Over the years, there have occasionally been some hard feelings between Brewers fans and the Worldwide Leader in Sports.
There are a lot of factors at play there, whether it’s a feeling the team is consistently under-covered when they’re good, the way the network handled the Ryan Braun PED story, or just the perceived perception of favoring rivals like the Chicago Cubs. But on at least one platform, the Brewers are getting a little love from ESPN.
On ESPN.com today, senior writer David Schoenfield listed a bunch of World Series matchups he does (and doesn’t) want to see. Among the hard pass, no thanks, don’t make me watch this possibilities: Cardinals/Red Sox, Yankees/Braves and Dodgers/Astros. While there’s still plenty of big market sweethearts in his Top 5 want-to-see list — including two matchups featuring the Cubs — the Brewers also get two separate mentions.
That includes a potential Milwaukee/Cleveland matchup, which doesn’t make Schoenfield’s Top 5, but the long championship droughts associated with both cities does earn the hypothetical series a separate honorable mention. Cleveland hasn’t won a World Series since 1948, and the city of Milwaukee hasn’t had a baseball championship since the Braves won it all in 1957. While the two small market clubs might not be the dream matchup for advertisers and FOX, it’d be hard to think of a series with higher stakes.
But it’s another potential small market matchup that does make ESPN’s Top 5: the Brewers facing Oakland:
The A’s would have to run an impossible gauntlet to get here by beating the Yankees in the wild-card game (most likely, although they could still win the West), the Red Sox in the Division Series and the Astros or Indians in the ALCS, but that would make their story even more dramatic. Maybe this is the Billy Beane team that finally makes the deep run in the playoffs. And if you’re sick of Cubs hype, then you can root for their neighbors to the north. Plus, Sal Bando and Rollie Fingers can throw out first pitches for both teams!
It would definitely be a showdown of teams that certainly think and operate in much the same way, with the added storyline of Khris Davis facing his former team (and maybe we can get Joe Buck to talk about the larger implications of the Keith Ginter-for-Nelson Cruz and Justin Lehr trade).
Is that enough to make FOX forget about a dream Dodgers/Yankees matchup? Probably not. But the recognition on a national platform is still nice to see, even if it took the network until the tail end of the regular season — and the Brewers building up a 4.5-game lead on a playoff spot with two weeks to go — to do it.
Who would you like to see the Brewers face in the World Series? Feel free to chime in below.