Ballpark Hilarity and a Tribute to Bacon
While Milwaukee Brewers fans will begin their search for Bernie Brewer this week (apparently he's been found), a minor league team from Virginia will be hosting a "Tribute to Bacon Night" at the ball yard.
The Richmond Flying Squirrels will be giving away coupons for discounted bacon to all fans in attendance of their game against the Erie Seawolves. Fans can also enter to win a year-long supply of bacon courtesy of the Virginia Pork Industry Board and Smithfield Foods.
In an odd twist of fate, Kevin Bacon (no, not that one) will throw out the first pitch. Bacon is a cop in the Richmond area who happens to have the same name as the star of "Footlose" and "Tremors".
In general, when I see a headline that says, "tribute to bacon", it's fair to say that I'm going to read what's next 99% of the time.
On a related note, have you ever conducted an internet search and been taken completely off course and away from what you were looking for? That happened to me a couple days ago. I was trying to find out how my unofficial cousin, Tyler Matzek (1st round draft choice for the Colorado Rockies in 2009), was progressing in the minor leagues.
I came to learn that the future-star is pitching for the Modesto Nuts. The Nuts are a class-A advanced team in the Rockies organization. I was so fascinated with the fact there is a team called "the Nuts", I had to learn more.
My first question was in regards to the mascot. There are several ways the team could have gone with this...and given it's a minor league team, I was prepared for anything. Appropriately, there are two mascots for the nuts...a pair of nuts if you will. Al the Almond and Wally the Walnut.
Their hijinks and buffoonery are comically amusing (CLICK FOR VIDEO).
I had separate conversations about the Nuts with Gene Mueller and Brewer's beat writer Tom Haudricourt. Both chuckled and snickered at the series of double entendres that came to mind with such a mascot. But I found it interesting that both Gene and Tom referenced the Montgomery Biscuits as their favorite mascot from the minor leagues.
I have no idea where my bizarre fascination with mascots came from, but it clearly has a hold of me.
The hijinks and goofiness of the baseball certainly does not stop at the minor league level however. I was talking with Brewers relievers Marco Estrada and LaTroy Hawkins the other day shortly after their run. It's common for the bullpen members to collectively run together as part of their gameday routine, but what closer John Axford came up with to make the run more entertaining was, according to Hawkins, brilliant.
Axford, the creative, mustache donning closer, made the sometimes dreaded run more interesting by organizing a scavenger hunt. Each bullpen pitcher who ran, complete with check-off list in hand, had to find the item on the list and capture a photo as proof. They also needed to find three dollar bills and have their photo taken in the photo booth on the concourse at Miller Park.
Estrada called it a blast, while the veteran Hawkins praised Axford saying he went above and beyond.
The team is playing well right now, but the ebb and flow of a season is likely to bring about moments of restlessness. Rest assured however, this team is together, the clubhouse is engaging, and the team is a great representation of the city of Milwaukee. Fans should be proud of the collection of men that Doug Melvin has pieced together.
There are several reasons why baseball is the best game in the world. The above represents a few off-beat snipits.