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Milwaukee Brewers

Gene's Blog: Loyalty for sale?

Gene Mueller's Blog

You and your baseball sensibilities should be fine at Miller Park. Same for your bridgework.

All bets are off, though, come July 26th. That's when the Cubs next play the Brewers on this side of the state line as horsehide hostilities will be renewed and questions raised about how the Crew's home digs can so quickly change to the wrong shade of blue.

Money, as the great Bob Dylan once said, doesn't talk. It swears.

Chicago's most recent visit saw a return of a disturbing trend that sees Miller Park become "Wrigley North", where what you KNOW are seats held by longtime Milwaukee season ticket holders end up occupied for the series by someone with a zip code that starts with a 6 and and 0, an area code that's more 312 than 414. 

Granted, Cubs fans have numbers on us--there's simply more of them than there are of us--and they're supremely motivated: they travel well, and since Wrigley is often spoken for, Milwaukee becomes the closest option to see their club in the flesh. If they're beating Brewers fans to the box office or on the phones when seats go on sale, hey, a tip o' the hat to ya. 

It's the secondary market where things keep going south--literally.

Some Milwaukee season seat holders--full and partial, new and old--see Cubs games as a financial windfall, a chance to peddle Chicago games to eager hoardes of Old Style swillers at grossly inflated prices, the proceeds then used to pay down the cost of their remaining packages. There are tales of folks making enough cash on such transations to pay off their rest of their ticket slate.

The Crew tries to turn the tide but to no avail.  And chances are, things won't change anytimie soon. It then raises the question: is there a price tag on your loyalty?

Defenders will it's their right to take advantage of the free market, and they aren't wrong. Ticket scalping used to be illegal back in the day when men wore fedoras to games. Now, it's sanctioned. Those who flip seats will say they wouldn't otherwise be able to go to as many games if they DIDN'T take advantage, the surrending of Cubs ducats meaning they can be there when the less sexy foes are in town. 

Personally, I can't do it. I've owned seasons since 1997 and wouldn't think selling out to a Cubs fan. I like money as much as anyone but I think there's a better way to turn a buck than to turn a coat, or at least aid and abet in giving away my team's homefield advantage. That doesn't make me a better fan--fact is, I'm as much a part of the problem as the scalpers because, while I'll do 20 games a season, I DON'T buy Cubs games. It makes my guttyworks hurt to see/hear Cubs fans taking the place over, high-fiving in the aisles like they're in the Waveland bleachers. And there's something about the Chicago 'tude that chaps the senses--Cardinals and Twins fans seem to share Miller Park space just fine, thank you, without blood and teeth being shed. There are many good Cubs fans who play nice with others but it only takes a few to ruin a night at the yard. I treasure my limited chances to be at Miller Park too much to roll the dice on having an occasion ruined by someone with a "C" on their chest who's "here for the beer", who hits the road to raise hell.

It's time for me and fans of my ilk to climb off our wallets, get off our couches, buy Cubs tickets for Miller Park games AND ACTUALLY ATTTEND, IN PERSON. No more pearl clutching and tsk-tsking about the heathens from "down there' harshing our Milwaukee buzz. It's time to take the yard back one seat at a time. Flippers will still flip--there's no changing that. Cowards like me need to stop dying a thousand deaths watching Wrigley North from the comfort of the man cave and go back to the stadium. 

I've been on the other side. I grew up a Cubs fan and they were my National League team until the Crew flipped circuits toward the end of the last century. Back then, I'd travel with friends to foreign locales to cheer on the Lovable Losers. We didn't get into fights. We had fun, and we loved it when we could turn a home team's stadium blue. And who among us haven't been on the road to follow the Packers--we think its cute when other NFL teams try coming up with ways to keep we Green Bay fans out, don't we? 

It's time for the timid, the disquieted, the many to rise up next season and take claim to games we'd otherwise attend. Don't leave those tickets on the shelf to be snarfed up by the enemy. Don't let the outisders scare you away from turf that is otherwise yours. The more we buy--and keep--the more we take back Miller Park. The more we give the Brewers the deserved home field advantage. 

It won't be easy to turn the battleship around but it has to start soon, perhaps maybe next season. And it has to start with the fans in the mirror--and the pair of buns attached to them.

 


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