The Milwaukee Brewers are an altogether awesome organization. Miller Park is among the least expensive ballparks to see a Major League game. Even if fans don’t bring in their own food or plastic bottle non-alcoholic beverages (which is totally allowed by the way), beers and other concessions—if you can believe it—are also affordable when compared to those offered by other organizations. Local craft beers and edibles are available in select sections. Every Sunday home game, the team offers 4,000 free tickets for those serving in the military and military veterans. There’s also a shitload of offers to allow fans to score seats for less than $10 (or free, pending a response to a player’s suspension), and the Crew donates untold funds to local charities, while employing hundreds of people in addition to the 25 men on the roster. For the most part, the organization is aware of its fan base and does a great job appealing to consumers of all economic echelons.
Still, the Milwaukee Brewers organization is a multi-million dollar business that’s under the umbrella of Major League Baseball, a soulless multi-BILLION-dollar conglomerate that puts profit above all else. While the team’s uniquely fan-friendly mission still shines bright in most respects, the ugly and greedy motivations stew under the guise of gifts in the bright fluorescent lighting of the team store. While there are awesome items available (the plaid Uecker shirt jersey and Seattle Pilots fitted cap among them), there’s an abundance of reeeeaaaally fucking stupid shit for sale in the Brewers team shop. Milwaukee Record missed part of the first inning to seek out some of the worst.
Chef Segura t-shirt ($32)
There was a meeting (or at the very least an email interaction) to discuss selling a garment with “Chef Segura” and a pile of grilled meat printed on it. Somebody designed this, then it was approved and printed. So many unlikely and upsetting things needed to go perfectly wrong for this piece of merchandise to exist on a planet for which it as absolutely no place. Taking all that into account—as well as the astounding fact that there are seemingly self-aware adult humans willing to spend $32 before sales tax to own and publicly wear this—it’s safe to say that anything is possible.
Klement’s Racing Sausages canvas print ($20) and t-shirt ($29)
Listen: we love the racing sausages as much as the next fan. (Go Bratwurst!) The quintet of encased meat racers has become synonymous of what a Brewers home game is all about. Fans from both teams eagerly watch (and occasionally even wager on) the outcome of the race that’s spawned so many food- and president-based costumed copycats around baseball. It’s also helped further establish a local employer in the process. The tradition probably shouldn’t extend into one’s interior decor and wardrobe, though. When you really think about it, the canvas print is a $20 piece of “art” that shows part-time seasonal employees running a semi-circle in foam suits. And the “I (image of racing sausage) [name of sausage]” shirts make almost as little sense as shilling out $29 plus tax to buy a shirt that tells the world that you chorizo chorizo.
Scooter Gennett space-themed t-shirt ($32)
We can look the other way that there’s a specialty shirt jersey printed in honor of the most overrated “scrappy” middle infield “gamer” to don a Brewers uniform since Jim Gantner. And we’ll even look the other way on the use of his stupid-ass nickname instead of his last name. However, there’s no setting aside the godawful cosmos theme. This abomination of spun cotton depicts what can only be assumed to be a solar eclipse on the front and a starry universe on the reverse. To hammer home the wholly unnecessary and unexplained space motif, the name “Scooter” and his number 2 resemble the moon’s surface. It’s a tragedy to think this shirt is available and a Martin Maldonado geology-themed shirt with “Maldy” spelled out in quartzite doesn’t exist.
Ryan Braun plush doll ($20)
Though most fans have either forgiven Ryan Braun for his use of a banned substance or came to terms that nobody cares an iota about what they think, there’s still a massive faction of butthurt Brewers backers who confuse a dude paid to hit a baseball for a job as somebody with a moral responsibility to be a surrogate role model for the children he or she is too lazy and ill-fit to properly raise themselves. No matter where you land, we can’t imagine the Braun plush is a huge seller—though it’s not a far-fetched thought that at least one fan has bought this to hang from a shoestring noose in a misguided effigy to protest Braun.
Bernie Brewer reverse-a-pal ($30) and neck pillow ($12)
To be clear, Bernie Brewer is among the best mascots in all of pro sports. He’s pretty much just a human brewing employee with gorgeous, confusing green eyes. As awesome as he may be, he’s still a mascot and, thus, is unworthy of any purchases of merchandise bearing his likeness. Unless grandpa’s hemorrhoids flare up and the seventh-inning stretch is still a few innings away, there’s little reason to drop a dozen dollars for a mustache ride from a mascot. And the Bernie Brewer reverse-a-pal will make you wish you reversed your purchase when your kid gets bored of the high-tech Bernie-to-baseball transformation.
Anything devoted to Hank The Dog (various prices)
God damn Hank The Dog. We can’t fault the team for capitalizing on a fad of “is the human race doomed?”-level obsession. It’s just sad how well these items are selling. The foam paw makes the Chef Segura jersey seem well-thought and necessary by comparison.
Brewers-inspired Hello Kitty merchandise (various prices)
We can only assume the popular brand was granted an endcap in the team store to showcase the baffling combination of this Japanese character and small market American baseball team as a desperate attempt to appeal to young girls who are dragged to games they’d rather not attend. Perhaps this is a leftover relic brought in during Nori Aoki’s time with the team. No matter the reason, Hello Kitty items take up far too much of the limited retail space in the store. Unlike Aoki merch, these not only remain on Miller Park shelves, they remain expensive as ever.
Wei-Chung Wang shirt jersey ($29)
Buying an article of clothing with a player’s name on it is always a risk in an era of professional sports that finds athletes changing employers almost as often as they do their bed sheets. Choose wrong and you’re the guy forced to wear a Shaun Marcum shirsey four seasons after his Brewers prime. Even with the elevated turnover of modern sports, Wei-Chung Wang is an especially brazen purchase to make at this point. On-field performance aside, the 22-year-old’s Rule 5 draft status makes it possible (if not likely) that he will be the property of the division rival Pittsburgh Pirates again before season’s end. While we (and his interpreter) are aware of Wang’s less-than-ensured Brewers employment, the traditional #WCWW retweeter might not be. We’re not saying the store shouldn’t stock it, but something in the $18 range seems fair given the circumstances.