It was a great holiday weekend. The Brewers were rolling on a home stand when the SF Giants arrived for a three-game series. It couldn’t have been more entertaining. 

Tim Lincecum was starting for the Giants. I had tickets for Saturday afternoon. But I wanted to see “The Freak” in person and he was scheduled to pitch on Friday night. Hm.

I appealed to the High Command. “Listen, I know I have tix for Saturday, but, if we don’t have plans for Friday night, I’m going to exchange them so Andrew and I could see Tim Lincecum. Who knows when Andrew gets to see him.”

Having a young son can really play to a guy’s advantage. My Dad would do the same thing. I’m sure that’s how my brother and I would get to go to the Polo Grounds to see the Giants and Dodgers.

I tried the same ploy and was stunned. “Yeah, ‘the Freak”. Andrew told me about it. Why not go to both games?”

What? What? I think retribution is going to be painful. But there we were in the Loge, 4 rows behind the Giants dugout.

I think Lincecum is the best pitcher in baseball and have been for a couple of years. He is going into the Hall of Fame. He had an 2.09 ERA. He was in a track to again lead in K’s.

Lincecum went seven innings giving up a 2-run blast by Ricky Weeks. The Brewers scratched out a another run to lead 3-1. It wasn’t his best outing but he still looked to be in command.

In the 6th Brewers pitcher Shaun Marcum ran out of gas. Unfortunately, he was replaced on the mound only after giving up a grand slam to the Giants Brandon Crawford. The kid has a nice swing but for God’s Sakes a grand slam. It was his first hit in the Majors. Geez.

But the Brewers weren’t done. They loaded the bases in the 9th with two outs. Casey McGehee singled to score Braun but the on third and Prince on second with two outs in the bottom of the 9th. A hit and its tied.

Well, no. Prince tried to score from second but he was thrown out without a crash.

We had seen Lincecum. We had been treated to a great game – tight and dramatic. In a word: draining. OK, draining with a brutal outcome.

Frankly, neither of us was sure we wanted to go Saturday. But, you don’t get too many hall passes. So we went.

Good thing we did. The Brewers scored first when center fielder Carlos Gomez circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run. I told Andrew we were lucky to witness the feat.

Both pitchers were hot. It looked like a 2:30 hour game.

Then the Home Plate Ump pulled a muscle, tore a tendon or some darn thing. He couldn’t continue so there was a 20 minute delay as the remaining three pulled lots to see which went behind the plate. In the interim the crowd received a range of fans favorites. You know, “I Saw Her Standing There”, “Sweet Caroline”, “Macho Man” and, of course, “YMCA.”

At some point in the interlude Andrew was “dancing” beside his old, overweight , slovenly clothed Dad. It was at that moment Fan Cam (or whatever it is) decided to pan in our direction. More than 40,000 got a good shot of the two of us gyrating. OK. He was gyrating. I was doing what 50+ men do to disco beats.

Andrew loved it. We had an inside-the-park homer and Fan Cam.

But the best was to come. The Giants had scored two undesired runs and it was 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth. Like the night before the Brewers had a chance to win. And this time they did.

Braun raced from third to the plate seconds before Lecroy buntted the ball towards first. It was unbelievable. It was a suicide squeeze bunt.

The A-train and Dad had witnessed an inside-the-park home, an injured ump, Fan Cam up close and personal, and a game winning suicide squeeze play. Unbelievable. Fantastic. 

The Brewers continued their winning ways on Sunday smacking SF 6-0.

It had been a truly memorable baseball weekend.


Three in a Row

March 12, 2011

Tuesday was brutal. First, the local 9 – the Milwaukee Brewers – received awful news on the injury front. That was quickly followed by a disappointing basketball loss.

Brewers fans have high hopes for the 2011 season. The club signed a major free-agent pitcher – Zack Greinke – in the offseason. Greinke was the 2009 Cy Young Award winner in the American. Sure, he had joined on for a lot of dough (2 years at $4 mil each) and didn’t have a good 2010 year (allowing nearly5.00 runs a game). But, the thinking was the cost was justified given the market. And regarding Greinke’s 2010 record, well, he had been the victim of a miserable Kansas City Royals team.

Plans call for the 29-year old to be the #1 starter in an  impressive rotation. Backed by the Brewers’ hitting attack, Greinke could eat 230 innings and win 15 games.

More than a few prognosticators were calling them the projected wins of the NL Central Division.

Then Greinke played in a pick-up basketball. One or two fractured ribs later, the club begins 2011 behind the Reds.

Friends and I were talking about Greinke during warmup for a basketball game between the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and Butler. The hometown Panthers were playing for the Horizon Conference title and a spot in the NCAA Basketball Tourney.

Sure, Butler was just one jump shot from beating Duke  in the 2010 NCAA Championship game. But this is a new year. UWM had beaten Butler both times when the two played in the regular season. The game was in Milwaukee. The Arena was filled with 10,000. ESPN was in the house – and around the country.

The Panther were poised to pounce on their prey. (I know. I know.)

Butler 59, UWM 44. 

They say bad news comes in three. It snowed 4 inches over night. Just brutal.