Al's Ramblings



Tuesday, August 31, 2004

(8/31/2004 10:39:00 PM) - Al

So, will the Yankees say the team "quit" after losing 22-0 tonight? Just curious.

No big deals going down for the Crew, apparently, as no press conference was called after the game. Actually, both Luis and Danny pitched, so the chance of a trade going down was nil, I guess.


8/31/2004 10:39:00 PM



(8/31/2004 07:47:00 PM) - Al

Doug Davis has to leave after being hit by a line drive. Ouch.

I assume tomorrow being 9/1, the Crew will be adding another couple pitchers to the roster, for reinforcement sakes. If that doesn't drive the Indy owner over the edge, nothing will.:) Seems he has complained many times about the call-ups, and percieved "not caring about Indy". While you and I both know this is borderline insanity, he apparently thinks Doug Melvin sits up nights looking for ways to screw the Indians.:)

Also, I believe Brooks Kieschnick is returning 9/1 as well.

UPDATE: The 3 names that I'm not embarassed to suggest could be brought up to MIL are Jorge de la Rosa, Dan Riechart, and Ben Ford. DLR was going to come back anyway, and the others would have to be added to the 40 man, though I believe there are 2 empty spots, now that Grieve is off of it.


8/31/2004 07:47:00 PM



(8/31/2004 06:29:00 PM) - Al

Ben Grieve dealt to the Cubs, for cash and a player to be named later.

Good luck to Ben, who seemed like a fine man, and may have resurrected his career in MIL. He will be used as a late-inning PH for the Cubs. Honestly, I doubt if he'll see an inning in the OF.

Dave Krynzel brought up from Indy, and it will be fun to watch Dave hit, run, and field. Supposedly, Dave is as fine a defensive CF as there is in the minors. He's just a baby (I believe he's 21 or 22), but it'll be good for him to spend a month in the majors. Not sure if this means Corey Hart will not be up in September (he has been bothered by a nagging injury), or if he will be up in a few days, when the season ends.


8/31/2004 06:29:00 PM



(8/31/2004 04:21:00 PM) - Al

Thus far on the trading deadline, MIN has acquired Pat Borders, ancient C from SEA; and the Cubs have traded for Mike DeFilice, from the Tigers.

If there isn't more to come, I don't think those two deals constitute a blip on the screen.


8/31/2004 04:21:00 PM



(8/31/2004 12:29:00 PM) - Al

I keep thinking there is going to be some newsworthy item today, as it's the trading deadline and despite rumors that Gammons is inaccurate, I have not found that to be the case, so a sale of the team may well be being talked about, at the very least.


8/31/2004 12:29:00 PM



(8/31/2004 12:24:00 PM) - Al

If you want a recap of convention news from someone in Madison, this gal has it. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link. I saw a tad bit of Rudy's speech, and I don't think anyone has put into words how funny it was, and that he had the crowd laughing like Cosby or Seinfeld would.

UPDATE: An e-mailer informs me this "gal" is a UW law prof, and an expert in Constitutional Law.


8/31/2004 12:24:00 PM



(8/31/2004 11:55:00 AM) - Al

Apparently, Peter Gammons has said the last couple nights on Baseball Tonight that the Brewers will be sold "soon", and/or "by the end of the week".

The resident "insider" on the Brewerfan.net forums has said he has heard nothing. I guess we will find out shortly.


8/31/2004 11:55:00 AM



(8/31/2004 10:50:00 AM) - Al

Sounds like the Crew's AAA team may be in Nashville next year.

The Brewers have given every indication of changing their high A ball affiliate next year as well, as High Desert has been treated like an evil stepchild, not utilized, as most top prospects have been skipped right to AA Huntsville from low A Beloit. Rumor has it they are also shopping for a new low A ball team as well.

Of course, minor league affiliates are hardly a high priority for any team, especially one with dozen game losing streaks. But, there are a few things you'd like to have in the minors, in descending order of importance:

1. Proximity to MIL (especially AAA).
2. Good facilities, for safety and training reasons.
3. Parks that are similiar to Miller Park, statwise.
4. Well run organization, top to bottom.

COL is actually supposedly in contact with High Desert, as it is an offensive paradise, so would actually be an outstanding fit for the Rockies.

Now, let's be honest here, a team could easily get by with the worst choice at each level and still be a huge success at the big league level. But, in theory, if you want to have a top franchise, you should have good minor league franchises as well. Is there a lot of benefits to having the best AAA franchise, as opposed to the worst? Not really. It was wonderful having Indy just a short drive from MIL, but many teams, if you need a replacement quickly, it doesn't work out anyway. If the Crew is in SD and Indy is in Pawtucket, them's the breaks.

One idea I've floated is that if the Brewers were purchased by a Mark Cubanesque billionairre, they could buy a AAA team, build a AAA park in Madison, and have the team play there. Now, would it be profitable? Probably not, very unlikely in fact, but Cuban couldn't care less. Over the course of 5 years, having your AAA team right up the road might be worth a couple wins, and of course, would have rehab benefits, and fan interest benefits. A guy like Cuban would probably look at starting his own cable channel, and using the AAA team to fill dead time. If you've got more money than you can ever spend, blowing $20 million on a team and park that might add an important victory somewhere down the line is prefectly feasible.

Another minor reason that facilities matter is that when you're going after minor league free agents, all you really have to recruit with is money and where they'll be playing. No AAA player would choose to play in Canada, for example, as it's cold and customs is a hassle. Now, if the money is right and he sees an opportunity to make the bigs, they'd play in the Arctic Circle without complaint. But, again, it could be a tiebreaker. If two teams are pretty equal, odds are Ottawa is not as attractive as New Orleans. All that said, BAL happily resigned with Ottawa this year, so I guess they don't mind being there at all.

So, do the minors matter? Slightly. Not a whole lot, but like all things, you'd prefer good to bad. Is it worth getting all worked up over? Nope, not at all.


8/31/2004 10:50:00 AM


Monday, August 30, 2004

(8/30/2004 05:16:00 PM) - Al

The rumor that will not go away.


8/30/2004 05:16:00 PM



(8/30/2004 12:37:00 PM) - Al

Anyone else notice David Weathers was DFA'd by the resurgent Astros? Dave is old, but had a 4.52 ERA this year, which is way above his norms, but still isn't terrible. I could certainly see him helping out a contender as the 10th/11th man on the staff.

Also, on the subject of relievers, Peter Gammons reports Luis Vizcaino was not put on waivers until last Friday, contrary to the normal custom of dumping everyone on waivers early in the month. Hopefully, we'll see a team overpay for Luis, who is arby eligible next year, and while domianting at times, is as inconsistent as a reliever gets.


8/30/2004 12:37:00 PM



(8/30/2004 11:41:00 AM) - Al

Allow me to dry the tears from my eyes now, as I discuss the Crew:)

To be honest, the same couple thoughts have continually crossed my mind in recent days:

1. Daron and Bill have so little understanding of the game, it's hard to believe either one of them ever played it. If one ever wonders why former players rarely make good GM's, examples one and two are in the broadcast booth. I've heard that no blooper should ever fall in, and that outfielders should never dive for a ball so much in the past few days, you'd think it wasn't a total bunch of hooey.

2. Thank goodness this team did not go out and buy some veteran bench players a month ago, and/or trade off some depth from the prospect core.

As is always the case during a downswing, the team is never as bad as you think, just like it is never as good as you think during a winning streak. The one good thing that will come from this is I don't think the words "gritty" or "plays hard" will be heard at the year end discussion of talent.

