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2012-05-04 / Blue Guitar Highway

Remembering Wally the Beer Man

The next time I hear a vendor shout, “Cold BEER here!” I want it to be Wally. - Paul Metsa
By Paul Metsa
HTF Columnist

Author’s note: With baseball season in full swing, I thought I’d share the following from my “Letters to the Editor” archive. It was my response to the ridiculous sting operation that took down Wally the Beer Man. This ran in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in October of 2010. - Paul

Every time I go to a Twins game, Metrodome or Target Field, I am amazed at how hard the concessionaires work. Their cry of “Popcorn, peanuts, cracker jacks, get your cold beer!” - some sort of Midwestern mantra, still rings in my head, almost 50 years later, like it was yesterday. For me, it’s like baseball and Bob Dylan, something that has always been there. And I marvel at the fact that, at one time, those beer vendors carried beer in real glass bottles, like beer really was supposed to be drunk and how heavy those cases must have been. I remain in amazement at their stamina, especially now, at 54 years of age, when I huff and puff my way up to the main concourse, from whatever seats I had the good fortune to get, for a bathroom break, a breath of fresh air, or some sort of refreshment.

So, as a Minnesotan, and American, I was both astounded and embarrassed that Wally the Beer Man was recently busted in a sting operation for selling a beer to an underaged patron. I had no idea Wally posed this sort of threat to our country, nor did I

realize that law enforcement had this kind of time on their hands. Speaking as one that has worked and played in the Warehouse District since 1978, and has seen that area growing increasingly more dangerous, I was astounded that the powers that be would target the dark forces fomenting within the stadium walls.

To cure crime is one thing, to create it is another. And that is, simply, what has been done here. As the drinking age slowly creeps up to right to male menopause , I am at a loss to as to why they have to target someone like Wally, 76 years old, a Minnesota icon, and not exactly a Columbian drug lord. He does nothing more than provide beer, 3.2 beer at that, to thirsty customers, in a stadium that is full and holds 40,000 customers at a time. He is the Sam Mele of Suds, a living bridge from Met Stadium to the Metrodome to Target Field. As the unofficial mascot of the Twins, he has worked longer and harder on their behalf than anyone I can remember.

There are enough problems in the

world. We are fighting two wars, the economy is in the dumps, and terrorists, so I’ve heard, are at our door. Wally isn’t one of them.

While I am happy that Wally is now

working at Sneaky Pete’s, justice has not yet been done. The Twins have a real shot this year, in a stadium I was against, before I was for it. And Morneau may be back in time for the World Series, fingers crossed. In the meantime, let’s put Wally back to work at Target Field and realize there are bigger fish to fry. The next time I hear a vendor shout, “Cold BEER here!” I want it to be Wally.

Postcript: What made this “sting” all the more ridiculous, is that as most Rangers know, it is damn near impossible to cop a buzz on 3.2 beer in only 7 innings. – Paul

Paul Metsa is a singer, songwriter, and seven-time Minnesota Music Award winner. He lives in Minneapolis. For info on his book, visit blueguitarhighway.com. You may also see his online Kickstarter project (fundraisers for creative types) at kickstarter.com (search for “Paul Metsa”).

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