Al's Ramblings



Wednesday, June 30, 2004

(6/30/2004 10:09:00 PM) - Al

FOX News Channel (FNC) garnered more than 50% of the cable news audience in primetime and total day during 2Q'04, according to Nielsen Media Research. In contrast, CNN and MSNBC both attracted less than a third of the same market share in 2Q '04. In primetime, FNC commanded 55% of the cable news market share, averaging 1.4 million viewers, while CNN claimed just 32% of that audience with 828,000 viewers. During Rick Kaplan's first full quarter as president, MSNBC's primetime line-up attracted a paltry 13% of the cable news audience with 321,000 viewers (down 41% in viewership year to year).

FNC's Total Day average of 820,000 viewers made up 54% of the cable news pie, nearly doubling CNN's 31% (468,000 viewers) and more than tripling MSNBC's 15% share (226,000 viewers).


Hat tip to Vox Day for the above info. So, let me get this straight...Fox gets over half the viewers? I can understand about 45-50%, but 54% seems almost off the charts. I'm the first to admit Fox leans right, especially with its contagious positivity about our nation. But, how the mighty have fallen. Not a decade ago, CNN was a giant, and others were judged by comparing them to CNN. As Vox points out, exactly how long until someone decides another conservative leaning channel isn't a bad idea? Even taking 20% of Fox's viewers would put them just behind MSNBC. As of now, you have a dozen networks fighting for the left and center, and Fox happily sitting with its niche, most all the right and by the looks of it, plenty of the middle ground as well.


6/30/2004 10:09:00 PM



(6/30/2004 09:07:00 AM) - Al

Chad Moeller hadn't been missing in action since he hit for the cycle on April 27 against Cincinnati. It only seemed that way. Emerging from a prolonged run-production drought with a grand slam in the third inning Tuesday night, Moeller led the Milwaukee Brewers to a 6-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies.---Negative Tom H, JS, 6/30

I can think of no better way to intro a story on a win than by cutting down the offensive hero. {Note to Tom: Refill prescription}.

And to think, I couldn't figure out why so many folks acted as if Capuano was a throw-in in the huge Sexson trade. A 3ish ERA in the hitter friendly PCL (and half his games at the very hitter friendly Tucson park) is very good, and deserves a chance to show his wares in the bigs.

By the way, nice coaching, sending Royce Clayton home to score by inches, down 4 in the 9th. I had visions of Lopes preaching "aggressive baserunning", regardless of the mathematics. If Hall would have set himself and fired home, I think Royce would have been out by 15 feet. I don't think Billy knew he had time to do that.

Ben Hendrickson with a fine effort last night in Indy, 9 innings, one run. I think he is a lot closer to being brought up than Corey Hart, as the RF combo of Clark and Grieve have performed better than the 5th starter slot, currently occupied by Wes O. I remember seeing once a good estimate of a rookie pitcher's ERA is to multiply their AAA ERA by 150%. So, a 3 AAA ERA would translate to a 4.50 ML ERA. Considering Ben is now down to 2.48, you can see why folks are excited about the kid.

His secondary numbers appear solid as well:

87 IP
81 H
19 BB
66 K
6 HR

That's a 1.15 WHIP, a 3.5-1 K/BB ratio, both very good and a 6.8 K/9 ratio, acceptable, but I'd like to see a bit higher. Personally, I would use Matt Wise tried in the #5 spot first, but of course, I wouldn't be carrying 13 pitchers either. It would also thrill me to no end to have both Wes O and Ben H at AAA in case of injury. As I've mentioned before, the amount of times we've needed a starter and had to resort to a guy with a 5.37 ERA...in AAA mind you, given only casual support from the AAA manager (my favorite is something like, "He's pitched pretty well in 2 of his last 3 starts", not just weak praise, but imagine what his ERA was before that), is much more than I care to recall.


6/30/2004 09:07:00 AM


Tuesday, June 29, 2004

(6/29/2004 08:25:00 PM) - Al

So much for that. Ben H is pitching well in Indy tonight, but he has already pitched 6 complete, so there's no way he's going on 3 days rest Saturday. Back to the drawing board with those guesses.


6/29/2004 08:25:00 PM



(6/29/2004 02:23:00 PM) - Al

It was just pointed out to me that Wes O's scheduled start Wednesday has been bumped, and "undecided" is now starting both Game 2 of the doubleheader Friday night and the Saturday game. Seeing as how Doug just stated in this morning's JS he feels 13 pitchers have helped keep the bullpen fresh and healthy, it would seem unlikely they would remove WEs O for a position player. Matt Wise (or Matt Kinney) will be tabbed for Game 2 Friday, so that would seemingly mean Wes is in the bullpen for now...with either Wise/Kinney starting Saturday, or WEs will be in the bullpen and then go down to make room for Saturday's starter, Ben Hendrickson, I would assume.

We'll know for sure when Ben makes his next start (or if), and is pulled early.

UPDATE: Ben H starts tonight, so if he goes 3 innings, or 50 pitches (something like that), it looks like he's being added to the rotation. If not, I would presume Wes is going to the 'pen, and Wise or Kinney will replace him.

Or, I guess a trade could be in the works.


6/29/2004 02:23:00 PM



(6/29/2004 08:53:00 AM) - Al

Also, Wes Helms back, Jeff Liefer down. Jeff has 48 hours to report to Indy, or he can choose to be a free agent. He should go down, and continue smacking the ball like he was. I can guarantee you the Crew would trade Jeff in a second for a couple resin bags if a team expressed interest in adding Jeff to the 25 man roster, and they should. Liefer has no future in Milwaukee, and is basically just a mercenary at this point.

Several people have had ideas on how best to address this situation, involving a 4A league made up solely of veterans, but the obvious problem is, who would fill out the rosters of the AAA teams? Most AAA teams have 2-4 "prospects", and then a few minor prospects, guys who aren't considered a good bet to ever help the major league team, but could work their way into that role with good performances. That leaves the majority of AAA spots to be filled by guys like Liefer, veterans still holding out hope, just looking for a utility spot.

The best idea I've heard is to have a 4-6 team league, sanctioned by MLB, made up of just guys over 27 or so, that any team could sign to a standard major league deal just by making a phone call. For example, the Brewers needed a 3B when Helms went down. Not having any in their system, they could have picked up the best 3B available in this little league. Now, inevitable challenges come up...who would replace these players when they were called up, where would they play, etc. It's an idea worth investigating, but one we'll probably never see.


6/29/2004 08:53:00 AM



(6/29/2004 08:45:00 AM) - Al

The JS talks to Melvin about his roster makeup. While I disagree with having 13 pitchers on the roster, Doug feels it keeps his pitchers fresh and injury free.

Once again, Doug has a plan, and he works his plan. In a throwaway line, he also says something to the effect of, "...the pitchers we plan to have next year, like Jeff Bennett and Mike Adams...". Doug seems to always keep the future in mind, and discusses it constantly. I can all but promise you he knows right now when he expects Corey Hart and Ben Hendrickson to make their permanent appearance in Milwaukee. He's not going to be swayed by Hart going 3-4, or Little Ben having heaving 7 shutout innings.

Meanwhile, the old regime looked blankly at each other trying to decide who to bring in from the bullpen, and had 4 catchers on the 25 man.


6/29/2004 08:45:00 AM


Monday, June 28, 2004

(6/28/2004 06:41:00 PM) - Al

Chief Wiggles with a long post saying how happy he is about how things are going. I must admit, seeing our military hand off the flag to the citizenry, I'm more proud than ever about what we have done. War always comes with a terrible price, as there is little worse than losing a soldier, or many of them. But, if not us, who? France and the like, major Euro nations, lost the home-country advantage within weeks to the Germans in WW2, and seem to want no part of any conflict.

I have no idea if Iraq will remain a free country, as I'm sure there are wanna-bes looking to take over the oil rich state as we speak. But, they have a chance. In that region of the world, that's better than most.


6/28/2004 06:41:00 PM



(6/28/2004 02:38:00 PM) - Al

Jason of Eau Claire...e-mail me, I seem to have lost your addy. Wondering what you know about the Cavaliers and the Northwoods League, and are you with the group involved?


6/28/2004 02:38:00 PM



(6/28/2004 08:09:00 AM) - Al

I guess I'm not the only one that thinks that Tom Haudricourt is as negative as they come.

...we jokingly referred to Tom as "The Prince of Darkness" because he could always find something to criticize the Brewers about, even when they played a relatively good game.---Drew Olson,s weblog, 5/12/03


I wonder if Drew has attempted to model himself after Tom, or if it's been by osmosis.


6/28/2004 08:09:00 AM



(6/28/2004 12:00:00 AM) - Al

Had to watch the Brewers' game after 6 Feet Under tonight, so it's too late to do anymore writing.

Other than being very curious as to who will go down to make room for Helms, a good day overall. I'd have to say if a trade is not made, Obermueller or Liefer have to be the two favorites, and neither have performed poorly at all.


6/28/2004 12:00:00 AM


Sunday, June 27, 2004

(6/27/2004 11:20:00 PM) - Al

At times this season, batting with runners in scoring position has been an unsuccessful and overwhelmingly frustrating chore for Milwaukee Brewers batters.--Drew Olson, JS, 6/28


And yes, that was the recap of the Brewers' win today, their 2 out of 3 series victory, and their 5th series win out of their last 6. But, no, I don't think the JS is overly negative. Not at all.

FYI, another note you won't see in the negative nellie paper: The playoff contending, 1st place Twins drew 80K for the 3 games versus the Crew, a week after the Brewers drew 99K for the 3 games versus the Twins.

Can you imagine how bad it would be if the Brewers were struggling?


6/27/2004 11:20:00 PM


Saturday, June 26, 2004

(6/26/2004 11:10:00 PM) - Al

Looks like I missed a good game while working tonight. Victor Santos, who woulda ever guessed? Everyone hit except Counsell and Bennett at the bottom of the order. Grieve on base 4 times, even Liefer with a HR.


6/26/2004 11:10:00 PM



(6/26/2004 11:06:00 PM) - Al

With Scott Podsednik mired in a deep sophomore slump--Tom Haudricourt, 6/27 JS

I'm not certain if Tom is an idiot or just a very unhappy man.

Pods, '04---.332/.410
Ave CF, '03-.340/.427

So, Scott is just slightly below the average offensive production for a CF, but "in a deep sophomore slump"? Tom needs to take some happy pills, and soon. His inept, negative reporting has no place with this team, a group which has far outdone its talent thus far.


6/26/2004 11:06:00 PM



(6/26/2004 10:08:00 AM) - Al

Sounds like it is very likely the Northwoods League, a summer college league, will be putting an expansion team in Eau Claire, pending some discussion with the union workers who work at Carson Park. Having spent years in EC, good to see them finally moving ahead and putting a fine brand of baseball onto the field.

