Al's Ramblings

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

(11/30/2005 11:21:00 AM) - Al

Julio Santana winds up with the Phillies.

11/30/2005 11:21:00 AM

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

(11/29/2005 03:50:00 PM) - Al

The Cardinals are close to acquiring Bobby Abreau, according to speculative reports coming out of St. Louis and Philadelphia. Stay tuned.

11/29/2005 03:50:00 PM

(11/29/2005 03:46:00 PM) - Al

Next time you hear one speak of timing the market, giggle and laugh. Even the brightest of minds cannot even agree on whether or not the housing market is in a bubble. Considering this report, which shows a 13% increase in sales last month, and a 2% increase in price, I'd say it is thriving.

The one thing that really gets me is the huge drop in the past 3 months of two sectors, home builders and mortgage companies. They may be the best buy in the market right now, as they've been driven down in price by what would appear to be nothing more than rumor.

11/29/2005 03:46:00 PM

(11/29/2005 11:47:00 AM) - Robert R.

The Mets signed Billy Wagner to a 4 year, $43 million deal. At least Wagner is one of the elite closers in baseball.

Combined with the Delgado trade and their reported interest in acquiring Benji Molina or Ramon Hernandez to catch, the Mets do look to be improved. At least for 2006. However, they have a lot invested in older players for 2007 to 2009 and it could easily blow up on them. This plan requires the Mets to be in the World Series within 2 years or it's another in a long series of expensive failures. They really ought to go out and do something about second base if they're going this route.

11/29/2005 11:47:00 AM

(11/29/2005 11:04:00 AM) - Al

The Blue Jays have supposedly offered Brian Giles 5y/$55M.

I'm a big fan of Giles, but he's certainly not going to get any better, as he's in his mid 30's. I realize they have money to spend, but I wonder why they aren't looking to add payroll through trades, as they are simply paying too high of a premium for pedestrian talent.

11/29/2005 11:04:00 AM

(11/29/2005 12:04:00 AM) - Al

TOR not only signed BJ Ryan to a huge deal, but may be on the verge of signing AJ Burnett and/or Brian Giles as well, according to ESPN Insider.

I am not much in favor of the way they have overpaid, but I will give them credit for going after excellent players.

11/29/2005 12:04:00 AM

Monday, November 28, 2005

(11/28/2005 09:45:00 PM) - Al

Watching Matt Millen hold a press conference is simply painful. Who decided this clod could run a football team...he can barely speak a complete sentence. The idea Steve Mariucci is to blame for Millen's years of failure is so laughable, I can't fathom a human being even considering it.

11/28/2005 09:45:00 PM

(11/28/2005 09:42:00 PM) - Al

Estaban Loaiza is set to sign a 3y/$20M deal with the A's.

Loaiza is a solid SP, but he isn't much more than a mediocre one. This would seem to set the bar pretty high for Washburn and other better SP's.

As Ramblings' contributor Robert mentioned on a message board, that makes Matt Clements' $9.5M annual salary seem very affordable.

11/28/2005 09:42:00 PM

(11/28/2005 09:39:00 PM) - Al

VodkaPundit says that all the branches hit their October recruiting goals...though I will admit, those "goals" are often rewritten depending on how recruiting goes.

Still funny this isn't being reported like the short falls were.

11/28/2005 09:39:00 PM

Sunday, November 27, 2005

(11/27/2005 08:12:00 PM) - Al

Some folks get upset about Cindy Sheehan. I don't. Her son made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, and indirectly, died to protect her rights to free speech. Sheehan has every right to say whatever she wants, and I have every right to ignore to ignore her.

It looks like this media created 15 minutes of fame is just about over.

11/27/2005 08:12:00 PM

(11/27/2005 07:36:00 PM) - Al

Mike Hunt also checks in with a simple, yet truthful piece about how quiet the anti-stadium group has been.

Money quote:

Point is, you never hear a smidgen of the furor once raised over Miller Park. The politicians who tried to leverage a cheap headline have crawled back under their rocks. And as of today, no one has filed a bankruptcy lawsuit over the penny on the dollar they spend on the stadium.

And in truth, it's actually a penny on the $10. I think this is a marvelous way of raising money by taxing consumption at such a minute level, it's completely unnoticeable. Can you imagine how unbearable it would be to be around a human being who complains about having to pay an extra $15 on the new 52" TV they got on sale for $1500?

It would be interesting to see how much a .01% tax (that's 10% of the rate currently being paid by the 5 counties around Milwaukee) would generate statewide. Things that generate tourism, like state parks, bike trails, etc, might become profitable if given some temporary TLC, not to mention such funds being spent on marketing itself. Or, heaven forbid, you use it to attract evil, capitalist businesses, that will employ citizens AND eventually pay taxes themselves.

11/27/2005 07:36:00 PM

(11/27/2005 07:17:00 PM) - Al

Tom H with one of his best efforts, and very truthful as well...Bud Selig has simply done a phenomonal job. His critics still grasp at straws every once in a while, and to say they fail miserably is to offend those that miserably fail.

Many didn't like the wildcard, interleague play (Those clods on ESPN still make fun of it, saying things like, "Here's that long awaited Padres/DevilRays matchup." Yes, no doubt another DevilRays/Royals series would se standing room only.), and all have proven to be wildly successful. Yet another attendance record was broken in 2005, and while it is true Selig was commish in 1994 (whenever you have to go back more than a decade, you've already lost), it is also 100% true that it was the player's union that went on strike, not a lockout imposed by Bud.

I feel for the poor guy who has to follow Selig, to be honest.

