Al's Ramblings



Friday, February 29, 2008

(2/29/2008 08:51:00 PM) - Al

I'm trying to figure out why anyone would think this is funny enough to be called a "prank". Having to count out 200 pennies isn't any fun at all. My goodness, if you're you're going to protest something, don't make it so you have to work harder to do it.


2/29/2008 08:51:00 PM



(2/29/2008 08:44:00 PM) - Al

70% of the public feels as if the mainstream media is out of touch

Apparently, 30% of the public just believes whatever they read...you know, I think this explains how tabloids stay in business.

It may also help understand how a paper that used to be very respected can break a story about a presidential candidate suggesting an extra-marital affair, and a week later, the only one having to explain themselves is the newspaper.


2/29/2008 08:44:00 PM



(2/29/2008 08:39:00 PM) - Al

I certainly have no objection to CBS showing MMA events, but the fact they are scheduling such fare, with a very "niche" (cough, small, cough) audience, tells me the standards and expectations for the networks is going downward almost every day.


2/29/2008 08:39:00 PM



(2/29/2008 08:37:00 PM) - Al

The Crank e-mails me this link to share, with a post he's especially proud of, on baseball names.


2/29/2008 08:37:00 PM



(2/29/2008 08:34:00 PM) - Al

The A's hitters looked well ahead of the Brewers' pitchers today, which is pretty much the norm this time of year. I know many pitchers do not even throw their breaking balls until the last 3-4 weeks, so that is to be expected.


2/29/2008 08:34:00 PM



(2/29/2008 08:27:00 PM) - Al

Jeremy Jeffress is determined to stay clean, as it sounds like the Crew paid for rehab for him to try and get something out of their sizable investment.

What's really sad is the fact he's got a million dollars plus in the bank, and the best he can do is use pot. You know, for the wealthy, there are real drugs that'll get you going (or "calm" you down, whatever your pleasure) much more than marijuana.


2/29/2008 08:27:00 PM


Thursday, February 28, 2008

(2/28/2008 07:53:00 PM) - Al

I just came across this post from last year while looking for something else...with the reports of ticket sales being so high and my prediction of 3M through the turnstiles in 2008, I admit, I find it very funny 5 months later.

Some people simply cannot see the forest for the trees. and, they all post on message boards, which were oodles better back when the Crew sucked, when many fans were watching Nascar, or whatever the flavor of the month was at the time.


2/28/2008 07:53:00 PM



(2/28/2008 07:42:00 PM) - Al

A classic game AND a Badgers basketball game on ESPN2 in the same night...don't know if my heart can take this.


2/28/2008 07:42:00 PM



(2/28/2008 07:13:00 PM) - Al

Brewers defeat the A's today in their first exhibition contest.

Box score is here (may need to scroll down), the switch to LF bothered Braun so much, he homered in his first PA).


2/28/2008 07:13:00 PM



(2/28/2008 02:05:00 PM) - Al

Brewers classic tonight, 7 I think.

FYI.


2/28/2008 02:05:00 PM



(2/28/2008 01:58:00 PM) - Al

Bill Hall hurt his fingernail bed, should be fine.


2/28/2008 01:58:00 PM



(2/28/2008 01:33:00 PM) - Al

I think the whole royalty thing was and is ridiculous, but this is very, very impressive...as it is for every member of the military who chooses to serve.


2/28/2008 01:33:00 PM



(2/28/2008 01:15:00 PM) - Al

The lineups for the first Arizona game are posted, though Bill Hall is unlikely to play after taking a ground ball off his finger in a workout.

The lineup seems to be Melvin's fave, as he discussed hitting Cameron 2nd as he takes a lot of pitches.


2/28/2008 01:15:00 PM



(2/28/2008 09:11:00 AM) - Al

I am surprised to see this positive piece on Africa and W in an American magazine. Bob Geldof speaking so kindly of our current president must really bother a lot of folks.

Little doubt Africa will be the highlighted part of Bush's legacy (and some would say the only part).


2/28/2008 09:11:00 AM


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

(2/27/2008 08:39:00 PM) - Al

Bill James soured on Craig Biggio much like I did.


2/27/2008 08:39:00 PM



(2/27/2008 07:20:00 PM) - Al

Dave Pinto thinks the pitcher batting 8th is a good idea.


2/27/2008 07:20:00 PM



(2/27/2008 04:26:00 PM) - Al

A little birdie tells me there may well be an announcement of importance within the Brewers' organization in the next few days.

No specifics were given, but I'd guess a contract extension of a young player or two would be the most likely.

EDIT/BUMP: Thanks to BCB for the link this AM, and I would be happy to give a hint, but my contact did not say anything more...however, they have been correct in the past, including a correct prediction that the Brewers would be trading for a reliever soon last July, prior to picking up Linebrink.


2/27/2008 04:26:00 PM



(2/27/2008 03:26:00 PM) - Al

Scott Spezio sounds as if his life is all but out of control...but then again, if he's in a rock band, he's probably well ahead of the curve.


