Al's Ramblings

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

(5/31/2005 11:03:00 PM) - Al

I was a tad surprised to see Glover bat for himself in the top of the 6th. Granted, there were two outs and nobody on, but Gary has pitched 2+ scoreless, and Wise is well rested, as is Botallico and Turnbow.

5/31/2005 11:03:00 PM

(5/31/2005 02:04:00 PM) - Al

The JS continues their look at Nashville sounds with a profile of Rickie Weeks...anyone who isn't excited about seeing this kid playing in Milwaukee is either lying or dead.

5/31/2005 02:04:00 PM

(5/31/2005 01:57:00 PM) - Al

Just a goofy loss to SD last night, though one run games often come down to good fortune rather than much else. After Jeff Cirillo curiously made a baserunning decision that can only be described as "incorrect", actually two of them, as he was out trying to steal easily, if the 2B catches the ball; the strangest decision of the game was Ned bringing on DLR. I would have thought Wise or Botallico would have been a decision more in line with their performance, although any pitcher can allow a run.

5/31/2005 01:57:00 PM

Monday, May 30, 2005

(5/30/2005 08:54:00 PM) - Al

Keith Ginter was sent down to AAA, as the A's activated Bobby Crosby from the DL. Ironically, OAK kept Ramblings mainstay Marco Scutaro. Of course, Scooter is a fine utility IF, as he can play 2B/SS/3B, and has played well in Crosby's absence. Ginter, despite 10 walks in 83 AB's, just hasn't been able to put it together. With Mark Ellis apparently healthy, there really wasn't much of a spot available for Keith. Obviously, anything can happen in 83 at-bats (and does), so there's little doubt it's a small sample rather than a decline in talent.

Can't feel too bad for ginter, however, I'm sure he'll get well in the PCL, and while he's there, he'll make the same as ever, just under $600K.

It's tough for me not to see a huge hole at 2B in MIN and wonder what it take to get him right now.

5/30/2005 08:54:00 PM

(5/30/2005 02:50:00 PM) - Robert R.

I got a nice e-mail all the way from Korea from Cpt. Joshua Tooke in regards to appropriate war movies for Memorial Day. I invited him and his fellow soldiers to submit any movies they wished as an addendum to my far from definitive list. Here's the response.

Thanks for the opportunity. After reading your post on “Ramblings” I decided to get some of the troops together and watch movies like you suggested. We came up with a list we wanted to share and of course no one could agree so I have edited it down to a few key movies.

American Civil War

The Ken Burns Civil War Documentary (We can’t watch it as a group because we would be re-fighting the Civil War over again for the 10th time this month.)Glory (Classic but still can’t watch it.)

World War I
Legends of the Fall (A young female soldier of mine suggested this one and at first thought I assumed she was a Brad Pitt fan. After second consideration I think this is an important war story about a family and what happened to it because of the war so I submit it without apology.)

World War II

Kelley’s Heroes (This one surprised me. As a soldier I don’t usually care for military movies that don’t portray war in an honest way or doesn’t bother to get uniforms and details right but I did like this movie and my soldiers told me they act like this all the time and just don’t let me catch themJ.

The Band of Brothers Series (This is what we will be watching at Kwangju tonight. Simply Awesome.)

Korean War

Heartbreak Ridge (Not a Korean War movie I know, it took place just prior to, and during the Invasion of Grenada back in 1983. However, most of My NCOs would tell you that Gunnery Sgt. Tom 'Gunny' Highway is the NCO they wish they could be. He learned his lessons in Korea but call it the best movie ever about the Invasion of Grenada if you like. I hate the way the officers are portrayed but that’s my problem.)

Vietnam War
The Siege of Fire Base Gloria (This movie stars R. Lee Emery and came out in the late 80’s. This is a B movie and hard to find these days. I haven’t seen it in a while but it was mandatory viewing in my company when I was a young Specialist.)

We Were Soldiers (This movie was adapted from a book called “We Were Soldiers Once and Young” by LTG Hal Moore and Joe Galloway.) This book is on most professional reading lists since it came out. The movie did the book justice and was as honest a movie as I have seen about Vietnam. Only problem with this one is we have seen it literally 100 times since it came out.)

Black Hawk Down (Great movie with some important lessons for America and the military. Again it is an honest movie in most ways and that was important to us.)

My thanks to Cpt. Josh Tooke and his fellow soldiers Mike Thomason, Katy Reynolds, James Taylor, Matt Wise, and Peter Shinn for contributing to the list. I've only seen Ken Burns's brilliant Civil War series, Kelley's Heroes and Black Hawk Down from that list and I can second the recommendations.

And my personal thanks to these soldiers for serving their country in addition to responding to this blog.

5/30/2005 02:50:00 PM

(5/30/2005 10:11:00 AM) - Al

Happy Memorial Day, and a special thanks to the members of our armed forces. Jeff Jacoby tells of how one Marine died.

So here is the story behind just one of the names ''Nightline" will enumerate on Memorial Day: Sergeant Rafael Peralta of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 3d Marines. He was killed in action on Nov. 15 during Operation Dawn, the epic battle to retake the Sunni stronghold of Fallujah.

What follows is chiefly based on an account by Marine Lance Corporal T.J. Kaemmerer, a combat correspondent who took part in the operation that cost Peralta his life. Reports also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Marine Corps Times, The San Diego Union Tribune, and on ABC News.

On the day he died, Rafael Peralta was 25 years old, a Mexican immigrant from San Diego who had enlisted in the Marines as soon as he became a legal resident. He earned his citizenship while on active duty and re-upped in 2004. He was a Marine to the core, so meticulous that when Alpha Company was training in Kuwait, he would send his camouflage uniform out to be pressed.

He was no less passionate about his adopted country: His bedroom wall was adorned with a picture of his boot camp graduation and replicas of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. ''Be proud of being an American," he wrote to his kid brother Ricardo, 14. ''Our father came to this country and became a citizen because it was the right place for our family to be." It was the first letter he ever wrote to Ricardo -- and the last. It arrived in San Diego the day after he died.

The Marines of the 1/3 were on the front lines in Fallujah, purging the city of terrorists in house-to-house combat. As a platoon scout, Peralta could have stayed back in relative safety. Instead, as was often the case, he volunteered to join the assault team.

On the morning of Nov. 15, one week into the battle for Fallujah, his squad had cleared three houses without incident. They approached a fourth, kicking in two locked doors simultaneously and entering both front rooms. They found them empty. Another closed door led to an adjoining room. As the other Marines spread out, wrote Kaemmerer, ''Peralta, rifle in hand, tested the handle." It wasn't locked. He threw open the door, preparing to rush in -- and three terrorists with AK-47s opened fire. He was shot multiple times in the chest and face. As he fell, severely wounded, he managed to wrench himself out of the doorway to give his fellow Marines a clear line of fire.

The gunfire was deafening. To the sound of the terrorists' AK-47s was added the din of the Marines' M16 rifles and Squad Automatic Weapon, a machine gun. The battle was raging, with Peralta down and bleeding heavily and the other Marines firing at the enemy in the back room, when, in Kaemmerer's words, ''a yellow, foreign-made, oval-shaped grenade bounced into the room, rolling to a stop close to Peralta's nearly lifeless body."

As the other Marines tried to flee, Peralta reached for the grenade and tucked it into his gut. Seconds later, it exploded with such force that when his remains were returned to his family for burial, they were able to identify him only by the tattoo on his shoulder. His five comrades-in-arms, shielded from the worst of the blast by Peralta's last act as a Marine, survived.

''Right now, people are really nice and everything," Peralta's 12-year-old sister Karen told a reporter 10 days after her brother's death. ''But I know that when it comes to later on, they are going to forget him. They're going to forget about him."

No, Karen. The Marines, always faithful, do not forget their heroes. And neither does the grateful nation that pauses to honor them this week -- the nation Rafael Peralta loved so deeply, and for which he gave his last full measure of devotion.

5/30/2005 10:11:00 AM

(5/30/2005 09:17:00 AM) - Al

Saw part of a nice story on Tony Stevens on FSN Across America, a former Twins' minor leaguer who joined the Marines after 9/11. Google provides a nice story about him. Thankfully, we have a lot of young people (and a few not so young:) protecting our nation and freedoms.

5/30/2005 09:17:00 AM

Sunday, May 29, 2005

(5/29/2005 10:41:00 PM) - Al

You can bet the Brewers having very few home games in June led to two very large crowds. While I would have guessed 28-30K for a couple Memorial Day weekend games, more than 72K fans attended the two games. You get the feeling many folks looked at the schedule, and after not seeing a good time to see a game next month, reevaluated, and made it this past weekend instead.

5/29/2005 10:41:00 PM

(5/29/2005 10:18:00 PM) - Al

I had never heard of this, but it seems like something that could catch on, even to those who do not have a family member in harm's way. Actually, to me, it might be a nice message to do this at a cookout or get together on any holiday weekend. It would be a nice token of appreciation, as well as a message to the children that it is done as a token of respect for the military.

5/29/2005 10:18:00 PM

(5/29/2005 09:56:00 PM) - Al

Can't say much other than what a couple bad luck games. Sheets and the bullpen both pitched weakly yesterday, and the offense managed 6, while today, Cappy pitched nicely again and the offense only managed 1. Easily could have been a split.

Let me add that, while I was obviously not part of the intended target audience, today's Kidscast was a painful new low from Daron and Bill. Showing a 7 year-old how to keep score? There are a lot of wonderful things to teach a youngster about baseball, and scorekeeping ain't one of them. I had no interest in keeping score when I was 7, and my attention span was very lengthy compared to the quick edit infused youth of 2005.

The unintended star of the telecast was the young fan in the stands that was miked, Danny I believe. I wish I could listen to him every night, instead of the pair of adults.

Also, someone ought to inform the Padres that tomorrow is a holiday. Scheduling a game on the last day of a 3 day weekend for a 7:30 first gotta wonder if they simply missed the fact it was Memorial Day. Painful.

5/29/2005 09:56:00 PM

(5/29/2005 03:42:00 PM) - Robert R.

Another tough loss for Capuano.

While this is possibly second guessing, not getting Overbay an AB with the game on the line in the 9th strikes me as a grave mistake. I don't care what Miller is hitting after the 7th in Sunday afternoon games, you have to assume that you only have at most 2 ABs left there and between Miller and Hall, I'd pinch hit for Miller. Especially given the chance of a DP with the catcher at bat. Overbay is quite possibly the best hitter on the team period and it's just negligent not to get him into the game in a situation where he could win it.

I'll fully agree that the outcome may not have changed at all. The likely outcome was that Overbay makes some sort of out. Still, I don't believe that there's any argument that Miller would give you a better chance of winning than Overbay.

5/29/2005 03:42:00 PM

(5/29/2005 08:34:00 AM) - Al

Peter Gammons writes prose as to the Brewers' future, with some nice mentions of the present as well.

