Al's Ramblings

Sunday, January 30, 2005

(1/30/2005 08:55:00 PM) - Al

What's that old's so funny because it's true?

Michelle Malkin writes of how the French army is helping Indonesia.

Money quotes: The 1,000 or so French sailors and soldiers arrived in Aceh province on the island's northern tip two weeks ago...

For those keeping track, that was 3 weeks after the tsunami hit.

There's even an artist...a painter to keep an illustrated record of the trip.

I'm tellin' ya, you can't make this stuff up.

1/30/2005 08:55:00 PM

(1/30/2005 07:39:00 PM) - Al

Musings runs his range stat for 2B. I have no idea how he figures it, or if it's accurate, but note Bill Hall is top 5, and Keith Ginter and Junior Spivey are neck and neck...despite message board folks insisting many times over that Hall is worthless, and Junior is much better than Keith.

I must admit, I do question a stat in which only 7-8 guys are above average.

1/30/2005 07:39:00 PM

(1/30/2005 07:21:00 PM) - Al

Mike Piazza gets married.

1. Will this end rumors he is gay, or will people say it is a marriage of convienence?

2. I've seen 2 pictures of his new bride, and I have seen her listed as both a former Playboy playmate and a star of Baywatch. Granted, I'm not a whole lot to look at by any means, but she is certainly not the stunningly good looking woman I expected, given her resume and the fact a multi-millionaire decided to marry her.

3. I wonder if Scott Posednik was in attendance, as his girlfriend, Lisa Dergen, was a bridesmaid.

1/30/2005 07:21:00 PM

(1/30/2005 02:09:00 AM) - Al

I'm flipping between the cable news channels watching coverage of the Iraqi elections. The tone and inescapable negativeness from CNN is just overwhelming. While the on-site reporter can barely be heard over jubilant, dancing, and celebrating Iraqi citizens, voting for the first time in their lifetimes in anything but a staged stuffing of the ballot box (and women are actually voting for the first time), the CNN gal back in the USA asks her what she's heard about trouble spots elswhere in the country. The reporter basically says she's heard nothing. Back to the studio, the CNN anchor says, with as little feeling as humanly possible, "That's a lively voting station".

Yes it is. It is almost even worthy of a smile, perhaps.

If I watched CNN a lot, I'd be the most depressed person on Earth. One of these days, they are going to lead their newscast with, "No one killed yet by a car bomb...but it's still early."

Allow me to say that while many of us hope for the best, but feel the worst is quite likely in Iraq, it is heartwarming seeing the excitement and hope over the satellite. It may not end up being a historical day, looked back upon with glee, but right now, optimism is easy to have.

1/30/2005 02:09:00 AM

(1/30/2005 01:11:00 AM) - Al

The JS says many teams will regret their long-term signings of oft-injured players before the end of this season. To say the least, that seems like a safe assumption.

Also, they have the first peek at BA's top 10 prospects for the Crew.

Check it out here.

1/30/2005 01:11:00 AM

Saturday, January 29, 2005

(1/29/2005 08:12:00 PM) - Al

The other night during the Badgers basketball game, they mentioned Dick Bennett, and it occurred to me for the first time in a while that he was back coaching again. I made a mental note to check out how he had been doing.

The sad thing about this to me is that Bennett should be retired, playing with his grandkids, helping out his daughter (who coaches the Indiana women's team) and son Tony (who is an assistant for Dick at Washington State, where most feel he will take over for his dad when he retires for the second time). I'm all for personal choice, mind you, but Bennett taking over this sickly program reeks of poor decision making. Certainly, if he was back in business, there was a Midwestern choice, and one that wouldn't take years just to get back to .500, which seems to be the goal in Pullman.

Anyway, I wish him the best, and here are some links to check out if you are curious.

Positive article about the state of the program, just last week

Cap Times article, Bennett still defensive coach

Bennett apologizes for gesture---sadly, about 70% of the search found something about this incident

1/29/2005 08:12:00 PM

Friday, January 28, 2005

(1/28/2005 11:57:00 PM) - Al

Sammy Sosa is close to being dealt to Baltimore. The Cubs would get Jerry Hairston Jr. and a prospect or two, as well as paying a significant portion of his salary.

I have a couple thoughts:

1. Why am I not surprised the Orioles see value in a slugger that is over 35 and aging badly?

2. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Sosa is essentially being given away for a reserve 2B (albeit a former top prospect) and the Cubs have to pay money just to have someone take him.

1/28/2005 11:57:00 PM

(1/28/2005 01:03:00 PM) - Al

Brady Clarks avoids arby with a one year deal worth $1.15 mil, with incentives of up to $275K also possible. Clark would seem to have a near lock on playing CF the majority of the time.