2/27/2008 03:26:00 PM



(2/27/2008 12:39:00 PM) - Al

Personally, I wish Jay Leno would just retire and enjoy the rest of his life, as I would wish on most very wealthy folks. However, it appears Jay will be hosting elsewhere in 2010, when Conan O'Brien takes over the Tonight Show, probably with Jimmy Fallon succeeding Conan on Late Night.


2/27/2008 12:39:00 PM



(2/27/2008 12:34:00 PM) - Al

Brewers Nation interviewed friend of Ramblings Jim, who does most of the minor league work at Brewerfan.net during the season.

Bookmark it while you're there.


2/27/2008 12:34:00 PM


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

(2/26/2008 10:12:00 PM) - Al

I've been saying for about 3-4 months that if we had $100 oil in a busier driving season, we'd have $4 gas, and maybe $4.50. I've been summarily brushed off by all, but suddenly, the financial press seems to be agreeing with me.

Almost weekly, I am hearing on our local talk radio show in the morning, as well as seeing in the news more and more people coming out and saying ethanol is bad for gas prices AND bad for food prices, basically, bad for everything, except for ethanol investors, I guess. Irony of ironies, that was John McCain's exact position in 2000, but he changed his mind sometime before the Iowa primary this year.:)

It is far from gaining a public majority, but the first person I heard rail on it was none other than James Cramer, almost a trip around the sun ago.


2/26/2008 10:12:00 PM



(2/26/2008 09:45:00 PM) - Al

Braun is looking fine in LF, long piece on Rickie Weeks' heritage, which includes some family in the Negro Leagues, and a quick Q&A with Yost.


2/26/2008 09:45:00 PM



(2/26/2008 07:20:00 PM) - Al

My Northern Room CD is still sitting on my desk, I keep forgetting to take it with me when I have a day of business out of town. Good to hear Jason enjoyed it, I will review it as soon as I hear it once.

I still recall being a big fan of Airkraft, which was a local band in Eau Claire that "hit it big", when they had a single go top 40, and it was literally my 7th or 8th favorite song on the CD. That was in the early 90's, so that was probably their peak.

EDIT: Added in website, 1991 was the album I had, though I bet it was a cassette, as I have not heard it in a decade plus.


2/26/2008 07:20:00 PM



(2/26/2008 09:48:00 AM) - Jason Christopherson

Al mentioned he was doing his first grilling of the season last weekend. That inspired me to do the same. I made up some burgers by mixing in some finely shredded cheddar and crushed bacon. They didn't hold together all that well so it's back to the drawing board next time. I also cooked up some brats made from a county fair champion last summer. Since I'm not much for beer (pause while I duck), I boiled them first in a solution that included some Famous Dave's Rib Rub seasoning. Not sure why I did it. I'm such a rebel. But the experiment proved successful as they were very tasty.

It was a little chilly being on the deck in shorts and a t-shirt in 30 degree weather, but that's the sacrifice that must be made once grilling season begins.


2/26/2008 09:48:00 AM



(2/26/2008 09:14:00 AM) - Jason Christopherson

Several weeks ago I received an offer of a CD from the business manager of a group called Northern Room. I was hesitant to accept it at first because I'm not what you would call in tune with a lot of modern music. All turned out well though because (1) I got a free CD and (2) I liked what I heard from Northern Room. If you enjoy bands like Coldplay, I think you would agree that these guys are in that general neighborhood.

They sent along a little press release for upcoming appearances if you would like to see them in person. The event webpage is http://northernroom.com/hihat. I guess these "residencies" aren't all that common in the Milwaukee area so it sounds like it would be worth checking it out if you are in the area. The presser:

Northern Room live in residence at Milwaukee’s Hi-Hat Garage, every Wednesday in March. 9pm-midnight. Northern Room will take over the stage for a night of song, storytelling, improvisation, special musical guests, and wine tasting!

Join us each week, as we debut newly-written material along with fresh arrangements of existing songs in an intimate environment. Weeks 1 and 3 will have an “acoustic” theme, and feature alt-country arrangements of the band’s songs. Weeks 2 and 4 will have an “electronic” theme, with special guests The Figureheads.


2/26/2008 09:14:00 AM


Monday, February 25, 2008

(2/25/2008 07:24:00 PM) - Al

I forgot to mention my son went for his second indoor soccer session yesterday. After running and dribbling practice, they split up into 5 teams and played for a while. In a moment of confusion, Andrew ran up to the ball and kicked it into the net for the only goal of their 15 minute scrimmage.

After the game, his mom had to remind him that he had scored the only goal, as he was only concerned about the 1-0 victory.

He's a team player, the rambling son.


2/25/2008 07:24:00 PM



(2/25/2008 02:15:00 PM) - Al

I have to agree with Tim, any team, at least those in the AL, that do not consider Bonds and do not have a very good DH, are very, very shortsighted.


2/25/2008 02:15:00 PM



(2/25/2008 10:22:00 AM) - Al

One of the managers at work e-mailed this out, and I finally glanced at it today...basically tax tables for today and in the past in the USA.