It seems still up in the air as to whether or not the Cavaliers (a semi-pro team which plays almost every weekend at home against teams, some competitive, some not) will become the Northwoods team, continue on in a lesser form (perhaps as a "feeder" team for the NW team), or disband.


6/26/2004 10:08:00 AM



(6/26/2004 08:44:00 AM) - Al

Wes O with a bad luck start last night, as bloopers and infield hits led to much of the damage against him. Burba looked good in relief.

Spivey is really swinging a hot bat. Ginter had another outstanding PA, and also seemed to be right on the ball. With a tough lefty on the mound, I'd split Jenkins and Overbay up, and actually try to get one of them a day off sometimes. Of course, the Crew lacks RH hitters, one of the downfalls of carrying so many pitchers. Hitters like Counsell and Pods (who got the day off last night) are more likely to be able to contribute with their speed or defense than the Big 2.

Minnesota, after years of contention, draws 24,000 on a Friday night in June, with some of them being Brewers' fans. Ouch.

Doug M must be testy about his subpar offense, as he yelled at Gary Bennett for, I don't know, sliding in hard at 2B? What an idiot. Later in the same inning, Spivey went in much harder and Rivas threw the ball into the stands, and not a peep from Doug.

The Crew looked very uncomfortable with the dirty white roof.


6/26/2004 08:44:00 AM


Friday, June 25, 2004

(6/25/2004 07:46:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Do you see a parallel between the Carlos Beltran situation and what the Brewers faced with Richie Sexson? Comparing what the Royals got for Beltran and what the Crew got for Sexson is kind of fun – especially when you consider that the situations were incredibly similar. Bravo Doug Melvin. Keep up the great writing.



Jeremy



For Carlos Beltran, arguably the best CF in the game, the Royals received good 3B prospect Mark Teahan, above average catcher prospect John Buck, and pitcher Mike Wood, who is expected to start for now, but long-term looks to be a set-up man in the bullpen. Compared to the package we got for Sexson, it's not that difficult to say it would be like Overbay, Capuano, and de la Rosa (2 good prospects and one so-so one). Of course, the Brewers also received a league average 2B, an older but serviceable SS, and a C the Brewers felt could be mediocre playing every day. The Brewers had to take Spivey and Counsell to balance out salary, while KC actually had to send cash to OAK, but got all young, cheap players.

Considering how well Spivey and Counsell have played (while Moeller has struggled a bit), it is easy to say the Brewers got a lot more than the Royals.

I must agree with Jeremy, bravo to Doug. Thanks for reading and writing, by the way.



6/25/2004 07:46:00 PM



(6/25/2004 12:10:00 AM) - Al

The Hardball Times takes the "productive out" and absolutely destroys the tiny bit of merit it may have once had. Hat tip to Crank.


6/25/2004 12:10:00 AM


Thursday, June 24, 2004

(6/24/2004 11:44:00 PM) - Al

Just a quick mention of how well Junior Spivey has produced when he's been healthy. His .371/.421 line makes him attractive to almost any team that needs an above average 2B, as a mediocre 2B had a .334/.403 in 2003. Considering Weeks is supposedly the long-term answer at 2B (though I have my doubts), and Ginter can play there in the interim, anything we get for Junior can only help this team.

Oh, how nice it would be to get a top C prospect for him, huh?


6/24/2004 11:44:00 PM



(6/24/2004 11:25:00 PM) - Al

Al,

I just found your site. Keep up the good work. I know you are a Ginter fan, but do you know his whole story about how he fought to make it to the bigs? It's pretty amazing.

Keith started all four years at Fullerton High in one of SoCal's best baseball leagues. He had that same swing compact swing as a Freshman, and the same approach at the plate. He rarely swung at the first pitch and always got something good to hit. He also had a terrible looking mustache at age 14 and gigantic forearms.

Keith ended up setting the career home run record for Orange County, which is no small feat (his record has since been broken). It is arguably the best baseball county in the country along with San Diego and Miami-Dade. He had ridiculous career H.S. numbers. Scouts looked at him, but passed over him in the '94 draft. At this point he was only about 5'8 or 5'9. No Division I schools offered him a scholarship, so he headed to JC.

He did well at the JC's, earning all-conference honors twice. Again, he didn't get drafted and no D-1 schools offered. Finally Texas Tech had a scholarship open up (possibly a partial, I'm not sure on the details here). He wasn't expected to start.

In his first year at TT, he was a first team All-American. I'm sure he expected to get drafted, and drafted fairly high.
Despite the All American exposure, he was completely passed over in the '97 draft. Not a single team took a late round flyer on him. I guess they thought he was small and a defensive liability.


He finally got drafted in the 10th round after his senior year at Tech. He did well in the minors, had a huge year in AA but was stuck behind Biggio in the Astros system. When Biggio was ready to give up the 2B job, the 'Stros signed Kent. They told Keith to learn to play 3rd. As soon as he became proficient at 3rd, he was shipped to the Brews. He earned the starting nod at 2nd, and they immediately sign Spivey.

A pretty tough road for the guy. A lot of people would have given up under similar circumstances. It also shows how hard he's worked on his defense. He went from a defensive liability in college to a guy that can play 2 positions in the bigs. Anyway, thought you'd appreciate his story. I don't think anyone has done an article on his background. Why do I know all of this?

He used to hit bombs off me in high school.

Rick


I did not have any idea how Keith was passed up FOUR TIMES in the June draft before Houston took him. Simply put, the MLB draft is a crapshoot, and player after player gets missed...and I would bet much of it had to do with Keith's lack of height...which is as stupid as it gets. 5-6, 5-8, 5-10, who cares? It's baseball, height is pretty much as unimportant as it gets.

Rick, glad you found the site and passed on your firsthand Ginter knowledge. It also helps explain why Ginter happily signed a 3 year under market contract this past winter, after years of never receiving an opportunity, he's just happy to be in the bigs, and wanted to secure a couple million dollars while he could. More power to him. I've been on the Ginter bandwagon long before it got crowded, ever since I saw him working the count and driving fastballs back in September of '02.



6/24/2004 11:25:00 PM



(6/24/2004 11:11:00 PM) - Al

I found this seemingly very knowledgeable article written about the incredibly small chance of a military draft occuring in the near future. As much as you hear about the possibility of it, the odds of it happening seem nearly nil. Only a World War 2 scenario makes it even worth discussing.

It's long, but well worth your time. It takes many points you've heard and puts them together, and makes strong points. The fact that reenlistment is very high (the Air Force is having to pay guys to retire early), and recruitment is also excellent (if you sign up today, you will be unable to begin basic training until 2005) goes pretty much unreported.

The military appears as strong and battle ready as it ever has been. Call me an optimist, but the best seems to be improving steadily.


6/24/2004 11:11:00 PM



(6/24/2004 09:57:00 PM) - Al

Tom Haudricort called today's loss "brutal", which is a lot to say about a 3-0 loss that concluded a good homestand. Tom seems to be one of the most down people I'm aware of in existence, as both he and Drew Olson have been extremely negative in their opening paragraphs of late...sadly, even after Brewers' wins.

The humorous thing is, the Crew just finished a 7-5 homestand, which is an 89 win pace over 162 games. Tom, of course, covered the Sexson trade as if his mom had been dealt. Tom, as well as many folks, were incredibly incorrect then, and he isn't learning a whole lot as time goes by.

This is a team that is still playing over its head, and has resisted the temptation to rush any of their prospects, and starting their arby and FA clocks earlier than necessary. Attendance is up about 20%, and would seem to be on a 2 million fan pace. These two can be as down as they desire, the light at the end of the tunnel is bright.

I just wonder if they both have bothered going to the park every day, or if one or both is covering the game from the office...as Drew has admitted to doing in the past.


6/24/2004 09:57:00 PM



(6/24/2004 11:19:00 AM) - Al

A link explaining the first of what I'm sure will be many "explanations" of the various "kinda sorta truths" Michael Moore used in his new movie. I've said it before, I've never really "got" Moore's stuff, though I have only seen his one film, Roger and Me. While it was humorous at times, his basis seemed to be that GM should turn its back on their shareholders to keep a less profitable auto plant in Flint, MI...because that'd be better for Flint's economy, which, at best, seemed....odd.

GM's only responsibility is to maximize profit, because they take the risk of loss. Making decisions to lose money (or to profit less) is nonsense.





6/24/2004 11:19:00 AM



(6/24/2004 09:45:00 AM) - Al

A nice article over at Diamond Mind about the Brewers, fascinating pitching stats as well. I don't think Capuano has "underperformed", but other than that, very factual.


6/24/2004 09:45:00 AM


Wednesday, June 23, 2004

(6/23/2004 08:58:00 PM) - Al

Thoughts from tonight's game thus far...


...I really like the slap attempt Capuano tried. Not only is a sac bunt almost impossible with the infielders charging like that, it'll slow them down next time, as well as appearing on the advance scouting reports.

...I really dislike playing the infield in with men on 2B and 3B and no one out. Down 2-0 isn't a big deal at all, especially that early in the game (I believe it was the 2nd). Caps pitched very well after that, I'll take 3 runs in 7 any night.

...I'm surprised we didn't PH for Caps in the 5th, down 3-1, 8 relievers available in the bullpen.

...Many of the pitchers I yearned after last winter (Lidle especially, Estes as well) are really doing nicely. I may have to revisit that series of posts.


6/23/2004 08:58:00 PM



(6/23/2004 10:23:00 AM) - Al

Good post at Cheesehead comparing the Twins and Brewers' defense. Hunter and Doug M are both very good, but the rest of the Twins are getting by solely on reputation.


6/23/2004 10:23:00 AM



(6/23/2004 08:07:00 AM) - Al

Al,

Question related to your post of yesterday. How long can the Brewers carry 13 pitchers? As you have stated a couple times, the proper number is 11 or 12, probably 11 considering how well the starters have pitched. I understand that all have pitched pretty well, and that only a couple have options. But, at some point, you need to set up the roster to win as many games as you can.

Thanks for your views. You have been optimistic before it was cool!

Jon



Season ticket holder and semi-regular Jon with a well though out question. I assume a pitcher will be sent to Indy, DL'd, or traded when Helms returns, and that's next week, Tuesday. I've said a few times that despite how well he's pitched, Mike Adams is an easy demotion, as he has already used his option for '04.

I can't see any of the pitchers clearing waivers, maybe Burba, but I doubt it. I guess if it were me, I'd simply keep working the phone lines, try to pick up a prospect for Burba or another veteran who is both low on the totem pole and unlikely to be kept on the 40 man this offseason; while sending Adams down to get regular work for now.

It sure is a nice problem to have, after years of looking to AAA and not seeing anything but a hope and a prayer, the Crew has plenty of pitchers throwing well.

