Al's Ramblings

Monday, April 30, 2007

(4/30/2007 08:30:00 PM) - Al

Suppan with 99 pitches appears set to pitch the 9th. Since I don't see anyone who needs work, I have no problem at all with that.

4/30/2007 08:30:00 PM

(4/30/2007 08:24:00 PM) - Al

Jonah Keri discusses the Crew in #4 and a nice compliment about Dave Bush in #6. Hat tip to Peter.

4/30/2007 08:24:00 PM

(4/30/2007 08:09:00 PM) - Al

Nice move by Tony LaRussa getting Hancock's "replacement" in the game right away, though circumstances probably dictated it. It'd be bad enough being known as the new guy, and also have to wait to get in a game for a week.

4/30/2007 08:09:00 PM

(4/30/2007 07:53:00 PM) - Al

Still was some question whether tonight's game would be played at noon today, according to Rick Sutcliffe of the ESPN team. Scott Spezio was scheduled to start, but was unable to go.

Outstanding job by ESPN documenting a 3 pitch walk to Albert Pujols, with several foul balls mixed in. I just thought I had missed a pitch, as I often do.

I will never complain about Erin Andrews being at a game that I am watching, but I wish ESPN would have instituted some sort of "quiet" policy on the news that Josh Hancock was offered a cab by employees at the restaurant where he ate dinner Saturday evening. It doesn't take Quincy or Sir Art Doyle to read between the lines of this mystery. Considering this story is now out, having been reported by the wire services, I suppose ESPN and Erin felt obligated to report it, but I think it's a shame. Mr. Hancock's memory should be preserved without rumors and hearsay, the truth will be out soon enough. Besides, no one else was injured; as I could understand this being considered "newsy" if the accident if that had occurred.

4/30/2007 07:53:00 PM

(4/30/2007 07:49:00 PM) - Al

Milwaukee second baseman and leadoff hitter Rickie Weeks was out of the lineup for the second straight day on Monday and Yost revealed it was because of a bruised right index finger.

Weeks suffered the minor injury during the team's trip to Chicago last week when he reached into his glove and jammed his finger into the baseball. He aggravated it on Saturday in Houston and underwent X-rays, which were negative.

Asked if it was a big deal, Weeks responded, "Not at all. I could go play if they needed me."

"It's just sore to the touch," Yost said. "We're not going to take any chances with that. Let it heal up to where it doesn't hurt when he throws."

I just thought Rickie was being given a pair of days off because his swing has gotten a bit long of late. In the same story, Ned insisted Corey Hart was not injured, but I also doubt if he's 100%, as much as he looked at his wrist the other night while he was on base.

4/30/2007 07:49:00 PM

(4/30/2007 07:31:00 PM) - Al

Very friendly SI lead paragraph or three on the Brewers. Hat tip to Jim, and to Craig.

4/30/2007 07:31:00 PM

Sunday, April 29, 2007

(4/29/2007 08:53:00 PM) - Al

If there are any Cardinals' fans checking out the site because of the upcoming series, welcome, and the Ramblings family extends our sympathy.

4/29/2007 08:53:00 PM

(4/29/2007 08:14:00 PM) - Al

Sadly, because I know some people do just click on Ramblings to check on me, after 16 weeks, I'm down 70 pounds.

And as of tomorrow, if you need to get a hold of us, call our cell phones, as our land line will be gone. So as not to receive a ton of voice mails from my groupies, shoot me an e-mail if you need our cell numbers.

4/29/2007 08:14:00 PM

(4/29/2007 08:09:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers have now scored 110 runs and allowed 113. That gives them 3 more wins than they "should have".

I'm not sure if it's just good luck or the exceptional late-inning bullpen work, mixed with some good fortune, of course. That said, I can't say it bothers me in the least, as in many ways, I'd prefer lucky to good. If the team is still in the race at the deadline, Doug can add a couple players to help...he can't do a thing about picking up some good breaks in April.

4/29/2007 08:09:00 PM

(4/29/2007 08:06:00 PM) - Al

Friend of Ramblings John Strain talks about the loss of his mom's husband and has a nice tribute to the members of the greatest military the world has ever known. Just keep scrolling, the permalink feature only takes you to the main page.

4/29/2007 08:06:00 PM

(4/29/2007 01:58:00 PM) - Al

I could have sworn the Astros scored a run last inning, and that it was now 3-1. The amazing thing about walks is, if no one follows with a hit, they usually do not hurt you.

4/29/2007 01:58:00 PM

(4/29/2007 10:42:00 AM) - Al

Josh Hancock, a relief pitcher for the Cardinals, was killed in an auto accident last night. The Cubs/Cards ESPN game tonight has been postponed, and the Cards are due to visit Milwaukee starting tomorrow night, so we'll have to see.

Ironically, the Cards were also playing the Cubs when Darryl Kile passed away, and the Crew was in St. Louis for the ceremony honoring Kile.

EDIT: Check out this ominous story from Friday's paper. Wow.

UPDATE: I guess the paper has now removed the article I linked to. To quickly sum it up, it said that Hancock overslept the day before, and he did not wake up until about the 20th phone call from the team and teammates. One player said something to the effect that since Kile's death, they were always a bit uneasy when someone just doesn't show up.

Here's a quote from the Cards' site:

Hancock's adventures were far less exciting. The right-handed reliever just overslept and didn't receive numerous phone calls from teammates, because his phone wasn't working. Hancock said he's fine, he just lost track of time. Hancock arrived right before the game, similar to Duncan.

It was a brief scary moment for the Cardinals as they have dealt with tragedy before, with a pitcher not showing up to the ballpark. Five years ago, Darryl Kile was scheduled to start a game at Wrigley Field, but never made it to the park after passing away in his hotel room.

"That's why it's so different here, because of what happened," closer Jason Isringhausen said. "We were a little nervous. That's why when he got here, everybody asked if everything was OK. He said, 'Yes.' We could [not care less] if you're late -- that happens. But we were just making sure that he was OK. And he was fine, so that's good."

4/29/2007 10:42:00 AM

(4/29/2007 10:01:00 AM) - Al

After last night's umpire goof up, does anyone remember a game the Brewers were involved in (possibly versus the Royals?) in which the game ended with the Brewers winning by a pair, but after the game, the umpires called the official scorer and said no one had saw the home plate umpire point to the plate, meaning the real score only had the Crew winning by a single run?

It was literally 20 years ago or more, and it was back in the day when umpires were pretty much tenured for life, so they didn't care at all that everyone thought the score was one thing, but it was another.

Anyone with any memory of this game, let me know.

4/29/2007 10:01:00 AM

Saturday, April 28, 2007

(4/28/2007 08:10:00 PM) - Al

Odd to see Dave Bush just kind of "lose it" all of a sudden. Spurling alternated between bad luck and a couple very hard hit balls. What do you think, Elmer closes it out?

4/28/2007 08:10:00 PM

(4/28/2007 07:09:00 PM) - Al

Dave Pinto agrees with me almost to the word about Gary Thorne's irresponsible journalism.

4/28/2007 07:09:00 PM

(4/28/2007 02:18:00 PM) - Al

As for the game last night...

Surprised to hear that Corey Hart was scratched from the lineup after playing a couple games, and then even more surprised to see him pinch-hit and then run the bases with some sort of wrist brace on. Every time his hand hit the dirt, he would look at his hand and shake it a bit...either the brace felt funny or he was in some pain.

The book on Carlos Lee certainly appears to be to be run on him, just like the Crew did against Juan Pierre and Luis Gonzalez is the opening series. The problem with this is, Lee is a bit slower than average and may not have a great arm, but he'll make a decent, accurate throw most of the time. Compared to the two Dodgers' OF's mentioned above, Carlos throws like Clemente.

The strange thing about the recent success the Brewers have experienced is that neither Weeks or Hall have done much offensively, yet they have still scored some runs of late. Beating Oswalt twice in 6 days is quite an achievement, even if he has one bad start, which he did not.

The ironic thing about the first 4 weeks is that while the offense is getting most of the kudos, it's the pitching that continues to impress me, especially the rotation and the back of the bullpen (that said, not many teams have an outstanding pitcher in long relief:). For the most part, the Brewers have been playing a 7 inning game if they are ahead, as Turnbow and Cordero have simply owned the 8th and 9th. While it's a bit of an overstatement to make; Wise, Shouse, and Villaneuva have allowed you to feel good if they have the lead after 5.

Just some numbers I found while losing an all-in pre-flop with AA vs...A4 (yes, the flop did contain a pair of 4's):

The Brewers despite getting credit for "doing the little things" right at the plate, have scored far few than you'd expect.

745 AB's x .341 OBP x .454 SLG = 115 expected runs scored, versus 102 actual, only 88.7% of what you would think...almost .75 runs fewer per game.

The Crew is 5th in OBP, and tied for 4th in runs scored. Baserunners equal runs, all the rest is for the lawyers.

2nd in extra base hits, 3rd in SLG.

All the numbers are without last night's game, FYI.

On a related note, it sure is nice having 5 effective members of the rotation. I hardly ever know who is starting that night, but I am aware that pitcher is a solid starter.

4/28/2007 02:18:00 PM

(4/28/2007 02:11:00 PM) - Al

This is the article that Tony LaRussa did not like, by the way. Rather immature to say the least, and to be honest, worrying about what happened ages ago does not have any effect on the present day Cubs.

4/28/2007 02:11:00 PM

(4/28/2007 02:01:00 PM) - Al

The Astros seem to have made a move reeking of desperation and lack of long-term vision. Benching Chris Burke after about 75 AB's is foolhardy, as at the very least, he's better than Craig Biggio, who may still be playing 2B with a cane if he so chooses.

I've heard of Hunter Pence, and he is a solid prospect, though a notch or two below the Princes, Rickies, and Ryan Brauns of the world. I'd compare him to JJ Hardy, more of a solid, dependable type.

As I said back when the Crew fired Lopes a few games into the season, any move made that early shows quite a bit about the lack of common sense in the front office...but, there's not been any question of that since they gave Carlos Lee a 6y/$100M contract.

4/28/2007 02:01:00 PM

Friday, April 27, 2007

(4/27/2007 03:12:00 PM) - Al

Currently, I am embarrassed by the fact Gary Thorne is allowed to be employed by a MLB team. Taking something "overheard" and then spinning it to simply make himself seem "in the know" is simply 100% untruthful.

Tell me, how does a backup catcher say "We got a lot of publicity from that" and an announcer later says, "He told me it was paint". Seriously.

Curt Schilling sounds rather unpleasant about the whole thing, and I hope someone (the Orioles?) donates $1M and makes a wholehearted apology.

These conspiracies that are 100% ignorance are so painfully stupid, I cannot believe they keep getting attention...but they do, nonstop.

4/27/2007 03:12:00 PM

(4/27/2007 01:55:00 PM) - Robert R.

P.S. to gossip rags: I have some back pain, and to make it easier for me to sit through screenings, the festival has installed my very own La-Z-Boy chair.

Photos of me in the chair should be captioned “La-Z-Critic.”

Roger Ebert gives an update on his medical travails, displaying an admirable lack of vanity and sense of humor. I'm pulling for him to make a full recovery since he's been one of my favorite movie critics for a long time now.


4/27/2007 01:55:00 PM

(4/27/2007 09:29:00 AM) - Al

Aaron Gleeman has his weekly links column. Apparently, he feels the ESPN's NFL draft coverage is terrible as well, as he mentions he'll be watching the NFL Network's version.

