04
Apr 13

Homestander: Fantasy And Reality

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.

Last weekend, my fantasy league had its draft in a secluded backroom at a bar (creatively called "The Bar") back in my hometown of Appleton. This is the eighth year of my league, so we all kind of have our tendencies. Some over-study, others do next-to-no work (me), there's the guy who takes five minutes to pick, the dude who always drafts Shin Soo Choo two rounds too early, the one running two separate projection aps on his elaborate bar-table war room. Among other tendencies I have (taking too many starters way too early), I've always been the guy who doesn't draft any meaningful Brewers.

A good portion of our league either keeps Brewers or draft them way too early. Since I'm not about to take Aramis Ramirez in the second round or have Mike Fiers on my team at all, I usually miss out on the homer picks and try to get the best value left. This year was different. First, I reacted to a run on middle infielders by snatching up Rickie Weeks way too early. Whoops! Then I used the free pick from a trade to reach for Carlos Gomez in the sixth round (well, ninth including our three keepers) because he's my favorite Brewer. That's not even the worst of it. A mixture of taking down multiple buckets of beer and wanting to screw over other teams without shortstops yet, I drafted Jean Segura way too early... meaning I drafted Jean Segura.

Just days into the season, I've realized an underlying reason why I don't traditionally draft Brewers. I get too wrapped up in both being a Brewers fan AND being a fantasy nerd. Mixing the two has already led to lofty highs and crushing lows for me. When CarGo had a .125 OBP and no steals in the first series, it sucked all the more. When Weeks hit a homer last night and Miller Park went wild, I high-fived a friend and said "FANTASY!" which made me feel lame for putting stat priority over a player on my favorite real team doing well. As Jean Segura is blistering hot, I kick myself for having him on the bench. In short, it's weird to own Brewers in fantasy. Juggling fantasy and reality is tough. Rickie Weeks is available.
Continue reading →


28
Mar 13

Homestander: Opening Day Edition

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.

In many ways, October 3, 2012 wasn't that long ago. We have the same president. The lease I signed for my apartment has yet to expire. "Gangnam Style" is, unfortunately, still taking faint, periodic breaths of relevance. Though fewer than six months have elapsed since that early October night, it seems like eons have passed. That evening, Vince, myself and a documented 34,449 others (More like 12,000. We alone were handed 20 free tickets by people who had extras) witnessed the last regular season Brewers game that's occurred to date. Fittingly, it was a loss brought on by the bullpen.

Each of the days sitting between October 4 through this coming Easter Sunday is the longest day for Brewers fans. While there are some worthwhile things like Packer season, holidays, the return of beloved TV shows, the occasional concert or comedy show, feigning interest in Spring Training, and out-of-town excursions to occupy our interest and funnel our attention into, it all amounts to just temporary rest stops on the lengthy, desolate road that connects the last out of one season to the first pitch of the next.

Opening Day is special. Not only does it mark the return of baseball, but it also signals the true beginning of a cycle that includes grilling, outdoor drinking, the notion that before 161 more of these games are through being played the snow will melt and leaves will grow on (and later, fall off) trees. We'll be met by familiar sights, sounds and smells. There's also an infinite field of unpredictable possibilities that span April 1, 2013 and yet-to-be-known departure date of Brewers baseball. Maybe Ryan Braun will earn another MVP award that will be given to Buster Posey. Bob Uecker could muster the funniest statement of his broadcast career. A bevy of Twitter accounts devoted to Miller Park animals could be born. Any one of us could bone someone in one of the single occupancy shitters on the 400 level.

So much could happen. And I'm ready for it. Bring on baseball. Continue reading →


29
Jan 13

You Can Buy Front Row Amy’s Van

FrontRowMobileWe've reached that point in the offseason where there's not much to write about. Well, the Brewers offseason moves up to this point (or lack thereof) haven't given us much fodder either, and it's not like we capitalized on writing something the few times a post was warranted... like that clutch Kelvim Escobar inking. But this post-Winter Meetings, pre-Spring Training late January lull is an especially brutal time to be a baseball fan of any team--especially a team being connected to remaining free agent names like Kyle Lohse (actually, that'd be kind of awesome at the right price) and the ghost of Lyle Overbay.

So we'll just take a detour from potential transactions and, instead, cover important periphery items in MPD's coverage area such as bad Brewers songs from two or three years ago and the most passionate, popular and attractive Brewers fan (excluding "The Maniac") selling her van.

That's right creeps, Front Row Amy is selling her van. The ol' girl has a lot of mileage, probably doesn't have much tread left on the tires, seems to have had a few body repairs along the way and is getting up there in years. And her 2005 Honda Odyssey has its issues too.

The vehicle has 126,450 miles, most of which were likely logged driving to and from Miller Park. But it features heated leather seats (which could probably be torn out and fashioned into some sort of gimp outfit so serve as some insane tribute with relative ease). The listing also boasts tinted windows and a rear entertainment system, so you can watch Brewers home games alone in a secluded location and truly feel the full unspoken connection that you and the van's only previous owner share... a connection that your friends, your estranged wife and concerned former co-workers will never even begin to understand BUT NOBODY WILL EVER UNDERSTAND YOU LIKE SHE DOES, GOD DAMMIT!!!