UPDATE: Wes Obermueller has options as well, and would be a great rotation reserve to have at Indy as well. Wise could easily step into his 5th starter spot. Wes would likely benefit from pitching every 5th day, and not being skipped. Other than some top prospects that teams have at AAA for development only, I can't imagine many clubs have SP depth at AAA any better than Hendrickson and Obermueller, if he were to go down.


6/23/2004 08:07:00 AM



(6/23/2004 07:45:00 AM) - Al

Time to mention the DevilRays amazing 12 game winning streak. I feel this is a team that is much closer to a 21-34 club than one that is capable of winning 12 straight, but at the very least, it is nice to see the fans of the Tampa-St. Pete area having something to talk about. Even with its outdated dome, I've felt it was a gold mine, should they ever contend.

As far as the team is concerned, I feel they are building with an emphasis on '04, a strange way to put a team together. Tino Martinez and Fred McGriff both hold down roster spots, and will not be a part of the next winning D'Rays team. They seem to be a few games better than their expected record, so they've probably been a bit lucky as well (you have to be to win 12 in a row). Needless to say the chances of them catching the Red Sox and Yankees are {ahem} slight.



6/23/2004 07:45:00 AM



(6/23/2004 07:37:00 AM) - Al

HBO belatedly corrects an inaccurate report from months ago.

I do believe, the audits that were conducted by the state had to be the biggest waste of time and money I've ever seen, but it was good to get the truth about a couple issues out in the open, and this was one of them. Silly conspiracy theories about the Brewers having millions in sofa cushions were not believable, but still thrown around by the uninformed.


6/23/2004 07:37:00 AM


Tuesday, June 22, 2004

(6/22/2004 07:20:00 PM) - Al

Cleaning up the e-mail:

Al,

Curious as to how long the Crew has to remain "in the hunt" for you to be in favor of adding some payroll and major league help to the roster. I pretty much am in your camp, that this is not a playoff team, but as of today, they are only a game or two out of the wildcard spot. If they were still in that same spot, say come July 27th, would you pull the trigger on some deals? Now, I'm not suggesting we trade Fielder or Weeks, that would be absurd. But, with Krynzel in AAA and Posednik in the majors, Gwynn would be available in my eye. I'd say the same with some of the "second tier" talent among the pitching staff currently in AA, or a lower echelon AAA arm like Liriano.

Bob


Al,

With the Brewers near the wildcard spot, do you see us as buyers or sellers come trading deadline time? Is it possible we'll be both? Trade Spivey or Counsell, while adding an everyday RF perhaps? Love the Ramblings.

Bryan


Thank you to the B's for reading and writing. Bob actually wrote last week, but his numbers are still accurate. Personally, I would not dream of trading any of the top 25-30 prospects. Many of those guys would be top 15-20 in the system they were dealt to if the team that received them had a mediocre or below group of minor leaguers. That would leave the pickings pretty slim for other clubs. Now, I would see if anyone had any interest in dealing some role players, a catcher that can hit for example, a RH Ben Grieve. I would not be willing to add a whole lot of salary either.

I'd shop only spendy players that we have a replacement for. That's pretty much Spivey and Counsell...though you could imagine a couple other names being added, depending on if the Crew remains in the hunt for the wildcard, Vizcaino would be the one I would shop hard, as Luis is very replaceable and won't be cheap after this season.


6/22/2004 07:20:00 PM



(6/22/2004 04:58:00 PM) - Al

On the MIA status of RUTT member Jeremy Giambi...

Al,

From June 18th:

"The Dodgers' Jeremy Giambi, a Las Vegas resident who has had an injured back, is expected to continue his rehabilitation at the Dodgers' spring training facility at Vero Beach, Fla."

Google is a good place to look for info like this.

Dave


I was simply too lazy to look it up, as I'm sure I would have got 1500 matches for him, as his brother Jason shares his last name, obviously. Thanks for doing the leg work, Dave.



6/22/2004 04:58:00 PM


Monday, June 21, 2004

(6/21/2004 05:52:00 PM) - Al

The Twin Cities media simply couldn't pile on enough superlatives to describe how nice Miller Park is. Of course, they are trying to get a deal in place to get a new stadium done in the Cities, but are having little luck getting it passed in the very liberal state. The most heard phrase was:

I wish we could take it home with us.

I'm sure they do.:) However, there's the little matter of them ponying up $400 million or so. They have many options on the table, you hear rumors of a ballpark being part of a huge casino complex by the Mall Of America, for example, which would be a wonderful idea, if it were legal. I've suggested a hotel room tax increase and a higher tax on players/concert performers, which would mean the vast majority of the "tax" would be paid by out-of-towners (as well as some user fees and naming rights), but such ideas seem to be far beyond the realm of the Gopher state.


6/21/2004 05:52:00 PM



(6/21/2004 05:40:00 PM) - Al

Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder make the Futures game roster.


6/21/2004 05:40:00 PM



(6/21/2004 01:09:00 PM) - Al

2004 RUTT recap thus far:

CATCHER

Yorvit Torrealba--.325/.443, 768 OPS
Ave. Catcher-------.322/.403, 725

Yorvit is also not disliked by his teammates like AJ is.:) This is a good player for a club that needs a frontline catcher to try and get.

FIRST BASE

Jeremy Giambi has not played in 2004, to the best of my knowledge at least. I assume he has been injured, but can find no documentation on this.

SECOND BASE

Keith Ginter--.314/.426, 740 OPS
Ave. 2B-------.334/.403, 737

Despite slumping of late, Keith is still right about average, and you'd think he'd bring that up as the season wears on.

SHORTSTOP

Marcos Scutaro--.318/.397, 715 OPS
Ave. SS---------.325/.399, 724

If nothing else, 2004 will be fondly hailed as when Scooter finally got a chance to show he could play every day, and be league average while doing so. While certainly capable as an everyday player, Marcos is probably best suited to be a IF reserve, as he can play 2B/SS/3B. The idea big contracts go to crappy hitters like Neffi Cruz while Scooter wasted away in AAA for 2000+ AB's bothers me to no end.

THIRD BASE

Brandon Larson--.310/.342, 652 OPS
Ave. 3B---------.329/.421, 750

Brandon has barely got off the bench for the Reds, and I still think he'll succeed if he gets the PT. Reserve choice Mike Lamb has done very well for the Astros.

LEFT FIELD

Jason Lane--.345/.419, 764 OPS
Ave. LF-----.356/.466, 822

Jason will at least finally get his chance, as Hidalgo was shipped off. Lane is a perfect example of a guy just not getting his opportunity, and for no real reason that anyone outside of HOU can see.

CENTER FIELD

Lew Ford--.386/.502, 888 OPS
Ave. CF---.340/.427, 767

Why yes, that is the Twins signing Stewart, Hunter, and Jones all to long-term deals with this kid waiting in the wings. Sadly, he'll be back on the bench soon.

RIGHT FIELD

Mike Cuddyer--.309/.418, 727 OPS
Ave. RF-------.350/.459, 809

Mike was playing regularly at 2B with Rivas was hurt, but since Luis has had a good week, that will likely cement his spot for the next decade. Mike needs a team to give him a spot and leave him alone.

DESIGNATED HITTER

Jack Cust has only one major league AB. His power numbers may have been artificially high having played in Colorado, but his OBP is solid. Needs a chance to get on base at a nice clip.


6/21/2004 01:09:00 PM



(6/21/2004 12:13:00 PM) - Al

Hopefully, I will be back later today with a review of the '04 RUTT team, as well as a brief recap of the weekend. The foks in MIN are extremely jealous of Miller Park, as they could not use enough kind words to describe it.


6/21/2004 12:13:00 PM



(6/21/2004 11:06:00 AM) - Al

THIS YEAR (34 dates): 743,804 (21,251 avg.)
LAST YEAR (34 dates): 605,696 (17,306 avg.)


The Brewers now just under 4K a game over last years average. This with 10 Cubs' midweek games to go, and several weekend series as well. 2 million is still not "in the bag", but it's looking more promising every day.



6/21/2004 11:06:00 AM


Friday, June 18, 2004

(6/18/2004 10:03:00 PM) - Al

Allow me to say that the safe call at 1B in the 9th may have been the most obvious missed calla I've ever seen. Ouch.

I'm out for the weekend, off to the Twin Cities for a wedding (insert happiness here).


6/18/2004 10:03:00 PM


Thursday, June 17, 2004

(6/17/2004 09:27:00 PM) - Al

RUTT member Jason Lane finally gets a chance to play every day, as Hidalgo is dealt to the Mets for David Weathers and a AAA reliever.

I saw this teaser on ESPN:

Hidalgo to Mets for 2 relievers

I said to myself, as much as Hidalgo makes, Weathers must be one of those relievers. Even with Dave's $3.9 million salary, the Astros still had to send the Mets $4 mil to balance out the prorated difference.

I find it comical that the Mets paid Dave $10 mil over 3 years, and have been trying to trade him on a daily basis ever since. Scroll down to the Brewers' bullpen, and look how they were found. Paying big money for relievers is like spending hours and money on your lawn care: It's silly and a huge waste of funds. Almost every pitcher that's starting (and failing) consistently in AAA right now can have some success in a major league bullpen, as they only have to face each batter once and they can usually get away with their two best pitches. A journeyman like Mike Buddie can easily post a 4ish ERA in the bigs, and a good middel reliever like Weathers can be expected to have a 3ish ERA. If they pitch 70 innings:

Buddie type--31 runs allowed
Weathers-----23 runs allowed

Using the simplistic 1 win = 10 runs rule, Weathers is about a game better. Considering Buddie types cost $300K, and the Mets paid Dave an average of $3.3 million, the Mets paid about $3 mil for that win. They overpaid for mediocre relief, and they realized it almost the second they signed him.


6/17/2004 09:27:00 PM



(6/17/2004 08:52:00 PM) - Al

Gil Meche has been pitching very nicely since being sent to AAA. Gil has a world of talent, but has always been inconsistent. This may be a good time to ask the Mariners if they'd be interested in swapping a low ceiling fella for Meche, who can work out his game in AAA. SEA actually has nothing to lose by inserting him back into the rotation, as they don't appear to have a prayer of contending in '04. If memory serves, Gil is making good money this year, I think about $2 mil. A cheap plus arm (Kinney?) might do it, if Doug has the funds to work with.


6/17/2004 08:52:00 PM



(6/17/2004 08:51:00 PM) - Al

As briefly mentioned, Wes Helms will spend 6 games in rehab at Indy, then return to the roster 6/29.


