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BrewersFakeNews: The Ballad of Bernie and Bonnie Brewer

     Recently, a good friend of mine out here in Seattle made a joke about ‘Bonnie Brewer’.  It was in that moment that I realized I had no idea who she was.  I was aware of her existence, but I had never seen her before.  Rather than digging for the truth, I decided to bring back my favorite segment.  Please grab your mustaches and sit back, as BrewersFakeNews explores the life and times of Bernie and Bonnie Brewer.

Disclaimer:  The following story is based on real events.  Well, the dates are based on real events.  Please keep in mind that this is only for entertainment value.  This article involves adult themes, mostly alcohol abuse.  Don’t be mad about it, because there will be redemption at the end.   

    

     These two rambunctious, beer-guzzling kids fell in love during the winter of 1971.  After a very brief courtship, they were married.  B and B spent that summer at the ballpark.  In fact, they loved it so much that they built a summer home there.  This vacation paradise came complete with great seats to every Brewers game, a sweet slide, and of course an 18 foot tall mug of Milwaukee’s finest ale (High-Life).  It was built in a chalet style, complete with beautiful Bavarian accents.  The lovely couple seemed destined to be together forever.  The problem was that neither one of them held a steady job. 

     Just before the start of the 1973 season, Bernie approached team owner Bud Selig about possibly working for the Brewers.  Bernie was very nervous to meet with Selig, considering that Bud was a known mustache hater.  The meeting went very well and Bernie found himself  with the greatest job on earth; A professional sports team mascot.  Sadly, this only solved one problem.  Poor Bonnie still found herself without gainful employment.  So, at Bernie’s insistence, she approached Mr. Selig about an opening.  Bud took pity on the poor drunken girl and made her a member of the grounds crew, but her only job was to sweep the bases during the 7th inning stretch.  

     Bonnie was a woman of the 70′s and she refused to just sweep the bases.  So, she did it with flare, gusto, balls, etc.  After a few weeks, she took it upon herself to spice up the 7th inning tradition of singing “Roll out the Barrel”.  That day, the Yankees were in town, and by some sort of bizarre miracle Billy Martin was the 3rd base coach that day.  Martin had been the head coach in New York for the three previous seasons, so she recognized him right away.  As she made her way towards third base, she decided to make history.   After her usual sweeping of the bases, she walked behind Martin and gave him a good swift swat on the behind with her broom.  Billy turned and glared at her as she smiled and approached him.  Then she leaned over and gave Martin a kiss on the cheek.  The Milwaukee crowd went crazy, and a phenomenon was born. 

     Bernie found himself in the role of second-fiddle.  Old Bern did not like that much, so he decided to really go outside the box.  Every Time a Brewer hit a home-run, he vowed to slide into his mug of beer.  This proved to be one of the greatest single moments in mascot history.  Not only did it become a fan favorite, it became a tradition.  Unfortunately for Bernie, it became a life altering tradition. 

     Over the next few seasons, the duo was the driving force behind fan attendance (we all know it wasn’t the team).  Bonnie would swat a few butts and kiss a few cheeks, while Bernie would plunge himself into mug after mug of the champagne of beers.  By 1977, the team had begun to show some signs of life and Bernie was a full blown alcoholic.  What could Bernie do?  This was his career.  It was the only happiness he had ever known.  Bonnie and several of the players held an intervention that season for Bernie, after which he agreed to swap the bear with apple juice.  This only lasted about 3 weeks. 

     The team hit 125 home runs that season, which was far more than Bernie had been accustomed to.  His disease took over and things were never the same. 

     In 1978, some rumors surfaced about Bonnie having an affair with new slugger Gorman Thomas.  Gorman, who looked suspiciously like Bernie, denied those rumors and still does to this day.  Bernie had already made up his mind about the matter and he began to fill the mug with beer and whiskey, you may know it as an ‘Irish Car Bomb’.  This lead to many fights between Bernie and Bonnie, sometimes spilling over into their work.  It was in August of 1978, during the 7th inning stretch, that Bernie stole a microphone and began to ‘boo’ Bonnie as she swept the bases.  Naturally, the crowd followed in suit.  Bonnie was heart broken and she never forgave Bernie for this act of cruelty.  She accredits this day as the beginning of the end of their marriage.  Bernie had always been a jealous man, but Bonnie was surprised by his actions that night because he was never a cruel man.

     The once young and vibrant couple, by the end of 1979, had grown into White Sox fans (drunk, fat, and always looking for a fist fight).  Bonnie could not take the abuse any more and she filed for a divorce in September of 1979.  The Brewers were experiencing great success, so the team decided that the focus would not be on Bonnie’s absence.  She had lost her touch with the fans and the time was right for her to go.  Bernie began to drink alot more…..mostly because his arch-nemesis Gorman Thomas hit 45 homers in ’79 and the team hit 185 bombs.  He drowned his sorrow in the teams victories. 

     For the first 3 seasons after Bonnie left Bernie, Old Bern was doing okay because the team just kept winning.  His job was to be the number 1 fan and he was good at it, really good.  1982 saw the Brewers hit 216 homeruns, so Bernie was doing some major sliding.  Bernie slid his way to the World Series that season.  The man was a machine on national television.  He thrived on the pressure of his post.  No one was louder.  No one was drunker.  No one was….as lonely.  Eventually the Brewers lost the 7th game of the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals.  Bernie fell, hard. 

     Please check back next week for the thrilling conclusion to our tale.  After I started writing this, I realized that it needed to get Harry Potter-ed.  I promise that I will conclude this tale next week.  Until then, let’s all go to arbitration!!!

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