Al's Ramblings

Monday, March 31, 2003

(3/31/2003 06:44:00 PM) - Al

The Crew lost today, 11-9, in which could almost be described as a bizarro game. Clayton and Perez each hit HR's, we got good starting pitching and poor relief pitching, etc.

Tony LaRussa tried letting the Brewers back into the game by allowing Matt Morris to go 100+ pitches in the season opener, but it was not to be. Funny, there was a ton of blowouts today, odd since obviously the aces pitched, and the bullpens were rested. Yost made a couple strange moves. First, he didn't double-switch despite the fact the pitcher was to bat 2nd the next inning. Then, he brought in Dejean with one out in the 8th and a man on 3B, and a LH (Vina) up. Why do we have VDS out in the bullpen, if not for that situation?

Wes Helms looks to be as much of a dead red (fastball) hitter as you'll ever see. Keith Ginter will get a shot before midseason, as he's better than Helms & EY.

One very good sign, most players took a lot of pitches. EY and Hammonds were the only exceptions, as it's tough to teach an old dog new tricks. You know they can still hear, "be aggressive" stupidly being said by those who do not respect OBP.

I'm already sick to death of Bill Schroeder. Cliche, cliche, cliche, yawn. It's absolutely astounding to me how little a guy who played the game knows about it, compared to the new breed of young executives. Listening to him do a game is as painful as watching your pet die. Sadly, radio is a split second ahead of the TV, so it's tough to listen to the fine job Ueck and Jim Powell do, as you hear the ball hit the bat as the pitch is being released.

Regardless, good to have baseball back.

3/31/2003 06:44:00 PM

(3/31/2003 03:02:00 PM) - Al

We got up early today to go to the DMV before the crowds hit (got there 15 minutes before they opened, and were behind 12 others). So, about noon, I took a nap. I missed the first two games on ESPN, but more importantly, the ATL/MON affair has ended on time, bless their hearts. Let's play ball.

3/31/2003 03:02:00 PM

(3/31/2003 11:52:00 AM) - Al

While I guess technically, Opening Day occured yesterday, for almost everyone, it is today. Why this isn't a national holiday, I'll never know. I did watch a bit of the TEX/ANA game last night, as those two teams start their season long battle for 3rd place in the AL West. Joe "Always Good For A Stupid Quote" Morgan did say he feels "18 teams have a shot at the playoffs", which left me wondering if he feels the entire NL has a shot. I think the NL is very balanced, but 18 is quite a stretch. Most everyone agrees BOS, OAK, and NYY are the class of the AL, and will be joined in the playoffs by MIN or CWS. I feel SEA has an outside chance, but Joe volunteered he thinks TEX has a shot. I don't. He then said he likes PIT's team.

TEX and PIT...lots of luck with those picks, Joe. My gosh, who are the 12 teams you don't think have a shot?

3/31/2003 11:52:00 AM

Sunday, March 30, 2003

(3/30/2003 01:42:00 AM) - Al

2003 season predictions, for no other reason than everyone else does it. I'd just like to add that I find it quite odd almost everyone lists the AL East first, and I don't know why.

BOS--109 wins






Wow, despite the fact the AL may well possess 5 teams that are more dominant than any in the NL, they also have 4 horrible clubs. I've kind of left BAL out of the "terrible" group until now, but David Pinto actually predicted TB to win more games than BAL. He gave a rundown of the O's everyday lineup, in which he says BJ Surhoff will hit 3rd. Really. Meanwhile, BOS's 8 & 9 hitters are projected to be Trot Nixon and Jason Varitek, both of whom would fit right in the middle of the lineup in BAL. I hope SEA manages to win a couple more games and edges out the Yankees, as it would kill George.

I think BOS will score 1000 runs, and NY might as well. ARI will have pitching trouble to their older stars, as will the Yanks.

OAK over HOU in 5, by the way.

3/30/2003 01:42:00 AM

Saturday, March 29, 2003

(3/29/2003 12:50:00 PM) - Al

Yes, I know there are some folks who feel the Brewers are the worst team in the bigs. While they may well be in the bottom 5, anyone who tries putting MIL below TB, DET, or KC has, as Desi would say, some splainin' to do.

Rob Neyer checks in with his feelings on the youthful, possibly quite poor rotations of the two more northerly clubs of the two.

Which reminds me, I guess I'll have to actually put forward my guesses as to how many wins each team will have soon, as play starts tomorrow eve.

3/29/2003 12:50:00 PM

(3/29/2003 11:29:00 AM) - Al

TB signed 35 year-old Al Martin, who didn't play in the majors in '02, after he was released by the Marlins.

The DevilRays are like a parody of themselves. Mike Gimbel's 44 win prediction is actually looking either accurate...or optimistic, depending on my frame of mind that day.

3/29/2003 11:29:00 AM

(3/29/2003 11:23:00 AM) - Al

Miller Park was 62 degrees last night for the exhibition game with the Twins, and it was 38 outside. This will not get any publicity, so I just thought I'd mention it. The Brewers cut down to 25 men a couple days ago, and the "surprises" were Brooks Kieschnick, Mike Matthews, and Mike Buddie not making the team, and Shane Nance, John Foster, and Matt Ford all making it. Hardly newsworthy, but Mike was claimed off waivers by SD, showing he had value. Nance and Foster have options, so it's a shame we couldn't have parlayed that interest into a prospect, albeit a low ceiling one.

For all intents and purposes, we are going with a 23 man roster, keeping two Rule 5 men (Ford and Enrique Cruz). Cruz will probably start once every 10 days or so, and the 2nd utility IF isn't a vital spot. Ford will be the mop-up man and emergency starter, also, a good spot to have a less than proven performer in.

It occurs to me with Jamey Wright, Ruben Quevedo, Brooks, and Buddie at AAA Indy, that's as much major league ready depth as we've had in some time. In years past, we'd see Everett Stull get a call. Granted, Stull is a dependable AAA vet, but as anything more than an 11th man, he's overmatched.

3/29/2003 11:23:00 AM

(3/29/2003 11:13:00 AM) - Al

I can't believe I haven't heard negative feedback on the ESPN promo of the women's basketball tourney, which features a couple shots which could be described as "athletes trying to look sexy". I'm a firm believer in using your attributes to your advantage, whether it be a sense of humor, a good work ethic, or a pretty smile. Still, some despise the fact Anna Kournikova makes millions in endorsements, while Lindsey Davenport does not.

3/29/2003 11:13:00 AM

(3/29/2003 11:09:00 AM) - Al

Am I the only one just fascinated by the war coverage? I especially enjoy the "retired military analyst" section of the show, in which grumpy ol' fellas, still with crewcuts and a gruff "just the facts" style, all but call 90% of the media peacenik idiots.

One of the things I recall is even before the war, one guy saying that various Special Forces had been in Iraq for "at least a month", doing things that need to be done before a ground campaign is launched; securing important ground, checking the roads for mines, finding safe water sources, locating first strike targets, etc. As a guy who enjoys a good meal, I remember one phrase very well:

These guys have had nothing but MRE's (meals ready to eat) and warm water for a month. They are anxious to get this thing going.

