The Milwaukee Brewers will not be playing in the 2018 World Series.
We have known this fact for a couple of days now. A thrilling game six victory forced a do-or-die game seven in the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the Brewers just weren’t up to the task. Jhoulys Chacin didn’t have his best stuff right out of the gate. Ryan Braun and Jesus Aguilar combined to go 0-for-8 with six strikeouts. And Jeremy Jeffress, who was so good all season long, served up the final nail in the coffin in the form of a three-run blast by Yasiel Puig in the sixth inning to push LA’s lead to 5-1. After celebrating on the road in the locker rooms of the Cardinals, Cubs, and Rockies, the Brewers were forced to watch as Los Angeles clinched a World Series berth on their home field and got to trash their visiting lockers with champaign showers.
Our baseball team gave us so many incredible moments this season. Five players named as All-Stars. Two cycles and an MVP performance from Christian Yelich. Lorenzo Cain’s outstanding first season back. A revolutionary pitching philosophy taking shape and playing out right before our eyes. The coming-of-age of guys like Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes. A league-leading 96 victories in the regular season. 12 straight win in September and October, earning fans free burgers from George Webb’s for the first time since 1987. A National League Central Championship banner to hang from the rafters next season, thanks to an electrifying game 163 triumph over at Wrigley Field over the hated Chicago Cubs. An NLDS sweep over the Rockies, and seven exhilarating games against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
But they won’t be giving us a championship.
“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”
In the immediate aftermath of this loss, and even now a couple of days later, it is hard to shake these feelings of grief. As a soon-to-be 27 year old man, this was the best Milwaukee Brewers team I have ever seen in my lifetime. I’m not long enough in the tooth to remember the 1982 team, and this year’s squad made it deeper into the playoffs than the one in 2011 did. Our Menomonee Valley Nine, the small market underdogs that defied convention and expectations all season long, were one game away from going to the World Series.
And now, it’s just...over.
Yes, the future appears bright for baseball in the Cream City and that should be pretty plain for all to see. The team will be able to bring back almost all of their major contributors for 2019, and David Stearns is sure to look for ways to augment and improve his roster before next spring. But for now, it’s okay to be mad, upset, disappointed. Our favorite team took us fans to the brink of an NL pennant, and they couldn’t get it done. That sucks. This feeling really bites, man.
There will be plenty of time all winter long to look back, appreciate, and even celebrate the incredible accomplishments made by this team, this year. And before long, we at Brew Crew Ball will begin looking ahead to the offseason and speculating about all the possible additions and subtractions that the front office could consider before everyone meets up at Maryvale again next spring.
But without a pennant to point to, without that World Series championship to hold dear, it is just another long offseason spent learning how to swim.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference