“Baseball isn’t just a game. It’s life being played out on a field – a field of dreams – on diamonds of green, where players pursuing their dreams try to be the best they can be on the grandest stage of all – where men become boys and boys become men, all speaking one universal language without uttering a single word.” - Tom Tatum
At WI Baseball Review, we are all about spreading the love and excitement of baseball. Throughout the State of Wisconsin, we have many great organizations that offer the game in a professional manner but without the publicity. Our goal is to help build awareness of these clubs as well as share how each of them differs from one another. Who has the best fan experience? What are the things that make each team unique, not simply on the field but off as well? Our goal is to visit teams throughout the state and share some of those experiences with others.
On September 8, 1992 the City of Milwaukee was buzzing with Brewer fever. The team entered their match-up against the visiting Cleveland Indians with 74 wins and 63 losses. They trailed the division leading Toronto Blue Jays by just 4.5 games. Future Hall of Fame centerfielder, Robin Yount had gone 1-3 the night prior, pulling him to within 2 hits of 3,000 for his career.
I was a 15-year-old high school student that had absolutely loved baseball as a kid. For as long as I could remember, baseball was always a family event. We used to go to County Stadium, making the long walk from Bluemound Road to the home plate ticket windows. We would bring a portable radio that allowed us to listen to Bob Uecker call the action. The day before we would go, my mother would make a giant bag of homemade popcorn. The sights and smells of the experience are burned into my memory forever.
On this night, my father and I would find ourselves sitting in the upper deck down the third base line, as we had so many times before. With Robin needing just two hits, we had hoped to be a part of history. In the bottom of the first, with two on and one out, Yount would hit a line drive single to right field; one hit away. After coming around to score, giving the Brewers a 2-0 lead, we would sit impatiently wait for his next at bat.
For the remainder of the night, Yount would fly out (foul) to right field in the second, ground out to the pitcher in the fourth, fly out to center in the sixth, and draw a walk in the 8th. The game would end in a 2-0 Brewers victory, but my dad and I, along with 39,648 other fans would walk out of the stadium with mixed emotions.
When we arrived home, it was discussed that my dad and I would be returning to County Stadium the following night, September 9, 1992. We loved our time together. We loved our time at the ballpark and we loved the idea of being a part of a historic moment in baseball. We would have to wait until Robin’s third at bat, but in the bottom of the seventh off the Indians Jose Mesa, Robin Yount would collect hit number 3,000 of his career.
The Next Generation
From Robin Yount’s 3,000th hit to me pitching in my local little league’s all-star game, my dad has always been a part of my baseball memories. I am now grown and we continue to enjoy going to games together. The difference now, though, is that I am also a dad.
As a father, I get to share many amazing times with my daughter. Recently, she has also grown to love the game of baseball. With the summer fast approaching, I had a brilliant idea!
There are many minor league and collegiate organizations in the state of Wisconsin. Each one offers their fans a different experience. I recently asked my daughter if she would be interested in going to some (if not all) of these different stadiums with me. With her love of the game on her lips, she agreed faster than a Josh Hader fastball.
Over the course of the summer, the two of us (and maybe some other friends and family) will be touring the state to watch games at various ballparks. While we are there, we will look at the fan experience from an adult standpoint, but also from the viewpoint of a seven-year-old. What makes each stadium unique? What do teams do to help spread the love of the game to the youth that attend? What makes kids young and old want to keep coming back to enjoy the game of baseball?
We hope that you will enjoy our journey with us as we round the bases (or the state) on our summer home run tour!