Saturday, April 7, 2012

Reflections and recovery from Opening Day weekend

Me and my girlfriend joined others and headed over to Milwaukee to partake in Brewers' Opening Day festivites. Here's a brief rundown:

1. First of all, condolences to the family of Bob Uecker, whose son Steve died last night due to San Joaquin fever. I was shocked to hear Ueck doing the game today, but Fox broadcasters indicated he felt it was the best way for him to cope. When you've been listening to Brewer games for 30+ years as I have, Ueck feels like a minor part of your family, and maybe that's why the loss of his son has kind of grabbed me as sadder than I should feel about it. I wish Ueck and his family the best, and hope he hangs in there through this tough time.

2. I can't comprehend how teams like the Dodgers and Mets don't allow tailgating without booze and grilling. We had a blast in the North Lot, and the pre-grilling and marinating of the brats worked out quite well in getting things cooked and done fast. Also, kudos to Brewers management for opening up the lots just after 10am, which kept traffic from getting nightmarishly backed up. We rolled in just after 11 and had plenty of drinking and eating time before the 3pm first pitch.

3. Maybe it was the pregame brews getting my common sense down, but I picked up a souvenir pilsner glass with the "ball-in-glove" logo inside the ballpark. Not a bad bonus to take some of the anger out of paying $8 for Miller macro-brew when the glass is only $3 more.

4. Obviously the game sucked, as Gallardo had no command and got pounded. Blowing 2 "two on, none out" scenarios are also a surefire way to get your ass beat. Fortunately, it's only 1 of 162, and the Crew looked really good bouncing back today.

5. Capital Maibocks are tasty beers, but if you drink 'em too fast, you can end up regretting it. Sugary beers really make me pay as I'm trying to sleep that night, because I can feel my digestive tract working overtime to pump it out. Getting shots of Jaeger for you and your friends after the game at the lovably-scuzzy Scooter's probably also played into this.

6. My seats were up in the sky at the 400 level and away from the other 3 members of my group, so I used a lot of standing room and bar time for much of the game. As I was wandering back from the left field bar and going up a ramp, I noticed two people with a "Vos" sweatshirt on.

Me: "Hey, do you know a Robin Vos of the Legislature?"
Guy: "Yeah, he's a distant relative of ours."
Me: "Oh, Ok."
Guy: "Yeah, he's kind of a little prick."
Me: "Oh, well yeah, I live in Madison and I get that impression..."

7. Today went a lot better, and not just for the Crew's 7-0 walloping of the Cards. Me and my girlfriend got up and I was recovered enough to show her around the town (she's from Madison and didn't know as much about east side-Lakefront Milwaukee). She was blown away by the old homes, particularly by the lakeshore, and we took a stroll out by Bradford Beach with it being mid-50s without a cloud in the sky and the water almost Caribbean-level blue.

The Lakefront area was an impressive scene, and it's one that Milwaukee does not promote enough. Very few big cities have natural beauty like that which is so open to the public.

8. Also did two fine Milwaukee traditions today- ate at the famous Ma Fischer's on Farwell, which still stands up as the great diner that it is. Then we took off for the Sprecher Brewery tour. Good tour, fun place, and we even tested out their root beer and beer mustards with a pretzel. Great stuff! Couldn't choke down too many beers after Opening Day, but it was still neat to test out things I don't see in stores (like their Redhead or their Chameleon lines). Lots of kids on the tour due to all the soda, but it's interesting to see them have the root beer/sodas come out of similar areas to the beers.

So now I'm just trying to pick up the pieces and get back to normal on this Saturday night. Fortunately the MLB Extra Innings package comes in for free on the first week of the year, so I plan to take full advantage. Then it'll be Easter, and I'll have my head back together, but I sure didn't mind having it go fuzzy for a while in Milwaukee this weekend.

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