Al's Ramblings

Thursday, July 31, 2008

(7/31/2008 10:10:00 PM) - Al

Just when you think it's either Pawlenty or Romney, Sarah Palin's name returns, and while she does not fit many of my views, her pro-gun, rather by-the-book conservative positions...not to mention her youth and dare I say, attractiveness (at least compared to Mitt:), make her an exciting pick.

7/31/2008 10:10:00 PM

(7/31/2008 09:13:00 PM) - Al

So, I need some time to tell the tale of my lawn mower. Last Sunday, I was out mowing the back yard for the first time in 3-4 weeks (bless hot, dry weather!). Suddenly, I noticed the push bar thing had a lot of "play" in wiggled a lot. After studying it a couple times, I noticed that a nut had disappeared, leaving only the bolt. After another pass, the bolt had fallen out as well. I did some of the taller grass and called it good.

Today, I had some time, as I was waiting to pick up my dog at the groomer, as his hair had started to fall out in clumps worthy of fast food burger size. I stopped by a giant home building warehouse store, which happens to be based out of Eau Claire, to pick up a little bag of bolts.

First of all, allow me to say that those stores at insanely huge. Gigantic. Being a normal fella, I rarely ask for help, and there was no rush anyway. I wandered down one walkway and saw a sign that said "nuts and bolts"...I noticed it was aisle, or counter 113. Shaking my head at that number, I stepped into the largest assortment of mostly silver colored bolts I'd ever seen. Of course, I had lost the one that fell out, so all I had was a rough guesstimate of the size. Thankfully, I figured that if I bought a size too small, it would still be a temporary fix, so I told myself to think little.

I settled on a bag, 5 for 82 cents.

{Back when I was a boy, one could buy a few nuts and bolts for no more than 59 cents. I blame the speculators and n&b companies myself, because I lack even the most remote knowledge of economics, but hence, I digress.}

On my way out, I also bought a gallon of windshield wash that promised to remove bugs nicely, as my wife's Vue is a bug magnet, despite the plastic shield which promises to deflect the 6 legged creatures high into the air (which is never bug covered, I might add).

So, after the game today, I went out and filled up both vehicles with bug gunk remover (or, quite likely, water and alcohol with green color added), and then pulled out a bolt...imagine my shock when it fit the hole perfectly! With some idea of what it feels like to be a man, I tightened it and the other side with the screwdriver, and decided to start the mower and test it by finishing the back lawn.

The bolt worked fine, though it was a bit hot and humid for such outdoor activity, regardless of the length. After about 20-25 minutes or so, I walked in the house with my T-shirt as wet as if I had jumped in the pool. It occurred to me that some people choose to do stuff outdoors in this heat. On the news tonight, the weather guy said it has not hit 90 yet, though it may this weekend.

If only I lived in Anchorage.

7/31/2008 09:13:00 PM

(7/31/2008 07:35:00 PM) - Al

Time to talk folks in off the ledge.

After a down homestand, the Crew is no longer right up at the top of the NL and the NL Central. However, they still had a decent July (16-11) and heck, even a decent last 2 weeks, post all-star break (8-6).

Of course, you can choose to ignore that and just look at the smallest sample possible, which is your right, but not a very intelligent move. It makes you look as dumb as Tom H, who has pretty much thrown most every player on the Crew under the bus at some point this season...apparently not able to comprehend that players have ups and downs during a 162 game campaign.

As for the series versus the Cubs, you can pretty much write off much of it to superb pitching by the Cubs. The other two keys were the Cubs' ability to take a walk and work the count...both these things will be overlooked by most, because it's not sexy, but offensively, it is what allowed the Cubs to score. After three straight CG's, Sabathia couldn't even get through 7. Sheets and Parra also had their pitch counts get high quickly.

Offhand, the only 3 Brewers that see a good amount of pitches per PA are much maligned; Weeks, Hall, and Kendall. Prince may be working his number up as well, as he is taking more walks. It's tough to be down on Braun about anything, as he is simply an extremely gifted young hitter, but he swings at everything. Hart has not been smacking the ball per usual, but he'll be fine. Cameron is not going to change at this point, and Hardy, while very solid since June, also did not get on much. Add that up, most of it was simply facing very good pitching. That also happened early in the year, it seemed like they were facing the opponent's top three every series. That'll balance out, as it did when some overreacted early.

Simply put, the offense is what it is. I'd love to see a little more OBP, but they are first in SLG for a reason...they hit doubles and homers.

Rather than being emotional about it, sometimes it is good to take a step back and see where they are at and where they "should be". After all, while still plenty of season remains, even more has been played.

One look at the "expected records" tell you just what I have said many times...this team is very fortunate to be where they are. They are still the "luckiest" team in the NL, having won 5 more games than their runs scored and runs allowed suggest. Much of that can be directly traced to a 22-10 mark in one-run games. The best thing about this, however, is that it often does not balance out...there's only one-third of the season left, so hopefully those numbers do not "even" out in such a short stretch. And of course, the Crew is better now that they have Sabathia than they were much of the year.

I just pointed out the other day that the Crew was tied for the best record despite being 7th and 5th in offense and pitching...this team has overachieved most of the season. That said, when you're above average in both scoring and preventing runs, you're likely to be in the thick of the playoff race, and that's exactly where they are. Hopefully, that's where they will remain.

SL is losing tonight, so as of this second, the Crew is tied for the wildcard lead. For all the negative thoughts and such, this past week just balanced out the previous one. It's all about the next 2 months, and while some discuss momentum, that and 50 cents will buy you a momentum means nothing when compared to the starting pitchers.

Finally, it is strange to say, but much like the New York Giants run of success on the road, I have to feel this is a good time for the Crew to take a road trip. They'll be alone with their thoughts and task at hand, rather than the circus atmosphere that press that feels 4 out of 162 games are magically "more important" creates.

We'll see what happens, and time will tell how many wins the team emerges with. I do feel that the offense will rebound when they face "mediocre" arms again. Ironically, more of those bloops and grounders will find holes then as well...I can't say I get it either, but they will.

Luckily, there's a little more room on the bandwagon for the rest of us. Sadly, we're left to hope it fills up yet again.

7/31/2008 07:35:00 PM

(7/31/2008 05:03:00 PM) - Al

Manny to LA, Bay to Boston.

LA wins that easily for '08, but the Red Sox should be fine as well.

7/31/2008 05:03:00 PM

(7/31/2008 02:22:00 PM) - Al

Manny's deal may be off, but PIT still deals Jason Bay, to TB for 2 major league ready kids.

UPDATE: Hold on, the Manny deal may be back on and take this one off the board.

7/31/2008 02:22:00 PM

(7/31/2008 01:03:00 PM) - Al

I will be writing a state of the team post tonight, after the current series is over.

In the meantime, keep checking MLBTR until the deadline.

Art Rhodes went to the Marlins, so it was rumored Eddie Guardado was of interest to the Crew.

7/31/2008 01:03:00 PM

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

(7/30/2008 10:54:00 PM) - Al

If this huge trade goes down, it's the blockbuster of the year.

EDIT: I really like what the new GM in PIT has done. He inherited a team with no present and no future, and he's added several solid youngsters...and he is not afraid to go from a 70 win team to 65 wins, because he's getting younger and cheaper.

UPDATE: Supposedly done.

7/30/2008 10:54:00 PM

(7/30/2008 10:22:00 PM) - Al

At the very least, Rhodes is the closest to a sure-thing trade you're ever going to get on a team as bad as the Mariners. They have to deal him. You have a shot at getting a young possibility back and that's better than clinging to an old one that isn't going to help this team when it matters. I'd say it's down to the Marlins and Brewers, both of which are also scouting Eddie Guardado. One will wind up with Florida, the other with Milwaukee.--Seattle Times

I admit, I do not know what would happen if the Crew did add a reliever...Mota has pitched well of late, and no one appears injured. Heck, if he's DFA'd, Mota, who is throwing 95-96 consistently, would garner as much interest as Rhodes and Guardado, I would think.

7/30/2008 10:22:00 PM

(7/30/2008 09:31:00 PM) - Al

I doubt if this is the case, but I'll throw it out there, as the angst of the average Brewers' fan is probably approaching levels not seen since Cory was chasing Topanga...

{somewhere, there's someone that will be very impressed I worked in a Boy Meets World reference, but anyone that knows me realizes I only do so to link to this image of Danielle Fishel}

...but word is COL is still discussing Brain Fuentes with teams, looking for a young SP. Meanwhile, Carlos V pitched for the second night in a row, which I do not recall him doing all year. Fuentes is without a doubt the top lefty reliever on the market, and probably the best reliever. However, CV is cheap and effective...and will be around a long time, unless the Crew decides otherwise.

7/30/2008 09:31:00 PM

(7/30/2008 09:13:00 PM) - Al


If only the government can save us.

7/30/2008 09:13:00 PM

(7/30/2008 09:04:00 PM) - Al

Michelle Wie needs to do whatever she wants to do. Who cares what a bunch of old fogies think?

7/30/2008 09:04:00 PM

(7/30/2008 07:48:00 PM) - Al

Not sure what Bill meant that no runs should have scored for the Cubs in the first...the run scored on a wild pitch, which was a pitch in the dirt. What's amazing is that the batter also swung at it, despite it being several feet away from the strike zone.

Also, saying Ryan Braun doesn't swing at pitches that far out of the zone? Ryan swings at that all the time...that's why many of us wonder how good he may be as he matures and adds plate discipline to his skills. He's one of the best hitters in the game, and he seems to have little knowledge of the strike zone.

7/30/2008 07:48:00 PM

(7/30/2008 07:44:00 PM) - Al

Hollywood against Obama? That's gotta be a short list.

Just driving in Jon Voight's car...

7/30/2008 07:44:00 PM

(7/30/2008 03:43:00 PM) - Al

Pudge to the Yankees for Kyle Farnsworth.

How the mighty have fallen. Hard to believe IRod is now worth a volatile, yet talented reliever who'll throw 25 innings the rest of the year.

7/30/2008 03:43:00 PM

(7/30/2008 08:50:00 AM) - Al

I see Evan Bayh has made the "short list", but seems to be well behind others.

I can't believe anyone else is being considered. He seems to "fit" very well, and is a respected Dem. Of course, he also supported Clinton.

7/30/2008 08:50:00 AM

(7/30/2008 08:49:00 AM) - Al

Glenn with some interesting stuff, on "big worry items" that are a waste of time, as well as how "green" seems to be very uncool all of a sudden.

7/30/2008 08:49:00 AM

(7/30/2008 08:15:00 AM) - Al

CC takes out an ad in the CLE paper thanking the fans there.

7/30/2008 08:15:00 AM

(7/30/2008 08:08:00 AM) - Al

Brewers scout Chris Bourjos followed the Giants from San Francisco to Los Angeles this week, prompting some to wonder whether Milwaukee still had interest in left-hander and Wisconsin native Jack Taschner. Don't make too much of Bourjos' presence, said Brewers pro scouting director Dick Groch, who said it was just part of the team's "regular coverage"

They just keep popping up in rumors about Taschner and Arthur Rhodes of SEA. That's probably not a coincidence. That said, with Mota pitching better of late, I'm not sure they'd have a spot. They might just be looking in case of injury.

7/30/2008 08:08:00 AM

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

(7/29/2008 09:41:00 PM) - Al

This is quite an unimpressive haul for a top 1B...I would just as soon have the two draft picks.

EDIT/BUMP: I did not word that very well. Kotchman and the hard throwing relief guy are probably much better than the average 2 high draft picks. However, I'd much rather have the upgrade at 1B for 2 months and the 2 picks than those players.

