It is officially my favorite time of the year.
The weather is slowly starting to get better, spring training has begun and Wrestlemania is right around the corner. Yeah, I said Wrestlemania. Just like everyone that didn't get laid enough wrestling was a big part of my life growing up. I mean, who didn't have a Stone Cold, Rock or nWo t-shirt in that sweet 97-2000 period? Losers, that's who. This should come as no surprise to any of you really. After all, Miller Park Drunk WAS the site that originally suggested the Ultimate Warrior theme for Todd Coffey and we all know how that turned out.
I don't watch as much wrestling as I did back then, but I usually always end up checking it out around Wrestlemania time. If you're looking for a good show, it's a pay-per-view that never lets you down unlike the majority of boxing and the occasional UFC PPVs I have watched over the years (one of the many positives of watching a fake sport.) Sure, there is still some stupid stuff on the show like last year's 20 minute Kid Rock concert, but overall at the end of the show I always feel as if I've gotten my money's worth and it's a perfect set-up drinking-wise for Opening Day. Last season was the perfect storm for my Wrestlemania/baseball orgy as Wrestlemania was Sunday, I went to Twins Opening Day on Monday and then made it home Tuesday for the Brewers first game of the season. Just a great three days of drinking, sporting, hanging with my friends and, of course, drinking. It's spread a bit further out this year, but for some strange reason nothing gets me ready for baseball season like Wrestlemania.
Now all these thoughts of wrestling and baseball have me mixing up the two. Was it Kane that Tombstoned Pete Rose or was that Richie Sexson? Who won 1992 Rookie of the Year for the Brewers, Pat Listach or The Repo Man? The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the reason I am confusing the two so much is because they are so much alike. Richie Sexson was who he was because of his size, just like Kane. Pat Listach basically stole the Rookie of the Year award from Kenny Lofton and then disappeared a few years later because he wasn't that good, just like the Repo Men basically stole people's cars and disappeared because he wasn't that good. (Sidenote: how did Listach get so many at-bats in 96-97? He was awful, I'm talking Shockmaster awful.) The comparisons are endless. However, for the purposes of this article we'll be limiting the comparisons to players currently on the team. So without any further adieu I present to you...
Miller Park Drunk's Guide to Brewers as WWF/E Stars
RYAN BRAUN IS...
Of course he is.
Mr. Perfect was exactly what his name implied. He was talented at everything he attempted and he knew it. A great worker that was great at interviews too, the fans couldn't help but hate him. He was everything you wanted to be, but couldn't and he knew that you knew it too.
Somewhat sadly, this description fits Ryan Braun to a tee. His self confidence and showboating is well documented, but the thing that has always stuck out to me is how much fans of other teams dislike him (like this facebook group "I Hate Ryan Braun") and how most of us probably do too. He's ours for the next few years and that's going to be pretty awesome, but it's hard not to think that some of us are simply waiting for him to turn heel on us and go to another team so that he can take his rightful place as the most hated man in Milwaukee history.
COREY HART IS...
During the WWE's "Attitude" era Bradshaw gained some fame in the tag team APA, as a poker playing, beer swilling Texas redneck. His matches were never that good, but he was popular with the fans and had a strong character. As time went on his character got old and the fans grew tired of him. He decided to undergo a massive character overhaul towards the beginning of the 2000s trading in his beer drinking redneck ways for that of a rich Texas businessman calling himself JBL. After he crossed this line there was no going back and the fans would never really forgive him. I'm sure he really enjoyed "The Blind Side".
Much like Bradshaw, Corey Hart started off hot in his Brewers career gaining the adulation of fans culminating in them voting him onto the 2008 All-Star team and a beer drinking celebration with his daughter. Unfortunately, things would sour quickly as in the midst of a playoff race Corey Hart hit just .239 in the second half of the season including a paltry .173 in the final month of the season. After an injury plagued 2009 Hart end up having his JBL moment becoming the first player to take his arbitration case to court in Doug Melvin's GM career and winning it, thus angering some fans (though I'm still not sure why they care.) 2010 is a make or break year for Corey Hart as far as his relationship with the fans goes.
PRINCE FIELDER IS...
