Al's Ramblings



Saturday, June 30, 2007

(6/30/2007 08:48:00 PM) - Al

Kenny Lofton went 4-for-4 and had his fourth career four-steal game Friday against the Red Sox.

Lofton hadn't swiped a base since May 25 -- also against Boston -- before running against Tim Wakefield three times tonight. He also stole second off Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth after a controversial two-out infield single. The four steals moved him past George Davis into 16th place on the all-time list, one behind Otis Nixon. At 619, he has 100 steals more than any other active player. Barry Bonds is next at 514.


Picking up Lofton and Otsuka from the Rangers would be a nearly perfect move by Doug, though I do not know what TEX would demand in return. I'm sure they would have some use for some of our excess 11th/12th men, either Spurling, Capellan, or the plethora of those types at AAA (Grant Balfour is having a stellar campaign). Tony Gwynn Jr. would probably be involved, or Gabe Gross. That said, quantity does not equal quality. TEX would probably ask for a true prospect, and deservedly so, as Otsuna may be the best reliever on the market in a couple weeks.

I assume Yo will replace Capellan in the bullpen, so that would leave Otsuka replacing Spurling, and since Chris is a man with no options and a nice record of success in the bigs this year and in the past, there's no way he'd spend a minute in Nashville.

Spurling, Zach Jackson, Gwynn, and a true prospect? I wonder if that would be enough?

Sadly, I like Zach more than most, and I seem to include him in every proposed deal I come up with.

UPDATE: Having slept on this, I might offer Manny Parra, Gwynn, and Spurling and see where the conversation went from there. I don't have much confidence in Parra staying healthy, and he may be overvalued a bit because of his perfect game and his exceptional 2007 campaign thus far. Much of this depends on how much the Rangers like Gwynn...they may even prefer Gabe Gross.


6/30/2007 08:48:00 PM



(6/30/2007 07:37:00 PM) - Al

I wonder who else is concerned about Rickie, whose only attribute seems to be his ability to take walks and run. I would assume his wrist is irritating him, and I would bet he gets tomorrow off (I figure Yost gave Hardy the last few innings off today and will have Counsell play 2B Sunday).

Rickie may be at a point he should be playing only 2 out of 3. Hopefully, he'll return with his bat a blazing after the break.


6/30/2007 07:37:00 PM



(6/30/2007 07:01:00 PM) - Al

I have to wonder why Lou just did not leave Sean Marshall in to "take one for the team" today, and especially was curious why he chose to double switch with the pitcher due to lead off the 3rd. I guess at that point, he's still hoping for a comeback, but his bullpen has now given him 13 innings in 2 days. Not only is that tough on them for tomorrow, it's not going to help in the dog days of July and august either.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Seeing Scott Eyre up in the 1st inning today was a sight I never expected to see. I've been pushing for Eyre to be the LH relief guy the Crew picks up before the deadline, but with the Cubs back up to .500, that looks less and less likely every day. He's been one of the best LH set-up men in the game the past few years.

While we're on the subject of managerial decisions, I have to ask why in the world Sheets returned for the 8th in a lopsided game. 110 pitches or so is a lot less than 124. I would have much preferred a 6 frame, 90-95 pitch outing than 8/124. Ben will be fully rested for the all-star game, which is a shame, as I'd much prefer he have the time off.


6/30/2007 07:01:00 PM



(6/30/2007 08:57:00 AM) - Al

Something to think about while I take the family out for breakfast...now that Cordero has had a few blown saves, couldn't you look at he and Turnbow's seasons as near mirrored campaigns? Both have been outstanding, save for about 3 outings each.


6/30/2007 08:57:00 AM


Friday, June 29, 2007

(6/29/2007 09:57:00 PM) - Al

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had hip replacement surgery Friday.

Cuban is expected to remain in the hospital for 2-3 days after having his left hip replaced. Cuban will have to use crutches to get around for about three weeks after that.

Team officials said the 48-year-old Cuban is expected to make a full recovery, and that the replacement will not prevent him from doing his regular activities. Cuban said during the NBA draft Thursday night that he'd still be able to play basketball after getting his hip replaced.


Emphasis added by me, and I agree, Mark should still be able to yell at refs and roll around in a bed full of cash even with a fake hip.

I don't think I masked my envy very well.:)


6/29/2007 09:57:00 PM



(6/29/2007 04:26:00 PM) - Al

Frankie was missing by about a foot on his breaking ball today, and when that happens, you might need some luck to pull out a victory. Cordero deserves a mulligan or two, as he's been mighty tough all season. Soriano hit his base hit well, but Fontenot's was just a result of lucky placement. Add all that up, and give Ramirez a lot of credit, it wasn't a horrible pitch, and he must have guessed breaking ball on the first pitch.


6/29/2007 04:26:00 PM



(6/29/2007 04:04:00 PM) - Al

Clinton rang up high negatives across the board, with 60 percent of independents, 56 percent of men, 47 percent of women and 88 percent of Republicans saying they wouldn't consider voting for her.

You can read the entire thing here.

Many would simply not vote for Ms. Clinton, or at least they claim they would not.

On name recognition, Clinton also led the 2008 presidential pack in voter disapproval, with 42 percent saying they recognized her name and were unfavorable toward her, versus 39 percent favorable.

That gave her a double-digit lead in that bad-news category over Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, a Democrat. They each had 28 percent unfavorable recognition.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani had the highest favorable recognition at 43 percent, with Clinton close behind at 39 percent. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was third at 36 percent, followed by McCain at 33 percent and Edwards at 32 percent.

McCain rang up the highest favorable rating among independent voters with 39.4 percent, followed by Giuliani with 37.3 percent. Edwards scored well with independents, too, with 31.1 percent favorable; Obama had 28 percent favorable.


I would say by far the kindest words flow about Guiliani, though they are muted. I would say that it is possible this is the most positive for Fred Thompson and Mike Bloomberg, current mayor of New York City who is rumored to be planning a self-funded independent run.


6/29/2007 04:04:00 PM



(6/29/2007 03:57:00 PM) - Al

Can't decide whether or not to weed your petunias or go out to the range and fire through a couple boxes of ammo?

This magazine is for you...though I have to figure its core audience may be smaller than they'd like.


6/29/2007 03:57:00 PM



(6/29/2007 03:54:00 PM) - Al

Turnbow just threw his slider that drops 2 feet 87 mph...faster than Wise's 85 mph fastball last inning. Geesh.


6/29/2007 03:54:00 PM



(6/29/2007 03:38:00 PM) - Al

Carlos V has been so good all season, it's strange to see him give up anything. Looks like he lacked control today, he just could not put it where he wanted to.


6/29/2007 03:38:00 PM



(6/29/2007 03:14:00 PM) - Al

We'll see if we hear any compliants about "the shift" after Rickie Weeks fields a grounder right up the middle by Ramirez.

By the way, if you're watching the game on FSN and are annoyed by the sound of the bat a split second before you see it hit, WGN does not have that problem.

Another fine play by Kevin Mench, who also made a strong throw to 1B afterwards. Rumors of his defensive liabilities have proven to be blatantly untrue.


6/29/2007 03:14:00 PM



(6/29/2007 02:28:00 PM) - Al

I was glad to see Alando Tucker go the Suns last night, and ironically, Bo Ryan felt the same way I did, that one of the winning franchises in the West would be a perfect fit for Tucker. Teams that win 60 tend to look at what a player can do, rather than many losing clubs that focus on what they cannot.

You want MLB proof of that, consider every team in the AL watched Jack Cust get on base and slug like a madman for the past 5 years in AAA and other than the A's, who he is on his second tour of duty with, they all avoided him like the plague, because he can't field and makes poor contact.

My goodness, even I cited Jack's time in hitting heavens of AAA for my now correct, but wrong for years, analysis of Cust as an OPS machine.


6/29/2007 02:28:00 PM


Thursday, June 28, 2007

(6/28/2007 07:32:00 PM) - Al

Steven A. Smith of ESPN is yelling at will about the fact that Harris has never seen Yi play. However, as usual, Smith is full of it. The Bucks' scouting staff has seen Yi play at least 20 times over the past four years including in the 2004 Athens Olympics and the 2006 World Championship.--JS

I cannot imagine anyone bringing less to the table than Smith...and I watch Baseball Tonight, a show where "He's a gamer" qualifies as brilliant oratory.


6/28/2007 07:32:00 PM



(6/28/2007 07:25:00 PM) - Al

In 15 home games in June, the Brewers posted an 11-4 record and drew crowds in excess of 40,000 six times, and in excess of 30,000 eight times.--JS

I read that about 5 times before I decided it was obviously an error. What Tom H meant was 6 crowds of 40K+, and 8 crowds between 30K and 40K. Basically, 14 of 15 games drew 30K, and the one that did not was Monday night versus the Astros, in which no promotions at all were taking place, at least that I can see. Wow.


6/28/2007 07:25:00 PM



(6/28/2007 04:36:00 PM) - Al

One trade scenario has the Sixers trading No. 12, No. 21 and a future first-round pick to Milwaukee for No. 6, with the Sixers then selecting Green -- the guy (along with Yi) they covet the most in the draft. The other had the Mavs offering Devin Harris for No. 6.--ESPN.com

I must admit, either of the above options would be many times more exciting that what actually happens.:) I'm of the firm belief that the exact same Bucks' team that played 2006-7 would be a 38-42 win team if healthy for the entire campaign, so I may be a bit more positive than many fans, but to me, with good health alone next year, it might easily be a 10 win improvement.

That said, I know they do have some unrestricted free agents (Mo Williams and Rueben Patterson), so they have no interest in coming back, who knows? I don't think the state of the NBA in Milwaukee is nearly as negative as many think.


6/28/2007 04:36:00 PM



(6/28/2007 09:54:00 AM) - Robert R.

Random, off day thought.

I saw Live Free or Die Hard last night. It's a rather generic action film that covers up most of its numerous flaws through brisk pacing, a relatively straightforward plot, mostly good action sequences, and a good climax that's actually one of the best head bad guy kills in the franchise. But, beyond the actual quality of the movie what occurs to me that it's further proof that the MPAA rating system is broken.

I know, you're all saying "what else is new?" But it bears repeating.

Live Free or Die Hard is rated PG-13. But the violence is on a level consistent with the other films in the franchise. Dozens of people are shot, beaten up, brutally killed, and one is even chopped up in a fan system (albeit all of this is done with a minimum of blood). However, there's no smoking and nobody drops an F-bomb (even if it's consistent with prior characterization), so it's apparently safe for all ages. And you can bet that there's going to be an unrated DVD version out there in the fall.

Admittedly, shows like 24 have raised the bar for violence on television and I agree that ratings should be reflective of the times and larger cultural environment. But, it's also become clearer that the ratings system is a massive shell game which is more for marketing than for actual information. At some point you have to question the priorities of the ratings system where language and smoking are dealt at a harsher level than violence.

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6/28/2007 09:54:00 AM


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

(6/27/2007 07:36:00 PM) - Al

It occurred to me while Damian's ball was flying over the wall on Squeeze Play that he has been released several times this year on message boards and talk radio, adding him to the list of small sample victims by the casuals...let's see Turnbow, Shouse, Bush, Miller, Mench, Graffy, Counsell...did I leave anyone out? Actually, I'm sure I did.:)

What's particularly funny about Damian is that the annointed savior's OBP is still under .300 at AAA. Rivera is darn nice minor league depth, but he's no Damian Miller.


