Al's Ramblings



Monday, February 28, 2005

(2/28/2005 08:40:00 PM) - Al

Interview with Mark A can be found here.


2/28/2005 08:40:00 PM


Sunday, February 27, 2005

(2/27/2005 10:14:00 PM) - Al

Someone should have put a bullet through his head before he gets to the T sound in "I did it".--Dennis Miller

Mr. Miller didn't say it about the BTK killer, but I'm sure he'd second it. A slow and painful demise would be far too kind.


2/27/2005 10:14:00 PM


Saturday, February 26, 2005

(2/26/2005 10:15:00 PM) - Al

Don't pull the plug on TRU just yet, apparently. That said, reading between the lines, the future looks bleak...having to pay bonuses just to get people to stay, yikes.

Money quote:

...the company warned that financing costs could rise. Its $2.3 billion in long-term debt is labeled at below investment grade by three credit rating agencies, all of which warn that the rating could fall farther.

That's billion with a B. Back in the day, Toys R Us was not a debt-free company, but never carried much considering its vast size. As I've said in the past, I still know people who work there, so I hope for the best, but I can't believe there's a bright future in store.


2/26/2005 10:15:00 PM



(2/26/2005 09:37:00 PM) - Al

Rotoworld ranks the top 150 prospects in the game, Brewers' recaps are below. Hat tip to MB at Brewerfan.net for pointing out the article.

Rotoworld's Top 150:

6. Prince Fielder - 1B Brewers - Age 20 - ETA: April 2006
Previous rankings: 2003 #91, mid-2003 #17, 2004 #5, mid-2004 #5

.272/.366/.473, 23 HR, 78 RBI, 93/65 K/BB, 11 SB in 497 AB for Double-A Huntsville

A little more was expected, but after skipping the California League, Fielder was able to put up solid numbers in Double-A as a 20-year-old. Cecil’s son hit .313/.406/.526 in 2003 to win MVP honors in the Midwest League. The seventh overall pick in the 2002 draft shows very good plate discipline and 30-homer power. Batting average will determine whether he’s just a quality regular for the Brewers or an All-Star. I’m still going with the latter. His defense at first base isn’t bad, with his only flaw being that he lacks range, a problem that figures to get worse as he ages. Still, it should be a long time before he needs to become a DH. If Fielder does a little better this season, the Brewers will probably make Lyle Overbay trade bait in the offseason.

9. Rickie Weeks - 2B Brewers - Age 22 - ETA: April 2006
Previous rankings: 2004 #6, mid-2004 #7

.259/.366/.407, 8 HR, 42 RBI, 107/55 K/BB, 11 SB in 479 AB for Double-A Huntsville
.382/.520/.737, 6 HR, 21 RBI, 18/17 K/BB, 6 SB in 76 AB for Scottsdale (AFL)

Weeks’ season was a true disappointment. He was so impressive at Single-A Beloit and in the Arizona Fall League after being drafted second overall in 2003 that it appeared possible he’d become the Brewers’ second baseman before the end of last year. It didn’t happen. Perhaps Weeks’ most impressive statistic for Huntsville was his 28 HBPs. Fortunately, he did bounce back nicely in his second stint in the AFL. He would have led the league in average, OBP and slugging if not for a strained oblique that left him short on plate appearances. Because of his incredible bat speed, Weeks still should be viewed as a potential All-Star. His defense is rough at times, but he made fewer miscues than expected last year. He needs to learn how to better use his speed, but there’s nothing wrong with his game that experience can’t take care of. He’ll probably only need one more full season in the minors.

24. Jose Capellan - RHP Brewers - Age 24 - ETA: Now
Previous rankings: mid-2004 #32

5-1, 1.94 ERA, 27 H, 62/11 K/BB in 46 1/3 IP for Single-A Myrtle Beach
5-1, 2.50 ERA, 53 H, 53/19 K/BB in 50 1/3 IP for Double-A Greenville
4-2, 2.51 ERA, 33 H, 37/15 K/BB in 43 IP for Triple-A Richmond
0-1, 11.25 ERA, 14 H, 4/5 K/BB in 8 IP for Atlanta

Capellan was certainly a fair return for Danny Kolb in the offseason trade with Atlanta. All the way back from Tommy John surgery, the flame-throwing right-hander had his breakthrough year in 2004, dominating at three levels before struggling in eight innings with the Braves in September. Capellan can touch 100 mph and often worth at 94-98 mph. The primary complement for his fastball is a curve that comes and goes as a plus pitch. His changeup is even more of a problem, so there’s still a lot of thought he could end up as a reliever. The Brewers, though, will give him a chance to earn a rotation spot this year. He’s not a very good short-term bet as a starting pitcher, but he has all kinds of potential.

39. J.J. Hardy - SS Brewers - Age 22 - ETA: Now
Previous rankings: mid-2003 #12, 2004 #22, mid-2004 #39

.277/.330/.495, 4 HR, 20 RBI, 8/9 K/BB, 0 SB in 101 AB for Triple-A Indianapolis

The Brewers didn’t think Hardy was ready in 2004, but apparently the 26 games in which he appeared before dislocating his shoulder last season have convinced them that he should take over at shortstop this year. It’s unlikely that he’ll embarrass himself, though it’s going to be at least another season before he’s a quality regular. Hardy is an above average defensive shortstop, and he should hit .270 with 15 homers per year in his prime. He also has a 62/67 K/BB ratio in 517 AB since the start of last year. Expect mediocre numbers this year and gradual improvement beginning in 2006.