6/17/2004 08:51:00 PM



(6/17/2004 07:20:00 PM) - Al

How the Brewers stack up so far:

OVERALL

Actual record: 33-30
Expected record: 33-30

Runs scored: 285
Expected runs: 288

Runs allowed: 271
Expected runs: 262

To be honest, this team has won 3 games they really "shouldn't" have. I'm the first to say that runs count the same whether they're scored in the 1st or 9th...but,

1. Larson's error gave the Crew a chance to make the comeback.
2. Comeback from 9-0...it's hard enough to score 10 runs in a game, for heavens sake.
3. Down 5 in the 9th versus MON, c'mon.

Kolb has only blown one save, which is less than you'd think. To me, I look at this team and see a 30-33 or a 31-32 club. Granted, the expected record (based on runs scored and allowed) puts us right where we should be, but I still see this as a sub .500 team, that's been fortunate.

OFFENSE

OBP--12th
SLG--14th
OPS--13th
R----9th (about .15 runs per game away from 12th place)
BB---4th
K----15th (2nd most)
SB---1st
CS---14th (3rd most)
SH---9th

Very little has been said about the steals, though Pods accounts for about 60% of them. The rest of the team is about 21 of 37, less than the break even rate of 67%. Other than Counsell, they should pretty much stay chained to the base. Once again, it is great to see this club taking pitches and walks. I think the only thing keeping them from the bottom 4 in runs scored is all those walks. I can't find where sac bunts by non-pitchers are listed, but I'm sure the Crew would be low in those as well.

PITCHING

ERA--4th
BB---4th
K----6th
HRA--2nd
G/F--6th
WHIP-1st
OBPA-1st
SLGA-4th

Can you believe this team does not have a single number in which they are in the lower half of the NL? And, how nice is it to have the top OBP against in the whole league? Remember the days of Lopester and Grumpy Stewart, in which Ben Sheets would pitch around Jeff Bagwell, with two outs in the first inning, with no one on base, to face Lance Berkman (while Bill Schroeder would say affirmatively, "Can't let Bagwell beat ya"). When they'd pitch around almost any batter with a man on 2B and one out, to set up a double play? When the starter would be getting rocked, several runs in, men on base, and Lopester would say something to Grumpy, Grumpy would yawn, stretch, walk dejectedly to the phone, call the bullpen...and then he and Lopester would have a 15-30 second conversation about who should get up? Like it had never once occurred to them to plan for this? And Grumpy would never visit the mound to give his guys advice, or just a breather, because "I want 'em to work it out themselves".

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah, I'll be the first to say that those teams had less talent, but Maddux and Yost do seem to be getting the most out of it. Lacking a LH reliever or two hasn't hurt a bit, and this should be noted more often. Also, remember at the end of March, Doug Melvin said the team needed more guys that could go more than one inning, and with the exception of Kolb and Vizcaino, every bullpen member can do just that.

The one thing I can say is that I simply can't see this team...or hardly any other team, having prolonged success with 13 pitchers, including 8 in the bullpen. Looking at this past series; Brooks, Wise, Bennett, and Burba didn't pitch at all, while Adams only pitched one inning. With the way the starters are going right now, 11 would be plenty. But, supposedly only Adams and Wes O have options remaining, while Wise might, depending on who you ask. One will almost certainly go down, or be DFA'd when Helms returns, which will be 6/29. All are pitching well, and certainly no one would clear waivers (Burba might be the only one that wouldn't be claimed by multiple teams, due only to his age).

Who would have ever guessed Santos would have this good of a run?

FIELDING

Fielding %----8th
range factor--9th
zone rating---6th

Middle of the pack on all three.

There isn't a whole lot much more boring than discussing mediocre defense, is there? Although, I'm sure if something is worse, Oprah talked about it today.


RECAP


Just for the fun of it, let's take a look at how the Brewers have acquired this pitching staff that's overachieved thus far:

Sheets--1st round pick
Davis---minor league FA
Santos--minor league FA
Capuano-part of Sexson trade
Wes O---part of Leskanic trade

Kolb----minor league FA
Vizzy---traded for Jesus Pena (TEX and OAK dealt Luis because he was out of options)
Adams---undrafted FA
Bennett-Rule 5 pick
Burba---minor league FA
Brooks--minor league FA
Wise----minor league FA
Kinney--part of minor league trade

Simply astounding. With the exception of Ben Sheets, the Brewers have assembled a team full of players no one really thought much of. Seven of them were available for almost nothing at one time or another. Bennett and Viz were both picked up for less than a bag of magic beans. There are two lessons to be learned here:

1. Doug Melvin seems to have a niche finding unwanted gems.

2. Never stick your nose in the air and think you're too good to pick up players who have failed elsewhere. For whatever reason, some players take longer to develop. I find it funny many folks were all upset we picked up Peter Bergeron, a former top prospect for the Expos. No, 26 year-olds who can run and play defense are not exactly an endangered species...but I'd a lot rather take a chance on a former "can't miss" prospect than a "never was" roster filler type.

I still feel the offense will finish the season about average, which means they will improve in the just under 100 games that remain. The pitching will get worse, though they have incredible depth, especially compared to previous Brewers' teams. Defense will stay mediocre. I feel my preseason guess of 75 wins still looks to be an accurate one.


6/17/2004 07:20:00 PM


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

(6/16/2004 10:52:00 PM) - Al

Worked tonight, but got to see the final 4 innings due to the lengthy pre-game ceremony honoring Paul Molitor.

The pitching continues to be excellent, Davis, Vizcaino, and Kolb held SEA to just a run. Overbay and Pods with good offensive games, and Bill Hall with a PH HR for insurance.

Be back tomorrow evening with a rundown of where the Brewers rank on offense and pitching.


6/16/2004 10:52:00 PM


Tuesday, June 15, 2004

(6/15/2004 10:45:00 PM) - Al

I guarantee we'll take this series back to LA.--Kobe Bryant

So much for Kobe testifying at his trial...I believe it was George Costanza who said people this stupid shouldn't be allowed to live.

I still giggle when I think back to Stephen A Smith saying how awful both the Pacers and Pistons were. Defense never has a bad shooting night. Whenever you see folks wondering why no one scores 100 points a game, take a look at what wins championships.

And on a personal note, I believe Shaq and Kobe are two of the biggest underachievers you'll ever see. Shaq should spend 8 hours a day shooting thousands of free throws, and Kobe should just shut the hell up.

They whine so much, you'd think they were French.


6/15/2004 10:45:00 PM



(6/15/2004 09:37:00 PM) - Al

Talk about a reversal of fortune...Santos was horrible his last outing, and very solid tonight. Kolb again gets the save without a K. 24K see the game, and you'd expect more tomorrow night, as Molitor's HOF ceremony will draw in a few fans. Jenkins and Overbay both with 2 hits, Lyle with a pair of doubles, still on pace to break the MLB mark for two base hits. Spivey seems to be seeing the ball a lot better, as is Brady Clark. Ginter with the night off after struggling over the weekend, but Hall is playing plenty well enough to deserve that time.


6/15/2004 09:37:00 PM



(6/15/2004 08:55:00 PM) - Al

The Crew signed Lenny Leclercq, their 11th round draft choice, to a $100K signing bonus, plus money for college. That is well over normal expected value (which is likely about $60-70K for a 11th round HS player), proving once again the Brewers are very serius about spending money to keep their farm system near the top of the game. Leclercq was probably a 5th-7th round choice talent wise, but some doubted his signability.

The Brewers chose 7 Canadians in the draft, and none of them can play this year, due to a shortage of work visas. The Crew chose to take many "draft and follow" players, mostly junior college types whose rights they'll control until next year's draft.

And, they took many players, like Leclercq, that will take well over slot money to sign. Nothing wrong with that at all in my mind. I'd rather have two good players than five mediocre ones any day. Other than taking a chance on the two HS arms in the first two rounds, I think it was a very well run draft. And if one of those two top choices beat the odds and develop into a major league pitcher, it was a gamble that will pay off wonderfully.


6/15/2004 08:55:00 PM



(6/15/2004 08:33:00 PM) - Al

A touching story about how President Reagan helped a kid get his final wish.


6/15/2004 08:33:00 PM


Monday, June 14, 2004

(6/14/2004 09:18:00 PM) - Al

If you missed the season premiere of Six Feet Under, you missed one of the best ever. They tidied up all the details of last season in 60 minutes, and did it with a lot of humor and "unique" behavior. It's as good a drama as Seinfeld was a comedy...that's about as high a praise as you can give a show.


6/14/2004 09:18:00 PM



(6/14/2004 09:02:00 PM) - Al

I usually don't get Bill Simmons, a very popular ESPN Page 2 columnist, but he writes a funny, truthful piece about the fact it's been 10 years since 12 idiots found OJ Simpson not guilty.

I recall Bill Maher doing a funny bit on the trial

One glove at the murder scene, one glove at his house, it's like a 5 minute Columbo episode

and like most humor, it's so funny because it's true. As Simmons points out, the defense had no case at all, 100 million to one DNA evidence, but if you talk nonsense for days and weeks at a time, I guess the facts get lost in the shuffle. I watched the E! recap most nights, and I thought there was no way a jury could not convict, though they had a chance at a mistrial. Then, word came the jury had reached a verdict 4 hours into deliberations, and I knew there was no way a dozen LA folks, mostly minorities, could ever convict one of the most popular black LA celebs in 4 hours. I hoped against hope, then drove to Merrill from Eau Claire to visit my then fiance, now wife, who was on an internship at the time, as I had Tuesday/Wednesdays as my weekend (yep, I was cool then too!). Before 9/11 happened, I think the one event most people would remember where they were was the OJ verdict, as reports said it was on nearly every radio and TV that was on at the time.



6/14/2004 09:02:00 PM



(6/14/2004 07:25:00 PM) - Al

I return home to find many folks question my prognosticating ability. Three quick things to add:

1. If the Crew averages 35K a game in the 10 Cubs' tilts...and I think it will be closer to 40K or more....they will need to average about 25,500 in the other games. Even September games usually draw crowds in the low 20's in they are meaningless, as do most games in the midweek during the Summer.

2. No one else seems to understand the bonus it is having all midweek games with the Cubs. This means that the weekend games that are against less desireable opponents will still draw decent crowds, as the Astros did. Not that there's anything wrong with HOU, but lots of people that attended have no idea the 'Stos played without Lance Berkman, as he had a death in the family. Most don't know Lance Berkman from Larry Bird. The Cubs will draw 99% of the same crowd they would have, yet leave open the weekend slots, where a team like PIT will bring 30K to the park instead of 20K.


3. Finally, you cannot forecast crowds by taking their average as of today and multiplying it. April and May have low crowds, due to history, weather, and school. Summer crowds are always bigger. Simply taking the average times 81 will give you only what the Crew would draw in a mythical season composed of only early season dates.


6/14/2004 07:25:00 PM


Sunday, June 13, 2004

(6/13/2004 02:49:00 PM) - Al

I'm off to Milwaukee for a meeting, be back tomorrow evening.


