NFL Football: Pick The Winners At Brookston Fantasy Games 2015

This is the ninth year for the Brookston Fantasy Football Games. We’ve had a lot of fun over the last eight, so if you love football and beer, consider joining us this year, whether you’ve played in past seasons or are a newcomer. The NFL season begins on Thursday September 10, so you’ve got about a day and a half to sign up.

I’ve again set up two free Yahoo fantasy football games, one a simple pick ’em game and the other a survival pool. Up to 50 people can play each game (that’s Yahoo’s limit, not mine), so if you’re a regular Bulletin reader feel free to sign up for one or even both. It’s free to play, all you need is a Yahoo ID, which is also free. Below is a description of each game and the details on how to join each league and play.


Pro Football Pick’em

In this Pick’em game, just pick the winner for every game each week, with no spread, and let’s see who gets the most correct throughout the season. All that’s at stake is bragging rights, but it’s still great fun.

Also, like last year, we’ll be able to keep picking all through the playoffs, so the game will continue through to the Super Bowl, which is pretty cool.

In order to join the group, just go to Pro Football Pick’em, click the “Sign Up” button (or “Create or Join Group” if you are a returning user). From there, follow the path to join an existing private group and when prompted, enter the following information…

Group ID#: 12069 (Brookston Football Picks)
Password: brookston


Survival Football

If picking all sixteen football games every week seems like too much, then Survival Football is for you. In Survival Football, you only have to pick one game each week. The only catch is you can’t pick the same team to win more than once all season. And you better be sure about each game you pick because if you’re wrong, you’re out for the season. Actually two years ago they added a new feature and I changed the game so to be kicked out you have to be wrong twice. In that way more people stand a better chance of lasting longer into the season. So get one wrong, and you’re still okay, get a second wrong, now you’re gone for the season. Last man standing wins.

Again, like last year, we can keep picking all through the playoffs, assuming our luck holds. So the game could even continue through to the Super Bowl.

In order to join the group, just go to Survival Football, click the “Sign Up” button and choose to “Join an Existing Group”, then “Join a Private Group”. Then, when prompted, enter the following information…

Group ID#: 5816 (Brookston Survival League)
Password: brookston

With 50 players allowed in each game, there’s plenty of room, so don’t be shy. Sign up for one or both games. In past seasons, I’ve posted the standings on the home page, and hopefully I’ll do that again this season. Why not join us? Go head to head again me and my team, the Brookston Brew Jays.


10-Cent Beer Night In Cleveland

On June 4, 1974, the Cleveland Indians hosted the Texas Rangers with a promotion entitled “10¢ Beer Night” in an effort to boost sagging attendance to Municipal Stadium. 25,134 fans showed up, about twice the number expected. They were allowed to purchase six 10¢ beers (12 oz. cups of 3.2 beer or 4% ABV) at a time, but there was no limit on how many trips to the concession stand one could make. To give that some context, regular beer prices at the time were 65¢, so a dime beer was about 6-and-half times cheaper, a pretty good bargain. Accounts vary on the brand of beer. Some say Stroh’s while other say it was Genesee. By the time the game ended in chaos, around 60,000 beers had been consumed.

beer-night-poster 10centcup

To add fuel to the fire, a little over a week before in Texas, the Rangers had a similar promotion in which there was “a bench-clearing brawl” when the two teams had played “at Arlington Stadium in Texas [which] left some Indians fans harboring a grudge against the Rangers.”

The Indians had been losing most of the game, but managed to tie it up in the 9th inning, at which point I’ll let Wikipedia take over the story.

After the Indians had managed to tie the game, a 19-year-old fan named Terry Yerkic ran onto the field and attempted to steal Texas outfielder Jeff Burroughs’ cap. Confronting the fan, Burroughs tripped. Thinking that Burroughs had been attacked, Texas manager Billy Martin charged onto the field with his players right behind, some wielding bats. A large number of intoxicated fans – some armed with knives, chains, and portions of stadium seats that they had torn apart – surged onto the field, and others hurled bottles from the stands. Hundreds of fans surrounded the outnumbered Rangers.