It also has cup holders, GPS and dual climate control. Nice features!

So if have an extra $11,900 laying around and you're hoping to bring your fandom of Brewers super fan regional semi-celebrity Front Row Amy to the next level, now is your time to strike... I mean, buy.

And for those of you who aren't obsessive weirdos and are just looking for a dependable van with a bunch of sweet extras, check it out.


10
Jan 13

Vote Braun For Video Game Thing

Referenced.

Referenced.

Full disclosure - I'm not exactly a gamer. I tried playing Guitar Hero once before realizing it was nothing like playing a real guitar... which I also suck at playing. The only system I own is Super NES, and the only game I play on it is NBA Jam. And I haven't even played that in over two years.

This isn't to suggest that I'm in any way better than avid gamers out there. In fact, I'm probably much worse of a person than most gamers. Instead of stimulating my mind and honing my hand-eye coordination by funneling my past time into completing missions, willing a team to a division title, and launching pissed off avian creatures into a series of structures, I funnel my free time into shit like: drinking too much and too frequently, watching sports and comedy on TV, tweeting obscure '90s song references to my staggering 334 followers (and shrinking!), promoting my fairly unsuccessful novelty t-shirt business in a myriad of tasteless ways, singing songs I make up in the moment to my girlfriend's cat, eating foods I probably shouldn't, lamenting my lack of physical activity or income, and Internet porn. Video game obsession is cooler than at least four of those things.

Alas, it's too late for me to become a gamer in a world that's expanded beyond 16 bits. But that--mixed with the on-going absence of any worthwhile Brewers offseason news--won't keep me from campaigning for Ryan Braun, the face of Milwaukee (not counting that oddly alluring look of determination on Milverine's face when he's walking downtown) himself, to appear on the cover of PS3's MLB '13 The Show this season. The popular game is currently accepting votes for seven players on its ballot, and is taking votes through Friday night.

HEY YOU GUYS!!!

HEY YOU GUYS!!!

Though I'm personally more invested in getting new Brewer Tom Gorzelanny on the 30th anniversary edition cover of The Goonies, this video game honor would be awesome for Wisconsin sports. That is, it'd be awesome assuming there isn't some sort of weird curse associated with being the cover boy like with the Madden games or when Kirby lost his fortunate in that Ponzi scheme shortly after the release of Kirby's Dreamland 2. Though the Brewers get significantly more attention than the franchise did a decade ago, the (of late) perennially competitive team is often overlooked compared to much of the league. And the visual of Cardinals and Cubs fans having something with Braun's photo ever-present on their coffee tables all season long is too funny to pass up.

However, the vote isn't going Braun's way so far. Of the seven players up for vote, Braun sits a cool (drum roll) SEVENTH!!! Yikes. Sure, Braun's implicit (while withdrawn) connection to a banned substance, his awful shirt line, his polarizing on-field attitude, Milwaukee's small-ish market standing, and the fact that Braun indiscriminately clobbers pitching from all other teams are probably all factors taking votes away from him. But Braun is not even near the least appealing option up for video game immortality. Here are the others (along with current ranking)...

Andrew McCutchen - First Place
'Cutch is the type of player all fans could and should love. He can do it all, and he's quickly becoming a household name. If Braun can't win, I'm glad McCutchen might. Still, he's never led a team to the playoffs and he led no meaningful statistical category last season--two criteria of most cover stars.

Miguel Cabrera - Second Place
Great player. Big titties. He's the total package. Yet voting for some chubby fielding liability who plays for one of Earth's richest sports franchises to be on the cover of a video game is like writing a positive Yelp review of McDonald's.

CC Sabathia - Third Place
I take that back, if Braun can't win, I want CC to grace the game cover. Even with Yankees garb, every time I see Sabathia, I can't help but smile. He makes me think of the Wild Card run in 2008. Plus, even bigger/better moobs than Cabrarea.

Matt Kemp - Fourth Place
Matt Kemp is a wealthy and successful Los Angeles resident who used to bang Rihanna. He doesn't need anything else given to him. I hate the way life works.

Bryce Harper - Fifth Place
Have I mentioned that I hate the way life works? This cartoon character can't even drink legally (not that he would, being that he's Mormon) and he's financially set for life. Unless God actually exists and he opts to smite Harper for using a sinful amount of eyeblack, Bryce will be around the league until 2033, making the game I love a tad more annoying with every year that goes by. I don't need another place to see him right now. Save that for PS4 or impending Playstation/Wii combination system "The DP Station".

Buster Posey - Sixth Place
Sure, why not give Posey ANOTHER thing Braun deserves more? It worked so well with the MVP last year.

You can cast you vote HERE or by sending a tweet with the hashtag #MLB13BRAUN


14
Dec 12

Brewers Fan Holiday Gift Guide

Excuse our lack of Hot Stove posts during winter meetings and this week's free agent free-for-all. Fortunately (if only to excuse our laziness), nothing really happened with the Brewers. Unless the front office's collective heart and wallet grows three sizes in the coming days, it looks to be a fairly frugal holiday season for Brewers fans.

