The Brewers are my team, I bleed blue, and yellow, it's been that way since day one. Back in the 1970's when I first started following the Brewers they were in the American League East and the Yankees were team to beat, they were always at the top of the division.
I still remember sitting in the upper deck of County Stadium on a damp October night in 1981 with my Dad, as the Yankees, winners of the first half of the strike shortened season defeated my team, the Brewers who were the winners of the second half of the season in game 4 of the A.L. Divisional Playoffs. The Yankees went on to sweep the A's in the A.L. Playoffs, but were eventually beat 4 games to 2 by the Dodgers in the '81 World Series.
The simple fact that the Yankees win so much is probably the main reason for the disdain by fans in other cities...think about it, from 1901 to 2000 the Yankees won 25 World Championships, averaging one a generation. My fair city has won one World Series, that was back in 1957 when the Milwaukee Braves (a team that's not even here anymore) defeated the New York Yankees in 7 games (the Yankees won 6 World Series in the 50's which included '56 and '58).
All of the Yankee winning teams had one thing in common, great players (duh). Those players came in all shapes and sizes, not to mention personalities, and when your team is in the spot light those personalities are magnified and more prevalent. How players and teams deal with success can make or break what fans around the league think of a player (ex. Barry Bonds) and a team.
One player who has it all together and the face of Major League Baseball for good reason, is Derek Jeter. For the last 20 seasons Jeter has gone about his business, never making waves unless it was with his bat or glove in his pursuit of being the best and winning pennants. That's probably the reason he is calling this, his final season a "Victory Tour" and not a "Farewell Tour."
I was lucky enough to observe Jeter this weekend when the Yankees came to the "Cream City" to face the Brewers in interleague play. I'll be honest, I had my reservations and was not a fan of The Captain. Was this guy as nice as they say? I was going to find out first hand as now a member of the media, The fans that came out to Miller Park gave Jeter stand ovations on different occasions and cheered he constantly throughout the weekend...and Derek appreciated it:
The Brewers organization also showed their appreciation for Derek with a Bronze Louisville Slugger Bat, $10,000 to his charity, and a round of golf with a nights stay at Whistling Straits in Kohler Wisconsin. They also brought out Dick Groch, to the appreciation ceremony before Sundays game. Groch was the scout who signed Jeter to the Yankees (Groch now works for the Brewers).
Yes! #2, The Captain, Derek Jeter was awesome! I saw him signing autographs before the game for fans, and when it came time for the media he gave everyone the time of day. He answered an onslaught of questions before and after the game never once making it feel like he was mailing it in, no matter how mundane or repetitive the questions may have been. Jeter is very soft spoken, and seemed to me as the most genuine, appreciative, and humble ballplayers I've met and interviewed. I'm sure there are others that are just as humble...but when Jeter's resume is thrown into the mix it would lead one to believe he could be a self centered jerk, but he isn't, and that's why he just GAINED ANOTHER FAN.
Congratulation Derek on a great career, and Thank you!
(article photo courtesy of Yvonne Kemp)