1/28/2005 01:03:00 PM

(1/28/2005 11:41:00 AM) - Al

The Crank links and discusses a three part interview with Billy Beane at Athletics Nation. I do not have time to read the whole thing now, but just the parts Crank highlighted makes me wonder if Beane does indeed simply think "out of the box" on most all things. I can't imagine Doug Melvin talking like that, and I feel Melvin is one of the brighter minds doing the job.

It's also funny most folks that think Beane is "lucky" still quote batting average and RBI's. Billy is probably a good decade ahead of his time, and his success would seem to indicate that.

1/28/2005 11:41:00 AM

Thursday, January 27, 2005

(1/27/2005 09:07:00 PM) - Al

Adam McCalvey's mailbag
pooh-poohs the possibility of moving Carlos Lee from the outfield and suggests that his lack of errors and numerous assists indicate he is a pretty decent left fielder. I'm pretty suspicious of those stats as standards for outfielders.

What do you think about Lee's defense?

Are better defensive stats (range factor or whatever the latest is) available somewhere on the web?

I am a big believer in zone rating, which measures how many balls in play come into a fielder's "zone", and ranks them on it. The mere fact that the same players end up at or near the top on an annual basis tells me it is a good tool.

Lee finished 5th of 15 LF's who played enough to qualify. Geoff Jenkins finished 3rd, if you'd like a gauge to use. I would say Lee is probably a mediocre LF. Remember, while 5th of 15 is good, many LF's are old/slow, unable to play any other OF spot, and many would be better off as 1B or DH (Barry Bonds, who used to be outstanding, is a fine example).

I'll take a good hitter and average fielder any day of the week.

1/27/2005 09:07:00 PM

(1/27/2005 08:38:00 PM) - Al


Love your site, check it(along with,, THT, Think Factory, and Prospectus, so you are in good company) daily. I am not even a Brewer fan and still love to read your updates on the team. Anyway, my question is this. Where can one find more advanced stats, but not prospectus level stats. Like where can I find what the "average" 2B put up in 2004? Like if one was showing how the signing of Craig Counsell would hurt the team because the average 2B/SS did this XXXXX, and Counsell did this XXXXX. Just as an example. Thanks a ton.


I've actually answered this several times through e-mail, so I guess it's time to answer it so folks who are wondering can find it. I will link it here, but to find it, go to BP, and click on Statistics, then Equivalent Average. After they list the leaders in EQA, they list the total production at each position, then the total numbers.

For me, I just use the previous season's and go from there, as they barely change from day-to-day, and don't move a whole lot from season-to-season.

Thanks for reading and writing, JP.

1/27/2005 08:38:00 PM

(1/27/2005 07:30:00 PM) - Al

Yahoo has a spring training preview of the Brewers up here.

1/27/2005 07:30:00 PM

(1/27/2005 07:21:00 PM) - Al

From Baseball Prospectus today:

New Names, Same Story?: A third of the Brewers lineup will be different in 2005. Let's take a look:

Old Brewers 2004 VORP
OF Scott Podsednik 19.3
C Chad Moeller -10.7
SS Craig Counsell 8.7
TOTAL 17.3

New Brewers 2004 VORP
OF Carlos Lee 46.8
C Damian Miller 16.8
SS J.J. Hardy 19.3*
TOTAL 82.9

*2005 PECOTA projection

This is a huge increase in VORP. Assuming runs allowed stays the same, plugging the Brewers '04 runs scored plus this increase along with runs allowed into the Pythagenport formula would theoretically boost by over seven wins. The masterstroke is obviously netting Carlos Lee, whose VORP for 2004 tops the combined VORP of 29.9 of Scott Podsednik and Luis Vizcaino, the two players dealt away in the trade.

Clean Sheets: Ben Sheets is arbitration-eligible this year, and he and Brewers management seem to be at an impasse. Sheets' agent proposed a $6.5 million contract, which in this off-season's market seems like a bargain. While there is concern about Sheets' recent surgery, Will Carroll reported yesterday that Sheets will be ready to go in spring training. With prominent starters such as Roy Oswalt, Carlos Zambrano and 2004 AL Cy Young winner Johan Santana also eligible for arbitration, it will be interesting to see which teams blink, and which teams take their cases to arbitration.

Welcome to the Neighborhood: Lastly, a hearty PTP welcome to new Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, whose purchase of the Brewers was recently approved. Lessening the direct Selig influence on baseball should be reason enough to break out the bratwurst. However, with Attanasio claiming he will pump more money into the farm system and the payroll, there's even more hope (and faith) for Brewers fans. At the very least, Attanasio should buy motorized scooters for the Sausage Race.

VORP is value over replacement player, which is usually considered a player you could get for free, or for very little, most often a AAA veteran with little upside. Of course, Moeller is projected almost as high as Miller, which I don't agree with completely, but agree Chad should revert back to his career norms.