Realizing that the Rangers’ lives might be in danger, Cleveland manager Ken Aspromonte ordered his players to grab bats and help the Rangers, attacking the team’s own fans in the process. Rioters began throwing steel folding chairs, and Cleveland relief pitcher Tom Hilgendorf was hit in the head by one of them. Hargrove, after subduing one rioter in a fistfight, had to fight another on his way back to the Texas dugout. The two teams retreated off the field through the dugouts in groups, with players protecting each other.

The bases were pulled up and stolen and many rioters threw a vast array of objects including cups, rocks, bottles, batteries from radios, hot dogs, popcorn containers, and folding chairs. As a result, umpire crew chief Nestor Chylak, realizing that order would not be restored in a timely fashion, forfeited the game to Texas. He too was a victim of the rioters, as one struck and cut his head with part of a stadium seat[11] and his hand was cut by a thrown rock. He later called the fans “uncontrollable beasts” and stated that he’d never seen anything like what had happened, “except in a zoo”.

As Joe Tait and Herb Score called the riot live on radio, Score mentioned the security guards’ inability to handle the crowd. He said, “Aw, this is absolute tragedy.” The Cleveland Police Department finally arrived to restore order.

Later, Cleveland general manager Phil Seghi blamed the umpires for losing control of the game. The Sporting News wrote that “Seghi’s perspective might have been different had he been in Chylak’s shoes, in the midst of knife-wielding, bottle-throwing, chair-tossing, fist-swinging drunks.”

The game ended with the Indian forfeiting because order could not be restored so the game could be completed.

The scene as thinks began to turn ugly in the bottom of the 9th.

Things went from bad to worse after that. Here’s a run down of the statistics from sportswriter Dan Coughlin, who was there that night and got punched in the face:

  • 25,134 fans
  • 60,000 Genesee beers at 10 cents each
  • 50 cops
  • 19 streakers
  • 7 emergency room injuries
  • 9 arrests
  • 2 bare moons
  • 2 bouncing breasts
  • 1 sportswriter punched in the jaw

You can read all about Dan Coughlin recalls the Indians’ famous Ten-Cent Beer Night and see a gallery of photos at SB★Nation entitled Celebrating 10-Cent Beer Night in photos.

Mental Floss summed it up like this:

Among the more tame incidents was a woman who flashed the crowd from the on-deck circle, a father-son team mooning the players, and fans jumping on the field to meet the outfielders. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, the Indians tied the game, but never got a chance to win. Fans started throwing batteries, golf balls, cups, and rocks onto the field. The drunk-fest involved more streakers, base stealers (literally), and fans who stormed the field and attacked the opposing team. Cleveland players had to wield bats to come to the aid of the Rangers players. Texas was awarded a forfeit.

Not exactly baseball or beer’s finest hour.

And a special thanks to Jason Petros from MoreBeer and The Brewing Network for reminding me it was today.

Beer In Ads #1573: Man Size Pleasure Of Surfing

Monday’s ad is yet another one for Falstaff, also from the late 1950s. This is the fourth Falstaff ad I’ve come across equating manliness with beer, and in particular sports. While the last ones were for golf, baseball and bronco riding, while this one celebrates surfing as its “Man Size Pleasure.” Like yesterday’s ad, this one was also a doubletruck ad, that is a two-page ad, showing off the man surfing quite impressively.


Beer In Ads #1571: Man Size Pleasure Of Baseball

Saturday’s ad is yet another one for Falstaff, also from 1959. This is the second ad I’ve found equating manliness with beer, and in particular sports. While the last one was for golf, this ad touts baseball as its “Man Size Pleasure.” It’s got a “A taste to satisfy your biggest thirst … yet always light enough to leave room for more.”


Beer Birthday: Robert “Mac” MacTarnahan

Today is Robert “Mac” MacTarnahan’s birthday, one of Oregon’s most famous athletes. Mac would have been 100 today, but unfortunately he passed away in 2004. He was one of the original investors in Portland Brewing Co., which was later named MacTarnahan’s Brewing in Mac’s honor. I met Mac twice, once in Portland at an event at the brewery, and once he visited me in California when I was still the beer buyer at BevMo. I hope I have half the energy he did when I’m in my eighties. A couple of years ago, my friend and colleague John Foyston wrote a nice remembrance of Mac in The Oregonian, which included the obituary he wrote in 2004. Raise a glass today to Mac’s memory.

