Al's Ramblings

Monday, May 31, 2004

(5/31/2004 09:10:00 PM) - Al

Still suffering the aftereffects of my cold, and work doesn't help the symptoms.

I'm not going to look it up, but I seem to recall a lack of success versus LH pitchers thus far in '04.

5/31/2004 09:10:00 PM

Sunday, May 30, 2004

(5/30/2004 04:10:00 PM) - Al

If only we had an entire team of guys that get on base like Ben Grieve. Counsell also with 3 hits, Ginter with 2 walks, and that's about it.

Mike Adams, wow, can't have much better numbers than that.

Looks like Matt Wise will start tomorrow, probably penciled in for 3-5 innings.

Might be a different team when the Crew returns from their West Coast trip, as they have not fared well historically out there, and play 3 teams that are strong contenders for their division crowns.

Just under 75K for the 3 game weekend series, almost exactly what I expected. The constant rain kept some folks home I'm sure, and dampened the desire to tailgate as well. Good walk-ups though, good sign.

Neither Jenkins or Overbay are swinging hot bats right now. Much has been written about an offensive "slump", but by the looks of it, those are the only two struggling.

5/30/2004 04:10:00 PM

(5/30/2004 11:54:00 AM) - Al

Part 2 of the "guy who steals stuff from stores" for a living is up here.

5/30/2004 11:54:00 AM

(5/30/2004 10:51:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers have scheduled tryout camps for July 1 at Carson Park in Eau Claire, July 19 at Pohlman Field in Beloit and July 30 at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute.

Pitchers and catchers are to report at 9 a.m. Other players are to report at noon.
There is no age limit or fee for the camps. Players must supply their own equipment. American Legion players must have written permission from their coach in order to participate.--JS

If only I threw left-handed.

5/30/2004 10:51:00 AM

Saturday, May 29, 2004

(5/29/2004 10:43:00 PM) - Al

Mike Hunt checks in with a column that claims the Selig revenue sharing plan is making it easier to compete if you're a mid-to-small market team.

Hmmm, where have I heard that before?

5/29/2004 10:43:00 PM

(5/29/2004 09:57:00 PM) - Al

Notes and thoughts from the game:

---I used to be a good defensive SS when I played softball. OK range, but if it hit my glove, it was almost assuredly an out. Had a good arm too. I did have one weakness, however. I may have been as bad as anyone I've ever seen at going back on popups. If I could backpeddle, I was fine, but if I had to turn and run, then turn back, I had little chance of making the catch.

That said, Scott Podsednik looks less comfortable than I used to. Yes, he usually does catch the darn thing. But, hoo boy, it's as if he sold his soul to do so. Tonight he took an odd angle at a base hit and it bounced right past him to the wall. He did race after it well, and made a nice throw, but it's hard to imagine a major league OF choosing to play a ball in that manner. I'm just thankful he can hit. But, if we still had Jason Conti to play RF in the 8th and 9th, I'd be all for having Brady Clark play CF. I'm not a big believer in defensive substitutions (as runs count the same in the 1st-7th innings), but then again, I don't think either Grieve nor Pods can see mediocre defense with a telescope.

---Yeoman effort by Wes O tonight, after not pitching in 16 days. He's our 5th starter, and he's 3-1. No complaints here. Considering the team is going with 13 pitchers, I expect to see Wes get a PH AB or two in the coming weeks, if they continue that odd roster configuration.

---Kinney in relief; 9 innings, 7 hits, 1 walk, 3 K's, 3.00 ERA. He does appear much more aggressive working out of the 'pen, and he may be finding his niche. Very few 4th and 5th starters wouldn't be lights out as relievers, one reason I've advocated using a couple middle relivers to get you through 6 innings rather than sending out a guy with a 5+ ERA. Go with your good starters, then let each guy get through the order once.

---Dan Kolb, 5 K's in 18 innings. If he has 10 K's in 36 innings, we'll be wondering who the new closer is. I can name the pitchers who have had success striking out 2.5 men per 9 innings on the head of a pin, 'cause there ain't any. Yes, I know he's only allowing ground balls. But if you're throwing 96 and guys are hitting it, there's something wrong. No one ever mentions the fact Kolb used to throw a 91 mph slider. I've questioned his health all season, both before and after his minor hamstring injury. And to expect such info from Daron and Bill...

Daron: Do you prefer hunting or fishing?

Bill: I love fishing, Daron.

Daron: What do you s'pose Bruce Bochy's cap size is?

Bill: Ned would rather have a hunting show on, but he'll watch fishing ones too.

...well, Teddy will be the designated driver at the Kennedy family summer picnic before we find out info such as if Kolb's elbow (or whatever body part is particulary stressed by the slider) is 100%.

I know, how can he throw 96 if he's hurt? I don't know, but the numbers grow more staggering every time he pitches.

---Anyone wondering if the fact Davey Lopes is SD's 1st base coach is related to the fact they ran themselves right out of this game? That mantra of "be aggressive" on the bases is a powerful one, as no one wants to be known as the guy who doesn't hustle. That said, SD wins the game if they don't make 4 outs on the basepaths. Giles' foolishness, thrown out at home plate by the SS on a single to short LF, was as bad a blunder as I've ever seen. No one out, down 2, ran through the stop sign, goodness. Long was out by 10 feet at 3B, but both Pods and Counsell had to make perfect throws, or he's probably in there.

So, if you stop by the SD locker room before the game and say, hey, we're only going to give you 23 outs tonight, but the Brewers are getting the normal 27, the Padres would be up in arms. Yet, that's exactly what they did to themselves, making the Brewers' hurlers get 4 less outs than the game requires. They lost by one run. No way you can sweep the series when you give one victory away.

5/29/2004 09:57:00 PM

(5/29/2004 09:30:00 PM) - Al


Wondering if you saw this Yost quote at the Brewers' site.

"He has a real big on-base percentage, a real big slugging percentage,
and Lyle [Overbay] was knocking in all the runs so he didn't have any
opportunities to get RBIs," Yost said of Grieve's performance throughout
the year. "Now all of a sudden we have the chance to get a guy on base
for Jenks [Geoff Jenkins] and for Lyle. You get a higher on-base
percentage guy in front of those run producers."

It's nice to have a plan.


Hadn't seen it, Eric, and I have nothing to add. Thanks for writing.

5/29/2004 09:30:00 PM

(5/29/2004 03:12:00 PM) - Al

The mere thought of an American telling a WW2 vet that he is not allowed to fly his flag on Memorial Day weekend...if it was the South, I can only imagine a fierce butt kicking taking place.

Shut up and fix the plumbing.

5/29/2004 03:12:00 PM

(5/29/2004 01:53:00 PM) - Al

Let's compare projections to reality, shall we?

TO=Transaction Oracle
RT=Roto Times
BP=Baseball Prospectus

Chad Moeller

AR--.335/.430, 765, 144
TO--.353/.443, 798, 156
RT--.335/.434, 769, 145
BP--.320/.407, 727, 130

Incredible difference between BP & TO, while we agree with RT. Chad's numbers the past three years are .344/.428, while on the road, he has a statline of .322/.395. BP is obviously not giving him any points for regular playing time, nor the fact Miller Park may help his power a bit.

Chad is at .298/.353 thus far. I'm more concerned about his OBP than his SLG, but both are troublesome. As the #8 hitter, every time he gets on base is one more time we can bypass the pitcher's spot and get back to the top of the order. I'm sure he'll pick it up, but right now, my adjusted projection would look a lot like BP's.

Gary Bennett

AR--.300/.325, 625, 98
TO--.287/.300, 587, 86
RT--.299/.314, 613, 94

Gary's BP rating was not listed. Gary's numbers the last three years have been .305/.333, though he did play in COL a bit.

Gary has put forth .300/.328, almost identical to my guess. Odds are he'll finish there as well.

Lyle Overbay

AR--.365/.435, 800, 159
TO--.373/.440, 813, 164
RT--.355/.413, 768, 147
BP--.340/.420, 760, 143

Again, BP on the low end, this time along with RT. In his career thus far, Lyle has .357/.391, so BP expects him to falter with a full-time opportunity.

Lyle, you are the man. .405/.587 so far, and none of us are even close, though every time I'm on BP and they are bragging about how accurate their method is, I chuckle heartily. I should have been higher, as Lyle almost hit my numbers last year in Arizona, with spotty playing time and terrible coaching (don't take so many pitches, Lyle), but I wasn't. I seem to recall thinking once Lyle could hit .375/.475, and even that would have been conservative, looking at his output thus far. I expect both to fall a bit, but .390/.550 seems well in reach.

Junior Spivey

AR--.350/.400, 750, 140
TO--.353/.418, 771, 148
RT--.342/.438, 780, 150
BP--.341/.428, 769, 146

I assumed every single guess would be below his career numbers (.363/.453, 816, 160), yet above his career road numbers (.335/.378, 713, 127). They are, though I'm by far the lowest of the projections.

Junior has been fine when healthy, .362/.436, proving he can hit out of 'Zona. He's shown himself to still be an above average 2B, just what we hoped for, and still hope he can be dealt for some pitching.

Keith Ginter

AR--.355/.415, 770, 147
TO--.354/.419, 773, 148
RT--.330/.405, 735, 134
BP--.354/.431, 785, 153

Prospectus takes its turn being optimistic, while RotoTimes may have missed Keith's breakout '03 campaign completely. And yes, 3 of the 4 have Keith projected higher.

Keith's .343/.476 effort puts him just higher than Spivey, and well above average for both 2B & 3B. I'd expect a slight dip, but not much, as anyone can attest who watches him hit, he works the count and hits the beejeebers out of mistakes. As one who has been on the Ginter bandwagon long before it was overrun with support, it feels good to be right.

Craig Counsell

AR--.340/.325, 665, 111
TO--.330/.318, 648, 105
RT--.347/.351, 698, 122
BP--.329/.331, 660, 109

Roto feels Craig will hit his career norms, almost exactly, while the others come closer to his results the last 3 seasons (.347/.333).

.340/.326 thus far for Craig, and I've long said he'll get on base, but have little pop. Yep.

Bill Hall

AR--.325/.405, 720, 128
TO--.309/.376, 685, 116
RT--.282/.394, 676, 111

I think both services that listed Bill are overreacting to his limited playing time in '03. For a guy who will be 24 this year, I looked at his AAA AB's (.335/.407) in '03 and moved him down slightly, as many 23 year-olds struggle at that level, while still improving and gaining confidence. Meanwhile, the others looked at his major league stats (.289/.438) LY and apparently came to the conclusion that his SLG was a fluke...but his OBP was dead-on. That seems odd, to say the least.

Billy is that guy whose numbers are just so difficult to understand. .314/.488 isn't bad at all for a middle infielder, and that's me saying that, who can barely tolerate seeing an OBP that low. Tell you what, if he would improve his walk ratio to the accepted 1:10 ratio (right now, he has 4 walks and 82 AB's, a 1:20.5 ratio), this guy could skip right past mediocre and be an exceptional everyday SS or 2B. Also, if he would ever improve his plate discipline enough to hit that 10%, he should swing at fewer pitches in the dirt or near his eyes, and smack more pitches in or near the strike zone. Many have written Bill off as a utility man, or as a tolerable stopgap. Not me. This guy was rushed and abused by the Taylor regime, and he still has warts...but he still has the potential to be a top 25% everyday player.

