Al's Ramblings

Friday, September 29, 2006

(9/29/2006 07:29:00 PM) - Al

Hearing Davey Nelson wanted Tony Gwynn Jr. should play CF every day in 2007 (per Daron and Bill) alerts me to why he won't be back...if he said that in his end of the year meeting with Gord and Doug, you gotta imagine the comments after he left were along the lines of, "So, he wants to lose 3-2 every night"?

I love Gwynn as a defender, but there's no way the Crew can afford to carry his lack of offense.

9/29/2006 07:29:00 PM

(9/29/2006 11:14:00 AM) - Al

A brief note before lunch, watching Tony Gwynn Jr. patrol CF last night was so much fun, it actually got me thinking about a Hart/Gwynn/someone 2007 OF for the Crew.

Then, the thought that the Crew finished 14th (of 16) in runs scored in 2006 came to mind. I have no doubt Gwynn would be a fine defender and save a few runs next year, but I also know I'd project him at about .325/.400, well below average for a CF...and I'm probably being quite optimistic, as Tony has shown very little power, even doubles power--.325/.375 is not unlikely at all.

I feel Tony will have a long career in the bigs, but it may well be as a reserve. He could use the time in Nashville to be certain, so any thought to having him improve the team's D at the expense of run production is foolhardy, at this point.

9/29/2006 11:14:00 AM

Thursday, September 28, 2006

(9/28/2006 08:50:00 PM) - Al

I just took a look to see what FA pitchers are available this offseason, as I have seen many reports of a weak class. Plenty of the type I was thinking of, however, guys that compare to Tomo Ohka, middle-of-the-rotation vets who may well sign for 1y/$3-5M and hope to put up 15 wins and a 4 ERA to cash in with a $25M guaranteed deal.

It's funny how we've mentioned many of these guys before; Corey Lidle, BY Kim, Jason Marquis, and Miguel Batista, as well as Ted Lilly and Greg Maddux (who'll be mentioned until he signs, as long as Mike is pitching coach). You can find write-ups, for the most part pretty accurate ones, here, just keep scrolling down.

And if we can't keep Tony G as our utility IF, Craig Counsell is available as well, I see.

FYI, he also reminds me Marquis, who will finish the campaign with a 6+ ERA, had 2 or 3 starts in which he was left out there to save the bullpen, and allowed double digit runs in 5 innings. Not only did he handle it well, but "taking one for the team" probably raised his ERA from a subpar 5.25 to a disastrous 6.

I'm not sure how much he has left, as his arm is mighty old for a guy near his peak, but Kim might just win 18 games if he is able to go 200 innings.

9/28/2006 08:50:00 PM

(9/28/2006 07:51:00 PM) - Al

I may not understand a lot of things, but I just got an e-mail that said Bill Hall's best position is as a "super-sub".

Yes, that's the same Bill Hall who just hit his 34th HR of the season...and plays SS.

I wonder what kind of world it would be when a small-market team can have the 3rd best SS in the game...and have him sit on the bench Opening Day.

Certainly not the world in which we live.

9/28/2006 07:51:00 PM

(9/28/2006 04:09:00 PM) - Al

Wynegar and Nelson will not be back in '07, per the Brewers.

I'm sure most of our coaches, including these two, are pretty good fellas. It was pointed out online Davey is 62, so he may have been "pushed out" in favor of a younger coach. Already seeing Paul Molitor's name mentioned, despite the fact he has said that is very unlikely, as he has no desire to coach. That said, he would be a superb choice, as his hitting and baserunning knowledge was always discussed positively by the Twins, when he was officially the bench coach. The old standbys from within, Frank Kremblas, Don Money, and Gary Pettis would seem to have the inside track.

9/28/2006 04:09:00 PM

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

(9/27/2006 02:44:00 PM) - Al

Tom H of the JS had a chat today, the only thing that I can call interesting is his contention that the Crew will not exercise Damian Miller's $3.75M option, and he will then exercise his $2.25M option to stay in MIL.

9/27/2006 02:44:00 PM

(9/27/2006 01:13:00 PM) - Al

What the site is named...

...Before moving into Brewers' related thoughts, watching CNBC today, it is apparent how excited the investing world is about the Dow Industrials hitting a record high, even though, in the big picture, it has little to do with how the market is doing overall. The S&P 500 is still about 12% off its all-time high, and the NASDAQ is more than 50% off it's record high, which was set years ago when people thought tech and internet stocks were like a never ending cash machine.

In fact, today's "rally" is almost entirely funded by one of the Dow 30, Altria (formerly Philip Morris) rebounding from a pair of down days and is about $2 higher, but only 16 of the 30 stocks tracked are even up today. I've been watching MO for as long as I've owned stock, but have never been able to get past the fact they make their money by peddling illness and death. That said, if it fell low enough, I'd leave my reservations at the door and buy it heavily.

...By sheer luck, the Brewers look as though they will be playing important games this weekend, as the Cardinals are only 1.5 and 2.5 games up on the Astros and Reds. Yost has always been the type of guy to try and win every game, even as he was playing kids who may not have been ready, he'd not hesitate to PH late in the game to try and add a W. I wonder if we'll see Vinny Rottino start at C tonight, as Damian Miller looks to be only the emergency backup, as he is hobbled by an assortment of minor injuries (which of course means it is not me suffering from these pains). Mike Rivera has done a nice job catching every day, and seems to have proven he is a capable reserve, and will probably be asked to catch all 4 games of the Cards series, if meaningful, at least.

