Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mailbag! Opening Day Edition

Occasionally we get letters,* typically from those scary, militia types. The mailbag is our chance to placate them with answers in the hope that this will prevent them from killing us in our sleep, or, better yet, prompt them into learning how to use the comments section. Let's jump right in.

Dear Brewed Sports People,

I'm in a crowded parking lot with 50,000 other people, I've been drinking all morning, I really have to pee, and the nearest bathroom is ½ a mile way with a huge line. Any ideas?

Alyssa M.
Los Angeles, CA

Well Alyssa, there are several schools of thought on the subject. First, there's the Sisyphean method. This involves getting a beer, getting in a bathroom line, doing your business, grabbing another beer, and getting back in the bathroom line. On the plus side, you'll always be near a bathroom, but there are several negatives. First, people in bathroom lines at opening day are very very annoying. For some reason they're always yelling “Go Brewers” even though there is no game going on. They tend to wear huge, novelty, non-baseball caps. Their jerseys are stained, and feature their own last name instead of the last name of their favorite player. And then there are Cub fans. Don’t even get me started about those guys. 2 words: No aim. Anyway, spending extended periods of time in bathroom lines isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time.

One frequent tactic is to open the front and rear doors of a car and go between them, but the ladies aren’t as big a fan of this idea.

A few years ago a rowdy group of tailgaters brought the following supplies:

1. A tent.
2. A bucket
3. A long, plastic tube.
4. A sign that read “No Deuces”

They set up the tent over the bucket, ran the tube from a hole in the bucket (dear Alyssa) to the sewer. This was both brilliant and disgusting, and may have caused Miller Park to fail an environmental audit later that year.

Some people strap port-o-johns to the back of their pickups, which seems like a good way to go. If you park on the west end of the stadium, you can also run up the hill a bit and be fairly secluded.

But all of these involve huge expenditures of money, effort, and disgusting, disgusting bother, so here’s what you do.

Grab a few beers. If you’re like me, your eyes were bigger than your tolerance when you planned opening day, and you probably have a few to spare. Next, find someone else who brought their own toilet. Walk over to them, and offer them beer to use their bathroom. There you go. And if you happen to be of the female persuasion, asking nicely will probably do the trick. This should increase your tailgating enjoyment 1000%, and who knows, you might make some new friends.

Dear Sirs,

I am Catholic, and I recently was invited to attend opening day. I was wondering if you might be able to help me out with a loophole, as I would like to enjoy a brat as much s anyone. In fact, the very thought of eating any seafood provided by SportService is too terrifying to contemplate.

Yours Truly,

Timothy D.
Milwaukee, WI

Catholics are really in a bind here. One option is to stop being Catholic, but no one ever seems to go for that option. Don’t get me wrong, I like fish fries and Mardi Gras, it’s just not my cup of tea. If quitting the faith is not your bag, might I remind you of the old adage that it is better to ask forgiveness than permission? Look at it this way; it’s unlikely that God will eternally punish you for not partaking of a ritual decided at the Diocese level for one day. Abstaining from good food will make your life worse while not improving your afterlife at all, so long as you make good on the whole repentance thing. What’s your incentive? Basically you’re being punished for no reason here.

That said, it’s tough to find an exception for a Friday during Lent. I found one possible out for you in this, uhm, particularly holy document:

The bishop of a diocese can modify these rules for Roman Catholics in his diocese; for example, it is not uncommon for a bishop of a diocese in the United States to give dispensations from the normal Lenten regulations if St. Patrick's Day (March 17) falls on a Friday during Lent.

Opening day is fairly analogous to St. Paddy’s, I would say. But as the Milwaukee Diocese appears disinclined to do this, you’d probably have to join another diocese temporarily.

Finally, an apocryphal tale that I’ve heard posits that this whole fish thing was declared by some Pope in the 1400s who owned a struggling fishing business. I’ve never managed to confirm this (as I often say, if the information is online, it’s probably not true, but if the information is not online, it’s almost certainly not true.), but in the spirit of this story, keep in mind that most of the tastiest ballpark food is produced in your fair state, and likely in the city itself. With the way the economy is going it’s positively an act of mercy to the local economy to eat a brat on Friday. Oh, and if you’re a frequent reader of this blog, you know that eating beaver is OK too.

Although, Timothy D., I suspect that might break a different rule in your case.

Lastly, if you’re still feeling guilty, recite Gabe Gross’s intro music 5 times. That should do the trick.

Newmans and other gus and girls if there are any,

I am a Cubs’ fan and Im going to you’re opening day (Ha!). Any advice? Culter Rules!

Fratman K. Brickdweller
Centrl Lakeview, Chicago (WOO!), IL

Why do people mispronounce my last name as Newman? Oh, right. The first name.