Just underwhelming.

7/29/2008 09:41:00 PM

(7/29/2008 08:08:00 PM) - Al

I had a busy day at work today, and did not get home until about dinner time, so I'm not much in a blogging mood this evening. We'll see if that continues, or if I make some posts for later.

7/29/2008 08:08:00 PM

(7/29/2008 07:04:00 PM) - Al

Jake Tapper researches what Obama said about the surge early on and what he claims he said. That's some good research by, gasp, ABC.

I do specifically recall Harry Reid calling it a failure and someone mentioning the next day that, in reality, it had not began yet.

7/29/2008 07:04:00 PM

Monday, July 28, 2008

(7/28/2008 10:34:00 PM) - Al

Just didn't quite get enough from the guys tonight. CC couldn't get through 7 before throwing 120 pitches, Rickie rushed his throw to 1B, Sal threw 40 pitches in a single frame while walking a pair...both scored by the way.

Marmol is one of those guys you pretty much just have to guess and hope. Hall chasing ball four really only get so many chances against a guy like that who has his good stuff.

7/28/2008 10:34:00 PM

(7/28/2008 10:12:00 PM) - Al

Those walks will kill you.

Giving the opponent free baserunners never shuts 'em down. Never.

I think Sal got caught up in trying to pitch to their weaknesses, rather than his strengths. Sometimes, you just have to go with your best pitch and tip your cap if they hit it.

7/28/2008 10:12:00 PM

(7/28/2008 08:04:00 PM) - Al

My wife and I wish to attend the 8/20 matinee, but are having trouble getting tickets. Anything in the lower 3 decks at face or below would be dandy. Send me an e-mail if you know of any.

7/28/2008 08:04:00 PM

(7/28/2008 07:48:00 PM) - Al

Adam tells us the Crew will break their attendance record this week and that 3M is within reach.

Tickets continue to sell briskly and the people are now moving into September to buy.

7/28/2008 07:48:00 PM

(7/28/2008 07:40:00 PM) - Al

Scott Eyre is finally available, but I don't see the Cubs talking to the Crew about him. The Brewers had interest in Eyre as a FA before '06, and would still like him, I would assume.

7/28/2008 07:40:00 PM

(7/28/2008 07:20:00 PM) - Al

Turnbow has a slight tear of his rotator cuff.

You gotta wonder if that has affected his control, but you wonder how it did not cause him a lot of pain.

7/28/2008 07:20:00 PM

(7/28/2008 03:49:00 PM) - Al


Your experience at a Cubs/Brewers game is completely different than most people that I know who have gone to these games. I purposely avoid them now. So do my parents. Clearly there is bad behavior on both sides of it, but when the Cubs come to MP, their fans tend to act more poorly than any other group of fans I have ever witnessed, and it leads to equally bad behavior from Brewer fans too, unfortunately. Minnesota and St. Louis fans show up at MP in great numbers, yet I have never seen the kind of behavior that I have from Cubs fans. Cheering for your team and against the other is obviously just fine, but to verbally abuse women in front of their children and other such behavior is way over the top.


I cannot speak for others, but I had no issues at all at the game I attended. One elderly couple told me they much preferred Miller Park because of the roof and how "small" Wrigley was. That was my only interaction with any of their fans, as I arrived late, right after they opened the disabled sections to the public, so I sat in a handicapable section on a nice comfy chair all by myself.

7/28/2008 03:49:00 PM

(7/28/2008 02:28:00 PM) - Al


Not sure how many responses you're getting to your post about the Cubs series just being another round of games, but as much as I tried to resist, I feel compelled to write. I don't expect to change your mind or anything, but ... well, I just couldn't resist.

I've learned a better, more rational way of following the Brewers throughout the ups and downs of a season from reading your blog, but I can't let my head take over my heart when it comes to the Cubs. Of course, there's nothing wrong from the Brewers' perspective with getting in as the wild card. And, yes, there's not much point in getting into a frothing, crazed anger if they drop 3 of 4 this week or somehow fail to conquer the big boys from Chicago. But at a certain point, rational detachment about the situation removes all the fun out of it. These are the Cubs, dang-it! Shouting and yelling and cheering against them at every turn is part of what has made these past two seasons so thrilling.

Maybe I'm just too close to everything down here. After all, I live 10 minutes from Miller Park, could drive to Wrigley Field much quicker than I could get to wherever you are (just guessing on location from previous blog posts), and I have friends in Chicago and Milwaukee I see and talk with regularly who are Cubs fans. That by no means makes me more a fan than you or anyone else, but it just all becomes part of the daily experience. As a fan who invests probably more time in the Brewers than is entirely healthy, I want to see them beat the tar out of the Cubs.

Also, a Brewers/Cubs game at Miller Park in 2003 turned into the single most-unenjoyable experience I've ever had in my life when I left the house for the purposes of seeking entertainment – and it was on a free ticket, no less. The place was overrun by Cubs fans, an early inning Richie Sexson walk on a close call on 3-2 produced the loudest boos I've ever heard in the stadium, and late in the game, Troy O'Leary hit a 3-run HR to put the Cubs up something like 10-2. He got a standing ovation and damn near a curtain call. To top it off, there was a group of middle-aged women sitting behind us who were clearly having an innocent, fun girls' night out, and a few drunken Cubs fans in their early 20s spent most of the night heckling these poor women. Mocking them and jeering them for being Brewers fans. It sealed the deal for me forever. Hate the Cubs, hate their fans and want to see them lose at every turn.

I know they're going to come up here in force and cheer loudly for their team, but I want to see them lose. And I want the Brewers to be the team that takes them out. It's what makes it so much more fun to get foolisly wrapped up in all this.

But, since I'm a little smarter these days, I'll concede your point that no matter how Milwaukee ends up in the post-season, as long as they somehow get there, I'll be happy.


I attended one Cubs/Brewers game, and witnessed no poor behavior at all, and the crowd was split about evenly. I'll have to see what I wrote about it.

There's nothing wrong with having a special rivalry, but let's keep it fun. That said, I have to believe Cubs' fans don't see it as much of a rivalry, or at least well behind the Cardinals and White Sox. That alone makes me feel it is a bit of a one-sided thing, which is just sad.

7/28/2008 02:28:00 PM

(7/28/2008 12:59:00 PM) - Al

...I also thought of how much I enjoy your blog – even when you don’t have much to say, new morsels show up constantly, and I love that....

An exchange from a frequent e-mailer, and despite it being complimentary, I don't think I'll ever use the signature...

Ramblings, posts even when there's nothing to say

...anytime soon.:)

7/28/2008 12:59:00 PM

(7/28/2008 11:33:00 AM) - Al

On Saturday, though, McCain released a new television advertisement in which the announcer says that on his trip, Obama "made time to go to the gym, but canceled a visit with wounded troops. Seems the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras."

"John McCain is always there for our troops," adds the announcer, before concluding with the campaign’s new slogan: "McCain, country first."

I think the gloves are off. McCain has "held back" and tried to be the guy above the fray, until now. I'm not sure why Obama did not visit troops, but I am very much in doubt that cameras played a role.

I think we'll even see stuff mentioning McCain's age, or "length of his experience" as they might put it. Don't think anyone is going to be Mr. Nice Guy now.

7/28/2008 11:33:00 AM

(7/28/2008 10:21:00 AM) - Al

Again, I fail to see the fascination with this upcoming Cubs series.

If the wildcard did not exist, then I'd "get it". However, there is one, and I am aware that 90 wins will get you right in the wildcard race. Hence, my big thing is to build a team capable of 90 victories, not worrying about which games you win and the like.

Obviously, I need to think more with my heart and less with my head.

7/28/2008 10:21:00 AM

Sunday, July 27, 2008

(7/27/2008 10:17:00 PM) - Al

In a bit of unusual scheduling, the Cubs are making their first visit of the season to Milwaukee. The Brewers played two series in Chicago in April - why play under the comfort of a roof that time of year - and took two of three both times.--Tom H, JS

I'm sure the Brewers would have just been giddy to play even more home games in April and lose dates in about no comprehension of baseball or business. The guy is a "casual" journalist, to be kind.

7/27/2008 10:17:00 PM

(7/27/2008 06:59:00 PM) - Al

No doubt about it. It's good to see someone else notices how bad the scoring is. It's really sickening listening to all of the local media kiss the scorer's butt--he's a high school baseball coach in the area, and has been so for many many years. The local 24 hr sports station WSSP morning show was talking about him the other day. So we continue to hear about what an excellent job this coach does, etc. Not even close, it's brutal!

Love the blog! Always my first read of the day after I get home from work!



I'm not sure anyone who watches a handful of games can think he's anything but a fool. His constant changing of calls is priceless, in a "how can anyone be so dumb" kind of way.

7/27/2008 06:59:00 PM

(7/27/2008 06:52:00 PM) - Al


You frequently use a saying about never being as good as when things are going good, and never being as bad as when things are going bad. Did you get that from somewhere or is that a Al original? If so, whats the exact wording you use for that? I'm on a constant quest to educate my fellow fans who some come for the bucket of casual fans, others from the slightly enlightened and still others who THINK they are educated fans, but are just loving our current success. They seem to jump ship at the first possible chance, and vice versa when we start winning.

I actually had a discussion with one of these said fans today about the educated fans lack of "rage" when a "bad" decision is made in a baseball game. Football fans are quick to react at a poor play call or poor pass attempt because there are so few decisions over a year when compared to baseball. The fact is that Ned leaving Soup in today was just that, 1 decision of over 1 bajillion that Ned might have been wrong on, however, if we were to break down ever decision Ned made this year, and then looked at the outcome, I'm assuming he's doing a.o.k. considering our record.

Keep fighting the good fight, and I'll keep reading religiously. I think another emailer said it today, but isn't this great? Sell outs during the week, airtime on ESPN, people talking about the Brewers as CONTENDERS?!!?! I've always been sad that I wasn't alive, or even thought of during the '82 series, however, I'm extremely happy I'm witnessing this stretch of 3 or 4 years we've had here in Milwaukee. Truly amazing to watch these youngsters come along (youngsters? they are all the same age as me!) remember when JJ hardy was a .200 hitter and seemed to be nothing more than serviceable??

Keep it up Al, and please get back to me about that quote.



I'm all but positive it's not mine, but I have used it enough to earn some sort of ownership. I think even Bill S has used it on TV, or a reasonable facsimile. The version I use is exactly that, "you're not as good as you think you are when you're going good, and you're not as bad as you think you are when you're going bad".

The funny thing about that is it shows just how uneducated many fans are, as well as a guy like Tom H, who just automatically assumes any other pitcher would have got out of the inning better and easier (despite, as it turns out, plenty of evidence to the contrary, as McClung struggled as well). As I said then, when you give up a bunt single, a bloop hit, ground balls through the hole, you're bound to give up a lot of runs. Sometimes, it's just not your day.

7/27/2008 06:52:00 PM

(7/27/2008 04:31:00 PM) - Al

Profile of Mike Coolbaugh's family a year after his death. Irony galore, his brother coaches 1B in the minors now.

7/27/2008 04:31:00 PM

(7/27/2008 04:10:00 PM) - Al

I sure wish the Crew a guy "struggling" like Manny Ramirez...who is not only having a great season, but is in the midst of his best month.

I don't know all the back story, but I can't say I care to either...I'm sure the vast majority of it is overblown hooey.

