I do not drink as much beer as I once did. I would never call myself a beer connoisseur -- talk of making your own beer, the breweries you've discovered, or other esoteric ruminations about hops and barley bore me completely -- but I enjoy a good brew.
Today, though, I can mostly confine beer-imbibing to one of two categories.
1) It's summertime and I'm off.
2) I'm exhausted and the world has decided "night owl is the enemy."
Today it's in the high 70s, rather humid, and I've got a busy workload tonight. None of this really falls into category 1) or 2), but for some reason -- perhaps the nine zillion beer commercials that I've watched during all of my baseball viewing has finally gotten to me -- I can't stop thinking about a beverage.
In short, I need a beer.
Here's the problem. There's no beer in the house. And with the budget cutbacks continuing for another week, I can't be buying any without there being ... um ... repercussions.
So, I've decided on the next best thing.
No, not whiskey.
The All-Beer Team!
Now, there are several ways you could go with this and I like the idea of a few of them, especially the one where you could pick out the most notorious drunks in major league baseball history and field a team with them (if you don't steal this idea, I am so totally doing this). But I am going solely by the name connection.
There are a bazillion kinds of beer, many of which are named after actual people. So it shouldn't be any problem coming up with a team of players whose name (or team) matches a kind of beer. I took some liberties, but that was more in the spirit of fun rather than desperation.
I've also limited the team to eight position players, a DH, a starting staff and a modest bullpen. I'm not going any further or I'll need a beer just compiling the team and that would be an ugly turn.
So here you are: the first All-Beer Team. Completely produced with no alcohol, with apologies to Lefty O'Doul:
You've got to have a smooth-fielding first baseman on your All-Beer Team, the infielders can get a little wild when they're half in the bag. Unfortunately, Keith Hernandez's middle name isn't "Alexander" (he has no middle name). As you can see, Alexander Keith's is a Canadian beer, which has only been available in the States for a couple of years. And no, I don't know if Hernandez drinks in the broadcast booth. But I wouldn't be surprised.
The infield positions were the most difficult to fill, but fortunately there used to be a team named after a beer (OK, so that's not true). And I'm not opposed to expanding my All-Beer Team parameters to include team names, too. We're talking about beer here! Joe Morgan, despite what you may think of the man, was one of the finest second baseman to ever play the game. But he will never be as smooth as this man:
I can't tell you much about Eddie Leon or Leon beer, which is the proud owner of the title of "first brewery in Cyprus." I would have felt better selecting a Mexican beer since Leon is of Mexican descent, but that would not be in the spirit of this particular All-Beer Team (but would work very well for another All-Beer Team ... and that's now idea No. 3 for All-Beer Teams).
I am a little displeased associating my all-time favorite player with such an inferior beer product. In fact, I'm getting bitter beer face about the whole thing. But I would not be a Cey fan if I couldn't squeeze him into as many blog posts as I could. Keystone beer? Played the keystone? It's a match.
Brian Schneider receives a place of honor as I sure do love German beer (don't worry, I'm not going to start expounding). Look, you can see Schneider staring longingly into the stands. He's just heard the call of the beer vendor.
Foster's may be "Australian for Beer," but Foster is "Slugger for Outfield" ... or something like that. At any rate, we found it endlessly amusing when we discovered two George Foster cards in 1981 Fleer and one had "outfield" for the position designation and the other had "slugger." Why this card isn't valued 100 times more than the other one, I'll never know.
Baseball's ultimate "unibrow," meet "Unibroue." Unibroue is a French-Canadian Belgian beer and you've got to admire a brewery which offers a beer called "La Fin Du Monde," translated literally as "the end of the world." I hear it's quite good, too.
In homage to Ken Harrelson, I'm going with Konerko's "Hawk" nickname "Paulie." Besides, I need a gratuitous "attractive female in little clothing" photo with this post. It's practically a requirement of any beer advertisement. So, as the saying at the bottom right goes, "enjoy responsibly."
Carlton #1 is known for his 1972 season, a Hall of Fame career and not talkin' to nobody. Carlton #2 is an Australian beer known for its comical commercials, like this one.
I love that Steve Stone card. Goodness knows what he's saying. Probably something bad about Hawk. I can't say I've ever experienced Stone beer. It's way out there in California, and those gargoyles that are all over its bottles are rather intimidating. But they've won awards so that's promising.
Bosman's wikipedia page says he redesigns old cars into hot rods down in Florida. The only thing that would make that cooler is if Bowman did this while sucking down some Bosman beer, which by the way is from Poland.
Shelby is here because I don't want to be accused of not giving the young, present-day players their due. (And I'm completely ignoring the fact that his first name is "Shelby," too). Miller Lite is here because I liked their '70s commercials. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about their beer. The few times I've had it, it's made me sad ... and I think that's supposed to be opposite effect of drinking.
One of these days I'm going to be old enough to have a basement room with a bar and an illuminated bar sign.
Tiger Beer is from Malaysia or Singapore, I believe. Guillermo "Don't Call Me Willie" Hernandez is from Puerto Rico. Evidence that islands are good at producing both beer and closers.
Probably the first connection I made when I started this project a long, long time ago (this has been a post in the making for probably a year). Beck's, as you probably know, is the best-selling German beer of all-time. My guess is that Shooter had a few during his too-short lifetime.
I think Martin would fit on the All-Beer Team no matter which way you determined the team. And, not to bring everything down, but he should be the poster child for what alcohol can do to you if you don't control yourself. By the way, I can't get over the design of the Billy Beer can. It looks like something that would contain canned food. Really bad canned food.
So, here is the All-Beer Team without all the illustrations. I even arranged a batting order:
2B - Joe Morgan
CF - Wally Moon
1B - Keith Hernandez
LF - George Foster
3B - Ron Cey
DH - Paul Konerko
RF - Kevin Bass
C - Brian Schneider
SS - Eddie Leon
SP - Steve Carlton
SP - Mike Mussina
SP - Steve Stone
SP - Dick Bosman
SP - Shelby Miller
RP - Mike Kilkenny
RP - Willie Hernandez
RP - Rod Beck
MGR - Billy Martin
If there are two things that we are not in any shortage of in this world it is beer and ballplayers. So there are lots and lots and lots of other options in both columns. You could form a completely different team with totally different beers and it might beat this one.
But that's as much as I can write about this for today.
I've got to get cracking on my "All-Time Drunks Team."
And I'm getting thirsty.