...There seem to be a pair of meaningful debates cropping up on the message boards, and I am in the minority on both of them. One involves what should occur with JJ Hardy to begin '07 (if all IF's return healthy). Some people seem to still feel Hardy should be given back his SS job...which I feel is foolhardy at best. Bill Hall has performed extremely well both offensively and defensively at SS, and has earned the right to be handed the job. While it is possible he will play elsewhere in the long-term, short-term, he's one of the best SS's in the game. If Koskie is able to return, at full health, a platoon of he and Cirillo at 3B figures to be more productive than Hardy at SS and Hall at 3B. I would love to sign Tony G or a similar veteran utility IF to sit on the bench with Jeff, so that would put JJ in AAA to start 2007. I have little doubt Hardy would dominate at Nashville, as he has been a solid contributor since the end of May, 2005. However, a month or two at AAA would delay his free agency by a year, and could even delay his arby eligibility, though unlikely.

To be honest, I like the idea of JJ at AAA for one selfish means we have incredible depth. It has also come up that some feel Hall should stay at SS, and Hardy move to 2B. I feel Weeks played very well in his last couple months at 2B, which would make this discussion moot, but the dislike of the statement alone by many stirs up the contrarian in me, as to me, Bill Hall is more athletic, has more range, and a much better arm...all things I'd look for in a SS. Hardy is steady and maybe even scrappy...which would make him a plus 2B.

...Should Carlos V open the '07 season in the rotation? That is another question many are asking, and I would have little problem if he did. His AA/AAA numbers are stellar, and his numbers in the bigs have been plenty mediocre, especially when you consider his youth. Much as I feel about Hardy, however, it sure would be nice to have him pitching every 5th day in Nashville, awaiting the inevitable injury or ineffectiveness. The Crew has about $50M on the books for '07, and Mark A has stated he envisions payroll at about $60-65M for 2007 (the $65M number is via a fan who says he spoke to him on Sunday, and it makes so much sense, I believe him).

I see Doug Melvin trying to add a power-hitting OF, a bullpen arm or two, and a starting pitcher this winter. Will he be able to add all those with the $10-15M he has available? Unlikely...but let's say he trades Doug Davis for the OF, who makes $7M a year. That would leave $8-13M available for the bullpen and an SP...and would make Carlos V the 5th starter. Considering Carlos outpitched Doug, it would be difficult not to see that as an improvement. As for the SP, I would guess we look for a Greg Maddux/Tomo Ohka type, an older guy, or a solid SP coming off an injury, willing to sign a 1y/$4-6M contract. In theory, if we do not deal any other salary, that would leave $2-9M left to add some relief help, quite a gap to make any predictions. One name that jumps out at me though is former Brewers' reliever Dave Weathers, still effective years after leaving Milwaukee.

...I might as well throw in the annual "Will Weeks move to the OF" discussion. I am against this, as Rickie showed he could perform admirably at 2B in the two months before his unfortunate injury. But, a pair of things make me at least consider this:

1. JJ and Bill would be a solid, young DP combo, and are in-house.

2. Rickie has the potential to be an outstanding defensive OF, and would be less prone to injury, as he is a sinewy, slightly built young man.

Without the constant tinkering with his D, it seems more likely Rickie would "breakout" and become the hitter we all feel he will be someday. A Hart/Weeks duo in the OF would provide 2/3rd's of a very solid group, both have good speed and fine arms. If Jenkins and a platoon partner would occupy the 3rd spot, it also relieves the pressure to find a power-hitting corner OF; and would allow all available resources to be spent on pitching. Heck, many folks feel Ryan Braun will be up for good by mid-2007, as either a 3B or LF/RF, and given his offensive output in high A/AA, I can't disagree.

All that said, I'd keep Rickie at 2B for 2007, and see if progress continues to be made. I don't hate the OF idea as much as I once did though, if for nothing else, it's a lot easier to find a 2B that doesn't suck than it is finding a LF that can hit at close to league average.

9/27/2006 01:13:00 PM

(9/27/2006 07:54:00 AM) - Al

Interview with Mark A, discussing a variety of topics.

Also, a roller on the Miller Park roof "shattered" while opening on Monday, hopefully, this will be taken care of during the already planned repairs.

9/27/2006 07:54:00 AM

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

(9/26/2006 07:42:00 PM) - Al

The thing neither Daron or Bill ever understand is that Dusty Baker allowed both Prior and Wood to run up extremely high count pitch counts for ages before they broke down. Pitchers suffer injuries a plenty even when you baby them and limit them to 110 pitches or so. You could see the writing on the wall long before the two aces got hurt, it was simply inevitable with the way Dusty abused them.

9/26/2006 07:42:00 PM

(9/26/2006 03:14:00 PM) - Al

I can't say I've ever heard of Senator James Inhofe, but allow me to say I thank him for blasting the media and Al Gore's "it isn't all lies" film in a speech on the floor of the Senate, which you can read here.

I've said before, I have no clue if the Earth is getting warmer or if that's a good or bad thing, or if it's a cycle or not (after all, we did have an Ice Age long before all these nasty polluting motors existed). I do know, however, that those claiming to know "facts" are simply guessing, for their own benefit.

9/26/2006 03:14:00 PM

(9/26/2006 11:35:00 AM) - Robert R.

With the home schedule for the Brewers at an end, I think it's time to discuss some other local events.

The new theater season has kicked off with a bang with Milwaukee Repertory Theater's production of King Lear, which I saw over the weekend. I don't think there's any real need for a synopsis, since I assume anyone who is interested at all already knows the gist of the plot.

To cut to the chase, this is an excellent production and really should be seen by those in the Milwaukee area that are interested in Shakespeare. It's a fairly traditional production stressing clarity throughout and would make a fine introduction to those who haven't seen Shakespeare performed live. The set is very well designed emphasizing triangles with a wooden backdrop which appears solid at first, but impressively transitions into a form representative of the chaos and decay that results from the action.