5/29/2005 08:34:00 AM

(5/29/2005 08:33:00 AM) - Al

The day after (Danny) Graves was punted, Reds outfielders Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey, Jr., arrived in the clubhouse and discovered that their reclining massage chairs were gone. Manager Dave Miley ordered their removal.

"So now we'll start winning," Dunn told the Dayton Daily News. "It was my chair's fault. I think my chair wants to be traded. It came to play every day, never complained. Hey, we won (Monday night). If we lost, my glove might be gone today. They did leave the tip jar that was next to the chair. I was surprised they didn't take the money."

Miley told reporters: "The chairs have disappeared. We're changing things up and I'll leave it at that."

Allow me to say the Reds seem to be focused on all the wrong things. Chairs? Releasing players who might well have some trade value at the deadline (especially if Cincy paid their salary, in Graves and D'Angelo Jimenez), signing fly-ball pitchers with a career 4.50+ (Eric Milton) to a long-term contract to play in a HR haven, having 4 excellent OF's on a roster, but only 3 spots to play...and management actually took time to decide whether or not some chairs should remain?

That's like a group of forest rangers happening upon a forest fire, and then discussing whether the color of the picnic tables about to be consumed by flames is a friendly one or not for picnic folks.

5/29/2005 08:33:00 AM

(5/29/2005 08:31:00 AM) - Al

Flipping channels last night, I caught a story on West Point's graduation ceremony. This is the class commonly known as "the class of 9/11", as they were freshman cadets just starting Fall classes when 9/11 took place.

I was taken back by a couple things, one by how many officers look to be of a Asian-American background. Also, considering these are young adults, mostly 22-23 year-olds, I can't believe how young these guys (and gals) look. Geez, I'm old.

By the way, in one of those ironic twists that prove fact is far stranger than fiction, the 2005 West Point graduating class numbered...911 officers. Really.

5/29/2005 08:31:00 AM

(5/29/2005 08:21:00 AM) - Al

The JS with a shocking piece of reporting on the Nashville sounds' AAA team.

It is authored by "The Prince of Darkness", so expect it to be negative, but even Tom H couldn't help but mention that this is as loaded a AAA team as you can imagine. I have said many times that they have a dozen "true" prospects, which means those players have a legitamate chance at spending real time in the big leagues. Tom only mentions that 7 of the Crew's top ten according to Baseball America are currently in Nashville, not mentioning relievers Jeff Bennett and Justin Lehr, for example; though I'm the first to admit they are not at the same level as those he did discuss.

5/29/2005 08:21:00 AM

(5/29/2005 08:09:00 AM) - Al

Robert, I think I might have had an exact opposite evening as you did last evening. After watching the Brewers (DLR did not pitch poorly at all, but did give up some runners), I watched my latest Netflix receipt, Blue Collar Comedy Tour Rides Again, starring Jeff Foxworty, Larry the Cable Guy and 2 other "low brow" comedians. Not classy, but very enjoyable.

I think it's safe to say that's as far from Gilbert and Sullivan as you can get.:)

5/29/2005 08:09:00 AM

(5/29/2005 07:49:00 AM) - Robert R.

I missed the game last night. Sounds like I missed a particularly frustrating game with Spivey, Moeller and De La Rosa being the goats. At least it sounded like Ben Sheets was back in close to his 2004 form, which can only be a good thing for the Brewers.

Instead of watching the Brewers, I had a committment to seeing THE MIKADO by the Skylight Opera Theatre. I've been interested in seeing the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta ever since seeing the film TOPSY TURVY and the Skylight's production was outstanding. THE MIKADO is a comic opera about, basically, bureaucracy and the Skylight adds to the plain reproduction of the operetta by adds a dose of Vaudeville and updating some lyrics with some contemporary references. The Marquette board and the new name search get skewered in one line of lyrics, for example.

The Skylight specializes in English language operas, operettas and classic musicals and is perhaps an ideal introduction to operas and operettas. I've only been to the Skylight twice, once for SWEENEY TODD which is on a whole different end of the tonal spectrum from Gilbert & Sullivan, and both productions have been outstanding. THE MIKADO runs through June 12, for those with any interest.

5/29/2005 07:49:00 AM

Saturday, May 28, 2005

(5/28/2005 06:11:00 PM) - Al

It sure is a sad day when you long for the surehandedness of...Billy Hall at 2B.

No offense to Junior Spivey, but whoever imagined he was the key to anything were drinking the adult punch.

5/28/2005 06:11:00 PM

(5/28/2005 06:07:00 PM) - Al

Adams was the only reliever who would not have to be placed on waivers in order to go to the minor leagues.--JS

The only way to not lose a pitcher was to send Adams down, simple as that.

5/28/2005 06:07:00 PM

(5/28/2005 12:04:00 AM) - Al

Just finished watching my tape of the Brewers' win tonight. Davis pitched nicely after the 1st, and when you win close games, you usually catch a break like the other CF dropping a tough liner.

Mike Adams was sent down to make room for Sheets, who will make his first start tomorrow night. Adams has not pitched terribly at all, and was sent down for a myriad of reasons...I would assume the most important being he still had options remaining. He has struggled with his velocity at times this season, but he has regained that, hitting 94 on the gun last time out. Personally, this is the type of move I'm always hoping happens at the end of March, a young player with options goes down, while the vet without any is kept. While some mutter stuff about fairness, when the heck did baseball and life become fair? I don't think there's a pitcher on the staff that would have cleared waivers, so this was the only way to keep all our arms. When someone gets hurt, or becomes ineffective, it will sure be dandy to have a guy like Adams waiting in the wings at AAA.

I just think it's great having a pitching staff so darn good that the guy with a sub 3 ERA is sent down.:)

5/28/2005 12:04:00 AM

Friday, May 27, 2005

(5/27/2005 10:30:00 AM) - Al

The Crank quotes Negro League great Rube Foster, apparently he was way ahead of his time.

The funny thing is, career sub .300 OBP man Bill Schroeder would argue that Foster is a crock, and you gotta be aggressive up there.:)

5/27/2005 10:30:00 AM

Thursday, May 26, 2005

(5/26/2005 11:06:00 PM) - Robert R.

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN is a fine movie. My not mentioning it had nothing to do with its merits, only that I'm sure that everyone who has any interest knows of it. Recommending SAVING PRIVATE RYAN as a war movie is like recommending steak to a meat eater. I decided to highlight some lesser known fare, instead.

As an aside, that shot that Al mentioned is one of the pitfalls of knowing too much about movies. While everything Al mentioned may have gone through my mind, also going through my mind was that Spielberg was using a John Ford composition shot with the doorway framing the action. THE SEARCHERS has probably the most famous of those shots. Sometimes focussing on the emotions of a scene is more than enough.

5/26/2005 11:06:00 PM

(5/26/2005 07:59:00 PM) - Al

So, I had a meeting in Milwaukee Thursday, and the day off (except for travel) Wednesday, so I decided to head down early and go to the Brewers noon start, followed by some live poker. I left about 9:20, and shut off the car in the preferred lot just after Carlos Lee hit his HR in the 1st to make it 2-0. By the time I purchased my ticket and made my way to my seat in Section 210, just past the 1B bag, it was the top of the 2nd, 5-0 Crew. Jamey Wright pitched pretty well other than in the bottom of the 2nd (granted, that's like saying Hitler was an OK fella, other than the mass murder), but Gary Glover pitched like a guy who deserves to stay in the rotation, allowing only one unearned run on a broken bat grounder with some funky spin that Overbay missed. Whether or not he will even stay with the team is still debateable, as he still may be considered the pitcher with the least future potential, or the easiest to trade. Personally, I might just put Branyan on the DL for now, and go with 13 pitchers for a bit, as it would seem likely to me the Crew is overdue for a "real" injury to a pitcher, and/or a team may up their offer for Glover (or another serviceable, if low ceiling arm, like Phelps) should they not hope he will be placed on waivers anytime soon.

One of my favorite things about Doug Melvin is while he never reveals a whole lot about possible trades or future signings, he is relatively easy to "read between the lines". Yesterday on the pre-game, Jim Powell asked about the rotation and bullpen, and Doug was full of superlatives, saying how well this guy and that guy had pitched, and what a surprise it was that a guy claimed on waivers (Turnbow) and a guy who had been in the minors in Japan (Santana) were both pitching so well, etc. Then, when asked if it was a big start for Glover, Doug simply said, paraphrasing, "Yeah, well, let's see what happens today".

Plenty of young people in the crowd, which is always good to see, and a good size crowd at that, just under 25K.

The Crew has been in a lot of close games this year, and only a couple blowouts, yet it was the 2nd relaxing, easy win I've seen in person this year, to go along with the Sunday Cincy win. 3-0 with me in attendance.

So, I got in the car at 3:04, and shifted into park at the casino at 3:15. Also, good to see a lot of new construction seemingly started in the few blocks around Potawatami, replacing unused warehouses and other examples of urban blight. I walked directly to the poker room and was shocked to find no wait at all for 2/4, and sat right in, playing until just after 8PM. Various recollections and thoughts, in no particular order:

---It seemed so much more casual and unprofessional than my previous visit. The dealers change every 20-30 minutes, so I saw 7 or 8 of them, and all but one or two were awful. "Irma" kept complaining that she didn't want to work, and how long her shift was. "Tiffany" kept asking one of the players how much a limo would be, as she is planning her wedding. Both made many mistakes with bets, rake, dealing the next card before all bets were made, and were being corrected by the regulars almost nonstop. "Vicki" made faces when her boss was counting her chips and changing out the drop box used to collect the rake, as if it was extremely difficult to verify the numbers he was calling out. Meanwhile, the guys (and a gal) running the board and the room were nothing short of 100% pros, filling seats quickly and even running chips when the lone runner fell behind. They deserve better than a bunch of whiners dealing the cards.

---The dealers kept saying how slow it was, although 11 of the 12 tables were active all the time I was there. Not sure if they feel it is "slow" if the lines for the tables aren't long, or what. Rainy days are packed, they said.

---Allow me to qualify this by saying I am nothing but a usually profitable online player, who freely admits to making his profits off low-level players, who is far from very good, but I sat down with a collection of players who would have trouble beating my cocker spaniel. Horrendous would be too kind, terrible would be giving them too much credit. If I would be able to play against this table every time I played, I think I'd quit my job, as the potential profits would be of an infinite nature. Of course, I was card dead for most of my time with these players, so while I had a good session, even average cards would have led to a very successful day.

---I realize not everyone plays by the book, and there is no "right and wrong" as far as what starting hands to play, as any two cards can win, but please, we're not talking about Daniel Negraneau or Gus Hansen here, proven pros who win despite being unconventional. Several played every single hand all the time they were there, even if there was a raise pre-flop. The one woman at the table seemed to be folding a lot more than some others, but she won a hand with 72 offsuit, the worst starting hand in the game. She said she had stayed in "because he stayed in", referring to another player who she was friends with. What?