Heck, not too long ago, there were folks seriously considering picking up the option year of Counsell's contract, at $4.25 million. I like Craig, and I also enjoy a slice of pie once in a while...but I'm not willing to pay $12 for one (although, if it were raspberry, I'd consider it:). Counsell is a nice little player, but is not worth more than half his option amount.

As I was thinking about it last night, contemplating life in my quiet home (cocker spaniel sleeping, 2 year-old visiting his grandparents and baby cousin), it seems much of this offensive team will be back next year. Overbay will be at 1B, Ginter/Hall at 2B, Helms is signed for 3B, Jenkins in LF, and Pods in CF. Barring a major surprise, Corey Hart will be in RF, most likely with Brady Clark in reserve. That really only leaves C & SS as question marks. Much of the improvement/decline will come from within in '05. I've got a couple e-mails asking if I thought the payroll budget will go up in '05, and I doubt it will by much, maybe $35-40 mil tops. Considering many true prospects will be in AAA, just a sore arm or banged up knee away from contributing, I really don't think it should be any higher than that, especially given the fact this doesn't look to be even a 70 win team at this second.

I have no doubt this team is still heading in the right direction. No one ever said the road would be a steady climb to the top. Sadly, the road is full of bumps, dips, and the like. If you are a long-term fan, however, the outlook for the future is still the same as it was in June...it's just that now, the '04 campaign appears to have about 65 wins, rather than 75-80.


8/30/2004 11:41:00 AM



(8/30/2004 11:30:00 AM) - Al

Does anyone else think the demonstrators in NYC do nothing except help the cause they are so against? Tell ya what, folks clogging up streets, blocking traffic, and wasting an entire day...when they could well be working with the Kerry campaign, talking to undecided voters...doesn't play well in the majority of the country. People in the Midwest and South, for the most part, see a group they don't want to have anything to do with.

It will be interesting to note if Bush gets a "bounce" from the convention. In my limited viewings of these affairs, I've always found the elephant party to focus on the flag and patriotism. My question is if enough undecided folks are watching to make a difference. Kerry got a very small bump from the Dem convention, was that because folks were unimpressed, or just not watching?


8/30/2004 11:30:00 AM


Friday, August 27, 2004

(8/27/2004 09:58:00 AM) - Al

I can't believe we're still having this discussion.

Barry Bonds is by far the best player in the NL. If he isn't a unanimous choice for MVP, there are many voters who simply do not understand the game.


8/27/2004 09:58:00 AM


Thursday, August 26, 2004

(8/26/2004 10:43:00 PM) - Al

I think LA just handed the NL East to Florida.---Harold Reynolds, after the Dodgers traded away their "heart and soul", Paul LoDuca, to the Marlins

The Marlins are 9 games behind the Braves, with a month to go. Reynolds seems to have forgotten that chemistry means nothing. If it's not about scoring runs or preventing them, don't bother us.


8/26/2004 10:43:00 PM



(8/26/2004 10:24:00 PM) - Al

FYI if you missed the JS's coverage of it (you know, they have 2 beat writers covering the team), but Chris Capuano was DL'd and Pedro Liriano brought up from Indy. Pedro was brought up because...he is on the 40 man roster. Actually, his secondary numbers aren't bad, but I'm not going to pretend that a 5+ ERA in AAA is derserving of a promotion. Sounds like Ben Hendrickson will be brought up to start next Tuesday, so Pedro's stay may well be brief, though I s'pose the roster will be expanded some after the AAA season ends, which is early in September.

And, to stay optimistic, Liriano has had more success of late after being shifted to the relief corps. Sure, it screams small sample, but I guess it's better than having crappy stats since moving to the 'pen.


8/26/2004 10:24:00 PM



(8/26/2004 09:55:00 PM) - Al

Good to see Portland still after MLB. They were my favorite, and I feel strongly that both Vegas and Portland would be better choices than DC. A good point is made in the link, that while DC, Northern Virginia and Norfolk are all chasing the Expos, whoever wins is likely the only one of the three that will get a team, due to proximity. Any team looking to relocate, or when the inevitable expansion debate is raised again, has to see Las Vegas and Portland as far and away the leaders of the pack, if indeed the DC area gets the team formerly unsupported in Montreal.

Also, despite the fact that several cities/areas have fought for the Expos, it seems obvious that if any one of them had a leader like Norm Coleman, the former mayor of St. Paul, MN, and current US Senator; they would have easily won the Expos long ago. Coleman all but singlehandedly brought the NHL back to the Twin Cities, after it was lost due to the apathy of the public (Oh, they'll never leave). None of the contestants for the prize have a stadium package, none even sold refundable "seat licenses" until this summer. It'll be too little, too late for all but one, and they'll have no one to blame but themselves.


8/26/2004 09:55:00 PM



(8/26/2004 09:13:00 PM) - Al

Thanks for the many e-mails after my "optimistic" outlook post, and I think I replied via Yahoo to all. The main statement that I saw, repeatedly, was (paraphrasing) "I'm disappointed by the last month, but the win total is what I expected."

As I've said quite a few times in the past 30 days or so, many people are only happy if they are unhappy. The really odd thing that I've noticed is the fact that the casual, disgruntled fan is missing the point...completely. Hey, a bad 45 game stretch is a shame, but that's why the 162 game season is such a beautiful thing. But, seeing Spivey go down, unable to be dealt, and now will likely be lost for nothing this winter, hurts. Capuano going down again hurts. Seeing Moeller not take advantage of his opportunity is not totally unexpected, but disappointing. Heck, I'll even throw Billy Hall's numbers out there into this. Hall hasn't done badly (.284/.408), but certainly hasn't made the club think of him as anything but a below average starter and/or a decent reserve with some ceiling. Ginter really showed what he could do after Young was given away last year, and Hall has just done "OK". Actually, it's tough to see a sub .300 OBP and even say it's OK.

Hey, this is a team that's 14th in offense and 10th in pitching. Both are down considerably from before the break. As I said, 162 games separates pretenders from contenders. Simple mathematics.

Personally, I'm still hoping to see a couple trades before August 31st, though they may well be minor. I have no idea if Dan Kolb cleared waivers or not, but considering he's in the midst of a career season, injury prone, and will cost about $4 mil in '05, I'd be shopping him, and hard.


8/26/2004 09:13:00 PM



(8/26/2004 09:07:00 PM) - Al

I don't think Tim Kurkjian meant to, but I think he destroyed any credibility "leadership" had, somehow suggesting Victor Martinez "leads" the Indians to victory by having a different handshake for each teammate.

I can't believe they aren't undefeated.:)


8/26/2004 09:07:00 PM


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

(8/25/2004 10:23:00 AM) - Al

An article on Bud Selig that sticks to the truth and stops just short of saying the game is in its renaissance period, which I've been insisting for ages. The attendance record will be broken this year and next (as Montreal will be replaced with a city that doesn't really, really suck), the new CBA is working to balance revenue, and if you can find someone who will still try and tell you the wildcard is a bad thing, I give you permission to laugh in their face.

Hat tip to Seth Speaks for the link. Great quote by George Will to intro the article as well.


8/25/2004 10:23:00 AM


Monday, August 23, 2004

(8/23/2004 12:49:00 PM) - Al

Hopefully, I will be back Tuesday night or Wednesday, but wanted to post a quick, optimistic view of where the organization is at.

1. Attendance is outstanding. 2 million would appear a cinch at this point, and even 2.1 mil isn't out of the question. Naysayers were saying 500K or 1.1 million, then saying those guesses were "hyperbole". Tell ya what, try not putting such foolish numbers in print then.