Call me simple, but the difference between a cool glass of water and a lukewarm glass of water is HUGE. 30 days of food that closely resembles cold Hot Pockets and water that you normally throw out while waiting for the tap to cool...yuck.

Actually, I've heard more than a couple soldiers say that some of the MRE's are OK, some are the sandwich type, and some require you to add water and then squeeze to create a chemical reaction that "heats" the food, like a cheap 29 cent handwarmer does.

John McCain had a nice quote the other day, and while it may not be a perfect copy, it is very close. Responding to the claim by some the U.S. wants to "colonize" a post-war Iraq:

Whether it was freeing the French at Normandy, or freeing the Germans from Hitler's rule, America has never asked for a thing other than a place to bury their dead. That will continue to be the case.

It should go without saying, but for the men and women representing the USA, we hope you arrive home safely and soon.

3/29/2003 11:09:00 AM

(3/29/2003 10:46:00 AM) - Al

Late fantasy sleeper, RUTT member Ronnie Belliard, 2B for COL. Ronie was the 7th best 2B in MLB in 2001, and being in Coors half the time certainly should assist him in putting together a season more reminiscent of his career norms than his poor '02 campaign (though, it wasn't much worse than you'd expect from Neifi Perez). With the dearth of 2B out there, a flyer on Ronnie is a good idea, especially now that many of you have guys going on the DL, and a roster spot or two available.

3/29/2003 10:46:00 AM

(3/29/2003 10:32:00 AM) - Al

From Lee Sinis' daily e-mail update:

According to Giants MGR Felipe Alou, the biggest question facing the team is "how to get Neifi Perez enough game time. He's a giant of a player. He's proven it before, he's proving it in this camp and, unfortunately, I don't have the room for a talent like that. I say this because I don't want anybody to get hurt or hit a bad slump so Neifi Perez could become a regular. It's really a tough situation. There are a lot of challenges. But I hate to have talent like that sitting on the bench."

Alou also says, "My concern is Neifi Perez. On Opening Day he will not be in the game. That's the way it is." According to Alou, he's going to "negotiate" with the starters to see if Perez can start a couple of times a week.

According to the Kansas City Star, Perez has asked his agent to ask the Giants to trade him. Unfortunately for Giants fans, not only does GM Brian Sabean say, "We have no plans of trading Neifi Pérez," he compounds the damage by also stating, "No promises were made to him. He's a valuable asset, and Felipe has talked with him about the situation. We will get him more than 300 at-bats by resting guys and keeping them fresh, especially in day games after night games."

This is legendary stuff, missing only the repition level that the Clinton "I did...not...have...sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky" clip enjoyed. There's almost a score of talking points here, but I will make just one, for the most part.

The most obvious thing is, Perez sucks. He is an awful offensive player. Despite getting 40% of his career AB's in the thin air of Coors Field, his career numbers are: .272/.303/.388, which puts him right up there with legendary superstars (and, likely future HOF'ers)...Deivi Cruz and Pat Meares. Away from COL the last season plus, his statline is a ton worse: .240/.265/.300...a 565 OPS.

As an aside, I find it hilarious Alou is going to "negotiate" to get this buffoon PT. Felipe, are you the boss? Make out the lineup card any damn way you please.

And, if I recall, SF is paying him about $3 mil to be a replacement level benchwarmer. I'm sorry...sub replacement level benchwarmer.

3/29/2003 10:32:00 AM

(3/29/2003 09:44:00 AM) - Al

The flu has made an unwelcome journey through the Ramblings household. Should be putting a few posts on today or tomorrow.

3/29/2003 09:44:00 AM

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

(3/26/2003 11:24:00 AM) - Al

Speaking of the two-way trend...does anyone else think Tony LaRussa may have 2-3 of go along with his normal bench made up of several weak hitting catchers/middle infielders/speedy types?

Me too.

3/26/2003 11:24:00 AM

(3/26/2003 11:20:00 AM) - Al

Q & A on the free BP with Brooks Kieschnick, who is trying to become the first pitcher/player in the majors since...hmmm, I don't know. I think this is something that will be tried a lot in the next decade, as it is an excellent strategic way to "add a player" to the roster.

The way I can see it utilized best is on a team like OAK, with a very good starting rotation. With three aces, it may be tough keeping 6 relievers sharp, especially with off days. But, in the age of specialists (like the A's Ricardo Rincon, who is awesome against lefties, awful versus righties), you may have to overwork, or use pitchers in situations they are not likely to succeed in, if you are only carrying 5. This is where a guy like Brooks comes in...a position player who can pick up an inning or two when necessary, most often in low leverage situations, but also PH/PR/OF/1B, like a normal reserve would do.

For instance, if you're down 10-2 in the 7th, you have to trot out a pitcher or three to "eat up" those last 2 (or 3, if at home) frames. Add this to a reliever nursing a minor injury, another who had a cortisone shot, and that 14 inning affair last night; there may be times when you have to add another pitcher from AAA for a week, weakening your bench. Or, you can have your "extra" pitcher work through those all but meaningless 9 outs, give your 'pen the rest of the night off...then the next night, instead of having a spent reliever barely capable of retiring a batter, you have your normal bullpen and your normal bench.

As Brooks says, he's often wanted to pitch, but they wouldn't let him, probably afraid of a Canseco type arm injury occuring, with a player doing something he has not been trained to do properly. John Olerud was a grand pitcher in college, but has too much value as a 1B to risk injury. Thus, most of the "two-way" players will likely be veteran AAA guys...just like Brooks.

3/26/2003 11:20:00 AM

(3/26/2003 10:55:00 AM) - Al

Rob Neyer has a nice article agreeing that Jeremy Bonderman pitching for the Tigers is insane. How a team thinks they can ignore history and have a 20 year-old pitch 200 innings shows that DET needs to spend some time putting together a total organizatioal plan. With their top 25-30 prospects (or more if they have that many), you need to have several sources map out the level and progression of that young player. Different plans can be made if a youngster does exceptionally well, or worse than expected.

Nowhere in that plan should 14 innings of Florida baseball make a bit of difference.

I believe Neyer's last sentence sums it up very well:

He's either going to get hammered or get hurt.

Or, both.

3/26/2003 10:55:00 AM

(3/26/2003 10:38:00 AM) - Al

Aaron has a nice thought in his blog today.

In 2001, Ichiro! dominated when he had runners on base:

Runners on = .420/.464/.559
Runners in Scoring Position = .449/.509/.544

That is really amazing. He hit .420 when he had people on base and almost .450 with RISP!

But then check out what he did in the same situations last season:

Runners on = .301/.402/.375
Runners in Scoring Position = .361/.494/.445

With runners on base, his batting average fell by over 100 points and his slugging % dropped almost 200 points. With RISP his average fell 90 points and his SLG dropped almost 100.

One more fun stat...