So, I'm left to wonder...what does ESPN do well?

Anyone, anyone?

To be honest, Pete Gammons is superb on Baseball Tonight, and Buster Olney is passable. Other than that, you can pretty much tape one show and just take those cliches and change the names. Every rookie is going to be a star, every veteran "knows how to play the game". Yawn, good analysis.

4/27/2007 09:29:00 AM

Thursday, April 26, 2007

(4/26/2007 02:31:00 PM) - Al

The twists and turns of the Sheets' injury is making me dizzy.

The JS reports that Sheets is listed as "probable" for his next start, diagnosed with a minor strain.

Apparently, even better MRI results than even Doug expected this AM.

4/26/2007 02:31:00 PM

(4/26/2007 01:52:00 PM) - Al

No Child With A Fat Behind

CNBC's headline on a discussion group about what's available for lunch and in vending machines in schools.


4/26/2007 01:52:00 PM

(4/26/2007 11:29:00 AM) - Al

Drudge has up a link about a LA Times sportswriter who is going to soon become a woman.

That means the formerly exclusive club Christina Kahrl started is growing.

4/26/2007 11:29:00 AM

(4/26/2007 11:18:00 AM) - Al

Doug said that he expects Ben out 2-3 weeks in the TMJ interview this AM, apparently. That little nugget of info was left out by the e-mailer who informed me he said he would use Carlos V.

I would say Ben's on the DL with Capellan or Sarfate coming up, most likely before tomorrow night's game. I would assume it'll be Jose.

4/26/2007 11:18:00 AM

(4/26/2007 09:13:00 AM) - Al

Doug confirms Carlos V will get the start Tuesday if Ben cannot go on the radio, meaning CV will be unavailable Sunday/Monday, I would assume. Hence, we'll probably see him Friday or Saturday night in Houston, and then not for a while.

4/26/2007 09:13:00 AM

(4/26/2007 08:55:00 AM) - Al

An off day on the schedule helps a bit, giving each starter an extra day of rest and providing flexibility for manager Ned Yost to push Sheets back in the rotation if necessary.--JS

What? Sheets is scheduled to start Tuesday, after all the other pitchers in the rotation. How exactly does the day off today provide flexibility? Capuano starts tomorrow, and he'd still have to be brought back on short rest. Now, if there was a day off was Monday, that would be huge, but there isn't.

4/26/2007 08:55:00 AM

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

(4/25/2007 07:25:00 PM) - Al

Ben Sheets appears to be questionable to make his next start after straining his right groin Wednesday.

Sheets was hurt on his final pitch of the third inning and didn't come back out for the fourth. "It wasn't that it was excruciating, by any means," Sheets said. "There was really no sense in pushing through it and taking that chance right now, especially with the weather the way it was." The Brewers will have a better idea tomorrow when Sheets will pitch next. It's possible we could see Yovani Gallardo if Sheets goes on the DL. If he misses just one start, Carlos Villanueva could receive the assignment.--Rotoworld

I would err on the side of caution and just DL him if he has to miss a start. I'd let Carlos V take his spot and bring up Sarfate or Capellan.

4/25/2007 07:25:00 PM

(4/25/2007 07:18:00 PM) - Al

I'm sure glad I did not listen to the naysayers that said the market was in a correction...about 1200 points ago.

Earnings are up, profits are up, and many companies are sitting on a mountain of's the perfect storm for a bull market. Funny thing is, it was a couple months ago too.

4/25/2007 07:18:00 PM

(4/25/2007 06:50:00 PM) - Al

No word or even guess on whether Sheets will miss a start as of yet. If it comes down to a game time decision, the Crew might opt to fly Yo into Milwaukee and have him ready to go next Tuesday, when Ben's turn will next come up. If Ben is able to go, Yo would go back down and throw in the next day or two, if not, Ben would be DL'd and Yo activated. Gallardo would have to be on a bit of a stricter pitch count, probably 90-100.

My goodness, did Rickie ever drive his HR a country mile through the wind. Jerry Crasnick wrote a perfect example of a mainstream media column, he names 14 leadoff men and fails to include Weeks, who only has a .400/.600 line thus far.

4/25/2007 06:50:00 PM

(4/25/2007 04:09:00 PM) - Al

Brewers recalled RHP Greg Aquino and placed him on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 21, with a forearm injury.--Rotoworld

Apparently, Aquino was not able to go today when he was due to test out his arm. If Sheets is DL'd, it would seem the choices for the Crew would be Capellan, Sarfate, or Gallardo, with my preference in the order they are listed.

4/25/2007 04:09:00 PM

(4/25/2007 03:32:00 PM) - Al

Game is underway, 70 minutes late. Too bad they can't put a roof on Wrigley.

Uneventful first couple innings, both pitchers look to have decent stuff. One minor thing I noticed, on a 2-0 pitch, Ben seemed to take a bit off a fastball and located it near perfectly on the outside corner at the knees, as the gun measured it at 89 mph.

Corey Hart with another throw that was off, this time Hardy could not reach it at 2B and Graffy had to go run it down, but then threw to Sheets at 3B as the runner tried to take an extra base. You gotta wonder if his wrist is still bothering him, as he had a goofy looking throw he "spiked" last night as well. He had a couple hits last night, but there's no use for him to be rushed back with the many OF options available.

Elmer Dessens is warming up and Sheets appears to be done after have to hope Ben suffered a minor nick or strain, maybe on that tag at 3B. Let's just hope it's not his arm or shoulder bothering him on a cold day.

Right groin strain for Sheets, per Brian Anderson. Might have happened on the final pitch to end the 3rd, or maybe this has affected him all season, as tight lipped as the team often is with injuries.

On the bright side, the bullpen is close to being full strength, as I assume only Villy is unavailable.

JJ looks awkward out there today, but we have no idea if the conditions may be causing the issue. On the base hit that scored the Cubs' run, Hart just picked it up and lobbed it to 2B, but again, not sure if the ball was so wet he had no play at home or not.

Fine throw by Weeks ends up ending the inning, but not until 5 runs score, all unearned I believe. Turning out to be a worst case scenario, I'm sure most everyone in the dugout wishes they never would have played today.

FYI, Hart's throw to Weeks was fine. Rickie saved Corey an error as Hart had trouble picking up the wet ball.

Cliff Floyd looks like he's playing on ice out in LF, scared to do more than jog.

Hart's fly out is probably gone if not for the 20 mph winds coming in, as it was, it did not even make the warning track.

Be interesting to see if Ben needs to be DL'd, as if he just needs to miss a start, reinforcements might be needed, with the relief corps needed to go 5 or more today, and I assume Carlos V would get the nod in his place. This is why the casuals who were trying to trade away our pitching depth for magic beans and A ball prospects simply don't get the value of having good 13th-15th men in the Music City.

Lee with a Prince-like crushed HR to LF off Wise. I would guess Ned is trying to save Spurling for extras, as you would have assumed he would have got the call in the 5th.

Mench with yet another nice play in deep LF. Who would have thought he'd be excellent, yet JJ would struggle today? Weeks also with a nice play.

I'm signing off, with the Crew down 8-2. I'll sign back on if we see a comeback.

4/25/2007 03:32:00 PM

(4/25/2007 02:58:00 PM) - Al

Scott writes to tell us the folks at have started up a message board, and welcome you to join. He is hoping it grows with intelligent and serious discussion, so make your mark felt early and often.

4/25/2007 02:58:00 PM

(4/25/2007 02:26:00 PM) - Al

Heavy workload at age 22, and a career filled with injuries and surgeries thereafter, Mark Prior now done for 2007.

It's not that difficult to see the same thing happening to Felix Hernandez and Phil Hughes as well.

Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

4/25/2007 02:26:00 PM

(4/25/2007 02:18:00 PM) - Al

The tarp is off and the grounds crew is readying the field. Looks like a 2:30 start time.

4/25/2007 02:18:00 PM

(4/25/2007 01:27:00 PM) - Al

They are not starting the game on time, even though the rain is far, far lighter than they played through last night from the 7th inning on.

Somebody's going to have to show some consistency. Right now, the Cubs and the umpires look to not have a clue when to play and when not to.

Radar pic is here, by the looks of it, it's not going to get much worse, and an opening is on the way.

4/25/2007 01:27:00 PM

(4/25/2007 12:36:00 PM) - Jason Christopherson

I think this is WAY too early to do these type of projections due to sample size, but I'm hopeful the stats for this study on bullpen usage will continue to be updated as the season progresses.

According to this research, the Brewers currently have the best bullpen management. The author admits he did this kind of quick and is looking for input from readers. Perhaps someone reading this can help him out with some ideas to tweak the calculation. Aside from the absurdly small sample size, it seems somewhat reasonable (and interesting) to me. But I'll leave it to the experts to perfect it.

4/25/2007 12:36:00 PM

(4/25/2007 12:27:00 PM) - Al

Yost said he broke his collarbone jogging Tuesday and was surprised it was mentioned on TV last night.

4/25/2007 12:27:00 PM

(4/25/2007 12:17:00 PM) - Al

Remember to support the advertisers on Ramblings.

I thank you for doing so in the past and please continue to do so in the future. The ones on the sidebar stay the same, unless they decide to stop paying:), while the Google ones at the top change based on what "keywords" are in the writings.

All indications are that they will attempt to play the game today. Again, let's hope no injuries occur on a very wet field.

4/25/2007 12:17:00 PM

(4/25/2007 12:16:00 PM) - Al

Brian Townsend, who I first heard of when he played on GSN's High Stakes Poker this past season, has his own weblog in which he discusses his poker wins and losses.

Be prepared to be a bit in awe at the numbers...

4/25/2007 12:16:00 PM

(4/25/2007 11:26:00 AM) - Al

Still looks rainy and all around crappy in Chicago, so we'll see if they are able to play the game on what will surely be an extremely wet field.

4/25/2007 11:26:00 AM

(4/25/2007 12:48:00 AM) - Al

Anyone wondering why we picked up Jeff Suppan need not look any further than tonight. 8 innings, wind blowing in, and Jeff used it all to his advantage, saving most of the bullpen as he pitched in and out, high and low, and changed speeds beautifully. It really makes you wonder how guys like Sheets and Vargas, with vastly superior stuff, ever lose a game.

Prince is on a tear, while Rickie is in a cold spell, as it looks like he's trying to pull everything. Mench continues blasting LHP and not doing badly versus RH's.

You know you're playing good when you're on pace to win 105 games. Needless to say, I doubt strongly that will continue, but it's good if it lasts as long as possible.

4/25/2007 12:48:00 AM

(4/25/2007 12:44:00 AM) - Al

Eric Young was asked if the Brewers were the best team in the NL Central. Like a deer in headlights, he uttered some nonsensical words about Dave Bush being a nice pitcher "at the end of the rotation" and that Cordero and Turnbow were very good.

He then made a good point, that the Crew had won 11 of their last 15...and that 3 of the 4 losses had been in games Sheets had pitched. He said if Ben got going, they could easily win "in that division", sneering like nearly everyone does when they discuss the NL Central.

4/25/2007 12:44:00 AM

(4/25/2007 12:18:00 AM) - Al

If you were wondering why Yost allowed left-handed-hitting outfielder Gabe Gross to face lefties twice in key situations in the 12-inning victory Monday night, it was because right-handed-hitting Corey Hart was not available. Hart suffered a sprained right wrist while sliding on a stolen base Saturday night but Yost did not want the Cubs to know he couldn't swing a bat.