Not only does it show substantial savings to those making $40-60K, "middle class" as many would say, since the latest round of tax cuts went into effect, take a gander back at the early 60's, when people paid 90% on anything made over $400K...oof.

Not a whole lot of incentive to go to work after you hit that level, was there?


2/25/2008 10:22:00 AM



(2/25/2008 10:14:00 AM) - Al

CNBC did a piece on this last year too, golf is far less popular than it has been in the past, and many courses, especially the "mom and pops" are closing. There's probably something to be said about the fees, which were quite high when I used to go.

I played my last round the weekend before I got married, more than a decade ago, and don't miss it a bit. I never grew to really like it, as I agreed with George Carlin's outlook of the game:

You hit the ball, then you walk and try and find it. Then what do you do...you hit the ball again.

I do really enjoy playing Wii golf though, as I can play 18 holes in 20-25 minutes. That's another thing I always disliked, the game simply is too long and too slow. The last time I went, my friend and I were paired with another twosome, and I think those 9 holes took 2.5+ hours. Goodness, you gotta set aside a whole day to get 18 holes in.

I feel the same way about men's tennis, why they insist on playing 5 sets is beyond me. 2 of 3 is a quick and easy 90-120 minutes, what's wrong with that?


2/25/2008 10:14:00 AM



(2/25/2008 10:12:00 AM) - Al

Dave Pinto also agrees Yost's batting order thoughts are "out of the box", but an excellent way to be thinking, especially with meaningful decisions still a month away.


2/25/2008 10:12:00 AM


Sunday, February 24, 2008

(2/24/2008 07:12:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers say they did not expect record ticket sales either, and a few paragraphs on Turnbow.


2/24/2008 07:12:00 PM



(2/24/2008 03:04:00 PM) - Al

--My son and I went out this morning to buy some ice melt, as our driveway and sidewalk each had some spots where water seems to puddle and then freezes, which is not good for us or passersby. We drove to Target, and I left him to stare in awe at the many Wii games they have for sale, as I went back to pick up...hmmm. I guess not surprisingly in a stroe that has had swimsuits as the lead item in the women's clothing for several weeks, the winter section is now lawn chairs, Easter stuff, and so on.

Now, I'm not one to be critical of a huge corporation, who as I've typed this, has likely taken in more money than I will ever see. But, considering that March is a huge snow month; that cold weather will last, on and off, for another month; and that Target is based out of the Twin Cities, you would think they would, at the very least, have the upper Midwest and Northeast on a separate time frame than the rest of the US.

--We then proceeded across the street to our local hardware store, where ice melt is apparently mixed with diamonds and priceless art and such before being priced. Margin is not a concern, allow me to tell you. I credit them for intelligent enough to know they have a need for it, however. I think it's one of those supply and demand things.

--Both of the last two Sundays, A&E has had Parking Wars episodes on. PW chronicles parking enforcement officers in Philadelphia, where people are apparently illiterate and/or extremely ignorant, as they simply do not understand why they keep getting tickets while parking illegally. It is enjoyable if you don't mind seeing the uneducated look very foolish.

Kids, this is why you stay in school.


2/24/2008 03:04:00 PM



(2/24/2008 11:23:00 AM) - Al

The Milwaukee Brewers might not be "America's team" just yet, but they're a huge hit at local synagogues. That's a given for a club with two players, Ryan Braun and Gabe Kapler, who go by the nickname "Hebrew Hammer."--ESPN.com

I think a team having two Jewish players is exceedingly rare.


2/24/2008 11:23:00 AM



(2/24/2008 09:31:00 AM) - Al

Ralph needs a hobby.


2/24/2008 09:31:00 AM


Saturday, February 23, 2008

(2/23/2008 11:46:00 PM) - Al

Tonight, after the rambling son and myself completed our nightly play date at about 6:30, I wandered downstairs to go online and soon thereafter, signed up to enter a poker tourney at 6:45. We just passed the 5 hour mark, and of the original 2200 entrants or so, 29 remain. I distinctly recall hitting the "cash" milestone before the bucks were over, which was over 2 hours ago.

One of the participants just typed in the chat box that he needed to go pick up his wife at the airport. Another asked when her plane was going to land, and the reply was:

Bout an hour ago.

Heh.

I'm 16th out of 27, by the way.

UPDATE: It's 12:10, knocked out in 23rd...77 ran into KK.


2/23/2008 11:46:00 PM



(2/23/2008 09:49:00 PM) - Al

The meat packing plant that had 143M pounds of beef recalled despite not a single illness being reported may go out of business.

There's something extremely wrong about that last sentence.


2/23/2008 09:49:00 PM



(2/23/2008 09:11:00 PM) - Al

Mark A sounds like he'd like to lock up some young position players, at least those who would be willing to give up a free agent season.