Wes Helms

AR--.325/.445, 770, 145
TO--.332/446, 778, 148
RT--.321/.445, 766, 143
BP--.317/.441, 758, 140

I was expecting at least one breakout, but not a single one. Wes is as close as any player on the list.

.303/.341, but that'll improve, as he had a slow start. Serviceable 3B, I wish he'd take a few more pitches. It's like he starts every AB down 0-1.

Geoff Jenkins

AR--.355/.510, 865, 181
TO--.363/.512, 875, 186
RT--.347/.487, 834, 169
BP--.349/.500, 849, 175

Geoff's 3 year numbers are .349/.495, so the bottom two are going by that, while the others are closer to his outstanding 2003.

Geoff is off to a .322/.420 start, and hasn't had a week long tear as of yet, which is almost strange. If he stays healthy, he'll be fine, though the low estimate looks better than mine.

Scott Podsednik

AR--.335/.420, 755, 141
TO--.365/.425, 790, 155
RT--.359/.416, 775, 149
BP--.341/.410, 751, 140

I expected to be the lowest here, so I was surprised to BP even more negative on Scott. His career stats are .375/.440, so all are expecting a downturn. His career AAA stats are .339/.419, and he is now 28, so this isn't a story of a kid finally learning how to hit. Scott has never been healthy, and he was 27 in '03, again, a mythical peak. I hope he matches my numbers, because it wouldn't surprise me at all to be sitting here in October discussing Pods' .320/.385 "what happened" 2004.

Well, Scott is .346/.417, so he's almost exactly in line with what I said. If he steals bases at a 95% clip and hits like a mediocre CF, that's just fine.

Ben Grieve

AR--.370/.420, 790, 155
TO--.376/404, 780, 152
RT--.354/.419, 773, 148
BP--.371/.459, 830, 170

I am flabbergasted, as I thought I would be the optimistic one on Ben. BP seemed to ignore the past 3 seasons ever happened, and have put Ben right back at his 2000 line. I feel you can pretty much throw out Ben's entire injury riddled '03, and his '01-'02 results are in the .365/.410 range, which most of us pretty much followed...except the BP folks. I just hope they're right, and the rest of us are incorrect, as that'd be outstanding.

.398/.453, what does BP know here? Imagine the senseless complaining about Ben if he'd "only" be hitting RT's projections, huh? Ben is performing like a dream come true, and you still hear Lopester-like rumblings of "He should be more aggressive up there" (and some are not Bill Schroeder). If only every bargain basement signing could turn out like this, huh?

Brady Clark

AR--.335/.395, 730, 132
TO--.328/.373, 701, 122
RT--.350/.398, 748, 139

Brady wasn't listed by BP, and while there's some disagreement, his career is .331/.385, so there isn't a whole lot of difference there.

Brady is underachieving by a couple doubles at .327/.322, but is right in line, as he only has 42 AB's (12 walks, that's my boy).

Let's hope we have even higher actuals to compare come the halfway mark.

5/29/2004 01:53:00 PM

(5/29/2004 12:59:00 PM) - Al

A well-written tribute to one soldier on Memorial Day weekend.

5/29/2004 12:59:00 PM

(5/29/2004 10:21:00 AM) - Al

Both the History Channel and C-SPAN will carry the dedication of the World War 2 Memorial this afternoon.

Each gold star on the memorial represents 100 deaths the United States suffered in the WW2. There are 4000 stars, in memory of the 400,000 US deaths. For comparison, if a similiar structure were to be built for those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, there would be 8 stars.---WW2 Memorial website

While I am the last person who would ever minimize any American soldier's demise, it is difficult to fathom the amount of death that occured between late 1941 and 1945.

And may I say, it's about time this thing gets done. It's a shame it took almost 60 years. This thing should have been completed 50 some years ago.

5/29/2004 10:21:00 AM

(5/29/2004 09:02:00 AM) - Al

Don't look now, but Tony Gwynn Jr. has his average up to .263 and his OBP is .340, both quite respectable considering the kid was in college at this time last year. He may develop some pop in his bat, as he adjusts to wood bats and puts some muscle on his very skinny frame, but for the most part, he will be a singles hitter.

Tony got off to a slow start, which wasn't a real surprise given his lack of pro experience and his being challenged at the AA level. But, he appears to be learning and improving...which is what the minor leagues are all about.

Even Rickie Weeks has not dominated, only hitting .253, but with a very good OBP of .393, which includes 15 HBP's (Weeks seems to lean into a lot of pitches, according to those who see him play in Hunstville). I love the fact the Brewers are challenging these guys and pushing them up to the higher levels quickly. If they struggle, they can always have them repeat the league the following campaign, and still not be a bit behind where they would have been. And, there's something to be said about doing well and hitting .260, rather than the .350 BA you know Gwynn would have in the Coors Lite conditions of High Desert in the high A Cal League.

5/29/2004 09:02:00 AM

(5/29/2004 08:50:00 AM) - Al

Jason at Roster Crunch mentions this piece on former RUTT choice and ex-Brewers IF Ronnie Belliard. A couple thoughts:

1. The article mentions his patience, and his desire to get on base, even at the expense of hitting for power. What's sad is, I've always credited him for that, and Lopester always was critical of him for the same reason.

2. If you'll think back, you'll remember those who didn't like Belly also don't care much for Ben Grieve now. Both take a lot of pitches, both walk a lot, but both are often chided for what they don't do. Many folks simply don't "get it", that getting on base (or not getting out) is what offense is all about.

3. The article refers to Ronnie as "rotund". You and I both know if he was hitting 100 points lower, he'd be "chubby" or "heavy". But, no one ever called Kirby Puckett fat, 'cause he could hit.

I've been meaning to do a recap of the '04 RUTT group, as well as how the '04 Brewers are doing versus their projections. I'll have to do a review of the '03 RUTT, as two of the members I was most positive about, Belly and David Ortiz, have both gone from journeyman to upper echelon in less than a season and a half.

5/29/2004 08:50:00 AM

Friday, May 28, 2004

(5/28/2004 07:15:00 PM) - Al

Long, long ago, I wasn't a big believer in owning our own home. It was hard to deny the equity positives, but it sure was nice calling someone everytime something broke (or even wasn't perfect). Last Fall, our central air conditioner stopped working. We called the business card that was taped to it, and he dutifully came out and told us our condenser had blown up. He said it should be 100% covered under warranty, as it was 3 years old.

The next day he called and told us the manufacturer had declared bankruptcy. Hence, why I still miss renting. However, there were two reasons I thought it would be OK to own:

1. We could have a dog.

2. We could have a basketball hoop.

We've had our friendly cocker spaniel Ronnie for 4 years, and as of last night, we have our basketball hoop. My son, Andrew, who will be 2 next week, proudly says, "Daddy make baketball". I have not corrected his lack of an "s" sound, not his creator-like impression of Daddy, as he'll know soon enough that I suck at almost everything. I'm a tad concerned that our hoop seems less than sturdy, as the backboard shakes every time it is hit. However, the base has 260 pounds of water in it (note to self: in prayers tonight, be thankful for hoses), and it has one of those fancy anchors you twist into the ground (for whatever reason, directly over a rock), so it's not moving.

Our "court" has quite a odd feel, much like the pool table Mr. Constanza installed in George's old bedroom. Our driveway is rather steep for drainage purposes, so gravity makes the ball race for the street after a miss, and a "shot from the baseline" is straight uphill, it's like shooting at a 12 foot hoop. That said, I marked off 15 feet for the free throw line, and after a few warmups of thinking how much more difficult that shot has got in the last decade, I hit 8 of my last 10.

The fact Shaq can't do that still boggles my mind.

5/28/2004 07:15:00 PM

Thursday, May 27, 2004

(5/27/2004 09:26:00 PM) - Al

Awful umpired series, and the official scoring was as bad as it gets as well. Ginter had his bunt beat out last night...where I come from, that's a hit. He was given a SAC, meaning the scorer didn't even bother looking at a replay. Today, an infield single was ruled an error. Keith's BA sits at .268, and it could easily be .282. I mean, there are always some calls that can go either way, but c'mon, if it's close, it's a hit.

Also, as soon as you show me the general disrespect for what Ben Grieve has accomplished thus far, it's obvious OBP is still not gaining the respect it should be. Right now, Ben has a nice .394/.422 run going, not spectacular by any means, but above average, and considering he's making $700K, outstanding per dollar production. Still, a couple folks asked Hunt in his JS chat why Corey Hart wasn't given the job. Please. Right now, Corey's AAA numbers translate to a .310ish OBP. Even with power, he'd get out far too often to be anything but a crappy corner OF, at this early stage of his career. But, rushing kids to the bigs, starting those arby clocks ASAP, and suffering because of it is exactly what would have been done under the Taylor regime.

We're past that now. Grieve is a fine stopgap, Clark a nice reserve. Hart needs to be in AAA, not accumulating service time, and learning how to shorten that swing while swinging at strikes.

5/27/2004 09:26:00 PM

(5/27/2004 09:01:00 PM) - Al

To me, ESPN has become almost unwatchable.---Mike Hunt, JS chat

So, does anyone watch ESPN now and just go, "All right!"???

I can't believe another sports news network hasn't been launched, as the downhill ride began years ago. Having to tolerate indy films and the Hot Seat is unbearable.

5/27/2004 09:01:00 PM

(5/27/2004 08:10:00 PM) - Al

What's Pinto talking about, ruined the players and owners relationship? Next he'll blame Bud for Israel not getting along with the rest of the Middle East. Check the blog every day, and agree with you 95% of the time.---James

I'm glad to see him with a list, but it's all over the map, as you say. Montreal? If they were still playing baseball there in 3500, somebody would say, "Too bad about 1984, they'd be drawing more than 40,000 a year if not for that." It's an awful baseball town, move on.---Lawrence

I noticed in all the other comments on Pinto's blog, not a single person gives a reason why they dislike Selig. I think you hit on a point that's extremely one has reasons. And Pinto's are weak.---Jonathan

Those of us in Wisconsin see Bud as the guy who brought us baseball, and singlehandedly got Miller Park built. Notice how no one says any commisioner was good. They are all hated when they are in office. In a few years, the complaints will be about the next guy, but they'll have no suggestions---BrewersRule

"Should Selig get credit for the attendance rise this year? I have no idea why it's up.---Pinto" But, wasn't he the one last year to say attendance was down and it was all Selig's fault? What an idiot. It's like having a gunfight with an unarmed man.---Roger

...And where does he get off calling you a jerk? Sounds like he's a sensitive man, we call 'em wimps.---Francis

I should add that almost every writer said the "jerk" comment was uncalled for. I barely noticed it, but it seems rather obvious he feels quite defensive about anyone daring to question his opinion. One commenter at Musings said that he pointed 3 fingers at himself when he pointed one at me, which I thought was funny.

David can think and write whatever he wants, and he tends to have very safe, mainstream opinions, so the criticism seems to have struck a nerve. For all the venom and hatred he shows toward Selig, his list was passive. As Lawrence said above, you can only blame '94 for their hellish numbers for so long. That time has passed. To see Northern Virginia taking deposits for season tickets and discussing a 38,000 seat stadium, that's more excitement than we've seen north of the border in a decade.

