***UPDATED to include stuff I forgot at midnight last night***
My dad’s not a real emotional guy. Being a 30 year military man has probably hardened him up quite a bit. But when I told him on the phone that I was going to the Brewer game against the Giants on Tuesday night, his voice weakened a little and he said, “You boo that jerk.”
The jerk he was referring to, of course, was Barry Bonds. My dad, having grown up in Milwaukee, was always a die-hard Braves fan from his youth on. His dad was a Milwaukee cop, and would often times sneak him into day games at County Stadium. While he always claimed Eddie Matthews was “his guy,” he has since taken a hard pro-Hank Aaron stance, seeing as the all-time home run record is about to be stolen from The Hammer. (His favorite childhood story is when he rode his bike by Warren Spahn’s house and saw Spahn out mowing the lawn – a completely foreign concept these days. Imagine one of the greatest left-handed pitchers of all time waving to you from his middle-class lawn.)
Needless to say, when you go to war with my dad, you go to war with me – because that’s how we roll (we are much like the McGee family in that regard). It was with this in mind that my buddy and I drove to Milwaukee for game two of the Brewers-Giants series.
When we got to Milwaukee, my buddy showed me his super-secret parking spot by Miller Park, and it was a miracle. Honestly, I would give up the ingredients to the secret stadium sauce to al-Qaeda before I would give up the location of this parking spot.
On the way to the stadium, we walked by the Saint Vincent of Pallotte church. I imagine the “pilates” exercise routine was named after Vincent, who is best known as the Patron Saint of Rock Hard Abs.
As it turns out, my buddy got tickets to the Club Level, which is the upper level in the right field bleachers. There’s a buffet up there where you can stuff your face with brats and burgers. As I was sitting in our seats before the game started, sun shining and burger in hand, I concluded that it really didn’t get any better than this. Then I remembered that Jessica Alba is still single, so I immediately recanted. It most certainly could get better. But I still enjoyed the moment.
Before the game started, I noticed a 10 year old kid walking by me with a four-inch thick stack of all-star ballots, every one of which I’m sure he will fill out. By the time that kid is done, Prince Fielder may not only be the starting first baseman in the all-star game, he may also have won the Wisconsin Democratic Presidential primary.
The Brewers jumped out to a quick 1 to 0 lead, only having to swing the bat once (on a Corey Hart single). Tim Lincecum of the Giants walked three straight batters to force in the first run. Then back to back sacrifice flies made it 3-0, which is all the Brewers would need.
The real action on the field didn’t really have a whole lot to do with the actual game. As everyone knows, the Brewers provide a girl to go out and play catch with the left fielder, to warm him up between innings. In this case, the left fielder happened to be Barry Bonds, who can barely run after numerous knee surgeries. After the top of the first inning, the ball girl was out throwing with Bonds, and she sailed one about 10 feet over his head. Nobody else was paying attention, so he had to limp all the way to just behind second base to pick it up.
After the top of the second inning, the same thing happens. She launches one over his head, and he has to chase it down again. I don’t know who this woman is, but she deserves some kind of distinguished medal for warm-up girls.
Later in the game, with the Brewers in the field, Geoff Jenkins launched a throw to the infield, which drilled Prince Fielder directly in the stones. With Fielder doubled over in pain, Ned Yost had to call time out for a meeting on the mound while his first baseman got things sorted out. The funniest part was the reaction of the guy sitting in front of me, who thought Yost called time out because Ben Sheets was injured. I actually thought he was going to jump off the balcony (he was going over anyway if a home run ball came our way). The next inning, Fielder overcame his testicular complications and doubled off the wall.
With one out in the fourth inning, Ben Sheets still hadn’t given up a hit. I was trying to think of a way to point this out without jinxing him by saying it overtly. Instead, after the inning, I was going to say something like “there’s a zero on the scoreboard in a pretty interesting place,” or something like that. Just as I said that, my buddy says “Hey, you know what? Sheets has a no-hitter going.” Naturally, the very next hitter doubles, then Ryan Klesko hits a two-run home run. I then officially renounced him as a friend.
With the score 6 to 2 and the game on auto-pilot, I decided to stroll the concourse in search of Dippin’ Dots, frequently referred to as “the ice cream of the future.” However, as everyone knows, the Dippin’ Dots company has been making this claim literally for 15 years. How long do we have to wait before it becomes just “the ice cream?” Will we be out of Iraq by then?
Late in the game, Barry Bonds came up for the final time. The infield shift the Brewers put on for him is ridiculous. If Rickie Weeks were any further out in right field, he’d be sitting next to me in the bleachers. Which would be good for him, because I would share some of my delicious popcorn with him. Needless to say, Bonds grounds right to Weeks, who throws Bonds and his robotic knee out.
It was all smiles on the way home, as I entertained with some ridiculous German techno music in my car. We discussed the Brewers’ record, and calculated that they had gone 16-21 since starting 24-10. We then figured that even if they went 16-21 again, they’d still be 56-52 and probably still in first place in the division. Oh, and did I mention that we’re both grown men with families? I probably spent more time on that calculation than I have on my investment portfolio in the past two years.
Anyway, bottom line: Big win for the now 40-31 first place Brewers, a hitless night for Barry Bonds. Until Jessica calls, this is as good as it gets.