The Milwaukee Brewers, once a nearly unbeatable team at home is now looking vulnerable after splitting a series with the Padres and getting swept by the Mets. While they still hold a lead in the Wild Card, there is certainly much to worry about , especially when pitchers not named Sabathia or Sheets take the hill.
Padres fans must are wondering... "Wasn't this supposed to be one of the better teams in the National League?" "Our spunky little Padres, a team that fielded a lineup of three everyday players batting less than .200 on Sunday, splitting a series with the Brewers?"
I suggest that the Brewers recent failures being with the team's collective attitude.
There’s a line from an old Coolio song (which one I can’t recall as really there was JUST SO MANY good ones) that said something to the effect of :
“I’ll see you if you get there, when you get there, if you ever get there.”
I think the song was from the movie about at-risk youths in school, no not “To Sir, With Love”. And no not “Stand and Deliver”, but the other one with Michelle Pfeiffer as the teacher.
Anyways, this song is applicable to not only these youth but to the Milwaukee Brewers. How?
The Milwaukee Brewers while the leader in the race for the Wild Card and hovering near the Central Division lead has managed to drop seriesnat home against the Cubs and the Mets. And not just drop these series…. But fall on one’s face type of stuff.
In each of the series, they were swept at home and in each of the final games of the series, they were destroyed by a wide margin. In fact, they were humiliated.
To make another mid-90’s popular cultural reference (The movie “Friday), simply the Brewers versus the Cubs and Mets got “knocked the f out!!”
Each of these losses was punctuated by general bad behavior such as ejections of key members of the team, bat throwing, bat flipping, and helmet tossing.
Will they ever get there? Will they ever get to the point where they are a mature team capable of handling adversity? Will they ever learn to win? Will they learn to win the games against the cream of the crop? Will they ever learn to get over the hump?
I’m not sure if they are mature enough. I don’t know if there’s enough veteran leadership on the team.
This season, little has been made and ultimately dismissed by members of the local Milwaukee media regarding the Brewers on- field demeanor.
Here is a laundry list of some of the Brewers antics:
- Taking shirts out of pants as a team after victories (apparently an ode to Mike Cameron’s father who would do that after a day’s work, yet it reeks bad of arrogance) (EVERYONE)
- Admiring home runs to the point where their staring at the balls hit would be considered stalking in most of the states in the Union (RYAN BRAUN)
- Teammates fighting in the dugout and not just teammates, but the starting 1st baseman taking a swing at the starting pitcher (PRINCE FIELDER and MANNY PARRA)
- A manager that argues with umpires in situations where there is no merit to argument. (NED YOST)
- Slamming of equipment on field of play (BRAUN, FIELDER), including swinging bat state fair style and nearly clocking opposing catcher with back swing (Bill Hall)
- Walking back to positions slowly after striking out (BRAUN, RICKIE WEEKS)
- Getting ejected in already decided games (PRINCE FIELDER)
- Throwing at opposing team (ERIC GAGNE)
- Yelling at opposing team after striking out a batter(Carlos Villanueva)
These acts individually are the signs of an immature individual or perhaps just an immature individual. Collectively, these are the acts of an immature team.
The veterans on this team are recently added (Cameron and Ray Durham) and seem to have little pull in the clubhouse. Some of the other veterans seem to have the demeanor of Corbin Bernsen’s character in Major League which was coincidentally filmed in Milwaukee’s County Stadium. In other words, they seem disinterested in leading.
Rarely is the poor behavior frowned upon in the media, rather excuses are made as to the reasons why the behavior is acceptable. The argument generally offered to explain the boorish behavior is that the team is young. I’m not sure where the apologies for the team come from. Perhaps from the fact that there hasn’t been a Brewers team to make the playoffs since 1982 and this team is on the cusp, or just general homerism? Maybe because no one has been around a winning team here since 1982, no one knows what a winning team should act like?
Sure they take care of the Pirates. And the Padres. And after these wins, the team acts as if their world is their oyster.
But until they win these crucial games against playoff teams (and they still have 6 games against the Cubs coming up later this month), they won’t be an elite team.
Simply, until the team figures out their collective attitude problem, they will keep dropping these important series. And like Coolio preached, they’ll never get “there.”