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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Thursday, February 29, 2024
Rex Sheild

Column: Brewers viable option to fill sports-viewing void in spring

There is a distinct cycle in terms of sports viewing in the state of Wisconsin. Throughout the fall, Saturdays have traditionally been reserved for Wisconsin football, while Sundays are religiously dedicated to the Green Bay Packers. As the Wisconsin and Marquette basketball programs get underway, some attention may be diverted toward those teams, yet they will still never amass the type of die-hard viewing reception the Packers or Badger football team receive.

Depending on the success of the season, UW football will usually wrap up around the New Year, which, in turn, allows statewide viewers to be 100 percent invested in everything regarding Packers football. Once the green and gold are ultimately eliminated from postseason play, it’s almost like Wisconsinites go into a state of sports emergency.

Sure, fans at this point in the sports schedule tune into their respective college basketball teams—mixed in here and there with the Milwaukee Bucks—but the excitement of college hoops is only extended until the state colleges are ultimately eliminated from the NCAA Tournament.

Wisconsin folks, you are now faced with your first sports-viewing conundrum of the year. While it will be disappointing not to see Packers fullback John Kuhn do the Lambeau Leap, Montee Ball pulverize opposing defenses, forward Mike Bruesewitz hustle around recklessly or a late-game heroic from Marquette guard Vander Blue, the lack of activity among Wisconsin sports leaves an ample opportunity available for Wisconsinites to finally devote their sports pride to the Milwaukee Brewers.

After going through an up-and-down season last year and finishing five games back in the National League Wild Card race, the Brewers will be looking to build upon their late-season momentum and return to the postseason after a one-year hiatus.

So, from a fan’s perspective, what can be expected from the Brew Crew this year?

Will it be a season filled with gut-wrenching losses and failures to convert with runners in scoring position? Or will it be one with a deep pitching staff and hitters good enough to make a deep postseason run? Predictions around the web varied.

Sports Illustrated writer Albert Chen predicted Milwaukee to go 77-85 in 2013, good enough for third in the NL Central. SBNation.com writer Marc Normandin did not give a specific record prediction, but his division and wild card predictions excluded Milwaukee, whereas Bleacher Report writer Jeff Sucher predicted the Brewers to go 90-72, good for second in the division. David Radcliffe—a Yahoo! contributing writer—said “Competing for a wild-card spot—and maybe second in the division—is all Milwaukee can ask for entering the 2013 season.”

If you look at what they have on paper, the Brewers will not run away with the NL Central crown by any means, as the Cincinnati Reds are loaded with talent from top to bottom. Not to mention, you can never discount the St. Louis Cardinals.

Yet, you can expect the squad to compete each and every day under third-year manager Ron Roenicke, making Miller Park a must-see sports environment in the coming months. I mean, come on, nothing says being a true Wisconsinite more than going to Miller Park and tailgating three hours before the first pitch topped off with several $7 Miller Lights inside the confines of Miller Park.

When it’s all said and done at the conclusion of the 2013 season, Milwaukee will probably not bring home their first World Series title since making the move from Seattle in the late 60s. Heck, they might not even make the postseason, and in terms of Wisconsin sports-viewing hierarchy, they might even be on the bottom of your self-made pyramid.

Still, if Monday’s Opening Day, extra-inning win is any preview of what this season will bring, it should be an enjoyable and exhilarating summer for Wisconsinites.

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Are you faced with a sports-viewing conundrum this spring? Do you think the Brewers will be worth following this season, or do you not care about the Crew because you’re a Chicago Cubs fan? Let Rex know what you think by sending him an email at sports@dailycardinal.com.

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