The Brewers have risen from the dead with another spectacular September run—and dragged their tortured fans along with them.
On September 5th, things weren’t looking so good for the Milwaukee Brewers. Things were looking pretty bad, actually. After coming within a game of a World Series appearance in 2018, the injury-ravaged Brewers were sitting at 71-68, 7.5 games out of first place, and barely treading water to stay above .500. Baseball-reference.com gave them a 3.1% chance of reaching the postseason.
Then, it got worse.
After the Brew Crew injected a little bit of life into their playoff hopes by winning their next four, Christian Yelich fouled a ball off his kneecap, fracturing it and effectively ended his MVP-contending season. It was a devastating blow to the Brewers; a devastating blow to baseball. Just when Milwaukee was beginning to believe again, the Yelich injury news hurtled down like a cement block onto a tiny, budding flower. He had been carrying his team on offense night after night, and taking him out of their lineup in the middle of a playoff push felt like clipping the wings off a bird and still expecting it to fly. But the Brewers found a way, winning 11 of their next 16, storming into the playoffs and restoring the hope of a better baseball future to their devoted fanbase.
Missing out on the playoffs with their current roster would have been a grim pill to swallow for Milwaukee fans. Small market teams have small windows for contention—without the free-agent pull of cities like Boston and Chicago, talented rosters are few and far between. The Brewers have only made the playoffs two consecutive seasons once before, and that was almost 40 years ago. With solid players up and down the roster, led by the reigning MVP and pitching cheat-code, Josh Hader, the time to win is now for Milwaukee. And so, securing a playoff spot didn’t just gift Milwaukee the typical revelry of October baseball, it carried something deeper, something fans have been craving for decades: sustained success.
To be clear, Milwaukee loves their Brewers no matter what. Even in the down years, the Brew Crew faithful still fill the seats at Miller Park. Despite being the second-smallest market in the MLB, Milwaukee ranks eighth in average attendance. This season is important because, finally, it seems the Brewers are starting to love them back. It’s not just winning, it’s statements like this from Christian Yelich. The Brewers are building a brand of pride—in their city and in their fans. Their players, coaches, and front office are on a clear mission to keep the Crew in the mix for years to come and set the tone that missing the playoffs is unacceptable. With their September rampage they showed the rest of the league that even without their MVP they are not to be trifled with.
On Tuesday they face the red-hot Nationals in DC and will have to deal with a lethal Scherzer/Strasburg one-two punch. Still, a wild card loss could never take away from what they accomplished this season. Riddled with injury and losing hope, Milwaukee stared into the abyss and didn’t blink. Where many teams would have packed it in and looked ahead to next year, they doubled down and fought even harder to earn their place in the postseason. And look out, the Brewers might just have a little extra magic left over to keep it going in October: no matter what’s on tap in the Cream City, there’s always enough to go around.