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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26
Apr 13

MPD Contest: Gomez Ducking Photoshop

vvfJ6gwYeah, yeah, we know this photo is from a few weeks ago, but this Morry Gash picture--lolz "Gash"--is the modern baseball equivalent of that iconic photograph of the soldier who just returned from war who's passionately kissing his wife. Or at the very least, that "Hang In There" poster with the cat.

It's a testament to Carlos Gomez's speed. It displays Ryan Braun's lingering spirit in the face of constant and unjust adversity. It kind of reminds me of The Matrix. And really, those are the three things I look for in a good picture. But I feel like MPD readers can make this great image even better, weirder and more hilarious. That's right, it's time for a Photoshop contest!

Miller Park Drunk and Forward Fabrics want to offer a prize to the reader who can manipulate, redesign or incorporate elements of this image into something funny, unique, creative or just plain awesome. Whether you focus on the water stream or crouching Gomez or anything else is up to you. If you don't think you're good at Photoshop (or any other photo editing software), no big deal. Crude attempts might even increase your chances of winning. Speaking of the prize, one grand prize winner will take home a Brewers-oriented prize pack complete with:

• A ticket to Miller Park Drunk Pants Party 3D, June 23. This includes a free game ticket (Polish Sausage bobblehead game), a Pants Party shirt, unlimited food, beer and fun.

One runner up will also get a Forward Fabrics shirt of their choice.

There's no limit on the amount of entries. Deadline is Thursday at 11:59 p.m. Central and a winners will be named Friday. Email entries to ForwardFabrics@gmail.com with "MPD Contest" in the subject line.

Good luck!


22
Apr 13

The End of the World: An OOTP Diary

Last week saw the release of OOTP14, the latest in Out of the Park Developments excellent baseball simulation series, and ever since then I have been playing it. The game is a definite upgrade from last season, but also I played as the Yankees, I played as the Pirates and I played as the Braves, but I never played as the Brewers. The reason is simple: I don't know what the hell is going on with them or what to expect from them. The scoreless streak, the winning streak, Yovani's DUI and the basic roster construction just don't make a lot of sense to me and I don't know how to make this team better. OOTP Doug MelvinSo how do I manage that team? Do I call up Hunter Morris, DFA Alex Gonzalez and/or Yuniesky Betancourt and ship Axford out of town? Do I Stand Pat? Will any of it even matter?

The truth is I don't know what will happen which makes this, not my favorite, but definitely the most intriguing Brewers season I can think of in a long time. For Doctor Who fans, it's much more Clara than Rose Tyler. Or for people who've actually had sex, it's much more LOST than NCIS. Or for people who aren't good with analogies, it's a mystery that won't be solved over night.

Which I guess makes it the perfect season to simulate with OOTP14. So hold on to your hats because we're doing a diary to see just how bad (or good) this season is going to get. (Again.) Continue reading →


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.

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