And that’s the silver lining: 4 positive takeaways from the Brewers’ awful month(s)
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May was a bad month for the Milwaukee Brewers. Like, a historically bad month. All the momentum and excitement of the team’s red-hot end of April (which included a nine-game winning streak) all but vanished. By month’s end, the Crew toppled back to Earth and pretty much out of the playoff hunt in atrocious fashion, with the team posting a franchise worst 6-22 record in the month of May. (The Brewers are now tied with the 1969 Seattle Pilots—who’d emigrate to Milwaukee the following year—for the worst May in franchise history.)
So far, June hasn’t looked much better for the Brewers. While the team has nearly matched its May win total a week in, Corey Hart still has no clear timetable to return to action, a Marco Estrada injury will further deplete an already banged-up and underachieving starting rotation, and Ryan Braun is facing a 100-game suspension for having his name written on a piece of paper found in a drug dealer’s office. There’s a guy named “Scooter” occasionally starting games at second base, for Christ’s sake! As few as six weeks from now, Milwaukee could trade veteran players for prospects and go from playoff long shot to near-mathematic elimination.
But the slow, wet fart that is the remnant of this almost comically tragic 2013 Brewers season still carries some potential for enjoyment, a few reasons to keep watching, and an ever-present silver lining beyond the stormy skies of blowout losses and Rickie Weeks strikeouts. Here are a few positives The A.V. Club pulled from the rubble.
Better and more affordable Miller Park experiences
Unless you actually believe the figure on the guess-the-attendance thing (or sellout crowds are dressing in green seat costumes in droves), Miller Park isn’t a very popular place to be right now. After all, who truly wants to bear firsthand witness to the product on the field? However, the Brewers’ losses and the listless fan base’s growing apathy offer considerable benefits to thrifty fans who value elbowroom. Tickets originally priced at $20 and up can be obtained for on StubHub for a song, or given away by season-ticket holders who’ve grown tired of watching a team that starts Yuniesky Betancourt… at fucking first base, at that.
Once there, pick your seat. Details like “section” and “row” that are vital in better times become mere suggestions when you’re seeing the Brewers and Padres wage a meaningless Wednesday-night war. If an usher hassles you, point to that day’s starter Alfredo Fígaro generously serving up four-baggers from the mound. If you get bored, switch sections. Do pull-ups on beams. Take a dump in one of the luxurious single-occupancy unisex bathrooms on the 400 level. Explore. Did you know there’s an artisan fudge shop in Miller Park? There totally is! Paying to watch this pathetic roster is the closest you’ll ever come to spending time in an empty stadium, so Night At The Museum that motherfucker.
New faces from different places
Currently, more than a fifth of Milwaukee’s team wasn’t on the 25-man roster on Opening Day. Roster shakeups are commonplace throughout baseball’s arduous marathon of a season, but names like Juan Francisco, Scooter Gennett, Donovan Hand, and the second-coming of Francisco Rodriguez are just the beginning of the laundry list of unexpected and/or unfamiliar names that will be written on the Brew Crew’s lineup cards this season. Don’t know who Hunter Morris is? You will by September. Same goes for Ariel Pena and Johnny Hellweg. This doesn’t even take into account any of the players that could come in the flurry of trades of players like Rickie Weeks, Yovani Gallardo, Burke Badenhop, Aramis Ramírez, Hart, and anyone else not named Braun, Carlos Gomez, or Jean Segura. Probably hold off on buying that shirt jersey until August 1.
No viewing conflicts
With the 2008 and 2011 playoff seasons and somehow remaining in the hunt until the final week of the 2012 season, the Brewers have been required September and October viewing in recent years. If there is to be a benefit derived from cheering for a team so laughably out of contention so early, it’s that the quandary of which Wisconsin sports team to watch is no more. Watch the Badgers game. By all means watch every snap of the Packers game. The only team you’ll see clinching the division or a wild card spot if you watch the Brewers game this year is the opponent.
Increased likelihood of Bob Uecker tangents
Even when Milwaukee is winning, Mr. Baseball manages to slide in hilarious anecdotes into each Brewers radio broadcast. Just imagine the places his incomparable mind will wander when he’s forced to call a game that finds the Crew trailing the Marlins 11-0 in the third inning.