11/27/2005 07:17:00 PM

(11/27/2005 07:07:00 PM) - Al

It was pointed out to me by an e-mail that the Dow hitting a 4.5 year high also means it has recovered all the ground it lost since 9/11. We will never know what the world would be had that terrorist attack never happened, but it is difficult to imagine the Dow still sitting at about the same place as it was 50 months ago, especially given the record earnings many blue chips have been reporting.

11/27/2005 07:07:00 PM

(11/27/2005 12:32:00 PM) - Robert R.

Better late than never. HBO's Rome wrapped up it's first season with episode 12. Synopsis here.

My yardstick for judging a season ender is whether I want to see what happens next. In this case the answer is "absolutely". Roman history is probably more interesting past this point and some of the strongest actors in the series are left. In particular, Octavian who is always underestimated throughout the series. Servilla sees him as nothing more than a handsome young man and Octavian is wise enough to keep his mouth shut, but you know that the wheels are turning inside his head. To me, Max Pirkis as Octavian is the breakout actor of the series.

In the other plots, Pullo and Vorenus have their storylines of the first season wrapped up, with quite different endings. The ending of the Vorenus storyline was perhaps the most surprising as you could imagine it going on for a while. The fact that they were able to tie it into the assassination plot was a very clever idea by the writers and bodes well for the future.

I guess there's some doubt about Rome's future, due to cost not ratings. I'd have understood that thought after the first 6 episodes, but the series really hit its stride in the second half and the last 2 episodes were among the best on television this year. I'm hoping that something will be worked out and, in the meantime, I'm recommending the series when it is rerun on HBO and when it hits DVD.

11/27/2005 12:32:00 PM

Saturday, November 26, 2005

(11/26/2005 09:41:00 AM) - Al

TOR has the money to spend, and they appear to be spending it, apparently giving BJ Ryan 5y/$47M. For the most part, you have to pay to get players to want to play in Canada, and they may well be paying Ryan double what he's worth.

Those short-termers who think it's Boston and New York on an anual basis in the AL East are going to be proven wrong very shortly.

11/26/2005 09:41:00 AM

(11/26/2005 09:37:00 AM) - Al

I have to wonder why Matt Millen will be held responsible for his dismal record with the Lions. They haven't had an ounce of success in his reign, and the blame always seem to go elsewhere.

11/26/2005 09:37:00 AM

(11/26/2005 09:37:00 AM) - Al

I have to wonder why Matt Millen will be held responsible for his dismal record with the Lions. They haven't had an ounce of success in his reign, and the blame always seem to go elsewhere.

11/26/2005 09:37:00 AM

Thursday, November 24, 2005

(11/24/2005 07:52:00 PM) - Al

Hat tip to Eric, Rob and Rany discuss undervalued free agents the Royals should sign. Two names, Estaban Loaiza and BY Kim, are both very appealing to me for the Crew as well.

11/24/2005 07:52:00 PM

(11/24/2005 07:47:00 PM) - Al

I feel obliged to come clean...I've never been a draft pick of an MLB team either.

That said, Richardson just got caught padding his resume like most folks do. Though, most people do it in a way they don't get caught.:)

11/24/2005 07:47:00 PM

(11/24/2005 10:36:00 AM) - Al

This is the post I was looking for when I came across the previous one. As I said then, I still have not heard of this except in the article, but it is an idea very worthy of doing at a holiday dinner.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, I can think of nothing I'm more thankful for than the fact we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world.

A special thanks to those who defend us and our interests all around the world.

11/24/2005 10:36:00 AM

(11/24/2005 10:30:00 AM) - Al

I found this from July when I was searching from something else.

With the DOW setting a 4.5 year high yesterday, looks like I guessed right. You can say what you want about the economy, but you can't deny tremondous earnings.

The only thing keeping us from a 12K DJIA is oil being at $50 a barrel. If not for Katrina, we could even be there now.

11/24/2005 10:30:00 AM

(11/24/2005 09:57:00 AM) - Al

Another club with interest in Overbay is Boston, which could have pitching to spare after acquiring Josh Beckett from the Marlins. One rumor circulating has the Red Sox offering right-hander Matt Clement to the Brewers for Overbay.

The Brewers took a run at Clement on the free agent market last winter before he signed with the Red Sox for three years and $25.5 million. Overbay made $446,000 last season and is in line for a big raise through salary arbitration, but the Brewers would have a bigger payroll bump in acquiring Clement, who went 13-6 with a 4.57 ERA in 32 games for Boston.

I have been a big Clement fan forever, and would love a deal such as this. To be honest, there is a huge money disparity that would have to be dealt with, but despite the fact Matt was hit in the face with a line drive and tailed off after that, if you adjust his ERA down a half-run to make up for the AL/NL difference, it was still about 4, similiar to Cappy and Davis. It would create a 5 deep rotation that would instantly make the Crew a contender, not to mention that offhand, I'd have to say that after his superb 2005, Rick Helling would have to be considered the best 6th starter in MLB.

The easist way to take care of the financial difference would be to have the Red Sox take one of the Brewers' bad contracts, but unless you say Jenkins or Lee's deals fall into that category, the Crew really doesn't have any, not even a one year, Helms-like one. Of course, BOS could easily throw some cash into the deal, or offer to pick up some of Clement's salary.

11/24/2005 09:57:00 AM

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

(11/23/2005 10:11:00 AM) - Al

Little going on in MLB, other than the Marlins trading off their team while apathy mounts in South Florida. Sadly, as they've proven before, that's as good a way to build a winner as any.

In other news, I am struck by the sheer goofy idea that Wal Mart has to put a disclaimer on their day after Thanksgiving TV ads that the prices are not good in Wisconsin, due to archaic "minimum mark-up" laws, that in effect taxes and punishes Wal Mart shoppers up to a couple hundred dollars per item they purchase. I am not sure why Wal Mart chooses to follow this and other retailers (Best Buy being the largest and most blatant offender) do not, but once again, the lawmakers feel that Big Brother is needed to protect the inefficient, and the "free market" theory that have made the US into the greatest economic force the world has ever known is just a fad.