2. The #1 ranked farm system is still excellent, and are still waiting in the wings. Only Mike Adams has arrived thus far. Ben Hendrickson has been used, but has not contributed as of yet, as if to prove that 23 year-old pitchers belong in AAA. Any improvement that has taken place has been with Doug Melvin's cheap finds, not through the kids.

3. Melvin has ignored the foolish requests of a minority to improve the current roster by spending more money (pardon me while I chase that 77th win) and/or trading prospects for veteran performers. Doug, like it or not, has a plan, and it does not involve finishing .500 one year and plunging back to the depths of suckiness the following season (no offense, Kansas City).

And of course, they never want to trade the top couple prospects, but those just slightly below. Of course, in a couple years, after Corey Hart hypothetically blows out a knee and is replaced by Brad Nelson (who would have been dealt for a 33 year-old in that quest to finish 4th), the idea that they would have traded Nelson for a bag of magic beans is forgotten.

To be honest, this team is right where I expected it to be. The path taken to arrive here is slightly different, but still, 55 wins is 55 wins. It's not contention, it's not 2002, it's right in the middle...a team that is not yet mediocre, but with light at the end of the tunnel.

So, be negative if you wish. But, don't for a second think that this club isn't where it was expected to be.


8/23/2004 12:49:00 PM


Friday, August 20, 2004

(8/20/2004 10:49:00 AM) - Al

Wednesday night, I left the family at the hotel pool and visited Miller Park. It never fails to amaze me how easily the interstate allows you to get in so easily, with a minimal wait to pay for parking. After paying for preferred and parking as close as I ever have (probably equal to 2 blocks away), I wander up to the ticket counter, hoping to sneak in for less than the $15 standing room fee they charge if no other seats are available. I requested the cheapest way to get in, expecting to never use my seat, and watch the game from the walkway out below Bernie's mug in LCF. The ticket gal tells me that the disabled seats have just been released for the general public, and that it would be $12 for terrace level...Row 5. She mentions section 422, and though I'm not sure where that is, I recall 417-418 are close to home plate, so I feel fortunate to be where I am.

So, I ride the escalators up to the 4th level, and grab a brat and pop. After loading up with onions and secret sauce, I go to my seat. The entire row of chairs and seats is full, so figuring it will empty out closer to the game, I go over to the next disabled section, 426, and sit there. After watching the grounds crew prep the field and eating, about 6:45 the usher came up and asked for my ticket. I told him I was supposed to be over there, but the row was full. He said he'd be over in a bit. So, he then followed me over to 424 (just to the 3B side of home plate, by the way), and proceeded to kick out the entire row, as no one had tickets for it. One elderly couple told the usher they could not get up the stairs, as therer tickets were far up, and he told them to wait a while, and he'd find them a place. So, I took a comfy padded chair, moved it back a ways from the rail, and gave myself plenty of leg room. I couldn't have got a better seat for the money if I had bought it in March. FYI, the elderly couple and I ended up swapping seats, as they ended up in 426, where I had sat when my row was full.

So, the crowd seemed about 55% Cubs' fans, about what I had heard. But, for the most part, the Cubs' folks were simply louder. They were very vocal for the entire lineup, with just slight rises in volume for Nomar and Sammy. Meanwhile, when the Crew was intro'd, the fans fizzled out by the 3rd or 4th batter. I'm sure folks know how the game turned out, so a few other misc. thoughts:

...The lines moved quickly all night. I only had a half-inning wait for a brat and cheese fries later in the game. I still recall my friend Jon going to get ice cream at the Dome in the 4th inning and returning in the top of the 7th.

...More Sosa jerseys than all others combined. His fall in popularity has been greatly exaggerated.

...For all the complaints about Cubs' fans, all I saw were well behaved. I thought it was just a lot of fun, and I find it wonderful that Cubs' fans follow their team on the road. It was an odd atmosphere, as many times, fans were all cheering, say with 2 strikes and the bases loaded. Every hit garnered a huge ovation. I can only imagine it was like a Mets/Yankees game, fans evenly split.

...I do find it surprising how many adults can't read a ticket. Many were still being moved in the 3rd/4th inning, and for the most part, were not sitting in seats better than they had, but were in the wrong section, or wrong seat, or wrong row.

...Surprised how many fans left before the game was complete, though it did go extra innings. Hardly anyone left before the 9th was over, however.

...Isn't it illegal to put flyers on windshields in Wisconsin? I always end up with something after the game flapping in the breeze.

...My hotel was sold out, and it was loaded with Cubs' fans. Good for them, and thanks for the donation to the state.


8/20/2004 10:49:00 AM



(8/20/2004 10:41:00 AM) - Al

the Brewers...have a realistic chance of surpassing the 2 million mark in season attendance for just the third time in franchise history.--JS, 8/20


Not only that, I hear there's some sort of presidential race going on.

It states elsewhere that the Crew have sold 1.9 million tickets already, so it looks like the team will be counting on some good weather and walkups to hit the mark. This weeekend they are only expecting about 75K for the 3 games, so some sunny, warm days might really assist.

Can you imagine how long it would take Drew and Tom to become aware of the going-ons if there was only one of them?


8/20/2004 10:41:00 AM


Thursday, August 19, 2004

(8/19/2004 09:20:00 PM) - Al

Vegas still getting mentioned, along with DC, Northern Virginia, and Norfolk, for the future home of the Expos.

It almost seems to me Vegas just stays in the mix because MLB isn't sure anyone else is going to get a stadium deal in place. With the population growth and huge tourism dollars, I have to believe it is the best home for the Expos, even though I'll admit it is probably a couple years too soon. I also have to believe a stadium will go up as fast as humanly possible in the desert, while others could be delayed by infrastructure and political delays. Vegas is used to huge construction projects, and sees the benefit in continued growth.


8/19/2004 09:20:00 PM


Tuesday, August 17, 2004

(8/17/2004 11:59:00 PM) - Al

I forgot to type in my "be back in a while" message yesterday. I will be back in about a week or so, as I am on vacation, and then have a meeting away from home early next week.

See you then.

UPDATE: And this time, I mean it.:)


8/17/2004 11:59:00 PM



(8/17/2004 11:09:00 PM) - Al

Travis Phelps up, Ben Hendrickson once again gets on the Indy/Milwaukee shuttle. Phelps has had a nice career as a Mike Buddie clone, a cheap, dependable middle reliever. I was surprised he didn't make the team out of spring training, then he missed some time with injury. He has pitched especially well of late in Indy, and should fit in much better pitching out of the bullpen than Ben H.

Phelps only weakness looks to be a bit of wildness, I would assume that is from simply not having the stuff to challenge hitters. If he can put together a good quarter-season stretch, he might win a 40 man roster spot and be a leading candidate for an '05 middle relief spot.


8/17/2004 11:09:00 PM



(8/17/2004 07:21:00 PM) - Al

Just heard that the Eau Claire Northwoods entry will be known as the Express, at least for now. Still polls taking place, with Skeeters and Explorers being considered, among others. I look forward to seeing them set a fine example of what the league is all about. Good to see them move out from under the Cavaliers' "legacy".


8/17/2004 07:21:00 PM



(8/17/2004 07:11:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Just something to ponder. After this Cubs' series, the team will have about 1.6 million in attendance. Last year, they finished with 1.7 million. Still about 15-20 dates left, right? So, if the team was down that much, do you think the JS would mention that?

Sitting home after selling my Cubs' tickets,

Jon


Al,

Love the headline in the article on the Brewers game from last
Sunday..."Kolb blows another save". That's now THREE on the year. Can
they be more negative on jsonline?