Good luck to David and Musings in the future. I check it out a couple times a week, and will likely do so in the future. I'll link him if I see fit to do so. On that note, it's back to the Brewers.

5/27/2004 08:10:00 PM

(5/27/2004 01:23:00 AM) - Al

I'm glad the Crew pulled it out in 12, but I'm still trying to get over Ben Grieve swinging... a 2-0 pitch

...with the bases loaded a pitch that may well have been Ball 3

I know he hit it at a phenomonal pace, and if it wasn't directly at the 1B, it would have won the game. I just can't see swinging at that pitch. Worst case, it's 2-1, and you're sitting on a hitter's count.

5/27/2004 01:23:00 AM

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

(5/26/2004 09:42:00 PM) - Al

E-mail runneth over today, most of which staunchly defending Mr. Selig, almost all Wisconsinites, of course. I'll print a few of them tommorrow, or at least exercepts from them.

5/26/2004 09:42:00 PM

(5/26/2004 11:37:00 AM) - Al

Hey Al,

Long time reader, first time emailer. Milwaukee (actually, Racine) native, now stranded in the South with no access to Brewer games. I've got a couple of comments. First of all, I agree with Shawn that something's not as good about Pinto's blog lately, and I find myself skipping over it for a couple of days at a time, rather than checking it several times a day, like I used to. I think the one commenter who said he's doing more play by play and less analysis (save that silly obscure defensive metric he proposed). And now, resorting to calling you names? "Al Bethke has always been a jerk". Come on! So now anyone who has a different opinion from "the great Dave Pinto" is a jerk? Maybe he is burned out, as he suggested, as he seems to be getting a little touchy in his old age. Even if I wasn't a fan of your blog, I'd still be disappointed in Dave for resorting to name-calling in the midst of a hearty discussion/argument.
I, too, have grown tired of his Bud-bashing. I don't think Bud's the greatest thing since sliced bread, as he has made some poor PR decisions (All-Star Game tie, announcing contraction before anything was set in stone), but I agree with your assessment that "Bud's not all that bad". The wild card has definitely kept more fans interested than it turned off. I'm not sure if the same could be said for interleague play, but fans in the rivalry cities probably enjoy it. I think most of America has gotten over 1994 - just look at the attendance numbers.
The percieved conflict of interest with Bud as an owner always bothered me a little bit, and I think he's stayed around too long as the "interim" commish. Wasn't there some blue-ribbon panel a few years back to find a new commish? What became of that?

Keep up the great commentary, regardless of any "bad publicity" you may get.


Chad, thanks for reading and writing. I just read the comments over at Musings, and there are a few folks who are critical of Pinto (though most are busy giving unspecific reasons that they don't like Bud). As I suggested to David, I just think he's so used to being "above criticism", he's overreacting. I'm glad you enjoy the site.

David's a good guy, he gives a plug to every blog that asks for one, something I haven't even kept up with, and I probably get a fraction of the requests he does. But, the blind bashing has gotten old, and his reasoning, "Well, there wouldn't have been a strike in '02 regardless" is simply rewriting history. I felt it was time to call him on it.

Now, his reasons are the way he feels, but none strike me as being "over the top" or slam dunks. But, I'm glad our exchange has led to a list that can be looked at in the future.

By the way, Chad, Bud was voted as the true commish a few years ago, his reign will end in 2006, unless he decides not to retire. With the "no win" mentality of the job, don't be surprised if not a lot of folks campaign for the position.

5/26/2004 11:37:00 AM

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

(5/25/2004 11:28:00 PM) - Al

Remember when the Greek God of Walks, Kevin Youkilis, a main character in Moneyball, had a bad AAA small sample late last year. As if vultures pouncing on roadkill, we saw several writers diss OBP and this 3B who lacks power.

So, with 6 walks in about 30 PA's thus far with the Red Sox, and a .500ish OBP, he can be my 3B anytime. Never underestimate the simple power of not getting out.

UPDATE: Yes, 30 PA's is a small sample. But it sure is fun to see a guy that walks as an offensive weapon.

5/25/2004 11:28:00 PM

(5/25/2004 10:36:00 PM) - Al

David Pinto tells why he doesn't think much of Mr. Selig:

I can't speak for anyone else, but here's why I don't like Bud.

He fired Fay Vincent because Vincent stopped the strike in 1990 before any games could be lost. Vincent thought it was in the best interests of baseball not to have a strike then. Fay was willing to go against ownership, and that cost him his job, and it cost us an independent commissioner.

He was as responsible as anyone for the strike of 1994. Selig's actions in the spring of 1995 showed that he was more interested in breaking the union than reaching a settlement with the players.

Allow me to say that it certainly seems quite likely that the unresolved issues in '90 were a culprit in '94. Vincent likely delayed the inevitable. And correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the owners vote for commish? They have every right to fire someone they dislike, correct?

The strike in 1994 destroyed the Expos. The 1994 Expos were the greatest team ever to play in that city; if the season had played itself out, they would have built a fan base, and they would likely not have needed to sell off the team in 1995. I believe that the Expos would be a very different franchise if the 1994 strike didn't happen.

Montreal sat and watched Rome(the Expos) burn. It's a shame the strike occured during their best season. A decade later, it's difficult to still point to that as to why they simply have very few fans of baseball in MON. Good riddance.

Bud Selig lacks imagination.

Testifying before Congress in November 2000, Commissioner Selig asserted, "At the start of spring training there no longer exists hope and faith for the fans of more than half of our 30 clubs."

Bud couldn't imagine that a revolution was happening in Oakland, or Minnesota, or Anaheim at the time. Bud couldn't imagine that there could possibly be another way of winning than spending lots of money.

ANA is a large market, sharing the huge LA metro area. And I'm sure Bud realizes you "can win" by going cheap. However, balancing out revenue was, and is, an important component in improving the game.

Al credits Bud with having the imagination to expand, introduce the wild card, interleague play, etc. Those are fine, but they were nothing original. He was just following the NFL.

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. If it works, it works. No one else even thought of changing the traditions of the game. Bud moved on.

Bud lied about baseball's finances.

I'd say he painted a negative picture. After all, most teams are in debt, many extremely so. Rumor has it a team borrowed to meet payroll last year. Is there some fuzzy accounting going on? I assume so, as they are not publicly traded, so that isn't exactly frowned upon.

Bud has a huge conflict of interest in being commissioner and owner of a team. And it always seemed to me that what Bud wanted for the game would most help the Brewers, not the game as a whole.

I find it difficult to believe that what's good for the small markets is not good for the game, as it helps the competitive balance of the game. Revenue sharing has balanced the scale, though not perfectly.

Pinto dug deep for his reasons, and dare I say, almost every one is all but beyond the casual fan. The strike was a decade ago, the counselor says to move on.

I give him credit for writing down his thoughts. I just don't feel as strongly about their importance as he does.

5/25/2004 10:36:00 PM

(5/25/2004 10:01:00 PM) - Al

So, does it bother anyone else that Kobe Bryant is already being hailed as a conquering hero...because it appears as if his court appearance on Thursday will be completed in time for him to not miss any of his playoff game?

He doesn't control the times. It's not like he's the one flying the plane. It would appear to me to be a fortunate scheduling coincidence.

5/25/2004 10:01:00 PM

(5/25/2004 09:54:00 PM) - Al

If you wonder how bloggers are accepting the Mariners' thus far down season...the answer is, "not well".

5/25/2004 09:54:00 PM

(5/25/2004 09:42:00 PM) - Al

I missed this piece, mostly on the Crew, last week at Wait 'Til Next Year. Check it out, as his analysis of a .500 team is about as optimistic as I am.

5/25/2004 09:42:00 PM

(5/25/2004 09:32:00 PM) - Al

Redbird Nation does a fine job making BP look foolish, do you remember when ESPN and BP were it? No "ESPN shorts", no "Hot Seat", no BP stats that read like .7587757.

Hat tip to Baseball Crank.

5/25/2004 09:32:00 PM

(5/25/2004 09:23:00 PM) - Al

David Pinto is in the middle of a post about Ramblings, and I'm glad I got the new template with the counter in today, as he has a huge readership. This could be as big as the day I mentioned the top 10 interent searches all included Nick Berg terms, and that somehow put me near the top of the search engines.

I'm a firm believer in the "There's no such thing as bad publicity" camp, and most folks will visit and leave. But hopefully, a few will discover they don't hate it and check back from time-to-time.

And, it's free.

5/25/2004 09:23:00 PM

(5/25/2004 08:35:00 PM) - Al

Hi Al,

I'm a newer reader of your site and I have to say I find it mostly enjoyable. I'm really glad you're putting your foot down about Selig. He is not a terrible commissioner, not by a longshot.

I think a lot of people still have a sour taste in their mouth over the '94 strike, and use that as the basis to hate Selig, but he was very new to the office at the time. That's not an excuse, but I think it's important to bear in mind.

My biggest gripe with him was the apparent conflict of interest in his ownership of the Brewers while acting as "interim" commissioner - a position any clown knew he would eventually permanently take - and then giving Wendy charge of the team when he was officially commish. Now that they're selling, I've made my peace with him.

Thanks for keeping the Brewers spirit alive,

Sam, thanks for reading and writing.

My beef with those who dislike Bud is twofold:

1. For the most part, they are not specific as to what "poor" moves he has made. It's always very general, very "well, he isn't a good speaker" (I'll give you that, by the way).

2. Most of all, they offer no factual documentation to back up their claims.

In the example I keep going back to, the late Doug Pappas simply used incorrect info in one of his last posts. He said what teams had received the most money from revenue sharing and/or the luxury tax, and just threw out the assumption that the Brewers were not spending their share on scouting and development.

Now, Pappas died last week, so maybe he would have corrected it, I don't know. But we all know the Crew has the #1 ranked farm system by Topps and Baseball America. Did they just fall into that? We all know they spent a ton on Rickie Weeks last year. We know they signed draft-and-follow late round pick Manny Parra to a $1.65M contract, about $1.625 mil over slot value.

And, we have that little audit that was foolishly conducted. It showed the Brewers spent the 9th most in MLB on scouting and development...despite being in the 20's in total revenue. They obviously have spent a good percentage of their budget on signing bonuses and building the farm system.

So, that's one myth debunked, although I assume it will sadly live on for infamy, as Pappas will not be able to make a correction. But, the fact remains that many folks simply bash without foundation, as in this case.

Hey, you don't like the wildcard, so be it. But, the idea of having 4 playoff teams out of 30, at best, seems far behind the times, extremely old-fashioned.

Don't like interleague play? Well, despite the fact it wasa dismissed as a stunt, it still seems to be a media darling and in 5-6 cases, is a true rivalry filled weekend or two. Hey Mets' fans, would you rather play the Yankees 6 times, or have one more series each with the Expos and, seriously.

Were not a fan of contraction? Well, neither was I, but, then again, when two owners come forward and volunteer to disband their teams, the finger of "blame" is pretty obvious. Still playing in crappy stadiums in both those places, FYI. I also find it amusing that one person who is critical of the idea of eliminating 2 teams would like to make 6 some sort of AAAA indy league...can you imagine the outcry in those cities? Can you imagine parades of happiness? Me neither.

