Thank you for that uh, flattering introduction, John. Yes, I am here to come off the bench for John and give ya a little taste of what the fans don’t see. For example, some of the mystical people that bring us the great Brewers atmosphere? Not as good-looking up close as you might automatically assume.
Employees access the Park by going through the North Dock (which is under the left field corner by the The Hot Corner and the Front Row Fridays signs). This is where the visiting team’s buses wait for them to walk out with tails between there legs after a 10-1 loss or, most recently, a 4-3 loss.
I bring this up to allow us all to enjoy another moment of hating Barry Bonds: When the San Francisco Giants were in town, the team bus would drop the players off at the dock and they’d walk the 45 yards to the visitors clubhouse. Bonds was so fat, lazy, old, and juiced-up that he got off the bus and had a massive black Cadillac Escalade drive him from the dock to the visitors clubhouse…. God, I hate him.
I’ve also seen a Cincinnati Reds scout was checking out how the Brewers play so that the Reds could get a solid scouting report on the Crew (no video recording à la Bill Belichek). I’ve met the Brewers photographer and Miller Park’s scoreboard operators too. Bob Uecker’s personal assistant, Donnie, who looks strikingly similar to Bill Russell.
Now it’s time to roll the stars on out. Beginning with “Mr. Baseball,” Bob Uecker. And not to burst any bubbles here, but as lovable as Ueck may seem on the radio, as far as I can tell, in person, he fucking knows he’s Mr. Baseball, and so if you would kindly get the fuck out of his way, he can go do more important things than notice you. I saw him one day before a game, he was walking past me messing with his cell phone and holding his sunglasses. His face, in the words of Jerry Seinfeld, looked like an old catcher’s mitt (ironic, no? — ’cause Uecker was a catcher). He definitely has a face for radio.
Also I’ve seen Bill “Rock” Schroeder, the analyst for the FSN telecast. Seems like a cool guy. I actually talked to Jim Powell, the radio guy that switches off with Uecker. Powell’s smooth baritone made me imagine some more physically imposing, but yeah, another myth busted. I’ve seen Tony La Russa who to me just always seems kind of annoyed, but, he gave me a nod of recognition as we past each other. I’ve marveled at Mark Attanasio’s entourage. And before almost every game I see Doug Melvin walk out of his office up in right field. Melvin is a good GM, to be honest, I think Yost holds him back a little. I’ve seen Jeff Suppan, Joe Dillon, Andruw Jones of the Dodgers, and Brian McCann of the Braves.
On my way in to work one night I was listening to AM 1250 sports radio, the hosts were talking about who the Bucks should trade: Mo Williams, Redd, or Charlie V. All these Cudahy dads were calling in and totally hating on Mo and trying to run him out of town. Later on that night, I noticed Williams sitting alone in a club suite and every time I walked past him all I could hear in my head was Greg from the South Side saying “Williams isn’t even that good, he poisons the team, and he needs to be sent away”…. Mo was so oblivious.
On to the list of people that actually said “hi” to me. Davey Nelson, the analyst for FSN’s post-game show. Russell “The Muscle” Branyan gave me a nod and a smile while he had his chest puffed out, walking all cocky. Of course, I laughed his arrogance off as a minor leaguer who replaced Bill Hall… but then Branyan started hitting home runs, including the 465-footer into the Dew Deck (Ed.— third longest in MP history), I don’t laugh at him as much now.
Just a few days ago, Miguel “La Gua Gua” Tejada, shortstop for the Houston Astros, was walking past freely swinging his bat around and said “Hey man, what’s up?” in his Dominican accent. The 2002 AL MVP represents the best MLB celeb sighting I’ve had so far.
This last sighting I dedicate to my older brother who bleeds Cardinal Red and White. Yesterday, the 4-3 win against the D-backs was a special day. The entire coaching staff of the University of Wisconsin was there for the ceremonial first pitch with their fearless Athletic Director Barry Alvarez throwing the first pitch. As I watched the pitch, I thought to myself, I’ve gotta position myself so I can see them when they walk up to their club suites. So as their walking up I’m watching all the coaches walk past me, and then there he is. Bo Ryan. In shorts and a red Badger shirt with a Brewer cap on, Ryan looked even younger than he does on TV. He noticed me gawking and gave me a nod with a “How’s it goin’?” And then, like soldiers on the parade ground, two police officers walking in front of Bret Bielema and Barry Alvarez probably talking about who’s going to start at QB for the Badgers next season. Saaahweeeet!