The Brewers & The Beauty of Collective Heartbreak

Every Year, the Brewers Always Find a Way to Break Our Hearts, But is That All So Bad?

Anyone who’s been a Brewers fan knows this in some way or another. Every year, the Brewers always seem to find a way to break our hearts. The late series collapse in the ’82 World Series, the countless division leads squandered, the fielding error in the 2019 wild card game, and now the bats going quiet in the 2021 NLDS. It almost feels like we, as Brewers fans, are cursed by the baseball gods.

Now, I’m not going to say that it is fun to lose in awful ways every year, but I do believe there is some beauty in it.

Today, I will explain why I believe this is the case and maybe why we should savor this feeling of dread for a little while.

Grateful For What We Have

“Your Children and your children’s children will enjoy major league baseball because of what you did here today.” Former owner Alan H. “Bud” Selig speaks to a group of fans at the Miller Park Groundbreaking.

Although it hurts to lose in the postseason, we need to remember to be grateful for what we have. Although they all were before my time, there were many times in which Milwaukee and Wisconsin may have lost Major League Baseball forever.

When the Braves left for Atlanta in 1965, and when the Brewers almost lost the fight for Miller Park in the 1990s, we ran the risk of losing the thing we all love so much: The opportunity to see MLB in the state of Wisconsin.

Luckily, the team and fan base won both of those battles, and we now have Major League baseball in Milwaukee for the foreseeable future.

Some cities are not so lucky: Montreal, for example, lost their beloved Expos in 2004 when they were unable to make a deal with the local government for a new ballpark to replace Olympic Stadium. The Tampa Bay Rays are on the verge of this same fate, as it appears that they will be moving to Montreal on a part-time basis rather soon.

As English Poet Alfred Tennyson said: “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”. Although baseball is only a game, I believe that the point still stands. Although it hurts to see the team you love lose every year, at least you still have a team to love.

Losing Is a Part of The Experience

“Red Sox fans have longed to hear it!” -Joe Buck. The Red Sox waited 86 years between world series wins, finally breaking the streak in 2004. They have won four since and are currently back in the ALCS in 2021.

For 86 years, Boston Red Sox fans sat in waiting.

They won the World Series in 1918 and didn’t win another one until 2004. As mentioned above, they have since won four and have been knocking on the door almost every year.

They had a lot of heartbreak in that time frame. Losing Babe Ruth in 1919, Bill Buckner’s error in 1986, and deferring to the Greatness of the New York Yankees for most of that time brought a level of heartbreak that made them synonymous to the very word.

I know a few die-hard Red Sox fans, and I asked them what the difference was being a fan before and after they started winning. The answers I got from them were more or less the same:

  • Winning is a great feeling, but eventually, it becomes staler over time
  • The same sense of chasing after that feeling is somewhat gone
  • Once you’ve seen a World Series team, any team less than that looks much worse than it actually does.
  • After you’ve won the World Series, then the next victories are not as special.

Although I do not believe that the stories of the Boston Red Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers are equivalent, I do think that they are very comparable. I also believe what made it special to be a Red Sox fan before 2004 is what I think makes it special to be a Milwaukee Brewers fan now.

What Does This All Mean?

What I am trying to say here is that, although being a Brewers fan can hurt, that’s what makes it so unique.

Part of the Brewers fan experience is that feeling of heartbreak. Chasing after the elusive prize of a World Series is what unites us together as a fanbase. It doesn’t matter if you have been watching since the Ryan Bran era or if you watched Rob Deer’s famous Homerun in 1987; we are all connected as one to that one single idea, feeling, and goal.

Although nobody wants to lose in a heart-wrenching way, we all get to experience that as a whole, and I feel it brings us together.

To connect us back to the Red Sox one last time, here’s a line from the 2004 movie Fever Pitch, said by Jimmy Fallon:

“The Red Sox never let you down. That’s right. I mean – why? Because they haven’t won a World Series in a century or so? So what? They’re here. Every April, they’re here. At 1:05 or 7:05, there is a game. And if it gets rained out, guess what? They make it up to you. Does anyone else in your life do that? The Red Sox don’t get divorced. This is a real family. This is the family that’s here for you.”

Although that line is from a baseball comedy movie about the Red Sox, I believe it is relevant to the Brewers as well.

“The Brewers Don’t Get Divorced”

This Brewers fan became famous within the fan base for her emotional reaction to meeting former all-star outfielder Carlos Gomez.

Every spring, the Milwaukee Brewers load up the equipment truck in the Wisconsin snow and make a trek down to Maryville, Arizona, to begin Spring Training. The day that pitchers and catchers report in February is the start of an eight-month journey with the goal of a National League pennant at the end of it.

And if they don’t succeed in that journey? Then so be it!

They’ll always be back here next February to start it all over again.

Life keeps moving, friends come and go, children grow old, loved ones pass away, but baseball is always here for us, and so are the Brewers.

Life always moves too quickly. It can be difficult to slow down and take it all in at times. No matter how stressful life gets, we can always tune into 620 AM, or Bally Sports Wisconsin, or go to the West side of Milwaukee, at the intersection of I-94 and HWY 175 to experience the jerseys, players, ballpark, and team we love so much, even if they break our heart from time to time.

All in all, I’d rather be a heartbroken Brewers fan than not be a Brewers fan at all.

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Follow me on Twitter at @hlmaes1 and follow us @WiscoHeroics1 for more great content. To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in Wisconsin sports, click here!


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