Call them fair weather fans, but Hoffman sparks an emotional chord here. Those in the right field corner Sunday rose to their feet near the Brewers bullpen just as Hoffman stood up to simply put on his glove to begin warming up. Heck, even more than 200 ushers gave him a standing O Saturday — some three hours before the game.
When Hoffman made his first and only appearance in the series against his former team on Sunday, the Crew enjoyed a 6-1 cushion. Milwaukee hadn’t held a late inning lead all weekend against the Padres and No. 51 needed to get some work in, considering he’d last pitched five days earlier.
As Hoffman strolled toward the pitchers mound from the right field line, fans throughout the ballpark immediately rose to their feet as the scoreboard played a memorable scene from the movie, Animal House.
You know the one.
“You know you make me want to…”
A small group of fans above Milwaukee’s dugout repeatedly shouted, “Let’s Go Brewers!” before Hoffman fanned two en route to a scoreless ninth and a 6-1 win.
“This is home. This is where we live,” Hoffman reflected. “This (Padres) organization made me. The fans here deserve a championship. I’ll be a proud member of the community when it does happen.”
Added Towers: “I was thinking about Trevor last week in Cooperstown. Some of the old Padres players were there in attendance. And we'll be there someday when Trevor enters the Hall. I can't wait to be in Cooperstown to see him.”
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
“We showed it in May when we were healthy (winning 14 of 17),” Hoffman said of his new team. “This is a tight, black-and-blue division and I think it will probably be close until the end.”
MLB’s all-time closer may have found some closure of his own this past weekend on his special time with the Padres and its fans, but in the words of U2, he still hasn’t found what’s he’s looking for.
A World Series ring.
But with Milwaukee?
For Padres fans, it would be too surreal.
But for others who know him quite well, it might feel like something else.
Said Gwynn Jr.: “I’d be happy for him. He deserves it.”
Joe Connor is a contributor to NBCSports.com and author of the online MLB ballpark tour guide, “A Fan’s Guide To The Ultimate Ballpark Tour: Fully Loaded!” which is available for purchase exclusively at his Web sites: www.modernerabaseball.com and www.mrsportstravel.com.
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