The All-Star break, the unofficial halfway point of the annual marathon known to many a sports fan as the Major League Baseball season. If your team is in first place, like the Brewers, you still keep an eye on the sports page, but if your team is performing like the Brewers usually do at this time of the season, you start concentrating on something more important, like the NFL.
After having been inundated with World Cup garbage and incessant sports talk chatter about the current group of NBA nomads, led by none other than LBJ, in Wisconsin, sports fans find themselves in the unusual position of having to pay attention to the Brewers. This fact, however, should be taken with a large dose of salt in your Miller Lite beer, because as any half-minded baseball fan is well aware, the Screwers have a knack for coming back down to earth.
Right on cue they have managed to take a 51-32 record, 6 1/2 game lead in the NL Comedy Central and turn it into – presto! – a 7 game losing streak, a 2-10 start in July and a measly one game lead over the Cardinals, a 1 1/2 game edge on the Reds, and a 3 1/2 game margin over Pittsburgh. I witnessed the Cubs in person on Saturday at the cemetery on Waveland and Sheffield known as Wrigley Field, and believe me, they will not be a factor. Any team that trots out Edwin Jackson, relieves him with Carlos Villanueva and has Chris Bosio as a pitching coach, is forever doomed.
Aside from the Cubs tangent,the big drama in Cheeseland right now is whether or not the Blew Crew will continue their slide or revert back to a team that resembled a playoff contender, at least up until July. It won’t get any easier for Roenicke and company once play resumes this weekend. Milwaukee has been a better than average road team this year (28-19) second only to the Dodgers (29-18) and the Tigers (28-16) in all of baseball.
But after a three game set with the Nationals, the Brew-Ha’s play three at home against Cincinnati, four more with the Mets, and then close out July with three games against Tampa Bay, again on the road.
Here’s where it gets interesting, after the Tampa series they travel to St. Louis for a 3 game set with the Cards, then, get this, 3 at home against the Giants and three more against the Dodgers. If the Brewski’s can’t shake the funk they find themselves in now, these next 23 games may just determine where they’ll be come September.
At that point, the NFL season and the college football season will be in progress, and my hunch is sports fans in Wisconsin will be focusing more on the pigskin rather than the horsehide. Until then, Wisconsinites should do what any savvy Brewer, Badger or Packer fan does at this time of year, take a real break from all of it and head to the north woods.
Find your favorite watering or fishing hole, and enjoy the peace and quiet. Admire the tall pines and pristine lakes, allegedly teeming with trophy muskies, and savor the precious few weeks left of another limited time only Wisconsin summer. And, well, as always, listen in to the real soundtrack of summer, Bob Uecker on the radio. After all, if anyone deserves a championship season, surely it’s Uke.
And For What