Saturday, July 12, 2008

Deathtour~!: Miller Park, Milwaukee

Is there a better way to celebrate the 4th of July than tailgating at a baseball game and enjoying America’s pastime? I submit that there is not. And so that’s what a I did, along with Jon (here for his third appearance on the tour), Brewtown Andy (making a second cameo) Jim and Jess (their first and only game on the tour). These fantastic four comprise the largest group I’ve had at a game with me and given the occasion tailgating seemed like the perfect idea and I have Andy to thank for that. When I first proposed the idea of the deathtour, Milwaukee was one of the places I was most excited to watch a game at. Not because I care for the team but because I’d been wanting to get up there to see Jim and Andy (and the sausage race which I’ll get to later). As it turns out Andy must have been equally excited. He offered to pay for my ticket if I tried to eat for the cycle. I’d been determined to pay for anyone who came to a game with me but he offered and eating for the cycle was a challenge I couldn’t pass up.

For the uninitiated, eating for the cycle is similar to hitting for the cycle in baseball. The baseball cycle includes a single, double, triple and home run. Eating for the cycle includes a hot dog, Polish sausage, Italian sausage and Bratwurst. We set up in the parking lot at 11:30, two hours before game time, giving me plenty of time finish all 4. Pacing is very important for this so any extra time is always welcomed. I started off with a hot dog a little while later devoured an Italian Sausage enjoying the games of catch and carnival atmosphere between bites.

We went through the gates shortly before game time, passing Hank Aaron’s statue just outside the main gate. Aaron played only 1 season with the Brewers, his last, but he did spend the bulk of his career playing in Milwaukee, for the Braves. Like many other cities that have had teams come and go, Milwaukee celebrates the history of all those franchises, not just its current one. Aaron’s statue fittingly bears the Braves logo. Opposite Aaron is a second statue, this one for Brewers Hall of Famer Robin Yount, which we passed on our way out.

We’ve got great seats for this game on the third base side, even better than my usual spot back home. And what’s more, Brewtown paid less for these than I paid for our Nose bleed seats at Wrigley last week. I suppose that’s the advantage of small town baseball. It’s also 1000 degrees down here. The shade is all on the first base side of the stands but it’s slowly creeping towards us.

Ben Sheets, the Brewers ace, is pitching today. The streak is in jeopardy.

The Pirates threaten with runners at the corners in the first. Sheets tries the third to first pickoff. Never has this been more of a failure. Jason Michaels, taking his lead from third, didn’t so much as flinch towards third. I’ve never seen this move work. Ever. And I don’t know anyone who’s seen it work either. And if ever anyone tells you they’ve seen it work, they’re lying.

Bill Hall blasts a two run homer in the bottom of the second giving the Brew Crew the lead. Bernie Brewer, Milwaukee’s mascot, takes a ride on his slide. If the Brewers don’t homer in a game does he just stand up there from beginning to end?

It’s still unbearably hot. And my giant lemonade isn’t helping. I seek the shade in the concessions and wander around. It’s time for number three on the food cycle. I don’t think my stomach is going to hold up and given the choice between a Brat and a Polish Sausage, I’m taking the Brat. I can’t come here and say I didn’t have a Brat.

The Brewers score 5 in the 5th, blowing the game wide open. Andy and Jon are giving me dirty looks. Hey, I can’t be counted on to curse the home team 100% of the time. They disagree. I think they’re forming a committee to determine what went wrong here today.

It’s been determined that Andy paying for my ticket is the cause of the curse being broken. Good work team.

After six it’s Brewers 9, Pirates 1. More importantly it’s time for the main event of the trip. After 8 games in 12 days I finally get to watch what I really took this trip for; a 30 second race between 5 people dressed as sausages. And I’ve been told this is absolutely legit. The race is contested between a Bratwurst, an Italian Sausage, a Polish Sausage, a Hot Dog and a Chorizo, which sounds like a made up name to me. It goes without saying that I’m pulling for the Italian.

Aaaand they’re off. The Chorizo, Polish Sausage and Brat pull out in front mixing it up for positioning. Hot Dog and the Italian are lagging behind. They’ve turned the corner at home plate. It’s a three sausage race now. The Chorizo pulls ahead. He’s going to win.

The Italian and Hot Dog are about 15 links behind. The Italian Sausage trips. How embarrassing. Not so much for him but because he was my pick to win.

It’s the 4th so I have to endure God Bless America before we get to Take Me Out to the Ballgame and Roll Out the Barrel.

The game ends 9-1. We were about 30 minutes away from shade. I just hope I’m not as burned as I was in LA.

It’s the last day on this leg of the tour and we’ve got a whole gang here, so why not a group shot?!

As we were taking the group picture, guess who came running down to our section? I don’t know why I marked out like I did.

It's over already? Where did the day go?

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