Painfully ignorant.

11/23/2005 10:11:00 AM

Monday, November 21, 2005

(11/21/2005 09:58:00 PM) - Al

Today after work, I stopped at Shopko to pick up a couple things. I went and got my items, and on the way to the register, I walked past the pharmacy. Right away, it looked odd. I could see two people waiting WAY far back from the counter. As I got closer, I chuckled to myself, as they were waiting right by the sign that said to "wait here", which I would guess was 9-10 yards from the counter. It just seemed so far away, like it was in the wrong place. Of course, the sign also said, "Respect privacy", and mentioned HIPPA, which is a privacy act that I don't really know much about, to say the least.

So, as I walked by, thinking this was a bit much, but granted, I don't have an embarassing problem requiring a prescription at the moment. I passed the two women in line a first down from the counter, and as I did, a pharmacist was called up to talk to a customer. In a voice I can only describe as "booming", he said "SO YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO TAKE YOUR CIPRO TWO TIMES A DAY. IT'S AN ANTIBIOTIC. DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS?"

Yeah, that buffer zone comes in handy.

11/21/2005 09:58:00 PM

(11/21/2005 09:31:00 PM) - Al

It's pure promotion, but this article on the release of the latest Seinfeld DVD's is a hoot.

And Oprah is going to be on Dave's show again. His "Oprah Log", which I cannot believe was that long ago, was proof that the same thing can be funny over and over.

11/21/2005 09:31:00 PM

(11/21/2005 08:57:00 PM) - Al

The official site has some minor news, including Jeff Cirillo signing a deal for about $850K (a bit too much, but not nearly enough to bother me), alternate Sunday unis to be unveiled on FSN, and a new mailbag.

Also, Gary Glover was released so he could sign a lucrative contract (for Gary Glover) with a team in Japan.

Also, it is mentioned that utility IF/OF Zach Sorenson has options remaining, so he can go down to AAA if he does not make the 25 man roster without clearing waivers. How it is possible for a 32 year-old to have options left is beyond me, by my count, his should have been gone about 1999.

Update: Options do not begin until you make a 40 man, and apparently, Zach has never been on one.

11/21/2005 08:57:00 PM

Sunday, November 20, 2005

(11/20/2005 08:58:00 PM) - Al

Good news is rumored, according to the Crank.

11/20/2005 08:58:00 PM

(11/20/2005 07:00:00 PM) - Al

I started watching this 60 Minutes report about online gambling and wagering, and almost right away, I find myself shaking my head in disgust. There is no difference made between sports betting, casino games, and poker. Of course, there is a huge difference, as if you play perfectly in roulette or blackjack, you will still lose 50.5%-51% of the time, based on the house rules. Roulette comes with a larger house advantage. You need to pick the winner about 52.5% of the time to break even on a "normal" pointspread style pick...and to be honest, the linemakers are so accurate, that's mighty tough to do.

That said, poker is a game of skill, over the long term of course. If you sat down and played one hand, or one hour, or even one week, you might simply not get any good cards, or get good cards and be defeated by better ones. But, unless everyone at the table is playing conservative, by-the-book poker (and trust me, they aren't), over time, a good player will have success. Luckily, many people sit down at a table and play for fun or just to have a good time. Over the long haul, they'll lose.

And, thank goodness they do.:)

11/20/2005 07:00:00 PM

(11/20/2005 05:15:00 AM) - Al

There must have been a wire error last night, as both the local news channels I watched reported the Badgers basketball team had lost 71-68 in overtime, when they actually won in double overtime. Marcus Landry looks like he is already firmly entrenched in the rotation in his freshman campaign.

11/20/2005 05:15:00 AM

Saturday, November 19, 2005

(11/19/2005 09:07:00 PM) - Al

Tom H with notes about the upcoming BA top 10 of the Crew, and some other notes, apparently written before Rick Helling signed.

11/19/2005 09:07:00 PM

(11/19/2005 08:42:00 PM) - Al

Not much to say this evening, but I'm still chuckling over what Jim Paschke said right before going off air last night after tyhe Bucks' game.

Paraphrasing here, but...

The Bucks will enjoy a weekend off in Salt Lake City before playing the Jazz Monday night.

I can only imagine how unhappy a group of NBA players is that a weekend with no game finds them in Utah.

11/19/2005 08:42:00 PM

(11/19/2005 12:02:00 AM) - Al

JS link, Helling signed for $800K, far less than he could have received on the open market. No promise of a rotation spot either.

A paragraph on Sorenson and each of the youngsters added to the 40 man, a mention of Cirillo signing being likely.

Just a thought on Sorenson, I wonder if it is possible the Crew will outright him to the minors at some point soon. They may be using this as an opportunity to introduce themselves to Zach, saying that they really like him, and basically negotiating a minor league deal with him, as I'm sure he has no options remaining.

11/19/2005 12:02:00 AM

Friday, November 18, 2005

(11/18/2005 11:40:00 PM) - Al

Hollywood star JOHNNY DEPP is so shocked by the riots raging through France, he's considering abandoning his home in the country.

The FINDING NEVERLAND heart-throb moved to Europe when life in Los Angeles became too violent.

He has since divided time between the two continents - but he fears France will be scarred permanently by the current troubles.

He says, "It's insane, that setting cars on fire is the new strike.

"I went there (to France) to live because it seemed so simple.

"Now it's anything but. I don't know how they'll recover from this.

I can't top that. The sweet smell of irony.

