MILWAUKEE -- Baseball is a game of routine. On Sunday, routine went out the window. The Brewers arrived at Miller Park on Sunday morning tied with the Mets for the National League Wild Card, facing a number of scenarios for the following 72 hours: A Brewers win and a Mets loss would put Milwaukee in the playoffs. They would host a fan rally Monday afternoon, then travel to Philadelphia for a workout Tuesday and Game 1 of the NL Division Series on Wednesday.
If both the Brewers and Mets won or lost, a one-game playoff would be in order. The Brewers lost a coin flip to determine the site of such a game, so they would travel to New York on Sunday night and play beginning at 6:37 p.m. CT on Monday. A Mets win and a Brewers loss would end Milwaukee's season. Interim manager Dale Sveum was not interested in pondering that possibility. "The adrenaline you're going to walk on that field [with] today, your gas tank is going to be overflowing," Sveum said while the team took batting practice. "It doesn't matter what youre aches and pains are at this time. When you walk onto that field today, the adrenaline will be so ridiculous. Some of them have never experienced it before." Before Sunday's game against the Cubs, Sveum and his players packed as if they were about to leave for a four-day road trip, then focused on baseball. At the same time, behind-the-scenes work was under way to make sure everything else was in place. Longtime clubhouse boss Tony Migliaccio was juggling a number of tasks. He is responsible for getting the team's equipment where it needs to be, so he was coordinating with trucking companies and other clubhouse employees in New York and Philadelphia to make sure plans were in place. At the same time, he had an eye on developments both on the field at Miller Park and in New York. In the event of a Brewers clinch, it would be up to Migliaccio and his staff to throw up plastic sheeting in the clubhouse and remove the furniture for a champagne celebration. "The champagne is ordered, all that stuff is here," Migliaccio said. "The road uniforms are already packed in their bags, as if we're leaving tonight. Now we're just waiting." Getting out of town would be the responsibility of traveling secretary Dan Larrea, who faced the daunting task of planning travel for a group of more than 70 players, coaches, staff members and broadcasters without knowing whether the destination was New York or Philadelphia. "You definitely don't start that planning yesterday," Larrea said. "I started looking at all of the possible scenarios in late August. You have to put things in place for all contingencies." That means planning for appearances in the NL Championship Series and the World Series. Larrea has reserved hotel rooms in all of the possible destinations for those games. Larrea moved into his current post in 1997 and made some postseason plans that year, when the Indians eventually won the American League Central. He did some preplanning again last season, when the Brewers entered a season-ending, four-game series against the Padres two games behind the eventual NL Central champion Cubs. San Diego won the first two games of the series and eliminated the Brewers. Instead of putting 20 cases of champagne to waste, visiting clubhouse manager Phil Rozewicz threw a holiday party. He rented a champagne fountain and hung on it a sign that read, "Courtesy of the San Diego Padres." This season, the Brewers would rather pop the corks themselves.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.