It’s not my bag, baby

The late Orville Redenbacher used to say, “Do one thing, and do it better than anyone.” When you’re a born and bred Wisconsin Badger, it’s more like “Do everything, and do it better then everyone.”

I think we’ve already established Brewers fans tailgate better than everyone else. So let’s talk about one particular aspect of tailgating: Bags. Bag toss. If you’re from Wisconsin, you’ll say “bāgs” — if you’re not, you’ll say “băgs.” Or, if you’re from Illinois or Iowa, you’ll probably say “cornhole.” But that sounds a little uncouth… pigfuckers.

In the Miller Park lots, you’ll see a lot of people playing this game as well as ladder ball, or “Polish golf.” Sometimes the bags sets are store-bought plastic, sometimes they’re homemade and wooden. They’re often decorated, sometimes with the ten-yard lines of a football field.

But I have never seen a set more meticulously decorated* than the set my friend Laura and her family made for The Other J.J.’s birthday last year.

She hand-painted a Brewers new-school logo on one board, surrounded by midnight blue. The other board, she painted white with blue pinstripes and the old-school “mb” glove logo. It was glorious. They belong in a museum.

As for the game, it’s not my favorite. In a beer olympics series, it wouldn’t be my strongest event, but I wouldn’t be a liability to my team. Bags, whatever you want to call it, and Polish golf, are just approximations of horseshoes.

Horseshoe approximation games will always have to compete in my mind with beer pong, which combines aspects of horseshoes, ping-pong, basketball, being a closing pitcher in baseball, and binge drinking. But if a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right. Here are the masterpieces in action.

* If I ever see boards with a painting of the old Bucky — and would the real Bucky please stand up** — I will admit that I have seen a more meticulously bags set than J.J.’s.

** In case you’re wondering, this is what Bucky looked like, before the athletic department “streamlined” (re: ruined) his look:

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