Brewers Clubhouse Sale Adventure
Every winter holiday shopping season, for two days, the Brewers choose to open the depths of Miller Park in an effort of offload past-its-prime merchandise at semi-acceptable prices during the “Clubhouse Sale”. You can find things like Joe Winklesas and Manny Parra shirseys, and if you’re lucky, you can even find a 1980-something set of game used jockstraps. Well, maybe that’s a little harsh. Scratch that, it is too harsh.
The annual Clubhouse Sale is, in exception to Opening Day and Fan Fest, my favorite Brewers event. Essentially, they round up all the older and soon-to-be-outdated-but-still-fashionable merchandise and slash the prices to near and in some cases sub-retail levels. Now that’s just half the draw, the other (kind of) neat thing is that the sale takes place completely inside one of the clubhouses. What they don’t tell you, unless you’re asking for directions and are going to rely on the signs posted above the door, is that it’s the visiting clubhouse. It doesn’t detract from the fun, for me at least.
I’d been eagerly waiting for this event since the close of the regular season, putting a few dollars aside here and there hoping to grab something worthwhile when the time eventually arrived.
The Clubhouse Sale is, rightfully so, a very popular event and draws a huge crowd for the first few hours. One of the ways the Brewers had been keeping the sale “fair” was staggering the stocking of popular items. When the good stuff was gone, it wouldn’t be restocked for a few hours to give people at work or students a fair shake at getting their hands on it as well. I’ll spare you the time, and say it out front: they didn’t do that this year.
I had taken the day off, a Friday, from work so I could try and be near the front of the line. “Gates”, as I fondly and inaccurately refer to them, were scheduled to open at 8am sharp. My wonderful mother and I rolled up at quarter of 7 and saw this line waiting:
Waiting in line was about as fun as that picture made it look. It was cold and windy and wet and cold and rainy and cold and stupid. And did I mention it was cold? Roughly 30 minutes passed and the line began moving inside the doors and paraded to the elevators.
Between them, the two elevators could probably hold about 30 people, so when you got downstairs, you were only vying for a spot with 29 other goofballs. By some fortunate twist, my mother and I were the last ones on the elevator of our segment in line, so we were the first two people off. When we exited the elevator, we saw this:
That’s the underbelly of Miller Park. The field is way to the left and Canal Street is to the right. On game day the players enter straight to the right:
On the way down the hallway, there were a few things that I made a point to stop and take a look at. You may have noticed a yellow line going along the wall. That’s “the line” and if you cross it, you truly experience the wrath of Wilford Brimley V2.0: Miller Park Usher. Don’t step over that line! </sarcasm> But serious, for whatever reason people were really pushy about staying inside the yellow line, even though there weren’t any forklifts or pallet jacks going around.
There was basketball hoop, maybe for the players, but more than likely for the warehouse guys.
There was a menu for game day food prices, but it’s what the employees pay. Are you ready to be enraged? Think about this next time you stop at a Miller Park concession stand:
And finally here’s a sign about “if you see something, say something” which I’m convinced is to remind security to watch out for ballhawks (Kidding. Half way…)
Just past the see something/say something sign was the very beginning of the line. Just around the corner was the door to the clubhouse.
You walk down this hallway,
and eventually turn a corner, walk down another hallway, and it just so happens you walk right by the bathroom. See anything wrong with this picture? Check the mirror:
They stick the coaches in what seems like a janitors closet.
And about 30 feet after passing the bathroom, you see this (borrowed picture):
In my shopping frenzy, I didn’t think to stop and snap my own picture of the clubhouse or the racks within, so I had to borrow that picture off the Brewers MLBlog. This picture was taken 2 days before the sale opened, and one day before there was a special 100 person, exclusive presale. I didn’t even see anything on that table of helmets, or the table of large posters. That’s how quickly it went.
As soon as I got in, I went grabbing for anything that looked cool. It was kind of a free-for-all. My most recent obsession is baseball print ads. I’m postering my entire bedroom with posters and pictures, so I was hoping they’d have something like that available. Boy, did I ever hit the jackpot! First, I went for the signs and print ads, and picked up this generic All Star Game uniform ad, in triplicate:
Then my eyes light up when I dug these bad boys out of the pile. “Wear Your All Star” ads featuring David Ortiz, and a personal favorite of mine, Jose Bautista. I bought two Bautistas and one Ortiz, that’s all they had:
Then gathered a few general Brewers merchandise signs to take up space on my walls in my bedroom:
And, the pièce de résistance, this AWESOME 6 1/2 foot by 4 foot banner, now hanging on my wall:
And for apparel, you can’t go wrong with the Nike Dri-Fit line. It’s my preferred ballhawking attire. The thermal long sleeve will be perfect for April or September ballhawking, and the tee shirts for the middle months of the season.
Before you entered the line to check out, there was one more opportunity for an impulse buy, which I indulged upon. Media guides and yearbooks! If you’ve got the 2012 Brewers media guide, turn to page 72 and you’ll see my picture! I’m in red, being sprayed with champagne by Yovani Gallardo! I had to buy a few.
At a stand down the hallway, you could purchase your last name and number in the Brewers uniform lettering, to put onto a blank uniform. I bought my last name and “lucky” number, and a few authenticated champagne bottles used after winning the NLDS in 2011. (I had to borrow the picture of the champagne bottles. For some reason I don’t have a picture of them on my phone at the moment)
And last but not least, but also lacking pictures, was the “scratch and dent” table. It was the Brewers last-ditch effort to squeeze a little cash out of me. It was basically a table full of things that were defective, returned or stained. I managed to grab a few gems out of the pile of garbage. A brand new Lucroy player tee, with a 1×1 screen printing stain near the buttock for $1 and an originally $220 Brewers road alternate “Milwaukee” variant jersey. What’s wrong with the jersey, you ask? It was originally made to be Jeff Bianchi’s, but they spelled his name wrong, and it read “B I A C H I”. I figured I might as well bite on it for $5. My thought was that someday eventually I’ll get something cool from a Brewer that wears #14, which displays on the front as well as the back. I’ll be able to get the item, be it a bat, a game home run, sweatbands or something framed with the jersey, the misspelled name hidden on the back!
Other than the above mentioned items, I purchased a few tank tops and a “curse the Cubs” shirt for my mom and girlfriend.
And, with that my retail experience was over. That’s all I bought, and would you believe it, I ended up spending less than $200. Not bad, eh? But what a waste it would be to have this exclusive access to the bowels of Miller Park and not wander a little bit? Here’s what I found…
They’ve got a big wall dedicated to prevention of Alcohol compliance violations. There’s a case with some confiscated ID’s on them. Most of them were just straight fakes, the kids on them looked not a day over 16, but there were a few actual ID’s, probably sold to younger people. This one was my favorite though:
Yep. Someone tried to use it, and got caught, at Miller Park. Here are a few posted signs that were inside the clubhouse.
And lastly and probably of least importance to you, when I finished inside, I took a walk around the back of the ballpark.
I found this, and it scares me. They’re breaking ground dangerously close to my season seat location. I don’t know what the hell they’re doing or when it will be done, but I’m afraid my seat may be affected, or movement from the RF bleachers to the LF bleachers may be cut off…
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THANKS FOR READING!