Al's Ramblings



Friday, August 31, 2007

(8/31/2007 08:46:00 PM) - Al

In addition to those mentioned here, Jim Powell has reported AA speedster Mel Stocker will be added to the Brewers' 40 man tomorrow and join the team in Milwaukee.

Needless to say, Stocker will be used all but exclusively as a pinch-runner.

I just linked Stocker's numbers above, and while I'm not going to be critical of Stocker, as he's much better than me, but it's a safe bet this will be his only stint in the bigs, as he simply cannot hit a lick. Mel can thank Gwynn's balky leg for this opportunity.


8/31/2007 08:46:00 PM



(8/31/2007 07:37:00 PM) - Al

Bill and Brian trying to be discreet about the callups, even though they probably have a list or saw the guys in the clubhouse earlier. The names would already have been in the JS if they printed anything except random second guesses and official press releases.


8/31/2007 07:37:00 PM



(8/31/2007 07:16:00 PM) - Al

While we're on the subject of Larry Craig, I've got some real problems with this whole situation. While I'm no fan of his (I knew little about him until his vote for Amnesty), as a libertarian, I have a real problem with the misdemeanor charge he got in Minneapolis. If he had said to the cop "wanna have sex?" that would be one thing...but to say that he is guilty of soliciting sex by putting his foot next to another person's and swiping his hand under the stall...that to me is a real stretch. They say these are the known signs of someone looking for public sex...I guess I've lived a sheltered life.--Jim Rose

Exactly what I've been thinking. I have no idea what happened, but to be honest, I think any judge in the land would have asked the DA why such crap (no pun intended) was in his courtroom.


8/31/2007 07:16:00 PM



(8/31/2007 07:09:00 PM) - Al

The TV guys jumping the gun a bit saying Gross and Hall are in a platoon...I believe this is the 2nd game Gabe has started versus a RHP. Bill has been slumping, and has seen his playing time cut because of it. If Gabe goes 0-4 a time or two, or if Bill has a 2-3 with a walk performance, the "platoon" will be over.


8/31/2007 07:09:00 PM



(8/31/2007 06:44:00 PM) - Al

They just reported on ESPN that they have instructed Virginia Tech fans not to boo at all tomorrow, because they feel it would be disrespectful, after all the well wishes that have been sent towards the campus since the massacre last April. Even the opponent, East Carolina, is making a contribution toward the memorial fund.

I think that's a fine step to eliminating the practice all together. I don't really understand why anyone bothers to do so, as it certainly doesn't bother anyone. In my years as a softball player, I usually played on teams that were mediocre or below average, but the one team I did play for that was very good, often times the opponent's crowd was vocal and might have even been a tad disrespectful a few times, and there was never a better feeling than to know you were so good they felt it necessary to act in such a manner.

It's like that old saying, the opposite of love is not hate, it's ignorance. By booing, they just prove they care.


8/31/2007 06:44:00 PM



(8/31/2007 06:35:00 PM) - Al

Since today is the eve of a holiday weekend, I just worked this morning and took the afternoon off. So, my son and I did a biathlon of sorts, enjoying an afternoon of mini-golf and bowling. My boy does not put much speed on the ball, and today managed to leave a nearly impossible to do 7-8-9-10 split...the entire back row. One of the pins kind of spun as the ball rolled through, but did not fall. People on both sides of us commented on how odd it looked, having all 4 pins across the back up with none of the front six.


8/31/2007 06:35:00 PM



(8/31/2007 06:26:00 PM) - Al

The Cubs add Steve Trachsel, not a bad move at all considering they play 24 games in 23 days, and had little 6th starter depth in house. Steve is old and works slow, but he's a sub 5 ERA guy. Good pickup if used in long relief or a spot starter, not so much if counted on to take the mound every 5th day.

The Brewers have struggled because their rotation has pitched like Trachsel, so it's far from a move that does anything to clinch the division for CHI. I am not familiar with the prospects moved, but for depth, it's a solid pickup.


8/31/2007 06:26:00 PM



(8/31/2007 06:23:00 PM) - Al

Manny Parra goes on the DL, and Greg Aquino, already in Milwaukee anyway, gets activated a day early.

Parra has a swollen finger and a cracked fingernail from being hit last night as he tried to bunt.


8/31/2007 06:23:00 PM



(8/31/2007 12:25:00 PM) - Al

The first classic late night match of this year's US Open occurred last evening, with American James Blake defeating journeyman pro Fabrice Santuro, who is 34 and looked 44 last night, as he suffered from tennis' favorite ailment, cramps, for all of the 5th set.

You could not get much more David vs. Goliath. Blake, a young muscular top ranked player who looks like he could easily make a living at any of a number of sports, taking on Santuro, a short fella who looks even shorter because his legs look to be about one-third of his body, but who just keeps managing to return the ball, seemingly making Blake hit 2-3 winners to get a point. Santuro hit a ton of lobs, and nearly every ball he hit either with spin or "lacked pace", which basically means he hit a change up back, making Blake provide all of his own power.

Tennis just doesn't get any better than the hardcourts of New York City.


8/31/2007 12:25:00 PM



(8/31/2007 11:52:00 AM) - Al

I have an e-mail in my box that says the following will be in Milwaukee tonight and officially active for tomorrow's game:

Rottino, Villanueva, Spurling, Stetter, and Aquino.

Tony Gwynn Jr. is recovering from a leg injury of some sort and should be up soon. I'm a bit surprised to see Mitch Stetter's name, as he has had a rather subpar statline in AAA. I would assume he is the best LHP in the high levels, at the and will be used as a loogy, early on, say in the 5th and 6th innings.

I would have to think another position player or two will be up within a week. With Parra possibly out for a stretch, I can understand a few pitchers being needed, but 15 seems like a bunch, even if Stetter will never be used for more than a hitter or two.


8/31/2007 11:52:00 AM



(8/31/2007 11:36:00 AM) - Al

I guess I did not feel nearly as one-sided as Jason and Robert did, though I too felt Jenkins would have been the "expected" move. Managers play hunches often, and as Robert pointed out, no one will ever know how Geoff would have done there.

In one-run games, it often comes down to either good luck or a play here and there. Soriano hit a pitcher's pitch out of the park, much like Braun did in Houston. Hart lost a ball in the lights. Sometimes, you just gotta tip your cap and/or figure out a way to do something about the Wrigley Field lights, which seem not up to major league specs anyway (both OF corners seem very dark). Short of that, the best formula to win one-run games I know of is hit a few grounders in the holes.

The '57 Braves were at Miller Park last night and all said kind things, mostly just that the Crew seemed a year away with all their youth. As I have said many times, the nucleus is very much in place, I would guess at least 18-20 2008 roster members are on the 25 man now (or will be tomorrow). There will not be wholesale changes by any means.


8/31/2007 11:36:00 AM



(8/31/2007 09:47:00 AM) - Jason Christopherson

I logged in this morning to express some thoughts on the game last night. Robert had to have been in my head as he wrote my thoughts out better than I ever could.

Tom H. is admittedly dead-on in his blog entry late last night:

But the fact remains that Yost doesn't start Mench against righties but he still allowed him to hit against one with the biggest game of the year in the balance.

I can't put all the blame on Yost, either. Mench, a professional hitter, should have recognized that Dempster was struggling. An unintentional walk, a hit batter, and Braun swinging at a couple of pitches out of the zone to get himself out should alert Mench to the fact that perhaps he should be patient and make Dempster throw strikes. Was the first pitch to him a strike? Yeah, probably. But it certainly wasn't a get-me-over fastball over the center of the plate at the belt. And the on-the-ropes Dempster had to put two more over the plate that Mench could choose from.

I don't know who I am most mad at: Yost, for the insanity of playing the "feel of the game" card and letting Mench hit, or Mench for sitting in a fog the entire ninth inning not seeing what was going on.

Or myself for getting so mad about it in the first place...


8/31/2007 09:47:00 AM


Thursday, August 30, 2007

(8/30/2007 10:56:00 PM) - Robert R.

I like to be a voice of calm reason. I really do. But I can't for the life of me understand the decision to let Kevin Mench face a wild Ryan Dempster in the 9th inning. Seriously, how do you not bring in Jenkins?

Granted, Jenkins could have made out there too, but there are seldom decisions that are so clear cut on what gives you the best chance to win. And that was just an awful AB by Mench which really makes it look bad.

That really was a tactical decision that can get a manager fired. Grady Little had loads better reasons when he was with the Red Sox and decided to leave Pedro in too long.


8/30/2007 10:56:00 PM



(8/30/2007 07:58:00 PM) - Al

Parra uses the pitcher's spot and a fine catch by Hart (he's really good when he doesn't lose the ball:) to get out of the 2nd with only 3 runs scored.

Hopefully Corey is ok, he looked to be holding his arm at his side as he came off the field.


8/30/2007 07:58:00 PM



(8/30/2007 07:52:00 PM) - Al

Jeremy Jeffress, the Brewers' first round pick in '06, was suspended for 50 games due to a positive drug test. No idea if if was for an illegal street drug or a muscle builder, but considering Jeremy is rail thin, I know what I'm guessing. Let's hope the kid, who throws in the high 90's, learns his lesson and the time off does not stunt his development.


8/30/2007 07:52:00 PM



(8/30/2007 07:49:00 PM) - Al

Sometimes you forget how young some of these kids are...Manny Parra has simply fallen apart like a 6 year-old whose bike was stolen after Hart lost a fly ball in the lights. I mean, it's a shame, but all you can do is get the next batter and go from there.

His delivery looks to be so far off it's astounding he's anywhere near the plate.


8/30/2007 07:49:00 PM


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

(8/29/2007 09:30:00 PM) - Al

In the U.S., stock buys by management at S&P 500 banks, lenders and insurance companies hit a 12-year-high according to Bloomberg data quoted in the news report.--Money

That's exactly what I would have guessed, and exactly why I have far too much of my portfolio in financials, because I also think they are well undervalued, due to the subprime overreaction, which has hit investors and "flippers" almost exclusively. The fact reinsurance companies have barely edged back from their 2005 lows, when they were hit so hard by Katrina, is almost criminal.


8/29/2007 09:30:00 PM



(8/29/2007 08:39:00 PM) - Al

The e-mail question was who would be up on 9/1, when the rosters expand. Bill said both Ned and Gord told him they did not know, meaning for the most part, Bill gets lied to a lot. Bill also forgot about Chris Spurling, as he guessed Gwynn, Villy, Rottino, and someone else who I have already forgotten.

My guesses would be a couple pitchers, a 3rd catcher, and a bench player or two. Therefore, I would say:

Spurling and Villy (Greg Aquino also has pitched well, but I do not see the need for 15 pitchers)
Rottino
Gwynn and maybe Callix Crabbe

I really do not see much use for Crabbe other than as a PR, but I suppose that would free up Counsell to be Braun's defensive caddy. Crabbe would be a nice cheap version of Graffy if he could play some SS and 3B, but when guys play 2B all the way up the ladder in the minors, it almost always means that player does not have the skills to play SS in the bigs. I do wish he'd go somewhere and play winter ball, but it's rare they allow you to play in a spot "to get some reps in".


