As the Milwaukee Brewers slog through the final days of the season, I have a few random observations... random as much of the team's play has been over the last month or so.
It was nice while it lasted. None of us is defined by the worst thing we ever did, and that applies to baseball teams too. Let's think of the happy times, which ran from April until mid-August, and try to put the last six weeks of the season out of our minds. If I were a Yankee fan, I'd be justifiably disappointed every time that the best team money can buy doesn't win the World Series. But I'm a fan of a small market ball club that made it to the Series just once in forty years and didn't win it that time. I count my blessings on days that my club is even in contention.
Compared to football, doesn't baseball look serene? The worst scandal in baseball involved use of performance-enhancing drugs. The worst scandal in the NFL is domestic violence. If you have to have a crisis in your sport, which would you rather have -- a mostly victimless form of cheating or a truly awful violent crime?
I'm having a hard time getting into football this season, and it's not just the Packers' bad start. All the glitz and the commercials just remind me of how much money is flopping around out there and how arrogant all that makes the owners, the players and the various hangers-on for all teams. I feel like every time I watch a commercial I'm a little bit complicit in the whole ugly mess. Maybe it has to do with the kind of athlete attracted to each sport. Football is about controlled violence while baseball is much more cerebral.
Speaking of cerebral, how does a baseball team go cold at the plate all at once? All of the Brewers' big bats just shut down in August and were never heard from again. A team that lived and died by the long ball was finished when it couldn't produce home runs. But how does that happen?
Baseball is a team sport in the field, but it's more like golf or tennis at the plate. The batter stands there all by himself. It shouldn't make any difference how his teammates are batting, yet ball clubs go through team batting slumps all the time. And the Brewers went through an epic slide just when they needed to crush the ball the most.
Finally, I have not lost faith. The Brewers' tough pitching staff will remain mostly intact for next season and, in the long run, good pitching should beat good hitting. Don't despair -- we'll wait 'til next year.