And the actors are all up to the task. Especially Mark Corkins as King Lear. Corkins had to fill in after the lead actor got injured and he just runs off with the part. It's a really impressive display of professionalism.

As a whole, it's a production that's up to the task of one of Shakespeare's greatest plays. It's been over a decade since I read King Lear and Akira Kurosawa's Ran, although a masterpiece, takes liberties, so I was actually pleasantly surprised by how strong the resolution of the play is. Murder, fratricide, betrayal, and revelation all are present in Act V and the Rep stages a really well choreographed final duel to bring the play to an exciting climax. This is a production that everyone can be proud of.

9/26/2006 11:35:00 AM

Monday, September 25, 2006

(9/25/2006 12:54:00 PM) - Al

Poker pro Daniel Negraneau reports on how MadTV parodied Survivor, and I wish I would have seen it, as it does sound hilarious, however politically incorrect. I also agree with his dislike of the A/A term, as many blacks have no more connection to Africa than myself.

9/25/2006 12:54:00 PM

(9/25/2006 12:00:00 PM) - Robert R.

It's nice to see the Brewers end the season on a strong homestand. With all of the injuries the Brewers have had plus the implosion of Turnbow, they still have the possibility of finishing the season only a handful of games worse than 2005 with some top prospects moving in position to help the 2007 team. There's still a lot of indicators that 2007 will be a better year.

In contrast, the Giants look like a team headed in the opposite direction. Despite some good years from the likes of Bonds, Durham, Vizquel, Alou, Schmidt, and Cain the team isn't going anywhere. Their farm system is very thin and there's no postion player on the team under 30 who looks like any sort of impact player. They're old and expensive and there's almost no one on the team that projects to be better in 2007. And the free agent market looks to be very thin. They may not bottom out completely, but it's hard to see them being any sort of legitimate contender in the next few years.

9/25/2006 12:00:00 PM

(9/25/2006 11:36:00 AM) - Al

I'll have a full trip report later, but this is a picture of my son crossing home plate as he ran the bases after yesterday's game.

{Any question he is my son was erased as he looks around for daddy instead of creating a near perfect picture by looking at the camera.}

9/25/2006 11:36:00 AM

(9/25/2006 10:36:00 AM) - Al

I wandered upon this while looking for other things this morning. It's hard for us to keep in mind, but we are indeed victims of our own wealth and expectations.

The following are facts about persons defined as "poor" by the Census Bureau, taken from various government reports:

— Forty-six percent of all poor households own their own homes. The average home owned by persons classified as poor by the Census Bureau is a three-bedroom house with one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and porch or patio.

— Seventy-six percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, 30 years ago, only 36 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.

— Only 6 percent of poor households are overcrowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.

— The average poor American has more living space than the average individual living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens and other European cities. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)

— Nearly three-quarters of poor households own a car; 30 percent own two or more cars.

— Ninety-seven percent of poor households have a color television. Over half own two or more color televisions.

— Seventy-eight percent have a VCR or DVD player; 62 percent have cable or satellite TV reception.

— Seventy-three percent own a microwave oven, more than half have a stereo, and a third have an automatic dishwasher.

Overall, the typical American defined as poor by the government has a car, air conditioning, a refrigerator, a stove, a clothes washer and dryer, and a microwave. He has two color televisions, cable or satellite TV reception, a VCR or DVD player, and a stereo. He is able to obtain medical care. His home is in good repair and is not overcrowded. By his own report, his family isn't hungry, and he had sufficient funds in the past year to meet his family's essential needs. While this individual's life is not opulent, it is equally far from the popular images of dire poverty conveyed by the press, activists and politicians."--The Specter of Poverty in America, Robert Rector, September 21, 2004

I would personally say that this is why the constant negative image just don't go over, and why such untrue statements as "The middle class is disappearing" lead to eye-rolls from the public, rather than the desired response.

Adding to this, one thing I'm astounded by is how many "middle-class" people have a cabin, or vacation cottage; or have one in their family, be it parents, grandparents, brothers, uncles, etc. Growing up, I always saw people on TV talk about "going to the cabin" for the weekend (or, in our New York dominated world, "going to the Hamptons"), and I assumed this was something only the very wealthy did...and little did I know, years later, it would often be difficult putting together a retail schedule on July 4th weekend, because so many folks would be "at the lake".

9/25/2006 10:36:00 AM

(9/25/2006 09:54:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers are going to finish 17th in attendance, it looks like. I am a bit surprised to see the Twins beneath the Crew, as I know how bad the Dome is, but, how good does a team have to play to create a buzz?

Note the Cardinals have only sold 91% of capacity despite selling out every game before the season began, but not all the seats were ready early on.

9/25/2006 09:54:00 AM

Saturday, September 23, 2006

(9/23/2006 08:05:00 AM) - Al

I can't recall if it was Doug Melvin gave up on Marcos Scutaro or not, but Scooter has more than made up for my faith in him. I never thought he'd be a star, but I thought he could be a very good reserve or a decent starting middle infielder...and he's been exactly that.

UPDATE: Scooter was waived by Dean Taylor...who yet saw value in Lenny Harris.

Thanks to Mike for the investigative work.

9/23/2006 08:05:00 AM

Friday, September 22, 2006

(9/22/2006 12:01:00 PM) - Al

I just found Peter Gammons' first column back, and ESPN has allowed much of it to be read without being an Insider.

Great to see Gammons back, sounds like he's very fortunate to be alive.

