Gaze around Miller Park during any given game and you're bound to see at least a few strange (primarily German) last names and unfamiliar digits not belonging to any current Brewer each shoddily attached to replica jerseys. This abomination of thread and fabric somehow manages to be simultaneously tacky and overpriced. It does the work of both highlighting a team's super fans as well as immediately revoking the credibility of said team's entire fan base by association. In short, they must be stopped.
Much has been written about the fate of Ryan Braun's appealed 50-game suspension. Most of it is peppered in an altogether negative (or as some call it, "realistic") overtone. We've touched on it. Articles routinely mention that Major League Baseball has never overturned a PED-related suspension. Milwaukee's front office has added personnel in the instance the team's MVP is a rendered a spectator for the season's first two months. After giving Brewers fans some hope with positive remarks about Braun's test a few weeks ago, even Cousin's Subs spokesperson/kind-of sports pundit Dan Patrick slunk away from his comments and returned to his normal show protocol (of interviewing Adam Sandler about the latest cinematic stillbirth he let Patrick have a scene in).
Even though we've been given little in the way of hope for an overturned suspension, it's still technically possible. Frankly, I'm not entirely confident in it happening. I expect most of you feel the same. But if you could risk you delicate heart and just suspend your disbelief for a moment, I'd like to prepare you for the butterfly effect (shitty movie, right?!) of events what might happen if Ryan Braun is, in fact, found innocent of any wrongdoing.
It's been more than two weeks, over a fortnight, since the world awoke to a new year. And though New Year's day is really just another day we're forced to trudge through in this harsh and unforgiving hellscape called "life", the beginning of the calendar can serve as the origin point for significant personal change and improvement.
In 2011, I started a business. I met my incredible now-girlfriend. Death From Above 1979 reunited, and I saw them in Chicago. The Packers won the Super Bowl and Brewers had an unforgettable season. Still, I look back on 2011 and I think it--for the most part--sucked maj dog-dick. Sure, it looked good, on paper, but I'm still a fish-lipped geek without heath insurance who's living in a shitty 2 BR upper on the Southside of Milwaukee. I have only 145 Twitter followers... almost all those are of the fake hot chick virus robot account variety. Almost every one of my major life goals remains unmet. Things could always be better. So it's nice to feel like the flipping of a calendar can bring change, usher in improvement and make room for personal growth... even though, you know, none of that stuff will probably happen.
The Brewers, too, enjoyed a decidedly good 2011. However, any season not ending in a World Series win is one to be improved upon. Obviously, the club aspires to win the World Series this year, even though the Alex Gonzalez signing seems to indicate otherwise (rim shot!). Beyond that, we can only speculate the resolutions of each individual Brewers player. And since signing Brooks Conrad and a lumpy ginger to minor league deals isn't exactly post worthy, speculate is exactly what I'll do. Here are your 2012 Brew Year's Resolutions.
In 2009, Casey McGehee surprised Brewers fans when he revealed himself to be a not-entirely-shitty (and, at times, even good) guy at doing baseball while filling in for an injured Rickie Weeks and an OHMYGODSOTERRIBLE!!! Bill E. Hall at second and third base. He chased that partial season of partial OK-ness with a 23-home run, 104-RBI showing for the 2010
Ken Macha cyborg squad Brewers before shocking almost everyone in 2011 by reverting into the Casey McGehee we neither knew nor loved in 2008.
And now, with the ceremoniousness of an AHL All-Star Game, the tact of a sack tap, and the speed of a curry BM, Casey McGehee's tenure as a Brewer has concluded. It seemed like only yesterday he was a glaring hole in Milwaukee's lineup.
As easy as it is for us Brewer fans (and, evidently, Doug Melvin) to be rid of Casey in favor of two-time All-Star slugger Aramis Ramirez to play third instead, the times weren't all bad.