6/27/2007 07:36:00 PM



(6/27/2007 05:11:00 PM) - Al

Too bad Jenkins does not get more publicity for this.


6/27/2007 05:11:00 PM



(6/27/2007 04:51:00 PM) - Al

I wonder how many folks watching the game wanted Ned to PH for Damian with Estrada? I would have had the Brewers been behind, but realize Johnny needs to get a couple days off every now and then, or he'll be wiped out by August. In a tie game, I was just hoping Damain would bloop one in.

Anyone else wonder if they sold a single Miller T-shirt today in their "walk-off Wednesday" promotion?


6/27/2007 04:51:00 PM



(6/27/2007 04:19:00 PM) - Al

Before the top of an extra inning, it's close to 50/50 who is going to win (I would guess about 51-52% home team advantage), but if the home team holds the road club scoreless, it is suddenly a big advantage to the home nine, because they basically have 6 outs to outscore the opponent's 3.

I forget which announcer siad that, but it does make sense.


6/27/2007 04:19:00 PM



(6/27/2007 03:45:00 PM) - Al

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin would not comment on a report Tuesday by MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan that the Brewers are among six teams showing interest in right-handed Rangers reliever Akinori Otsuka.

Citing Major League officials, the report said the Brewers, Braves, Indians, Mets, Phillies and Tigers are looking into Otsuka, 35, who suffered a blown save Tuesday night but got the win when the Rangers rallied to beat the Tigers. Otsuka entered Wednesday with a 2.64 ERA and a .205 opponents' batting average in 32 appearances.

Melvin typically does not discuss specific players of interest, but did say the Brewers would look to add to their overall depth before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, particularly in the bullpen.

"That's what we have focused a little bit on, just because over the course of a year bullpens have a tendency to get overworked in today's game," Melvin said. "Baseball must be at an all-time low for complete games by starters, and because of that you're looking at 15 innings every five days if the starters go six innings. That's where depth comes in."

The Brewers have looked particularly at adding left-handed relief, "But I don't see that guy being available," Melvin said.--Brewers.com


I don't really know anything about him, but his numbers are solid. Doug seems to know his options of improving the team much may be limited to the bullpen, for the most part.

UPDATE: Tough to improve on these numbers, that's for sure.


6/27/2007 03:45:00 PM



(6/27/2007 01:38:00 PM) - Al

Since I just questioned you logic on Prince vs Albert, I just thought it only fair to compliment you for talkin some sense on Buerhle. The rotation is pretty good as it is and giving away the farm for a rent-a-pitcher is ludicrous. I don't even like the Jackson-Gywnn-Vargas idea although its far more reasonable then the others being thrown about. Braun and/or Gallardo? (Rosenthal) Crazy. All of it. Thanks again for doing a fine job.

Joe


I like Jackson more than most, and see both Gwynn and Vargas as guys who could certainly contribute through the end of the current decade, so while I feel that would be about what it would take to land Mark B, I doubt I would do it. I'd be a lot more tempted if the Crew lacked SP depth, for instance, if the team was 8 games up with the 2006 rotation's 4th and 5th starters, that seems like a trade begging to be made.

I'm still in favor of the Crew adding Kenny Lofton and Mike Stanton myself, as I was here.


6/27/2007 01:38:00 PM



(6/27/2007 01:22:00 PM) - Al

Hi Al,

I'm a big fan of the blog, love your insights, but am a bit confused by "Albert Pujols is easily the proper choice". Really? His numbers dwarf Prince's? As, I'm sure you know, Albert is +17 in avg, +25 in obp, but -11 in hr, -12 in rbi, -8 in runs, -99 in slg.. although Prince does have double the so's.. Also, "except for the hot start Prince is off to". Whats the criteria? This year? Second half last year and the first half this year? If so, this would make a little more sense. Although, I thought the problem with fan voting was voting for past accomplishments instead of voting who is the most deserving THIS year. If we are basing the choice off this year I'd say Prince is easily the proper choice. Mabey I'm missing something.. Anyways, hate to be nitpicky, as your blog is quite enjoyable on the whole. Keep up the good work.

Joe



A buddy of mine forwards your posts onto me and I usually understand where you are coming from, but don't understand your comment on how Pujols numbers dwarf Fielder's except for the hot start Prince is off to??? You do understand what the All Star game is about, right? It is meant to showcase players who are having outstanding seasons and has nothing to do with prior year numbers. If you look at the numbers this year, your comment stated below is laughable. Please explain to me how Albert's numbers are better and why he is the proper choice?



Prince: .283 BA, 17 2B's, 27 HR's, 62 RBI's, 52 Runs, .374 OBP, .629 SLUG, 1.003 OPS

Albert: .300 BA, 14 2B's, 16 HR's, 48 RBI's, 44 Runs, .399 OBP, .530 SLUG, .928 OPS


Jason



If I had a vote, I would feel Pujols is more deserving because over the years he has proven himself to be an outstanding player. To me, the term "all-star" means the best player at his position, and to me, that's Albert.

Now, if you choose to go by the '07 season only, you can easily make the argument Fielder deserves the spot, but to me, that's what the MVP voting is for.

While I am on the subject, this is as good a time as any to discuss who I feel will make the team and who will.

Fielder--IN
Cordero-IN
Sheets-likely IN
Hardy-possibly IN

JJ may be part of the internet fan vote for the last spot on the team, and if he is, I think he has a 50/50 chance, as he is a good looking fella and has a lot of HR's, not to mention plays for a team which has garnered a lot of publicity this year.

There seems to be some confusion as to when they choose the pitchers, but as of right now, I think Sheets would make it.

Prince and Frankie, dare I say, are complete locks, and rightfully so.

It could easily be added that the only thing keeping Hart and Braun out is a lack of plate appearances, because Ryan was in Nashville and Corey's wrist limited his playing time in late April and most of May.


6/27/2007 01:22:00 PM



(6/27/2007 01:08:00 PM) - Al

If things played true to form, the Crew would be a game-and-a-half ahead of the Cubs right now. That would sure make this weekend's series a lot more meaningful, wouldn't it?


6/27/2007 01:08:00 PM



(6/27/2007 09:09:00 AM) - Al

Faithful reader Todd asked me to link his new blog, and I am happy to do so. Check it out if you get the chance.


6/27/2007 09:09:00 AM



(6/27/2007 09:02:00 AM) - Al

Depending on the length of my appointments today, I may be home in time to blog the afternoon's ballgame, and hopefully empty the overflowing mailbag.


6/27/2007 09:02:00 AM



(6/27/2007 08:54:00 AM) - Al

Brewers right-hander Dave Bush made the unfamiliar walk to the bullpen on Tuesday night, knowing he was available in relief against the Astros but unsure of when he would start again.

Either Bush or Tuesday's starter Claudio Vargas would be penciled in to pitch Sunday at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, but Brewers manager Ned Yost reserved the right to decide until after Vargas' outing Tuesday night.

"Until then, I'm available for whatever the situation calls for," Bush said. "I think every pitcher would rather be in a routine, but that being said, it's not my decision."--Brewers.com


Probably pretty safe to say Bush will get the start Sunday unless needed today in long relief. Last year, we would have given anything to have a 5th starter go 5 frames and give up 4, and this year, it's a head shaking disappointment.:)


6/27/2007 08:54:00 AM



(6/27/2007 08:47:00 AM) - Al

Hardy had one explanation for the Brewers' (grand) slamming success this season.

"I think a lot of it is because we've had a lot of opportunities with the bases loaded," Hardy said. "We've got a lot of guys that have been getting on base, and maybe it wasn't like that in the past."


That's exactly what I was thinking last night, I bet they have had 20 chances to hit slams this year already. Just like the RBI leader is almost always the guy who has the most men on base when he bats, grand slams are a result of opportunity.


6/27/2007 08:47:00 AM



(6/27/2007 08:08:00 AM) - Jason Christopherson

Oh, the rigors of Competitive Eating.

Apparently the reigning Nathan's Yellow Mustard Belt holder, Kobayashi, has overtrained for the event and is suffering from an arthritic jaw. The much anticipated match up between Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut on July 4th may not happen. Chestnut set a new world record a few weeks ago by downing nearly 60 hot dogs in 12 minutes.

I've watched the hot dog eating championship for the last couple of years now. The sheer gluttony and disgust level apparently appeals to me. I like the fact that the organizers of this "league" don't take themselves very seriously and it's done just for the fun of it. I guess that's all well and good until somebody loses an eye. And eats it.


6/27/2007 08:08:00 AM


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

(6/26/2007 07:54:00 PM) - Al

I will comment on Robert's Carlos V as the closer statement...possible, but unlikely. I feel he'll be in the rotation next year, barring the unforeseen.


6/26/2007 07:54:00 PM



(6/26/2007 05:30:00 PM) - Al

A few years ago, I recall Dennis Miller saying in a routine that if you thought you had a problem that could somehow be solved by killing or molesting a child, he begged you to go somewhere and kill yourself ASAP. Sadly, we hear about this happening all the time, be it regionally or on a national level, as is the case with the most dysfunctional of all celebrity families, the pro wrestling fraternity.

I made a personal decision years ago to never work for or invest in a company which sells illness and death, aka a tobacco company. The idea that the federal and some state governments subsidize this is simply astounding to myself. I think it's time to do the same with the WWE and all other leagues and circuits of the "sport", which is pretty much just a scripted daytime drama with muscles and a plethora of prescription drugs being used incorrectly and various illegal drugs as well. I'm not exactly sure how many wrestlers have passed away in the prime of their life while lining the pockets of the corporate interests, or how many innocent victims they have taken with them through the result of their behavior, but it is far, far too many, the latest of which can be read about here.

Of course, as a believer in capitalism, I won't be out chanting and other such silliness, it's way too hot and I have an entire worldwide web to search. However, none of my money or time will ever be spent on tobacco in any form, nor the glorified cartoons come to life world of pro wrestling (it's actually a shame it shares the same name as the amateur sport which has many benefits to the participant and the viewer, but hence, I digress).

It should would be nice, however, if empty arenas soon led to some children living to see adulthood, never mind adult males being the responsible role models they should be and living to see retirement.


6/26/2007 05:30:00 PM



(6/26/2007 05:15:00 PM) - Al

Manny Parra, who is close to being considered a prospect again, pitched a perfect game for AAA Nashville last night, though I'm surprised the braintrust allowed him to throw 107 pitches. Parra is usually projected as a reliever in the majors, and like most pitching prospects, is starting to get more innings short-term.


6/26/2007 05:15:00 PM



(6/26/2007 05:05:00 PM) - Al

Adam M teases the short-sighted in his mailbag, in which he does a fine job as always.


6/26/2007 05:05:00 PM



(6/26/2007 05:00:00 PM) - Al

I just scanned the message boards and it would appear the Milwaukee radio talk shows are throwing out lots of scenarios regarding the Brewers picking up Mark Buerhle and giving up 3-4 quality pitchers to do so.

I recall similar ideas in years past, and if memory serves, the names were Hart, Braun, Hall, and so on. After all, Hart was "just a reserve" and "seems stuck in AAA". Braun was "a poor fielder" who "has a hitch in his swing". Hall "is just a utility player".

Needless to say I'm pretty happy we did not give up on those guys for the veteran flavor of the month. Buerhle is probably the cream of the crop FA arm available this year at the deadline, and he will probably merit 2 very good prospects/players or 3 solid ones. I threw out Vargas, Gwynn, and Zach Jackson as what it would take, or an offer close to that.

Personally, I'd hate to give up that for 2 months of a pitcher, especially when you consider he's one sore arm or elbow away from shutting it down for the 2 months in question, leaving you with a guy who you can't even offer arby, for fear he'll accept it and be dead weight making a huge amount of salary (think Tomo Ohka multiplied by 2-3). Even when you look at a pitcher like Vargas, a pitcher who has contributed to a rotation for years and who won't be a free agent until 2010...is it worth 2y and 2m of Claudio for 60 days (and hopefully the postseason) of Buerhle?

It's actually pretty tough, because as a Brewers' fan, I've grown accustomed to mentally filling in the lineup based on the mega-talented youth soon to be in the bigs. Even though I can't say I have a spot prepared on my mythical future roster for Tony or Zach, they would be inexpensive reserves with a bit of ceiling for at least '08, and I could do a lot worse than that. These kids may develop or they may not, of course, but we're so used to the kids panning out I hate to think of giving them up.

It's also strange to see rumors of starting pitching additions, when I count a bare minimum of 7 suitable members for the rotation available right now. I will be the first to admit, Buerhle would rank in the top 5, so he would improve the team...but quite possibly, not by a huge amount...he has had a 5 ERA campaign, for example.

I trust Doug to not overpay for a handful of magic beans, which is more than I can say about many MLB GM's. To me, the Crew is set up nearly perfectly for a 5-7 year run of success, which to me should be the goal of every rebuilding team, especially one in a small market. I'd sure hate to exchange that for a small boost in 2007.


6/26/2007 05:00:00 PM



(6/26/2007 02:43:00 PM) - Robert R.

I'm going to toss this out there. Given Turnbow's inconsistency and the likelihood that Cordero will leave via free agency, here's a thought that occurred to me.

Your 2008 closer for the Milwaukee Brewers - Carlos Villanueva.

Feel free to discuss, via e-mail or otherwise.


6/26/2007 02:43:00 PM


Monday, June 25, 2007

(6/25/2007 08:43:00 PM) - Al

Tonight for my 5PM meal, I chose to enjoy seedless watermelon.

There is no doubt that particular fruit has an extremely high water content...trust me on that.


6/25/2007 08:43:00 PM



(6/25/2007 08:17:00 PM) - Al

Apparently, the JS was painfully unaware when they said Yo would not go to the bullpen.

It does not take much reading between the lines to think that Yost is hinting rather strongly that Gallardo will be moving to the bullpen in a bit.


6/25/2007 08:17:00 PM



(6/25/2007 08:07:00 PM) - Al

This is how Prince is ahead of Pujols.

Don't get me wrong, the fact a Brewers' player is getting national publicity is great, but Albert Pujols is easily the proper choice, as his numbers dwarf Fielder's except for the hot start Prince is off to.


6/25/2007 08:07:00 PM



(6/25/2007 07:09:00 PM) - Al

How many teams do you know that are better off benching their guy soon to get 3000 hits? I have little doubt Biggio is in no way a part of the Astros' best lineup, so I'm saddened he is unlikely to start 2 of the 3 games.

Nice to see JJ back in the lineup, hopefully he'll be in there on a daily basis for a while.


6/25/2007 07:09:00 PM



(6/25/2007 03:59:00 PM) - Al

#1 pick Matt Laporta signs at slot value, $2.3M.


6/25/2007 03:59:00 PM


Sunday, June 24, 2007

(6/24/2007 07:43:00 PM) - Al

Hard to be too unhappy with the loss today, 2 of 3 is always a nice result. Yo pitched very well, and I think it will be difficult to send him down when he is seemingly much better than Spurling or Capellan, two decent, but unspectacular relievers.

Considering the amount of innings he's already thrown, I think a move to the bullpen may hold some unseen bebefits as well.


6/24/2007 07:43:00 PM



(6/24/2007 02:30:00 PM) - Al

Another very nice defensive play by Mench, who was unfairly labeled as poor defensively by casuals.

I find it ironic so many folks still seem to think Mench can be easily replaced. As a RH slugger who is a bit below average overall, but hits lefties well, he'd fit in nicely on nearly any MLB team. You could argue he's a bit overpaid, but he's a decent big leaguer. Heck, I wish I could be that good.

He's actually a bit below where he should be this year, but he's only had 80 AB's or so against LHP...RH halves of platoons take quite a while to get past the small sample police.


6/24/2007 02:30:00 PM



(6/24/2007 01:59:00 PM) - Al

Al,

On Beck:

Confirmed. I was out front of his house this morning. Foul play ruled out.


Rod Beck's untimely demise confirmed via e-mail.


6/24/2007 01:59:00 PM



(6/24/2007 01:30:00 PM) - Al

I have heard people say how a gas grill just doesn't do it for them, as the charcoal adds so much flavor to the food. As a self-taught grillmaster, I always enjoy building a red-hot fire and going from there.

Recently, we were given a gas grill by my wife's parents, who had updated to a bigger, better model, and were just going to throw the old one out. My wife doesn't have the patience to enjoy the charcoal method, but has grilled many times with gas, and I have started doing so as well, especially with things that require low to medium heat. Yesterday, I made chicken wings, and slathered on a homemade sauce every 5 minutes, and the result was the best wings I've ever had, as each layer cooked in wonderfully, leaving tangy sweet goodness.

I still prefer the charcoal, all things considered, but gas has many advantages as well, without a doubt.


6/24/2007 01:30:00 PM



(6/24/2007 01:28:00 PM) - Al

I actually thought Ned might give Prince a day off today versus the LHP, but changed my mind when I saw Ned say he was going to give JJ at least another day to heal up. Yost is probably feeling pretty good about things on the current streak, and decided to rest Prince anyway.


6/24/2007 01:28:00 PM



(6/24/2007 11:50:00 AM) - Al

Minor league guru John Sickels has some kind words about Brewers' OF prospect Michael Brantley.

When a kid has plate discipline at 20, that is usually a great sign. Some gap power will likely develop, and if it does, he may be so good he'll push someone right out of a job.


6/24/2007 11:50:00 AM



(6/24/2007 11:26:00 AM) - Al

Unofficial reports out of Arizona are saying former relief pitcher Rod Beck was found dead this morning in his car. More to follow.


6/24/2007 11:26:00 AM



(6/24/2007 11:13:00 AM) - Al

Those three plans would be:

Sending rookie Yovani Gallardo back to Class AAA Nashville.

Keeping Gallardo and putting Dave Bush in the bullpen.

Keeping Gallardo and putting Claudio Vargas in the bullpen.


According to the JS, Yo will not be moving to the bullpen, at least not now. I guess time will tell, but it appears he will not going into the relief corps...for the moment.


6/24/2007 11:13:00 AM


Saturday, June 23, 2007

(6/23/2007 09:24:00 PM) - Al

One reason for the smaller crowd Friday night is they have a Bill Hall bobble tomorrow, meaning many chose to attend that game rather than Friday's, I'm sure. SRO only, so if you are planning on going, you pay $15 and get in, then wait until about the 3rd inning, and go find a seat. There will be plenty, as many dealers and capitalists buy the cheap seats just for the bobbles. I have read stories that depending on where you enter, many ticket takers will happily just scan all your tickets, and turn to tell the folks handing out the bobbles how many you are entitled to, such as "This guy gets 14".

I would assume it will be regular RH hitting lineup, with Damian catching for the 43-44K in attendance.

It will be interesting to see if Capellan goes down when Capuano returns. Barring a Gallardo disappointment, I would assume they will shift Yo to the 'pen and the person that suffers will be either Cappy or Spurling...I believe Chris would be able to opt for free agency, and would very likely choose that route, as he would very likely end up in middle relief and even have multiple clubs bidding for him.

I rode my exercise bike tonight during the first hour of the game and had to fight to get through it...you use muscles hiking you do not normally. Ronnie has been laying spread out on the floor, so I think he's bushed as well...Andrew does not understand why I ask him if he's tired or sore..."Why would I be tired or sore Daddy"? Youth is a wonderful, fleeting thing to grasp.


6/23/2007 09:24:00 PM



(6/23/2007 11:18:00 AM) - Al

I was surprised to hear they only had 36K in Miller Park last night, but checking seats for tonight, it is a virtual sellout, your options are singles, a pair in the last section of the terrace level, or standing room only; so it looks like 42K or more. As I mentioned the other day, I'd say a Miller Park record is possible if the team keeps winning, but at the very least, with a postseason berth, the extra season ticket and group sales could easily lead to one next year...and I continue to insist 3M is not just a pipe dream.

Some other random thoughts:

I weighed myself for the first time in quite a while this AM and I'm still just about where I was, about 2 pounds heavier than my low point. I've kept up with my eating plan for the most part, but really cut back on the exercise, and you can tell. Still, the fact I've hung steady is a pretty good sign.

This morning, my son, dog and I all went to the state park near our home and enjoyed a 90 minute hike on one of the trails. Well, they enjoyed it, while to be honest, it reminded me a lot of something I should be compensated for. At the end of the trail was the lookout tower, where you can probably see silos, barns, and other large things for about 20 or more miles. I'd enjoy the view a lot more if I wasn't responsible for the two braver than intelligent creatures I was with had an ounce of fear.

As is often the case, I spent last night playing on Poker Stars, placing 7th in a 180 player sit-and-go. It's the same size of the one I won a couple weeks ago, for my biggest payday, a $216 first prize (hypothetically, of course). I honestly cannot remember the last time I was knocked out of a tournament in which I got my chips in with the worst hand. Last night, I lost with AA vs. KQs, as the flush hit on the river. Since the UIGEA was passed last year, the bonuses paid out by the sites have gone down by a great deal, as the competition has decreased, as many sites have pulled out of the US (unless of course, you fib, which I guess is very common, as few sites bother to verify your address). It has not really affected me at all, except that the bankroll has grown much slower, as gasp, you actually have to concentrate on playing winning poker, rather than break-even poker while chasing a bonus, which makes it a profitable hobby even for a losing player (short-term at least).

While tons of players supposedly left, Stars always has a minimum of 75K people playing, and as many as 125K at peak times. If it's dying, it's doing so at a very slow pace.


6/23/2007 11:18:00 AM


Friday, June 22, 2007

(6/22/2007 09:20:00 PM) - Al

Jorge DLR deserved a much better fate, having to warm up and pitch in the game last night in the 14th inning. He gave up a few cheap hits, as did Suppan, but gave up more bombs as well.

There are reports the Royals have traded for Milton Bradley, so we may see him later in the series.

I wondered why Yost decided to double-switch Graffy for Weeks when another option would have been Jenkins or Gross for Mench. Obviously, it's because Ned is a genius, and I am not.:)


6/22/2007 09:20:00 PM


Thursday, June 21, 2007

(6/21/2007 08:10:00 PM) - Al

Remember how MLB fought and won to get their channel on the basic tier of cable?

The Big Ten Network is trying, but not having any luck yet. It is simply astounding how far ahead of the curve MLB is compared to the rudderless ship that Selig took over.


6/21/2007 08:10:00 PM



(6/21/2007 08:03:00 PM) - Al

The Appleton paper hopes the Brewers end up there after the '08 season. I do too, but it seems pretty doubtful, as the Crew seems happy in West Virginia, and not thrilled about the weather in the Midwest League...I seem to recall Doug saying they disliked the 120-125 game season it ended up being, preferring the near 140 they get in the Sally League.


6/21/2007 08:03:00 PM



(6/21/2007 07:10:00 PM) - Al

Milton Bradley, a very talented player with fine numbers, and an outstanding defender, was DFA'd by the A's, in a move that screams addition by subtraction. Bradley is pretty much a certifiable idiot, but the fact he will probably be lost for nothing would seem to tell me Billy Beane was embarrassed to have him on his team. I would guess drugs or a breakdown of some sort, as Milton just came off the DL Tuesday.


6/21/2007 07:10:00 PM


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

(6/20/2007 09:06:00 PM) - Al

Don't look now, but the Brewers, after this weekend of good crowds, will probably be over 1.3M in attendance, with an average of over 30K per game, which means they will be at a pace for just under 2.7M for the campaign, which would be an increase of about 350K over '06.

You could go so far as to say they have a chance at beating the debut total from 2001, which is just over 2.8M; if, of course, they continue to contend.


6/20/2007 09:06:00 PM



(6/20/2007 08:23:00 PM) - Al

Possible LH relief options, if the Brewers choose to add one via trade...

Casey Fossum--An unlikely option, but Casey is a former top level prospect who has much better numbers in the bullpen and versus LH hitters.

Ray King--Still active and still good versus lefties, but very hittable from the right side...almost a carbon copy of Shouse. He's with the Nationals, so he will be available, that's for sure.

Mike Stanton--Effective versus both sides of the plate hitters, he would be nearly ideal. Is owed $3M for '08, however.

Steve Kline--Only 4 K's in 18 IP this year, so he might be close to being done...he's signed for '08 as well, making him a bit of a risk.


Possible OF options, if the Brewers choose to add one via trade...

Reggie Sanders--Not a LH bat, but it's criminal how little he's being utilized by the Royals. Very solid corner OF, even at 39.

Brad Wilkerson--FA after the season, and he used to be able to play all 3 OF spots, though I doubt he'd be much of a CF these days.

Kenny Lofton--This might just make the most sense of anything I've seen yet.



FYI, I only looked at teams who I consider out of the race now, so I only had 8. There will be many more teams out of it by 7/31, and maybe a couple in the race still looking to dump some salary and add cheap youth. As of today, however, Lofton and Stanton would be my targets.


6/20/2007 08:23:00 PM



(6/20/2007 07:45:00 PM) - Al

We'll have to see if Hardy's injury is anything more than a sore back, a condition I'm familiar with. Hopefully, with a day off tomorrow and actually, 48 hours plus until Friday night's contest, he'll be fine. If not, as long as Weeks' and Braun's respective wrists stay healthy, Craig and Tony will be just fine. Thank goodness for depth.

No one has even mentioned it, so I will...was Rickie's throw to 1B that far off? If Prince wasn't afraid of being run over, I thought he could have easily caught it, while standing on the base.

While most people seem to feel there's a good chance the Crew will add a LH reliever prior to the July deadline, few names have been floated around. I've mentioned Scott Eyre, but the Cubs may well be competing against the Brewers, which makes a deal unlikely. We may have seen another option today, as Steve Kline looks to be reduced to middle relief with a SF team that might be way out of the race and looking to get younger.

The more I think about it, Doug may feel adding a "bat" to his OF depth is the next most important addition...especially if that addition would bat LH and be able to play all 3 OF spots. Gabe Gross fills that role now, and Gwynn also does and waits in Nashville, but if Jenkins, Hall, or Hart got hurt tomorrow, most of us would feel fine with Gross/Gwynn/Mench filling in for a couple weeks...but if that injury happened a week before the playoffs, many would feel differently. Veteran OF's are often moved at the deadline, and if Hart is seen as a possible CF, a corner guy could also be picked up. Randy Winn is a guy who would meet the first criteria, though I am not sure what his contract status is.

UPDATE: Winn is signed through '09, so nevermind. Kline is signed through '08, but at a reasonable $2.75M per.


6/20/2007 07:45:00 PM



(6/20/2007 07:38:00 PM) - Al

Yost has been criticized this season for juggling the lineup, but Brewers stats guru and batting-practice slugger Mike Vassallo found that with 45 different combinations through Tuesday, the Brewers were tied with the Phillies for the seventh-fewest lineups this season of the 30 Major League teams. Yost employed combination No. 46 against Zito, inserting right-handed hitters Kevin Mench and Damian Miller to the mix.--Brewers.com


Heh. I've never really understood why it matters where a hitter bats, his object should remain the same...drive the ball and most of all, try to not make an out. As I've said before, the casual fan thinks managing is pretty much batting order and making pitching moves so that no runs are allowed (best accomplished by waiting until after the inning is over to say what SHOULD have happened; for instance, today it was fine to use Turnbow, but if he had given up runs, he should have been released).

If anyone thinks this is a problem, they should name Yost manager of the year now, because if that's the best you can do, he's been perfect.


6/20/2007 07:38:00 PM



(6/20/2007 04:02:00 PM) - Al

I'm not sure if this is a negative towards Congress, or politics in general.

However, the one thing I would say is that those who feel the Dems will waltz into the White House in '08 are missing the fact that the Reids, Pelosis, etc. are not popular either. I just heard on a news show the other day that while if a pollster asks which party they prefer for prez, the Dems win about 48-38. But, when the question is do they prefer Rudy to Hillary, or any of the top elephants to Hillary, it is reversed, about 45-35.

Again, I'm not certain if that is a "no one likes Ms. Clinton" or more wishy washy, "I don't like anyone" type reaction from the voters.


6/20/2007 04:02:00 PM



(6/20/2007 09:27:00 AM) - Al

The Cubs seem to have decided to blame Mike Barrett for their problems, and have dealt him to SD for Rob Bowen.

Barrett is better offensively, but is a bit of a weakness behind the plate. This seems like a pretty obvious ploy to rid themselves of a distraction, and to pick up a generic catcher who won't rock the boat.


6/20/2007 09:27:00 AM


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

(6/19/2007 09:21:00 PM) - Al

BP night led to a 35K+ crowd, astounding for a weeknight. Little League Night was over 41K last evening. Tomorrow looks to be even higher, with the field level a virtual sellout 16 hours prior, I would guess about 37K come out to the Miller Park tomorrow afternoon.

Also, tomorrow is the day four Brewers (Suppan, Capuano, Hall, and Hardy) appear on the Young and the Restless, which I believe is on at 11AM in the Central time zone.

Barry Zito goes for the Giants, so I would figure we'll see the normal RH lineup in there, with Damian catching, as they go for the sweep.


6/19/2007 09:21:00 PM



(6/19/2007 09:12:00 PM) - Al

I don't think anyone will be complaining about the shift after that base hit to RF resulted in a 4-3 out.

It's painful sometimes to see how results oriented many fans are.


6/19/2007 09:12:00 PM



(6/19/2007 08:12:00 PM) - Al

Jason Schmidt will have shoulder surgery on Wednesday, the Dodgers announced.

The Dodgers didn't provide any details, suggesting that they won't know what's wrong until he's cut. Even if no major problems are found, Schmidt would have a very difficult time making it back this year. Odds are that he has some signficant rotator cuff or labrum damage anyway.


Schmidt, much like Dave Roberts, decided to go elsewhere as free agents despite offers from the Crew. And both have suffered injuries in '07...sometimes, the best moves you make are the ones others make for you. Just think of the difference it would have made had the Brewers suffered those injuries, not to mention offered Tomo Ohka arby.

/shiver/


6/19/2007 08:12:00 PM



(6/19/2007 07:45:00 PM) - Al

Speaking of prices, my wife reports pop/soda prices are much higher of late, which she has heard is a direct result of corn prices being so high, as corn syrup is the #1 ingredient. This article also tells of milk prices being inflated due to corn prices being so high (of course, many of us know how dairy producers have been for much rolling in the dough for ages:).

Jim Cramer's anti-ethanol rant may prove to be the first of many.


6/19/2007 07:45:00 PM



(6/19/2007 07:40:00 PM) - Al

I'm telling you, gas prices going up have nothing to do with supply and demand, it's a vast conspiracy, on many levels.

What?

Oh, never mind.:)


6/19/2007 07:40:00 PM



(6/19/2007 07:27:00 PM) - Al

Robert is 100% accurate, the many people who wanted Jenkins given away (many who even wanted to eat much of his now reasonable salary) do not comprehend that even in a down 2006, Geoff wasn't a bad player...as Robert hints at, versus RHP, he was fine.

It's not what they can't do, it's what they can.

Currently, the big push is to trade one of our 7 quality SP's for "a big bat", but the names thrown out are nowhere nearly as productive as the player(s) currently in that spot.

Of course, those of us who lived through 2006 do not see a problem with having SP depth, to say the least.


6/19/2007 07:27:00 PM



(6/19/2007 04:46:00 PM) - Robert R.

Al posted Corey Hart's numbers earlier. Jenkins, who many wanted traded for nothing in the offseason, is putting up an .876 OPS in a long overdue platoon role.

It's notable that once Hart recovered from his wrist injury and Yost quit trying to "chase the hot hand" that the outfield got a lot more productive. Sometimes that best thing to do is just stick with the original plan.


6/19/2007 04:46:00 PM



(6/19/2007 03:38:00 PM) - Robert R.

Tonight's lineup looks like something of historic precedent for the Brewers. Up to 8 players originally drafted by the Brewers will start. None of them scrubs without any expectations attached to them.

Under the Bando regime, drafting and player development was among the worst in the game. Now it's inarguably among the best.


6/19/2007 03:38:00 PM


Monday, June 18, 2007

(6/18/2007 10:08:00 PM) - Al

Carlos Lee, 2007--.346/.504, 850 OPS

Corey Hart, 2007--.378/.503, 871 OPS

Gee, who would have ever predicted that Corey would be replacing Carlos' offensive production for $11M less?

Oh yeah.

It's just astounding I haven't pulled a muscle patting myself on the back yet.:)

Luckily, Doug Melvin doesn't worry about what the fans think, he just goes about the quiet business of building his team the best he can, while never ignoring whatever his budget is.


6/18/2007 10:08:00 PM



(6/18/2007 10:01:00 PM) - Al

Frankie was a one pitch pitcher tonight, and he struggled, but still got the save. Much like Turnbow, he's very hittable when he can't get the breaking ball over. We're so used to that slider being commanded perfectly, it's strange to see it in the dirt so many times.

Nice game, with some breaks being the difference. 41K on a Monday night? Hey, I know the Little Leaguers get in at a huge discount, but still.


6/18/2007 10:01:00 PM



(6/18/2007 09:04:00 PM) - Al

Williams met with manager Ozzie Guillen and Konerko on Monday to get a feel for the climate in the clubhouse. His sense is, he said, that the team believes once injured outfielders Scott Podsednik and Darin Erstad return from the disabled list, they'll be more competitive.---NBC Sports.com

Heh. I guess the Sox feel they just to need to add some below average offensive players to the mix, and the wins will soon follow. It's astounding that Erstad has simply been awful for more than half-a-decade, and he still has people thinking he is more than a deep reserve.


6/18/2007 09:04:00 PM



(6/18/2007 08:42:00 PM) - Al

I don't think it will take long for the Yo/Carlos V comparisons to begin...to many folks who do not know better, they might think Carlos changed his name and number, for some reason.