He was just a common man, working hard with his hands. He didn't look like an athlete is supposed to look, but he could talk the talk and (mostly) walk the walk. Fans could relate to him because he looked like them and you knew that he was a hard worker. (A hard worker, is not necessarily a good worker but still.) Looking at a picture of Dusty Rhodes you can't help but think "Seriously? That guy?", but after you saw him perform you understood.
Besides being completely controlled by fear, Prince and Dusty Rhodes are actually quite a lot like. Obviously, Prince Fielder doesn't look like an athlete is supposed to look but he is definitely something special when he steps up to the plate. Beyond that Rhodes "common man" persona jives perfectly with Prince Fielder. While Prince wasn't the son of a plumber, his father caused him enough troubles in his life that you really believe that the guy knows what hard time is all about. Plus, if I had to pick a Brewer I'd least like to see in wrestling trunks or the Brewer most likely to have a weird splotch on his chest, it would without a doubt be Prince Fielder.
FOUR RANDOM CONNECTIONS THAT NEED LITTLE TO NO EXPLANATION
Mark Attanasio is Vince McMahon
Gregg Zaun is Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart (just feels right)
Manny Parra Yovani Gallardo is Eddie Guerrero (totally awesome, Mexican)
Ken Macha is Vince Russo (in charge, stupid, useless)
JEFF SUPPAN IS...
THE MILLION DOLLAR MAN
It's rare to find a character in wrestling that no matter what happens will always be either "good" or "bad". One of the best things about wrestling is the way wrestlers can change your entire feelings of them with a well executed storyline. "The Million Dollar Man" Ted Dibiase is one of the people that no matter what he did would always be hated by wrestling fans. His character was simple, he was a rich asshole and he wouldn't share his money with you. In his mind there was nothing that couldn't be bought, including the WWF title or sometimes wrestlers themselves. Normally, he turned out to be right. We hated him for his money and he deserved it.
Jeff Suppan probably isn't a rich asshole. He donates a lot of his time and money to numerous charities and has made the most of his wealth by giving back. He is, by all accounts, a good guy. With that being said, he has not been a very good pitcher for the Brewers despite being paid like one and the only way he's ever going to get a Cy Young award is by buying one. There really isn't much worse you can do to a baseball fan base than not play like you are paid to play, even if it isn't your fault that they paid you that much. Still, we will probably always hate Jeff Suppan for his money whether he deserves it or not.
TREVOR HOFFMAN IS....
The Undertaker has been around forever and he's been remarkably consistent throughout his career, keeping himself and his character fresh. Which is amazing when you consider he's died, wrestled in possibly the worst Wrestlemania match of all time, was buried alive, killed his manager, hung the Big Bossman and worst of all he once used a Limp Bizkit song as his entrance music. He demands respect because he's been there, he's done that and he's probably done it two or three more times. His great accomplishment is probably the fact that he owns the most prestigious record in all of wrestling with a 17-0 showing at Wrestlemania, which I consider the only "record" fans actually care about.
I can say a lot of the same things about Trevor Hoffman that I just said about the Undertaker. He's been around forever, he has an impressive streak of 17 seas0ns with an ERA+ of at least 100, he has classic entrance music and he demands respect as one of the greatest closers of all time. All that is great, but that's not why I think the Undertaker and Trevor Hoffman are a perfect match. The truth is that the reason I paired these two up is because there probably won't be anyone like them ever again and they both had their wives stalked by DDP.
BONUS PICTURE CONNECTION
(Get it? They both have red hair!)
CRAIG COUNSELL IS...
The Living Legend Terry Funk is completely ageless. He started wrestling in 1965 and just kept on going until... now, I guess(?). A bigger draw earlier in his career, the Funker reinvented himself in the 90s as a hardcore icon that some would say made him bigger and better than he ever was before. I'm pretty sure if you called him right now and asked him to do a show, he'd do it if the price was right. He just loves what he does and will do it as long as his body allows or until the world ends, whatever comes first.
Much like Terry Funk, Craig Counsell was also born in 1944 and peaked in the 70s. While he was a starting player for much of his career, he has really re-invented himself as the Brewers utility-man and gotten better with age as last season was the best of his career. If he has a decent 2010, I see no reason he doesn't come back in 2011 and if he comes back then it's not that much of a stretch to think he'll still be a Brewer in 2012 which as we all know is the end of the world. A Brewer until the end.