It's this type of disappointment that we should respect

I have been a Brewers fan since 1987, and remember fondly the days of Yount, Molitor, Higuera, Surhoff, Bosio among others. The year of "The Streak" and the No-Hitter. They had good players, but could never muster a magical season. Except in 1992 when despite trading their best player (Sheffield), they got hot late and were close to being a surprising AL East division winner. Then that year they let Bosio, Molitor among others go. And then the team was an also ran for 15 years.

The biggest change was a new owner who refused to believe in the "we are just a small market" mentality. Milwaukee is a small market, and will never compete with the LA, NY, Bos, Chi teams in payroll or revenue. But 2008 was that turning point. Going all in with the CC trade, they didn't play like the small market little kid. That ended the 26 year playoff curse. And finally things looked up. But it was another 3 years before post-season excitement, and the 2011 team did not feel or look like any prior Milwaukee (or "small marker") team. They had starting pitchers that everyone has heard of who had track history of success (not just one year wonders), and a line up that hit and scored. They had that core of home grown talent (mostly hitters) with Braun, Fielder, Weeks, Hart, and also Gallardo, and later Lucroy. It was an exciting time to be a fan. They had the talent to go far, with MVP Ryan Braun entering his prim. But as well all know and most of us still remember that team didn't. The end of that season stung. But it felt like maybe the corner was being turned - with Braun, Gallardo, Lucroy as the core. But that was fleeting, the team was average for a few years, and then it was time to rebuild in 2015. This felt far too similar. A promising year, some down years, and start the cycle over.

In 2017 the rebuild was in effect, but the team got some career years from players (Shaw, Thames, Santana), and some pitchers looked promising (Davies, Anderson, Nelson). But it was not the year. Then the major change happened. The Cain signing and the Yelich trade. The team was no longer playing the old script. And 2018 team saw tremendous success. Great hitting led by their MVP and their former MVP. An "electric" bullpen got them to game 7 of the NLCS. And major disappointment again. Losing Game 7 at home.

But it didn't end. 2019 was a wild card sport with an other-worldly September despite missing the reining MVP (and MVP runner up that year). 2020 looked like the cycle was repeating. An average season but a playoff format that resembled the NHL in 1987, allowed the team to be a playoff team for 3 years, so this was different. A new streak. Then this year started with lots of questions. And hope was high for some players to rebound. And question marks on how some pithcers would hold up (Burnes, Peralta, Williams, Houser). And May felt like that cycle was now in earnest. But the team rode its pitching and got some great hitting when it needed it and felt like a team of destiny this year. And culminated that feeling by doing what hadn't happened since 1987 - nearly having another "The Streak" mid season, and then having the team's second no hitter. But the rails fell off and the team swooned in September and bowed out haplessly in October. And here we fans are looking at the disappointment of this season.

But the fact we are disappointed that this team did not reach the NLCS, or the WS, just shows how much has changed. In 1990s just making the playoffs would have constituted success. In 2009 or 2012 making the playoffs for 2 years in a row would have been a huge thing to celebrate. Having an MVP and a Cy Young top 10 finalist were unheard of for a decade or two. So seeing 4 post seasons in a row, being Division champ twice, and making NLCS and going to game 7 in 2018 is something to be proud of, and respect where this team is. They had an MVP season, and a likely top 4 Cy Young this year. This was the same franchise that was the standard bearer for not making the playoffs, not having winning seasons (from 1993 - 2005), and rarely having much talent.

This season is over, but hope is not lost. Good things can still happen. There is young controllable and talented pitching. Some young bats, and good defense. A manager who seems to find a way to push the right buttons (most of the time). And a GM and owner who don't always act like the GM/owner of a "small market" team. Sure the margin of error is small. Another down year from Yelich or serious injury to a pitcher and hopes for next year may disappear. But the fact that the thought for next year is not yet another rebuild shows just how far the team/franchise has come in 39 years (the only WS appearance). Maybe just maybe that drought will be broken, and I hope I am here to celebrate it (along with my usual "sky is falling" venting). But either way, I am so disappointed in this year, and so happy that I could be.