Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bernie Brewer: Is Anything Sacred in Baseball?

Bernie Brewer must be surprised that greed
marred a team promotion.
Say it ain't so, Bernie.

I usually try to have fun when I write my posts. But today I am forced to deal with a serious issue. What was meant as a simple promotion by the Milwaukee Brewers has exposed the naked greed that lies beneath fans of our great, pure national pastime.

Bernie Brewer, the team mascot famous for sliding from his chalet after Brew Crew home runs and victories, has served the team well for decades. His first grab at greatness was in 1970 when he installed himself in a house trailer on top of the County Stadium scoreboard, vowing not to come down till a crowd of at least 40,000 showed up for a game. That was a big number back then.

Show up they did six weeks later. For bat day on Aug. 16. And most everyone, including me, stayed aft the Brewers won to watch Bernie (who wasn't officially recognized as "Bernie Brewer until later), rappelled from his perch. And in the process of deciding to slide down tore the skin off his hands. Is it no wonder Bernie is a fan favorite? He's a hero and has the scars to prove it.

Fast forward to today. Bernie, now an icon alongside brats with Secret Stadium sauce, was a natural for a promotion. The Brewers told fans to look for lawn ornaments fashioned after the likeness of our mustachioed cheerleader. Fourteen hundred would be placed in various locations like public parks. Some would entitle the finder to tickets or other gifts. There was a limit of one per household.

But then greed took hold. Such a concept, of course, is rarely introduced to our grand game. Players play because they love the sport and are interested only representing their teams in cities in the best manner possible on and off the field.

Shockingly, spies watched as the ornaments were put in place. Soon enough, there was a photo on Twitter of a trunk stuffed with 10 of the little Bernies (it's since been removed). Then they were seen for sale on eBay, for as much as $200.

I guess nothing is scared. My entire belief system has been shattered. Maybe Prince Fielder and all those prospective free agents don't mean it when they say they'd love to re-sign. And owners might be fibbing when they say they won't abandon fans for anew stadium in a new town.

Baseball will never be the same.

1 comment:

  1. Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds?
    Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
    [a croupier hands Renault a pile of money]
    Croupier: Your winnings, sir.


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