12
Sep 13

Homestander: It’s Almost Over

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, Shepherd Express and The A.V. Club Milwaukee. All views, naughty words and weirdo sentiments are his own. Follow him at @TylerJamesMaas.

Sorry I haven't done the past two Homestanders. For one, I've been very busy with totally important journalism stuff. But mostly I've just really struggled to care about the Milwaukee Brewers right now. That's a tough thing to admit, since baseball and, specifically, the Brewers are among the dozen or so things I actually care about in this largely disappointing letdown people call life. Still, I don't care. I haven't watched a full game since August. Since I failed to make my fantasy league's playoffs a few weeks back, I stopped looking at Jean Segura's stats. I couldn't tell you if Carlos Gomez is on the DL or exactly where Milwaukee sits in the NL Central standings.

As a Brewers fan, I should be accustomed to this time of year being devoid of meaning. The team has only made the playoffs twice in my lifetime. However, this is the most disappointing Brewers season I can ever remember. I realistically figured Milwaukee would finish, at best, third in the central... but likely fourth. I knew the young and largely inexperienced roster would have its ebbs and flows. But add in the Ryan Braun suspension, Aramis Ramirez being a hobbled husk of his former self, Rickie Weeks being shitty-then-injured, trading my favorite Brewer (John Axford) for peanuts, fielding Sean Halton and vying for LAST place with the rebuilding Cubs... this year is battling with 2004 for the worst Brewers season ever.

Still, I'll look back at the 2013 season fondly with memories like Segura "stealing" first base, being in attendance when Blake Lalli won a game, meeting Mark Attanasio and awkwardly asking him for a picture on the field in San Diego, Vince and I eating a bunch of dollar hot dogs in gross ways and Vine-ing it, the Pants Party, Gomez robbing that Joey Votto homer, Sophia Minnaert almost dying when a foul ball knocked the mic out of her hand, Bob Uecker saying a bunch of funny stuff on air, becoming acquainted with Logan Schafer's patented "you got a purdy mouth" look during at-bats and sitting in the worst seat at Miller Park. My heart may not be in it right now, but I'll be back again. And again.

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01
Aug 13

Homestander: Buy Me Back

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.

The Brewers organization's decision to issue $10 vouchers to all fans in August is genius. Everything is so smart about it. When in the season the promotion is occurring; the fact that the savings equates to a possible $3.6M (approximately the money gained back from Ryan Braun's salary), the lack of fine print in regard to how and on what the voucher can be used. It's the perfect and self-aware response to a bad situation the team is in (primarily) due to poor judgement on behalf of one of its employees.

Some fans--the same turds who post videos of themselves burning Ryan Braun jerseys on YouTube and pen grammatically-weak sob stories about how their son lost a "role model" (You mean the dude comparing Ryan Braun to an alleged murder on the internet wasn't his original role model?) on comment boards--say $10 isn't enough to account for this lost season. To those fans, feel free to stay home. Miller Park doesn't need your negativity, self-doctored "Fraud" shirseys and drop-of-the-hat booing. Bad baseball played under an open roof by men named Gindl and Gennett in August after a blackout drunk tailgate sesh is still better than virtually everything on this stupid letdown planet.

If a $10 coupon isn't enough to buy back the fandom you so quickly abandoned at the first sign of trouble, stay home. More frozen margaritas, helmet cholesterol and elbow room for me. See you on opening day, when you quietly abandon your self-appointed Brewers strike you went on "until the Brewers CUT the LIER" (they're still contractually obligated to pay $113M to). I'll be the guy pointing and laughing at you when you try to start the wave at a pivotal moment in the game.

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18
Jul 13

Homestander: More Like “All-Star LAME” AMIRIGHT?!?

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.

The All-Star Game is pointless. It's not only worthless, it's actually detrimental, in my opinion. I detailed it in a column a few years ago, but essentially:
• Putting the fate of the classification of "All-Star" (that once carried such importance and pride with it) in the hands of people voting 35 times apiece with each of their email addresses leads to the game being a popularity contest instead of an acknowledgement of accomplishment. Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura totally deserved to be there. Others, not so much.
• Having the game in the middle of the season is flawed, as the All-Star classification stays with a player, even after his average dips below .250 come September. By this logic, John Buck arguably deserved to be an All-Star this season.
• Between increased worries about pitch counts, innings limits and injury concerns (mixed with players opting not to go) and Last Chance polls, more players than ever are appearing in the mid-summer classic. Everyone is an All-Star, which makes a contest once populated with only the best the game had to offer into a pedestrian affair.
• Fans shouldn't want players on their favorite team to become All-Stars because earning an All-Star nod can (AND IS) used by agents in contract negotiations. Fans who are voting in droves to see their favorite players represent their team in the ASG are unwittingly making that player more expensive to re-sign and risking his departure once his deal is up.

While most of you were watching the All-Star Game, I was getting shithoused on a blanket at a public park and watching weirdo stoners hulu hoop while Painted Caves played nearby. I regret nothing. Spring Break 4 Evaaaaaaa!!!

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23
May 13

Homestander: No Bones About It

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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02
May 13

Homestander: One Hand, No Hits

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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