7/27/2008 04:10:00 PM

(7/27/2008 03:16:00 PM) - Al

I believe the official scorer at Miller Park just set a new low for himself, calling that shot that bounced a foot in front of Rickie an error.

The scoring at MP is, without a doubt, the worst I've ever seen.

UPDATE: As always, it is changed later, yet still an embarrassment a human being with unlimited replays and time can so consistently make the incorrect call. It's almost like the real scorer leaves his drunken dad-in-law in the booth, and is only awakened from his nap to fix the obvious mistakes.

7/27/2008 03:16:00 PM

(7/27/2008 02:52:00 PM) - Al

Most of Suppan's troubles in the 5th can be traced to bad luck. A blooper by Ausmus falls in, the bunt single by Wolf being a pair of examples. Needless to say, there were a couple balls hit hard, but when a team gets 5-6 outs, most are going to score quite a few runs.

Some folks choose to think a pitching change needs to be made when grounders sneak through the infield. I really can't say I do either. That said, that HR by Blum was a huge hit.

7/27/2008 02:52:00 PM

(7/27/2008 02:30:00 PM) - Al

Friend of Ramblings JR with a nice piece on Braun's defense as well as his bat.

7/27/2008 02:30:00 PM

(7/27/2008 12:28:00 PM) - Al

Personally, I think Anchorage is having near perfect weather this Summer.

Heck, I keep the house at 70, so I'm not sure why they are depressed about it.

7/27/2008 12:28:00 PM

(7/27/2008 12:04:00 PM) - Al


My wife and I took our son to his first game last night. First of all, while we were grilling with my in-laws before the game, who came by on a golf cart but the Miller High Life guy. People were chasing it around, women were pulling up their tops, I did not realize he was so popular.

The park was as loud as I can imagine it when Braun hit his HR, and after Hart scored in the 8th, the place was just brimming with confidence, almost a "can't lose" feeling.

The main reason I'm writing though is to wonder why there are so many empty seats? Some don't get there until the 4th, and some leave as early as the 6th or 7th, but even in the middle there were rows with 3 people in them.

Keep up the good work.


Windall, the delivery man, was on the TV broadcast last night, and also was in the crowd shot after the Braun HR, sweat stained shirt and all. I admit, I love his "For $13, I be a macadamia nut" line.

Ticket brokers do sell about 1K tickets a game at the resale area, and many go unsold, especially when the game is listed as a sellout, as few people without tickets show up to games with no seats available. Some people never leave the parking lots, because they are the essence of casual fans, and many have "issues". Often, when people cannot make it, they do not bother giving away the extra seats. There's always people at the concession stand and other areas. Add all that up, 10% of the seats are probably always empty.

7/27/2008 12:04:00 PM

(7/27/2008 11:44:00 AM) - Al

John-Paul Flintoff writes...that compound interest should be banned in the interests of both global economic development and the global environment. His word, not mine; he is unequivocal about it. His argument proceeds elliptically; he points out that third world debt, unpaid, has multiplied at compound interest to absurd levels. He cites as authority a scholar on Islamic finance, for the view that the glories of Muslim Spain and the regions thereabout flourished without the payment of interest

You can read the whole thing here. What's difficult to believe is that some scholar can think a simple change like this could "change the world" in any way. Bono has argued such debts just be waived entirely, showing why he's a pop singer and not running a business.

Sam Kinison used to argue, rather effectively, that the "drought" that led to African famine was directly related to the fact that the area was a desert. It was said for comic effect, of course, but it makes as much sense as any of the idealistic ideas thrown forth by fellas that mean well, but have no clue whatsoever.

What always boggles my mind is the idea that introducing business and dare I say, capitalism to these nations mostly run by corrupt governments, is never even discussed.

The fact that in my lifetime, little to no progress has been made with more of the same, "let's build a perfect world with no poverty" ideas, it might be time to push out the old and in with the "radical"

7/27/2008 11:44:00 AM

(7/27/2008 08:03:00 AM) - Al


Granted, it's just a Sun-Times reporter feeding material to an audience predisposed to want to hear these sorts of things, but I'm amused by stuff like this:

"Meanwhile, Milwaukee is good but still doesn't have a closer or a manager."

Of course, because taking a guy who never really closed before and turning him into a player who has become fairly devastating in that role is solely the province of the Chicago Cubs. Then, there's this on the Cubs faltering of late, struggling and not being as lights out as they were in April and May:

"This is real, but not lasting. Reality can make for a better fairy tale, anyway."
Yep, just a slight slump, Chicago. Pay no attention to how you couldn't maintain that 120-42 pace. Nothing to see here.

Anyway, yeah ... loads and loads of fun right now.


The irony here is, I don't care at all about the Cubs. I said back in April that the odds of the final four game series meaning anything was tiny, and I still feel that way...although hopefully, it will push the Crew over 3M fans.

SL and the other 2nd place clubs are my worries...although in reality, the Brewers can only control their own W's. Right now, and to be continued, I'm rooting equally against every NL team that's over .500.

7/27/2008 08:03:00 AM

(7/27/2008 07:56:00 AM) - Al

A pro-speculation viewpoint.

On page 2, there's probably a story about a cat chasing a dog.

7/27/2008 07:56:00 AM

(7/27/2008 07:47:00 AM) - Al


Coming home after just a fun summer night in Milwaukee where I walked into a place showing the game right before Braun hit the tying home run, I checked Ramblings to see your assessment of bringing guys like Ryan into the system. If MLB could roll back the last few months and open up all rosters, is there anyone besides Braun that would be in higher demand? It's just funny to me, still, how at the end of May I was fending off friends who demanded Yost be fired. They didn't want any part of my defenses that I tried to make for him, but here we are, about to enter the most-anticipated four-game series I can remember, and just about the last thing I could imagine any sane, rational person would say right now is, "Fire Yost."

Anyway, I've been guilty of that in the past – to an extent – but I learned how to let go of my "casual" tendencies and take the long view. What can you do beyond soaking it in with once-in-a-generation talents like Braun?

OK, nothing really to add beyond that. How great is this, though? There's a connection to be made – by someone more clever than me – with how the Brewers' hot streak is a great reason to dismiss all this Brett Favre drama that is needlessly occupying so much time. Enjoy the stuff we've been waiting for as fans for so long. We might not see anything like it again any time soon.


Drama? The only drama I see is the fact we have the media reporting on this in the same way they do a punch drunk boxer who isn't intelligent enough to know when to hang up their gloves. The season is still weeks away, and the "preseason" affairs they will try and pass off as games is the WWE without chairs being broken over heads.

'Tis a casual fan's delight.:)

7/27/2008 07:47:00 AM

(7/27/2008 07:42:00 AM) - Al


What are the odds that one of the McBush platoon could be part of a trade for a reliever? I'm fine with the platoon, but there are many doubters. Thoughts?


I don't see it. As of today, next year's rotation is what you see now, minus Sabathia and Sheets, plus Yo. Bush and McClung also could easily be very effective as a reliever as well...and at some point, when one steps up in the rotation, hopefully one will be this season.

7/27/2008 07:42:00 AM

(7/27/2008 12:39:00 AM) - Al

In closing, how happy are we that Jack Z is in charge of the draft, taking that Braun kid that can't play 3B and, wait for it...

has a hitch in his swing.:)

When Ryan is going good, he's probably as good as any player in the game. Some folks try to dream up ways of convincing a free agent to sign in MIL, but realistically, the only way to bring those guys into your system is through the draft.

7/27/2008 12:39:00 AM

(7/27/2008 12:32:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers now are 7th in runs scored and 5th in ERA in the NL...and are tied for the most wins.

I'm no genius, and I'm the first to say they have been quite fortunate in the one-run games, but it must be tough for people to look at that combination of numbers and not give Ned a lot of credit.

With little circuses currently going on in NY, PHIL, and BOS with star players either causing trouble or the media stirring the pot, or both, it's really something that MIL has not had anything like that in Ned's entire reign.

7/27/2008 12:32:00 AM

(7/27/2008 12:20:00 AM) - Al

I'm sure Kendall is throwing better as well, but how much do you want to bet the Brewers' staff is holding runners on much better than last year?

7/27/2008 12:20:00 AM

Saturday, July 26, 2008

(7/26/2008 11:54:00 PM) - Al

I remember reading often last Fall that the way you could tell Iraq was going well is that it was never in the news anymore. Almost on cue to prove they are out of touch they are, Glenn tells us even the AP has declared victory.

What's strange is that it has already been declared "lost" many times by people with a 11% popularity rating. Hmmm.

7/26/2008 11:54:00 PM

(7/26/2008 10:13:00 PM) - Al

The Rambling wife left myself and the Rambling son to our own devices over the weekend, as she went to spend her time at my family's, seeing various stages of demo and building at their neighbor's Extreme Home Makeover.

This morning, I took the 6 year-old to downtown Wausau, where we took a walk around the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, which is mostly a replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, with some other features. I have never sat down and explained war to the little fella, but he seems to grasp that it means "fighting" and such, though I don't think he gets the whole death aspect.

We spent much of our time looking at the smaller tribute to the current battle in Iraq, which has a dog tag from each soldier and Marine killed in action in large shadowboxes. Being rather lucky, I guess, I did not lose anyone close to me in either war, but when I saw the Iraq deaths were arranged in chronological order, I remembered Bobby Warns, whose moving tribute is always a click away on the sidebar, and which never fails to generate many e-mails every time I mention it. I could not recall if he was KIA in '03 or '04, but I thought it was either November or December, and quickly came upon his dog tag.

[I took pictures of it, and hope to get one of them posted when my computer literate wife returns.]

It's kind of funny, I never spent one second with Warns, nor have I discussed his life with anyone since he died. I have talked to many folks who say how much they enjoy the tribute, and how well it is done, and that's about it. Still, when I came across his dog tag, it seemed like I had found an old friend's.

There were many folks who were leaving flowers on the ground, a few flags, and strangely, a few pictures were left behind as well...they looked new, so I assumed they were current family pics and grandkids, and such.

On the news tonight, it was mentioned how quiet it was, and I told the little fella a couple times to quit reading names he recognized, as it may offend someone. I would heartily anyone in the area stop by tomorrow, as they start taking it down Monday morning.

It was right next to the downtown farmer's market, so we toured and purchased some new potatoes and a small pork roast, which I intended to turn into chops, but when I opened it up when I got home, I saw I had purchased a near perfect specimen, which could only be truly enjoyed by putting it in the slow cooker for 10 hours, low and slow. I took it out to "rest" at 10, and have twice peeled a small piece off, and it is indeed utopian. I will soon be enjoying my late dinner with biscuits and gravy...any wonder why I am seriously considering another eating "plan" soon?

7/26/2008 10:13:00 PM

(7/26/2008 10:00:00 PM) - Al

The JS comes to the conclusion that the Crew is a better team when they hit a HR.

That is some deep journalism, my friends.

7/26/2008 10:00:00 PM

(7/26/2008 06:44:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers still have scouts out and was watching Arthur Rhodes last night. Many folks seem to be confusing "not willing to trade a premium prospect" for not willing to trade.

7/26/2008 06:44:00 PM

(7/26/2008 01:14:00 PM) - Al

Glenn links this, and I admit, I'd never heard of it either...though I have seen many pics of his other daughter, Meghan.

7/26/2008 01:14:00 PM

(7/26/2008 12:34:00 PM) - Al

Let me tell you, it's a bustling trade market when Casey Blake is a desired corner OF.

I like Blake as a 3B, and he is having a nice season, but he sure is a step down from a big bat.

