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In 1970, during the Milwaukee Brewers' first season, "Bernie Brewer" climbed to the top of the team's scoreboard and shut himself inside of a trailer, vowing not to come out until 40,000 fans had packed Milwaukee County Stadium. On August 16 of that year, the mascot re-emerged -- much to the delight of those in attendance. In the time since then, the franchise has learned that it can count on way more than 40,000 supporters. After all, who else but a dedicated fanbase could come up with such awesome nicknames like "Bambi's Bombers," "Harvey's Wallbangers," "Beast Mode Brewers," and the all-time classic "Brew Crew"?
Originally known as the Seattle Pilots, the Brewers arrived in Milwaukee and were greeted by a fanbase that was thirsty for something to celebrate other than the end of winter. By 1974, the team and its fans knew they had something special on their hands when an 18-year-old shortstop named Robin Yount made his debut with the club. A two-time MVP and first-ballot Hall of Famer, "Rockin' Robin" set virtually every team record for offensive excellence over the course of his 20-year career. In 1982, Yount forever endeared himself to the city when he rode a motorcycle out onto the field during a celebration for the team's World Series appearance that year.
While the Brew Crew would have their title hopes dashed by the St. Louis Cardinals in the '82 Fall Classic (also known as the Suds Series because of both towns' deep-seated ties to brewing), Milwaukee would remain vigilant. In 1993, as Yount was getting ready to retire, the team celebrated the triumphant return of Bernie (who had retired, but realized he just couldn't stay away from Brewers baseball.) The following season, the team moved into the American League's Central division and unveiled a new logo and uniforms. Players such as B.J. Surhoff, Greg Vaughn, and Jeff Cirillo began to emerge as fan favorites, but postseason success was still elusive. At the end of the 1997 season, it was announced that the team would be shifting over to the National League Central division.
Changing leagues did little to improve the club's championship chances, but the overall mood in Milwaukee reached new levels of enthusiasm as a new stadium, Miller Park, opened in 2001. While the retractable roof was an early selling point, easily one of the most talked-about aspects of the new digs was the team's latest innovation, the Sausage Race. At the bottom of the sixth inning, four meat-themed mascots race around the ballpark. It may sound silly at first, but it is one of the most celebrated entertainment traditions in all of sports.
Playoff appearances would follow in 2008 and 2011, but the World Series drought continued. Drawing inspiration from longtime announcer Bob Uecker, fans have adopted a glass-half-full mentality, and optimism for the team continues to soar. The parking lot of Miller Park remains an absolute must-see for tailgating enthusiasts. Diehard supporters, a resilient team and terrific eats? Just about anybody will drink to that.