Multititle town? Brewers still have work to do

Attending Bucks' championship game inspires Crew: 'I hope that we are next'

July 21st, 2021

MILWAUKEE -- While confetti fell onto the court on Tuesday night at Fiserv Forum, Giannis Antetokounmpo let his emotions escape and the rest of the Milwaukee Bucks celebrated the city’s first major professional sports championship in 50 years, , and huddled in the suite from which Brewers players had watched the drama unfold.

“We were together and we were like, ‘We need this, man,’” Peralta said before the Brewers found themselves at the other end of the emotional spectrum in a 6-3 loss to the Royals on Wednesday afternoon at American Family Field. “‘Look how we are enjoying this, and we are only watching this moment. How special will it be if we win the World Series?’ We are trying our best to be in that moment, too.”

Everyone was thinking the same thing, Peralta said: It would be something “amazing” to make Milwaukee the latest city to celebrate multiple titles in the same year, after the Lakers and Dodgers in Los Angeles in 2020, and the Buccaneers and Lightning in Tampa, Fla., in '21.

“Milwaukee deserves all that, and I hope that we are next,” Peralta said.

To make that happen, the Brewers will have to play much better than they did in consecutive losses to the American League Central cellar-dwelling Royals, who didn’t score an earned run in the series finale until Jorge Soler smashed a solo home run a Statcast-projected 438 feet in the eighth inning, and yet beat the Brewers to complete a two-game sweep. Third baseman ’ throwing error in the fourth inning led to two unearned runs against an otherwise solid , and first baseman ’s error in the sixth inning led to three more against .

The Brewers easily could have been charged with at least two more errors, but ’s bobble in the sixth inning and ’ one-hop throw in the seventh were ruled infield hits. Making the sixth-inning defensive letdown even more disappointing was that Milwaukee had just scored three runs in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead on ’s tying double and Adames’ go-ahead groundout, only to give all three runs right back.

The Royals (39-55) swept the season series against the Brewers (56-41), 4-0. Kansas City is 35-55 against everyone else.

Was it an emotional hangover from the night before?

“I mean, we didn't play a good game, so you can create reasons,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We just didn't catch the ball. I don't think that had anything to do with [the night before].”

Wong called Wednesday’s sloppy game “one of those where you just want to forget it.”

“Obviously we wanted to come in and win this game, because last night just gave us so much confidence,” Wong said. “You see how Milwaukee got around the Bucks and how proud they were, and what they did was so special. [We] realize that this could be us. It definitely showed us what our goal is at the end of the season. It's not just to get to the playoffs, it's not just to make a run. We want to be in the same shoes as those guys.”

Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio scored a suite for players to watch the Bucks’ bid to close out their NBA Finals series against the Suns in Game 6 on Tuesday night after the Brewers shifted their first pitch against the Royals to the afternoon. At least 18 players were in attendance, including Yelich, sitting courtside.

“I wasn’t going to miss that opportunity, are you kidding me?” Lauer said. “I remember sitting there, thinking, ‘I’ve never been part of that feeling.’ It made you want it that much more, to see it that close. To see a team and a city make that happen. ... I think that’s something we could definitely do this year.”

Counsell, another regular at Bucks games, opted to watch at home with his extended family. He was pleased so many of his players got to experience the thrill of a clinch in person, a feeling Counsell knows firsthand after winning World Series rings with the Marlins in 1997 and the D-backs in 2001.

“It brings it a little closer to you,” Counsell said. “It's so hard to do that it feels daunting, obviously, and it is. It's really hard to do and it is daunting, but when you can go be a part of it -- and that's why I was so happy that Mark got a suite for the game and so many of the players got to go -- because it brings it closer. It feels a little bit more within your reach even though you know it's incredibly difficult to do.”

What had Counsell heard from the players who were there?

“They all had the time of their lives,” he said.

“I was like a fan. Now I know how the people feel when they come to watch us play here,” Peralta said.

Among the other Brewers on hand were Suter, who said, “Watching Giannis’ all-time performance was unreal,” and rehabbing first baseman , who said, “It makes you want to do it even more.”

“The emotion, seeing Giannis and those guys, that’s not emotion you can fake. That’s real,” Vogelbach said. “Just the energy in the crowd, it was awesome to be part of, but definitely makes you want to be the center of it.”

“We would sneak out and look at the Deer District between quarters, and seeing [an estimated 65,000] people out there going crazy, it was wild,” Suter said. “We were giving high fives to all the people going out. It was a special night.”

Now the Brewers have their own big series on deck. They host the AL Central-leading White Sox for three games of prime pitching matchups, beginning with Peralta vs. Lucas Giolito on Friday night.

“I think everybody in the clubhouse is excited to face those guys, see what they’re about, because there’s a good chance maybe down the road we might face them again,” Wong said. “So we’re just going to go out there, play our game and hopefully we can take some wins away from that good team.”