Al's Ramblings



Thursday, August 31, 2006

(8/31/2006 10:54:00 PM) - Al

After the Brewers were over, I switched it over to watch Andre Agassi, who was up 2 sets versus the #8 seed...and he promtly lost the 3rd and 4th sets, making it all even.

The best tennis in the world is played late each Summer in New York City...it's too bad no one bothers promoting the sport at all. Actually, I had to stop and think what channel USA is even on, as I doubt I've watched it since...last year's US Open.


8/31/2006 10:54:00 PM



(8/31/2006 09:13:00 PM) - Al

Ann Althouse, my favorite UW law prof, asks where the anti-war protests are? The comments bring up two valid points, three really.

1. There never seems to be attractive women at these rallies (I know, I know, but take a look at the gals next time you see one on TV or in the paper. It is far from fiction.).

2. There's no draft, and most college age folks have no fear, and thus, no concern.

3. Computers.


8/31/2006 09:13:00 PM


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

(8/30/2006 10:18:00 PM) - Al

I got home just in time tonight to see Cirillo make a fine play and still not get the out at home...almost as if by some grand design. I think it's safe to assume that this just isn't the year all the breaks go our way.:)


8/30/2006 10:18:00 PM



(8/30/2006 09:50:00 AM) - Al

Suddenly, it's difficult to imagine the Brewers ever getting hot enough to win several games in a row, and even .500 is looking to be a mighty barrier.

I'm interested in seeing how Bill Hall finishes out the year, as well as Prince and Corey. I also hope everyone makes it to the finish line healthy. But, further discussion of the wildcard look like it will have to wait until 2007.


8/30/2006 09:50:00 AM


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

(8/29/2006 10:44:00 AM) - Al

One of these days is the one year mark of when Katrina hit the New Orleans area, as well as the almost forgotten Biloxi, MS region.

The one thing that strikes me most is the lack of discussion about relocating the city, or at least most of the city. Lost in most of the hoopla is that most of the city that is well known to tourists, Bourbon Street, for example, was barely touched by the flooding when the levee failed.

I was on record as saying I felt this would greatly boost New Orleans, as many of the ghetto areas would not be rebuilt, and they would be replaced by medium or higher priced homes (possibly not in the same exact place, of course). It turns out I was correct to a point, as much of the crime and the like formerly located in the Big Easy has moved onto Houston. Sadly, the construction has moved along at a snail's pace, due to many reasons, cleanup and massive paperwork issues probably being the main culprits.

I'm still of the opinion that in 5 years, New Orleans will be a revived metro area, though it may be a decade or more. I do hope that the below sea level areas are not planned on to be vital parts of the rebuilt city.


8/29/2006 10:44:00 AM



(8/29/2006 10:00:00 AM) - Robert R.

For something different, I saw a preview screening of THE ILLUSIONIST last night which stars Edward Norton (as the titular character) and Paul Giamatti. It's very much an old fashioned crowd pleaser with two excellent lead performances. It also has an ending that invokes THE USUAL SUSPECTS albeit it plays fairer and it's not really a twist as much as a revelation of the steps of a magic act. The twist of the movie is that it's not really the period drama it appears to be at first glance, but more along the lines of a fairy tale for adults of a good magician vs. an evil prince.

This is the first really significant role from Edward Norton in a while and he really hits it out of the ball park. He really has a commanding gaze that's put to great use throughout the film. And he always seems at least two steps ahead of everyone else, as needed for a great magician.

Paul Giamatti is equally good as the police inspector working for the crown prince who is called into opposition. Giamatti might have a more pleasing role as that unlike Norton, his character doesn't have to conceal much. It's a fully rounded character who does his job well even when it's goes against his better nature. But who's not "fully corrupt" as he describes it. Giamatti could have come across as a bumbling stooge, but because he comes across as intelligent and competent it really sells the story.

The secondary leads aren't anywhere near the level of the first two and that perhaps keeps the film from really taking off. Jessica Biel is competent in her role as the love interest between the magician and the prince, but never really believable as an aristocrat or someone passionately in love. Rufus Sewell fairs better as the Crown Prince, but the character comes across as more of a blunt brute than he should. There's not much evidence of someone really intelligent as the villain in the movie itself. And, because of that, some of the machinations of the plot seem overly complicated.

The film is really handsomely shot with Prague substituting for late 19th century Vienna. The movie consciously invokes some silent movie effects, such as the iris in effect, to give itself an old fashioned, melodramatic, romantic feel. And it works. My only complaint about the look of the movie is that some of the modern special effects they use are perhaps too smooth and obvious and more practical effects may have been better. Modern effects are absolutely needed for one revelation, but that should have been the exception.

When the final revelation was made, the audience at the theater really loved it and there was applause at the end. The good news is that it plays fair and the final revelation makes sense and is foreshadowed well for those with a sharp eye. It is a bit slight though and really isn't about anything more than being the movie equivalent of a magician's trick with a romantic streak. Nothing really to be analyzed, but just a movie that adults should enjoy.


8/29/2006 10:00:00 AM


Monday, August 28, 2006

(8/28/2006 05:25:00 PM) - Al

Dusty Baker doesn't respect OBP, hat tip to Russ.


