Posted at 3:00 PM on June 23, 2005
by David Zingler
As is noted in my bio below, I was born in and lived the first ten years of my life in Milwaukee. In 1982 the Brewers captured my young imagination during their magical World Series run (they, of course, lost in seven games to St. Louis – I still hate the Cardinals). The rest is history -- I’ve been hooked on baseball ever since.
When I moved to Minnesota in 1985, the Twins quickly became “my second favorite team” before eventually evolving into “my favorite team.” The last straw was the Brew Crew’s transfer to the National League prior to the 1998 season. So, for sentimental reasons, the annual Twins/Brewers Interleague match-up has always had special meaning to me.
It often seems however, that I am alone in appreciating this “rivalry.” It definitely pales in comparison to the Vikings/Packers or even Gophers/Badgers, but is it even a “rivalry” at all? Does anyone out there “hate” the Brewers, especially now, without the Bud Selig connection? When Vikings beat the Packers, we feel a sense of superiority over our Wisconsin neighors, why is it so different when Twins take two out of three against the Brewers?
What are your thoughts on this Interleague “rivalry”?
Never have the Brewers been a sibling you battle with teeth clenched and knuckles bare, even when they were in the AL. They have always been the cousin you see a couple times a year, the one who you would never talk to if he wasnt related to you. But he had the tons of GI Joes and Castle Greyskull that would make the trip to his house worth while. For someone weened on baseball in a dome that short drive to see your team outside was always the draw. I never once thought about them as rival. If they were in the same division having on nail biting title run would change that. These days rivialries, for the Twins anyway, are predicated on nothing but recent history between the teams
I think Vikings fans have an inferiority complex about the Packers, seeing as Green Bay has all the storied tradition of Titletown and Lambeau Field while the Vikes haven't even been to the Super Bowl since they were 0-fer-4 in the '70s. Deep down, Vikings fans know the Packers have it all over them. They need to see their team at least split the season matchups to maintain some illusion of parity, or hope the Vikes take both games so they might have some bragging rights for the year.
But why should Twins fans care that much about the Brewers? They won an AL pennant once, 23 years ago, and haven't been back to the playoffs since. They're not even in our division or the American League anymore. The Brewers are a runt operation that just happens to play 5 hours down the road. I don't get excited to see them on the Twins schedule at all.
I went to the Twins/Brewers series at Milwaukee in 2001 & 2002 and things got a little heated. Of course in the middle of a "discussion" I was having with a beer soaked Brewer fan, he went to the Super Bowl Ring card.
I think if the Brewers were actually good and there was a beaning or some controversy, then maybe the tenious MN/WI fan relationship would boil over a little.
It will never be the same as an interdivision matchup, but there is some potential. Just think if they met in the World Series..........
I went to a game in the most recent series between the Twins/Brewers at the Metrodome and I have to admit that it wasn't too bad. I'd prefer sitting outside, but I saw signs that the series generates some interest. The Brewers won the game and there were a good share of cheers from the Wisconsin faithful. I'm glad I at least got the opportunity to see my old hometown Brewers visit the dome. It's still a far cry from the bitterly intense Viking/Packer games I attended at the dome, but if the Brewers can someday produce a winning record (not likely), the rivalry has a chance.
I remember a Bat Day at Met Stadium when I was a kid when the Twins got pounded and the kids who were Brewers fans thumped their bats on the ground incessantly. That's the closest I've come to "hating" the Brewers.
But I don't watch baseball to hate. The fun part of the rivalry is that it's close. Wisconsin people are just minutes away from the Dome, and Minnesota people can drive 5 hours for outdoor baseball and tailgating.