"Close and Late":
2001 = .400/.442/.526
2002 = .308/.387/.375

I don't think a better example of how silly these stats are has ever been brought to the forefront. These are nothing more than small samples that are bandied about as if they are vital to a team's success. Using Spring training numbers is every bit as foolhardy, but it is done all the time. Ichiro is as overrated as they come, proven by his 27 intentional walks in '02. He's a nice player, no doubt, but the idea he is a superstar is unfounded. Why, it's as goofy as saying Miguel Tejada is as good as ARod...

Over the course of 20, 30, 40, 70 AB's, ground balls can sneak through holes and soft line drives can fall in at a rate that can make Jose Fernandez (career AAAA player the Crew had in camp in '01, I believe) look like Jose Hernandez, and actually, he looked a lot better. But, over the course of six months and 162 games, those things tend to even out.

3/26/2003 10:38:00 AM

Monday, March 24, 2003

(3/24/2003 10:14:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers picked up OF Jason Conti from the DevilRays today. Looking at his plethora of AAA AB's, Jason actually looks to be a decent addition. FYI, Jason is 28 and hits LH. In addition to the prerequisite list of reserve OF traits (good speed, plays all 3 OF spots, plus arm, etc), he can hit:

.307/.366/.460, 826 OPS

Compare those numbers to the other 2 reserve OF candidates as I posted them about a week ago:

Brady Clark is 30, bats RH. He can play all 3 OF spots, and in AAA put together a statline of .295/.377/.457, 834 OPS.

Scott Posednik is 27, bats LH. He can play all 3 OF spots, in AAA had numbers of .283/.339/.419, 758 OPS.

What's funny here is this simple fact; by far the worst of the three was the one we kept on the 40 man roster the entire Winter. Actually, Jason and Brady look to me to be an OK pair of reserves, making up a platoon lefty/righty punch off the bench. Scott almost screams AAA filler to me.

I see Conti as the type of player this organization needs to be all over. He fits most anyone's criteria, good athlete, good defense, solid OBP, can play an up the middle position (CF), and so on. You know, as bad as TB has been, you gotta wonder how he was never allowed suit up and play 6 days a week for half a season. 21 year-old Rocco Baldelli is a better option than a guy near his peak who's had 1400 AAA AB's and performed admirably?

Sadly, Conti was acquired today in trade for Javier Valentin, who should have been handed the starting C job the minute he arrived. Javier is said to be less than stellar behind the plate (a fact which is said, true or not, about every C who can hit), and he has a history of knee injuries and soreness. According to the story on the Brewers' site, several AL teams had either asked about him or were ready to sign him if the Crew tried to send him to Indy. TB plans to use him as a C, 1B, and DH.

Does it bother you that a potential DH that can catch isn't looked at as having any value? In over 1000 AAA AB's the past three years, Javier's statline was .293/.356/.511, an 867 OPS. Hey, I'll be the first to tell you Edmonton and the PCL are offense slanted, but 867 for a backstop? This is his year of 27 as well. Honestly, can you see any reason NOT to let this kid catch the first half of the season? It's almost unfathomable.

For as long as I can remember, the Brewers have been making decisions about their last few roster spots based almost exclusively on a player's success or failures in a frighteningly small sample of AB's under the March sun in Arizona. Never mind the fact Brady Clark has shown, over hundreds of actual AAA games, he's a much better hitter, by God, Scott went 2-3 yesterday. It's almost offensive to ignore the past and give a crap who hit what in games that are often pitched by A ball kids who had 5+ ERA's, or a veteran who is working on a new pitch in these meaningless affairs.

Maybe Javier would have struggled against pitchers who are able to throw breaking balls behind in the count. Maybe his knees wouldn't have held out. But, to be honest, the mere idea that a pair of a trio which includes Eddie Perez, Keith Osik, and Robert Machado is a better choice than a 27 year-old switch-hitting backstop with a history of offensive success is very offensive.

3/24/2003 10:14:00 PM

Sunday, March 23, 2003

(3/23/2003 08:43:00 PM) - Al

A comeback for the ages for the Badgers yesterday, stealing one at the buzzer versus Tulsa. Watching their next opponent, Kentucky, play today, it'll take the Badgers' best game of the year to have a last second shot's chance.

But, they tell me that's why they play the game. Villanova shot about 70% in that epic title game almost two decades ago (could it have really been that long ago?), so sometimes, you just never know. If someone told me right now they could promise me a half court shot for a chance to win, I'd gladly take it. But, you never know.

3/23/2003 08:43:00 PM

(3/23/2003 08:32:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers did indeed sign Jamey Wright to a minor league contract, with an "out" clause if he isn't in the bigs by 4/30. I'm a bit surprised Jamey couldn't get a 25 man spot guaranteed to start the year, unless he chose to return to his friends and the familiar surroundings of MIL. If I recall, Wright even mentioned possibly coming back to Miller Park after being dealt to SL late last season.

As many Brewers' fans know, Wright is an enigma of sorts, always seemingly underachieving his way to mediocre (or less) results, despite stuff that would, in theory, lead to better numbers. As almost an ode to those who favor scouting by "tools" rather than results, I made Jamey a member of the inagural Ramblings Underutilized Talent Team a while back. Jamey is still just 28, and while his year of 27 left a lot to be desired, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if Wright put together a solid 3-4 year span in the age 28-31 span. Even if he does not, his career thus far hasn't been much below what I would consider as "average".

Jamey has a 5.17 career ERA. There are many, many 5th starters in the game that sport similiar ERA's. Also, many folks seem to forget that Wright has pitched about a quarter of his career innings a mile above sea level. Jason Jennings' Coors ERA was about 2 runs higher in COL, and he had a tremendous rookie year. It doesn't seem much of a stretch that Jamey would have a sub 5 ERA had he not pitched for the rockies for three years. Seeming to agree with that is that the "league average, park adjusted" ERA for Wright's career is 4.83, a third of a runs lower than Wright's. Over 200 innings, that would mean Wright would allow about 7.5 runs more than a league average pitcher.

Considering there are many fellas with stats damn near identical to Wright's that are in the midst of long-term deals, making $2-3 mil per (or a lot more)

Darren Dreifort

Jamey Wright signing a minor league deal can hardly be seen as anything but a positive. He's still plenty young enough to have a stretch in which he has value. Does it seem likely he'll ever be that solid #2 starter we all hoped for? Doubt it, very unlikely. But, after a '02 campaign that could best be described as "up and down", Wright still garnered interest from a contender. I see only upside here, and while I'm not one to predict negative things, I can hardly imagine a scenario in which all eleven (or twelve) pitchers on the staff remain healthy and pitch effectively the entire month of April.

3/23/2003 08:32:00 PM

(3/23/2003 07:44:00 PM) - Al

You can almost tell if a team is "headed in the right direction" by the way they treat their young players, smartly or selfishly. So far this Spring TB has announced they intend to rush top OF prospects to the bigs, for the huge advantage of seeing them predictably fail and to start their arby clocks far ahead of schedule. Meanwhile, TB is a disaster, from top to bottom. These two facts are not unrelated.