8/28/2006 05:25:00 PM



(8/28/2006 08:22:00 AM) - Al

The Reds were swept this past weekend as well, meaning the Crew still sits at 4.5 games out, even though they are now behind many teams.

Still, my general thought I had on Friday remains the same...if the Crew puts together a string of 6 of 8, they'd likely be a game or two out, right in it. With the pitching they've been getting, I feel it's quite possible, though not probable by any means.


8/28/2006 08:22:00 AM


Sunday, August 27, 2006

(8/27/2006 08:46:00 PM) - Al

I was reading the paper today at lunch and read an article about Chris Gardner, who pulled himself up from nothing and now runs a huge brokerage firm. His life story is being made into a Wil Smith movie.

Every once in a while, you read someone who implies that there's no way for someone to move from a lower class to middle or upper class, despite oodles of evidence to the contrary, of course. Gardner has made it from homelessness to mega-success, and his book should be required reading in high schools everywhere.


8/27/2006 08:46:00 PM



(8/27/2006 08:30:00 PM) - Al

I'm watching my tape of the game, it's the 6th inning right now, and Daron and Gord just got done talking about how hot it is in south Florida and how they need a retractable roof in Miami so they can have air conditioning on hot, humid days like today. It's funny, I am often chided by folks when I discuss how much I dislike the sun, and when I ask to sit in the shade at Miller Park, the ticket dudes act like they've never been asked such a thing...while in the rest of the world, people are more like myself, as while we were in Kansas City, everyone in front of us in line asked for shade seats. I guess here in WI, people want to enjoy the sun because they don't see it often. Personally, I guess I just don't get the appeal.


8/27/2006 08:30:00 PM


Saturday, August 26, 2006

(8/26/2006 07:08:00 PM) - Al

Looks like the Crew will still be 4.5 out after tonight, barring a horrendous night by the Marlins' bullpen. Luckily, the Reds have been losing as well, keeping the Brewers within striking distance.

I am still enjoying the game tonight, as Gord Ash has told me more in one-half inning of commentary than Bill has all year. I have to wonder about Bill's excuse as well...my goodness, isn't Billy Jr's mom in the picture? Going away to college isn't exactly a difficult task, all you need are your clothes and incidentals, as dorms are furnished, correct? But, it's a good day when I don't have to hear about "expanding the strike zone".

One thing I keep thinking about is while the depth of the current team is very good, especially when you take the disabled list into account, the "star power" is negligible. Now, we all hope Prince and Rickie develop into "stars", and to be honest, Bill Hall would be a megastar if ESPN would discover the Central time zone. But, even though the starting rotation is as deep 1-5 as almost anyone, in reality, it's probably a group of 2's and 3's, unless Sheets gets back to where he was, or Capuano can put together a 35 start season as good as his half-years have been.

Add to the equation the still stocked, and loaded with depth farm system, which is now probably a bit lacking in top level guys (granted, Gallardo, Braun, and Inman are not a bad top three), I see a good possibility for a "quantity for quality" trade this offseason...especially given the fact that the Brewers have some prospects who are out of options...Dave Krynzel and Ben Hendrickson being the most high profile.


8/26/2006 07:08:00 PM


Friday, August 25, 2006

(8/25/2006 05:22:00 PM) - Al

Browsing the message boards, suddenly many fans think the Brewers are back in the hunt for the playoffs, as if they once were not.

The irony of it is, they are still 4.5 games out, not that much closer than they were a week or two ago when I was almost the only person not in a padded room who thought this team could put together a run, mostly because of their deep rotation. As many folks have guessed, the bullpen got better almost exactly when the rotation improved, which also coincided with the addition of Frankie "Game Over" Cordero as the closer, and meant the starter and set-up men only needed to get about 22 or 23 outs, as Cordero has shown he can easily get 4-5 outs, perhaps as much as any reliever in the game in the past month.

There hasn't been a lot of mention of the improved defense, other than the few game errorless streak the club had, which is a poor way to judge quality defense anyway. The funny thing about defense is, for the most part, something that you will have little success building a team around, as it is only 10-15% of the game...pitching is the other 35-40% of preventing runs, and scoring runs is the other 50%. If you go out of your way to put together a very good defensive team, the result will likely be a rather poor team. And when a good defender is found, like Tony Gwynn Jr. is likely to be for the next decade, the talk jumps to the question of whether he will ever hit enough...a question that's very tough to answer. However, guys like Tony G and David Bell, and to a lesser extent, Laynce Nix and Gabe Gross, do show that there is always a place for guys who can hit a bit in addition to catching and throwing the ball.

There hasn't been a whole lot of discussion about how good this bench was to start the '06 campaign, or the trades for Bell and Graffy. But, as almost always is the case, Doug Melvin and his team quietly put together outstanding depth, and picked up more when Koskie and Weeks went down.


8/25/2006 05:22:00 PM


Thursday, August 24, 2006

(8/24/2006 07:39:00 PM) - Al

Damian had to leave today with a headache and concussion symptoms...from a foul tip. Not sure if the club is thinking of the DL yet or not, but I have to believe there aren't many better C's at AAA than Chad Moeller.


8/24/2006 07:39:00 PM


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

(8/23/2006 10:16:00 PM) - Al

I believe that makes it 4.5 out of the wildcard, and 5.5 behind the suddenly beatable Cardinals. Irony of ironies, the team playing best in the wildcard race is the sdame team that traded Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle at the deadline.