8/29/2007 08:39:00 PM



(8/29/2007 08:25:00 PM) - Al

On the morning of June 18th, the Orioles had lost eight games in a row and fired Sam Perlozzo. Dave Trembley takes over on an interim basis and leads Baltimore to a 29-25 record (they were 29-40 under Sam). Baltimore takes away the interim label, and the team goes on a seven game losing streak, starting with an historic double header defeat. It's almost as if someone flipped a switch; good under the interim, bad under permanent. More likely, the level of play under Perlozzo represented the real ability of the team, and now they're coming back to that level.--Dave Pinto, Baseball Musings


I think many people fail to see that a hanging curve here and a blooper that falls in there can make a 2-5 stretch into a 7 game losing streak. Excellent analysis by Dave, and when you think of the Reds' situation, it's easy to see similarities.


8/29/2007 08:25:00 PM



(8/29/2007 07:40:00 PM) - Al

Estrada has not thrown out a runner since June, 25 in a row, if memory serves; while Kendall has only thrown out 1 of 40 or thereabouts.

I'm usually not much into stealing bases, but the odds would say even a guy with average speed would have success at an 80-85% rate in this game. Run boys run.

UPDATE: Through 4, he has started hitting his spots, but still has limited his curve, I'd guess between 5-10 thus far. I don't think he wants to risk a blister.


8/29/2007 07:40:00 PM



(8/29/2007 07:36:00 PM) - Al

For those not watching the game, Sheets does not to be himself, I've only noticed a single curve ball thus far (make that two) through six batters.


8/29/2007 07:36:00 PM



(8/29/2007 06:58:00 PM) - Al

Carlos V went 59 pitches in his AAA start last night, and was pulled in the middle of the 5th, so him starting Saturday night may well be in the plans.

Also AAA related, C/INF/OF Vinny Rottino has been told he will join the Brewers for the 9/1 game. I assume Vinny will be mainly used to give the team a 3rd catcher so they can PR for Estrada (or PH or PR for Miller).


8/29/2007 06:58:00 PM



(8/29/2007 05:59:00 PM) - Al

The stadium district wonders why their payments are so inconsistent, they may want to look at a calendar, they just received their August money...obviously, they do not bother to wait until the end of the month, you have to wonder if one payment is from 20 days and another is for 35 days.


8/29/2007 05:59:00 PM



(8/29/2007 05:55:00 PM) - Al

I find it strange the Bucks sent me an e-mail at 3:12AM to tell me about the Yi signing, and yet they did not bother to tell the head coach, who heard it on the radio.

As long as they sign Charlie Bell, who remains a restricted free agent, the Bucks look to be a pretty deep club capable of .500 and the playoffs, barring the boatload of injuries they had last season.


8/29/2007 05:55:00 PM



(8/29/2007 05:51:00 PM) - Al

I would agree with Robert, the nearly meaningless "lost leads" stat is mostly just proof that the pitching has been below expectations, both the bullpen and the rotation. After all, runs do not count more or less when they are scored, so that aspect of the game is not really important...there is no stalling in baseball, each team gets 27 outs, regardless.


8/29/2007 05:51:00 PM



(8/29/2007 11:47:00 AM) - Robert R.

Baseball Prospectus posted this prophetic chart yesterday before the Brewers lost another game after having a three run lead. It's just amazing how high they could finish up this leaderboard.

Obviously, it's a combination of things. The starters have let teams back into games after being staked to early leads. And, of course, the bullpen has had more than its share of struggles over the last few months. Bad luck, bad managing, and people not performing up to their capabilities have all played roles in this.


8/29/2007 11:47:00 AM


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

(8/28/2007 09:17:00 PM) - Al

Anytime you have a HBP on an 0-2 pitch, and 2 IF hits, it's probably not going to be a successful inning. I've mentioned a few times this Brewers' team simply does not get a lot of breaks, and I'll stand by that statement with little hesitation.


8/28/2007 09:17:00 PM



(8/28/2007 08:05:00 PM) - Al

Every once in a while, someone laments the fact the Brewers "shift" their infield around when a pure pull hitter comes up to the plate, apparently, not really "getting" the fact that it will, in theory, prevent more hits than it allows. Apparently, they would be in favor of pretty much playing every single batter within a step of every single other batter.

That, of course, is like pitching every batter the same, possibly as ridiculous as still wearing a leather helmet in football, but many fans are still stuck decades behind the times due to their casual interest in the game {I have said many times this why Nascar and the NFL are so popular, because to be a "dedicated fan" takes a commitment of 2.5-3 hours a week, but hence, I digress}.

My point is simple, the Cubs have already made a pair of outs by using a shift, Prince's grounder was fielded by the SS on the right side of 2B, and Hall's 4-6-3 DP was due to the 2B playing about 3 steps up the middle from normal DP defense. Now at some point tonight, someone may find a gap in that shift, but if you argue its use, you might as well be debating the accuracy of pi or how you find a radius. It's just simple math really.


8/28/2007 08:05:00 PM



(8/28/2007 07:00:00 PM) - Al

I see it will be Sheets and Parra in the next two games for the Brewers, which is what I would have guessed as well. Personally, I probably would have went with Carlos V instead of Manny, but that's just a hunch, for the most part.

We'll have to see if they announce the starters for the weekend series, or if we'll have to wait and see who the long relievers are if needed. I assume Bush will go either Friday or Saturday and Suppan Sunday, so that would mean the options are:

Gallardo
Capuano
Villy

With Yo's innings being watched, and Cappy ineffective in relief, again, I would lean toward Carlos.


8/28/2007 07:00:00 PM



(8/28/2007 06:45:00 PM) - Al

A bit of overreaction to how important the Cubs' series on all the message boards, perhaps Mike Wilbon said it best tonight when he said "Even if the Brewers lose 2 of 3, they're still only 2.5 out with a month left".

That said, a series victory would be a lot better than a loss, but with the Crew facing the Cubs' top 3 arms, I think it is safe to say the mathematics would favor the Cubs winning a pair of games...I'd argue a sweep would be rather damaging to either club, but especially the Brewers, who would almost certainly be in 3rd place behind 2 teams playing much better.


8/28/2007 06:45:00 PM


Monday, August 27, 2007

(8/27/2007 07:13:00 PM) - Al

I almost had to check my cable guide to see where USA is, but I managed to hunt and click to find it on 16 (I thought it was between 14 and 19). T'is the week for the opening round of the US Open, I recall at least once I scheduled a stay at home vacation just to enjoy the late night, often hugely entertaining matches. Even John Lloyd, former British pro and ex-hubby of Chris Evert said he wishes Wimbledon would change to a hard court, as he felt the best tennis annually was played on the concrete in New York.

Even tonight, Venus Williams is playing a 29 year-old who has only played one WTA match...but has 18 titles on the AAA tour. Needless to say, she has little chance of an upset, but in the atmosphere, it'd not be beyond the realm.


8/27/2007 07:13:00 PM



(8/27/2007 07:07:00 PM) - Al

Drudge offers up this article, that pretty much sums up what I have felt about Ms. Clinton's chances from the get go...so many people can't stand her, I just think she'd have a hard time getting elected.

I feel she's very qualified...and dare I say, I'd vote for her over all the other Dem choices (remember, no Lieberman this time around). That does not make her any less disliked.

I've read often that Guiliani is many voter's choice because he's just so likable in comparison in comparison...and indeed, it polls that way, albeit, still 15 months before it counts.


8/27/2007 07:07:00 PM



(8/27/2007 06:39:00 PM) - Al

Those who want people fired in the Brewers' organization need not look any further than Houston for how silly that looks.

Phil Garner is not as good of a manager than he was when he led them to the World Series? How exactly is the GM responsible for paying Craig Biggio as if he was still a good player, and insisting he starts almost every game at home?

Most of what Houston has done has come straight from the owner, insisting they spend a huge percentage of payroll on Berkman, Biggio, and Oswalt, while the rest of the team predictably faded, almost a perfect definition of fiddling while Rome burned.

I have no idea what kind of job they actually did, but I do know making a change now makes them look foolish and poor (or nonexistant) planners. Best of luck, however, to Cecil Cooper...this may well be Bill Castro's best chance he'll ever have of being a pitching coach as well, if Cooper gets the full-time job next year.


8/27/2007 06:39:00 PM


Sunday, August 26, 2007

(8/26/2007 08:56:00 PM) - Al

The JS reports that Claudio Vargas informed a reporter he was headed to the DL with back trouble.

As Tom notes, there would seem to be several options, but considering how things have gone for the Crew, I think we may well see Sheets and Carlos V (or Parra) in the rotation, replacing Vargas and Gallardo.

Call it a hunch, but I would not be shocked to see a player picked up tomorrow or Tuesday as well. Not many guys cleared waivers, but a veteran reliever makes sense, and no one would be shocked to see that move me.


8/26/2007 08:56:00 PM



(8/26/2007 08:11:00 PM) - Al

Elmer Dessens won his second game for the Rockies today...if he was still around, he might well be given a chance in the rotation by now. There's no doubt Elmer, Jose C, and Balfour are decent major league pitchers, and sadly, the depth the Crew once had has been dealt away due to their lack of minor league options. It's tough to argue with the decisions made at the time, but a couple of those guys would really help out.


8/26/2007 08:11:00 PM



(8/26/2007 07:01:00 PM) - Al

Disappointing outcome today, once again, a blooper down the line dooms the pitching staff. This has not been a team of good fortune to be sure, but many will be thinking that you make your own luck, and in many ways, they do many things poorly, including pitching aggressively and getting ahead of the hitters; and catching and throwing the ball.


8/26/2007 07:01:00 PM



(8/26/2007 01:27:00 PM) - Al

Glenn thinks the media has it backwards, and so do I...places having to pay higher wages is a good sign of a very strong economy. Between the countless incorrect claims of a recession by people running for president a year too early and articles like this, I find it is ironic that many do not need bad economic news to report bad economic news.


8/26/2007 01:27:00 PM



(8/26/2007 01:22:00 PM) - Al

Nikki reports that the death of the box office may have been a bit exaggerated.

I'm pretty sure this obit has been written once or twice a year since Beta was introduced. It's no more true now than it was then.


8/26/2007 01:22:00 PM


Saturday, August 25, 2007

(8/25/2007 07:55:00 PM) - Al

Tom H tries to pretend Ryan Braun does not have a huge lead in the Rookie of the Year race...Tom must be a unique fella to hang out with.


8/25/2007 07:55:00 PM



(8/25/2007 02:37:00 PM) - Al

The Tigers delayed the start of their game versus the Yankees last night until 11:06PM, basically telling their fans they simply do care about their fan base.

If ever an event took place that was pretty much an infomercial for every stadium in MLB, a 4 hour rain delay and a game ending about 3:30AM is pretty much it.

EDIT: Supposedly, because this was the Yankees only trip to DET, it was up to the umpires how long to wait, though the home team can "give the crew input". I'm not sure why a day/night doubleheader was not scheduled for today, for crying out loud.


8/25/2007 02:37:00 PM


Friday, August 24, 2007

(8/24/2007 09:27:00 PM) - Al

Conspiracy theories that Estrada was "dogging it" about a month ago filled the message boards, and Yost was forced to make the admission that he was suffering from a hamstring problem. The irony here is, since then, he has appeared even slower yet, so it would appear the problem will not be any better until 2008 at the earliest.

As with most conspiracies, proof is usually pretty much impossible to find, so it's pretty much just mindless noise.


