I Finally Figured It Out

For BeerNexus.com

It took me awhile but in early September I finally figured out why routing for the 2018
NY Yankees is similar to the 2018 craft beer world.

Okay calm down, I can hear the moans and groans already, but at least hear me out
and then you decide if I have a clue or maybe had too many…

The 2018 Yankees are having a great year; they had the second best record in the
Majors for much of the season, until recently when in their latest funk the Astros
passed them! There are twenty-nine other teams that would love to be able to say
they have the third best record in baseball. Now of course the caveat to that is the
Red Sox have the best record and they are our arch enemy…you know like Batman
and the Joker, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, Elliot Ness and Al Capone, Harry
Potter and Voldemort…I think you get the picture. But it’s not that big a deal
because, unless we screw it up, we should be the first wild card and that means we’re
in the playoffs and hosting the wild card game. As they say, you gotta be in it to win
it, and basically everyone’s record when the playoffs start is 0-0. And as we learned
last year the division winner went home and we were in the ALCS, going toe to toe
with the Astros but came up short in game 7. So near yet so far, but being a wild card
means you’re in the postseason and you live to play another day.

As a quick recap we started off very slow, then had an amazing hot streak and have
basically played .500 ball since late June. Yes we’ve had some pitching issues aka
Sonny “I’m one of those guys who won’t play well in NY” Gray, a couple of amazing
rookies, a few who are underperforming, some early and trade deadline additions
and then a bunch of injuries, but we’ve seen how well they can play and it’s
frustrating to see them fall behind, play catch up, load the bases and not get the key
hit they need. Their record against the teams they should beat, Orioles, Rays,
Marlins, White Sox, Detroit, etc. is ridiculous.

So yes, they have the third best record in the majors, but they’re frustrating as all hell
to watch the games and see how they’ll lose to worse teams they should be beating
up on!

Now that I got that off my chest, I did say it was similar to today’s craft beer world,
didn’t I?

In craft beer there are thousands of breweries all over the country. A fair amount are
like the cellar dwellers in baseball, where they make ok beer but it’s not real good
and you wouldn’t go out of your way for it, like their fans don’t come as often to the
ballpark. They are many who make good beer. And then there are those like the
Yankees, Astros, Indians and yes Red Sox, whose beers are tremendous and they’re
knocking it out of the park. Many of the really good ones are IPAs or DIPAs, but I’ve
also tasted some great pilsners, kolsch, ales and stouts this year also.
(You’re still not seeing the connect ion are you…)

When I go into my craft beer bar I peruse the draft list. Sometimes there’s a brewery
who I’ve heard good things about or one I’ve had and know they make good beer. I
try a new offering and its ok, a single; good, a double; or really good, a triple, but not
great; exciting but not that really great one, the one we all want, the home run. And
along with that home run we want the win. We want to be able to go out and have a
few and walk away realizing that we had not one, but a few really great beers. There
are so many really good craft beers out that I’m expecting really good beers every
time I go out and it doesn’t always work out that way and it’s as frustrating as
watching the Yankees.

What the Yankees did last year was beyond our expectation and they raised the bar
for this year. Similarly with all the really good beers out there, craft brewers have
really raised the bar and challenged our taste buds, which makes it tough to keep
producing very high quality beers just as it is to keep winning ballgames.
You can’t win 'em all, but think about it if a team wins 60% of its game that’s a 97 win,
really good playoff team season. I would hope our craft beer standards are higher,
but there are probably few breweries where you think they make really good and
great beer 60% of the time.

And the last comparison I’ll make is that craft beer lovers and baseball players are
very similar; they both love their craft!  Ballplayers typically spend years eating,
sleeping and living baseball because they love it and want to be great at it. Well we
craft beer lovers are out there perfecting our 12 and 16 ounce curls, refining our
senses of sight, smell and taste, striving to better enjoy the experience.
Maybe, hopefully the Yankees will get healthy and begin performing like the team
that can go all the way. But that’s where it’s different from craft beer as baseball has
a season and it starts and finishes each year. Craft beer is 365 days a year and
there are no seasons; we go day to day and see what awaits us, what and who will
disappoint us and what and who will pleasantly surprise us.

So as the Yanks win in the postseason, I’ll be sitting there with hopefully a home run
craft beer to go along with that victory.

Glenn DeLuca writes about beer and culture of drinking. He may
be reached by writing thebigG@beernexus.com.

***   ***   ***
Glenn DeLuca
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