Milwaukee is a great baseball town and the Milwaukeeans ate their hearts out trying to win a pennant. They don't know how well off they are in second place. The minute a pennant is won, the blush is off the rose. Furthermore, they would have suffered so intensely before the pennant was clinched that the town would have been a nervous wreck and the victory wouldn't have been worth it.
If you think this is exaggerated, let me tell you about Detroit in 1934. The Tigers had not had a pennant since Ty Cobb days, and it seemed they were never going to make it again. Then came the break and the pennant loomed right up there before them. This is when Detroit went mad. Everybody waited in twisted anguish for the victory that would finally clinch it, and that victory simply wouldn't come. One more defeat at that particular moment would have been the signal for a mass suicide not equaled since the lemmings last marched into the sea. I've known tension in my time, but nothing like Detroit in 1934.
I was out there doing an article on Henry Ford, and Mr. Ford kindly placed a car and chauffeur at my disposal. He wanted me to see Dearborn and Greenfield Village, and I was eager to see them. The car was waiting for me after lunch on my first visit to the River Rouge plant, and I started out with every intention of doing my duty. Everybody in Detroit but Mr. Ford was talking baseball and I mentioned it to the driver and the result was electrifying. He wheeled the car abruptly about in the middle of a crowded highway and started hell-bent in the other direction.
"Where you going?" I yelled.
"Hang on," howled the driver. "We can just make it!"
"The first inning!" he shrieked above the roar of the wind.
He had whipped off his hat, had his left elbow stuck through the side window and was driving like a maniac. I pinned him down when we stopped at the first light.
"We gotta get this one today," he explained in tortured tones. "We'll murder them A's!"
He yanked a folded newspaper out of his pocket and pointed frantically at a box on the front page.