On August 28th, 2008 Bernie Miklasz had an article on STLtoday.com titled “Pujols Stands Up for STL.” It was about Albert Pujols, of the St. Louis Cardinals, challenging Brewers pitcher Carlos Villanueva on the field when Villanueva gestured arrogantly toward the St. Louis dugout following a crucial third out while the bases were loaded in the 7th. Pujols stormed on the field and sternly lectured Villanueva on the decorum of the game, at which point Villanueva apparently said something offensive in Spanish and hustled toward the Brewers’ bench. The confrontation proved to be a turning point in the game as Pujols led the Cards on a 4-run rally in the 8th, clinching a come-from-behind (yes homo) victory for St. Louis and bringing the Cardinals within 4 games of the Brewers in the NL wild card race.
Later in the article, after commending Pujols for his honorable defense of Baseball’s propriety and dismissing Villanueva’s insult as a motivation for the Cardinals come back (yes homo), Miklasz rhetorically wondered why these 2008 Brewers are so rude and rowdy. He writes:
I don’t understand the Brewers. I just don’t. Really, I admire that team and its talent...There are so many good players on that roster. But why do the Brewers always have to pull stunts? What’s up with a journeyman like Villanueva gesturing wildly and cursing in the direction of the STL dugout? I don’t understand why this talented team feels that it needs to act up like NBA bad boy Ron Artest, or something. I don’t understand why this Milwaukee team feels the need to be controversial. I don’t understand the arrogance, considering that the Brewers have won NOTHING since 1982…The Brewers will probably make the playoffs. They are that good. But we must ask: can you fellas at least hold off on the showboating until you actually win something?
Now, Carlos Villanueva may be a jackass, but Bernie Miklasz? Bernie Miklasc is a MODERN Jackass, a MoJaMan Brahman, a Modern Jackass Mag Hag, a Denizen of our Magasin, naom? Pujols may have stood up for STL, but the Brewers PUT ON for Milwaukee. “Why do the Brewers always have to pull stunts?” Three words, Bernie Lickass: Coo Coo Cal.
Coo Coo Cal is a Milwaukee rapper whose song “My Projects” was a legitimate national hit in 2000-2001. Coo Coo Cal is the closest Milwaukee came to being on the map since Wayne and Garth took a road trip up I-94 to catch an Alice Cooper show at the Mecca Auditorium. And Coo Coo Cal is why the Brewers act up, Mr. Micklasz.
Unlike St. Louis, Milwaukee doesn’t have many nationally recognized platitudes to its name. It can’t claim some dubious distinction such as “The Gateway to the West.” Miller Beer, brewed in Milwaukee, can’t seem to compete with the corporate fortitude and commercial savvy of Annheiser-Busch. Milwaukee didn’t have a hip-hop superstar who had kids from New York to Alabama claiming “We’re from the Lou and we’re proud,” speaking Country Grammar and walking with that Midwest Swang. The closest facsimile MIlwaukee had was Coo Coo Cal, and in a contemporary climate in which athletes and rappers increasingly identify with each other, when the music doesn’t bring attention, a talented sports team becomes the city’s Lunatics.
Before 2005 the Brewers had not had a .500 season since 1992. The final game of the 1992 season, which I attended, the Brewers beat the Oakland Athletics whose manager, Tony Larussa, was ejected during play, but the Blue Jays clinched the division and Milwaukee, with rookie of the year Pat Listache (I got a rookie card signed, look that up in Beckett, Bernie Miklasz), called it a season. On top of that they haven’t won a pennant since 1982. To provide perspective, 1982 was an era of baseball when people named Rollie Fingers still played the game. That means a 25-year-old in Milwaukee today has never known what a baseball playoff series is like, an ignorance only minutely familiar to fans of the Montreal/Washington Expos, if fans for that franchise even exist. The last time the Brewers won a pennant they faced, who else, St. Louis in the 1982 World Series, which they lost, and it’s been downhill ever since.
The Brewers act up, Mrs. Micklasz, because the city of Milwaukee relies on the team to represent it on the national level. Who else is going to do it? John Norquist? Bob Uecker? With the Cubs finally getting hot after 100 years, the Brew Crew is feeling the heat from Chicago’s North Shore through Lake Michigan’s convection currents, and they’re beginning to wonder, why not us? Y-Not MIlwaukee? In an absence of rap stars, whose primary job is to rep one’s city, Carlos Villanueva and the Brewers are putting Milwaukee on their back, strutting through the diamond, pulling out their tucked in pinstrips (on Retro Sundays) and gesturing violently toward your bench. If you can’t understand that Bernie Miklasz then you, like your team, are hopelessly out of touch. These are Coo Coo Cal’s projects and the Brewers put on for their city.