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Redemption: How Braunie, the Prince, Axeman, T-Plush and Brew Crew Ball salvaged my summer from hell

Thanks to Steve for sharing this incredibly sad, but uplifting personal story about this season. - KL

A title like that, I suppose, merits prose better than what you're about to read. Nevertheless, I hope you'll tolerate this very personal reflection on this season.

I told my wife last night that I suspect a guy's favorite season of baseball should take place when he's 10 or 12 years old rather than 27. But regardless of how this season ends--with a World Series title, an ugly sweep at the hands of the D-Backs, or anything in between--I had more fun this year than I ever have watching baseball.

In the first year of our marriage, my wife and I were blessed to have a little boy. We deeply desired a large family, but the last few years we've struggled with infertility and in 2010 the miscarriage of our second child. On Father's Day this year, we were delightfully shocked to find out we were expecting again. Hollywood couldn't have scripted it better.

We were thrilled to go to our first ultrasound. I still remember my son's first ultrasound. For a bewildered 22-year-old, seeing that tiny heart beating away was probably even more powerful and awe-inspiring than the birth. But that July morning, there was no heartbeat. We were told to expect to miscarry a second time within a week. And so began my month-and-a-half long odyssey through the bowels of hell.

I'll spare you details, but a week turned into many weeks. Eventually, since my wife still appeared to be pregnant, the ultrasound tech said maybe they made a mistake. But that glimmer of hope merely provided an additional opportunity for our dreams to be crushed when the initial diagnosis was confirmed. Over the weeks ahead, my wife suffered tremendous physical pain. Together we grieved deeply.

*****

The aluminum lining to all of this was that our bad news coincided with the start of the Brewers hot streak. Through the misery, a late-night emergency room visit, and all the emotional anguish, the Crew provided a welcome distraction that brought me happiness and even a little peace. For a few weeks this summer I NEEDED them to win. And they did--nearly every day.

It wasn't just that I was rooting for a hot team; the fun-loving, never-say-die personality of this team took the edge off of my sadness. Nyjer's antics, our twin MVPs, the unhittable pitching staff...Heck, John Axford's stupid mustache gave me more joy than should be allowed by law. I love this team.

As I rode the escalator down from the cheap seats (at my all-time high 8th game of the year!) last night my wife asked me if I had a good time. I couldn't answer her. I knew I'd get emotional...about a baseball game.

But it was more than that. And it was more than a much-needed escape. You see, the Brewers became the first real shared hobby that my four-year-old and I could bond over. He sat through six games, absolutely absorbed to the last pitch. He'll point out Ryan Braun or Rickie Weeks in the on-deck circle from row 15 of Terrace Reserved. And each day, the first words out of his mouth are "Daddy, did the Brewers win? Can we watch the headlights? (ha!)"  I'm still sad about the two children I've lost, but baseball has given me an awesome tool for cementing my father-son relationship with the little man that we do have. For that I will always be grateful.

*****

As I wrap up, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the role that Brew Crew Ball has played in all of this. I'm not smart enough to comment much, but I check the site a good half-dozen times a day. I can't afford cable so when I don't score free or cheap tickets, I catch most of the games simply tracking the GameCast online and reading the Game Threads here. While I'm generally pretty anonymous, the community and the insights and analysis are largely responsible for my enjoyment. Whatever happens with the Brewers, my first thoughts usually include "I can't wait to see Jordan's analysis," or "I wonder how this will affect the BCB tracking poll," or even "I wonder how Nullact will photoshop this." It's no coincidence that my love of the Brew Crew skyrocketed in the spring of 2007--about the same time I stumbled upon this website.

I'll be braving the wind and the rain to take my son to the playoff rally today. So if you see a dopey looking 20-something walking around with a cute 4-year-old boy wearing a Madison Mallards or Packers Super Bowl hat, stop and introduce yourself; I owe you a beer.

God bless you all.

-Steve

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