St. Louis baseball fans think that they are the best (beer drinking) fans in the world, and aren’t afraid to let you know it. They have the breweries, the German heritage, the Clydesdales, and a stadium named after a beer. Royals fans, on the other hand, have to watch the Royals play some form of baseball year after year, day after day. In the end, that real world experience led to one of the few triumphs the Royals have over the Cardinals in the last 25 years.
This story has it all, honestly. First of all, lots of beers. Second of all, all of the drama of a rivalry. Third, the seedy underbelly of the sports world, with payments and players being funded behind the scenes in the quest for the almighty victory. Oh, and a Don Denkinger commemorative plate at stake, within walking distance of Busch Stadium.
Earlier this year, Royals fan and Flying Saucer patron Joe Hoffmann moved from Kansas City to St. Louis due to his job, and hatched a fiendish plot. A new Flying Saucer location was opening in downtown St. Louis in March. Anyone that drinks 200 different beers gets a commemorative plate, and he decided he would be the first to earn a plate, and put the name “Don Denkinger” on it. There is a 3 beer per day limit toward the achievement, so it would require 67 straight days of drinking beer to be the first.
Well, he got some online funding and started the twitter handle @TheShowMePlate in pursuit of his goal to strike at the heart of St. Louis by reviving Don Denkinger.
The headline in the local St. Louis community paper, the Riverfront Times, is priceless: “Flying Saucer Opening Marred By Evil Royals Fan Plot; Kicks Off Most Important Drinking Contest of All-Time.” I don’t know if it was the most important drinking contest of all-time, but without really thinking about other famous drinking contests in history, it is probably top ten. Vecini vs. the Dred Pirate Roberts in The Princess Bride comes to mind as being bigger, since death was on the line.
So a group of St. Louis fans secured their own funding, and placed an ad on a local message board seeking a champion to challenge Mr. Hoffman and beat him to 200 beers. Richard Haegele emerged, ready to challenge and willing to drink on someone else’s dime. For 67 days, the two men drank their beers every day (along with two others), and so there was a standoff. The bar held a beer Olympics type of showdown to declare the winner of the first commemorative plate.
Two weeks ago, in a gauntlet reminiscent of that faced by Odysseus, Evil Royals Fan Hoffmann prevailed over all challengers to claim the top spot. He survived trivia, cup stacking, anThe plate will be unveiled tomorrow, just a short distance from Busch, as the Royals are in town to play the Cardinals. I have a feeling the turnout will be blue, as it is one of the few things to celebrate for Kansas City fans.