MILWAUKEE, Wisc. (WBAY) Following the Brewers NLCS run in 2018 comes big expectations in 2019, not just from the players, but from management and the fan base. Proof of that came Sunday – Brewers on Deck, the team’s annual fan festival, sold out for the first time in the event's history. Fans clearly have one thing on their mind for 2019.
"World Series or bust,” Tim Jacobson of Neenah said.
“This 2019 season we are pumped,” Joanne Sennott said. “We’re ready to go all the way, and we are going to cheer our Brew crew on as much as we can from Miller Park.”
Brewers General Manager and President of Baseball Operations David Stearns, along with the rest of the organization, are embracing those lofty expectations.
“I’m glad our fans have high expectations,” Brewers General Manager David Stearns said. “The reason teams have high expectations are because they are good players, and good players deserve to have high expectations. We had a very good year last year. We went deep into the playoffs, and whenever you have a year like that, and you bring back the majority of your team, and make a couple of additions, which we are and we have, expectations are going to be high.”
“We got really close to what we wanted to accomplish as a team,” National League MVP Christian Yelich said. “I think people probably had some time to sit back and reflect on the season and those feelings, and you want those feelings again. You want to see the energy in the stadium, the city, the way we felt down the stretch and in the playoffs and you want to get back there and get over that hurdle, get in the World Series and hopefully bring one here to Milwaukee.”
Of the additional pieces Stearns has added this offseason, former Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal is the Brewers’ biggest get, thus far. Grandal is an elite switch-hitting backstop who's second to none in pitch framing ability.
“There’s definitely a reason why in LA the four years that I was there (Los Angeles) we won the division times and went to the World Series 2 times,” Brewers catcher Yasmani Grandal said. “I was catching 18 different guys in a year. There was a reason why we had success as a pitching staff and that not only comes from myself behind the plate, but also also coaching staff, pitching staff, and like I said gathering a plan, so if we are able to do that on a daily basis, doesn't matter who is on the mound, I mean we're going to compete and be successful.”
“The first thing I think about is kind of lengthening your lineup what is does,” Brewers Manage Craig Counsell said. “I think another left handed bat in the lineup, he's a switch hitter, but a bat that can hit left-handed is important. His receiving skills are pretty documented. It's important. It's a big part of the game, he's good at it. There's a knowledge of the league.”
That knowledge of league also gives Grandal a unique perspective how the Brewers should handle all the expectations being thrown at them.
“I think we just need to get away from the label ‘World Series or bust,’” Grandal said. “It's just a label. For us, it's got to be playing on a daily basis and figuring out how we need to win a game. If we do that, we're going to be successful at the end of the year.”
The wait for Brewers baseball is almost over. Pitchers and catcher report for spring training on February 13th and position players will follow them on the 18th.