Thank You, Milwaukee Brewers

As you all are aware, the 2021 Milwaukee Brewers season came to an abrupt finish on Tuesday night in the National League Division Series.

A season of ups. A season of downs. A season of comebacks, that ultimately fell short for the Crew. It was nonetheless a memorable and above all fun season.

In the few years that I’ve had the privilege to work for the club, it’s been harder and harder to lose in the postseason. I’ve worked with some great people and it’s always been fun to talk with the players. It’s always sad when the season comes to an end abruptly, but I’m always grateful because this organization is top notch and the sky is the limit for this organization.

The things that this team accomplished in 2021 should be cherished and I’m happy to be apart of it!

Here’s some of my most favorite memories from the 2021 season:

April 1st: An Opening Day Walkoff

The Brewers and Minnesota Twins opened the season with a three-game series at American Family Field. With Milwaukee trailing 5-2 entering the ninth inning, Travis Shaw’s two-run double capped off a three-run ninth to force extra innings. Orlando Arcia drove in the game winning run in the 10th on a fielders choice to win 6-5.

May 1st: The Four Comebacks Game

On the first day of May, the Brewers and Dodgers faced off at American Family Field in a game that had a playoff vibe both on the field and in the stands.

The Dodgers took a 1-0 lead in the first and a 2-1 lead in the third, but the Brewers answered to tie the game each time. Los Angeles took a 3-2 lead in the 10th, but the Brewers answered again on a Luis Urías sac fly. The Dodgers took a 5-3 lead in the top of the 11th which seemingly put the game out of reach, but once again the Brewers responded, coming back for a fourth time with two hits and two walks, including a Travis Shaw walkoff single, to cap off a 6-5 victory.

May 21st: Better Known As Willy Adames Day

Every great season has a bottoming out point, whether it was the 1982 team that fired Buck Rodgers after a 23-24 start, or the 2008 team firing Ned Yost with 12-games left in the season, or the 2018 team losing five games in four days in Pittsburgh entering the All Star Break.

The 2021 Milwaukee Brewers hit their rock bottom in May. After a 9-4 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, a game that was over early, the Crew fell to 21-23 on the season and were four games back behind the first place St. Louis Cardinals.

Once the Brewers acquired Adames, Milwaukee would not be either two games under .500 or four games back at any point the rest of 2021.

June 23rd: First Place For Good

The Brewers clinched a series victory with a 3-2 win over Arizona in a Wednesday matinee, but the game was significant for a bigger reason. Entering the day, Milwaukee and the Chicago Cubs were tied for first place, and while the Brewers won in Arizona, the Cubs had the day off. The win gave the Brewers a half game lead in the NL Central, and the Crew never looked back.

July 3rd: Winning Streak Hits 11 Games

Any path to the postseason usually means making hay against bad teams and that’s exactly what the Brewers did in late June and early July. They won the last two games of the series against the lowly Diamondbacks, swept a six-game home stand against the Rockies and floundering Cubs, then went to Pittsburgh and won the first three games of that series. The win on this day was their 11th in a row, giving them the second longest (regular season) winning streak in franchise history.

August 6th: Rowdy Tellez Walks Off Giants To Give Craig Counsell 500th Win

The legend of Rowdy Tellez hit a walkoff single in the Bottom of the 10th inning against the San Francisco Giants to give the Brewers a 2-1 win. The win was significant for two reasons: The Brewers gained a game on the team they were chasing for the best record and it was Manager Craig Counsell’s 500th career win as the Brewers skipper, putting him as just the second manager in franchise history to reach the 500-win mark.

August 21st: What Did I Just Witness?

The Brewers scored 738 runs during the regular season, sixth most in the National League, but none of them were weirder or as wild than the one that tied the game in the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals on this day. Trailing 3-2 with runners on second and third and one out, Omar Narvaez popped out to the first baseman in foul territory near the on-deck circle and Kolten Wong tagged up and scored on a ball that was never more than 60-feet from home plate. The Brewers went on to win 9-6.

September 4th: Houser’s Gem

After the Cardinals dominated the Brewers the night before, 15-4, Adrian Houser took matters into his own hands to get revenge. Milwaukee scored four runs in the first two innings, and Houser took it from there, pitching a complete game, three-hit shutout. It was the first complete game shutout for the Brewers in 1,011 games, the longest such streak in MLB history. The last Brewers pitcher to do it before Houser was Kyle Lohse in 2014, who had already been out of baseball for five years before Houser snapped the streak.

September 5th: The VogeySlam Walkoff

The following day, the Brewers followed up Houser’s gem with something even less expected. On the Sunday finale against the Cardinals, St. Louis took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth and seemingly had the game wrapped up, despite the Brewers having a chance to score some runs in the eighth.

Jackie Bradley Jr. led off the ninth with a double (one of his few hits in 2021) and then scored on Luke Maile’s single to make it 5-2 and set the stage for one of the most dramatic finishes in franchise history. Jace Peterson doubled and Eduardo Escobar walked to load the bases to bring in a pinch hitter, Daniel Vogelbach, the last position player available on Craig Counsell’s bench. Vogelbach took a first pitch ball and on the next pitch he hit the first walkoff, pinch hit grand slam in Brewers franchise history.

September 11th: No-No

By September 10th, the Brewers had allowed at least one hit in 5,473 consecutive games, the ninth-longest streak in MLB history. But then, in one night Corbin Burnes and Josh Hader put an end to the streak as they threw a combined no-hitter. It was the second no-hitter in franchise history and the first since Juan Nieves in 1987.

September 18th: Postseason Bound Again

The Milwaukee Brewers aided their rival, the Chicago Cubs, in their continued free fall at American Family Field when the Brewers scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth to win the game 6-4. With the win, Milwaukee improved to 91-57 on the season and clinched a postseason berth for a fourth consecutive season. With postseason appearances in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, the Brewers have reached the playoffs as often in the last four years as they did in the first 49 years of franchise history.

September 26th: NL Central Champions At Last!

In the middle of a two-week stretch where they struggled mightily against the red hot St. Louis Cardinals and LA Dodgers, the Brewers welcomed a struggling New York Mets team to American Family Field, and the Brewers took care of business. They swept a three-game series against the Mets, with the final win clinching first place in the NL Central and the second seed in the National League playoffs.

October 8th: Welcome Back To Milwaukee Playoff Baseball

Despite the Brewers making it to the postseason four consecutive seasons, there hadn’t been a home playoff game since Game 7 of the 2018 NLCS. The brief 2019 (Wild Card at Washington) and 2020 (Wild Card sweep in Los Angeles) playoff appearances were on the road.

This was the first Brewers playoff game I had ever worked or been to in my life and it was truly amazing. The crowd was electric.

Corbin Burnes pitched six scoreless innings, with some help from Rowdy Tellez and Omar Narvaez turning a double-play in the first inning. And Rowdy Tellez hitting a two-run home run in the seventh which proved to be the difference in the game as Milwaukee won 2-1 to take a 1-0 series lead.

All of these moments, however, weren’t good enough as the Brewers lost the next three games to put a close on 2021.

So as I conclude this blog, I want to say: Thank you, Brewers, for taking us all on an unbelievable journey.

We only have 167 days until the 2022 season opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks on March 31st at American Family Field!

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