2/23/2008 09:11:00 PM



(2/23/2008 09:07:00 PM) - Al

Despite all of the negative publicity about baseball and the use of performance-enhancing substances, Major League Baseball fans appear poised to come back to the ballpark in droves this season.--JS

My goodness, even the media is beginning to notice how out of touch the media is.


2/23/2008 09:07:00 PM



(2/23/2008 08:13:00 PM) - Al

One threshold the Brewers are probably hoping for is to sell their 2 millionth ticket before they play their first game. They were about a month ahead of time selling their 1Mth, and their best ever 2Mth was 4/19, in April of 2001, the debut season of Miller Park.

With group sales well ahead of last year, season tickets up, and now single games setting a first day record, 2M by the opener seems about right.


2/23/2008 08:13:00 PM



(2/23/2008 07:40:00 PM) - Al

Close pal of Ramblings Fatter Than Joey blesses us with a new post, this time mainly focusing on that, by his ciphering, the GOP needs 30 more electoral votes to hang onto the oval office.

Needless to say, a lot can change between now and then, but that huge red huge Southern block, really has only been breached by a pair of Southern governors. That's why I'm still surprised there was so little "the electoral college sucks" talk after the '00 election.


2/23/2008 07:40:00 PM



(2/23/2008 07:11:00 PM) - Al

More VP speculation, especially because of the elephant's party presumed nominee.


2/23/2008 07:11:00 PM



(2/23/2008 07:05:00 PM) - Al

NYT tries to defend themselves, as readers revolt.

As I said before, how many Dan Rather moments does it take?


2/23/2008 07:05:00 PM



(2/23/2008 06:58:00 PM) - Al

A local furniture store just mentioned on their TV ad they are open "7 days and 7 nights". Curious, as Sunday evenings are retail's equivalent of the early church service in Vegas, I looked up their website to see what their hours are...turns out, they are open 9-6...7 days a week.

That's a pretty relaxed definition of "nights" if you ask me.


2/23/2008 06:58:00 PM



(2/23/2008 06:43:00 PM) - Al

Royals officials spent some time this week shooting down a rumor that Kansas City wanted to move to the National League and Milwaukee wanted to move back to the American League. On Saturday, it was Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio's turn.

"First I've heard of that," Attanasio said. "Things are going pretty well right now for us. ... Our fans like the rivalries we have with the Cubs and the Cardinals. People like the matchups.

"Also, I think the way you construct a team, from a baseball standpoint, for the American League is very different. We have been building this team for years now, and to all of a sudden switch gears ... There's always a different Internet rumor."---MLB.com


I would note Mark A did not say it was false, so perhaps there has been some discussions. But, as he said, with the Cubs and Cardinals in the same division, and nearly always providing sellouts, and the simple fact a DH costs much more than an extra utility guy, makes me feel they are very happy in the NL.


2/23/2008 06:43:00 PM



(2/23/2008 06:39:00 PM) - Al

Once again, it sure it is nice that the owner says all the right things, especially compared to other goofballs that happen to own franchises.


2/23/2008 06:39:00 PM



(2/23/2008 06:37:00 PM) - Al

The Crew sets a record, 98K tickets in 8 hours.


2/23/2008 06:37:00 PM



(2/23/2008 02:26:00 PM) - Al

He was Time's person of the year, you know.


2/23/2008 02:26:00 PM



(2/23/2008 01:54:00 PM) - Al

I just got thinking last night that I had not heard anything about the BP Amoco card this year...it does still exist, and they have 9 redemption dates...but the only "weekend" date is a Friday night.

Lots of the promos now involve "buy 2, get 2 free", BP Amoco is just about the only one that actually still gets you a free ticket.


2/23/2008 01:54:00 PM



(2/23/2008 01:45:00 PM) - Al

I am not buying any tickets today, but I did just go into the system and it's working as quickly as any time, so there must not be much of a backlog.

I checked on a couple games, and from what I can see, still plenty of tickets available for any game except Opening Day.

BUMP/UPDATE: I spoke too soon. Saturday, 9/29 versus the Cubs is a virtual sellout, and Sunday 9/30 is very close.

In the words of James Cramer, buy-buy-buy!


2/23/2008 01:45:00 PM



(2/23/2008 01:42:00 PM) - Al

Unable to pry Matt Murton from the Cubs, the Padres are among the teams eyeing Brewers outfielder Gabe Gross, who is out of options and caught in a potential roster bind.

The Brewers' corner outfielders, Ryan Braun and Corey Hart, each could play more than 150 games. Mike Cameron will be the regular in center once he returns from his 25-game suspension for testing positive for a banned stimulant. Tony Gwynn Jr. and Gabe Kapler could be the backups.

Gross, then, could be the odd man out, unless the Brewers option Gwynn or drop Kapler. The Brewers still think Gross could produce decent numbers if he were given 400 to 450 at-bats, but he will not get that chance in Milwaukee.

The A's and Indians have shown past interest in Gross and the Braves also were interested in him when they were searching for a center fielder.