---At another 2/4 table, there was a player who all the "regulars" refused to play with, they called him "Reraise". They complained that he often would call, and then if you raised, he would reraise you. I sat incredulously, wondering why this was a bad thing, as you obviously raise with good cards, as you are trying to maximize the money in the pot, if you have a good chance at winning. What was said next just floored me. "Yeah, then he'll fold as soon as the flop comes, and laugh". So, this idiot reraises after you raise, and he has nothing, doesn't even play after raising...and you don't want to play at this buffoon's table? It was like I was in a bizarro world, they didn't want to play with a guy who literally threw his money away. I'd be begging to sit at his table, and yet, they wanted no part of him. What?

---One player complained that their Aces had "been cracked two times". Now, while AA is always a profitable hand in the long-term, it won't even win half the time when up against more than 2 other random hands. While it is still the favorite, it won't win half the time, as it would look something like this:

Hand 1-12%
Hand 2-18%
Hand 3-25%

So, while still the favorite, it'll lose over half the time, even against three hands, never mind 6-7. They must have said a dozen times about losing with Aces, but it's going to happen all the time when that many folks see the flop.

---One time, one of the "better" players called my bets all the way to the river. I turned over my 3 8's, and the gent stared at the board for about 5 seconds, still holding his cards down. Finally, he asked the dealer, "What would it take for me to have a straight?" After the dealer told him the only straight possibility would be if he had a 10 and a 9, he mucked his cards. Um, wouldn't you check to see if you had a straight before calling repeatedly?

---In 5 hours, I think only one or two hands didn't go all the way to a showdown.

---In 5 hours, Queen high won not one, not two, but three pots.

---One player won the first couple pots after I sat down, both times with awful cards. In the next couple hours, he went through about $200 in chips, then bought in for $100 more, and lost it within 30 minutes. Once, he almost laid his cards down after being raised, then changed his mind and reraised. If he had good cards, he bet. If he had bad cards, he bet. I'll give you this, no one ever knew what he had.

---One thing happened I've never seen, or ever thought I'd see. One player bet out every card, and then when he was called on the river, flung his cards into the muck face down and said "You got it". As the chips were being pushed to the other player, he also mucked his cards face down. So, no one saw either hand, yet one player "won" the pot.

---So between 6:30 and 7, almost the whole table changed one player at a time. Suddenly, instead of 5-7 in every pot, there was only 2 or 3. Once or twice, we even chopped the blinds (took them back, as no one bet). It was an astounding change, and it happened so quickly. Of course, the pots went from being $30-50 to about $10-15, so while my cards improved, there was little money to be won. One player who had got in on the last half-hour of the madness said it best, as after witnessing every player fold to his pre-flop raise, thus winning only the blinds with his good hand, muttered "Man, we need some of the old players back, who call with anything".

---Finally, I gotta agree with King Gleeman about the constant tipping. For the most part, you are expected to tip the dealer every time you win a pot, as well as the waitstaff who bring you free water/pop. Of course, being an online veteran, there is no tipping there, so it is very difficult not to see it as simply a huge reduction in your profit potential. Noted author Lee Jones evens mentions this in his low-limit bible, saying that the lack of needing to tip makes the online game far better. First of all, I should mention I worked five years as a pizza delivery specialist, and made thousands of dollars in gratuities.

{Note to the IRS, this is all hypothetical life history.}

I have nothing against tipping, and still tip at an above average level, especially if the person is an attractive young female (I'm sorry, I mean a person of either gender who does their job well. I don't know what I was thinking...). But, the smallest chip is $1, if the waitperson got $1 for each beverage they delivered, I'd estimate they'd make $75/hr...minimum. That seems kind of excessive. My compromise was to tip the gal the first time she brought me an ice water, then not the next time. Actually, when I visited the restroom, I discovered a self-serve pop/water machine out in the bingo room, so from then on, I just got my own liquid refreshments.

Even more bothersome was seeing the above mentioned crappy dealers get a dollar or two thrown at them after every single hand. Even at only 25-30 hands an hour, that's a lot of cash for not paying attention and having the regular players have to correct you on a consistent basis. Heck, on a couple occasions, a dealer was given a $5 chip, like when a player was dealt KK, and another King appeared on the flop. Let's face it, that's just good fortune, and rewarding the person who dealt the cards seems as silly as patting your monitor when it occurs online.

---Finally, allow me to say that playing bingo looks to be as dull as anything I can imagine. Granted, the average age of the players playing bingo looks to be about twice my age, so maybe I'll feel differently when that day comes.

5/26/2005 07:59:00 PM

(5/26/2005 07:34:00 PM) - Al

Before my recap of my day at the Brewers rout and 5 hours at the poker tables of Potawatami, I'm not sure if Robert forgot about Saving Private Ryan, didn't think it was worthy, or just felt it was too mainstream, but it's by far the best war movie I've ever seen, and in the top five films I've ever seen.

I recall seeing it in the theater, as a matinee about its 2nd week out. There was a nice crowd for the daytime, about 40 people, and the gasps were audible from folks in almost every scene. The ending is a surprise the first time you see it as well, brilliantly pulled off.

To me, however, by far the most memorable scene is when the mom of the four sons who have been killed in action first sees the official government looking vehicle coming up her driveway, she drops to her knees, knowing exactly why it is there, waiting only to hear which of them have passed. We never see or hear what is said, but we know, and while the soldiers involved often wonder if it makes sense risking their lives to save another, I don't think the moviegoer has any doubt at all, because of the scene with the mom.

If you somehow have never seen it, I'd put that on the top of your list.

5/26/2005 07:34:00 PM

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

(5/24/2005 11:30:00 PM) - Robert R.

Not much to add, except to repeat that the Rockies are a truly horrible team. Houston also appears to be terrible. Nice way to fatten up after a tough road trip and before a tough stretch of games.

As a digression, Memorial Day is coming up and my brother usually holds a party to watch war movies. I'm sure there are plenty of people who also choose to do the same. Some suggestions sorted by war.

American Civil War
(Lots of good choices. Plenty that have aged better than GONE WITH THE WIND as well.)

World War I
(A war that was almost immediately acknowledged as a colossal waste. And that many countries have made films about.)
THE GRAND ILLUSION (The granddaddy of all escape movies.)

World War II
(Too numerous to mention. I'll name a couple of lesser known ones.)
THE TRAIN (Made in the 60s by John Frankenheimer, my choice for best action director of the decade.)
THE BIG RED ONE: THE RECONSTRUCTION (Brand new extended edition, released on DVD this month without much fanfare. Makes a good film into a masterpiece.)

Korean War
M*A*S*H (By default. And even with that, it's more about Vietnam than Korea. Still much funnier than the Alan Alda soapbox.)

Vietnam War
(These are all pretty dark movies. Understandably so.)

Gulf War I
THREE KINGS (Yes, it's cynical, but it also has the message that we should be interfering in Iraq in the name of freedom. Freedom and doing the right thing is more important than gold (and oil) by the end of the movie.)

5/24/2005 11:30:00 PM

(5/24/2005 10:23:00 PM) - Al

Nothing like the Rockies to make yourself feel good about the team again.

Allow me to say that if Gary Glover pitches poorly tomorrow, he may leave the mound, go into the dugout, and just keep walking. He has been mildly effective, keeping the team in the game in almost every time he has started, but when you have the 3rd best ERA in the NL, the worst pitcher is probably not that bad, and probably will garner plenty of interest should they have to DFA them. The funny thing is, if Glover pitches well, I'm really not sure if he still won't be DFA'd. The "on the bubble" pitchers would seem to be Santana, who has pitched brilliantly every time out except one, Phelps, who has been very good of late, and de la Rosa, who has no options, and has a 0% chance of clearing waivers.

Good to see Hardy with a pair of doubles. If he can combine that with taking some walks, he may salvage the campaign yet.

I am still debating heading down for tomorrow's game, if only it wasn't at noon.

5/24/2005 10:23:00 PM

Monday, May 23, 2005

(5/23/2005 08:08:00 PM) - Al

I read almost any story that has Pat Tillman's name in it, and the fact his parents now feel his death was "glorified" is no exception. However, this seems to me to be the money quote:

The latest investigation, written about by The Washington Post earlier this month, showed that soldiers in Afghanistan knew almost immediately that they had killed Tillman by mistake in what they believed was a firefight with enemies on a tight canyon road. The investigation also revealed that soldiers later burned Tillman's uniform and body armor.

That information was slow to make it back to the United States, the report said, and Army officials here were unaware that his death on April 22, 2004, was fratricide when they notified the family that Tillman had been shot.

Over the next 10 days, however, top-ranking Army officials -- including the theater commander, Army Gen. John P. Abizaid -- were told of the reports that Tillman had been killed by his own men, the investigation said.
But the Army waited until a formal investigation was finished before telling the family -- which was weeks after a nationally televised memorial service that honored Tillman on May 3, 2004.

I'm no military expert, but if you are a mature, intelligent adult, it is common knowledge that the armed forces wheels of justice grind slowly...painstakingly so. In fact, by my count, it is eleven days after Tillman's death that the Army publicly said that it was probably "friendly fire" that killed the heroic Tillman...not that long a time frame at all to make such a claim, one that involves hours of investigation, interviews, travel, paperwork, etc.

What really bothers me about this story is, bluntly put, who cares? I suppose it is tough to understand if you are a journalist, but war is not an activity that is described as "precise", or "exact". War is an exercise in extreme violence, and death by "friendly fire" is an accepted part of the risk. A frightening percentage of casualties happen from this. They have been greatly reduced over the years (supposedly), with precision guided weapons and the like, but still occur far too often.

Why was there no air protection from the air on D-Day, for example...there was, but due to fog, the planes were unable to get a good view of the for fear of hitting the soldiers, they dropped their bombs several miles inland.

Back to the point, does this make Tillman any less of a hero? Nope, not in the least. Sure, Ted Rall and other "patriots" can say Tillman is an idiot (honestly, how Rall can live with himself is beyond me), but Tillman is a soldier who died while serving and defending. Worrying about the details of his death seem trivial to me, and why it continues to be brought up a year after his passing, in some sort of ineffective post-mortem attempt to diminish his contribution, is a pity.

5/23/2005 08:08:00 PM

(5/23/2005 07:52:00 PM) - Al

JJ Hardy up, bottom of 2nd inning. Batting 8th per usual, in front of the pitcher, he works the count to 2-0...and then hits a weak 6-3 ground out.

How can this occur? JJ is simply not using the only offensive strength he has shown, taking walks. How can he expect to get any better offensively by making more outs? The only goal he should have is to get on base and get past the pitcher's spot in the order. If he is going to swing (which he shouldn't really even consider), he should either hit a HR or come out of his shoes swinging for the fence, as a single, double, or triple is all but meaningless, as the pitcher is up next.

JJ probably was rushed to the bigs, but even though his BA has been low, at least in April, he walked 11 times. Right now, by not being willing to take a free base, he has no offensive value at all.

5/23/2005 07:52:00 PM

(5/23/2005 07:43:00 PM) - Al

I guess the Crew signed Ned Yost Jr. today. I saw him play in Wausau a couple summers ago, and he was certainly big and strong, and his throws to 2B between innings were always within an inch of the bag. Supposedly, he plays many positions, but you would have to figure if he has any hope of advancing, it will be as a catcher.

