Wednesday, August 10, 2005

My ears needed a beer

If there is one thing people in Milwaukee do well, beside making beer and motorcycles, is tailgate. If you are driving past Miller Park before a Brewers game, you will see smoke coming from the parking lots. There will be groups huddled together in their lawn chairs, drinking and eating, having a good time.

And if you can score a company tailgate party, you have done well. As mentioned yesterday, I headed down to catch the Brewers after work to attend a friend's company outing. Free beer and brats. Life don't get better. Plus the company had use of Helfaer Field, the little league field just outside the stadium, for their own use. But that wasn't of interest to me. I wanted to know where the beer was. It was a warm day in Milwaukee, somewhere north of 90 degrees, and I needed to cool off.

As free as the beer and food appeared to be, there was a price. An assault on my ears. When we walked up to the party, there was a big tent set up with tables so you had a place to sit and eat. Around the tent were a couple of beverage stations. In front of the tent there was a band playing. I couldn't help but think how terrible they sounded. I tried to shut it out. Another beer would help. Then another. And another.

I found myself in a bit of a conundrum. The band was pretty bad. But the beer was free. I could sit here and drink with this noise in the background, or go inside away from the damage to my hearing. The beer won out. But the band was grating on me. The singer, who absolutely sucked, thought it funny to crack jokes about heavy metal bands between songs. They would finish a song and the would say something like "Our Black Sabbath set is coming up next" and shoot out the horns. Yeah, not a big deal. But then it was "We have the thrash portion coming up" and then "Milwaukee's best death metal". Hey funny boy. How about a guitar upside the head? If I knew how to play a guitar, I may have grabbed one and jumped on stage, cranking out some Anthrax. But I don't so I just stood there drinking my beer. As it turned out, the band was the Love Monkeys- Milwaukee's most overrated band. These guys peaked- if you can call it that- maybe 7 or 8 years ago. Now they are just a joke, watched by people who have no interest in seeing new bands. I hope this company didn't pay that much for these jokers to play.

Plus, watching the people dance was pretty atrocious. Drunk monkeys. It looked like a bunch of drunk monkeys moving about.

When gametime was here, I stared at the beer and realized they wouldn't let me just stay outside drinking, so I was basically forced to go in. My friend took off to deliver some peanuts to some friends in the upper deck (the tailgate party had boxes and boxes of bags of peanuts and Cracker Jack for people to take in). Our seats were in Section 109, halfway down the right field line. Not bad.

I grabbed my seat to watch the game. I had the intention of waiting for my friend to show back up before buying a beer. But then I saw him. Down the aisle by the 3rd row. It was Larry the beer guy! I rubbed my eyes to make sure I wasn't dreaming. Nope, it was him. It was like seeing an old friend you hadn't seen in a long time. Back when I had season tickets with the Wig in County Stadium, Larry was our beer guy. He was there to make sure we had our beer on a timely basis each Sunday. When the new season started, he was there to greet us. A Lite for me and a Genuine Draft for the Wig. When the stadium was torn down, we wondered if we would ever see our beer guy again. So as Larry came back up the aisle, I had to buy a beer from him. I gave him a warm "Hey Larry, it's been a while since I got a beer from you at County Stadium". He just gave me my change and a look like I was crazy. Ok, maybe I am. Who else remembers a beer vendor from over 5 years ago?

The Brewers put on a terrible performance. After a couple more beers inside and enough peanuts to kill an elephant, we called it a day. Not bad though, I got a good drunk, had a good time and was fed. It only cost me two rounds inside. If it wasn't for a suckass band outside, it would have been a great night.


James Wigderson said...

The one and only Larry. Everyone needs a friendly beer vendor. He would bring us ice when it was hot. He would stop by every two innings. He would check on us when it was last call. He would give us all sorts of inside dirt on the stadium operations. He was one of a kind, and we tipped him well.

djw said...

Steve, I wish you would have been at Big Mama's for bucket night tonight. (Janet left too soon). Guess who came in wearing a (too tight) halter top and glitter on all her exposed skin? Clue:Packer game-food.