Yost went as far as sending Hart to the on-deck circle in the top of the 11th inning with a runner on and no outs but pulled him back after Craig Counsell flied out. Instead, reliever Carlos Villanueva batted and sacrificed the runner to second.

"Corey was a decoy," Yost said. "He could pinch run but he couldn't swing a bat. On a scale of 1 to 10 of hurting Saturday night, Corey was a 10."

Hart tested the wrist during early batting practice Tuesday and was cleared to start in right field. X-rays showed no structural damage after the injury but Hart said he couldn't turn his wrist for a couple of days.

"It's always worse the next day when you do something like that," he said....

As Yost ran out of available pitchers and players Monday night, he was preparing to make some difficult decisions. Had the Brewers not scored in the 12th on Fielder's second homer, Yost said he would have allowed reliever Derrick Turnbow to pitch only one more inning before turning to Gross. Closer Francisco Cordero was ordered not to pick up a ball after throwing 56 pitches in the previous two games.

Had Gross gone in to pitch, Yost said pitcher Dave Bush would have played right field. Gross said he hadn't been on a mound since pitching one inning in 2000 when he played for Auburn.

Bush, who noted that he has fun each day shagging balls during batting practice, said Yost told him to be ready for outfield duty.

"I didn't know what to expect, so there wasn't anything to be nervous about," Bush said.--JS

Ah, the "strategery" of a short bench and a short bullpen. Not even the TV guys knew about Hart's injury, obviously. While we're not sure who the "emergency" catcher is, we now know the emergency pitcher is Gabe Gross.

4/25/2007 12:18:00 AM

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

(4/24/2007 10:03:00 PM) - Al

Hopefully, this game ends with the Brewers on top and no serious injuries. Always a shame when they insist on finishing a game in terrible conditions. Mench looked like he might have a bum leg after his slip out in the OF.

UPDATE: The Crew hangs on without having to face the tying run.

Ned says the weather influenced his decision to send out Turnbow and Cordero, he wanted his two best guys out there in the bad weather, and they might not play tomorrow the way things look.

4/24/2007 10:03:00 PM

(4/24/2007 09:37:00 PM) - Al

The only time I ever remember anyone ever making outs on purpose was when we lived in the Cities, Chuck Knoblauch came back to Minnesota after asking to be traded the previous offseason.

UPDATE: After looking at Chuck's career, I now believe it happened in 2000, the first year Chuck played LF, not the first year after he was dealt.

After being booed and taunted mercilessly by the LF fans all night, in the 8th inning, with the Twins up, several items were thrown out of the stands. Joe Torre pulled the Yankees off the field once, and then Tom Kelly went out and spoke to Chuck, and kind of implored the fans to settle down.

Finally, Denny Hocking swung at a pitch and flied out early in the count, and the next day in the paper blasted the fans and said he had tried to get out in part to avoid a forfeit. He was rather unhappy, because Hocking had enough trouble hitting as it was.:)

4/24/2007 09:37:00 PM

(4/24/2007 09:26:00 PM) - Al

I'm surprised to see Turnbow up as per usual, I thought he would be used only in an extra inning affair. Not only has he pitched a lot, I believe he's warmed up or pitched in every game since last Wednesday (with the possible exception of the Friday loss) least.

I thought it would only be Spurling, Wise, Shouse, and Cordero, barring 10+ frames or an injury tonight. Derrick will enjoy those 48 hours off from Wednesday at 4ish until Friday night.

4/24/2007 09:26:00 PM

(4/24/2007 09:19:00 PM) - Al

The TV broadcast claims that Corey Hart was not available yesterday due to a sore wrist. If true, it makes a lot of Yost's strategy just common sense moves with a very short bench.

4/24/2007 09:19:00 PM

(4/24/2007 09:03:00 PM) - Al

Quite a storm headed toward Wrigley Field. With the Crew ahead, let it rain.

Radar pic here.

FYI, it takes about 10-15 seconds to load the radar on the map...maybe longer if you don't have a high-speed connection.

4/24/2007 09:03:00 PM

(4/24/2007 03:38:00 PM) - Al


Longtime reader here. Just wanted to tell you about a conversation I had the other day. I work in northern IL, about halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee, and most folks are Cubs fans, with a few White Sox fans, and a couple Brewers ones like me. Yesterday in the lunch room, one guy was talking about how shocked he was about Jason Marquis has been, and most everyone agreed. Then he said, "I don't know of anyone who thought Marquis wasn't done after last year." I told him you had mentioned Marquis along with Suppan as your top choices for the Brewers, and one guy said, "How did he know"?

One, I was wondering if you could give me a link to that, and two, how did you know? I was a huge fan of Suppan, and thought you were crazy for lumping them together.

Go Brewers!!!!!


Lance, I know my archives do not show up on the template, and I'm sorry about that. I'd demand my money back from Blogger, if it wasn't free.:)

I first mentioned my desire of Marquis in the postseason roundtable, near the end.

This is from another post I had, money quote:

Most of the reaction to the Ramblings' roundtable, besides the many kudos it always gets as many of the regulars favorite feature, by far, is negative thoughts about Jason Marquis. Marquis is coming off a poor year, which he finished with a 6ish ERA. That is a bit of an artificially high number, as Jason was left in 2 blowouts to eat up some innings, which he did without complaint. I seem to recall reading that his ERA was in the 5-5.25 range if you remove those two games, though I'm not certain if that is removing the entire poor outing, or just his last few innings of work.

Regardless, Marquis' two previous seasons were outstanding, 3.79 and 4.10 ERA's, and if he was coming off one of those campaigns, he'd be mentioned in the same breath as Jeff Suppan. But, memories are short, and the idea of buying at a time of low value is met with scorn; just like it's perfectly acceptable for someone to pay Soriano for what he did in 2006, not what he's done in his career. He's just 28, and has thrown at least 194 innings in the past 3 years.

UPDATE: Thanks to game log from ESPN, if you take out those two starts, two 5 inning outings in which he gave up 13 runs once and 12 in the other, his ERA would have been 5.16...quite a difference from the 6+ he ended up with. Marquis certainly looks like the sleeper of the FA SP class this offseason.

Of course, those 2 outings did count in the standings, so it really is not fair to "throw them out". However, to me, they certainly qualify as outliers, as LaRussa chose to rest his bullpen and left Marquis out there to suffer... a strategic move that's difficult to do, but sometimes is necessary for the good of the team.


I just tend to be a believer in the "one of these things is not like the others" camp. I would have probably projected Jason for a 4.50-4.80 ERA, so I don't think his early success is all that representative of his eventual success. He's an innings eater, and his 6 ERA was artificially high due to those two "save the bullpen" starts. I liked the fact he did not complain at all either, I think he's as similar to Suppan as any pitcher out there.

However, I advocated signing Jason to a 1y/$4M deal, nowhere near the 3y/$20M he ended up with, just in case he was pitching through an injury that would not leave him 100% this year.

4/24/2007 03:38:00 PM

(4/24/2007 12:35:00 PM) - Al

I have also been alerted that Kevin Mench is either married or engaged to Scott Posednik's sister. I can't say I ever heard anything about that, and of course, it is ironic that both Pods and Mench were dealt for Carlos Lee.

Actually, the idea we got Cordero and Mench for Podsednik is pretty astounding...especially when you consider the Brewers also acquired Laynce Nix, who is pretty darn close to Pods' equal.

4/24/2007 12:35:00 PM

(4/24/2007 12:33:00 PM) - Al

A reader sent me this "global warming" quiz. I got 9 of 10 correct, though I have little clue as to it's truthfulness. It is written well though, and it's sense of apathy is pretty much the same as mine.

4/24/2007 12:33:00 PM

Monday, April 23, 2007

(4/23/2007 11:55:00 PM) - Al

Injured White Sox outfielder Scott Podsednik was expected to attend Monday's Brewers-Cubs game. Podsednik is the brother-in-law of Brewers outfielder Kevin Mench.--Adam M

That's a new one. Pods is married to former Playboy model Lisa Dergen, so I can only figure Mench must have married her sister.

4/23/2007 11:55:00 PM

(4/23/2007 11:49:00 PM) - Al

Derrick Turnbow pitched a scoreless 12th with a one-run lead to pick up his first save of the year on Monday.

Francisco Cordero had worked four of the previous five days, so the Brewers didn't want to use him tonight. Turnbow has a 1.80 ERA and a 17/4 K/BB ratio in 10 innings this season. He shouldn't be needed as a closer this year, but it looks like the Brewers were smart to keep him rather than sell low.--Rotoworld

In Doug we trust. Derrick was so bad in the 2nd half, he had no value at all. Suddenly, he's pitching so well, he's too valuable to even consider trading. It's like Irony 101.

4/23/2007 11:49:00 PM

(4/23/2007 11:46:00 PM) - Al

Scott Eyre gave up two runs in two-thirds of an inning Monday to blow the Cubs' two-run lead against the Brewers.

Eyre is so awful right now that Brewers manager Ned Yost refused to pinch-hit for left-handed hitters Gabe Gross and Craig Counsell just because he knew that Eyre would be replaced if he did.--Rotoworld

Maybe with luck, Eyre will be available at the deadline, well after righting himself, of course. I was not aware of his struggles this year to be honest.

4/23/2007 11:46:00 PM

(4/23/2007 11:43:00 PM) - Robert R.

I concur, a heck of a game tonight. And it was a particularly good effort by Villanueva. Given that they were basically down to Turnbow, who really can't be expected to go more than an inning effectively, it was Villanueva's game to win or lose.

It really wouldn't surprise me if someone fresh comes up from Nashville to supplement the bullpen. It might even be that Villanueva is the best choice to send to Nashville at the moment since he's likely unavailable for awhile and he has options.

4/23/2007 11:43:00 PM

(4/23/2007 11:26:00 PM) - Al

If FSN airs "Brewers Classics" next offseason, I fully expect this just completed game to be shown again. It seemed like the Crew was fighting uphill all night (probably because they were), and in nearly every respect, it always seemed like they had terrible luck, from Estrada getting hurt leaving the bench short, to the bullpen being short because of Cordero's heavy workload of late (and the Estrada/Fielder bunt misplay forced Yost's hand and he had to use 3 pitchers to get 3 outs to keep the Cubs close in the 7th).

Maybe it all balanced out in the end, as Turnbow's final called strike looked to be several inches off the plate. The funny thing is, when you're going good, things work out, as it seemed like nearly all of Yost's moves were good in hindsight. I would most question his lack of a double switch in the final inning, meaning Turnbow would have hit 4th in the 13th had the Cubs tied it. Maybe he had some sort of master plan, regardless, it worked.

As for tomorrow, I think it's safe to say Villy will be off (until Friday, I imagine), as will Dessens, while Turnbow has either pitched or warmed up in about a half-dozen games in a row, so he may be a question mark as well. That said, considering this was almost chalked up in the L column, the Brewers are playing with the house's money, tomorrow especially.

Estrada will also probably be held out until at least Friday, barring an injury to Damian.

4/23/2007 11:26:00 PM

(4/23/2007 08:54:00 PM) - Al

Ryan Braun with a double, HR, and SB tonight at Nashville.

Pinella with a quick hook for his ace. I'm happy to see anyone else on the mound myself.