5/23/2005 07:43:00 PM

(5/23/2005 07:29:00 PM) - Al

Let me add this as well...if you were to rank the three Brewers' middle infielders right now...can you, seriously, put Bill Hall anywhere but the top spot?

I still hold out hope for Spivey putting together a good statline and being worth something in late-July (and yes, this is deja vu), but I'm not expecting it. I will say this, those that said Spivey was vital to the team's success (and meant it, unlike Doug Melvin, who I have little doubt said it in order to raise his trade value), is looking like a drooling buffoon right about now.

5/23/2005 07:29:00 PM

(5/23/2005 06:37:00 PM) - Al

I ended up only spending one day in the Upper Peninsula, due to an error of marketing. Some thoughts I had of the area, and from yesterday's Brewers game.

---First of all, I got WSAU out of Wausau the entie way to Marquette, MI. It got scratchy at times, but I always understood the action, even with the 2 year-old babbling incessantly in the back seat. There have been some reports that WSAU is unable to cover Wisconsin Rapids...take a look at a map and I have some serious doubts. Apparently, the flagship station of the Crew, WTMJ, have made stations sign up for the Packers, Brewers, and Bucks in order to receive any of them...and a few stations have no interest at all in the Bucks, and have declined the package as of this moment. Maybe WSAU's nighttime range is not as strong, but if you have trouble in Rapids, I would recommend updating your 70's era radio first. It's just like those phone menus you hear, which say, "If you have a rotary phone...". Instead of pandering to those who are decades behind, the recording should say, "If you have a rotary phone...geez, Wal Mart has touchtone phones for $7. Get with it."

---I have to agree with Robert, yesterday's loss certainly was far from the fault of Yost, who set up his players for success, and his players let him down. I also never second guess the manager, though I often do it when his move works, as there is not much harm in that. As I was listening, however, especially after the 2 hits to leadoff the 9th, my feeling was that Turnbow was done.

I will look up the numbers after I'm done with this post, but the ironic thing is, Adams was removed by Ned as the closer after one blown save, on a weak single to the opposite field. Turnbow has now blown a couple saves, though overall he has pitched fine, though far from perfect. When Adams was taken out of that role, I recall the reason given was his high pitch count, making back-to-back outings difficult. I believe, as of today at least, that Adams has a better ERA and a lower pitch count per inning than Turnbow. I really don't have a huge problem with the Crew choosing to be slaves to velocity, as many teams are, and most scouts barely see anything else, as Moneyball told the story of many guys who threw 92 with a 5 ERA being drafted high, while the junkballer who topped out at 86 with a 1.95 ERA went undrafted.

Now, would I have taken Turnbow out? Probably not, as by the time Wise got warm, Derrick appeared to have recovered, getting two outs and getting ahead of Stewart. Turnbow's 0-1 pitch was a fastball right down the heart of the plate, maybe on the outside half. From what I see, Turnbow is all but unhittable when he hits the upper half of the strike zone, and of course, no one can catch up to him out of the zone. Both his 9th inning HR's, to Ramirez and Stewart, were low strikes, where major league hitters can catch up to them unless they are of the three digit variety. I will say this, however, Yost would have surely impressed me had he taken Derrick out, and citing too many pitches as the reason. A closer on his 40th pitch is surely far from 100%. The 2nd (or 3rd/4th) best reliever fresh out of the bullpen would seem to be a fine choice, if a bit "out of the box", as very few teams will remove a closer until the save is blown.

---I've never been to the UP before, and the one thing that remains on my mind is how dense the trees are. Years ago, a huge fire wiped out a portion of a heavily forested area in Minnesota, and the estimates of trees destroyed was astoundingly high, in the millions. Seeing how there would seem to be thousands of trees to a square acre in northern MI, I suddenly see how that many trees could actually have been in the areas of the fire.

---Marquette is a small town that has grown unexpectedly, at least to city planners. It's infrastructure is, for lack of a thesaurus, crappy. Frontage roads do not exist, so the main drag of the city, Hwy 41, is hopelessly outdated, as folks slow to turn right as cars whiz by at 60 mph, and the best they could come up to make it work is to install U-turns, complete with stoplights designed just for the U's (honest, I couldn't believe it either). So, to go to a store on the left side of the road, you go past it, then find the nearest U-turn, then wait for the stoplight to change so you can turn around and then turn right, as traffic whizzes by you at near interstate speed.

---As the game tonight begins, Branyan is still "resting" his sore shoulder. C'mon, isn't it time to DL this and get him 100%? I can see Damian Miller, who sounds like he is just getting old and sore, which we all can understand and sympathize with. Russ sounds like he needs time off, and is there any harm in giving him 15 days instead of 7-10?

UPDATE: Adams does have a better ERA, but is throwing about 3.5 more pitches an inning.

5/23/2005 06:37:00 PM

(5/23/2005 08:57:00 AM) - Robert R.

Yesterday's loss was one that is proof that even if the manager makes the right moves, it's no guarantee of a win. Yost brought in Bottalico in the 8th as is customary and watched him get into big trouble. Rather than lose the game in the 8th, Yost brought in Turnbow who got out of the jam with only 1 run crossing the plate. Unfortunately those pitches and a long AB by Jacques Jones took their toll on Turnbow and he wasn't able to closeout the game, although he came close. The Brewers almost wiggled out of an inning opening triple in the 11th, but a bobble by Spivey ended that idea and the game.

That was an unfortunate road trip with three 1-run losses and two 2-run losses. A homestand against Colorado and Houston should help make things better.

5/23/2005 08:57:00 AM

Sunday, May 22, 2005

(5/22/2005 08:14:00 AM) - Al

I'll be out of town for job related things for most of the week, FYI.

5/22/2005 08:14:00 AM

Saturday, May 21, 2005

(5/21/2005 07:44:00 PM) - Al


I have been reading your blog for several months now and I find it so much more insightful than the stuff that is published in the Journal. Please keep it up.

Here is my comment/question – how bad does Chad Moeller have to get before the Brewer’s brass looks at other options? That said, what other options do they have? It seems to me that they let Pat Borders go pretty easily for a team with a back-up catcher with .178 OBP. Even with an OBP that low if he could get the runs in from 3rd with less than 2 out and bunt successfully I would not be nearly as frustrated. Any thoughts on how this might play out for the remainder of the year?


Andrew checks in from Eagle, thanks for reading and writing. Most folks actually projected Chad to produce almost as much as Damian, including myself. I will answer this by asking a couple questions of my own:

1. How many AB's does Chad have...without looking, I'll guess 50...what were Carlos Lee's stats at 50 AB's? Way lower than they are now, to say the least. Granted, Chad had a poor '04, but I'm not changing my mind on him with that tiny sample.

2. How many catchers, honestly, hit? Piazza, Varitek, Kendall, a couple others. Now, how many backup catchers hit? Mirabelli of BOS, Redmond of MIN? Finally, how many "free talent" catchers are available right now that can hit? Only name off the top of my head is Benito Santiago, who was so highly thought of the Pirates waived him.

All you need to know about the state of catching in the big leagues is that the Mariners needed a reserve and begged the Brewers to give them a 42 year-old who had a 624 OPS in the PCL, a hitter's haven.

So, in closing Andrew, I'm a bit disappointed with Moeller as well, but I don't see a lot of appealing options out there. In fact, I'd say the best available veteran at AAA may well be Mark Johnson, who was the Brewers' AAA C last year, and came up in September and did a decent job.

5/21/2005 07:44:00 PM

(5/21/2005 07:24:00 PM) - Al

It's tough not to wonder if this may be the beginning of the Bill Hall era at SS. While I am not concerned about Hardy's lack of offense in a small sample, his BB decline is a negative, and tonight on the broadcast, JJ supposedly was saying he needs to pull the ball more, as he's always been a pull hitter.

If I heard JJ say he was proud of his OBP, in spite of his low BA, and felt he had hit a lot of balls hard for outs, I'd think JJ would be fine. As is, there would appear to be little doubt Hall is the better option as of today.

Don't forget, you can be a horrible offensive player and still be a major league SS. "Average" is only .326/.408, and if you remove the gys making $10 mil or more, I have to believe it's closer to .310/.390. Even if Billy never becomes much of an OBP threat, a .300/.425 shortstop, especially one as athletic as Hall, has value. Don't forget, Bill is still just 25, and was rushed to the majors by a regime with no long-term plan.

5/21/2005 07:24:00 PM

(5/21/2005 07:10:00 PM) - Al

I would rather go the boring route and give Wes O some starts myself. My 2nd choice would be Capellan, with Ben H 3rd. I think Ben H might find his niche as a reliever, as he fits the mold (one superior pitch, one mediocre one, lacks a consistent 3rd option) nicely. There's plenty of time to reward Ben Hendrickson for pitching "OK" in AAA after a breakthrough 2004.

5/21/2005 07:10:00 PM

(5/21/2005 12:39:00 PM) - Robert R.

I suspect last night might be the last start that Glover will make for the Brewers. At least, since I'm expecting Sheets back soon.

Obermueller would seem to be the first option to replace Glover, but I'm not convinced that he hasn't found his niche as a middle reliever who can make an occasional spot start. It might make it easier to utilize Obermueller's bat in that role, and you can make a case that Obermueller is actually the best DH candidate on the Brewers bench, but he has enough innings under his belt at the MLB level that I'm not expecting anything more than an occasional good start followed by a lot of mediocrity and worse.

Instead, I'd really like the Brewers to consider Ben Hendrickson. He's pitching well in AAA and we're close to the point in the season where he wouldn't accumulate a full year of service time, counting his time last year. Glover and Obermueller aren't likely part of a good rotation and Hendrickson might be. Considering a lot of people thought he had the inside track for the rotation at the start of Spring Training, I think it's getting close to the point where you have to give him a fair chance. And, if he doesn't work out after about 6 weeks, it's probably time to try Capellan.

5/21/2005 12:39:00 PM

(5/21/2005 12:33:00 AM) - Al

I don't even know who DH'd tonight, but I do know that seeing only 74 pitches is inexcusable. Listening to my tape of Bill Schroeder, saying the team "should come out swinging" as MIN pitchers do not give up walks, then in his next breath say he couldn't believe Silva had only thrown 64 through 8, is just the epitome of ignorant. You take pitches for several reasons, to tire out the starting pitcher, to see what he has, to be more likely to see a mistake, to take walks, etc. Also, down by a few runs, you almost have to take a strike just to try and get something going.

Now, am I saying to take strike one down the middle every time up? Nope, but I have no problem saying you should take it or take a big whack at it.

5/21/2005 12:33:00 AM

Friday, May 20, 2005

(5/20/2005 03:52:00 PM) - Robert R.

I'm looking forward to the Minnesota series, but I have to say that the starting pitching matchups favor the Twins in all 3 games. That's probably the main thing that makes the Twins legitimate contenders and the Brewers still trying to crack .500 for a season.