74. Corey Hart - OF Brewers - Age 23 - ETA: April 2006
Previous rankings: mid-2002 #54, 2003 #54, mid-2003 #69, 2004 #96, mid-2004 #75

.281/.342/.485, 15 HR, 67 RBI, 92/41 K/BB, 17 SB in 441 AB for Triple-A Indianapolis
.000/.000/.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1/0 K/BB, 0 SB in 1 AB for Milwaukee

The switch from third base to right field took away a lot of Hart’s upside, but it had to be done. The 2003 Southern League MVP produced solid numbers as a 22-year-old in Triple-A, although he wasn’t quite good enough to force the Brewers to make him a regular this year. Now the team controls both Geoff Jenkins and Carlos Lee through 2006, though there’s a good chance that one of the two will be moved next winter. Hart should turn out to be an average regular, hitting .280-.290 with 20-25 homers per year. He’ll be called up this year if either Jenkins or Lee lands on the DL.

96. Ben Hendrickson - RHP Brewers - Age 24 - ETA: Now
Previous rankings: mid-2004 #77

11-3, 2.02 ERA, 114 H, 93/26 K/BB in 125 IP for Triple-A Indianapolis
1-8, 6.22 ERA, 58 H, 29/20 K/BB in 46 1/3 IP for Milwaukee

Hendrickson’s barely average fastball could continue to lead to growing pains as he adjusts to the majors, but his terrific curve should make him a third or fourth starter in time. Better command is certain to come. Hendrickson walked just 26 batters in 125 innings in Triple-A last year, but he was less aggressive in attacking hitters after getting called up. Hendrickson should win a rotation spot this spring and do enough to keep it all year long. He might not be a viable fantasy pitcher until 2006.

113. Mark Rogers - RHP Brewers - Age 19 - ETA: 2008

139. Brad Nelson - OF Brewers - Age 22 - ETA: 2007


2/26/2005 09:37:00 PM



(2/26/2005 06:29:00 PM) - Al

While I'm not sure whether the team is comapring apples and oranges, selling almost twice as many tickets as ever before in one day has to be a good sign.

As for my wonderings, I don't think the Crew has ever sold Opening Day tickets along with the other 80 games, though they might have last year.


2/26/2005 06:29:00 PM



(2/26/2005 05:31:00 PM) - Al

While it's still obviously very early in the game, the Rice in '08 mentions have become constant. I'm not sure, but I think the "boots" photo has to be the most seen on the internet since Miss Jackson.

Glenn comments (and shows the now famous pic as well) on it here as well.


2/26/2005 05:31:00 PM


Friday, February 25, 2005

(2/25/2005 10:50:00 PM) - Al

Hey Al:

Just wanted to give you a heads up that Kukoc couldn't be traded this year. He signed a one-year deal when he was a free agent after last season and under the CBA you cannot be traded when signing only a one-year deal.

Michael


Never heard of this before, but the man sounds like he knows what he's talking about.:)


2/25/2005 10:50:00 PM



(2/25/2005 10:26:00 PM) - Al

Business Week article about the online poker industry. One site, Paradise, the 3rd largest, takes in $260K a day in rake (a percentage of the pot the house keeps for running the game) every day.

As pointed out in the article, there is still a ton of growth left to occur, as for the most part, mainstream folks are not playing yet, at least not in the US.

Hat tip to Chris Halverson, who has one of my favorite poker blogs.


2/25/2005 10:26:00 PM



(2/25/2005 11:32:00 AM) - Al

Al,

Byung-Hyun Kim is Korean, not Japanese. If you said he was Japanese to
his face, I think he'd deck you.:-D Lots and lots of animosity
between those 2 cultures in the past.

Mike


Thanks for the info, Mike. I kind of think all Far East players are Japanese, for whatever reason. Will correct below as well.


2/25/2005 11:32:00 AM



(2/25/2005 10:24:00 AM) - Al

Anyone else surpised to see Toni Kukoc still with the Bucks today? Seems to me if I had a contending team, I'd be very happy to add a veteran like Kukoc for the stretch run. Not only that, but the Bucks should have no interest in winning 30 games instead of 28.


2/25/2005 10:24:00 AM



(2/25/2005 10:04:00 AM) - Al

I'm not an expert, but is there any reason at all the Pope simply cannot just step down? This "what will happen next" tone has gone on for about half a decade now, and mocks the entire religion.


2/25/2005 10:04:00 AM


Thursday, February 24, 2005

(2/24/2005 10:15:00 PM) - Al

Once again, having a horrible time getting into Blogger tonight. Hopefully, this will be a short-lived problem.

If you need single game tickets, they go on sale at the Brewers' site this Saturday at 9AM. Opening Day and the Cubs/Yankees seats are expected to go quickly.


