The Electric Commentary

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Bill Simmons takes a pilgrimage to Wisconsin

When you visit a random city like Milwaukee, here's the most common question you get: "Why are you going there in August, did somebody die?"

Nope. I went to Milwaukee last weekend to see some friends, hit two baseball games, abuse my body, do some tailgating and make the holy pilgrimage to Lambeau Field. Call it an old-school male bonding weekend, the kind of thing guys did before Vegas became popular.

The article is kinda funny but I definately came to the conclusion that the Sports Guy is a real A-hole. He completely overplays the "Wisconsintes are fat" stereotype.* Hey Bill, the Packer Pro Shop sells 4xl jerseys because people wear them over huge winter coats. He's also quite negative with respect to Brewer Baseball. Typical of Yankee/Redsox fans, but annoying nonetheless. I would not want to attend a game of any kind with him. He also uses the term "sconnies" like he's a sorority girl or something. That said, it's an okay read. Here are some of the better bits:

6:30 -- Gentleman, start your tailgates! We're drinking outside the ballpark, which looks like a giant Space Vulva from the outside

7:48 -- Not to sound like legendary Hollywood producer Bob Ryan, but what if I told you that Gabe Gross uses a Christian song for his at-bat music that includes lyrics like "help me Jesus!" and "Hallelujah!" Is that something you'd be interested in?

I've been mocking Gabe Gross's at-bat music all season. I've been trying to learn the words.

8:09 -- Milwaukee's Billy Hall ties the game with a homer, followed by Bernie Brewer sliding down his slide in right field and landing, feet first, on a catwalk. Wait, why didn't he land in the mug of beer? Chip informs us that they jettisoned the mug a few years ago for PC reasons. You know, because Bernie Brewer landing in a mug of beer was causing the teen drinking rate in Wisconsin to skyrocket. I'm beginning to hate living in this country.

I couldn't agree more. I will be a happy man when they bring back the giant beer mug and put Bernie Brewer back in lederhosen.

8:45 -- Time for the Sausage Race! You can feel the electricity -- it's like those last few moments before the Kentucky Derby gun. The Italian quickly breaks out to a big lead, scurries away from the pack and wins by five lengths as I'm screaming like Jeff Bridges at the end of "Seabiscuit." Twenty bucks, baby! That's the Italian's 22nd win of the season, nine more than the second highest sausage. JackO quickly wonders if they need to start drug-testing the special sauce.

I called that one too. For the last few years I've been a Brat supporter due to my German heritage. But at this very game it dawned on me that this was a stupid way to pick your racing sausage. Since I prefer Italian Sausage to Bratwurst, I picked the Italian and I will continue to do so.

9:45 -- This seems like a good time to mention that (A) this place is almost sold out tonight, (B) it's the bottom of the ninth, (C) nobody has left yet and (D) Brewers fans are like over-supportive Little League parents. It's an old-school baseball crowd, like those super-supportive WWF crowds from the '70s. Anyway, bases loaded, one out, potential franchise player Prince Fielder at the plate ... and he comes through with a single as the park explodes! Brewers win! They're four games out of the wild-card. Fielder gets mobbed by teammates at first base as JackO jokes, "I can't wait to watch him playing for the Yanks in five years." Actually, that wasn't a joke.

Well that last bit isn't a highlight. I can't believe that Yankee fans actually like that they play that role in the MLB.

11:45 -- You know, going to Milwaukee is almost like climbing in a time machine. It's OK to eat bad food and drink heavy beer. It's OK to smoke inside bars and restaurants. It's OK to make small talk and smile at complete strangers. All we're missing is an NBA star causing an HIV scare and it would be 1992 all over again. Screw it, let's play Soundgarden on the jukebox and turn off the condom machine.


2:35 -- After working the iPod (plugged into the car radio) like a champ for close to two hours, I finally make a mistake: Playing a rap song right as we pass one of those "NOW ENTERING GREEN BAY" signs. That's just wrong. Three miles to go.