Ned really should be thinking of using Wes Helms this series as DH, but I suspect we'll see Bill Hall or Magruder in the role. Hall has been swinging a hot bat, so it's defensible, but sooner or later Yost has to find a use for Helms and DH in an interleague series seems like a good role.

Yost probably takes too much abuse for his in game tactics and lineup choices. That said, his parcelling out of playing time to the bullpen and getting ABs to his bench players is bewildering at times. There's no excuse for Phelps and Santanna to have gotten as many IP as they have while other pitchers, who made the team out of Spring Training, sit on the bench for a week at a time unused. The fact that we're in the middle of May and Yost still hasn't found a use for Helms who is one of the best hitters on the bench, not saying much admittedly, particularly against lefties is equally bothersome. If there's one area that I'd most like to see Yost improve in, it's his management of workloads to his players.

5/20/2005 03:52:00 PM

(5/20/2005 11:36:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers take their near .500 record to the Twin Cities this weekend. The Rambling family had plans to visit the Dome this weekend, but bad luck and work obligations got in the way. As I always say, I'm lucky to even have a job, so I never complain very loudly when stuff "comes up".

An e-mailer reminded me that the Crew outscored the Nats...yet still lost 3 out of the 4. Some will proclaim that the team needs to improve their small ball skills, but I'm not really a fan of giving away outs.

To be honest, if you would have told me the club would have one win from Sheets and be a couple games under .500, I'd have taken that deal in a second.

Another e-mailer asks how long the Brewers will be able to justify keeping uber-prospect Rickie Weeks in the minors, as his stats are jawdroppingly good, and quickly getting past the "small sample" warning being necessary.

Well, Rickie's defense is still probably a red flag, and while he has only an error or two in Nashville, he is likely to be a below avergae defender for his first couple years in the bigs...regardless of when he comes up. That said, those folks in the "we need Spivey to win" camp are appearing more ridiculous every day.

I've said for quite a while Weeks should be up in late-July, and I'll hold steady with that prediction, barring an injury, of course.

5/20/2005 11:36:00 AM

Thursday, May 19, 2005

(5/19/2005 06:43:00 PM) - Al

I did not see any comments by Hammonds, but nothing he says has an effect on me. Heck, if Krynzel would be our starting CF, I'd look for a guy just like Jeff to play against most LHP's. One thing I never understood is why Hammonds was released. While he wasn't at all deserving of his large contract, and ended up injured for much of the deal, he has his uses. The idea the Brewers had 5 OF's better than him seems unlikely, to say the least. I would have no bitterness if someone gave me $20 million, but I'm not a pro athlete either.

Cappy did pitch a fine game without a doubt, and I agree that it wasn't a poor decision to let him pitch the ninth, but I wouldn't have, for the same two reasons I always say:

1. Hate to have him take the loss.

2. Is it better to have a guy on his 95th pitch, or a guy fresh out of the 'pen?

5/19/2005 06:43:00 PM

(5/19/2005 10:39:00 AM) - Robert R.

There's not much to say about last night's game. Capuano pitched brilliantly but the offense just didn't get it done. Bringing Capuano in for the 9th, given his pitch count and the way he had been pitching, is certainly defendable. It was just an unfortunate game to lose.

That said, Jeffrey Hammonds getting the winning hit just sticks in my craw. Probably the worst free agent signing by the Brewers ever, and that's saying something, and in the midst of a slump, he's lucky he even has a career. And his comments afterwards about how he got extra satisfaction about doing it against the Brewers, who handed him over $21 million, were infuriating. I'd really like to see the Brewers put a beating on the Nationals today to make up for that.

5/19/2005 10:39:00 AM

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

(5/17/2005 09:52:00 PM) - Al

I've been a rider on the Wes O train for far too long, just like Bill Hall and Brady Clark. I thought he had found his home in middle relief, but now that he built up some stamina, he puts an outing like this on the

We may see some discussion about the 5th spot when Sheets returns...Glover has been mediocre to a fault, while Wes has been very good in relief and decent when he could only go 3-4 innings.

5/17/2005 09:52:00 PM

(5/17/2005 09:38:00 PM) - Al

When flipping channels one night, I came upon a CMT special on Gretchen Wilson, and in it she said she never thought she'd get a record deal because she "didn't look like the other girls"...yet she always appears in public dressed suggestively, and she certainly appears to be popular among young males.

She may not be skinny, but she has her attributes.

5/17/2005 09:38:00 PM

(5/17/2005 09:12:00 PM) - Al

Coutesy of Andrew Sullivan, the one thing we all have in common is we all hate the French.

5/17/2005 09:12:00 PM

(5/17/2005 07:15:00 PM) - Al

Tell me how exactly a team as mediocre as the Nationals have both Tomo Ohka and Zach Day coming out of the bullpen.

Ohka was Ben Sheets' equal before Ben broke out last year. Both have career ERA's more than a half-run below league average. If they aren't in DC's plans, Jim Bowden needs to bring in some help and let those fellas pitch somewhere every 5th day.

5/17/2005 07:15:00 PM

(5/17/2005 04:10:00 PM) - Al

Brewers relievers lead the NL in ERA and WHIP -- and other than FLA and
SD, MIL leads the rest of the NL in relief ERA by a very wide margin:

(in order of relief ERA)

------------IP -- WHIP -- OPS -- ERA
1 Milwaukee--108.0 - 1.19 - .636 - 2.67
2 Florida----90.0 - 1.22 - .642 - 2.70
3 San Diego--131.1 - 1.20 - .629 - 2.88
4 Chicago Cubs-110.1 - 1.51 - .742 - 3.75


Good find, KH, thanks. I also find it ironic that the Cubs' much maligned bullpen ranks 4th of 16.

5/17/2005 04:10:00 PM

Monday, May 16, 2005

(5/16/2005 07:17:00 PM) - Al

JJ Hardy is not taking walks like he was in April. In fact, the mere fact he swung at the first pitch in his initial PA tonight tells me a serious talk about OBP needs to occur. For the most part, JJ has not shown a bit of power, so he should be taking a strike almost every time up, and especially with no one on base.

5/16/2005 07:17:00 PM

(5/16/2005 11:15:00 AM) - Al

(Martha) Stewart's starring role in "The Apprentice" will give NBC two versions of the boardroom game running this fall. The home improvement queen's show will air Wednesday night, with Donald Trump keeping his Thursday time slot.

Gospel singer (Amy) Grant stars in "Three Wishes," a reality show where she travels across the country trying to transform lives by paying medical bills, making dreams come true and the like.

These are NBC's "best bets" for their new Fall schedule.


5/16/2005 11:15:00 AM

(5/16/2005 10:26:00 AM) - Al

Newsweek magazine said on Sunday it erred in a May 9 report that U.S. interrogators desecrated the Koran at Guantanamo Bay, and apologized to the victims of deadly Muslim protests sparked by the article.

Editor Mark Whitaker said the magazine inaccurately reported that U.S. military investigators had confirmed that personnel at the detention facility in Cuba had flushed the Muslim holy book down the toilet.

The report sparked angry and violent protests across the Muslim world from Afghanistan, where 16 were killed and more than 100 injured, to Pakistan to Indonesia to Gaza. In the past week it was condemned in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Malaysia and by the Arab League.

On Sunday, Afghan Muslim clerics threatened to call for a holy war against the United States.

"We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence
and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst," Whitaker wrote in the magazine's latest issue, due to appear on U.S. newsstands on Monday.

Well, since he apologized, I guess everything is OK then.

Allow me to say Mark Whitaker and every single despicable human being at Newsweek should maybe, just maybe, verify the facts they pretend are true.

UPDATE: I just saw on the web that Newsweek is answering their phones "Thank you for calling Newsweek, are you calling to cancel your subscription today?"

With any luck, Mr. Whitaker will be forced to take a few calls, as operators tire of taking blood money.

UPDATE 2: "We're not saying it absolutely happened but we can't say that it absolutely didn't happen either."

-- Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker
{I linked the article this quote comes from, because it seems so fake, I thought it must be made up.}

OK, I officially hate Whitaker more now than I did just a few minutes ago, which I would have thought to be nearly impossible.

I'll be back tonight, hopefully I'll be blogging the DC contest.

5/16/2005 10:26:00 AM

Sunday, May 15, 2005

(5/15/2005 11:03:00 PM) - Al

Ramblings has learned that if he is available, Cameron Maybin will be the Brewers' 1st round choice in the June draft. This is one blurb I have uncovered:

Cameron Maybin has also been impressing scouts since puberty. At age 12, Maybin won the Babe Ruth baseball Home Run Derby. The Derby was held on a college field with 200' walls setup in the outfield, in winning the title, Maybin hit some jaw dropping homeruns that cleared the actual fence in right field (315 feet). Since that time, his power has only increased. This year on his way to winning the High School Player of the Year, Maybin hit several 500 ft home runs. He is often compared to Junior, and the comparison is warranted, the only difference between the two is that Maybin is a switch hitter.

Maybin is a mammoth young man, 6-4, 200+ pounds, and probably still has some filling out to do. He is projected as a RF, though most scouts feel he could handle CF.

UPDATE: Durbin is considered to be the 2nd best HS player in the draft, and may not make it to the 5th pick.

UPDATE 2: While this is simply an e-mail tip, this source has been correct in the past. However, allow me to say I will take full responsibility if any US soldiers die because of this post.

And Newsweek still sucks.

5/15/2005 11:03:00 PM

(5/15/2005 09:36:00 PM) - Al

.337 OBP x .408 SLG x 1212 AB = 167 projected runs

The Brewers have actually scored 164 runs, which makes the projection 98.2% accurate. It also makes folks who believe in "the little things" look very silly. It's about getting on base and smacking the ball.

Meanwhile, the pitching (and in lesser part, the defense):

.317 OBP x .424 SLG x 1168 AB = 157 projected runs against

The Brewers have actually only allowed 149 runs, which while 94.9% accurate, is still an outlier. I can't say I've noticed a lot of "lucky breaks", or double plays being turned to end the inning with the bases loaded...but I guess it is only a run every 4.5 games. In an 8-3 contest, that run is easy to miss.

So, going strictly by OXS, the Crew is 167-157, so they "should" be a game over .500 right now. Going by actuals, they are 164-149, so they "should have" 19.7 victories right now. I will maintain the same stance I have...if they continue outscoring their opponents, they'll be fine.

5/15/2005 09:36:00 PM

(5/15/2005 09:13:00 PM) - Al

The Pirates take 2 out of 3 from the Crew this weekend, and probably didn't play any better, but good fortune seemed to be on their side. To be honest, the Brewers have had plenty of balls fall in and sneak through the infield thus far, so they were probably due. The balls to the warning track alone today were almost beyond belief, including the double Lee hit that went what, 405 feet to left-center and didn't score a run?

I'll be back with a quick look at where the Crew is compared to where they "should" be.

5/15/2005 09:13:00 PM

(5/15/2005 10:40:00 AM) - Al

Nice few paragraphs on the Brewers in the Daily News.

