There is a level to which you can be a half-hearted but well-informed fan of most sports. Football, to make the most extreme example, plays one game a week. You can plan an awful lot of life events but still have time for 3 1/2 hours on Saturday/Sunday and the occasional check in during the week.
Baseball, for better or worse, isn't like that. The regular season opens on April 6 and the Brewers play a game on 162 of the 181 days that follow, plus hopefully a long stretch of games in October. During the season, my friends are divided into two groups: people who also like baseball and will understand that I don't have time for much else, and people who don't. I hang out with the former a lot, and do things like go to Timber Rattlers games on Brewer off days. I don't talk to the latter much between March and October. I think Nicole properly demonstrated how to handle people who can't understand your level of commitment.
With that said, not everyone can be handled that way. It's understandable, if not acceptable, for you to need to plan the occasional night away for a date night, a night where you drink to excess, a night where you watch all your recorded TV off the DVR, or a date night where you drink to excess while watching all your recorded TV off the DVR (it's like a married person's Mardi Gras).
If you haven't already looked at the schedule and figured it out for yourself, let me tell you now: Thursday is your night.
I'll break down the details after the jump, but Thursday is easily the most missable day of the week in the 2012 season. Twelve of the Brewers' 19 off days this season are on Thursday, eight games are in the afternoon and leave your evening free, and one starts so late you could go out, come back and potentially still have time for a quick nap before the first pitch. If you left the house from 6-9 pm every Thursday night in 2012, you'd miss four regular season games. That's it.
If you'd like this point belabored a little more, join me after the jump.
For the purpose of this conversation I've divided Brewer games into three groups:
- Day games are any game with a first pitch before 5 pm.
- Evening games start between 5:30 and 7:40.
- Late games start at 8 or after, leaving you a feasible opportunity to go out for dinner or something and still be back without missing most of it.
In past seasons Monday has been a pretty good night to make other plans, but that's simply not the case this year. Two of the Brewers' Mondays off in 2012 come on back-to-back weeks in June, and one of the others is the night of the Home Run Derby.
Aside from Friday, there's no night of the week that's harder to miss than Tuesday. The only Brewer off day on a Tuesday this season is the night of the All Star Game, and the only afternoon contest is on a holiday week (July 3) when you're likely off work.
The Brewers' huge collection of Thursday off days means they'll also have a lot of getaway-day Wednesdays. After the first of July the Brewers have afternoon games on seven out of eight Wednesdays, with the lone exception being All Star week. All Star Week, by the way, is the Brewers' only Wednesday off day.
And here, we arrive at my point. The Brewers don't play their first Thursday evening game this season until the third week in May, then don't do it again until the second week in June. If you're worried about missing extra important games in September, take Thursdays off work: The Brewers play day road games in Miami (11:40 am), Pittsburgh (3:05 pm) and Cincinnati (11:35 am) in the season's final four weeks.
I'm going to put this in the simplest possible terms: If you willingly make plans to be somewhere else every Friday night this summer, I'm going to call your ability to call yourself a hardcore Brewer fan into question. After Opening Day, the Brewers play every Friday night for 25 consecutive weeks.
The lines get a little murky here. Some of these games will likely get moved around to accommodate FOX broadcasts, and a handful may also go untelevised because other TV broadcasts aren't allowed to go head-to-head with FOX games. Probably best to plan these weeks on a case-by-case basis. There are certainly some opportunities to miss a day or two, but you'll miss a lot of baseball if you skip them all.
Like many of you probably do during the NFL season, it's important that you make sure your family and friends understand that Sunday afternoon is when sports are on. At least a couple of these games will probably move to evening to accommodate an ESPN broadcast (I thought some had already), but for the most part there will be a game to follow during the period after lunch and before dinner every Sunday from April through September.