season, we go on a family road trip. I guess the idea of a family road to us is a little different than most. For our trips, we wait for the Brewers schedule to come out and decide what city we want to go to.

It started out back in 1997 when we went to the first interleague series in Brewers history. For my 9th birthday, my father took my brother and I to see the Brewers play the Cubs in Wrigley Field. Now, 12 years later, I have been to 11 different stadiums (including Miller Park and County Stadium). At those nine road stadiums, I have been to 18 different series, all involving the Brewers. So what happened along the way?

The stadiums that I have been to have all been within driving range. So as you might imagine, I have seen almost all of the ballparks within ten hours of Milwaukee. I have been to the old and new Busch Stadiums. I have been to both of the stadiums in Chicago. I have been to Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. I have been to the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. I have been to PNC Park in Pittsburgh. I have been to the worst stadium in baseball when I went to the Metrodome a couple of years ago. My most recent stadium that I was at was Progressive Field in Cleveland, which will always hold a special place in my heart.

I know what a lot of you are thinking. Out of all those stadiums, why would Progressive Field be so important to you? I will admit that probably half of the stadiums are nicer and probably have had better teams that the current Indians roster. Although similar to Milwaukee, Cleveland wasn't the best city to visit either. So why?

When my dad and I take these trips, we go all out. When we go to a city, we go for the entire series. Over the years, this has been my biggest mistake.

In all of those other stadiums that I have been to over the years, the Brewers never one a single series. Now I'm not talking a series sweep, I'm saying two out of three, or three out of four. Not once did this happen until this season when I was in Cleveland, when the Brewers swept the Indians in a three game series. This was my 18th different road series. So how does someone have the luck of seeing just one series win in 18 tries? I don't know, but what was even more painful was the fashion the Brewers lost these games in.

I have seen the Chicago Cubs walk off five different times against the Brewers at Wrigley Field. I watched Derrick Turnbow give up a, 2 out, 2-run, game tying home run to Shannon Stewart in the Metrodome, a game the Brewers eventually lost. I have seen Henry Blanco hit a game winning single (yes, that Henry Blanco). I've seen the Brewers be shut out on ten different occasions. I have seen the Brewers swept three different times. I have seen the Brewers combine for 11 hits in an entire three game series. My personal favorite, I've seen Royals fans jump up and down screaming "We Want Donuts" after their 11th hit in a Sunday game against the Brewers. Let me explain that one.

Apparently the Royals offense of 2006 was so bad, that when they pounded out 12 hits in a game, Krispy Kreme would give every fan in the ballpark a dozen free donuts. After Dan Kolb lobbed another high 80's fastball down the middle, the feat was complete. Kauffman Stadium erupted. So after watching the Brewers get shut out 6-0, my dad and I decided to redeem our donuts. We figured at least we would get something out of the deal. We were informed that the promotion goes into effect the next day in Kansas City. It just so happened that that was the last game of the series, and we were driving to Chicago to watch the Brewers and Cubs the next day. After doing some research on the promotion, I have found out that only 1% of the people in the ballpark actually redeem this promotion. I wonder if they tell fans some bogus story every time the Royals are able to do this.

To be fair to the Brewers, they weren't really fielding the best teams when I was going on these road trips. I happened to go on two road trips during the infamous 56-106 season of 2002. Great planning, eh?

So, as I said Cleveland will always hold a special place in my heart. For once in my life, I actually got to see the Brewers play well on the road. Maybe the tide is turning. We might be able to plan these family road trips and not only worry about getting a run, but some wins to go along with them.

The most important thing about these stories is how much fun I have had along the way. There is no question that the Brewers could have fielded better teams in my lifetime, but that still didn't take away all of the enjoyment. If you have been contemplating taking a road trip to a baseball game, do it. The Brewers are a much better team to watch nowadays.

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