So, DET has said they intend to put Jeremy Bonderman in their rotation. Bonderman is a super prospect...and is 20 years of age. Last year, he spent the season in A ball, followed by a couple late starts in high A ball. In case you are unaware, the list of pitchers who have pitched in the big leagues at a young age and had long careers is exactly two long: Nolan Ryan and Bert Blyleven. That's a fine list, but it's a very low percentage.

What's sad is, the best Tigers fans can hope for is for Jeremy to pitch poorly, and spend the next 2-3 years honing his craft in the minor leagues.

3/23/2003 07:44:00 PM

(3/23/2003 07:30:00 PM) - Al

Word seems to be Geoff Jenkins may start the season on the DL, as his wrist is bothered by common baseball things, like swinging the bat, and such. I welcome the move, as the teams of previous years would love to have Geoff open the year at 60-70% strength, and then act flabbergasted when he performed poorly, and shocked at the more serious injury that inevitably occured.

Geoff should sit out until his wrist is 100%, then go on a week of minor league rehab when he's pain free. These nagging injuries almost always coincide with a downward slope in production.

3/23/2003 07:30:00 PM

(3/23/2003 07:24:00 PM) - Al

Class act by the Brewers allowing folks with a military ID to get free tickets for the whole family for the 4/5 game versus SF. I would guess the Crew was looking at a crowd of about 15-20K for the 2nd game of the year, so why not? I don't believe there's a base in the area, or even northern Illinois or Iowa, but I'm sure plenty of reservists will take advantage of the offer.

Almost everything Ulice Payne has done since taking over screams good public relations and doesn't hurt a thing.

3/23/2003 07:24:00 PM

Friday, March 21, 2003

(3/21/2003 06:06:00 PM) - Al

The JS had an article on season tickets sold for '03. It sounds a lot like something you may have saw here a couple months ago. EDIT: You may need to scroll down to the 1/25 entry.

While sales are down, the team has been aggressive this year, and seems to be using this new fangled thing called "marketing" more. Let's hope this continues and maybe they will pick up a few more folks than anticipated during the season itself.

3/21/2003 06:06:00 PM

(3/21/2003 05:54:00 PM) - Al


Just wanted to say a few things about your complaint of missing the end the Badgers game for the Panthers game. You have to appreciate that that there are THOUSANDS of UW-Milwaukee Alumni who WANTED to watch the game over an already decided Badger game. Come on man, Badgers were up by 10 with 2 min. to go or so. I understand YOU wanted to see the end of the Badger game, but to critcize CBS for switching to a game that HADN'T been decided is just short-sighted on your part. It is my personal
opinion that the Notre Dame/Panther game was more entertaining anyway. At least it wasn't decided until the buzzer sounded.

Enjoy your blog,


Russell, I'm not positive what the score was when they switched, but I do know Weber State missed a three that would have closed the gap to 2 or 3 with about 20 seconds left. Besides, the ND/UWM game was in the first half, couldn't have missed too much.

Great game by the Panthers, did you think the layup was tipped? It seemed to have odd spin on it for being a layup. Tough loss, but a very fun game to watch.

And most of all, thanks for reading and writing.

3/21/2003 05:54:00 PM

Thursday, March 20, 2003

(3/20/2003 09:50:00 PM) - Al

And the winner for the stupidest phrase you hear this time of year? No contest.

{Insert name of freshman player here} really isn't a freshman anymore, not at this time of year.

Um, yes he is. He's played 30 games, sure, but that's still 30 less than a 2nd year man...just like at the beginning of the year, when you're looking at 2 and 32, or 8 and 38 games of experience.

That said, CBS still sucks.

3/20/2003 09:50:00 PM

(3/20/2003 09:46:00 PM) - Al

So, tonite I sat down to watch the Badgers play their first round NCAA game versus Weber State. First, some history of the 1st round tourney games is in order.

Many moons ago, back in the 20th century, ESPN broadcast the 1st round games, maybe along with CBS, I really can't remember. What I do recall is ESPN was stellar. Anytime there was a close game, ESPN was there to bring us the exciting finale. You'd leave your "main" game with 7:40 left to play, see the last 20 seconds of another game, decided by a last second shot, then return to your game with 7:08 to play. They had the ticker going the entire time across the bottom of the screen. Like many folks, I took this for granted.

Sometime since, the folks at CBS took over the entire tournament. The first year, they were simply awful. Horrendous. Frighteningly bad. Pitiful. Since then, they've slowly, but surely, gotten steadily, undeniably worse. Just when you think they have hit rock bottom; they manage to dig more dirt out of the hole. The level of suckitude has grown, at a level so consistent, you'd think it was some sort of production plan for the bizarro world. Thanks to Seinfeld for many of the thoughts used in the prior paragraph, check's in the mail.

Let's go over what CBS still hasn't figured out, after several trips around the sun mind you, about how to broadcast the tourney.

1. In the upper left corner, an area often in play mind you, they run through the scores of other games. Not only does this interfere with the game you are watching, they show ALL the finals, from the entire day. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if they were showing scores from last weekend conference tourneys, as rarely as the games in progress came around. While it was a bear trying to see the score of the Western Kentucky/Illinois contest, I did see, at least 800 times, that Missouri defeated Southern Illinois a couple weeks ago...I'm sorry, sometime earlier today. Every 5-10 minutes, the little scorebox in the upper left disappears, and is replaced by a ticker across the bottom. What do they show there, you ask?

The exact same scores that have been on the screen in the upper left. Wow. The technological advances are phenomonal. I don't know how they do it.

2. Tonight, we saw the end of the Central Michigan/Creighton game. Never mind that the game was hardly in doubt, CM had dominated the entire affair, and were up 6-8 points when we joined the game with 40some seconds left. After a few minutes of foul shooting, we went back to the Badgers game. Somehow, this was supposed to add to our viewing pleasure.

3. With about 12 minutes left in the UW/Weber State affair, another game started, Wisconsin-Milwaukee/Notre Dame. For apparently no reason, other than the fact Bart Simpson runs NCAA Tournament action for CBS, we did not rejoin the Badgers until just under 8 minutes remained...just in time to go to the official's timeout, whew, damn near missed that 14th airing of the Judging Amy promo.

4. With a couple minutes to play, the screen went black...then went to the Milwaukee/Notre Dame game. I had to go downstairs and listen to the end of the Badgers game on the radio (which would be fine, if it was 1946).

In a word, Christ. They've been doing this for years, and they still have no idea, none, how to effectively go from one game to another, when to do so, nor how to tell the difference between two teams that both have "Wisconsin" on their jersey.

Absolutely, positively, the worst in the business. Embarassingly bad. Whenever the contract is up, the NCAA should tell CBS to keep their money and buy a clue, and go with the second highest bidder.

3/20/2003 09:46:00 PM

(3/20/2003 09:16:00 PM) - Al

Word out of Milwaukee is Doug Melvin is only interested in Jamey Wright going to AAA, while Wright wants to be guaranteed a ML spot. It sure would be nice if Wright is unable to land that type of promise, as it seems pretty likely he will be more effective...and younger, and cheaper than our 5th starter rather soon.

