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Brewers fans prove La Russa was right

August 7, 2011
MATT?WELLENS - Journal Sports Writer ( , The Mining Journal

Last Wednesday was one of the rarest days in sports.

For once in the history of Wisconsin sports, the Milwaukee Brewers trumped the Green Bay Packers around the Cheeseheads' water cooler of choice.

Unfortunately, for Brewers' fans, this was not a good thing.

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Tempers flared on Tuesday night between National League Central rivals Milwaukee and St. Louis, who are not only battling to stay above .500, but are stumbling over each other in an attempt to win a division title.

Only the leaders of the American League Central have lower winning percentages - congrats Detroit and Cleveland.

Tuesday night's tension at Milwaukee's Miller Park peaked in the seventh inning when Milwaukee reliever Takashi Saito threw a pitch high and inside against Cardinals star Albert Pujols.

The pitch nearly took off the slugger's head and nailed the same left wrist that Pujols had broken earlier in the season.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Cardinals responded with Jason Motte missing the Brewers' Ryan Braun with a pitch inside and plunking Braun in the back on the next pitch with a 97 mph heater.

While an interesting inning to say the least, it wasn't a groundbreaking moment in baseball history.

Brewers fans didn't think so, however.

From the seats at Miller Park, to Twitter and Facebook, Brewers fans across the county cried foul over the tactics of Cardinals manager Tony La Russa - who one sports talk radio host in Milwaukee calls "The Devil" when he's on the field.

From good friends to colleagues in the Wisconsin media, threats were launched at the Cardinals. The team from St. Louis was declared public enemy No. 1 in America.

It made me embarrassed to be a baseball fan from Wisconsin, even though I root for Milwaukee's original team - the Braves.

Not only did the Brewers lose in extra innings to the Cardinals, but their fans reminded the rest of Major League Baseball about an old saying:

"It's better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

Brewers fans, you are the fools. La Russa had harsher words for Milwaukee, however, when badgered by a morning Milwaukee sports talk radio host.

The latter admitted on Twitter - before deleting the tweet - that he was so ticked off, he got out of bed after witnessing the hitting of Braun, got dressed and went to the stadium to pressure La Russa for hitting Braun.

"That's what all these idiots up there - not idiots, fans - are yelling," La Russa was quoted saying by The Associated Press in response to the badgering of a so-called member of the media. "I don't want to even hear about Braun getting a little pop in the back when we almost lose (Pujols) in several ways."

Brewers fans took exception to La Russa's attack on their baseball intelligence. They continued to hurl insults at the Cardinals on Wednesday through social networking and sports talk radio.

One fan even called into a Milwaukee show to voice his conspiracy theories, claiming everyone wearing a St. Louis uniform was on steroids or human growth hormone.

I'm sorry Brewer fans, but with wackos like that calling in, you're making La Russa's comments seem more and more legit.

La Russa's tactics are in no way unique to baseball. If you think the seventh inning on Tuesday was bad, then I invite you to go back and research the rivalry between the Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche. Those two teams were retaliating against each other for nearly a decade.

While there are some legit Brewers fans out there who have followed the team through thick and thin, many supporting Bernie's boys are as flaky as a winning season in Milwaukee.

They appear about twice every 10 years and from Manitowoc to Marquette, only call to complain about a lack of coverage after sweeping the Twins.

Those fair-weather Miller Lite drinkers fall silent when the Crew is swept by the Yankees three days later.

What do you expect, however, from a franchise whose ownership is only concerned about making the playoffs once a decade so it can sell some tickets?

As a Braves' fan, it's World Series or bust for me. I don't get that impression from those in Milwaukee.

Wisconsin sports fans are typically a smart and reasonable bunch. Just take a look at those wearing red and white for the Badgers and green and gold for the Packers.

I believe it can be a great baseball state.

These so-called Brewers fans just need to stick around awhile, hold your team's leadership as accountable as you do in Green Bay and think before you tweet, post a Facebook status, call into a radio show or race out of bed to abuse your media privileges.

Not only are you proving managers like La Russa right, but you're playing into his trap.

Matt Wellens can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is



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