White elephant gift.

Best case scenario, Shaun Marcum decides to make up for that whole NLCS thing, and allows the Brewers to sign him to a rich one- or two-year offer. But more likely, Milwaukee will push on with its talented (but green) cast of young hurlers or sign a past-prime hurler to his last payday; someone like Carl Pavano, Kevin Millwood, Derek Lowe or hologram Cory Lidle.

While we fans wait to open our popcorn tin-equivalent gift of various un-sexy Brewers acquisitions, get some holiday shopping done. Better yet, funnel your love of baseball into your shopping and cross some names of fellow fans off your list with some of this stuff. Also note: Vince and I are BOTH celebrating birthdays next week, and we have very expensive taste.

Milwaukee Brewers Man Cave 36" Sign
This sturdy $55 metallic wall sign is the perfect way to let those unfortunate enough to share your company know that, yes, you are a man and, hell yes, they better believe you like the Milwaukee Brewers baseball organization and, finally, if they can't take that... GTFO the Man Cave.

Various Discount Meats From the Klement's Factory Store
Always a Miller Park fixture--from sponsoring the Racing Sausages to being the official encased meat of the stadium, Klement's is an unbeatable idea for that carnivorous Brewers fan... not counting Usinger's, which is ever-so-slightly better, if you ask me. A few blocks down from Klement's factory headquarters in Bay View, a seedy utility closet-sized space at 2650 S. Chase Ave. doubles as a little slice heaven. Here, small details like store decor, sanitation and proper packaging are strewn aside in the name of value. Beyond the usual brats (for less), the outlet store offers beef sticks, summer sausage on the cheap, as well as dirt cheap weird items like ring bologna, head cheese, braunschweiger and ham balls. I don't exactly know what a ham ball is, but for 50 cents, I can't afford not to pop that fucker in my mouth at least once.

eBay Bobbleheads
Electronic Bay dot com is a great source to obtain the various figurines to help line the mantle of that toy-freak on your X-mas list. Here, there's an array of oversize-headed sports hummels that range from official stadium giveaways to high quality limited edition rarities and terrible, terrible knockoffs.

One search yields a world of results. If you weren't one of the some-40,000 to nab a Derrick Turnbow bobblehead with synthetic "hair," here's your chance. For an extra buck, most sellers will throw in actual Turnblow hair the ex-closer sold so he could pay his gas bill. You can also re-live the saddest epoch of Brewers baseball with a Jeffrey Hammonds bobble that, fittingly, costs too much and does absolutely nothing. For a mere $17.99, this limited edition Ryan Braun bobblehead (right) could be yours. It appears to be limited edition because Goose Gossage's face is painted over Braun's.

Wisconsin Booze
Alcohol has many uses: dulling the unrelenting hellscape that is everyday existence AND stocking stuffers! And for fans of MLB's most alcoholic team name which resides in America's drunkest state, the beautiful gift of hooch is always appreciated. Whether it's a four pack of delicious Green Bay-brewed Hinterland Winterland beers to enjoy during spring training telecasts, a bottle of Pewaukee gunt fuel (aka "RumChata") to mix in your morning coffee while you blog about Derrick Turnbow bobbleheads or a bottle of Great Lakes Distillery's Rehorst vodka for your Opening Day bloody Mary's, you literally can't go wrong with the gift of Wisconsin spirits. Unless you're giving it to someone who doesn't drink, at which point you should probably take stock in the type of people you surround yourself with.

Brewers-related Apparel

$15 well spent.

Of course I'm partial to Forward Fabrics, as its owner/operator/annoying promoter and all, but there's a wealth of other awesome online outlets offering outside-the-norm products honoring your favorite Wisconsin teams. Obviously, Sconnie has an abundance of great items too, as does Milwaukee Shirt Guys. I also own an embarrassing amount of Wiskullsin products (embarrassing because it's all the panties).

Something for the LAY-DAYS!!!
If I've learned anything from hackneyed '80s stand up comedy, it's that women be shoppin'. So for that penisless Crew fan on your list, spring for a MLB.com gift card so that they can choose from the site's myriad of stupid, useless and ugly items without function that only a woman could enjoy. For Katie - an intentionally distressed denim tote bag with a faded retro Brewers logo. Kaytee would love a beaded gold Brewers bracelet. And if I know Kaityeee, she'll cake the "Pink" of her ironically not pink sweat pants in a thick layer of shit Christmas morning when she happens upon a pair of garish Brewers sequin flip flops.

Framed Photo of Brett Lawrie
Sure, maybe that Marcum for Lawrie trade will go down as a colossal fuck up in Doug Melvin's otherwise-respectable track record of trades. But with this candid pic framed and displayed beside your stupid "Man Cave" sign on your wall, the pain of losing one of baseball's most promising young players will sting a little less.

And, yeah, Lawrie might post 10 straight 20-20 (or 30-30) seasons before all is said and done. But do you really want a guy like this to play for YOUR team? Hmmm... "Yes," you say? I know... me too.