I'll have to take a look at his pitch count, but he appears to be just gliding along.

UPDATE: He's at 93 pitches, I would figure he's done for the night, after 6.

UPDATE 2: Maybe not, all the possible PH's appear to be sitting on the bench.


6/18/2007 08:42:00 PM



(6/18/2007 08:39:00 PM) - Al

Andy passes along this link which discusses how good the top ten picks in the draft look on video...kind words about Laporta, who is expected to sign during this current homestand.


6/18/2007 08:39:00 PM



(6/18/2007 08:31:00 PM) - Al

I was unaware that Tom Treblehorn's wife was ill, and that she was a well-known former Milwaukee resident.

Treb may well be the interim manager of the Orioles right now had his wife not suffered an illness a few months ago. Best of luck to them, Treb was always a fine baseball guy and a good man.


6/18/2007 08:31:00 PM



(6/18/2007 07:44:00 PM) - Al

Hi Al,

I was at both Friday and Saturday night’s games. The Brewers fans were real vocal both nights, especially Saturday. I too was surprised at how low the attendance was for the weekend. How they don’t get 100k there for the weekend is astounding. Bush looked real good on Saturday, although I was waiting for the big meltdown that fortunately never came. Turnbow’s first pitch went over the catcher’s head, bounced off the wall behind home plate and rolled back out to the pitchers mound. I thought I was watching Nuke LaLoosh in Bull Durham for a moment.

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, the ball did not hit a speaker, Lew lost it completely in the glorious roof of the Dome.

Another fun tidbit, I was amazed at how many Twins fans still thought Selig owned the team and that his daughter still ran things. Twins fans usually are smarter than that.

Cheesehead Craig


I know the Dome is terrible, but as you said, with a third of the fans there MIL backers, I would have thought 100K would be a breeze. My goodness, when I lived in the Cities, we'd often go to Saturday night games because of their great ticket deals, and they'd have 25K there, back when Ron Coomer hit cleanup (needless to say, that was a weak team). They only had 33K there Saturday, with a playoff team last year, a decent club this year, and at least 10K Brewers' fans in the house.

Brian Anderson seemed certain it hit a speaker, maybe he was told so by the truck or a spotter, and just kept saying so.

I saw Turnbow's pitch, and you just never know if that's just a bad pitch or a meltdown.

As for Selig, you still see that stuff mentioned in the comments of blogs from elsewhere, total casuals. However, with 85-95% of the crowd being just that, what do you expect? Compared to guys wondering why they don't pitch out on a 3-2 pitch, and that Frank Robinson played for the Braves (why #42 is retired in Milwaukee); I wonder how many of these folks find the ballpark.


6/18/2007 07:44:00 PM



(6/18/2007 07:38:00 PM) - Al

Kevin discusses how good Suppan is, and while you are there, remember to bookmark his site.

I would guess Suppan finishes with a 4.25 ERA or so, which is just about what I would have guessed before the season started. Pitching is certainly overpriced, that's why you have to develop much of it yourself.


6/18/2007 07:38:00 PM



(6/18/2007 07:09:00 PM) - Al

Yo has a very good curveball, but will need to throw it for strikes, and get used to the much smaller strike zone in the majors than he's used to in AAA. That first AB by Roberts shows the difference, as he worked Yo to 3-2, and then singled on a fastball, where almost any AAA hitter would have got themselves out by swinging at pitches out of the strike zone.


6/18/2007 07:09:00 PM



(6/18/2007 07:03:00 PM) - Al

Aaron Gleeman shows how difficult the early going will probably be for Yo, as even solid #2 SP's like Radke have struggled.


6/18/2007 07:03:00 PM



(6/18/2007 06:43:00 PM) - Al

The Crew listens to my advice and sends down Gwynn.

I would say it's pretty likely the Crew includes either Gross or Gwynn in a trade at the deadline, as they may well have more value to another team than they do in MIL, as an inexpensive platoon OF option. If that does indeed occur, the other will probably be on the 25 man, unless a LH hitting OF is acquired.


6/18/2007 06:43:00 PM



(6/18/2007 05:52:00 PM) - Jason Christopherson

I know this is about a week late, but I thought it was interesting enough to pass along. Using the 50 years of play-by-play data available from Retrosheet, SABR member John Jarvis created a histogram showing the number of times a team has been no hit, one hit, etc. The data shows 129 no hitters, or about 2.6 per year on average. What is interesting, though, is that the 22 hit performance the Brewers had against the Rangers is actually more rare than the no hitter! A team has blasted 22 hits in a game only 111 times during the last 50 years.

So, if you are still embarrassed about your team being held without a hit by a guy with positively nasty stuff, perhaps that little tidbit can cure what ails ya.

Oh, on the other end of the hit spectrum is an August 28, 1992 game in which Milwaukee pounded out 31 hits while beating Toronto 22-2. That's the highest total in the Retrosheet data. If you are interested in the complete breakdown, just let me know.


6/18/2007 05:52:00 PM



(6/18/2007 09:00:00 AM) - Al

Barring an injury flaring up at the last minute, the team will send out either Gwynn or Gross when they activate Weeks tonight. With the OF as set as it is at the moment, I don't think it really matters who picks up a start or two every 10-14 days, as any injury would bring them right back into the mix.

Personally, I would send Tony down, as I feel he could use the AAA experience more, but it could easily go the other way, as Junior has played more of late, albeit in unimportant situations.


6/18/2007 09:00:00 AM



(6/18/2007 08:53:00 AM) - Al

Regular e-mailer Michael says no one mentioned the ball hit a speaker except the Brewers' TV team, so maybe ESPN did not get it wrong, but Brian Anderson did.


6/18/2007 08:53:00 AM


Sunday, June 17, 2007

(6/17/2007 07:56:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers got some good fortune to tie the game, but lost it when Morneau drilled a HR in the 9th. You'll probably see more than a few people talk in cliches, how they never gave up, and so on, but you won't see any of that silliness here. Of course, they didn't give up, they all have selfish reasons to do well regardless of the situation. Stats don't count any less when the score is 5-0 or 9-2.

On Baseball Tonight, they didn't even realize Prince's HR had hit a speaker..."look how far away the ball landed!", they said. They honestly could not get much worse.

Stellar 5-4 trip, and let's hope that Miller Park remains friendly.


6/17/2007 07:56:00 PM



(6/17/2007 02:23:00 PM) - Al

Dan O'Brien just mentioned in a very professional manner the Brewers might end up in "punt" mode at some point today. I can easily see a scenario in which Suppan remains out there until he hits 110 pitches, unless he is embarassingly getting pounded, and Capellan is utilized to go the rest of the way, which would mean the entire bullpen, sans Jose, would be 100% rested and ready to go, including Carlos V, for Yo's start tomorrow evening.

If the Crew could get a few on the board, and back within 2, the above fades to black, but I can all but promise you Yost and Maddux have discussed it.

As I was working on the last sentence (and playing 3 tables) both Corey and JJ go deep, so for the moment, they will continue to play for the win today.

UPDATE: The "punt" option is again a logical outcome. Lew Ford is showing everyone why he was a two-time RUTT member. Heck, I'd still say there aren't 30 CF's better than him.


6/17/2007 02:23:00 PM



(6/17/2007 01:15:00 PM) - Al

I, along with over 125K others, are spending part of their Father's Day at the largest online poker site still accepting American players, without having to fib, at least.

After sleeping in, my son and I spent our morning playing catch and soccer outside, then watched Man vs. Wild together, as he provided me a running stream of play-by-play/curious questions.

I hope your Father's Day is as enjoyable.

By the way, the color man on the Brewers' broadcast just spoke of "working the count", "getting the pitch up", and "seeing his entire repertoire"...and it's just the 1st inning. You can sure tell Bill is off today.:)


6/17/2007 01:15:00 PM


Saturday, June 16, 2007

(6/16/2007 09:12:00 PM) - Al

Cordero throws a 96 mph fastball and Bill says his velocity is down...Bill is so painfully bad, can't he just stay away after the big graduation tomorrow?


6/16/2007 09:12:00 PM



(6/16/2007 08:54:00 PM) - Al

There were some grumbles a week or so ago about the Brewers using the exaggerated shift so often, as a hitter or two would find the hole. I mention it because Morneau hit right into it just now, hitting a ground ball right to Counsell, who was well into the hole on just such a shift.

It's really just a matter of mathematics. If you can get a guy out 65% of the time playing a shift and 64% of the time playing regularly, you play the shift, even though you will "get beat" 35% of the time. I know many teams simply ignore the numbers and refuse to use the shift, instead choosing to move each IF over a step and be done with it. Why?

Because that's the way they've always done it.

Not sure if those same guys also opt for a good leechin' rather than an antibiotic as well...


6/16/2007 08:54:00 PM



(6/16/2007 08:50:00 PM) - Al

The funny thing is, I know exactly how the umpire missed the obvious safe call at home...the ball beat the runner. Many times, that's all that matters.


6/16/2007 08:50:00 PM



(6/16/2007 08:36:00 PM) - Al

Even Corey Koskie himself doesn't sound like he expects to play again.


6/16/2007 08:36:00 PM



(6/16/2007 08:10:00 PM) - Al

Ryan Braun has to be the most lost looking .300 hitter with power I've ever seen at the plate. Despite his tendency to chase balls in the dirt, he still manages to drive at least one ball seemingly every game.

I tell ya, that Corey Hart kid might just be a keeper, if he can only keep bandwagon fans from benching him to bring in a well known player with inferior numbers, like Jermaine Dye and Eric Byrnes. Never fails to amaze me how many people want to trade for someone because they've been mediocre for a long time (or, struggling to be now).


6/16/2007 08:10:00 PM



(6/16/2007 02:13:00 PM) - Al

Derrek Lee was ejected from Saturday's game in the fourth inning after a benches-clearing brawl in the game against the Padres.

Chris Young went up and in on Lee and got him on the hand-wrist area with the pitch. It didn't look like anything would happen, but Lee started to say something to Young and Young met him a few feet from home plate. While Young only seemed to be interested in talking, Lee threw a wild haymaker that missed and Young came back with a similar attempt that also failed to connect. Fortunately, Marcus Giles was able to pull Young away before any damage could be done. Another pile got started after the benches cleared, with Carlos Zambrano right in the middle of it, but the Young-Lee fight was the clear highlight.--Rotoworld


I have no idea how long Lee will be suspended for, but it's not long enough. Just how stupid does a player have to be to swing at another unprovoked?


6/16/2007 02:13:00 PM



(6/16/2007 02:03:00 PM) - Al

I mentioned the other day that I thought Matt Murton reminded me a lot of Corey Hart. Well, I finally compared the two:

Murton--.363/.441, 804
Hart----.336/.455, 791

Looks like I was on the mark with that one. The funny thing is, that is pretty much a tale of how the two organizations are run...one is handed a spot in the lineup (well, most of the time) and the other is replaced by a guy coming off his career season and is overpaid by millions of dollars.


6/16/2007 02:03:00 PM



(6/16/2007 01:49:00 PM) - Al

Al,

You mentioned how much trouble guys who don't throw hard often have at getting going. Exhibit A. Greg Maddux. His first season and a half was less than stellar. WHIP over 1.6 his 2nd year. It does take awhile.

Michael


As I said, if Yo can put up a 4.50 ERA in his starts, I'd be giddy.


