Astros 7, Brewers 6
Bud showed up at the sausage stand on Friday. I’m sure you remember me telling you about Bud. He’s kind of tall and cadaverous, with joints and bones hung together all loose and jutting. He kind of jerks and writhes when he talks, and when he orders he rubs his long bony hands like he’s washing them under a faucet.
Like I told you, I have a sausage stand on Miller Way, right outside the stadium, and this guy Bud’s a good customer. I sell bratwurst, liver sausage, Slovenian, kielbasa, kolbasch, mettwurst, even Serbian. Usually Bud buys my sausage to slip to his friend Houston, but sometimes, especially when the Astros are in town, Bud will watch the game from this little portable tv I keep at the stand.
Last night the game was well started before Bud showed up. Gallardo was pitching for the Brew Crew, and he’s had a pretty good season. Scott Moore walked in the first, but nothing else happened. Some guy named Gonzalez was in for the Astros, who the hell is Gonzalez? Aoki had just flied out to Moore in right.
“I’m so sorry for being late, Master David,” David, that’s me, “But Drayton’s in town, and he wanted to wear his chauffeur suit and drive poor humble me. He’s not a very good driver.”
Gonzales finishes off Weeks and Braun. I don’t even have to ask what Bud wants. When he gets that gleeful look in his eye, and starts rubbing his hands like crazy, and kind of ticking and jerking like his butt’s chapped, I figure it’s time for the big liver sausage, which I give Bud on a paper plate with some grilled onions and mustard. He always brings his own knife and fork, instead of the plastic ones I keep at the stand. He says he figures someone might try to poison him.
I’m playing Uecker on the radio instead of the tv sound track. I get better sound from the radio, plus I like the Uke. Uecker’s saying some nice stuff about the Astros, gracious stuff, about how they’re a class organization and how Crane will do what’s needed to turn the team around. Bud starts slamming his sausage against the cart.
“They’re not a class organization!” He’s screaming and slamming that sausage, up and down, up and down, “they’re not a class organization! I hate them! I hate them!”
“Bud,” say I, “calm down man. You’re making a mess. Let me get you another sausage.” But then it happens. Bottom of the second, Gallardo has walked the catcher, Castro, and Dominguez singles and Castro scores. It’s not all bad though, for some reason Dominguez tries to make second and Segura puts him out. There’s liver sausage everywhere and Bud has the shakes. I clean up the liver and give Bud a nice Serbian. Weird thing is he doesn’t even pick up his knife and fork. I’ve seen this before, with guys who are really upset. He just takes that big Serb in his mouth and sucks it, like a pacifier. I go about my business while Bud sucks his sausage. The Brewers are three up, three down.
Top of the third, Altuve singles and then makes third on a Lowrie single to Ryan “I did not have sex with that woman” Braun. Braun could have had him at third, but he Hollywoods it and there you have it, he’s a star and the rules don’t apply. Bud has about three-quarters of that Serbian down his throat and I’m scared if Altuve scores he’s going to choke, but Maxwell strikes out swinging and then top of the third Carlos Gomez gets the first Brewer hit with a homer to left. Calm as can be, Bud puts his sausage on his plate, takes out his knife and fork, and asks me for some spicy mustard.
“Bud,” say I, “how come you hate the Astros so much?”
“Master David,” Bud kind of whines when he talks, and now his voice has this whiny breathiness that creeps me out, “Master David, I’ve never told this to anyone, but the Astros shot my father.”
I can’t believe it. When you’re in sausage cart sales in Milwaukee, it’s like being a bartender in any other town, and I’ve seen a lot, but this guy is Midwestern loon crazy. “Bud,” say I, “the Astros didn’t shoot your father.”
“Bud, the Astros are a baseball team, they couldn’t have shot your father.” I take away his plate before he starts slamming what’s left of his sausage.
“Ok, ok. Don’t take my sausage. Ok, they didn’t shoot my father.” I put the plate back down. “They shot my mother.” Bud grabs up the sausage plate and holds it tight against his chest so I can’t take it.
Bud finishes his Serbian and then Wallace singles in the top of the 4th. Martinez hits a ground rule double that would have scored Wallace if not for the bounce. Dominguez reaches on a Segura error and I give Bud a Kolbasch that he pops half-in, half-out of his mouth and starts sucking. Gonzalez the pitcher bunt singles and Martinez scores. I’m worried about Bud, and with good reason. He’s twisting and writhing and sucking that Kolbasch as the heart of the order goes three up three down in the bottom of the fourth. Then Wallace and Castro get back-to-back homers. Bud chokes down the Kolbasch in a single sucking spasm.
“Master David, give me a salami.”
“Bud, you know I don’t make salami.”
“I know you’ve got something long and hard in that cart. Give me anything long and hard.”
“Bud you know I don’t carry the hard stuff. Have a nice brat.” I plate Bud a brat.
Things calm down during the fifth. The Brewers do nothing, but neither do the Stros. Then in the bottom of the sixth Braun does his own plating and drives in Ishikawa and Weeks. Armbriz comes in for Gonzales and puts out the fire. It’s a two-run game and the Brewers are back in it. Bud calms down and starts working on his Brat with his knife and fork. In the 7th Henderson, who has some stuff as nasty as Bud’s, comes in for Gallardo. Three up, three down for Henderson. Segura singles and steals second, but then Lucroy grounds out to Armbriz. Castro homers in the bottom of the 8th—that makes three Astros homers for the game, but Boguesevic grounds out to end the inning. Braun scores in the bottom of the 8th off a Ramirez triple to right and Wilton Lopez comes in for Cruz who replaced Wright who replaced Armbriz.
Bud orders a Mettwurst and then almost chokes it when Altuve homers—that’s four—in the top of the 9th. The Brewers score two runs in the bottom of the 9th and Bud is doing this spastic kind of dance, waving his sausage because it’s a one run game, but there’s a game-ending double play, Lowrie to Altuve to Wallace, and the game’s over.
“I hate them,” says Bud.
It’s been a long, hard season, but we’ve choked it down and mostly remained fans. Thanks to all of you here for making this season bearable.
They’ve been better than they might have been, and for awhile were worse than I ever would have imagined. By next week I’ll be missing Astros baseball. By next spring I’ll be imagining .500.