Thank you for coming in and checking on the Panclog. I hope you enjoyed the first edition of Thirsty Thursday as much as we enjoyed making it. We somehow both chose comedians for the first edition. This brought us to picking a topic. Because baseball is the national pastime and the World Series started this week, we wanted to discuss baseball players we would like to have a beer with. More importantly we narrowed the field (pun intended) down to which catcher we would like to have a beer with.
Jared- WIWHABW – World Series MVP Salvador Perez
When you grow up with John Buck as the starting catcher for your favorite team, you begin to discount the whole position of catcher. Then a magical day in August 2011, your whole world changes. Salvador Perez comes in and throws 2 base runners out. I had seen nothing like it. He hasn’t slowed down since. (Funny side note: Wade Davis started that day for the Rays and Joakim Soria blew the save for the Royals. Pretty cool. I know.)
Salvador Perez made the game fun again. He always has such a positive energy about him. That smile he always has is more contagious than the common cold. Salvy is the embodiment of the joy that baseball was and should be again.
Baseball is the perfect analogy of life. You must not sprint through life but live and enjoy every single day. If you sprint through life you will miss out on all of the great things the monotony of life can bring. I.E. Binge watching shows to waste time. Laughing with a buddy over bodily functions. Eating too many cupcakes just because they are there. etc. And life is better when you have baseball to talk about, or even better, go to a game with a great friend.
The beer I would like to share with Salvador Perez, well…. erm….beer(s), I have two. The first would have to be the beer that Kansas City’s hometown brewery, Boulevard Brewing Company, made to celebrate the Royals getting to and then winning the World Series in 2015. This beer would be Crown Town Ale.
When your city is full to the brim with sports losses for your whole adolescence, the moment a team is great, everyone celebrates it. Boulevard created a beer that would rejuvenate the hope in sports that a lot of KC had lost. Some (my lovely wife) would argue that Boulevard became a replacement, or at the very least, a placeholder of pride for Kansas Citians. If we can’t have sports, by God, at least we have one of the most touted craft breweries in the country. So it seems fitting that, in a sense, Boulevard has passed the bottle back to the Royals as our city’s source of pride.
Enjoying this subtle golden ale with Salvador Perez would be the dream of any Kansas Citian. In fact, this would be a perfect charity raffle thing. Boulevard get up on this.
My second beer is going to be Brickway Brewery and Distillery’s Hefeweizen.
This beer is brewed in Omaha, NE where the Royals have their Triple A team the Omaha Storm Chasers. This hefeweizen is a 5.0% ABV beer with a creamy mouth feel and some lovely banana and clove notes. Although Salvy only played 24 games in Omaha, I think it would be fun to drink a Hefeweizen and reminisce on the history of the game, and its future.
Brent – WIWHABW – Johnny Bench
OH JOHNNY, OH JOHNNY, PLEASE HIT THAT BALL. OH JOHNNY, OH JOHNNY, OVER THE WALL.
My grandmother would tell me how she would sing this song whenever Johnny Bench stepped up to the plate at the height of the Big Red Machine. I believe that he was her favorite ball player, and he is certainly one of mine. He is the first professional athlete whose name I would know.
At the time, Johnny Bench was probably the most well-known member of the Big Red Machine, a nickname given to the 1970-1976 Cincinnati Reds. Bench, of course, has had his fame eclipsed by Pete Rose and his lifetime ban from baseball. Bench may even be less well-known than Joe Morgan, another all-time great, given that Joe has regularly worked in the broadcast booth since his days with the Machine. Nonetheless, in my mind, Bench was the best player to have ever put on a Reds uniform. I also think he is arguably the best catcher to have played the game.
Over his career he batted .267, had 2,048 hits, 389 home runs, and 1,376 RBI. He also played in 14 All-Star games, won 2 world series, 2 NL MVPs, 10 gold gloves, and many more achievements. The man was an amazing ball player. In 1984 his number, 5, was retired by the Cincinnati Reds. To cap off his career he was inducted into the baseball hall of fame on the first ballot in 1989 with 96.42% of the vote. Which in baseball terms is 100%.
His statue at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati is one of the coolest as it depicts him throwing out base runner, a skill he had mastered.
Johnny Bench meant a great deal to the game, changing how it was played. To quote Joe Posnanski from his book, “The Machine”:
And Johnny Bench wasn’t a normal catcher; he revolutionized the position. He snagged pitches one-handed. He pounced on bunts with the quickness of a snake striking. His arm was a marvel – he threw out so many base runners that by 1972 players had more or less stopped trying to steal against him. Time magazine put him on the cover that year, with the understated headline: “Baseball’s Best Catcher.”
I would like to pair up Johnny Bench with the first beer that I actually enjoyed. Many, many years ago I was told by a coworker to avoid acquiring a taste for beer; advice I followed for quite some time. Nonetheless, the first time I encountered this beer a few years ago, I was surprised to discover how much I liked it.
Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat is one of my favorites. The first time I had it the beer was served with a lemon in it. Perhaps this is what pushed me over the edge on acquiring a taste for the beverage. Nonetheless, I have been an avid fan of the brew for a while now. The beer is kind of cloudy and lacks the bitterness that a lot of other beers have. According to Boulevard’s website the alcohol content (ABV) is 4.4% and the beer has a light fruity aroma, with a sweet bread-y flavor. Not sure what makes it light and fruity, but I will take their word for it.
Speaking of pairing things up. I would love to get a Johnny Bench Reds jersey and a Frank White Royals jersey, split them down the middle and sew the halves together. The purpose being to not only show my love for both the Royals and the Reds at the same time, but to have the name on the back say Whench and/or Bite.
Who would you like to have a beer with? What beer would you drink with them?