6/16/2007 01:49:00 PM



(6/16/2007 10:32:00 AM) - Al

We'll see who Ned has as the DH the next couple days. I would probably have Mench one day and Gross on the other, or have them in the OF and give Hall/Hart a day off from the field. Graffy has done a fine job and Prince has had some mental days of rest.

Also, sounds like Rickie is just about ready to go. I assume Gwynn will go down with Counsell used to replace him as the late innings LH OBP PH.

Amazingly, despite the loss in TEX after leading in the 9th, the team is still 4-3 on this road trip. They have a pair of chances to make it a stellar 10 days of travel.


6/16/2007 10:32:00 AM



(6/16/2007 09:52:00 AM) - Al

Notes from the box score this morning...

...When did Ryan Braun make 5 errors thus far? I remember last night and one other.

...The tale of two players. JJ has 16 HR's, but overall, he's .332/.506. Corey is .374/.471, and if trends continue, he'll have a higher SLG soon as well. Yet, everywhere I look, message boards talk about picking up an OF and having Hart platoon with Jenkins. If there's an OF available that is a 4-4 game away from being a .400/.500 guy, I'm all for it, but the way Hart sneaks under the casual fan's radar astounds me.

...I spoke often that I expected the offense to be about league average, between 7th and 10th, but I felt the pitching would be top 4. At the moment, the exact opposite has happened, the offense is 4th, and the pitching is 7th (though 5th in WHIP). Granted, there is a logjam at the offensive end, there is a tiny margin between 3rd and 7th.

...Scott Baker looks to have started his last game for a while. Two of my favorite bloggers, Aaron and Seth, have both expected a lot from him, and I have stated that I doubted it...there is no single more difficult jump in sports than a SP from AAA to MLB, I can't say I fully understand it, but it has mostly to do with good lineups from 1-9 (or 1-8 in the NL), as well as a much smaller strike zone in the majors that no one ever talks about. For whatever reason, guys that lack velocity always seem to struggle more than you would expect them to...you just can't get most major league hitters out with 86-88 mph fastballs, as young hurlers lack the pinpoint control needed to paint the corners.

...Yes, that's why I lack the optimism many have for Yo. If he can keep his ERA under 5 while in the rotation, I'll be giddy. If moved to the bullpen, where no one would see him more than once a game, I'd expect much better results, with an ERA in the 3-3.50 range.

...Only 27K at the Dome last night, and it sounded like at least 9-10K were Brewers' fans...would the crowd have been under 20K had they been playing the Royals or DevilRays? I know the Metrodome is terrible, but with the Twins coming off an outstanding 2006, that seems like a tiny crowd.

...


6/16/2007 09:52:00 AM


Friday, June 15, 2007

(6/15/2007 07:24:00 PM) - Al

We'll have to see if the Minnesota media bemoans the fact the Metrodome sounds about 50/50 tonight between Twins and Brewers fans. It's as close to even as I can recall, I'd say it's usually about 25-33% Crew backers.

I giggle every time I see people that just don't get it with the Cubs in Miller Park, as Cubs' fans also fill Busch Stadium when they visit SL, and many others actually, all over the country.


6/15/2007 07:24:00 PM



(6/15/2007 07:08:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers have scored 294 runs thus far, good for 7th in the National League thus far. If you wonder what they would be "expected" to score...

.325 OBP x .439 SLG x 2240 AB's = 319 projected runs

While that seems like a big difference, let's do the math:

294/319 = 92.2% accurate

League wide, this is usually about 97.5% most seasons, so they are scoring just a few under what you would think. Is that bad luck, or possibly some of the residual effect of having Estrada/Miller as a baserunner every game. Time will tell, I guess.


6/15/2007 07:08:00 PM



(6/15/2007 03:00:00 PM) - Al

Ty Wigginton has been mentioned quite a bit as a potential addition to the Twins' lineup, but I'd be a lot more interested in Matt Murton. A 25-year-old right-handed hitter with over 800 plate appearances in the majors, Murton was demoted to Triple-A earlier this week because of a slow start and the Cubs' crowded outfield. He won't be arbitration eligible for several more years and has hit .294/.363/.441 in the majors after batting .309/.380/.451 in the minors.---Aaron Gleeman

Murton looks to me to be a Corey Hart clone, good eye at the plate, doubles power, with 15-20 HR pop as well. The Cubs don't see it apparently, and that's a shame. Aaron would be happy to see him with the Twins, and I wouldn't mind picking him up for the Crew...but the Cubs seem to think they'd rather pay a FA a kijillion dollars a year to do the same thing.


6/15/2007 03:00:00 PM


Thursday, June 14, 2007

(6/14/2007 08:16:00 PM) - Al

The Crew appear close to signing their 1st round pick, Matt Laporta, per Matt himself.


6/14/2007 08:16:00 PM



(6/14/2007 08:10:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Nice work as always on the blog.... Even w/Villy being unavailable for the next few games, I think they'll be perfectly fine. Granted, Wise needs to be treated like a piece of glass and can't go back to back games, and Shouse should only see the lefty's, but, I'm really glad Capellan is back up, and especially glad he was beginning to be stretched out in Nashville prior to his call-up, so he could theoretically take the place of Villy in the long relief/early setup role for the next few games if he was called upon.

Just my two cents.

Todd


Jose can take CV's role, but I doubt he'll be as effective. Based on today, I would say Wise will move into CV's spot, with Spurling moving into Wise's slot. Jose will probably be utilized as the long man until someone else fails.


6/14/2007 08:10:00 PM



(6/14/2007 07:28:00 PM) - Al

I watched the game on Squeeze Play tonight, quite an exciting finish. Frankie only allowed one ball to be hit well, but gave up a pair of cheap hits to start the inning, which cost him a pair of runs, but not the save.

Yo looks to be the man, coming up and being inserted into Capuano's spot in the rotation. I hate to see a 21 year-old put right into the fire, especially one whose innings need to be monitored like Yo's does, but I am confident that the coaching staff will be given a "hard limit" for him, probably right around 100-105 pitches. I expected to see Carlos starting and Yo in the bullpen, but without looking at any quotes, I assume the consensus was that CV was comfy as a relief guy, and Yo has always been a starter, so they'd leave the status quo.


6/14/2007 07:28:00 PM


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

(6/13/2007 10:13:00 PM) - Al

Yost said Weeks would continue to take batting practice until Sunday, when he will participate in a simulated game in Minnesota. Reliever Elmer Dessens, on the DL with a shoulder strain, will pitch in that session.

If Weeks tolerates that work, he could be activated as early as Sunday but probably not until the Brewers open a home stand Monday against San Francisco. He is eligible to come off the DL today.--JS


That would seem to be in agreement with what Doug said Monday as well. We'll see if Tony Jr. sees Milwaukee or if he's sent to AAA before then.


6/13/2007 10:13:00 PM



(6/13/2007 09:53:00 PM) - Al

I got an e-mail saying Jim Powell felt Steve Bray would get the call, as he thought Cappy would have to go on the DL. He has been very good since he's been in the Brewers' organization, I will give him that.

I know nothing about Bray except that he has little velocity, and he was acquired in the minor league Rule 5 draft...a phase which many fans have never heard of, because for the most part, only complete non-prospects are involved in it...most teams use it simply to pick up roster filler at positions they are light at...need a couple extra arms at AA, a backup C perhaps, it's like the discount bargain bin of minor league baseball. I honestly cannot name a single player who has made the bigs after being taken in the minor league Rule 5, so Bray would be the first I'm aware of.


6/13/2007 09:53:00 PM



(6/13/2007 09:18:00 PM) - Al

Many fans of the casual sort keep calling for ridiculous type moves...Spurling being sent down is one of them, in addition to Mench being traded.

Of course, Chris has been very effective as a reliever, compiling a 3.50ish ERA, while Mench, despite cooling down, still is hitting LHP nicely (while not spectacularly), at .318/.469, a 787 OPS. Argue if you will Mench makes too much money to be a platoon guy, but role players like him, Counsell, and Graffy are exactly who good teams have on their bench.

Since Gwynn has cooled down, he seems like a huge waste of a roster spot, so I feel he'll be the guy to go down when Rickie returns off the DL, be that sooner or later. I like Tony, but with Gross on the team and Hall not needing a defensive sub, his role is tiny. Besides, Craig will pretty much take over the LH PH OBP guy, if we can ever get Braun and Weeks healthy and productive at the same time.

No word on Capuano right after the game, so they may be waiting to see how it responds to treatment. With Vargas needed to start Saturday, that would mean the bullpen would be Cordero, Turnbow, Shouse, Spurling, Capellan, and Wise...6 deep, but I would probably say 5.5, as Wise is not able to be effective, for the most part, pitching back-to-back days. Shouse is also quite limited, able to only face lefties unless it's a blowout...would that be 5.25?


6/13/2007 09:18:00 PM



(6/13/2007 09:03:00 PM) - Al

Bill Hall has been seeing the ball well of late, as proven by his 3 walk game last night. If you do not swing at balls out of the strike zone, you're going to get plenty of good pitches to hit, and Bill would seem to be a living example.

We'll see what is said after the game about Capuano, as well as possibly Rickie Weeks, who is eligible to come off the disabled list, though Doug said a few days ago he thought it would be next week before he was ready.


6/13/2007 09:03:00 PM



(6/13/2007 09:00:00 PM) - Al

I need to heartily endorse Brian Townsend's blog once again. Brian is a high stakes online player who has began playing more live games, including High Stakes Poker on GSN.


6/13/2007 09:00:00 PM



(6/13/2007 08:33:00 PM) - Al

I've been looking at this page of the rule book for some time trying to find where it says Prince has to be on the bag on a throw to 1B, and I can't find it. Now, if Prince were half way down the line, I get it, but I always assumed it was fine as long as the throw was in the vicinity of 1B.

I'd say it was terribly nitpicky at the very least. Looked to me the ump just wanted to be on TV.


6/13/2007 08:33:00 PM



(6/13/2007 07:52:00 PM) - Al

It doesn't take much of a sleuth to wonder if Capuano's groin trouble has been ongoing for quite a while, given his outstanding start to the season and recent slide.

I would assume Cappy is headed for the DL, to let it heal and get another pitcher up. Yo Gallardo is the obvious choice, but he went last night and will not be available until Sunday at the earliest. We could well see another pitcher brought up for 3 games or so and then Yo, either Sunday if he is to pitch in relief (and Carlos V starts), or Monday if he goes into the rotation.

There are plenty of possibilities on the Nashville roster, and there's still at least one 40 man spot open, so that should not matter.

I might well go with Chris Oxspring, based on his K/9 numbers. He was signed as a minor league FA in the offseason, and while far from a prospect at this point, looks to have an out pitch or two and could easily give you several frames, as he's been starting, which is a consideration because the Crew will be playing interleague games until Sunday.


6/13/2007 07:52:00 PM



(6/13/2007 05:31:00 PM) - Al

I will link to Tom H's chat here, but I'm not sure why I bother. It's as bad as usual, which is setting the bar pretty low, to say the least.

I found the silliest statements to be Tom wondering why they'd move Yo to the bullpen in the bigs (he has no clue on limiting innings or setting up a player to succeed), as well as he thinking Gross wasn't a very good DH (let's not forget, Jason Tyner was the Twins' main DH in the playoffs last year); but to be honest, every one of Tom's answers can be looked at as not well thought out. Compare the drivel he writes to one of Jim Powell's efforts, and even a better comparison would be the manner in which a pro like Adam M at the team site as he handles half-baked questions in his weekly mailbag.