5/15/2005 10:40:00 AM

(5/15/2005 10:31:00 AM) - Al

Zambrano said last week he's not worried about incurring an arm injury down the road, and has told Baker he'd gladly throw 140 pitches if that's what it takes. Baker said before Saturday's game he'd monitor Zambrano's pitch count closely.

Have you ever heard that fact is funnier than fiction? I guess that proves it.

5/15/2005 10:31:00 AM

(5/15/2005 10:22:00 AM) - Al

I keep forgetting to mention that if you are in the Eau Claire area, the cheap theater downtown is showing a film called Summer Up North, which is about Hank Aaron's year with the Eau Claire Bears, back in the days of 500 minor league teams.

A friend of Ramblings is featured prominently in the movie, or so I've been told.

On a personal note, that theater is where my wife and I attended our first movie together, and to show my age, I'm pretty sure it was Grumpy Old Men.

5/15/2005 10:22:00 AM

Saturday, May 14, 2005

(5/14/2005 11:45:00 PM) - Al

Gee, who would have ever guessed Carlos Zambrano would go down with an injury after being abused the other day?

Oh yeah...

To be honest, I'm not sure how Baker still has a job...consistently high pitch counts for Wood, Prior, and Carlos...all three have been injured this year...

...and it's May.

5/14/2005 11:45:00 PM

(5/14/2005 09:27:00 PM) - Al

I believe this is the dictionary definition of "not in my backyard".

It's a darn shame that, almost without exception, the goal of defending the nation is secondary to keeping Irma and Earl employed.

5/14/2005 09:27:00 PM

(5/14/2005 04:42:00 PM) - Al

I finished watching my tape of the Brewers at 12:30 last night. For whatever reason, I just had a bad feeling about the game, and even when the Crew took the lead in the top of the 9th, had my doubts. Turnbow seems to be throwing A LOT more off-speed stuff of late, I assume a bit "spooked" by the amount of long HR's hit off of him recently. I'd be a lot more concerned with my location, as it seems to me very unlikely anyone will be hitting a 95+ mph fastball not at the knees out of the park, and if they do, I'll tip my hat to them and take my chances.

I have a hard time remembering what Billy Hall looked like at the plate in seasons past, but I do know he flailed at a lot of balls in the dirt. Last night, he just looked so at ease at the plate, it was almost scary.

I missed most of the debate on whether or not Capuano should stay in the game, because Daron and Bill never mentioned it, too busy talking about sandwiches and such, I guess. In the JS, they said it was questioned whether he should go out in the 8th, but they decided to risk it. I believe he had about 90 pitches at the time, but as I always believe in removing a pitcher too early rather than too late, I would have probably went with Botallico or Adams.

Not much mention of Cirillo's walk in the 9th compared to Geoff's RBI. That's the one thing that is very odd about the fall of Cirillo from productive player to begging for a job, it's one thing to lose bat speed, and to simply not be as good a hitter as you once were, but Jeff's always been able to get on did he lose that all of a sudden?

5/14/2005 04:42:00 PM

Friday, May 13, 2005

(5/13/2005 06:56:00 AM) - Robert R.

I'm off to a technical conference today and will be traveling immediately afterwards to the north woods to hunt turkeys. Or to attempt to, anyways. I'll have some thoughts on the games, which I'll hear when traveling, Sunday or Monday.

5/13/2005 06:56:00 AM

Thursday, May 12, 2005

(5/12/2005 10:52:00 PM) - Al

Hey, Al --

Interesting unremarked-upon stat: the Brewers are first in the NL and
second in the majors in walks per plate appearances (.106). They
correspondingly lead the NL in OBP minus BA.

Is this Butch Wynegar's work? Note that during the heart of Wynegar's
career (1976-1985) his OBP was .352. As a backup catcher in 181 games
in 1982-1983, his OBP was .390 (which would have been good enough for
sixth or seventh in the majors, if it had been in a full season). He
knew how to get on base -- maybe part of the reason he was hired as a
coach in the Bill James era? Good for the front office in hiring coaches
like Wynegar and the increasingly celebrated Maddux.



I was unaware of this, but have commented that the Crew ranks high in walks. Butch has pushed patience at the plate since he started, and deserves credit, just like he gets more than his share of the blame whenever the offense struggles. And I'm not 100% sure, but I'm all but positive Yost hired all of his own coaches...and went out of his way not to hire old playing/drinking buddies. I recall him saying how he conducted lots of phone interviews before naming his staff.

Thanks for writing and reading KH. Keep digging up unmentioned, interesting thoughts.

5/12/2005 10:52:00 PM

(5/12/2005 10:46:00 PM) - Al

Tim Kurkjian just said on Sportscenter that not only is Brady Clark overachieving on offense thus far, he is very good in CF. In fact, one veteran scout told him,

Brady Clark is the best defensive OF in the National League...even better than Andruw Jones.

Jeepers. That's some high praise from the national media.

Disclaimer: I've been saying for years Jones is very overrated defensively, and most metrics back me up on that.

Examples can be found HERE and HERE. Back-to-back terrible zone ratings seem very out of place for a top CF, don't you think?

5/12/2005 10:46:00 PM

(5/12/2005 09:52:00 PM) - Al

With the Crew over .500, and the baby Brewers at AAA having so much success it's almost frightening, let me repeat the mantra I've been uttering with regularity...'s a good time to be a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers.

And briefly, let's take a look at some of those Nashville statlines:

Keep in mind, however, that Nashville plays in the Pacific Coast League, a much more offensive friendly league...but, Nashville itself is a nuetral park. While a .400/.500 line would be considered excellent in the International League, it is considered merely "good" in the PCL.

Rickie Weeks--Labeled as overrated by some extremely casual fans, this phenom is still less than two years removed from college ball, and is simply dominating at the plate, while having committed only one error on the notoriously crappy minor league fields. .417/.617 thus far, and he hit two HR's in tonight's game, which will push those numbers higher. I predicted Weeks would see MIL...and stay there, in August of this year, and I'm not going to change that ETA as of now.

Dave Krynzel--Has continued his solid play after a "turning point" March. .400/.478 is plenty good for a defensive minded CF who is 23. Is Dave a player who will be a starting CF in the bigs, or rather a reserve...time will tell. I changed my mind to the former last season, and have hopes of Dave enjoying much success in his career.

Brad Nelson--Young and a bit rushed to AAA, Brad has compiled a .390/.452 result. He seemingly gained an eye for free passes this winter, and good for him. With Corey Hart off to a slow start, he would probably be the choice if Lee or Jenkins went down...that is, if Krynzel wasn't doing so well, and/or Brady Clark wasn't hitting plenty to man a corner spot for a while.

Prince Fielder--Still just 20, Prince is off to a .361/.336 beginning to his AAA career...both lower than I'd expect, even from a prospect just a score old. Of course, with Overbay smacking the ball like he has, there is no rush.

Jose Capellan-----3-1, 4.31 ERA, 21-8 K/BB, 1.37 WHIP, 6.0 K/9
Ben Henderickson--1-3, 4.58 ERA, 30-16 K/BB, 1.51 WHIP, 8.0 K/9

The ironic thing is that I tune in to the minor league forum on most days to check the results, and while it is always a bit overdramatic part of the board, the overall gist of things has been:

Wow, isn't Jose Capellan pitching great? And, what's wrong with Hendrickson?

However, being anti-small sample, this is the first time I've really glanced at their season stats, and I'm puzzled...they are very close, not too far from identical...for the most part, the differences can be summed up by saying Ben has pitched too less contact, striking out more and walking more.

I was just thinking about Ben H today, and thinking he sort of has the "make-up" of a relief dominant pitch, which a couple passable ones. But, as long as he can put up a 4ish ERA in the hitter-friendly PCL, he has SP potential.

5/12/2005 09:52:00 PM

(5/12/2005 09:30:00 PM) - Al

To briefly comment on Robert's post, my wife and I used to go to a lot of movies before Andrew was born, but now rarely attend. When we were in Milwaukee for the Brewers' games, we planned on going to a movie Saturday night...but had no interest in seeing any film that was out. Hitch looked terrible to me in the ads, and was still our top choice. Now, I would happily see a movie every day of the year, if not for employment, online poker, and the Crew. Of course, maybe it is a sign of the ever widening gap between myself and the average movie goer, both age and taste wise.

I do not believe for a second that the quality of films have gone down, any more than I think the golden age of music was in the past (like when legendary bands such as The Bay City Rollers and/or Warrant topped the charts). That said, DVD's are coming out incredibly soon after theatrical release. For many of us, it's very easy to wait 3 months.

5/12/2005 09:30:00 PM

(5/12/2005 10:32:00 AM) - Robert R.

A digression on an off day.

There are several stories floating around about how the box office for Hollywood films is down a lot this year. There's a lot of gnashing of teeth about it, but I think the answer is pretty obvious. It's a combination of these factors.

1. Box office was up last year due to some unexpected hits, PASSION OF THE CHRIST being the biggest one.

2. The movies this year, for the most part, aren't that good. Nor that interesting. There hasn't been any film that's remotely controversial this year.

3. Home video is on the rise, for a variety of reasons.

4. There has been a lot of sameness of product out there. How many cheap horror films can Hollywood turn out that have a big opening weekend and then drop 60% in the second weekend?

5. The movies that have been released, for the most part, have been glum, dark pictures. That's not always a bad thing, I liked SIN CITY, but you are limiting your audience to an extent when you do that. I think it's not a coincidence that HITCH, ROBOTS, and THE PACIFIER are the three biggest hits of the year and are pretty much the opposite of dark and glum.

Things will pick up this summer although I would guess that the pickup will really begin with MADGASCAR instead of STAR WARS, which is another of those dark films. Still, the main franchise films of the Summer all look like they're in a similar vein, WAR OF THE WORLDS, BATMAN BEGINS (where darkness is appropriate) and FANTASTIC FOUR (where darkness isn't appropriate) all have a core similarity of tone, judging from trailers. CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY also has a dark tone if it holds true to the source material. I don't think there's any particular reason for this, other than coincidence, but it sure looks like a darker than normal year. And a safer than normal year since V FOR VENDETTA looks like the only potentially controversial film on the horizon. Safe, dark, mediocre and familiar isn't really a reason to leave the comforts of home for the movie theater and I think those are the underlying reasons for down box office.

5/12/2005 10:32:00 AM

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

(5/11/2005 11:45:00 PM) - Al

Bo knows recruiting. With any luck, Mr. Ryan will coach until he is 90.

5/11/2005 11:45:00 PM

(5/11/2005 11:33:00 PM) - Al

I'm surprised to see Marquette give up on a nickname so quickly and dare I say, wimpily. Many folks did not like Gold, I didn't really think it was that bad, and thought it would grow on folks over time. Of course, if you don't give it time...

I do feel it is funny a private school, based on privilege and money, seem to be just clueless on how to pick a name, other than just having a contest based on a popular vote, which seems to be the direction they are heading. So, should they have a vote on tuition for next semester? On dorm rules?

