I don’t even know who Bernie Brewer is anymore

If you thought “Official Luxury Car of the New York Yankees” was too much, get a load of what they’re doing in Milwaukee:

Every Milwaukee Brewers fan knows what Bernie Brewer does after every home run: He slides down a slide.

But in an era where everything is for sale, the Brewers have managed to find a way to turn that slide into team revenue. On Thursday, the Brewers announced that Kalahari Resorts had purchased the naming rights to Bernie’s new landing area. Through the multi-year partnership, Kalahari Resorts will be known as the “Official Water Park of the Milwaukee Brewers.” The deal includes signage around Miller Park and other promotional rights.

Kalahari Resorts operates resorts in Wisconsin Dells and Sandusky, Ohio. The team said Bernie’s new landing area will be unveiled during the season.

Fine, let them make a buck because, hey, they gotta pay Ryan Braun and everyone somehow. And besides, it’s not like Bernie Brewer is some sacred thing that can’t be befouled by marketing. Sacredness in Milwaukee begins and ends with the sausage racers, so no, the idea of sponsoring Bernie Brewer’s slide doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is that it’s a water park doing the sponsoring.

For years, Bernie Brewer did what God and Nature intended: he slid into a giant mug of beer following home runs. That’s what you would do if given the chance, and damn skippy, that’s what I’d do too. With the move to Miller Park, however, the Brewers decided to sanitize this into a big playground slide thing with no delicious, ice-cold beer waiting for him at the end. It was sad. It was unnecessary. It flew in the face of everything I thought the State of Wisconsin stood for. Now it’s a water slide, which constitutes even greater mission creep than the kids’ slide. After all, who among us hasn’t had a beer at a children’s playground? I’ve never hoisted the moist at a water park, however, rendering the Bernie-beer connection almost non-existent.

And it may backfire too! I mean, really, who can afford a trip to a fancy water park in these troubled times? Not many of us, I say, so the good people at Kalahari Resorts may not see much of a return on their investment. In light of this, would it not be better to return to the escapism and the sweet, sweet release of alcohol symbolized best by a man with a mustache sliding into a beer mug?

(thanks to Lar for the heads up)

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  1. Sean said...

    I go to school in Madison, and cannot stand this God-forsaken state. However, it is nearly impossible to criticize anything associated with the Dells. Between the endless water parks, magic shows and WWII “Duck” tours, it’s like an oasis of awesome in a desert of Favre jerseys and Ed Gein look-a-likes. Curse the Brewers, but long live Kalahari.

  2. Millsy said...

    I’m curious how much the rights were for this.  I can’t imagine it was a cheap deal for Kalahari.  I hope they own a lot of water parks, because, as you said, Craig, I can’t imagine having a very large return on investment with this.

    Then again, maybe they’re planning on expanding.  Perhaps with increasing economic woes, demand for laying around in a pool has increased dramatically.

  3. rmlumley said...

    Being a Wisconsin resident, Sean probably expressed the exact opposite of how most Wisconsin residents feel.

  4. hermitfool said...

    Does anyone know which management dinkphod made the decision to ixnay Bernie’s beer bath? Sounds like something Selig would do.

    The decision would have been relatively easy to reverse, but now there’ll be a water park thingamajig standing between Bernie and what is meet and right.

  5. lar said...

    I think I have to agree with rmlumley here. I may be only a 3.5-year resident of the state, but I have to say that the Dells are definitely not the reason to like the state. A statement like that to me is like someone moving to a new city and saying “Well, this city sucks but at least they have a Cheesecake Factory/American Eagle/etc.”

    It’s a valid opinion, sure, but not one I’m going to agree with ever. Most places have a lot more to offer than a Cheesecake Factory or Buffalo Wild Wings if you care to look for it, and the state of Wisconsin has a lot more to offer than the Dells…

  6. YankeesfanLen said...

    As someone who lived in Chicago and at one point forcved to go to the Dells, I think the state is great (beer everywhere)(Packers games in Old County) but the Dells could somehow give Seaside Heights NJ a good name, even with it’s 4foot square pizzas that will encourage gastric upset for the length of summer.

  7. Aaron Vowels said...

    I’ve driven through Wisconsin exactly once, and that was specifically to get to a Brewers game.  My father and I traveled through the Dells and noted the huge amount of water parks (how many do you really need?) and commented on the sheer commerciality of it all.  I know people from Wisconsin that will tell you the beer, the blue skies, and the Green Bay Packers beat all the water resorts to hell and back.

    However, I think Kalahari has made a wise investment, because you can’t help but look up to see Bernie slide down the slide and we all know that name recognition is everything at a ballpark. (Hello Citi Mets!)

    But, as I’m a baseball fan, I wish they’d go back to the mug of beer too.

  8. Alex Poterack said...

    As a Brewers fan, I’ve been missing the mug for years, but if it’s gone forever, I do appreciate them at least making some revenue off of it.  In general, I’m a fan of sponsorships, actually: they bring in more money which can be used to improve the team without charging the fans more.  Of course, it’s debatable whether the money goes to improving the team, but the Brewers have done a good job of that lately.

    So I guess I’d be ultimately in favor of this…but I’d rather they bring back the mug and have Miller sponsor it :-p

  9. lar said...

    For those interested in Bernie’s old chalet and his mug of beer, there’s a good explanation of it here, along with some good pics: http://vivacerveceros.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/the-chalet/

    Short version: it’s now owned by one of the local breweries, and you can go and see it/touch it while on the brewery tour (which is pretty cool – I’ve seen it). Apparently, the Brewers asked for it back for one reason or another, but the brewery wanted their logo associated with it, and Miller Park would not stand for that.

  10. CH said...

    Wait, they got rid of the beer slide?  It’s “Miller Park,” and they’re called the “Brewers,”  yet they don’t want to send the wrong message that Bernie might actually drink some of this beer that gives the team and ballpark its name?

    I was not aware of how incredibly stupid this all is.

    It’s like having a team named the “Potheads” playing in “Johnny The Drug-Dealer” stadium, and having your mascot “Petey Pothead” slide down a water slide.

    Let Petey Pothead slide into his bong water.  This is bullshit.

  11. hermitfool said...

    To obtain that consistency so valued by teenie little minds like mine the Brewers should be re-named the Milwaukee Teetotalers and each time the Teetotaler hit a home run a Carrie Nation comic figure will run out and chop up some bar furniture with her sturdy hatchet. The ballpark will, of course, offer nothing stronger than lemonade to the fans, so as not to pollute young minds with real time images of demon rum consumption.

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