7/26/2008 12:34:00 PM

(7/26/2008 12:28:00 PM) - Al

One scout (said) as many as 10 teams, mainly those with relievers available, are scouting Huntsville’s current series at Carolina.

Doug also says he has no interest in Jarrod Washburn of SEA, though he talked to them before CC was acquired. He has no interest in dealing anymore top prospects for relievers, pointing out Carlos V never even got in a game in SL.

I had an e-mailer ask if I thought the Crew might go down to 11 pitchers, and if man #12 had options, it would be possible. However, McClung can't go down to get work, and Mota has no options either. They are stuck with 12, even though they have not needed a dozen arms since the day Sabathia put on a uniform.

7/26/2008 12:28:00 PM

Friday, July 25, 2008

(7/25/2008 11:29:00 PM) - Al

Found this while looking for something else...Kevin Smith verbally destroys a guy at a Q&A session.

FYI, contains adult language.

7/25/2008 11:29:00 PM

(7/25/2008 08:53:00 PM) - Al

It will be interesting to hear Obama's response to this, as I'd say this is McCain's best chance of making headway...repeating this same piece at every stop, every single day.

To be honest, Obama does not a lot of history to judge him by...McCain should take this one item and keep pounding with it.

7/25/2008 08:53:00 PM

(7/25/2008 07:51:00 PM) - Al

I had actually forgotten about this, what with the winning streak and college-aged women chanting my name on the front lawn.

Or one of those.

7/25/2008 07:51:00 PM

(7/25/2008 07:25:00 PM) - Al

Yankees pick up Nady and Marte from the Pirates.

Now that's a big trade.

7/25/2008 07:25:00 PM

(7/25/2008 07:17:00 PM) - Al

Doug, as he's said before, says he likes his bullpen and is not going to trade a premium prospect for a reliever.

7/25/2008 07:17:00 PM

(7/25/2008 07:05:00 PM) - Al


You were on top of this 3 million attendance mark before anyone else. I give you a lot of credit for that. On Tuesday at 1:45pm I was headed home from a meeting in Milwaukee and stopped at MP to exchange some of my 9-pack seats for a late-September game. They had 6 ticket windows open and staffed, and there were 10 other people spread across those 6 lines. This was 1:45pm on a Tuesday with the Brewers in the middle of a road trip. Five or ten years ago, I bet you had to ring a bell to get someone to sell you tickets in person on a weekday like that.

One other thing...looking ahead to the Cubs series, have you looked at Fukudome's home/road splits? I had no idea how much his production drops off away from Wrigley:

Home .450 .522 .972
Away .323 .303 .625

He also has a .566 OPS for the month of July. I'm guessing that means we're going to pitch to him.

Thanks as always for the great Brewers coverage.


Thanks for the kind words, Adam. Fukudome is likely wearing down, he is not used to playing every day, 100 games in 112 days, getting done with a game at 10PM, flying from 12-4AM, getting to your hotel at 6AM, and then being at the ballpark at 4PM, ready to face Brandon Webb. I seem to recall Ichiro's numbers dropping in late season as well.

EDIT: Yep.

7/25/2008 07:05:00 PM

(7/25/2008 06:41:00 PM) - Al

An e-mail today brings a couple great links, including this one about a woman who has a bijillion dollars of credit card quote:

GE Money Bank levied 27 percent on the $1,500 or so that Ms. McLeod owed on an account she had with a local jewelry store

Luckily, she has shiny pieces of somewhat rare metal to wear as she fields many phone calls from her creditors...oof.

Also, yet another article that feels free markets are a positive and not to blame for oil prices. Who knows, maybe they'll discover that markets did not suddenly stop working after 225 years of smooth sailing.

7/25/2008 06:41:00 PM

(7/25/2008 11:15:00 AM) - Al

NPR with a heart tugging piece on how one family can no longer afford meat in this economy.

Not a single person at NPR felt that maybe, just maybe, they should run this piece sans photo, huh?

7/25/2008 11:15:00 AM

(7/25/2008 10:35:00 AM) - Al

Most page views in a month ever, and soon to be the most visits...and what, it's the 25th?

Double jeepers. Thanks for visiting, and a special thanks to Jason and Robert...and you know what? I think we'll celebrate with sellout 5 in a row...on the way to 14.

Go Brewers.

7/25/2008 10:35:00 AM

(7/25/2008 07:33:00 AM) - Al

What a horrible sub-headline.

Anyway, the team says they will break their record for all-time attendance next week, so that means they need to sell 130K the rest of the way. Sadly, the demand is easily there, but it will have to be done with the tickets remaining.

7/25/2008 07:33:00 AM

Thursday, July 24, 2008

(7/24/2008 11:59:00 PM) - Al

When Obama said he was a "citizen of Earth", I could only think of the Next Generation term, "Federation of Planets".

He seems more popular overseas than he does here. On ABC News tonight, they openly wondered if being popular in Europe would hurt him in the US, where Europe is far from a role model.

Even USAT is critical, with an editorial about what, 6-9 months late?

EDIT: Despite evening newscasts that preach doom and gloom, Obama's lead keeps shrinking. Many seem to think he peaked far too early.

7/24/2008 11:59:00 PM

(7/24/2008 11:07:00 PM) - Al

Baseball Tonight says it is the first undefeated road trip 7 games or longer since 1999.


7/24/2008 11:07:00 PM

(7/24/2008 10:44:00 PM) - Al

I forgot to mention that while some pick on Ned for being pretty much emotionless, watching LaRussa lose his cool (yeah, who'd ever guess Ryan Braun would hit a HR?) pretty much informs your team that your manager isn't able to stay cool, it's tough to expect the team to.

7/24/2008 10:44:00 PM

(7/24/2008 10:18:00 PM) - Al

I won't say I predicted the win, but I admit, when I heard it was the top of the order up, I thought to myself, "If one guy gets on, they'll have to face both Ryan and Prince". Far from a guaranteed win, but when you have HR power, a bloop and a single bad pitch is all it takes.

7-0 road trips just don't happen very often. Enjoy it while it lasts.

7/24/2008 10:18:00 PM

(7/24/2008 08:06:00 PM) - Al

This continues the pattern of being very hard on reserves, and looking the other way with starters, from way back in the Alvarez days.

7/24/2008 08:06:00 PM

(7/24/2008 03:10:00 PM) - Al

Wow, the secret of the Brewers and Appleton eventually pairing has now hit the mainstream media...if that doesn't mean it's old news, I don't know what does.

Risking a tampering violation, I'd say there is an "unofficial, official" agreement already in place. It will be great for many of us to be able to drive 90 minutes and see some future Brewers on the field in the Fox Valley.

7/24/2008 03:10:00 PM

(7/24/2008 02:50:00 PM) - Al

Doug says he is not pursuing Sherill or anyone else.

If he is not willing to give up a top level prospect, the odds of him landing anyone is slim. As I predicted a while back, if he does add someone, it will be a veteran, unsexy guy like Chad Bradford.

7/24/2008 02:50:00 PM

(7/24/2008 02:42:00 PM) - Al

The Onion has a story today about CC and Prince, which as you might imagine, is heavily weighted (no pun intended) toward their build and size.

I am not going to link to it because frankly, it's only funny if you are 8 or under. The truth is, CC and Prince, while certainly "big guys", are not in that bad of shape...actually, given both are top MLB players, it seems silly having to defend this fact. Some guys are naturally thin, some are fat, some are tall, some short.

The Onion, whose writers I doubt can catch or throw a ball, should try and be funny rather than pick on people.

7/24/2008 02:42:00 PM

(7/24/2008 02:30:00 PM) - Al

This is making the site because not only is this woman a neighbor of my brother's family (heck, he's watching their dog), but the house being demolished used to be my grandpa's home, and it's where my dad was born.

I've known she was in the running for months now, but was afraid to say anything. My brother reports everyone in the area is quite delighted for the family, though the intense security is difficult to get used to. I guess ID's are being checked at an entry point a mile or two away.

Oh, I forgot to mention the irony that they were hoping the Klang family would win (the story at WSJ says they were not a finalist), not having any idea that their neighbor was also being considered and now, of course, their neighbor was chosen.

7/24/2008 02:30:00 PM

(7/24/2008 02:07:00 PM) - Al

I have no idea if Derrick's arm is 100% or not...but I can't believe they did not check before.

7/24/2008 02:07:00 PM

(7/24/2008 12:05:00 PM) - Al

Slate wonders about John Edwards, a story the media sees fit to ignore.

Much like Michael Jackson paying off parents to drop a lawsuit, Edwards' behavior makes him appear guilty, even though he may have just have been visiting a female pal. In today's world, a DNA test is quick and easy to prove innocence, which is what I'd do if wrongly accused (in my case, I'm sure the woman would be the one up in arms at the accusation).

7/24/2008 12:05:00 PM

(7/24/2008 12:03:00 PM) - Al

Glenn with the line of the year..."but don't question their patriotism".

7/24/2008 12:03:00 PM

(7/24/2008 12:26:00 AM) - Al

All right, the bed is a callin'. A couple scheduled posts during the day tomorrow, enjoy your Thursday.

7/24/2008 12:26:00 AM

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

(7/23/2008 11:37:00 PM) - Al

MLBTR reports the Crew has been scouting George Sherill of the O's of late.

7/23/2008 11:37:00 PM

(7/23/2008 11:31:00 PM) - Al

Don Walker reports there are about 6K tickets left...for the upcoming 7 game homestand.

I'm going to say this somewhat in jest, but Mark A needs to sit down with the folks who figured out how to add those prime seats in Fenway...if they could finagle an extra 1K seats, that's an extra 100K a season.

7/23/2008 11:31:00 PM

(7/23/2008 11:11:00 PM) - Al

According to BCB, Dale Sveum has had very few baserunners thrown out at home this year, among the fewest in MLB.

What's funny about this is I read the other day how many runners Dale has had out at home...yet, no examples were given. Ah, the simple pleasures of being a casual fan.

7/23/2008 11:11:00 PM

(7/23/2008 10:33:00 PM) - Al

Yep, did some research. April 10-14,1987 was the last time the Crew started off 5-0 on a trip. Good times right now.


Make it 6 in a row. Of course, on a message board somewhere, there's some guy saying tomorrow is a "must win" or else risk a letdown before coming home.

7/23/2008 10:33:00 PM

(7/23/2008 10:24:00 PM) - Al


You've covered it numerous times, but this was a new one for horrible work from an umpire. Not only does the guy botch the swinging strike call as poorly as I've seen recently, but he appeared to welcome the shouting match with Yost – even going so far as to start walking toward Ned as soon as he left the dugout. That ump was relishing the argument. How often do you see another ump walk over to break up the bickering and then he has to pull the arguing ump away from the manager first?! If I didn't know any better, I'd think the umpire was waiting to make a bad call so he could get into a fight.

At least Simmons is a smart guy who can handle whatever happens in the rest of this game.


I heard this on the drive home. Simply yet another example of the pathetic job seemingly every crew accountability at all. They do what they want with no fear of reprisal...walking toward a manager or extending an argument should be immediate dismissal...there's no place for that in the game. Not a soul cares about who the ump is, and to be honest, I can't imagine AA or AAA umps being any worse than the clods we see every day...I saw the last 3 innings, and the strike zone might as well have been a mud covered pig...tough to grasp.

7/23/2008 10:24:00 PM

(7/23/2008 10:18:00 PM) - Al

I've always had Tim Pawlenty in the top 3 for VP, but I have to wonder about a guy who barely won reelection in MN, which is granted, a liberal and downright strange state to read (they elected Ventura governor when I was there, and the Dem got 29% of the vote, finishing a distant 3rd to Jesse and Norm Coleman.

