Sat Sep 24 01:16am EDT
Not that any of those men needed that reality to underscore the rarity of what they achieved on Friday night. With a 4-1 victory over the Florida Marlins — and Chicago's helpful 5-1 victory over St. Louis — the 2011 team became the first Brewers team to win a division flag since Harvey's Wallbangers took the AL East in 1982.
Even Braun himself had to admit the blast was "eerily similar" to the one that allowed his team to clinch the NL wild card over the New York Mets three years ago.
In a lot of ways, though, Friday's homer also has a chance to prove itself as very different. The Brewers still have five games left in the regular season to add to their current total of 92 victories (the franchise record is 95) and the postseason expectations should be a lot higher this time around. While that '08 squad was a wild card qualifier on the last day of the season, this year's team took control of the division early in the second half. Management went "all-in" even earlier than that, deciding to keep Fielder for his presumed last year of Wisconsin residency (instead of trading him away for a handful prospects like the Padres did with Adrian Gonzalez(notes)) and leveraging the future with trades for Greinke and Shaun Marcum(notes).
It won't be easy, of course. The NL Central division winner hasn't won a single playoff game — forget a single series — since 2006 Cardinals. They could also be forced to open the postseason on the road against Roy Halladay(notes) and Cliff Lee(notes) if they don't protect the one-game lead they hold over the NL West champion Arizona Diamondbacks for the NL's second seed.
But that storyline will develop over the next few days, which is why the Brewers sent themselves headlong into one giant beer blast with their adoring faithful. After all, nights and opportunities like this one don't come along too often for Milwaukee baseball.