I'm a bit torn on PHing for Gross, I never believe in PHing this early (in the 6th), but with Mench and Hart on the bench, it would seem a good spot to use one of them. Gabe did have a nice PA though.

{If he would have, and then used a PH for Dessens, he'd have been down to Miller and one other player (I assume Graffy) on his bench in the 6th. Nice no move.}

4/23/2007 08:54:00 PM

(4/23/2007 08:26:00 PM) - Al

I would not be PH for Vargas in the 5th unless his pitch count is way up there...though it might well be, he's been all over the place.

UPDATE: 68, so this may be one of the very few moves I have disagreed with Ned thus far...though with the roles he has set up, it's tough to find much fault.

Gwynn with an PH single to drive in a run...I suppose it's possible Claudio could have done that, but I'll say thus far, it's Ned 1, Al 0.:)

4/23/2007 08:26:00 PM

(4/23/2007 07:59:00 PM) - Al


Vargas pitching about as bad a game as any established major leaguer can. Getting behind every batter, and getting far too much of the plate with almost every strike. If you're going to throw it down the middle, do it 0-0, not 2-1 or 3-1.

UPDATE: It's so bad, it's like watching Ben Hendrickson pitch. Nibble, nibble, nibble, boom.

Down 4 with Zambrano pitching, it's not punt time yet, but it's also not the time to overreact to the performance. Hopefully, Ned will give Claudio a chance to get through 5 or 6, as I'd hate to blow out the bullpen in a game that the Crew probably has about a 5-10% chance of winning.

JJ with a homer as I type, maybe Carlos will let the Brewers back in the game.

4/23/2007 07:59:00 PM

(4/23/2007 05:22:00 PM) - Al

SI article on platoons, and it correctly states the Jenkins/Mench version is one of the best in the sport.

4/23/2007 05:22:00 PM

(4/23/2007 11:49:00 AM) - Al

It will be interesting to see if Gross or Gwynn pick up a start tonight, as with the 2 lefties scheduled to go tomorrow and Wednesday, the OF will all but surely be Mench/Hall/Hart those 2 days.

4/23/2007 11:49:00 AM

Sunday, April 22, 2007

(4/22/2007 09:53:00 PM) - Al

By the way, since it never gets old to rip on complete know nothings who pass themselves off as experts because they can.

Money quote:

I've seen enough of Dave Bush in the Brewers starting rotation and Rickie Weeks either needs to figure out the leadoff spot or the Brewers have to find somebody else.

Not to nitpick, because those two statements just about would put anyone in a padded room on merit alone, but what exactly does a leadoff hitter do that the #2, #3, #4, or any other hitter doesn't? The other night, Hart bunted his way on, stole two bases, and scored on a sac fly...does that make him a leadoff hitter, or just a talented player?

Maybe soon Scott can enlighten us about how Doug Melvin needs to do a better job rebuilding the team from the oblivion he inherited from a braintrust whose ideas were as shortsighted and ridiculous as...his own.

4/22/2007 09:53:00 PM

(4/22/2007 08:17:00 PM) - Al

I'm not sure how many of these games we'll hang onto, but it's always good to win a coin flip. Thoughts...

...Is it me, or is that the 2nd ball Hall has hit into the picnic area in this young season?

...Remember about 2 or 3 days ago, when the latest "crisis" was whether or not Hall would be OK in CF? Heh.

...That lineup of pitchers the Crew faces in the next few days is brutal; Zambrano, Hill, and Lilly in Chicago and Oswalt in Houston on Friday. That said, the Brewers' staff isn't so bad either, and the offense is near the top of the league.

...At this moment, the Brewers have scored 90 runs and given up 87, so if you go by the numbers, they should be 9-9. Without going into too much detail, this early season good fortune looks to a direct result of the Turnbow/Cordero success thus far. You can choose to take this as a skilled bullpen, but I see it moreso as good luck and the fact we're a bloop hit or two from our real record being equal to our expected mark. The good part of this, however, is no one can take away that pair of wins that we probably should not have.

...Ned playing his cards tight to his vest, not willing to say after the game if Cordero would be available for the game tomorrow evening. I would assume not, though he does have the advantage of today's outing ending about 3:45PM, and tomorrow is a night game, giving him about 6 extra hours of rest. However, being that it's 10% of the way into the season, I would think they'd err on the side of caution, especially given that the other six relievers should be rested and ready to go.

...Mench and Graffy must be giddy at the amount of LH SP the Crew has seen so far, with 2 more upcoming in the Cubs' series.

...Note that with the Brewers winning, barely anyone even thinks about bringing up Ryan Braun, even though neither Counsell or Graffy are hitting much. My best guess was May 23rd, and I feel that's a still a fine estimate, barring an injury prior to that, of course. The one thing I have noticed is just how rarely the 3B fields a ground ball. It's one thing to say the average 3B has 1.8 chances per game, but it's another thing to see just how rarely Craig and Tony's steady glove are utilized. I have little doubt Ned will almost always use a defensive replacement in the 7th, 8th, or 9th for Ryan, at least for much of this year, so that takes it down to what, about 1.4 chances per game?

4/22/2007 08:17:00 PM

(4/22/2007 02:18:00 PM) - Al

Bush has been very impressive thus far, and the Brewers have just got enough off Oswalt. Let's hope it continues that way.

4/22/2007 02:18:00 PM

(4/22/2007 10:45:00 AM) - Al

This is how TB defensed Travis Hafner last, there isn't anyone on the left side of the IF.

Hat tip to Dave Pinto.

4/22/2007 10:45:00 AM

Saturday, April 21, 2007

(4/21/2007 10:24:00 PM) - Al

Another sellout tonight, by the way, 41.2K, jeepers. That's great to see, especially in April. Looks like plenty of seats available for tomorrow's game, but with the temp in the 80's, I would expect another nice walkup. Hopefully, more than 30K will watch the game in near picture perfect conditions.

4/21/2007 10:24:00 PM

(4/21/2007 09:41:00 PM) - Al

I went upstairs tonight as my back was bothering me. I would say the Crew was fortunate to hang on, as they gave the Astros so many free baserunners, one base hit could have turned the game in their favor. Ned probably tried to get one too many frames out of Cappy, but I understand why. Turnbow and Cordero, while not perfect, just continue to get the job done.

After the game, the Brewers sent Aquino down to Nashville and recalled Chris Spurling. I was surprised by this at first, but then I remembered that Spurling has an "opt-out" clause in his contract, which would allow him to be a free agent if not in the big leagues by a certain date...probably 5/1, 5/15, or 6/1. He's unlikely to be with the team long-term, but he's a capable middle reliever, having a 4.20 career ERA in almost 200 major league innings. Moreover, this now gives Nashville three guys, Aquino, Capellan, and Sarfate, who throw 93+ and have plus breaking balls, my goodness, the scouts are going to be wondering how good the Crew's bullpen is to have all of them at AAA.:)

I feel for Greg, who pitched very well until his last two outings, but one has to remember that for the most part, life in the bullpen is one long small sample, pardon the oxymoron. Even if a reliever is very good in all but a game or two, a 5 run outing in a third of an inning can skew your numbers for an entire campaign. But, he should be fine once he gets a couple innings every 3 days or so, which can easily be done at Nashville. I believe strongly that of the group I just mentioned above, 2 of them, as well as Yo Gallardo, will all contribute at some point this season in the bigs. As I said, I doubt if Spurling is still with the club in 60 days, but I'd be happy to be wrong.

4/21/2007 09:41:00 PM

(4/21/2007 06:15:00 PM) - Al

Brian says the roof is indeed open at the start of tonight's game.

What kind of tiny strike zone does the home plate ump have tonight? And what's with the moving of the right arm on nearly every pitch?

"Erstad has to be in the lineup," Guillen said.

Ozzie said that with Darin hitting .169, and hasn't had a decent campaign since 2000. Heh. I would estimate the Brewers have a minimum of 5 guys that would be better choices than Erstad, 6 if Drew Anderson is able to play CF.

Capuano has pitched a strange game this evening, choosing to give several RH power bats nothing to hit and hoping they swing at balls outside the zone...and if they don't, he's been OK with walking them. Never one to be critical of something that works, good for him. I'm sure his pitch count is rather high though.

UPDATE: Cappy has thrown 80 through 5.

JJ is swinging an ARod style hot bat. I still think his swing is odd, but needless to say, if it ain't broke...

4/21/2007 06:15:00 PM

(4/21/2007 03:46:00 PM) - Al

With the beautiful weather today, looks like the Crew will draw close to 40K again, as a good size walkup seems likely. It's 73 and sunny here in the Wausau area, a perfect night for a game.

Not sure if they will have the roof open or not, I suppose it depends on how quickly the temp is due to cool off.

UPDATE: With a 49 degree low, if the roof is open early, it won't be late. However, expect the roof to be open all day tomorrow, with temps in the upper 70's forecast.

4/21/2007 03:46:00 PM

(4/21/2007 02:04:00 PM) - Al

New Jersey just finished playing in Toronto, and the player interviewed afterwards stated that they going back home between games (they play again Tuesday night). That makes perfect sense to me, but I don't think I've ever heard it being done.

4/21/2007 02:04:00 PM

Friday, April 20, 2007

(4/20/2007 11:57:00 PM) - Al

Jose Capellan is back in AAA, and got the save tonight. If Aquino continues to struggle, I would still assume he'd get the call, as his ERA is can't do much better than that.:)

4/20/2007 11:57:00 PM

(4/20/2007 11:49:00 PM) - Al

I went upstairs tonight in the 8th inning to let the dog out and eat my late meal. I'm still shocked that Biggio's ball left the park, I felt it was a fly ball of medium length. Aquino seems to be in a bit of a funk, his fastball is all over the place, and his breaking ball often gets a lot of the plate. Over 41K, a tremendous April crowd. I was surprised to see Gross hit for Mench, as hot as Kevin has been, but Gabe did have a nice AB. Can't win 'em all though.

4/20/2007 11:49:00 PM

(4/20/2007 08:43:00 PM) - Al

Found this on a message board tonight, a few "myths" do not stand up to the facts.

4/20/2007 08:43:00 PM

(4/20/2007 07:41:00 PM) - Al

I'm sorry, where are all those people who told me that the market was beginning a 10-15% correction a few weeks ago?

I admit, I actually took some profit today in my rather meager portfolio. Talk all you want about this and that, but the last time I checked, stocks are really just companies, and earnings are about 80-85% at expectations or better. That's far, far from a bear market.

4/20/2007 07:41:00 PM

(4/20/2007 07:11:00 PM) - Al

Hate to see Ben walk Biggio to lead off the game. Craig is just a shadow of his former self, and Ben rarely walks anyone. That adds up to trouble.

The 3-2 strike wasn't as good a pitch as the 2-2 ball to Ensberg.

Not sure if that was the first attempted steal of the '07 campaign against the Brewers, but there sure haven't been many. That's two in the first inning though.

I think it's very foolish that some fans booed Lee, but I'm even more glad Carlos turned down the 4y/$50Mish offer. Not only am I glad they have Cordero and Mench instead, I have to wonder if they'd have gone after Suppan as aggressively with that extra money spent.

I'm not sure how Albers will do tonight, but he's only going to last about 4 innings even if he pitches well having these long PA's. Estrada jumps on the first pitch and drills it, but too close to the RF.

Brewers hit Albers hard, but fail to score in the 2nd.

