When it comes to big-time sports weekends, it didn't get much better for us Wisconsinites the past few days. Between Saturday and Sunday, there were four huge sporting events in the state – two Milwaukee Brewers playoff games, a Wisconsin Badgers match-up against Nebraska and the Green Bay Packers faced off against the Denver Broncos.
The final tally was four victories. The Packers continued their dominance from its Super Bowl victory and rolled to a 4-0 regular season record in Green Bay. The Badgers made their Top 10 ranking stick in Madison by steamrolling the Cornhuskers, another Top 10 team in the polls.
The real treat for me was the Brewers victories over the Arizona Diamondbacks, taking a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five National League Division Series. I was lucky enough to attend Game 1 on Saturday. For those who have been a part of the playoff atmosphere, there is nothing like it.
In the regular season, many fans are more interested in tailgating and roaming around the concourse than they are actually attending a game. The playoffs are different. Everyone is in their seats by the time of the first pitch. The crowd pays attention to every pitch and when the count gets to two strikes, the roar makes the hair on the back of your beck stand up. There is a reason the Brewers had the best home record in baseball in 2011, and you can turn up that home-field advantage another few notches this postseason.
There is a different vibe in the stands. People are more serious, more vocal and jubilant when something good happens. And those white towels waving all around are a nice effect.
The Milwaukee Brewers took advantage of the playoffs in the merchandise booth, as well. Game programs were $8, and they offered four different covers. While many were aiming for the Ryan Braun version, I saw plenty of people who had all four "variations" and were going to tuck them away for safekeeping. Who says mainstream folks aren't collectors?
The concession area got its boost, too, offering commemorative cups for adult beverages that cost about a $1.50 more for the playoffs. I guess that's pretty minimal for a cup I'll keep in the cupboard for the next 10 years.
Now when it comes to parking, that's where the rising costs really come into play. During a regular season game, general admission parking is about $10. How much did I pay for Saturday's game? $25. That's just sticking it to fans because they can.
Ticket prices also jumped a significant percentage, but I believe MLB sets those standards.
But if you swallow the costs, the experience is worth it. For us long-suffering Brewers fans, the postseason experience is one for the ages. While Yankees and Phillies fans have had their share of success seemingly every year, each Brewers playoff game is memorable as a single event that we talk about for months afterward.
Yes, it helps to win to enjoy the atmosphere even more. I have tickets for Game 5 of the first round, as well. As much as I want to see another playoff game at Miller Park, I hope I don't have to use them.
But I'll be right back on the horse for Round 2.