Laynce Nix looks like a guy that's either going to be a late bloomer or continually getting chances he doesn't really deserve. At worst, he would seem to be a good guy for someone to have as a 5th OF, runs well, good D, lefty bat.

Let's take a look at the amount of runs the Crew has allowed in the past X games, shall we?

1-1-3-4-2-7-2-3-4-7-5-2-6-3

In 11 of the 14 games, the Crew have given up 4 or less runs, and are 9-5 in total. That's the kind of pitching consistentcy I expected all year, and might well had received if only the Opening Day rotation remained healthy.


8/23/2006 10:16:00 PM


Monday, August 21, 2006

(8/21/2006 10:23:00 PM) - Al

The terms value Atlanta-based Gold Kist at $20 per share, a 54.7 percent premium over its Friday closing price of $12.93 on the Nasdaq. Gold Kist shares soared $6.47, or 50 percent, to $19.40 in after-hours trading.

It's not often I bring up my investments, because to be blunt, I'm not very good at it (not to mention the trivial fact my entire portfolio is equal to what a wealthy man would tip a waitperson he found attractive after they suggested a wine he particularly enjoyed).

However, to quote my high school history teacher, "Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while". I just assumed it would rise after the fear of bird flu ran its course, but I have no problem with a buyout, none.


8/21/2006 10:23:00 PM



(8/21/2006 09:04:00 PM) - Al

I can't believe TOR has stuck with this guy for as long as they have. Gibbons is pretty darn close to being a complete idiot. You can't risk a player being hurt because your manager is a buffoon.


8/21/2006 09:04:00 PM


Sunday, August 20, 2006

(8/20/2006 02:24:00 PM) - Al

I read on a message board that the Brewers have now sold more tickets than they did last year...and Jim Powell just said the same thing. Considering the lack of weekend home games in the Summer months, combined with one less Cubs' series, and the lack of a "headliner" interleague opponent, finishing up with 2.3M or so is pretty impressive.


8/20/2006 02:24:00 PM



(8/20/2006 12:46:00 PM) - Al

Attanasio, general manager Doug Melvin and assistant Gord Ash spent a good portion of the past week poring over statistical data, trying to figure out exactly what they have.--Tom H, JS

The braintrust doesn't waste time worrying about what might have been, they just keep working the plan. No one has said it, but it seems quite likely to myself that sitting Jenkins was "suggested" by Doug and Gord, as I think they have more faith in Hart (and to a lesser extent, Gross) than Ned does.

I would just love to see the Crew continue onward, winning 2 of 3, and maybe sneaking a sweep in for good measure, just to see what Doug would do...I think one more relief guy and yet another veteran infielder would fill out the roster nicely.

With both OAK and CIN losing their closer, I have to think the Crew will receive some calls on Dan Kolb, and maybe Rick Helling, as both have been effective and would seem to be inexpensive. Kolb, other than a two week stretch, has quietly put together a very solid rebound campaign.


8/20/2006 12:46:00 PM



(8/20/2006 12:29:00 PM) - Al

I watched the game on tape last night after work, and the funny thing is, watching the ticker on ESPN afterwards while watching poker, to see the Cordero (S,9) after the score, and then realize...that's just with the Brewers, as for whatever reason, baseball still doesn't combine stats between the two leagues.

Give Robert a lot of credit, he said almost right away after the Lee trade that the Crew were better with Mench and Cordero than with Lee, and he was 100% accurate.


8/20/2006 12:29:00 PM


Friday, August 18, 2006

(8/18/2006 10:29:00 PM) - Al

Hmmm, almost on cue.

Matt Wise to the DL, Laynce Nix called up.

I'm surprised by Nix, as Gwynn was all but perfect in his short stay.


8/18/2006 10:29:00 PM



(8/18/2006 10:11:00 PM) - Al

Don't look now, and I know they are behind several teams, but as soon as the Reds finish losing to the Pirates, the Brewers are 4 games out of the playoffs.

Honestly, where would this team be with Cordero? It's tough to be much better than perfect.

At what point does Doug make a move or two to fix the obvious roster imbalance? I know he doesn't want to just give up a pitcher, but not only do they need to add Gwynn back onto the roster, if they are still in this thing on 8/31, they'll have to make another one or two, cutting down to 10-11 pitchers as well as adding another utility infielder and/or a 3rd catcher.

{Yes, I am aware Racine native Vinny Rottino would fill both needs, and is on the 40 man.}

Let me be the first to say it...one way to get around the fact many pitchers are out of options would be to option Ben Sheets down and then bring him back the next day, as Ben has at least a pair of options remaining. The Astros did this with Roy Oswalt a year or two ago, if I recall correctly.

UPDATE: I had said 3.5 out last night, but I guess ESPN had already updated the Reds' record, even though they listed the game as in the 8th inning.


8/18/2006 10:11:00 PM



(8/18/2006 09:29:00 PM) - Al

I have mentioned that I don't think batting order makes more than a minute difference on many occasions, and computer simulations agree with me. However, Yost's lineup tonight just seems odd, almost going out of his way to make things easier for the Astros, having his only two LH bats hit together. One would think that if nothing else, putting noted LHP smasher Kevin Mench in between them would be common sensical.