The members of management doing employee tasks today is not just a good idea, it's a must. McDonalds has been doing this for decades, and if you'll notice, they are an efficiency machine. One of my former employers always asked for an honest critique of the past season after it was complete, so the first year I was there, I always sent them in...and always got in trouble for my honesty. I'd get a call from my merchandising guy, from my district manager, and so on, all telling me corporate was abuzz because I dared to say someone goofed or no one was able to fix my problem when I called and left messages (I still smile when I recall that they set up a "merchandising hotline" to handle questions and such. Once in a while you'd get a "I don't know" response, but usually, it was like calling the wind. I saw the writing on the wall and left about a year before they declared bankruptcy...and I'm sure they went down to their filing still denying they had any any problems a lowly store person could find.

4/20/2007 07:11:00 PM

(4/20/2007 06:49:00 PM) - Al

Looks like a big crowd tonight, the best larger amount of seats together in MP is WAY down the RF line in the terrace box (section 405 for those of you with a pocket schedule handy).

4/20/2007 06:49:00 PM

(4/20/2007 12:26:00 PM) - Al

In Adam's notes column, he tells of a device Sheets uses when he feels dizzy or lightheaded.. First we've heard of that.

Squeeze Play goes by so fast on FSN, people insist they aren't showing all the outs. Message boards this AM insisted they did not show all of the inning Carlos V pitched, but in that frame, PH Don Kelly was hit by a pitch, so it was actually one of the slowest moving ones. Funny.

4/20/2007 12:26:00 PM

Thursday, April 19, 2007

(4/19/2007 07:44:00 PM) - Al

We got back from Miller Park just in time to watch Squeeze Play on FSN...that moves quick. Thoughts about today's game to follow:

--You get the feeling those folks still calling for Mench to be dealt (And have Vinny Rottino platoon with Geoff? Talk about not thinking an idea through.) may finally be seeing the error of their ways. Depth is a wonderful thing, and for once, it's nice to know we have it on our side. By the way, with Hart dropping one fly ball and Hall being removed for Gwynn in the 9th the past two nights, it's the LF platoon who has been the defensive strength in the OF thus far.

--I don't think anyone hits the ball harder than Rickie Weeks. I don't think anyone runs the bases any faster either, for that matter.

--I rarely mention individual stats this early, because of the small sample factor, and Bill Hall seems a fine example of this. It seems like yesterday he was hitting about .170, and suddenly, he's back up to .270/.350/.500...gee, who woulda thought a player would regress back to his career norms?:)

--Ditto for Hart, who was below the Uecker line as well, now up near .300 with a good couple games.

--Nice to see Adam LaRoche leave town still down by .100, he has such a lovely swing, he won't be there for long. He took a walk or two today, so he's probably seeing the ball better.

--Brad Eldred PHing in the 9th? Oof. Not sure if PIT was out of players or what, but that was a strange thing to see. He didn't have any better chance against Cordero than I would.

--Turnbow did not get hit hard today, but his two walks hurt him. Especially up by 4, that's tough to give up. Luckily for him, the team was up that many instead of the 1-2 run leads he's usually entrusted with.

4/19/2007 07:44:00 PM

(4/19/2007 09:28:00 AM) - Al

I've suggested an hour long edited version of all games before, but I suppose 30 minutes is a good first step. In an hour, you can get every pitch in, while this version will just show "the pitch of decision". Still, FSN seems to be improving quickly, just like the Mark A led Brewers. Not sure if they were told to "shape up", after all, they have the Crew through '12 no matter how poorly they perform, but with their added pre-game and post-game shows, not to mention Brian Anderson treating each game like a professional rather than a carnival:


Daron Sutton: It may just be early April Rock, but I think this game's a must-win!

Bill: Absolutely.

Daron: You just cannot afford to lose a game after leading 1-0!

Bill: Nope.


Brian: The Brewers take a 1-0 lead into the 4th inning. Jeff Suppan has pitched well today, and looks to be continuing the fine pitching the rotation has provided thus far.

Bill: Absolutely.

Brian: Suppan has thrown 41 pitches, 29 for strikes. With the help of Corey Hart's nice catch of a deep fly ball, he's only faced one over the minimum.

Bill: Yep.

Last night on Sportscenter, the poor guy could barely be heard as he described a Diamondbacks' base hit, because Daron was screaming like it was an October Game 7. Artificial enthusiasm...have no use for it. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

4/19/2007 09:28:00 AM

(4/19/2007 09:17:00 AM) - Al

Rick Braun of the JS had a chat yesterday. As I have stated before, I never fail to be surprised at the amount of people unhappy we have so much depth, both in the big leagues and at AAA. It's like they've already completely forgotten about the injuries the team suffered in '06.

Felix Hernandez suffered an inevitable injury last night as well. Of all the pitchers who have debuted at a young age, Bert Blyleven and Nolan Ryan remain the only ones who have had long, healthy careers. That alone should have Yo Gallardo on very strict pitch counts all of '07. Pitchers get hurt enough without tempting fate.

4/19/2007 09:17:00 AM

(4/19/2007 12:44:00 AM) - Al

I have little to say about the tragic events at Virginia Tech, but allow me to say that trying to pin the blame on officials for not "locking down" the 26K student campus borders on would have taken a military batallion to do so...and certainly could not have been accomplished in a couple hours. UW-Eau Claire had about one-third the students when I attended there in the early 90's, and it was spread out over miles, some on top of the hill, some below, and some across the river. I'm sure VT spreads out for miles.

What often happens in cases like this is that many feel the need to blame someone, because they cannot stand to consider the possibility that randomness and good/bad luck determine whether or not innocent people live and die. Goodness, 5.5 years later Rosie still dishes out conspiracy crap that has been proven ignorant years prior...but it's a lot easier to digest oodles of Ben and Jerry's after you to convince yourself the citizens who perished were not just in the wrong place on the wrong day.

As someone told President Bush, "My child was just sitting in class". I don't know a thing about Virgina Tech; heck, I don't even know what a Hokie is, but I do know sometimes, you can't defeat evil. I wish we could, I really do, but one of the prices we pay for freedom is a bad guy can do a lot of damage.

4/19/2007 12:44:00 AM

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

(4/18/2007 11:45:00 PM) - Al

Pity to see Jose Capellan not thinking straight...the quickest way back to the big leagues is by continuing to pitch well in Nashville. Of course, if he keeps pitching lights out, he'll be the first pitcher brought back...I think it's safe to say the Crew is well beyond making a statement, they are only after wins.

As for the game this evening, luckily for the Brewers, Mench and Hall are both seeing the ball extremely well. They almost always do versus LHP's, and they kept on doing so tonight. Hart also pitched in with 3 hits, but they were not of the ultra impressive variety like his OF mates.

Both Damian and Bill made errors, I am not sure what happened on Miller's, it looked like he just missed the throw from Vargas. The JS discussed that Hall has been "flipping the ball to himself", and it's safe to say it has not been working.

Bit of a strange move tonight having Gwynn PH rather than Jenkins or Gross...especially in an RBI situation. The only thing I can think of is Ned knew he wanted to put Tony in for defense, and did not want to use the others in case it went into extra innings. I thought Junior might bunt, but after the swing and a miss didn't feel he would.

Those expecting Claudio Vargas to pitch poorly are wondering what's going is astounding how well he has pitched thus far. While I wish it would last all season, I doubt it...but there's no doubt in my mind he's the best #5 SP in the game, as I've said since Suppan signed. You can never have too much talent, and the calls to trade depth, be it OF's or SP's, was a classic case of people simply not used to having a deep team.

I thought it was very strange how long the Pirates left Maholm in the game, basically leaving him in there until he failed, which always eventually happens. He pitched nicely after the 1st. Ronny Paulino has one of the longest swings I've ever seen, except of course for Andy Marte.

4/18/2007 11:45:00 PM

(4/18/2007 09:22:00 AM) - Al

Looks like plenty of good seats available for the pair of games versus the Pirates, as I'm sure this midweek affair has been a bit of a head shaker for the ticket and promo department since it was announced...there's not a team that is going to draw much less than Pittsburgh, it's an April weekday series, and so on. This is exactly when I would use the a "$10 for any seat promo" next year, or something like that.

Or, they might just promote the 5 County Night a bit heavier. It's an outstanding promotion (half off all tickets, from $5-85), but it seems to have been forgotten, and it's also good for the weekend series against Houston, so few fans will choose the Wed/Thurs games rather than on a day off.

4/18/2007 09:22:00 AM

(4/18/2007 08:57:00 AM) - Al

So, the Crew comes home after a very respectable 4-3 trip, and has 5 games at home before a 3 game trip to Chicago.

--As I was just saying the other day, it's tough to put a big number up on the board if you have to hit your way on, and the Reds showed that to be the case last night. Aquino was rather wild, and then gave Valentin a breaking ball right down the middle of the plate, though all those runs ended up being parsley left on the plate.

--I was a bit surprised to see Dessens used again in the 8th. Despite the fact the rotation has gone at least 5 frames in every inning, the 'pen is still looking a bit fatigued, with 8 more games until a day off. The irony here is many people were calling for a 6 man bullpen, and they are getting too much use with 7 out there. Of course, if you're going to abuse someone out there, Elmer is an excellent choice.

--Regardless of the score tonight, we'll probably see Turnbow and Cordero get an inning of work, as they are the freshest arms by far.

--I wonder if Ned would have achieved the same thing last night had he sent Gwynn up to PH in the 6th rather than Gross. Hate to see Gabe wasted in that spot, as the Reds brought in the LH and the Crew used Hart. But, it is very possible Cincy would have preferred Tony versus the RH than Corey versus the LH.

--Mench continues to drive the ball. He's really had a nice approach, and been making good contact even when he is retired. With a pair of lefties scheduled to take the mound for the Pirates, he should see the field in each game.

4/18/2007 08:57:00 AM

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

(4/17/2007 06:55:00 PM) - Al

--Typical Great American Ballpark game thus far, 3-3 in the bottom of the 2nd. Nearly every ball, even the outs, have been hit hard.

--Once again, all the casuals who said Kevin Mench was a poor defender look ridiculous, as he catches a hard hit line drive and doubles off the baserunner at 1B. He also prevented a run earlier as they held the famously fragile Junior at 3B on a single to RF. Mench is certainly never going to win a Gold Glove (he will never hit enough to do that:), but he's a very capable corner OF. So many folks doubted the depth of this group, and it has shown up immensely already, despite a lack of injuries.

--Chicks love the engineering guys...Adam writes about the survey crew who marked the spot of Hank Aaron's last HR today.

4/17/2007 06:55:00 PM

(4/17/2007 02:31:00 PM) - Al

Steve started a Brewers' blog for a class project at UWL. Like all others, it has a better name than mine and looks much nicer.

Among other things, he predicted a slump ending night for Bill Hall last night. Check him out here.

4/17/2007 02:31:00 PM

(4/17/2007 02:16:00 PM) - Al

Geez, it's just hard to keep up sometimes:

Reds designated infielder Enrique Cruz for assignment.

Considering the Crew has several open spots on their 40 man and Cruz is better than any of their AAA infielders not named Ryan Braun, we'll see if the Brewers find a spot for him.

My goodness, Cruz has been all over in his career. You can't even tell anything from his AAA numbers, as he's had so few AB's there. Still just 25 though.