The Padres are still looking for additional options in left, but the Cubs want major-league help for Murton. The much-discussed Murton-for-Marlon Byrd deal is all but dead due to the Rangers' asking price, sources said.--Ken Rosenthal


Hat tip to friend of Ramblings Ajay who alerted us to the link.

Gwynn and Kapler would be decent reserves, but neither would impress anyone as a LF/RF replacement for a month. Gwynn has options, and has been utilized as trade bait often in the past, so I sure don't see Gross getting moved unless the club can improve their major league roster, and I doubt that.

Maybe if some team has a young catcher who can backup Kendall and then take over, but I'm positive Gross does not have that kind of value.

BUMP/UPDATE: Tim from MLBTR checks in with this thought.

The Padres may turn to the Brewers' Gabe Gross, a player who previously caught the eye of the A's, Indians, and Braves. Our good friend PECOTA sees a .267/.366/.467 line from Gross this year. With Gross and various veteran starters, the Brewers have some surpluses to work with.

I'd say this, anytime you have 3 well run teams like CLE, OAK, and ATL asking about a guy, he's a valuable asset, that's for sure.


2/23/2008 01:42:00 PM



(2/23/2008 01:29:00 PM) - Al

Sounds like Braun is more willing to trade huge arby wins for security than Prince, Hart, and others.


2/23/2008 01:29:00 PM



(2/23/2008 01:19:00 PM) - Al

Megan says swing voters may well be affected by that NYT gaffe.

I would say the more it looks like "Grandpa McCain" is being picked on, the more likely swing voters...especially some of those seniors who have been voting Hillary rather than Obama, would support the 70 year-old.

And allow me to add how refreshing it is to have a public figure who is not afraid to say he hopes Fidel Castro dies soon.


2/23/2008 01:19:00 PM



(2/23/2008 12:44:00 PM) - Al

Ned is running many batting orders through his head, and is even getting "out of the box", ala LaRussa.

I spoke on this last year once. As someone who has seen many a simulation proving how little batting order matters, I can barely get even a remote bit of excitement up once way or another.

As for Braun hitting 2nd, I might well go with Corey Hart myself, and Ryan and Corey are not a whole lot different.


2/23/2008 12:44:00 PM


Friday, February 22, 2008

(2/22/2008 10:38:00 PM) - Al

JJ had some mental issues after his fast start.


2/22/2008 10:38:00 PM



(2/22/2008 09:30:00 PM) - Al

We stopped by the video store tonight to rent a Wii game for the rambling son. We were surprised to see them have 4 registers open, with a line 3-4 deep at each. By the time he made his agonizing decision (well, in his defense, he can't even read, having to ask his dad how each game is played), the lines were much smaller, but other than Netflix, we have not rented more than a couple movies in the past couple years. Obviously, I guess some have been feeding them much more us.

We then stopped at the grocery store, where I ran in and picked up a steak, as now that the deck is clear and the mercury is going to hover about 30 (55 degrees warmer than it was a couple mornings ago) this weekend, it'd grilling time. Almost beyond belief, they too had 4 registers going, granted, the lines were not bad, but since it was just after work, that seemed very low. As I type, the steak and chicken breasts are marinating peacefully, sucking up the flavor and breaking down the chewy tissue common in the low quality cuts of beef I purchase.


2/22/2008 09:30:00 PM



(2/22/2008 09:05:00 PM) - Al

I don't see any way Capuano is not in a starting rotation somewhere come April, barring injury. I'm glad to see Chris is "ready to go", however.

Just once I want to see a guy say he's overweight and didn't really feeling like leaving his family to run around for 2-3 weeks too long in the hot Arizona sun. Just one time.


2/22/2008 09:05:00 PM



(2/22/2008 08:39:00 PM) - Al

My 5 year-old and I were just discussing tonight's Man vs. Wild episode, and he just told me "All habitats have some water".

Not only am I shocked by his use of the term habitat, I don't really know if he's using it right or not.


2/22/2008 08:39:00 PM



(2/22/2008 08:34:00 PM) - Al

An e-mailer sends along this link, which basically says that there are 2 NBA teams for 3 cities...someone's going to be sad.

I had no idea New Orleans was drawing so poorly, especially when you consider 1500-2000 tiks a game are of the corporate sponsor variety. They are probably not even averaging 10K "fans" a game.


2/22/2008 08:34:00 PM



(2/22/2008 02:57:00 PM) - Al

BUMP/UPDATE: UW was originally scheduled to face Virginia Tech on Sept. 20 in the first game of a two-year, home-and-home agreement.

However, when Bret Bielema replaced Alvarez as head coach after the 2005 season, he looked at the first half of the league schedule and decided a date with the Hokies would be too demanding.--JS blog


Oof.

Apparently, Bielema assumes he will have moved onto a bigger, better, higher paying job by '16.

Some coaches run programs like Bo Ryan, and some...don't.



Apparently, all the cooking schools had that date filled.

