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Why I’m a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers, Brewers, keep turning up the heat!

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the refreshed Brew Crew Ball! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to do the same, head over to the FanPosts to begin. Each FanPost will be into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card. We’re collecting all of the stories here. Come Fan With Us!

I love my dad. He’s been an amazing father, mentor, and friend to me my whole life. To this day, we maintain a close relationship even though I’m grown now and out of the house, am married and raising family of my own. My dad instilled in me the value of hard work as I was growing up, working 80-100+ hours as a police officer (full-time in Oconomowoc, part-time at a few various departments through the years) week in and week out so that my mom could be home and raise my three sisters and I. But because of his rigorous work schedule, my dad unfortunately wasn’t around a lot when I was young to expose me to the different sports he enjoyed as a kid.

As a result, I didn’t become interested in baseball until the summer of 2005, when I was in between 7th and 8th grade. I spent most of that summer at my friend Josh’s house, and his favorite video game that summer was MVP Baseball 2004 for the PS2. Watching and playing that game was my first real exposure to professional baseball. I learned things like the different kinds of pitches and how they broke, who the top hitters and pitchers in the MLB were, and which players had the best ability to hit home runs. MVP Baseball 2004 got me hooked on America’s Pastime.

As I became interested in baseball while living in suburban Milwaukee, it seemed only natural to start following along with the local team. Fortunately, I came to Brewers’ baseball at a good time in the franchise’s history. 2005 was a turning point year for the Brew Crew, as they were competitive throughout the season and wound up finishing 81-81, breaking the streak of 12 losing seasons in a row. I familiarized myself with the players on the roster, and my first favorite players were Geoff Jenkins, Ben Sheets, and Derrick Turnbow. I started getting to know some of the younger players in the minor leagues, like this Prince Fielder cat who was supposed to be pretty powerful. I attended my first game at Miller Park on August 14th, 2005, and saw Corey Hart hit his first career home run against the Reds (Ken Griffey, Jr. also homered in that game). I poured over the statistics of current and former players and familiarized myself with franchise lore; with Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, and that famous 1982 pennant-winning team. By the time school started again that fall, I was hooked on baseball.

More than a decade later, that passion for the game has yet to subside. When the team clinched the playoffs in 2008, I wore my Brewers’ gear to work at the local Culver’s and telling everyone I served at the drive-thru “thank you, your total is $X.XX, go Brewers!” I was in the Army and stationed at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri during the 2011 season, but managed to drive the 8 hours to Miller Park to see Carlos Gomez and Nyjer Morgan push the Brewers past the Diamondbacks in game 5 of that year’s NLDS. I had to drive back to Missouri that same night, and somehow made it alive thanks in large part to several 5 Hour Energy shots, a 12 pack of Sundrop, and a pack of American Spirits.

I’ve watched terrific players come and go, starting with Geoff Jenkins and Ben Sheets along with guys like Fielder, Hart, JJ Hardy, Rickie Weeks, Yovani Gallardo, Carlos Gomez, Jonathan Lucroy. I watched CC Sabathia mow down hitters during that magical run to close out 2008 (including what should have been a no-hitter in Pittsburgh), and I watched Zack Greinke and Shawn Marcum push the Brewers’ over the top in 2011. I’ve been hopeful when the team signed guys like Jeff Suppan, Randy Wolf, Kyle Lohse, and Matt Garza, only to ultimately be disappointed. I’ve watched as highly-touted young players like Mat Gamel, Mark Rogers, and Wily Peralta ascend to the big leagues and fail to live up to expectations. And, of course, I lived and died with every pitch Junior Guerra threw last summer.

For the last three years, I’ve been following the game through the eyes of an analyst, as well. This is my third summer covering the Brewers for one website or another. I didn’t start getting into the sabermetrics and analytics until around 2013-14, but I’ve always been interested in math and numbers and this has been a way for me to fall even deeper in love with the game.

Now, I’m working on getting my own kids into baseball. I had some help from Ryan Braun, who smacked a first-inning home run during the first game I took my kids to back in 2015, sending the crowd into a frenzy and Bernie “the mustache guy!” Brewer down his famous slide at Miller Park. Ever since then, he’s been their favorite player. Everyday during the summer when I arrive home after work, my soon-to-be 4 year old daughter now asks “Daddy, are we gonna watch baseball today?”

The Milwaukee Brewers will always have a special place in my heart (and on my arm in the form of a ball-and-glove tattoo). I have lived in other places and been to other stadiums, but Milwaukee will always be my home and the Brewers will always be my team, whether they’re rebuilding or competing, winning or losing.

Why are you a fan of your favorite team? SBNation is having a sweepstakes for fans and contributors that could net you a $500 gift card!
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. SB Nation Why Are You a Fan Reader Sweepstakes starts on 8:00am ET on May 25, 2017 and ends at 11:59pm ET on June 8, 2017. Open only to eligible legal residents of the United States, 18 years or older. Click here for Official Rules and complete details, including entry instructions, odds of winning, alternative method of entry, prize details and restrictions, etc. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Sponsor: Vox Media, Inc.