The Milwaukee Brewers open the NLDS at home this weekend, with games 1 and 2 on Saturday and Sunday. The #7 Wisconsin Badgers open Big Ten play Saturday night against newbies Nebraska and the defending National Champion Green Bay Packers take on Denver on Sunday.
Unless you live in Boston or New York, you’ve probably never experience the Happy Fan Dance that I’ve practically mastered in the past few days.
The Brewers have been to the postseason just once since 1982. They won the NL Wild Card on the final day of the 2008 season and promptly lost in the first round to the Phillies.
This year, the Brewers won the NL Central and home-field advantage. Experts are picking them to make it to and possibly win the World Series.
If the Badger beat Nebraska tomorrow night, they are the odds-on favorites to win the Big Ten and, some say, should be in the National Championship discussion.
To be fair, it’s not a big matchup for the Packers this week. In fact, their game is being considered so insignificant that NLDS game 2 was scheduled at the same time. That doesn’t take away from the fact that they’re reigning champs and have all the tools to make a run at defending that championship this season.
And frankly, I have no idea how to handle it.
We’ve been partial season seat holders for the Brewers in the past. When they signed Shaun Marcum and Zach Greinke, we signed right back up exactly for this eventuality. I won’t shame myself by telling you about the happy fun dance that happened when I got my full strip of postseason tickets in the mail last week. It doesn’t matter if I get to use them – I’m holding World Series tickets! (ok, maybe it matters a little)
I don’t mean this to be too braggy – mostly I’m just shocked. It is an incredible time to be a Wisconsin sports fan.
I know you fans in bigger cities have sometimes had championship overlap, but the pickin’s have always been a little scarce around these parts. It’s always felt like we trade the success of one team for another.
When the Badgers went to the Rose Bowl in 1999, the Packers posted an 8-8 record – they’re worst since Brett Favre became quarterback. The Brewers finished 74-87.
We can be huge fans of all the teams because we’ve never had to split loyalties before – it’s just never been an issue. As MLB and TBS took hours on Thursday to announce game times, Wisconsin fans were on pins and needles wondering how their weekend would shake out. Many held postseason tickets are well as tickets to the Badger or Packer games. We got lucky on Saturday with an early start that should give everyone a chance to attend or watch both the Badgers and Brewers game. But Sunday will test allegiances, as the Brewers play at 330 and the Packers start at 3.
The Packers have always been the first-class team in Wisconsin. They win. When the Brewers played in Game 3 of the NLDS in 2008, the Packers played at the same time. The Brewers game sold out, but lost considerably in TV ratings to the Packer game statewide. The Packers went 6-10 that season.
But that Wild Card team backed into the postseason and started such notable pitchers as Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan. No one thought they’d win that NLDS. This year, their chances are much better and with Zach Greinke pitching Game 2, I really hope the Brewers have a better grip on statewide TVs.
Maybe it’s all short-lived and I’m getting overly excited for nothing. But it’s never been this good in my lifetime and I plan on experiencing it to its fullest. Hell, I’ve considered flying to Phoenix for Games 3 and 4! These sorts of times don’t come around often for small-town markets such as mine.