11/18/2005 11:40:00 PM

(11/18/2005 11:13:00 PM) - Al

The official site has the Helling signing, as well as those added to the 40 man, and the Crew signs Zach Sorenson off waivers from the Angels.

Sorenson is a very strange pickup, to say the least. He has never produced offensively except the past couple years in Salt Lake City, which is Coors Lite, one of the top five offensive parks in AAA. He is a versatile speedster, able to play 2B/SS/3B/OF, according to the article I linked above at the team site, but that sounds more like a minor league free agent, not a spot on the 40 man. And, he'll be 29 before the 2006 season begins, which means he certainly doesn't have much upside.

11/18/2005 11:13:00 PM

(11/18/2005 11:35:00 AM) - Al


Through family connections, I wanted to let you know that Helling signed with the Crew last night. I don’t know and numbers, but was told they were telling him he was in line to be the 5th starter. Of course, that could all change in spring training but that’s what I was told.

Just thought I’d let you know in case you hadn’t heard yet!

Name withheld

Received this e-mail this morning, so while I hope it is true, it is far from official. Great news, however, if it is the case, as Rick would be an OK 5th starter, and an even better long reliever.

11/18/2005 11:35:00 AM

(11/18/2005 10:40:00 AM) - Al

Though the money is so high it hardly matters, Scott Eyre's deal is now being reported as a 3y/$12.5M. Still vastly more than he's worth, but not quite as much per season.

11/18/2005 10:40:00 AM

Thursday, November 17, 2005

(11/17/2005 08:53:00 PM) - Al

This may go down as the worst signing since Darren Driefort.

Scott Eyre is a pretty good LH reliever, but he's 33 and carries a career ERA of 4.52. Anything over $2.5M per would have to be considered gross overpayment...and the Cubs gave him more than twice that.


If a guy who throws 60-70 innings a year with a 4.50+ ERA is worth that, what will a younger pitcher who gives you 170+ and has an ERA almost a run lower be worth?

Jarrod Washburn will have to take quite a hometown discount to ever don a Brewers' uni, I'm afraid.

11/17/2005 08:53:00 PM

(11/17/2005 07:26:00 PM) - Al

A while back, I lamented the fall of Caterpillar, because they missed their quarterly earnings number by a dime.

Less than a month later, CAT has gained back their $5.50 a share they lost, and even added to it a bit. Record profits are a good thing, never mind a dime here and there.

As long as I'm on the subject of investing, allow me to mention how incredibly enjoyable Jim Cramer's Mad Money is each day. It has made investing in the stock market "hip", and discussing stocks cool. I often take a few minutes each night to look up his picks and pans, but rarely do more than that, as his picks tend to be short-term, looking at stocks that will go up 20% in the next 3 months, ignoring the long-term. But, his infectious energy is just plain fun, and he seems to realize that the only thing that matters in the investing game is...making money.

Today, he discussed Wal Mart at length, saying how they have taken some criticism for being so darn effective at holding costs down while selling a vast amount of merchandise. He touched upon the fact many think Wal Mart is evil because their associates often cannot afford health insurance. He said that kept Wal Mart's costs down, and also that...why do you care? It's all about making money! It was over the top capitalist, and it's just beautiful to hear. There are many "green" (also called socially responsible) funds out there that won't invest in firearms, alcohol, tobacco, polluters, and so on, and almost without exception, they lag behind their counterparts, because anytime you have to overlook a good stock, for any reason, you just defeated the whole purpose of why you invest.

If you're not watching Mad Money, you're missing a good time. If you just want to check out his picks, two fans keep up this site daily.

11/17/2005 07:26:00 PM

(11/17/2005 09:19:00 AM) - Robert R.

The 11th episode of Rome "The Spoils" aired last Sunday. Plot summary here.

I imagine that when they proposed the series to HBO, this was what they envisioned. Political plotting and backstabbing, political corruption and the temptations of power, character conflicts and reconciliations, and a great bloody arena battle worthy of a movie. Best episode of the season and sets up the season finale for next week.

11/17/2005 09:19:00 AM

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

(11/16/2005 11:19:00 PM) - Al

Adam McAlvey checks in with a nice piece on Corey Hart.

I've had Hart penciled in as the 4th OF (and reserve 1B) for quite a while, so I agree that he should begin the year with the big league club.

11/16/2005 11:19:00 PM

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


Your FL reader just had to check in about one of your last posts. Just a few short months ago, accompanied by my wife and little boy, we stopped and ate at Paula Deen's restaurant in Savannah GA. Needles to say I was blown away with my meal (which was a gut busting take on your average recipe of macaroni and cheese). I hope everything is well up there and your staying warm. Jacksonville local weather was 81 degrees and about five total clouds in the sky all day. I got a sunburn on my balding head. Take care.


My son and I just finished shoveling our first snowfall of the year, by the way.:)

11/16/2005 11:11:00 AM

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

(11/15/2005 07:01:00 PM) - Al

There are two organizations right now that are coming up on the outside, loaded with talent, with very little hype, doing a ton of things right: the Brewers and Devil Rays. I expect the Brewers to have a Twins-like run starting in 2007, maybe even 2006, and the D-Rays will not be far behind if they can become proactive about their talent distribution.--Joe Sheehan, BP

Actually, I'm wondering if the Crew might take a similiar route as the 2004 Blue Jays, who was pretty much everyone's sleeper pick, and fell apart, but made a rebound in '05. What's that old saying...if the consensus is you are underrated, can you still be underrated?

11/15/2005 07:01:00 PM

(11/15/2005 06:53:00 PM) - Al

Remember the folks who said Bud's proposal of suspensions of 50 games, 100 games, and for life were far too harsh?

The player's union, apparently finally listening to its members, doesn't have a problem with it at all.

