I was on a train one time and I was wearing a Brewers hat.
This was in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and my friends and I were riding the light rail train back from Target Field. It was a sunny day and we’d had some beers. I started talking to some guy who was also riding the train away from downtown Minneapolis. That’s when he said something to me that I haven’t been able to shake since, for whatever reason.
“The Milwaukee Brewers are the devil”, he told me.
“The devil?” I asked, dumbfounded. Surely this had to be false. I imagined the Brewers could be Mephistopheles, a fiend, a spirit, demon, ghoul, ghost or poltergeist. The Brewers baseball club had at times been a nightmare; could they also be a banshee, bogeyman, vampire or incubus? Perhaps the club was merely a phantasm on the level of an apparition, genie or wraith. A gnome, dwarf, elf, leprechaun, pixie, sprite, troll, ogre or hobgoblin: surely not. Could my beloved baseball team be an archfiend such as Old Nick to anyone, even to Minnesotans?
I understood border rivalries, or at least I thought I did.
“Hey, this guy says the Brewers are the devil”, I told my friends. “Whaddya think about that?”
I turned back to the man, who was unassuming but dreadfully serious. He was not fooling.
“You don’t actually think the Brewers are the devil, do you? I mean, I understand you not liking them because they’re from Wisconsin, but do you mean it?” I pleaded.
“The Milwaukee Brewers are the devil”, he said again, matter of fact, just like that.
Again, I poured on the interrogation inquisitively. I wanted to get to the root of this problem and solve it. I couldn’t imagine what specter, shadow or spook this man had seen in the Brewers. I didn’t want to see his vision, but I wanted to understand it. There are no monsters in me, I thought to myself. Then I thought better.
I tried to trick the guy into revealing the source of his dissatisfaction, his discontentment, perhaps his secret blues. Was he disconsolate because of some previous trauma? Surely I can understand a Minnesotan’s cheerless despair when it comes to the Green Bay Packers. But the Milwaukee Brewers? What have they ever done to anyone? No really, what have they done? Not much!
But he wouldn’t budge. He wouldn’t even answer my questions any longer. He just looked elsewhere, dejected, downcast, turned away. I felt it only polite not to berate him on the subject further.
The mystery remains. His puzzling remark, whether folly or feint, I’ll never know.