Saturday, I get the word that I’m supposed to be at Miller Park that next morning at 10:30am. I arrive and the producer takes me to the field. We meet the on-air pregame show host. He is gracious and his wife laughs at me imitating BJ Surhoff’s facial expressions. We start the interview and he has me imitate players from the last 30 years.
We finish the interview and the on-field entertainment producer gets my phone number, just-in-case.
I then hangout behind homeplate while the Nationals take BP.
The game begins with John Lannan taking a no-hitter the furthest I’ve seen in person (5 1/3 innings). The ball ticked off the 2nd baseman’s glove on a floater to shallow center,
The game moved into the 8th tied at 1. Then someone who resembled a poorman’s Eric Gagne gave up three runs. Wait, is that actually Eric Gagne? No, not the dude from the Dodgers?
Oh man. He gave up a homer to Austin Kearns. Is there a record for most seasons on a last place team? Who can claim that award over Austin Kearns? Who? Please name him?
So, during the 8th inning the Milwaukee NBC sports anchor sends a cameraman to interview me. During that interview Mike Rivera is hitting a 2 out, 2 strike bases clearing double tying the game at 4. Four seconds after that double I get a call from the on-field entertainment boss who says- If this game goes into extras….you’re on!
Wow- that sounds cool. Only problem- What do mean I’m On?
So he meets me at the Fox sports desk and asks if I want to do a “Name that Brewer guessing game”?. I say of course. So he brings me down to the box seats behind the Brewers dugout and we talk about a strategy. He says, if we make it through 10 innings you’re gonna hop up on the dugout roof and imitate stances. We agree on which 5 we should do and he radios up to the PA announcer. He starts with some good news: we’re going to project it on the Jumbo Tron. Then some disappointing news: we’re gonna use the centerfield camera to film it. The idea of having my back/butt to the closest people kills the local vibe.
In the bottom of the 10th the BrewCrew load the bases with one out. Dang, GET THEM OUT!!! Sure enough JJ Hardy strikes out on a pitch only I swing at in RBI 2 when my brother pitches.
Gabe Kapler steps up and rockets a shot directly at the leftfielder. Out #3. I immediately hop up onto the dugout armed with Shorts, Chucks, a FSN Brewers cap and a plastic bat.
That’s a lot of people and I have a bad case of cotton mouth.
The PA announcer proclaims, “Hey everybody, it’s Batting Stance Guy…from the Internet!”
It sounds as cool and hip as the Dean of your college meeting you at Orientation and tapping you on the shoulder while bellowing, “Hello Mr Johnson, meet any co-eds have you?!”
So I imitate Prince Fielder and notice that CC Sabathia, Jeff Suppan and Ben Sheets are right in front of me sitting on the edge of the incredibly wide dugout. That’s the first time I consider that my Fielder waddle out of the box may not be met with all smiles. Oh well, this is for the crowd. I finish Fielder and begin the Ryan Braun, hand kiss, shirt adjustment, etc when I hear the PA announcer launch, “It’s Prince Fielder!”
(uh, yeah, 20 seconds ago, oh man, this is off). So I do the Braun imitation and start on the next one. “Hey everybody, It’s Ryan Braun!”
So by Ben Oglivie, the crowd gets what is going on and I’ve slowed down. The final one is Craig Counsell and the crowd seems to easily understand who it is,.
I step down from the dugout roof and get some high fives from the season ticket holders.
I am fairly surprised when ½ inning later the Brewers on-field entertainment boss joins me and says- we’re running the Sausages again after the 11th inning- if the game goes 12 full innings- you are on again.
Sure enough, Brewers go down in the 12th and I hop up on the dugout. This marks the 2nd time during the game something other than a hot girl or fuzzy costumed character has stood up on the Brewers dugout.
This time the PA announcer is on it and we do 7 players, with me able to hear a thousand people yell Rickie Weeks upon my first imitation. The last one in Cecil Cooper and the crowd answers correctly.
The second time I hopped up on the dugout and waited for the PA announcer, I looked around while soaking it all in. We posted the Red Sox less than 4 months ago and I’m on the top of a major league dugout?
Ah, the internet.
Kapler leads off the bottom of the 13th with a walk-off off the pole in left. Brewers mob Kapler, then heap praise on Rivera’s 3 RBI double.
Can’t remember a day like this.
A word of caution: if you are ever on the Brewers dugout roof with Converse Chuck Taylor high-tops and imitating Jason Kendall or Jeff Cirillo…..it’s pretty slippery.