Woe is the Oklahoma City Thunder. The coach is gone. The wins never showed up. The fans have booed. Not exactly the honeymoon people here in OKC were expecting, especially after the Hornets made near-serious runs at the playoffs in two straight years. But fear not fans, there is a sliver of light at the end of the dark, dark tunnel. Despite the fact the team is 1-13 and on pace for no more than six wins this year, and despite the fact the team is second-to-last in the NBA in scoring, ESPN basketball stat guru John Hollinger gives the team a 23 percent chance to win the draft lottery. That’s nearly one-in-four odds, folks. Not too shabby!
In beer news, I was scanning some Web sites the other day and noticed on the Choc Beer Web site that in addition to their stable of five beers — 1919, Miner Mishap, Waving Wheat, Pietro Piegari and Basement Batch — a new beer called Last Laugh is “coming soon.” That’s all the detail I have at the moment, but I’m looking forward to seeing what the new brew is.
Just a reminder, don’t forget to vote in The Thirsty Beagle Beer Championship Series (see post below) to determine Oklahoma’s favorite beer. We had a serious upset on the first day of competition when Bud Light took down Sam Adams Boston Lager. Are there more upsets in store? Your votes will tell the story.
Here is news making the rounds in the beer world:
-The Thirsty Beagle earlier reported a beer brewing class at Colorado State University. Now another major college has joined the brewing trend. The University of Wisconsin will offer the class in the spring semester. Details here. The course instructor said the program is not so much about consumption of beer — “This is not a course to help kids go out and slam beers on Friday night,” he said — but more about the science behind fermentation. The course is actually part of the university’s bacteriology department. The class seems a natural for Madison because of the campus’ proximity to Milwaukee. Less fortunately, the school also has the highest binge-drinking rate in the country. But the prof said students will brew, sample and critique beer, and any excess brew will be unceremoniously dumped down the drain.
-Speaking of Wisconsin, the city council in Hudson, Wisc., recently approved a beer permit for a junior hockey league game consisting of players as young as 16. The Thirsty Beagle has gone on the record to say that if everyone’s following the rules, beer should be allowed where the law allows, but this one doesn’t seem right. Beer at a carnival or amusement park like Six Flags is one thing, but beer at a junior hockey game feels a lot like beer at a T-ball game, which sounds kind of trashy. A league organizer said he needs beer sales to help fund operations. The city council, meanwhile, was mainly concerned that if they allowed the hockey league to sell beer, then they might have to field a similar request from the Hudson Soccer Association. Look out Wisconsin: Here comes youth soccer hooliganism!
-What do you do in Ann Arbor, Mich., when someone hits you on the right side of the head with a beer bottle? You hit that person in the left eye with your fist and run home.
-Beer sales in emerging economies are declining, according to a news report, signalling a troubling time for small breweries.
-Yet another Wisconsin tidbit: A Milwaukee brewery has announced a new beer to coincide with a museum exhibit on the Titanic: Titanic Pilsner. The main difference is that this Titanic will only get better when it hits ice.
The National Hockey League season is in full swing now, so you can bet — wait, what’s that? What’s a “Hockey League,” you ask? I’m pretty sure it’s a game played on ice with sticks and a rubberized disc called a puck. It used to be on TV, I think. Anyway, if you are a hockey fan, you know there’s nothing better to drink at a hockey game than beer. And if you’re looking for affordable beer at your professional hockey game, it turns out Pittsburgh is the place to go. A 16-ounce beer at a Penguins game costs $5.25, well under the league average of $6.06. The Thirsty Beagle will say this: With the lack of exposure the NHL gets in this country, you’d think they’d be giving beer away. Wait, my phone’s ringing. It’s the NHL. They’re looking for their next great marketing plan.
Few people — OK, no people — predicted baseball’s World Series would feature the Philadelphia Phillies against the artist formerly known as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Perhaps some picked the Phillies to make it this far. Interesting enough batting order, decent starting pitching and a lights-out closer gave pundits something to hang their hats on. But Tampa? No way, no how could Tampa make the World Series. Well, pigs are flying through the frigid skies of the underworld this week, because the Rays are indeed playing for the whole ball of wax. So what’s this got to do with beer? In light of the unlikely nature of the matchup, there is a highly coincidental beer tie-in involved in this series. Allow The Thirsty Beagle to expand: Yuengling beeris brewed in the town of Pottsville, Pa. It’s the oldest family-owned brewery in the country and the beer is a favorite among Phillies fans. Well, Yuengling is brewed in only one other place in America: In a brewery at 11111 N 30th St. in none other than Tampa, Fla. Maybe the brewers at the two Yuengling breweries have weaved some magical hops into the beer that have somehow influenced the Gods of baseball. Well, at least at the brewery in Tampa. I can’t think of any better way to explain the Rays making the World Series.
There’s a dispute brewing about a bar at the University of Wisconsin’s football stadium. City leaders in Madison say they are concerned that the beer garden at the Stadium Bar and Eatery is being packed beyond capacity and that proprietors there aren’t doing enough to clear the place out by the mandatory 10 p.m. clear-out deadline on game days. Now, there’s something to be said about having a bar at your football stadium of choice. Your team’s winning? Raise a glass in celebration. Your team’s getting roundly beat down? Raise a glass in disbelief. Then again, Wisconsin’s football team is in a free-fall at the moment, losers of four in a row after starting the season with three straight wins. Maybe the players there have become a little too familiar with the Stadium Bar and Eatery.
