MILWAUKEE -- Brewers closer John Axford was still feeling bad Friday about his costly blown save 24 hours earlier, but at least the tone of his Tweets had changed.
"It seems the people like me again," he said.
That's because Axford and Ryan Braun combined to foot the bill for 5,000 tickets to Sunday's game against the Astros, which were gobbled up by fans at Brewers.com on Friday morning in about 45 minutes. The gesture was part of the team's Fan Appreciation Weekend at Miller Park.
The Brewers play in one of baseball's smallest markets but entered Friday ranked 11th of the 30 Major League teams with an average attendance of 34,951, and 10th of the 30 teams by filling Miller Park to 83.4 percent capacity.
"When we really notice it is we go on the road and we see teams that are in first place, or teams like when we went into Pittsburgh a month ago and they were hot, and people came in to watch them, and then the last trip we went in and there wasn't that many people there," manager Ron Roenicke said. "[Miller Park] is a pretty special place. The people stick with us and come out to watch us play.
"I know it was a disappointing season this year, especially the first half, and they kept coming out. Believe me, [for] these players, myself, the coaches, it really is a neat place to be."
Reliever Eric Gagne made a similar gesture in 2008, when he bought 5,000 tickets for fans in the final week. Braun was in his first full season then; now he is the face of the franchise.
"When we weren't playing nearly as well as we wanted to in June and July, the fans were always there supporting us, and this is our way of saying thank you," Braun said. "We want them to know how much we appreciate it."