The is the supernatural mytho-religious story that describes the beginnings of Viva Cerveceros.
I was thrilled when the Brewers first introduced Cerveceros Day. I’m a sucker for cheesy highlight reel lines from sports anchors, such as a yelp of “¡Los Gigantes!” during a Barry Bond’s home run on Sportscenter. Now my team was acting in the spirit of inclusion, or cross-demographic promotional advertising. Whatever, it’s all bueno. “Cerveceros” — the very word sounded like a band of banditos I could cheer for. It’s a reference to beer, and those who make it, and the last two syllables kind of sounds like “heros.” Also, I loves me some Mexicans.
Last year, I went to Cerveceros Day with my friends Laura and her beau, The Other J.J. We also went out pretty hard the entire night before. I had just signed the lease on my apartment on the bluffs overlooking Miller Park, and we agreed that warranted an early morning excursion. We sat on the floor in the empty apartment and gazed out at the stadium’s removable shell and the tail lights whistling by on the highway.
We woke up very early the next morning, because they were hosting a tailgate for both their families and our friends. I had brought some tamales and some chorizo to grill. One thing to consider when preparing chorizo at home: traditionally, natural casings were used, allowing the sausages to be grilled on your typical Webber. However, these days the sausage usually comes in plastic casing, which you dispense with and cook it like ground beef. In my dash to the supermarket, I grabbed the wrong kind. Five pounds of the wrong kind.
Five pounds is a lot of chorizo.
Some of it is still in my freezer. It’s sort of like keeping a piece of the wedding cake. On that day though, July 15, we left the park fat and happy following a 4-3 Cerveceros win over the Rockies, and with brand new Chorizo bobbleheads. Everybody had to get back to the everyday grind, but The Other J.J. and I, with nothing in particular scheduled, adjourned to Frank’s Power Plant and The Palomino to continue the binge.
The very first Cerveceros Day in 2006, for a game against Los Rojos de Cincinnati, featured the first-ever running of The Chorizo in the often imitated, never duplicated Sausage Race. At the time, I was finishing up my career as a supervisor at the Wisconsin Memorial Union’s Lakefront on Langdon, where we often explained the mysterious, delicious nature of chorizo when it was featured in our Sunday brunch egg bake.
“It’s like, Mexican sausage.”
Chorizo finished third in that first race. But he was not allowed to race again in 2006 because of a Major League rules requiring approval of new mascots, and not allowing their introduction midseason. Because the sausages are clearly not the mascots of the Milwaukee Brewers. Bernie Brewer, what sits atop his slide in Miller Park, is the Brewers’ mascot. It’s right there in their name — the world famous Klements Racing Sausages.
On a site note, do you remember when the sausage race was held at County Stadium and they played an intro of the sausages on a marathon past Milwaukee landmarks to the “Chariots of Fire” theme? Just when the suspense of the race became unbearable the sausages burst out of the left field corner and sprinted home in a madcap finish. That was some serious fun — what my dad would call “Gestalt.” It’s sort of like “Jump Around” at Camp Randall. Would the student section erupt in elation at the opening horns in the same way if the song wasn’t preceded by some noodling elevator music abruptly silenced by a record scratch? … Probably.
Anyway, by writing about my life in Miller Parkland, it was way to keep in touch with those kids and any other friends who care to drop in on the Interwebs — while practicing a pitch-perfect rallying cry for the 2008 team. Because what more can you ask for in life, aside from good friends, simple games, good beer and spicy, spicy sausages.