2/24/2005 10:15:00 PM


Tuesday, February 22, 2005

(2/22/2005 07:23:00 PM) - Al

Peter Gammons has a couple Brewers' blurbs in his latest ESPN article:

There's also Byung-Hyun Kim, who actually has thrown the ball better thus far this spring than he has the last two years. The Kim who pitched in Arizona would be another welcome addition, but there are layers of issues that cloud his return to Boston. More likely, he will end up being traded to one of the teams that intend to come watch him this spring, among them the Mets, Astros, Brewers, Rockies and Dodgers. But with the concerns about the use of Timlin and Embree the last two years, the Sox will not give Kim away if he can pitch in the seventh or eighth inning.

I've been a big supporter of BY Kim since...forever, and feel he's a victim of injury and/or his Orient work habits. Still just 26, he's a guy with a career ERA of about 3.50, and while he has become known as a closer, he has started and performed very nicely in that role too.

The Red Sox signed him to a very expensive deal before he became ineffective, and is set to make about $5 million in 2005. Unless BOS wants to pick up at least half of BYK's salary, I can't believe the Crew has any interest.


The Red Sox are thrilled the Nationals got the opportunity to acquire Alex Escobar -- always a Jim Bowden favorite, one he thought he had acquired for Barry Larkin back in 2000 only to have Larkin nix the deal. To make roster room for Escobar, the Nats had to let go of 22-year-old middle infielder Alejandro Machado, who between Class A and Double-A last season had an on-base percentage of .385, batted over .300 and had tremendous defensive numbers. "He reminds me of all the great Venezuelan infielders," Red Sox scout Craig Shipley said. The Red Sox middle infield hasn't exactly been Omar Vizquel/John McDonald, in other words high caliber, the last few years, and watching Machado, Hanley Ramirez and Ramon Vazquez work both sides of the bag recently was an exhibition.

For those who do not know, Machado is the IF the Crew acquired in the Leskanic/Obermueller trade. In fact, at the time, Wes was considered the throw-in, with the speedy OBP 2B/SS being the focal point. For whatever reason, Alex has bounced around a bit, in the Brewers case, he had to be DFA'd to make room on the 40 man roster, and they got a rather generic pitcher for him, who didn't have to be placed on the 40 man roster. I was very disappointed to see him go, as I saw him as a SS who could get on base, albeit with very little power.

Glancing at his minor league numbers, the kid gets to 1B. Funny to see a club like the Nationals, a team who has signed a ton of veteran mediocrity this offseason, have to lose a decent young player (though he does probably project as a utility player). The way Gammons speaks of his D, and career OBP's of .377 in A and .353 in AA, it's amazing someone hasn't hung onto him tighter.


2/22/2005 07:23:00 PM



(2/22/2005 05:32:00 PM) - Al

I'll be back later this evening to discuss a few Brewers' mentions on ESPN.com.


2/22/2005 05:32:00 PM


Monday, February 21, 2005

(2/21/2005 10:54:00 AM) - Al

Article on Astros' manager Phil Garner, and some stories about his days in MIL. Funny, how Garner got so much smarter when he was put in charge of a team ready to bust loose, huh?

Hat tip to Ajay.


2/21/2005 10:54:00 AM



(2/21/2005 09:51:00 AM) - Al

The JS does a Q & A with Doug Melvin, as spring training officially opens.

The only thing I took out of it was a reference to Branyan needing to hit a lot of HR's...I think it's safe to say Doug expects him to get the bulk of the playing time.


2/21/2005 09:51:00 AM


Sunday, February 20, 2005

(2/20/2005 08:56:00 PM) - Al

Zell Miller writes of how the media would cover Iwo Jima if it happened today.

Funny because it's true.


2/20/2005 08:56:00 PM



(2/20/2005 04:05:00 PM) - Al

Oh, what you find online.

I'm not sure whether to be happy for them or not.


2/20/2005 04:05:00 PM



(2/20/2005 02:59:00 PM) - Al

The NY Post reports that Ben Sheets' agent says if he is not signed to a deal before the current season begins, he will probably just listen to offers after 2006, when his free agency kicks in. {Hat tip to Ben Waller}

I may be the only fan of the Brewers who feels this way, but if that is the case, I hope we can maximize what we get for Ben when we inevitably trade him, as I would not dream of giving him a long-term contract until he remains healthy for a couple months (at least). Ben is a fine pitcher, but the idea of giving him $25-30 million over the next couple years before he proves he's recovered from offseason surgery would be an incredibly foolish gamble.


2/20/2005 02:59:00 PM



(2/20/2005 12:05:00 PM) - Al

Almost exactly a year ago, I made a very small deposit (hypothetically, of course) into an online poker site, and began playing. I played mostly "freerolls" (free tournaments with payouts for a top 1-2% finish) and dabbled into tables I could afford, mainly 5/10 cents and 10/20 cents. It was a day of celebration when I cracked the 3 figure barrier, as that meant I had increased my initial deposit by a huge percentage. Recently, through reading many of my favorite poker blogs, I have started "chasing bonus money" (many sites, in an effort to lure new players, pay up to a 100% bonus, matching your initial deposit), tranferring money from one site to another. There are a seemingly endless number of sites out there, so it appears this is something I could do for a long time. Hence, I believe I will.

Recently, I added up my bankrolls, as I do a couple times a month, and lo and behold, I had worked my way into four digit territory. Before Xmas, I withdrew $100, so all the money remaining is/was profit. Much like King Gleeman, I've had a couple days that have been so good, I thought I had the game beat. But, within a day or two, the variation gods bring you back to reality. The old saying remains true: It takes minutes to learn, and a lifetime to master.