Mike




Jon and Mike, thanks for reading, writing, and pointing out the obvious...that the JS is as negative as they get. Some folks are simply not happy unless they are unhappy.

UPDATE: Just under 26K average now, and Daron and Bill briefly discussed 2 million fans in '04 (only a couple months after Ramblings). It's going to have to hit the JS in the face, as they've been oblivious to the obvious all season.


8/17/2004 07:11:00 PM



(8/17/2004 01:51:00 PM) - Al

An Aussie blogger types a detailed report of life in Iraq today. Thanks to Crank for the link.


8/17/2004 01:51:00 PM


Monday, August 16, 2004

(8/16/2004 11:24:00 PM) - Al

Anyone who has ever wondered what war is and about, click here (warning, adult language). Yes, bad things occur, and innocents get caught in the crossfire. Thanks to Crank for the link.


8/16/2004 11:24:00 PM


Sunday, August 15, 2004

(8/15/2004 08:25:00 PM) - Al

A refreshing and gratifying story about how, despite many reports to the contrary, the Army will meet (and likely exceed) its reenlistment goals for the fiscal year, which ends 9/30.

The armed forces are stronger and better than ever before in history, as every single soldier has chosen to pursue it as a job or a career. Scare tactics, always using the word "draft", are as incorrect as they are irresponsible. I'll be the first to say we should add more military folks, but that would need to be approved by Congress. And, should the word that rhymes with shaft come up if that ever occurs, don't forget, they turn down more than they accept.


8/15/2004 08:25:00 PM



(8/15/2004 08:08:00 PM) - Al

IOC (news - web sites) officials, worried by the television images being flashed around the world of athletes competing in near empty stadiums, have told the Athens Games organisers to give tickets away for free if necessary.

On Saturday, the first full day of competition, weightlifter Nurcan Taylan became the first Turkish woman to win an Olympic gold medal but her feat was achieved in a near empty stadium.

On Sunday, tennis superstars Venus Williams (news - web sites) and Andy Roddick, used to playing to packed courts, began their Olympic quest to vacant stands.

Organizing officals tried to play down the crisis, saying that they knew at the beginning of the Games some events would be badly attended because they were not popular sports in Greece.

"As we move on it will be much, much higher," said spokesman Michalis Zacharatos.
"We are very pleased with our ticket sales."

But the International Olympic Committee knows its brand image is damaged by the sight of near empty stadiums.

"It is very important for the IOC that when people throughout the world watch the Games on television, they see filled stands. It reinforces the claim that the Olympics is the world's biggest sporting festival.

So far 2.9 million tickets have been sold out of a target of five million.

In Sydney, 9.5 million tickets were sold.



Emphasis added. And dare I say, Mr. (or Ms.) Zacharatos would appear to have a bright political future ahead of them. They've sold less than a third of the tickets as the previous Olympics, and they are "very pleased with their ticket sales"? Just days in, and we're talking about a disaster of olympic proportions (pun intended). The next time someone tells you we need to bring tradition back and give a non-deserving city a huge event because...they held it a long time ago, shake your head, bring up the Athens games, and say maybe we ought to try giving it to a city that earned it next time.

On the bright side, at least they did get all their construction done on time.



8/15/2004 08:08:00 PM



(8/15/2004 04:29:00 PM) - Al

Sounds like the bullpen was absolutely shot today. Yost sounded depressed at his press conference, as he was forced to have Davis throw too many pitches, use Wise, use Kolb for 5 outs, and use Hendrickson at all...and wasn't happy about a single one of them. Much like the nonexistant depth the Crew has suffered from in past seasons, things go fine, for the most part, when you're 100%. But, with a short bullpen, almost everything has to go right, and when it doesn't, there's not a whole lot you can do.

I've wondered aloud why the team has carried 12-13 pitchers for much of the year, but maybe it's just possible that the bullpen, while mostly having guys that can go 2-3 frames at a time (except Kolb), requires more recovery time than average. With 25% of the season to go, Bennett and Adams both seem fatigued (or are pitching at less than full strength), Viz has a 5+ ERA since the break, Burba is effective but overused, Wise can barely go, and Kolb is good for 3 outs. Hendrickson has not pitched a lot, but a 9ish ERA would seem to indicate he is above his head. He should be used strictly as a mop-up man, at this point. Of course, when he's the only rested arm in the bullpen...

Of course, after the day off tomorrow, I'm sure the bullpen will be proclaimed "rested and ready to go". The line between needing work, being ready but not rusty, and needing a day off is as thin as any in sports.


8/15/2004 04:29:00 PM



(8/15/2004 03:40:00 PM) - Al

One day after Brett Bell was released from jail, University of Wisconsin football coach Barry Alvarez defended his player and criticized the decision that led to the junior cornerback spending time behind bars.


"I believe that was an overreaction of the probation officer," Alvarez said after practice Saturday.
"Brett didn't do anything. That's why he's not in jail."

Bell, 22, practiced with the team Saturday morning, but only Alvarez was available for comment. Bell spent Thursday night in jail after violating the terms of his probation by drinking beer, leaving the state without informing his probation officer and missing an appointment with his probation officer.

Emphasis added by me.

Allow me to say that allowing Alvarez to run a major university's athletic program is like putting my dog in charge of NASA. He has no clue. I'm far from a legal expert, but it seems rather obvious to me that Bell did something illegal, 3 things it would appear, 3 violations of his probation. I'm sure that Mr. Bell is far too busy being a ne'er-do-well to bother with such mundane details as following his probation (which he is on because he is a ne'er-do-well who has been caught committing a crime, which means in all likelihood, he has committed many more), but the idea that this punk has his behavior excused by the AD is simply as irresponsible as it gets. Alvarez has done such things before, and not even pretended he treats his starters differently from his reserves.


Talk about not even pretending to care about anything but winning. Heaven forbid this idiot misses a couple days of practice...although, at least he can't be out breaking the law...again...when he's at practice. Maybe that's the master plan of Sir Barry.

The Badgers will be lucky not be end the Alvarez era without the infamous NCAA "death penalty" with Barry's moral compass steering the way.


8/15/2004 03:40:00 PM



(8/15/2004 03:23:00 PM) - Al

I hate to see Doug Davis throw 128 pitches, regardless of the thinness of the Brewers' pen. Wise pitches for the firast time since his injury, and now Kolb is called upon in the 8th inning...first time this season, though I may have missed one.


8/15/2004 03:23:00 PM



(8/15/2004 02:45:00 PM) - Al

Just heard Jorge de la Rosa was sent back to Indy, and Ben Hendrickson brought back up. Sounds like it is simply a "maximizing the roster" move, as Capuano is scheduled to start Thursday taking DLR's rotation spot), so he won't pitch again in the rotation. When he mentioned the move, Uecker said Ben will pitch out of the bullpen, though I'm not sure if that is permananent or just for today. Burba has been used a lot of late, and Bennett would appear to be hitting the wall, which is not uncommon at all. Heck, some folks were worried about Ben's inning count, so this should slow that down, to be sure. As I said when he was sent down, I'd rather Ben get in his work at AAA, but he is just about the only logical choice left at AAA, which is all but barren of anything but veteran roster fillers.


8/15/2004 02:45:00 PM


Saturday, August 14, 2004

(8/14/2004 07:43:00 PM) - Al

The Amoco "c'mon back" card has apparently been a popular promotion as the Brewers have added 3 dates. Also, the 9/5 game, a Sunday affair versus the Reds, appears to be sold out of the free terrace seats.


