Baseball in Milwaukee: World Series or bust
By Nick Michalski. CREATED Sep 3, 2014
Milwaukee's recent slide out of first place in the NL Central division confirmed the predisposed lack of faith for many observers of this team; the Brewers have slowly revealed themselves as inadequate competitors perpetually with the short end of the stick.
As loathsome as the constant Cardinals worship from the national media is, the Brewers will never be seen as "The Man" until they beat "The Man."
Even locally, one must concede it would take a monster change to convince Wisconsin's sporting public to look away from the Green Bay Packers and concentrate on baseball. Ahh, let's face it: the NFL is king and virtually nothing can disrupt that connection with the American public right now.
Milwaukee is a great baseball town as well, but the one thing that would put Milwaukee baseball on the map more globally would be to win the whole darn thing.
Milwaukee has always been a baseball-loving metropolis and its rich tradition includes a Milwaukee Braves team that did win it all, back in 1957.
Still, Milwaukee's baseball narrative is lost nationally in the fog of many storied franchises in other cities that have all the banners and accomplishments the Brewers don't.
The Braves got the job done one season, but the Brewers have failed to make the playoffs for much of their history, meaning baseball fans in Wisconsin and beyond have rarely had any reason to pay attention to the team in September, much less October.
No, to put Milwaukee on the map in the baseball world, the Brewers are going to have to go ahead and win the World Series. Think it's impossible?
For decades, Red Sox fans immersed themselves in the Curse of the Bambino and their collective woe and helplessness. The Red Sox, of course, won the World Series in 2004 and have won two more since.
The White Sox followed the Red Sox by shedding their mantle of shame, and someday the Cubs will do it too. You heard it here first.
It can be done, but until it is done in Milwaukee, baseball in Wisconsin will remain a local or regional specialty, a deeply cherished ritual of pleasant distraction, tailgating mayhem and hard-luck disappointment.
As a result, the Milwaukee Brewers' singular focus can only be the World Series. It's World Series or bust for the Brewers, plain and simple, and most fans already know it.
Most of the players on the Brewers' current team weren't born yet when Milwaukee lost the World Series in 1982. Many of the players' fathers weren't born when the Braves won it all in 1957. The glory of the past is hard to envision and even harder to remember.
The passion of Brewers fans is significant. Yet even as fans pack Miller Park annually, something bigger lays dormant. Milwaukee is a city ripe for an explosion of goodwill that would be let loose by one thing only: a World Series victory.
Another botched playoff chance gets the Brewers nowhere. The only way the Brewers can chase the baseball blues in Wisconsin is to conquer the sport.
They ought to start now, because anything short of total victory will mean another sad defeat.