8/24/2007 09:27:00 PM



(8/24/2007 09:08:00 PM) - Al

So, what's wrong with a comic parody of Dallas, you ask?

How about not a single fan of the show is currently under 45...and that it has not been seen by anyone for about 15-20 years. No chance.


8/24/2007 09:08:00 PM



(8/24/2007 08:56:00 PM) - Al

Knowing that he wasn't the most popular clubhouse figure and realizing his selfish intentions to only be primarily used in save situations, the Braves surprised many on Friday, when they designated Wickman for assignment...

...If a team claims Wickman while he's on the waiver wire over the next 10 days, the Braves can attempt to complete a trade with that specific club. If he goes unclaimed, they'll release him and officially end this relationship that began so well last season, and then progressively soured this year.

Braves manager Bobby Cox, who delivered the news to Wickman via phone on Friday afternoon, had little to say about the decision other than, "I just want to try something else."

But Andruw Jones was willing to provide a clearer picture of why the Braves were willing to part ways with Wickman, who posted a 3.92 ERA in 49 appearances and converted 20 of his 26 save opportunities this season.

"We need guys who are willing to pitch and aren't just waiting for one situation to come up," Jones said. "If it wasn't a save situation, [Wickman] wasn't happy about [pitching]. It's not fair to the team. It's not fair to the manager the way [Wickman] was going about his business."

As for Chipper Jones, he chose to be a little more diplomatic with his response. But at the same time, he saw many instances when Wickman reacted unfavorably when asked to pitch in games that the Braves were leading by more than three runs -- consequently preventing him from potentially earning a save.

"Bobby is one that if we're winning a game, he doesn't want to let it slip away," Chipper Jones said. "If that means bringing a closer in with a four- or five-run lead against a team with a very potent lineup, then so be it. It's no secret that Wicky really didn't want to pitch in those games."


MLB.com goes ahead and reports the rumor I have heard elsewhere. Wickman is certainly being represented as an aloof, selfish player; so it might be interesting to see if he plays elsewhere if he is traded to a team to be a middle reliever. I'm sure teams will discuss this with him before they give up a prospect of note for him.


8/24/2007 08:56:00 PM



(8/24/2007 07:37:00 PM) - Al

Bob Wickman DFA'd, in a stunning move considering he is a decent reliever and Atlanta is just a few games out of the playoffs.

Rumors are that there was some grumblings from Wickman that he was being used in too many non-save situations, and over the winter, he made it clear that he would retire if not offered a closer's role. All that said, I'm sure about half the teams in baseball would like to add Bob for the last 35 games or so, whether he's a grouch or not.


8/24/2007 07:37:00 PM



(8/24/2007 12:11:00 PM) - Al

Good friend of Ramblings Aaron Gleeman is profiled in today's Star Tribune, which he filled out over 6 months ago, he says at his blog.

Hard to believe the mainstream media is struggling so with quick turnarounds like that.:)


8/24/2007 12:11:00 PM



(8/24/2007 12:05:00 PM) - Al

Prince will serve his suspension starting tonight, but had it reduced to 2 games.

It's a shame this was not delayed until the rosters expanded in just over a week. Hard to not feel the umpire was very much at fault for walking after Prince rather than just, you know, being an unbiased arbiter, but Prince still did not accomplish anything by his tirade either.

I assume Joe Dillon will start at 1B the next couple games, though I suppose Corey Hart (if able) is a possibility as well.


8/24/2007 12:05:00 PM


Thursday, August 23, 2007

(8/23/2007 09:39:00 PM) - Al

Internet love triangle...long, but an O Henry type enjoyable story, with plenty of plot twists to keep even those with extremely short attention spans

{now, what was I doing...oh yeah}

interested.

May not be safe for work, and there is adult language and situations.


8/23/2007 09:39:00 PM



(8/23/2007 09:33:00 PM) - Al

I know I'm far from a spring chicken myself, but since I work with seniors all day...when did Bill turn 65? That is one old lookin' fella.


8/23/2007 09:33:00 PM



(8/23/2007 09:13:00 PM) - Al

Al,

In the 9th inning last night, Uecker commented on how arrogant Byrnes acts in that he makes every throw look like an acrobatic act. He also commented that Valverde's entrance is so slow that it makes molasses look like a speed trap. :) Attitude is not lacking on that team.

Mike


I'm trying to think of an OF the Brewers have had play for them with as bad of an arm as Byrnes...Pods and Clark were below average, but not awful like Eric's. Hall was barely at 1B when Byrnes picked up the ball and made it to 2B with ease...that's Juan Pierre bad.

The other stuff does not really matter to me much, but it's just silly. Byrnes jumping up on the wall when the ball lands 10 rows in...that's how guys get hurt.


8/23/2007 09:13:00 PM



(8/23/2007 10:28:00 AM) - Jason Christopherson

Since collecting baseball cards has been near and dear to my heart for close to 30 years now (and since I'm a very small potatoes shareholder, thanks to a great Christmas present from my wife several years ago), I've been following the Topps saga fairly closely. There are a few offers to buy the company, and the strongest financially was a hostile bid from Upper Deck, essentially the only baseball competition Topps has anymore. While the baseball card hobby survived with just one major manufacturer for decades, I still found the offer from Upper Deck hard to swallow personally. It's not that I don't like Upper Deck. In fact, I collect quite a few of their products as well. I just didn't want to see them as the "king" of the baseball card industry. I was glad to read the report on Sports Collector's Digest's website today (it also provides a nice summary of the goings on over the past several months):

BREAKING NEWS: Upper Deck drops offer to buy Topps
Upper Deck announced Tuesday evening that it has dropped its offer to buy rival card maker Topps, ending a hostile takeover attempt that became even more contentious in the last two weeks.


In a press release issued last night, Upper Deck said “the actions of Topps made the conditions precedent to the tender offer incapable of being satisfied.” The statement was released 12 hours after Topps released the contents of a letter it sent to Upper Deck chairman Richard McWilliam in which it outlined potential concerns about Upper Deck’s ongoing tender offer, including allegations about changes to the terms of Upper Deck’s tender offer and demanding the company “own up to your true intentions” about whether it was serious about purchasing Topps.

The cancellation of Upper Deck’s tender offer means Topps shareholders now have only one offer to consider for the company – a $9.75-per-share offer from two equity firms headed by former Disney CEO Michael Eisner. That offer was agreed upon by the Topps board last March, but has been the subject of criticism by some shareholders and a handful of members of the company’s board of directors. Shareholders are scheduled to vote on the offer Aug. 30.

Upper Deck launched its hostile takeover attempt in June, a move that spawned reactions ranging from curiosity among licensors to apprehension from some hobby retailers about how a merger of the industry’s two largest card makers would impact sales. While some had assumed the deal would never pass government regulatory approval, the government issued no objections or concerns about the offer during its review period that expired earlier this month.

In the weeks since the antitrust concerns were erased, the companies have exchanged press releases accusing the other of not being forthright about their intentions. Topps accused Upper Deck of launching a tender offer it believed the company could not, or would not, complete. Upper Deck accused Topps of misleading its shareholders into accepting an inferior offer.

In its statement issued Tuesday, Upper Deck said it decided to pull its offer because, “It is now abundantly clear that Topps will attempt to impede any and all reasonable efforts to consummate the UD merger, which thus cannot possibly be consummated under the current circumstances. Accordingly, UD is left no choice but to immediately terminate its tender offer, as well as all merger discussions with Topps.”

The company left open the possibility of pursuring legal action “against Topps and those responsible for the collapse of this transaction,” saying its attempts to purchase Topps “would have been in the best interest of Topps’ shareholders.”

Earlier Tuesday, Topps accused Upper Deck of displaying a “willingness to risk judicial and regulatory sanctions” with what Topps describes as a “disingenous” tender offer of $10.75 per share. Among the most significant accusations is a claim by Topps that Upper Deck has stated in conversations between the two firms that it will only complete its tender offer based on an acquisition of 90 percent of outstanding shares, not the 51 percent stated in the original tender offer. Topps said such a stipulation leaves its shareholders with “less certainty and greater risk.”

I don't think I've ever been as happy losing at least a dollar per share!


8/23/2007 10:28:00 AM


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

(8/22/2007 09:20:00 PM) - Al

Rob Deer is talking to Brian and Bill, I had to look up his numbers to see who else he played for...I would have guessed Detroit, but I sure do not have any recollection of his donning the Red Sox uni.

I glanced at his splits, he hit LHP at an incredible .373/.549 clip, and his comparable for most of his career is none other than Gorman Thomas...I wonder if Deer would have been a CF, if he'd be remembered as a more talented player?


8/22/2007 09:20:00 PM



(8/22/2007 08:07:00 PM) - Al

I read a few people say on the various message boards that Bob Melvin was a genius at managing his bullpen, a trait they felt Ned lacked. Therefore, I found it funny last night when the TV team announced that ARI has thrown the fewest bullpen innings of any NL team this year.

Imagine that, a manager being given credit for his team being good. I guess that's why Joe Torre is a genius now, and was just another guy elsewhere.


8/22/2007 08:07:00 PM



(8/22/2007 04:23:00 PM) - Al

Al,

You and I went back and forth a bit talking about the merits of MLB's stance on the In Demand package earlier this winter. I regret I may have omitted one point supporting limiting access to that package as much as possible: occasionally, you are forced to listen to Daron Sutton. You can take Daron out of Milwaukee, but you can't take the crappy announcer out of Daron.

Nice to see Rickie looking like he's getting it together.

Andy


I argued long and hard that Rickie was still hurting, but it appears he had so messed up his mechanics when he was in pain he had just developed bad habits he could not get out of. He's been a different hitter the past few games, that's for sure. Allow me to add that I don't think Weeks was ever as bad a defender as Braun is...not that I'm complaining.

As for Daron, I wonder if the D'Backs "had to win" one...or both of the last two nights. I sure don't miss him, though I wish Bill would have tagged along. Hearing him clumsily make up reason after reason why JJ is doing so well in the 8th spot, while in reality, he did very well in the 2nd spot until he started slumping. Guys get banged up, sore, tired, and so on; and fall into bad habits. Doesn't matter if Rickie was hitting 1st, 8th, or 10th, he still was lunging at the ball and swinging at balls in the dirt. In every single spot in the order, the batter is trying to "not get out", or at least, they should be. Did Hart stop hitting for power in the leadoff spot? Nope. Estrada doing anything differently in the #7 slot than #5 or #6? Nope. Simply put, it's as meaningless as it gets, with the rare exception of a youngster who puts pressure on himself if he's in the heart of the order.


8/22/2007 04:23:00 PM



(8/22/2007 04:20:00 PM) - Al

This is why many actors and athletes do not appear on Bill Maher's show, or any others that discuss current events...they often simply embarrass themselves with how stupid they are.


8/22/2007 04:20:00 PM



(8/22/2007 03:48:00 PM) - Al

I wonder if anyone has ever had a debut with a team in which he gave up a pair of runs on 3 hits in less than an inning and had the message boards singing his praises like most are Seth McClung today? Two jam-shot bloopers and a line drive off Gross' glove look bad in the box score, but he pitched well, beware of the small sample.