4/17/2007 02:16:00 PM

(4/17/2007 02:03:00 PM) - Al

BA has Braun on top of their "hot sheet", where he will likely remain until he's in Milwaukee for good.

4/17/2007 02:03:00 PM

(4/17/2007 01:34:00 PM) - Al

Enrique Cruz batting for Cincy? He was brought up on April 13th. Glad
he got another shot at the major leagues.


The announcers said last night he was called up due to a bereavement leave. He's a middle infielder with some pop, so he'll get every chance.

4/17/2007 01:34:00 PM

(4/17/2007 11:01:00 AM) - Al

The Dow 30 is back above it's record closing high. I thought I heard the big drop was the start of a long bull market...never bet against American business my friends.

Stocks were indeed "on sale", if only I'd have been sitting on a boatload of cash then.

4/17/2007 11:01:00 AM

Monday, April 16, 2007

(4/16/2007 11:59:00 PM) - Al

The game seems like a laugher, but it was 4-3 in the 6th. Nice game overall though. Cappy continues the 5+ string, Hart and Hall each drive in some runs, and the team overcomes an error by Hardy, as well as a misplay by Weeks.

I have no proof of this, but I think Todd Coffey, the Reds' reliever, has about an 18 ERA when I have seen him pitch. I'm always giddy to hear he's coming in.

Only one walk tonight by the staff. It's all about keeping the other team off the bases, and the Crew is doing that at a fantastic pace. Only 26 walks, best in the NL, and a .300 OBP allowed thus far. As I said the other day about the 4-1 K/BB ratio, if they keep that up the whole year, there will be baseball in Miller Park in October.

The Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals, who were rained out Friday, announced that they would make up that game as part of a day-night doubleheader on July 28.

Geez, who woulda guessed that?:)

Already a successful road trip, but I certainly have no trouble with greed. Let's hope Bush can keep the solid pitching going.

4/16/2007 11:59:00 PM

(4/16/2007 12:57:00 PM) - Al

The Marlins are among the teams that have expressed interest in right-handed reliever Jose Capellan. A deal is doubtful because the Brewers want "something big in return," according to a source who has spoken to both clubs.

Capellan requested a trade when the Brewers demoted him in their final round of spring training cuts. A former prospect in the Braves' system before heading north in the December 2004 Dan Kolb deal, Capellan spent all of 2006 in the majors, going 4-2 with a 4.40 ERA, 16 holds, 31 walks and 58 strikeouts in 712/3 innings.

He would make the prorated share of $400,500 this season and isn't eligible for arbitration until after 2008.

I don't know what "something big" means, but we are talking about a cheap and decent middle reliever who throws 92-95 and has a closer ceiling. That alone is "something big" to me, as he'd be an upgrade for almost any MLB team and affordable as well. I still lean heavily toward keeping him, and I wouldn't even think of making any calls, rather just listen to offers and counter them.

4/16/2007 12:57:00 PM

Sunday, April 15, 2007

(4/15/2007 09:04:00 PM) - Al

Not much to say about the game today, as it was one of those they really had no chance at regardless. Sheets didn't have his good stuff, and has yet to control his breaking ball. But, as long as he's healthy, I'll take my chances with him. Nothing wrong with a 3-2 trip so far, and the team is still healthy, and the AAA team has replacements ready.

Add all that up, it's tough to be discouraged.

4/15/2007 09:04:00 PM

(4/15/2007 09:01:00 PM) - Al

Grindhouse falls to 10th and Teen Hunger something or other finishes 13th.

Maybe the public does indeed have good taste.:)

4/15/2007 09:01:00 PM

Saturday, April 14, 2007

(4/14/2007 09:38:00 PM) - Al

My wife and I watched The Pursuit of Happyness last night after the Brewers' game was rained out. I had been looking forward to seeing it since it came out, and while a good film, was not nearly as funny as I thought it would be.

If you do not know the story of Chris Gardner, you can find a good summary here. Darden's story pretty much is an example of how almost anyone that works hard and has their health can rise from nothing and be a success. Many folks succeed despite many strikes against them. It was also refreshing to see a single dad as a positive role model, while the mom decided the when the going got tough, the tough move out of state.

4/14/2007 09:38:00 PM

(4/14/2007 09:13:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers win a 3-2 LaRussa length game in the cold, windy Gateway city.

Suppan continues the thus far season long string of 5+ inning starts, and the bullpen is near perfect once again. One walk for the Brewers' staff and 9 K's, continuing another pattern, the Crew has almost a 4-1 K/BB ratio...another one of those stats that if it would continue, I can all but promise you October baseball. I can only recall one big inning against the Crew, and that was Bush's 6 run 1st.

{By the way, did Bill Scott say he'd seen enough of Dave after his last start? Just curious.}

The lack of crooked numbers versus the staff is a direct correlation to the lack of walks and also the lack of errors...if you make the other team hit their way on, those 3 outs come pretty quickly. It's tough to get 6-7 hits before a trifecta are retired.

4/14/2007 09:13:00 PM

(4/14/2007 08:31:00 PM) - Al

Chicago will be the US city bidding for the 2016 Summer Olympics...Milwaukee and Miller Park may well host some events if they do eventually win.

4/14/2007 08:31:00 PM

(4/14/2007 08:19:00 PM) - Al

Note this minor league box score, and check out the night Ryan Braun is having.

3 home runs...thus far.

4/14/2007 08:19:00 PM

(4/14/2007 07:53:00 PM) - Al

So this afternoon, when I should have been watching the Brewers, instead I let Ronnie out and settled in to watch the 3rd set of the women's tennis match that was on. Ronnie always lets us know when he's ready to come in by jumping on the patio door, so we didn't think anything of it when he stayed out a bit. The phone rang, and all of a sudden my wife says, "Where's Ronnie?", and she was repeating the address he was at. Thankfully, his collar with his tag on it had stayed on, but somehow his chain had failed to hang onto the collar. So, my son and I drove over to get him, as he had gone across our cul-de-sac and followed the backyards until he got to another canine to play with. They had put him on their dog's leash outside, as they apparently trusted their pal not to run away far more than ours.

We often joke when we go to the rural homes of my brother or my wife's parents that if we'd drop the leash, we'd never see him again. I think that's more true than ever.

4/14/2007 07:53:00 PM

(4/14/2007 07:43:00 PM) - Al

I'm 63 pounds lighter than I was 14 weeks ago, by the way. I'm not sure if the pounds are just coming off slower now or if I'm in a plateau of sorts. But, I guess you can't expect it to continue falling off at the pace it was.

Still working out a bunch though, and still limiting my intake to between 1000-1500 calories, with hardly any sugar, and no rice, pasta, or potatoes. I think one of these weeks, I might break through and shed a good amount, but until then, I guess we'll stay in the right hand lane.

4/14/2007 07:43:00 PM

(4/14/2007 07:27:00 PM) - Al

After I dropped my brother off in Portage the other day after our foray to Miller Park, I listened to WTSO out of Madison until I stopped at one of the dozens of Subways along I39 for a light supper. I rarely listen to talk radio, especially sports talk radio, because it's painfully obvious most of the "personalities" know little about what they discuss, and are there more to "stir the pot" than wow us with their research and knowledge. Most of the discussion focused on whether the Bucks should refund some of the season ticket holders money, and they actually were arguing whether or not guys like Bogut and Redd should be playing despite being less than 100%.

I feel stupider just for listening.

4/14/2007 07:27:00 PM

(4/14/2007 07:21:00 PM) - Al

Box score from the Indians' game today indicates only 18K were at the Jake today.

1. Didn't they sell out every game for several years in a row? That's less than half a house full.

2. And yes, it is less than one of the games in Milwaukee...the same ones many Clevelanders said would draw 500 a game.

I guess they shouldn't play any games there the second weekend of the season either.:)

4/14/2007 07:21:00 PM

(4/14/2007 01:03:00 PM) - Al

Ned shifts Cappy to Monday because of Cincy's LH power.

No word on when the game will be made up. I believe both teams have an open date on Monday, 7/30, but then the teams would play 4 weeks in a row without a day off. My guess would be a split DH on 7/28.

4/14/2007 01:03:00 PM

Friday, April 13, 2007

(4/13/2007 09:41:00 PM) - Al

Pitching staff rearranged, and I admit, I'm a bit puzzled as to the Capuano/Suppan change. Maybe Ned will explain it later.

4/13/2007 09:41:00 PM

(4/13/2007 06:53:00 PM) - Al

Before I begin my live weblog of the Cards/Crew, allow me to record this little statement by my 4 year-old, who decided to take a shower tonight rather than a bath. So, I turned on the water and checked it by putting my hand under the flow, as per usual, and told him it was OK. He then did the same, and said:

Daddy, can you put your hand under the water again and make it a little warmer?

I can only wish.

--I saw the lineups and Hall is not in there again. Yost is not very forthcoming about injuries, but I think Bill might be a little nicked up, especially considering there was a day off yesterday.

On that note, Ned said on the pre-game Billy is not swinging the bat well, so Gross will play again tonight. However, if Bill does have a slight tweak or a minor injury, they'd be smart not to mention it.

--Not only do they postpone tonight's game, they move tomorrow's game to 6PM, and take away the TV option. Oof. Allow me to shake my head at St. Louis spending millions of dollars on a brand new stadium and not having the intelligence to put on a retractable roof.

4/13/2007 06:53:00 PM

(4/13/2007 01:09:00 PM) - Al

Don Walker says the Twins and Brewers ratings may have been higher than previously reported, due to a Nielsen glitch.

The original story from the Star Tribune is here.

4/13/2007 01:09:00 PM

(4/13/2007 12:24:00 PM) - Al

On the local news at 12, there's a positive story about HGH, telling that many older people are now taking it to combat fatigue and pain. It is prescribed to many older folks by their doctor and also readily available on the internet through out of country pharmacies.

I don't know a whole lot about various supplements, but I do know that sometimes steroids and HGH are not "bad", they are helpful for use in medical situations. I can certainly understand why they are not allowed in MLB, but they are not a magical solution. I would compare them to the "mega protein powder" they sell in the same aisle as I pick up my vitamins and weight loss shakes I use when we travel. Almost every time I am in there, some young man (any man 10 years or more younger than me) will come in and quickly scoop up a can, which is usually huge, about a foot tall. The average size of these fellas is 6-3, 150. I'm sure they help you build muscle, but you still need to lift weights and work out for a couple hours a day. You can take all the steroids you want, then sit and eat bon-bons watching Oprah, it's not going to do a thing for you.

4/13/2007 12:24:00 PM

Thursday, April 12, 2007

(4/12/2007 09:38:00 PM) - Al

The Crew is 4th in the NL in both runs scored and in OBP. That is not a coincidence. Baserunners equals runs.

2nd in WHIP, and 2nd in BB allowed, 19 in 9 games.

If those two things continue (small sample alert), it's going to be a very successful season.

4/12/2007 09:38:00 PM

(4/12/2007 08:37:00 PM) - Al

I'm a bit sore from sitting all day, so I'll make this brief. I loved the $10 seats right behind home plate, and the fact a foul ball glanced off my left ring finger and pinkie is cool even though I didn't end up with it. My brother said he would have caught it in his glove if I had not gone for it. I did not take my glove because the net was in front of us, but if I had, I'd be holding a Garrett Anderson ball right now. My range was always a weakness, but if it hit my glove, it was an out.

Allow me to say those balls gain a lot of speed on the way down. They are not soft either.

