Is this a version of baseball heaven or what?
By PETE GRATHOFF
The Kansas City Star
For two months, Joe Hoffmann had to drink beer if he was to fulfill his quest to win a prize that would irritate Cardinals fans in the heart of St. Louis.
"Its just all about Royals pride," Hoffman said of his mission, "and taking a jab at the Cardinals."
A recent transplant to St. Louis, Hoffmann visited a new Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, which has an award for people in their UFO Club who drink 200 different beers from the menu.
The first person to complete the task receives a commemorative plate with their name on it to be placed in the establishments "Ring of Honor."
Only Hoffman planned a twist.
The engraving would say Don Denkinger, whose name still evokes awful memories for Cardinal fans who havent gotten over losing the 1985 World Series to the Royals.
"It is definitely to get under the skin of Cardinal fans," Hoffmann said. "One of the most common things I would hear when I told people I was moving from KC to St. Louis was: At least now you can be a fan of a real baseball team or something to that extent.
"There is so much cockiness coming from the fans here, and putting up a Royals-themed plate just didnt seem like it would take things far enough."
Cardinals fans caught wind of the plot and tried stopping him from being the first to drink three beers a day (the limit) for 67 straight days.
"Right before it started, some Cardinal fans took up a collection to fund someone to oppose me," said Hoffmann, who moved from Overland Park. "There actually were a total of five of us who made it all the way to the last day. And two of them showed up to the final competition in their Cardinals gear."
To break the five-person tie earlier this month, the Flying Saucer devised a number of contests. After each, one person would be eliminated ("It was kind of a beer Olympics," Hoffmann noted).
Contestants were quizzed about beers they consumed (being a microbrew fan, Hoffmann cruised), did a flip-cup competition (its just what it sounds like), and tested their coaster-building skills.
"I got a two-tower level up in the last few seconds to get into the finals," said Hoffmann, 32.
Soon it was down to two for the final challenge: naming a beer off their personal list without missing or duplicating one.
They alternated turns and Hoffmann got through six beers before his opponent faltered. Victory was his.
"I was elated, but everyone else was pretty much booing me the entire length of the event," said Hoffman, who wore his Royals jersey. "The Cardinal fans who showed up werent too happy."
Some of the blog headlines: "The Royals?? Really??? Flying Saucer Beer Marathon Ends Horribly" and "Flying Saucer Opening Marred by Evil Royals Fan Plot."
On Thursday, the Flying Saucer will unveil Hoffmanns plate at a special ceremony.
"Its been a good-natured ordeal," Hoffmann said. "I think having to go drink three beers a day for over two months, ordeal is the correct word. There were days when I thought I could really use a day off."
The bar tab also added up, but Hoffmann had friends here raise money to offset that. The idea so resonated that he had $500 left over that he is donating to the Royals charity, Royalty Fields.
While Hoffmans main task has been accomplished, he is definitely excited to spend more time with wife, Jennifer, and their kids.
But hes not done needling Cardinals fans.
"I will likely keep putting up new versions of the Denkinger plate in the coming months and years ... wife and liver willing," Hoffmann said. "Once I get to the powder blue plate (six times), then the KC logo will definitely be going up."
To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/pgrathoff