I must admit, seeing the radar gun register at 101 is mighty impressive, even if it is apparent he has some warts. He's sure got the size to be a hard throwing reliever, and his motion appears "stiff"...I wonder how hard he might throw if he loosened up a bit.:)

We'll see what the rest of his outings are like, as he is arby eligible because the Devil Rays allowed him to struggle at the major league level for such a long stretch, but as of this second, I would pencil him onto the '08 staff somewhere, because at the end of the day, you just can't teach 101.

That said, I said the same thing about Dennis Sarfate last year, and he has a 5+ ERA in '07, after pitching well in the majors, and being nearly unhittable in the AFL and winter ball. I guess you never really know how quickly it can fall apart.


8/22/2007 03:48:00 PM


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

(8/21/2007 12:36:00 AM) - Al

I agree with almost everything Ben Stein says, and this is no exception. I would not personally advise joining a frat or sorority, as it always seemed like "buying your friends" to me, but it's right on. Show it to a college student you know.


8/21/2007 12:36:00 AM



(8/21/2007 12:28:00 AM) - Al

Out of the box move, as the Crew sends Carlos V to AAA to start a couple games before returning 9/1, and they bring up Seth McClung, who was acquired from TB for Balfour.

Not sure if this is related to Yo's innings being high, as he may be limited a bit in September. I wonder why this was not done before tonight's game, unless Seth had just started Friday or Saturday. He has been lights out in Nashville, and has absolutely been horrible in the big leagues. I doubt he'll see high leverage innings, and his velocity is excellent, 95+ consistently.


8/21/2007 12:28:00 AM


Monday, August 20, 2007

(8/20/2007 09:49:00 PM) - Al

As I discussed earlier, here is a summary of how the Brewers' SP's have done.

For the season, they are 10th in the NL as far as IP (or 7th from the bottom), averaging 5.85 innings per start, almost exactly between 5 2/3 and 6.

I would have guessed about 5 2/3 per, but it's tough to distinguish .17 by memory.

One other interesting note was that the Crew has the 5th highest p/PA against, which means they have to work a bit harder, and their pitch count goes up a bit quicker, which may easily lead to them recording one fewer out per outing...which would have really help over the course of 162, in my opinion.

Now, if I did my math right, the Crew have played 33 games since Ben went out with his finger issue, and the SP's have averaged 5.93 innings...a higher number than for the entire campaign. That seems hard to believe, but it's what I get from adding up the game logs. If I am incorrect, please correct me (as if anyone else is dumb enough to spend 30 minutes digging:), but I wonder if that is Yost sensing the bullpen is tired and pushing the rotation, or just a complete fluke.

The bullpen has thrown the 6th most innings in the NL, an average of 3.13 per game. It seems like the Crew has played quite a few long extra inning affairs, but not enough to affect the average, I guess. They have the highest p/PA in the NL, at 3.90, which will add up to a lot of pitches over a year. I would say this is especially true of Turnbow and Cordero, who K a lot of hitters...that "pound of flesh" as Billy Beane calls it.

Over 162, that would be 507 frames, about 72.44 per, if the bullpen has 7 members, a bit more than you'd like to see.

However, even though the Crew's relief corps only throw about 3.13 frames an outing, with the extra pitches, it's probably closer to the equivalent 3.33 or 3.67...a sizable difference. Just to use 3.5 as the multiplier, that would mean the Crew's bullpen is throwing an amount equal to 567 innings, which divided equally between 7 relievers would be an "adjusted" 81 innings per. Since most of us would agree that a good workload for most relievers is 65-70 innings, it does not take much to come to the conclusion that the bullpen has been overworked, though partially it is because many of them nibble too much and do not go right after the batter (and in the case of Turnbow, miss the strike zone by a couple feet a couple times a frame).

So in closing, the bullpen does not throw THAT many innings, but they work harder than any other team per batter...meaning that there seems to me a good chance they are a bit fatigued at this point. However, it would also seem that various members of the press who are expecting Sheets to somehow lower how much the 'pen is used are in for a rude surprise.


8/20/2007 09:49:00 PM



(8/20/2007 08:54:00 PM) - Al

Eric Byrnes is not a bad player at all, but he sure has a lot of "look at me" in him. He'd annoy me a lot even if he were producing well on my favorite team. He must have a terrible arm, as he picked up the ball when Mench was a step from 2B, Kevin never hesitated, and he made it without a throw.

Let's hope HR's on consecutive days means Bill Hall is catching fire.


8/20/2007 08:54:00 PM



(8/20/2007 08:42:00 PM) - Al

The worst part of Corey Hart being injured is that I'll be getting e-mails insisting he isn't hurt and has been benched, like I did when he was injured for most of May. And no, it's not frustrating in the least, no, not at all.

Cappy into the bullpen, until at least 9/1, when a 5th starter will next be needed. If Sheets is able to return by then, I would assume Chris will remain out there. I'm a bit surprised Ned did not wait until after tonight, because Yo has simply been beyond terrible his last two times out. If he struggles again, we might see Parra into the rotation and Yo down to AAA to rest up until the rosters expand 9/1.


8/20/2007 08:42:00 PM



(8/20/2007 05:36:00 PM) - Al

Gays Mills, not far from where I was raised, is on ABC news tonight, as it flooded badly with the heavy rain the other night. The house they showed is 5 blocks from the river, but has water up near the windows on the first floor. Talking to people on the phone today, I heard many say they did not get nearly enough rain around these parts, despite the fact it rained on my house the entire weekend.

One year I lived in Eau Claire there was flooding about 3-4 blocks away from the Chippewa River, which meanders through downtown. I was working for a pizza place at the time, and I recall deliveries to 1st Avenue were very depressing, because it involved parking on 4th Ave and walking 3 blocks, often being nearly impossible to not get your shoes soaking wet.

One guy I knew had to go down into the basement of the place he worked to change fuses and was in water up to his shoulders. I wondered how safe it was to be moving the lever back into the "on" position while standing in water that deep, but he just said "it had to be done". He was a gutsier man than myself, that's for sure.

I still recall old timers discussed the "100 year flood" that hit Eau Claire in the 1910's, I think. The thing I remember best is hearing that the Madison Street Bridge was under water. I'm not sure if it was the same height as the current bridge, but it's now several stories above the river, and I cannot believe the water was ever that high for even a moment. I can only imagine, knowing what I know now, that the immense use of fossil fuels just under a century ago was the cause.;) After all, the weather simply is no place for outliers...just ask those in Galveston, TX at the turn of the century.


8/20/2007 05:36:00 PM



(8/20/2007 05:32:00 PM) - Al

Apparently, a small blister popped up on Sheets' middle finger on his pitching hand today during his simulated game, but he did get about 5-6 pretend frames in. We'll see if it affects his routine, or if he makes a rehab outing this weekend. He was on target to pitch a week from Wednesday in Chicago, or on 9/1 (a week from Saturday) at the latest.


8/20/2007 05:32:00 PM



(8/20/2007 05:04:00 PM) - Al

How much evidence do they have against Mike Vick to have him accept a plea that might give him 5 years in prison? Allow me to say that the only reason Vick is still alive is because of laws against killing him, as he's probably as despised as any person in the US whose name does not rhyme with Flo May Crimson. I cannot imagine a team being gutsy enough to ever sign him...not even the Raiders.:)


8/20/2007 05:04:00 PM



(8/20/2007 11:12:00 AM) - Al

I might just be forced to do some research and take a look at just how the Brewers' rotation has been throughout the campaign and since Sheets went down with his finger injury. I personally do not think the problem has been short starts, it's been overall ineffectiveness of the starters and the relief corps. Some of that may be due to fatigue, the 'pen especially, but I think many are just grasping at straws.


8/20/2007 11:12:00 AM



(8/20/2007 10:30:00 AM) - Al

Oil and gasoline both way down today, epecially gas, down about 5%, as the market apparently is comfortable Dean will miss the refineries off the Texas and Louisiana coasts.

Those who think that gas prices are somehow manipulated by forces other than supply and demand fail to see the obvious. A simple ECON 101 class would eliminate much of the silliness that is reported.


8/20/2007 10:30:00 AM



(8/20/2007 10:29:00 AM) - Al

I think Ned pretty much agreed with me that it's pretty likely either Yo or Cappy will be skipped, as he said he was not ready to make a decision after Sunday's game. I assume he will be ready after the game tonight.


8/20/2007 10:29:00 AM


Sunday, August 19, 2007

(8/19/2007 07:34:00 PM) - Al

The Reds came back from scored of 5-0 and 6-5 to take a 7-6 win over the Milwaukee Brewers today. The game was typical of Milwaukee during the streak. The starter pitched poorly and the bullpen couldn't cover or him. Starting on July 20th, five days after Ben Sheets went down, the Brewers starters are 5-12 with a 5.83 ERA. With Scott Linebrink taking the loss in the bullpen, relievers in that time are 4-8, have blown six of twelve save opportunities, and are sitting on a 6.77 ERA. The pitching staff has been capable of losing games both early and late.--Dave Pinto

Not much doubt the pitching has been the major culprit of the recent slide. There isn't a magic cure for it either, though at the very least, you'll probably see either Yo or Cappy skipped due to the day off Thursday and another Monday. If Yo pitches poorly again, I'd probably just send him down until the rosters expand 9/1, and let him rest up.


8/19/2007 07:34:00 PM



(8/19/2007 10:39:00 AM) - Al

2007---By The Numbers

The Crew is 63-60, but since they've scored 582 runs and allowed 601, they "should" be 60-63.

So far, their offense has put up a .327/.451 line, which compares favorably to what their pitching and defense has allowed, .330/.424...you would expect them to be just over .500, and they are.

Over 4222 AB's, the .327/.451 translates into an expected 623 runs scored, so their actual 582 is about 93.4% accurate...not far from the usual 97-98% accuracy that formula is usually good for.

They are 6th in runs scored and 10th in ERA (4.51) in a 16 team league.

Last year, they had a .327/.420 offense, and a 4.81 ERA...so you would expect a small improvement over last year's 75 victories...right now, they are on a 83 win pace.

So, in closing, for the most part, this is a club you would expect to be slightly better than last year, right around the .500 mark. It is not rocket science, it's all about two things...scoring runs and preventing them.

As I've mentioned many times, the core of this team is still a few years away from being as good as they will be. There will not be wholesale changes, though I can see some tweaking and adjusting...right now, I'd guess a SP will be dealt and a RP or two will be added (depending on whether or not Cordero and/or Linebrink return), and a decision will have to be made about LF. There's even a chance Ryan Braun will end up out there, though I'd say pretty unlikely, as the system is loaded with OF's, including Matt Laporta, who was drafted to be groomed as the LF in a year or two.

In the meantime, they need to score a bit more and pitch a bit better...and hope that Braun fields a bit better as well, as he's the only real weak cog on the diamond.


8/19/2007 10:39:00 AM


Saturday, August 18, 2007

(8/18/2007 08:13:00 PM) - Al

Mark Cuban is among the investors trying to set up a pro football competitor for the NFL. One thing not really mentioned in the article was that the USFL was a mild success, though never in direct competition, playing in the Spring. Its downfall was trying to challenge the NFL in the Fall, and it disbanded soon after failing to win in court.

