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Homestander: No Bones About It

Beer, Miller Park, milwaukee brewers, tailgating May 23rd, 2013

HomestanderEach Thursday preceding Brewers weekend home stands, Tyler Maas will help prepare fans for all elements of the upcoming series with the Homestander. Tyler prints Wisconsin-themed shirts at Forward Fabrics and contributes to such fine publications as Milwaukee Magazine and The A.V. Club Milwaukee. All views, naughty words and weirdo sentiments are his own. Follow him at @TylerJamesMaas.

I'm not afraid to admit it. In 2008, after a Ryan Braun home run essentially won the ever-important 162nd game of the Brewers season and FSN (as it was called at the time) stayed live to show fan reaction to the last out of the Mets collapse that landed the Brewers in the playoffs, I wept. I was 23 at the time and in (in true blogger form) in my mom's basement with my family... none of whom particularly care for the Brewers, especially when the rare feat got in the way of a week 4 Packers game. I'm sure it was an odd sight for them, but (as sad as it sounds) I'd never felt such joy in my life in relation to baseball.

I went to Game 5 of the NLDS in 2011. Vince and I shelled out $100 apiece for left field bleacher seats, and Vince quickly abandoned me to watch at Friday's out of nervous habit. When the Crew won in extra innings, I stifled a full-on man-sob as best I could, hugged and high-fived strangers as confetti rained down from the metallic heavens. A few tears cracked through my masculine veneer and rolled down my cheek as I scooped up come confetti and departed.

I swear I'm not that guy who cries over sports stuff usually. I'm aware of the invisible line in the sand that separates being a sports fan and being a sports nut. And I'm sure as hell not that guy who cries over anything. At least I wasn't. You'd think as you get older, it gets easier to hold one's emotions in check. To a certain extent, it does become more manageable to weather the constant blows of life's disappointments. But in another sense, the longer you live on Earth, the more you taken in, the more you're shaped and re-shaped, and the more your emotions are eroded and mutated in the waxing and waning of existence's high and low tides. Occasionally, something small or unexpected can just break you down. Or at least that's what I'm dealing with at 28.

If a Subaru commercial, a line from a Weakerthans song or some god damn sports moment from yet another World Series-less Milwaukee Brewers season can produce ocular moisture, I'm seriously afraid for my tear ducts when I become a father (and all subsequent dad moments), when I get married and when I lose a close friend or relative. This makes me a total wuss and I probably shouldn't have written it. But hey, I'll take the Brewers tears when I can get them. I'll just blame it on allergies or being way too drunk.

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Gomez Photoshop Contest Results

Games, Off-Base, Site May 3rd, 2013

vvfJ6gwLast week, we decided to hold a little Photoshop contest for our readers with a grand prize of a ticket to our Pants Party 3D on June 23rd ($35 monetary value, infinite fun value), and a Forward Fabrics shirt for the runner up. Entrants were given the amazing Morry Gash (lolz again... Gash!) photograph to the right as a basis for a funny Photoshop redesign of their own.

We received lots of submissions from a whole bunch of readers throughout the week, and we didn't even have to be desperate about getting people to participate at all. Chalk up another successful promotion for the MPD boys!

Actually, participation only climbed to upwards of three people. Yikes! Anyway, since we promised stuff to people, I thought we'd share the efforts and name the runner-up and winning submissions below.
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Homestander: One Hand, No Hits

Miller Park, Off-Base May 2nd, 2013

HomestanderEach Thursday preceding Brewers weekend home stands, Tyler Maas will help prepare fans for all elements of the upcoming series with the Homestander. Tyler prints Wisconsin-themed shirts at Forward Fabrics and contributes to such fine publications as Milwaukee Magazine and The A.V. Club Milwaukee. All views, naughty words and weirdo sentiments are his own. Follow him at @TylerJamesMaas and watch him embarrass himself at Miller Park Drunk's Pants Party 3D on June 23.