6/13/2004 02:49:00 PM



(6/13/2004 12:34:00 AM) - Al

40,223 in the stands tonight, and the Crew is now averaging 3000 more per game than last year. Wow. Over 10K bought tickets today, a habit that fans need to break out of, as it leads to long lines and less selection. The old days of walking up and getting 2 by the 3B dugout are long gone, just like the family owned corner grocery.

Sounds like another large crowd tomorrow, 30-35K range. If you're not working, get out there.


6/13/2004 12:34:00 AM



(6/13/2004 12:30:00 AM) - Al

Kolb still with just 7 K's for the year, in 20 some innings of work. He's doing fine, but he's just not himself.


6/13/2004 12:30:00 AM



(6/13/2004 12:08:00 AM) - Al

You know, I played softball for a decade, and I've never once swung the bat with a fraction of the power Brooks Kieschnick does. And, no offense, but swinging 3-0 with the bases loaded is always a bad idea.


6/13/2004 12:08:00 AM



(6/13/2004 12:01:00 AM) - Al

As Daron & Bill talk about flooding in and around WI, our sump pump has been turning on and off about every hour for the last 24 hours or so. It sounds like our garage door opening, as my dog and I wondered what it was all last night.

Sadly, other than the fact it has "pump" in its name, so we assume it pumps water when the level reaches a certain stage, neither my wife or myself have a clue what a "sump pump" actually does. If it ever causes a problem, I will have to shake my head knowingly as the repair person explains the ailment to me, just like I do at the mechanic, while hoping the fix is 3 digits or less.


6/13/2004 12:01:00 AM


Saturday, June 12, 2004

(6/12/2004 11:56:00 PM) - Al

Other than Junior Griffey, I think Lyle Overbay has as nice a pure swing as any lefty in the game. How did ARI play Mark "I Need To Light Up A Cig On 2B To Make It Around The Bases" Grace instead of Lyle last year? It's one thing to decide after 500 AB's he's not your guy, but to decide that after sporadic playing time and 250 AB's seems to be exactly what ails the D'Backs.


6/12/2004 11:56:00 PM



(6/12/2004 11:37:00 PM) - Al

After being lights out in the 6th, Kinney is being removed in the 7th after just a few pitches, apparently struggling with a sore toe or foot. As one who has suffered for 3.5 decades with bad feet, let me express my sympathy. Currently, I have a corn on the little ball of my right foot (pardom my lack of medical jargon) that can best be described as hellish.

For those of you not up on foot ailments, there are two types of corns, ones that are usually found on the top of your toes, that rub on your shoes; and ones that first from as a callous, then develop a sac of fluid inside that, for reasons unknown, sits right on a nerve. Bumping that on a hard object causes pain that be compared to an unexpected kick in the groin from a steel-toed shoe. I once nudged a coffee table leg and literally felt like I'd been shot, as the pain went from coma inducing to still unbearable minutes later. Soaking it in warm water usually reduces the swelling, and in the past, has led to them going away completely, though this one can be described as a tough bitty, seemingly immune to simple treatment.

Turns out Matt has a blister, and is day-to-day. Heck, I'd consider DLing him just to avoid having 13 pitchers. Of course, the fact that player would probably be Trent Durrington makes it a negligible advantage.:)


6/12/2004 11:37:00 PM



(6/12/2004 11:27:00 PM) - Al

Miller Park certainly looks glorious with a big crowd. I know last October, even the Metrodome looked "OK" packed with fans. I gotta agree with my e-mailer this morning, how long will it be before the JS has a story about the crowds that seem surprisingly large.

Kinney has a 2.16 ERA pitching out of the bullpen. I'll have to look back and see when I first said he'd be more effective out of the 'pen.


6/12/2004 11:27:00 PM



(6/12/2004 11:20:00 PM) - Al

Always nice when a PH gets two PA's because you've batted around in the inning.:)


6/12/2004 11:20:00 PM



(6/12/2004 11:08:00 PM) - Al

Daron & Bill wondering why Jeff Liefer stayed at 2B on a bunt single by Pods. Well, the ball was popped up before it landed safely. Then, Jeff had to make sure the runner at 3B was going home. By that time, it was Jeff's best option to stay at 2B, as you never want to make the first out at 3B.

Later in the inning, Bagwell fielded a possible DP grounder, but took the sure out at 1B, as Bags can barely toss the ball 90 feet. It's one thing to be a below average defensive 1B, as Prince Fielder will probably be his entire career. But, it's another to really, really suck. Ginter then doubled in two runs, followed by a Grieve single that Biggio showed off his girl like arm (no offense to the feminine gender, but other than a few athletes, they do throw awkwardly) with a weak throw home, allowing the runner to take the extra base.

Oswalt allowed to give up 5 runs and responsible for 2 runners as he struggled in the 5th. One or two hard hit balls can be a fluke and/or just good hitting. 5-6 shots means you're done.


6/12/2004 11:08:00 PM



(6/12/2004 11:03:00 PM) - Al

I am exceptionally tired of seeing that Beyond the Glory promo for Mike Tyson. Mike has lived the life most can only dream of. He's made hundreds of millions, spent hundreds of millions, and partied more in a month than I have in my lifetime. Any negatives have been totally brought on by himself, as he will be the first to tell you, he's not a bright man.

I don't really think squandering away more money than most of us will ever see qualifies as a terrible way to spend the first 30 years of one's life.


6/12/2004 11:03:00 PM



(6/12/2004 10:58:00 PM) - Al

Caps looks good tonight, only one earned run through 4+. If he can stay healthy, the rotation, while still far from dominant, suddenyl doesn't have a spot you dread to see. I can't recall the last time that's been the case.


6/12/2004 10:58:00 PM



(6/12/2004 10:48:00 PM) - Al

Just like i used to enjoy watching Ronnie Belliard hit (hard to believe that a guy who sees a lot of pitches is having success, huh?), it's great watching Ginter and Grieve step to the plate. If they swing early, it's almost always a fastball in the strike zone. They take pitches, wear out the pitcher, and aren't afraid to hit down in the count.

For whatever reason, many people see a weak 4-3 groundout on the first pitch as a good AB, but a 7 pitch K as a poor one.


6/12/2004 10:48:00 PM



(6/12/2004 10:37:00 PM) - Al

Jason Lane can flat out hit. The idea the Astros pay Biggio millions to perform not as well as Lane would for $300K is why you don't make personnel decisions based on emotion. Craig is just OK offensively and throws like a 2B playing OF. He is still being paid for his performances that are about a decade old.


6/12/2004 10:37:00 PM



(6/12/2004 10:35:00 PM) - Al

Moeller tries to pick off the runner at 1B and luckily, his terrible throw hit the runner to save a run, at least for now. Sometimes, lucky is better than good.


6/12/2004 10:35:00 PM



(6/12/2004 10:33:00 PM) - Al

Ginter may have just booted his easiest ground ball of the year. Must have tried to bring the glove down too quick to try and get two.


6/12/2004 10:33:00 PM



(6/12/2004 10:28:00 PM) - Al

Caps needs to get ahead of the batters. He hasn't allowed a hit yet, but 2 walks and a HBP has kept men on the bases. I know he can't just fire it down the middle, but he needs to quit aiming ofr the black and hit the outer third of the plate.

You don't shut down the offense by giving them baserunners.


6/12/2004 10:28:00 PM



(6/12/2004 10:26:00 PM) - Al

So Adam Everett sac bunts Biggio to 2B in the 1st, but not in the 4th? That's not just inconsistent, it's downright strange, as one run means a lot more if it's 1-0 in the 4th rather than 1-0 in the 1st.


6/12/2004 10:26:00 PM



(6/12/2004 10:01:00 PM) - Al

Craig Biggio doubled off 2B on a short fly ball. If it would have been a young player, we'd be hearing about it for a week. Craig's poor baserunning got a free pass from Daron & Bill, however.

UPDATE: That was Jenkins' 6th assist of the season, by the way. Often times outfield assists are cheap in nature...line drives on a hit and run, etc; but they help get you noticed. Geoff is a fine defensive OF, but he'll never be top 3. But, errorless streaks and a high number of assists could be enough to sneak in there.


6/12/2004 10:01:00 PM



(6/12/2004 09:54:00 PM) - Al

Caps starts tonight, Durrington sent down to AAA. Trent seems to be a good guy, as the announcers and Yost seem to be in manlove with the guy, but his talents are a dime a dozen...and that might be offensive to the ten cent piece, as Durrington is apparently a poor SS, as the Crew had Spivey play there rather than Trent. He had options, and his only real tool is his speed, which certainly isn't top of the line. I hesitate a bit to only have one reserve IF, but we'll have another soon when Helms returns from the DL, and Brady Clark is apparently the emergency reserve, as he would play 3B.

The Crew does not have a pitcher not contributing, and the least effective would probably be Matt Kinney, who has done nicely in relief, and would have precious little chance of clearing waivers. I'm not a fan of 13 pitchers, but they can't afford to lose one for nothing.


6/12/2004 09:54:00 PM



(6/12/2004 11:22:00 AM) - Al

Al,

So, how long until the JS notices the attendance? I checked your math, and I feel less than 2 million through the turnstile is still possible, maybe even probable, but it's nice to see a bold, optimistic guess. Ramble on, go Crew.

Bradley


I should rename the site, The Bold and the Optimistic.

Truthfully, I had the over/under at 1.95M a couple weeks ago, and now it'd be about 1.98M. But, there's no fun in predicting 2 mil when they have 1.92 mil in with 6 to play. Thanks for reading and writing, sir.


6/12/2004 11:22:00 AM



(6/12/2004 11:18:00 AM) - Al

It was just pointed out to me that Ginter's OBP is down to .319. Geez, it seems like it was .340 a couple days ago. Keith is way too smart a hitter to be in that range.


6/12/2004 11:18:00 AM



(6/12/2004 01:23:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers are averaging almost 2500 more fans a game than they did last year. That puts them at a pace just over 1.9 million. They still have 10 Cubs' games to go, many of which are down to single seats or pairs remaining. All of the Cubs' tilts are during the week, which means more weekend series are available, against teams that normally wouldn't draw as well as the Cubbies. Finally, the team is playing well, still over .500 well into June. We should see a few bandwagon jumpers, and even a few fair weather fans come out.

It's come time to say it...this team should draw 2 million fans this season. 2.1 mil isn't even out of reach.

And to think, many people were concerned last Fall that fans would stay home...due to Ulice Payne's departure. Yes, I can only imagine how many fans were at the game verus the Astros; enjoying a nice win, a cool beverage, a secret sauce filled bratwurst, enjoying the wonderful, still new Miller Park (roof closed on a cool night in June, don't go cheap Minnesota, Florida, and St. Louis)...and saying to themselves,

You know, I'd come to a lot more games if the same guy who was team president last season was still here.