I have little memory of the 1994 strike, except to say that the players could have ended it at any time. It was a bitter, hate filled struggle, and Selig was indeed a newbie, as Sam points out. I guess he has to accept partial blame, but it's a shame, and if you can imagine Fay Vincent using his oracle skills to end the stalemate, I'd ask you what color the sky is in your world.

I await the day when Bud is no longer in charge, and the skeptics will either shake their heads in amazement that every seat isn't sold out, or use fictional "truths" to give the new guy kudos that are undeserved. And they'll still be straddling the lines, because they have no ideas of their own.

5/25/2004 08:35:00 PM

(5/25/2004 08:28:00 PM) - Al

Short scouting report on Corey Hart:

L-O-N-G swing
Plate discipline needs improvement
Fastball hitter
Power is there

5/25/2004 08:28:00 PM

(5/25/2004 03:53:00 PM) - Al

Bill Batterman sent me a new and improved template almost a month ago, and I finally put it into place today. It looks a lot nicer, the font is slightly bigger for anyone who has poor eyesight, and the sidebar is finally the right size.

Thanks a lot, Bill.

5/25/2004 03:53:00 PM

(5/25/2004 08:49:00 AM) - Al

Mike Hunt tells how one day last December, the Brewers stole several good players in exchange for a fragile power hitter.

OK, not really, but allow me to say that I really hate it when people say teams should wait until the deadline to trade players, never once thinking that said player could get hurt or be ineffective. And those folks that said getting two draft picks rather than the six players would have been a smarter course of, yeah.

As Hunt points out, the keys to this trade were the 2 LH pitchers, and at this point, anything they contribute is gravy.

Also, I sure hope Richie makes it back this year. It's a shame when good players miss time, especially to a fluke injury like he has.

5/25/2004 08:49:00 AM

Monday, May 24, 2004

(5/24/2004 06:37:00 PM) - Al

When I started this journey into the baseball blog, I started where a lot of people did - David Pinto's Baseball Musings. You've all read it, I'm sure. Most of you are probably regulars. But there is something there now, which I don't think was there previously, that just bugs the sh*t out of me. And what's worse is that I just can't put my finger on it.---Shawn's weblog

First of all, I'm glad I'm not the only one. Secondly, I think much of this revolves around the fact David's blog was "the first" blog to hit the big time because he knew Rob Neyer, and Rob mentioned it in his column. It didn't jump to the top on its own, as Neyer, to my knowledge, has never given a plug to any blogger, even Aaron Gleeman, who is all but accepted as the best. I have read David's Musings since Neyer mentioned it, and have been almost silent about the inconsistencies (he often mentions how such and such "plays hard" and gives it as a reason for winning, and how "so and so has them playing a hard-nosed brand of baseball"). The constant Bud bashing has grown tiresome, and my e-mail exchange today with Pinto is glaringly devoid of facts, it is simply "Bud sucks, because I say so". He gives Selig no credit for the '02 CBA agreement, the first in history mind you that occured without a work stoppage. He wonders why the Brewers don't bring up their best prospects, seemingly unaware they are not ready, nor is it a good idea to start their arby and FA clocks when their positions are filled in the majors competently. He questioned BA's #1 ranking, and asks why the 20 and 21 year-olds aren't in the majors. Well, Prince is 19 and will probably be up before he's 22, but that makes no difference, he is biased because he doesn't like Bud.

My favorite statement was "Bud has no imagination". There have been about 5 huge changes to the game in 100+ years, and with the exception of the DH, Bud has brought every one of them in...wildcard, interleague play, realignment, more revenue sharing (not perfect, but getting better every year).

A good example to me is the Spiderman 2 promo this year. I click past NFL Europe over the weekend, ads on unis. No one cares. An ad on a base...pardon me while I check to see if the sky is falling. I thought it was great the sport was cross-marketing itself with what is sure to be a $100+ million opening 5 day weekend for S2. I mean, maybe even an ad before the movie starts. But no, it's terrible, awful...just like the ads were on the outfield wall. Just like the ads were behind home plate. Know what? They are nothing but an accepted part of the game. Much ado about nothing.

The thing is, the game is in the midst of an astounding year. Attendance is up about 15% this season. As I told David, can you imagine the resounding success story we'd be reading about on adaily basis if Bud Selig had died or resigned this past offseason and been replaced with, let's say, Bob Costas?




OK, so the last headline would be Cosmo, but you get my point. Instead, we have two things happening:

1. Almost everyone is simply ignoring the huge increase in crowd size, which means this is the most underreported story to occur in MLB in decades. A renaissance is taking place right in front of our eyes, yet getting no press.

2. The folks that do report it are not giving Selig an ounce of credit.

Now, I do not feel as if Bud is Godlike. He has made some poor decisions, but for the most part, has done a very credible job. Remember, if you will, some other commishes:

Ueberroth--Roundly detested.

Giamatti--Roundly disliked, until he died, is now remembered as a hero.

Vincent--Roundly detested, pretty much fired by the owners.

This is not a position for the faint of heart. I cannot say I feel any of the men listed above did a bad job at all, yet none are recalled fondly.

Nor do I feel Bud deserves a lot of the credit. But, if a chimp is running the game, and the game is doing well, that chimp should get some credit, if nothing else, for not upsetting the apple cart. The new stadiums are a large part of the increase (of course, hard not to give Bud minor kudos for those), as is the economy being better, as is the spectacular MLB playoffs of '03. Of course, many hate the wildcard, but will talk to you all day how the RedSox/Yankees ALCS was the greatest of all-time, and the Marlins/Cubs and Marlins/Yankees were awesome...never once seeming to realize that all of these were because of the wildcard existing.

I tell you, this "Bud isn't that bad" bandwagon is getting exhausting to fight by myself.:)

5/24/2004 06:37:00 PM

Sunday, May 23, 2004

(5/23/2004 05:39:00 PM) - Al

I missed the end of the game, as I was snoring and drooling heavily onto my pillow, but nice to hear Ginter got the big hit. He was hitting into bad luck all weekend, driving the ball, but always finding a glove.

You do have to wonder what the roster will look like in a few days. Corey Hart's stay is said to be brief by everyone, and what about when Capuano comes off the DL? Daron and Bill were giving the "13 pitchers on the roster" scenario last night, which would be wrong in countless ways. Mike Adams has pitched fine, but he's only been up a week, and his '04 option has already been used up. I'm still solidly in the camp that 12 pitchers is too many, so 13 is overkill, plain and simple.

And next time I ponder whether Ned made the right move, remind me how SD ran out of position the 9th inning today. Adam Eaton, a pitcher, had to be used a pinch-hitter. That's painful in countless ways.

5/23/2004 05:39:00 PM

(5/23/2004 11:36:00 AM) - Al

I'm suffering with a cold (every time I cough, apparently some invisible person stabs me in the chest with an OJ knife), so I'm planning on taking the day off.

Although if I didn't know better, I'd swear my illness was brought on by Bill Schroeder's mention of the fact that "Ben Grieve's high OBP makes him an ideal bottom of the order hitter".

Yes, heaven forbid we have high OBP men in the #1-6 spots. Oh, the pain; I can't stand the pain.

5/23/2004 11:36:00 AM

Saturday, May 22, 2004

(5/22/2004 07:17:00 AM) - Al

With a rested bullpen, reliable starters (righty Ben Sheets and lefty Doug Davis) scheduled to pitch the next two games and a day off looming on Monday, the Brewers have sidestepped a potential pitching crisis and might look to promote a more seasoned player from the minors such as Chris Magruder, Jon Nunnally or Jeff Liefer.

"We made the decision to call up Corey (Thursday night)," general manager Doug Melvin said. "He's a (40-man) roster player. That's a problem we're running into. If you bring up a non-roster guy like Magruder or Nunnally or Liefer, you have to take someone off the roster."

The Brewers could clear a 40-man spot by moving an injured player to the 60-day disabled list. Injured pitchers Nick Neugebauer and Ben Diggins would be candidates for such a distinction, but the Brewers would then be required to pay them big-league salaries for the rest of the season.

If Helms is going to be sidelined two months, he could be placed on the 60-day DL to clear a roster spot.

Yep, 40 man roster issue. Hart is up solely because of that, it would appear. I feel a lot better about his callup now. Doug Melvin is working his plan, not rushing up a savior, ala Dean Taylor.

And how can you build a $300 million stadium and not have a roof? Goodness.

5/22/2004 07:17:00 AM

Friday, May 21, 2004

(5/21/2004 12:39:00 PM) - Al

Corey Hart up, Helms on DL.

I have to go to work, but I'm wondering why they are bringing Hart up to sit on the bench, except versus LH pitchers. I feel it is an odd move, to say the least.

It might have to do with 40 man roster issues, as Corey is the only position player available. I just think it's strange to have a top guy sitting the majority of the time. I can see a tad bit of value having Hart "visit the show", but not enough to take away 60 PA's from him.

5/21/2004 12:39:00 PM

(5/21/2004 11:19:00 AM) - Al

Brian, the webmaster behind predicts an "intriguing" roster move today. He has often been correct in the past, as he has been the recipient of some inside info. Actually, I was a couple times as well, I wonder what happened to them? Anyway, I can't believe my boring prediction of Liefer or Magruder replacing Helms would qualify, so we may see a top prospect (Corey Hart?) coming up or Kinney being DFA'd.

5/21/2004 11:19:00 AM

(5/21/2004 11:14:00 AM) - Al

Note to self: Why do I have no fans like Aaron Gleeman does?

That's right, Aaron is much better than me.

5/21/2004 11:14:00 AM

Thursday, May 20, 2004

(5/20/2004 09:47:00 PM) - Al

Add Kerry Wood to the list of Cubs' pitchers on the DL. Gee, who would have ever guessed, over a year ago, that Wood andPrior were being incredibly overworked?

Oh, that's right.

I don't know what the "right" amount of pitches is for a SP to pitch, but I do know Wood and Prior threw far too many. Dusty's been doing it for years, just like he stocks his benches with terrible OBP men who run fast. He's got no one to blame but himself for having his pitchers on the DL.

5/20/2004 09:47:00 PM

(5/20/2004 07:11:00 PM) - Al

Looks like Junior Spivey will return and Wes Helms will go on the DL tomorrow. Billy Hall got his OBP over the .300 mark with a HR today. Scott Podsednik hit a HR in the 9th, and Danny Kolb got another save, though last year that game ending fly out would have been a HR at Montreal's 2nd home in Puerto Rico.

Jose Vidro was told by Montreal execs, before he signed his extension with the Expos, that the team expects to be in Washington DC next year, though he will not say who told him that. DC has leaked out as the leading contender the past couple weeks, and after hearing Vidro say that, I'd be shocked to see them anywhere else next year.

Many question Yost's strategy, but using his bullpen today in rainy conditions rather than Wes Obermueller was a stroke of genius. He thought outside of the box beautifully.

5/20/2004 07:11:00 PM

(5/20/2004 03:58:00 PM) - Al

Fred McGriff joined the Devil Rays AAA team and is expected to be called up by the end of the month.

You can almost hear the other 29 teams laughing, can't you. McGriff could help many teams, but TB, already wasting the 2004 campaign with the ancient Tino Martinez at 1B, has no place with a 55-60 win team.

