Baseball, Beer and Beef
October is probably the best sports month going.
The Major League Baseball playoffs show up, and they show up today with three games. The college and professional football seasons are on the roll, with bunches of games on Saturday and Sunday. The National Hockey League is also back on the ice, but not for me. That’s one sport I can live without.
I’m going to be living with baseball for next four weeks or so. I’m rooting like a madman for the Minnesota Twins to finally get off the floor and do something against the New York Yankees. I spend all summer rooting against the Yankees, waiting for the day my Baltimore Orioles rise like vampires from deep graves in the American League East and put the victory clamps on terrified Al Rodriguez, A.J. Burnett, Cano, Swisher, Joba Chamberlain and all the rest.
Right now, the Orioles are as dead as fried chicken. I have to hope the Twins are sufficiently enraged and aroused to smite the Yankees, and deal them the humiliation and defeat they so richly deserve. Minnesota has the best home record in baseball, and looks like the team’s pitching and hitting is a little better than it has been in past Octobers. With home field advantage in the first round, maybe the Twins can put an end to the Yankee menace by the weekend.
I can even stand by a hometown connection to the Twins. Sometimes, people ask me how I can root for Baltimore. I tell them my Rochester Red Wings used to be the International League affiliate for the Birds ... a relationship that ended about 10 years ago. Now the Twins are Rochester’s link to the majors, and a bunch of current Twins played some of their formative minor league ball at Rochester’s Frontier Field.
I’m rooting for other teams solely on their chances to beat New York. That means I’m backing Tampa Bay over the Texas Rangers in the other American League playoff, and Philadelphia over Cincinnati and San Francisco over Atlanta in the National League showdowns.
My worst case scenario is New York knocking off the Twins in four or five games, stomping Tampa Bay in five games and then meeting Cincinnati in the World Series. It would be a massacre, like Custer and his trouble with the Tribe — the real Indians — all those years ago.
If it’s the Reds against the Yankees ... I may have to watch hockey.
IDIOCY + ADVERTISING
I’ll be watching my sports of choice with a few Coors Lights for company ... although my relationship with Adolph Coors and his Colorado brewing company is becoming a bit strained.
I will often buy or boycott products based on their advertisements. Good advertising is rewarded with patronage; bad advertising means persona non grata in my pantry and refrigerator.
The Coors ads are beginning to annoy me. The television spots are bad enough, with four lunkheads drinking Coors Lights and interacting with pro coaches on sidelines or at press conferences. The ad dopes have spliced real footage of real coaches in real conversation with the lame lunkheads’ lame words about Coors. Might have been funny once, but after 10 or 20 times, you want to start drinking the hard stuff. Give me the Coors Light frost train barrelling down city streets any day.
I’ve been down on Coors for a while, ever since another ad campaign touted a label that changed colors, and let hapless boozers know when their bottles of Coors Light were cold enough to drink. I’ve been drinking beer long enough to tell a warm bracer from a cold one; people who can’t should go back to Schlitz. Or maybe Old Milwaukee.
The Coors radio commercials are rotten, right on down to the bone. I listen to a fair share of Yankee games on the radio — Buffalo Bills games too, as the Bills are fading in both record and TV appearances — and the new Coors campaign is for idiots only. They’ve got a chorus of male singers, and their job is to put new lyrics over dramatic football themes used by the TV networks. I’ve heard the Fox football theme and ESPN football themes with the new Coors-friendly lyrics, and want to throw my Coors Light into the backyard. I’ll let the chipmunks and crows finish the suds.
It’s almost enough to make me switch to Bud Light.
WHERE’S THE ANGUS?
My last beef is about beef.
When I’m in my favorite Price Chopper, buying a case of Amstel for the Yankees-Twins series, I’ll usually stop by the deli counter. Nothing like a corned beef sandwich to wash down four or five good Holland beers with superior flavor and superior advertising.
I’m semi-amused by the roast beef, which now always comes with “Angus” certified nonsense. I see it everywhere, on packages of hamburger, steaks, roast beef. I know Angus is a Scottish breed of steer. A little research on the Internet tells me the American Angus Association started its “Certified Angus Beef” brand in 1978, to promote the idea Angus beef is better than other types of cattle.
I’m sure it is. But I’m always eating roast beef covered with steak sauce, mayonnaise, ketchup and hot sauce, sometimes all four at once. So any flavor upgrades are lost on me.
I’m still waiting for the day when some savvy shopper at the deli counter demands to see the “certification.” He or she will want proof that a $7.99 pound of garlic, Italian or rare roast beef is from the Angus division of the animal kingdom.
So it’s really just another advertising stunt. Berkshire pigs are probably next, maybe Yorkshire chickens after that.