Postseason baseball returned to Milwaukee over the weekend as the Brewers hosted the Atlanta Braves for Game 1 and Game 2 of the National League Division Series at American Family Field.
The Brew Crew started off strong Friday, winning 2-1 in front of nearly 41,000 fans in attendance. But Atlanta came back stronger Saturday, shutting out the Brewers 3-0 in front another huge crowd, this time 44,000 strong. The series continues today in Atlanta.
The atmosphere of this year’s sold-out postseason home games were a far cry from the 2020 playoffs, which were played in empty stadiums due to the COVID-19 pandemic (except for the World Series and National League Championship Series, which were played in front of reduced crowds).
The Brewers were out of the 2020 playoffs quickly. The field was expanded due to the shortened season caused by the pandemic, and the Brewers were eliminated on consecutive losses to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The team’s 2019 playoff appearance also ended early and on the road, losing the National League Wild Card Game to the Washington Nationals.
Now in their fourth consecutive playoff appearance, the Brewers are looking to top the success they had in 2018, falling just one game short of the World Series. Last weekend’s playoff games were the Brewers first home playoff games since that season.
Asked about the excitement of this postseason’s full attendance ahead of Game 1 Friday, Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio said he had forgotten what the typical atmosphere of the playoffs is like.
“As much as our fans have supported us this year, which has been awesome, there’s nothing like a playoff crowd,” he said.
A packed ballpark is even a stark contrast from earlier in this season when fan capacity was limited to 25%, later expanding to 50% in May and 100% in June. Despite being one of the last MLB teams to return to full capacity, the Brewers ranked no. 10 for attendance in 2021, drawing a total of 1,824,282 fans to home games. The Brewers attendance for 2021 behind a handful of large-market teams like the Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves and L.A. Dodgers, according to MLB’s recent report.
“One of the reasons … I was interested in buying the team, besides it being such a wonderful community to live in, is the tremendous fan support,” said Attanasio Friday. “… I think it would have been even better if we had (more) fans in earlier. Wonderful support from our fans. Wonderful support from our sponsors. And it allows us to do what we do.”