Anne in the Stands

Anne in the Stands

To me and thousands of other baseball fans, spring abounds with hope. We tell ourselves that this year will be different. This year our team will score runs with men on base. We'll get plenty of two-out rallies. Hardly anyone will commit an error or hit into a double play. And this year, every single one of our pitchers -- starters, relievers and closers -- will be steady and reliable.

This year I'll lose five pounds overnight, my tennis elbow will vanish, I'll sell my novel and all wars will cease.

Okay, so we can't have everything we wish for in life or in baseball. But before that first pitch in that first game, everything is possible. For a few lovely days in the beginning of the season, my Brewers had the best record in the Major Leagues -- and I reveled in it. As I watched the third game of the opening home series against the Pirates, the Brewers loaded the bases in the eighth with nobody out and came from behind to win. Moments like that are glorious.

Opening Day
On Opening Day I was glad to get a look at our new and enthusiastic owner Mark Attanasio, who was on hand with his family. The more I read about him, the prouder I am that he chose to be a part of our city.

In the crowd on Opening Day at Miller Park you see everything -- and hear it, too. In my section near third base, the crowd included a loudmouth with a voice like a trumpet who specialized in picking on the Pirates with the worst averages. By the end of the game he even went after the poor bat boy. You have to be desperate to insult the guy who schleps for the other team.

First Impressions
Starting out hot at the plate, Damian Miller became my favorite right away. Of course I miss Scott Podsednik; but the feeling eased as soon as Carlos Lee found his home run groove against San Francisco. Our leadoff man, Brady Clark, looks like a new player as he works the count, drawing walks and clobbering the ball. Watching unemotional Lyle Overbay turn an 0-2 count into a walk or a double has always been fun. But this year, the hometown crowd is really getting into our first baseman, standing up, making "O's" over their heads with their arms and humming "ooooh" while he bats.

Watching the all-around good form of Junior Spivey helps me understand why the team began to falter after he was injured last July. Even though rookie shortstop J.J. Hardy looks like a high school kid, he's earning respect with his clean fielding. Early on, Geoff Jenkins' strikeouts and groundouts had me worried. But his bat seems to be back, and we always need it. (Maybe he'd be more consistent if someone could get him to stop that weird step he takes before he swings.)

Cutest Guy on the Team?
No clear choice yet. Ben Sheets and Russell Branyan are contenders. Branyan definitely looked his best blasting a home run so hard I thought it would plow right through the scoreboard.

Movie Recommendation
If you're a baseball fanatic, you'll laugh out loud watching the movie Fever Pitch.

Anne Stratton is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.