Regardless, the lineup should certainly score more runs in '05...not even considering the vast amount of depth that exists at the AAA level.

1/27/2005 07:21:00 PM

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

(1/26/2005 10:58:00 PM) - Al

I keep forgetting to mention one of the news items I saw last week. To paraphrase:

Thousands of Seattle area college students walked out of class to protest President Bush's inaguration.

First of all, I was unaware that it took a political event to cause college students to skip class. Back in my academic days (term used loosely, to say the least), I recall many a lecture I attended on a Friday afternoon, at 1 or 2PM, that was attended by less than half the class...once, on Homecoming weekend, if memory serves, it was myself and one other student, out of a class that normally numbered 20-25.

Secondly, I am a bit curious what the "protest" was. After all, we're not talking about 2000 here, in which the electoral winner and popular winner were not the same person. Only a college student would protest the results that they simply don't agree with.

1/26/2005 10:58:00 PM

(1/26/2005 10:40:00 AM) - Al

The Badgers hung with the #1 team in the nation for 30 minutes last night, but as we all know, they insist the games last 40 minutes. A fine effort, but there's no doubt the Illini is a very talented team. It may well have gone right down to the end had the Badgers shot free throws better and not turned the ball over as much, but I'm sure the defense played a large part in the latter. Even with that, the Badgers missed two contested layups late that were not "easy", but would usually fall, but not last night. You have to get the breaks and play your best to beat a team like Illinois. Last night, it didn't add up.

1/26/2005 10:40:00 AM

(1/26/2005 10:38:00 AM) - Al

Check out Seth Speaks today, as I wrote a guest column for him as he takes some time off. I feel the Twins have an above average team, but it sure must be nice to play in that division.

1/26/2005 10:38:00 AM

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

(1/25/2005 07:56:00 PM) - Al

Ben Grieve signs with PIT, minor league deal, $500K if he makes the big league roster. Surprised no AL team found Ben to be a cheap platoon DH/LF option, as that would create more chances for him to get some AB's.

I'm out to watch the Badgers/Illini.

1/25/2005 07:56:00 PM

(1/25/2005 11:04:00 AM) - Al

A Navy officer writes of a visit to his ship. I especially chuckled when the folks refused to pay for their food, and told the Navy to "bill the UN".

I was unaware the Abe Lincoln was due to be home in a week. And, hasn't it been about a month since the tsunami? Have you noticed any other assistance in the area other than the US military? The UN is still "monitoring the situation".


1/25/2005 11:04:00 AM

Monday, January 24, 2005

(1/24/2005 04:51:00 PM) - Al

I spent my weekend on the road, as we went home for a late Xmas. We were a bit concerned about road conditions Saturday when we left, but found the roads to be all but clear, despite the snow the night before.

Until, that is, we hit Richland County. The horror. I could do a better job clearing the road with a sharp stick and an old boot.

To add insult to injury, as of Sunday AM, the highways of Richland were still snow covered, a full 36 hours after the last flake had fallen. Actually, when we came home Monday morning, the center line was still covered with snow in many places, 2 full days after we had witnessed nothing but clear roads in other counties. We saw a snowplow working on the shoulder, telling us that they considered the road plowing, which I would describe as "unacceptable", complete.

I'm positive the folks in Richland pay plenty of taxes, so I guess I would wonder what in the world it's being used on.

Also worth noting is the odd manner that the city of Richland Center uses to plow. They push all the snow to the center, creating a huge snow median of sorts. While it isn't really a "bad" idea, I wonder why no one else does it this way if it's a good idea. When I asked, the consensus around the dinner table seemed to be that RC has always done it like that, and no one knew why. Driving through RC this AM, the "median" is only about 6-12 inches high, but still there...again, a couple days since the snow stopped falling. I can only imagine that at the bottom of these problems is the phrase, "Well, this is the way we've always done it".

I get the feeling if the road crews there ever went on strike, no one would know until it made the paper.

1/24/2005 04:51:00 PM

(1/24/2005 04:12:00 PM) - Al

Sure is a joy to watch Kam Taylor improve each and every game. Still turnover prone, but it's easy to imagine him as nothing less than superb in a year or two. His seemingly unlimited athletic ability reminds me a lot of Devin Harris.

So, is the smart money still on Mike Wilkinson not making the NBA? After dominating two consecutive games, I can sure see him as a role player for several years.

Anyone else surprised Clayton Hanson isn't "breaking out" more this season? I expected him to really step into a scorer's role, getting a lot of the shots that had went to Harris. But, for the most part, he's done just what he's done in his previous years, solid, if unspectacular.

I'm never one to get excited about "just another game", but it's tough not to look forward to tomorrow night's Illini (18-0)/Badgers (38 in a row at home) matchup. Too bad these games usually end up 81-65.

