A two fisted slopper has no home in a dictionary, but that doesn’t stop his zig zag progress. He huffs and puffs and spills beer on baseball fans. He’s exhausted, out of shape and I need him more than ever.
The slopper first appeared on the County Stadium scoreboard in 1980 as a reminder to drink responsibly. Fair enough, we all thought. It’s good to be polite, but a sneaking suspicion hit us. This was a subtle attempt to switch the focus from the spirit to the body. And then baseball players began looking like bouncers and we said “hmphhhh.”
It’s good to be healthy and fit. Our spirit seems to depend on it; good for taxpayers too. They don’t want to pay for Joe Blow’s clogged artery or declining lung capacity. Walk down the street with a cigarette or a Double Whoppper and people give you the evil eye or maybe that only happens in countries with socialized medicine.
Either way, it’s a good thing. Burger King lovers are forced to sneak around and look like discovery ships at a time when every speck of land, water, and air seems owned by a corporation. And at Brewer games, the slopper looks like a beer swilling stunt man; defying death; a reminder of here today and gone tomorrow.
He’s a protest song without all the screaming and carrying signs and pointing plastic fingers because the slopper’s biggest and only dilemma is balancing beer (s) during return trips back to his seat.
We were led to believe that he spilled Pabst, Miller, or Old Style on the lap of a well dressed lady, but there is no historic proof of the event and yet, the slopper still appears on the Miller Park scoreboard and even inspired a family section where beer is outlawed.
He began as a cartoon and remains a cartoon, but there is a surge of discontent over his being banned. “Get rid of the swimming pools and top 40 music distractions and bring back organ players and two fisted sloppers.” That’s the rally cry anyway. Amazing because there is no swimming pool at Miller Park, but there is at Chase Field in Arizona. Spirit of Spring Revolt I guess.
I join in part because I like the exercise and enjoy chanting slogans. The words never matter; only the decibels do. Primal scream therapy with rhythm. It feels good. They also serve donuts on occasion at the finish line of the march.
I’m surrendering the pseudo “negative capability” pose that I first learned from George Will. He compared baseball’s steroid scandal to some sort of Shakespeare transcendence; understanding both sides and withholding judgement.
That’s all fine and George Will dandy, but this endangered species-the two fisted slopper is closer to my heart than a famous poet I’ve never read and probably never will.
The slopper bothers no one, other than the occasional spill which is probably good for beer sales anyway; seductive smells. His clumsiness is due in part to the wire stuck in his ear. It’s an AM wire sounding the comedy of Bob Uecker’s radio call of the game on 620 WTMJ. I’ve been in his shoes.
I have no data proving the fall of the two fisted slopper, but Miller Park seems squeeky clean; no more paper beer cups being smashed, no more echoes in the concourse, far fewer brawls and way less sucking face under the bleachers.
Come to think of it, there is no more under the bleachers. Seats have ears and eyes nowadays so as to not miss any distraction; the sausage race, guess today’s attendance and Casey Kasem top 40 equivalent between innings. Retro stadium gems?
Why not raise up the two fisted slopper. Put him on a beer throne; a king for a game. There could be a competition in the tailgater parking lot. Who can drink the most beer and still keep score with those pencils they give away with programs. The stubs are the size of a human pinkie with no erasers.
It’s hard enough to keep score sober and not make a mistake. Sloppers would be escorted home in a Chevrolet; one of the team’s corporate sponsors. Win win situation.