Brewer Alan Kornhauser, Mac and Portland Brewing co-founder Fred Bowman.

Mac’s Oregon Sports Hall of Fame photo. Here’s his entry:

Oregon’s most accomplished Masters Athlete, Robert “Mac” MacTarnahan is the first masters competitor ever chosen for induction into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. His athletic feats are amazing. Mac is a four-time Masters world record holder with a national record in the mile plus three world record holders in the 3000-meter steeplechase. In the steeplechase, he is a six-time AAU National Masters champion, two-time USA National Senior Olympic champion, two-time World Senior champion. Mac is also a five-time National Masters wrestling champion. The wiry Scot owns more the 50 Masters Gold Medals.

Marzen Madness 2015

I may not be college basketball’s biggest fan, but I do still enjoy March Madness every year. The tournament is usually a fun diversion for a few weeks each year, so for the fifth straight year, I’ve set up a fantasy game, similar to fantasy football. It’s a bracket game through Yahoo which I call “Märzen Madness.” It doesn’t look like there’s a limit to the number of people who can play, so sign up and make your picks starting tomorrow, but before March 19, which is when the first games take place.


To join Märzen Madness and play the Yahoo! Sports Tournament Pick’em game, just follow this instructions below. You’ll also need a Yahoo ID (which is free if you don’t already have one).

To accept the invitation, just follow this invitation link. For reference, here’s the group information.

Group ID#: 18022
Password: brookston

Good luck everybody.


Super Bowl Advertising Through The Years

The Wall Street Journal, in their Life & Culture section, took a look at the commercials during the big game next week in Super Bowl Ads Turn Serious.

The 100 million-plus viewers expected Sunday will see a host of emotion-rich commercials that tug on the heartstrings or take on problems. Coca-Cola ’s spot will shed light on the rash of Internet bullying while the National Football League will air a public-service announcement aimed at ending domestic violence. Procter & Gamble will re-air an ad for its feminine-care brand Always that tries to fight gender stereotypes and remove the stigma associated with the phrase “like a girl.”

The article also talks about what’s at stake, with a chance to reach the largest audience for a TV event, which last year was viewed by 111.5 million, compared to number 2, which is the Academy Awards broadcast, which in 2014 had 43 million viewers. As a result, “[t]he Super Bowl also commands the highest ad rates. This year, 30 seconds of time costs roughly $4.5 million.”

The article then goes in to give a short synopsis of each major company’s plans. ABI is, of course, the only beer company advertising again this year, and here’s their plans:


Last year’s Super Bowl stars—the Clydesdale horses and an irresistible puppy—are looking to repeat. This year, the Clydesdales come to the rescue of the puppy. Stepping in at the last minute, they save him from a hungry wolf and bring him home safely. The twist: The spot adds extra emotion by using a reworked version of “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by the Proclaimers performed by Sleeping At Last. Is it enough to outdo last year’s spot that had “Let Her Go” by Passenger as its soundtrack?

Perhaps more interesting, the article also includes an interactive Super Bowl Ad-Spending Tracker, which breaks down the history of Super Bowl commercials by industry and even by company over the past fifteen years. For example, here’s the spending trends from the beverage industry, which included non-alcoholic as well as alcohol.


Then here’s Anheuser-Busch from 2000 through 2008, the year they were acquired by InBev and became Anheuser-Busch InBev.


Then ABI spent at least as much, and usually more, in the subsequent years.


Then just for fun here’s the lone ad from the Beer Institute in 2006, which if I’m not mistaken was for Anheuser-Busch’s failed attempt at rallying the industry behind its “Here’s to Beer” educational website.


Here’s the Beer Institute ad that ran during the Super Bowl in 2006.

Ponies, Puppies & Pac-Man, Oh My!

pony dalmation pac-man
The Super Bowl propaganda machine is already out in full force, even though the teams that will play have yet to be decided. I’m not talking about the NFL, or even football in general. The propaganda machine I’m referring to is the prohibitionist group Alcohol Justice, who each year uses the Super Bowl as an opportunity to talk about the ills of beer and other adult beverages, since — horror of horrors — fans who are on both sides of the arbitrary dividing line that is the minimum drinking age will most assuredly watch the game.

