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Superstitions sting this Brew Crew fan

first_imgEvery sports guy or gal has one sport that stirs a passion in him or her, a sport that drives that person to do questionable things — things he or she would never do in any other venue than a sporting arena. Red Wings fans throw octopi on the ice, Packers fans wear cheese on every foreseeable (and unforeseeable) part of their bodies and Red Sox fans throw pieces of pizza at one another after botching a foul ball.For me, the last 15 years of my life have been consumed with the Milwaukee Brewers, and let me tell you, it hasn’t been a pretty sight.When the Brewers were in a pennant race with the Blue Jays in the 1992 season, I quickly became a fan of Milwaukee’s blue-collar team. Pure hitters like Robin Yount and Paul Molitor, and pitchers like Chris Bosio, Cal Eldred and Jaime Navarro led the Brewers to a 92-win season. It was only customary to think a home playoff series in County Stadium was just a year or two away.Boy, was I wrong.After watching subpar players like Franklin Stubbs, Curtis Leskanic and Chuck Crim make Milwaukee the laughingstock of baseball, I became one of those brainwashed fans who thought what I was doing before the game impacted the result on the field. Hence, the crazy superstitions were born.We’ve all done it. Don’t change a lucky shirt, don’t shave during a winning streak and don’t ever gloat. Unfortunately, those rules didn’t even compare to how sick I am in the head before heading to Miller Park. Before attending a game, I have to wear the same Brewers jersey, shorts and shoes as the last game, but that only happens if the Brewers won the last game I attended. If they lost, an entirely new wardrobe must be worn. This is only the beginning.I have to drive the same way to Miller Park (County Y to I-94 and exit off Miller Park Way and cut off 10 cars in the process) and listen to 50 Cent in the tape deck of my 1991 Dodge Caravan up until Bob Uecker comes on air with the Brewers pre-game show. I always keep score with a black pen and have to sit on the first base side. If any of these things are out of alignment, the Brewers will falter. I do this nearly 40 times a summer.Disgusting, isn’t it?But it gets worse, as I am admitting that I am personally responsible for some of the worst Brewer moments in the past 10 years. When the Brewers were 45-41 at the All-Star Break, I called my friend to gloat about how the Brewers were going to do it this year. Finally, I’ll be able to watch my beloved Brewers play in front of a packed house in the playoffs! What happened? The Brewers finished 22-53, the worst mark ever for a team entering the All-Star break with a winning record. Oops. The Brewers’ franchise worst season was my fault because, as I sat 10-rows up on the third base side (it was awkward the entire game), I became a first-hand witness to Geoff Jenkins shattering his leg sliding back into third base and missing the rest of the season.It’s been a troubled past, as anyone who’s gone to a ballgame with me knows how problematic I am. I have bowled over dates for a foul ball (sorry, Alanna), lost countless dollars betting on the Brewers (I hate you, Tony), skipped a JV football game to go to the final game at County Stadium, and what do I have to show for it? Nothing except heartache, anger and a worn-out 50 Cent tape. However, all that is finally starting to change.For the first time in more than 20 years, the Brewers are actually showing signs of life. After a year of growing pains, J.J. Hardy leads the Brewers in RBIs, Rickie Weeks’ fielding is improving and Prince Fielder could hit a baseball into Lake Michigan if he wanted to. But what has set the Brewers apart this season is having a starting rotation that can rival any team in baseball. Free agent signee Jeff Suppan and 18-game winner Chris Capuano became the first Brewer duo to each win four games in the month of April. The Twins don’t have that, the Red Sox don’t have that and the Yankees sure don’t have that. Even the bullpen, one of the main factors in Milwaukee’s continual downfall, has turned into one of the best in baseball. Francisco Cordero has been the best closer in baseball so far this season after being thrown on the trash heap in Texas, Carlos Villanueva has come up big when he’s needed to and Derrick Turnbow is no longer Derrick “Turn-Blow”.Granted, it’s only May 4, but the 2007 Brewers are creating a buzz around Wisconsin that doesn’t come around all too often.But I am not convinced. The Brewers have teased me before. Everyone says the Brewers will falter, they can’t sustain this momentum and they won’t make the playoffs. So what if the Brewers haven’t given me as much as I have given them over 15 years? I still haven’t jumped off that bandwagon, because as soon as I do, something bad might happen. That’s when I need to be there, with my lucky shoes, jersey, black pen and scorecard ready to go.I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a summer in Milwaukee.Just please don’t ask me about the playoffs.Benjamin Worgull is graduating with degrees in journalism and theater. If you want to share your craziest superstition or if you want him to buy you a drink at Miller Park on the first base side, contact him at bwworgull@wisc.edu.last_img read more