9/22/2006 12:01:00 PM

Thursday, September 21, 2006

(9/21/2006 09:29:00 PM) - Al

Drew Anderson acts as if he's never seen a breaking ball until he arrived in the bigs. And while there are a few players who have had successful careers being "dead red" types (Gabe Gross would be one), he then K's on a fastball right down the middle clocked at 92 mph.

It could well be a short ride for Anderson.

9/21/2006 09:29:00 PM

(9/21/2006 08:37:00 PM) - Al

Much unlike last year, when all you heard was that they were falling short, the Army hit their recruiting goal easily this year, and are about 1/7th of the way to next year's number.

9/21/2006 08:37:00 PM

(9/21/2006 08:02:00 PM) - Al

The '07 tentative schedule is out...I'm unimpressed, although at least there are more Summer weekends than last year.

A 10 game homestand in April? Oof.

9/21/2006 08:02:00 PM

(9/21/2006 07:45:00 PM) - Al

I've spent much of the last month or so wondering how I would go about building the '07 version of the Brewers, and I've pretty much stuck with two main thoughts:

1. Geoff Jenkins should return and platoon in RF, most likely with a cheap RH bat. Hart and an addition should be the other starters in tyhe OF, with Gross backing them up.

2. Carlos V, while a decent 5th starter option, should start the year in AAA as the 6th starter; as the team should add another SP via trade or free agency. Tomo Ohka should be allowed to leave, hopefully yielding us a couple draft picks, unless he would accept arby, which I doubt.

I'm feeling even more sure about #1, but I'm beginning to waver on #2. Heck, at this second, I'd be willing to dangle Davis and a kid or two in an attempt to pick up a big hitting LF, and have no problem having Carlos V pitch every 5th day.

9/21/2006 07:45:00 PM

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

(9/20/2006 11:14:00 AM) - Al

Bits and pieces of the Brewers' 2007 schedule are leaking out, per the Milwaukee Business Journal.

9/20/2006 11:14:00 AM

(9/20/2006 10:37:00 AM) - Al

Many of my recent posts have been posting twice, which is odd because Blogger has not been giving me problems. Please pardon the error.

9/20/2006 10:37:00 AM

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

(9/19/2006 09:19:00 PM) - Al

I'm telling you, I just don't see signs of a weakening economy that they keep whispering about on the financial shows. Apparently, neither do the folks who pay taxes on 9/15.

9/19/2006 09:19:00 PM

(9/19/2006 08:16:00 PM) - Al

I did not even realize the Crew played last night, as I worked, and on the way home, the radio had MNF on, so I just assumed they had the night off. I heard on the local news that they had won, even in dramatic fashion for good measure.

I bought tickets today for the final game of the year, thus allowing me a free pair of seats for a game next April, yet to be announced, but I can tell you right now my work schedule will not allow me to go. Actually, my son and myself will be going, sans the spouse/parental unit. When we first brought this up to Andrew, he showed no hesitation about being away from mommy, just a desire to "sit down front". I have tried to explain the reality of the situation to him, that season ticket holders probably have the seats, as Bob Uecker would say, "in the front rooooooow".

So, tonight we looked online at the seats available together and we saw that in the RF outfield box, we could sit in the 14th row from the field. Andrew said that while not "down by the field", he guessed that would be OK. He then repeated everything I have said about the game since we first talked about going as I talked to the lady at the Brewers' ticket office, including me saying we'd have to take our gloves so we could catch a foul ball, as Andrew has no concept of sarcasm or mathematical odds.

I do know they are giving away 2007 schedule magnets at all 3 games this weekend, so I figure they will also know which games are the free options for April, '07. We are hoping to take another road trip with the Crew next year, so are curious to see where the interleague road games are, as two of our most desired destinations, New York and Washington DC, would be better if our son could understand what Cooperstown and/or the Washington Memorial meant. Personally, I've been hoping for Toronto, but I believe the Crew went there in '05, meaning an AL West team is likely, which probably means we'll probably be seeing an NL team next year.

9/19/2006 08:16:00 PM

Monday, September 18, 2006

(9/18/2006 10:14:00 PM) - Al

Hi Al,

I know you "love" stats like clutch hitting and I remember last year when you took a JS writer to task about how playoff teams win 1 run games (the Nationals were the darling team at the time) and the teams that don't are out of the playoffs. So I thought I would throw this out there:

Boston - 28-19. All but officially out of the WC race
Toronto - 18-8. See Boston
LA Angels - 23-20. Only hope is an Oakland meltdown.

Then we do the opposite:

St. Louis - 21-22. Division almost wrapped up.
LA Dodgers - 17-20. WC leader and only .5 out of division lead
Florida - 19-24. Still in the running for the WC


NY Yankees - 22-20. Not all that impressive for one of the best teams in

Just a little something from a football guy.

Cheesehead Craig

Good teams win games by 3, 4, and 8 runs. Most good clubs do well in 1 run games as well...but not as well as they do in all games put together. There's just too much luck involved to consistently win the one-run variety at a high level.

The fact that this has been lost by the mainstream media is a bit unsettling, to say the least.

9/18/2006 10:14:00 PM

Sunday, September 17, 2006

(9/17/2006 07:45:00 PM) - Al

In addition to the solid play of Corey Hart, cementing his spot in the starting lineup in '07, another plus has been the solid relief pitching of Dennis Sarfate. Supposedly, Sarfate is out of options, though it was reported when he had one remaining when he was called up. I tend to believe he's out, which means he has to make the team out of Arizona next March. He has shown two solid pitches, which is all you need to be a decent reliever, especially when you consider he'll be making the minimum or close to it until after 2009. At the very least, he should be able to handle a spot as a middle/long man.

