Breaking ties and breaking streaks in the land of cheese and beer

Emmitt B. Feldner  for The Review

We helped my sister-in-law Mary break one of her two traveling streaks when she and my brother Jim came out to visit us for a long weekend last month.

It took the Milwaukee Brewers to do it, but Mother Nature wouldn’t cooperate to help her break another one.

And it was a few days later that the Chicago Cubs sent her back into her other streak.

They met us on a Sunday at Miller Park for a Brewers game after driving out from New York state, where they still live in the same home my siblings and I all grew up in in our hometown of Warwick.

They had stopped overnight midway through Indiana Saturday, so they were on pace to hit Milwaukee a few hours ahead of game time – but not early enough to drive up to our place and back to Miller Park for the afternoon game.

We tried to arrange a place to meet up via cell phone calls and Terry suggested her favorite shopping mall on the north side of Milwaukee – naturally.

Needless to say, Jim and I were less than enthusiastic about that idea but, let’s just say the vote came out 2-2, which meant Terry and I were on our way to the mall to meet Jim and Mary.

In baseball, the tie always goes to the runner, but in this case, the tie always goes to the wives.

We found them without any trouble after arranging a rendezvous point by phone.

We actually found their car first – there weren’t a lot of cars in the parking lot with New York license plates – and we headed off for the ballpark.

We headed off in the rain, which kept the first of Mary’s traveling streaks alive.

It’s a standing joke in the family that if you need rain, just invite Mary for a visit – she’ll bring it with her, along with her suitcase.

It only seems like every time Mary travels somewhere it rains there, but it happens often enough that it just takes word that she’s coming somewhere to cause a big uptick in umbrella sales in that location.

They didn’t include Colorado on their itinerary for this latest trip, but evidently somebody must have thought Mary was coming out there with all the rain they had gotten just a week before Jim and Mary came to visit us.

She is thinking of renting herself out to the Forest Service to help put out forest fires by traveling to wherever they’re occurring.

Fortunately for all of us, Miller Park has a roof, so our plans to take in the game wouldn’t be ruined by Mary’s rain mojo – although none of us would have been surprised if the stadium’s roof had chosen that day to spring a few leaks.

But with her in attendance, we were guaranteed that we weren’t going to see them open the roof anytime during the game.

The roof didn’t help with another of Mary’s streaks – any time she goes to a major league baseball game, the home team always loses.

It’s happened in New York – for both teams – and in Washington, so when the Brewers quickly fell behind by four runs after only three innings, we figured it was just Mary’s fault – again.

We just went ahead having fun sampling the stadium cuisine, watching the Racing Sausages and enjoying the other ballpark amenities.

We even took in the gift shop – as I said before, a tie vote goes to the wives, where Mary got herself a Brewers cap.

She’s telling everyone that the M on the cap stands for Mary, and we’ll let her go on believing that.

She could have gotten herself an old-style MB cap, as her maiden name was Burrill, but she was satisfied with M is for Mary.

The hometown heroes were still down by two runs in the middle of the eighth inning when Jim had to make a trip to the facilities – did I mention we had been imbibing some of the libation that made Milwaukee famous during the game?

Lo and behold, while he was away, the Brewers stage a threerun rally to tie the game.

He came back before the inning was over, but kept the mojo working by waiting in the aisle until the Brewers had tied the game and the inning was over before sitting down.

The Brewers capped the day by winning the game on a walkoff home run in the bottom of the ninth and Mary’s baseball jinx was broken.

Alas, it only lasted less than a week – they stopped in Chicago to visit our niece and took in a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, which the Cubs naturally lost.

Of course, they didn’t need the curse of Mary to do that this year.

NEXT WEEK: A family reunion in cheesehead country.

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