Sure, no problem Fratboy. We’re nothing if not friendly around here. The first thing to understand is that there are not bars all around the stadium. You’ll have to either drive, or take a shuttle from a bar. Instead of drinking at John Barleycorn or Moe’s Cantina before a game, Milwaukeeans drink in the parking lot outside of their cars, around a grill. This is called tailgating, and it differs from what you are used to in several important ways:

1. It’s cheaper.

2. There isn’t any blaring techno music, because that would be lame.

3. There are more bathrooms, and they are not as disgusting.

Once you manage to stumble into the actual game, you should know the following:

1. People tend to watch the baseball, and not just hit on drunk, sunburned chicks who reek of Old Style and onions.

2. No concrete will fall on your head.

3. It won’t rain. Or snow.

4. Starting a “Let’s Go Cubbies” chant entitles people to throw beer at you.

5. Secret Stadium sauce is appropriate for Brats, just like ketchup.

6. They carry the radio broadcast in all Miller Park bathrooms so you will get to learn what it’s like to have non-stupid announcers.

7. You should not shout ethnic slurs at the racing sausages. Too meta.

8. If you catch one of the many Brewer home runs and throw it back on the field, you will be ejected for throwing things onto the field.

9. There is not a truly disturbing statue of Harry Caray outside of our stadium, and everything is spelled correctly on all of our statues.

10. Oh, wait, didn’t you hear? Opening day is actually being played in Lambeau Field. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Head on up to Green Bay, see the Hall of Fame, grab a beer at Curly’s, and don’t worry if it seems quiet. I’m sure everyone will show up in due time.

So, you found a picture of the actual Two-Fisted Slopper?

Chris F.
Milwaukee, WI

Yup. Thank you, random person with Flickr account.

Yo, net-dudes. Cool blog! LMAO. IFA? Why is the mascot some guy with a huge mustache? Thnx,

New Holstein, WI

First of all, guy with terrible handle, text-speak is not acceptable when writing a letter. Or an e-mail. Or a text. Or anywhere.

Second, you’re probably too old to remember when the Brewers were actually about beer. Bernie Brewer was, by far, the coolest mascot ever back in the day. He used to be an actual German Brewer with Lederhosen and everything, and when someone would hit a home run, he would slide into a giant mug of beer and release balloons. It is hard to understate how awesome this is as a concept.

As you would expect, this did not sit well with the PC police, and with the huge uptick in small children sliding into giant beer mugs on playgrounds, the powers that be decided not to bring the mug with them to Miller Park. There also used to be a huge beer barrel at County Stadium. It’s gone (although that thing was kind of stupid, as it said “Sentry” on it instead of a beer company logo).

Bernie’s been neutered, which is too bad, especially since he doesn’t make any sense any more. Why does he slide? Why is he just a guy in a uniform? Why does he wave a big flag a the bottom of the slide? These are all eviscerated homages to the once proud, hard drinking mascot. Removed from context, they appear to be cheap cheerleading and nothing more.

Pretending that Bernie is just some guy is super lame, so I urge you to sign this petition, and to drink one down every time some Brewer hits a homer run, in memory of the mascot that would actually (well, pretend to) swim in beer in celebration. I don’t even care how old you are Braunchitis. Also, you might want to get that checked out. Sounds serious.

That takes care of our snail mailbag for another month or so. It’s a small bag.

Dear baseball know-it-all guys.

You can’t end the mailbag yet. Who’s going to win this game? On the one hand, I like the Cubs lineup, but on the other hand, Rich Harden hasn’t been consistent in spring training.


Joe M.
Cincinnati, OH

Harden did not have a good spring, that much is true. Lou Piniella tried to explain it as Harden not pushing himself when the games don’t matter, but with Harden, you always have to be concerned about injury.

I suspect that the Brewers will come out firing, that Harden’s struggles will continue, and that he’ll get knocked out early. I grant that I’m going with a small sample size so far, but the Cubs have some issues. Their closer, Kevin Gregg, has looked very shaky, and while Soriano and Ramirez have been hot, Derrek Lee looks very old and there’s already some clamoring for Micah Hoffpauir to take over. Kosuke Fukudome is still terrible (even though he want 4/5 last night), Geo Soto is dinged (and appears to be headed to the DL), and they’ve actually had some trouble scoring runs.

Braden Looper isn’t great, but the Brewers might not need great. I’m counting on a bigger offense this year with most of the offense entering their prime years, and while I only have a one game sample so far, I liked what I saw. I think the Brewers take the opener, 6-4.

Tomorrow is the greatest day of the year, so everyone enjoy it! Go Brewers!

*Not really.


Chris said...

Longest Post....... Ever this monster makes my rambling posts seem short ;P lol

PaulNoonan said...

Mailbags are always long.

tracker said...

Tailgaters should drink more brandy. Won't have to pee as much.

PaulNoonan said...

That is good advice Tracker. Warmer too.

OC Lurker said...

Nice way to pass the time on the last workday of the week. Opening Day is always my floating holiday.

Yes, it is the greatest day of the year.

paul said...

Another suggestion for Catholics tomorrow - use Jerusalem time for observing your dietary rules. If that's not enough time, celebrate Friday on Tokyo time. Opening day is then on Saturday.

PaulNoonan said...

Ah, the "It's Always Happy Hour Somewhere" solution. Good one.

tracker said...

Tailgaters should also use more mescaline.