I admit, I would have loved to have seen Condi Rice, but realize going after the A/A vote is a cause as lost as me at the salad bar.

7/23/2008 10:18:00 PM

(7/23/2008 10:11:00 PM) - Al

If someone built a pitching machine, odds are it would not be as effective as Sabathia has been. As Brian reported that Doug Melvin said, "He makes us a lot smarter".

What's really astounding is how low he has kept his pitch count, complete games in the 100-110 pitch range are spectacularly well done.

7/23/2008 10:11:00 PM

(7/23/2008 02:55:00 PM) - Al

Heya Al,

Everyone knows how bad the Houston organization is except Houston. I do wonder how that happens. :) I remember when Garner was canned in late August. Jayson Stark commented on Mike & Mike in the Morning that it was "par for the course by a lost organization".


The whole Biggio embarrassment really made it obvious...Craig still played most every game at home, and on the road, they tried to he did not play.


7/23/2008 02:55:00 PM

(7/23/2008 01:58:00 PM) - Al

The O’s have some relievers (Jamie Walker, Chad Bradford) that will clear waivers and be available, but the team is not interested in dealing George Sherrill unless they’re given a crazy offer.--Wil Carroll, BP

I can see the Crew going after one of these guys, as neither will have an exceptionally high cost.

7/23/2008 01:58:00 PM

(7/23/2008 01:03:00 PM) - Al

My goodness, it's a cold day when the media rips on the media.

7/23/2008 01:03:00 PM

(7/23/2008 11:58:00 AM) - Al

Not finding a lot of positives about the young INF the Nats picked up for Jon Rauch...Rotoworld said he was unlikely to be more than a reserve, for example.

Of course, as a contrarian, I don't mind that a bit. I took a look at his page, and this kid can flat out play...all-star at every single level, futures game this year, wow. I was concerned about the fact he's producing at Tucson, a notorious hitter's paradise, but he's hitting much better away from home.

He's no Alcides Escobar, but few are. I like him, and suspect he'll be a nice 2B for years to come, maybe soon. I think many forget how young he is for his level.

7/23/2008 11:58:00 AM

(7/23/2008 11:52:00 AM) - Al

There's a theory out there that Sal's 5 years out of baseball really helped his arm just through rest. It sounds casual fan-ish but there might be some merit in it.


I believe it completely. It makes sense, as many people say every arm has a certain number of pitches in it. Much like Jim Morris, who threw 95-97 consistently after years of rest with his surgically repaired left arm, letting your body heal is a fine thing to do.

7/23/2008 11:52:00 AM

(7/23/2008 10:57:00 AM) - Al

Just goes to show you how awful the Cardinals bullpen currently is which is why Lohse stayed in. The patchwork starting rotation has held up but it has killed the bullpen. I laugh when people think the Brewers have a poor bullpen, the Cardinals bullpen is just atrocious. And of course they did promptly give up another Hall homer to put us up.


Granted, he gave up the HR, but McClellan came in with a sub 3 ERA...and 49 games/54 innings pitched. They are far from a top group, but I'd a lot rather go with a fresh mediocre reliever than a tired starter.

7/23/2008 10:57:00 AM

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

(7/22/2008 11:51:00 PM) - Al

Just a quick note to thank you for continuing to click...we're well on our way to a record for hits and page views.

Casual fans are welcome here...they count too.:)

7/22/2008 11:51:00 PM

(7/22/2008 11:49:00 PM) - Al

I am on the road tomorrow, but I do have a few posts "saved" to come out as the day progresses. We'll see you in the evening.

7/22/2008 11:49:00 PM

(7/22/2008 09:38:00 PM) - Al

Tell ya what, the bandwagon's gonna start growing exponentially with wins like tonight...I chalked this one up in the loss column about the 5th inning.

I was shocked to see Torres in the 9th, but his pitch count has been extraordinarily low. Wonderful time for a 1-2-3 inning with Ludwick and Pujols due up next. I've always said I would try to avoid back-to-back days with my bullpen, but I would make exceptions with my closer (as long as he is used for 3 outs) and my loogy. Heck, Sal has gone a week without a single save opportunity, and he may well again. Torres is seemingly a special case, as he was abused for years with the Pirates and his output was not affected.

Yost is starting to look like a genius with his Hall insertion. I would expect to see Durham start one of these two games in SL, and possibly Counsell in for Hardy in one as well. You could make arguments that Braun and Cameron could use a day off as well, especially in the heat of SL, and if Kapler would have gone 3-4 tonight, an even better one.

I have not got the chance to discuss many 5-0 starts to road trips, so I'll just shut up and let you enjoy it.

7/22/2008 09:38:00 PM

(7/22/2008 09:06:00 PM) - Al

I think LaRussa may be thinking it's 1965...why do you carry 8 relievers and then not use any of them?

Tell you what, for a guy who many feel is so good, he sure doesn't seem to have much of a contingency plan.

EDIT: Not being the second guessing type, I should explain that I was shocked to see the struggling, fatigued Lohse remain in after allowing back-to-back run scoring hits to Weeks and Hardy...with Braun due up.

One night, he runs out of position players in the 10th, the next night, despite having 8 guys in the bullpen, he leaves his SP in well past his peak...that just doesn't seem like maximizing your 25 man roster.

7/22/2008 09:06:00 PM

(7/22/2008 08:16:00 PM) - Al

Ryan Braun's brother signed as an undrafted FA...Ryan sums it well...he just can't hit.

7/22/2008 08:16:00 PM

(7/22/2008 07:03:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers, after trading six prospects of varying qualities for lefty CC Sabathia and second baseman Ray Durham, are unlikely to give up the players necessary to acquire Orioles closer George Sherrill or any other prominent reliever, sources say.

The Orioles want closer value for Sherrill, who is not a free agent until after the 2011 season. The Brewers bolstered their offense with Durham in part because the prices for relievers were so high. They could use Sherrill to close, but Salomon Torres has been mostly reliable since replacing Eric Gagne in that role.--Ken Rosenthal

I agree, but still feel they will add someone, like Dave Weathers, as I've said before. The relief pitcher market is always a bit overblown, as the position itself is a small sample, where one bad game can ruin your numbers.

Another issue is simple, take a look at Mota...June 1st, he would have been an outstanding pickup, now, an imperfect one.

The Crew does have depth...Dillard, DiFelice, and Stetter have all pitched in the bigs and had some inconsistent moments, but overall been fine. Luis Pena throws hard, but has not done the job in AAA. Still, very few teams go 4 deep in their bullpen at AAA and not embarrass themselves.

7/22/2008 07:03:00 PM

(7/22/2008 05:00:00 PM) - Al

Ironic that in the midst of an up and down campaign, Mota's still been extremely effective versus RH, while getting hit hard against LH. He's well suited to be a ROOGY...but as we all know, it's tough to distribute the workload amongst just the other guys while babying one.

Much like DiFelice, he has value, but he can hardly be trusted to face even a single lefty with any pop in his bat.

Again, it astounds me how little research is provided by the JS...instead, you have guys that can't catch a cold ripping on Weeks for not making a do or die, would have been a great play...and then not finishing their own game blog.

7/22/2008 05:00:00 PM

(7/22/2008 04:54:00 PM) - Al

Stetter does go down to make room for Suppan, so look for Shouse to be used more for a batter or two at a time.

See you in about a month (if not sooner), Mitch.

7/22/2008 04:54:00 PM

(7/22/2008 04:41:00 PM) - Al

Jon Rauch goes from the Nationals to the Diamondbacks. He was probably the best relief guy on the market. He goes for a very good prospect, a 23 year-old 2B in AAA...that means the Crew would have had to deal one of their remaining top 4-5 players, mostly the Huntsville clan.

7/22/2008 04:41:00 PM

(7/22/2008 03:54:00 PM) - Al

Andy LaRoche would be a nice fit at the hot corner for the Brewers if LA waits until the offseason to move him...especially if Mat Gamel is moved elsewhere do to his defensive trouble there.

If the Dodgers continue to look for a SS, I would say Hardy and Hall may both be available for the right price after the final game of the current campaign.

7/22/2008 03:54:00 PM

(7/22/2008 03:44:00 PM) - Al

I feel so sorry for Cecil Cooper, as he's caught in the middle of an organization who simply has no clue at all.

Not only should they be selling, Wolf's numbers away from SD are hellishly bad. Good luck in that launching pad, sir.

7/22/2008 03:44:00 PM

(7/22/2008 03:16:00 PM) - Al

A Hardball Times piece about the best of the Huntsville Stars...nothing but good things to say about Escobar, Salome, and Gamel, and he also liked Gillespie a lot.

Must not have seen Brantley play.

7/22/2008 03:16:00 PM

(7/22/2008 02:48:00 PM) - Al

I've had a couple e-mails from folks asking why I think Hall played 3B last night versus a RHP. I told them I suspected it was because Branyan has not been doing as well of late, and probably because Hall "matched up" well.

Didn't take long to find out. For whatever reason, Piniero has reverse platoon splits over his career, and Ned took advantage of it.

What's ironic there is that Ned tends to stay a step ahead, while second guessers have no clue until after the fact.

UPDATE: If you look at Lohse's splits, LH bats do better, as per normal. However, it is not a wide split, so I would say Yost has ammo to defend his decision regardless of which way he goes.

UPDATE 2: All are small samples, of course, but Gameday shows both Counsell and Durham have hit Lohse well in their careers. What's funny is, you can almost convince yourself to play anyone and then not to play them, if you look at enough stats.:)

7/22/2008 02:48:00 PM

(7/22/2008 02:34:00 PM) - Al

Orel H feels the Brewers have a chance to catch the Cubs.

7/22/2008 02:34:00 PM

(7/22/2008 02:27:00 PM) - Al

Looks like the Crew is nearing a minor league contract with Jay Gibbons, whose numbers were decent vs. RHP..

One of the things that stuck with me when I read Moneyball is that the A's went after OBP, which was undervalued at the time. Since then, they have went after defense, since they felt that was undervalued, and so on.

It seems Doug feels that because of the stigma some teams have with players who may or may not have used HGH and the like, those players are the "new Moneyball" types.

Gibbons is likely being signed as AAA fodder and maybe as LH OF depth. As I say every chance I can, I'll sign any experienced major leaguer to a minor league, "make good" deal.

7/22/2008 02:27:00 PM

(7/22/2008 02:17:00 PM) - Al

Weeks is having his best month of the year, even before last night. No one seems to be mentioning that at all.

7/22/2008 02:17:00 PM

(7/22/2008 02:00:00 PM) - Al

I have not seen any official word yet about whose place Suppan is taking.

An e-mailer tells me that Tony W of the JS never completed his game blog last night...he just ended it in after 9, tied at 3. I know he has deadlines to meet, but he's not exactly a "high standards" type of guy, is he?

7/22/2008 02:00:00 PM

Monday, July 21, 2008

(7/21/2008 10:30:00 PM) - Al

The Crew wins another coin flip...from what happened tonight, it would seem Mota will be on the 25 man tomorrow, with Stetter going down, barring someone going on the DL, of course.

It will be a short bullpen tomorrow night, although Bush will be available, I suppose. Torres will be given the night off, and we'll see about Carlos V...although he did not pitch tonight, he threw in the bullpen, and only pitched to one batter Sunday.

I thought the way LaRussa handled his short bench was strange...I've never been a fan of a PR when you have only a couple guys left, as the odds of that half-second being meaningful is so slim. And how bad of a hitter is Cezar Izturis if Jason LaRue is a better option?

