One of our great neighbors across the hall, who moved to Wisconsin a year ahead of us, is a vegetarian. Being one myself, I was naturally relieved that another of my unusual persuasion could survive in the land of bratwurst. After all, we've posted before about The Bratzooka at our local minor league park, and about the famous sausage race at the Brewers' Miller Park. I naturally assumed that my arrival would simply double the state vegetarian population, approximately.
Of course I've since discovered that we herbivores are not quite that rare up here; Woodman's has a great selection of vegetarian products (actually most local supermarkets do a decent job), and most restaurants have at least a couple of things on the menu, which is about what I used to find in Boston. In fact the most "local" restaurant in town, the Delta diner, has a whole vegetarian section with about 20 choices for us strange folk.
But if someone had told me that there was a vegetarian player in Major League Baseball, the last place I would have looked would be the Milwaukee Brewers. Nonetheless, Prince Fielder, the Brewers' star first baseman, has apparently joined me in the great cult of the carrot.
Everyone must read this article from today's New York Times.
For one thing, it's just good writing. Hilarious, at least to someone who is a vegetarian (me) and someone who is familiar with our strange kind (Jodi). But it's also a great look at the difficulties even a celebrity vegetarian occasionally has finding something he wants to eat when dining out, and the different reactions of his fans and co-workers.
General Manager Doug Melvin said he had no concerns, then or now, about perhaps his team’s strongest player drastically changing the fuel he put in his tank. Melvin is so unmoved by the situation that he said: “Is he still a vegetarian? I don’t even know.”I will say, in defense of our subspecies, that Fielder may be an unusually picky eater. Personally I'm always up for trying new things; today I ate cactus for (possibly) the first time ever at our favorite local tex-mex place. But sometimes you just want a PB&J sandwich, and there's nothing wrong with that. I hope Fielder has better luck in the future.
Several spaces down, [tailgaiting fan] Dan Ricksetter of Milwaukee added: “It was a bit disheartening when he decided to become a vegetarian. Brats are intrinsic to our culture. They’re the breakfast of champions. I’m not sure which sport.”
One minor quibble with the article: it claims that "a tofu dog has yet to be invited" to the Sausage Race. Had the reporter done his homework, he might have added that PETA actually suggested the idea to the Brewers in 2002. At the time, they said they had no plans to add to the four existing sausage contestants (Hot Dog, Brat, Italian and Polish). In 2006, however, they added Chorizo. Maybe with this latest news about Fielder, it's time to break down another barrier in our nation's long history of sausage discrimination. Only time will tell.
P.S. Apparantly OnMilwaukee.com joked about this on April Fools.