They cheered this summer for the star reliever Josh Hader, after he apologized for the racist and homophobic tweets he wrote while in high school, which surfaced during the All-Star Game. The fans also adore reliever Jeremy Jeffress, who served a 100-game suspension in the minors after twice testing positive for marijuana use. Jeffress was also charged with drunken driving in 2016, when he played for the Texas Rangers, and the fans embraced him when the Brewers brought him back the next year.
“These people are not fake here; they know what’s going on,” Jeffress said. “If you admit what’s wrong or what happened, and then continue to be the same person you are — that’s what I’ve done. All the stuff that I’ve been through, I’m still the same guy. When I came back from Texas, they knew about the D.U.I. out there, but they knew what type of person I was. So for the fans to understand that, and understand each and every person in this clubhouse, you can’t ask for anywhere better to play.”
Milwaukee is the majors’ smallest market, yet the fans consistently flock to festive Miller Park, where the retractable roof mitigates the often-harsh weather. The Brewers have reached the playoffs just three times since 1982, yet attendance has topped 2.5 million 11 times in Braun’s 12 seasons.
Braun is from Southern California and went to college at the University of Miami. In signing the long-term contract, he chose to forgo the possibility of free agency until age 37, essentially committing his career to Milwaukee. He said then that it would mean more to win one championship here than multiple titles elsewhere, a charming sentiment that sounded sincere.
After the cheers had faded on Friday — after the game that brought him closer to the World Series than ever before — Braun was willing, at least, to reflect on that.
“It’s about the amount of time I’ve spent here, everything I’ve been through in my career playing here,” Braun said. “The relationships I have, not just with the players — the coaches, the strength coaches, the ushers, the security guards. I have such a special relationship with the fans, the whole community here, and just understanding how much that would mean to all of them is the thing that makes me most excited.”