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vintown: A Baseball History, Part Four

Part three started off with me living in Washington state, then going to Alabama, then Wisconsin, a quick sojourn to Hawaii and finally back to Wisconsin. I’d finally stay put in one state and with that I’d finally be able to really sink my teeth into a team.

2008: I went to a lot of games this summer with my new group of friends from work. I didn’t get along great with my son’s mother so I didn’t really have to spend much time changing diapers outside of every other weekend. I ended up going to a lot of games that year and the Brewers were pretty damn good. I even took Nolan to one of them.

nolan2008

I maintained my Mariners fandom at this time, but they were terrible. The Brewers are what kept me tied to baseball and I bought tickets to the last game of the season against the Cubs. They needed to win this one (and the Mets to lose) to make the playoffs for the first time in 26 years. It was one of the best games I’ve ever been to and we celebrated accordingly.

2009-2014: That game stuck with me a long time and by the beginning of the year I decided to start a Brewers blog called Miller Park Drunk. My original idea was kind of a Deadspin meets The Chive type of thing with sports talk, gossip, “Brewer babes” and tailgate recipes. My heart wasn’t really into that though and after posting pictures of “hot girls” a couple of times I gave that up. That’s just not me and it ended up being more of a humor/analysis site in my voice. It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done besides have a kid and proposing to Sam.

In this time I met a lot of people who liked my writing and wanted to get to know me. I met people who were at the same level of writing as me who have turned it into their career. I know I didn’t want this for myself at the time, but I sometimes wonder if maybe I should’ve. That might be why I’m writing this now.

This would be my life for the next five years. Watching the Brewers all the time. Writing about the Brewers some of the time. Sometimes it was great, sometimes it wasn’t. I threw tailgate parties with readers and friends that I called Pants Parties that were some of the best days of my life.

Some days I regret shuttering it and letting the domain expire. Other days, I’m glad that chapter is over.

2011: The last great Brewers team of my life needs a mention here. This was the best team and I loved them very much. I went to Game 5 of the NLDS and I definitely pre-gamed a bit too hard. I ended up being way too drunk during the game and I don’t really remember it at all. This was a a Capital-G, Great game and I missed it despite being in the stadium. This is one of my big drinking regrets of my life and a moment I can point to where I thought I needed to slow it down. That maybe took a little bit to take, but I’m glad it did.

The NLCS of that year still haunts me to this day. It’s an elimination game and the Brewers start Dave Bush, the guy everyone knows is toast, then when it’s still winnable they go to the long man because they “need the innings” or some such nonsense. Narveson gets rocked and the Brewers lose. I had tickets to the next game if they just could have won, but Roenicke managed it like it was a spring training game. In 2016, these bullpen ways would finally die for good.

2014: By the end of 2014, I had shut down MPD and was pretty burned out on baseball. I went to a few games, but it wasn’t the same. I still liked the Brewers, but I was sick of them and I was sick of the game. Sick of thinking things like the starter is at 88 pitches, but if they don’t do something this inning they won’t be able to hit the closer with the 7-8-9 hitters due . Honestly, I was just tired and so much of the Brewers experience had become tied to binge drinking that I wanted none of it.

And then fantasy came back into my life. I’d played a few times before, but I hadn’t had a league in years, never having enough baseball friends. Anyone can play fantasy football, fantasy baseball is for real fans.

I actually played in one I found in the back of Baseball Weekly way back in 1994 or 1995. You had to call a 1-800 number once a week to set your lineup and check your scores. I didn’t win. There was just no way for me to get enough information to compete at that time.

Daily fantasy brought me back in though. It helped me remember how much I love just looking at stats. It helped me remember that there is a lot of baseball outside of the Brewers.

By the end of 2015, I was playing DFS all the time. I was watching games on MLB.tv and I remembered why I loved this stupid game. I even went to a game at Miller Park, not to see the Brewers, but to see my all-time favorite player: Ichiro.

2016: This year will probably end up being the most “in” on baseball that I’ve been in a long, long time. I was an MLB.tv subscriber since early June and I more than got my money’s worth. I realized that with my work schedule that watching the Mariners every night was something that I could do and then I fell back in love with my old team. We went and saw them play the White Sox in Chicago and for my version of our honeymoon we’re going to go to Safeco Field next year. I love them again, even though they broke my heart.

I'm in a glass case of emotion.

A video posted by vintown (@vintown) on

Of course, I still love the Brewers too. I love their rebuild and think they’re making all the right moves. They will be good again and I will love it. I’ll jump back in. The odds of these two teams ever meeting in the World Series is pretty close to 0% and if they ever did, well, that’s what I’d call a good problem.

I think 2016 will go down as the year that I came back for good. I don’t watch football. I have the Brewers, the Mariners, my partner in crime to watch it all with me and my son running the bases at Miller Park. What else do I need?

Brewers lost, Nolan ran the bases. Typical Sunday.

A photo posted by vintown (@vintown) on

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