April 7 may not be a traditional holiday on a calendar, but it's still celebrated by many.That's because the date marks National Beer Day, a day enjoyed by many baseball fans ... for obvious reasons.
April 7 may not be a traditional holiday on a calendar, but it's still celebrated by many.
That's because the date marks National Beer Day, a day enjoyed by many baseball fans ... for obvious reasons.
It's also a day filled with constant, witty (OK, some not-so-witty) jokes and one-liners for Seth Beer -- and he insists he's learned to embrace the punchlines and banter. In fact, some of the D-backs No. 12 prospect's favorite Minor League memories stem from the impact that his name (combined with his performance) left on a North Carolina baseball team in its inaugural season.
The 2019 season marked two important milestones. The first: it was Beer's first full professional season. After the Astros nabbed the prolific Clemson product as their first-round pick in the 2018 Draft, Beer shined, climbing to the Carolina League to end the year. He was poised to begin 2019 in Class A Advanced ball again, but this time for a new team.
Second, that year also marked the inaugural season for the Fayetteville Woodpeckers, who replaced the Buies Creek Astros as Houston's Class A Advanced affiliate. Fayetteville is home to over 200,000 people, many of whom were eager to take in a game at the Woodpeckers' new ballpark.
So on Opening Night, Fayetteville's first home game, newly minted fans packed Segra Stadium ready for a show. Beer provided one.
The fifth-ranked first-base prospect ripped a solo shot with one out in the fourth inning, becoming the first Woodpecker to homer at the park. The moment still sticks with him.
"I've never heard a crowd so loud in my life," Beer recalled. "My whole family was there, my girlfriend, Taylor, was there to experience it. It's something that when I think back on I have to crack a little smile. It was just that cool of an experience."
Naturally, the 23-year-old became a fan favorite. His performance alone made the slugger stand out. In 35 games, he compiled a .328/.414/.602 line, hammering nine big flies and driving in 34 runs. His last name was a hit too for many of the Woodpecker faithful. The team started selling his jersey, which was sported by fans in the crowd at any given game.
"In the moment, I would say that I was just another player," Beer said. "But when I started seeing people wearing my jersey that the team started selling in stores, I thought, 'Man, this is really cool.'"
The team started dubbing home games on Thursdays as "Thirsty Thursdays." Beer homered on the first two of those promotional nights.
"They packed the house there every night. ... It's a great atmosphere," he said. "You play so many games throughout a full season, but being able to go out and listen to that crowd and how impactful and motivational they were, that was so cool."
Beer wound up being part of a memorable inaugural year for the Woodpeckers. The team didn't have him for long, though, as his hot start led to a promotion to the Texas League in mid-May. Shortly after, he left the Astros organization entirely, as the first baseman was traded to Arizona as part of the Zack Greinke deal at the Trade Deadline in July.
Although much has changed since his stint in Fayetteville, one thing that will remain constant is the flack Beer gets for his last name.
"People always ask me what it's like to have 'Beer' as a last name," he said. "To me, it's just my last name -- it's who I am, it's who my family is. It's the name I represent and the name I try to honor to the best of my ability. All the jokes and funny slogans and sayings that come along with it, I just crack a smile and laugh along with it."
Beer admitted one aspect tends to catch him off guard, though.
"The only kind of weird thing is that when vendors are selling beer in the stands. I'll hear them yelling, "Beer, here!" and sometimes I'll look up from the dugout and then catch myself," he said with a laugh. "For the most part, people call me either Beer or Brew or something beer-related. I very rarely get called Seth. So anytime I hear that come up, I turn, and then realize they're not talking to me. They're just selling beer."
And yes, Beer has heard his fair share of cringe-worthy jokes and taken his fair share of teasing from opposing teams.
"There were the times growing up where it would just get so old, like when I would go to opposing stadiums and I was the beer batter every day," he said. "You learn to embrace it. That's my last name, that's who I am and I'm going out there to try and represent that name to the best of my abilities."
While beer lovers celebrate accordingly Tuesday, Beer would neither confirm nor deny whether or not he'd be joining in. However, he did offer this: If he had to pick his favorite beer, he'd go with anything Budweiser.
Cheers to that.
Katie Woo is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @katiejwoo.