Catching up on my Twitter feed this morning, I came across a tweet from STATS LLC that highlighted the Brewers’ recent turnaround on the road — the team was 16-31 on the road through July 15, but are 11-5 away from Miller Park since.
Growing up in the 90s, one of my favorite movies was Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore. After thinking about it for awhile, it hit me that if this season was Happy Gilmore, the Brewers turning things around on the road would be the scene where Happy finally learns how to putt.
This, of course, got me thinking about more Brewers/Happy Gilmore similarities.
The Brewers, as a team, are obviously Happy himself. Their game is built on power, with big bats in the lineup and big arms in the back of the bullpen. They’re young, they’re brash, and they appeal to a younger, non-traditional audience in what’s typically an older, traditional sport. They love to have fun on the field, but their competitors feel like they’re showing up the opposition.
Of course, they aren’t perfect, but that’s part of the charm. Happy couldn’t putt, and the Brewers couldn’t win on the road or play defense. The traditional powers were quick to point out these flaws, and used those flaws to dismiss them as not being ready for primetime.
Speaking of traditional powers — the St. Louis Cardinals are clearly Shooter McGavin in this scenario. Shooter dominated the pro tour before Happy came along. The Cardinals dominated the NL Central before the Brewers came along. Shooter holds himself as the representation of all that is pure and right about the game of golf. The Cardinals, with all their talk about the game’s unwritten rules and “playing the game the right way” are much the same. And while Shooter seems to think everyone loves him, he’s really just an insufferable jackass.
Some of Shooter’s best lines in the movie are definitely Cardinal-like:
“Damn you people. Go back to your shanties.”
“Damn you people. This is golf. Not a rock concert.”
(Much like the Brewers, fans of Happy are seen as uncivilized idiots by McGavin/St. Louis)
“Oh, he’s gonna be on the tour. That’s…that’s super. That’s…cute.”
(You can imagine Tony La Russa saying something like, “Oh, they’re going to the playoffs? That’s…great.”)
Of course, if we’re going to do this comparison, we might as well flesh out some supporting characters.
The St. Louis announcing crew plays the role of Donald, the annoying guy desperate for Shooter McGavin’s friendship. “Shooter! Great to hear from you! You wanna go to the Sizzler and get some grub? I have gift certificates to Red Lobster!”
Bill Schroeder is Mr. Larson. Mr. Larson is a good guy, but he’s a big lug that doesn’t have a lot in the way of smarts. He’s extremely loyal to Happy, though, and is always quick to defend him. (h/t ThunderMcRobert)
The Reds are Bob Barker. Always there to punch Happy in the gut when his head starts to get too big.
Ken Macha is Happy’s ex-girlfriend. We don’t talk about her anymore. You know, other than mentioning how she fell off a cliff and died on impact. And yes, that makes Ron Roenicke Virginia. She keeps Happy’s head on straight and a bit of a romance is developing, even if he still makes her shake her head a few times.
Bob Uecker is Grandma Gilmore. Grandma just wants to keep her house that her husband built with his bare hands. Uecker just wants to see the organization he’s basically seen be built from the ground up finally win a World Series. Time is sadly starting to run out for both.
And, of course, one last similarity between Happy and the Brewers — both have a “happy place” that they can go to when things get rough that prominently involve beer. (h/t andrewpfister)
Case closed. The Brewers are Happy Gilmore.