3/20/2003 09:16:00 PM

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

(3/19/2003 10:38:00 PM) - Al

A bit of news concerning the Padres/Yankees trade that had Rondell White and Bubba Trammell swapping unis.

Top prospect Xavier Nady still should seeing regular playing time, but now that will come in right field rather than left.

While I know nothing of Xavier Nady other than the fact he was the a top draft pick a few years ago, I do recall many saying he was ready to step in and play 3B and skip the minor leagues. Fast forward to now, Nady is a corner OF who had major league equivalent stats of .251/.289/.368 last year in AAA.

Anyone expecting Nady to step right in and have big league success would appear to be operating on a hope and a prayer.

3/19/2003 10:38:00 PM

(3/19/2003 10:56:00 AM) - Al

One of the "battles" in Arizona this Spring for the Brewers has been for the 5th OF spot, between Brady Clark and Scott Posednik. Clark has been injured, and Posednik has had a good Spring, albeit, as most good March performances are, coming against young, inexperienced pitchers.

Let's look at these two players AAA numbers, as both have about 700 AB's there.

Brady Clark is 30, bats RH. He can play all 3 OF spots, and in AAA put together a statline of .295/.377/.457, 834 OPS.

Scott Posednik is 27, bats LH. He can play all 3 OF spots, in AAA had numbers of .283/.339/.419, 758 OPS.

It seems pretty obvious to me Clark would be the intelligent person's choice. Other than the fact he's older (not important for a 5th OF you hope doesn't get much playing time), everything else is in his favor. With Jenkins, Sanchez, and VanderWal all LH bats, a RH one provides balance. He is simply a better offensive player, based on hundreds of games in AAA, not a handful of exhibitions in March.

So, does it surprise anyone Posednik is said by many to be winning the spot? Let's face it, one look at the numbers seems to show Clark's superiority, but the Brewers are actually paying attention to the meaningless small sample accumulated in March of '03. You also hear phrases that frighten, such as "hustle, hard not to notice, etc" when describing Posednik, as if that somehow will allow Scott to reach base at anything but a crappy rate.

This is not a decision that will haunt the organization, but it shows once again how short-sighted the team seems to be. "Never a sample too small" should be their motto. Truthfully, 5th OF's are a dime a dozen, and the fact Posednik was kept on the 40 man roster all winter shows they overvalue his worth. The only thing that makes Scott stand out is his striking resemblance to former Brewers/Astros IF Billy Spiers.

There will be better players waived/released in the next couple weeks than either of our 5th OF candidates,and they should be claimed. But, if Clark is healthy, there's no way the team should concern itself with a couple bloop singles in March.

3/19/2003 10:56:00 AM

(3/19/2003 10:32:00 AM) - Al

Jamey Wright was indeed released last evening. The SEA GM said there were several scouts at his last outing yesterday, and he will probably find another team. I have no doubt Wright will find a taker...and little doubt he'll start the season on a 25 man roster. We'll just have to see who ends up with him.

3/19/2003 10:32:00 AM

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

(3/18/2003 09:11:00 PM) - Al

Drew Olson noted today in his blog that SEA has to decide on Jamey Wright's fate by tomorrow, and he had a poor outing today. Drew suggests we make an effort to sign him if the Mariners do indeed release him tomorrow.

I have to agree...damnit. Jamey is still just 28, and he has a 4.95 career ERA, despite very good stuff. He has literally had one season statline equal to his stuff, in 2000, he had a 4.11 ERA. Still, Jamey can be dominating and certainly has the potential to not just improve the Brewers and make them younger; he may well pitch well enough to include him in a deadline deal...heck, SL took him last year, even though he was less than effective.

For the most part, pitchers that may be harmed by Jamey's signing are older than Jamey himself...Wayne Franklin, Francisco Campos, Mike Matthews come to mind. Ruben Quevedo appears set for AAA, and it is difficult to believe Matt Kinney won't be kept as a long reliever, as he is out of options.

Wright is almost the epitome of a player that has never lived up to his potential and talent. He is a #5 starter result wise, who has been dominating as a solid #2 guy often times the past few seasons...then followed it up with two awful outings. Still, he has a career 5 ERA, not awful for a bottom of the rotation guy, and may well put it together for a half-season. Might as well be with us in 2003.

3/18/2003 09:11:00 PM

(3/18/2003 05:31:00 PM) - Al

From Brit Hume, after hearing a reporter say that the French government has stated they will join the US led coalition if Iraq uses chemical or biological weapons:

I guess that makes two reasons we all hope that never occurs.

Pardon my paraphrasing, as myself and the reporter he said it to were laughing so hard, I can't recall the exact wordage.

3/18/2003 05:31:00 PM

(3/18/2003 10:50:00 AM) - Al

Peter Gammons said in his Sunday column that the Cubs' Bobby Hill would be available in the right trade. I'm not sure what the Cubs would be looking for, but Bobby Hill would be a nice pickup for any rebuilding club. Still just 25, he has had tons of success in the minors, and as many expected, Dusty Baker is so in love with veterans on their last legs, it frees up Hill to be dealt if the offer was right.

Bobby's AAA numbers, over 354 AB's:

.280/.381/.429, 810 OPS, 49 walks

Bobby has shown the ability to get on base, take a walk, and steal bases at a high success clip, which adds value as well. This is the type of kid we need to scrounge up and add to our organization. I wouldn't expect much more than a 700 OPS in '03, but he has nothing to learn at AAA. The Cubs need to drop the illusion they're a contender and get him some ML AB's.

3/18/2003 10:50:00 AM

(3/18/2003 10:10:00 AM) - Al

Jason of Brewers Review informs me JS reporter Drew Olson now has his own weblog, based on the Journal Sentinal's Brewers page. A direct link can be found here. FYI, for those of you who can't get enough of Drew. I'll be checking it out a couple times a week for ideas.

3/18/2003 10:10:00 AM

Monday, March 17, 2003

(3/17/2003 06:31:00 PM) - Al

Apparently, Lee and I aren't the only ones who feel spending money on a long-term deal with Tejada would be a mistake. From Rob Neyer today:

This column is probably a couple of days late, but I'd still like to address the Oakland A's official announcement that they'll make no effort to re-sign Miguel Tejada after his contract expires at the conclusion of the 2003 season.

It's brilliant.

Tejada's good, but he's not even remotely in ARod or even Giambi's league. He shouldn't be paid like them...but somebody probably will, BAL or LA come to mind.

3/17/2003 06:31:00 PM

Sunday, March 16, 2003

(3/16/2003 04:57:00 PM) - Al

Someone is finally thinking with his head and not their heart, on the Tejada front. From Lee Sinis' daily e-mail report:

A's owner Steve Schott says the team isn't going to offer SS Miguel Tejada a longterm contract. Tejada's eligible for free agency after the season and would reportedly like an 8-10 year contract.

Excellent move by the A's. Let Tejada test the open market and then see what his pricetag is going to be.

