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How much do I love this Brewers team?
I mean … pull up a chair. Let me tell you a little story.
It involves a hospital bed, an iPad, two incredible home runs, the most amazing wife on the planet, and a little dude named Kash Kaha Wong. Before today, only my wife and I knew this story, and Alissa will probably kill me for telling it. But I love our fans, and … you guys just really gotta hear this.
So here’s the deal: It’s a Saturday night in a delivery room at Froedtert Hospital early last month. Alissa and I are preparing for the arrival of our first child. She’s in the bed, and I have a little nook off to the side with a tiny couch that I’d slept on the night before.
Nurses are shuttling in and out. Machines are beeping. Things are clearly ramping up.
But then, also, on top of all that, a few miles down the road.…
The Brew Crew, my boys, just so happen to be playing the Cardinals.
Before today, only my wife and I knew this story, and Alissa will probably kill me for telling it.Kolten Wong
So, I can’t help it, right? I have my iPad propped up against the wall by the couch, just so I can keep tabs on my guys in the background.
As the game’s about to start, it’s getting closer to go time for Alissa. I’m on the side of the bed holding one of her legs, and there’s a nurse on the other side holding the other one. I’m the designated countdown guy, so my job is to count down from nine to zero, while Alissa pushes — when I get to zero, she takes a break. And things are going great. Alissa’s breathing is perfect, and I’m counting down like a champ. Everything is going exactly according to plan. Until….
Back over my shoulder, I hear the announcers mention that my guy, Luis Urías, is about to step into the box and lead things off for the Brewers.
At first, I try to ignore it. Obviously. It’s like: Dude, pull yourself together. Do your job! But, at the same time, what can I tell you, I’m … well, I’m me. I love this team so much, and you gotta understand … Urías, he’s my double play partner, and a young guy. Ever since spring training, I’ve been doing everything I can to bond with him and build up his confidence, doing what guys did for me when I was younger.
Luis? I mean, I love that dude. I pull for him like crazy.
So, with my most serious, locked-in voice, I’m all: “Nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, ZERO!!!!”
But, also, at the same time, in the back of my mind … I can’t help but want to check in on that first at bat for our side.
Just keep counting, Kolten. What are you doing right now? Lock in, dude! Don’t look at the game.
I held it together initially, too. I was good.
Nine, eight, seven, six.…
But then, right after Alissa finished one of her pushes and was taking a pause, the craziest thing happened.
It was almost like I got this tap on the shoulder. Like someone was telling me….
“Hey, dude, turn around just for one quick second riiiiiiight … now.”
I turn my head and look at the iPad, and, I kid you not: That was the exact moment when Luis launched a leadoff homer into the bullpen out in left center.
Boom! 1–0 Brewers. Just like that.
So now, Luis has just hit a bomb, and I’m holding onto one of my wife’s legs and screaming, “Oh gosh. Oh man! OH MY GOSH!!!!”
Alissa, she’s just looking at me. Staring. Dead in the eye.
She’s like: “What? What is it? Tell me!”
I knew right away that I’d messed up.
“Well, um, it’s just that, um … Luis, he just hit a homer to start the game. So, you know … we’re already up 1–0. Pretty cool.”
I’m holding onto one of my wife’s legs and screaming, “Oh gosh. Oh man! OH MY GOSH!!!!”Kolten Wong
And Alissa, in that moment, God bless her … she doesn’t pop me in the mouth, or give me the stink eye. She understands. Alissa, she knows me.
“Oh, nice!” she says with a smile.
Then, after about a two-second pause, she says….
Not too long after that, our healthy baby boy, Kash, arrived. And, not even 18 hours later, Vogie hit that huge walk-off grand slam to beat the Cards and … I may or may not have screamed so loud that it woke up the baby.
I guess you could say I’m still kinda getting the hang of this whole fatherhood thing. But, more important … talk about a pretty special 24-hour stretch, huh?
And a big part of why it was so special — and why I’ll always remember it, as long as I live — has to do with the city of Milwaukee.
It has to do with my teammates, of course, and the entire Brewers organization. But also just so many other wonderful, thoughtful people throughout this town. All the doctors and nurses at Froedtert, who took such great care of Alissa. And the people in our neighborhood who sent over gift baskets when we came home with Kash. It actually even goes back to everyone who welcomed us to this city when we first got here and made us immediately feel like a part of the community. I mean, our new neighbors literally baked us pies and brought them over when we first moved in. I thought that only happened on TV shows.
But it turns out, no … it happens in Milwaukee, too.
Our new neighbors literally baked us pies and brought them over when we first moved in.Kolten Wong
Before I became a Brewer, basically all I knew about Milwaukee was that the downtown area seemed cool, and that I liked the steaks at Carnevor. I had no idea just how much of a tight-knit community it is.
Everyone cares for everyone else in this town.
And our team?
We’re just a reflection of our city.
We’ve got each other’s backs, and we show one another so much love and support at all times.
For me, it actually started back in spring training, when everyone here basically told me: Just go do your thing and be yourself!
I remember how huge it was for me that guys like Yeli and Lo Cain, those guys … they made it clear from the very first day of camp that they were excited to have me around and couldn’t wait to watch me play my game.
Those dudes, to me? Let me just be straight up about it: I really admire Christian and Lorenzo. They’re consummate professionals. They go about things the right way, and as good as they are as players … they’re even better people.
Yeli, even though we’re close in age, seeing what he’s accomplished in his career already? And how he’s gone about it? He’s definitely someone I look up to. Just the knowledge he has about his craft, and how he goes about his business day in and day out, good times and bad … that’s something that’s been massively influential for me. And Lorenzo, man … that guy’s our rock. He keeps everything so laid back and fun. And now he’s also my fatherhood guru, too. Lo’s got three boys. He’s been there. He’s like my sensei.
So with teammates like Lorenzo, and Yeli, and Vogie and, man, I can’t forget my fishing buddy, Jace … guys like that, I feel like I’d do anything to help those guys win a World Series for this incredible town.
And I truly believe we can do it, too. All of us do.
We believe that we’re an elite squad that can win it all. That’s something we’ve been preaching the whole year. Everybody in our clubhouse believes.
Because we absolutely have everything it takes.
When you get to the postseason, everybody’s got a pretty good offense. But I’d take our pitching staff over any other in the league because I know how good these guys are. I know how hard they work. When they’re on, there really isn’t much an offense can do.
And with our hitters, it seems like every day somebody new steps up in a big moment. It’s almost like, spin the wheel and whoever it lands on is gonna be a killer.
But you know what? As crazy as it may sound, it might not be enough for me and my teammates to do all we can to bring a World Series trophy to Milwaukee. For us to get it done, I truly believe that it’s going to take our fans having our backs 100%.
You guys are the final piece of the puzzle that could make all the difference.
I know you all won that competition online earlier this year when you were named the best fan base in all of baseball. Well, I mean, what can I say? Now — right now, and all throughout these playoffs — is the time to show the entire world why Milwaukee holds that crown.
Pack the park. Let us hear you. Make some noise! We totally feed off the energy you bring.
The louder it is, the more fun we’ll all have. Believe me.
And, look, good news … if it comes down to it, and we end up needing just a tiny little bit more mojo during these playoffs — a secret weapon if you will — I’m pretty sure my boy Kash has this uncanny magical power that somehow makes Brewers batters hit big home runs.
I mean, whatever it takes, right?