2/20/2005 12:05:00 PM



(2/20/2005 11:59:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers have added a FAQ about tickets to their website. A good read, and a good PR move. I would have added the most popular weekend dates to the variable pricing plan (called the "Marquee plan" by the team), and also added a price break for most April/May/September weekday/night affairs, but the Crew chose to cautiously dip into the wading pool rather than jump in the ocean.


2/20/2005 11:59:00 AM



(2/20/2005 11:46:00 AM) - Al

Mark Cuban correctly chides the NHL players' union boss for losing his associates all that money.

To be honest, I am always shocked that when this happens, many players don't just come out and blast the union. I guess it's a form of peer pressure that hangs on into adulthood. The players will never get that money back, whether it be a $400K role player or a $4M star. Tell you what, if the NHL does open up to replacement players this Fall, there's no way the players don't settle within days, if not hours. Half the players are already playing elsewhere, many of them in leagues with a salary cap. The players offered up their own salary cap, which pretty much took last year's salaries and divided it up, and it came to $49M a team. The league offered $42M per team. That's an average salary of $2.1M vs. $2.475M. Sure seems to me there was room for compromise there, to say the least.


2/20/2005 11:46:00 AM



(2/20/2005 10:13:00 AM) - Al

Al,

Love your site. I agree with you totally on Krynzel needing AAA, your reasoning is perfect. But here's why I think they are leaning towards keeping him in the bigs....

Krynzel's not completely ready, but let's face it, Hardy isn't really ready either. But they have to force a couple of prospects in early to avoid 6 or 7 guys hitting arbitration all at once. Picture 4 years from now - Hardy, Fielder, Weeks, Krynzel, Capellan, Parra, Sarfate and Hart all hitting arbitration(and after that, free agency) at the same time. That would be a strain on just about any franchise, most notably Milwaukee.


Also, Krynzel has perfect 4th outfielder skills, superior glove, decent arm, great speed and his bat seemed to settle down a bit the last week of the season, cutting down the K's, putting the ball in play and using his speed (home to first only). I hate this argument, it smacks right in the face of all of the player development work that they have been doing over the last few years. But the business end does have to come into play for franchises to be successful. If the kids coming up aren't spread out, there's going to be real chaos coming a few years down the line. I hope they can find another way to spread out the arby schedule. Another 80 games in AAA would be outstsanding for Krynzel's development.

Jim


Thanks for reading and writing, Jim. I had not thought of this at all, and do not look at it as seriously as you do. Granted, if the youngsters have the success that we hope for, they will be in for sizable raises when they are eligible for arbitration. But, we are not even sure of the arby schedule that they will use, as the current CBA expires after the '06 campaign. Meanwhile, the idea of "pushing" a player to the bigs that could use some time in AAA is foolhardy.

Hardy is, at this second, probably the best option at SS in MIL. Personally, I would send him to Nashville to ensure he is healthy and make him put up similiar numbers to his successful, abbreviated '04. Is it likely JJ could well outproduce Billy Hall or a veteran waiver wire pickup? Possibly, maybe even probably. But to me, it is the prudent thing to do, and that's my only concern. Now, if we looked to have a 90 win team in 2005, in which a win could mean the difference between the playoffs and staying home, maybe I'd look at it differently.

My simple feeling about player development is to put each player at the highest level that they will have success at, and be less agressive as you get closer to the majors. It isn't a big deal to have a player repeat the high A level, but it is to send them back to AAA. When a player gets to MIL, they should be ready to stay, and contribute in a role that maximizes their potential. Krynzel looks to have a career ahead of him as a Rick Manning type, and hopefully, will end up closer to his ceiling of that as a Steve Finley like CF. To put him in a 4th OF role, starting a couple times and coming in for defense or PHing 3-4 times weekly seems like a poor plan for a 23 year-old.


2/20/2005 10:13:00 AM



(2/20/2005 09:11:00 AM) - Al

I was just scanning the internet a couple days ago, and I made a comment somewhere that I believe either Colin Powell or Condi Rice will be on the '08 GOP ticket, in one of the top two slots. According to Instapundit, early money is on Rice.

And in one of those links, you will see yet another rumor than Cheney will step down soon. For those keeping track, I believe that puts the number of "Cheney stepping down" rumors at infinity.


2/20/2005 09:11:00 AM


Saturday, February 19, 2005

(2/19/2005 12:11:00 PM) - Al

One thing I saw on a message board recently was a question wondering who the backup OF's were likely to be. I would have to assume the starters would be Lee/Clark/Jenkins, from left to right. Dave Krynzel is often mentioned as a 4th OF, with Chris Magruder also an option as a non-roster invitee.

I hope Krynzel begins '05 as Nashville's CF. Dave is still young, and was far from dominant in his first effort at AAA. His offensive production has been inconsistent in the minors. That would seem to be a perfect resume to play every day in AAA, and I hope the Crew agrees.

I like Magruder much more than most, as he can play all 3 OF spots, switch-hits, runs well, and is at his mythical peak age range. He always produced decently in AAA, yet has never got much of an opportunity in the bigs.