1/24/2005 04:12:00 PM

(1/24/2005 04:09:00 PM) - Al

I always giggle at the self-promoting celebs who do all they can to attract gossip rags and ET profiles...John Travolta comes to mind, as he is always having reporters follow him around as he flies his zillion dollar jet while complaining about the environment and various charities needing money...while never once grasping the hypocritical nature of his comments. Travolta, so lost he started planning the sequel to Battlefield Earth before the original was finished filming...never once even considered that a story based on the cult-like Church of Scientology's views would not play well with common citizens, is as out-of-touch as you can get.

Then, there's Johnny Carson. Carson, who avoided the press with a passion, died yesterday more popular than ever, and is being heralded as a genius entertainer far and wide. Carson, despite his vast wealth and fame, still came off as a Midwestern everyman, though the Nebraska-born man had lived in a Malibu mansion for decades. Watching a few clips of Carson this morning, it was impossible to miss his gift of timing, always milking a line or sight-gag worthy of a chuckle into more than that.

One of my favorite recollections of Carson was a time he brought on the few graduates of a small high school, either 4 or 5 grads, all young men. A week or so later, a group of the same number of young women were on, also an entire graduating class from some tiny town. Carson remarked how despite negative comments, all seemed like great kids. He rarely focused on the negative, joking about his ex-wives, bad economies, and the like.

I often write about how various protestors, in my opinion, push folks to the other side, as "normal" undecided/apathetic members of the public turn on the TV, see people blocking traffic, hitting cops, and getting arrested, and in their minds, think the protestors are idiots, and are inclined to agree with the other side.

Carson was the anti-protestor. He entertained, making light of troubles, and made people smile. No one wants to be depressed while watching TV, and Carson seemed to know that. His reputation as a crusty, maybe even mean person off camera did nothing to affect his on camera status as an icon.

Also, here's a statement by Bob Uecker, who was brilliant on Carson, on his passing.

1/24/2005 04:09:00 PM

Friday, January 21, 2005

(1/21/2005 02:33:00 PM) - Al

Hat tip to Blackfive, but this is a tribute page for a fallen Marine from Waukesha. It has a 5 minute video that recaps the life and memorial service that simply should not be missed [click on view video under the snapshot]. There is also a place to donate to the soldier's unborn child.

FYI--Best viewed with a high speed connection, and it took a couple minutes to load even with that. Worth the wait.

1/21/2005 02:33:00 PM

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

(1/19/2005 11:01:00 AM) - Al


I like the signing of Bottalico, you are dead on about the Kolb analysis. If the Crew turns him into another Kolb, or even a LaTroy Hawkins (of the 2003 season), this would be another great move by the Crew. I haven't been this excited for the season in a long time.

On another note, have you ever just kept hitting the "next blog" button on the upper right? There are just some weird blogs out there. If you ever have the time, stop by my new blog, Oracle of Cheese.

I don't have the baseball knowledge you do, but I'm new at this, I have a link to your site from mine as given I live in MN, I cannot watch Brewer games, so I have to rely on the locals, like yourself for analysis. I at least got the Brewer colors up on the site.


Bottalico seems like a no risk signing, and could well be flipped at the deadline should the Crew choose to do so. Check out Craig's ruminations sometime.

1/19/2005 11:01:00 AM

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

(1/18/2005 08:29:00 PM) - Al

Four Brewers still eligible for arby exchanged numbers today.

The only one that looks to be possible to go to a hearing is Sheets, as he and the Crew are a million bucks apart. The others should settle quickly.

I do recall quite fondly a discussion that came up on a message board last March, right after Ginter signed his low value extension. I was in the minority that felt we should sign Clark to a similiar deal. I thought a 3 year deal for $1.5-1.7 million would be a smart move, as Clark was a solid all-around player, and the MLB minimum is $300K a year. I thought Clark, in his first season on a 40 man roster, would jump at the chance to attain lifelong security, much like Ginter had. I was roundly criticized as overpaying for a 5th OF. I guess no one felt Brady would ever be anything more than that, but I thought he was capable of being a mediocre CF, and was a dandy reserve, well worth $800K over the minimum over a three year period.

If he would have accepted, we would be getting 2006 almost for free, based on the numbers exchanged today. I guess even the blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while.

1/18/2005 08:29:00 PM

(1/18/2005 08:52:00 AM) - Al

The Crew signed Ricky Bottalico yesterday, per reports that have been leaking out for a couple days. Doug Melvin would only say it is a 1 year contract for "less than $1M", so it is likely between $700K and $1M. Ricky is pretty much your garden variety middle reliever at this stage of his career, but has contributed decent numbers for almost all of his time in the bigs.