9/17/2006 07:45:00 PM

Friday, September 15, 2006

(9/15/2006 11:57:00 AM) - Al

The Yankees are thinking of having a different AAA club next year, even though they've been in columbus 28 years. That seems strange unless Rochester, NY was open, which it appears it is not.

9/15/2006 11:57:00 AM

(9/15/2006 11:31:00 AM) - Al

Drudge has a link that has gas selling for $1.96 a gallon in parts of Iowa today.

It sure seems like gas prices have come down extremely quickly, they just said on CNBC that unleaded is down 20% in the past month or so on the commodities markets, so I guess the retail price is just following the wholesale price. This goes against much of what I've heard...hmmm.

It also tells me that if our gas prices are about 50 cents higher than $1.96, it's probably mostly because of the state taxes we wonder politicos want to blame "big oil".

I see this as a wonderful buying opportunity, as oil stocks are on sale of late.

9/15/2006 11:31:00 AM

(9/15/2006 11:26:00 AM) - Al

I answered 5 questions about the Crwew and their upcoming series in DC, which you can read by clicking here.

9/15/2006 11:26:00 AM

Thursday, September 14, 2006

(9/14/2006 10:54:00 AM) - Al

An arm that moves with thought? You feel the water with your prostesis and a spot on your chest feels warm or cold?

Absolutely amazing.

9/14/2006 10:54:00 AM

(9/14/2006 09:10:00 AM) - Al

I haven't commented much on the Crew of late, as I don't really know what to say. However, a few mini-thoughts follow:

---What is ironic to me is that, if healthy, 80% of the 2007 rotation would appear to be set...and pretty darn solid. The weakness of the FA SP's makes me believe someone will overpay for Tomo Ohka, both in years and cash. I keep hoping that Carlos V opens the season as the 6th starter, which would be good for our depth, as very few teams have 5 better starters than what Carlos showed in 2006. Where would that 5th SP come from? A trade perhaps, many have been seeing a "your salary for my salary" exchange involving Jenkins, or more likely a "make good" deal with a veteran coming off an injury or a down year...much like the contract Ohka would have signed had he not returned from injury.

---Speaking of players on the "outs", Morgan Ensberg, long a Ramblings favorite. Even in a poor 2006, his OBP is about .370, and he reminds me of a RH version of Koskie. If Corey is unable to return, either in '07 or ever, I'd happily give Morgan a chance to rebound, as his subpar campaign isn't bad, especially if you value "not getting out" like I do.

---The thing about Jenkins is, I have trouble believing he has anymore value on the trade market than he does to us. As a platoon corner OF, he still is a good defender and won't produce at a level much lower than mediocre if he only starts against RHP's. RH halves of platoons are a dime a dozen.

---About the only sure things about the '07 OF would seem to be Corey Hart will be a part of it, and Dave Krynzel will not. As of this second, I hope Corey ends up in CF, as I said above, Geoff is likely to be back with some help, which would leave one corner spot open. I am a bit underwhelmed when I see message board posters saying a Gross/Mench platoon would probably be fine...while I agree in theory, I don't offer Kevin arby if I plan on him only starting 30-40 games. I do like Tony Gwynn Jr, but I feel he could benefit from more time in AAA, and I just can't help but translate his Nashville numbers into vastly below average big league stats. Basically, I tell him to go down and continue to improve. I have no doubt he'll have a long major league career, I'm still not sure if it will be as a reserve or not. As for Krynzel, ride that motorcycle all you want, son, and good luck with whoever you're with next year. If you are a minor league free agent, which I assume, and you get your choice of what team to play might want to decide which AAA city their affiliate is in, because that's where you're very, very likely to be. All that talent, and not a clue how to utilize it...what a shame.

9/14/2006 09:10:00 AM

(9/14/2006 08:47:00 AM) - Al

I am as casual of an NFL fan as there is, but it's tough not to see what a train wreck the Packers are already...release the guy who started at fullback in Week 1, sign a troubled WR who has been available all offseason, and now trading a young, cheap RB for one who would certainly appear to have a much lower ceiling, more of a specialty player. You can also add in cutting Najeh Davenport as well, as teams who won 4 games cannot just give away players who have value.

This has been pretty obvious for some time, and every once in a while, someone will come out and say it, this is a rebuilding team that refuses to do so, continually trotting out a QB that's my age and letting a talented, though unproven and untested former 1st round pick hold the clipboard. They've been chasing "one more playoff run" for years.

What makes it especially disgusting to me is the apoligists I see in my area, which is about 90 minutes from Green Bay. After the final exhibition game, one reporter asked the Packers' player how tough it was to get ready for a 3PM game, apparently never once thinking:

A. The opponent also played at 3.

B. I believe more games start at 3 than at any time other than noon.

This is one of the most blatant train wrecks I've seen in quite some time...and I'm a Brewers' fan. It's a team without a short or long-term plan, and to say they are drifting in the wind is offensive to those who drift in the wind.

Of course, if they win this weekend, we'll be hearing unbridled playoff talk.

9/14/2006 08:47:00 AM

(9/14/2006 07:34:00 AM) - Al

Looks like a classic case of supply and demand to me.

You know, it's almost like the market works, isn't it?

9/14/2006 07:34:00 AM

Monday, September 11, 2006

(9/11/2006 09:07:00 PM) - Al

MESSAGE: EVERYTHING SUCKS! The teaser for my local news was "Concern over falling oil prices -- what this could mean for you!"

Uh, cheaper gas? Yeah, I'm really concerned.--Instapundit

The media tends to be a bit negative? I hadn't noticed.

9/11/2006 09:07:00 PM

(9/11/2006 07:50:00 PM) - Al

The Crank worked in the World Trade Center, and he remembers what he wrote here.

