brewers baseball and things

the beer that changed my mind

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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.

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Author: Steve Myers

I grew up in Milwaukee and have been a Milwaukee Brewers baseball fan for as long as I can remember.

5 thoughts on “the beer that changed my mind

  1. And now, horror of horrors, the Texas Rangers have “cheerleaders.” Oh, they don’t call them that. But that’s what they are. Ugh.

  2. You are so right, Steve! What hypocrisy in this corporate “global” world when people give a smoker or a Whopper or Big Mac eater a dirty look. Good point.

    One thing you failed to point out, though, was the hypocrisy of the stadium being called “Miller Park”, and even the Brewers caps have the “M” shaped just like the Miller insignia. And yet, no one spills beer on each other as they (apparently) did at Milwaukee County Stadium.

    I’ll never forget the time when I was at a Mets game at Shea Stadium, and we were sitting in the upper deck, as usual, and this guy sitting near us jumps up on an exciting play and spills an ENTIRE large beer (that’s a LOT of beer!) on the guy in the row in front of us. The guy in front of us was totally soaked. TOTALLY. I’ll never forget the look on the face of the guy who drank the beer, and how schmucky he sounded when he said, “I”M sorry!” And that was it. Just a quick dirty look back at the guy who spilled the beer on him; no fist-fight. It was a night game, naturally.

    When I was a kid, I liked night games the best because that’s when the fist-fights would occur. Not over team affiliation; in the OLD days, Met fans had respect for rooters of other teams. They never picked on a guy who was wearing a Cardinals cap at a Mets-Cardinals game at Shea.

    I remember in 1974, about five guys came around (at a Met-Phillies game) wearing Phillies caps (that was about it; people didn’t get carried away wearing uniform facsimiles back then; they just wore normal clothes, and only their team’s cap gave them away) and they were walking around the mezzanine section carrying around a huge banner that said something congratulating Dave Cash in huge letters. Cash was having a career season in his first year with the Phillies, and I think he was, at the time, leading the league in batting. No one tried to kill them; me and my other Met fan friends and all the other Met fans just booed, in a good-natured, fun way. Nowadays, it sucks. A person goes to Corporate Thug Field wearing a Phillies cap, and he’s as good as dead. No one has a sense of humor or priorities any more; IT’S A FRIGGIN’ GAME!!!!!

    Anyway, my point is that nobody punched them or whatever; baseball fans, other than the occasional drunk ones, were more tolerant to fans of the opposing team back then, similar to how Republicans were tolerant to the Democrats back then and cooperated with each other; not like Senator Mitch McConnell, that stick in the mud from Kentucky who opposes EVERYTHING that Obama tries to get through congress just because he’s Democrat and because he’s Obama. People were better sports back then and not such BABIES. People in general were more mature.

    McConnell is the stick in the mud on the left who looks like a turtle with glasses, by the way, and Rand Paul is the one on the right.

    By the way, you mention about socialized medicine. I wish that WE had what you have in Canada. It’s an awful joke that we’ve got down here.They are so scared of the word “socialized” down here in the States; it’s a knee jerk reaction. What’s in a word? Plenty, if you ask a LOT of these morons.

    Glen

    • I disagree about people being less tolerant of other team’s fans. I think it was way worse 20-30 years ago. There were some vicious fights between White Sox and Brewers fans and I’ve heard some crazy stories from fans at Yankee Stadium.

      Nowadays, people talk real big and even bigger when hiding behind an internet screen, but when it comes down to throwing punches, neither fans or players seem to do it the old fashioned way…with fists. It’s all talk.

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