Come on, admit it.
Admit you never expected the Milwaukee Brewers to be in the position they are currently in –that being the playoff hunt.
I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t expect the Brewers to still be playing meaningful baseball in September. Heck, I didn’t think they’d be playing meaningful baseball at all this year.
I fully expected the Brewers to be a run-of-the-mill team – at best. After all, they don’t exactly have a roster of hall of fame bound players. In fact, they don’t have one legitimately great player on their roster. Ryan Braun once was, but he isn’t anymore. And maybe Josh Hader and/or Orlando Arcia will be someday, but they aren’t now. At the All-Star Game, the Brewers had just one representative: reliever Corey Knebel.
Bu somehow, some way, these Brewers have wonderfully overachieved. In almost 40 years of reporting, I have never, ever seen a professional sports team in this state overachieve like one.
Credit Craig Counsell, the Brewers’ even-keeled manager who didn’t allow his team to fall prey to any huge emotional swings, and who has seemingly pushed every right button this season. And credit Counsell’s assistant coaches who have helped foster an enviable working environment where everyone appears to be on the same page. The Brewers’ team chemistry is, in a word, extraordinary.
And credit the players themselves for believing in themselves and, most importantly, wisely ignoring the skeptics, the ones who predicted before the season even started that they’d lose more games than they’d win, the ones who fully expected they would eventually come crashing back to earth at the All-Star break after their surprisingly fast start, and the ones (including yours truly) who were thoroughly convinced the Brewers’ bubble was going to burst on their recent West Coast trip.
But here we are with 25 games remaining on the Brewers’ regular-season schedule and they’re still breathing down on the reigning World Series champions and NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs.
The Brewers are amazingly just 3½ games behind the Cubs and still have a golden opportunity wipe out that deficit as they will play the Cubs a whopping seven more times: three games in Chicago and four in Milwaukee.
Sure the odds are against the Brewers overtaking the Cubs, especially since 15 of their remaining 25 games are on the road where they have proven to be, literally, an average team, having posted a 33-33 record.
But, as they have demonstrated time and time again this season, the Brewers have an uncanny knack for overcoming the odds. What a remarkable story – check, make that a more remarkable story — it would be if they could do it one more time.