I think it's too bad MLB only plays God Bless America on some Sundays and 9/11. America the Beautiful is a fine option as well, mind you. I always cringe at Miller Park when the politically incorrect in so many ways Roll Out The Barrel comes on, as it's just such a poor choice for infinite reasons. Hey, I get it, the brewing industry used to be huge in Milwaukee, and the team is called the Brewers, etc. Of course, the confederate flag used to fly all over the South, and common language used to be the way Mark Twain wrote.

There's little doubt that 9/11/01 changed the world like no other day...the most compared moment, the attack on Pearl Harbor, was far before the advent of same day reporting, many didn't know it had occured until days later. 9/11 changed the landscape of how we travel, how we defend ourselves, and our focus militarily.

I just wish it made folks want to play a patriotic song during the 7th inning stretch.

9/11/2006 07:50:00 PM

(9/11/2006 07:30:00 PM) - Al

Tony Gwynn Jr. and Drew Anderson will come up from Class AAA Nashville, which was eliminated Sunday from the Pacific Coast League playoffs.

Gwynn spent a couple of weeks with the Brewers in July and August, batting .467 (7 for 15) in limited action. He finished with a .300 average in 112 games with Nashville, with 30 stolen bases.

Anderson, a 24th-round draft pick in 2004, began the season with Class AA Huntsville, batting .291 with six homers and 43 RBI in 108 games. He was promoted to Nashville, where he batted .333 with a homer and nine RBI in 16 games.

The Brewers also are recalling right-hander Carlos Villanueva, who spent time with them in June and July and made three starts (0-1, 4.61 earned run average). Villanueva was brilliant after being assigned to Nashville, going 7-1 with a 2.71 ERA in 11 outings (nine starts).

Anderson's call-up pretty much spells the end for Dave Krynzel's Brewers' career. Krynzel's lack of progress has been nothing short of frightening, I can't recall a guy stagnating like that since Sam Okey laced up his shoes as a freshman in Madison, was a solid player, and never got a bit better.

Drew is ancient for a guy who has only been a pro for a couple years, I think he's older than Corey Hart. He doesn't project as more than a reserve, but to be blunt, he's already overachieved just to spend a day in the bigs, and especially in that short of a time. Looks like Gwynn will be getting quite a bit of playing time alongside Hart in the season's final three weeks.

9/11/2006 07:30:00 PM

Saturday, September 09, 2006

(9/09/2006 10:46:00 PM) - Al

While he is still under the 200 AB level that I refer to as a "small sample", it appears obvious that Corey Hart should be handed a starting OF spot next April.

Hart---.330/.491, 821 OPS
Prince-.347/.479, 826
Hall---.337/.545, 882

I bet many of you are surprised to see him so close to Fielder...I know I was. Not only has he hit the ball well, he has shown impressive speed and throwing ability as well. I feel he'll draw a lot more walks as he begins to learn how the pitchers are working him as well. While I scoff at the importance of batting order, I look forward to a 1-2 punch of power and speed with Rickie and Corey at the top of the order next year.

9/09/2006 10:46:00 PM

(9/09/2006 10:23:00 PM) - Al

I get a lot of silly "whoa is me, no one can do that" e-mails when I post links like this, but I know the audience includes a few late teens readers, so I'll do it anyway...invest $2K a year for 4 years when you're young and never touch it...and you'll have $1M when you retire.

What's sad is, I was off to a good start at one time, and ended up cashing it all in at 25 or so to pay off debt and support my now wife as she had to complete an unpaid internship for 2 semesters, one of which included living away from home...that two households on one income stuff really, really sucks...I don't know how those renegade Latter Day Saints households do it.

9/09/2006 10:23:00 PM

Friday, September 08, 2006

(9/08/2006 07:59:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers pick up Chris Spurling off the waiver wire from the Tigers, Matt Wise to the 60 day DL.

To me, by far the most interesting thing about this is DET released a P with a sub 3.50 ERA.

CORRECTION: That was 2005, my mistake.

A nice bullpen pickup for Brewers GM Doug Melvin. Spurling, who had a 3.44 ERA in 70 2/3 innings for the Tigers last year, only lasted on waivers as long as he did because he's arbitation eligible again this winter. Had he been making the minimum, the Brewers wouldn't have had a shot. He'll probably join Milwaukee's relief corps right away, with his performance now determinining whether he'll be tendered a contract for next year.--Rotoworld

If he's arby eligible, he's spent a ton of time on the DL. He looks like a sinker/slider guy, as his K rate is quite low. Certainly a decent pickup for free, but he's a low ceiling guy.

9/08/2006 07:59:00 PM

(9/08/2006 09:37:00 AM) - Al

Funniest thing, the price of oil seems to be falling on the free market...and the prices at the pump seem to also be dropping. Who woulda guessed?

Worldwide demand, especially in India and China, is going to continue to grow, so I would consider oil stocks to be as safe a long-term play as owning your house, even while real estate is suffering a short-term slump. As the oil stocks fall (hopefully) in the coming months, this looks to be a buying opportunity of grand proportion.

9/08/2006 09:37:00 AM

(9/08/2006 08:47:00 AM) - Al

Tom H with a surprisingly uncrappy column about what various members of the Brewers have to play for. While you can pretty much sum it up with the phrase, "selfish motives", you would think Tom would be able to add insight of an insider.

9/08/2006 08:47:00 AM

Thursday, September 07, 2006

(9/07/2006 07:48:00 PM) - Al

The best baseball writer out there now works for NBC.

Congrats to Mr. Gleeman, who will continue to write at Aaron, by the way.