7/21/2008 10:30:00 PM

(7/21/2008 07:52:00 PM) - Al

Strange to see that the 2 guys up in the bullpen thus far has been Mota and of them is certain to be gone after Suppan is activated, unless an injury comes into play.

7/21/2008 07:52:00 PM

(7/21/2008 06:13:00 PM) - Al

Allow me to throw a word of advice out there for anyone planning on going to any upcoming Brewers' games in 2008...


Tickets are going and going fast, even to Tuesday and Wednesday games, that you could normally expect to be able to walk up to the ballpark 10 minutes before the game and get any pair of seats you wanted.

Don Walker with a note on this as well.


3 million, you are in sight.

7/21/2008 06:13:00 PM

(7/21/2008 11:01:00 AM) - Al

Aaron Gleeman looks at the fantasy ramifications of the Durham trade.

7/21/2008 11:01:00 AM

Sunday, July 20, 2008

(7/20/2008 07:35:00 PM) - Al

There seems to be little doubt Doug will continue to shop for a reliever, though the market looks unimpressive and is supposedly very costly. I do not see them going after a glitz and glamour guy, however, a veteran workhorse like Dave Weathers or Chad Bradford makes a lot of sense to me.

Of course, should a team or two fall out of the race, who knows who may become available...or who knows who the braintrust may see as "affordable" if the 'pen should have a couple bad games between now and the 31st.

7/20/2008 07:35:00 PM

(7/20/2008 07:11:00 PM) - Al

Durham happily waives his 10 and 5 rights, and the Giants are paying about half of his salary the rest of the year.

As expected, Dillon goes down to AAA to make room for him. Tough break for Joe, but he'll get plenty of AB's and be ready to go in September, or earlier if an injury occurs.

7/20/2008 07:11:00 PM

(7/20/2008 05:07:00 PM) - Al

Movies with anti-American sentiment seem to bomb at the box office...gee, who woulda thunk it?

7/20/2008 05:07:00 PM

(7/20/2008 04:59:00 PM) - Al

Is Dusty Baker back in SF? 121 pitches for the kid who weighs about as much as the lint you take out of the dryer after taking out a wool blanket?


7/20/2008 04:59:00 PM

(7/20/2008 04:51:00 PM) - Al

Mark A's Malibu oceanfront mansion is for sale, as is the vacant lot he owns next door, which he put a basketball court on.

Or, you might want to buy a small nation.

7/20/2008 04:51:00 PM

(7/20/2008 04:06:00 PM) - Al

A more in-depth look at the soon to be announced acquisition of Ray Durham (other than how much he'll play, which I'll discuss later) is what the 2B/SS picture will look like next year and beyond.

Reading between the lines, this seems to be an indication that the team is indeed "going for it", and much like last year, are not going to let Weeks' less than desired production stand in their way. Last season, they sent him to AAA, expecting him to stay shortly, but ended up being brought back even quicker, as Tony G went down. This year, it seems he and Durham will share time at 2B in some fashion, whether it be a platoon, an adjusted platoon, Durham playing once in a while, or simply Ned going with who is hitting the ball better.

Meanwhile, JJ Hardy is having a nice season, both offensively and defensively. His only apparent weakness is a lack of range, and perhaps a bit of fragile-ness.

Then, there's Alcides Escobar, the SS phenom at AA who is supposedly simply a can't miss prospect...all ready for prime time with the glove, and making steady progress with the bat as well. How good is he you ask? The Crew had no problem including certain big leaguer Matt Laporta in the Sabathia deal, but laughed off the Tribe's suggestion they include Escobar. At the very latest, he'll be the SS by mid-2009, one would think.

Where does that leave Hardy and Weeks? It doesn't take a genius to figure out that one of them will be at 2B, and the other probably with another team. This would seem to be even more obvious because it was mentioned that both JJ's and Rickie's name had come up in scenarios this past month.

It is apparent to many that any move that involved Hardy moving to 2B would have to come with his permission, as well as a long-term contract, as 2B simply do not have the financial pull that shortstops do. 2B would seemingly be a perfect fit for JJ, but many resist, as it is not nearly as star filled a spot.

In the end, JJ may simply be asked if the switch is ok with him or not. His answer could determine if he or Weeks is with the Brewers long-term.

7/20/2008 04:06:00 PM

(7/20/2008 04:02:00 PM) - Al

Looks like the player to be named later is a list of four, with only two known.

As I have said before, I would hate to lose Mike Brantley, who is very young and already a "professional hitter" that Doug is perennially looking for. I have him penciled in as the leadoff hitter as early as '10.

7/20/2008 04:02:00 PM

(7/20/2008 03:56:00 PM) - Al

That Lincecum is a fine young pitcher, but his height and stress on his body sure make me wonder how long he'll stay healthy.

7/20/2008 03:56:00 PM

(7/20/2008 03:48:00 PM) - Al

Randy Winn not impressing anyone this series with his "casual" play. Aaron Rowand played Branyan's double like he was surprised he tried to go to 2B...which is exactly the opposite of how most players play a ball in the gap.

What's ironic here is that it is very rare you ever see a single play like that from the Brewers. Yost's teams always seem to play hard, which rarely gets mentioned by his detractors, who really do not seem to bring forth anything except some random second guesses.

7/20/2008 03:48:00 PM

(7/20/2008 03:03:00 PM) - Al

The 2 guys headed to SF:

Darren Ford--Said to be one of the fastest players, if not the fastest, in the sport, he's not figured out how to steal 1B as of yet. It's tough not to see him as a Joey Gathright type, and needless to say, is likely to be a 4th/5th OF if he does make the majors.

Steve Hammond--Decent minor league numbers, but has always been old for his level. That type of southpaw often tops out at AA or AAA, and predictably, he struggled when finally promoted to Nashville...but has only had a few outings there. If he is to be a major league pitcher someday, a switch to the bullpen seems inevitable.

So, while there is always a chance that a team will catch "lightning in a bottle" with a young player who just puts it all together, this pair looks to be low ceiling guys, who hope to be complimentary players someday.

7/20/2008 03:03:00 PM

(7/20/2008 02:39:00 PM) - Al

Tom H says the Crew is just getting Ray Durham, not Taschner as well. The deal is complete, but may not be announced until after the game. Sounds like a pair of fringe prospects.

TH also assumes Dillon will go to AAA for 40 days, until 9/1.

UPDATE: This is done, but not going to be announced until after the game is complete. So if you are an anal retentive type, Ray is still on the Giants' 25 man roster today, but I'm sure he will not play.

7/20/2008 02:39:00 PM

(7/20/2008 02:38:00 AM) - Al

A deal that would send Taschner (2-1, 3.03) and veteran second baseman Ray Durham from San Francisco to Milwaukee is "in the wind," according to a National League executive. That possibility was first mentioned by

It was reported in the Journal Sentinel that a Brewers' minor leaguer, Class-A Brevard outfielder Darren Ford, was removed from a game Saturday, and that paper speculated he could be dealt soon, perhaps to San Francisco. Triple-A first baseman Brad Nelson, who has 12 homers and is batting .301, could be another player who'd interest the Giants.

With young Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks playing better lately, it is believed Durham would serve as a utilityman in Milwaukee and possible second-base insurance in case Weeks went back into a hitting funk. The Brewers are being patient with Weeks since he was a No. 2 pick overall. Durham wouldn't be much of an upgrade over Weeks defensively. But as one NL scout said, "He gives you a good at-bat."

Taschner, a native of Racine, Wis. likely would be thrilled to go to his home state team. The lefthanded Taschner is known to be a huge Packers fan and even bigger Brett Favre fan.

The Giants would also like to find new homes for vets Randy Winn, Dave Roberts and Rich Aurilia ... if anyone will take them.--Jon Heyman, SI

You'd think Roberts would fit right in, but even if Durham is picked up, that likely means Dillon will go to AAA...this is just a mighty deep team right now.

The names mentioned so far, Ford and Nelson, both fringe prospects whose ceilings may well be as reserves. make the Giants look as if they are ready to give away some highly paid vets and go with cheap kids.

7/20/2008 02:38:00 AM

Saturday, July 19, 2008

(7/19/2008 09:16:00 PM) - Al

Tom H says it sounds like it's Durham, or maybe Ray and Taschner.

Durham would probably be used, at first, as an alternative to Weeks versus a tough RHP, maybe once a series. However, it could easily turn into some sort of a "who's hot" combo platter.

The irony is that Weeks may be used as a defensive replacement for Durham, whose range is said to be minimal at this stage of his career.

7/19/2008 09:16:00 PM

(7/19/2008 08:09:00 PM) - Al

I woke up from my nap at about 4:30 today, with my wife wondering if I was manning the grill or not. I turned on the game and with the Crew down 4-1, figured the odds of a comeback were minimal, so I grilled our poultry and checked the score every 10 minutes or so, finally putting the game on MLB Gameday on my laptop, which is much improved since I last used it.

It's almost like a bonus win.

Sounds like Durham and/or Taschner is headed toward the Crew...I like both players, even if it means others I like (Stetter & Dillon) may end up in AAA for a little over a month because of it.

If a pitcher is acquired it may well be the end of the line for Mota, who could even be included in the deal, especially if Durham and his high salary is coming over. Mota hit 95 in his last outing, and it is quite feasible could have a good month and be flipped again before 8/31, as his troubles are probably mental or minor (could he be tipping pitches?).

7/19/2008 08:09:00 PM

(7/19/2008 08:06:00 PM) - Al

Golf really needs to figure out a way to fix happens several times a year, write down the wrong score, leave a hole empty, etc.

Of course, if they'd get off their high horse and maybe move into the early 1970's with it's outdated rules, the issue is moot.

7/19/2008 08:06:00 PM

(7/19/2008 07:41:00 PM) - Al

Darren Ford was pulled from his minor league game tonight...Tom H has a source saying it is because he was involved in a trade for A's closer Houston Street.

That would be huge news if true, as it will take a Laporta like haul for the A's to deal Street, who is not a FA until after 2010.

I was under the weather for much of the day, but I'll be checking this out.

UPDATE: Not Houston Street, but a deal with the A's is about to go down...maybe it is Alan Embree, as I guessed last night.

UPDATE/BUMP: Tom H's dartboard has now hit on the Giants, which may well mean the Crew will add Jack Taschner or Ray Durham after the game tomorrow.

7/19/2008 07:41:00 PM

(7/19/2008 07:10:00 PM) - Al

It's probably nothing, but some Brewers players were chatting the other day and they seemed convinced that owner Mark Attanasio is interested in buying the Bucks, or at least a stake in the team.--Drew Olson

Not often you'll see me printing something from Olson, but it's just unique enough to mention. Mark A sees value in things that are undervalued, so this might be a positive for many reasons.

7/19/2008 07:10:00 PM

(7/19/2008 12:09:00 AM) - Al

Take a look at how good Cameron has been, with the exception of May, as he was still "getting back in the groove", so to speak.

UPDATE: An e-mailer points out Cameron's overall numbers are better than Corey Hart's:

Hart-------.326/.503, 829 OPS
Cameron----.329/.502, 831 OPS

If there is a more meaningless number than BA in all of sports, please let me know, as I cannot imagine one. Not only does it just add statistical noise to the study, it also misleads.

7/19/2008 12:09:00 AM

Friday, July 18, 2008

(7/18/2008 11:37:00 PM) - Al

I have never seen RH hitters look so bad versus a LHP's curveball.