8/14/2004 07:43:00 PM



(8/14/2004 05:41:00 PM) - Al

Anyone else find it funny that after this weekend, the Brewers will have just under or just over 1.5 million in attendance, on pace to draw 2+ million...but you rarely hear a word about this? Remember, some...folks who have trouble understanding the game at anything but a casual level...predicted a huge drop in crowd size, due to Ulice Payne deciding he'd rather be a sacrificial lamb than a MLB team president. I said that there may be a small dip (among season tik holders, especially), but most people couldn't care less about the team executives.

For the most part, the JS is so busy covering fielding errors and 0-9 "slumps", so anything remotely positive is swept under the rug. By the way, have we had one feature story about the Brewers' minor league prospects this year? I got an e-mail from an excited overseas reader a day or two ago, thrilled to see a story on the Beloit catcher. Being stationed in Germany, he was unaware of the Beloit Snappers' playing a game in Miller Park, thus the only reason for a minor league blurb. Mostly, the only thing you see about the minors is a snide comment in the notes section, along the lines of "Joe Prospect joined the ever increasing list of injured players in the minors". Let's not forget, both Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks are top ten prospects...in the game.


8/14/2004 05:41:00 PM


Friday, August 13, 2004

(8/13/2004 11:48:00 PM) - Al

Preseason NFL, how blissfully irrelevant. I stil haven't heard a remotely intelligent reason why they don't make the regular season 18 games and only play 2 exhibitions, but yet, it doesn't happen.


8/13/2004 11:48:00 PM



(8/13/2004 10:56:00 PM) - Al

The question isn't what killed Rick James...the question is how is Courtney Love still alive--Bill Maher, Real Time

Also, allow me to say Michelle Malkin is one attractive young conservative. I've seen columns written by her, and the picture at the top doesn't do her justice.


8/13/2004 10:56:00 PM



(8/13/2004 10:43:00 PM) - Al

Al,

I have to admit, I've been on Brady's case for the past few months for edging out Ben Grieve in starts in RF. Obviously I am a little biased because I am a Grieve fan, but after seeing what Clark has done lately in the wake of limited offensive production for the rest of the team, he has been one of the only bright spots on it. He gets on base, can occasionally flash some power (Grieve has more, but Clark has been outplaying him lately), he takes pitches, can work the count and plays very good defense.

Grieve is a master at getting on base and hits for more power than Clark, but as everyone knows, is not good at all in the field. If Clark can keep driving in some runs or getting on base so others have the opportunity to drive him in, I'm all for him starting (perhaps even in LF or CF over Jenkins and Podsednik) more often and having Grieve pinch hit for now. Just my opinion, nice writeup and enjoy reading your stuff.

Tim


Thanks for reading and writing, Tim. Also, as time moves on toward 2005, remember that it is very unlikely Grieve returns in 2005, while I would all but guarantee you Brady returns. Ben has a tad bit of value to a contender, but even I'll admit, and I love Grieve's batting style and such, even if a contender acquires Ben, we won't get a whole lot for him. Ben's best role is as a platoon DH, and unless he accepts his role as the 5th OF for the Crew, he won't be back.

The funny thing is, Brady has produced, pure and simple, and deserves playing time. His OBP is .375+...and anyone who still doesn't understand that not getting out is the most important thing a hitter can do is too far gone to concern ourselves with.


8/13/2004 10:43:00 PM



(8/13/2004 10:33:00 PM) - Al

The Kansas City Royals claimed pitcher Matt Kinney off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday.---ESPN Transactions, 8/13

Matt still has a ceiling as a bottom of the rotation starter, and did nothing to prove my continual assertion that his best spot is as a member of a bullpen. He is still youngish, throws hard, and will be inexpensive in 2005. I can't believe a team, such as the Royals, won't happily give him some starts and let him sink or swim.--Ramblings, 8/6


As my old history teacher once said, even the blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while.



8/13/2004 10:33:00 PM



(8/13/2004 10:14:00 AM) - Al

Lost among the events of the last month or so has been the performance of Brady Clark. With a solid .375 OBP, Clark has pretty much worked his way to the point of being an average CF:

Clark---.375/.381, 756 OPS, 143 OXS
Ave CF--.340/.427, 767 OPS, 145 OXS

Considering that Brady is a good defender and cheap as well, it's almost surprising there hasn't been more positive mention of him. Even when I call him "a solid 4th OF", it is a given I'll get at least one e-mail that states, usually quite well said, something along the lines of "Uh, Clark sucks". It seems many folks don't allow facts to get in the way.

Of course, in Brady's case, what you see is what you get. He's 31, so he probably peaked years ago, fighting his way to the majors. There was some talk earlier this year that Doug Melvin was discussing a long-term contract extension with Clark. I would assume it would have been for a couple years of his arbitration, likely for $500-750K per. For a guy like Clark, it would have provided some security, as he's had to fight for a roster spot on an annual basis. Now, if Brady is arby-eligible after the '04 season, it's possible he'll be rewarded with a $1.5 mil deal for 2005 alone, as it is diffixcult to deny his mediocre showing has helped his stock.

I still think Clark will be pencilled in as the 4th OF in '05, though a Pods/Clark platoon may well be in order, looking at their respective numbers. I'm sure Brady will also be utilized as a RF once or twice a week, as it is likely Corey Hart will be allowed to sink or swim after a steady, if unspectacular 2004 campaign in AAA. Resting Corey against tough RH pitchers would set him up for success. Regardless, I think it is safe to say Brady can safely rest assured of a roster spot in '05.



8/13/2004 10:14:00 AM


Thursday, August 12, 2004

(8/12/2004 08:45:00 PM) - Al

Surprised to see Ben Sheets still in there, looks like he'll get 120-125 pitches. I realize the bullpen is "tired", and may be needed tomorrow to eat some innings, as Capuano is scheduled to go, despite a sore forearm. But, I'd a lot rather see a Jeff Bennett or Luis Vizcaino overused than a legitimate ace of the staff like Sheets.


8/12/2004 08:45:00 PM



(8/12/2004 07:18:00 PM) - Al

Jorge de la Rosa has brought brought up from Indy, as Wise has been DL'd. More info to follow as it becomes available.

UPDATE: Kieschnick was DL'd, though Wise is also unavailable for a while with a muscle strain.


8/12/2004 07:18:00 PM



(8/12/2004 08:22:00 AM) - Al

You can almost guarantee it will happen; release or DFA a player, and another player at that same position will be injured. Matt Wise had to leave last night's game, no one is sure of the severity yet, but Matt was going to start on Saturday. If he is unable to go, I would assume Wes O would get the start. If he has top be DL'd, I'm not sure who they would bring up to add to the bullpen, as no one has really distinguished themselves at AAA. Dan Reichert would appear to be the obvious choice to mop up innings, and he's far from dominating, with a 3.82 AAA ERA and over a hit an inning allowed. The only other name that makes sense at all would be Jorge de la Rosa, who despite a 5.21 ERA, has excellent secondary numbers, and is already on the 40 man roster.


8/12/2004 08:22:00 AM


Wednesday, August 11, 2004

(8/11/2004 09:44:00 PM) - Al

Toys R Us announces they may concentrate on their baby furniture stores, which are called Babies R Us.


The thing about this, for those readers interested in retail, is that when I worked at TRU, they were the #10 retailer in the country...who can afford to buy the #10 retailer? The list of possible buyers has to be Wal Mart, Target, and that's about it. And what a painful, slow decline off the mountain it has been.

I still remember reading an article by a former KMart store manager, who left for Target just after the Big K filed bankruptcy. He said that the one thing that irritated him was right down to the bitter end, days before the filing, his complaints to corporate were ignored, or handled in a defiant "you stores don't have any idea...we know all" type tone. I thought to myself, "that sounds just like Toys".