8/18/2006 09:29:00 PM



(8/18/2006 09:07:00 PM) - Al

Joe Lieberman leads in this poll by 12 points. I'm not sure if this means the Democrats that voted in the primary are that far left compared to the state, or what exactly.

It's difficult to look at this as "embarassing" to the Dems, after all, the elephant candidate has 4% of the vote. I do wonder what it means to anti-war candidates like Russ Feingold, who I seem to recall was quoted as saying "Joe just doesn't get it", or something like that.

Feingold keeps getting major ink from liberal blogs and cable news channels as a serious contender in '08, perhaps even the favorite, while I sit and scratch my head and wonder what happened to a former first lady? Russ is just about as left as the scale goes, and I can't imagine his party thinking he has the best chance to claim the White House in 2008. Am I wrong in thinking Feingold's victory margin against a token opponent should be considered "slim"? I'll have to look up the percentages, but I remember thinking if he got less than 60%, it'd look bad, and I don't think he got anywhere near that.

UPDATE: Feingold won by a 55-44 margin over Republican businessman, Tim Michels, whose name recognition must have been near zero just a few months before the election. If Russ only garnered that majority in the swing state of Wisconsin, I sure can't see him being close to contending in the South, which effectively loses the election.


8/18/2006 09:07:00 PM



(8/18/2006 07:31:00 PM) - Al

What do you need when your team is on the cusp of falling out of the playoff race?

To go a player or two short for a few games!

If you wonder why the Rangers and Angels aren't winning more games, one would have to consider the possibility that each team has several players that are complete morons.


8/18/2006 07:31:00 PM


Thursday, August 17, 2006

(8/17/2006 07:21:00 PM) - Al

Recruiting yet another top 100 talent is almost starting to get a little old for Bo Ryan. I think Bo is in his mid 50's, so we will see how long the run will last.


8/17/2006 07:21:00 PM



(8/17/2006 12:00:00 AM) - Al

Astoundingly, if the Reds would have lost tonight, the Crew would have been only 4 games behind the wildcard leaders. Even with CIN's win, the Brewers are only 5 out.

Granted, I'll be the first to say 5 isn't all that close, especially when you're behind several teams. It's still difficult for me to believe this team could not win 8 of 10 and be right in this thing.

Almost daily, that 6-17 record in the spots that would have been taken by Tomo and Ben, grows in importance. Even 10-13 would have us a single game back right now. You certainly cannot expect a team to go through 162 games with only 5 starters, but it is also not expected to suffer that badly with your next best. Almost just to rub it in, the AAA rotation has pitched well, and continues to do so...even jettisoning Dennis Sarfate and Justin Lehr to the bullpen, to make room for all the fine arms.

Oh, the irony.


8/17/2006 12:00:00 AM


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

(8/16/2006 10:25:00 PM) - Al

Seth sends a fine write up of Chris Coste's season and career.

Every time someone says there aren't enough quality players available for another expansion, I think of guys like Coste and think to myself, "I think there's plenty".


8/16/2006 10:25:00 PM


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

(8/15/2006 07:03:00 PM) - Al

Good to see Corey Hart making the most of his recent playing time. I just checked to see if I should concede defeat in my constant fixation on the wildcard, and at 6 back, I refuse to. I probably should, but as long as a 10 of 12 run could get you even or a game out, I can't do it, not in good conscience.


8/15/2006 07:03:00 PM



(8/15/2006 11:27:00 AM) - Al

Yesterday, our little family went to Lowe's to buy a new lawn mower. Back in the Spring of '03, we bought a little $99 model from Wal Mart, hoping it would last a couple years. While it was a tad troublesome, it made it through 3 years and with the help of a coworker's handy husband, fixed a gas line problem and it appeared it would make it through a 4th, until it stopped raining, and the grass quit growing. A week or so ago, my wife went to start it up to trim the weeds that had reached knee level, and it was just like before, no gas to the motor.

{If only I qualified for a government subsidy. After all, this was caused by a lack of rain on my land, and certainly was no fault of my own...kinda like a hurricane. Of course if the government was involved I would have insisted on a $2500 riding mower, as well as a small shed to store it in...well, after what I've been through...}

So, our yard isn't very big, so we again looked for a cheap option and despite the fact neither of us are vegans, we ended up with this model. I have always been intrigued by the old fashioned style, it's simpleness and quiet nature. I have heard good things about the newer versions as well, so we took the plunge. As a bonus, the box claims it will not need any maintenance for 5 years, I assumed the blades would have to be sharpened annually. It seems to work extraordinarily well, pushes as easily as say a fertilizer spreader would. Both my boys; my son and my dog, were terrified of the old one, and neither even seem to notice this one is moving...in fact, we kept having to tell our son to move, as he would wander right in front of it. The inexpensiveness of it allowed us to buy a new trimmer as well.

So far, so good.


8/15/2006 11:27:00 AM



(8/15/2006 10:08:00 AM) - Robert R.

Since I haven't done this in awhile, my wife and I travelled out to Spring Green and saw American Players Theatre's production of Measure for Measure a few weeks back. I've read the play about a dozen years ago and it's the first time I've seen it performed. And the novelty of seeing it performed over a more familiar play was the draw.

