By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Jun 23, 2006 at 5:23 AM Photography: Allen Fredrickson
The Brewers are a little bit behind last year in terms of attendance and there are lots of explanations why.

Rick Schlesinger, the team’s executive vice president for business operations, pointed out in a newspaper interview last week that by this time last year the Brewers had already played the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs.

Schlesinger, who comes from a family of car dealers, pointed out that the Cubs games are coming up and that ticket sales will jump accordingly.

Great -- we're depending on Chicago fans to boost our attendance.

Schlesinger went on to say, "If the team is playing exciting baseball at home, we are bullish on our attendance."

Well, it might be something else missing besides the Cubs. What’s missing is fan passion.

There are two ways to generate passion among fans. The first is to be so good that you take their breath away.  The other way is to be so bad that they can't stop complaining.

Let’s take a look at our Brewers.

We are rapidly approaching the all-star break in baseball, a time of fun, excitement and hope that Bud Selig won't declare the game a tie.

It is also traditionally a stock-taking time.
Fans take a look at their team and take stock, wondering whether the team has lived up to expectations, has provided value for the fan dollar and has established a presence.
If we accept the premise that we all expected something special from the Brewers this year, then we also have to agree that this team is a sad disappointment. If we think we had a so-so baseball team that would lose about as many games as they would win, then we are probably satisfied with the performance of this team.
Because the Brewers are, as difficult as it is for fans to swallow, an average team in a sea of average teams.
A truly outstanding team has about a .600 winning percentage, give or take a few points. A lousy team has about a .400 winning percentage, give or take a few points.
In the National League this year, 12 of the 16 teams are between .600 and .400. The Brewers are one of those teams, with a winning percentage that continues to hover around .500. Very, very average.
I keep on reading and hearing about all those young players who are the stars of tomorrow. Well, you'd think that if you are going to be a star of tomorrow you'd show some sign of it today.
The only star of tomorrow who has made a dent among National League statistical leaders is Prince Fielder who is among the top 20 in home runs.
Go up and down the stat leaders are you are amazed by the absence of Brewers. Sure, other teams have no presence either, but that just makes the point that the Brewers are nothing special and belong with the majority of teams who are just okay.
Carlos Lee is a home run and RBI leader. Chris Capuano is a solid pitcher. Derrick Turnbow has lots of saves.
That’s it. Three players who have a significant presence among the elite of the National League.

You aren't going to generate much excitement with only three players knocking on the door of leadership.
That’s our Brewers. Win one, and lose one. Win two and lose three. Win three and lose two.  Lose six, win five.
And that’s the problem with being so exceedingly average.
It makes you yawn instead of scream.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.