Let's look at their AAA stats, along with those of a mystery player:


Krynzel--.339/.355, 694 OPS
Magruder-.371/.465 836
????-----.375/.453 828

I do need to make sure everyone realizes how good Krynzel is defensively, and even moreso, has spent his time in AAA when he was much younger than the other two listed. However, fellas with sub-700 OPS's need more time in AAA, and 23 year-olds need to play every day.

Meanwhile, Chris would seem to be a solid bench player, with the possibility of being a late bloomer, especially as a CF. As is, he's an inexpensive, versatile option for a reserve role.

And actually, I used to say the same thing about Brady Clark, the unnamed player listed just below Magruder above. Clark was called a 5th OF by many as recently as last August. Heck, lots of casual fans skipped the second half of '04 (and they didn't really miss much), in which Clark played almost daily, and had a .415 OBP. I doubt if he'll match that, but I think .350-.375 is quite possible.

The Crew has no other no-roster invites that play OF, so unless they decide to go with Krynzel or just 4 outfielders, I would expect to see a speedy veteran signed off the waiver wire in mid-late March.


2/19/2005 12:11:00 PM



(2/19/2005 08:08:00 AM) - Al

Jose Capellan has impressed early in camp, according to this JS article.

Actually, camp hasn't oficially opened yet, but as is usual for the Brewers, almost the entire team is already there. Personally, I'd show up on the mandatory reporting date (which I believe is early March), as the idea of it taking 45 days to get into baseball shape is ridiculous.


2/19/2005 08:08:00 AM


Friday, February 18, 2005

(2/18/2005 09:26:00 PM) - Al

But plenty of them are quite obviously planning to sell the autographs, which annoys (Reds OF, Ryan) Freel to no end. He said he has started to personalize many of the inscriptions, which makes them all but useless for commercial purposes.

"It's not hard to figure it out, when you start seeing the same names (on the envelopes) two or three times," he says. "Or you've got somebody that's supposed to be 11 years old using words I've never heard of."

As he talks, he opens another envelope, this one containing four Freel cards.

"This is what I do -- if you've got four in there, I sign one and keep three."

He puts the three cards on top of a quickly growing stack on the clubhouse table.

"I'd do this all day if I knew they were all going to people who'd put them on the wall in their bedroom and appreciate it."--From the Cincy.com weblog (hat tip to David Pinto)


The idea of a player making at least $300K keeping cards is almost criminal. I could understand him only signing one per envelope, but having some 13 year-old lose a card that ends up getting tossed is pathetic.

Also, the idea there is a market for signed Ryan Freel cards is hilarious.


2/18/2005 09:26:00 PM



(2/18/2005 09:16:00 PM) - Al

Sorry about the lack of posts, Blogger just let me in for the first time today.

Now, I just wish I had something to say.:)


2/18/2005 09:16:00 PM


Thursday, February 17, 2005

(2/17/2005 08:26:00 PM) - Al

Buster Olney of ESPN previews the NL, and has this to say about the Crew.

What must go right: The Brewers swapped closer Dan Kolb and center fielder Scott Podsednik when their value was high, and in return, they got outfielder Carlos Lee and hard-throwing Jose Capellan. That means Milwaukee has to find a new closer and fill other holes around ace pitcher Ben Sheets and a decent young lineup. Nobody expects them to win 105 games like the Cardinals did last year, but they might get a whiff of the front-runners in the NL Central this summer. And, believe it or not, for the first time in years, the Brewers might be on the verge of having a window of opportunity to contend.


What could go wrong: Sheets's status -- will he sign a long-term deal, or won't he? -- will be a priority for the organization in the months to come; an inability to lock him up would be devastating for the Brewers. It stands to reason that the better the Brewers play this year, the more likely it is that Sheets will feel comfortable remaining in Milwaukee, rather than waiting until after the 2007 season to sign long-term with someone like the Yankees or Red Sox.


The X-Factor: The Brewers have a wave of talented infielders on the verge of reaching the majors together -- first baseman Prince Fielder, second baseman Rickie Weeks and shortstop J.J. Hardy. While Hardy might open the season with Milwaukee, it's possible that Fielder and Weeks will arrive sometime later in the summer, depending on how they fare in the minors and depending on the needs of the team.


Numerically speaking: It's a mind-boggling set of numbers that flew under the radar last year, along with the rest of the Brewers -- Sheets struck out 264 batters and walked only 32 in 237 innings.


Pretty positive, as the mainstream press seems to be finally noticing the quality of the kids, now that they've reached AAA.


2/17/2005 08:26:00 PM


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

(2/16/2005 09:56:00 PM) - Al

Nice article at the Milwaukee Business Journal, says that season ticket sales are ahead of last year's pace.


2/16/2005 09:56:00 PM


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

(2/15/2005 08:03:00 PM) - Al

I always wonder if they have "backup" players for Celebrity Poker, as I'm sure they have folks not show up or "lose track of time" when they visit Las Vegas.

I have to believe they call some minor celebs and ask them if they'd like to spend a weekend on Bravo's dime, and show up if they are short a player.

At least, that's the only way I can figure out that Tom Verica made it on.