Measure for Measure is generally regarded as one of Shakespeare's problem plays. It's a comedy/drama with more in common with The Merchant of Venice than Much Ado About Nothing with ideas about hypocrisy in public office and the value of mercy and justice. Certainly it's still relevant, but the comedy elements don't reach the level of Shakespeare's best plays nor does the character work. It's an in between work in pretty much all senses.

That said, APT's work with the play is good. The cast is good and the staging takes advantage of APT's theatre using everything, including the aisles. APT emphasize's accessibility to the work and I think that goal works well with this work which is not familiar to everyone. The only real problem with the production is that they try to hard to push the comedy elements instead of letting them come out naturally. The costumes are a garish, 1930s era, European design and I think the costume designers have tried too hard for an effect. Funny costumes have an initial impact, but they lose that impact over 2 hours. This is one of the cases where less is more.

Again, it's not the best production by APT I've ever seen, but it's at worst competent and sometimes much better than that. And certainly it beats exhibition football at this time of year.


8/15/2006 10:08:00 AM



(8/15/2006 09:54:00 AM) - Robert R.

I'll think about playoff possibilities again if the Brewers ever get to .500. It would certainly help if they won a road series.

While I don't think Yost is a bad manager, his weaknesses as a manager certainly have been evident this year. The benching of Jenkins, in particular, certainly doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. Particularly if you want to trade him. Yost stubbornly sticks with him for 4 months, batting him against LHP when it was evident to everyone that he wasn't hitting them, and then banishes him to the bench? I understand it's a problem for a manager when one of your highest paid players doesn't produce, but it certainly seemed like the middle ground of a platoon was available to Yost all season and he never had the imagination to make use of it. It probably would have been better for everyone if Hart had been getting regular starts against LHP starting in May. People can talk about in game strategy all they want, to me how a manager assigns playing time and puts his players in a position to succeed is one of the most important things a manager can do. I think Yost flunked that test this season in regards to Jenkins and Hart.


8/15/2006 09:54:00 AM


Monday, August 14, 2006

(8/14/2006 09:45:00 AM) - Al

Field of Dreams was shown at the actual field in Dyersville, IA the other night. Kevin Costner returned, but even this could not dampen the trivial dispute between the two families that own the land. The thing is, no one even knows what the disagreement is, except the families, I guess.

It's too bad some sort of deal can't be made to make the field and the house one entity, and be sold to someone who is happy to not act like an immature snob. It would take some rezoning and the like, but I'm afraid that one of these days, one family or the other is just going to throw their hands up and say "I quit", leaving half a diamond and lots of baseball fans very unhappy.

Heck, they could have free screenings of the film several times a day each summer, either in town or in a little theater they'd construct at the site itself. They could play some amateur games there, like American Legion, or heaven forbid, a college wood bat summer league. Any ideas like that, however, is just silly as long as the stubborn folks who own the parts feels like acting on a whim for their own benefit...which they do have every right to do.

UPDATE: The "dispute" seems to be reasonable, the Lansings, who own the house and just less than half the field, want it to be a simple, uncommercial thing, while the other family wants to make every dollar they can. The ironic thing is, the Lansings blocked off their part of the field before the Netflix showing, which while commercial, sure seemed like a wonderful idea, especially for the 5K folks who showed up.


8/14/2006 09:45:00 AM



(8/14/2006 09:07:00 AM) - Al

The only decision I remember that was as shocking as when they sat Cecil Cooper down for the 2nd half of the 1987 season.

Mike


Mike commenting on my comment that it was shocking the Crew was sitting Jenkins down. I admit, I don't recall Cooper being pushed aside, but it sounds about right.

I do wonder what will become of Geoff, as he still has a year remaining on his contract. I would say it's a given he'll either be back as some sort of reserve/platoon guy, or he'll be swapped for another overpaid/underachieving veteran, a name like Matt Clement comes to mind.

It's really too bad that this might be Geoff's swan song in MIL, as he was drafted by the team and may well have taken sub market value when he signed his extension to stay with the only team he has ever known.

A few weeks ago, when Carlos Lee's future production was being debated, I wrote about the expected decline of corner OF's in their early-mid 30's, many just seem to fall off a cliff, so to speak. Unless he rebounds next year, Jenkins looks to be a victim of the dreaded recession of skills LF/RF's seem to suffer at a far greater rate than other positions.


8/14/2006 09:07:00 AM



(8/14/2006 08:50:00 AM) - Al

One event that happened last week that I did not comment on was Senator Joe Lieberman being defeated in his own party's primary. The first poll out since that election shows that in a contest with all the state's voters, not just registered Democrats, has the experienced and respected senator with a 46-41 lead, with the Republican candidate picking up the support of his mom and an elderly neighbor.

Personally, I'm still shocked Lieberman lost, as I thought he'd win despite some polls saying he was behind. No one has mentioned it, but I feel the fact he is Jewish played a part, as in a close race, the 10% nutty anti-Jew vote might have been what put his opponent over the top.

I think Joe will win in November...and I doubt it will be close. Granted, I'm a huge fan of the senator, so maybe I'm letting my bias show, but I see him winning by double digits.


