Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 5/9/12

MILWAUKEE, WI - NOVEMBER 4: Robin Yount (C) speaks as Milwaukee Brewers general manager Doug Melvin (L) and Chairman and Principal owner Mark Attanasaio look on at a press conference announcing his return to the Milwaukee Brewers as a bench coach November 4, 2005 at Miller Park in Miwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE When Brewers general manager Doug Melvin took over in late September 2002, after another disappointing season in Milwaukee, the city had meager expectations for its baseball team. A decade straight of losing seasons will do that. So when Melvin set out to rebuild the Brewers, he started with a seemingly simple goal in winning back the city of Milwaukee. "When I first took this job," Melvin said, "I said my goal was to have a team that was more popular than the sausage race." Nine years later, Melvin's team was dripping head to toe in champagne, having won an NL Central title and earned its second trip to the playoffs in four seasons. Melvin's rebuilding plan paid off. In a small market, having inherited a team that was known for its history of losing, Melvin's push to make Milwaukee a contender was an inspired one. And on Tuesday, he and manager Ron Roenicke were justly rewarded for their efforts, signing extensions that could keep both of them here through 2015. In Melvin's case especially, that extension could make a big difference in the future of the Brewers organization. Last year was an especially interesting segment of Melvin's plan to construct a franchise that can compete year in and year out. He traded away top prospects Alcides Escobar and Brett Lawrie, somewhat controversially, to bolster the pitching staff with Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum moves that paid off in the short term for a team that decided it wanted to win now. Although both of those players might become big-time contributors in the majors, the moves finally put the Brewers over the hump. They were the right albeit tough moves to make. And now, over the hump with an extension through at least 2015, comes the hardest part of building a franchise from the ground up: staying there. "Everybody gets challenged when you have success," Melvin said Tuesday. "That's why there's never any dynasties in sports anymore. There's very few in all four major sports." This season, with a record that has put the team in the NL Central cellar for the time being, those challenges have already started to roll in. Three season-ending injuries have decimated the Brewers' regulars, as the team is now forced to use fill-ins at shortstop and first base and a long reliever in the fifth-starter spot. Early losses like that can doom a team before the summer months even begin. But Melvin is rightly apprehensive to make drastic moves too quickly. That's the kind of approach principal owner Mark Attanasio has grown to appreciate in his general manager as well as in Roenicke. "With both of them," Attanasio said, "the demeanor is not a lot different whether we win or lose, and you need that in this sport, both because you have so much failure and because it's a day-to-day grind. Neither guy gets too high or too low, and that's important now because this is a time to be low." How the Brewers respond to this latest low could be the most important move Melvin has made yet. Trades or free-agent signings this early in the season are unlikely, but near the halfway point, if the Brewers trail by single-digit games in the NL Central, you can count on some kind of deal being made to bolster the lineup. Such a move could put the team over the hump again and push it into the playoffs. Or, as always, it could have the opposite effect. That's how thin the line is between contender and pretender in the major leagues. One or two decisions can quickly change everything. "It's an ongoing challenge to manage it to the point that you don't put your team at risk," Attanasio said. Now, with the expectations of an up-and-coming franchise and a baseball team more popular than its own sausage race the Brewers are at a crucial point in their existence as a franchise. Being on the cusp as a major league baseball team is an awfully fickle position to be in. But in his nearly 10 years in Milwaukee, Melvin has shown that he's the right man to navigate a team in that spot, especially one that he built up from rock bottom. And if this year and the three remaining years of Melvin's contract go as planned, the Brewers may never have to see what rock bottom looks like again.Follow Ryan Kartje on Twitter.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Greg Jennings: Ryan Tannehill has had his hands tied by coaches

Josh McDaniels 'happy' with Pats but wants to be a head coach again

WATCH: Jim Harbaugh in cleats throws out first pitch at Cubs game

Why Rickie Fowler will win the PGA Championship

Warren Sapp bitten on arm by shark


Fitzpatrick, Jets agree to one-year deal

Baker considering removing Papelbon from closer role?

Greg Hardy struggling to find work, reportedly even in CFL

Jets players told not to discuss Ryan Fitzpatrick situation

Brock Lesnar won't be punished by WWE for UFC drug test

Report: Cowboys to be fined up to $250K for suspended players

Report: Ravens WR Mike Wallace failed conditioning test

WATCH: Kobe Bryant drives Ferrari around Italian racetrack

Terrelle Pryor shouts out Ohio State after ban ends

Justin Timberlake advocates for Memphis to join Big 12

Poll: Las Vegas residents don’t support public funds for NFL stadium

Conor McGregor talks trash to Nate Diaz on ‘Conan’

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Real Madrid can’t train at Norwegian school because of the kids

Newspaper uses Michael Jordan ‘crying face’ as image

Equipment manager Blake Griffin punched no longer works for Clippers

Report: Nicks signing one-year deal with Saints

Reds 'picking up the pace' on Jay Bruce trade talks

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker