MILWAUKEE -- When the Brewers clinched the National League Wild Card on the final day of the season in 2008, they had a short turnaround between the game, the clinch celebration and their first-round matchup with the Phillies.
In winning the NL Central this season, they had more than a full week between clinching the division title last Friday and Game 1 at Miller Park on Saturday. While the games in between still mattered for home-field advantage, the extra time has been enjoyable for the Crew.
"This is great, this is what I always envisioned," said Brewers owner Mark Attanasio at the NLDS rally Thursday at the Summerfest grounds. "When it happened in '08, it happened so fast that I almost couldn't absorb it. We won on a Wednesday, and on a Thursday we did this, and the next thing we knew we're in Philadelphia. Now we actually get to savor it for a few days, and that's really cool."
With a day in between the end of the regular season and their first NLDS workout day Friday, the Brewers held a rally to share the playoff excitement with the Milwaukee fans.
The Good Rebels (formerly Pan Am), a band featuring Attanasio's son, Dan, on bass, opened the rally. Between songs, the band sang "Happy Birthday" to the Brewers' owner, who turned 54 this week. They also led the crowd in chants of "Let's go Brewers, let's go."
Following the opening act, the rally featured a number of appearances by Brewers players, coaches and announcers. Despite the cold, rainy, windy weather, a few thousand people showed up to show their support.
"We're going to show Major League Baseball how Milwaukee can throw a party," said TV analyst Bill Schroeder. "And we're going to be right back here for the World Series."
Along with the current players and coaches, a number of Brewers alumni were in attendance, including Hall of Famer and all-time fan favorite, Robin Yount.
Unable to join the Crew to celebrate last week when it clinched the division, Yount followed along from his Arizona home.
Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker shared a story about Yount setting off a fireworks show in his driveway with less-than-stellar results. Uecker joked that they had to work out of his right ear because he couldn't hear out of the other one.
As he was introduced, fans chanted "M-V-P" for Yount.
"No, we've got a bunch of MVPs right back here," Yount said, referring to the current Brewers players. "The reason for the fireworks show was I couldn't be here on Friday night, and I sure as [heck] wasn't going to let you guys celebrate alone without me."
Nearly all those introduced during the rally drew loud cheers from the energized crowd, including Attanasio and Brewers general manager Doug Melvin.
As he introduced the GM, Uecker talked of the moves Melvin made, including acquiring starters Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum in the offseason, Nyjer Morgan in Spring Training and setup man Francisco Rodriguez at the All-Star break.
"I get asked that question, 'What was one of the better decisions that you made?'" Melvin told the crowd. "The best decision I made was coming here in 2003 to work for the Milwaukee Brewer fans.
"I know there's a movie out called 'Moneyball.' Our version of 'Moneyball' is I ask Mark, 'How much money do we have? Let's go play baseball.'"
When the players finally came out to address the fans, Morgan was first. He walked out and drew huge cheers from the crowd as he gave the Brewers' "beast mode" motion on stage.
Brewers players were then brought to center stage by position group, with the big names and fan favorites at each position giving interviews.
As first baseman and NL MVP Award candidate Prince Fielder talked, he was drowned out by chants of "One more year" from the crowd. Milwaukee's other MVP candidate, Ryan Braun, was the last to talk, saying that he hoped Thursday was "the first of many celebrations."
Veteran outfielder Mark Kotsay, who has postseason experience with Oakland in 2006 and Boston in '08, but has never played in a World Series, made his expectations for the Brewers very clear.
"I'm glad I'm in Milwaukee, I'm glad I'm here. This could be my last year," Kotsay said. "My expectations are to be standing up here in 3 1/2 weeks with a ring."
Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.