8/14/2006 08:50:00 AM



(8/14/2006 08:28:00 AM) - Al

"Seriously, I can't even play catch," (Brad Radke) said. "Maybe the day before a start, I might feel a little better, where I can throw maybe five throws, from 40 feet at most, before it really starts to hurt."

So how does he throw 100 pitches to big-league hitters? "I guess it's adrenaline," he said. "And what we're going through here, fighting for a playoff spot. I'm doing everything I can."


Hat tip to Gleeman.

I've heard many rumors Radke was going to retire after this year, and any doubt of that may be gone after reading that quote. Ironically, earlier this year, when the Brewers were over .500 and the Twins were floundering, I thought Radke might be a fine late July/August pickup for the Crew.


8/14/2006 08:28:00 AM


Saturday, August 12, 2006

(8/12/2006 10:11:00 PM) - Al

I just popped in my tape of the game tonight, and as the Crew goes up 2-0, I thought of something I have had in my mind many times, but never said. Back when we named Dale Sveum our 3B coach, a few folks said he had been terrible in Boston. Now, let's be honest, it's pretty tough to be that poor of a 3B coach, as for the most part, the only "real" decisions are made with one out. With no one out, most are conservative, and rightly so, and with two outs, most are aggressive, again, like they should be. A couple times, I've felt Dale has held up slower runners like Damian and Prince, when I would have sent them.

The funny thing is, with the players Boston has, many lumbering guys that run a lot like me, it's tough to imagine any coach having a whole lot of success sending guys home.


8/12/2006 10:11:00 PM


Friday, August 11, 2006

(8/11/2006 10:30:00 PM) - Al

With the Brewers 4.5 out, I wondered how many is it really, given that on any given night, some/most of the teams in front of them may also win, which means you don't necessarily gain ground. Have you seen anything that studies what having X number of teams in front of you does to the deficit faced? Hopefully, what I'm saying her makes sense. It just strikes me that 4.5 out with no one in front of you is different than 4.5 out but with multiple teams in front of you.

I enjoy your stuff -- thanks!

Nick


I have never seen a study, but you're correct Nick, it would be better if the Crew were just behind the Dodgers or Reds, and not many other teams. That said, if the Brewers were to win 12 of 14, they'd be right in it.


8/11/2006 10:30:00 PM



(8/11/2006 10:04:00 PM) - Al

I've followed the Brewers for decades now, and this is about as shocking a decision as I can recall. Let's be honest, Geoff has struggled pretty much the entire season, but to play him almost every day, even against LHP's for the most part, and then say he won't play much the rest of the way?

It seems especially odd this decision was made now, being only 4.5 games behind.


8/11/2006 10:04:00 PM


Thursday, August 10, 2006

(8/10/2006 08:39:00 PM) - Al

I feel very silly saying this, but the Brewers are, astoundingly, just 4.5 games out of the wildcard.

I doubt very much if it will happen now, but if this team gets to a couple games back, I think you'll see some serious moves, even though they'll be a bit underwhelming as far as big names being involved. Doug knows what his club needs, and for starters, another utility infielder would seem obvious. Another lefty reliever would probably be the next largest hole to fill, though much less so.


8/10/2006 08:39:00 PM



(8/10/2006 07:12:00 PM) - Al

Melvin, who has been criticized on the talk radio waves for not doing more to bolster the pitching staff immediately after injuries to Sheets and Tomo Ohka, revealed Wednesday that he was in talks with the Los Angeles Dodgers in early May about acquiring then-Minor League right-hander Aaron Sele.

"I thought I had Aaron Sele, but a few days after I inquired about him, they brought him up [to the Majors]," Melvin said.

The deal fell through because of the Dodgers' own pitching needs. Sele replaced left-hander Odalis Perez, who was out on bereavement leave, and, ironically, Sele made his season debut against the Brewers at Dodger Stadium on May 7, a 10-2 Dodgers win. He won six of his first eight decisions and he's 7-4 with a 3.95 ERA for the year, but moved to the Dodgers' bullpen after the team acquired starter Greg Maddux from the Cubs at the nonwaiver trade deadline.


I felt pretty good about the staff then, because I didn't think Ben H or Dana E would be nearly as terrible as they were. Doug was a step ahead, but some bad luck hurt us there.


8/10/2006 07:12:00 PM



(8/10/2006 07:00:00 PM) - Al

Card Player is reporting on the final table of the WSOP hand by hand. CP has taken some lumps, but for my money, has been there every day of the main event and never once mentioned how tired they are or how tough their job is, like some of the bloggers who have moaned and whined through the entire two weeks.

Last year's final table didn't conclude until about 9:30AM our time, but this year the play has been much faster than anticipated (they actually took yesterday off, the play was so speedy), so I'll predict 5AM.


8/10/2006 07:00:00 PM


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

(8/09/2006 09:15:00 PM) - Al

Weeks has decided to have surgery, will miss the rest of the season.


8/09/2006 09:15:00 PM



(8/09/2006 06:01:00 PM) - Al

Blogger is scheduled to be down at 6PM tonight, so it is possible there will be no updates later on this evening.


8/09/2006 06:01:00 PM



(8/09/2006 05:56:00 PM) - Al

I forgot to mention last night that the Crew has to make a roster move to add Capellan back onto the 25 man roster today. It's really too bad Turnbow couldn't go down for a couple weeks and "get back in the groove", but he is out of options and would have to clear waivers...I would guess a minimum of 15 teams would claim him, and perhaps more. Remember, we acquired him when the Angels took him off the 40 man in the 2004 offseason.

