Clothes make the man. Or, in some cases, the dinosaur. And last night, the Brewers wore clothes to honor the man – the myth, the legend, The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, for a "Purple Rain"-themed flight to Minneapolis.
After taking two of three games from the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend, the Brewers continued their road trip Sunday, traveling to the Twin Cities for a pair of contests in Minnesota, before they return home for two more against the Twins in Milwaukee, as part of the team’s Border Battle series.
On the way, the Brewers paid tribute to Prince, the late singer-songwriter and iconic Minneapolis native who died in April. It’s not the first time the team has dressed up in costume on a road trip, having done cowboys and 80s-themed flights in recent years.
Caitlin Moyer helpfully identified all of the players – including who was inside the full-body dinosaur getup – and now we’re ready to decide who wore it best.
Here’s a ranking of the Brewers’ "Purple Rain" outfits:
28: Jonathan Villar, you don’t wear a Minnesota Vikings jersey – crouching in front, donning Dalvin Cook’s No. 33 – if you’re even remotely connected to the state of Wisconsin. You especially don’t do it when you’re hitting .216.
Not even trying
27-20: This group either can’t really be seen or just threw on a purple shirt and called it a day. Recently promoted catcher Andrew Susac (just to the right of the black wig, not even smiling), other catcher Manny Pina (to the left of the black wig) and starting pitchers Brandon Woodruff and Jimmy Nelson (back row, right of Susac) are trying the old college lecture-hall tactic of hiding in the back so they don’t get called on. WE SEE YOU GUYS AND WE’RE DISAPPOINTED IN THE EFFORT.
Then, in front of them, relievers Jeremy Jeffress and Brent Suter, scorching-hot shortstop Orlando Arcia and smiling centerfielder Keon Broxton all just put on variously shaded purple shirts. Arcia looks like a kid about to take a senior photo whose high school yearbook quote would be some misattributed line about not accepting failure.
19-17: These are better, but only slightly. Right fielder Domingo Santana (crouching next to Villar) had a tough week – 2 for 16, and he hurt his wrist Sunday – but at least he added some flair, in the form of a purple necklace, to his lilac-colored shirt. Ditto for third baseman Travis Shaw (to the left of black suit), who went 4 for 17 last week and hurt his neck Saturday – who gets some extra points for his purple leggings. Then there’s Eric Thames, the burly, bearded first baseman (left of Shaw), who we can’t really see but can safely assume is wearing something mildly awesome.
16-15: Reliever Jacob Barnes (black wig, behind Villar) seemed to be doing more of a Jimi Hendrix thing, with his black afro wig and vest – perhaps he was thinking of "Purple Haze"? – but, hey, it’s sort of in the ballpark. Utility man Hernan Perez (fourth from left) took a few swings at the theme, with a purple wig, purple shirt and purple Nikes.
Plain purple suits
14-12: Reliever Anthony Swarzak (sixth from the left), acquired from the White Sox via trade a couple weeks ago, embraced his new team’s antics and went with a safe option, choosing a simple purple blazer. Catcher Jett Bandy (13th from the left) appears to have added a tie and made it a full suit. And closer Corey Knebel one-upped the others with a purple tuxedo and top hat. That’s why he’s an All-Star.
Not-plain purple suits
11-9: Second baseman Eric Sogard (seventh from left, in front of Swarzak) looks cooler in shades than the glasses he sports on the field, but his Zubaz-style suit looks more blue than purple. Relief pitcher Oliver Drake’s "Fresh Prince" suit is also not very purple, but it’s still pretty fly. But reliever Carlos Torres (second from left) takes the cakes for pulling off what Moyer said was an "El Muerto" lavender suit, adorned with colorful Mexican skull designs.
Random but good
8-5: There’s a lot going on here, in sports and pop culture, that’s unrelated to Prince but still enjoyable. First, a couple of non-baseball jerseys, as reliever Jared Hughes (11th from left) rocks a full Julius Randle Los Angeles Lakers uniform, with headband, and first baseman Jesus Aguilar (second from right) strikes a confident pose – and reveals himself to be an MLS fan – wearing an Orlando City SC shirt, as well as purple cleats. Then, there’s starter Chase Anderson (right of Bandy), hiding in the back but quite clearly in costume as the Joker from Batman; and, next to him, catcher Stephen Vogt as Willy Wonka.
4-3: Starting pitcher Matt Garza and left fielder Ryan Braun, the two veterans and highest-paid players on the team, are front and center in authentic Prince attire – Garza’s black ensemble resembling those worn by Prince’s backing band, and Braun’s looking like something that was specifically made to represent Purple Rain.
"Who's the dinosaur?" and more of your burning questions about the "Purple Rain" road trip answered: https://t.co/3NQnW3niFJ #ThisIsMyCrew pic.twitter.com/Z7bU0e1u1c — Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) August 7, 2017
2: After posting the picture on their Twitter account, the Brewers were inundated with people frantically asking who was in the dinosaur costume. By process of elimination – and later confirmed on Moyer’s blog – it is hard-throwing rookie reliever Josh Hader. First-year players usually get hazed during the baseball season by having to wear some embarrassing outfit, but Hader seemed to be perfectly content to be in his – probably happy to be wearing a purple dinosaur costume that wasn’t Barney.
1: Zach Davies, Milwaukee’s youthful-looking starting pitcher, gets the win for his literal depiction of "Purple Rain," holding a purple umbrella with purple streamers. Spot on, Zach. Subtlety’s overrated anyway.
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.