OK, OK, enough already. Let's wake up. Let's get this thing going. This is important.
We have been -- as has just about everyone else -- a little unfair to the Brewers lately. Lately meaning, say, the last 12 years or so. Nobody outside of a couple of million people in Wisconsin has cared anything about the Brewers in the past 13 years. No one in the rest of the country has given them a second thought. Or a first one, for that matter.
It's not all our fault, of course. When a team fails to post a winning record for 13 straight years, never finishing above third place over that span, it's a little hard to get excited. Managers Phil Garner, Jim Lefebvre, Davey Lopes, Jerry Royster and, since 2003, Ned Yost have tried and failed to coax something -- anything -- out of this franchise. Nobody could do anything with the Brewers. Few even came close. Until last year.
For the first time since 1992, the Brewers failed to lose more games than they won. That may not seem like such a big deal. For a lot of franchises, 81-81 would seem downright disappointing.
But in Milwaukee, that 81-81 record is something special. It is the start of what everyone associated with the Brewers sees as an exciting, winning future.
That's right. The Brewers. Exciting. Winning.
Lots of people believe it.
"We all think," said Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, "we're very close."
The great part about the Brewers' story is that it really isn't some hyperventilated spring training desert mirage. When you've been through what the Brewers have been through, you tend to come by your optimism honestly.
The Brewers are close. They have young, talented position players who spent last year getting used to the rigors of a major league schedule (infielders Rickie Weeks, Prince Fielder and J.J. Hardy, to name a few). They have some older, talented position players to push the kids along (Carlos Lee, Damian Miller and, this year, third baseman Corey Koskie).
The Brewers have capable pitching, too, including starters Ben Sheets, Doug Davis, Chris Capuano and Tomo Ohka, and a bullpen that features 28-year-old hard-throwing closer castoff Derrick Turnbow (the other day he was said to be throwing 96 mph).