In my 28-plus years on this planet, I'd estimate I've attended approximately 150 or so Major League Baseball games--roughly an entire season's worth of games. Thanks to proximity to the Miller Park, friends who love going to games and likely not being able to get a girl pregnant due to a perfect storm of looking as I do, binge-drinking Lo-Carb Monster and often resting my laptop on my crotch, I get to the park more than the average American. I mean, it's not like I'm in my mid- to late-40s and get to drive 200 combined miles 50 to 60 times a year to watch games alone while my spouse stays home with my kids, but I've still been pretty fortunate to witness as many baseball games as I have in my life.

In games I've attended, I've seen tons of Major League debuts, Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks' first home runs (same game!), first hits, five stadiums in as many states, fist fights, dramatic game-winning plays, crippling bullpen collapses, a 40-something biker lady whip out a breast, the bottom of countless helmet bowls, a Brooks Kieschnick pinch hit HR, and enough people doing the wave to make me absolutely lose faith in humanity. I think I once saw Ken Macha move! I've seen some great things and am lucky to have a baseball stadium serve as the background to many of my most prevalent and joyus memories in my life. But there's one thing I've never seen that I desperately want to, and--no matter how many hundred additional games I attend--might never see: a no-hitter.

If my math is correct, there are 4,860 regular season no-hitter opportunities. Once the playoffs are through, MLB starting pitchers will have more than 4,900 combined chances to accomplish the feat. At this point, there have only been 279 no-hitters in MLB history (280 if Jim Joyce was never born), so it's admittedly not a very common event. Still, of all teams in baseball (excluding the Nationals, who are basically the Expos, which have four no-nos in their history), the Brewers and the Mets have the fewest. That Brewers no-hitter by Juan Nieves--which Bill Schroeder caught. I don't know if he's ever mentioned it--in 1987 is one less than the no-no tallies of the Brooklyn Superbas, Washington Senators and Providence Grays and five fewer than the St. Louis Browns--six fewer than Nolan Ryan on his lonesome. Someone named Steve Busby even tossed one more no-hitter than the entire Brewers franchise has. In fact, one was against Milwaukee.

Milwaukee has been no-hit thrice (1974, 1994 and 2007), but never in a home game when I was alive. Pitchers with Brewers connections, such as Chris Bosio, Hideo Nomo (twice) and Jim Abbott has tossed no-nos, but never in a Brew Crew uniform. Carlos Zombrano threw one at Miller Park when the hurricane-displaced Houston Astros were using it as the team's "Home" stadium and I almost went, but lived in Appleton at the time and decided against buying tickets the morning of. Really, to see a no-hitter is special because it's a perfect recipe of skill, luck, circumstance and a silently thickening atmosphere around the approaching milestone. Once a pitcher (Brewer or otherwise) tosses five clear frames at a game I'm attending, I allow myself to imagine that this might be the game I see my no-hitter and have a story about being there when some asshole like Eric Stults no hit my Brewers in a fairly meaningless contest. In the 9th, I'd openly root for an opposing pitcher to no-hit Milwaukee (excluding elimination games). I don't care. So in addition to the game itself and the periphery joys of tailgating, hearing "Return Of The Mack", seeing mini-milestones, gross boob flashing, 50/50 frozen margaritas and laughing when somebody fucks up a simple trivia question, I go and will continue to go to games with the unlikely, but ever-present hope of witnessing a no-hitter.

Unless it's Bronson Arroyo. Fuck that guy.

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MPD Contest: Gomez Ducking Photoshop

Games, Off-Base April 26th, 2013

vvfJ6gwYeah, yeah, we know this photo is from a few weeks ago, but this Morry Gash picture--lolz "Gash"--is the modern baseball equivalent of that iconic photograph of the soldier who just returned from war who's passionately kissing his wife. Or at the very least, that "Hang In There" poster with the cat.