I've always been surprised a winter ball baseball league has not been tried, in the South and domed stadiums. I'm sure it would not appeal to casuals, but there are plenty of diehard fans of the game. Ironically, this might be something the Baseball Network tries, though I'm sure they may just air the games already taking place in Arizona and Hawaii fall leagues. For the most part, this would be a league full of young players, as most vets would have little interest and be barred from participating due to contractual language.


8/18/2007 08:13:00 PM



(8/18/2007 07:52:00 PM) - Al

Drudge links this story that there is a supposed shortage of ammo...has anyone noticed shelves being empty at Gander Mountain. This just seems like a bit of a fictional issue to me.


8/18/2007 07:52:00 PM



(8/18/2007 07:28:00 PM) - Al

Playoff ticket apps have been sent out to many of the Brewers' season ticket holders. From what I've seen on message boards, most folks feel they are pretty fairly priced, though World Series tickets are much higher than the others, since they are priced by MLB.


8/18/2007 07:28:00 PM



(8/18/2007 06:17:00 PM) - Al

My son and I enjoyed a couple games of bowling today, and for the first time that I can recall, he actually bowled a ball that did not hit the "bumpers", meaning that he would have actually had a score had they not been there...of course, he threw 37-38 other balls that hit the bumpers, but it's baby steps at this point.


8/18/2007 06:17:00 PM



(8/18/2007 10:30:00 AM) - Al

The stock picking shows this morning were very bullish, using my favorite phrase, "stocks are on sale" quite often. Ben Stein gave another impassioned soliloquy saying that financials have been particularly hard hit and are a huge buying opportunity...which I agreed with a week or two ago, as I have been 100% invested since then, with about 30-40% in banks, meaning I would be a huge loser on Cramer's Are You Diversified?


8/18/2007 10:30:00 AM



(8/18/2007 10:17:00 AM) - Al

How lucky are the Brewers that the Rangers chose not to take Gwynn and Zach Jackson...and quite possibly another player not on the 40 man, for Eric Gagne...take a look at his August game log, it's a house of horrors.

On a related note, Chris Spurling did clear waivers and chose to go down to AAA, probably because the Brewers have promised him he'll be back 9/1. I'm not shocked Spurling was not claimed, but considering he's cheap and durable, I kind of felt someone would take him as he's better than the 12th man on at least 15 teams. However, he will be arby eligible next season, if memory serves, so it may well have been a 45 day pickup.


8/18/2007 10:17:00 AM



(8/18/2007 10:05:00 AM) - Al

As reality producers have been forced to reach further to invent something new or exciting, many shows have apparently left reality behind. The Discovery Channel last month said it would re-edit some episodes of “Man vs. Wild” after a British television network reported that the show’s star, adventurer Bear Grylls, was staying in a hotel on some nights when the show depicted him sleeping in the wild.

My son and I both enjoy Man vs Wild, though a portion of it has always appeared a bit unrealistic. Survivorman is a similar show that while more realistic, is extremely dry. However, the fact Discovery is reediting and not denying is a bit disheartening.


8/18/2007 10:05:00 AM



(8/18/2007 09:53:00 AM) - Al

Earlier in the month, Brewers manager Ned Yost noted that as long as the Brewers were in first they controlled their own destiny. Now, they don't.--JS

Another complete and utter falsehood from the Journal Sentinel...I truly have trouble believing this is a major market newspaper. The Crew is currently a half-game back of the Cubs, and have 40 games remaining, 3 against the Cubs. They control their own destiny 100%, and Rick Braun very simply is an embarrassment to his profession, as well as common sense.


8/18/2007 09:53:00 AM


Friday, August 17, 2007

(8/17/2007 04:43:00 PM) - Al

My posts have been pretty limited the last couple days due to work, but I should be able to post my thoughts over the weekend. To sum it up quickly, I predicted the team would win 85-87 games, and I think they are on pace to win 83. It's hard for me to be incredibly upset, though it's apparent the SP was not as good as we once thought.


8/17/2007 04:43:00 PM


Thursday, August 16, 2007

(8/16/2007 07:59:00 PM) - Al

I just read an e-mail from a reader guessing today will be Ned's last day as manager. I doubt it, but I did go check to see what Ned and Doug's contract status is, and Ned is signed through '08 and Doug '09 (I happen to think Doug is planning on retiring at that point). Mark A has let his people run the team since he took over and I feel he is intelligent enough to leave Doug alone, despite the last few weeks. Doug is not a person to make rash judgements, and I think he knows Ned is not the reason for anything. That would leave a "statement move", basically trying to stir things up.

I would not be terribly unhappy if the move was made, but I don't see a whole lot to be gained either. The team needs to score a few more runs and allow less...Ned's not going to help much with either...heck, he couldn't hit in his prime.:)


8/16/2007 07:59:00 PM


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

(8/15/2007 08:46:00 PM) - Al

Capuano will get the start Sunday, which may well be his final one if he continues to pitch poorly. The only names I have seen rumored to be available are Josh Towers and Steve Trachsel...which hardly inspire you to feel that would be much of an improvement over Cappy, to be honest. I'm not sure if Parra would be considered or not, with his injury filled past and workload thus far in '07.

I think the truth is, Yo Gallardo does not look to be anything but a 5 inning guy at this point, as expected, 21 year-olds hit the wall with regularity at this stage of the campaign. I might well flip-flop him and Carlos V...the extra time off between outings might be just what Carlos needs, as he is simply toast right now as a reliever, and Yo may also benefit from the limited frames.

There isn't a magic cure, as of this moment, the team seems to be suffering from horrible luck and a dilapidated pitching staff as a whole. However, any improvement will probably have to come from within, with the possible exception of a veteran role player.


8/15/2007 08:46:00 PM



(8/15/2007 07:17:00 PM) - Al

Not sure if you have gotten your answer yet but the caller was most likely talking about this.

It's a myth.

Jason


I feel dumber just for reading the top one. 4 football fields wide? Why would this fictional road need to any wider than any other interstate? What's especially ironic is goods from the Far East do not need to be smuggled in, they are completely legal and imported by the millions every single day. Oof.

Another with a different link.

Al,

Odds are he was talking about NASCO and he was
extremely misinformed.

I've heard the "conspiracy theories" about this kind of stuff from a co-worker... who is worried about those black silent helicopters.

He says this plan is actually Mexico buying up US land so they can all move to Canada "Without ever having to go on US soil" or some such nonsense.

Erin


So Erin, what do you know about the black helicopters?

As pointed out on the Nasco website, I35 is already there, why worry about building another one?

Here's another link, which puts this actual road nowhere near Wisconsin, but to be honest, such conspiracies never rely on facts. Of course, the fact interstate commerce literally employs thousands of folks all over the country, so improving it certainly is not a bad way of spending tax dollars.

Finally, one kind person seems to have summed this all up in one very long story here. As he points out, the especially funny thing is, NASCO did draw up a map which shows how existing interstates move goods...and somehow, this turned into the NAFTA superhighway. Heh.

Thanks to those who wrote to discuss this, now if you'll excuse me, I need to go tune up the generator, bury some gold in the back yard, and stock up on canned goods packaged locally. I do wish the absurdity would at least be a tad more inventive...it's like the wackos just noticed the Interstate Highway Act was just noticed at the last militia meeting.


8/15/2007 07:17:00 PM



(8/15/2007 07:05:00 PM) - Al

I checked my e-mail and I seem to be the only person unfamiliar with I94 somehow splitting the state, as I have more than a half-dozen messages pertaining to that. I have not read them yet, but I look forward to being enlightened.


8/15/2007 07:05:00 PM



(8/15/2007 06:45:00 PM) - Al

Prince draws a 3 game suspension due to a "phantom bump" of Wally Bell. I do find it odd that no one saw any contact, but supposedly, there was contact. Personally, I think Wally took his horrible strike zone, extending the plate about six inches, and did the same thing with this "almost contact".

Also, Gabe Gross is back, with Spurling DFA'd. Chris did a nice job, but has struggled of late. I'm sure he'll find a job in one of the poorer relief corps, and likely spend at least parts of a couple more seasons in the bullpen. Much like Grant Balfour, guys like Spurling have pretty good track records of mediocrity, and every team has 3-4 of those guys in their bullpen. However, for the most part, they are interchangeable. Next year, Spurling will be with one team, Balfour another, and the Crew will employ yet another RH who will probably put forth a 4ish ERA. Every once in a while, a guy such as Dave Weathers breaks loose and makes himself into more than that, but for the most part, there are probably 150 guys who are split between AAA and the bigs that are pretty much the same skill set, and a hot or cold spring makes a lot of difference.

Best of luck to Chris, he took the ball whenever asked and was readily available to abuse while they saved the higher ceiling guys.


8/15/2007 06:45:00 PM


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

(8/14/2007 09:23:00 PM) - Al

On the radio the other day, the local station had on our local state senator, and some older fella got on and starting ranting about Wisconsin being split in two, something about Mexico and possibly the Great Lakes...does anyone have a link they can point me to? I'm certain it's a "conspiracy theory" of sorts that is easily rebuked by a 6 year-old, but I was curious as to the origin and what exactly I94 has to do with our neighbors to the south. E-mail me if you are aware of such a thing.

And yes, Sunday's ticket is still available, e-mail me for that as well!


8/14/2007 09:23:00 PM



(8/14/2007 09:17:00 PM) - Al

As is often the case with a pitcher going through a bad streak, Capuano's bad inning includes much bad luck, including a possible DP grounder taking a terrible hop on Braun, and the pitcher cue balling a single down the 1B line. Almost off-the-charts misfortune.

Ted Simmons does sound like he has forgotten more about the game than most will ever know, however.


8/14/2007 09:17:00 PM



(8/14/2007 08:25:00 PM) - Al

I don't think there's much more of an obvious omission from Cooperstown than Ted Simmons, which all due respect to Bert Blyleven. Ted was obviously one of the best offensive catchers, as he ranks in the top 5 in many categories for backstops. His glaring lack of votes was the first hint I had that the BBWA simply goes by reputation and does not remotely take their job seriously, which was later reinforced by Drew Olson holding a position of importance at one point.

For fun, take a look at Simba's games played between 1972 and 1978...incredible.

Also, compare Blyleven's stats to Don Sutton's...and then imagine a writer, who probably cannot play catch with his son without fumbling the ball repeatedly, try to explain why one is in and one is not. Hilarity.


8/14/2007 08:25:00 PM



(8/14/2007 08:07:00 PM) - Al

One of the many improvements Weeks has made is he looks to be turning the DP much faster than he used to. He's still far from Ronnie Belliard or Fernando Vina, barely see the ball in their glove fast, but he must be right about mediocre now.

And allow me to give Yost props, his first inning batting order was phenomenal! As a solid believer in the fact not only does batting order not really matter (and in fact, if you talk about it as if its really important, it pretty much defines casual fandom), I do find it interesting you could logically put Hart in almost any spot and not draw much of an argument. However, Braun and Fielder not in the #3 & #4 spots...even an analytical mind like LaRussa would be hard-pressed to justify that.


8/14/2007 08:07:00 PM



(8/14/2007 07:38:00 PM) - Al

Some things never change, by far the biggest ovations for the '82 Brewers were for Yount, Molitor, Gantner, Thomas, and Fingers...with Yost mixed in for good measure, as sort of a transition from the old to the new.

