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Wed, Apr 05, 2023

Brew Crew Blunder Wastes USAF Effort

The Flyover that Wasn’t

Baseball home openers are sacraments of Americana, celebrations of a deliberate, reflective national pastime that endures in an epoch characterized by ubiquitous instant gratification and diminished attention spans. After the broader fashion of sacraments, home openers demand complex and specific accouterments: hot dogs, cheap beer, fans adorned in the jersey of the star slugger traded during the off-season, giant foam fingers, etc.

No home opener would be complete, however, without a flyover, a grand, high-decibel show of American military might featuring snarling, turbojet-powered brutes the likes of Boeing’s F-15EX and Rockwell’s B-1B supersonic strategic bomber—precisely the sort of spectacle Milwaukee Brewers fans were looking forward to ahead of the team’s 03 April home opener against the hated New York Mets.

The fans were met, the venue set, o’er head the B-1 peeled—yet not one eye its splendor spied—as the ballpark’s roof was sealed.

With rain in the forecast and the game’s first pitch imminent, the retractable roof of American Family Field was shut. Whether or not the blunder was attributable to miscommunication between the facility’s groundskeepers and the Brewers’ front office remains unknown. What can be stated with certainty, however, is that the fans tailgating outside the ballpark were the only Brewer faithful to witness the regal passage of a USAF B-1B Lancer over American Family Field. Out from the gray vastness of the Wisconsin sky the mighty jet appeared, growing by degrees as it neared the stadium, then flashing overhead like the incarnation of an angry war-god. As quickly as it came, the fearsome aircraft was gone, vanished into the nebulous province of memory and missed opportunities.

What muted remnant of the jet’s roar was heard inside the ballpark was likely mistaken by fans for a mass-flushing of the venue’s toilets or the jostling of the PA announcer’s microphone.

In the end, the missed flyover didn’t much dampen the spirits of Brewers’ fans who looked on joyfully as their team—which, in 2022, finished second in the National League Central Division behind the St. Louis Cardinals—trounced the Mets 10-0.

Brewers’ starting right-hander Freddy Peralta pitched six strong innings, giving-up only two hits and three walks while striking out seven. Closer Bryse Wilson capped the shutout, allowing only one hit over three innings of fine closer’s work.

Milwaukee’s season is off to a good start. Notwithstanding a season-opening loss to the Chicago Cubs, the Brewers have won three of the first four games of the team’s 2023 campaign.

The Brewers have five more home games—and five more opportunities to stage a successful flyover—before hitting the road on Friday, 07 April to play St. Louis.

The Brewers organization isn’t the first professional sports franchise to chump a planned spectacle. In 1994, San Antonio Spurs fans were drenched when a fireworks display set off the Alamodome sprinkler system. More recently, a flyover of 2022’s NFL Pro Bowl was inadvertently rendered moot by a collective failure on the parts of the event’s planners to take into account the fact that the roof of Las Vegas’s Allegiant Stadium is translucent, not transparent.



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