The baseball offseason is now underway, and our boy Dougie has already been hard at work. Between trades and free agent signing it is inevitable that there will be new faces in the 25-Man roster. Call me biased (I am), but Brewer fans are the coolest fans in baseball. Everyone get a fair shake to start with, and it tends to be up to the player on how they are viewed by the fans. Many Brewer players have been revered, many have been scorned...so this is a guide for the newbies on how to win the hearts of Milwaukeeans and the rest of Wisconsin.
Do: Act like you want to be here
Listen, we all know Milwaukee likely isn't the destination that you've been wanting to go to since you were a little kid, but try to humor us. We're used to the stereotypes on the city and the state, and often laugh along at all the punchlines that Hollywood likes to provide on us. So when someone actually says something nice, we take notice and tend to insta-like that person. Hell, the only reason I personally wouldn't care too much if Kendall came back (for a cheaper price of course) is because he seems to legitimately like being in Milwaukee. Ryan Braun is very much a guy I don't think many Milwaukee fans would like if he was on another team, but him signing a long term deal to stay in Milwaukee shows that he must like it here and thus, he gets top treatment (helps he is amazing at baseballing). So, at your press conference, when the media lobs you a softball of a question like "how do you feel about playing for Milwaukee", for god sakes crank that out of the park, you are a baseball player after all.
Don't: Accept a huge contract and suck major ____
I think this goes with along with any ball club, and in reality, Milwaukee fans might be more lenient than most, even though a bloated contract can severely weigh down the club's possibility of success. Jeff Suppan is the prime example, he sucks and we can't wait for him to be gone.....but we still give him a cheer when he trots out there, and cheer in shock/sarcasm when he actually pitches well. Through all this ramble, just remember the main point, don't suck!
Do: Give it your all
I'm not going to say give it 110%, but just because I despise that phrase. Milwaukee is a blue collar town, and we like blue collar work ethic. You might not be the best at what you do, but as long as you are trying hard we'll cut you a break for the most part. This goes especially true if you didn't listen to the above tip and suck. Suppan still tries, so, you can't argue with that too much. However, If you want to get Johnny Estrada'd out of town, just dog it to first base every time.
Bill Hall found this one out. In 2008 he was struggling, and found himself a place on the bench. He then made the comment that maybe he should be traded. Well, I was at the next game he played at Miller Park...it wasn't pretty. The player who many times was a hero, was getting booed and heckled relentlessly. Bill, you were sucking, you got benched, what the hell are you complaining about? There is another famous Brewer who once whined...but I'm giving him his own "don't".
Do: Give back to the community
This tip is especially helpful when you aren't living up to expectations as a player (ex. Soup's Troops, Rickie's Rookies). Eric Gagne got paid a lot to close games, but he sucked, so he bought 10,000 tickets for fans for a game. That I think changed people's view on him, and I think most were pulling for him in the 2009 training camp (got hurt and was released). I think MLB makes players donate time, but going above and beyond rarely goes unnoticed.
Don't: Care about yourself more than the team
Some people might prefer a player that just pads his stats (fantasy owners), but if you are going to be a Brewer, you might have to sacrifice personal stats sometimes to win us fans over, drop that bunt to move someone over. Sure, Ryan Braun is a show-boat, but then he talks about how the team can get better, sometimes to the dismay of Doug Melvin even. I think a good example is Corey Hart actually. We know what happened, the opposing pitcher is struggling, bases are loaded, a walk scores a player.....then Corey steps up to the plate and swings at three wild pitches. What the hell Corey! It was his post game comments, something to the effect of, I'm not going to just stand there and take balls. Ummmm, yes, yes you should Corey. And let us not forget Chuckie Carr's "That ain't Chuckies Game, Chuckie hacks on 2-0".... at least that was humorous though, and had a, now defunct, blog inspired about it.
Do: Be a giant red head
Seth McClung and Todd Coffey are case in point. Ok, so maybe it is their intensity level that endears fans, but being a giant redhead probably helps their cause. For Coffey, having moobs might also help him out.
Don't: Become a Chicago Cub (Unless your name is Glendon Rusch)
This is just my advice to Mike Cameron right now.
Do: Be fat and good
I mentioned that Wisconsin has many stereotypes. Of course, like many stereotypes, there is a general truth behind them. We like our beer, cheese, and sausage here, and thus many of us Sconnies take on a...portly shape. So, when we see player built like one of us, it gives us hope that we can be the all-star at the drunken softball league. Great examples are Prince Fielder, CC Sabathia, and Todd Coffey. Need further proof? In what other city would Joey Meyer be a name anyone would remember? Even when you're not good, you can still get blogs named after you, even if one involves you being at a buffet.
Don't: Be a Dick
Sign some autographs, go out in the community and say hi. Don't shut yourself out from the fans. The only acceptable time to be a dick to a fan, is if 'The Happy Youngster' ends up with a baseball that is of importance to you.
Do: Lead the Brewers to the Playoffs
Ok, so CC Sabathia spent half a season with the Crew, but I think we'll always think of him as a Brewer, because he helped lead the Brewers to the post season for the first time in 26 years. Even as an evil Yankee, most Brewer fans were pulling for him to succeed personally. So, if you want to be loved, just help take the team to the playoffs....that's easy enough right?
And, the final Don't is a biggie. There is one player that makes all of Brewer Nation react in an extreme rage, you don't want to be anything like this:
Don't: Whine about switching positions, purposely throw a ball in the stands, call Milwaukee fans racists, etc...
Yes, if you are coming to Milwaukee, you don't want to be Gary Sheffield. I'm not sure there is another player, who is scorned and booed so much for something that happened 18 or 19 years ago. Sheffield hasn't been a Brewer since 1991, but wow do the fans still have an extreme dislike for him, and for good reason. What is funny about it all, is many of these fans that are now booing and heckling him, were still in diapers when the 'breakup' happened. Hey, he did get himself a Brewers blog named after him though.