The odds are good that someone is going to overpay because the BBWAA chose to give an award to him. Then, let the other team
overpay, publicly cry about it, privately pop the champagne corks about not being that team and then take the amount you would have been willing to spend on Tejada and go get some players who you can pay
based on legitimate performance issues and not hype.

Or, maybe Tejada won't find what he wants in the open market and will return at a reasonable rate.

If they lose him, it's not like they'd be losing a Jason Giambi. If Giambi averages 10 RCAA a month, that would be his worst year since his 60 RCAA in 1999. Tejada has 10 RCAA--for his entire career. Tejada's coming off a 21 RCAA season. If he
doubles that--Giambi hasn't had a season that "low" since 31 in 1998.

Miguel Tejada is a fine player, but is likely as overrated as Derek Jeter at this stage. Let's compare Miguel's career numbers to a "true" superstar, Alex Rodriguez.

Tejada--.268/.330/.458, 788 OPS
ARod---..309/.380/.579, 959 OPS

To even compare the two is blasphemy. Lee is 100% correct that the MVP award was a travesty, as Tejada's '02 season wasn't even remotely on par with ARod's.

Player ?--.288/.356/.478, 834 OPS, 102 runs produced
Tejada----.308/.354/.508, 862 OPS, 108 rp
ARod-----.300/.392/.623, 1015 OPS, 147 rp
Ave SS--.265/.324/.398, 722 OPS, 77 rp

Tejada was better than average by about the same amount that ARod was better than him. And the closest comparable SS to Mr. Tejada wasn't Nomar or was Jose Hernandez, whose stellar, likely career type season for the Brewers was rewarded with a one year deal with the Rockies.

Miguel is a dandy player, and this is his year of 27, so he's likely to be wonderful through at least 2005 or so. That said, why sign him for 8 year, $100+ million contract? Anyone who watches the game knows an injury is always possible. Also, the A's are not likely to be a decade long dynasty, so why pay a guy that much during a rebuilding session?

If the BBWAA wants to embarass themselves by naming Tejada MVP, Drew Olson VP, and Ichiro MVP, all in a time span of 12 months, bless them for their ignorance. Tejada is a dandy SS, but isn't worth mortgaging the franchise for, especially with Chavez, Mulder, Hudson, Zito, etc. on the same team. I feel Mark Ellis will be an above average SS beginning in 2004, and I know they also have a highly touted youngster (Crosby?) that is a SS.

What I find especially amusing is that the pundits will wonder why the A's don't just throw all the money in the world at Miguel, never mind he isn't "that" good, that you can't pay 5 guys $10 million a year and survive financially in OAK, etc. When you let emotion enter the picture, perspective tends to be lost very quickly. While it is very true Tejada had 130+ RBI's, nearly any SS in the game could have driven in 100 batting in that spot in the lineup. RBI's are nothing but a result of opportunity.

Jeter & Tejada are not "winners", they are good players, and in the top 25% of shortstops in MLB. Put either one on the DevilRays, the BBWAA would barely notice them, and the loss of attention would make them underrated, rather than overrated, when in truth, they'd still be the same player, if you analyze them based on the facts, and not the pointless drivel typed out by parodies like Phil Rogers and Drew Olson.

3/16/2003 04:57:00 PM

Saturday, March 15, 2003

(3/15/2003 07:45:00 PM) - Al

More on the Pirates, and why I just don't understand what they're doing. Today I read that Craig Wilson will be utilized as their reserve catcher, as well as playing some 1B and OF. Tell ya what, if Wilson is good enough to catch, why the hell hasn't he been catching every opportunity possible the past two years?

Jason Kendall, career-----.300/.383/.423, 806 OPS
Jason Kendall, '01 & '02--.275/.345/.355, 700 OPS
Craig Wilson, career-------.278/.365/.487, 852 OPS

Kendall signed a budget destroying contract a year or three ago; 6 years, $60 million, or thereabouts. Jason has been mentioned in trade talks since about a week after he signed, a case of buyer's remorse if you've ever seen one. I'm sure he has value, but if you could find some team willing to take that kind of money in trade, it's unlikely you'll get much of a return.

Wison is clearly as good an offensive player as Kendall, probably better, given Kendall's last two years. Jason appears to be playing an awful lot of games for a catcher, and I have to believe his playing LF on days he's not behind the plate has affected him greatly. That said, Wilson would be a top four catcher in the NL offensively, and the Pirates don't even see that. Heck, I'm surprised they didn't sign a mid 30's guy to back up Kendall, as they seem intent to bury Craig, having specifically brought in Stairs, Sanders, and Lofton to keep Wilson's near 500 SLG from getting regular AB's.

Having watched the way Lloyd McClendon manages, I can only imagine Wilson isn't a good 1st/2nd inning bunter.:)

3/15/2003 07:45:00 PM

Friday, March 14, 2003

(3/14/2003 11:01:00 PM) - Al

From David Pinto of Baseball Musings, on the Pirates signing Kenny Lofton:

The deal means Brian Giles moves back to left field -- he has been playing center field this spring -- and Sanders shifts to right field. Matt Stairs and Craig Wilson, who were to platoon in right field, now will get fewer starts...So Giles and Sanders go back to their more natural positions. Things are looking up for the Pirates.

PIT weakened their team immensely today by adding Lofton...well, to be fair, they weakened their everyday lineup, and strengthened their bench. Let's look at the three players affected by the move, shall we?

Lofton---.298/.375/.424, 799 OPS....265/.345/.410, 755 OPS the last 3 years
Wilson--.278/.365/.487, 852 OPS
Stairs---.263/.358/.493, 851 OPS....245/.345/.450, 795 OPS the last 3 years

I can understand the fact the new Pirates OF may catch a few more balls than the old one would have, but after watching Kenny Lofton stumble through the postseason like an unsure drum corps member {forward, forward, no back, back, dang it}, I doubt it. Craig Wilson should be playing every day, and the fact he isn't, despite the fact PIT keeps adding 35 year-olds with subpar numbers and place them ahead of him on the depth chart, for no apparent reason. Matt Stairs is a good platoon/reserve, but he sure will produce a lot more than Lofton.

The Brewers should be calling PIT daily, as Wilson can also catch, and would be our 3rd best offensive force, and is 26 and cheap. What more do they want from an acqusition?

3/14/2003 11:01:00 PM

(3/14/2003 09:50:00 AM) - Al

Steve Lavin has to be the most underloved coach in the business. He's won about 2/3rd's of his games at UCLA, has made the Sweet 16 5 of 6 years, and always comes off as a good guy. However, it's been assumed the entire year that this would be his last, and he even talks about UCLA buckets in the past tense.

What am I missing here? This guy can coach and he can recruit. What more do you need?

3/14/2003 09:50:00 AM

Thursday, March 13, 2003

(3/13/2003 07:31:00 PM) - Al

Nice to see some folks that understand what major league baseball means to a city and an area. Portland has a seemingly wonderful opportunity to bring the Expos to town, and many local folks are going out of their way to say they don't want it. Strikeningly short-sighted, you'll have no problem figuring out how these people got in the financial mess they're understanding of the financial world we live in.

