Tuesday, June 29, 2010

F*@k Hunter Pence! And other tales from Milwaukee

I can’t remember when I started saying “F*@k Hunter Pence!”. It probably started when he did something good (for the Astros) and I threw a temper tantrum and started swearing at him. I know that it started during the 2008 season and I’ve said it so many times, most of my family and friends say it now, too. You should try it. It’s catchy. It feels good. Any time Hunter Pence gets a hit or makes a catch in the outfield, “F*@k Hunter Pence!

Our second day in Beer Town started with a quick walk along the Lake. It was a beautiful sunny morning. I will have knee surgery on Thursday so I tried to enjoy the walk because it might be a while before I go for another. We then headed to the Original Pancake House for breakfast. Good breakfast. I recommend it. Then we did some shopping for Brewers’ gear. Two of my favorite things—baseball and shopping.

The Brewers got out to a great start on Monday night against the Astros, jumping out to an early 5-2 lead. Ryan Braun singled in the first to score Corey Hart. Rickie Weeks had a run scoring single in the second and Milwaukee tacked on two more runs on a Hart single.  Manny Parra got the start for the Brewers and he wasn’t sharp. He faced six batters in the first inning and even got an error when he dropped the ball in a rundown. The second inning went better for Parra but he came back to give up two runs in the third. Pence reached on a fielder’s choice and later scored on a wild pitch. F*@k Hunter Pence.

Braun hit his 11th homerun of the year to leadoff the third inning for the 5-3 lead. Whooo! High fives all around.

After our shopping trip, we toured the Miller Brewery. It is very close to Miller Park (go figure) and free. It is fairly interesting and there are a lot of It’s Miller Time jokes. Roughly 1/3 of the tour is spent waiting for the others in your tour to get caught up with the front of the group. The tours are led by highly enthusiastic college students. We asked our tour guide if this was his dream job and he said, “yes, no doubt.” The best part of any brewery tour is the free samples. Somehow I ended up taking the tour with three people who do not like beer. My brother tried to drink some Summer Shandy and couldn’t do it. So, I had to take one for the team and drink all of the samples. I stopped at five glasses of beer. I mean, it was 4 p.m. and we had several hours of tailgating ahead of us. Pacing in baseball is important. It’s a long season.

The score remained 5-2 until the top of the sixth inning when the wheels started to come off for Parra. After giving up a single and a walk, Parra was pulled for Carlos Villanueva, who got two outs but also gave up a hit and a walk. 5-3. And then Villa was replaced by Todd Coffey. I told the guy sitting next to me that this was a mistake. It was. Hunter Pence promptly lined one down the third base line to tie the score. F*@K HUNTER PENCE. Ahhhhh!

After the brewery tour, we headed to Miller Park to tailgate. If you’ve never tailgated at a Brewers game, you’re missing out. You will find some people who are serious about their brats. I made friends with a 5-year old named Connor. He likes Ryan Braun, too. After several hours of tailgating we headed into the stadium. We had good seats. Section 116, row 8—between home plate and the Brewers’ dugout.  In an effort to take a photo of Willie Randolph in the dugout I unknowingly got too close to Brewers owner Mark Attanasio. The usher told me to find a seat, which prompted me to ask: “Find a seat or find my seat?”

After a fairly miserable start, the Brewers have started to turn things around in the last several weeks. After the Astros tied the score in the sixth, I wondered whether the good Brewers or bad Brewers would show up. Would we see the old Brewers or would the new and improved model show up? Old model. The Astros tacked on four more runs to win going away 9-5. Hunter Pence went 3 for 5.

We finished our road trip at .500—not bad. It was sunny in Milwaukee. 

Astros 9, Brewers 5
Game played June 29, 2010

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