Brewers vs. Twins: Who Laughs Last?

Try as I might, I can’t hide the fact that I’m from Minnesota. I was born in Saint Paul and lived in the Twin Cities until I started college at UW-Madison. I left Minnesota before the Gophers could spark much interest in me, but I grew up and have remained a Twins fan and a Vikings fan.

Now stay with me. Don’t click over to that Lucy Pinder site just yet.

For many people, being a fan of Minnesota sports teams means you hate Wisconsin sports teams and vice-versa, but that’s not how the wolves who raised me brought me up. In particular, I have a great deal of fondness for the Milwaukee Brewers. Just not when they are playing the Twins.

I’m providing this context as prelude to something I noticed this weekend. Call it a vibe, call it a feeling, call it a hunch, call it what you will, but support and excitement for the Milwaukee Brewers seems to be higher than ever before, despite the team again struggling to stay at .500 or better for most of the year.

I noticed this because last weekend during the Brewers-Twins interleague series, I chose to wear my Twins cap to Milwaukee’s Summerfest. I was immediately greeted by a shuttle driver who only half-jokingly informed me that “We don’t have room for Twins fans.” (I’m convinced that his crappy driving was specifically designed to make me carsick.) Once at Henry Maier Festival Park, I was greeted with more dirty looks and groans of disapproval than even a shady guy like me is used to. The character who sold my wife a T-shirt asked if I was from Minnesota in a tone that suggested he could only hate Minnesota more if it was a breeding ground for Al-Qaeda operatives.

At the same time, I was surprised at the number of people wearing Brewers hats, shirts, and yes, tattoos. Jerry Douglas, the opening act at the Paul Simon concert, received a thunderous ovation when Simon — right before the two performed “The Boxer” — remarked on the Brewers cap Douglas was wearing. After not being able to forget the Brewers all day, this mass display of adulation for Ned Yost’s team seemed a fitting close to my Summerfest trip. (Although I noted that Douglas is from Ohio and probably just wore the Brewers cap to ingratiate himself with the crowd. Not a bad idea for an opening act trying to sell CDs.)

Toward the end of the Simon set, I checked my cell phone to learn that the Twins had beaten the Brewers 10-7. Minnesota would go on to sweep the Brewers following a masterful performance by pitching sensation Francisco Liriano in the third game. But despite the good feelings in Minnesota about the smoldering hot Twins, the Brewers, in a classic example of the tortoise beating the hare, may have the last laugh in the border battle: The Twins are ten games over .500 but still nine games out in the AL Central and seven-and-a-half games out of the AL wild card. The Brewers, fortunate to be playing in the weaker NL, are currently one game under .500 but only four-and-a-half games out in the NL Central and only two-and-a-half games out of the NL wild card.

Seems like Brewer fans, and not Twins fans, may have a better reason to wear their team’s cap come September and October.

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