So it was this afternoon that we arrived thirsty at Anheuser-Busch headquarters for the unveiling of Budweiser's 2006 Cardinals World Series bottles. Per the company's press release: "Samples will be provided for the media!"
Apparently, by A-B definitions, the media include all 5,500 of its St. Louis employees -- a large percentage of whom already occupied the conference room by the time Unreal showed up. Also in attendance were A-B and Cardinals representatives, including relief pitchers Jason Isringhausen, Josh Hancock and Brad Thompson. As for the press, the only recognizable face we saw was that of Fox Sports Midwest reporter Jim Hayes, who, with a complimentary beer bottle stuffed into his back pocket, rushed the stage to interview the players following the conclusion of the short press conference.
Moments later the pitchers were seated like Santas at the shopping mall as hundreds of A-B employees filed past for autographs. Not everyone was impressed, given what might best be described as a lack of star power. Of the three Cardinals in attendance, only Thompson saw any playing time (two-thirds of an inning) during the World Series.
Another employee carried a 2006 World Series pennant protected by a plastic sheath. "When I get Izzy's signature on this, it's going to be worth lots -- at least as much as the plastic case."
Unreal didn't bother with an autograph, but we did join the queue for a shiny red aluminum can of Budweiser -- which evidently is too precious to drink. When asked if we could crack open ours right there, the A-B host responded in horror: "Why would you ever want to open it? It's a collectible."
Victory never tasted so bland.