As I watched the last few innings of game 6 last night with no real hope of a Brewers comeback in sight I was upset. I wasn't quite fuming with rage, but I was about as pissed off as I could be without screaming expletives and throwing things at my TV. I would say it was more like bottled up rage. I was trying to play it cool and keep it inside as I was watching the game with my wife, who hates when I yell and scream at the game and my friend, who always plays it cool. The NLCS started with an exciting game 1 that the Brewers won at Miller Park and I felt about as high and confident in the team as I had all season, and that is saying something. But that high and confidence did not last long as the team played pretty awful the rest of the series save for Randy Wolf's outstanding game 4 performance at Busch Stadium.
Then Mark Kotsay was called upon one more time by Ron Roenicke to pinch hit in the 9th inning of game 6 and as I watched him strike out to end the game I came to the realization that I had watched the last out the Brewers would make in 2011 and it was going to be a long winter thinking about what happened in this series and what could have been. But maybe more importantly it was going to be another long, cold and snowy Wisconsin winter before I get to see the Brewers play baseball again. And that might be more depressing than losing the NLCS in 6 games at home to the hated St. Louis Cardinals.
When I went to bed after the game I figured I would wake up today still feeling angry about the way things ended. Specifically the starting pitching, the defense, Braun & Fielder's lack of hitting vs the Cardinals and of course Ron Roenicke's decision to start Shaun Marcum for a third time after he had been destroyed his previous two starts and clearly had NOTHING left. But to my surprise I woke up with a different outlook. I felt much more sad and disappointed in the way the season ended, but joy over the thought of the journey. The biggest reason is I remembered all the awesome things that happened to the Brewers in 2011. Of course years down the road when Brewers Nation talks about the 2011 team it will always be brought up how they lost the NLCS to the Cardinals.
But Brewers Nation will also talk about clinching the NL Central Division title at home, I was there and it was amazing. Brewers Nation will also talk about the thrilling game 5 victory in the NLDS, I was also at that game and it was an absolutely insane moment I won't ever forget. Sharing that with my wife our friends and a bunch of random strangers was incredible. Brewers Nation will also talk about the franchise record 96 wins, Braun and Fielder's MVP caliber seasons, all the great pitching performances from Gallardo/Greinke/Marcum/Wolf/Narveson, Fielder's All-Star MVP, Axford's amazing season, the K-Rod trade, the SI cover, all the highlight reel catches in CF from Gomez, Jerry Hairston's hot postseason, everything Nyjer Morgan/Tony Plush did, all the beast mode stuff and so many more things I can't think of now but when I hear them I will say "oh yeah! That was awesome!"
So while the ultimate goal for the Brewers was not reached, that should not take away from what was one of the best seasons in franchise history. It was an incredible ride and with Mark Attanasio, Doug Melvin, Gord Ash and even Ron Roenicke leading the charge I like the clubs chances of sustaining success and making more trips to the playoffs in the upcoming years.