Truthfully, I do not know who will be the odd man out...I would think every pitcher on the staff has some value, so if someone is DFA'd (I would say Gonzalez and Kolb would be the low men on the totem pole), a trade is probable, albeit for a minor prospect.

UPDATE: Tony Gwynn Jr. sent down. Either they are afraid to make a move with Sheets' situation, or they were unable to get fair value for a pitcher.


8/09/2006 05:56:00 PM


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

(8/08/2006 06:59:00 PM) - Al

Sounds like Ben's injury is thought of as "not serious" at the moment, but no one seems sure if he'll miss a start or not.

The word on Weeks is...no word at all, which is often code for bad, very bad. Rickie may well have seen his final AB for '06.


8/08/2006 06:59:00 PM


Monday, August 07, 2006

(8/07/2006 10:59:00 AM) - Al

Jeff is correct, we have to do a better job getting playing time for Corey Hart.

Hart should be playing RF versus every LHP's, and needs to get a couple games a week in versus RHP's. To be blunt, if he's just going to sit on the bench and pinch-hit a couple times a week, we should send him to Nashville and let him get 100 AB's and maybe play in the playoffs.


8/07/2006 10:59:00 AM



(8/07/2006 09:37:00 AM) - Al

One of my favorite activities, hypothetically of course, is to play poker online. I am by no means a top flight player, but I try to play a conservative, yet aggressive game, and while I may not do much better than break-even, I only play at sites which are paying me a bonus to play there. Hence, I've done OK over the years.

At many of the bonus chasing message boards, a favorite topic is just how clueless the "support" staff is. They are right for the most part, as unless it involves a huge amount of money, hypothetically, I've all but given up writing to them, as you never get a correct response without asking the same thing several times.

For whatever reason, last night I broke my rule, and asked a question I found to be extremely clear. However, as you'll see, this is why I don't bother. FYI, sites often give out free tournament entries to players who make a deposit,hypothetically, play a lot of hands, etc, that's what my question entails:

dadoabob writes

I have a $10 qualifier ticket in my account, yet there never seems to be a $10 qualifying tourney. Can you tell me when one will be?


Dear dadoabob,

thank you for contacting support.

I have checked your account and I can confirm that you have $10.00 (Real Money) Poker Classic qualifier ticket available on your account. Once you have a ticket available and you go to lobby and see blue arrow next to the tournament you are able to register. Please check the lobby and try to register, If u have any problems
please contact us again.

Should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Best regards,

Nancy,EuroPoker Support Team.



FYI: For an added laugh, without exception these support staffs are located in India, Bangladesh, or in the Caribbean somewhere. Note the broken English, inconsistent punctuation...and then the obviously fake American/European name they use.

So, when's a tourney, I ask?

Yes you have a ticket, please register in the lobby, goes the reply.

All that's missing is the "Have a nice day" in a nasal, monotone voice.

Hypothetically, I give up.


8/07/2006 09:37:00 AM


Sunday, August 06, 2006

(8/06/2006 08:14:00 PM) - Al

Down to 74 players left in the main event at the '06 World Series of Poker, and I recognize the names of only 3 pros...4 if you count noted online player "Rizen", who plays mostly at Poker Stars.

I'd much rather be lucky than good in that setting, without a doubt. You don't work your way past 8500 others without getting good cards in the middle.


8/06/2006 08:14:00 PM



(8/06/2006 07:11:00 PM) - Al

---I just finished a day of work followed by a play date with the little fella, so I'm watching the game now. Last night couldn't have gone much worse, the Crew might well have won if Prince's blooper had fallen a couple inches closer to the infield, not to mention the Sheets' injury, which was bad for Ben, the team, and the bullpen.

---Not off to a lucky start today either, as Mench's infield hit turns into a fielder's choice because Prince was on 1B.

---The funny thing to me about the Bell slide, which I just saw for the first time on replay, is while Bill and Daron defend it, the rule says you have to be able to touch the bag, and Bell missed it by a foot, or maybe more. Sounds like Tony was not arguing that, if he did, he would have been correct.


---Every time I hear that Ben "has a tight chest", or "experienced tightness in his chest", I wonder if they'd use the same terms to describe a similiar injury to Jennie Finch.

I doubt it.

---Not much of a game, Suppan was dominating. One of these days, it's going to be tough to not declare it a season after a loss...but I'm saying it's today. As long as the 5 man rotation is able to pitch day after day, this team is plenty capable (however unlikely) of winning 12 of 14. Most years, that would not be enough, but this year, 84-85 victories might win the NL wildcard.


8/06/2006 07:11:00 PM


Saturday, August 05, 2006

(8/05/2006 10:43:00 AM) - Al

An article about Katie Couric changing her look a bit. I will say this...Katie is more attractive to most male viewers than Charlie or Brian, and she is loved by many women as well. Katie's wardrobe should not change a bit.

I'm not sure what to say about Floyd Landis. I still want to think he's the victim of his painkillers, but it seems unlikely. Regardless, the fact he rode that bike on one leg impresses me whether he took testosterone or not.