Hey, I know you don't want to schedule a Top 25 team, and I know Appalachian State is a similar team. That said, if you schedule a cupcake, make it in August or September. The sad thing is, they allowed all the teams to add an extra game, and now, most teams scheduled an easy win versus a lower division team. It'd be one thing if each team only had 13-15 scholarships like basketball, and talent was distributed so evenly many upper echelon D2 teams can defeat lower half D1 teams on any given day.

But, they can't.


2/22/2008 02:57:00 PM



(2/22/2008 08:55:00 AM) - Al

By far the most troubling part of this article, mostly about the naming rights to the Bradley Center, is that there seems to be zero potential from the city or county to try and build an updated, modern arena.

I am not really surprised, as Milwaukee struggled to build some infrastructure after the gift of the Bradley Center was presented, and I'm sure County Stadium would still be standing and in need of a few coats of paint and a parking lot resurfacing had Bud Selig not spent a good part of his life doing the impossible.

It seems inevitable that the only way a new arena will be going up is the Seattle model...an imminent threat of moving to another city. That's just so sad.


2/22/2008 08:55:00 AM


Thursday, February 21, 2008

(2/21/2008 09:27:00 PM) - Al

I doubt if Carlos V ends up in AAA, but it is nice to see the Brewers are aware of options and depth needed for 162 games may include a decision like that.

Parra will almost certainly end up in Nashville to begin '08 for the same reason. Options are like ammo, you have to use them wisely with the big picture in mind...you can't just dumbly "go with the best 12 guys", and lose 3 guys out of options on waivers...you'll then have to go with #16 when your first injury hits.


2/21/2008 09:27:00 PM



(2/21/2008 08:53:00 PM) - Al

Prince is off all meat products, and feels good.

I cut out pretty much all red meat for 3-4 months early last year, and I didn't feel a bit better, though I was hungry and grumpy. I even tried soy dogs at MP, which Rick S talks about in the link above, and they were fine, with stadium sauce and onions. Of course, everything is good with stadium sauce and onions.


2/21/2008 08:53:00 PM



(2/21/2008 07:45:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers do indeed announce their promo schedule just before single game tickets go on sale.


2/21/2008 07:45:00 PM


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

(2/20/2008 09:45:00 PM) - Al

The NY Times has apparently forgotten Dan Rather's fiasco...all the news that's fit to make up. This might have been a story...in 2000.

I always chuckle when I see the "Weekender" subscription ads for the Times, for just $6, I can get Friday/Saturday/Sunday versions of far-left views that you can get on dozens of blogs for free.


2/20/2008 09:45:00 PM



(2/20/2008 09:29:00 PM) - Al

I am proud to say I did indeed snowblow my deck late this afternoon...I had to shovel/push some off the side as well, as much of it was 4+ feet deep.

I did not move the charcoal grill, but did move the gas one, so 90% of the deck is now pretty much clear. I doubt if the weight of the snow ever really endangered the deck, but I feel better about it now. Also, the dog is now able to sniff around a bit, which is his preference.


2/20/2008 09:29:00 PM



(2/20/2008 09:08:00 PM) - Al

Over the weekend, I read an article online about the cold winter causing many high-end travelers to play "airport roulette", a game I first read about in a Bob Greene book.

Basically, you go to the airport, walk up to a "departures" screen, and either pick the first flight you see leaving that you can buy tickets for (usually some sort of wait is required due to security), or close your eyes and point to the screen. In the book, the guys ended up in Omaha, NE I think. They said that many folks make some sort of provision in case they choose Detroit or a city colder than where they are.

I cannot recall the site or find a link (I thought it was at Money or Forbes, but cannot locate it), but if someone finds it, let me know. I just wanted to mention it because while it does not appeal to me, I guess if I was mega-rich and childless, it might seem pretty cool.


2/20/2008 09:08:00 PM



(2/20/2008 09:06:00 PM) - Al

McCain picked up 18 percent of the black vote in a match-up with Clinton but only 3 percent against Obama

Even African-Americans, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic, dislike the Senator from New York.


2/20/2008 09:06:00 PM



(2/20/2008 08:53:00 PM) - Al

Brad Nelson does indeed look "barrel shaped", as he is often described. He's a 1B/OF/PH type, I don't think he has much of a ceiling past that at all. That and some thoughts about the minor league development camp here.


2/20/2008 08:53:00 PM



(2/20/2008 08:49:00 PM) - Al

Adam says Ned is still thinking about how to write down the batting order, which has been talked about too much already.

I would hit Braun after Fielder, because it makes more sense to me, but to think it makes much difference seems dramatic.


2/20/2008 08:49:00 PM



(2/20/2008 08:20:00 PM) - Al

I wonder how many Republican politicians have "has been mentioned as a possible Vice Presidential candidate" on their Wikipedia page. Tim Pawlenty, current governor of MN, was talked about in an article I read, so I checked out his record...sure enough, it's there.


2/20/2008 08:20:00 PM



(2/20/2008 08:00:00 PM) - Al

Dog the Bounty Hunter is set to return.

