Each 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.
MicroBrew - Minor Leaguer Of The Week
After squandering this section in the first two Homestanders by nominating dudes with funny names, I'll use this little portion of text to honor a minor leaguer who actually deserves attention. While we struggle to endure seeing Brewers lineups with Yuniesky Betancourt, Alex Gonzalez, Martin Moldonado and Blake Lalli meekly penciled into the first base spot to account for the injuries of Mat Gamel, Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez (adding to the positional shifting), it's at least nice to know that the future at 1B seems bright. Hunter Morris has been killing it so far this season. Through his first 11 games in Nashville, Morris had nine hits, including three homers (two in lefty-lefty matchups) and drew five walks. Sure, he also struck out in 10 of his first 40 at-bats, but you know the old saying, "You can't make an omelet without striking out a shitload of times." Oh yeah, I call home runs "omelets" now.
Blatz from the Pabst - Old School Brewer
Greg Vaughn is a touchy subject for some Brewers fans. Being traded to San Diego for a grab bag of awful spare parts saw the dismantling of the "Vaughn's Valley" sign in left field and the dismantling of the franchise until Mark A.'s ownership group brought the organization back to semi-respectability. No matter how you feel about the Brewers dealing Greg Vaughn in his walk year, it's hard to dispute his significance to the team.
His name still appears in the top 10 of such offensive categories as: HR (169 - 8th), RBI (566 - 10th), BB (421 - 9th). Plus, this photo of him with me and my stepbrother still appears on my refrigerator. I still regret wearing that hypercolor t-shirt. My mom bought me a soft ball to have signed instead of a baseball because it was less expensive. She embarrassed me in front of Matt Mieske.
Speaking of Matt Mieske, check out his LinkedIn profile. Who better to get financial services from than someone who earned nearly $3M as a professional baseball player and now must work a day job as a financial planner?
Handy Heckle - Cubs
It's too easy. Instead of getting into its 105-year World Series drought, Wrigley Field being a dump and the team's insufferable fans and laughable roster, I'll just post a clip of the doctor from Rookie Of The Year saying "Funky butt-lovin'!" after Henry breaks his nose.
Tailgating Tips - What to put inside you, etc.
To eat: Brat-patties! All the wursty goodness with so much more surface area for stacking. Johnsonville makes a beauty. For extra appeal, double it up with a burger patty or a turkey burger if you're a health nut.
To drink: O-Gii (pronounced "Oh Gee"). This 9.2% ABV MKE Brewing Company treat is tea-infused with light notes of ginger and orange peel. It's not as widely available as other MKE offerings are (though I think most Woodman's liquor departments carry it), but they often have it on the tour. If you haven't yet, go on the tour immediately. Just $10 gets you a pint class, UNLIMITED beer samples during your 90-minute tour block and a beer chip at a nearby bar. Anyway, if you can't find O-Gii, try my favorite MKE Brewing Co. beer, Booyah.
Avoid: Going to a game after taking the MKE Brewing Co. tour. You will die.
Tailgating Tunes - Milwaukee music recommendation
Milwaukee band Fable & The World Flat's 2009 album Ladies & Gentlemen is one of the catchiest albums I own, local or otherwise. Featuring former members of Meteah Strike and current pieces of Fresh Cut Collective, this pet project combines sleek production, smooth vocals and razor-sharp hooks into something wholly unique and vastly underrated.
You can stream or download Ladies & Gentlemen (pay what you want) at their Bandcamp page. Get an early listen to Fable's long-awaited follow-up The Great Attractor and get a digital download card at a listening party at Blackbird Bar on Saturday night.
If you can't make it to Miller Park - Watch the game here
Despite living in Milwaukee, up until recently, I've had (and other times, chosen) to return to my native Appleton four of the past six weekends for appointments, my fantasy baseball draft, work-related needs, and family/friend events. Aside from the increasingly soul-crushing drive, it's been good. Every time I'm back in the Valley, I try to get to Fox River House (211 S. Walnut St., Appleton). At 120 beers and growing, FRH has the largest beer selection I've seen in Appleton. Plus, unlike other College Avenue-adjacent bars, the House has a parking lot that's totally cool with overnight weekend parking. They have, like, four or five TVs and a great beer garden.
Ad-monishment - Shaming local commercials that deserve it
Sport Clips seems to pride itself on being a place FOR THE GUYS. Where else can you get a somehow-still-overpriced $12 haircut while watching sports (guy stuff) and chowing down on peanuts (man-fuel!) and throwing the shells on the floor after (John Wayne would be proud, cowboy)? Well, Lady Jane's is kind of like that and isn't there a chain called The Barbershop that's like that too? Whatever. A tired and unoriginal concept is one thing, but there's no excuse for this awful commercial.
It seems to me that designing and later building a Mouse Trap-like device with the sole purpose of letting your female companion you know you need a drink refill is exponentially more work and personal expense than 1. Telling her, 2. Getting a drink yourself, 3. Purchasing a mini fridge to place beside your recliner. This is like an OK GO! video concept that was rejected for being both misogynistic, not at all funny and for setting humanity back 20 years.
@ForwardFabrics - I know it's cheesy to recommend following my shirt biz, but I made the mistake of making an "Ax Saves" shirt (still plenty left!). I need all the follows I can get about now. OH GOD!
Have any ideas for any of these categories? Email tips to ForwardFabrics@gmail.com.