The Bad Economy Brewers are at it again

Throughout their existence, the Milwaukee Brewers (f/k/a the Seattle Pilots) have rarely enjoyed successful seasons.  It seems they are enjoying one this summer.

And I thought about it, and the following thought hit me: the Brewers big seasons occur only when the American economy sucks.  Lets look at it.

The Pilot/Brewers were terrible in their first decade of existence (averaging 68 wins in their first nine seasons). The franchise did not enjoy a winning season until it suddenly (and completely unexpectedly) surged to 93 wins in 1978 and followed that up with 95 wins in 1979.  Both of those outstanding seasons coincided with the Jimmy Carter “Stagflation” Era and the long gas lines all around America.

As the economy continued to suffer, the Brewers continued to rise. By 1981 the team was good enough to reach the postseason for the first time, winning the second half championship in the strike shortened American League Eastern Division race. The following season, the Brewers peaked, winning their first and only League Championship, and appearing in their first and only World Series.  Those two seasons in the sun occurred during an economic period generally considered the worst since the Great Depression (prior to 2008).  Those were the years when Paul Volcker was forcing the American economy to swallow Castor Oil in order to rid it of the aforementioned Stagflation.

Funny thing, Volcker’s hard medicine worked. And the Brewers, a team that looked set up for a decade of winning, started sinking at the same time.  By 1984, the American economy was doing so well that Ronald Reagan was running his famous “Morning in America” commercials. And the Milwaukee Brewers, a team that looked unstoppable only two seasons earlier, were back to sucking heavily (the Brewers went from 95 wins in ’82 to 67 wins in ’84).

The Brewers briefly pulled out of that tail-spin with their thrilling 1987 season, a season in which the team won 91 games and briefly returned to contention. That season coincided with the great market crash of 1987.

The Brewers scuttled for the following seasons, until they won 91 games again in 1992 and almost made the playoffs (before the Wild Card). The economy was so bad in 1992 that it propelled the previously unheard-of Bill Clinton in to the White House (That was the “Its the economy, stupid” campaign).

As the economy recovered, the Brewers once again declined.  In fact, they went through over a decade without a winning team.  The next time the Brewers contended, and made the postseason for only the third time in their history, was the season of 2008.  We all remember the happenings of 2008.

And now, with their tremendous 13 of 14 streak, the Brewers appear headed toward 90 plus wins once again.  And it appears the stock market has taken notice. 🙂

Are the Brewers cursed?  Possibly.  In fact it seems likely to those who remember their “origin story”.

The Pilot/Brewers were never meant to be.  They were a bastard child produced in 1969 for pure legal and scheduling convenience.

Charley O. Finley moved the A’s from Kansas City to Oakland in 1967.  To avoid a lawsuit, Major League Baseball promised Kansas City a new franchise (the Royals). But, to make the Royals work, the American League needed another franchise immediately.  They haphazardly founded the Seattle Pilots, despite the fact that Seattle lacked a Major League ballpark

The one-year Pilots failed in historic fashion.  One season out, and the team was in bankruptcy court. Their parents never wanted them.  Bud Selig made his move, purchasing/adopting the foster Pilots in that bankruptcy court (was it a termination of parental rights??) and moving them to their new home, Milwaukee.

Selig’s legal maneuvering was brilliant.  It was so fortuitous, I believe he had to make a deal with Lucifer to get it done.

The Brewers will prosper only when the nation suffers.

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2 Responses to “The Bad Economy Brewers are at it again”

  1. pvasholz Says:

    I guess this means the Brewers should be in contention for the next few years.

  2. tywill33 Says:

    I agree with your outlook, but be careful with your logic.

    My silly proposition is conditional, not causal. A bad economy is a prerequisite to a big Brewers season, but does not guarantee one.

    As we Brewers fans will discover next summer when the economy sucks, but we no longer have Prince Fielder.

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