07/07/08 8:55 PM ET
Sabathia deal excites Milwaukee fans
Tickets nearly sold out for new starter's Tuesday debut
By JR Radcliffe / Special to MLB.com
The 6-foot-7, 290-pound Sabathia may indeed eclipse the popular plus-size slugger in stature, and for the time being, he also has the spotlight in on-field matters. Brewers fans demonstrated their excitement for the deal by rushing to buy tickets for Tuesday's game, when Sabathia is slated to make his Milwaukee debut.The Brewers announced before the game that only 5,500 seats remained for Tuesday's contest, the result of a "CC Surge," as executive vice president Rick Schlesinger termed it in the press conference announcing the transaction. "At first, I was kind of questioning why they would want to give up a top prospect like [Matt] LaPorta, but after I heard other people talking about it, it really made sense that they're doing it," said Jim Chester of Oshkosh, Wis. "I'm totally down with it. I'm very happy that they're actually making that reach." Other tailgating Brewers fans agreed, and few seemed to regret the loss of such a highly regarded prospect. "I know [LaPorta] was a tremendous hitter, but we have a lot of tremendous hitters and you've got to do what you've got to do," said Jack Larson of Argyle, Wis., attending the game with Janet Reimer of Waukesha, Wis. "I think it would be a travesty if they didn't try for it. I'm just happy that the organization is so strong in the minors that they're able to give up a player like LaPorta. Even though he's going to be a great player, they have other ones coming up."
The sentiments were shared by Travis and Beth Knutson of Janesville, Wis., both lifelong Brewers fans."Pretty satisfying," Beth said. "We need to make a big commitment to a pitcher." Fans, already expected to break the 3 million attendance mark this season, have returned the favor by offering their own renewed commitment. The Brewers ticket office processed orders for 10,000 tickets for future games during regular business hours Monday, far surpassing the typical "good day" of 500. Jo Greene and daughter Jo-Anne Greene were not among those who expected to be on hand Tuesday, with their 20-game pack typically covering Wednesday games, but they hoped to see Sabathia sometime soon. As Jo-Anne pointed out, every start could make a difference. "With this team, you always have to wait until after the All-Star break to see what happens," she said.
JR Radcliffe is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.