And more horrific and worrying, is that advertisers are keen to reach the more than 112 million viewers watching the game. Of those 112 million Americans, roughly 90 million are potential beer customers. (That’s a rough guess based on several data points from various sources, made all the more difficult because Nielsen and others break down age groups into the 18-34 range for the very reasonable reason that they’re all young adults, except when it comes to drinking alcohol.) Yesterday, Alcohol Justice, tweeted the following regarding Anheuser-Busch InBev‘s plans for advertising during the Super Bowl.

Budweiser Super Bowl ads target youth with puppies, ponies & Pac-Man Self-regulation failure

So as far as I can tell, according to AJ, if there are any children present, it’s a family event, and that means — you guessed it — anything to do with alcohol is aimed directly at the under 21 crowd. Because unsurprisingly, their statement is ridiculous on several levels. First, the idea that advertising during an event with 80% adults is “targeting youth” is absurd, especially when you realize that the demographic statistics include 2-17 year olds. How many two-year olds are corrupted if they even, undoubtedly by accident, happen to see all three minutes of ABI’s ads during the fours hours that the game is televised. The Budweiser ads comprise 1.25% of the total Super Bowl experience, and that’s down 25% from last year, when they aired four minutes’ worth of ads. ABI is, as usual, the only alcohol advertiser among the 21 major advertisers for the Super Bowl. But that’s still too many as far as the wingnuts at AJ are concerned. Zero is the only number that would satisfy their loony way of viewing the world.

They close their tweet with “Self-regulation failure,” which is to be expected. AJ seems to think Budweiser is “targeting” kids just by showing ads during the Super Bowl. But the self-regulation they believe is failing (presumably the Beer Institute Marketing and Advertising Code) states that the criteria to be followed is that “at least 71.6% of the audience is expected to be adults of legal drinking age.” Here, the Super Bowl viewership will most likely be at least 80%, and frankly higher since children below a certain age who happen to be present aren’t likely to even be paying attention. So how exactly is following the code a fail?

But moreover, where exactly did Alcohol Justice get the idea that ABI’s ads were using “puppies, ponies & Pac-Man,” and what exactly is wrong with that? That line comes, sort of, from the link in the tweet, which takes you to an article on MediaPost, “an integrated publishing and content company whose mission is to provide a complete array of resources for media, marketing and advertising professionals.” That article is merely reporting on what ads ABI is planning and is entitled Budweiser’s Super Bowl Line-up Includes Puppies, Kings, And Pac-Man. Why AJ changed “Kings” to “ponies” is undoubtedly to make it sound worse than it really is. It’s a favorite propaganda trick of Alcohol Justice, bending reality to their agenda.

But what really pisses me off about AJ’s propaganda, a tactic they use time and time again, is the idea that if something might appeal to someone who’s under 21 then it’s only for kids and is therefore “targeting youth.” For example, the BI’s advertising code specifically forbids beer companies from depicting Santa Claus, which personally I think is utter rubbish. Beer labels and advertising by beer brands all over the world use St. Nick, and few people seem to have a problem with it. And that’s because many adults love the idea of Santa Claus, too. I know I do. I get that Santa is aimed primarily at kids. I already miss the time when my kids were still young enough to believe in him. But the idea of Santa Claus is really for all ages. Every time someone tries to put a cartoon character on a bottle of beer, prohibitionists go nuts, but adults love cartoons, too, they’re not just for kids, and there are many, many cartoons aimed specifically at an older audience. Have they never been to a comic book convention? The idea that people simply stop being interested in the things they enjoyed as children the day they cross over into their alcohol years on the day they turn 21 is completely laughable.

As I mentioned, there will be three ABI ads during the Super Bowl. According to AdWeek, they will be the following:

1. Lost Dog

This is the “puppy” referred to in the article and the tweet. It’s the sequel to last year’s Puppy Love.

