Last month, the Milwaukee Brewers ended their 2011 season with a bitter loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of the NLCS. They were only two wins away from a World Series appearance. It was a disappointing way to go out, many hearts were broken... but it was a fantastic season getting there. The Crew won the NL Central for the first time in 29 years, they set a franchise record with 96 regular season wins, and fan support couldn’t be any higher.
Sadly, though, all things come to an end. The Cardinals went on to win the World Series, and the Brewers went home to their families. The off-season had begun.
But not all fans relish the lack of baseball after so much excitement. Some wish to look back and ponder the question: What if things had played out differently? With a second chance, and a few changes, could the Brewers have earned a spot in the World Series? Could 2011 have been an even better season?
Enter the Milwaukee Brewers Replay.
But first, a little backstory...
As many of you already know, I'm a hard-core, life-long Brewers fan. I grew up following the team through the '80's, the '90's, and the present. I went to games and events at the old County Stadium with my dad. I filmed a movie at the new Miller Park. I collected Brewers baseball cards. I obtained player autographs. And I simulated dozens of fictional baseball seasons through statistical board games, computer games and the like. My father and I would sit down, and simulate match-ups together using our favorite game, Strat-O-Matic Baseball
. I loved that game. It provided hours and hours of "What If..." fun.
I've grown older now, my father and I live in different states, but I still enjoy a good solitary "What If..." baseball simulation every now and then. Only, these days, I do so with the help of Baseball Mogul
After the great season we witnessed in 2011, I thought it might be interesting to take that “What If..” approach, and, with the help of Baseball Mogul, replay the entire 2011 season. I thought I’d take it one step further, though, and incorporate the input of fellow Brewers fans, like myself, who wanted to help me manage the team. To that end, I set up a social Facebook page
, and I’m posting the Replay line-ups, statistics, and game results there on a daily basis. Anyone who “likes” the page, is welcome to help me determine the everyday team moves. Moves like: Who should be in the line-up? Who gets sent down to the minors? Who replaces an injured player? Things like that. It’s a joint effort. An online collaboration between dedicated Brewer fans.
To remain as realistic as possible, I've confined my simulation to the same trades, contracts, schedule and ownership decisions as in real life. However, the roster moves, line-ups, injuries, and everything else on-field will play out differently – as if the 2011 Brewers had a second chance at greatness.
It’s a fascinating idea. A social experiment. And, quite possibly, the first time something like this has ever been done on Facebook.
If you're interested in this kind of thing; if you want to follow along with the stats and standings; if you'd like to help me manage this Replay version of the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers, I encourage you to come check out the project's Facebook page. Click "Like" and help me/us manage the team to the World Series the team narrowly missed in real life. I'll be simulating things all the way through the off-season, so there's plenty of opportunities to be involved.
It'll be fun project! It's one of the best seasons of Brewers baseball, replayed collaboratively during the off-season. What's not to like!?
Come join us! Stats and standings are updated daily.
I'll see you there!
LINK: 2011 Milwaukee Brewers Replay
Head on over to BrewCrewBall.com for a recap of the month of April
in the Milwaukee Brewers Replay. I'll be guest posting over there throughout the real-life off-season, and sharing updates on how the re-played season is going. Check it out!