Talk about missing the obvious. Folks that far out of the loop should be banned from commenting on things of which they have no understanding.


6/12/2004 01:23:00 AM



(6/12/2004 12:56:00 AM) - Al

I can't believe the Earth is still spinning, with these Spiderman on deck circles in existence. The smell of marketing and capitalism is good, my friends. Selling your product on the baseball diamond is a good idea, and the only reason it's not on the bases is incredible short-sightedness.

We'd still be playing with gloves the size of your palm if these fools ran the game. They are terrified of change, and many are frightened silly of (gasp) anything that makes the great game of baseball appear to be about money. Last time I checked, MLB teams employ thousands, and not just players. It takes a huge crew to run a team, a lot of full-time positions, and a plethora of part-time opportunities. Turning down free money is just ignorant, and if the sum of money I've heard about is correct (about $150-200K per game), that's enough to support 3-5 middle class families, depending on what part of the country in which they reside.



6/12/2004 12:56:00 AM


Friday, June 11, 2004

(6/11/2004 10:59:00 PM) - Al

Many of us have suspected this, but shouldn't this be a major story? It's coming from the UN, so it shouldn't be biased, right?

Funny this is almost an afterthought. This seems like a major news item to me.


6/11/2004 10:59:00 PM



(6/11/2004 10:38:00 PM) - Al

So, how many innocent people do you have to blow up to get the death penalty?



6/11/2004 10:38:00 PM



(6/11/2004 11:48:00 AM) - Al

Aaron Gleeman reviews the famous Moneyball draftees at The Hardball Times. Considering that the A's saved money drafting the way they did, I still feel they did a brilliant job. Swisher and Blanton will make this draft memorable to the A's even if another player never even makes the bigs.


6/11/2004 11:48:00 AM



(6/11/2004 11:34:00 AM) - Al

You won't see a much better example of how luck decides the outcome of one run games than last night's affair. Kotchman's double down the line was fair by a foot. Guillen pulled an outside pitch, but found the hole anyway. Spivey hits a shot, but it's right at the SS, 6-4-3 DP, game over.

Nothing at all wrong with a 4-5 road trip, especially when you have a chance to win that 5th game. Of course, Daron and Bill looked at it with ultimate simpleness, saying if the Crew could have held on to last night's lead, and the Memorial Day lead, they would have been 6-3.

Or, if they wouldn't have managed 17 innings of scoreless baseball this past Tuesday, it would have been 3-6. Giving the illusion that you'd be a contender if you win every close game isn't very truthful journalism.


6/11/2004 11:34:00 AM


Thursday, June 10, 2004

(6/10/2004 10:04:00 PM) - Al

Not only are Americans (and a few others) still passing by President Reagan's casket, at 11:10 PM Eastern time, C-SPAN still is airing live coverage of it.

It is difficult to imagine a president ever being more loved.



6/10/2004 10:04:00 PM



(6/10/2004 08:57:00 PM) - Al

Rob Neyer makes a good point...scouts talk like idiots. The idea that anyone cares a thing about "thin ankles" or "high rear" is perhaps as ridiculous as you can get.

I'm a believer in drafting tools and stats. Fast guys that can hit, guys that throw 90+ and get guys out. Scouts are needed, especially if you plan on taking a lot of high schooler players, who are being drafted much more on projectability than how well they've performed. I read on one amateur baseball message board that many HS parents were amazed that scouts never asked about, nor cared about stats. Hitting .400 against nobodies means nothing.



6/10/2004 08:57:00 PM



(6/10/2004 08:55:00 PM) - Al

Jayson Stark writes that interleague play is here to stay, and for good reason.


6/10/2004 08:55:00 PM



(6/10/2004 08:35:00 PM) - Al

I've seen more said about the starting time of tonight's game than ever before, I do believe. The Crew obviously would prefer the Angels started the game earlier, about noon Pacific would be good with them. But, ANA could start the game at 11:35PM and there's not a thing the Brewers can do about it.

MIL can request ANA play a day game. For all practical purposes, every team in baseball requests a day game on getaway day. But, the Angels have total control over the starting time...unless MLB tells them to change it for TV purposes.

Bill Schroeder made the point that during his two years in Anaheim, the team often played night games before they had to travel...once playing a night game having to travel to New York the next day. Obviously, ANA wanted to play a night game, so they are. It sucks for the Brewers, but as Bert Blyleven pointed out on many Twins' games, it usually doesn't matter until the 2nd game, as the players are in good shape and often get by on less than perfect sleep. But, after the Friday game, and sleeping Friday night, the players' inner clocks are more confused and trying to adjust.

We'll see.


6/10/2004 08:35:00 PM


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

(6/09/2004 11:54:00 PM) - Al

If the Brewers hang on tonight, they have a 4-4 record on this West Coast trip, with one game left. I know I've seen many a year in which the Brewers haven't won four games in two trips to the left coast.

I still don't think this club will finish .500, and I hope they hit my preseason guess of 75 victories. However, with players doing OK (not as well as I'd hope, but fine) at AAA like Hendrickson and Hart, and others succeeding before injury like Krynzel and Hardy...then an even better group at Huntsville in AA (at least in my opinion, as the AA kids are quite young for their league); it's tough to look at the future and not be optimistic.


6/09/2004 11:54:00 PM



(6/09/2004 11:20:00 PM) - Al

Before the Angels' series began, Brady Clark was hitting .306/.309 for the season, rather disappointing, especially for a .328/.373 career hitter.

As the second game is about complete, let's look at Brady at this second:

2004---.353/.350, 703 OPS, 124 OXS
career-.328/.373, 701 OPS, 122 OXS

There is nothing so unimportant as a player who is "struggling" with less than 100 AB's. Things don't balance out in double digit AB's.



6/09/2004 11:20:00 PM



(6/09/2004 10:13:00 PM) - Al

Geez, Vic Santos has nothing tonight. He's incredibly lucky to have only allowed 2 runs in 3 frames thus far. He's given up 8 hits, and at least 2-3 hard hit balls other than that.

If he can leave having pitched 5 and keep the Crew ahead, we can consider ourselves blessed.


6/09/2004 10:13:00 PM



(6/09/2004 11:24:00 AM) - Al

The Crank has posted his win share analysis of the NL Central. The Brewers are far outperforming what they were estimated at, but as Dan points out, the numbers were based on proven talent, and many of the key contributors (Overbay, Davis) have far exceeded what they had "proven" before 2003.

Check it out.


6/09/2004 11:24:00 AM



(6/09/2004 10:46:00 AM) - Al

So after watching 17 innings of excellent pitching last night, I got up this morning to find at least 2 readers feel just as I do.

Al,

How insanely bad are Sutton and Schroeder? Complaining about how long the game is and how late it is, what exactly does that accomplish?

Matt


Well, it certainly adds nothing to the game, and may well make many people feel negative toward it.

Al,

Did you see the last few innings of the game tonight? For the last 3 innings, Daron did nothing except read e-mails. It went like this:

Daron: Hey, Bob in Hales Corners is still up. Bill, you live in Hales Corners, don't you?

Bill: Yep.

Daron: Rick says he has to get up at 6AM, and he's still watching.

Bill: Good for him.

Daron: Randy says he thinks the Brewers will score next inning and win. Go Crew!

Bill: What time is it back in Wisconsin?

Daron: Uh.......'bout 1:35.

Bill: Wow.

Tell me, how exactly did these idiots win an Emmy?

Joshua



And sadly, Joshua isn't even stretching the truth in the slightest. Unbearable may be the only word to describe the lack of effort. And, yes, Bill apparently had no idea how to figure out the time in the Central zone, and Daron paused long enough to have used his calculator to figure it out. A couple e-mails is fine, as Jim Powell often weaves them brilliantly into his broadcast, usually about prospects, their timetable, or how someone is recovering from injury. But the "hey, I'm still watching" ones weren't entertaining, and they kept doing them like they were gold.

Also, no one failed to mention that Anaheim failed to make Ben Sheets throw a lot of pitches. Ben completed 9 frames in about 105 throws, and a lot of those were in the 9th, after Spivey's error. The continuous talk of "the Angels make contact" does not even bring up the fact they don't make the pitcher work. Ben could have went another couple innings (heck, Dusty Baker might well have had him throw 12).

Also, I didn't hear anyone say a word about the horrendous effort of Vlad G on his throw to the plate in the 17th. He missed the cutoff man by abut 50 feet, and air mailed the throw from the warning track to the 1B area. I'm pretty sure he attempted to throw it all the way home on the fly, which is just horrible baseball. Vlad is simply a terrible defensive OF, and he simply gets less out of his immense talent than any other player that comes to mind, in the field at least. Kotchman caught the ball and had to turn around clumsily. Somehow, Molina had moved up in front of the plate, as often happens when the throws are off, so he wasn't in the correct spot either, as he should have been blocking the plate and forced Counsell to go right through him.

And major kudos to the relief staff; Vizcaino, Adams, Bennett, Kinney, and Kolb all pitched brilliantly, if you pardon Adams for hitting a batter to load the bases. Last night was also a reminder of how incredibly easy it is to handle a bullpen in the AL, with the DH. There's no concern about pinch-hitting or making a double switch, you just bring in your pitcher and hope he does his job.


6/09/2004 10:46:00 AM



(6/09/2004 12:31:00 AM) - Al

Wow. As bad as ESPN has become, nothing could compare you for this Baseball Prospectus "effort", which may well be the most unfunny attempt at humor ever, at least not by a failed WB sitcom.

It's obvious to see why BP decided to make this a part of their free content. Horrible.


6/09/2004 12:31:00 AM


Tuesday, June 08, 2004

(6/08/2004 12:16:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers and all other MLB teams had their amateur draft yesterday and today. I really like the Crew's choices after Round 2, but I'm not a fan of taking HS pitchers in the first 5 rounds, so I'm not enthralled with having to pay 2 young fragile arms in the $3-4 million range combined.

I would have went with Stephen Drew in the 1st round and William Buckner in the 2nd, as both are safer choices. Drew was rumored to be the first overall pick in the draft, and ended up going to the D'Backs. Buckner is a college pitcher with middle of the rotation stuff, who the A's took later in the 2nd. Of course, I hope both HS pitchers the Crew drafted beat the odds and develop healthy and above average. To be honest, I'd be plenty happy if one of them is able to be a member of the rotation come 2010.


6/08/2004 12:16:00 PM



(6/08/2004 08:43:00 AM) - Al

I was watching SportsCenter, but somehow, I am now watching a lame psuedo game show called Hear Say, which is just like Pyramid, only slightly different. Kenny Mayne "hosts", though he doesn't know the rules.

Just when you think ESPN has hit rock bottom, they manage to shovel a little more dirt out of the hole.