8/05/2006 10:43:00 AM



(8/05/2006 09:26:00 AM) - Al

Some good, some bad from last night.

Weeks could not swing the bat without pain. He seems unlikely to return this year, barring a miraculous recovery or some sort of support to allow him to swing the bat with less pain.

Koskie continues to have trouble, and no one seems to know what to do, other than wait patiently. While I was not in favor of giving up on DLR, I have to credit Doug for picking up a pair of mediocre stopgaps so quickly, in Bell and Tony G.

On the bright side, Davis pitched better last night, and the bullpen did the job, albeit with some good fortune, always necessary to hold the opposition scoreless for a few innings.

I wonder how many converts we already have to the Lee trade? I think Robert might have said it almost right away...Cordero is as good a reliever as was possibly available. If Turnbow can continue getting that breaking ball over the plate, the Brewers are playing a 7 inning game for the most part in the field.

How good has Tony Gwynn Jr. looked thus far? Basically, he's been as solid as Barnwell was overmatched. As unlikely it seemed when he was called up, he may never go back down. The OF's are already playing him very shallow due to his lack of pop, but that makes for some huge gaps for him to take advantage of, and should yield him some three-base hits over time. When Brady hit that grounder to 2B, Gwynn got down to 2B very quickly to help break up any chance of a DP. Tony, in my opinion, will never put up league average offense, although his potential for a high OBP make his contributions more valuable. But, when you add in his speed and defensive skills, and the fact he'll be inexpensive until 2010 (and Brewers' property until after the '12 campaign) the possibility of him being a key contributor is suddenly strong.

I think this is a better team than has put up a .477 winning percentage thus far, weaker offense, but stronger pitching and defense. While still unlikely to work their way back into contention, it's far from implausable.


8/05/2006 09:26:00 AM


Friday, August 04, 2006

(8/04/2006 07:06:00 PM) - Al

Whenever I shake my head about the fact that somehow, almost beyond belief, the Brewers are 4 games out of the wildcard, two thoughts come to mind.

1. The National League is, simply put, not very good this year.

2. Where would they be if Sheets and Ohka enjoyed good health in '06?


8/04/2006 07:06:00 PM


Thursday, August 03, 2006

(8/03/2006 10:33:00 PM) - Al

I have no idea if Dave's math is correct, but if it is, despite the fact Chase Utley is over halfway to 56, he has about a 1/2 of 1% chance of equaling or bettering Joe D's legendary mark.

If that doesn't tell you how tough that mark is, nothing will.


8/03/2006 10:33:00 PM


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

(8/02/2006 11:08:00 PM) - Al

I followed the link of a link of a link last night while I was watching the game, and came across a collection of posts about a guy who tried the same sleep pattern that Kramer did on Seinfeld. I had no idea this was anything but fictional, but it sounds exhausting, and impractical for all but the self-employed (or the unemployed).

That said, the idea of having 22 hours a day is mind-boggling.


8/02/2006 11:08:00 PM


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

(8/01/2006 10:32:00 PM) - Al

Don't look now, but Ryan Braun is tearing up the Southern League, and Huntsville is notoriously a difficult place to put up decent offensive numbers.

Many still wonder where he will play in the field, but you may have to move that ETA up to mid-late 2007 for him.


8/01/2006 10:32:00 PM



(8/01/2006 09:54:00 PM) - Al

Ken Rosenthal thinks the Crew were winners at the deadline:

Doug Melvin was perhaps in the most difficult spot of any GM. His franchise hadn't produced a winning season since 1992. His injury-ravaged club was on the fringes of contention. And his best hitter, Carlos Lee, was a potential free agent who rejected a four-year, $48 million offer.

Trading Lee for prospects might have been the best long-term move, but only in a vacuum. Melvin expertly walked the low-revenue tightrope, acquiring reliever Francisco Cordero, outfielder Kevin Mench, Class AAA outfielder Laynce Nix and a minor-league pitcher for Lee and Class AAA outfielder Nelson Cruz.

Cordero and Mench began contributing immediately, enabling the Brewers to continue their wild-card quest. The team will control Cordero through 2007, Mench through '08, Nix through '09. And Melvin also found additional life preservers, acquiring stopgap infielders Tony Graffanino and David Bell with second baseman Rickie Weeks and third baseman Corey Koskie on the disabled list.



I like the Lee trade more everyday, and I dislike the DLR deal more, despite the fact Tony G was a very nice pickup.

So does Jon Heyman:

Rather than get caught in no man's land with a host of colleagues, GM Doug Melvin acted quickly to trade the unsignable Carlos Lee and gather three young talents -- Francisco Cordero, Kevin Mench and Laynce Nix -- whom he knows well from his Texas days (and who were underachieving in Buck Showalter's stifling system). Melvin got players both good enough to satisfy owner Mark Attanasio's burning desire to win now and young enough to enhance Milwaukee's future.


8/01/2006 09:54:00 PM



(8/01/2006 08:15:00 AM) - Al

AG.com reports Carlos Lee looked terrible in the field at the Metrodome last night.

The Twins stood pat at the deadline, and actually got a prospect for Lohse, who I still think will turn in a couple good years, if someone just picks him up and sticks him in the rotation and leaves him alone...which is the same as I feel about DLR.


8/01/2006 08:15:00 AM


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