I was a bit surprised to see how old most of the '82 team looks, as I work with retirees every day who are 60-85, and many of them look more youthful than the former pro athletes. Even Paul Molitor, who still resembled a catalog model father when inducted into the Hall of Fame a couple years ago, appeared a bit aged. However, Don Sutton looked like he still could give you a few innings, with his trademark large perm.


8/14/2007 07:38:00 PM



(8/14/2007 06:38:00 PM) - Al

One message board just mentioned the Brewers' game Saturday evening is a sellout, but the Packers' game is not.

That's a sentence you have not heard very often in the history of WI sports.


8/14/2007 06:38:00 PM



(8/14/2007 05:34:00 PM) - Al

D.C. resident John Lockwood was conducting research at the Library of Congress and came across an intriguing Page 2 headline in the Nov. 2, 1922 edition of The Washington Post: "Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt."

The 1922 article, obtained by Inside the Beltway, goes on to mention "great masses of ice have now been replaced by moraines of earth and stones," and "at many points well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared."

"This was one of several such articles I have found at the Library of Congress for the 1920s and 1930s," says Mr. Lockwood. "I had read of the just-released NASA estimates, that four of the 10 hottest years in the U.S. were actually in the 1930s, with 1934 the hottest of all."


I've often spoken of my ignorance on the subject of global warming, but I do wish someone would just tell me if I should start getting some canned goods and bottled water together, or just ignore every single word written about it. At this point, however, I would like to announce I'm just tired of the entire topic.


8/14/2007 05:34:00 PM


Monday, August 13, 2007

(8/13/2007 10:16:00 PM) - Al

Sunday's game is SRO, but I do have a single ticket, section 408, row 2 for sale, just make me an offer, face is $18, I'll take the best offer I get. E-mail me at the addy in the sidebar.


8/13/2007 10:16:00 PM



(8/13/2007 07:46:00 PM) - Al

---Word is Mark Loretta was claimed on waivers and the Astros pulled him back...Lo seems like he would be a near perfect replacement for Graffy, depending on when he was placed on waivers, of course. We'll probably never know, and he may well have been claimed by a team with a lesser record than MIL as well.


---I'm quite surprised the Crew is not skipping either Capuano or Gallardo, as this means the entire rotation will be pitching on long rest. Maybe the thought is that the staff could use the extra days between their starts, or maybe they just could not decide who to skip...I probably would have went with Yo if for nothing else to help keep his innings down a tad.


8/13/2007 07:46:00 PM


Sunday, August 12, 2007

(8/12/2007 09:43:00 PM) - Al

To make a long story short, I have a single ticket for the Brewers/Reds game next Sunday. Terrace box, row 2, face value $18...I'll take any decent offer for it at this point. E-mail me so I can mail it to you so you get it in plenty of time.

Any questions, e-mail to the above addy as well.


8/12/2007 09:43:00 PM



(8/12/2007 09:15:00 PM) - Al

Summing up the final game of the series, can you really call them "off-speed pitches" when that's all Carlos V throws? I'll be the first to admit CV has thrown far too many frames, as he's on pace to throw an incredible pace of relief innings, but he's about as done as you can get. He's lost about 5-6 mph on his fastball, and didn't even make a bad pitch to Berkman, but when you just throw breaking ball after breaking ball, low and outside just won't do it. Walking a pair of guys, afraid to challenge anyone, he's just a shell of himself right now.

The umpires were rather weak all series, Hirshbeck was correct 1 of 4 close plays at 1B on Friday, and then had a strike zone as wide as the gaps on the southern border. Today, Wally Bell rung Prince up on a pitch that looked 3-6 inches outside, though Ausmus never moved his glove, which sometimes fools terrible arbiters. He then walked after Prince, and then threw him out of a tie game...simply put, what a buffoon. That said, Prince needs to call him an idiot and then walk away, as his theatrics may well earn him a game or two suspension, though I did not see any contact. I'm sure he'll appeal if one does occur, and at least manage to delay it until the rosters expand.


8/12/2007 09:15:00 PM



(8/12/2007 09:08:00 PM) - Al

I'm watching the Comedy Central roast of Flavor Flav, though I admit, I have less than no idea who Flav is.

Greg Giraldo just compared the host, who I also do not know, to Afro Sheen...some white folks have heard of it, but they aren't sure what it does.

Lisa Lampenelli has either had some work done or lost weight...or both. She looks a lot younger (and blonder) than she did 5 years ago.


8/12/2007 09:08:00 PM



(8/12/2007 02:21:00 PM) - Al

A reader of this blog sent me this compilation of You Tube clips from various comics, many are adult oriented, so you may not want to listen at work, or if you are easily offended:

Jeff Ross--Pam Anderson roast

Lisa L thanks the crowd by offending every minority group

Gilbert Gottfried with a "dead hooker" joke that is even more classy than you'd think by my description.

Gilbert's "bank account" joke.


8/12/2007 02:21:00 PM



(8/12/2007 02:00:00 PM) - Al

This morning I happened to awake at 6AM needing to visit the bathroom, and for the next 15-20 minutes, I recalled the dream I had woke up from, an incredibly detailed sitcom like story of 5-6 people in their late 20's or 30's, as they meandered through life with excruciatingly arrogance, much like Charles Emerson Winchester III, or the Crane boys.

One gent refused to try a glass of wine offered to him, as it was "beneath his levels of taste". Another took some sort of meat slicer to the movies with him, to enjoy his expensive block of cheese freshly sliced (never mind the fact I've never heard of a battery operated appliance like that). I was in the scene as well, playing myself, a small town Midwesterner who likes things like individually wrapped American cheese and Little Debbie snacks, drawing the disdain of the snooty city dwellers.

I do find it strange that I have dreams that involve intricate dialogue, and yet I constantly use words such as "neato" and "wowsers", not to mention my most often exclamation, "Holy buckets!", which my son often repeats, much to his mom's chagrin.


8/12/2007 02:00:00 PM



(8/12/2007 12:09:00 PM) - Al

---It's hardly got any play at all in the extremely casual, cliched ridden press corps (Steve Phillips and the JS, I'm looking in your direction), but highly significant in the win last night was:

1. The inning started with a pair of infield hits, neither exceptionally well struck. In order to have a big HR or two, you often need to get lucky beforehand.

2. The two homers allowed by Lidge were both hit on what appeared to be good pitches...heck, Braun's was even low out of the strike zone. Fielder's was a breaking ball that looked to be off the outside corner, and he still pulled it out. Sometimes, you just gotta tip your cap, or quite possibly, just admit the hitters guessed right.

---I was actually going to mention yesterday or the day before that Braun often looks so bad at the plate for a guy hitting .350, swinging at bad pitches, popping up fat pitches, but at the end of the game, he still seems to have a 1-3 or 2-5 in the box score. Right now, it's just scary how good both he and Prince are, and both are just 23, years before they will supposedly peak.

---Of course, with that hitch in his swing, I doubt Braun will ever have much success in the big leagues. Gwynn is a very poor defender. Hart's elbow is in the wrong place when he swings, he'll never be any good. Those are all first-hand accounts from people who had actually seen the youngsters play live or on tape when they lesser known prospects...and exactly why I refuse to pay any of them even a tiny bit of mind. Simply put, there may be some good scouts out there that are not getting paid by anyone, but they are so few and far between, it's almost impossible to actually find anyone who isn't just talking to hear themselves do so. Let's not forget, the Brewers once had 9 better prospects than Braun...heh.


8/12/2007 12:09:00 PM


Saturday, August 11, 2007

(8/11/2007 07:23:00 PM) - Al

Almost beyond belief, the Dow finished the week up, despite 99% of the reports focusing on the negative. I did not get a chance to watch the Saturday stock shows, but as I got dressed, one show's ticker mentioned this factoid...currently, 1.28% of all mortgages are in foreclosure proceedings.

I have no clue what the "normal" number would be, but I would guess somewhere in the 1% range, often caused by unemployment and/or health problems. Ben Stein had a mini-rant last week insisting the current "crisis" was pure fiction, and I have read many articles saying that 50-75% of the mortgages in trouble were investors and "flippers"...meaning that very few people who bought their home to live in were in trouble, at least not yet.

I think the financial sector is extremely undervalued right now, I did a month ago and it's fallen about 10% since, so I see it as being on sale. I have little doubt that in a year or so, when we're reviewing this stretch, we'll see the Warren Buffets loaded up on the banks they already own, as I'm sure he feels they'll be fine, as banks have very little money in risky mortgages...that's why people go to the bank first, then elsewhere.


8/11/2007 07:23:00 PM



(8/11/2007 06:49:00 PM) - Al

My son and I visited both a local farmer's market and our local state park this morning and early afternoon, so pardon the lack of posts today. We came through the hike pretty well, considering the heat and long trail my son chose. Amazingly, we saw only one other group in the woods the entire time, despite it being a Saturday and a nice day. My "stay at home" shoes were in pretty rough shape, so I bought a new pair last weekend and had to break them in on the long walk, and I suffered just a bit, as I have a red line on the side of my foot where the new ones are apparently tighter.

I found it funny how much of a price difference there was at the market between different vendors...though sweet corn was 25 cents an ear everywhere. Green beans were $1, 1.50, 2, and 2.25 a pound at various stands, potatoes were varied, and so on. One of our favorites, red potatoes, were plentiful and cheap.

And the egg rolls, which are unusually good for you, as they are grilled, not fried, are always a delight.


8/11/2007 06:49:00 PM


Friday, August 10, 2007

(8/10/2007 06:43:00 PM) - Al

Weeks in the leadoff spot and Hardy dropped to 8th. I am almost always of the opinion that batting order is meaningless, but this at least tells you some of Ned's thinking. JJ would help the club more if he just started taking some walks and increasing his OBP (in an ironic twist, that also applies to the entire team), so putting him in front of the pitcher will hopefully make that more of a priority to him.

I have to wonder why Rickie is ahead of Corey...I don't really believe in batting order "protection", but Weeks would at least be a tad more likely to see a few more fastballs batting 2nd...whether or not he'd hit them is a different story.


8/10/2007 06:43:00 PM



(8/10/2007 04:14:00 PM) - Al

Fortune article about the Yankees new stadium, with lots of mentions about George's health.


8/10/2007 04:14:00 PM


Thursday, August 09, 2007

(8/09/2007 09:06:00 PM) - Al

Graffy out for the year with a torn ACL. Weeks recalled.

Not only will Tony miss the next two months, he is also unlikely to be offered arby this offseason, as his recovery will be unsure and he may well find the Brewers' 80% of his 2007 salary to be the best out there. Truly a devastating blow to the team, both short and long-term.

Best of luck to Tony in his recovery and his future, whoever it be with.


8/09/2007 09:06:00 PM


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

(8/08/2007 07:23:00 PM) - Al

One final thought on today's game, I have to wonder why Ned did not take the opportunity to rest Fielder, Braun, and/or Hart for the final half of the game. Granted, those guys are young and are going to get tomorrow off, but I doubt if Prince or Ryan will get a day off the rest of the way, barring injury of course.

Graffy headed back to Milwaukee for an MRI, to me that sounds like he's as good as DL'd.


8/08/2007 07:23:00 PM



(8/08/2007 03:07:00 PM) - Al

Is the game in Milwaukee or what...a lot of cheers after Hart's leadoff single.

Hardy hits a shot that turns into a DP, Matsui hits a dribbler in between JJ and Ryan. You almost get the feeling that good fortune is not on the Crew's side right now.