Mr. Selig, once again, sees what is best for the game and proposes it. MLB has prospered at an astounding rate in his reign, yet most of his critics can't see the forest for the trees.

11/15/2005 06:53:00 PM

(11/15/2005 06:53:00 PM) - Al

Remember the folks who said Bud's proposal of suspensions of 50 games, 100 games, and for life were far too harsh?

The player's union, apparently finally listening to its members, doesn't have a problem with it at all.

Mr. Selig, once again, sees what is best for the game and proposes it. MLB has prospered at an astounding rate in his reign, yet most of his critics can't see the forest for the trees.

11/15/2005 06:53:00 PM

(11/15/2005 11:01:00 AM) - Al

The Marlins left the general managers' meetings confident they can jettison third baseman Mike Lowell. What they probably can't do is altogether eliminate him from the books.

Owed $9 million each of the next two seasons, Lowell is tradable if the Marlins are willing to absorb some of the remaining dollars. According to a front office official who has spoken with the Marlins, they had "a few hits" on Lowell this past week.

With one unidentified team the Marlins discussed a scenario in which they would cover half of Lowell's remaining salary. They did not discuss any package deals involving Lowell and Carlos Delgado.

"It will get down to how much Florida is willing to pay," said one official from a club monitoring the Lowell situation.

The Brewers and Orioles were among the teams that might have inquired about Lowell, but they are going with Bill Hall and Melvin Mora at their respective hot corners.--South Florida Sun Journal

Just putting this up due to the fact the Crew was mentuioned, though as the added emphasis by me shows that it is just speculation by the author.

11/15/2005 11:01:00 AM

(11/15/2005 10:36:00 AM) - Al

We had a late breakfast this morning, and my wife had the Food Network on, as she often does, so I saw most of Paula's Thanksgiving Special, which was much funnier than any WB or UPN sitcom.

I am usually not a fan of Ms. Deen, but this episode had a boatload of Southern charm, as well as some wonderful one-liners.

After Paula said she was starving, one of her sons told the rotund Ms. Deen that You're about 4 weeks away from starving..

When Paula asked how long it would be until the pre-meal snacks were done, her son said, What about your turducken? It takes 2-5 days to cook.

The "turducken", by the way, is a full turkey with layers of duck, chicken, and stuffing in the middle. While this wouldn't really thrill me, it was nice to see something other than a boring turkey on the table.

She delights in down-home Southern cooking, not feeling an ounce of guilt when she combines a small amount of corn with a stick of butter and adds the bacon grease as if it were a real ingredient. I can't imagine most of the starched collars on Food doing anything with bacon grease except making a face as they throw it away.

Finally, the phrase of the year came when Paula was shopping for desserts, when she says, Take a fat girl to the candy store and watch her smile.

A nice departure from the usual T-giving shows.

11/15/2005 10:36:00 AM

(11/15/2005 10:15:00 AM) - Al

Imagine what the Yankees would pay an OF who was actually good.

I have to believe that we will soon see a day in which the Red Sox (loaded with RH sluggers like they used to be) and the Yankees (depite spending a fortune) both miss the playoffs. Paying millions for above average isn't how you win.

That said, the Asian version of Time magazine informs us Matsui has one of the largest adult film collections in the world.

Hat tip to King Gleeman.

11/15/2005 10:15:00 AM

Monday, November 14, 2005

(11/14/2005 11:35:00 PM) - Al

Fox is reporting that a new steroids policy agreement between the players and the owners is very close. Excellent sign of continued intelligence and cooperation from the union.

11/14/2005 11:35:00 PM

Sunday, November 13, 2005

(11/13/2005 08:04:00 PM) - Al

And I note that the most public faces of the Democratic Party lately have been Ted Kennedy and Jimmy Carter. It's hard for me to see how that can work out well for the Democrats.---Glenn

A while back, John Mellancamp was discussing his music, and he said incredulously, "Jack and Diane is on the radio now more than when it came out". That's the same way I feel about Carter, who keeps popping up in the media at an unheard of rate in the past few five years or so, after properly keeping his head buried in the sand for the couple decades before that. Whenever I see his name in print, I always think of what the pitcher said to Bob Uecker when he went out to visit the mound:

Shut up and get back behind the plate. The only thing you know about pitching is you can't hit it.

Carter giving political advice is similiar to me explaining how to turn down a second piece of pie.

11/13/2005 08:04:00 PM

(11/13/2005 07:47:00 PM) - Al

Good friend of Ramblings John Strain writes about his Veteran's Day weekend.

I'm just thankful brave young men and women like Justin exist.

11/13/2005 07:47:00 PM

(11/13/2005 07:14:00 PM) - Al

Respected writer John Sickels reviews his top 20 Crew prospects. I recall he had JJ Hardy 10th, 6-7 spots below most, so that alone should tell you he likes the youngsters, but this quote is a bit of a surprise.

The Brewers have a bright future if their pitching holds up. It wouldn't surprise me if they won their division next year, at least if the Cardinals start to show their age.

11/13/2005 07:14:00 PM

(11/13/2005 01:48:00 PM) - Robert R.

It's been a busy week for me, so a summary of a few thoughts.

No major trade or free agent signing related to the Brewers has occurred yet. Konerko might have the most impact on his value, but it already sounds like many teams are interested.

"Triumph" the 10th episode of Rome was last Sunday. HBO and BBC spent around $100 million on the series and it looks like a good chunk went into last week's episode showing Caesar formally taking power as Emperor and holding a "triumph" in celebration. Inaugarations, except for the public executions, really haven't changed much in 2000+ years. Pullo and Vorenus also have a falling out and Pullo hits rock bottom in something of a "Best Years of Their Lives" story moment for Pullo. And the plotting around Caesar heightens with Servilla taking in the son of Pompey and making life uncomfortable for Brutus. Strong episode.