4/12/2007 08:37:00 PM

(4/12/2007 07:43:00 AM) - Al

I'm off to the Indians/Angels game today. Hopefully, the roads will be better than our cul-de-sac looks.

4/12/2007 07:43:00 AM

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

(4/11/2007 07:39:00 PM) - Al

The worst the Brewers can do is a split tonight, as they won the suspended game in 13 innings. Weeks walked and Fielder knocked him in with a single, and Cordero came in and got the save, despite Jenkins losing a fly ball in the lights that went for a double.

Bit of a strange lineup for the regular game, with Gross in CF, Mench in RF, and Miller at C. Both bill and Corey have struggled early, and Yost is utilizing his depth in the OF to give them some time off.

4/11/2007 07:39:00 PM

(4/11/2007 05:18:00 PM) - Al

I will have a brief appearance on David Pinto's Baseball Musings radio show tonight, discussing Milwaukee's open arms reception of the Angels/Indians series.

You can click on the link at Dave's site in this post.

It is on TPS radio online, and can be listened to here. It begins at 7PM Central.

UPDATE: You can listen to the archive here, I'm on a bit over the halfway mark. I was not awful, but had no idea what I was going to be asked until moments before, so I did OK. I tried to work in the simple statement "Milwaukee is a good baseball town", but failed.

4/11/2007 05:18:00 PM

(4/11/2007 12:09:00 PM) - Al

As for the Brewers' game, the Crew was hitting into bad luck all night, but were fortunate the Marlins' had not given up on Julio before now. Two very good catches, including one in the 10th I'd say was far more luck than skill, kept the Crew from winning before the rains came.

Often when this happens in the minors, teams just have their projected starter from tonight start pitching, and go as long as they can. This often leads to a pitcher getting 2 wins or 2 losses in the same night. Of course, with Dave Bush's first inning troubles, it would not be all that smart for the Brewers.

Ned has already said Aquino will pitch the 11th, unless the Crew scores in the top half, then Cordero will. Needless to say, the difference between 3-6 and 5-4 seems like a lot, even this early. Tonight's outcome is far from season deciding, but still important.

By the way, the radio was about 6 seconds ahead of the TV last night. We're watching on a tape delay whether we want to admit it or not. Jim said the pitch was outside, and I looked up and the pitcher was still looking in for the sign.

4/11/2007 12:09:00 PM

(4/11/2007 11:24:00 AM) - Al

ESPN posts a tribute to Milwaukee and the fans, with several quotes from grateful Indians' players.

I'm not sure this will stop all the jokes about Miller Park and Milwaukee (most often associated with Selig), but the fact is, MP is a stadium that would be glorified and honored if it were in Seattle or San Diego.

Here's a You Tube of the "slow motion wave" they discussed, by the way. It's actually somewhat interesting, but I still want no part of it.

4/11/2007 11:24:00 AM

(4/11/2007 08:15:00 AM) - Jason Christopherson

I just wanted to send my thanks to the fine folks in Milwaukee and vicinity for making Brewer fans look really, really good to the baseball world. Even considering the cheap tickets, I am simply stunned that 19,000+ showed up on a Tuesday night in April to watch teams we by and large aren't concerned with.

I'm proud to be a Brewer fan, and even more proud to be associated with you!

4/11/2007 08:15:00 AM

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

(4/10/2007 09:19:00 PM) - Al

To expand on Robert's point, Milwaukee has 3-4 times as many bodies in Miller Park for the Angels/Indians than Miami has for the Marlins.

19K at MP tonight, by the way.

4/10/2007 09:19:00 PM

(4/10/2007 07:52:00 PM) - Robert R.

I've been listening to the Angels/Indians game on and off on XM tonight. The sentiment from Indians's broadcasters is that while it's unfortunate that they can't play in Jacobs this has turned into a good situation and they're very impressed with the crowd that showed up. They even mentioned that Tampa would kill for a crowd like this.

So far, it looks like a very good decision by the Indians and MLB.

4/10/2007 07:52:00 PM

(4/10/2007 12:23:00 PM) - Al

The "field level" of Miller Park is sold out for tonight and tomorrow. That would seem to guarantee crowds in excess of 9K for each, and I'd rather sit in the front row of the loge anyway, more than the field OF box, where I often sit on half-price promotions. Still superb seats available!

There seems to be very little mention of the parking cost, so maybe people are just so used to paying it's no big deal, or maybe a lot of folks haven't paid attention.

I think it says a lot for Milwaukee as a baseball city, as well as the demand for $10 seats (especially $10 good seats). Maybe the Crew will run some sort of promotion similar to this next April, especially for a Monday/Tuesday two-game series. $10 seats all over the park might bring in 25-30K, and if they'd do $5 for the 4th level, it'd probably sell out. However, the Crew may make more just charging regular prices and getting 20K. That comes into play as well, obviously.

UPDATE: FYI, it appears singles and maybe some pairs are still available, but probably not for long.

4/10/2007 12:23:00 PM

(4/10/2007 09:08:00 AM) - Al

Colorado continues shopping BY Kim, but wants value in return, preferably a big-league reliever. The Rockies have kicked the tires on Milwaukee right-hander Jose Capellan.

I don't think Kim really fits into the Crew's roster, but I sure like him. I don't mind that type of deal at all, in which we'd add a quality major league arm for another, even if Jose is currently in AAA.

4/10/2007 09:08:00 AM

(4/10/2007 08:46:00 AM) - Al

I need to do some training for work today, so updates will be rather limited. However...

--Ned had a closed door meeting with the six OF's before yesterday's game and explained what he was trying to do with the playing time. I found that a bit surprising, given that they've played 7 games. With Mench hitting the ball so well, he has probably picked up a game from Hart (probably last night), but other than that, it seems to make perfect sense. As Ned pointed out, it's a nice problem to have.

--Hall dropped a ball near the wall last night, and got turned around on a ball hit over his head, but I don't think he could have caught that one regardless. I think we all knew Bill would have a few growing pains, and that's the case.

--I believe Ryan Braun is 0-10 in his past 3 games at AAA. There's little doubt he will hit AAA pitching and hit it well, but if you think about it, this might be the first time in his life he's facing pitchers that can throw a breaking ball for a strike.

--Even though he was far from dominant, Suppan still got through 6 last night. Let's hope Vargas continues the 5+ inning stretch this evening.

4/10/2007 08:46:00 AM

Monday, April 09, 2007

(4/09/2007 07:05:00 PM) - Al

Jim Powell just said the Brewers have sold "several thousand" tickets for the Indians/Angels series. Of course, that could mean 6K total, but it's still nice to hear, especially given there's no advertising at all for this.

UPDATE: ESPN is reporting about 12K tickets sold this far. Adam says the field level seats about 9K, so a reasonable goal might be to have to sell some loge seats for Tuesday and Wednesday...Thursday's tickets are crawling compared to the 2 night games.

4/09/2007 07:05:00 PM

(4/09/2007 06:51:00 PM) - Al

Jeff Suppan is having a Dave Bush like start tonight, lots of balls hit very hard. Hopefully, he will be able to right himself and at least give the team 5 innings so as not to destroy the bullpen.

4/09/2007 06:51:00 PM

(4/09/2007 04:32:00 PM) - Al

The commotion about this reminds me of the silly stuff said when I lived in the Twin Cities, and the Twins were trying to get a stadium bill passed. One suggestion, and they were serious mind you, was that the Twins should pay to expand Midway Stadium

{Money quote from the link: Let's face it: Midway Stadium is the worst ballpark in the Northern League and now the oldest.}

to about 20K seats, because that's all the Twins need. If the weather forecast called for rain, the Twins could simply announce the game would take place in the Metrodome.

This person actually thought that this was feasible. I suppose it does when your knowledge of baseball is nonexistent, but such things as seat assignments, moving 20K people across town when the rain begins to fall, the support staff, and so on makes such ideas as out of touch as saying "Of course the world's flat, otherwise, we'd fall off"!

My brother once mentioned that during the Miller Park debate, he heard or read someone say, "They should have the players pay for it", and was flabbergasted at the fact someone seriously thought this made perfect sense.

4/09/2007 04:32:00 PM

(4/09/2007 04:26:00 PM) - Al

I got tickets right behind home plate for Thursday's game at MP, $10 to sit in section 119, row 4. Incredible. I don't think I've ever sat there for an American Legion game.

I waited on hold 5 minutes, by the way. Sounds like Thursday's game is going pretty slow compared to the others.

UPDATE: "We were contacted by the Indians about the potential of moving the series to Miller Park, and we told them that we had no hesitation in accommodating their request," said Rick Schlesinger, the Brewers' executive vice president of business operations. "The retractable roof here gives us great flexibility and allows us to host events in comfort, regardless of the conditions outside."

What a beautiful plug for Miller Park wrapped up in a quote describing the events. Schlesinger is a brilliant man.

4/09/2007 04:26:00 PM

(4/09/2007 04:16:00 PM) - Al

Sept. 13-14, 2004...Due to Hurricane Ivan, U.S. Cellular Field becomes the site of the first two games of the Florida-Montreal series. It marks the first time that a National League team has hosted a regular season game in an American League park since 1946. The Marlins win both games before crowds of 4,003 and 5,457.--White Sox site

Those tickets were also $10 each, so that is probably set by MLB somewhere for just such an occasion. I cannot believe the two games in Milwaukee would draw much better, but early interest seems very high, although many of the message board regulars are more diehard MLB fans than the average Milwaukee citizen, who may not have a iota interest in attending.

4/09/2007 04:16:00 PM

(4/09/2007 02:59:00 PM) - Al

Tickets are on sale by calling the regular Brewers' ticket lines. They are not general admission, but are normal, seat assigned tiks. Supposedly, people are waiting on hold for up to an hour. I've seen reports that the box office at Miller Park has lines as well. Apparently, the $10 tiks and $8 parking is a popular deal. Many folks seem very excited about sitting between the dugouts on the field level.

Maybe my estimates were too low. Let's hope so, I guess.

4/09/2007 02:59:00 PM

(4/09/2007 02:25:00 PM) - Al

One fan on a Cleveland message board wonders why they just didn't play these 3 games in California, and move 3 games back to Cleveland from Anaheim.

Never mind, of course, that all games in Anaheim have 40K seats sold in advance. Incredible.

Hey Angels, we need you to sell tickets for games starting tomorrow...and by the way, we're taking 120K already sold seats away from you.

That's as stupid as it gets.

4/09/2007 02:25:00 PM

(4/09/2007 02:06:00 PM) - Al

According to the Times, the players' collective bargaining agreement forbids West Coast to East Coast travel without a day off. The Angels play in Boston on Friday, and the Indians would have had to fly back to Cleveland.--JS

I assume both teams would have voted to OK it, but a vote would have had to have been made withing an hour or two.

Apparently the citizens of cleveland are unhappy, but I am not sure why...the Indians knew they could not play at Jacobs Field because of the snow and weather, or at the very least, they would have been non-major league conditions.

Put a roof on, and your problems go away. This should be a lesson to all champions of open-air stadiums, especially in the Northeast and Midwest.

UPDATE: I cannot believe how blissfully unaware of the business of baseball the public is. No, you cannot play the first two weeks of the season in warm weather and domed stadiums...can you imagine the Brewers receiving their schedule and having a 12 game homestand to open up the year? How do you promote 11 games most people have no interest in seeing? In very early April? My goodness. The funny thing is, this is being bandied about by the media, who should know better.

