As promised, here’s my quick Brewers On Deck report, for your reading (dis)pleasure, if you will.
We left immediately after I got off work; why head home in order to get up the next morning at an ungodly hour in order to drive to Milwaukee? The trip southward was uneventful and we arrived at our hotel, checked in and headed back out to nab some food. Prime and I decided on Culvers. I don’t often go for burgers, but Culvers is an exception. For a quick serve restaurant, they have the best burgers I have ever eaten. This is no joke.
After grabbing dinner, Prime and I headed back to the hotel, unloaded the car and settled down to eat. We watched a showing of Thor on SyFy, then took in a mini-marathon of Futurama. Afterwards, I crashed. I put in a full day at work and hadn’t had a day off in nearly a week; I was more than a little tired.
As my usual, I didn’t exactly sleep soundly. Staying in a hotel does that to me. I awoke several times during the night, at one point wondering when the alarm would go off and when I would have to get to work. I had to mentally remind myself that I didn’t have to go anywhere I didn’t want to the next morning.
Prime woke me with a kiss on the cheek. I lounged about for a while, then got ready. We were out the door and on the road before ten. It was an uneventful trip and we arrived relatively early. Things seemed to be going off without a hitch, until we hit the Wisconsin Center.
Yeah, we got to sit in the Line Ride. For reasons we still don’t understand. Prime and I, along with a great crowd of people, were staring at empty escalators for minutes at a time. No one had any clue as to why we weren’t allowed to go in for so long. Once we got inside, the event had already started; the line for Orlando Arcia was at capacity, which meant there was no way in hell I was getting his autograph. It goes saying that I was disappointed. However, there was no point in getting upset about it, so I planned my next move.
Instead, I decided to head over to Stage 1; Ryan Braun would be signing at 3pm. I had been trying for the last few years to get his autograph. Previously, the chance to get his signature was luck of the draw, literally. Braun, along with other big name Brewers, was part of a lottery system. You paid $25 to purchase a ticket for a chance to line up and rub elbows with Brewers elite. One ticket would be pulled and that number, along with the 249 numbers following it, were the winners. I had been trying my luck for the last few years I had been going. My luck had been terrible each and every year. Apparently, the lotto system was dropped some time ago. Now, I might have a chance.
When I got there, a lone had already started. It was a little after 11 but a queue had formed. There was a handful of people, with Braun memorabilia in tow, waiting. I hopped in line immediately. This is where I spent the majority of my day.
Prime spent his time grabbing some autographs; he was able to get Craig Counsell’s signature on his OYO home plate and he tracked down the Hot Dog as well. (Before you ask: it seems that Johnsonville is the new sponsor of the Famous Racing Sausages. I’m not entirely sure why things changed.) He also managed to get us a late breakfast of chicken tenders and fries. He did some wheeling and dealing as well, getting a couple of OYO figures and a Bob Uecker magic eight ball. I simply stayed where I was, for obvious reasons. Namely, the lengthening line, which started to double and spiral in on itself. If I had waited any longer, I may not have had a shot at this.
About fifteen minutes before Braun’s appearance, we were given our autograph vouchers and allowed to line up in the main waiting area. As I said, I got there pretty early; I was number 21 out of two hundred fifty. Then, after about a quarter of an hour, this happened:
I got the All Star Game OYO autographed. Prime got a first generation OYO signed. It goes without saying that I was over the moon. It was all I could do to hold myself together. I was half laughing, half crying, I was so happy.
Things were winding down but Prime and I hit the dealers row and grabbed some merchandise. I got lucky and scored a ton of pins–much to Prime’s chagrin –and also got a mystery box with a jersey, among other neat things.
It was getting late, so Prime and I made our way back home, walking through a flurry of snow to reach out car. Again, it was a routine drive, with a stop in Fond du Lac for dinner and a chance to stretch our legs. Nothing too exciting or noteworthy.
Did I have fun? You better believe it. Will I be heading back next year? If I have any say in the matter, hell yes. I had to skip out the last couple of years and I’ve missed it. You have no idea how much I’ve missed it. It’s a spot of sunshine in the middle of the long, cold Wisconsin winter. It’s a palpable reminder of the coming spring and upcoming season. It’s a way for me to recharge my batteries, if you will.
It’s a way to welcome the summer and all the good things that come with it. In other words, it feels a bit like home.
Next stop, Miller Park. Hope to see you there.