From the top down, they need a massive insertion of common sense. Pinella promised the fans that they wouldn't finish last in '04, and seemingly had no idea TB was 10-15 wins worse than any ever AL EAst club. I'd say they were clueless, but I might offend those without a clue.

5/20/2004 03:58:00 PM

(5/20/2004 12:57:00 AM) - Al

ESPN now has "shorts", which unlike the name suggests, are inane pieces that seem to go on for an infinite length of time. The one I saw twice tonight has a MLB scout signing a 12 year-old to mow the grass.

If you're thinking, that sounds really stupid, oh yeah. ESPN, at some point in the past couple years, has become a parody of itself. You used to get highlights and info, now you only receive catch-phrases and banter such as Harold Reynolds saying that "Jason Giambi clogs up the bases" and he'd much rather field a team of sub .300 OBP guys like Jimmy Rollins who "make something happen on the bases" (most often, they turn right at 1B and jog back to the bench, to be exact).

Where art thou, good ESPN? Can't miss to can't watch in a couple years...I wouldn't have thought it was possible.

5/20/2004 12:57:00 AM

(5/20/2004 12:48:00 AM) - Al

Still TBA Saturday: Many Brewers fans were excited about the possibility of pitching prospect Ben Hendrickson getting recalled to start Saturday's game at Pittsburgh.

Yost would rather wait.

The skipper said he would prefer to let Hendrickson continue his development in the minors and use a combination of relievers to pitch Saturday's game. Depending on the performances of Brewers starters the rest of the week, Yost could tab anyone among Jeff Bennett, Dave Burba or Wise to start and possibly pitch the first three innings.

"If we can do that, that's the way we'll do it," Yost said.

This is a surprising quote from Yost. I assume he is hesitant to bring Ben H up because he would have to send someone else down...and leave him down for 10 days. The "plan" would be to have Ben up for a start, then bring Caps back for the next one. Ned seems to be very loyal to his players, and I doubt if he wants to send Adams, or Wise, or anyone else down when they are pitching well. Kinney would have to clear waivers to go down, and personally, I doubt he would, as he's still just 27, throws in the 90's, and has had sporadic success in the bigs; not to mention cheap until 2006.

Personally, I'm most upset by the fact he never mentions DH/P Kieschnick as a possibility. Geez, the mere chance of getting Brooks 2 PA's as the SP is simply too good an opportunity to pass up, in my opinion.

5/20/2004 12:48:00 AM

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

(5/19/2004 11:46:00 PM) - Al

The Crank with a totally missed story about Cheney's possible health issues. This race may well be close enough that it will turn on Kerry's VP choice, and a possible Cheney replacement.

Stay tuned.

5/19/2004 11:46:00 PM

(5/19/2004 11:42:00 PM) - Al

Allow me to say I am stunned by the success of Victor Santos. Shocked. He's a guy who has never thrown strikes with any consistency at all, and now he's put together several good starts in a row.

I guess you just never know. This is exactly the reason why hard throwers get chance after chance...someday, they might just put it together.

5/19/2004 11:42:00 PM

(5/19/2004 11:39:00 PM) - Al

Mark Cuban with a post about how much referees matter, at least to the T-Wolves.

If I'm ever an incredibly rich guy, I hope I'm just like Cuban.

5/19/2004 11:39:00 PM

(5/19/2004 10:31:00 PM) - Al

Some very good, young SP's have been mentioned as being available, namely BY Kim and Gil Meche.

BOS is apparently willing to eat a lot of Kim's salary, as he signed a 2y/$10M deal this offseason. BY has been dispatched to AAA Pawtucket to try and find his velocity, which was a consistent 82-86 in his last ML start. He has also been called "uncoachable" as well, as he insists on throwing a lot on his off days, which many feel has contributed to his decrease in velocity.

To me, this is a no-brainer if money isn't an issue. I have a hard time believing Theo Epstein has "given up" on Kim after so few innings this year. According to the Boston paper (which is about as reliable as talk radio), the Red Sox are all but giving him away, but exactly how much is "eating some of his salary". Kim could easily be an above average SP again, and at the very least, an effective reliever, if he is indeed at full strength. That's worth, to me, $1-1.5 million per at least. Now, I have no idea if BOS is willing to pick up $3.5M of salary both years, but if they are, I'd happily take Kim off their hands.

Meche would actually take something of value in return, as supposedly SEA is looking for a young IF (knowing how the Mariners have built their team, I would guess they are looking for a low OBP guy with "tools"). Actually, Bill Hall fits that description all but perfectly. I like Hall more than most, as I have felt he could develop into an average middle infielder, with a high SLG making up for his probable subpar OBP; while others tend to view him as a utility guy. Meche has always been known for having good velocity and "stuff", but has never put it together for an extended period of time, such as a season. Gil is arby eligible (awful job of letting a youngster accumulate service time as he "learned in the majors" by the M's), is making $1.9M, and is still only 25.

I tend to like the Kim option better, as I hate trading young, cheap players who have not plateaued yet. Those are the guys I want to try and acquire, young and decent, with plenty of upside.

5/19/2004 10:31:00 PM

(5/19/2004 10:10:00 PM) - Al

Wes Helms severely injured his knee walking up the ramp at the Puerto Rico stadium, and sounds like he'll be out a long time. That said, it puts Keith Ginter in the lineup every day. Sure is nice to have depth, huh? With Hall quite capable as a reserve, and Durrington, well, around; I have to believe the call up will be whoever is hitting the best, so I would think Magruder or Liefer will soon be up to PH, for the most part.

Liefer, bats left--.371/.552
Magruder, switch---.352/.402
Jon Nunally, LH----.365/.510

Magruder is probably the only one of these three to have a possible long-term future with the Crew, so I hope he gets the call. Another reason being I sincerely doubt the call-up will get many PA's, so the guys with more power will have little chance to get in a groove. To me, the best bet to succeed is Magruder.

UPDATE: Some seem to think a sprained MCL is a "minor" injury, and Wes may be back in a week or less. I doubt it immensely, but I thought I'd mention it.

5/19/2004 10:10:00 PM

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

(5/18/2004 10:38:00 PM) - Al

Jim Powell said that the move isn't official, but it sure looks like Ben H will start Saturday. Mike Adams pitched a nice inning of scoreless relief. This time, however, Rocky Biddle held the Crew in check, darn it. Lyle extended his hitting streak, while Counsell and Ginter both had nice offensive efforts.

5/18/2004 10:38:00 PM

(5/18/2004 03:29:00 PM) - Al

We either have horrible news or Ben Hendrickson is coming up for a spot start on Saturday. He was scheduled to start today for Indy, and did...but only went 2 innings. Maybe Mike Adams is only up for 4 games, and he'll be replaced with Ben, and then he'll be replaced with Caps after another rehab start.

Or, maybe not. We'll see.

5/18/2004 03:29:00 PM

(5/18/2004 02:14:00 PM) - Al

Hey Al,

It looks like Wes Obermueller will pitch in Chris Capuano's rotation
spot on Thursday, meaning the Crew once again is without a starter for
Saturday's game. Do you think this is a good opportunity to give
Brooks Kieschnick a shot? The Pirates aren't a terrible offensive
team, but they're near the bottom of the league in runs scored. Plus,
PNC Park is a nice place to pitch.

If you were Ned Yost, who would you start on Saturday? It looks like
he has narrowed it down by elimination to Dave Burba, Brooks
Kieschnick, and Matt Wise. Would you go with one of those three? Or
would you prefer someone else?

Take care,

No way I go with Burba, as he's unlikely full strength. Wise would seem like a good option, although I doubt if he's gone over 3 innings this year, and his change up isn't a good bet, in my opinion, to be successful more than one time through the order.

No doubt, I'd go with Brooks, as he is pitching the best of the three, and it allows you to use his bat as a weapon at least a time or two.

5/18/2004 02:14:00 PM

(5/18/2004 09:47:00 AM) - Al

Aaron Gleeman with an e-mail column all about the convicted child molester, who happens to direct films. Aaron seems surprised how much love is in the room for Roman. I wish I could say the same.

5/18/2004 09:47:00 AM

(5/18/2004 07:43:00 AM) - Al

USA Today with a long article about the Crew. All it takes is a .500 mark 23% of the way through the season to get noticed, apparently.

5/18/2004 07:43:00 AM

Monday, May 17, 2004

(5/17/2004 11:14:00 PM) - Al

I've been trying to get the CoastToCoast links up to their specifications...and darn if my whole template didn't disappear. Luckily, I copied it over to another test blog, but I see it's the "old" version. Sorry if anyone noticed.

5/17/2004 11:14:00 PM

(5/17/2004 10:00:00 PM) - Al

I've quoted this study a few times, and I do not doubt it at all. There is simply no reason to give the opponent baserunners. If you go right after Bonds, he'll get out 50-55% of the time. Over the season, that's 300+ outs.

5/17/2004 10:00:00 PM

(5/17/2004 09:42:00 PM) - Al

Jason with a tale of a woefully run Devil Rays club. Who exactly did Pinella think he was going to beat out for 4th...this club will be lucky to win 60 games.

In a bizarro world, they are run perfectly.

5/17/2004 09:42:00 PM

(5/17/2004 08:55:00 PM) - Al

Aaron Gleeman with a rare non-baseball post about Roman Polanski, who some fawn over, while most of us feel is a criminal who fled justice because he's a coward of monumental proportions.

If it sounds familiar, yep.

Of course, the mere fact that Polanski has had to live in France, home of the unbrave, is very fitting.

5/17/2004 08:55:00 PM

(5/17/2004 08:31:00 PM) - Al

Wow, about the only word to sum up Ben's performance yesterday. Watching the highlight shows, I was stunned to see how many of the 18 K's bounced in the dirt. That curveball must have looked just like a fastball out of his hand.

While I am proud of my prediction that he would break out, I'm pretty sure I said the same thing last year.:) Repeat after me, 25 is not old. He's still getting better, and he's been plenty worthwhile his whole career.

I do worry about his back, however. 25 year-olds with a bad back rarely end up being 30 year-olds who are injury free.

5/17/2004 08:31:00 PM

(5/17/2004 08:28:00 PM) - Al

Mike Adams, he of the 37-2 K/BB ratio was promoted to take Ben Ford's place, as it was decided Caps needs another start in the minors. Mike is not a candidate to start Thursday, however, and Ned says he's not using Kinney either.

Ahem, Brooks????

5/17/2004 08:28:00 PM

Sunday, May 16, 2004

(5/16/2004 02:13:00 PM) - Al

I'm off to a meeting in Milwaukee later this afternoon, so I will likely return Monday evening.

5/16/2004 02:13:00 PM

(5/16/2004 02:09:00 PM) - Al

Ben Ford was placed on the DL with tendonitis. Ford should personally thank the organizatiob for adding to his big league service time, as he was set to go down when Caps returned.

No word on a roster replacement, as Caps is due to pitch Thursday, so they could have brought up a player for 3 games, but apparently, the Crew is not doing so.

It is strange that Ford pitched last night. Maybe it was a "see how it feels" outing, and it didn't pass the test.