9/07/2006 07:48:00 PM

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

(9/05/2006 09:34:00 PM) - Al

This game sure is easy when your pitcher doesn't give up a run and one of your guys hits 2 homers...Ned sure is a better manager on nights like this, isn't he?

Am I the only one enjoying Craig Coshun? Just a simple, "this is what's happening" approach, not a single whine or "where was that pitch?" outburst.

9/05/2006 09:34:00 PM

(9/05/2006 07:46:00 PM) - Al

Milwaukee magazine discusses what a piece of crap the Bradley Center is, and intros a rumor that Mark A has asked about buying the team someday.

Note Ulice Payne saying it would cost more to remodel BC than it would to start from scratch. I've heard that suggestion numerous times and almost always from people who have 8 cents to their name.

I'm not sure why folks have such a difficult time understanding that the lifespan of an arena/stadium is 25-40 years. As soon as Herb Kohl decides he's done, if the city of Milwaukee doesn't have a plan in place, Dave Stern won't hesitate to move the team.

9/05/2006 07:46:00 PM

(9/05/2006 01:46:00 PM) - Al

Watching CNBC's market coverage today, and while usually unbiased, or if anything, a bit overly optimistic, today what they are saying borders on lunacy, or at least completely untrue.

The coverage they just completed was the government's release of real estate values today. They had numbers from 2004-2005, and then the 2nd quarter of '06 versus the 2nd quarter of '05. They went on and on about how prices have "fallen off a cliff", and so on, yet the numbers show otherwise:

2005 homes sold 10.6% higher than 2004.
2006 2nd Q sold 1.4% higher than 2005 2nd Q.

So, where are the massive declines, you ask? They don't exist. There are parts of the country where prices fell in the 2nd Q, and I'm sure they deserved it. Some "hot" areas rose 135% from '04-'05, like Naples, FL...Naples was up only 3% last quarter, which by my math, is still a 12%+ increase for the year, mind you.

Michigan's homes went up the least last year, between 1-2%, if memory serves. I don't see this as a disaster at all, as over the long-term, 20+ years, a home will rise substantially in value. Am I bothered that speculators are not making money hand over fist by buying up homes non-stop with high risk, 100%+ leveraged oodles of debt...not at all. There's a reason why buying stuff with money you don't have is're depending on the market to rise. Billions have been made this way, and billions have been lost.

This reminds me of an article I read ages ago, about stockbrokers who were complaining how tough it was, after a decade long bull market, when things turned bearish. They had lived through only the best of times, and suddenly, the easy money stopped flowing in. They talked about how they had the same bills as before, mortgages on their home and their lake home, a pair of luxury cars, etc. Towards the end of the column, they talked to a veteran trader or two, and they had no sympathy at all, saying they warned the "kids" and they just continued to spend foolishly. One guy said, paraphrasing, "I made $90K and lived on $40K, saving for the down time. They made $90K and spent $125K, thinking it would get better and better."

Personally, I'm sure many people are just giddy that prices have leveled, and are anxious to see them fall, as they would like to move up and get more for their money. CNBC seems to think no one is a homeowner, that everyone is a real estate speculator.

9/05/2006 01:46:00 PM

Monday, September 04, 2006

(9/04/2006 08:27:00 PM) - Al

---The TV ads for prescription drugs used to pretty funny, as many of the side effects sounded much worse than the ailment the drug was treating.

Now, the "patient" has been saying things like, "My doctor tells me that I need to tell him if I'm on any other medications, or if I suffer any headaches or higher blood pressure", and all I can think of is my last visit to a medical provider, and I know for a fact I spent more time with the registration gal than I did the doc. Nurse took my vitals, seemed disappointed my blood pressure was normal, wrote down my ear was painful, and about 3 magazines later, the much younger than myself doctor appeared, glanced into my ears and said, "So, are you allergic to anything?", as he prepares to give me Amoxicillin for the infiniteth time.

---ESPN and ESPN2 are running some sort of test tonight with the Florida State/Miami game, ESPN has on a normal telecast, while ESPN2's has on the same audio, but the screen is cut into eight parts, with each coach on at all times (exhilarating, let me tell ya), each QB (yes, even the one on the sidelines), and 4 other views, the biggest being...the main view that's also on ESPN.

I'm trying to think of why anyone would watch ESPN2, unless you were making fun of it like me.

---I have spent the past few days knocking out a "perfect storm" of bonuses I had stacked* at a site I rarely play, hypothetically, of course.

{Some internet sites allow you to continue adding on bonuses, with no limit, by depositing, playing a bit, then withdrawing. Players do this for a variety of reasons, one of which being mine, hypothetically, which is I'm busy playing other "timed" bonuses that expire, so I figure someday, there might be a bonus dry spell, so I deposit, play a bit, then withdraw a few days later, to keep enough in the bankroll in case another bonus pops up tomorrow.}

In my case, I had 3 bonuses stacked that were rather tough ones, and the site made their terms easier for their monthly bonus...and the terms applied to the old "stacked" ones as well, possibly mistakenly. In fact, the monthly bonus actually would have cleared concurrently (at the same time) as I was "earning" my old ones, hypothetically, of course. Sadly, I found that out too late to take advantage of, so I am doing the September one this evening, hypothetically. Because I really dislike the software on this site, I'm playing 4 tables tonight, to rid myself of having to play on such a decrepid, poorly functioning site...until next month, of course. The only reason I mention this is that while this seems like a simple, quick set of thoughts, with 4 tables popping up on action, it's taken me over an hour to type up.


---I think it's too bad Steve Irwin died, but I find it bothersome it is being reported as "an accident". He died taking risks, which perhaps is fitting because he lived taking risks. But c'mon, an accident is a guy who's killed on his way to his second job supporting his family, or someone who loses control of his vehicle on ice, not a guy who takes chances repeatedly and enjoyed it.

