All the neighbors thought Ray Kinsella crazy when he plowed down a couple of acres of prime corn land and built a baseball field for Shoeless Joe Jackson in Iowa. If they could see through the cypress trees, my neighbors would undoubtedly think the same today as I erected a backyard shrine to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Rich in symbolism, the shrine has deep significance as I observe 24 hours’ devotion prior to the first pitch tomorrow of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
I picked up the batting helmet at a Brewers game at Milwaukee County Stadium years ago. Same for the bucket hat atop the 12 pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon, reverently purchased this afternoon for my purification-by-hops ritual. In my grad school days at Marquette University, I lived in an apartment complex on Frederick Pabst’s old hops farm on the west edge of the city.
The blue ribbons adorning the bills of the batting helmet and the modern Brewers cap, purchased a few years ago at Miller Park, are authentic ribbons from old Pabst bottles that my wife found for me at an antique store in Milwaukee.
Will this shrine make a difference? Will the Brewers win Game 6 and play on to win in a dramatic Game 7 to advance to the World Series? I think that’s worth contemplating over another beer.