Speaking of college football, the Bowl Championship Series is all the rage around these parts. The Thirsty Beagle would like to go on the record to say that while all this BCS talk is fun, he is a big proponent of a college football playoff. That belief was solidified even more when during a recent visit to the official BCS Web site, I found these ”news headlines” about the BCS:
I lifted those clearly non-self serving ”headlines” straight off the Web site www.bcsfootball.org. The most common argument for not instituting a playoff — after all the lame arguments about “too many games” and “what about the history and tradition of all the bowls” and so on are exhausted — is that somehow a playoff would devalue college football’s regular season. Well you know who feels devalued? An undefeated Auburn team that didn’t get a sniff of the national title game. But don’t worry Auburn, the BCS said you didn’t deserve a chance to play for the title because some people — coaches, people who make computer programs — decided they didn’t feel like you did. No matter how you want to break it down, that simply is how it worked. The BCS is a random process based on the random opinions of some random (Hello, Schnelly!) people. That, my friends, is a devaluation of the regular season at its utmost. And that is why the BCS needs to go.
Ah yes, that magical time in the fall is upon us. OSU-Missouri weekend is here. You know, that wondrous weekend that only comes twice every four years? The game that everyone looks forward to for the long-standing rivalry, crucial Big 12 implications and yearly bragging rights. The fierce battle for the border — all 40 miles or so — that Oklahoma and Missouri share. What’s that? There’s a bigger game scheduled this weekend? Are you talking about the rivalry that brings us this?
A follow-up to an earlier item: Officials with the Saskatchewan Roughriders football team in the Canadian Football League have decided to stop selling beer in cans at home football games. Apparently, pelting players from the opposing football team with full beer cans will get that done. Now the beer will be served in plastic cups. One team official had this take:
“We’ve got a younger fan base, which we wanted. We worked to get that demographic. They’re here… Unfortunately some of the things that come with a younger demographic is more drinking and partying.”
The Thirsty Beagle suspects blaming youth is a little short-sighted. Let’s try blaming the fact that there’s nothing much to do in Saskatchewan except get angry and throw beer cans. Just joking! I love those Roughriders!
A Chicago judge last week issued a temporary restraining order meant to allow the display of a Budweiser banner on a building just outside the home of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field. The sign had been covered with a tarp following a contract dispute between Anheuser-Busch and the owner of the building.
Above: Wrigley’s Budweiser building. Below: The tarp.
The owner claims the Bud folks failed to make their quarterly $86,000 rent payment for the sign. The Bud folks claim they didn’t receive an invoice for the payment. The judge — a White Sox fan — said the sign should be displayed, and with any luck, he’ll “see the sign when the White Sox play the Cubs in the World Series.”
As far as The Thirsty Beagle is concerned, this issue could have been solved with a telephone call, not a lawsuit.
-Building owner: “Hey, did you guys get the invoice?”
-Building owner: “OK, you owe me $86,000.”
Done deal. No courts, no lawyers, no judges. In fact, we should have The Thirsty Beagle taking on all sorts of conflicts. But getting the Cubs into the World Series? I’m not sure I can help there.
Canada. The true north strong and free. Home of hockey, maple syrup, and more hockey. Also home to the Canadian Football League, a strange brand of football played on 110-yard-long fields with gigantic end zones, only three downs and single points awarded when an errant filed goal try goes through the end zone. That’s not a typo. They award one point for missed field goal attempts that go through the back of the end zone. And home to rowdy fans who got really angry during a Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. British Columbia Lions football game. The Roughriders fans were apparently quite upset about what they viewed as a facemask foul that went uncalled. According to the news report, they “made their views known” about the play. Not exactly sure what they did to accomplish this, but it apparently was enough to cause a B.C. player to fire a football into the stands. The Saskatchewan fans responded. They threw full beer cans at B.C. players. Now officials with the Saskatchewan operation say they will likely return to an earlier practice of serving beer in plastic cups.
Pretend football note: Victory was secured Monday night in my fantasy football league. Fifteen wins in a row and counting. This weekend, I play the guy who drafted Tom Brady. I’m feeling good about 16.
I demonstrated in an earlier post that I’m not afraid to dabble in a little football talk. I’ve got my three fantasy football teams (although I’m really only concentrating on one of them, I swear), my season-long college football picking contest with a good college buddy, and of course, like many a beer enthusiast, a general interest in watching college and pro football. Allow me to expound on the first two of these items. I am defending champion in two different fantasy football leagues. In one, the one I’m concentrating on, I’ve won 14 straight weeks, dating back to week six of last season. And it would take an epic performance by a couple bit-players and San Diego’s defense in the MNF game to halt the streak before it reaches 15 weeks. I just think this is a remarkable run that I’m on. Some would say it’s merely a disproportionate amount of luck strung together. Those people would be foolhardy. I like to call it a good dose of savvy general managership. Think about it: 15 weeks in a row! I would argue there has got to be more to that than luck. Although, I was ready to take Tom Brady in the five-spot. More than ready. He was mine. Then the guy drafting fourth snapped him up. I was surprised, but quickly settled on Brian Westbrook at the five (They say it’s just a
sprained strained ankle. Fingers are crossed). So maybe there was a certain amount of luck there. Because If I get Brady, the streak is over. But you know what they say: Good things just seem to follow successful operations. Which is what I’ve got going right now. And not just in fantasy football. My college football picks are on fire right now. How does 10-1-1 against the spread sound through four weeks? Like Terrell Owens said in an NFL Films clip I saw once: “Who can make a big play? I can.” That’s how I feel right about now. When it comes to pretend football action, I’m making all the big plays! Who can raise a glass to that? I can!
So what about the beer news, you might ask? This shows that thieves will go to any lengths to make a quick buck. I know there’s been a run lately on copper wiring, which crooks trade in for cash at scrap metal yards, but beer kegs?