Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thanks Bro

Being a Milwaukee Brewer fan, Friday evening was special. In fact, it was very special. The Brewers did something that the franchise had not accomplished in 29 years. They won a divisional title when they beat the Florida Marlins, 4-1 and the Cubs knocked off the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-1.They are the National League Central Division champions.

Fielder and Braun celebrating clinching NL Central Division title.
The divisional championship was only the third in team history and their first in the National League. The first two were in 1981 and 1982 when the Brewers played in the American League East.

Yes, it’s been quite a while. To put this in perspective, 15 players on the current roster weren’t even born the last time Milwaukee won their division.

The only other playoff appearance by the Brewers was in 2008 when the qualified as a wild-card team on the last game of the season. And the events of last night eerily mirrored that game.

In the wild-card clincher in 2008, the Brewers beat the Cubs at Miller Park on an eighth-inning homer by Ryan Braun, then waited as they rooted for the Marlins to beat the Mets.

On Friday night, the Brewers beat the Marlins when Braun again hit an eighth-inning homer. Again they had to wait, this time to root for the Cubs to beat the Cardinals.

Prince Fielder awaiting the outcome of the Cubs-Cards game.
 When the final out was recorded in St. Louis, pandemonium broke out in Miller Park in Milwaukee. In the clubhouse, the champagne celebration began. No one was safe from the cold bubbly shower. Players, coaches, reporters, even team owner Mark Attanasio were all thoroughly drenched.

Out in the park, the fans were roaring in delirious delight as confetti rained down from above. That roar soon became a thunderous din when the team rushed out of the clubhouse armed with multiple bottles of champagne.

The crowd reveled boisterously as players stood on the dugout spraying them with the champagne. Although the Brewer game had ended at 9:40, the festivities on the field continued well after 11:00. It was tremendous seeing the players interacting with their faithful fans.

Shortly after the Brewers had clinched, Today’s TMJ4 asked on facebook, “What was your favorite moment from tonight’s game?”

There were 37 replies. Most of them were the obvious – Braun’s home run, the final out, the spraying of the champagne, etc. My response was “Seeing Prince being mobbed in the stands by the fans after the game.”

Believe it or not, my facebook comment made it on the TMJ4 Live At Daybreak show this morning. As I ate breakfast I was surprised to see it on the screen while Tom Murray read it. He even pronounced Vagnoni correctly.

It made me quite happy that TMJ4’s considerable viewing audience could see how much I appreciated seeing the love Prince was getting from the fans of Milwaukee. It was an exceptional moment.

It was also nice seeing the joy on Prince’s face during the numerous interviews he did. While he may not be the most eloquent speaker on the team, he definitely knows how to say thank you. If he said it once, he said it a dozen times, “Thanks bro.” His momma brought him up right.

I must confess that amidst all of the joy and jubilation was buried a small bit of melancholy. Deep down inside I realized that there was a pretty good chance that this could be the last time I would see Prince this joyful as a Milwaukee Brewer. It made the whole scenario somewhat bittersweet.

When and if Prince moves on, I will have to deal with it. What else can I do? If he does go, I just hope he winds up on a team where I can continue to follow his career.

During all of the happiness last night, some friends on facebook tried to spoil my buzz by suggesting that Prince will be a Chicago Cub next year. Hopefully this was just some good-natured ribbing on their part. My reply to this foolish notion was concise and to the point – Never.

Perhaps my facebook friend, Rob Chagdes, put it best when he very intelligently commented, “I love the Cub fans that think Prince would go to a horribly run franchise when he will have his choice.”

Well said, Rob, well said.

However, I can’t be concerned with that now. Next on the agenda for the Brewers are the National League playoffs. I am optimistic that they will have home field advantage in round one and perhaps we can see another celebration at Miller Park. If they can keep the momentum, who knows how far they can go.

What I do know is that no matter how deep the Brewers go in the playoffs or where Prince ends up playing next season, I will always have those unforgettable moments from last night. And for that, I say to Prince, “Thanks bro.”

Until next time…from the booth.


Leplume said...

I hope Prince stays put! But, yes!! I agree...great baseball memory was made Friday night! As you know I am a Cubs fan AND I live in Wisconsin so I take a small amount of pride in knowing the Cubbies did what they had to do to make Friday happen! LOL If Prince went to the Cubs that would be great but he's not going to do that! Seriously...even we Cub fans understand that! Sheesh!

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

I thank your Cubs for doing their part in making last night possible. I thank you for hoping Prince stays in Milwaukee.

Anonymous said...

Prince will go to the highest bidder. He lived through the pain of his dad burning through the millions he earned playing ball and leaving the family eating PB&J in a repoed Florida mansion. That burns deep in a teenager's psyche. Pro baseball is nothing more than an entertainment business, even if the fans ascribe something more to it. I like Prince and I'll continue to pull for him to do well, even if he signs with the Cubs. He has great talent, he always plays hard and he plays to win. Can't ask for more than that.

Kool Papa

Paul E. Vagnoni said...

I agree. Except for the Cubs. Not the Cubs…