Looking over his 2004 stats, it was very difficult not to make this comparison:

Bottalico-3.38 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 69 IP, 34 BB, 61 K
Dan Kolb--2.98 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 57 IP, 15 BB, 21 K

I loved having Kolb at the end of the bullpen, but I do find it headshakingly funny that teams will pass up a guy like Ricky to trade a top young prospect for Kolb...because Kolb pitched the 9th inning most of the time, while Ricky pitched the 7th and/or 8th.

Opportunity is a huge part of success. Ignoring that tidbit, especially when it comes to saves, is one "old school" belief that most of baseball continues to hang onto, despite no evidence that closers are somehow born and not created.

1/18/2005 08:52:00 AM

Sunday, January 16, 2005

(1/16/2005 05:48:00 PM) - Al

The Badgers' home winning streak now stands at 38. I didn't see much of the game as I was at work, but I did wander back to check the score and saw the last 45 seconds or so.

I never thought I'd like a coach as much as Dick Bennett, who all but singlehandedly took the program to the next level; but we can only hope Bo Ryan doesn't decide to take an early retirement. His teams are always well prepared, play hard, and not only do they rarely lose at all, even when they do, it is because the other team simply was better on that night. I can't even recall when the last time the Badgers lost a turnover or were forced to put up a prayer with the shot clock running down with a couple minutes or less left in the game was. It's just a pleasure to watch game after game.

1/16/2005 05:48:00 PM

(1/16/2005 05:41:00 PM) - Al

Brilliant post at Hobbs Online. Hat tip to Glenn.

Also, it is just January, but the frontrunner for quote of the year is the caption to the photo.

1/16/2005 05:41:00 PM

Friday, January 14, 2005

(1/14/2005 10:43:00 PM) - Al

The new owner writes a letter to the fans.

Didn't say much, but still nice of him to take the time (or have an intern take the time) to write it.

Note to self: Check into getting an intern.

1/14/2005 10:43:00 PM

(1/14/2005 11:23:00 AM) - Al

A comparison between the A's and Giants.

SF and ARI are both just praying they get a chance to win 85 games. COL is still on a wave of thinking that Coors Field is best suited for speed and defense.

Looks like LA and SD will be fighting for the NL West this year, and probably for the next half-decade.

1/14/2005 11:23:00 AM

(1/14/2005 01:19:00 AM) - Al

Forgot to mention this instant classic from King Gleeman. I'm not sure if he's even human after this.

1/14/2005 01:19:00 AM

Thursday, January 13, 2005

(1/13/2005 11:07:00 PM) - Al

Rick Helling signed as a minor league FA. Been a couple seasons since he was effective, and a fly ball pitcher. Unlikely to help, but the price was right.

1/13/2005 11:07:00 PM

(1/13/2005 10:51:00 PM) - Al

New drug testing policy, and a new owner for the Crew. I hope both have much, much success.

1/13/2005 10:51:00 PM

(1/13/2005 01:33:00 AM) - Al

If I would have suggested that we move Jeromy Burnitz to CF, I would have been more of a laughingstock than I am now (if that's possible, of course). And that was 3 years ago, when Burnie was (pause to find calculator) 3 years younger.

I'd look for a guy just like Jeromy to play CF. Anytime you can get 3 corner OF bats in the lineup, I feel it's OK to have a mediocre, or slightly below defensive CF.

1/13/2005 01:33:00 AM

(1/13/2005 01:13:00 AM) - Al

A little birdie tells me I need to let people know that Travis Hinton was the PTBNL in the Carlos Lee deal, and not Mitch Stetter, as widely believed, and was reported by Baseball America.

Hinton is a generic 1B prospect, for those who are curious. With Prince Fielder in the realm, Hinton had little chance to move up in MIL.

1/13/2005 01:13:00 AM

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

(1/12/2005 09:57:00 PM) - Al

MLB and the player's union will announce a comprehensive drug testing plan tomorrow. If you'll recall, Bud Selig wanted a plan like this back when the last CBA was signed, but did not think it was worth causing a work stoppage over. Once again, Selig is proven right in the long-term, and the union leaders, who were still arguing that performance enhancing drugs were either completely safe or nonexistant as late as a few months ago, look like they didn't have the best interests of their members at heart. Go figure.

1/12/2005 09:57:00 PM

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

(1/11/2005 05:21:00 PM) - Al

These conspiracy theories are tough to keep up with. Let's see, a missle hit the Pentagon, not a plane, the National Guard shot down the pilotless plane over Pennsylvania, and now, a bomb caused the tsunami.

I still recall on election night, plodding around the internet to find reaction, and coming across the most truthful quote ever, though I cannot recall who said it:

No matter how close the election, 1% of the public insists on voting for some 3rd party goofball.

And apparently, comes up with inane reasons why natural events occur.