6/13/2007 05:31:00 PM



(6/13/2007 04:25:00 PM) - Al

Was Verlander's game the most dominant you've ever seen? Only thing close for me is the Sheets 18K effort. Otherwise, the Brewers looked completely outmatched. As you said, the '27 Yankees couldn't have hit him tonight. I mean. 99 mph in the 9th. How do you possibly hit that?

Mike


I've seen 3 no-hitters, and it was by far the best of those. Nieves was more lucky than good, and Scott Erickson was also quite fortunate in his no-hitter versus the Brewers, several balls hit right at his defense. Verlander was very good, but I would say Sheets was better on his 18K day.


6/13/2007 04:25:00 PM


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

(6/12/2007 07:48:00 PM) - Al

Interesting bit of info I uncovered while looking at other things...since the Brewers were 24-10, they have played 29 games...

if scoring 5 or more runs: 7-2
if scoring 4 or less runs: 3-17

Granted, I don't think the '27 Yankees would score 5 versus Verlander tonight, but the problem certainly seems to be directly related to the offense not being very productive.


6/12/2007 07:48:00 PM



(6/12/2007 04:52:00 PM) - Al

Odd batting order tonight, Craig and Tony at #1 & 2, the DH 9th, and allow me to add, I hope Braun is just getting a night off, as the Craig/Tony combo does a fine job of filling in, but if they both have to play every day...


6/12/2007 04:52:00 PM



(6/12/2007 07:29:00 AM) - Al

As Bill Schroeder has hinted at, Rickie Weeks will not be back when he is eligible to come off the DL Thursday, he said it will be a week or two, followed by a few games on a rehab stint. This is per Doug Melvin's appearance on a radio show last night.

He also said Yo may well be added to the bullpen soon, which is pretty much what he said 3 months ago, so that's not much of a surprise.


6/12/2007 07:29:00 AM


Monday, June 11, 2007

(6/11/2007 06:31:00 PM) - Al

I did make it to the final out of the game last night, but barely. I know Bob mentioned several times during the broadcast what a long game it was, and it's funny, but the AL games still seem like they last a lifetime, even though in theory, the NL games, with more pinch-hitters, double switches, and pitching changes, should be the ones at a slower pace.

When I saw the highlight last night of Byrd's game-tying base hit, it looked like a fastball, though it could have been a slider that simply hung. I am almost sure Bob called it a breaking ball, but knowing how little he uses his monitor, he might have missed it as well.

Gee, did Jenkins ever hit his HR a ton. It went so far, it should count as 1.5 runs.:)

Counsell and Graffy are both hitting the ball much better than they did, though in Craig's case, he simply hit in bad luck for much of the early going. With Graffy making several nifty plays at 1B last night, and hitting like his career norms again, Ned should utilize him at 1B once a series while the DH is in effect, just to give Prince a breather, as he has not many days off, heading into the long, hot days of Summer.

I'm going by memory here, but it sure seems like Estrada has been effective the day after he has a day off. He's not a baby, and as many of us know, when you hit 30, those nicks and bruises and aches and pains take a lot longer to go away. Last year, Damian Miller played a lot in the first half and struggled in the second half. Hopefully, history will not repeat itself.


6/11/2007 06:31:00 PM



(6/11/2007 06:25:00 PM) - Al

News of note from the poker world, everyone's favorite Daniel Negraneau has folded his online venture Full Contact Poker and joined Poker Stars. Also, Allen Cunningham, who is probably one of the top 5 players in the world, won his 5th WSOP bracelet last night.

Those who claim poker is just "all luck" must wonder why Cunningham's good fortune is simply off-the-charts.

Phil Hellmuth is at a final table tonight, looking for his 11th bracelet, by the way.


6/11/2007 06:25:00 PM


Sunday, June 10, 2007

(6/10/2007 11:56:00 PM) - Al

Claudio saves it with a DP to end the game.


6/10/2007 11:56:00 PM



(6/10/2007 11:50:00 PM) - Al

Surprised to hear Vargas is in, though I have no idea how many pitches CV threw, and obviously, if he was tired after his pair of frames pitched. I would have expected Capellan/Shouse instead of him.


6/10/2007 11:50:00 PM



(6/10/2007 11:42:00 PM) - Al

I am trying to make it to the end of the game, but if it goes past the 12th, I'm going to have to call it.

As I pass the time listening to the game, the TV is on American Idol Rewind, which basically is a behind-the-scenes review of the Idol Kelly Clarkson won ages ago. I have never watched AI, but since it's on right after the local news, the one thing I have learned is how attractive Clarkson is. She isn't one you notice upon first glance, but her voice is far from her only attribute.

Also, The Sopranos ended its run tonight, another show I never paid attention to, though I did see parts of many episodes when it on before or after Six Feet Under. I never understood its appeal, and stil don't, really, but I do find it interesting that the 3 reviews I've read cannot seem to decipher what happened, especially the very end.

Ironically, I am the only person who felt the last few minutes of SFU was a dreamlike "possible" ending, while everyone else saw it as what actually occurred.


6/10/2007 11:42:00 PM



(6/10/2007 10:51:00 PM) - Al

Back and forth game tonight between the Rangers and the Crew.

Turnbow has done a nice job of late, as he is nearly unhittable if he throws strikes.

It sounds like Frankie is having trouble with his breaking pitch, which was nearly perfect for the first two months of the campaign. Or, just as possible, is that instead of his rare mistakes being fouled back, they are being kept fair.

Prince is on a 59 HR pace, and you hardly hear his name on the national sports scene.


6/10/2007 10:51:00 PM



(6/10/2007 06:05:00 PM) - Al

Brady Clark DFA'd.

I would assume he will be picked up when he becomes a free agent, as then he'll only cost a team the minimum salary. Good luck to him.


6/10/2007 06:05:00 PM


Saturday, June 09, 2007

(6/09/2007 10:16:00 PM) - Al

Seeing Cordero lose a game is almost impossible to believe, especially how every hit was just a single. Huge walk to Vasquez, as his run did not mean a thing, but some nights, the bloops fall in and the grounders find a hole. Given how the Crew won a couple games early on that Frankie got out of jams that were seemingly impossible, I suppose this is just the 162 games schedule evening out things.


6/09/2007 10:16:00 PM



(6/09/2007 09:24:00 PM) - Al

Jim Powell's JS chat from yesterday can be found here...note how good it is compared to the efforts the JS's own staff gives.

You have Tom H, who berates fans for questioning his knowledge, and then you have Rick Braun, who was puzzled why he could not find former #1 pick Mark Rogers '07 stats anywhere.


6/09/2007 09:24:00 PM



(6/09/2007 08:24:00 PM) - Al

As I mentioned before, we attended a Wisconsin Woodchucks game last night, as it was Saturn night and we were sent several tickets and food coupons in the mail. I often joke that the couple times we've attended Woodchucks' contests and paid for tickets we may have been the only people in the park that had actually bought tickets, but that's not that far from the truth. Not only do sponsors hand out free tiks, I stood down the RF line for the first 3 innings or so and noticed that one of the gates sat wide open the entire time, as one worker carried food and stuff in from the pre-game Saturn event. Several people wandered in through the open gate, some with tickets in hand looking for someone to take them, some without. The "staff" did not seem at all interested in security, as their average age looked to be 19.5 or so.

I overheard a couple discussions while there, as my wife and son and friends of ours played on the Saturn sponsored play equipment set up in the street. One teenager was telling another about one of the players they knew that played for the Eau Claire opponent. Supposedly, the player had told him that his coaches at college were unhappy he was pitching over the Summer because "they pitched them so much" in the Northwoods League...which I thought was ironic, since college coaches are famous for having pitchers throw 150+ pitches as pitch them on short rest if a "big game" was being played. Maybe things have changed the past few seasons, but it wasn't that long ago MLB teams would draft a pitcher from college ball, sign them, and tell them they'd see 'em next March, take the Summer off. I know Ben McDonald threw over 200 pitches once in a college game, which came with the prerequisite selfish manager saying things like "he didn't have any tough innings" and "I pay attention to them working hard, not pitch count".

One of the Express players was talking to some high school players as he protected the bullpen catcher while a pitcher was getting loose. They were discussing something or other and the Express player, with the excitement of a teenage girl having been asked to the prom said "Yeah, we got a lot of free stuff!", which, given the fact they don't get paid except for a tiny per diem for food and laundry, still is thrilling for them, I guess.

I saw Ned Yost IV play C for the Woodchucks a few years ago and he looked like a man among boys, very tall and muscular, and on his throws to 2B between innings, the 2B/SS never had to move their glove a bit, the ball was always right on the bag. It still puzzles me that Yost is playing 1B in the minors, as I would assume his only chance to make the bigs is behind the plate. None of the players last night stood out, and the one thing that did was how any breaking ball thrown for a strike made the hitter look as helpless as I would. In college ball, it would seem, a called strike on off-speed stuff is as rare as a late Saturday night study session.


6/09/2007 08:24:00 PM



(6/09/2007 11:36:00 AM) - Al

Al,

First of all, I've been a regular reader of your site for a long time, and I enjoy it every day. I especially like your relaxed, marathon not a sprint mentality.

I admit, I'm getting a little worried. I did not expect the 100 win pace to continue, but this is a prolonged period of pretty crappy play.

Francis


Francis, in an edited part of his message, told me he is currently serving aboard a US Navy vessel far from home. Thank you and your fellow sailors for your service, Francis.

As for the Brewers, I think the early start did set expectations far too high, and also brought out many casual fans who simply do not understand that the best baseball teams lose 54-62 games every year. The negative things we are bombarded with by these fans makes things seem a lot worse than they are, in my opinion. I talked about it last week, but the over/under on wins went from about 85 to about 95-100 based on a very small percentage of the schedule having been completed. Allow me to make a chart of expectations:

Mid-April = This team might be pretty good.
24-10 = This may be one of the best teams to ever have been assembled.
Current = What's wrong with the team? They are now only 5 games up!


Of course, I share my thoughts on a near daily basis, and if you recall, I did not make any mention of coasting through the regular season, as 162 games tend to be a very fair test, as well as make it nearly impossible to hide your weaknesses. The irony here is simple...the Brewers are nearly exactly where they were expected to be 2 months ago. The hand wringing and mock concern is due to the way they have done so.

I was surprised they got off to such a good start, and I'm surprised by their stumbles of late, as I felt their rotation would limit the bad streaks. But, 61 games in, I probably would have predicted 31 or 32 wins, as I felt they would be a .500 or just above team and then improve a bit as the pitching jelled.

If you can suspend your memory for a moment, let's just pretend the Crew had started out 9-18, and then currently be on a 24-10 run, everyone would be thrilled with a 5 game lead and a 33-28 W/L mark.

As I say often, there are lots of teams who would love to trade places with us. The young infield is in place and you could make an argument that my usual choice for eventual best of the lot, Rickie Weeks, might be the weakest. The OF is 2/3rd's complete as well for the foreseeable future, and the rotation still is solid and has depth to make nearly all other teams envious. Other than Cordero, the bullpen has been steady if unspectacular.