4/09/2007 02:06:00 PM

(4/09/2007 01:36:00 PM) - Al

Adam with the story on the official site. Very disappointed in the $8 parking fee, that just seems ridiculous. That's as silly as paying a fee to park when you stop in at Miller Park to buy tickets.

EDIT: I was just thinking, why free parking for the On Deck event, which drew 22K, and an $8 charge for this, which will probably draw 3-5K per game?

I will be there Thursday, however, with probably the best seats I've ever had at MP.

I just think this should be looked at as an opportunity to basically have an open house with a game in progress. $18 for me to attend is far too high, as I can see the Crew play for $20, and have good seats out in the bleachers. I just think it'd be better to have 10K in the ballpark each paying $3-5 than 3K paying $10.

I still feel that Thursday's affair should be free, or $1, as most folks will be at work. I certainly don't blame the Brewers, as they are probably being told by MLB what to do, and I would assume MLB does not feel cheap admission is beneficial to security, for one thing.

4/09/2007 01:36:00 PM

(4/09/2007 01:04:00 PM) - Al

I'm not sure who Bill Scott is, but he's pretty clueless. Let's save this little nugget of info that says Dave Bush should not be in the rotation for later, shall we?

4/09/2007 01:04:00 PM

(4/09/2007 01:00:00 PM) - Al

Indians playing home games at Miller Park? Wow.

This might be a great chance to catch some major league baseball and dandy seats most of us usually do not partake in.

The folks who are building the open-air stadium in the Cities are as unhappy as those who pushed through Miller Park as proud.

EDIT: I think I just might go to the game Thursday, unless the tickets are a lot more than I think they will be. I'd say they just might have a set price for all seats ($5?) and/or just give them away, to avoid an empty stadium. Heck, free parking means I'm up $12 before the first pitch.:) No word on yet, but I'm sure it'll be up soon.

UPDATE 2: $10 each, and they'll only be selling 2nd level seats after field level sell out. I'd do $5 for the 2 night games and $1 for the matinee on Thursday. I don't think they'll get over 5K a game at $10 per...if memory serves, Houston had to play a makeup game last year, and they only drew 6K to see the Astros play, on short notice.

4/09/2007 01:00:00 PM

(4/09/2007 12:15:00 PM) - Al

Just some notes as I wait for ticket info for Thursday.

--Miller Park, where they play when the weather is bad elsewhere. It's an absolute jewel of the Midwest. How short-sighted are the naysayers looking these days?

--What has others noted about Rickie Weeks' defense this year? I think he's playing not to make errors, which is fine, but he appears to really be playing "slow". Remember how others said last year he just needed to "slow down"? Now he's playing very deep, and not charging the ball much. A couple times, he has only gotten the runner by a half-step or so on a slowly hit, routine grounder. The ironic thing is, if he plays 80 games like this, makes only a couple errors, we might start hearing Gold Glove talk, while in reality, his lack of aggressiveness might be costing the team outs, especially on double plays.

--Definition of irony...Counsell is hitting better in Milwaukee than Ryan Braun is at Nashville. Of course, it's meaningless over a score of PA's, but still funny.

--I do feel it will be very humorous if we have an infield including Fielder, Weeks and Braun, since I know many folks have said none of them can play where they are currently playing. I always find it troubling when people discuss moving young players down the defensive spectrum, because once you do it, you're done. There's no "going back". Corey Hart will never be a 3B again, for example. It just doesn't happen, for the most part. It's especially frustrating for me when I see people who believe in building with youth advocating these premature shifts.

--I wonder if some of the playing time decisions will continue as is...Jenkins looks to be playing versus all RHP, Mench versus all LHP. Hart is playing 2 games of every 3, with the other going to either Mench or Gross. Hall might sit once every 7-10 days. I think Prince, Rickie, and JJ will all get a day off during this road trip, I'd say it'd be nice to sit one down Wednesday and one Friday, essentially giving them a two day breather. I think Prince will get his day off versus a LHP, as it only makes sense, as it looks like Damian will start at 1B and Estrada C (or, I guess it could be Graffy).

--Ned has really done a nice job this far getting the bullpen regular work, though the rotation has not had a stretch of 6+ inning games yet, like they probably will. That said, I think they've gone 5 in every outing, even in Bush's 6 runs allowed in the 1st, he still managed 6.

4/09/2007 12:15:00 PM

(4/09/2007 09:29:00 AM) - Al

Interesting story on Bethune Cookman's baseball team on ESPN, as they are a historically black college, yet only 11 of the 30 man roster is currently African-American. They play at Jackie Robinson Field, which is where Robinson played his first pro game.

4/09/2007 09:29:00 AM

Sunday, April 08, 2007

(4/08/2007 09:28:00 PM) - Al

So, I watched the Brewers' game when I got home today. On the way over to the in-laws, I told my wife one of my favorite stories from the days we lived in the Twin Cities. Every morning, I'd listen to the KQ morning show, possibly the best morning show anywhere, and certainly the highest rated one. One of the people on it was Stretch, a former comedy writer. He told this gem about a similar situation.

So Sunday, we went over to my wife's parents. I set the VCR to tape the Timberwolves game (it was the playoffs), and figured everything would be fine. No one at my wife's family could care less about the game, the TV won't be on, everything will be fine. So, we go over there, we eat, talk, the kids play, all goes wonderfully. We go to leave, I look at the clock, and figure by the time we get home, the game will easily be over, I can sit down and watch the game just like it's live. The plan had worked perfectly. We load the kids into the car, my wife hugs her folks goodbye, they come out to wave, and as I open my car door, a loud voice comes from the neighbor's, "God d**n it, they blew another one"!!

After the laughter subdued, one of the other folks asked "Maybe he watching the Thunder on cable access."

{The Thunder are an A-league (just below the MLS, like AAA) soccer team, and yes, they were often broadcast on local cable.}

Stretch just replied, "I knew".

I still had my biking to do, so I did that as I watched the game, and I was able to get through it in about 90 minutes fast-forwarding through commercials and often between pitches (it is simply astounding how every single pitcher takes longer with runners on base) as well. Turnbow seemed to prove the old axiom about things evening out, as after a near 6-4-3 DP grounder turned into a base hit to LF, one batter later, Mike Barrett hit a ball as hard as a human being can hit a baseball, yet it was right to Jenkins near the track. Credit Damian Miller with a gutsy 3-2 breaking ball call to Daryle Ward, and Derrick threw it right down the middle.

I wonder how many viewers would have PH for Counsell? Ned even told the media he thought about it, "to get a better split", I think he said. However, that would have led to a RHP coming in anyway. I wouldn't have, though it had nothing to do with my confidence in Craig say, hitting a bases clearing triple down the RF line (that said, Craig has probably hit the ball as hard as anyone thus far). Instead, I simply believe with a 2 run lead, your defense is more important than your offense. Unless your PH is also a better defender, I don't make a move there either. No matter how well you hit the ball, it might be right at someone...which is exactly what happened with JJ Hardy, the next hitter, as he hit a rocket right at the 3B.

4/08/2007 09:28:00 PM

(4/08/2007 09:11:00 PM) - Al

Hi Al,

Just wanted to say that your blog is a good as I have seen it in years. Keep up the great work.

I have a question and comment for you. The question first...How did this weeks Brewers attendance numbers compare to previous first weeks? I know that the Cubs being in town probably generated more attendance than a normal first week but either way, the attendance seemed to be very solid.

Next the comment...The comments on Grindhouse are interesting because it appears the results for the first week are not as nearly as bad as they are being presented in this article even in light of its lower than expected results. Blades of Glory did rake in roughly 11 million more than Grindhouse but also opened in 786 more theaters. If they opened in an equal amount of theaters than BOG only brings in slightly over 17 million. Another impact on the Grindhouse results is the playing time of three and a half hours. A quick look at my local cinema center shows Grindhouse playing 9 times this weekend and Blades of Glory 18 times. (this email almost has the feeling of a baseball aspect. ha.) Anyhow, I did see Grindhouse and found it to be very entertaining. The theater was full, most likely due to its limited offering. Oh, and I believe the estimates of $70 million are high as the amounts I have seen most frequently are $53 mil.

Again, I love the blog!!!


Todd, you need more blogs if you think mine is good.:) Thanks for the kind words, however. As for the crowds, I'd say they'd likely be up about 10-12% if not for the Cubs. If this club starts on a 85-88 win pace, I feel 2.5M is a reasonable expectation.

As for Grindhouse, as much buzz and marketing as this movie got, $11M behind a second week flick has to be disappointing. These "types" of movies tend to drop dramatically in their 2nd week out, as they tend to have a limited audience, and the folks who are fans race out to see it. The article I linked to talks about the budget, and says the low $50's number is a bit of fib.

4/08/2007 09:11:00 PM

(4/08/2007 08:22:00 AM) - Al

Enjoy your Easter, I'll be away from the computer much of the day.

I had to comment on the results of this film. To be blunt, this is as far away from my type of movie as you can get, but I find it very ironic they made a movie that is supposed to be a tribute to cheap drive-in like flicks of the early 70's and then let the directors spend almost $70M to imitate a B movie. Let's be honest, no one remembers these movies unless you're over 40, and no one over 40 would be caught dead going to this movie. That's an odd combination, and not an effective one, apparently.

4/08/2007 08:22:00 AM

Saturday, April 07, 2007

(4/07/2007 01:35:00 PM) - Al


Just looking at various Brewers' sites as I watch the game today (my first, I had to work last night, and I live in Oregon) on WGN. I was looking at the old Power 50's at and saw that the December after he was drafted, they had Ryan Braun as the #10 prospect, below such players as Dave Krynzel and Ben Hendrickson. Any idea why he would have ever been ranked that low? I know his fielding still isn't good, but 10th in the system? Also, when do you think he'll be up, figuring he hits well and fields ok?


You have to remember the Power 50 is one man's opinion. Braun has always been ranked low on it because of his fielding and a supposed "hitch in his swing", which if he has one, I wish he'd teach others.:) I also think that particular list is weighted by level far too much, by which I mean a good player at AAA will often outrank a great player at A ball, which defeats the purpose to me, but so be it. Baseball America goes the other way, using solely "tools", never mind if they can hit or throw strikes. I actually did not know the archives were saved, but I found out they were as I looked up the link. That said, it's a crapshoot, just like the amateur draft, to guess a young player's eventual level of success. That's why the Giants gave us Carlos V for Wayne Franklin.

Braun, however, as a high 1st round pick, has pretty much always projected as a starter (though maybe as an OF), while Dave has not, at least to me, maybe as a platoon guy back before he proved beyond a shadow of a doubt he can't hit at AAA, never mind the bigs. If Dave was a SS, I could defend it a lot better. Who knows, maybe in a decade, we'll be laughing that I thought Braun would have a better career than Krynzel?

Braun will be up by midseason.

4/07/2007 01:35:00 PM

These are the good old days. Some folks are just too busy wishing the streets were paved with gold to enjoy the good times.

Whatever strikes me as interesting, and serious Milwaukee Brewers thoughts. If you are a believer in respecting OBP, throwing strikes, and keeping the ball in the park, you may have found the place you've been searching for. I believe in low taxes, small government, and am not afraid to be labeled patriotic. If you are interested in sausage race results, walk up music, or professional wrestling, you may wish to click elsewhere.

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