I also saw the play "The Clean House" at the Milwaukee Rep last weekend. I suspect those that would most enjoy it are already interested as it is a fairly new play that borrows elements heavily from "magical realism" type stories and Angels in America. I'd recommend earlier works over this one, especially if you don't see plays often, but the play is well acted, has several sharp observations, and it takes an unexpected change in tone in the second half which adds a lot of gravitas to the events.

11/13/2005 01:48:00 PM

Saturday, November 12, 2005

(11/12/2005 07:20:00 PM) - Al

Slate profiles Larry the Cable Guy. I am amazed at how popular he is, as I find him one of the least humorous of the fellas on the tour, but I have never understood charges of racism leveled at him either. Towards the end of the article, David Cross, who has done some extremely mature material (which is fine, but isn't funny either), tries to insult him by calling him anti-intellectual, which as the author points out, Larry would take as a compliment.:)

I always find it ironic when some critically acclaimed person most people have never heard of (Cross) find it necessary to inform the masses that the person infinitely better known and drawing huge crowds is not nearly as good as he is. Thanks for the info, Dave.

11/12/2005 07:20:00 PM

(11/12/2005 01:23:00 AM) - Al

The JS checks in with some Melvin thoughts and a few assumptions:

---Doug says he is not trying to trade Jenkins, can't imagine dealing either Jenks or Lee right now.

---Trying to resign both Cirillo and Helling, optimistic about both.

---Does not want to pay big money to any FA pitcher, including Jarrod Washburn.

---Outstanding AFL performance by Corey Hart may make Doug more comfortable trading Overbay, as Hart can platoon or protect Prince versus tough LHP's. Corey seems to have made himself a frontrunner for a roster spot in '05.

11/12/2005 01:23:00 AM

Friday, November 11, 2005

(11/11/2005 08:30:00 AM) - Al

The big question confronting Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin is at first base:
Does he move Lyle Overbay to make room for Prince Fielder? While Melvin has
played down the notion he's shopping Overbay, this winter seems like
the optimum time to get it done. And it might not be Melvin's only trade of note. "The guy they really want to move is Geoff Jenkins," said a National League scout. "They'll do that first and foremost if they can."...

The Mariners are looking for a left-handed bat to complement Richie Sexson
and Adrian Beltre...

If Melvin doesn't mind dealing within the division, the best market for Jenkins could be in the NL Central. The Cubs, Cardinals and Pirates are searching for left-handed power in the outfield, and the Astros...need more offense, period.

If the Brewers can move Jenkins, they'll most likely turn right field over to Corey Hart...--Insider

Hat tip to Craig for sending the Insider article, which I snipped down to about 1/3rd it's original length.

11/11/2005 08:30:00 AM

Thursday, November 10, 2005

(11/10/2005 08:08:00 PM) - Al

According to a couple message boards, ESPN Insider is reporting a veteran scout saying the Crew is looking to move Geoff Jenkins, then Lyle Overbay. Corey Hart is mentioned as the most likely replacement for Geoff.

If anyone subscribes to Insider and wants to send me the important parts, feel free.

I would not be shocked if teams asked about Jenks, but I doubt he is being shopped. I feel Doug would be hesitant to deal him, a long-time Brewers' player who signed an extension. That said, Doug may well trade his wife if someone offered more than he felt she was worth.:)

11/10/2005 08:08:00 PM

(11/10/2005 03:53:00 PM) - Al

The Red Sox met Wednesday night with Darek Braunecker, the agent for free-agent right-hander A.J. Burnett. Like the Mets, the Red Sox almost certainly would trade other starting pitchers if they signed Burnett. Left-hander David Wells has requested a trade to a west-coast club, and right-hander Matt Clement also could be dealt.---Ken Rosenthal

I love Clement, and I recall Doug met with his reps before he signed with the Red Sox. A lot depends on what happens with Jarrod Washburn, but an Overbay/Clement swap would quite possible elicit tears from this fan.

11/10/2005 03:53:00 PM

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

(11/09/2005 11:32:00 PM) - Al

Bo knows recruiting.

A top 20 class, and 2 of the top 60 high school seniors in the country. Wow.

11/09/2005 11:32:00 PM

(11/09/2005 09:06:00 AM) - Al


No offense to Doug, but it took me all of 1 minute to get back to the same place as before. All Houston would have to do to get to Doug's 30 man limit is have their other 4 starting pitchers declared inactive and you still would have a roster of 34 players and 30 being active. The problem with Doug's idea is its not that teams are carrying too many players its that some teams are not carrying enough. To solve that problem you need to mandate that teams carry a minimum amount of players in September.


I guess you could make the inactive list position players only, but other than that, Rod is 100% correct.

Personally, I'd limit the additional players to a total of 5, effectively making it a 30 man roster. Not sure how you can "force" a team 40 games out of the race to spend an extra $500K on travel and salary, other than making the minimum 30, however.

11/09/2005 09:06:00 AM

(11/09/2005 08:24:00 AM) - Al

According to an e-mailer, Lyle Overbay was mentioned on a Twin Cities newscast last night as being the "Twins' main target this offseason".

The thing about Lyle is, while not elite, is plenty good enough to improve the offense of most teams, either as a 1B or DH. And, while only 3-5 teams will go after a FA like Paul Konerko, most teams can afford Overbay, who will likely make $2.5M or so in arbitration.

11/09/2005 08:24:00 AM

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

(11/08/2005 06:57:00 PM) - Al

Doug Melvin was the featured speaker today, if things went as planned at the GM meetings, at least. His ideas, outlined here, seem well thought out and intelligent.