Since I've left, they've spent millions on remodeling stores and "revamping customer service" (whatever that means), but have done nothing to alleviate their main problems, low margins and little reason to make a special stop when you can buy video games, toys, and the like when you're buying shampoo and lawn furniture at your friendly mass merchant.


8/11/2004 09:44:00 PM



(8/11/2004 10:44:00 AM) - Al

Back in the early days of Ramblings, I wrote a little piece on Natalie Gulbis, at that time a rookie on the LPGA Tour. I just came across another story on her, as she is featured more for her looks than her ability, though she does have some Top 5 finishes on her resume.

As I said then, you'd have to be a fool not to cash in on those endorsement opportunities when they are available. And the fact she is still a little known player doesn't say a whole lot about the marketing going on in the LPGA.


8/11/2004 10:44:00 AM



(8/11/2004 10:12:00 AM) - Al

Oh, and by the way, the game is as healthy as it has ever been.

This little nugget of fact sure doesn't get much press, does it?


8/11/2004 10:12:00 AM



(8/11/2004 08:50:00 AM) - Al

...I certainly don't like Chris Magruder any less after last night, though I'm not sure if the Brewers have nearly the affection for him. The guy simply doesn't have any warts that I can see, can defend all 3 OF spots, has speed and power, and is a switch-hitter...what more do you want out of a reserve OF?

I suppose the obvious question is would I protect him this winter on the 40 man roster, which would mean leaving some other player unprotected, of course. I assume the planned OF for '05 is Jenkins/Pods/Hart, with Clark as the 4th OF, and Krynzel in AAA. Dave is far too young to sit on the bench in MIL, so that 5th OF slot would appear to be wide open. I'd have to take a look at the kids who need to be added, as I know many still do not need to be, as they do not have enough pro experience. In my mind, the best case would be Magruder signing a minor league deal for a large amount, then finding a spot for him next April.

Is this all much ado about nothing? Probably so, as Melvin has already taken Magruder off the 40 man once to send him down. It would appear I like Chris much more than the brass, who would seem to think he's just another body on the bench.

...Remember the furor about the Estrada/Millwood trade? I didn't hate it as much as most, but still felt it was nothing but a salary dump by ATL. You don't hear much talk about how bad that trade was for the Braves, do you? Also, it must have been tempting for ATL to bring Estrada up last year to back up Javy Lopez, but they left him in AAA, and effectively slowed down his arby/FA clock.

...I sure hope we can flip Vizcaino for a piece of the long-term puzzle. I'll admit it, I'd do the same with Kolb, though I doubt if that's even on the radar of the brain trust. Dan will come with a huge pricetag for '05, probably $4 mil or so. Many of us feel Kolb has changed his pitching style not to induce more ground balls, but to avoid pain. His past includes much wildness ans ineffectiveness. Is it nice to have a top closer? Yes. Is it valuable to the Brewers? Well, as valuable as 79 wins instead of 77 can be, I guess. He has a lot more value to a contender, and considering the Crew has a gaping hole at C (and 3B, unless Rickie Weeks ends up there), I can see no better way of filling it. Kolb will never be worth more, and might well be worth less, a lot less, soon. Guys like Grieve may have some minor value, but a bidding war for Kolb would likely add 2 solid, top ten type prospects, at least one of them likely to contribute next year.

...Every day, I see Loretta, Belly, and Scooter starting at 2B for playoff contenders (Ronnie and Marcos doing it cheaply, by the way), and then see "the leadoff hitter we needed", Eric Young helping to keep his Rangers' club in the playoff chase by keeping glued to the bench. Is it any wonder why Lopester and Dean Taylor do not have jobs which gives them access to major league rosters?


8/11/2004 08:50:00 AM


Tuesday, August 10, 2004

(8/10/2004 06:56:00 PM) - Al

Al --

I don't think the Phillies did anything stupid in picking up Lidle.
They're 3.5 games out of the wild card and 6 back of the Braves. This
was a good move.

In the three-plus season's Lidle has been a regular starter, he's got a
reasonable 4.61 ERA and eats up enough innings (averages 6 1/3 per
start). He's good for another two or so seasons, probably. He'll make 10
or so starts this year and 25-35 the next two, if necessary -- or be
trade-bait for SP-starved teams like the Rangers.

Look -- here is the complete list of their non-DL'd starters right now
(with number of starts and ERA):

Milton 24 4.63
Myers 21 5.03
Wolf 19 4.04
Abbott 10 6.24 (Abbott's almost 37 and going nowhere)

That's it! They've got to have a fifth arm to pick up some innings.
They've got 21 starts to fill in the next 23 days. They've got three
excellent SP prospects in triple-A -- Ellis, Yarnall, Hancock -- but
maybe they don't want to call up anybody. They called up Powell, who
started in the minors, but they've used him mostly for relief. Save the
kids' arms! (And the guys they gave up were single-A long-shots.)

The two on the DL are:

Millwood 23 4.86
Padilla 10 4.07

Millwood is a strong 29 year old with several good-to-great years
behind him and a few more to go. They don't want to strain him by bringing
him back too soon. Padilla's been out for over two months -- he's back
now, but maybe they think he's vulnerable. Bowa had to switch pitchers
18 -- eighteen! -- times during last week's series with San Diego.
You've got to pick up an arm. Two single-A long-shots and a PTBNL isn't
the worst way to do it.

KH


Whoops! Just realized Ellis and Yarnell aren't "Prospects". It does
make you wonder why one of them wasn't called up.



Thanks for reading and writing KH, and good research. You hit on my point at the end, that Lidle isn't much better than replacement level thus far in '04. I know there's something to be said about known value, but the guy has a 5.50 ERA. I'd compare it to trading for Matt Kinney when you have Ben Hendrickson in AAA, it just doesn't make much sense. Now, maybe the Phillies saw him pitch and think he's throwing the ball well, as good as ever, and think he'll be a great addition...don't know. Based on the numbers, it's an odd move.




8/10/2004 06:56:00 PM


Monday, August 09, 2004

(8/09/2004 05:42:00 PM) - Al

So, does anyone care who ESPN brings back to be an anchor? A single person?

ESPN seems to think they are the story, while in reality, they are just reporting the story. I am unaware of their ratings, but it sure seems to me a lot of folks who used to be loyal viewers now find them unwatchable. As I've said before, the time is ripe for another sports network; much like Fox News now dominates the cable news race. As they are now, ESPN is just horrible TV.


8/09/2004 05:42:00 PM



(8/09/2004 03:30:00 PM) - Al

Cory Lidle to the Phillies...why exactly they think he'll help them is another question. Cory is currently having another poor year, after '03, I thought he would rebound, but he has not. He's signed through next year as well, I'm surprised PHIL had any interest.


8/09/2004 03:30:00 PM



(8/09/2004 12:08:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Just tuned in to your little website. I love it. Just wanted to see what you thought about the bottom half of the sixth inning of August 8th's game @ Florida. If you don't remember, let me refresh your memory... Pierre leads off with a single... Cap tries to pick him off... McKeon complains to the umpire about Cap balking... Castillo hits a "line drive" to Bill Hall and they double off Pierre. Then Cabrera hits a single, and Cap picks him off. So here's my questions. I have two.

Number one: What do you think about that really stupid base-running mistake by Pierre to get doubled off (especially from such a good base-runner as he is?)

Number two: Did it put as big of a smile on your face as it did mine when Cap picked Cabrera off first after McKeon went out there whining about balks?

