You've all seen them, certainly heard them, probably even sat next to them. They are the bane of each and every Brewers fan's existence. Of course, I speak of the Cubs fans who each and every year descend upon Miller Park like a swarm of locusts, eating, drinking, and insulting anything in their path. Everyone hates them. Well, make that everyone but one Brewer fan: me.
How can I not despise these people? These people who turn our home games into neutral to road/neutral games? People who will call you any and every name in the book, and none of them pleasant or repeatable here? People who will go to a NON-Cub game just to root against our beloved Brewers? How can I not hate these people, or at least this phenomenon?
I'll tell ya. The almighty dollar, that's how. Let's be realistic, Milwaukee is a small market team with a small market television deal. Which means that the Brewers have a small market salary as well. Unlike teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, or Cubs, the Brewers rarely make a big splash in free agency, and when they do, cannot afford to miss. Can you say Jeffrey Hammonds or Jeff Suppan? Signing these players to huge, long-term deals really hampered the Brewers' ability to patch holes in their lineup when players either did not perform or were injured.
The truth is, like them or not, the people who trek north from Chicago help pay our bills, and may have even been integral to the Brewers ending their 26 year playoff drought. Let's look at the numbers. Over the past two years, the Brewers have averaged 37,691 fans per game. When the Cubs come to town, that total jumps up to 42,100, more than 4,400 extra butts in the seats. And as we all know, there are waaaaay more than 4,400 Cubs fans at Miller Park at a Brewers-Cubs game. I think that there were that many Cubs fans under my canopy when it rained at the last game I went to, much less the entire stadium.
But how much do these extra attendees really help the bottom line? Guessing very conservatively, let's say an average Cub fan pays $25 for a ticket, spends $5 on parking (assuming a carpool of 3 people), and spends another $20 on beer/food/merchandise at the game. That's an extra $210,400 per game in the Brewers' collective pockets. With an average of 8 home games against the Cubbies each year, that's almost $1.7 million a year. And if you use the figure that at least 30% of people at a Brewer/Cub game in Miller are Cub fans, that number jumps up to over $5 million per year, still being quite conservative. That extra cash helps us pay for our free agents (hello Mike Cameron), our big trades (CC Sabathia anyone?), and our big contract extensions (Ryan Braun comes to mind).
So, next time you're tailgating outside Miller Park at a Brewer/Cub game and someone yells something like, "WOOOO! Screw you Milwaukee, you f*****' hicks! Go Cubbies! WOOOOOO!!!," just remember one thing: that guy is helping pay for our next free agent. So instead of yelling back obsenities, thank those FIBS for helping our cause. On second thought, yelling obscenities back is too much fun. Go Brewers! Wooo!!!