The farm system is now a bit void of the mega-prospects, other than Yo of course, who will likely be added to the bullpen by the time we celebrate our nation's birth, but still is ranked in the top 5-7 in baseball. There are plenty of "minor" prospect types who can be dealt near the deadline to strengthen a leak in the ship.

I continue to feel this is a team that could easily make a half-decade long run of success, because they have been built the right way. 75% of the everyday lineup should continue to get better...5 of them will not hit their accepted "peak" age 27 for several years.

I'm satisfied with the present and feel the future is extremely bright. Both Doug and Mark A have done nothing but show me they will do what they can short-term while not jeopardizing the long-term.

I'm far from the ledge myself.


6/09/2007 11:36:00 AM



(6/09/2007 10:00:00 AM) - Al

This surprising nugget of info from BP...about 1/3rd of the college 1B drafted in the 1st round go onto the Hall of Fame...jeepers.

I had never heard of Matt Laporta before the Brewers took him, but I think it is apparent that their position in the success cycle played a part in their outlook...they seem to have taken players (the first few picks) who may not have the ceilings of others, but may contribute in the bigs pretty quickly. Heck, there's been whispers that Laporta could be signed to a major league contract and brought up in September for another RH bat off the bench.


6/09/2007 10:00:00 AM


Friday, June 08, 2007

(6/08/2007 09:26:00 PM) - Al

Mike sends this unique story from the minors.

We went to the Woodchucks' game tonight, as it was Saturn night and we got free tickets, food, and drinks. They play audio clips non-stop, but I'm not sure if any are offensive to anyone.


6/08/2007 09:26:00 PM



(6/08/2007 04:08:00 PM) - Al

Richard Brodie is once again cleared to play in the WSOP. For Quiet Lion fans everywhere, that is a good thing.


6/08/2007 04:08:00 PM


Thursday, June 07, 2007

(6/07/2007 09:33:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers have offered to make all playoff games available to current 9/10 game ticket holders.

I know the Twins used to offer a late season "special offer" to folks who put down a non-refundable deposit for the following season's season tickets, about $200-250 if I recall correctly. I would expect the Crew to do something like this eventually as well.


6/07/2007 09:33:00 PM



(6/07/2007 08:34:00 PM) - Al

I have seen many things that really surprised me...the OJ Simpson verdict springs to mind. Most everyone reading this remembers 9/11/01 as a day that, quite literally, changed the world. It's hard to imagine how things were on 9/10, to be honest.

This is not nearly as deep or important as that, but I was just shocked by something that happened last evening. My wife and I were watching the 6PM news, and the lead story was that two local school districts had canceled school today due to the threat of bad weather...you see, storms were rolling across the Great Plains, about 500 miles away, and there was a chance it could hit Central WI.

Sure enough, late this afternoon, we did have some thunderstorms, and even a couple tornado touchdowns, with some isolated damage. Of course, similar weather has occurred in my lifetime literally hundreds of times, and I've never witnessed a single closing of any kind because of it.

Tonight on the news, one of the districts announced they planned to ask for a waiver so they did not have to make up the day. If this is allowed, I think it's safe to say they should simply not bother having a minimum number of days, because when the mere chance of a summer storm suffices as an excused reason not to hold school, my head hurts to even function as a human being.

Many times, members of the generation that saved the world are chided for wondering what happened to the toughness and grit that once existed. To have even have imagined the above happening a decade or two ago is unimaginable, never mind 50 years ago.

Simply put, it's off-the-charts.


6/07/2007 08:34:00 PM



(6/07/2007 07:06:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers take the best power hitting prospect in college baseball with their 1st round pick. He played mostly 1B, but is projected as a LF in Milwaukee. I believe I saw where he had the best OBP in D1 last year, so I like him just from that alone. He was hurt much of his junior season, when most players go pro, so he is a college senior, which may well also mean a quick, relatively easy signing, as he has no leverage other than to go back in the draft.


6/07/2007 07:06:00 PM


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

(6/06/2007 09:06:00 PM) - Al

Al,

I've read your blog pretty consistently this season, but I am wondering about your thoughts about the roof. It seems that the roof at Miller Park is closed far more often (on decent weather days) than in past years. I understand the bogie problem isn't completely fixed, yet, but there was no threat of rain last night. I think it is silly that on a 55 degree, clear evening, baseball is being played under a dome.

Michael


Probably this is one of most asked questions of both myself and the Brewers. Simply put, many people, including 99% of the females in the world, find 55 far too chilly to sit in for 3 hours. If there's any breeze, even I might be cold.


6/06/2007 09:06:00 PM



(6/06/2007 08:15:00 PM) - Al

I had forgotten the Brewers had a pair of days off in the next 5 days. I can't believe they would not skip a starter, so I would assume we will see Dave Bush or Claudio Vargas added to the bullpen mix until next Saturday (or Wednesday/Thursday, when they'd have to start prepping).

Because they do not need 8 bullpen guys, I'd probably look to send Capellan back down (though I'd hate to be the one who has to tell him) and bring up an extra position player for a few days, until Weeks returns. If Dessens is going to be ready to return by the 16th or so, it will be interesting to see who will go down then.


6/06/2007 08:15:00 PM



(6/06/2007 06:20:00 PM) - Al

I'll be watching my tape of the game this evening, though it started with the Crew down 1-0 after the top of the 1st. The game sure got off to a horrible beginning, with Corey Hart seemingly forgetting the strike zone and chasing fastballs up in his eyes, as did Ryan Braun on the 0-0 pitch.


6/06/2007 06:20:00 PM


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

(6/05/2007 05:50:00 PM) - Al

I received several e-mails saying they enjoyed my Neteller/Satan comparison, and I'm glad you did. One person mentions they hope I'm never unhappy with them...let's hope.

Also, an "insider" says that while many of the Brewers themselves agree with my assessment that the scoring is too tough at Miller Park, he thinks Tim O'Driscoll does a fine job. I don't, as I think he simply is playing the part of a rebellious judge trying to legislate from the bench rather than be the best judicial mind he can be.

The JS casually mentioned that the Crew reached 1M in attendance in the 32nd home game, in 2001, they made it in 31, the all-time record. If this team continues to win and builds off the optimism in their 2008 campaign...I truly feel 3M is very possible, heck, I'd go as far as to say the word "likely", if the interleague schedule is favorable (maybe the White Sox finally?), as well as some other minor issues (9 or 10 Cubs' games, with 2 weekday series). Mark A would probably add in a couple "bargain" series early in the year if they felt it was close as well.


6/05/2007 05:50:00 PM


Monday, June 04, 2007

(6/04/2007 09:27:00 PM) - Al

Neteller said it had signed a Distribution Plan with Navigant Consulting on 21 March to work out a plan to refund US customers and that it had now been agreed upon. The company will work with Navigant and the USAO to implement the plan once a date has been finalised.

As part of the plan, the company said US customers would be able to access their accounts online for a certain time and make a request for their funds. No interest on account balances will be paid and customers will not be charged processing fees.


I briefly discussed my disgust with Neteller about 4 months ago, and the words I spoke then were tame compared to how I feel now. So, for possibly being the most ignorantly run company in the history of mankind, NT will be forced to...keep all the money they've made in interest and investment profits? Note how they add they will not charge a withdrawl fee...never mind they never have, the only fees were always paid by the merchants.

Oof. Wow, talk about being rewarded for incompetence.

If Satan himself was at my front door and Neteller on the patio, I would invite Lucifer in and ask him if he wanted his tea scalding or boiling, while putting up the lockbar so true evil would not enter.


6/04/2007 09:27:00 PM



(6/04/2007 08:59:00 PM) - Al

Watching Craig Counsell bat should be on every minor league team's pre-game schedule. After about a month, you know someone would say, "Why do they keep walking him? He doesn't have any power"; and the hitting coach would respond, "He walks a lot because he takes a lot of pitches. You see that many balls too, but you swing at a lot of 'em".


6/04/2007 08:59:00 PM



(6/04/2007 08:40:00 PM) - Al

Capuano speaks at a school that's actually teaching kids something they'll use in life, how to work with money. I've never understood why that isn't taught in every grade, rather than other non-vital subjects.


6/04/2007 08:40:00 PM



(6/04/2007 08:08:00 PM) - Al

Looks like the tirade Lou had the other day is really paying dividends...

{ball lands on the mound between 5 Cubs}

...never mind.:)


Once again, the Miller Park official scorer embarrasses himself by calling that an error. I've never seen an untouched ball that drops between players called anything but a hit in three decades. I honestly cannot believe they let him continue, as he simply makes calls that he pulls out of thin air, rather than using the same scoring the other 29 ballparks use.

UPDATE: I am reminded by an e-mailer that a ball does not have to be touched to be charged as an error. I know that, but as I pointed out, I really hate the fact he scores the game differently than the other 29 guys. It's tough for me to think the others are all wrong.


6/04/2007 08:08:00 PM


Sunday, June 03, 2007

(6/03/2007 09:49:00 PM) - Al

How can these RedSox/Yankees games take so long...almost 3 hours old, and it's in the top of the 7th?

No wonder I don't bother.


6/03/2007 09:49:00 PM



(6/03/2007 03:23:00 PM) - Al

I find it strange no one will come out and say Miguel Cabrera looks to be quite a bit over what you would consider his best playing weight. I'd go so far as to say that he is about 20 pounds over what he should be at. Of course, he is still one of the best hitters in the game, so his desire to get in the best possible condition is likely just not there.

But, for the teams looking to commit 5-7 years and $20M per season to him, that excess weight makes him likely to age quicker than you would normally expect, as well as be more injury prone. It's tough enough to give a near perfect specimen like ARod that kind of money, never mind a pudgy fella.

As I often say about Prince, when you're heavy in your prime, it's unusual to be anything but very heavy as you hit your 30's.


6/03/2007 03:23:00 PM



(6/03/2007 01:09:00 PM) - Al

Mike Jones, former first round pick, will probably undergo Tommy John surgery, after another setback, per the JS.

If he is still on the 40 man roster, he won't be much longer. Jones has not stayed healthy enough to really see what he could do, and looks to be a complete loss at this point. The draft is an imperfect science, and this reinforces that.


6/03/2007 01:09:00 PM


Saturday, June 02, 2007

(6/02/2007 07:35:00 PM) - Al

Bill dumbly thinking you can shut down the other team by putting guys on base. Nothing limits the other team's output more than giving them extra baserunners.:)


6/02/2007 07:35:00 PM



(6/02/2007 07:18:00 PM) - Al

This happens every year, but it bears repeating...just how far off the realm of reality do you have to be to throw rocks and homemade explosives at police to protest the G8 Summit?

I'll take Spending Daddy's Money for $1200, Alex.


6/02/2007 07:18:00 PM



(6/02/2007 07:04:00 PM) - Al

I watched the last 3-4 innings of the Cubs/Braves game today, and even Len Kasper, a very professional, competent announcer, was having trouble hiding his contempt for the recent actions of the team. Sweet Lou came out and got tossed in an obviously scripted ploy today, which of course, accomplished nothing.

It would be easy to imagine the casual fan crediting Lou had they come back and won after his planned display, but 'twas not to be. Either Len or or the color guy even commented that they thought Lou would have come out to dispute the call even had it gone the other way...basically admitting it was a pro wrestling type of silliness.

The Cubs don't need any of that stuff to win, they just need to score some runs and prevent a few more from scoring. All the rest is for the print media to report on and wonder why they are losing readers on a daily basis.


6/02/2007 07:04:00 PM


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