5/16/2004 02:09:00 PM

(5/16/2004 01:20:00 PM) - Al


A couple questions. Will the early winning lead to more fans at the ballpark this summer? I called and got tickets for last night on Thursday and the ticket person said they'd been swamped all week. Also, at what point do you give up on Kinney? I know you can look at his outing last night and say some balls were hit weakly, but he's been awful all year. Love your site, check it out daily.


Jonathan, thanks for reading and writing. The early wins can't hurt, but I doubt if it will have much long-term effect, although tickets sold now "create" demand, and encourage others to buy their seats early as well. I've been a believer in a tier pricing system for the last couple years, and the larger crowds on discount nights seem to indicate a lot of folks are excited about getting a half-price seat on the lesser seats. There's no use having 30,000 empty seats when you can fill 3-5K of them by selling them for $5.

I was enthused by Kinney's relief outings, and have said a few times that both he and Obermueller would likely find their long-term niche as middle relievers. I would think they'll give Matt every chance to find himself, as I can't believe he'd make it through waivers. With the youngsters a year or more away, he's cheap and still has a sliver of ceiling, although that's more debateable every day. It's disappointing, because I was a big Kinney fan when he pitched for the Twins. A comparable athlete would be Sam Okey, formerly of the Badgers' basketball program. Matt isn't a bit better than he was years ago when I saw him make his debut. Sam Okey never got a bit better in his college years. Some guys simply don't develop like you hope they do. It's a shame and a waste of ability, but it's the truth.

5/16/2004 01:20:00 PM

(5/16/2004 01:14:00 PM) - Al

Great story about how easy it is to confuse folks in a corporate atmosphere. Hat tip to Vox Day.

5/16/2004 01:14:00 PM

Saturday, May 15, 2004

(5/15/2004 11:57:00 PM) - Al

Capuano pitched at Indy tonight, and didn't pitch well, but I guess he was healthy, as he has already been named the starter for next Thursday's game.

Kinney was both unlucky and ineffective, a terrible combination. Many of his hits allowed were bloops and dribblers through the infield, but Andruw Jones hit one a country mile as well.

I would assume Ben Ford will be the pitcher sent to Indy when Caps returns, but it seems a very safe bet that if Kinney had an option, he'd already be there.

5/15/2004 11:57:00 PM

(5/15/2004 10:37:00 AM) - Al

Ramblings is well on its way to setting a record for visitors, as we've had over 400 hits in 10 hours today. Sadly, almost everyone is here searching for the Nick Berg video, which I talked about a couple days ago.

I have heard it is posted over at, as they talked to him on ET last night as well. Check it out, and thanks for visiting.

UPDATE: 1550 visitors, more than tripling the old record. Ah, the power of Google and other search engines.

5/15/2004 10:37:00 AM

(5/15/2004 10:34:00 AM) - Al

I forgot to mention last night that on Entertainment Tonight, Survivor host Jeff Probst said that Rupert recieved 87% of the fan vote.

That means, of every 8 people that voted, 7 clicked on Rupert, while 1 voted for one of the other 17. That may be the largest and most amazing majority that any of us will ever see.

5/15/2004 10:34:00 AM

(5/15/2004 10:33:00 AM) - Al

Adrian Hernandez accepted his assignment to AAA Indy.

He didn't look good in the bigs, but as AAA depth, he is as good as it gets.

5/15/2004 10:33:00 AM

Friday, May 14, 2004

(5/14/2004 11:14:00 PM) - Al

On Monday, the A's sent a scout in to see Byung-Hyun Kim, whom the Red Sox would love to move. But Kim threw 84-86 mph, didn't strike out any Cleveland hitters and is no different from their relievers.--Gammons

I wonder if the Brewers would have any interest? BY Kim has a sub 3.50 career ERA, but signed a 2y/$10M this past offseason. A Spivey for Kim swap would leave us paying Kim about $2.5 mil in extra payroll, not to mention BOS appreciates the OBP Bellhorn brings, rather than complaining about what he doesn't do.

I've long thought Kim would thrive in small market Milwaukee, and there's little doubt he would be the team's 2nd or 3rd best starter. It just doesn't look like there's a match there.

5/14/2004 11:14:00 PM

(5/14/2004 10:07:00 PM) - Al

Just under the archives on the right sidebar, you'll find some links from my friends at Coast To Coast tickets, the official first sponsor of Ramblings. If you are in the market for premium seats, just click on the link of your choice.

Thanks for contacting me, Jen, always happy to help.

5/14/2004 10:07:00 PM

(5/14/2004 10:04:00 PM) - Al

I still think he's a fluke, but you sure can't remove Santos from the rotation at this second, can you? I would normally call this a tough loss, but after the luck the Crew has had of late, they had it coming. Billy Hall hits that ball a few feet further, they win this one, but an outstanding effort by the 2 ATL arms.

I'm surprised to see Ben Grieve of the .400 OBP remain on the bench while 3 RH hitters make outs in the 9th inning, though I'm not going to second guess since I was busy changing my template during the 9th. Just seems like a move that was so obvious, but maybe Grieve is ill or something.

5/14/2004 10:04:00 PM

(5/14/2004 09:11:00 PM) - Al

11K walked up to the game in Milwaukee tonight, a Miller Park record. 33K total attendance, on Milwaukee Braves night.

Man, I wonder how many people they would have had if not for the huge Ulice Payne/Richie Sexson backlash?

Seriously, a wonderful pitching duel. I wish I could say I predicted Vic Santos would have success, but I don't know anyone that did.

JD Drew just got the first run on the board with a HR. Now the Crew has 'em right they want 'em.:)

5/14/2004 09:11:00 PM

(5/14/2004 06:24:00 PM) - Al

Chicago Cubs: Signed Rey Ordenez to a minor league contract

It's almost as if the Cubs search the backroads for guys who get out at an abnormally high rate, isn't it?

5/14/2004 06:24:00 PM

(5/14/2004 06:14:00 PM) - Al

Could well be a case of too little, too late for Portland, who I believe was all but eliminated from serious consideration a month and a half ago. One chance to get the Expos, and a stadium financing proposal finally is sent in.

Unless it's overwhelming, I doubt it will even get a serious look.

5/14/2004 06:14:00 PM

Thursday, May 13, 2004

(5/13/2004 09:33:00 PM) - Al

Caps will be back next week, barring a setback in his rehab start Saturday. You have to assume Ben Ford is the odd man out.

The performance of Ford and Hernandez pretty much tells you exactly what spring training means...nothing. You're talking about a miniscule sample against inferior and unlevel competition. The idea that Adrian and Ben made the team despite never having an iota of success in the major league is, at best, more hoping for the best than having a plan.

The team should have congratulated both of them and gave them a ticket to Indy, and told them to keep it up. To assume these journeymen had "turned the corner" after half-decades in the minors...with a dozen effective innings in March was odd, to say the least. The other player who made the team with a good spring, Trent Durrington, hasn't been much help either...although in his case, it's enjoyable to here him talk.

I actually like Ben Ford much like I do Mike Buddie...but Buddie's best role was as AAA depth as well, as your 13th/14th best pitcher. If he does go down, I wish him well, and look forward to seeing him return...but I won't be holding my breath.

5/13/2004 09:33:00 PM

(5/13/2004 09:26:00 PM) - Al

Of course, none of this would be a problem if the Marlins opted for a stadium, sans retractable roof. As we discussed in a micro-study back in March, while retractable-roof stadiums do have their benefits (most notably the ability for the in-house deejay to cue Strauss's "Thus Spake Zarathustra" every time water trickles down from the heavens) they're also, on average, more than $100 million more expensive than their open-air counterparts. Nevertheless, retractable-roof stadia have become all the rage in the 21st century, and for all intents and purposes, it appears that that element is absolutely vital to the Marlins' proposal, as determined by owner Jeffrey Loria & Company. Never mind that, despite all the old people and the humidity, south Florida is a fine place to play baseball, and that the weather would most likely accomodate a team without a retractable roof. The Roof is what the Fish want, and The Roof is most likely what the Fish will get in the end.--Baseball Prospectus

Hilarious. It rains in South Florida every day, usually in the late afternoon. I still can't believe MLB allows new stadiums to be built without a retractable roof, or at least requires a waiver of some sort. Why would you not require the team to guarantee 81 home dates. It is mind-boggling that you'd even think of spending $300+ million and not put a roof on. Florida should absolutely have a roof, and so should Minnesota, if they can ever convince the folks in MN to fund one.

5/13/2004 09:26:00 PM

(5/13/2004 07:50:00 PM) - Al

Notes from the last couple days:

---If Spivey is on the roster, you have to use him if it presents a chance to win the game. I mean, he's been out 11 days now, and as reader Kent said, he should have been placed on the DL. "Day-to-day" does not mean anything over a week, so it sounds to me as if Junior may have been a bit dishonest in his assessment of the pain he felt early on. Heck, I'd think of DLing him now just to show the team is the priority, as is long-term health of the players. Junior's numbers are just fine now, and he has to be healthy to get much for him come the end of July. I always use a week as my mythical cut-off, if you're going to miss a week, take 2 off and come back 100%.

---Grieve is hitting .395/.471 (ave RF: .350/.459). Best $700K ever spent, methinks.

---Ginter, after slumping the last few games: .346/.476 (ave 2B: .334/.403). So, what can we get for Spivey?

---Helms has struggled to a .284/.321 mark thus far...and last year, Darin Erstad compiled a stunning .309/.333 line. Wes has had a bad stretch over 30some games. Erstad makes $8 mil, and he's been awful for ages...yet folks will argue all day that he's still the player he was years ago.

---According to Yost, Kinney will not start Saturday's game, though he will probably work in it. With Sheets going Sunday, and an off day Monday, the assumption is Ned will use a plethora of relievers. My dream of Brooks getting the start and going 3-4 innings (admittedly, a dream that's kinda pathetic, come to think of it) is just a step away from reality.

5/13/2004 07:50:00 PM

(5/13/2004 07:35:00 PM) - Al

Hey Posada, get out of the way if you don't want to get hit in the face.

Um, that's why we slide into second...and get down plenty early.

5/13/2004 07:35:00 PM

(5/13/2004 07:28:00 PM) - Al

According to Instapundit, the top ten searched for phrases on the internet:

nick berg video
nick berg
berg beheading
beheading video
nick berg beheading video
nick berg beheading
berg video
berg beheading video
"nick berg"
video nick berg

Yet, the prison story remains on the front page, while an American civilian being killed for no apparent reason is yawned at and forgotten by the mass media.

What's really amazing is, this still surprises me.

5/13/2004 07:28:00 PM

(5/13/2004 04:53:00 PM) - Al

Wow, yet another win over Montreal. I'm the first to admit how bad a team the Expos are, as watching their lineup the last couple nights, it's Wilkerson, Vidro, Cabrera...and some other guys, but they'll win a lot of games this year. A win's a win, and goodness, Lyle with another double. It's almost like he gets to throw the ball instead of hit it. Be back with more later on.

5/13/2004 04:53:00 PM

(5/13/2004 12:03:00 AM) - Al

I'll write on tonight's win and tomorrow's game after work tomorrow.

Overbay is on pace for almost 90 doubles...geesh. Heck, Pods is on track for 85 stolen bases...must be May, huh?

