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Goodbye, Prince

In Sports on October 17, 2011 at 5:02 pm

by:  Eric Buenning

It’s not something any Brewers fan wants to do, but unfortunately it’s time to say…

Goodbye Prince Fielder.

It’s hard to believe it’s been six seasons already.  It seems like just yesterday the (unimaginably) skinnier version of you was hitting his first home run.  As you scampered around the bases, all of Milwaukee knew that you were more than just a rookie experiencing his comeuppance as a major-leaguer; you were the future of this franchise. You were going to bring our beleaguered ball club back to the playoffs.  We got lucky.  You did just that in 2008.

Coming off an electric 50 home run season in 2007, big things were expected from you.  But you couldn’t do it alone.  You needed a partner-in-crime, a sidekick.  Enter Ryan Braun and CC Sabathia.  Together, the three of you gave the city of Milwaukee something to believe in again.  We were in the freakin’ playoffs.  Prince, you have no idea what that meant for us.  Seeing players like yourself–players that, like us fans, had been dying for Brewers success–celebrate that Wild Card berth..

I still can’t thank you enough for that moment.

Over the next two seasons, you continued to grow into a more complete player (as well as bigger clothes, despite going vegetarian, something I’ll always find comical).  Your continued success did not go unnoticed throughout the majors, where you garnered much-deserved attention from opposing ball clubs, whether it be through intentional walks or intentional talks of a bigger contract.  Naturally, you and your agent did some searching around.  That’s fine, it’s a business after all.  Luckily, we were able to snag you up for one more season.  Boy, did we get lucky again.

This past season has to go down as one of the most, if not THE MOST memorable Brewers seasons any of us fans can remember.  Your amazing play, teamed with Braun’s emergence as a true superstar and a formidable pitching staff brought Milwaukee it’s first division title since 1982.  However, that’s not the only reason we’ll remember it.  This year, your kids (and Monsterns Inc.) inspired you to launch the “beast mode” signal after every significant play.  At first it was confusing, but as it caught on, it grew into something more than a signal. It turned into a symbol of team unity, and it brought the joy back to baseball.  We grew to love what the spread out arms represented.  We believed all over again.  We believed in the team, but more importantly, we believed that these games were meant to enjoyed.

Again, I can’t thank you enough for that.

That brings us to last night.  The bottom of the 8th inning was something none of us wanted to witness.  As you smacked the ball over to second base, it all sank in.  The crushing reality that that was (more than) probably the last time any of us will see you again was too much.  I personally had to look away.  I couldn’t take it.  I still can’t. In a matter of minutes, you have gone from hero to free agent.  That’s the business, unfortunately.

Prince, you have no idea how bad we want you to stay here.  You mean so much to this team.  Hell, you mean so much to this city.  I must concede that it is not your fault if you choose to go somewhere else.  You deserve to get the star attention that you have earned in your time here.  I just hope that you realize that nobody will ever appreciate you like we did.  You weren’t just #28–the first baseman to us, you were Prince Semien Fielder, the kid that brought all kind of optimism back to Brewer Nation.

I believe I speak on behalf of almost every Brewers fan out there when I say thank you, Prince.  We hope to see you back here next year, but best of luck to you wherever you go.  You deserve everything that’s coming your way.

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