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Something always happens when I go to Milwaukee to see the Cubs.

First was September 23, 1998, a game I only decided to go see at the last minute; that, of course was the "Brant Brown Game". Then there was the game in May 1999, which was supposed to be the last Cubs/Brewers game at County Stadium (of course, after the tragic Miller Park construction accident later that year, it wasn't); that was the game Hideo Nomo, newly a Brewer, beat the Cubs 11-3. Nomo could have been a Cub, except stupid Ed Lynch wanted him to make one more start at Iowa.

Two years ago I drove up again in May; the Cubs won, but I ran into huge thunderstorms on the way back and the drive took over three hours.

And then there was yesterday.

So many things happened in the Cubs' amazing 17-inning, 4-2 win over the Brewers that it's hard to mention everything, but I'll start with this. There was a couple sitting in front of me with a 9-month-old baby (Cub fans, of course). They stayed for the entire game -- the baby was pretty good, actually -- and though the kid won't remember the game, his dad will.

The crowd was at least two-thirds Cub fans. When the Brewers and Cubs first started playing, this was more evenly split, but with the Brewers pretty much a horrible team, and their season ticket base dwindling, the 31,624 fans (largest of the series, due mainly to half-price tickets for kids and seniors -- the entire section next to me was a seniors outing) cheered much more loudly for the Cubs. It's even more impressive in person than on TV; it feels like a home crowd and I'm sure the players notice it and take energy from it. By the end of the game, there were maybe 10,000 people left and it was all Cub fans.

It was really two games -- first, the great pitching matchup between Ben Sheets (who the Cubs still have not defeated) and Kerry Wood, matched almost pitch for pitch; Wood was a little better, notching 13 strikeouts in 7 innings. People are writing that Wood is being overextended, throwing 141 pitches in his last start and 120 in this one, but he was not laboring at all. I think he can take this kind of workload. Incidentally, Cubs and Brewers pitchers combined for 479 pitches yesterday.

Although the Cub bullpen was great overall (totalling 24 strikeouts for the staff, setting a new NL record), it was bullpen failures that put the game toward twilight to begin with. Antonio Alfonseca allowed his first run of the year -- a HR to Scott Podsednik, who had been 2-for-22. And Joe Borowski allowed Brady Clark, 0-for-10 as a pinch hitter, to single in Eric Young in the 10th. Looked from my vantage point that Young was out, which would have ended the game.

The Brewers, meanwhile, were saving runs with great defense -- in the 14th, Royce Clayton leaped to catch a liner, which would have scored a run, and in the 15th, Geoff Jenkins stole what would have been Alex Gonzalez' fourth extra-inning HR of the season. Corey Patterson finally ended it with a no-doubt-about-it HR into the 2nd-level bleachers, and Todd Wellemeyer made a stunning ML debut by striking out the side for a save.

Again, these are the kinds of games that if you win them, it can go a long way toward propelling you forward, and going into a big four-game wraparound series (including Monday) in St. Louis, it was just great.

Seeing a day game indoors at Miller Park is odd. I've seen indoor games at Minnesota, Toronto and Arizona and this is different because Miller Park has a lot of windows, which lets lots of natural light in and the lights don't really have full effect. It's kind of like playing in twilight. And about 3:00 when the sun streamed in the RF-side windows, it cast some very odd shadows on the field. Still, I like Miller Park; the Brewers now are selling scorecards. So I bought one, plus a program just to keep. Well, the card has 10 innings, plus five for totals, so after the 15th I was out of room and trying to figure out what to do... when I remembered the program had a scoresheet in it, so I yanked that out and finished scoring the game there.

An amazing day -- and despite coming back in rush hour, I made it in just a little over two hours. It's the first time I can remember going to Milwaukee in years where there is no construction on the highway anywhere in between.