Oregon is also the only place I'm aware of using the idea I've bandied forth for ages, which is paying for a stadium by taxing the beejeebers out of visiting players (and entertainers). No one has ever explained why it wouldn't work, but many insist it won't, almost on some sort of religious principle.

There's an old saying in business: Keep it simple, stupid. Still, when it comes time to fund a stadium, people look to bring in millions from private funding, and a small portion from the team, or from taxpayers. Who better to tax than wealthy athletes with no attachment to the area?

A positive spin on the "we can't afford a multi-million dollar business in our community" problem can be found by clicking here.

3/13/2003 07:31:00 PM

(3/13/2003 03:11:00 PM) - Al

I'm positive I'll be in the minority, but the Twins signing of Kenny Rogers is a huge step backward, in my opinion. Pushing Johan Santana into the bullpen, minimizing his innings, can't be looked at as a good thing. I'm sure you'll see many a pundit writing that this pushes MIN over the top in the AL Central, but somehow, having Santana pitching in low leverage middle and long relief situations AND adding a lesser pitcher to the rotation seems to me as ridiculous a decision as I've seen in years.

I'm most puzzled by the fact that after going with a young nucleus that has come together extraordinarily well, the Twins are going out of their way to not let the very impressive 24 year-old have a chance to shine. Rogers is 38 years old, and while he had a solid 2002, had a 6+ ERA in 2001. $2 million seems like a fair price for the aged veteran hoping for one last hurrah, but after overpaying for Torri Hunter (I find it difficult to believe Darin Erstad and Hunter are barely average CF's and get paid like superstars) and seemingly refusing to allow players like Bobby Kielty and Santana to take their rightful place in that core group, it is very easy for me to forecast a decline in 2003 for MIN.

3/13/2003 03:11:00 PM

(3/13/2003 02:51:00 PM) - Al

Every year, the Hall of Fame adds one broadcaster to its membership, and I'm sure almost everyone who reads this will be giddy to hear that the 2003 inductee will be Bob Uecker, voice of the Brewers. Long overdue, of course, but that will soon be forgotten. Congrats to Mr. Baseball on the honor.

3/13/2003 02:51:00 PM

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

(3/11/2003 02:04:00 PM) - Al

Remember that classic Seinfeld (really, aren't they all classic?) in which Jerry goes to pick up his rental car and the clerk informs him that they've "run out of cars"? We took our SUV into the dealer today to investigate a loud "humming" noise, and were informed it looks like a major transmission repair. Luckily, our warranty puts us in a rental vehicle, and I was assured the rental place was already on its way to pick me up. When she arrived, the gal informed me they had no vehicles available until later today or early tomorrow, and that she would take me home, and deliver the car later. Should I need to go anywhere, she said, just give them a call and they'd transport me.

We have another car, so it wasn't that big of a deal, but it seems I have my own personal taxi, however underutilized.

I can't wait for them to offer me the insurance, so I can proudly say:

Yeah, you better give me the insurance...I'm gonna beat the hell out of this car.

3/11/2003 02:04:00 PM

(3/11/2003 01:55:00 PM) - Al

A couple of Rambling Underutilized Talent Team (RUTT) members in the news. Bruce Chen was released by the Reds yesterday, and is free to sign with any team. Slugger and OBP prince Jack Cust was traded to BAL, where it appears he will contend for a spot on the roster as an OF/DH. Had to chuckle at one scouing report in the Baltimore Sun which said, paraphrasing here:

Cust takes too many pitches and doesn't pull the ball enough to maximize his power.

Damn, a slugger who uses the entire field and doesn't swing at bad pitches. Who'd want THAT? Here's yearning for a fella who swings at breaking balls in the dirt and pulls outside mistakes into routine 6-3 groundouts, I guess.:)

3/11/2003 01:55:00 PM

(3/11/2003 01:49:00 PM) - Al

Excellent Q & A over at BP with the Reds' new assistant GM, as they discuss the 4 man rotation, limiting injuries, and "thinking out of the box". Read the article here.

3/11/2003 01:49:00 PM

Sunday, March 09, 2003

(3/09/2003 02:44:00 PM) - Al

For years, we have read that teams want to do well in Spring Training to "carry that over into April". I have always scoffed at that, but I guess common sense would have told me that teams that do better in March would do slightly better in the regular season. Turns out they do, by a .509-.507 clip. Taking the exhibition season seriously is absurd, borderline insane.

Read the entire article here.

3/09/2003 02:44:00 PM

Saturday, March 08, 2003

(3/08/2003 08:55:00 PM) - Al

John Bonnes over at Twins Geek performed a study last summer in which he found the correlation between OXS and runs scored was an astonishing 95.6%, while OPS came in at 95.3%, all but the same considering statistical deviation. What's incredible is, some still doubt the connection.

I can't believe anyone uses anything else to analyze offense, I really can't.

3/08/2003 08:55:00 PM

(3/08/2003 08:09:00 PM) - Al

From the e-mail files:

Dear Al,

I was wondering if you could give me some advice on my upcoming fantasy draft. My dad has been in a league for many years, and they had a man move away. I am taking his place. I am a big Brewers fan, like my dad, but other than the best players, don't really know most of them. What tips can you give me.


This is actually a note I received a few weeks ago, as Andrew and I exchanged several e-mails. Turns out he is 12 years old, and among other things, won his school's geography bee. His dad suggested he write me, as he checks out the blog weekly. Since the league his dad is in has had the same winner the past five years, they figured the smart 12 year-old wouldn't do any worse, and had no one else interested. The draft is tomorrow afternoon, and having just sent off my final e-mail to Andrew, I thought I'd share some things with the audience that checks out the blog.

FYI, the league in question is a standard 5 x 5 league (BA, HR, RBI, SB, R and W, SV, K, ERA, WHIP), 12 teams, 23 players. They keep 5 players from year to year. Most of my suggestions are just general guidelines, I'll say if it doesn't affect all.

1. The first and most obvious suggestion I had was this: Andrew plays in a "mixed" league, meaning both AL and NL players are involved. When possible, take NL pitchers and AL hitters. I will be the first to say I tend to ignore this, but for the most part, it is good strategy. On average, a NL pitcher will have an ERA of about .4 less than his AL counterpart, and also a lower WHIP. They also tend to pick up a cheap strikeout or two per outing, due to facing the pitcher rather than the DH. AL hitters that hit #1-5 will get more RBI's, and those who hit #4-8 will score more runs. It's a cheap way of moving up a couple spots in each of those categories.
Don't take Ben Sheets over Mark Mulder, but in general, it's sound strategy.

2. Avoid the "reach". Reaching is simply taking a player too early. One guy I drafted with today said in one of his drafts, Ivan Rodriguez was picked 2nd overall. Ivan isn't even the best catcher, for crying out loud. I'm sure that guy picked Ivan because he's his favorite player, or something to that effect. Take players based on merit, leave the rooting to watching TV.