There was never really much doubt, as it's A&E's highest rated show, and Dog isn't any more of a racist than he is a man who speaks before he thinks, as proven by his repeated use of a 12 letter term that is bleeped out a dozen times every show.


2/20/2008 08:00:00 PM



(2/20/2008 07:45:00 PM) - Al

I have to think this little clip will be shown many times between now and the November election.

I'm not sure anyone is paying attention though.


2/20/2008 07:45:00 PM



(2/20/2008 07:40:00 PM) - Al

In what could give fraternities everywhere a bad name

Heh. The irony here is, I don't know a single person who was not in a frat that does not despise them. It's like giving Castro or Saddam a bad name.


2/20/2008 07:40:00 PM



(2/20/2008 07:31:00 PM) - Al

BP opens up its firewall to allow a story on SI/CNN.com on the top 100 prospects.

For those who do not care to search, Laporta is 31, Parra is 42, and Jeffress, despite his problems, is 76.


2/20/2008 07:31:00 PM



(2/20/2008 07:13:00 PM) - Al

Al,

If you're thinking of posting anymore tonight, it might be worth a heads-up to any of your readers who entered the Opening Day ticket lottery online – and who have flexible schedules – that they should check the e-mail account they used to register for that lottery. The Brewers sent out a notice at 4:30 p.m. that all people who entered the Opening Day lottery can buy half-price tickets for the April 8-10 series against the Reds, starting immediately. They don't have to wait until Saturday.

I picked up two Loge Diamond Box seats for the April 10 afternoon game, and it seems like a great deal all around. Half-off across all levels? Unheard of.

James


I did not enter the lottery, and weekday games do not work great for me, though I could be talked into it. I'm sure there will not be huge demand for these games, hence the half-price offer, but it's a very nice offer to take advantage of, especially if you are in the Milwaukee area.


2/20/2008 07:13:00 PM



(2/20/2008 05:04:00 PM) - Al

19 DUI's = 8 years

I assume that will be 4-5 years if Ohio's time served is anything like most states.

Of course, taking away his license is meaningless, as I'm sure he'll drive home when he's released.


2/20/2008 05:04:00 PM



(2/20/2008 04:57:00 PM) - Al

With Counsell in camp, the only two players missing are infielders Alcides Escobar and Ozzie Chavez. Both apparently are having problems getting the proper documents in place to get into the country.

Every single year, the Latinos act like they are shocked and dismayed they are not able to walk onto a plane without proper paperwork. It's no big deal, since not only are they not due into camp for several days, I'm as likely to start the '08 campaign on the 25 man roster as they are, especially with Nunez and Branyan now in the fold.


2/20/2008 04:57:00 PM



(2/20/2008 04:54:00 PM) - Al

Jose Guillen's 15-day steroids suspension will begin with the first day of the actual season (March 30), not the Royals' Opening Day (March 31), so he'll miss just 12 games.

As messed up as MLB can be about these things, we suppose we should just be pleased it doesn't start with the A's-Red Sox series in Japan.--Rotoworld


I would assume this may well mean Mike Cameron will miss one less game as well. And why it is not an amount of games and not days is beyond me.


2/20/2008 04:54:00 PM



(2/20/2008 03:22:00 PM) - Robert R.

Second movie preview of recent weeks.

The Band's Visit

The Academy Awards are this Sunday and it's no secret that the category that has received the most criticism is Best Foreign Language Film. And the disqualification of The Band's Visit, for too much English language, is one of the strikes against the Academy's arcane rules. Especially since the barriers of language is one of the key themes of the movie.

The Band's Visit is one of those films where people and their interactions are more important than plot. The plot is an Egyptian Police band on its way to a concert in Israel gets lost due to a language mispronunciation and ends up stuck overnight in a barren little town in the middle of nowhere. There they're taken in by the local cafe owner, Dina (the very earthy and sexy Ronit Elkabetz), and interact and open up to the Israelis around them, and vice versa. It's a comedy, but one not centered around pratfalls and one liners, but around awkwardness and pride colliding and collapsing. In many ways its reminiscent in its use of language and of people connecting across nationalities of THE GRAND ILLUSION. And it's well acted across the board with the stoic leader of the band Tawfiq (Sasson Gabai) and the younger, undisciplined, Don Juan of the band Haled (Saleh Bakri) being the highlights. I'll predict that we'll see Saleh Bakri in Hollywood in a few years and he has a natural charisma that's put to good use in the film.

This is a movie with rather striking, albeit subtle, cinematography. The band members are in their rather striking powder blue uniforms throughout the movie, and they just pop out against the washed out landscape. And whatever informal social situation they end up in. They're always out of place and one of the most interesting things to happen to this out of the way town in a long time.

At 87 minutes the movie is very precise and economical in making its points, showing us the characters, and getting to their hearts. Not a lot may happen plot wise, but it stands out as an optimistic movie where differences can be bridged as an alternative to much of what we see today.

The Band's Visit is coming to Milwaukee soon and will be making the arthouse circuit this spring. You can view the trailer to the movie here.