9/04/2006 08:27:00 PM

(9/04/2006 07:48:00 PM) - Al

I didn't realize I took both Saturday and Sunday off, I swore I had written something...oh well.

Any win is a good win when you've lost double digits in a row. Dave Bush wins another, and Tony G has a big game, while Corey Hart pitches in with a pair of hits. I'd love to see Graffy come back next year, but he may well be playing himself into a 1-2 year, $2.5M+ per contract, far more than the Crew wants to pay for a utility guy, I'm sure, even for one of the best utility IF's, which is what he would be, if he continues to produce like he has the past couple years. Meanwhile, I hope Hart is handed a spot in the OF next year, at least as a guy who plays 4-5 games a week, maybe taking a game or two off against tough RH's, as the team sets him up for success...or at least, I can hope.

This was the weekend I intended to use up my vacation for the year, as Dennis Miller was in Milwaukee, Saturday I believe, and catch a couple games, but we've been one shy at work for a couple months now, so I was not able to get away. As I always say, I'm just lucky to have a job, so I'm not complaining, mind you. Good to know I would have seen at least one victory.

9/04/2006 07:48:00 PM

Friday, September 01, 2006

(9/01/2006 09:35:00 PM) - Al

---I just started flipping channels after the Brewers' game, and our local ABC affiliate is replaying the Packers' game. In a preseason game, I see a replay incredibly painful is that?

---Looks like Andre might have left his game and career on the court last night. Agassi is just a year younger than myself, and the idea he was able to play top-tier tennis for 3.5 hours is mind-boggling. There have been many classic matches at the US Open, and for whatever reason, they tend to occur late at night, but I have never seen one half as good as the "instant classic" we saw last evening. Bad weather has kept the prime time action from being played, so USA is just repeating last night's Agassi match...and I'm sure many folks are watching it again.

---The Crew is on a bad stretch, but they have also suffered some painful bad calls the last week or so. As the veteran of many a bad softball team, I am the first to volunteer that good teams can almost always overcome a tough break, but teams missing much of their best lineup cannot. I'm not certain Rottino could have reached the final pitch of the game, it appeared well off the plate, and Vinny stands well away from the plate as well. Bell at 1B looked to be no worse than a tie, and you could tell the umpire was unsure as he made the call extra loud, as if he was sure of himself. It's gone unnoticed by our TV team, but Corey Hart has had so many low strikes called on him, you'd think he was 5-6, not 6-6.

---I officially like Laynce Nix's future more than Nelson Cruz's. Both will probably never be anything but platoon guys, but Nix plays a fine CF and the LH half of a platoon is much more valuable than the RH.

9/01/2006 09:35:00 PM

(9/01/2006 06:40:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers called up right-hander Dennis Sarfate and utilityman Vinny Rottino when rosters expanded on Friday, bringing into the fold a pair of promising prospects.
Rottino, 26, will serve as the third-string catcher and can also play the corner infield and outfield positions. Born and raised in Racine, Wis., and originally signed as a nondrafted free agent in February 2003, Rottino batted .420 in August including a four-hit night on Wednesday.

Sarfate, 25, gives the Brewers' bullpen an extra right arm while the club waits for more word Friday on the status of Matt Wise, who has been sidelined by an inflamed nerve in his right elbow. Sarfate is 10-7 this season with a 3.67 ERA and has been pitching out of the bullpen since July 29. As a reliever, he is 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA in 13 appearances.

The Brewers are anxious for a look at Sarfate to determine his future role with the club. He has one more Minor League option remaining, according to general manager Doug Melvin.

Great to see the local kid get a look, Vinny pretty much proves the old adage, "If you can hit, they'll find a place for you." While Sarfate is a lower ceiling prospect, he certainly has the capability of being a decent, cheap reliever for a few years.

Ironic thing about Dennis is his dad is a poster of one of the message boards I usually check out, and he and several of the minor league gurus have said Dennis is out of options and has to make the 25 man roster next April or pass through waivers. I never know how many options a player has, but I also know that whenever I try to figure it out, I end up being off by one, always on the low side. So, unless Doug is mistaken, everyone was off by one, just like I always am.

9/01/2006 06:40:00 PM

(9/01/2006 08:53:00 AM) - Robert R.

Although mathematically the Brewers are still alive, for all practical purposes the playoff chances of the Brewers are over after that disaster of a road trip. The Brewers have to go 19 - 9 the rest of the season just to be at .500. To win the wild card they'd probably have to go at least 23 - 5.

Injuries have, of course, played a big part in the demise of the Brewers. In many ways the injury to Corey Koskie was the one injury the Brewers couldn't overcome as they lost both power and OBP there. David Bell, who hit .250/.307/.348 in August certainly didn't pick up the slack. And Kevin Mench has been similarily unimpressive in place of Carlos Lee, hitting .211/.247/.254 in August. They're not alone as the team hit .240/.319/.369 in August, basically catcher numbers, while scoring 3.86 runs per game. Only Bill Hall, Jeff Cirillo, Gabe Gross, and Tony Graffanino put up numbers that were average or better for their position.

Doug Melvin is going to have to take a good look at the construction of the offense in the offseason. In particular, he's going to need to make some tough decisions about the outfield and how much he thinks Gross, Hart and the others will likely contribute in 2007.

9/01/2006 08:53:00 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.

The Ramblings' manifesto can be found here.

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

If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, and your life will be brief.--President Trump

Never have lives less lived been more chronicled.--Dennis Miller

I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.--Mad Dog Mattis

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Al's WTMJ appearance from July, 2015 with Justin

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