Milwaukee: The Rise of the Sports City
Milwaukee. Who would've thought.
For a long time, our sports have been very mediocre & average at best. From getting excited about just making the playoffs for the Brewers with Braun & Fielder at the helm to watching the Bucks be just awful forever seeing glimpses of great from Redd or Jennings. Always thought of the small market team that just cannot compete with the teams like Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, etc. We haven't had the best of luck becoming the successful sports town. Until Now.
Don’t get me wrong. I have so much love for both organizations throughout the years of watching the rise of the Bucks or the steady Brewers trying to break through and get to the playoffs. Watching all the years of the Pistons or Bulls winning the division or the Cubs or Cardinals. We have always been seen as the team that will compete, but never taken seriously. Until Now.
To be honest, the reason that sparked this article is actually something that is not factual. This week, Anthony Davis has announced that the only teams he would sign long-term would be with are the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, and………the Bucks? That can't be right…right? It is. We are finally being taken seriously. Trying to figure out where the turnaround began. Only one date to bring up.
June 27th, 2013. Current coach, Larry Drew, chose Giannis Antetokounmpo with the 15th pick of the NBA Draft. I guarantee you many Bucks’ fans weren't sure if they even liked the pick. The organization just chose a player that was very unknown to the fan’s eye. A skinny kid from Greece who just started playing basketball not too long before that. When they interviewed him at the Draft, I remember he barely knew any English. Honestly, look to the video of him being drafted…. LOOK AT THE PLAYERS DRAFTED BEFORE HIM! We all wondered, who is Giannis Antetokounmpo?
None of us knew exactly what we had when we got him. Crazy to think from being drafted and starting basketball in 2007 to 2013, he was in the NBA. Fast forward that to 2019, and he is the fasting growing mega-star in the league with MVP intentions. There isn't anyone in the league with that history or growth to success. But here we are. Along with the stardom of the Greak Freak, the Bucks have molded a great team around him including all-star Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon, etc. Then, add in veterans like Hill & Lopez. Put all that together and add Mike Budenholzer, a strategic coach who has bolstered top 5 offense & defense ratings. That’s the best team I have ever seen as a Bucks fan. As Giannis wants to stay in the smaller area of Milwaukee than join a huge market team, we will be factors in the East.
Now, that shows how excited I am about the basketball team. Time to roll out the barrel for a bit.
The Milwaukee Brewers. What a year last year… probably the best season I have witnessed ever. The change is a little different in the rise for the Crew. Throughout the years, we have hovered .500 from season to season with certain years being a little better where we made a little playoff run. But, nothing really felt as promising as this year, not even 2011 although they both ended in the NLCS. This year was different. But, it all started with the hiring David Stearns as our GM in 2015, who became the youngest GM in the MLB. He had the aggressive attitude a small market like the Brewers needed to be successful each year. Within the next couple years, he acquired Travis Shaw, Eric Thames, Christian Yelich, Mike Moustakas, Gio Gonzalez, and more. He also signed star outfielder Cain and serviceable Chacin. He made more moves in the last 3 years than we usually make in 10 years and it was made the future look so bright for the Brewers.
Looking at it now, you find Yelich becoming NL MVP, Silver Slugger, Hank Aaron award, and batting title…. Lorenzo Cain becoming an all-star and leader of the team…. Jesus Aguilar becoming an all-star…..and Josh Hader winning Reliever of the Year award. Things are looking up.
Five years ago, would you have expected the rise of Milwaukee sports teams? Would you expect the Bucks to have one of the youngest stars in the NBA? Would you expect the Brewers to make it a couple games away from the World Series and have the NL MVP in Christian Yelich?
I sure as hell didn't. But, here we are.
Moving into Spring Training soon, this is the most hype we have had in awhile. Regardless of how tough our division is with teams like Cardinals & Red getting better through acquisitions this offseason. Through us being underdogs even though we had one of the best seasons last year along with the star power. Not only are we contenders to win the World Series next year, we also have the aggression to make moves once the season starts in order to make this team as good as it can be. This year will be a grind, but this is what we have been waiting for….competing for titles.
Overall, sports cannot get any better for fans in Milwaukee. Other than the small damper of Miller Park changing its name eventually…… We are finally in a spot where we can be confident about our teams. With leaders in both the upper-management and players, we are set up to be great for years to come. But, with every small market team, there are time windows that you must take advantage of in order to be good, especially in baseball. It’s tough in baseball to keep all the young talent together with the cap problems that will make you cut ties with players you really don’t want too with cap limitations. The Brewers don’t have the luxury of being the Red Sox, Yankees, or Cubs where you can sign virtually whoever you want on your current team and make it work. Our organization must work strategically in order to keep the right players, draft well, and be able to make moves throughout the year to better the team. In those types of ways, basketball is so much different. With the Bucks being able to sign whoever is on their team as long as they have their rights due to the luxury cap, it makes it easier to sign your own players. As long as management is OK with going over the luxury tax each year and paying out the a**..then you can do that. When LeBron was with the Cavs, Gilbert was paying essentially triple what other teams were to give them a chance to make the Finals.
Nonetheless, Milwaukee sports are here and well. We are a force to mess with. Roll our the Barrels….Bucks in 6.