3. Avoid rookies, especially those with no major league track record. I remember a couple seasons ago, I heard Pat "The Bat" Burrell was an outstanding hitting prospect. Every day, I'd check Sandbox to see if he had been added to the game. Now, many years later, Burrell is an above average 1B/LF, but still not a proven commodity, ala Brian Giles, Jeff Bagwell, etc. If Burrell had been eligible for the draft, I'd have wasted a high pick on him.

4. Don't write off a player after one bad season. Slumps and injuries occur, as do bad luck and a manager not setting up his players properly.

5. Don't take a player for his name. Roger Cedeno ansd Sean Casey still get taken in most leagues because they used to be solid. But, after 2-3 declining seasons, make them prove themselves again. Sure, another guy might catch "lightning in a bottle", but more often than not, they just made an uninformed pick.

6. DO NOT WASTE A PICK TO GET STEALS!!!!!!!!! Juan Pierre has been taken in every draft I've been in, and he's going from Colorado to Florida. He is worthless in every category except SB's. You may move up a spot or two in steals, but be playing with one hole in the lineup in HR's and RBI's, and a very weak spot in R's and BA.

7. Know what positions are deep, and which aren't. In a 12 team league, every team can easily get 2 good 1B. Meanwhile, there are less than 12 good C, 2B, SS, 3B, etc. Now, many leagues allow a DH or Utility, which makes 1B/OF more valuable. I suggest making a list of a good player or two at each position that are just OK major league starters, just for a backup plan. Just having a list may keep you from reaching when your two 2B sleepers have been chosen.

8. Take from a good team, over a bad team. None of that "he's a winner" crap, just that good teams tend to score more runs, or allow fewer. And I don't care if Jesus Christ suits up for Tampa Bay, he won't win 10 games. Meanwhile, if John Burkett holds onto the #5 spot for the Red Sox, he might win 15.

9. Finally, if you want to win, buy a book or magazine that ranks the players. Feel free to change some guys around, but in general, this is a good guideline. It will at least tell you if you are about to commit a reach for the ages, and usually keep you from overvalueing a player coming off a career year.

10. Check the paper or internet a couple weeks before the draft, and every day until, looking for injuries. Trevor Hoffman was taken in almost every draft, and his manager was always unaware of his injury for '03.

Alos, I have received 7-8 fantasy questions and "would you do this trade" scenarios, and have replied in e-mails. I will be happy to do so, but will only rarely put them in the blog, as many folks have no interest in this. Keep them coming, and good luck with your fantasy team.

3/08/2003 08:09:00 PM

(3/08/2003 06:51:00 PM) - Al

Incredible win by the Badgers Wednesday night. It also never hurts to get a call at the buzzer. Congrats to Coach Ryan and his team.

3/08/2003 06:51:00 PM

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

(3/04/2003 10:52:00 AM) - Al

Tomorrow night, the basketball Badgers will take part in a game many fans could have hardly dreamed of a while back. If they win, they will be sole Big Ten champions, if they lose, they will very likely not even share it.

Growing up, I was a dedicated fan, despite the fact they nearly always sucked. I recall Wes Matthews hitting a 3/4 court shot to win a game. I remember many Bill Cofield recruits being considered a savior, and most having "academic problems". One of Cofield's assistants was named Bo Ryan. Decades later, Mr. Ryan has accomplished more in a season plus than many coaches do in a lifetime. I have been a fan, though I followed the team with less fervor when Stu Jackson coached, as I always felt the NCAA was renting a hotel room in Madison, waiting to attack. Dick Bennett was a brilliant coach, and his teams always played hard and smart. I actually really liked Steve Yoder, who was a fine coach, but had trouble recruiting Big Ten talent, in my opinion, of course.

So, these days, I have been joined by the fans like me...and thousands, maybe millions, of folks who think Jackson, Yoder, and Matthews is that law firm who doesn't get their money, until you get your money. The Final Four run happened so quickly, it didn't really have time to build. This season has been as consistent as they come, and even the most casual fan has had time to board the bandwagon, which most often involves buying a piece of apparel at a department store, and watching on TV.

And there's no getting rid of them without losing, which isn't what I want either.

Hopefully, losing only one player, albeit the team's best Kirk Penney, this team could have an excellent '03-'04 as well. I guess the only alternative for me is to get used to the new additions to the fan base, huh?

3/04/2003 10:52:00 AM

(3/04/2003 10:28:00 AM) - Al

Jim Callis, minor league guru, recently said that the Brewers have some of the best hitting prospects of any team. Fielder, Nelson, Hart, Krynzel, and Hardy were all mentioned by name. He also said that overall, the Crew would rank right in the middle of the pack, a huge leap forward from the low 20's (of 30 teams) that was commonplace 2-3 years ago.

Somewhere, Dean Taylor is updating his resume.

Seriously, the system is getting better, and I would look at the plethora of "mediocre" prospects the system now enjoys. In the past, when we had a guy like Nuegebauer go down, it would literally destroy any hopes of getting help for a year. Now, guys like Bill Hall, Dave Pember, and Shane Nance are felt to be legit prospects, if low ceiling ones, but are rarely even discussed. It doesn't take an intelligent person to know that if a team has a 2-3 great prospects, and 8-10 decent ones, you're likely to see many of the OK fellas develop better than expected and help the team, due to mathematics alone. Depth has been absent from the system for a decade or more, and its return is a nice sight to see.

3/04/2003 10:28:00 AM

Saturday, March 01, 2003

(3/01/2003 05:44:00 PM) - Al

From the Journal Sentinel, this time by Grandpa Sports, Dale Hoffman:

They signed four this winter in outfielder John Vander Wal, shortstop Royce Clayton and pitchers Dave Mlicki and Scott Ritchie.

Of course, it's Todd Ritchie, but would you really expect anything more? The depths to which the JS baseball coverage has sunk is almost beyond belief.

3/01/2003 05:44:00 PM

These are the good old days. Some folks are just too busy wishing the streets were paved with gold to enjoy the good times.

Whatever strikes me as interesting, and serious Milwaukee Brewers thoughts. If you are a believer in respecting OBP, throwing strikes, and keeping the ball in the park, you may have found the place you've been searching for. I believe in low taxes, small government, and am not afraid to be labeled patriotic. If you are interested in sausage race results, walk up music, or professional wrestling, you may wish to click elsewhere.

The Ramblings' manifesto can be found here.

I'm happy to pay taxes to help the helpless. I don't like paying taxes to help the clueless. Look at the Occupy movement...I'm forced to pay taxes to help those whose plight I delight in.--Dennis Miller

If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, and your life will be brief.--President Trump

Never have lives less lived been more chronicled.--Dennis Miller

I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.--Mad Dog Mattis

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Al is @suitedconnect on Twitter

Al's WTMJ appearance from July, 2015 with Justin

Al's postseason WTMJ appearance with Justin


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Tribute to Robert Warns II
Never forget the sacrifice of our military, and why we enjoy the freedoms we have.

June 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 October 2002 November 2002 December 2002 January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019 October 2019 November 2019 December 2019 January 2020 February 2020 March 2020