11/08/2005 06:57:00 PM

Monday, November 07, 2005

(11/07/2005 09:34:00 PM) - Robert R.

Free agent signing period starts Friday. Here's a list of free agents who have filed to date.

I don't expect the Brewers to get involved in free agency until after they've decided what they're going to do with Overbay. The haul from an Overbay deal could likely decide the direction of the offseason.

A starting pitcher is undoubtedly on top of the Brewers' wish list, either via trade or through free agency. Undoubtedly, the most likely starting pitcher of any notoriety to be a free agent signee is Jarrod Washburn, a Wisconsin native who's expressed interest in joining the Brewers. He seems like a natural fit, although his secondary numbers are kind of scary and he hasn't thrown 200 IP in a season since 2003. Still he has been effective and a 3 year deal in the $6 to $8 million range seems to be what the stats warrant (although I'd prefer to fill this position through trade of Overbay for someone younger and cheaper). After Washburn, I think it's a case of last man standing after arbitration is offered.

After starting pitcher, the Brewers can go in several directions. A left-handed veteran outfield bat that can backup Brady Clark would be my preferred acquisition. There seems to be precisely two players matching that prescription, Kenny Lofton and Bernie Williams, and Williams certainly appeared just about done last year. Lofton had a fine year and would be a good fit, but is he willing to be a backup instead of part of a platoon?

I know the Brewers would like to upgrade from Chad Moeller, if feasible, but the market looks slim. Ramon Hernandez and Bengie Molina are going to sign as starters for good money, Mike Piazza will likely sign with an AL team where he can DH part time, and Brad Ausmus is likely returning to Houston where he can continue his no hit, defensive specialist days. After that, it's dime a dozen time as the veteran backup catchers all pretty much look alike and none are really an upgrade over Moeller.

The good news for the Brewers is that if they aren't very active it doesn't really represent a bad offseason. Their starting 8 position players, top 4 starters, and closer are already set and under contract for 2006. Hardy and Weeks should be better in 2006 and it's hard to believe that the #5 starter could be much worse out of default. The Brewers are probably an 78 to 85 win team if they do nothing.

11/07/2005 09:34:00 PM

(11/07/2005 09:23:00 PM) - Al

I don't have any new Crew happenings, but I got a good laugh while reading this article at lunch today.

Here's the part that made me chuckle, as the story is about a family that is $200K in debt...which doesn't count their interest only loan which is for more than their home is worth.

She's also considering selling the family's time share in Hawaii. They pay about $400 a month on the time share, plus annual maintenance and taxes.

Yeah, they may want to drop the Hawaiian time share...and heck, maybe they should ask Jeeves the butler if he'd be willing to go part-time.:)

$200K plus in the red, and they are "considering" selling what can only be described as an incredible luxury.


11/07/2005 09:23:00 PM

Sunday, November 06, 2005

(11/06/2005 07:44:00 PM) - Al

Once again, allow me to say, that under Lopester, Ronnie Belliard sat while Eric Young played (and, for that matter, so did Mark Loretta).

That pretty much sums up the Dean Taylor years, doesn't it?

11/06/2005 07:44:00 PM

Saturday, November 05, 2005

(11/05/2005 06:57:00 PM) - Al

Doug Melvin sounds like he intends to sign an extension soon with the Crew. It doesn't take much reading between the lines to think Mark and Doug have had a deal for months, and just haven't signed a contract yet.

EDIT: Doug signed the dotted line today.

11/05/2005 06:57:00 PM

Friday, November 04, 2005

(11/04/2005 09:54:00 AM) - Al


That number you gave seems low to me. When you think about it, the gov’t has it’s hands on the gas prices at every step.

1) I’m sure there’s revenue generating tariffs (as opposed to penal tariffs).

2) The oil port companies face business taxes.

3) The oil is transported to refineries, presumably through pipelines, and I’m sure the gov’t licenses/leases the land for the pipelines.

4) The refineries are taxed.

5) The trucks that deliver the oil to stations are taxed, likely in several ways:

A) the truck drivers pay taxes, so they have to charge more to make the same money

B) the truck drivers have to pay for gasoline of their own to transport the gas, so their costs are increased

C) the truck drivers have to pay tolls.

6) I would assume the gas stations, since individually owned, actually buy their gas from the refineries. So there’s likely taxes on the refinery’s sale.

7) When someone pays for gas, it is taxed usually at around 50 cents per gallon.

Those are just some of the levels where the gov’t makes money off of gasoline, and I’m sure the federal coffers are filling up through other ways, too. Still, seems like the gov’t takes a lot of gas money


I believe the numbers I mentioned were only the gas tax that consumers pay at the pump. If you look at it the way Doug just broke it down, it's amazing the oil companies have any profit left.

11/04/2005 09:54:00 AM

(11/04/2005 09:17:00 AM) - Al

Small, mobile groups of youths hit Paris' riot-shaken suburbs with waves of arson attacks, torching hundreds of cars, as unrest entered its second week Friday and spread to other towns in France.

In the eastern city of Dijon, teens apparently angered by a police crackdown on drug trafficking in their neighborhood set fire to five cars, said Paul Ronciere, the region's top government official.

Another 11 cars were burned at a housing project in Salon-de-Provence, near the southern city of Marseille, police said.

Overnight in the Paris region, 420 cars were set ablaze, up from previous nights, the Interior Ministry said. It said five police were slightly injured by thrown stones or bottles.

Emphasis added. I have 2 thoughts.

1. Ah, the French, so much more dignified than us stodgy Americans.

2. 420 cars one night. What, is the New Orleans police force working in suburban Paris now?