2/15/2005 08:03:00 PM



(2/15/2005 07:26:00 PM) - Al

I've never really been a huge fan of John Sickels, never disliked him mind you, but didn't look forward to his columns either. His top 20 Brewers' prospects looks to be thrown together without bothering to look up the numbers. The idea that the Crew has 9 better prospects than JJ Hardy is ridiculous. Also, he changes the grade of a player from his book...even though his book came out after the season.

Really difficult to take seriously.


2/15/2005 07:26:00 PM


Monday, February 14, 2005

(2/14/2005 06:14:00 PM) - Al

Hat tip to Blackfive, read of yet another military man who is simply almost too good to believe.


2/14/2005 06:14:00 PM



(2/14/2005 01:21:00 PM) - Al

Popualr Mechanics says that the various 9/11 conspiracy theories are, basically, fictional tales told by idiots. Excellent read.

Hat tip to a TN law professor's tiny weblog.


2/14/2005 01:21:00 PM



(2/14/2005 12:55:00 PM) - Al

Johan Santana agrees on a 4 year deal with the Twins for about $40 million. I would assume Sheets would expect that, or a bit more.


2/14/2005 12:55:00 PM



(2/14/2005 12:46:00 PM) - Al

Looks like the NHL season is very close to being cancelled.

I wonder how this will be spun in order to blame Bud Selig.


2/14/2005 12:46:00 PM


Sunday, February 13, 2005

(2/13/2005 10:12:00 PM) - Al

Sheets and the Brewers meet exactly in the middle at $6 million.

Actually, you gotta wonder why this didn't get done the day after the numbers were filed, considering they compromised the way they did.


2/13/2005 10:12:00 PM



(2/13/2005 08:23:00 PM) - Al

Flip Saunders had been with the Timberwolves as long as I can remember, and was a winning CBA coach before that. I was shocked to see he had been let go, and replaced by GM Kevin McHale.

Chemistry is a tough thing to hang onto for years and years, and once again, Sam Cassell appears to have taken down a legendary name in the coaching ranks.


2/13/2005 08:23:00 PM


Saturday, February 12, 2005

(2/12/2005 07:51:00 PM) - Al

Richie Sexson charged with DWI.

I must admit, while Sexson's crime may be minor, or even nonexistant, the most accurate description is pathetic.

First of all, a guy making $12.5 mil a year drinking and driving in the late afternoon? Richie could pay someone $500K a year to transport him around, and still have $12M to throw away.

Secondly, why bother fighting the charge? Pay the fine, admit poor judgement, and move on.

Thirdly, it strikes me as very unlikely that a guy returning from injury, that just signed a $50 million deal, that is making poor decisions such as this; is dedicated enough to his craft to return to his past glory.


2/12/2005 07:51:00 PM


Friday, February 11, 2005

(2/11/2005 10:55:00 AM) - Al

Drew Olson had a chat on JS Online yesterday. Better than most previous efforts, though rather uninformative.


2/11/2005 10:55:00 AM


Wednesday, February 09, 2005

(2/09/2005 01:45:00 PM) - Al

I sat down to play 45 minutes or so at Full Tilt Poker today before I leave for Milwaukee for a meeting, and I noticed one table had 35 people waiting to play, a huge amount, never mind there were tables at the same limit available. I clicked on the table and see that pro player (and Full Tilt spokesman) Phil Ivey is sitting at the popular table, as his name is highlighted in red, as is the table. Not wanting any part of that, I sit down at three others and play for a couple minutes...when suddenly, Mr. Ivey sits down at one of my tables. I don't think we ended up in any hands together, but it was a cool happening.


2/09/2005 01:45:00 PM


Tuesday, February 08, 2005

(2/08/2005 07:07:00 PM) - Al

There are so many things wrong with this deal that it's hard to structure a column about it.

For one thing, Ordonez gets a longer, more lucrative deal than Vladimir Guerrero got last winter. He'll make just $2 million a year less than Carlos Beltran--younger, comparable hitter, more defensive value, not coming off a broken season--will over the course of his contract.

Neither of those two players hit the market not having played baseball since June of the previous season. Ordonez, who suffered an injury to his left knee on May 19 in a collision with Willie Harris, has played in just a couple of games since then. He underwent two operations on the knee, then was diagnosed with bone marrow edema in the knee, which isn't something that typically shows up in "Under the Knife." Ordonez didn't play any winter ball; the Tigers have signed him based largely on doctors' reports and faith in mankind.--Joe Sheehan, BP


Hat tip to Baseball Musings. This was a horrendous signing in every possible way, but then the Beltran comparison came up...and it became even worse. DET is the epitome of a team spending millions to be mediocre.


2/08/2005 07:07:00 PM



(2/08/2005 01:56:00 PM) - Al

Al,

I finally remembered to click on the Bobby Warns link while at work, as we have much faster internet here than I do at home. I would like to tell anyone who loves their nation to check it out when they get five free minutes. Thanks for posting it.

Jon



It's as good a video as you'll ever find. Also, the company that did it will gladly send you a DVD of it if you wish. Just click on the Robert Warns II link on the right sidebar.


2/08/2005 01:56:00 PM



(2/08/2005 01:49:00 PM) - Al

Once again, Theo Epstein gives a chance to a player with excellent minor league stats.

