Thursday, July 7, 2016

Cards from Neosho Drive Me to Drink

I have lived in Georgia now for nearly 21 years. I have lived some place other than Wisconsin for 25 of the past 26 years. What that means is that, for the most part, I have finally rid myself of my Wisconsin accent. It took quite a bit of time, but eventually I got over some of those verbal ticks. 

Like some of those described (and heard) in this video.

I probably still have some of these issues, but I learned a few things about my own speech and the speech I hear when I go back to Wisconsin. It makes me laugh, though, to hear it.

Recently on Twitter, I got in an exchange with a recent addition there -- a fellow who goes by the name of Brewers Signatures. He asked me if I wanted some cards that no longer fit his collection that are all Brewers cards. So, in honor of these cards coming from Neosho -- which is not far from where I grew up -- I thought I'd go all in on celebrating Wisconsin and its drinking.

I know -- how terrible to celebrate alcohol? Right? If you think that, well, you've never lived in Wisconsin.

1.  Wisconsin Is a Drunk Place ... Everywhere

Recently, a list of the twenty drunkest cities in America came out. These cities were identified by self-reported binge drinking and heavy drinking rates using various health studies. Of the top 20, TWELVE were in Wisconsin -- and 6 of the top 7 were. In order from bottom to top: 17. Milwaukee/Waukesha/West Allis; 16. Janesville/Beloit; 15. Racine; 12. Sheboygan; 11. Wausau; 9. Eau Claire; 7. Fond du Lac; 6. LaCrosse/Onalaska; 4. Madison; 3. Green Bay; 2. Oshkosh/Neenah; and 1. Appleton.

Only one other state -- North Dakota -- had more than one location (Fargo & Grand Forks, but, then again, that is almost all of North Dakota).

So, what drives me to drink? Panini Prizm. Actually, there were quite a few very colorful parallels from 2012 -- it looks almost Christmasy with these two cards together! 

Martin Maldonado (Twitter: @Machete1224) has hung around Milwaukee as Jonathan Lucroy's backup since coming up in 2011 for one plate appearance. Maldonado is not beyond help as a hitter, to be fair -- he tends to hit a few homers and draws some walks at times. Still, he'd be stretched as anything more than a backup based on the 918 plate appearances he's made to date. He's 29, and he's arbitration eligible after this season. He may leave town merely because of that, or he may stick around and bridge the gap between Lucroy and Jacob Nottingham.

2.  Lewis Black on Drinking in Wisconsin (NSFW)

This Lewis Black standup is entirely one that could only be done in Wisconsin. Only people in Wisconsin -- or people who have gone to Wisconsin -- can understand what he means. One funny line is him wondering what it is that Wisconsin people do on New Year's Eve considering how much they drink the rest of the year. It's worth a listen to understand my people.

Personally, I had to give up on that. First off, it's just not as easy to rebound from a night of drinking when you're in your mid-40s as it was back in my 20s. Second, I moved from Wisconsin at the ages of both 18 and 23, so the locals there will say that I got out of practice. Third and most importantly, I use my brain too much for work. I have to be able to think. So, for me, it's weekends only at best for a drink -- except, perhaps, if I meet up with friends for one or two drinks on a very rare occasion.

Yes, more 2012 Panini Prizm Parallels. To be fair, the parallels look much better than the base cards do. The base cards -- all silver borders everywhere -- are flat out ugly. The colors at least cover up the lack of logos here. 

The more I see these parallels, the more they are almost acceptable. The real problem with Panini Prizm Parallels -- besides the alliteration, of course -- is that they are more numerous than drunks in a Milwaukee bar on a Friday night. Just like the drunks, these parallels come in all shapes and sizes. And, just like the drunks, they all start to blend together after awhile.

3.  People in WIsconsin LOVE Brandy Old-Fashioneds

This is a rather normal sounding person making this drink. However, it's almost certain that this guy is from Wisconsin. It's practically the official drink of the State of Wisconsin. I mean, if you Google "Brandy Old Fashioned", the first link that comes up is from "Edible Milwaukee" and it's titled, "Wisconsin's (Un)Official State Cocktail."  Wisconsinites love brandy. Korbel Brandy says that they export 385,000 cases of brandy and fully one-third of their entire production -- 139,000 cases -- go to Wisconsin. 

Personally, I never made it to this drink. Perhaps I left the state too soon and got swallowed up by my high-falutin' gin bucks (gin and ginger ale with lemon juice). Perhaps it was that I never really tried one. It doesn't sound terrible, to be fair, but I'm not going to buy the stuff I need to make it for this weekend. Nope, I'll stick to my drink, thanks.

One last tri-color grouping -- this time of Robin Yount -- finishes off the Panini Prizms I got. This card looks far better with the colored outline than with the silver. In silver, Robin's bleached out -- the airbrushing annihilating the pinstripes and making it look like he's wearing his Robin Yount pajamas on the field. I say that because I don't think that is an old enough photo for Robin to have been wearing the mostly white home uniforms from the 1970s.

4. Tailgating in Wisconsin is Different

To people in Wisconsin, tailgating means three things -- cornhole, grilling brats, and drinking a lot of beer. It's not like a southern college football game, either. At a southern football game, the tailgating is sort of refined. People bring lots of food. Sure, there's beer, but bourbon fuels southern football. 

Plus, you would not see people in the South dressed this warmly and looking happy:

Nope. If it's below 40 degrees at a University of Georgia game, you're going to see me very cold and unhappy, like this:

Let's be clear. I'm pretty much a Southerner now, even if I am still a Brewers fan and appreciate these cards:

I am glad I grew up in Wisconsin. I am glad that I am a Brewers fan and a Packers fan. I'm also very glad that I left at age 18, found the South, found a place where winter doesn't last at least 5 months and snow doesn't fall in at least 6 months of every year, and where it is cold when it is below 40 degrees. 

But, I'm especially glad for great people like my new Twitter pal for sending me great Brewers cards to remind me what I left behind.


  1. I didn't know Wisconsin was known for its ability to consume alcohol. That list of twelve cities in the top twenty is quite impressive!

  2. Wisconsin sounds very much like Northern Ontario, but less isolated lol

  3. The only state fair I have ever attended was the Wisconsin State Fair in 1999. The longest line was at the milk booth, yes the milk booth-mmm, strawberry milk.

  4. I'm surprised Morgantown didn't make the top 20! Probably has something to do with a zero tolerance policy the university started a few years back.