Saturday, September 27, 2008
The Greatest Brewer Game of My Young Life
Last night I attended the greatest baseball game I have ever witnessed in person. That might sound like an overstatement, but it's true. Prior to Friday's game, I have never attended a meaningful baseball game. Sure, all the games mean something, have the potential for greatness or importance, the start of a rally or the beginning of a losing streak that pushes the playoffs out of sight, but never has one game been so important. The fact that it was against the Cubs made it all the more meaningful.
With the late-inning drama of the Pittsburgh series a day or more behind us, the focus was on keeping pace with the Mets. The parking lot tailgating was measurably subdued, as if all of the Milwaukee fans knew something great was just over the horizon, but care had to be taken not to scare that something away. Brats were cooked and beer was consumed, the ritual respected and followed to the letter. My buddy and I shared some of our extra Polish with the carload of guys next to us, an offering of goodwill to fellow ticketholders. With no way of paying us back, we shrugged and just hoped they could enjoy the game.
The inkling that this game was going to be something special came with a loud crack off the bat of Jim Edmonds in the second inning. There was a cheer, but nowhere near as loud as we were told to expect. That was the best you could muster? The Brewers shook off this first blow, weathered a few tense moments with Suppan on the mound, played some great defense, and eventually overtook the Cubs. A polite roar erupted some time in the seventh inning in agreement with the outcome of the Marlins game. This night, magic was possible.
I think part of it has something to do with this:
What you are looking at is what I believe to be a genuine San Diego Padres NLCS Cub-Busters T-shirt, circa 1984. I am warning you: Do not try to acquire one of these. An eBay search will end badly for you. You might come across this one, a little more official looking, somewhere on the Web, but it's not the same. You will not find it. (Of course, I'm sure someone will prove me wrong within a matter of minutes, but let me have my moment.)
The story of this shirt goes back, and this is a guess here, about five years. I came into possession of this classified item in a way I will not reveal here. The Brewers had been in the National League long enough to establish the new rivalry with their neighbors to the south. The sizing of the shirt, at least at the time of sale, was far too small for me. It remained in my novelty shirt pile for a few years, hovering above my typical cycle of T-shirts that were in heavy rotation. And then, I found myself having to move. The shirt got packed into a box, joining others destined to become part of one of those T-shirt quilts a few years down the road. The box went through another move, and was then placed on a high shelf in my closet.
The high shelf in my closet is where it rested until yesterday afternoon. The Brewers needed a good omen to erase the damage done here at the end of July. This shirt, undisputedly, has magical powers, dark majicks that cannot be controlled by even the strongest mage. The powers are not to be wasted, however, which is why I decided against unearthing this relic until now. I dared not wear this Cloak of San-De-Ye-Goh. Too much power for one man. For the time being, I will do everything in my power to keep this garment and the Sankara Stones away from Mola Ram, so its powers can be used again.
The term "magic number" is in my vocabulary for the first time. What a great time to be alive!