Remember when things were, like, good? To be honest, shit kind of sucked even before the country was dealing with soul-crushing levels of political division and a deadly/seemingly permanent pandemic. It’s possible that things have always been pretty bad. In fact, that’s almost certainly the case. However, amid the ever-worsening assembly line of injustices and disappointments we generously call “life,” there are enough moments of sheer joy and abject happiness sprinkled in to help make this painful exercise in futility almost worth doing. For fans of the Milwaukee Brewers, one of those rare moments took place exactly nine years ago today.
This morning, I was reminded of the events of October 7, 2011. That night, a charismatic fan favorite stepped up to the plate and gave onlookers one of the best moments in Brewers history. Obviously—as indicated by the headline—we’re referring to Nyjer Morgan’s 10th inning walkoff hit in Game 5 of the NLDS. The slap single off Arizona’s J.J. Putz allowed Carlos Gomez to score from second, gave Milwaukee its first postseason series win since 1982, and brought untold possibility to a long-suffering fan base.
— MLB Vault (@MLBVault) October 7, 2020
Of course, the Brewers would go on to lose the NLCS to the despicable Cardinals and fall short of the World Series. Still, now living in a mostly unrecognizable world almost a decade later, fans can look back fondly at that moment and remember exactly where they were when it happened.
I was fortunate enough to be at Miller Park when it happened. My friend (and occasional Milwaukee Record contributor) Vince Morales and I were able to get some tickets online for, like, $100 apiece. Some memories of this day are fuzzy, but not wanting to miss a single pitch, I believe we decided against tailgating that day. We had OK seats…somewhere along the third base line…but pretty high up. Again, it was a long time ago, so I can’t recall the exact section.
As the game went on, Vince went to get a drink in like the 5th or 6th inning. Then he never came back. After enough time passed, I texted him on my flip phone (lol 2011) and learned he was nervously drinking at T.G.I. Friday’s Front Row in Miller Park. I wasn’t about to miss the end of the game to meet my buddy at a ballpark chain restaurant, so I watched the rest of the game alone. When Morgan ended the game in unforgettable fashion, I recall hugging strangers, doling out high-fives to everyone in my general vicinity, and taking in the moment as long as I could before meeting Vince at my car in the parking lot.
Though I only watched one Brewers at-bat this season, I truly miss going to Miller Park. I miss doing things with friends. I miss meaningful baseball, Nyjer Morgan, the team’s “Beast Mode” celebration, and the feeling of togetherness that sports occasionally brings to humanity. I miss it all so much, but nine years after the fact, I’m just glad I was there that night to see it happen. Where were you?