-Anthony



Anthony, glad you found us, and thanks for reading and writing. I didn't really think it was that bad of a play by Pierre...tough for him to get a good read on where that ball was going to end up. If he plays it safe, there's a good chance Hall fields it on a bounce and gets the fielder's choice at 2B.

Balks are as much a judgement call as there is in baseball. Actually, Bill did a pretty good job explaining the 45 degree thing, but that's only one of three or four reasons to call a balk; for example, the pitcher cannot go behind the rubber and then go to 1B, he must go home. Truth be known, I doubt if most umpires have a complete understanding of it either. Ron Luciano, former umpire who wrote a couple books, said once he never called a balk, but always tried to be the 2nd umpire to throw up his hands, as if to say, "Yeah, I saw it too". In a later book, he changed his mind, saying he'd forgotten he had once called a balk after hearing a fan yell out "balk", thinking it was another member of his crew. Capuano's move should all but eliminate the runing game, and even more importantly, keep baserunners a full step or two closer, making double plays and force outs at 2B easier, as well as often being the difference between the runner taking an extra base or not.

In Cabrera's case, he appears to be as dumb a player as I've seen in a long time. He meanders around the bases at half-speed most of the time, and was not trying to steal a base, just got caught flat-footed, for no reason at all. Of course, I'll take that from a guy who hits .400/.500 anytime.


8/09/2004 12:08:00 PM


Sunday, August 08, 2004

(8/08/2004 08:32:00 PM) - Al

The Mets and Brewers have the exact same record, and are both 9 games out of the wildcard spot.

Both have the exact same chance of making the playoffs...none.

Luckily for us, the Crew didn't just trade a top ten prospect for a mediocre SP. It's still painful for me to even think about.


8/08/2004 08:32:00 PM



(8/08/2004 07:39:00 PM) - Al

Passing time until Six Feet Under, I'm watching War Stories. Matter o' factly, the narrator mentions that 115 Americans were killed in one battle, and 111 in another, within days of each other, in WW2. While I would never pretend the death of an American soldier was anything but tragic, you have to wonder if the public would have the fortitude to ever suffer such hellish loss of life, regardless of the reasons a battle was deemed necessary.

Heck, you can almost see the folks on CNN interviewing an Ivy League professor who would insist Hitler wasn't that bad of a guy, and that the US should quit trying to rule the world.



8/08/2004 07:39:00 PM



(8/08/2004 07:24:00 PM) - Al

Al,

I read your last post right before the Brewers game today, and thought you were crazy. I reread after the game, and agree with everything you said. Funny how one in a row affects your mindset.

Zachary



Zachary, thanks for reading, writing, and questioning my sanity. Can't let your emotions get in the way of clear thinking. I was incredibly unimpressed with Sutton & Schroeder (hardly a rare thought) today, as they questioned whether or not Kolb would pitch the 9th. Let's see, a walk, throwing error, and bloop base hit leads to wondering if he still has the job? Please.

Also, the debate over whether Caps should come out of the game was unnecessary. Chris had thrown 84 pitches on a hot, muggy day...how much longer do you feel he's going to be effective? Maybe another inning? You can't punt a scoring opportunity because you're afraid your bullpen can't get 3 more outs. Listening to those two, you would have sworn Lopester was still the manager...if you leave your starter in there until he fails, eventually, he will fail.. The only other option is your starter will throw a complete game shutout...which isn't unheard of, but happens so rarely it's barely worth mentioning.



8/08/2004 07:24:00 PM



(8/08/2004 12:45:00 PM) - Al

Al,


First of all, thanks for continuing to be a voice of reason, and controlled optimism. I have watched as most of the bandwagon fans have come, watched a few games, and already left, choosing instead to focus on the upcoming football season. You haven't wrote a whole lot about the recent downslide, nor did you write a lot about the high point when it occured (granted, we didn't know it was the high point then). As someone who is a fan of the Brewers, through thick and then, and as you know a season ticket holder, what are your feelings right now? You correctly surmised this team was not a contender far before most fans. How many wins do you see, and what is your 2005 (and beyond) outlook after this bad stretch?

Thanks again for your work.

Jon



Jon, thanks for continuing to write. For the most part, fans of the Crew can be separated into 3 groups:

1. Long-term fans who see the promise in our minor league system, and hope for the best this year.

2. Impatient fans who know the minor league system is strong, but want to win now.

3. Less than knowledgeable fans who complain our backup catcher isn't a good hitter, and who have never seen a sample too small to concern themselves with. They would trade our best minor league prospects for a morsel of magic beans.


By my estimate, almost all Packers' fans fit into #3. That may be an exaggeration, but it's not far from the truth. It's almost mid-August, so the NFL training camps are now up and running. Casual fans tend to disappear, and that's to be expected.

To be honest, I've been expecting the inevitable slump since May. The improved depth of the '04 club kept it from happening until July, and it coincides with the double edged sword of injuries and ineffectiveness. Spivey is out. Ginter is out. Helms was injured, and seems to have returned still hurt, as he has had no power, and has looked in pain in the field, since returning. Overbay has been mortal since the break. Jenkins and Pods have not performed to expectations. The 2 best contributors have been Clark and Grieve, with Hall doing well for your 3rd best 2B.

Still, this is still the same team with the same future as it was in May and June. It makes no difference whether this team wins 70, 75, or 85 games in 2004, they'd still be home in October, and looking at 2005. Granted, I'd prefer 85 just like everyone else, but that's not the way it goes.

Long-term, this season has actually been a huge positive, as Doug Melvin has done nothing except think long-term. The only negative that comes to my mind is the fact we were unable to turn Junior Spivey into a prospect or two at the deadline. Now, depending on the '05 budget, Spivey may well have to be non-tendered. Of course, every team has untimely injuries, so them's the breaks. Imagine for a second, if we would have held onto Sexson, hoping to max out his value at the deadline? That's when you'd have reason to moan and groan.

The kids are doing fine in the minors, though many have suffered injuries (especially the pitchers, imagine that). Melvin hasn't dreamed of dealing any of the top 20 or so, which many would have traded for that bag of mystical legumes long ago. Good for him. Making decisions based on a bad stretch is as silly as trading your best kid for a wild, mediocre vet (sorry, Mets).

This team will probably still beat their record of last year handily. Don't let the casuals beat you down with their negativity.


8/08/2004 12:45:00 PM


Saturday, August 07, 2004

(8/07/2004 10:33:00 PM) - Al

Michael Hunt of the JS, on the NATO security force that will help protect Greece for the Athens Olympic Games, of which France is one of the participants:

And I don't know about you, but the thought of France pitching in on security is not altogether comforting.

Once again, it's funny because it's true.



8/07/2004 10:33:00 PM



(8/07/2004 06:28:00 PM) - Al

If the Crew was in contention, they would probably send Wes O down after his poor outing tonight just to fortify the bullpen for tomorrow. As is, they aren't in that bad of shape, with Wise's effort. Wes may be asked to pitch a frame or two Tuesday or Wednesday, and that's if he gets the call for the start next Saturday. I've been insisting for some time that Wise should be used in the 5th starter's spot, and I haven't seen anything to change my mind.

I've been one of Wes' supporters, and to be honest, I still like him, despite many statistical reasons not to. Much as Kinney has had luck as a reliever, I think this is where we will see Obermueller's eventual success, however much is to be had by him.


8/07/2004 06:28:00 PM



(8/07/2004 02:31:00 PM) - Al

You cannot solve problems by throwing stones, and you cannot solve problems by telling lies, and you cannot solve problems by wishing ill to other people," she said. "The only way you solve problems is by holding hands and talking about it.--Theresa Heinz-Kerry

Hat tip to Vox Day for the quote.