1/11/2005 05:21:00 PM

(1/11/2005 01:18:00 PM) - Al

The Top 11 Reasons Packers' Fans Should Be Happy

Hat tip to Vox Day.

1/11/2005 01:18:00 PM

Monday, January 10, 2005

(1/10/2005 05:09:00 PM) - Al

Dan Rather ought to thank his lucky stars for that Teflon suit he purchased. Of course, he's as uncredible as they get, and his numbers seem to prove it...maybe that is punishment enough.

1/10/2005 05:09:00 PM

(1/10/2005 05:04:00 PM) - Al

Adam McAlvey answers questions in his mailbag, and as always, does a fine job. I just wish the JS had a writer that cared enough to compete with him.

1/10/2005 05:04:00 PM

(1/10/2005 04:56:00 PM) - Al

Carlos Lee finally visits Miller Park, and a press conference was held in his honor.

1/10/2005 04:56:00 PM

(1/10/2005 04:04:00 PM) - Al

Randy Johnson never realized that signing a deal for $16 million a year meant folks would have an interest in him.

Yes, this is going to work out extremely well. So, the Yankees are now the oldest team in baseball, full of injury histories like Johnson and Kevin Brown (speaking of mental cases) can just about see the downfall coming, despite a huge payroll.

Whenever a team deals for a 41 year-old power pitcher and then claims to not have the money for a 27 year-old superstar; it is obvious they have no perception of paying for future performance, instead choosing to pay for what they've done in the past. DET has done the same thing, and also appears stuck (despite a pretty good farm system); and the Mets, before the Beltran signing, has done nothing but overpay players who used to be solid, but now are shadows of their past selves.

Many of us are going to enjoy the Yankees inevitable slide more than any of the others.:)

1/10/2005 04:04:00 PM

Sunday, January 09, 2005

(1/09/2005 08:54:00 PM) - Al

Someone else that gets grumpy when it is suggested the USA is not doing what it can. Hat tip to Instapundit.

Money quote from IP:

What is it that some people have against people who can, you know, do stuff?

Envy is mighty unattractive, isn't it?

1/09/2005 08:54:00 PM

(1/09/2005 07:45:00 PM) - Al

Not much of a football fan, but personally, I'll take all of Randy Moss' "quirks" and run him out there without hesitation. He's a nut, but he's as talented as you can get, outrunning the CB on 1.5 legs.

The funny thing is, lots of players are every bit as hard to get along with, and a fraction as good. I recall reading that Wilt Chamberlain once played a season for Philadelphia while living in Manhattan, as Wilt was willing to drive the 90 minutes or so one way as a tradeoff for the nightlife in NYC. you suppose he always drove up for the morning shootaround before a night game? Do you s'pose he ever did?

And yet, every time one of these unique guys comes up, the media acts as if it's the first time this has ever happened. When your business is winning games, sometimes you have to decide if you want to win and look the other way, or lose with integrity.

1/09/2005 07:45:00 PM

(1/09/2005 07:32:00 PM) - Al

It's official, 7y/$119M for Beltran from the Mets.

Obviously an overpay, but it's a much better deal than many, or even most this offseason. Carlos is about as good as a CF can be, a 5 tool player just hitting his prime. $10-12 mil per would have been true market value. Granted, $35M is a ton to throw in, but so be it.

That said, any doubt the Mets will still suck?


1/09/2005 07:32:00 PM

(1/09/2005 10:14:00 AM) - Al

Clinton and the Bushes...pals?

I noticed this very thing when Clinton was on Letterman before the election, that Bill declined to take any shots, or really even level any criticisms at Bush 43. Clinton even got defensive when asked about "how long" it took for the current Bush to make a statement, saying something like, "I know how that is". I think it is likely more that they understand the rigors of the office than true friendship, but it is interesting just the same. Clinton presided over our nation for eight years, and for ther most part, it was a glorious run. Looking back, his "hit and run" foreign policy can certainly be debated, but I feel history will smile upon him, with some asteriks.

Contrast that with Carter's inane rants of late, saying the US election process was not up to par with some third world nations he's presided over...please.

1/09/2005 10:14:00 AM

Saturday, January 08, 2005

(1/08/2005 10:07:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers haven't signed very many minor league FA's this offseason, another sign of how excellent the minor league system has become, especially at the AA and AAA levels, where minor league vets are usually brought in.

The signings they have made have been stellar, functional if not glamourous. The latest is Jerome Gamble, a 24 year-old reliever who has spent time on the Red Sox 40 man, and was selected in the major league Rule 5 draft in 2002, but returned. He is said to have above average velocity and an excellent curveball. A scouting report on him from last Spring can be found here.

1/08/2005 10:07:00 AM

Friday, January 07, 2005

(1/07/2005 10:16:00 PM) - Al

Very lengthy, very interesting story at BA...and it's free!! It discusses the stats versus scouts debate.