Petagine is a poster child for a guy who had outstanding numbers in AAA, but never got more than a few dozen AB's. He is often used as an example of "free talent", proving that there are plenty of quality players at the AAA level. Petagine was basically many statheads version of Marcos Scutaro before Scooter came along.:)


2/08/2005 01:49:00 PM


Sunday, February 06, 2005

(2/06/2005 06:36:00 PM) - Al

While I do enjoy the ads, it's a shame it has to be interrupted with the football.

1. The refs fail to see the QB was down for a full second. Official standing a few feet away.

2. One player about 50 yards behind the play hits another player in the Super Bowl, earning a personal foul.

3. One WR blatantly "picks" an opposing DB (while legal in basketball, it is illegal in football)...and all 7 referees (supposedly, the best the NFL has to offer, mind you) miss the most obvious penalty in the history of the sport.


All this, and it's the first quarter.

Pitchers and catchers report in just a couple weeks, my friends.


2/06/2005 06:36:00 PM


Saturday, February 05, 2005

(2/05/2005 07:28:00 PM) - Al

Some people are only alive because it is illegal to kill them.

And allow me to say the judge who didn't laugh this idiot out of court should step down ASAP. Rulings like this that make no sense at all only lead to more stupid lawsuits being filed.

Each and every person on the bench needs to throw these cases out milliseconds after they are allowed to. Anything else is just adding to the problem.


2/05/2005 07:28:00 PM


Friday, February 04, 2005

(2/04/2005 09:56:00 PM) - Al

The Crew avoids arby with Junior Spivey, signing him to a one year deal worth $2.125M, plus incentives, and also signs Jeff Cirillo to a minor league deal. Story here.

I doubt Junior will be with the club past July 31st, so his contract was not much of an issue to me. Jeff apparently begged the Crew to give him a no-risk AAA deal for the major league minimum if he makes the big league club, and said he'd be willing to go to Nashville if he doesn't break camp with the Brewers. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Actually, if Jeff is still able to play 1B, 2B, and 3B at the big league norm, he could have some value. Needless to say, it would be foolish to not take a look and see if he might have some value coming off the bench, especially to a contender.


2/04/2005 09:56:00 PM



(2/04/2005 09:50:00 PM) - Al

Florida looks to have a deal in place for a new stadium, needing only $60 million from the state to make it a reality. One more iffy franchise seems to have found solid ground.

By the way, what is keeping the Twin Cities from getting it done? I haven't heard much except optimistic rhetoric since moving from the area, yet no progress seems to be made.


2/04/2005 09:50:00 PM



(2/04/2005 02:40:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers announce variable ticket prices for games against the Cubs and Yankees. The other 68 games will not see a price increase.

I just feel it is odd that all the games that are a tad more expensive are weekdays. So, for the most part, the highly desired weekend dates will remain an outstanding value, never mind the various promotions that make some tickets even cheaper.


2/04/2005 02:40:00 PM



(2/04/2005 01:14:00 PM) - Al

Years ago, my wife bought a whole house humidifier at a garage sale, for under $10. With us both suffering from bad colds, we finally hauled it out of our laundry room and filled it up, and are still amazed the darn thing works. How old is it? Well, it's a Montgomery Ward...that puts the over/under at a couple decades.

I've looked and found nearly no Brewers news, other than Jim Mecir, a durable middle reliever signing a contract with someone (Florida?) for just over $1 million for '05. Mecir would have been a dandy, inexpensive addition to the bullpen, as well as having good trade value come late July/August.

Enjoy the weekend, all.


2/04/2005 01:14:00 PM


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

(2/02/2005 11:28:00 PM) - Al

Great to see Brian Butch have a nice game tonight, 12 points and 5 rebounds in 14 minutes, including 2-2 from 3 point range. He may never be the All-American we hoped for, but when you consider he has 3 years left to contribute, and a world of athletic ability, it's easy to see him having quite a career.


2/02/2005 11:28:00 PM



(2/02/2005 09:50:00 PM) - Al

Despite the team's limited presence in the city -- even the offices are temporary trailers on an RFK Stadium parking lot -- the public reception has been positive. About 18,000 season tickets have been sold, and merchandise sales have been strong.

Don't look now, but if the Nationals don't sell another ticket, they'll fall just short of doubling the Expos' attendance of '04.

Why didn't MLB just build a stadium in Montreal...oh that's right, it would have been stupid.




2/02/2005 09:50:00 PM



(2/02/2005 10:50:00 AM) - Al

Al,

You said:

"I just can't refer to this type of film as a documentary. It's an agenda driven piece"

All documentaries have an agenda. What makes a film a documentary is not whether or not it has a bias, but rather that it is assembled from factual footage, which is to say: it really happened.

Obviously we can take issue with Morgan Spurlock's one-sided portrayal of the issue, but he is presenting footage that really happened. His story is factual story. Of course it's also a stunt, but I think he raises a few good points, especially in regards to school lunches and how traditional periods of physical education and recess are being cut from school curricula.

And it doesn't take an independent filmmaker to know that if one eats a double quarter-pounder with cheese and super-sized fries for two meals a day, one might gain some weight. As with many things, it comes down to making good choices. If you want to be healthy, eating your meals at McDonald's may not be the best decision.

Anyway, thanks for keeping the site. I'm looking forward to the 2005 Brewers.

--Sam


Well written reply, Sam. Thought I'd post it as the Crew news is slow.