5/11/2005 11:33:00 PM

(5/11/2005 11:20:00 PM) - Al

The local news showed Cory Lidle staring at Billy Hall as he rounded the bases. What's funny about this is simple, Charlie Manuel did his best Dusty Baker impression, leaving Lidle in until he loaded the bases in the 8th (if you let your starter in until he gets in trouble, eventually, he'll get in trouble. Cory should be more concerned about preventing home runs, and concentrating on getting outs rather than playing mind games. Yawn...good luck trying to impress someone with your machoness, Cory...I'll take guys that are less studly and don't allow runs.

As I've always said about touchdown celebrations and those offended by them...if you don't give up a TD, you don't have to worry about it.

And allow me to say that when you're going good, OF's just miss making catches at the wall, and if you're going bad, Pat Burrell would have made that catch.

Do you s'pose Bill & Daron, famous for believing the Brewers' OF's play too deep, will say anything about that? Nope, but I guarantee you Lee or Jenkins make that play, probably standing still, as they both play close to the warning track, it'd take a weapon of war to hit a ball over their head that didn't go over the wall.

5/11/2005 11:20:00 PM

(5/11/2005 09:59:00 PM) - Robert R.

Pittsburgh acquired Michael Restovich today for a PTBNL. Considering the injury to Craig Wilson and the lack of production from Tike Redman in the outfield, that's probably a decent stop gap move. I advocated that the Brewers think about acquiring Restovich when he hit the waiver wire from the Twins as a backup outfielder and I still think he'll eventually do a good job in that role for some team.

I can't really fault the Rockies either. Although PTBNL don't usually pan out, they didn't give up anything to acquire Restovich in the first place. Due to circumstances he didn't fit in, but at least the Rockies have been going with youth in the corner outfield. At worst, they got a young minor leaguer for the cost of a waiver claim.

The true losers in this deal are the likes of the Royals and Devil Rays who have been trotting out Emil Brown and Alex Sanchez for no good reason I can think of. The Devil Rays even had Restovich at one point but opted for Sanchez instead. Of course, the Devil Rays have quality outfield prospects so it's not a huge mistake on their part. The Royals, OTOH, seem to be totally clueless. Yes, they are playing some young players and I understand wanting to have some quality veterans around so that you're not totally reliant on youngsters. But, what does the likes of Emil Brown have to do with quality, beyond a miniscule and meaningless Spring Training sample? That's a team that really needs to understand the concept of "sample size" and "replacement level" and start bringing in players with some upside. Restovich is no potential star, but if you can find time for Ken Harvey and Emil Brown, you could certainly find time for a player with at least a little upside, like Restovich.

5/11/2005 09:59:00 PM

(5/11/2005 11:39:00 AM) - Al

Payton Robert Warns was born last Thursday, and her photos can be viewed here. There is also a link to make a donation with Paypal.

Payton is the daughter of Bobby Warns, whose tribute video is linked on the right sidebar. If you haven't done so, view it while you're there.

5/11/2005 11:39:00 AM

(5/11/2005 11:16:00 AM) - Al discusses how cheaply the Crew has built their bullpen.

I believe the entire 'pen costs less than many teams overpaid for a set-up man. I've said it many times, but if you see a team pay a lot for anything but a closer, you'll see a team without a whole lot of direction. Successful relief pitchers only need a couple pitches, and most of all, just need an opportunity.

5/11/2005 11:16:00 AM

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

(5/10/2005 08:46:00 PM) - Al

Pardon me, but let's take a look at the Yankees as they enter full blown panic mode in early May. Speculation has it Jason Giambi will be asked to go to the minors to "get his stroke back".


If you take a look at his stats here, you'll see a guy with 77 AB's and a .380 OBP. It's mighty tough for me to believe a guy who is walking more than once every five AB's is going through anything but a small sample of bad luck. He's obviously seeing the ball well, he just isn't collecting many hits. Don't forget, every single hitter in the Hall of Fame had at least one 100 AB sample in which they collected 20 or fewer hits.

The Yankees are simply paying the price for giving 30+ free agents contracts that were too rich and too long. Kevin Brown, Giambi, etc. You can't pretend that guys that are in their early 30's, 4-5 years past their prime, will continue to produce several years down the line. GM Brian Cashman has done a fine job, and will get a job within minutes of being relieved of his duties...which may happen soon.

5/10/2005 08:46:00 PM

(5/10/2005 08:42:00 PM) - Al

Surprised to see such a quick hook tonight with Glover. Granted, 4 hits in a row may mean trouble, but it's also not much of a chance to work out of the jam.

UPDATE: Well, obviously it worked out fine the way Yost did it.:)

Santana is back throwing 95+ tonight as well.

I do have to wonder why Ned seems so hesitant to use Jorge de la Rosa...he reiterated today in the JS that Jorge is the long man...and tied 4-4 in the 5th seems like a time you might want to use the long man.

5/10/2005 08:42:00 PM

(5/10/2005 08:28:00 PM) - Al

It was Wes (Helms) against their righty or Overbay against their lefty or Magruder against their lefty. We chose Magruder and kind of laid all our cards on the table.---Yost

I would have went with Overbay, but I have no idea what Cormier's splits are versus lefties and righties. Not only do I think Lyle had a better chance of reaching base safely, I despise using two players for one plate appearance. I still recall the days of Lopester, using the whole bench to make one move.

PH LH batter
PH RH batter
defensive replacement

And if you'll remember, they always looked at the lineup card puzzled, as if they didn't have as many players as the other team.

5/10/2005 08:28:00 PM

Monday, May 09, 2005

(5/09/2005 08:09:00 PM) - Al

There's been some talk on message boards that JJ Hardy has to adjust his swing. Tell you what, he just drove a ball to the base of the wall with what looked like an awkward swing.

There are lots of ways to accomplish the same thing. JJ may well develop and/or improve his swing as time goes by, but it doesn't matter. Results mean a lot more than a pretty swing.

5/09/2005 08:09:00 PM

(5/09/2005 07:47:00 PM) - Al

Wes Helms sure looks a lot more comfy since he's got some consistent time at the plate. That's one thing about Magruder's quality plate appearances, as I believe both Lee and Clark have started every game, while Jenkins has except when he was ill.

5/09/2005 07:47:00 PM

(5/09/2005 11:12:00 AM) - Al

I've made a concerted effort to cut back on complaining about high pitch counts for young pitchers recently, but it's almost impossible to ignore what Dusty Baker let Carlos Zambrano do yesterday. Not only did the 23-year-old Zambrano throw a ridiculous 136 pitches in a complete game win over the Phillies in early May, he did so during a six-week stretch in which he has already had forearm cramping and blister problems.

Now who knows, maybe Zambrano is the new Livan Hernandez and can just keep throwing a crazy number of pitches for Baker without his arm falling off. But what happens if Zambrano can't and he goes down with an arm injury just like Baker's other young aces, Mark Prior and Kerry Wood? Someone once told me that one is a fluke, two is a coincidence, and three is a pattern. And 136 is too many pitches.---Aaron Gleeman, Hardball Times

Stop and consider this for a moment...yesterday for AAA Nashville, Jose Capellan was pulled after 5 innings, though he had pitched effectively. Certainly, Jose was on a pitch count, and he was likely close enough to it to be removed. Going from memory, I seem to recall the Brewers start the year of about 90, then raise it a notch or two as the season goes on, up to a max of about 110. So, Jose was held under 90 or maybe 100 pitches. Carlos threw 136, and as Gleeman stated, he has had arm trouble already this year, before this last outing.

The punchline? Capellan is older than Zambrano, six months older. Now, none of us know what the amount of pitches is that is "too many", but I hate to see a pitcher go over 120...especially a pitcher who can be described as "youthful". I was at Doug Davis' start in which he threw 125 or so, and while Davis is older, I was concerned about his next start...the one in which he got blasted this past Friday.

Hence, in closing...

1. Bet against Carlos Zambrano in his next start.

2. I wouldn't let Dusty Baker near a young pitcher with potential.

5/09/2005 11:12:00 AM

Sunday, May 08, 2005

(5/08/2005 07:11:00 PM) - Al

Florida has been unable to plug a paltry $30 million gap in the cost of a new stadium for the Marlins. What's funny is, a tourist rich state like Florida could probably raise $30 million easily by adding on a hotel room/rental car tax of 25 cents a day/night. That would allow the gap to be paid almost entirely by non-Floridians...but they seem unwilling to consider revenue sources right in front of their face.

If Vegas would start construction of a new park, they'd be lining up to move there. The politicos need to realize that now that the Expos have ended the long moratorium on franchise shifts, moving is now fair game.

5/08/2005 07:11:00 PM

(5/08/2005 04:33:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers win in the bottom of the ninth on a PH single by JJ Hardy. I was disappointed that Turnbow was going to only get one inning, though I realized you had to PH in that situation, rather than send up the pitcher to hit.

That said, talk about low expectations...I thought to myself as Hardy stepped in about the old Whitey Herzog line, after a reporter asked him why he had ordered a steal of 3B with 2 outs. Herzog responded that he thought the best chance they had of scoring was to hope the catcher threw the ball away down the line.:)

Maybe that will be exactly what it takes to get Hardy going...we're not expecting Renteria numbers, but a .330/.400 line the rest of the way would be quite an addition to the lineup. In all fairness to JJ, his OBP is excellent whe compared to his BA...he has continued to take his walks despite his overall struggles.

5/08/2005 04:33:00 PM

Saturday, May 07, 2005

(5/07/2005 08:55:00 PM) - Al

Rickie Weeks' numbers at AAA Nashville thus far, less than two years out of college:

.368/.589...28 hits, 5 doubles, 4 triples, and 5 home runs.

Too bad he's so overrated.

5/07/2005 08:55:00 PM

(5/07/2005 08:27:00 PM) - Al

Julio Santana showed why he's a career minor leaguer, after being unhittable in previous outings, his fastball has been in the 89-91 range tonight, down from 95-97 the other day.

That's a huge, painful decrease, and turns awesome to mediocre.

5/07/2005 08:27:00 PM

(5/07/2005 08:16:00 PM) - Al

Exciting back and forth game being played in front of a near capacity crowd (Ben Sheets bobblehead night) at Miller Park. I'm sure a lot of folks will feel the need to return after experiencing such a fun atmosphere. Nothing beats a sold-out, loud ballpark.

5/07/2005 08:16:00 PM

(5/07/2005 07:50:00 PM) - Al

I can only assume this is legit, but if you can go on the DL (and a subsequent rehab stint) with personal problems, this seems like possible situation ripe for fraud.

5/07/2005 07:50:00 PM

(5/07/2005 07:40:00 PM) - Al

Ah yes, we support our long as they don't call during lunch hour.

Pardon me, I have to go use my minute amount of power to enforce silly rules now.

5/07/2005 07:40:00 PM

(5/07/2005 07:20:00 PM) - Al

So, while watching the tape of the game last night, Daron & Bill briefly discussed playing time and such, and Daron made the remark, "Last year, Brady Clark wore down late in the year. This year, he's in better shape, so it won't happen again."