7/18/2008 11:37:00 PM

(7/18/2008 11:30:00 PM) - Al

There are rumors floating around that the Brewers and Giants have a deal made involving Jack Taschner, which would be completed after the weekend series. Jack is a Racine native, and has been a serviceable reliever for a while.

Time will tell if this is anything to it.

7/18/2008 11:30:00 PM

(7/18/2008 10:48:00 PM) - Al

The JS thinks the Crew is looking at Huston Street...I doubt it. He's under team control for ages, he may cost as much as Sabathia. I'd say it is more likely the Brewers are looking at other A's arms...I might think Alan Embree for one.

7/18/2008 10:48:00 PM

(7/18/2008 08:54:00 PM) - Al

This is a funny T-shirt.

So is this, though it may offend those with learning disabilities.

7/18/2008 08:54:00 PM

(7/18/2008 08:50:00 PM) - Al

Francisco Cordero blew his fifth save after allowing four runs and six hits in one-third of an inning against the Mets on Thursday.

The Reds are paying $46 million for a guy who is currently converting 79 percent of his save opportunities. Cordero's overall numbers are pretty good, but he has one job and he's simply not doing it very well. The Reds surely could have picked a better way to spend all of that money.--Rotoworld

I did not expect to be reading this until at least next August. I think we all knew it was too much and for too long, but to see Frankie struggling in month 4 after signing on for 42 months is a surprise.

7/18/2008 08:50:00 PM

(7/18/2008 08:40:00 PM) - Al

The bright side of this is that it almost gives you an extra pitcher in the bullpen a day or two each week.

To be honest though, I s'pose it makes as much sense as anything else, and it gives Ned a chance to see both, and probably go with the "hot" pitcher as soon as one steps forward.

7/18/2008 08:40:00 PM

(7/18/2008 07:33:00 PM) - Al

Though Class AAA Nashville closer Luis Pena has been on a roll of late, the Brewers apparently are concerned about his inconsistency in throwing strikes. Pena is 1-4 with a 4.38 ERA and 14 saves, with 37 hits allowed and 27 walks in 37 innings (34 Ks). His 1.73 WHIP (walks and hits per inning) is high for a late-inning pitcher.--JS

I know he throws hard, but his numbers are awful. I'd say he's below DiFelice and Dillard at least.

7/18/2008 07:33:00 PM

(7/18/2008 03:01:00 PM) - Al

Ramblings is happy to have another guest post, thanks to Josh for sending it in. Enjoy...

Upon the recent acquisition of 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner C.C. Sabathia, I thought it appropriate to take a look back at the best Brewer team that I followed (I was only 4 for the ’82 team). The 1992 squad finished 92-70, and took the Blue Jays down to the final weekend. They would’ve been the Wild Card team that year, but the extra playoff team wasn’t introduced for two more years.

For the purposes of the debate, OPS+ , which measures the production of a hitter against that season’s league averages, will be the main statistic used for the offensive side, while ERA+ will do it for the pitchers.

1992 Brewers vs. 2008 Brewers

C:Jason Kendall (.258, .339, .333, 79 OPS +) v. BJ Surhoff (.252, .314, .321, 80 OPS+)

Kendall came to the ’08 squad as a free agent signee over the winter. Coming off the worst season of his 13-year career, Kendall has proven to a be terrific defensively, throwing out 41% of would-be base stealers, while maintaining a solid average, walking above that 1BB/10 PA mark that baseball people look for, and calling a great game. The last one is indeed tough to quantify, but there can be no question that these pitchers simply love throwing to him. I’ve never seen so many comments regarding the way he calls a game, and keeps the pitchers mentally sharp. He’s also the best catcher that I’ve seen on a daily basis at popping out from behind the plates and fielding bunts, nubbers, etc. He has been a terrific signing. Kendall’s backup is Mike Rivera, is rarely used, but is effective when deployed, posting a 112 OPS+.

Surhoff, meanwhile, was in the 6th year of his long career, and like Kendall, didn’t have a lot of pop (4 HR’s), rarely struck out (just 41 times all season, versus 46 walks), and was decent behind the plate, throwing out 35% of runners. In what was a hallmark of his career, B.J. got off to a slow start at the plate (just .136 in April), but turned it on the rest of the way, including hitting .274 in the 2nd half. One major difference between the two was that Surhoff started just 105 games behind the dish, while Kendall is on pace to start nearly 150 times for the ’08 team. Surhoff’s backups were Tim McIntosh (28 OPS+!) and rookie Dave Nilsson, who posted a respectable 85.

1B: Prince Fielder (.270, .357, .488, 121 OPS+) v. John Jaha (.226, .291, 308, 70 OPS+)/Franklin Stubbs (.229, .297, .368, 87 OPS+)

Fielder, coming off a record 50-home run season in 2007, has not approached those kinds of numbers in 2008. He is currently on pace to hit over 30 home runs, and walks at a good rate, and his numbers overall are still very good.

1st base was a real trouble spot for the Brewers in ’92. Franklin Stubbs manned the bag for 43 of the first 58 games, and was benched based on his .203 average with just six home runs. The bag was manned by normal DH Paul Molitor and the brutal McIntosh in Stubbs’ stead, until after the All-Star break, when prized prospect John Jaha was recalled from AAA and handed the keys to 1st base. Unfortunately, Jaha proved to be even worse than Stubbs, hitting for no power at all. He started 14 of the first 18 games after the break, and posted a line of .222/.250/.296, which landed him back on the bench. Molitor, Stubbs, Jaha, and even Surhoff rotated the final games, and the position posted a .752 OPS for the season, brutal even for 1992.

2B: Rickie Weeks (.217, .320, .367, 81 OPS+) v. Scott Fletcher (.275, .335, .360, 96 OPS+)

Weeks, expected by many observers to have a breakout season following a torrid final two months of 2007, has largely struggled again in his 4th season in the bigs. In fact, by OPS measures, he’s having the worst season of his career, as his slugging percentage is down, along with his BA and OBP. His defense has improved, but is still no better than average.

Fletcher, meanwhile, was a revelation for the ’92 team. He was coming off an awful season for the White Sox, which saw him post an ungodly .528 OPS, and was signed by the Brewers just before camp started in ’92. Interestingly, he started the first six games of the year at shortstop, but Pat Listach stepped in after that, and for a while, Fletcher wasn’t getting much time, as Jim Gantner was holding down the fort at 2nd. However, he stepped in on June 14, and started 85 of the final 103 games, and put up largely unspectacular numbers (.268, .328, .340). However, I have always remembered Fletcher coming up with huge hits in that season, and indeed that does seem to be the case. To wit: he hit .336 with runners in scoring position, and .344 with two outs and RISP. In “high leverage” situations, he hit .329. He also provided solid defense, committing 4 errors at 2nd.

SS: JJ Hardy (.283, .352, .476, 116 OPS+) v. Pat Listach (.290, .352, .349, 99 OPS+)

After putting up a solid season in 2007, Hardy used a red-hot 3-week stretch prior to the break to post numbers of .283, .352, .476, and a healthy OPS+ number of 116. His defense is always steady, and though his range is limited, he has committed just six errors in the half.

Listach literally came out of nowhere to post a very solid season, then reverted back to form and had five consecutive awful years before he was out of baseball. He started the season as a utility guy, but hit .500 in his first four starts, and never relinquished his job on the way to winning Rookie of the Year over Kenny Lofton. He had a very consistent season, as his average never dipped below .274. He was a real threat on the bases, swiping 54 bags while being caught 18 times, an even 75%. His defense was very average, if that, as he committed 24 errors without displaying great range.

3B: Bill Hall (.234, .294, .431, 88 OPS+)/Russell Branyan (.245, .331, .604, 140 OPS+) v. Kevin Seitzer (.270, .337, .367, 99 OPS+)

Bill Hall struggled for much of the first half, putting up decent home run troubles, but not much else. Branyan came along and set the world on fire for about a month before going cold as the break neared. He hit 11 home runs in his first 74 at bats, and since then has gone homerless in 47 AB’s, while posting a .159 batting average. Defensively, they are pretty average, with Branyan more steady, and Hall able to make the spectacular play on a regular basis, but struggling with the routine chances at times.

Seitzer came to the Crew even later than Fletcher did, signing on April 5 after the Royals released him at the end of spring. He stepped right in and started 146 games at 3rd, and performed very well. He was a consistent performer throughout the year, walked more than he struck out, and committed just 12 errors at the hot corner. His final line of .270, .337, .367 included numbers of .313 with RISP and two outs, and .349 in “late and close” situations.

LF: Ryan Braun (.286, .324, .549, 125 OPS+) v. Greg Vaughn (.228, .313, .409, 103 OPS+)

Braun, in his first full major league season, was an All-Star starter, and despite not having great plate discipline, is a hitting savant, and has been about as good as can be expected out in left.

Vaughn had terrific seasons in both ’91 and ’93 (57 homers combined in those two years), but struggled in ’92. He got off to an especially terrible start that season, and he found himself hitting just .183 with 10 home runs on July 1. He did improve in the 2nd half of the season, batting .261 with 13 home runs and a .787 OPS the duration of the season. It’s worth noting that he was pretty awful on the basepaths that season, going 15-30 in stolen base attempts.

CF: Mike Cameron (.231, .320, .481, 108 OPS+) v. Robin Yount (.264, .325, .390, 101 OPS+)

Cameron has been pretty much as advertised for the Brewers. Although his batting average is a bit lower than his career, he’s slugging just fine, and has provided solid defense.

Yount was in the penultimate season of his Hall of Fame career. He started 139 games in center, and 11 more as a DH. His defense was average, as he committed just two errors, but had limited range. Yount had only 8 homers on the season, but did mash 40 doubles and hit .287 with RISP.

RF: Corey Hart (.289, .327, .504, 116 OPS+) v. Darryl Hamilton (.298, .356, 400, 113 OPS+)/Dante Bichette (.287, .318, .406, 103 OPS+)

Hart was elected to his first All-Star team in the Final Vote by fans, and earned it with his solid first half.

Hamilton, despite baring a striking resemblance to Milwaukee bleacher legend Freeway, had a terrific season, splitting time with Dante Bichette as the 4th outfielder. He logged 28 starts in left, 30 in center, and 71 more in right, showing his versatility, and was a threat on the basepaths, going 41-55 (74%) in steal attempts. He was a model of consistency the whole season, batting .305 in the first half, and .291 in the second half.

Traded after the season for Kevin Reimer, Bichette was in the his 2nd and final year in Milwaukee. He started 94 games in RF for the Crew, and showed little of the trademark power that would mark his time in Colorado. He hit just 5 home runs in 387 AB’s, though he did hit 27 doubles and steal 17 bags.

DH: Gabe Kapler (.315, .352, .517, 126 OPS+) v. Paul Molitor (.320, .389, .461, 139 OPS+)
I used Kapler in this spot because he was the player off the bench with the most AB’s. What a year it’s been for Kapler, whose comeback after a year out of baseball has been well documented.

Molitor had just a stunning season, and his huge numbers in ’92 paved the way to him signing a big money deal with the Blue Jays after 15 years with Milwaukee. Molitor finished among the league leaders in many categories, including OPS (10th), Batting average (4th), singles, doubles, and triples. The guy was a hitting machine, and there was not a situation that he encountered, beyond when there was just a man on 3rd base, that he hit less than .300.

IF: Craig Counsell (.248, .348, .338, 83 OPS+) v. Jim Gantner (.246, .278, .313, 66 OPS+)

Counsell has improved his performance over that of last year, which saw him go .220, .323, .309. His solid work defensively has allowed him to start at 3 positions on the infield. He may see a bit more action in the 2nd half if Weeks continues to struggle.