A Bud spot called “Lost Dog” from Anomaly will show how “only your best buds are the ones who always have your back,” [Budweiser VP Brian] Perkins said. It’s a sequel to last year’s “Puppy Love,” the most shared ad on Facebook of all time, and once again will feature a puppy and the brewer’s iconic Clydesdales. Jake Scott is back as director.

And while yes, it does include a puppy, the only way this doesn’t appeal to all ages is only if someone watching it doesn’t have a heart. Since when do only kids like puppies? Seriously, what’s wrong with these people? If you don’t find that adorable, you should probably consider becoming a prohibitionist.


2. King of Beers

Not much is known about this ad specifically, just the general idea has been reported, and according to the AdWeek piece from January 7, it won’t be shot until this week coming up. But it’s the “King” in the article and what AJ replaced with “ponies” because it made what Bud was doing sound more sinister.

Another Bud spot, which Anomaly will shoot in the next week, will focus on how A-B brews the King of Beers. As scripted, the ad “talks with real pride and real attitude about Budweiser quality,” Perkins said, adding, “A lot of brands try and do that and there are prosaic ways to talk about that kind of thing. This one is going to do it with pride and swagger.”

But let’s go back to the “ponies” Alcohol Justice was referring to, which in reality, of course, is the Budweiser Clydesdales. These are big damn horses. I suspect that even Clydesdale ponies are probably the same size as regular horses. They’re draft horses, one of several breeds used to pull heavy things. They’re also used in equestrian vaulting, a little-known sport my daughter has been doing since she was six. The best way to describe it is gymnastics on the back of a moving horse. So you want a big horse to give you more room to work on and also because they’re more stable, too. I’ve taken my daughter to see the Budweiser Clydesdales when they visited the Fairfield brewery a few years ago. She’s into horses, as you’d expect, and like Lisa Simpson she puts down a “pony” on her Christmas wish list every year. But again, is that unique to children? Hardly. My wife informs me that one day we will own a horse, if not a pony. And that’s because like many, many adults, she loves horses, too. Liking ponies, and horses, is not unique to childhood and no one over the age of 21 stops loving them. If so, wouldn’t we think of rodeos as events just for kids?


3. Coin

This is the ad where “Pac-Man” will appear that was referred to in the article and the tweet.

A Bud Light spot called “Coin” from EnergyBBDO will tell the story of a drinker of the light beer who steps out for a night of fun with 1980s icon Pac Man as he enters a life-size, interactive Pac-Man game. The ad will be supported by a House of Whatever event that the brewer will set up for three days in Phoenix, the host of this year’s game. Steve Aoki will serve as DJ at the house.

But again, does Pac-Man appeal exclusively to children? Pac-Man debuted in 1980. My kids, especially my 13-year old, loves video games. But my son Porter, who even loves older retro games, thinks Pac-Man is really old school and wants nothing to do with it. So who does love Pac-Man? If you assume that the youngest kids were maybe ten years old when Pac-Man first came out, those same kids would be 45 today. It’s apparently hipster Millennials that ABI is hoping to target with Pac-Man. In an earlier Advertising Age article, they explained the changing focus of Budweiser advertising. “The Super Bowl ads come as Anheuser-Busch begins a new media strategy as it seeks to remain relevant with millennials in an age where smaller craft beers are the rage among young drinkers.”


So it’s younger drinkers that ABI is hoping to reach with their advertising in 2015, but they are pointedly not targeting youth under 21, as Alcohol Justice would have you believe. But this is what they so often do. They take a relatively innocuous article and twist it just enough that it sounds like something entirely different. Not once in the MediaPost they linked to did it mention targeting underage youths. They just made that up. They also failed in their characterization of a self-regulation fail since the ads during the Super Bowl fall within the industry guidelines. And changing the headline to the catchier, alliterative “puppies, ponies & Pac-Man” may have sounded clever, but as is so typical of the prohibitionists, it’s misleading and inaccurate. And that’s the problem with agenda-driven propaganda. It’s more important to be provocative and push an agenda than it is to be truthful, accurate or reasonable. And it’s that very devotion to fanaticism that makes any honest discussion nearly impossible.

