Ever since it debuted at Milwaukee County Stadium, Bernie Brewer's slide has been one of the Brewers' most notable stadium features. The slide was modernized a bit when the Brewers moved to Miller Park in 2001 and no longer features a mug of beer at the bottom, but for many fans, seeing Bernie go down his slide is one of the highlights of the ballpark experience.
The procedures have changed a bit over the years, but currently the Brewers' mascot goes down his curved, yellow chute to mark three occasions at Miller Park:
- The middle of the first inning, before the Brewers come to bat for the first time.
- Brewers home runs.
- The final out (or walkoff run) of Brewers wins.
If you attended the right game and stayed in your seat for nine innings, it's possible you've seen Bernie go down his slide as many as seven times in a single contest. It last happened on April 29, 2013
, when the Brewers homered five times in a home win over the Pirates.
If you picked the wrong day to come out to the park, however, you might spend all afternoon or evening waiting for an event that won't come. Bernie went down his slide during the first inning on Sunday, for example, but was quiet from that point on, as the Brewers failed to score and lost 2-0 to the Mets. The absence was captured perfectly via haiku:
The Brewers have played 1,109 regular-season home games since Miller Park opened in 2001 and have been held homerless in a loss in 219 of those contests, meaning Bernie's customary first-inning slide was his only one of the day.
Obviously, it's possible to have fun at Miller Park on days when the Brewers don't homer, and even when they don't win. However, if you've been relying on Bernie's slide to entertain you or your companions at the ballpark, 2014 has been a surprisingly rough year.
The Brewers are having a better season than many pundits expected, but a large portion of their success has come on the road. They're just 30-26 at Miller Park after Sunday's loss, and have hit 57 home runs in 56 home contests. If you include the given first-inning celebration, Bernie has been down his slide 2.55 times per home game in 2014. That's on pace to be the fourth-lowest rate in Miller Park's 14 seasons.
That rate is actually up a bit from 2013, when the Brewers went 37-44 at home and averaged 2.47 slides per game. It's also far from being the worst mark in franchise history: The 2002 Brewers set a full-season franchise low by winning just 31 home games and sent Bernie down the slide just 2.15 times per Miller Park contest.
By this measure, though, the two most entertaining home teams in the Miller Park era both failed to make the playoffs. The 2007 Brewers set a franchise record with 121 Miller Park home runs and sent Bernie sliding 3.12 times per game. The 2012 team wasn't far behind at 3.07. Both teams won 83 games overall, with the 2007 team finishing second in the NL Central and the 2012 team third.
Here's the full Miller Park era leaderboard, in case you were curious:
||Slides per Game
(2014 Stats through Sunday's game)