Gantner was in the final season of his 17 year career. He started 29 of the first 37 games of the season, and struggled, hitting just .228, .287, .575. Scott Fletcher took over, and for the rest of the season, Gantner would get just 40 more starts, getting playing time at both 2B and 3B. His defense remained solid, as he committed just three errors all season.

#1 P: Ben Sheets (10-3, 2.85 ERA, 151 ERA+) v. Bill Wegman (13-14, 3.20 ERA, 121 ERA+)

Sheets has been able to avoid the nagging/fluke injury bug that allowed him to around 400 innings over his previous three seasons. Not surprisingly, Sheets has excelled, earning a starting bid in the All-Star game, and pitching an NL-high 3 complete games, and another in which he was removed after 8.2 frames.

Wegman was the ultimate victim of lack of run support, as he sported a sub-.500 record on a 92-win team, with an ERA of 3.20. That’s very difficult to do, but the Brewers offense scored just 4.23 runs. However, that is an imperfect number, to say the least. The team scored 16 runs in one game, and 15 in another. Take out those two games, and the number goes down to 3.51. In 15 of his 35 starts, the team scored two runs or less, including just one run nine times. Channel your inward Edward Rooney. Nine Times. Wegman came out on fire, pitching at least into the 8th inning in his first 11 starts. He ended up pitching 261.2 innings, good for 2nd in the league, and had a WHIP of 1.17, good for 7th. He would have to be near the top of the discussion for not using wins to evaluate a pitchers performance. Perhaps due to the workload, Wegman’ career was shot after that, as he never pitched more than 120 innings, and retired at age 32.

#2 P: CC Sabathia (2-0, 2.40 ERA, 179 ERA+) v. Cal Eldred (11-2, 1.79 ERA, 216 ERA+)

Sabathia came to the Brewers in a pre-break trade with the Cleveland Indians, and made an immediate impact, winning his first two starts, which included a fantastic 2nd start which saw him go the distance and hit a home run in the process. He will be counted on to provide a huge push as the Brewers head for their first playoff berth in 26 years.

Eldred was a sensation in 1992, and was the main difference in their amazing 2nd half run. Called up to replace an ineffective Ron Robinson, Eldred made his first start on July 19, four games after the All-Star Break. He was simply fantastic the entire 2nd half, never working less that 5.1 innings, and only twice allowing more than 3 runs in his 14 starts. His strikeout numbers certainly weren’t overwhelming (62 in 100 innings), but he only walked 23, and his WHIP was under 1. He finished 4th in the Rookie of the Year voting, despite making only 14 appearances all season.

#3 P: Manny Parra (8-2, 3.78 ERA, 114 ERA+) v. Chris Bosio (16-6, 3.62 ERA, 107 ERA+)

Parra, long regarded as the top pitching prospect in the organization, has shaken off minor league injury problems and posted a really solid first half. He was on the verge of being sent down to the minors in late April when things turned around for him. He retired the last 9 hitters he faced against the Cardinals on May 9, and since then has gone 7-0 with a 2.83 ERA. It will be interesting to see if the Brewers try to limit his innings in the 2nd half, as they probably don’t want the 25-year old to throw much more than 175 or so before the playoffs.

Bosio was coming off an outstanding season in 1991, and parlayed his terrific ’92 campaign into a free agent deal with the Mariners, where he made big money, 83 starts, and little acclaim besides a no-hitter in 4 seasons. In ’92, however, Bos was an innings-eating machine that was very solid. He pitched 231 innings, and his 1.15 ERA was good for 6th in the league. He was amazing down the stretch, going 10-1 with a 2.99 ERA in the 2nd half.

#4 P: Dave Bush (5-8, 4.39 ERA, 98 ERA+) v. Jamie Navarro (17-11, 3.33 ERA. 116 ERA +)
Dave Bush had such a brutal start to the 2008 campaign that the Brewers sent him down to the minor leagues after his start on April 23, where he was 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in four starts. After Yovani Gallardo’s knee injury sidelined him indefinitely, Bush was called back up, and wasn’t much better in his next four starts, going 1-2 with a 6.65 ERA. Since then, however, he has gone 4-3 with a 2.90 ERA in 9 starts. His home/road splits are so dramatic (2.49 ERA at home, 6.95 ERA on the road) that the Brewers are considering platooning him with Seth McClung based on the location of the game.

Because of his later struggles in his Milwaukee career, it’s easy to forget just how good Navarro was when he was right. Just a terrific season from Jamie, as his 234 innings included 5 complete games, and 3 shutouts. He was 8-5 with a sparkling 2.64 ERA after the break, and was a huge reason for Milwaukee’s success in ’92. Sadly, his performance dropped off the table in Milwaukee the next two seasons. He would go on to have two very good seasons for the Cubs, before finishing his career with four terrible seasons, including five starts for the Brewers in his final season of 2000, which saw him compile a 12.54 ERA.

#5 P: Jeff Suppan (5-6, 4.71 ERA, 91 ERA+) v. Ricky Bones (9-10, 4.57 ERA, 85 ERA+)

Suppan started out the year strong with a 1-0, 3.48 start over his first five starts, but since then is 4-6 with a 5.25 ERA. His peripherals are even worse, as opponents are hitting .313 off of him in that stretch, and a 1.75 WHIP. It will be interesting to see how long the Brewers stick with him in the rotation in the 2nd half should he continue to struggle.

Bones was acquired in late March in the Gary Sheffield deal, and was plugged right into the rotation, Bones had a Dave Bush-esque home/road split, having a 3.25 ERA at home, and a horrendous 6.64 mark away from County Stadium. Like the rest of the staff, he got better in the 2nd half, going only 4-5 but posting a 4.08 ERA.

CL: Salomon Torres (4-2, 2.74 ERA, 15/17 SV, 157 ERA+) v. Doug Henry (1-4, 4.02 ERA, 29 saves, 96 ERA+)

Torres started out the season as a set-up guy, but moved into the closers role after Eric Gagne. Since assuming the role, he is 14/15 in save opps, and has literally saved the Brewers season from unraveling. He has already thrown 49 innings, and as durable as he is, the workload is a bit of a concern.

Henry took over as the closer in the 2nd half of 1991, and reeled off 15/16 saves, while posting an improbable 1.00 ERA. It was a bit of a roller coaster in ’92 for Henry, who converted 29/33 saves, and took the loss in two other games. Like Bones, he had an extreme home-road split (2.72 ERA v. 5.65 ERA), and blew all four of his saves on the road. Henry was later acquired for 2nd baseman Fernando Vina from the Mets, and went on a to a long career out of the pen.

SET: David Riske (101, 4.66 ERA, 92 ERA+) v. Mike Fetters (5-1, 1.87 ERA, 207 ERA+)

Riske was signed over the winter after posting a 2.45 ERA for the Royals last season. He’s been just average for the Crew this season, and had a month-long stint on the DL as well. The Brewers really need Riske to develop into a dependable set-up man for Torres if the bullpen is going to stabilize.

Fetters, acquired over the winter for Brewers mainstay Chuck Crim, was outstanding in his first season as a Brewer. He posted a sparkling ERA, and maintained a WHIP of .99. His numbers are actually more impressive than they seem, as he carried a 1.19 ERA into his final game of the season, but he allowed five runs over two innings to inflate the number. In fact, his ERA was under 1 all season until August 23.

SET: Brian Shouse (3-1, 1.91 ERA, 225 ERA+) v. Jesse Orosco (3-1, 3.23 ERA 120 ERA+)

Shouse has been solid again this season, as the 39-year old LOOGY has already appeared in 44 games. He has allowed 16 of 42 inherited runners to score, which is not as good as previous seasons, but overall has been very solid, allowing lefties to hit just .169. He has allowed four home runs this year, after allowing none in 2007.
Orosco was acquired over the previous winter, and did well in his first of three seasons in Milwaukee. His splits certainly were not what you’d expect, as righties hit just .207 against him, while lefties managed a .273 mark.

SET: Guillermo Mota (2-5, 5.77 ERA, 75 ERA+) v. Darren Holmes (4-4, 6 saves, 2.55 ERA, 152 ERA +)

Mota was outstanding to start the season, posting a 2.20 ERA over his first 15 appearances. Since then, however, he’s blown two saves, lost two other games, and posted a 9.00 ERA in 19 games. He certainly can’t be trusted in a close game, and it will be interesting to see how long they stick with him.

Holmes was in the 3rd year of what would become a lengthy 13-year career, and had a solid campaign. Hitters managed just a .224 mark against him, and he was equally tough on righties and lefties. He also notched six saves in eight opps, and was nails in the 2nd half, notching a 1.96 ERA. Holmes would be picked in the expansion draft by the Colorado Rockies, and pitch five seasons for the Rockies before moving on.

SET: Eric Gagne (2-2, 7.33 ERA, 10/15 SV, 59 ERA+) v. James Austin (5-2, 1.85 ERA, 209 ERA+)

Gagne was signed for a 1-year, $10 million deal before the season, and he pitched in some bad luck early, but then began getting rocked, and went on the DL with a 6.98 ERA. While he posted 3 scoreless outings to give some optimism, his last outing before the break was a disaster, as he was touched for four runs, including two home runs, against the Reds.

Austin was unexpectedly rock solid in the pen for the ’92 squad. He had flamed out in a call-up in ’91 (8.2 IP, 11 BB, 8.31 ERA), and was out of baseball after a mediocre season in 1993. However, despite having a 30/32 K/BB ratio, Austin was terrific for the Brewers. He allowed just 38 hits in 58 innings, and had just two outings all season where he allowed more than one run in a game. Batters hit just .191 against him, with righties in particular struggling, with a .171 mark. He allowed just two home runs in 58 innings of work.

Long: Seth McClung (5-5, 4.16 ERA, 103 ERA+) v. Dan Plesac (5-4, 2.96 ERA, 79 IP, 131 ERA+)

McClung has really been terrific for the Brewers. Acquired in 2007 for another hard-throwing but erratic RHP, Grant Balfour, McClung started out the season in the bullpen, and posted a 3.54 ERA with decent peripherals in 11 games. The Brewers then moved him to the starting rotation, and since then 4-3 with a 4.41 ERA in 9 games as a starter.

In his 7th and final year as a Brewer, Plesac had an interesting role on the ’92 team. He started four games, finished 13 games, and had 15 outings out of the pen that lasted at least two innings. He posted a 1.55 ERA in the 2nd half, and was very valuable in his versatility. Following the season, he played 11 more years in the bigs, and finished with 1054 appearances, which is 6th all-time in baseball history.

Long: Carlos Villanueva (3-5, 4.97 ERA, 76 IP, 86 ERA+) v. Bruce Ruffin (1-6, 6.67 ERA, 58 ERA+)

Villanueva started the season in the rotation, and was 2-5 with a 6.43 ERA in the rotation. Since being moved to the bullpen on June 19, he was 1-0 with a 2.60 ERA, though he has given up exactly one run in his last 6 appearances.

Acquired over the winter for current Brewers coach Dale Sveum, Ruffin was the weak spot on the ’92 staff. He was in the bullpen most of the year as the long man, where he struggled, and made six starts, where he didn’t fare much better. Surprisingly, despite the success of the pitchers around him, this was Ruffin’s worst year of his 12 in the bigs, and he went on to play for the Rockies for five years to close out his career.

7/18/2008 03:01:00 PM

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

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