11/04/2005 09:17:00 AM

Thursday, November 03, 2005

(11/03/2005 08:15:00 PM) - Al

Complete list of minor league free agents now available, hat tip to Jim at

I could study this list for hours, but I'll try to compile a top 10 or so I'd chase after hardest.

UPDATE: As always, the list is heavy with corner OF's, but here would be the fellas most likely to produce in the next couple seasons in the bigs, opportunity provided, of course:

Luke Allen, OF
Mike Bacsik, LHP
Roosevelt Brown, OF
Jeremy Fikac, RHP
Chris George, LHP
Graham Koonce, 1B
Ryan Ludwick, OF
Hideo Nomo, RHP
Jim Rushford, OF
Mike Ryan, OF
Steve Scarborough, SS/2B
Andy Abad, OF

Fikac and George are both former top prospects, Bacsik was also highly thought of at one time. If Nomo is healthy, why not bring him in? Brown used to play some CF, the others are corner OF's only. Koonce would be a perfect AAA depth for Prince, as would Rushford actually. Scarborough is the only one who played with the Crew in 2005, he had a breakthrough AAA campaign.

There are many decent options at the C spot, former Crew AAA receivers Chris Coste and Mark Johnson among them.

11/03/2005 08:15:00 PM

(11/03/2005 07:57:00 PM) - Al

Ticket prices going up for the first time since 2002.

The JS details the increases, the best value seats, in my opinion, remain the loge OF box, now $22, as well as the field bleachers, now $15.

Honestly, this probably should have been done a couple years ago, or maybe last year, but I assume it was put off due to PR.

Note that there will be promos on 70 of the 81 games. I would have announced at least as many "bargain" games as marquee ones, with tiks half price for all but the best seats in the house, for weeknight games in April, May, and September, with one in the Summer thrown in for good measure.

11/03/2005 07:57:00 PM

(11/03/2005 07:22:00 PM) - Al is reporting Robin Yount will be named bench coach tomorrow.

One, allow me to say that the Grady Little rumors show how precise the Boston newspapers are, huh?

Two, I thought it was much more likely to be Paul Molitor, but I think I predicted this a while back (though I'm very surprised Kremblas was not named to the staff).

11/03/2005 07:22:00 PM

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

(11/02/2005 10:38:00 PM) - Al

Doug Melvin is usually on the short list when candidates for the Red Sox job are listed. I like to think Mark A and Doug have some sort of "handshake" deal made, as neither seems in any hurry to sign an extension, even though Mark said it would be done ages ago.

That said, I have always said I don't want anyone to be around who would rather be elsewhere, and I mean it, even in the case of a GM who has been near perfect since taking over. Hopefully, Doug will announce he is uninterested soon. It is, however, a testimony to the respect the Brewers have built around the league that he is mentioned.

11/02/2005 10:38:00 PM

(11/02/2005 10:33:00 PM) - Al

Matt Lawton tests positive, and if I'm not mistaken, is the first to admit he goofed.

Actually, if Melvin is seriously looking for a veteran LH hitter to come off the bench, he could do a lot worse than Lawton. Matt has always hit much better on turf, but plays good D and still runs well. He'd be a very good bench guy.

11/02/2005 10:33:00 PM

(11/02/2005 10:47:00 AM) - Al

5 Questions with Dale Sveum.

The ironic thing I find is that Sveum was, at best, a below average defender, at least hands-wise.

11/02/2005 10:47:00 AM

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

(11/01/2005 08:45:00 PM) - Al

The Bucks win their first game of the year, after Mike Redd tied the game with a 3 with 1.6 seconds left...and if memory serves, they were down 7 with about a minute left.

Any win on the road in the NBA is a big win, let's hope this is one of many for the Bucks.

11/01/2005 08:45:00 PM

(11/01/2005 07:29:00 PM) - Al

Adding onto Jason's thoughts, Theo may or may not be interviewing for the Dodgers. If I were Epstein, my thoughts would focus on the Devil Rays, a nice 5+ year deal with a small stake in the club in the laid back world of Tampa-St.Pete would be a permanent vacation, in comparison to the mass media circus that permeates Northeastern cities.

But of course, not many folks think like me, as I can never understand why anyone would attend Miami to play football or Duke to play basketball. If I were a hundred times better (come to think of it, I still wouldn't be good enough, but let's pretend), I would look for a school I would be comfortable at, and leave my mark. At Duke, I'd just be another guy, and at Miami, I'd not only just be another guy, but I'd have to become a criminal as well.

11/01/2005 07:29:00 PM

(11/01/2005 04:35:00 PM) - Jason

According to various reports I have seen, the main reason Theo Epstein resigned as GM of the Red Sox was a column by Dan Shaughnessy in the Boston Globe on Sunday which, Epstein and his people claim, had info that was basically leaked by Larry Lucchino and people close to him. You can register at the Boston Globe website and read the article for yourself, but to make a long story short, the column basically aired 'dirty laundry' between Epstein and Lucchino and may have opened up some old wounds between the two.

The Red Sox have really screwed themselves here. As I heard a person on TV say today, there are too many cooks in that front office kitchen. If Larry Lucchino cant get along with the guy that was supposedly his protege, how do the Red Sox expect to get another GM to step into that mess and be successful?

Boston has let a talented baseball man get into the open market simply because there was one too many roosters in the henhouse. Deservedly so, Theo Epstein was looking for more money - along with more control over player personnel - because his teams (and most of his moves) have been very successful with the Red Sox. Larry Lucchino and the rest of the Red Sox brass in his camp didn't budge. Thus, that organization is now severly weakened.

11/01/2005 04:35:00 PM

(11/01/2005 07:53:00 AM) - Al

Seth Speaks has a Q & A with Aaron Gleeman.

11/01/2005 07:53:00 AM

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.

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