5/13/2004 12:03:00 AM

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

(5/12/2004 11:04:00 AM) - Al

According to one of the Huntsville fan sites, Tony Gwyn Jr. made two spectacular catches in CF yesterday. I'm not surprised to see the young Gwynn struggle at the plate (though I would have expected a .250 BA, not a .213) thus far, but I can't believe there are more than a couple better defensive CF's currently residing in the minors. It's hard to imagine that Tony Sr's son won't hit, but even if he doesn't, he may still have a long career as a reserve, with his good speed and outstanding defense.

Just took a glance at Tony's AA numbers, and while he hasn't hit much yet, he is walking (12 times in 127 AB's) at just under the 1:10 threshold, has stolen 9 bases, and is apparently still playing a mean CF. I feel he'll eventually be a good OBP man, though his power is a question mark, but if you were betting on a farmhand (other than Prince and Rickie) to have a career in the bigs, Gwynn would seem a safe bet.

5/12/2004 11:04:00 AM

(5/12/2004 10:29:00 AM) - Al

Most of us have never heard Air America...and that may not be so bad. The word I hear in every review is "negative", and while I didn't see it in this one, the tone is implied. I can't imagine many tuning in every day to hear jokes about assasination.

5/12/2004 10:29:00 AM

(5/12/2004 10:07:00 AM) - Al

A brief but informative update on JJ Hardy, who appears to be out for the year.

JJ will still be one of the youngest AAA players when he comes back next year, so long-term, hopefully the impact will be minimal. Thankfully, it occured in the minors, so he won't suck up ML service time on the DL either.

5/12/2004 10:07:00 AM

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

(5/11/2004 11:28:00 PM) - Al

Well, I already had the record at 15-17. Even more amazing than coming back from 5-0 in the 9th was coming back from 5-1 with 2 outs, and no one on.

Hernandez was outstanding, but the Crew took enough pitches to force him out in the 9th. Counsell was the only one who figured him out at all, for a couple hits. Grieve, Pods, Jenkins, and Moeller all had decent nights, and somehow, Wes Helms got his first RBI's in more than a month, a towering blast when he only needed a fly ball.

Matt Wise looks like a guy who will either shut you down or get killed. Bennett has caught Ford's case of HR fever. Jeff needs to be used as the 12th man for a while. Sheets, once again, very good. Kolb and Vizcaino were both almost untouchable. Burba got through an inning unscored, first time in a while.

Ginter looked lost at the plate, but saw perfect pitches all night as well. The zone appeared to grow a bit when he was up there as well. Overbay proved he was human, but finally got a big hit to extend his hitting streak to 12.

I don't get Yost using Durrington as a PH to lead off the 8th. You figure down 5-0, that might be the only PH you use, and there's no way Trent should be your top pick. That said, it was like Ned knew it would go 14. Amazing.

5/11/2004 11:28:00 PM

(5/11/2004 07:59:00 PM) - Al

Seth Speaks wrote of the demise of Victory Sports, and had some good points. In theory, the Twins could have made a fortune, their estimates were $40-50 million a year. I'm not sure how accurate that was, as you still would need to pay the Wolves, Gophers, Wild, or whoever else they had deals with. But as Seth pointed out, it'd be great to see live state sports that FSN has no desire to carry.

Here in Wisconsin, we have some of the best D3 basketball in the country, yet no outlet. I'd absolutely adore seeing some minor league baseball on TV, both of Brewers' affiliates and Midwest League action, on summer nights when the Crew is not on. UWM basketball is another team dying for publicity. Seth mentions high school sports as well, which I have no interest in, but many would love to see top state teams other than at the state tourney. Meanwhile, FSN shows us Pac 10 sports, for no reason other than to fill time...not to mention those awful shows with Tom Arnold and the like. My goodness, an ESPN type highlights show without the awful personalities ("Boo-yah") would have me watching nightly.

The only way this will happen is if some deep pockets owner comes in and partners with the Bucks, and risks losing a lot of money. Sportsvue was attempted way back when, but was a pay channel, and to be honest, why pay for games you always got for free?

I wish it could happen, but it seems very unlikely.

5/11/2004 07:59:00 PM

(5/11/2004 07:27:00 PM) - Al

The Royals sent Mike McDougual down to AAA today, after he blew two saves.

That sound you hear in Missouri is full scale panic. KC wasn't that good last year, but they were competitive because the division sucked. I wonder if the Royals ever considered, I don't know, using him in middle or long relief?

5/11/2004 07:27:00 PM

(5/11/2004 06:56:00 PM) - Al

Matt Wise called up from Indy, Adrian Hernandez designated for assignment, as he is out of options.

Yet another case of spring stats being a terrible way to decide who makes the team. I can't believe he'll be picked up, as two better pitchers, Wil Cunnane and Carlos Pulido were also DFA'd, so I assume Adrian will have to decide whether to go down or become a FA.

Matt's numbers at Indy were superb, pitching mostly as a "piggyback" partner with Santos.

20 IP
12 H
4 BB
20 K
1.80 ERA

Yes, that's right, a .80 WHIP, one K per inning and a 5-1 K/BB ratio. Matt is 28, so he isn't even as old as Adrian claims to be.

5/11/2004 06:56:00 PM

(5/11/2004 06:32:00 PM) - Al

The Daily Brew with another well written piece, this time with a look at some fancy stats.

5/11/2004 06:32:00 PM

(5/11/2004 03:12:00 PM) - Al

Aw, they're picking on the cartoonist who satirized Pat Tillman's death.

That's a shame.

5/11/2004 03:12:00 PM

(5/11/2004 03:05:00 PM) - Al

The award for the best offseason trade clearly goes to the Brewers, for getting Lyle Overbay, Junior Spivey, two other regulars and two left-handed pitchers for Richie Sexson.--Gammons

More love from Peter and more kudos for the Crew. I get the feeling that we may speak of this trade in the same light as they talk of the Herscel Walker trade in Dallas, which led to the Cowboys' run of winning. Just think, if DLR turns into a solid LH SP, Caps fills a rotation slot, and we get another young arm for Spivey, Richie might have been turned into 3/5th's of our starting staff.

If only the D'Backs could have thrown in a couple high draft picks...

5/11/2004 03:05:00 PM

(5/11/2004 03:02:00 PM) - Al

Bill from The Daily Brew with a nice piece on pitches per plate appearance.

5/11/2004 03:02:00 PM

(5/11/2004 02:53:00 PM) - Al

Since the Brewers SP on Saturday is still listed as TBA, allow me to once again nominate Brooks Kieschinck. Sure, he may not even be able to go 5, but I'll take 3-4 solid frames over 5 crappy ones anyday.

The idea of playing with 9 hitters (maybe even batting the pitcher's spot somewhere other than 9th) versus 8 just seems like too good of an opportunity to pass up.

Is Brooks probably just having a good run? Yeah. Last time I checked though, starting pitchers who can put together a 5 ERA have a lot of value. Also, this would increase our bench by one man 4 days out of 5.

It's a risk worth taking, as to me, the odds of Adrian having success are a lot lower than Brooks.

5/11/2004 02:53:00 PM

(5/11/2004 01:40:00 PM) - Al

Nice, if unnewsy write-up of Ben Hendrickson on the Brewers' site.

5/11/2004 01:40:00 PM

(5/11/2004 01:35:00 PM) - Al

A poker blog I frequent mentioned that Amber looked much better on Letterman than she did on the reunion. Also, when asked her "job", she said she'd been a Survivor contestant for the past 3 years.

I know lots of even the lesser known contestants have done lots of PR appearances and the like, but it seems strange that many seem to be doing it for a living.

5/11/2004 01:35:00 PM

(5/11/2004 01:26:00 PM) - Al

The Crank echoes Robert's "Wally Pipp" belief from yesterday.

5/11/2004 01:26:00 PM

(5/11/2004 12:42:00 PM) - Al

The T-Wolves and the Kings played a classic game last night, Sacremento rallying from 13 down with 1:35 to play, on the strength of not missing a shot and a couple turnovers. The Wolves rallied to win in OT. The game ended here in the Central time zone at about 1AM. Really. Even one of the anouncers said late in the game "It's a shame it's almost 2AM on the East Coast".

Can you imagine the outcry if this was MLB? Jim Caple would fall over himself, yet never give any ideas how to fix the situation. But, there will be nary a mention of how long the game went, despite starting at 9:30. I remember a Wolves/Lakers game going just under 4 hours last year, so I think TV is much to blame. However, I never notice any long breaks, so I'm really not sure.

Of course, the only other option is to play both games at once, which is not a positive either for NBA fans.

5/11/2004 12:42:00 PM

(5/11/2004 12:32:00 PM) - Al

The Hardball Times comments on Outside the Lines last night, as much of the show focused on Dave Stewart not getting a GM job. THT makes a good point, as I have no idea waht qualifications Dave had for the job either, but he came off as possibly the most ignorant human being alive. After he said he didn't get the job because he was black, the show talked to Ken Williams, the White Sox GM, who also happens to be an ex-ballplayer and is also black.

Listening to Williams speak, he sounded like a very intelligent man. He also said how his father used to always tell him how he had to work "in the system" to get ahead.

I don't think you can have two more opposite men on back-to-back. Dave Stewart is less qualified to be a GM than almost any former player, because his communication skills are nonexistant. But, he can go on blaming others for his shortcomings all he wants, if he feels better that way.

Stewart is the epitome of the kid who takes his toys and goes home. He is an idiot of monumental proportions, and his race doesn't make that any more or less the case.

5/11/2004 12:32:00 PM

Monday, May 10, 2004

(5/10/2004 09:59:00 PM) - Al

I've seen others write that a draft would not occur, but Strategy Page says it better than most. Our volunteer corps is almost without question the best of all time, and many keep pointing out every branch hit its recruitment and retention goals last year, despite ongoing tension in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We should continue to have young men register, but it seems extremely unlikely those names would ever be used.

5/10/2004 09:59:00 PM

(5/10/2004 09:10:00 PM) - Al

They don't get much dumber than Raul Mondesi. I'd bet my house Raul thinks he is somehow above the law and won't have to pay the money he owes if he doesn't have any salary coming in.

He'd never think of finishing out the season and starting 2005 in the black, would he?

5/10/2004 09:10:00 PM

(5/10/2004 09:01:00 PM) - Al

Ronnie Belliard...all-star?

Well, CLE doesn't have any sure things, and as of this second, Ronnie is hitting .387. even if he falls to say, .320, his name will have been among the AL leaders in BA the entire season, and 2B isn't the strongest position (one reason neither Soriano or Young really wanted to leave it).

You need not look any further than our rich farm system to see the positives that Dean Taylor left behind. But it shall be noted with 3 in-house options of Marcos Scutaro, Ronnie Belliard, and Mark Loretta, the Taylor regime felt it necessary to sign the ever aging Eric Young to a FA contract. Talk about greasing the wrong wheel.

5/10/2004 09:01:00 PM

(5/10/2004 06:15:00 PM) - Al

Marketing is a crazy thing, huh? I have to imagine the guy who came up with the Pepto Bismol, Macerena dance, that mentions all the ailments Pepto solves, had to be laughed out of the office. The thing I like about it is how all the actors are selling it like a Shakespearean comic tragedy.

Also, tonight I saw an ad for State Farm, and at the end, they showed a few of their agents, who coincidentally, all were young and attractive. I'm never had an insurance person who looked anything like them, and I bet you haven't either. Even the insurance industry thinks that sex sells, I guess.