I'm surprised they didn't get arrested.

2:40 -- Now we're giddy. Just got off at Exit 32 (Oneida Street) and we're working our way through downtown Green Bay. During our '93 pilgrimage (just Gallo, Chip and I that time), we got lost near Lambeau and asked for directions, followed by a local telling us, "See that K-Mart over there? Drive up to that, take a right and you'll see the stadium." He wasn't kidding, either. I loved that moment. Unfortunately, they've since built up the area with the usual suspects (Best Buy, Barnes and Noble, Target, etc.) and more restaurants (including an I-Hop, which Gallo calls it "the Whole Foods of Green Bay"). But the stadium still stands out on first glimpse. Imagine driving through a small town where you live, then stumbling across a state-of-the-art, 60,000-seat high school stadium. That's what it's like.

That about sums it up.

3:49 -- Our favorite tailgate: An SUV covered in Packers flags and logos, with a "TIX 61" license plate and a banner that reads, "OEDENHOVEN'S OASIS: SEASON TICKET HOLDERS SINCE 1961." Intrigued, I walk over to meet the guy running the tailgate, leading to this exchange:
--Me: "1961, huh? You go to the Ice Bowl?"

--Guy (thick accent): "Oh, yahh."
--Me: "How was it?"
--Guy: "Cold."

I've seen that guy.

5:55 -- We're walking in. I have goose bumps on my goose bumps. We spent the last 20 years ripping down nearly every stadium or arena that ever meant something -- Boston Garden, Montreal Forum, Mile High Stadium, Chicago Stadium, etc. -- and a hallowed few remain. This is one of them.

I can't wait for football season.

8:40 -- It's halftime and I'm going on a cheese curd mission. Earlier in the game, somebody returned in our aisle with something called "cheese curds." Chip's explanation: "When they cook cheese, they save the fatty part that burns off, then they cook that part again, then they deep-fry it. That's how you get cheese curds."

And they're awesome. Why aren't they everywhere? Everyone that comes to this state ends up loving them.

Read the whole thing.

*Men's Fitness Magazine rated Milwaukee the 5th fittest big city in the country. Boston was 10. New York was on the fattest cities list. I'm far fitter than Bill Simmons.


  • *Men's Fitness Magazine rated Milwaukee the 5th fittest big city in the country.

    Thus supporting my long advocated theory that cheese curds, bratwurst, and other good hearty, traditional eats are good for you.

    (This may be related to the fact that nothing prevents you from being lazy about exercise as wekk as the knowledge that you ate 1/2 a bag of curds, 3 brats, and a ton of beer last night.)

    By Blogger Scott H, at 5:23 PM  

  • Well, knowing Brewer baseball the past few years, the comment about Fielder playing for the Yanks in five years may have as much to do with the Brewers getting rid of talent as it has to do with the Yanks buying it up.

    By Anonymous mitch, at 12:34 AM  

  • if there's one sport that the sports guy is truly ignorant about, it's baseball. he understands almost nothing about the game and really makes no effort to do so. that's ok though, i still like his writing.

    in all honesty (danny aside), people in wisconsin are truly fat in general. of the 4 places i've lived, here's how they break down (generally):
    1) milwaukee -- fattest
    2) boston -- ugliest (and angriest)
    3) vegas -- vapidest
    4) albuquerque -- mexicanest

    By Blogger ahren, at 3:07 PM  

  • I think he's probably a huge tool in real life. I bet it would absolutely suck to go to a game, or a bar, with him. I still like his writing too though.

    Yeah, there are a lot of fat people here. I know it. But it's not to the point where the Miller girls are the only skinny chicks at a packer game. And his statement that there were only 10 people running at the lakefront on a Saturday is total bullshit. I know this because I was running on the lakefront that day at around that time. There were tons of people there working out. We have a lot fo fat people but I think we also have a disproportionally high number of really fit people-runners/cyclists/triathletes/skiiers etc.

    By Blogger DannyNoonan, at 4:09 PM  

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