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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

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The Brewers squared off against the Yankees last weekend.
The Brewers squared off against the Yankees last weekend. (Photo: David Bernacchi)

Yankees fan has a fever for more Brewers baseball

So I’ve got the fever and it’s not more cowbell, but Brewers baseball! I am a Yankees fan. Living in NYC, one of the greatest ways to spend time is at Yankees Stadium – although I like the old stadium better than the new one – most diehard fans do.  

Now I’d like to say I became a fan because my family are huge baseball fans – my dad loves Ted Williams and my brother Andy loves Hank Aaron, but that is not the case. When I first moved to NYC, I was a receptionist at ATCO Records (home to AC/DC). This job did not pay a lot of money – in fact, after rent I had about $75 for everything for the month. Knowing where you can drink on the cheap, two-for-one happy hours, best slice of pizza or where they had free nuts on the bar was key.

My roommate and I also figured out the ability to get up to Yankees stadium early so you can get a seat in the bleachers for $5. Yes, I became a bleacher creature. What is a bleacher creature? Basically it’s a rowdy bunch that leads the stadium in cheers and drinks copious amounts of stadium beer. It was a blast and a great way to fall in love with one of baseball's most legendary teams.

So fast-forward to May 9 – Yankees vs. Brewers at Miller Park. I went with excitement and a heavy heart as it would most likely be the last time I would get to see my favorite player – Yankees captain, Derek Jeter. The Brewers have been on fire and I knew it was going to be a great game.  And it was. I got to see Tanaka’s first bat in MLB and a fan with a Ryan Braun jersey run onto the field looking to give Jeter a hug. That wasn’t going to happen and I sort of felt bad for the guy as security pounced on him. The Yankees won 5-3; it would be the only game they would win out of that series. 

The difference between going to a Yankees game and Brewers game is the pre-game warm up. At Yankees Stadium we would meet at Stan’s Bowling Ally Bar – $5 tall boys  and lots of old men telling tales of games they’d seen and legends they met. You could also bowl a few frames if you got there early enough. Sadly with the new stadium, Stan’s is closed. Now a Brewers game includes tailgating.

My brother-in-law Wade has it down to a science as I expect most of you reading this do. First thing is to get the grill started, then drink beers, toss a baseball around, then drink more beers and finally get the brats and burgers grilling. Our fair is pretty standard. Sure, there are folks who have more decadent spreads than we do – bacon wrapped poppers, ribs, smokers, etc. But I like the ease of our tailgate set up. 

Miller Park is a beautiful stadium. The design means there's not a bad seat in the house. The retractable roof can close and open at the drop of a dime and on a beautiful night there really is no place like it. The fans are fantastic – I didn’t get any taunts wearing my Jeter jersey and in fact there were a ton of Yankees fans at the game. 

Some of the traditions about the park that make it an even better experience – The Sausage races – I always pull for Chorizo, but sadly he hardly ever wins. Bernie Brewer hustling down the slide when a home run is scored and the most recent addition of Arizona rescue dog Hank. All add to an already electric crowd.

Now lets talk about the team. Doug Melvin has done a hell of a job putting together a great team. The pitching has been key and I think we can all agree seeing Ryan Braun back hitting as well as he did when he was on PEDs has been a great relief. Jean Segura, Lyle Overbay (ex-Yankee) and pitcher Yovani Gallardo have all shown the Brewers have the makings for a winning team. I can’t wait to see how the season unfolds for them. And yes, when the Yankees aren’t in town, I am a Brewers fan.

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