I remember exactly where I was on October 10, 1982 and, if you were a Milwaukee Brewer fan back then, I bet you do too.
I was watching the final game of the American League Championship Series with my friends on the communal TV in Marquette University’s O’Donnell Hall. We jumped to our feet multiple times during that game, especially when Cecil Cooper belted what turned out to be the game-winning, two-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning.
After the game, which sent the Brewers to their first ever World Series, we all spontaneously sprinted out of the lobby, down 18th Street and onto Wisconsin Avenue, where thousands of excited fans joined us. Someone picked our petite friend Sue up and the crowd body passed her down the street. We taller drinks of water met her a few blocks away, unscathed and grinning.
We continued down that wide avenue, high-fiving strangers and whooping greetings in the wordless, global language of sports fans everywhere.
That pennant race set the tone for my college years and gave me, a shy freshman, an easy conversation starter and a huge group of fellow Harvey’s Wallbanger fans with whom I felt like I belonged.
That’s what a pennant race can do for a community.
It’s been a long time since we’ve had one of those in Wisconsin. County Stadium doesn’t exist anymore. I’ve heard rumors that O’Donnell Hall will be closing as well.
But, I bet any money there are a couple of shy kids in some college residence hall ready to storm Wisconsin Avenue when the Brewers win this series.
And, as for this one? I’ll be heading down to Miller Park on Saturday with a kid I met on the Marquette campus all those years ago.