Prince Fielder. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
MILWAUKEE - It was a standing ovation for a man about to groundout, followed by a standing ovation for a man walking to a dugout.
Normally, those types of fan reactions aren't reserved for mundane failures such as groundouts, but in the case of Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, it was tens of thousands of fans saying a probable "goodbye" and a definite "thank you."
It happened during the eighth inning of the Brewers' 12-6 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, clinching a 4-2 National League Series win for the Cardinals and the end of an emotional and scintillating playoff run for Milwaukee.
Just as much, it was probably the end of Prince Fielder's career in Milwaukee.
"It was awesome, just because playing here was awesome," said Fielder after the game.
"I'm just glad I was able to have the amount of fun I had. It was cool. It was cool."
He will become a free agent this offseason, and will garner contract offers that will probably be far beyond what Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio can realistically afford, particularly considering Fielder has the ruthless Scott Boras as an agent.
"I'm not thinking about that quite yet," said Fielder after the loss.
"I'm just trying to say goodbye to my teammates. It's the off-season, you're not going to see them at 3:00 every day. I'm trying to say good-bye to them. Trying to keep the throat clear."
Another possibly-soon-to-be-leaving-his-team superstar first baseman also helped Milwaukee's crowd have the extended chance to say their probable goodbyes to Fielder.
St. Louis first baseman Albert Pujols is also becoming a free agent.
When Fielder approached the plate for his 8th inning at-bat. Milwaukee's crowd began its standing ovation.
Seconds before the first pitch was to head to Fielder, Pujols stepped up and held his hands up to call time out and stop play.
Fielder understood that Pujols wanted to give Milwaukee's fans a chance to pay their respects to a man who hit 237 regular season home runs in a Brewers uniform.
Fielder gave Pujols a nod before the first pitch to him, as if to say "thank you" for letting the fans say "thank you."
"That's cool. I appreciate it," Fielder said about Pujols' gesture.