5/10/2004 06:15:00 PM

(5/10/2004 06:13:00 PM) - Al


Hey,Al. You should do an update on your team of players that are low paid and under
played. (I can't remember what you called it, but Lew Ford and Michael Cuddyer were on it) If you're ever looking for something to write about.


Seth of Seth Speaks, still giddy the Twins are back on TV all the time, I'm sure.

I will do an update on RUTT soon, as many of the players are doing very well, including Ford.

5/10/2004 06:13:00 PM

(5/10/2004 05:50:00 PM) - Al

Baseball Prospectus, or more accurately Joe Sheehan, has some nice things to say today. It's a pay article, but some excerpts:


This year, I've been adjusting my personal decision tree. I've found myself watching the Brewers more and more, particularly the latter part of their games, after the 4 p.m. Pacific games come to a close. They're really growing on me. Scott Podsednik is the player people think Darin Erstad is, Ben Sheets is on the brink of a Greg Maddux circa '92 leap, two-way player Brooks Kieschnick, with an OPS nearly 10 times his ERA, is more fun than Jonah Keri on a Boone's Farm binge. Keith Ginter is one of my guys for '04, while the guy he's been starting for over the last week, Junior Spivey, is an underrated second baseman, kind of Ray Durham Lite. Two years ago, I flagged Doug Davis as the pitcher with the best chance to have Jamie Moyer's career, and I root for that every time he takes the mound. Hell, they've even resurrected Ben Grieve!

As much as I've enjoyed the run, I'm not pretending that, at 15-16, the Brewers have any chance to be a factor in a race this year. Their pitching is thin, especially the back end of the staff. ... But if 2004 won't be a big year, 2006 through 2009 could be.

I've mentioned that I attended the last relevant Brewers game, a 10-3 blowout at the hands of the A's that eliminated them from the 1992 AL East race on the next-to-last day of the season. Since then, the franchise hasn't sniffed a race, .500, or the respect of the game's fans. All of those things are on the horizon.

Hat tip to Robert, who posted the above at the message board. As I said over there, if BP is praising the Crew, the other news of the day must include adding ice water to the menu in hell. It simply isn't done. Even better, Joe didn't even mention soon to be NL Player of the Week Lyle Overbay or Geoff Jenkins in his critique.

Brewers GM Doug Melvin thoroughly understands such dilemmas, which is why he says he will not trade Ben Sheets in the foreseeable future, if ever.

"We have him for three years after this, and he will be at the front of our rotation as we bring in young pitchers and players to give us stability," says Melvin. "Development is tricky. I keep being asked when we're going to bring up Ben Hendrickson (a 23-year-old right-hander). He's a good young pitcher, but I want him ready when he gets here, not off four or five good starts in Triple-A.

"If you're a small-market team, if you rush young players -- especially young pitchers -- to the big leagues and let them learn on that level, by the time they're able to make you a contender you can't afford them, either because of free agency or arbitration. Then the big markets step in and take them when they're ready to pitch a team into the playoffs."--Gammons, ESPN

Doug saying all the right things in the Gammons column, saying that you don't want to start the arby clock on the youngsters before they're ready to contribute. Some folks say we should have all the kids up now, sucking but learning. Yep, nothing better than paying guys real money before you have to.

Doug has an idea, and he sticks to it. He isn't a genius, he isn't Theo or Billy, but he's a good baseball man who works to his plan and doesn't rush guys that aren't ready, nor does he sign mediocre veterans to large contracts. My main two complaints this year with the roster are that we didn't need Gary Bennett, and Trent Durrington is a poor choice for the 25th man. Whenever your reserve C and last man on the bench are the two questionable moves, your GM is doing a heckuva job.

5/10/2004 05:50:00 PM

(5/10/2004 01:55:00 PM) - Al

So, can you imagine Rupert not winning the Survivor fan vote? Seriously, anything is quite possible, but I feel he'll get about 20% of the vote...and there's 17 others to split the remaining 80%. The only two that I think have a chance is Rudy and Tom, and I doubt it. Normally, I'd say the most attractive female had a good shot...but she won the real vote.

By the way, after Rob won final immunity, I told my wife it would be the greatest Survivor moment ever if he voted Amber off (and that would have gave him the 4-3 win, if the jury was truthful). Of course, to say he's better off with $250K and Amber is likely an understatement of mammoth proportion.


...anyone else think Amber looked less attractive last night than she did on the island?

...Sue Hawk didn't look much different after all that work?

...Jerri has less than no chance of winning? Man is she disliked by the public. confused is Lex? He lost, and can't seem to believe others played with selfish interests in mind rather than his. Um, that's the point.

...does Tom own an outfit other than overalls?

...why did Amber give ShiAnn the SUV because she was the "deciding vote"? She won 4-3, so every vote cast for her was as vital as the next.

...very little is made of the fact that all 18 did very well, Tina got $30K for coming in last. Tom said he "made a little money", 5th place must be worth $75-100K, as they raised 2nd place from $100-250K. To me, that's a lot of money, especially to a self-employed hick like Tom (I say that with all due respect to hicks like myself).

...finally, not a single mention of Sue and Rich's little issue. That was as surprising as anything.

5/10/2004 01:55:00 PM

(5/10/2004 01:53:00 PM) - Al

Found while looking at other things, Craig Counsell seems like he's been perfect at SS thus far. Well...

3rd in MLB in fielding percentage
3rd in MLB in range factor
5th in MLB in zone rating (my favorite defensive metric)

Looks like it hasn't just "seemed" like he's been good, huh? 22 games is a tiny sample of defensive effectiveness, but it's tough not to be impressed with him.

5/10/2004 01:53:00 PM

(5/10/2004 12:52:00 PM) - Al


Thankfully, Darin Erstad has gone down with injury, so the Angels can put a 1B out there that isn't the worst in the game.--Ramblings, 5/9

Not only can the Angels put out a 1B that isn't the worst in the game, they called up Casey Kotchman, probably one of the top 3 1B prospects in the game, along with Justin Morneau and Prince Fielder. Talk about a blessing and a benefit for having a strong farm system.

There's at least the possibility of this situation turning into a latter day version of Wally Pipp and Lou Gehrig.


And I just expected a AAA vet, in the Jeff Liefer mold. Of course, Darin will return, because he makes $8 mil and is "gritty", but maybe not at 1B.

5/10/2004 12:52:00 PM

(5/10/2004 09:17:00 AM) - Al

Overall, a fine road trip, as the Crew played well in almost every game, and went 3-3. Yesterday, Santos looked like a BP pitcher, but still only allowed 3 runs in 5 innings. I have to seriously wonder if Burba should even be pitching. He looked like he was throwing darts to me, aiming the ball and pitching defensively. You're not going to have success pitching like that very often. Bill and Daron were correct, the home plate umpire was as bad as I've seen all year, but only in the last few innings. He seemed to be flipping a coin, as his consistency seemed to jump ship.

Kieschnick has just been outstanding of late. I'm not sure if he would be as effective facing the same hitters more than once, but the idea of him starting and having us play with a DH and the opponent not is very tempting. I'm not certain why he was PR for, as I know he was the tying run, but it was only the 7th inning. I would have rather had him pitch and take the chance on his slowness, but of course I almost always would. I imagine Trent gets from 2B to home about a second quicker than Brooks, but the odds of that coming up is minimal. I can only recall a handful of close plays at the plate the entire year thus far, and that's 30+ games.

Unless someone else has to go on the DL (Burba?), I imagine Caps will take either Hernandez or Ford's spot on the roster. Ben had one terrible outing earlier this year, but overall has done OK. Adrian has been ineffective, save for one nice 5 inning relief outing.

5/10/2004 09:17:00 AM

Sunday, May 09, 2004

(5/09/2004 10:42:00 AM) - Al

I'm going to take the rest of the day off, as work and Survivor will take up almost all of it. See you Monday.

5/09/2004 10:42:00 AM

(5/09/2004 09:55:00 AM) - Al

Thankfully, Darin Erstad has gone down with injury, so the Angels can put a 1B out there that isn't the worst in the game.

Erstad--.294/.333, 627 OPS
Ave 1B-.358/.462, 820 OPS

Erstad is of course, a terrible offensive CF, so the move to 1B was bound to disappoint. It's like wondering why the sun rises. Darin can be as gritty as he cares to be, but the idea that the best you can do at 1B is playing someone who gets out 70% of the time is as silly as it gets.

5/09/2004 09:55:00 AM

Saturday, May 08, 2004

(5/08/2004 07:31:00 PM) - Al

3rd in runs scored
6th in OBP
8th in SLG
8th in OPS
3rd in BB

It should be noted that while this looks like a fluke, that:

1. It could be, as even team stats tend to fluctuate until you hit 50 games or so.

2. While 6th in OBP, the Crew is only .008 from 2nd place. There are several teams bunched up from 2nd-8th.

3. If you go by the accepted runs expected formula of AB x OBP x SLG, the team should have 153 runs thus far, and they have 159. That may be a bit lucky or fortunate, but it's close to say the least.

I have no numbers to prove it, but it would be my expectation that teams that walk a lot and/or take a lot of pitches would tend to score a few more runs than "expected".

I don't say it enough, but Butch Wynegar deserves major props for the approach this team takes at the plate. Doug Melvin also is worthy of kudos for finding guys that listen and, for the most part, players with good OBP skills and plate discipline already in place...without paying a premium for it. That may mean you have to accept some flaws (Grieve is a below average fielder, Moeller unproven, ditto for Overbay), but it's better than signing a .305 OBP man who exhibits good leadership skills and promotes team chemistry.

5/08/2004 07:31:00 PM

(5/08/2004 06:24:00 PM) - Al

Jenkins---.341/.458, 799 OPS
Grieve----.394/.508, 902 OPS

About a week ago, all I heard was that Ben "needed to go". So, a few games later, Ben's numbers take a patented "small sample jump", and Geoff appears to be in a slump compared to Grieve.

Relax when looking at the stat page in April. I think Ben was hitting about .220 when I was in Milwaukee last weekend. Quoting stats after 20 some games, then suggesting personnel moves need to be made, just shows you lack a fundamental understanding of the sport.

5/08/2004 06:24:00 PM

(5/08/2004 06:09:00 PM) - Al

So, how long is it going to be until someone in Arizona complains that they traded away Overbay for the "oft-injured" Sexson? Lyle with another huge game today, and super reliever Matt Kinney helped teammate (and non-strike throwing) Adrian Hernandez get through 7 innings together. Vizcaino set up Kolb for the save, about 15 hours after the JS went to press saying Kolb would likely not pitch until Tuesday.

Ben Grieve also went 2-2 with a walk (don't look now, but Ben's almost up to .300...those same folks who wanted him released a week ago are going to be clamoring for us to sign him to an extension), and Brady replaced him and went 1-2, so an outstanding day of production from RF.

Jenkins and Helms also both reached twice. Funny how Wes is going to be right back his career norms come June 1st. Worrying about a poor April is as pointless as it gets.

5/08/2004 06:09:00 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

I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money.--Thomas Sowell

Ramblings makes me want to poke my eyes out with a sharp stick.--Marxist sympathizer (one of Ramblings' proudest moments)

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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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