And Voros McCracken is just a joy and a half to listen to. His love of the steady AAA players of the world rivals mine of Marco Scutaro.

1/07/2005 10:16:00 PM

(1/07/2005 09:59:00 PM) - Al


"I have read a couple people wonder how they could truly assist and make a donation to the US defense department, as they seem to be the only ones actually doing anything."

That's the best quote I've seen yet on the disaster relief situation, you know, first everyone criticizes us, then sits on their (butt) and watches the Navy, Air Force, and USAID do all the work.

Keep it up.


As I said, I read those sentiments elsewhere, but thanks.

1/07/2005 09:59:00 PM

(1/07/2005 07:51:00 PM) - Al


I've been frequently reading your page for the past year and have enjoyed reading it again during this busy off season for the Brewers. Keep up the great work.

So Here's a thought.. Why not bring back Dave Burba? He's still a free agent and the Giants have no interest in him. After depleting our bullpen bringing Burba back would be good for a number of reasons. He knows the club. The fans liked him. He's a veteran that seemed to mesh well with the bullpen and surely was looked up to by the younger members of the pen. He likely won't cost that much to sign either. Sure he is 38 and looks better suited to be on a barstool then the mound. But he's been effective his two years in Milwaukee and I'd say he has another 3 or 4 years left in him. What do you think?

Also, I'd like to see the Brewers start Branyan over Helms. Looking at Helms' record, it's easy to see that his 2003 performance was a fluke. Sure Branyan is the Rob Deer revival but you can't deny his numbers last year compared to Helms.

Wes Helms has 116 more at bats last year than Branyan and he only scored three more runs, hit 7 less HRs, had only one more RBI and grounded into a double play 9 more times then Branyan. Not to mention Branyan played pretty good defensively compared to Helm's blooper party. With those numbers, I'd much rather have Branyan starting at third. If given a full year, I see him hitting 40+ and 100+ RBIs and batting around .240. Sure he will set a new MLB strike out record. I'd much rather see then
than another sub par year of Helms. Bt this guy needs a shot at playing full time just to see what he can do. Start him and work on his contact the whole year. I'd much rather see then than another sub par year of Helms. And is it just be or did Helms look like he gained 15-20 after coming back from the DL last year?

Madison, WI

I'm all for bringing back Dave Burba. He is all but a perfect reliever, except that he doesn't have the stamina to give you 5 innings if the starter comes up lame before the game. And, we just might be able to trade him at the deadline yet again!

Ned was just saying a day or two ago that he expected both Helms and Branyan to play regularly, in some sort of platoon. Helms, as a RH 1B/3B/PH, has some value even if he just hits his career norms. I am of the opinion Wes will probably rebound in 2005 to numbers which would make him a below average 3B, but very likely deserving of a starting spot. I feel Wes was very likely nowhere near 100% when he returned from injury last season, as his defense just fell apart, and his power disappeared. In the field, he looked like he was constantly trying not to be in pain...if memory serves, a huge majority of his errors were simply not getting in front of the ball. I would guess back trouble myself.

That said, I prefer Branyan, as he simply should be at least a platoon player somewhere. As you said, he'll hit 40 home runs if you give him enough playing time, and it's hard to argue that a guy who has a decent enough OBP and hits 40 HR's isn't an offensive weapon.

Thanks for reading, writing, and the kind words, Kurt.

1/07/2005 07:51:00 PM

(1/07/2005 07:29:00 PM) - Al

The mass media finally breaks the news about the stadium district getting money for the crappy job Mitsubishi did on the stadium.

It's ironic Travelers Insurance gets stuck with the bill for both sides. Ouch.

1/07/2005 07:29:00 PM

(1/07/2005 02:43:00 PM) - Al


To me the "tragedy" of the Johnson trade isn't that the Yanks are overpaying him. If I had the money, I'd overpay the Big Unit. Might as well ride the star horse until he goes to stud. But according to some sources signing Johnson has a direct impact on the Yanks willingness to sign Carlos Beltran. Would you rather have Beltran, Vasquez, Navarro, Halsey and $9 mil or Randy Johnson? To me, that is a no-brainer.


I agree 100%, Craig, thanks for reading and dropping off that thought. I feel RJ is very likely to tail off, and I think Beltran is actually worth about $11-12 million a year. I'd take Beltran even without the other players, one of which, the young catcher Navarro, many have been awful quick to write off. He's 20 and had a mediocre season in AAA. To me, that says unlimited potential

1/07/2005 02:43:00 PM

(1/07/2005 02:22:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers' site with a newsy notes column. Blurbs include:

As Doug Melvin said on a sports show last Sunday, apparently Jorge de la Rosa is out of options. This was one reason why the Crew didn't take a Rule 5 player. had JDLR with 2 options remaining, so this struck me as a surprise. However, while I'd prefer he be in AAA working on his secondary pitches and his location, it appears the lefty will be in the bullpen to begin '05.