This sounded like a total falsehood to me, as Clark certainly appears to be in excellent shape, and always has. So, I just thought of it, and looked it up.

Last year in September, Brady compiled a statline of .457/.574, by far his best month of the '04 campaign.

Never ones to let pesky facts get in the way of a tired cliche, are they? I'll take The Worst In The Business for $1000, Alex.

5/07/2005 07:20:00 PM

(5/07/2005 06:52:00 PM) - Al

Hi Al,

I discovered your blog in mid-March and now it's one of the few sites I visit regularly online. Thanks for writing it.

As much as I hate to think it, my dad pointed out that Ben Sheets' condition seems to be like that of Nick Esasky - signing a big contract and then suffering vertigo. I know the Brewers are saying he is improving slightly, but I'm sure Esasky did at some points as well.

I hope I'm just overreacting to the news about Sheets' injury, but I don't know.


I have thought of Esasky a few times as well, though he is the only case that does come to mind, and dozens of players have dizzy spells each season. I am not "worried" about Ben, but something else to keep in mind is this...his condition seems directly related to a problem with his inner ear, and there's nothing worse for ear trouble than flying...especially for business.

Let's hope after this spot of trouble, it is either treated, or just goes away.

5/07/2005 06:52:00 PM

(5/07/2005 04:36:00 PM) - Al

I watched the game on tape after I got home from work last night, so Lee's fly out didn't occur until about 12:30AM here. Carlos didn't miss a HR by a whole lot, and a millisecond earlier or later may well have resulted in a bases clearing double. After the bloop single to win Thursday's game, I guess it's safe to see the Crew was due to hit a liner right at an OF for the final out.

Thursday night, I watched the 20 minute late edition of Baseball Tonight, which as King Gleeman has pointed out, has managed to go from can't miss to unwatchable in record time. Harold Reynolds (who played the game, so he understands it) was on and butchered two segments, one on how Jerry Hairston should have back on the ball that ended the game (much like Schroeder and Sutton, Reynolds seemed to be of the opinion that despite vast patches of empty space between fielders, no ball hit in the air should ever drop in between the IF and OF); and how the rookie Yankees 2B is simply too inexperienced to contribute.

Both explanations were simply goofy, as the first thing you do on a pop fly is to take a step back and run toward the ball...while thinking of which the way the wind is blowing, according to Reynolds. I guess you reach for the ball while trying to multiply by pi, or something.

Meanwhile, after showing an error in which Cano threw the ball away, his next example was simply stupid...he blamed the young rookie for allowing a single through the hole, because he was positioned incorrectly. Now, I'm no expert on defensive positioning versus the Tampa Bay DevilRays, but I do know that he and Jeter were both set at double play position, closer to the bag than usual, and maybe a bit shallower as well. The batter hit a chopper near where Cano would normally be positioned, but with a runner on 1B, he wasn't there, simple as that. Besides, as any Brewers' fan knows, players are positioned by the bench coach, based on patterns of where the opposition hits the ball. The Crew's infielders, especially 2B and SS, often play nowhere near where you'd expect them to, because the batter rarely hits the ball there. It's a baseball probability model, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. And despite what you hear from "I know because I played the game" ex-ballplayers, poorly hit balls often turn into seeing-eye basehits because of bad luck, not bad location on the pitch or something you can control.

Every time I see a former player get on his pulpit and try and explain how much he knows, memories of Davey Lopes pop into my mind. Lopes, of course, was a 2B who led off and ran fast in his day, so in his simple mind, a good 2B should, well, lead off and run fast. So, Lopes pushed for acquiring a speedy 2B in the offseason, and Dean Taylor obliged by adding Eric Young, who led off and ran at a slightly above average clip, having ran fast at an earlier age, before his years on the planet was measured in the same manner a fossil is when it is found, by carbon dating. Meanwhile, two players who did not fit Lopes' mold of 2B, Ronnie Belliard and Mark Loretta, sat on the bench, and were criticized for "not being aggressive enough" and "taking too many pitches", and "having too high of an OBP" (OK, maybe some liberties being taken here, but not far from the truth). Of course, Ronnie and Mark were both all-stars last season, while Eric was the reserve utility guy in Texas, and Davey spent his time on the diamond being useful by carrying batting helmets and gloves to the bench after the 3rd out of each inning.

It's a simple game really; throw strikes, change speeds, and move the ball around; catch the ball when it's hit to you, hit the cut-off man; make the pitcher work, wait for a pitch you can drive, and get on base by any means necessary. Keep in mind, however, that the difference between a game ending double play and a game winning single is often a couple feet...a split-second deciding when to swing... in other words, chance. As in life, your success in a small sample is the result of fortune. Over time, however, it will balance out...or at least, we hope it does.

5/07/2005 04:36:00 PM

(5/07/2005 12:08:00 AM) - Al

Interesting link on Joe Valentine, Reds' reliever who was hit pretty hard by the Crew during our trip to Miller Park, "came out", announcing that he was raised by his mom and her female companion.

5/07/2005 12:08:00 AM

Friday, May 06, 2005

(5/06/2005 11:28:00 PM) - Robert R.

Doug Davis didn't have a good game and the Mets took advantage. You're not going to win many games when you allow four home runs. The Brewers took the game to their final out, but Carlos Lee couldn't come through. They'll really have their work cut out for them tomorrow.

Although they won the game, Willie Randolph seemed to mismanage the bullpen in the last inning. There's no reason you should go through four pitchers to get three outs. The Brewers will have their work cut out for them against Pedro, but maybe if it comes down to the late innings the Brewers can do something against the Mets bullpen. If Looper is even available, you would think he'd be fatigued.

5/06/2005 11:28:00 PM

(5/06/2005 08:53:00 PM) - Robert R.

While the Brewers attempt to close the deficit, I was reminded that tomorrow, Saturday, is Free Comic Book day at participating comic book shops. Probably the highlight of the giveaway is the first Uncle Scrooge comic book by the great Carl Barks. Barks deserves to be thought of in the same light as Dr. Seuss for children's writing. There's a smattering of stuff for older readers and a lot of stores will tie in special sales to clear inventory. Fans of the Sin City movie will certainly be able to find some material.

5/06/2005 08:53:00 PM

(5/06/2005 11:22:00 AM) - Robert R.

I have to say that I'm really looking forward to the Mets series. Both teams are hot and I'm expecting a well played series. The Brewers are grossly mismatched in the starting pitchers on Saturday, but they look to have the advantage on Friday and Sunday.

More to the point, I think the Mets have a good team this year. They're not as good as the Dodgers, Cardinals, Marlins and Braves, but they should be competitive most of the year. This is a good opportunity to see how the Brewers measure up against a good team.

5/06/2005 11:22:00 AM

(5/06/2005 10:25:00 AM) - Al

I keep forgetting to mention I visited Potawatami Casino last weekend when we were in Milwaukee, and after playing about 800K hands online, I finally got my first taste of live poker.

But, due to a long list (at 10AM Sunday, who would have guessed?), I only sat at the table for about an hour, and played a total of 4 hands (I was dealt about 30-35 hands, but chose to fold). For those that are curious, they were AQ, AJ, 55, and 22. Didn't win a single hand, but I was very surprised at the looseness of the table. Most hands saw 5-7 folks paying to see the flop, more than I've ever seen online. We even had a "family pot", in which all nine players called (that was my 55 hand, and the flop came AJ9...maybe my quickest fold ever). The gent to my right sat down with me, and only played 2-3 hands in the hour I was there, winning the first two he played. The man on my left played almost every hand, and won twice with Ace high. He was shocked when I chose not to play when I was in the small blind (already having donated half the blind to the pot before the cards were dealt), and the more I think about it, I don't think anyone except me and the older guy on my right folded a small blind the whole time. I was looking at a 92, which is surely one of the worst five hands in hold'em. I never thought of playing it, though to many, they figure it's worth it, having already contributed.

I have read of it before, but the poker room is not much bigger than your living room, a dozen tables crammed into a space more suited for 8 or 9. Meanwhile, the bingo room is big enough for an 11 on 11 football practice, in full pads. I almost had to sit down to catch my breath while walking across the vast, empty room filled with banquet tables to get to the walk-in closet sized poker room. I know the house does not make as much on poker, taking only a small cut of each pot, and even the new Wynn hotel in Vegas has people saying the poker room is not roomy and a bit "tight", but with poker as "hot" as it's ever been, you'd think they'd be trying to maximize the space and tables dedicated to the game.

5/06/2005 10:25:00 AM

(5/06/2005 10:23:00 AM) - Al

Astounding that this wasn't a front page picture...well, anywhere.

Of course, if it was negative, we'd be seeing it in our sleep.

5/06/2005 10:23:00 AM

(5/06/2005 09:22:00 AM) - Al


Great blog. I think people are giving Mike Maddux a little to much
credit. I'm sure if the perception is he's a pitching guru it will create
confidence with the Brewer pitchers which will help them. I'm not saying he isn't
good but he couldn't fix Glendon Rusch while Paul Bako claimed to know his
problems. And he hasn't had anythhing of a track record that looks like Atlanta. Oportunity gets credit for the success of the Brewer hitters who have turned their careers around yet Maddux for any pitcher.



Ben, a couple things here. One, Rusch had horrendously bad luck in the season you are referring to. It was written at the time how his secondary stats looked all but identical to Barry Zito's, and if you compare them since, they are very similiar.

Two, Leo Mazzone has had a ton of success, but there sure seems to be a lot of former Braves' prospects that Leo failed to help much that have turned into solid members of teh rotation elsewhere. Off the top of my head, Odalis Perez, Jason Marquis, and Bruce Chen come to mind.

I'd take Maddux over anyone, I will say that. He may not have the sample size of some others, but he's had success with a ton of guys who were waiver wire pickups. For me, that's good enough.

Thanks for reading and writing, Ben.

5/06/2005 09:22:00 AM

(5/06/2005 09:07:00 AM) - Al

Hey Al, first of all I wanted to say great site. It's great to read in-depth Brewers talk, very hard to come by!

Also based on your posts lately about Clark's great numbers and Brewers sabremetrics, I wanted to point out a probably very overlooked stat, that Overbay is now leading the majors in OBP by a very healthy margin, and the only player over .500.

Keep it up!


I was aware he was over .500, but not that he was leading the bigs. Thanks for reading and writing, Mike.

5/06/2005 09:07:00 AM

Thursday, May 05, 2005

(5/05/2005 09:15:00 PM) - Al

The mayor of Duluth, Ga., has threatened to sue her to recoup the $40,000 to $60,000 cost of the search.

I'd just like to point out that this woman did nothing wrong (or at least, nothing illegal) until late Friday, when she made the bogus 911 call. That was in New Mexico, not Georgia.

There's nothing wrong with hopping a Greyhound without telling anyone. The need and desire to search for anyone who fails to show up for work is a recent phenomonon. I'm the first to say she deserves some scorn, and maybe a good slap upside her noggin, but she doesn't owe anyone in Georgia a penny.

5/05/2005 09:15:00 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.

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