Brewers Nation has taken to the blogs to distance itself from The Happy Youngster, the entrepreneurial ballhawk and walking object lesson about the perils of being a self-branded public idiot. Amazingly, Matt Vasgersian is involved!
The Happy Youngster (real name: Nick Yohanek), you'll recall, was the guy who caught Marlins rookie Chris Coghlan's first home run, then demanded a bounty from the Marlins in return.
"The Happy Youngster" makes me sick. This guy is pathetic, greedy and delusional to think his novelty "celebrity" is anything more than a hokey gimmick. Grow up, guy. Give foul and non-milestone homerun balls to kids instead of hoarding them for your stupid collection/obsession that somehow validates you life. Kids grow up imagining hitting a big league homer. This guy was fortunate enough to do it, and you wedged your dorky head and unjustifably inflated ego into his moment to - what? - score a few tickets and a signed bat. Eat shit, geek.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Haudricourt weighs in:
Maybe he should also detail how he held up Geoff Jenkins for his 200th home run ball a few years by demanding Prince Fielder autographed bats, etc. Nothing like holding balls for the highest ransom, huh? He talks about classy moves in his blog. Would you call that a classy move on his part? Why should Geoff Jenkins have to go and ask Prince Fielder to sign stuff so Jenkins can retrieve a milestone homer? If you were a true Brewers fan, wouldn't you make it easy on a player who was the face of the franchise all those years?
And here are some Milwaukee fans who wandered over to the Miami Herald's Fish Bytes blog:
BrewCityBill: On behalf of all TRUE Brewers fans, I apologize! This guy's a serial a-hole who brings down good name of the hardworking people of Milwaukee. Our mamas raised us better than that. Peace.
Happy_Youngster Sucks_My_Cock: Happy Youngster sucks. I wish he wasn't a Brewers fan. I like how he tries to play it off as I just asked nicely. This guy is a give me, give me, give me, give me type of person. He is only concerned with what he gets out of a deal. ... Don't cut this guy any slack. Hammer him. To me, this guy is more worthless than Steve Bartman
Jay: As a Brewers fan, I hope that guy takes the next ball into the stands off a sensitive area.
Ray: It is one thing to negotiate for items from the player that hit the ball, But to make that player beg a team mate for it is wrong, He did the same thing to Jeff Jenkins wanting a signed bat from Prince. This guy is a tool and he gives all Brewer's fans a bad name.
Drew: Happy Youngster also likes to push other people out of the way to get his cherished HR balls. He should be banned from Miller Park....or at least banned from the bleachers. He gives all us brewer fans a bad name.
And he's not a real cop - he's one of those rent-a-cops you see late night at the mall. Paul Blart has more clout than this guy.
Joe: It'd be one thing if this "misunderstanding" was a one time thing. He's been known to do the same thing to Brewer players.
As a Brewer fan, I apologize to Coghlan for the crap he had to deal with.
Lloyd in Green Bay: Don't think all us Brewers fan are like Happy Youngster. Most of us are longsuffering diehards and also very nice and respectful people. Sorry one of our so called "fans" is a selfish greedy idiot
Cooper: That guy is a jerk. I say this as a Brewers fan. I am ashamed he is also a fan of the Brewers. Please don't judge all Brewers fans by this dolt. ... I have other names for the guy, but I am not sure how much language is allowed here.
So who created this monster, you might wonder? Well, none other than our pottymouthed friend Matt Vasgersian! On his web site, the Happy Youngster recounts the day in 1999 he caught two balls in the same game:
As the celebration in the left field bleachers ensued, Brewers TV announcer and former big league catcher Bill "Rock" Schroeder stated to all of Wisconsin and beyond, "There's a ball for a happy youngster."
An identity was born.
After the 1999 season, I spoke with Bill Schroeder's broadcasting partner Matt Vasgersian (the best in the business...boy, do I miss him). I revisited that Saturday evening game of '99 and he remembered the call. He even remembered who hit the home runs (bizarre!?) He suggested I start wearing a bright yellow shirt with "Happy Youngster" emblazoned on the front. He gave me his e-mail address and told me to let him know when I'd be at the park the following season so they could give me a quick plug on TV.
The identity had laid dormant until Tuesday, May 16th, 2000. That's the game the yellow shirt made its debut. I e-mailed Vasgersian as he instructed. I told him I'd be in the front row of the left field bleachers with my new uniform...well, a bright yellow shirt.
Yohanek credits Vasgersian with making "the nickname household during the 2000 season," though of course most of those households fall somewhere in the vicinity of the Menomonee River Valley. Below, watch a video of the Happy Youngster in younger, happier days (look for the cameo by Vasgersian, in which he somehow manages to not say anything offensive):
The Happy Youngster is a douchebag who makes us all look bad [Miller Park Drunk]
In the News [Right Field Bleachers]
Fan Drives Hard Bargain for Coghlan's First Home Run Ball [Fish Bytes]