6/08/2004 08:43:00 AM



(6/08/2004 08:28:00 AM) - Al

Al,

What about the rumors that Jason Childers requested a trade?

He appears blocked with Kolb in Milwaukee... why not get what help is
available?

Harold



I have read Childers did request a trade, but that is not an official report. Jason has been a dutiful and loyal organizational player for the Crew for almost a decade. For whatever reason, the Brewers did not feel he was much of a prospect for the big leagues. In cases like this, if a major league team asks about him, the Brewers owe it to the player to let him move on.

Childers would be looked at as an 11th or 12th man on the staff, even if was promoted. The Brewers never thought of him as a closer, and by the looks of things, put players they are not real high on in the closer role in the minors. Mike Adams was a highly thought of reliever, and he pitched 2-3 innings at a time in middle relief, then moved into the rotation. The Brewers were much more concerned about building his arm strength than setting Indianapolis up for success. I can't fault them for that.




6/08/2004 08:28:00 AM


Monday, June 07, 2004

(6/07/2004 06:08:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers make a trade of minor leaguers, acquiring former star prospect Peter Bergeron (and a player to be named later) for Jason Childers and Jason Belcher.

I was a big fan of Bergeron a couple years ago, and feel MON's treatment of him is the perfect example of how not to handle a good prospect. He has always produced in AAA (career .356/.372, very good OBP, low SLG), and possesses good speed and good plate discipline. He's still just 26.

However, he has had over 1100 AB's in the bigs, and has a .303 OBP. Uggh. I also like Childers, as I know he just has a good curveball, but I'd rather have a guy with one good pitch than three mediocre ones. If I see a chink in the armor of the Melvin regime, he doesn't seem to be a big fan of pitchers who don't throw hard. Hey, I like velocity as much as the next guy, but I would rather see a low ERA than a high radar gun reading. The real surrpise here is Belcher, who has hit at every level. Childers for Bergeron could be considered a trade of fringe prospects, or for those negative nellies, your crap for my crap, a fresh start for each. But Belcher is a decent player who has yet to fail. Maybe the Expos will send us a young pitcher as the PTBNL and balance this deal out a bit.

UPDATE: According to a poster at Brewerfan.net, Doug Melvin was on a local radio show today and treated the Bergeron trade as a very minor move. Said Peter was acquired to provide CF depth in case Pods went down with injury, and said he wanted to give Childers and Belcher an opportunity to succeed, a classy way of saying the Brewers didn't like either one much.


6/07/2004 06:08:00 PM


Sunday, June 06, 2004

(6/06/2004 09:37:00 AM) - Al

A transcript of President Reagan's much fawned upon D-Day speech can be found here.

We in America have learned bitter lessons from two World Wars: It is better to be here ready to protect the peace than to take blind shelter across the sea, rushing to respond only after freedom is lost. We've learned that isolationism never was and never will be an acceptable response to tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent.


How quickly we forget.





6/06/2004 09:37:00 AM



(6/06/2004 09:25:00 AM) - Al

"France will never forget, she will never forget that sixth of June 1944 -- the day hope was reborn and rekindled. She will never forget those men who made the ultimate sacrifice to liberate our soil, our native land, our continent from the yoke of Nazi barbarity."---Jacques Chirac







6/06/2004 09:25:00 AM



(6/06/2004 08:41:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers are apparently considering a pair of HS pitchers with the 5th overall pick. I'm all for taking the best player available, though I would hesitate taking a HS arm in the first five rounds or so. They simply are too great a risk for me, both for injury and flameout. I heartily admire clubs with the guts to take 'em, but I'd leave the high risk/reward for teams gutsier than myself.

I would, however, try to load up on HS pitchers who have fallen below the 5th round due to signability concerns. If a kid is a 2nd/3rd round choice talent wise, but you can get him in the 7th round, that's like having an extra pick in an early round. Sure, they'll cost more, but the difference is $500K or thereabouts. The Brewers have spent far more than "slot value" over the past few years, and their minor league ranking shows it. If you're counting on your scouting and development to take you to the next level, you can't go cheap.


6/06/2004 08:41:00 AM


Saturday, June 05, 2004

(6/05/2004 08:20:00 PM) - Al

I found these articles a while back, and am linking to them as the 60th anniversary of D-Day is tomorrow.

The postwar problems (aka, it's America's fault they saved us)

We're better off, but...


I just found it ironic that what we now consider to be the Greatest Generation saving the world was looked at negatively in 1946 by the people of Europe. Can you see some parallels?

No baby born in Berlin will survive.

Contrast that with "How many civilians were killed" in the Iraq conflict. Never mind how many were killed in planned genocide under the Hussein regime. If not for the Americans, think of all the cute babies that would have survived in 1945-46 Germany! Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees.

For whatever reason, the US is expected to ride in, free the defeated, then nurse the conquered and the defeated back to health, all the while paying for everything everywhere.

but a great many Europeans feel that the cure has been worse than the disease.

Thanks for saving us from our inability to defend our country, because we do not prioritize defense. However, we are now struggling to rebuild after the war...so it is your fault. Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme!

The unbridled selfishness and complete lack of logic is astounding, both then and now. 60 years ago, our nation suffered mind-numbing death and injury as we began to take back what wasn't ours. After we did so, we happily handed it back to the same folks who had lost it.

And, how were we rewarded? We were criticized mercilessly by those we freed from tyranny. We lost thousands of our finest and were kicked in the shin by the freed as soon as they were able to put their boots on. As we mark this day, let's remember this little nugget of info.

I, for one, am very thankful that we fought bravely and won. And to the military who fought on that beach, in the air, or on the sea that day, or in that war, thank you. Too bad they didn't hear that 6 months after the war ended, isn't it?


6/05/2004 08:20:00 PM



(6/05/2004 07:08:00 PM) - Al

Bill complies a list of Brewers' win shares at The Daily Brew.

I hate win shares, as I find them to be almost fictional and too complex to give any meaning to. However, maybe I will warm up to them someday, and lists like this are always fun to glance at.


6/05/2004 07:08:00 PM



(6/05/2004 06:27:00 PM) - Al

By the way, if you take the expected runs formula, you get:

.325 OBP x .399 SLG x 1805 AB's = 234 expected runs scored

235 actual runs scored

It's not about clutch hitting, it's about getting more guys on base. They've scored almost exactly the number of runs they "should" score. The funny thing is, the whole RISP stat is as flawed as it gets, not just for small sample reasons, but common sense.

Example 1: Pods leads off with a double. Counsell singles him in. Next 3 batters get out.

RISP BA--1.000
OBP------.400
SLG------.600

5 x .400 x .600 = 1.2 expected runs
1 actual run

Example 2: Pods leads off with a double. Counsell and Jenkins pop out. Overbay singles Pods in. Ginter gets out.

RISP BA--.333
All other stats stay the same.

Example 3: Pods leads off with a double. Counsell grounds out 4-3, Pods to 3B. Jenkins grounds out 4-3, Pods scores. Overbay singles. Ginter strikes out.

RISP BA--.000
All other stats stay the same.

So, in every case, the same number of runs score, the same thing occured really, yet RISP is different. In the final example, many would be falling all over themselves praising the Crew for "small ball", yet Overbay's single would have scored the run regardless.

RISP BA is even more meaningless than BA...and that's saying something. The key is how many baserunners you put on base. Baserunners = runs. Sure, you'll have games in which you'll leave 15 men on base, but anything can happen in 9 innings.

Worrying about RISP BA is like wondering if you filled you car up with premium or regular gas when it's on fire. Sure, it's a shame you spent an extra $1.50 on fuel that's now burning, but that isn't the real issue.

OBP is like the insurance you have on the car. I promise you the Expos announcers bemoan their lack of "clutch hitting" every night, but their real problem is lack of baserunners, not lack of ground balls up the middle with men on 2B or 3B.



6/05/2004 06:27:00 PM



(6/05/2004 05:47:00 PM) - Al

I finally took the time to compare some '04 stats to the 2003 numbers.

2004--.325/.399, 724 OPS, 130 OXS
2003--.329/.419, 748 OPS, 138 OXS

I expected the 2004 offense to be better, though that was probably a minority opinion at the beginning of the year. I wouldn't be surprised if the OBP was higher and the SLG was lower. However, seeing both lower is disappointing.


But, taking a look at the pitching stats, allow me to give Mike Maddux a boatload of credit. The differences are simply astounding, and quietly, the staff has gone from the worst Beane Count team (allowing the most HR's and the 5th most walks) to a staff that keeps the ball in the park and goes right after the hitters.

2004 ERA--4.03 (11th)
2003 ERA--5.02 (14th)

An entire run better than last year. Remarkable, to say the least.

2004 BB/G--3.21 (5th)
2003 BB/G--3.55 (12th)

2004 GB/FB--1.29 (7th)
2003 GB/FB--1.11 (16th)

2004 WHIP--1.31 (5th)
2003 WHIP--1.49 (14th)

2004 HR/G--0.94 (2nd)
2003 HR/G--1.35 (16th)

2004 OPSA--.718 (5th)
2003 OPSA--.807 (14th)

2004 OBPA--.314 (3rd)
2003 OBPA--.345 (14th)

Look at the incredible upward movement in all categories. The Melvin plan of finding more pitchers that keep the ball on the ground is working. Fewer baserunners, fewer free baserunners, and more balls kept in the park.

Also, the team is 5th best in WHIP, 5th best in OPS allowed, yet only 11th in ERA. You would expect that the secondary numbers would imply bad luck and "hits in bunches" have led to many of the earned runs. There may well be some improvement yet to come, as the sample becomes larger and, in theory, more representative of the big picture.


As I've said before, and even some letter writers have echoed...it's nice to have a plan.



6/05/2004 05:47:00 PM



(6/05/2004 05:10:00 PM) - Al

The death of any President deserves a huge mention, if you respect the office and the nation, but it's difficult not to have a special place in your heart for President Reagan. The man made it cool to be a flag waver, and is still revered by many of us who love our country.

Thank you for your service, sir.

UPDATE: Returning home from the Little Chute Cheese Festival (mmm...cheese), the TV was still on Fox News, as I listened to some of the weekend investing programs this AM while on the computer. Watching their coverage, the tone was one of reverence and total respect. So, I go upstairs, and ABC has on Reagan coverage as well. Even Peter Jennings is speaking of him as if he was a mythical figure, complimenting him and saying what a fine leader he was, then adding a quiet "even if you disagreed with his politics".

His legend has already grown immensely since he left office, and one would think that will grow exponentially with his passing.

UPDATE 2: I still love the Dennis Miller line about the 1984 election:

When I went to bed, Mondale had 3 electoral votes. I didn't even run, and I almost tied him.

We may never see anyone win 49 states again. It truly speaks of the love the American people had for him in 1984, and for the most part, still have today.

