Fans 'Pack' Miller to support Brewers
A football Sunday is overshadowed by city's baseball fever
MILWAUKEE -- There's a problem here, the type that hasn't crossed Wisconsin minds in 26 years. Because the Brewers won Saturday night to stay alive in the National League Division Series, they all piled back into Miller Park on Sunday afternoon for Game 4 against the Phillies.
But autumn Sunday afternoons in these parts are supposed to be for the Packers. So credit Packers fans throughout Wisconsin for switching priorities -- if only for one day.
Of the thousands of fans streaming into Miller Park before Sunday's Game 4, only a scant few wore Packers gear. There were a few jackets, a handful of stray hats and a lone Cheesehead, all set to watch the Brewers and Phillies -- not the Packers, who were scheduled to host the Atlanta Falcons at 12 p.m. CT in Green Bay, roughly two hours to the north.
One Brewers fan, Jim Scharping, 53, of Madison, Wis., sported a jersey of Packers wide receiver Donald Driver on his way into the game, walking amidst a sea of Brewers gear.
"This used to be a Brett Favre jersey, but now I wear this one every week," Scharping said. "It's good luck."
Scharping grabbed his undershirt with his left hand and tugged up on the jersey with his right.
"But I've got a Brewers shirt underneath," he said.
Packers games have long been something of a religious experience for Wisconsin natives, as evidenced by the fact that season tickets have been sold out since 1960. More than 70,000 fans crowd into Lambeau Field each week to watch the Packers play their home games, and hundreds of thousands more watch on home. Few things in Wisconsin can be more galvanizing than a Packers game.
Missing one game, however, was a sacrifice that all around Miller Park were willing to make. Some, including Jeff Wheeler, 24, of Milwaukee, had long ago resigned themselves to that fate. Wheeler came Sunday armed with a green Brewers sweatshirt and a yellow Brewers hat -- Packers colors, yes, but he swears he didn't plan it.
"I missed last week's game, too," Wheeler said. "Hopefully, I'll miss next week's game, because that means that the Brewers won."
Remnants of Packers tailgates did make their way into the parking lots around Miller Park, with Packers chairs and coolers scattered around the pavement. Several fans tossed around a football, though their worries on this day rested intently with the Brewers.
The Packers, after all, were heavy favorites against the Falcons, while the Brewers -- on the wrong end of a 2-1 series deficit -- remained underdogs against the Phillies.
"I would watch both games if I could," Scharping said. "But I can't. I can deal with it as long as the Brewers win."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.