'Bernie Brewer' stunt turns chaotic

Updated: May 25, 2011, 2:22 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

MILWAUKEE -- "Bernie Brewer" is a popular guy -- so much so that there's just not enough of him to go around.

About 1,400 lawn ornament statues depicting the Brewers' affable, mustachioed mascot were hidden across Wisconsin early Tuesday for fans to find, some with tickets, prizes and player autographs attached.

[+] EnlargeBernie Brewer Lawn Ornament
Courtesy of Milwaukee BrewersThe Brewers' lawn ornament promotion went awry when some treasure hunters didn't obey the one-per-household rule.

But some cried foul when it appeared a number of fans had gotten a head start on the "Where's Bernie?" scavenger hunt-style promotion and ignored the catch limit of one lawn ornament per household.

It didn't take long before social networking websites were buzzing with complaints about some fans staking out workers who were stashing the statues well before sunrise, then snapping up armfuls of ornaments as soon as they were hidden.

Brewers spokesman Tyler Barnes said fan response to Tuesday morning's scavenger hunt-style promotion was "staggering," though team officials were disappointed that some fans didn't play by the rules.

"It's disappointing," Barnes said. "The intent of the promotion and the rules of the promotion were eminently clear -- it was one per household."

WISN-TV reported on its website that lawn ornaments distributed at Milwaukee's Lincoln Park were snapped up in minutes.

One Twitter user posted a photo of at least 10 Bernie Brewer statues stuffed in the trunk of a car, drawing the ire of fellow fans. The user later appeared to have deleted the Twitter account.

Several statues were also put up for sale on eBay, with bids topping $200.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, in one Twitter post directed at an alleged mascot hoarder, someone wrote: "U R the lowest common denominator. 30+ Bernie statues??? Your greed disgusts me more than your profile picture."

Barnes was at a Milwaukee-area park to help set up the promotion around 3 a.m. Tuesday, and said the 300-plus fans who showed up there later in the morning to search for statues generally observed the rules of the promotion.

"The goal is to get these (ornaments) into the hands of as many households as we could," Barnes said.

Barnes said the team was aware that things didn't go so smoothly everywhere, and will review its procedures for similar promotions in the future.

Not all the lawn ornaments are gone. Barnes told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the team store has them for sale for $48.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.