UPDATE 3: The fondness for Reagan on the web compares to that of losing a favorite uncle. Many are saying just what Jennings alluded to, paraphrasing here:

He made me feel good about my country, despite the fact I was not a believer in his policies.

One network pointed out that even in death, Reagan had theatric timing, as his death will be discussed all over the world as we mark the 60 years since D-Day.


6/05/2004 05:10:00 PM



(6/05/2004 09:00:00 AM) - Al

Thoughts from last night's game in San Diego:

---I may be the only one, but I think the building out in LF looks absurd. Reminds me of one of those pretend "historical" (aka old and decrepid) structures. While it is unique, it certainly doesn't make it easy to enjoy the game from LF. Many of the other features of Petco, including the lawn seating, are OK, albeit more flair than anything.

---I'm still shocked at the success Santos is experiencing. He doesn't seem like he's even capable of putting a pitch where he wants it, yet he's given the team seevral decent outings.

---Mike Adams has been superb, and was last night as well. All of his pitches move, and he never throws a pitch anywhere near the middle of the plate, always low and inside, high and outside, but is close enough to get called strikes, as well as batters to swing.

---Both Jenkins and Overbay look to be right on the ball, making good, solid contact. They pitched around Lyle last night to face Ginter, and it worked, but I welcome them to keep using that strategy. Keith is always just a 3-1 fastball away from a huge game, and I'll take all the free runners I can get.

---Liefer did PH in the 9th, and swung at every pitch he saw, a bad sign if I ever saw one. However, he did get a single to LF, so there's no complaint about the result. I was surprised Yost didn't have Durrington PR for him, as the odds of needing Trent in extra innings when you're up 2 runs is minimal.

---Kolb gave up a bloop single and picked up another save. I continue to assert he's not 100%, but he did get the job done.

---Counsell had a nice game as well, and is slapping the ball with more ummph of late. Who would have guessed he was so good defensively at SS? He's been underutilized his entire career. He's actually playing such good baseball, the idea he'll happily sign for $500K-1M to be a utility player in '05 is sounding more unlikely every day.


6/05/2004 09:00:00 AM


Friday, June 04, 2004

(6/04/2004 08:49:00 PM) - Al

Jeff Liefer promoted from Indy, Ben Hendrickson sent back after his emergency start in place of Sheets.

I'll have more on this later, but I would have preferred Magruder, despite Liefer's better numbers thus far. Jeff will be used all but solely as a LH PH, while Magruder is a switch-hitter who can play all 3 OF spots. Also, Jeff has had plenty of major league time and shown he's a .300 OBP man. I just don't see much upside, aside from hopefully a double or a HR once in a while.

I feel it will be an interesting decision when Capuano is set to come off the DL, as there will not be an easy send down or release, unless somebody gets hurt.


6/04/2004 08:49:00 PM


Thursday, June 03, 2004

(6/03/2004 11:29:00 PM) - Al

Devin Harris will be missed, but he'd have to be a fool to turn down $8-12 million guaranteed. He's set for life the second they read off his name, and it sounds like he'll be taken as early as the 4th pick, and no later than 10th-12th.

It was a pleasure, and I'll admit it, I never thought he was a potential NBA player until this past year. 6-3, good defender, point guard skills, and can shoot from the outside or drive to the hoop...what more do you want?

Good luck to Mr. Harris, he'll be missed.


6/03/2004 11:29:00 PM



(6/03/2004 11:22:00 PM) - Al

Richie Sexson has decided to have surgery...out for 2004.

This is why you never, ever, wait until the trading deadline to trade a soon-to-be free agent. ARI may get a draft pick or two, if they can afford to offer him arby.

Richie is the odds on favorite to be the Mariners' 1B on Opening Day 2005. Best of luck to him.


6/03/2004 11:22:00 PM



(6/03/2004 10:33:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers picked up Jesse Harper on waivers today from the Blue Jays. Harper is a 23 year-old who has pitched well in the low levels of the minors thus far. AA pitcher Tim Bausher was DFA'd off the 40 man to make room. Bausher's inclusion on the 40 was a surprise, as he was mediocre in Beloit in '03, was old for the league, and had a funky motion. But, he threw hard and had a nice Arizona Fall League. I'd be surprised if anyone claims Bausher, so I believe he will remain with the Crew.


6/03/2004 10:33:00 PM



(6/03/2004 10:27:00 PM) - Al

Fluff article on the the Brewers' ticket sales, but you can't deny the team has drawn 2100 more fans a game thus far. Considering the team drew 1.7 mil last year, that 2100 fan increase per affair would lead to 1.87 mil. Considering they have 10 Cubs' games left to be played, and a full slate of weekend action as well, it'll either be 2 million, or gosh darn close to it.


6/03/2004 10:27:00 PM



(6/03/2004 07:46:00 PM) - Al

Milton Bradley suspended 4 games for his display the other night. I honestly don't have much of a problem with it, except for the throwing of a baseball out to LF, which could have hurt a fan or player. Others have lost it (Lou Pinella and Lloyd McClendon come to mind) and not been penalized as harshly. And, as pointed out by Jim Tracy, he was baited a bit by the home plate ump, whose name escapes me right now.

I was guessing 2 games, so I'm not sure why it was more than that. Bradley is a bit of an idiot...but he is a dandy player as well, albeit one who has been injury prone. Would I rather have him than a "nice guy" who can't hit? Yep. As the last story shows, many teams are full of losers and if the talent is there, you'll win.


6/03/2004 07:46:00 PM



(6/03/2004 07:41:00 PM) - Al

Who would have guessed the '86 Mets weren't a bunch of choirboys?


6/03/2004 07:41:00 PM


Wednesday, June 02, 2004

(6/02/2004 12:41:00 PM) - Al

All around good game last night. Pods, Overbay, and Ginter all had a couple hits, Grieve with a nice seeing eye RBI base hit, and wonderful pitching. Doug Davis with a gritty performance on 3 days rest (um, how did 2 teams release him last year?), and finished up nicely by Bennett, Kieschnick, and Kolb.

ERA's of the pitchers who threw last night:

Davis---3.13
Bennett-3.38
Brooks--1.90
Kolb----1.31

Jeepers.

Kolb now with 6 K's in 20.2 frames of work. His velocity appears strong (94-95 last night), but he isn't throwing that hard breaking ball like he did in '03.

I'm looking forward to seeing Ben Hendrickson pitch tonight. I doubt if he's ready, but then again, I bet he'd put up numbers as good as Wes O. Short-term, who knows, but it should be fun to watch. The 'pen is rested, as Kinney and Adams are ready to assist to the Vizcaino/Kolb duo.


6/02/2004 12:41:00 PM


Tuesday, June 01, 2004

(6/01/2004 07:53:00 PM) - Al

San Diego is leaning toward taking SS Stephen Drew with the 1st pick in the draft, meaning one more college pitcher may well fall to the Crew.

UPDATE: Supposedly, ESPN is saying this is a done deal.


6/01/2004 07:53:00 PM



(6/01/2004 07:43:00 PM) - Al

Looks like Doug Davis will go on short rest tongiht, with Ben Hendrickson called up to pitch in Davis' spot tomorrow evening. I'd rather see a grizzled vet like Davis go on 3 days rest, so it seems like a good decision.

Sheets has been scratched due to an inner ear infection. I have my first ear infection in a decade as well, so maybe it's going around.:) The thing is, Amoxicillin has gone down in price, now only $4.31 for a week's treatment. I've had a $10 co-pay forever it seems, and thankfully, I've never had to spend the entire amount.

If Sheets recovers as planned, I would assume he'll go Friday night. If the infection is serious enough, he may have to ride down to San Diego, as flying is dangerous for those with ear trouble.


6/01/2004 07:43:00 PM



(6/01/2004 09:38:00 AM) - Al

Mike Hunt agrees Vegas is too good to overlook. While it seems the Expos are heading toward DC or Virginia, MLB should look to get into Vegas ASAP.

I feel that both Vegas and Portland are excellent possibilities, with Monterrey being just interesting enough to consider as well. As I've said before, with MLB starting a renaissance (as yet unreported), it's only a matter of time before those cities who are fighting for the Expos start talking expansion, or relocation.

And, darn it, 32 is just a nice, round number...


6/01/2004 09:38:00 AM



(6/01/2004 09:20:00 AM) - Al

Al,

So, are we the only two folks who are aware of the attendance numbers so far in 2004? According to the paper, it's up 2000 a game thus far. If I'm remembering correctly, I'm sure the Cubs visited in May last year as well, meaning the crowds are bigger despite no Illinois visitors as of yet.

Shouldn't this be big news? I've had season tickets for a long time now, and you can sense the optimism growing daily. I talked to my rep this morning about exchanging some unused tickets, and he said the phones have been going nonstop since he sat down at his desk. Where is the free media coverage?

Finally, thanks again for sticking up for Bud last week. He's a good man, who believes that teams should play on a level field. We're seeing some recognize that his ideas have been good for the game, and we'll see more.

Jon



Jon, thanks for reading and writing regularly. I checked and you are correct, the Cubs had a 4 game series in Miller Park last May. That's a nice point, crowds are up about 12%, and we have 10 Cubs games left to sell.

The JS is too busy wiping the egg off its face, as Haudricourt was extremely negative in both his coverage of the Sexson trade and of the Payne debacle. Think how big the crowds would be if all the folks who liked Ulice would still be showing up, huh?:) Hey, I loved Ulice, until he opened his big mouth and went public with private info. It certainly didn't affect my desire to see the Crew play. The JS simply has no gauge of popular opinion at all, except for Mike Hunt, who seems to be in touch with the common man.

Bud has more fans than most think. He's in an unenviable position, but the game is flourishing, under his watch, with his ideas firmly entrenched in the last CBA. Caple and the like will spin that mightily, but the facts are clear.


6/01/2004 09:20:00 AM



(6/01/2004 09:00:00 AM) - Al

Aaron Gleeman bemoaning the fact the Twins signed Shannon Stewart, he of average LFness, to a long-term deal, and that they still have too many young OF's and two awful middle IF's. I must admit, the Twins have invested a ton in Torri Hunter, who's had one good half in his career, and Doug M (let Ortiz go, have several replacements for him in-house), and still have the same weaknesses they've always had.

I feel there's just too much love for the players they have. Decisions based on emotion are never for the best.


6/01/2004 09:00:00 AM



(6/01/2004 08:51:00 AM) - Al

Sounds like Ben Hendrickson is on his way to LA as we speak, as he has been tabbed to start in place of Ben Sheets tonight. Sheets has been ill and has been suffering from dizziness, apparently. I will guess either Chris Capuano will be DL'd to make room, or Mike Adams will be sent down to Indy. Considering how well Adams has pitched, Caps seems like the most likely victim.


6/01/2004 08:51:00 AM


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