There were those times we all incorrectly pronounced his last name for a while. How young and foolish we all were! His imperfect physique combined with his absence of good looks and try-hard white guy tendencies allowed us (also lumpy, hideous and predominately crackers ourselves) to dream of one day being penciled in a default third baseman for a mid-market franchise operating under tight fiscal constraints. Remember that day game in August when McGehee hosted his belated 2011 coming out party (and immediate going back in party) when he smacked around Edwin Jackson to the tune of three homers... almost a quarter of his season total? That was kind of cool. I mean, yeah, I was at work when it happened. But I'm aware it occurred.
McGehee leaves the Brewers for Pittsburgh in much different fashion than when he came to town. Of his 407 career hits, 403 came with a barley sprig on his jersey. Each of his 52 home runs and 1 (HA!) stolen base was tallied when he was a Brewers employee. The club even saw reason to reward McGehee with his own bobble head last season, though, in fairness, it was probably just part of the ongoing practical joke the organization is playing on Yovani Gallardo. Though a less-than-ideal situation for McGehee, he'll likely see regular ABs and have a chance to be a fan favorite in a great city. Plus, he can (and, let's face it, probably will) eat at Primanti Bros. every day.
The way I'll remember Casey McGehee is as the player moved to make space for an exciting free agent acquisition; a player traded to give the Crew a return of Jose Veras, an affordable, dependable and much-needed relief pitcher; a necessary casualty of a team looking to keep its brief competitive window ajar as much as and for as long as it can. So farewell, Casey. You were pretty OK... or whatever.
Vince: You know what's really awesome about Ryan Braun? He invented Remetee. You know Remetee, right? Those really cool, really hip and really sexy t-shirts from the makers of Affliction. At first I was like "you know these shirts are kind of douche-y," but then one day I was shopping at my local mall and I decided to bite the bullet and try one of these things on. I mean, Braun did such a good job with Limelight Fusion Drinks that I figured that these shirts had to be good too and boy am I glad that I did. I don't think I'm crazy when I say that these shirts are AWESOME!
You know how Ryan Braun is the best baseball player on the planet? Well these t-shirts are like the Ryan Braun of shirts. I am not talking about just t-shirts either. These shirts are the Ryan Braun of ALL shirts. That includes sweatshirts, v-necks, polos, long sleeves, thermals, long sleeve polos, tank tops and even sweaters too. These shirts are just that good. They're better than dress shirts, crew, button ups, undershirts and even coats. I know a coat isn't technically a shirt, but they really are that good. It's like wearing Ryan Braun's skin, only not creepy. You know?
Seriously, I think everyone should wear Remetee everyday.
Tyler: You raise some good points, Vince. I, too, strive to wear Ryan Braun's skin (maniacal glare). But I raise this counterpoint.
Look at this thing. Just as the mighty mythical Achilles had a vulnerable heel, in the same way Foo Fighters have the song "Learn To Fly" in its catalog, Ryan Braun has one glaring weakness in his otherwise perfect makeup of skill, athleticism, instinct, handsomeness, fame, savvy and wealth... style.
I want to think Braun founded Remetee to serve as a dummy corporation to help launder money from his human trafficking business. It's that bad. But sadly, I think Braunie intentionally set out to cram an assload of skulls, daggers and Medieval goblets into any stylistic crevice Mr. Edward Hardy hadn't already filled. Judging by the 75 percent discount on most shirts, it seems as if douchebags don't even like these shirts. Yeah, Criss Angel probably owns one, but he only uses it to wipe up when his albino iguana sprays cake on his custom-made massage table.
The worst part of all this what Remetee tries to sell these cloth-trocities for. Most were originally $80 to $100. Then, they were marked down to $69 (Ha! Classic. Sweet price, brah!). Suddenly, these puppies are retailing for $17.25. Though it'd be easy to blame the economy, global warming, Scott Walker or Coca-Cola's failed attempt at a white can, the blame falls squarely on Remetee's style, or lack thereof. If I want a too-tight v-neck depicting a high Zulu priest sodomizing a dragon on the surface of the moon, I'll buy it at a thrift store like anyone else. Bad shirts lose their ironic appeal when the buyer spends more than $3 for them.
Besides, if you're seeking a garment with only slight implicit connection to the Brewers, there are better and cheaper options out there.