I’m going to watch the Super Bowl again this year, even if my team (the Green Bay Packers) ultimately doesn’t play in the big game (Go Packers!). My kids will watch it, too, and several adult members of my family will undoubtedly drink a few beers during the game. And I have one prediction I can almost guarantee will take place on Super Sunday. It will be a typical day, and nothing bad will happen as a result of my kids seeing a few Budweiser commercials. Because a true family event is one where both adults and kids can be together, it’s not where every adult has to hide or forgo adult pleasures because children might see them and get the idea — in the prohibitionist’s own words — that such behavior is normal. The problem is that adults drinking alcohol is one of the most normal activities people have ever engaged in, having been doing so non-stop since the beginning of recorded history.

We saw this recently when prohibitionists, specifically again — sigh — Alcohol Justice, opposed a California law that would allow local beer, cider and winemakers to sell and sample their goods at farmers’ markets alongside local farmers and craftspeople as just another locally made product. They criticized the law saying that farmer’s markets were for families and therefore no alcohol should be allowed because it made such behavior look normal. Unfortunately for them, it is normal, and happily they lost that battle and it did become a law in California. If you’ve made it this far and still haven’t had enough of me shouting in the wind, you can see AJ making the same arguments in What Does Family Friendly Mean?

But I really think it’s important to push back on this idea that family-friendly and alcohol are mutually exclusive. Alcohol is in the world, and the more we can do as adults and parents to teach our kids the proper way it should be consumed, modeling our best behavior, the better adults our children will become. Pretending it doesn’t exist and separating kids from learning about the adult world in the end does more harm than good, and doesn’t prepare them in any way to join the world at large once they’re chronologically old enough to be considered adults. Watching the Super Bowl with three minutes of beer commercials during four hours with their family and friends is, and quite rightly ought to be, a non-event and the fact that millions of Americans don’t give it a second thought should convince anyone how out of touch Alcohol Justice is with the world.


Beer In Ads #1425: For You Armchair Quarterbacks

Sunday’s ad is for Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 1947. Featuring singer and comedian Eddie Cantor dressed up in a football uniform, watching the game on to modern eyes is a very tiny television screen. There’s also a small table holding a bottle and a glass of beer. The tagline, “For You Armchair Quarterbacks,” forever linked drinking beer while watching football on TV.


Craft Beer Soccer Sponsorship Fantasies

Given that many of the regional breweries continue to grow by leaps and bounds, it’s only a matter of time before they start considering some of the same types of sponsorships that in the past were usually reserved for the really big beer companies. But they certainly couldn’t afford baseball, football or even basketball prices. But what about soccer (football)? Backheel, a website and podcast devoted to American Soccer, wondered what MLS jerseys might look like if they were sponsored by local breweries. More than wondered really, as author Trevor Hayward worked with graphic designer Edward Gaug and Dan Wiersema, of the Free Beer Movement, and they created a mythical league where all the teams are sponsored by breweries, proudly displaying their logos on the jerseys. The entire project can be seen at Major League Soccer x Craft Beer Jerseys. Below are few of my favorites, but check out all of them either on Backheel or in a slideshow at Imgur.

The San Jose Earthquakes, sponsored by Lagunitas.

The Seattle Sounders FC, sponsored by Elysian.

The LA Galaxy, sponsored by the Bruery.

The Portland Timbers, sponsored by Hair of the Dog.

But that’s not quite the end of the story. SB Nation’s Center Line Soccer (part of a group of 307 sports blogs) took it one step father, wondering if Petaluma-based Lagunitas was the best choice for the Quakes, who after all are in San Jose, quite some distance from Sonoma County. While they’re both in the Bay Area, it’s roughly a one-and-a-half to two hour drive between the two, depending on the always unpredictable traffic. So they imagined a few other choices for the Earthquakes. Again, here’s a few of my faves, and you can see all of them at What craft brewery would you like to see on the San Jose Earthquakes jersey?

The San Jose Earthquakes, sponsored by Russian River Brewing.

The San Jose Earthquakes, sponsored by 21st Amendment Restaurant & Brewery.

The San Jose Earthquakes, sponsored by Drake’s Brewing.

The San Jose Earthquakes, sponsored by Bear Republic Brewing.