Somewhere Rickie Weeks' cell phone may well be ringing, as Tony Graffanino came down funny on his ankle while making a leaping catch. Have to see if he's able to continue.

Graffy out, Joe Dillon goes into play 2B, which is probably the most obvious sign you'll ever get from Yost that he needs offense.

Yo getting pummeled, 6 runs allowed and he's not out of the 2nd yet. Not sure how long Ned will allow the youngster to go, even if it makes sense to let him throw 75-90 pitches just to save the bullpen. Make that 8, Yo apparently has less than nothing today. Yo does bat in the 3rd, however, so he's being used as a sacrificial lamb of sorts.

Despite letting Yo hit, they are still forced to get Carlos V up, who I assume would be used just to get through the inning. COL decides to give Helton the rest of the day off, running straight up the middle so to speak...but I'm not sure if Gallardo has the run defense to stop them.

I'm a bit surprised they let Carlos V stay out there for another inning, as I assumed he would just be used for the few pitches to get through the 3rd. Matt Wise might have a line that looks as ugly as Yo's if he does not get back in the groove, as I figure he's out there a while.


8/08/2007 03:07:00 PM



(8/08/2007 03:02:00 PM) - Al

It has nothing to do with the Crew, but my son and I went out to pull the plug on the pool water so we could refill it and allow the solar energy to warm it up, and there was a big frog in it. Sadly, I do not know the difference between a toad and a frog, which he inquired about.

I told him we'd just let him jump out, and if not, we'll help him when we dump it out later. I just checked, and he's still swimming all over, he acts like it's his home...which it probably has been for a day or two at least.


8/08/2007 03:02:00 PM



(8/08/2007 03:01:00 PM) - Al

I'd compare this to being the prettiest girl at ugly camp, but it would appear the president has hit his floor, at least for the time being.


8/08/2007 03:01:00 PM



(8/08/2007 02:57:00 PM) - Al

One of the best parts of my job is that once in a while, an appointment falls through, and I'm done with my day a bit earlier than I was scheduled to be.

This is also the worst part of my job, a bittersweet irony, to be sure.:)

That said, I will be live-blogging much of the game, keep refreshing.


8/08/2007 02:57:00 PM



(8/08/2007 01:49:00 PM) - Al

David Wells will be released soon, per this article.

Wells is about as "gritty" as they come, but to be honest, he's been getting by on veteran moxie with little "stuff" for the past half-decade. Considering the Brewers' main issue with their SP's has been an inability to get through the 6th inning, Wells seems like an unlikely addition.

Also, no link yet, but Elmer Dessens has been released, ironic in that he'd be a better member of the bullpen as of today than Wise, and maybe even Carlos V. That said, tomorrow may very well be a different story.

Elmer will very likely have a job soon, as for the MLB minimum, a pro-rated share of $320K, he's a very low-risk option who might be able to join 5-10 rotations and improve them a bit, not to mention half the bullpens.


8/08/2007 01:49:00 PM



(8/08/2007 12:07:00 PM) - Al

Comedian A. Whitney Brown "supports the troops".

But do I still support the individual men and women who have given so much to serve their country?

No. I think they’re a bunch of idiots. I also think they’re morally retarded. Because they sign a contract that says they will kill whoever you tell me to kill. And that is morally retarded....

...So to sum up, I don’t like our troops, I don’t like what they’re doing, I don’t like their fat, whining families, and yet, I support them.


You can read the whole thing here, in case you aren't sure of the meaning.


8/08/2007 12:07:00 PM



(8/08/2007 09:36:00 AM) - Al

An e-mailer points out if you take out Capuano's 14 game winless streak, the team is 60-40, much like last year's terrible mark with replacement SP's. While it isn't fair to just count his bad streak, it's apparent Chris is dragging the team down. What's worse is he is struggling mentally, after the HR last night, you could see him rushing his delivery, something you'd expect from Yo or Manny, but not a seasoned veteran.

With a day off tomorrow and one Monday, they will have to skip someone...it's tough not to expect it to be Capuano at this point.


8/08/2007 09:36:00 AM


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

(8/07/2007 08:17:00 PM) - Al

In the Brewers' first inning, Corey Hart hits one about 405 feet, JJ Hardy with a smash up the middle, and Ryan Braun with a sharp grounder.

Maybe it will balance out, but that's mighty bad luck to go 1-2-3 after that.


8/07/2007 08:17:00 PM


Monday, August 06, 2007

(8/06/2007 09:19:00 PM) - Al

I have often mentioned a possible "punt", which is basically when you save the bullpen rather than replace the SP when that day's starter is ineffective.

Tonight, we might actually see a rare "double punt", as when Vargas hits his pitch count, we might see Matt Wise for a while, whether he is "on" or not.

This assumes, of course, that the Brewers do not come back and make it a 2 run game.


8/06/2007 09:19:00 PM



(8/06/2007 04:25:00 PM) - Al

Dave Pinto writes about an ESPN discussion about the best sluggers of all-time...and unleashes this honest, yet very true statement:

There's a good, level headed debate going on over at ESPN between Jim Caple, Rob Neyer and Jayson Stark on who is the greatest slugger of all time. Caple is really out of his league here

Of course, Caple would be "out of his league" when discussing baseball with most everyone I know...but I hear he's an expert on sausage races!


8/06/2007 04:25:00 PM



(8/06/2007 04:20:00 PM) - Al

Tony LaRussa batted his pitcher 8th and Adam Kennedy 9th the other night.

Certainly makes some sense, as the main reason for not doing so, the 8th place hitter will bat 11% more over the course of the season, is muted because most PH's hit better than Kennedy anyway.


8/06/2007 04:20:00 PM



(8/06/2007 11:17:00 AM) - Al

Helms made sure of it in the 11th, as the former Brewer silenced the booing fans.

"That is just the nature of this city," said Helms, who played in Milwaukee from 2003 to 2005. "They do it to every player that comes back that used to play here.

"I think fans don't realize that actually pumps a player up, and it makes me want to beat them."


Wes is 100% correct, and it's really sad. Especially poor, as Prince would say, is the fact this has gone on for the most part even before the crowds at Miller Park were filled to the rafters with bandwagon fans. Carlos Lee got traded, as did Brady Clark, Doug Davis, and many others. They always gave good effort and for the most part, did a respectable job on the field as well.

It makes the city and franchise look extremely ignorant, to be blunt. I never boo anyone, but at least I can see why folks boo umpires, and can see a debate as to why you would boo Barry Bonds, even though I think it's silly. But, booing every player who used to don a uniform...because they used to don a uniform? I don't get it.


8/06/2007 11:17:00 AM


Sunday, August 05, 2007

(8/05/2007 09:57:00 PM) - Al

I am in the midst of a camp-in with my son, so I will be brief. By the way, there is no healthy way to make smores. None.

Disappointing loss today, but to be honest, they won 2 of 3 in a series they could have easily lost all 3, so I won't step off the ledge just yet.

Horrible bad luck in the 9th, though there was also a good amount of mental and physical miscues...Wise had an E, Braun easily could have been given one, and 2 walks and a HBP all add up, and make it a lot easier to lose a big lead, though the HR was the only ball hit hard, an IF hit and an easy grounder in the 5.5 hole were the only "damage". Oddly, after I commented Friday night about Cordero using his fastball, he seemed deathly afraid of it today. Frankie did not allow a hard hit ball, but you gotta go right after guys as well...my goodness, he throws 94-96 every single game.

So, while the Phillies had 5 outs in the 9th, the Brewers only made one in the 11th...Rowland with a spectacular catch, and Counsell drills a rocket, but right at the 2B.

Carlos V threw a 86 mph fastball today...he's a 1 inning guy at most right now. If he gets through the 8th, it's Linebrink for the 9th, and all the talk is about a great series. Not sure what to make of Wise, he did get an easy ball hit right back to him that he booted, and then gave up a blast. At best, he cannot be used in a close game right now, and I'm not sure if there's a physical problem or just mental stuff going on. Meanwhile, JJ looked to be hobbling like an elderly gentleman (or, like me after a good night's sleep). Even Bill noticed his arm was not "normal", and while running the bases, he looked to be stiff and uncomfortable. Not sure if this is the back issue that was bothering him a week or two ago or what, but at the very least, he is in dire need of a day or two off.


8/05/2007 09:57:00 PM



(8/05/2007 12:27:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Two things, first, do you feel the Brewers will still add a lefty reliever, or will Parra take over that role? Second, I know Nashville will be in the playoffs, so which players do you think will be added on 9/1, when the rosters expand?

Love the blog, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions?

Craig


Thanks for the kind words, Craig. I would say there is a decent chance the Crew will add a Steve Kline type, if they remain right in the race, of course. This would be more of a move for the playoff roster than anything else, as Shouse has pitched so well of late, he can be used as much more than a loogy.

As for the AAA playoffs, I'm sure Doug won't raid the roster and take ten players, but he could easily take 5-7 just in case. Gwynn, Gross, Weeks, and Rottino would be my position player choices, and probably a couple arms to keep in reserve...Dessens if he goes down, Aquino, maybe even Zach Jackson, to have a pitcher capable of eating multiple frames in the case of a 10-1 loss. Needless to say, Doug won't allow playoffs that no one will remember in a fortnight to keep him from doing what's right for the major league team.


8/05/2007 12:27:00 PM



(8/05/2007 12:24:00 PM) - Al

I have heard of such articles, but have never seen one talked about before. Newsweek wrote about what a disaster global cooling was going to be. Pardon me if I don't start hoarding canned goods and the like.


8/05/2007 12:24:00 PM


Saturday, August 04, 2007

(8/04/2007 09:58:00 PM) - Al

Al,

If there has been a better baseball game at Miller Park than the one tonight, I haven't seen it. WOW. That's all I can say. 8th and 9th were incredible.

Mike


I was thinking, the only way you could have scripted it better was to have Prince's HR tie it, have Hart make his catch, then have a walk-off HR to win it in the 9th.


8/04/2007 09:58:00 PM



(8/04/2007 09:55:00 PM) - Al

Al,

I just found your blog tonight. Good Stuff.

Daron Sutton has been here in Arizona since spring training and has driven me up the wall with his incessant and incorrect use of the term 'irony'. The man has no clue on when to use that as virtually every time he uses it, he is merely describing coincidences, and most of those are mundane or without merit. He also finds something 'ironic' in nearly every game I have watched on the tube this year.

He is teamed with Mark Grace, and they are nearly 180 degrees apart on things. Gracie loves to point out that Daron roots for any pitcher in any instance, the same way Orel Hershiser does.

I just had to vent to someone who is aware of Sutton and his ignorance.

Regards from the desert,

Rich
Mesa, Arizona


Everything is ironic when you're clueless. Heck, it's ironic that Hardy and Graffy turned a DP after they collided chasing the ball, but as Rich stated, things like that happen every game.


8/04/2007 09:55:00 PM



(8/04/2007 09:45:00 PM) - Al

Bonds hits #755, and I happen upon it by sheer luck, flipping to ESPN2 just as he stepped to the plate. The San Diego fans gave him a nice hand, making some who suggested he sit out for a week look like idiots.

No Erin Andrews sighting however, so it's been a bit of a downer, to be honest.