It's a testament to Carlos Gomez's speed. It displays Ryan Braun's lingering spirit in the face of constant and unjust adversity. It kind of reminds me of The Matrix. And really, those are the three things I look for in a good picture. But I feel like MPD readers can make this great image even better, weirder and more hilarious. That's right, it's time for a Photoshop contest!

Miller Park Drunk and Forward Fabrics want to offer a prize to the reader who can manipulate, redesign or incorporate elements of this image into something funny, unique, creative or just plain awesome. Whether you focus on the water stream or crouching Gomez or anything else is up to you. If you don't think you're good at Photoshop (or any other photo editing software), no big deal. Crude attempts might even increase your chances of winning. Speaking of the prize, one grand prize winner will take home a Brewers-oriented prize pack complete with:

• A ticket to Miller Park Drunk Pants Party 3D, June 23. This includes a free game ticket (Polish Sausage bobblehead game), a Pants Party shirt, unlimited food, beer and fun.

One runner up will also get a Forward Fabrics shirt of their choice.

There's no limit on the amount of entries. Deadline is Thursday at 11:59 p.m. Central and a winners will be named Friday. Email entries to with "MPD Contest" in the subject line.

Good luck!

Homestander: Funky Butt-Lovin’

Miller Park, Off-Base April 18th, 2013

HomestanderEach Thursday preceding Brewers weekend home stands, Tyler Maas will help prepare fans for all elements of the upcoming series with the Homestander. Tyler prints Wisconsin-themed shirts at Forward Fabrics and contributes to such fine publications as Milwaukee Magazine and The A.V. Club Milwaukee. All views, naughty words and weirdo sentiments are his own. Follow him at @TylerJamesMaas.

It's no understatement to say that the internet is pretty cool. In my early childhood, the internet didn't exist. Around 1994, my dad brought home one of those AOL discs and his gigantic work laptop and we spent an hour downloading me pictures of Robert Brooks and George Teague. Growing up during the transitional period between rampant net-lessness and when everyone had the internet and used it constantly is special. I get to appreciate a "simpler" time before the internet in which people had to call people on land lines (or Zack Morris cell phones) to make plans to watch VHS tapes rented from video stores to watch on non-HD televisions while eating yogurt that wasn't in portable plastic tubes. It's a wonder we didn't die.

However, I also got to experience living in a world where I could make plans with girls in ways that didn't require awkwardly talking to dads. I got to watch internet evolve from dial up tones to optional high-speed upgrade to high-speed becoming the norm. We went from taking an hour to download a Len song on Napster to every song being available and, often, offered up by bands themselves. Don't even get me started on improvements in adult entertainment.

Now we live in a world where everyone has the internet and uses it constantly for everything. Embarrassing as it is, I met my girlfriend because of the internet, and that's becoming more and more acceptable (at least that's what people tell me as they slowly back away). I make the majority of my living through writing things for websites. I've seen thousands of cat memes. Memes is a word now. It's great. But with the internet being so prevalent, it's difficult to dodge the annoying tendencies of others. Between relatives with horrendous grammar, everyone from my past shitting out 5,000 kids and people littering my Facebook feed with political nonsense, it can be rough. But everyone has one Twitter follow or Facebook "friend" who takes the cake with their cringeworthy status updates. I'm probably that to person more than a few people, and I won't tell you who mine is, but his existence serves as a daily (at times hourly) reminder than there's someone out there who I'm better than.

So the next time you're retweeted by Taco John's, paying your bills in the middle of the night in your underwear, video-chatting with your friend in Japan, watching a replay of Blake Lalli's game-winning hit or Googling the name of the fat white kid on The Cosby Show (Peter, by the way), count your blessings for living in an age that offers us all these great things... as well as the ability to know that dude you worked with at a pizza place for four months in college is made a vegan stew tonight that was "yummers in [his] tummers." The good still outweighs the bad.

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