2/02/2005 10:50:00 AM


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

(2/01/2005 10:55:00 PM) - Al

BA has their story up about the Brewers' top 10 prospects, though I'm disappointed it was written by JS writer Tom Haudricourt, who I guarantee you has never seen most of these players play a single inning. I am not sure if the ranking is done by him or by the BA staff, but take it with a grain of salt.


2/01/2005 10:55:00 PM



(2/01/2005 10:49:00 PM) - Al

John Strain is a fella who is 40something and runs marathons. I have read his site for a long time. Last month, John wrote that a high school friend of his son had been killed in Iraq, and today, his post was about the day of the funeral.

The Iraqi elections took place Sunday because of the blood and heroics of soldiers like JM. Bless every one of them.


2/01/2005 10:49:00 PM



(2/01/2005 08:17:00 PM) - Al

Jon Stewart, late in the Daily Show last night to Newsweek pundit Fareed Zakaria:

I’ve watched this thing unfold from the start and here’s the great fear that I have: What if Bush, the president, ours, has been right about this all along? I feel like my world view will not sustain itself and I may, and again I don’t know if I can physically do this, implode.

Jon is jumping the gun, as there will be plenty of bad days in Iraq, but his sense of trepidation that Iraq will be a free country is somehow extremely troubling.


2/01/2005 08:17:00 PM



(2/01/2005 04:28:00 PM) - Al

Al,

It's a piece of crap. I saw it in a theater with my roommate and his vegetarian girlfriend, and it was like a revival atmosphere, people shouting out to the screen and such. I used to be a bodybuilder (as a college student), and I ate twice as much as him, but I worked out 4-6 hours a day, so I gained muscle and lost fat. It's a fake. The pop alone he drank probably added 10 pounds.

Go Brewers!!!!

Ray



Hello Al,

I actually saw the movie and yep, it's distorted. For one thing, the guy is a vegan, so he's hardly used to beef. He doesn't out and out say he is, but his girlfriend is a strong vegan and she does all of the cooking and they live together, so...it's just distorted. It just felt like another attack against overweight people. He fails to mention many facts, such as that whether you are fat or not is genetics to a degree. I've known people and I'm sure you have who can eat all they want and don't gain a pound (in my case, my uncle Mark, who is 130 pounds and who eats an entire pie in one sitting twice a week). They could probably do what he did and not have any troubles. So yep, I agree with ya.

And it'll upset me if it wins the Oscar. I couldn't finish the movie. I turned it off with 10 minutes to go because he made some statement at the end about how his case is "typical". Yeah. A 160 pound man who has been slim his entire life is not typical...I mean they showed a picture of his family...every one of them is thin, which means it's genetic.

Mike



Thanks for reading and writing, guys. I believe the movie should be called "5000 Calories A Day and No Exercise", because then it is a truthful representation. As is, it's just fiction to me.







2/01/2005 04:28:00 PM



(2/01/2005 09:11:00 AM) - Al

I've been meaning to comment on Super Size Me for a while now, but I finally found the link I had been searching for, so I will mention it now. I have not seen the film (nor have any interest in doing so), so I will rely on what I have read. If I am incorrect, please shoot me an e-mail.

For those unaware, SSM is a "documentary" about a fella who eats at McDonalds 3x a day for a month, and ends up gaining weight and looking crappy after the stretch. Of course, I'm sure the guy didn't exercise much, because that's not interesting, and it may have messed with his desired result.

I just can't refer to this type of film as a documentary. It's an agenda driven piece, and the gent obviously had his result pre-determined. He thought it would be interesting if he ate solely at one place for a month and knew it wouldn't be interesting if his weight stayed the same...hence, he did what he needed to do to make his film a commercial/critical success.

I would compare it to a street performance on a grander scale. It's kind of unique this guy did this, and while his point is valid (that McDonalds has many foods that are unhealthy), the manner in which he attempts to prove this is full of holes.

I could eat at Subway (and sit right next to the famous Jared) and gain 20 pounds, if I ate the right (wrong?) things, and enough of them. Does that prove that Subway is bad? Of course not, Subway is very likely the best fast food place (granted, that's like being called prettiest girl at ugly camp) as far as serving low-fat, heart healthy fare.

Proof that the film is just an attempt to distort reality? Take a look at this link...a woman ate nothing but McDonalds for a month...and lost 10 pounds. Says she:

I think Mr. Spurlock's real agenda was to create a documentary bashing both the fast food industry and the American public.

So do I. If you decide to make something happen, it will. But, passing it off as reality or "fact" is simply wrong.

UPDATE: While getting a link, I came across this thread.

Money quote: You can't call it a documentary if you're creating a story and filming it.

Well, you shouldn't be able to.


2/01/2005 09:11:00 AM



(2/01/2005 07:36:00 AM) - Al

It isn't the across the board 10% salary increase I've been hoping for, but I'd hate to be the politico who argues against increasing the combat death benefit.


2/01/2005 07:36:00 AM



(2/01/2005 07:29:00 AM) - Al

Adam M with another mailbag, he mentions Ramblings' favorite longshot candidate for the rotation, a healthy Matt Wise. Check it out here.


2/01/2005 07:29:00 AM


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.

The Ramblings' manifesto can be found here.



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