Beside being the day before Valentine’s Day, one day closer to the ever-sweet end of the world the Mayans predicted for 2012, and a one of three Friday the 13ths slated to take place in 2009 (could be fewer if the Myans misplaced a decimal) - today is also the 41st anniversary of former Brewers OF Matt Mieske’s birth.
You may be wondering things like “Why should I care?” or “Where are you going with this?!?” and maybe even “Who is Matt Mieske?”
The answers to those first two questions are, of course, 1. You probably shouldn’t, 2. I’m not quite sure. But I feel question three deserves a slightly more detailed answer.
Matt Mieske is my most hated Milwaukee Brewer.
To clarify, I don’t hate Matt Mieske the man. I actually met him when I was nine and he seemed quite nice. He signed a ball which I’ve since neglected and let the sun damage.
The Wolff family, who sponsor his Baseball-Reference page, seem quite fond of him too. Both Matt and I managed to escape the shackles of our native Michigan to go on to better things (Wisconsin residence), and his perma-5 o’clock shadow is pretty boss too.
He never burned any bridges in leaving a la Gary Sheffield, or swindled the Crew out of millions for his shoddy services in the Hammonds or Suppan sense.
And despite putting up career numbers Ryan Braun could overtake in two seasons’ time, Mieske suited up for five big league teams over eight seasons, was drafted, signed, and even traded for.
Yet I hate Matt Mieske the baseball player, because he embodies an era and an organizational mentality that found it acceptable to employ a Matt Mieske-type player to start in a Major League outfield, one of nine cheap interchangeable has-beens or never-weres almost blindly fielded.
To me he represents the darkest hour of a franchise that hasn’t seen much light in its 39 years of life, a creature Milwaukee has grappled with for years and is just starting to overtake. Your Matt Mieske might go by another name, but I hope my sentiment is found.
But despite this unfair piling a lifetime’s losses on one man, the unjust hatred of Matthew Todd Mieske, I don’t want to forget him.
The cost-cutting, cellar-dwelling, bats and diamond logo Brewers, and this name that encases it...their memory makes Milwaukee’s current good fortune even sweeter. For that, I appreciate the losing years, and the hacks that conveyed them.
So happy birthday, Matt. I hope you have many more...if only to bring me an increasingly distant reminder of sorrow to further enrich better times.