Brewers Fever Leads to March Madness
As the NCAA Basketball Tournament gets underway, we’re all feeling a little bit of that March Madness.
And, although both UW-Milwaukee and UW-Madison are competing this year, the particular “March Madness” I’m referring to in this case is baseball related.
It’s been an especially long, tough winter and, all across the state, fans are suffering from major cases of cabin fever—and, much worse, Brewers fever. The ailment usually hits a crescendo, a state of madness, right about this time of year.
People started coming down with it in late January at Brewers On Deck. For one fleeting day, we got to see the Crew and get pumped up for the season. Then came Spring Training. Since mid-February, we’ve been teased by the sights of the steady string of warm, sunny days in Phoenix and the green grass, along with the sweet sounds of the crack of the bat, the ball smacking a leather glove, and Uecker‘s voice on the radio. These sights and sounds evoke an almost Pavlovian response from our other senses: We can almost smell the brats on the grill; we can almost taste the peanuts and Cracker Jack; and we can definitely feel the excitement in the air.
We’re now less than two weeks from Brewers Baseball returning to Milwaukee and the madness has hit full tilt. We’re ready for the Boys of Summer to return from Arizona and at least bring a little bit of spring back with them. We’re ready for America’s Pastime done the Wisconsin way, with tailgating, Sausage Races and Bernie’s slides. And the barrel? Oh yes, it’s ready to be rolled out. Just say when!
How will we cope the next two weeks? Well, we’ve got a few more Spring Training games that we can watch and listen to, plus two Exhibition Games at Miller Park. In addition to that, there’s that other March Madness that I alluded to, an entertaining diversion that makes that time until Opening Day go by quicker.
Like most of America, we’re sure you found time to fill out a bracket. That’s why we asked some of the Crew to do the same.
A few of the participants, like Brewers infielder Rickie Weeks and Brewers reliever Rob Wooten, really get into it. Rickie is a big basketball fan and Wooten in particular is a diehard fan of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.
So big, in fact, that he even associates his teammate’s name with a rival team–Zach Duke who has nothing to do with the University, other than sharing a name:
Others, like Brewers pitchers Kyle Lohse and Wei-Chung Wang, really don’t follow basketball all that closely, but it’s still fun to participate in the bracket challenge.
Lohse says he “flipped a coin” and Wang, a 21-year-old from Taiwan, got help from some friends.
But that’s the thing with March Madness– the tourney can be so unpredictable that a basketball fanatic has just as much of a chance as a coin-flipper… or a dog.
Yep, that’s right, we even got the newest addition to the team, Hank the Ballpark Pup, and old friend Bernie Brewer in on the fun.
Bernie emailed their brackets to me this morning, noting for his: “I did an in-depth mascot analysis of each team; noting who I believe would win in a duel… oh and, in case you weren’t aware, I always root for the home team(s).”
Hank also appears to have taken team mascots into account; however, with a Final Four comprised of the Albany Great Danes, Connecticut Huskies, Gonzaga Bulldogs and Wofford Terriers, he appears to have stuck with his species.
“He’s also picked a lot of upsets in the other games… it appears Hank consistently roots for the ‘underdog,'” Bernie wrote. “It’s a risky move for a newcomer, choosing species over his new home teams. But I bet people will forgive him. He didn’t even pick AZ teams to go very far.”
Follow along with Brew Crew Bracketology below and see how their picks “net” out.
If you’ll notice, I filled out a bracket, too. Although I’m a Marquette girl and I’m bummed they aren’t in it, I do love the excitement of this time of year–both on the basketball and baseball fronts.
Yep. March Madness has set in.
I’ve got Brewers Fever and the only prescription is more Brewers Baseball.