By Staff Blogger Ryan Hieronymus
Spring Training isn't quite here yet, but that hasn't stopped me from thinking about baseball. I've been following the trades and am looking forward to opening day. Maybe a little more so this year, to see what the Cubs do next.
I always get excited about the approaching season. Living in Florida for over a decade, Spring Training was a very approachable way to start getting my baseball as early as possible. Since the Cubs practice in Arizona I found other teams and players to follow during the Spring. Just being at the ball park, hearing the crack of the bat and enjoying a beer on a Spring day was enough for me. Didn’t really matter who was playing most days, but I did get excited to see marquee players or upcoming guys closer than I would during the regular season.
As I drove to my parents to celebrate Christmas, my mind wandered as everyone else napped in the car. I'm not exactly sure how I made the leap but I envisioned the craft brewery network in an analog to the major leagues and farm systems of baseball. Humor me, if you will.
Think of the big names in craft; everyone knows them. They might not be your favorite, but they are big enough to have their products in most of the US markets and beyond. A quality product and good marketing plan don’t hurt either. WGN helped spread the gospel of the Loveable Losers for years well beyond the Friendly Confines and fertile soil of the plains.
Every state has their well known breweries, as well as a long list of lesser known breweries and talented brewers, who all aspire to be successful. (What that success looks like will be unique to each.) Now these smaller breweries aren’t aligned with bigger ones like proper farm teams with Player Development Contracts, but those employees most definitely find the experience there that is needed to move up to those better known breweries or start their own projects.
How would you define the difference in the quality of the products in the “major league” to “minor league”?
Is there really a huge difference in the talent at Triple A vs. the MLB? These are guys who ultimately end up in the big leagues generally, as well as international talent. Now Single A definitely has some quality concerns.
When you travel and ask for advice on breweries to check out in the area, you’re probably getting Pro and Triple A level suggestions. Or maybe even Double AA to check out one really good beer. Single A may have some promise but needs to be developed, but it can still be enjoyable because it’s local. Who doesn’twant to cheer on the local guy?
While I am huge fan of Pro baseball (especially the Cubs if you hadn’t noticed), there are economic barriers to enjoying it live as much as I'd like. The same goes for high quality beer,( even more so as breweries move to premium pricing strategies.) With that in mind I see one or two Cubs games a year at Wrigley, Watch as many games on TV as I can and check out the farm teams when I can. When it comes to beer I’ll pick up a few pricey special releases and drink as much as I can from the breweries that I am a fan of while also looking for value and quality in a lesser known brewery. And of course I root for the local guys! (who luckily aren’t small time rookies in these parts.)