18
Apr 13

Homestander: Funky Butt-Lovin’

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.

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.

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10
Apr 13

Brewed For Her: A Stale Brew

Wow. Just... wow.

Wow. Just... wow.

To say the Milwaukee Brewers haven't been doing a lot of things right lately is something of an understatement. Between the bullpen pitching like they owe the strike zone money, Carlos Gomez and Rickie Weeks' ongoing re-enactment of Weekend At Bernie's and Weekend At Bernie's 2 at the plate, and Ron Roenicke's apparent Punk-ing of John Axford by way of (attempted) multi-inning outings... things could be better. Yuniesky Betancourt is an everyday starter for Christ's sake! Excluding really cold games that allow lil' Yunie to look like a manbaby with his cherub cheeks poking through his ninja mask, that's never a good thing.

With all the bad things happening on the field so far this season, you'd think the organization would go above and beyond to ensure that other elements of the game experience are enjoyable enough to cancel out the sub-standard baseball games themselves. And to a point, the front office and PR department has succeeded in doing this. I mean, there's that awesome Briggs & Stratton roulette in-game promotion! Last week, a concession worker begrudgingly honored my request to mix both lime and strawberry-flavored margarita into my mug. Plus, Miller Park is just in time to ride that "Gangnam Style" wave.

However, the Brewers new "Brewed For Her" promotion is one of the worst, most poorly-thought, tone deaf attempts to get fans to the park I've seen since "Gary Sheffield effigy night" back in 1995.

For those fortunate enough to miss this soft-colored, heart-laden promo flyer, on May 25, Miller Park's Gehl Club will transform into a place for the LAAAAAAAAAYYDEEEEEZ!!!

Since women evidently aren't intelligent enough to be entertained by an unimpeded baseball game on its own, Brewed For Her aims to help distract women from hard-to-understand elements of this man's game and all its "points", "home's runs" and utter lack of Kardashians with a series of antiquated offerings such as:
• Style tips from fashion experts & 15 top merchandise vendors
• Special selection of women's Brewers apparel & accessories
• Interactive stations / demonstrations for hair & nails
• Gift bag filled with Brewers goodies
• Game ticket including food & beverage in the exclusive Gehl club

OH EM GEE!!! You mean for a mere $115, gurlz can get access to a closed off section--awesome usage of "exclusive" by the way to suggest watching the game from 600 feet away from behind a splotchy window is somehow VIP--of the park while indulging in some of the most generalized feminine activities ever?

Style tips from fashion experts? I'd love to be a fly on the wall to hear a Boston Store buyer take time from their day to tell women, "Tie a knot in that Aoki shirsey! And remember, pink is always a home run! Home run is a baseball term that is a positive thing, by the way." Demonstrations for hair & nails? "Adjustable caps, ladies. Cheaper than fitted hats and great for holding ponytails."

Unfortunately, there won't be enough time available for the lecture from an adjunct Alverno professor entitled "Spitting and Chewing Tobacco: Gross. But necessary?"

In short, I'm a dude and I find this to be incredibly sexist and offensive. Maybe in 1950s American society, a time that marginalized women and discouraged them from sports viewing, this would've had a place... barely. But we're living in a time where thousands of females are in fantasy baseball leagues, there's an array of talented and hardworking female reporters and columnists contributing to the baseball conversation and newscycle. I personally know a handful of ladies who know as much or more about the Brewers than I do. Unless there's a Brewed For Him game planned with equally predictable activities like "Shotgunning beers for dummies" and an "All you can meat bar... MEAT MEAT MEAT [grunt noise, fart]", I don't think this type gender-specific promotion has a place in a 2013 Major League baseball stadium.

I know some women will gladly attend this, and that's their right. Not all women love baseball, and I think (or hope) that's the demographic that Brewers PR was intending to hit when it came up with Brewed For Her. However, I think the shortsighted activities, the cringeworthy flyer design and the promotion's existence missed the mark entirely.


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.
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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 →


27
Mar 13

Kyle Lohse, Yuniesky Betancourt and The End of the World

It has been a tough week for Brewers diehards as the Brewers have made moves that seemingly go against the very core of who they are and what they believe in.

dealwithitFirst, the Brewers had the audacity to add a 2-3 win player to the rotation by signing Kyle Lohse to a three year deal worth $33 million dollars. (Snarky headline: Kyle Lohse Makes Sense, In An Alternate Reality.) The complaints are many, -- too many years (just like every free agent contract ever,) too much money (just like every free agent contract ever (and also, not really,)) he's 34 and that is way too old (true,) he's a spy for the Cardinals sent to destroy our organization's playoff chances (a very real possibility,) I don't know how to spell and/or pronounce his name -- but perhaps the biggest complaint of all is the loss of a FIRST ROUND draft pick which will now go to the CARDINALS instead. "Are you serious bro?" is what you might say if you were the only person left who thinks Zack Ryder is cool.

Then, the Brewers filled the 25th man spot on the roster by acquiring Yuniesky Betancourt. (Snarky headline: Brewers re-sign Yuniesky Betancourt as part of effort to find least popular possible transaction.) The Brewers internet briefly exploded yesterday as fans reacted in outrage of the signing. I took part in the vitriol on twitter. I, like many other Brewers fans, don't like Yuniesky Betancourt as a baseball player so why are the Brewers going to pay him to play baseball? Continue reading →