By Andy Tarnoff Publisher Published Apr 02, 2024 at 2:15 PM

It didn’t look like your average Brewers opening day in the parking lots, and in an hour, it won’t look especially familiar on the field, either.

I’m not one of those fans who can remember the weather on every opening day – I remember some snowy ones at County Stadium, for sure – but Tuesday’s deluge certainly thinned the tailgating activity at American Family Field. It felt … weird.

Also weird: If you’re a casual fan, you might not recognize too many players in the starting lineup. Sure, there’s Christian Yelich in left field, and Willy Adames at short, batting cleanup. Sal Frelick is batting leadoff.


But names like the following will be new when they take the field at 3:10 p.m.: Jake Bauers, Oliver Dunn, Rhys Hoskins and more.

Look at some of these players who have departed since last season, when the Brewers won the NL Central Division but were swept 2-0 in the NL Wild Card series. Among others: Corbin Burnes, Adrian Houser, Eric Lauer, Carlos Santana and Rowdy Tellez.

And perhaps most jarring to fans, skipper Craig Counsell is now the manager of the Cubs. Pat Murphy became the Crew’s 20th manager in November, and heading into today with a 3-0 record.

Rickie Weeks, back in a Brewers uniform.

It’s been a jarring offseason, but hope springs eternal. 90-year-old Hall of Fame broadcaster is once again behind the mic – he plans on taking the season one day at a time. In center field is a humungous new scoreboard – it looks stunningly huge in person. Right field has a new auxiliary video board, and despite the pouring rain, the closed roof isn’t leaking.

American Family Field is aging very gracefully.


From the slowly filling press box, there’s something wonderfully familiar about sitting here once again. I don’t get to as many games at this glorious perch as I used to, but it always feels like the first day of school, reconnecting with writers and Brewers staff I haven’t seen since fall. And while the game changes – playing the Twins as an interleague game that doesn’t mean so much anymore, the permanent designated hitter, the widening of the runner’s lane to first base, tweaks in pitch clocks, etc. – it’s still baseball.

People who make betting odds think the Brewers won’t be a great team this year. If the Crew hits the projected over-under of 76.5 wins, they would not just be much worse than the 2023 team that won 92 games, they would be be just slightly better than the 2016 squad that came in fourth place in the NL Central.

That would be quite a let down. Or would it?

So don’t rain on the already-soaked fans filtering into the ballpark. Opening Day is a Milwaukee holiday, and when they dry out, all the opportunity is in front of this new team. You know they’ll support the Brewers, like always.

As the writers file in, I caught up with my old colleague, Doug Russell, and asked him how he thinks the season he will go. His take? Murphy will just turn these kids loose and see that they can do.

That will be fun. 



Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.

Before launching in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.

Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.