Every once in a while I'll trot out that old line about "solving the world's problems by holding hands and singing folk songs". Apparently, some don't get the fact that...it's a joke.

There are a lot of incredibly evil people in the world, and many of them will not change until they die a violent death.




8/07/2004 02:31:00 PM



(8/07/2004 01:49:00 PM) - Al

Lou Collier was brought to the bigs for the Phillies a couple days ago. Lou is almost 31, but he's got every quality you could hope for from a utility guy, able to play 7 positions, runs well, and has a career .379 OBP at the AAA level. He'll never be a star, but it sure seems to me half the teams in the game could use him on the bench.


8/07/2004 01:49:00 PM


Friday, August 06, 2004

(8/06/2004 10:46:00 PM) - Al

Looks like DC or Virginia for the Expos. Still holding out hope for Vegas, however long the odds.


8/06/2004 10:46:00 PM



(8/06/2004 09:54:00 PM) - Al

Larry Walker to the Cards for prospects. What a great deal for SL, as COL pays half his salary as well. SL doing everything they can to make a run at a championship, pick up a solid vet and only have to keep him through 2005.

What was COL thinking when they signed Walker to that deal, by the way? $17.5 mil to a 37 & 38 year-old corner OF? Talk about not thinking it through.


8/06/2004 09:54:00 PM



(8/06/2004 07:43:00 PM) - Al

My only thought seeing Chad Moeller limp off the field...so if he has to go on the DL, would Chris Coste get the call from AAA? I chatted with Chris last offseason, and it's difficult to root against 30 year-olds still chasing a little boy's dream. Of course, I hope Chad is OK, but if not, it would either be Coste or Mark Johnson.


8/06/2004 07:43:00 PM



(8/06/2004 06:54:00 PM) - Al

Surprised to see the Crew DFA'd Matt Kinney today, while recalling Wes O from Indy.

Kinney had a serviceable 2003, but struggled mightily this season, and was moved to the bullpen, where he has pitched effectively, for the most part. Kinney was traded by MIN in part because he was out of options, and if one ever needed a trip to AAA to just throw some innings, it was Matt.

I feel this was an odd time for this to occur, as well as a strange move all-around. Wes has not pitched well in Indy. Matt has not pitched poorly in relief. Matt is cheap. The only thing that really makes sense to me is that it was decided that Matt does not have a spot on this winter's 40 man roster. Therefore, there's no reason hanging onto him now. In fact, Wes may be looked at as a borderline 40 man candidate as well, depending on how many prospects the Crew has to add.

Matt still has a ceiling as a bottom of the rotation starter, and did nothing to prove my continual assertion that his best spot is as a member of a bullpen. He is still youngish, throws hard, and will be inexpensive in 2005. I can't believe a team, such as the Royals, won't happily give him some starts and let him sink or swim.


8/06/2004 06:54:00 PM


Thursday, August 05, 2004

(8/05/2004 08:11:00 PM) - Al

Yes, it is ironic that Santos gives up 6 in the 1st frame, just a few days after the Crew cut down to 11 pitchers (as Brooks is injured, and cannot pitch). Too bad, but it was likely a lost game.

Hopefully, I'll get some things down during the long weekend coming up.


8/05/2004 08:11:00 PM


Wednesday, August 04, 2004

(8/04/2004 11:31:00 AM) - Al

Al,

Is it time to re-start the Corey Hart at the hot corner experiment?

Even if his glove is below average, his bat seems good enough to take
up
the slack. At least it means no Helms, Branyan, or Durrington, plus it
creates the potential for a 3-6 of Lyle Overbay (LF), Prince Fielder
(1B), Hart (3B), and Brad Nelson (RF) in the Brewers lineup come 2006.

Is it possible to overrate defense?


HH



I never understood moving Hart to the OF in the first place, myself. Nor, did I get signing Helms to a 2 year deal, when he would have been a perfect candidate to go year-to-year with, coming off a career best season.

That said, the only move to the left on the defensive spectrum I can imagine Hart making is to CF, and that's rather unlikely. It is very strange for players to make that adjustment, even in the low minors, where errors and miscues go all but unnoticed. Hart, in all likelihood, will make it or not make it as a LF/RF.

On a related, yet off the subject note, I like Dave Krynzel's future more than Hart's. Both are young and have shown the ability to hit, but Dave is known as a fine defender, and has good speed. For whatever reason, folks tend to gravitate towards Hart as a better prospect, however, probably for his 6-6 frame and HR numbers. Corey may have a higher ceiling, but your guess is as good as mine if he'll ever reach that. Dave seems more like a doubles guy, but as Overbay has shown, there's nothing wrong with that.

FYI, the defensive spectrum goes:

C-SS-2B-CF-3B-RF-LF-1B

I have seen LF & 1B flipped, as well as CF & 2B, but the one I list is used 90+% of the time. That chart is basically saying that C is the hardest defensive spot to fill, and 1B is the easiest. Also, you will find that the average 1B is usually the best hitting position, and C is the lowest. It's almost like these things are somehow related.:)

It is also why you can always pick out the least intelligent fans, as they will always complain about the reserve catcher's and shortstop's inability to hit...as if guys who can both field and hit are easy to find at those spots. If you can find me a catcher that can hit, I promise you they are starting.


8/04/2004 11:31:00 AM



(8/04/2004 11:27:00 AM) - Al

Ginter on DL, Magruder back up. Keith's injury won't require surgery, but he'll be out for a while.


8/04/2004 11:27:00 AM


Tuesday, August 03, 2004

(8/03/2004 07:40:00 PM) - Al

Chief Wiggles has done a world of good for the children of Iraq, but has run into a problem with a shipping company that obviously has less than a clue. Take a look at the series of events and if they anger you (and they should), take a couple minutes and give the idiots at Atlas a call, as the number is listed at the link provided.

I for one find it simply amazing a company is trading all this bad publicity for $20K.


8/03/2004 07:40:00 PM


Monday, August 02, 2004

(8/02/2004 11:02:00 PM) - Al

Great article on the Brewers' advanced video methods used by former pitcher Joe Crawford at the Brewers' site.


8/02/2004 11:02:00 PM



(8/02/2004 06:39:00 PM) - Al

Boston fans seem to outnumber Tampa Bay fans tonight in the Tampa/St. Pete dome. There are only 3 teams that travel that well; Cubs, Yankees, and Red Sox...and it's interesting to note 2 of the 3 haven't won a title in almost a century. The Cardinals also have a loyal following on the road, but not like the others.



8/02/2004 06:39:00 PM


Sunday, August 01, 2004

(8/01/2004 03:56:00 PM) - Al

That's where Hendrickson was sent on Sunday, back to Triple-A to stay on a regular schedule while a series of off-days negates the Brewers' need for a fifth starter for much of August.

"He was going to get three starts here [in August]," manager Ned Yost said. "It's better for him to get six starts there."---MLB Brewers' site



That's actually a very forward thinking way for the Brewers to think and act. While I'm sure there may be some quiet rumblings of discontent, it is good to let him develop quietly and out of the limelight. This is not a team that will be contending in 2004. And, dare I say it, Matt Wise has more than earned an opportunity to start a few games as well.


8/01/2004 03:56:00 PM



(8/01/2004 12:54:00 PM) - Al

Trent Durrington up, Ben Hendrickson down, according to CNN/SI.

I would assume that this is only until the Crew needs a 5th starter again, but have yet to hear. Trent was not tearing it up in AAA, but I would figure a reserve was needed, as I'm not sure if Ginter is able to hit/field, or what with his wrist.


8/01/2004 12:54:00 PM


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