8/04/2007 09:45:00 PM



(8/04/2007 09:37:00 PM) - Al

"We've talked to a few clubs," general manager Doug Melvin said. "We'll see if we can help him stay in the big leagues. He hasn't thrown a lot in the big leagues this year, so not many clubs have seen him."

{snip}

Parra, 24, prompted the Brewers to keep him by performing well in three relief outings and a spot start since coming up from Class AAA Nashville three weeks ago. He is 0-0 with a 1.84 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings, holding opponents to a .222 batting average.

{snip}

"Manny came up and has done a nice job," Melvin said. "He has shown he can handle that long-relief role."

(Dessens) was recalled Wednesday to cover for Linebrink's absence but was told he might be designated for assignment.

"He had gone out to Portland to pitch when we called," Melvin said. "We told him he had the option of staying there or coming up."--JS


Doug should teach some kind of class for always knowing what to say, and for that matter, just doing the right thing. Giving a veteran a chance to decline a callup seems pretty minor, but surely, they knew it might be 3 days and done, and I'm sure they would like to have Elmer come 9/1, when the rosters expand.

However, I'm pretty sure Elmer would have to give up his contract in order to become a free agent, so I think there's a pretty good chance he'll go down to Nashville, unless someone wants him badly enough to pay him...considering Kyle Lohse was actually a wanted commodity before the trade deadline, it could happen.


8/04/2007 09:37:00 PM



(8/04/2007 09:21:00 PM) - Al

ARI did not expect to get Cirillo or Kim, but they are now stuck with them, as well as former A's pitcher Joe Kennedy, I now hear.

Cetainly not bad players, but Cirillo especially isn't nearly as good as Davanon, the player he replaced.


8/04/2007 09:21:00 PM



(8/04/2007 08:57:00 PM) - Al

By far the best aspect of ESPN televising the Bonds' chase is the extra air time Erin Andrews is getting.

Every time I see her, I think of all the women who think being very thin is the only way to be, and then there's Erin, who looks like she's never seen a steak she doesn't love.


8/04/2007 08:57:00 PM



(8/04/2007 08:52:00 PM) - Al

Q: Where does a fish keep his money?

A: In the riverbank!!

It loses something not coming from the mouth of a 5 year-old, but my son told me that one yesterday. He said he heard it on Dora, to give proper credit.


8/04/2007 08:52:00 PM



(8/04/2007 08:40:00 PM) - Al

That's what I call a "clutch" win.

I'm sorry, I just turned into a casual fan for a moment.:)

Prince and Ryan with HR's, Hart with the best catch of the year, and perhaps best of all, Prince mentions in his post-game interview that he wishes the fans wouldn't boo. I can't say I've ever really understood it, at least since I was 7 or 8.

I doubt anyone will say they rely too much on the home run either.


8/04/2007 08:40:00 PM



(8/04/2007 06:06:00 PM) - Al

Elmer Dessens DFA'd to make room for Linebrink's return. I would have to believe many teams would like to have Elmer, but maybe not at the money he's due. We'll see, I would think Elmer would rather go to AAA than lose his contract, so I would guess that's what will occur.


8/04/2007 06:06:00 PM


Friday, August 03, 2007

(8/03/2007 10:32:00 PM) - Al

Much discussion of the various, well, what I would call nonsense; and a smattering of the real key, Yo Gallardo being nearly perfect for just short of 7 innings. One out from Shouse, and a rested frame each from Turnbow and Cordero, both relying more than usual on old reliable #1, and it's a perfect recipe for a victory...one run allowed will usually do that.

As for the aggressiveness preached, those looking for success will very unlikely find it with Fielder running and Hall at the plate. I'm a big believer in the hit and run, especially in sacrifice bunt situations, but the Prince/Bill combo is not built for such events.


8/03/2007 10:32:00 PM



(8/03/2007 09:05:00 AM) - Al

We attended yesterday's Brewers/Mets game, but computer issues prevented me from going online last night. However, looks like much ado about nothing was made about some yelling at the workplace, which now looks to have been about Graffy and Estrada defending someone, probably Hardy. I am working on a timeframe here, so if you wish to check it out, go to the JS.

I was a bit disappointed to see Spurling used so quickly after his dominant 2+ inning performance just 36 hours earlier...Dessens and Wise could have easily been utilized, especially Matt, who probably needs some work just to sort of his control issues. At the moment, Carlos V is just a shell of what he was a month ago, his fastball was 88 and his change 83 consistently...barely a difference. I would guess he'd going through some dead arm issues, and will simply require extra time off between work.

We're not talking rocket science here, it's all about preventing runs and scoring them.


8/03/2007 09:05:00 AM


Thursday, August 02, 2007

(8/02/2007 07:47:00 AM) - Al

An "insider" tells me that the Brewers flew in RA Dickey to St. Louis last weekend, but he was sent back to Nashville after Parra's good outing. Dickey is a former prospect who now throws a knuckleball in AAA, so he would have given the Brewers another arm to use, but Manny's success made that a non-issue.

It will be interesting to see what happens when Linebrink returns, as I don't know if the Crew has anyone with an option remaining other than Gallardo, Parra, and Carlos V. They may have already discussed this with Elmer Dessens, but there are probably a half-dozen teams who would put Elmer right into their rotation if not for his salary, so he could easily be claimed.

These moves are easy when you're 10 under .500, but when you just want to give your club the best chance to win every game, they are not.


8/02/2007 07:47:00 AM



(8/02/2007 07:37:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers hosted their 21st sellout of the 2007 season on Wednesday, a franchise record. The Brewers sold out 20 games in 2001, their inaugural year at Miller Park.

It was also the sixth consecutive sellout, another club record. The previous mark was four, set July 26-29, 2004. All four of those games were against the Cubs. The Brewers were in position to sell out all six games of this homestand, which would give them 10 consecutive capacity crowds. About 5,000 tickets remain for Friday night's game against the Phillies.

Through their first 54 home dates, the Brewers drew 1,854,428 fans -- an increase of 321,268 fans (21 percent) over 54 games in 2006. The Brewers were averaging 34,341 fans at Miller Park this season.--brewers.com


No mention of the Brewers' good crowds in the JS, as the negative twins rarely if ever have anything good to say about anything.


8/02/2007 07:37:00 AM



(8/02/2007 07:23:00 AM) - Al

Al,

Jim Powell mentioned tonight how good of a team Nashville suddenly has with Gross, Gwynn, Weeks and Nix. Honestly, all 4 would be on most team's major league rosters right now. That's an amazing amount of depth. Remember when Indy was so upset that they weren't getting good teams from the Brewers. Whoops. :) Nashville has gotta be just loving it. They are 8 games up in the PCL. Best record in the league.

Mike


I think Mike means, all 4 could easily be at least a reserve on most team's rosters, as I don't think he's proposing a roster made up of all four, but you get his point. Even Nix, the least successful of the group thus far, has attributes and skills that make him a decent choice for a 5th OF.

Yes, Indianapolis never seemed to realize they were just a gap between AA and the majors. The W/L mark is probably more a result of the Joe Dillons and Luther Hackmanns on the roster than true prospects, but they have been very good all year.


8/02/2007 07:23:00 AM


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

(8/01/2007 10:53:00 PM) - Al

Al,

My name is Mark Beech, and I'm a writer for Sports Illustrated, as well as a big fan of your blog. I'm also a long-time (and long-suffering) Brewers fan. As I write, the Brewers are struggling to get a run home in the bottom of the 12th, something they seem to have been doing for the last 144 innings or so. Anyway, it's got me wondering...

You talk a lot on your blog about luck and it's role in the game. And while I agree that luck can play a big part in who wins and who loses, isn't what's going on with the Brewers' offense something that goes deeper than luck? It's been a couple of weeks since the All-Star break, after all.

That's it. I'm not a Sabermetrician. Just a casual Bill James reader who covers NASCAR and college football...and who has lived and died (mostly died) with the Crew for many years.

Keep up the great work. It's a pleasure to read your stuff.

Best,

Mark


A pleasure to receive a note from a certified member of the writing community. My previous e-mails involve Drew Olson and Tom H telling me "you don't get it", for the most part.

Mark, even I got a little nervous last evening, and I rarely get even a little bit stressed over a baseball game. With each inning that went by, the bullpen became more ragged, and eventually, it resulted in the rotation becoming flustered too. If that's going to happen, you need a win to justify it.


8/01/2007 10:53:00 PM



(8/01/2007 10:37:00 PM) - Al

Good friend of Ramblings Michael passed along the Weeks news late last night, long after I was asleep and correctly pointed out that the move would have been unthinkable just 45 days ago or so.

Especially when you are contending, moves tend to be thought out just to maximize victories. Gord Ash mentioned this evening that the minors do not have to be a negative, that Rickie needs to play everyday and should be back in a couple weeks, and also that the Indians just sent down Cliff Lee, a longtime member of their rotation. Gord mentioned Rickie was unhappy, but was respectful and when he stopped in today to pick up his travel itinerary, he seemed to be in a better mood.

Ash said at the very latest, they would have Gross, Gwynn, and Weeks all joining the team in September, at the latest, after getting a lot of AB's in Nashville. There seems to be no doubt that long-term, Rickie will be the 2B.

Expanding on Mike's point, I guess it's nearly stunning that Weeks, who had about 20 errors in early June last year, would have conquered his fielding issues and now had forgotten how to hit...I would have been classified it as first class fiction. The truth is indeed stranger than fiction.


8/01/2007 10:37:00 PM



(8/01/2007 10:33:00 PM) - Al

Al-

Long time reader and have emailed you numerous times over the past couple of years. Just wanted to give a little thought about the bridge. I drive the length of that bridge at least 2 times if not 4 times a day as I've since moved to Minneapolis after graduating from Eau Claire. I live in Uptown Minnesota and am a salesmen for Pepsi and call upon stores in the north east sector. Today I would have been on that bridge at the time, or near the time of the accident, had I not gotten done with my route 2 hours earlier than normal, God works in mysterious ways. I am blessed that I haven't found out about anyone being injured that was close to me, as many of my friends live near the University, which is on the east side of the bridge section that collapsed.

As I watched the news with my roommate this evening, in-between receiving numerous calls from loved ones, we discussed how we both had thought the same thing earlier in the week. For the past month and a half there has been relentless jack hammering and grating of the road due to the repairs. Both of us have thought/said on numerous occasions, what is stopping this bridge from collapsing??? I just dont understand exactly how they can jackhammer/repair some of these bridges the way they do, while still allowing full/half (due to lane closures) traffic load to continue to cross on them. My guess is someone will be paying a pretty penny to the families of those whom perished today, and I can't say I disagree with any settlement reached. Bridge repairs are necessary, obviously, as we just saw bridges can break, but I still am surprised that people are allowed to be on the bridge when jack hammering is going on. Is there any records of how often this sort of thing happens during bridge repairs? My guess is that very few bridges collapse, but of those that do, a majority of them collapse during repairs due to the extra stress that is put on the superstructure while attempting to make them safer.

My prayers go out to those who were close to this tragedy.

Scott


I guess I never thought of jackhammering as a "big deal" on a mammoth structure such as a bridge. I do know that as an engineering novice, I have often looked at huge bridges and wondered how exactly they stay upright. I doubt those feelings will be any less now.


8/01/2007 10:33:00 PM


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