PHILADELHIA -- I'm sitting in Philadelphia International Airport, waiting to board a Midwest Airlines flight back to Milwaukee and pondering the Brewers' misfortunes in the National League Division Series.
While I stuffed my face with Tastykakes (the most delicious snack created by humankind) and washed them down with a pint of Yuengling at an airport sports bar, I was reminded of a conversation I had with other members of the Milwaukee media contingent outside Citizens Bank Park after Tuesday's game.
As we stood in the shadow of Mike Schmidt (immortalized by a bronze statue), we saw Lincoln Financial Field across the street, the soon-to-be-demolished Spectrum down the block and the Wachovia Center a little further back.
That's when it occurred to us that Philadelphia -- the "City of Brotherly Love" -- has been anything but kind to fans of Wisconsin teams looking for a championship.
The Spectrum, the longtime home of the Philadelphia 76ers, was frequently a last stop for the great Bucks teams of the 1980s.
Matt Wessel in the Bucks Media Relations Department sent over the numbers, and they're pretty gruesome: In six playoff series between 1981 and 1987, the Bucks went 4-13 at the Spectrum and won just two series (1986 Eastern Conference Semis, 4-3; 1987 First Round, 3-2).
The Spectrum's replacement, The Wachovia Center, is where the Sixers handed the Bucks a 108-91 loss in Game 7 of the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals.
On January 11, 2004, the Packers held a 17-14 lead with 2:22 left to play in an NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles opened their drive with a 22-yard run by Deuce Staley, but a pair of Donovan McNabb incompletions and a false start penalty left them facing a 4th and 26 situation with 1:12 on the clock.
Nobody needs to remind Packers fans what happened next: McNabb found Freddie Mitchell for 28 yards, the Eagles tied the game with a field goal and Brett Favre threw an interception in overtime that led to a Philadelphia victory.
The play -- viewable again on a YouTube clip below -- so painful in the minds of Packers fans, even has its own Wikipedia entry.
And now Citizens Bank Park, a gem among the stadiums that have popped up in the "retro-craze" has joined the ranks of infamous sports venues for local fans. The Brewers, riding high after making the playoffs for the first time in 26 years, couldn't get anything going offensively (three runs on seven hits in two games) and saw their ace, CC Sabathia, get pulled after just 3 2/3 innings.
Unlike the Bucks and Packers, the Brewers still have a chance to get up off the mat with two games this weekend at Miller Park. But even if they tied the series, Game 5 would be played back in Philly.
Is there a Philly curse on Milwaukee / Wisconsin teams?