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Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Hey, beer man!
I'm not prone to hallucinate about baseball beer guys. So I'm pretty sure I saw him. He wasn't carrying, or hawking beer. And he was in the wrong city. He might be a two-timer, like me.
Yesterday, walking down Half Street from work, there was Howard the beer guy from Camden Yards. In D.C.
Howard's probably the only beer guy I can identify by sight, anywhere in the world. He's got a timeless mullet, pulled into a ponytail. And for a while, he had a shtick that no one could touch.
Whenever he poured your beer, he would ask you a baseball trivia question. If you got it right, he gave you your beer, for free. He was a walking baseball encyclopedia. It was awesome.
Howard stopped asking my dad questions when he got his second answer right during one game. He shut dad down, smartly. My dad can hang on the baseball trivia.
My crowning beer-buying accomplishment was the time I knew "Walter Johnson" was the right answer to Howard's question about a fantastic pitcher who pitched for sub-par teams near Baltimore, but the Nationals hadn't moved to D.C. yet. He probably thought I was too young to remember that the Senators were a team in D.C. (I am too young, but my baseball knowledge runs historical at times). I got my free beer from Howard.
So yesterday, Howard was walking in D.C., in a red shirt, carrying a bag to the Nationals vs. Phillies game (the Nats won 10-2, by the way). I'm not sure whether he was going just to catch the game, or if he is two-timing Camden Yards with Nationals Stadium. I don't blame him if he is. I do that too.
But I hope he was just going to enjoy the game. Reading the Baltimore Style Magazine piece on the people at Camden Yards (link above, look for Howard Hart), you can tell he still digs baseball and taking in a live game. He's a guy I'd like to buy a beer.
I'd bet he's walked more steps at Camden Yards than anyone could count. He probably turns to "hey beer man!" anywhere, at any time, purely on reflex. But there are those of us that know his name is Howard. And he knows his baseball.