Also, the Crew sounds like they may offer a minor league deal to Jeff Cirillo, who is playing in Mexican winter ball. The Crew, who may start a prospect-for-the-ages 75% of the infield at Nashville, with Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, and JJ Hardy, would seem to need a 3B there. Jeff is likely nothing more than a hard-working 2B/3B reserve at this stage of his career, but the mere fact he's playing winter ball after making about $50M tells me he's a dedicated fella. A AAA deal with a spring training invite...nothing wrong with that.

1/07/2005 02:22:00 PM

(1/07/2005 02:07:00 PM) - Al

The Hardball Times gives a history of the Expos, ending with their demise.

Part 1

Part 2

Whenever I'm feeling down, I just think to myself how just a while back, Jim Caple insisted the best thing for MLB to do was to spend $300 million on a new stadium in Montreal.

And I laugh and laugh and laugh...

1/07/2005 02:07:00 PM

(1/07/2005 01:40:00 PM) - Al

Tsunami relief is just under $15 million at Amazon, and I think AOL started a contribution center also.

I have read a couple people wonder how they could truly assist and make a donation to the US defense department, as they seem to be the only ones actually doing anything. Apparently, the UN is too busy making plans in New York City to actually, well, actually help out.

Money quote:

Sitting VERY late for two consecutive nights in interminable meetings with UN reps, hearing them go on about "taking the lead coordination role," pledges, and the impending arrival of this or that UN big shot or assessment/coordination team, for the millionth time I realized that if not for Australia and America almost nobody in the tsunami-affected areas would have survived more than a few days. If we had waited for the UNocrats to get their act coordinated, the already massive death toll would have become astronomical. But, we sat in air conditioned meeting rooms with these UNocrats, young Australians and Americans were at that moment "coordinating" without the UN and saving the lives of tens-of-thousands of people.

1/07/2005 01:40:00 PM

(1/07/2005 01:32:00 PM) - Al

I'll take throwing away the taxpayer's money for $1000, Alex.

Nothing I enjoy more than seeing our public servants waste time and money. She best be careful, Californians have no problem at all recalling horrendously ineffective politicos.

1/07/2005 01:32:00 PM

(1/07/2005 01:27:00 PM) - Al

Tickets likely going up in '05.

Minor league contract to Cirillo?

Why would the Yankees prefer Johnson to Beltran and others?

This and more later today.

1/07/2005 01:27:00 PM

(1/07/2005 09:24:00 AM) - Al

Allow me to say, some sentencing guidelines need to be "pepped up" just a bit.

Money quote:

Faria and Powell are now seeing the boy daily and are on track to get custody of him in March.

Gee, I don't see any problems forthcoming. I believe this is what we refer to in baseball as not "setting up someone for success".

1/07/2005 09:24:00 AM

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

(1/05/2005 11:46:00 PM) - Al

Mark A looks to be the official owner soon.

I have a ton of e-mail to answer, and you should see more posts soon, as I'm taking a few days off. Luckily, the Brewers' news of late has been all but nonexistant.

1/05/2005 11:46:00 PM

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

(1/04/2005 07:50:00 PM) - Al

Maybe it's just the small market fan in me, but I just can't help but think how NY got robbed dealing for Randy Johnson, as they are paying a 41 year-old pitcher $16 million a year...for three seasons. It's as if they think he's 27. RJ has been outstanding for a decade, but he just missed time with an injury in '03. Granted, $16M to the Yankees isn't the same as $16M to most teams...but it's a lot to not have to spend later on.

1/04/2005 07:50:00 PM

(1/04/2005 09:38:00 AM) - Al

Powerline with an interesting story about a sailor who quit the Navy (apparently unaware of what the military does)...ah, the delicious smell of irony.

1/04/2005 09:38:00 AM

Saturday, January 01, 2005

(1/01/2005 06:57:00 PM) - Al

As we begin another long, sometimes excruciatingly mundane trip around the sun, those of us who are lucky enough to be Americans, whether by birth or by common sense, can simply be thankful we are living in the greatest country in the history of the world.

So, we have a floating hospital and an aircraft carrier with a dozen choppers taking in relief supplies...really. Of course, the UN is probably trying to convince folks those are UN ships.

And according to this gent, US businesses and individuals are contributing more than anyone except the US and Japan.

Funny, not a single mention of the French navy...hmmm.

1/01/2005 06:57:00 PM

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

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

The Ramblings' manifesto can be found here.

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

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Al's WTMJ appearance from July, 2015 with Justin

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Any Soldier
Website that gives info on how to send comfort to our military overseas

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

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