Cole Hamels has been in some big games.
The 2008 World Series MVP was a star on the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies of the late 2000s that made the playoffs five straight years, including that ’08 World Series run.
Now he’s back playing for a contender again, having been traded from the Texas Rangers to the Chicago Cubs before the deadline.
Hamels underwhelmed with Milwaukee baseball fans
He got his first taste of pennant-race baseball in Milwaukee Monday when the Cubs, holding a five-game lead in the NL Central, took on the Brewers with Hamels on the mound at Miller Park.
He was not impressed, per NBC Chicago’s Tony Adracki:
“When you have a majority Cubs fans in the stands, I don’t know if that’s a rivalry yet. I’ve been in rivalries. They’re not gonna like me for the comment but you can look at the ticket sales.”
That’s a pretty big-league stance toward a small-market team.
Milwaukee’s one of MLB’s smallest markets, dwarfed by the gargantuan Chicago market that houses two teams just a 90-minute drive away. So it’s no surprise that Cubs fans would take advantage of the opportunity on Labor Day to make the drive to an opponent’s stadium if tickets were available.
Is Hamels right?
But that’s where Hamel’s criticism gains some merit. If the city of Milwaukee is truly behind its emerging Brewers as they seek their first postseason berth since 2011, then why wasn’t Miller Park sold out on a holiday and filled with fans of the home team?
Maybe it’s because the Brewers have only made the postseason four times in their existence with no World Series hardware to show for it. Sometimes the “believe-it-when-I-see-it” approach make sense.
Either way, Milwaukee and its fans — however few there may have been — got the last laugh. The Brewers beat Hamels and the Cubs, 4-3 to close the NL Central gap to four games.
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