It is that time of the year where Baseball is at the fore front of everyone’s minds and the promise of a winning season is in reach. We are excited to head to the ballpark, roll out the barrel, and listen to the fading voice of Uecker dissipate into the night. Baseball is one of those things we love to romanticize, as baseball isn't just baseball. It's a connection to childhood memories, it's the pure joy of a night at the ballpark, it's the best of America and so on. But this is Miller Country and we do baseball our own way. For instance, Budweiser claims to be the “King of Beers” but in Wisconsin the real kings are five, seven-foot-tall meat casings that are packed to the gills with Klement’s finest, and wear funny hats.
Yes, that’s right I am talking about the World Famous Klement’s Racing Sausages! They hold a special place in our stomachs and to be honest, they are the highlight (beside tailgating) of most Brewers games. This year will be no exception, as the team is going through a wholesale amount of changes to its talent. Which means you will be lucky to know who anyone is besides Ryan Braun, Will Smith, and Hank “The Ballpark Pup”. (Yes I know Jonathan Lucroy is a big deal too, but for the sake of comedy and writing, the rule of thirds always wins). But this is all besides the point, here in Wisconsin we all love to cheer for a winner, so this is why I think you should spend your whole summer focused on the intensity of the 23rd (season) running of the World Famous Klement’s Racing Sausages!
To best serve you in this task, a brief background is in order, followed up by racer profiles and maybe a sausage recipe since you will need to do something with the losers, right?
It all began in the early 1990’s as scoreboard animation with just three sausages, a bratwurst, an Italian sausage, and a Polish sausage (two short of a splendid variety pack) running toward Milwaukee County Stadium (RIP) against a backdrop of the city of Milwaukee. But on June 27, 1993 that all changed. As the video showed the animations entering the back of Milwaukee County Stadium (RIP) when the left field gate swung open and on came a LIVE seven foot bratwurst, an Italian sausage and a Polish sausage – costumes of course - ran into Milwaukee County Stadium (RIP) during a Brewers game for the first time.
Since then it has grown from a Sunday-only tradition to happen at every home game. The fourth racer, a ballpark classic, the Hot Dog entered as a full-time racer in 1996? History isn’t quite sure of the exact date. In 2007, after a one race test the year before, The Chorizo qualified to be the fifth (and maybe final) racer to round out the delicious variety pack. *Note: This isn’t actually sold in stores, but it should be starting now. Who wants to call Klement’s?
The other important moment in history to note is when the Italian Sausage went missing! In February 2013, the Italian sausage was seen leaving the Milwaukee Curling Club in Cedarburg the evening of February 16, who then proceed to barhop around Cedarburg before disappearing into the night. Rewards were offered for the safe return of the costume, like a year’s supply of kraut from GLK Foods in Appleton, WI and Mustard Girl All American Mustard in Pleasant Prairie, WI offered a year’s supply of mustard. 12 days went by and no one claimed the rewards, as the costume was dropped off in a hurry by a hooded figure to TY Ryan’s Bar in Cedarburg, WI.
The more you know, right? But I know, what you really want is the juciy insider Brewers knowledge that will allow you to pick your winning wiener this year! Straight from brewers.com I give you slightly modified racer profiles:
#1 Brett Wurst a.k.a BRAT a.k.a BRATWURST (TM)
Brat comes to the Brewers after years of Olympic training on the German National team, never quite making it past the trials. He is intimidating to the other participants with his muscular physique. Brat trains like a machine, having not missed a day of weight lifting in years. He is very competitive, and wants nothing more than to win every race. His determination to win pushes him to a fast start, but he tends to lose wind towards the end. His consummate drive gains the respect of the fans.
#2 Stosh Jonjak a.k.a POLISH SAUSAGE (TM)
Polish Sausage came to Milwaukee after years of coaching high school cross-country. He's most notable for his effective way of racing. To many, he is the underdog of the crew. Do not overlook him ... he will surprise you. His years of coaching have helped him develop a running style which may be unstoppable. His vast knowledge of running, gathered in the hills of Warsaw, makes him a credible competitor.
#3 Guido a.k.a ITALIAN SAUSAGE (TM)
Italian Sausage is the suave one of the bunch. He makes everything look easy and most times, doesn't even break a sweat. His spicy personality is a favorite among the crowd. Italian has been known to work his way out of many sticky situations. This skill usually allows him to sneak out of the pack and into the lead down the home stretch of countless Sausage Races.
#4 Frankie Furter a.k.a HOT DOG (TM)
Hot Dog is an All-American favorite of both the young and old. He's worked hard to deserve this reputation. The simplicity of Hot Dog is what makes him so popular. He tries his best in what he does, and knows the effort was there even if the win was not. People cannot help but to love Hot Dog. His happy-go-lucky personality brings a smile to the crowd's face. His ability brought him to the Brewers, where competition is only part of his gratification. He also participates for the enjoyment it brings to him and all of the wonderful fans.
#5 Cinco a.k.a CHORIZO (TM)
Chorizo came to Milwaukee after many years of paying his dues training and racing throughout Central America and overseas. Chorizo is a fiery competitor, taking an immense amount of pride in the work he puts in to be the best he can be. Fans love the strong and spicy kick he gives to everything he does, from running the sausage race, to the way he wears his sombrero, and even the salsa dancing he does before games to loosen up for that evening's race.
Expert Pick, a.k.a my recommendation
I am choosing #1 Brett Wurst a.k.a Brat to take home the crown. Even as an old timer sausage, he still holds a grudge against the world that his Olympic dreams were always over cooked in the trials. So with it being an Olympic year, look for Brett to give his all as he proves that he’s still got it and show that he should have been a shoe-in for the German National team in Rio. But on the off chance that I am wrong, I will still give him a gold medal for a killer mustache and winning the first ever race.
Opening day is fast approaching, so now we wait till the 6th inning of Monday’s game to see who will take the first victory of 81* races during the 2016 season.
*I mean we could make the playoff and add a few more races… “Hey, it could happen” – JP, Angles in the Outfield.
Happy Trails and Baseball Season!
- Grant, g. moxie