When it comes to the MLB offseason free agent hot stove, the Brewers today made a massive move to their roster ... just not involving the one that plays baseball.
JS Online first reported this afternoon that, after 25 years, Klement's will no longer be the sponsor of the Brewers' Famous Racing Sausages. Now, before you tearfully clutch your bobble-sausages and collectible shirts close to your heart and queue up YouTube videos of old races (maybe featuring yours truly from his former racing days!) and the Randall Simon debacle, humming "I Will Remember You" by Sarah McLachlan, the Racing Sausages are not going anywhere.
According to the article, they will still race around the field's edge for you to bet on every sixth inning. The famed franks just will no longer have the Klement's logo on their sleeves.
Still, while there's no fear that Bratwurst and company have run their last race, it is sad to see the Brewers move on so abruptly and brusquely from a fellow beloved local brand (while the brand was acquired in 2014 by a California group, it still hires more than 350 employees across two Milwaukee locations, to say nothing of its longtime legacy with the baseball team).
According to a letter to employees obtained by the Journal Sentinel, Klement's CEO Tom Danneker planned to negotiate like any other year with the team, but "unfortunately, the Brewers abruptly and without explanation cut off our negotiations. To our surprise, weeks later the Brewers informed us that they signed with another undisclosed company, and we would not have the opportunity to match the deal or negotiate."
It's a sad and sudden end to a relationship that brought much joy to Brewers fans – especially during those seasons when there wasn't much joy to be found on the field otherwise.
But in case this situation wasn't perplexing enough, there's still the question of who is the mystery company that already signed away the rights to the race? Hopefully it's still at least a local sausage slinger – because if we see the logo of Chicago-style hot dog icon Vienna Beef bounding around the Miller Park diamond, it'll be the Milwaukee Brewers organization getting grilled.
So here are our totally speculative guesses, from the realistic to the ridiculous, at who might be the new sausage supreme at Miller Park this upcoming season – and how they might mix things up with the limber-legged links.
This is one of the two most likely culprits behind the changing of the guard with the Famous Racing Sausages. The company's large enough, local enough and, considering Bob Uecker appears in their ads, attached enough to the Brewers that it wouldn't be a completely jarring shift. Maybe they could even add Brat Uecker to the lineup of racing legs, truly the finest honor we could give the play-by-play legend.
The other major contender to take over the reins of the race, Johnsonville is another big national name, born right here in Wisconsin. They'd be another respectable local brand to take over the Brewers' biggest non-baseball event – though the name Johnsonville Famous Racing Sausages does remind this wildly immature mind of that famous Austin Powers scene.
Milwaukee Sausage Co.
The past few months have already been filled with big developments for the Milwaukee Sausage Co., announcing just last November that the local meat company was moving into a new space in South Milwaukee. And what better way to celebrate a big move than by also buying up the most famous sausage branding opportunity in the entire country? Seems like a viable financial plan to this Broadcast and Electronic Communications major who took exactly one economics class in college!
Better yet, the Milwaukee Sausage Co. could add a sixth sausage to the race: A-A-Ron – or A-A-Ran if you want to get extra punny – based off the company's buffalo chicken sausage of the same name. It's technically named after a friend of the business, Aaron Henderson, whose wing sauce recipe served as its inspiration ... but really, throw a green #12 jersey on that frank, and you've got the most popular pro shop merch of the year. Sorry Hank.
Yes, Kettle Range Meats is just a small butcher shop. But they're local, carving up tasty meats right here in Milwaukee. And what better way to motivate some sausages to run faster than with a butcher hot on their tail?
While Nueske's does make smoked brats, I admittedly think more of bacon when it comes to this Wisconsin meat staple. But hey, everything's better with bacon. Maybe a strip of bacon might add some extra sizzle to the sausage race?
The small but scrumptious Bay View sausage shack is unlikely to take on the mantle of a giant corporation. But let me imagine a world where, thanks to the wrestling-loving eatery, the Famous Racing Sausages are joined on the track by the likes of "Brat 'The Hitman' Hart" or "Junkyard Hot Dog."
And if the Brewers do somehow decide to go outside Wisconsin for the new sponsor?
While it doesn't sound appetizing to me, what if they became the Famous Racing Snausages – complete with additional Hank the Dog cameos! Because hey, throwing a dog at the problem worked the last time the Brewers had an offseason controversy!
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.