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2/20/2008 03:22:00 PM



(2/20/2008 09:53:00 AM) - Al

On Friday, March 28 at 7:05 p.m. and Saturday, March 29 at 2:05 p.m., the Brewers will host the Kansas City Royals for two exhibition games at Miller Park. Tickets for the exhibition games will be $10 per seat, regardless of location.--Brewers e-mail

Just like the Angels/Indians series, it would appear.


2/20/2008 09:53:00 AM



(2/20/2008 09:44:00 AM) - Al

Among other things, the Crew is soon to sign Russell Branyan to go along with Abe Nunez as AAA IF depth.

The position fluff pieces continue with the catchers.


2/20/2008 09:44:00 AM


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

(2/19/2008 08:56:00 PM) - Al

I'm a bit disappointed that Spring Madness does not really fit our family's plans this year, as it is on Mother's Day weekend, and it includes a Fox game on Saturday, which is at 2:50, rather than a Sat nite/Sun afternoon doubleheader like we usually attend.

That would probably be the one thing I would buy tickets for on Saturday, so it looks like I'll be sitting it out...somehow, I doubt my 6 tickets will be missed. I am curious to see how many they sell, as from all indications, both partial season tickets and group tickets are far ahead of last year, so that should, in theory, cut into the demand for single game tiks.


2/19/2008 08:56:00 PM



(2/19/2008 08:35:00 PM) - Al

A few concession prices will go up, and day of game parking is listed as well.

Remember, single game tickets go on sale Saturday at 9AM, online, phone, or at the ballpark (if you enjoy living in a 1970's world:). I always hear from a few folks who like going out to the stadium to buy tickets, and they always do remind me it is cheaper there, and you can save $100-200 if you buy tickets for many people to many games, but if I did live close by, I would go Tuesday or Wednesday next week, because I'm not a line person.

Remember, buy your parking pass when you buy your tiks!!


2/19/2008 08:35:00 PM



(2/19/2008 08:16:00 PM) - Al

I watched the Purdue/Indiana game, and then began flipping, and came across John McCain's "victory" speech, which he makes after every primary win and in effect, makes Mike Huckabee look very foolish.

I saw him be critical of a "confused and inexperienced" candidate who wants to bomb our ally Pakistan; talking about Obama of course. As many of his lines draw laughter, pretty young(er) wife by his side, I am starting to see the ads already..."Grandpa McCain" playing in a lush lawn with his grandkids, continued use of his service record and his status as a "hero" to many, and his oodles of experience in every aspect of politics.

There seems to be more and more whispers that Obama would be easier to defeat than Clinton...true or not, or honest or not; I do not know.

I must admit, I find it very funny every single primary the fake surprise there is how well Obama performed with white males...let's be honest, Clinton has a lot of negatives, and probably most of all with Caucasian men.


2/19/2008 08:16:00 PM



(2/19/2008 07:26:00 PM) - Al

In this notes column, Ryan Braun says he never cared much for 3B.

I bet the Brewers wish they would have asked him about that the day they drafted him.


2/19/2008 07:26:00 PM



(2/19/2008 04:16:00 PM) - Al

The discussion of the relief corps mentions they would not mind carrying a second lefty, but barring injury, I don't see it.

It's kind of ironic they mention how most all the guys are hard throwers with durability able to go a couple frames...and then they mention they'd like to carry another 1-2 batter fella.


2/19/2008 04:16:00 PM


Monday, February 18, 2008

(2/18/2008 08:09:00 PM) - Al

I missed this article on Simmons this AM.


2/18/2008 08:09:00 PM



(2/18/2008 05:52:00 PM) - Al

I'd have to agree with the top 2 GM's on the list, as well as MLBTR's inclusion that Doug Melvin belongs on the list.


2/18/2008 05:52:00 PM



(2/18/2008 05:50:00 PM) - Al

Gagne's entire statement can be read here, but allow me to summarize:

It's too bad this came up, I have nothing to say.


2/18/2008 05:50:00 PM



(2/18/2008 11:02:00 AM) - Al

Eric Gagne will speak with the media, or at least offer a press release, today about his mention in Mitchell Report. I'm all but forced to mention it since he's a current member of the team, but it will be probably be later this afternoon.


2/18/2008 11:02:00 AM



(2/18/2008 10:56:00 AM) - Al

Every time there is a huge recall of a food product, I always tell my wife it's too bad it can't be donated somewhere, but of course it isn't, because there is a minute chance someone could get sick if they do not cook it properly.

However, this last recall pretty much proves my point of how little risk there is, and that despite the fact we're talking about 143 million pounds of beef, not a single illness has been reported, even though almost all of it has been consumed.


2/18/2008 10:56:00 AM



(2/18/2008 10:50:00 AM) - Al

BP adjusts their projections for strength of schedule, and both the Cubs and Brewers pick up a win or two.


2/18/2008 10:50:00 AM



(2/18/2008 10:43:00 AM) - Al

All the starting position players showed up early, except Mike Cameron, who probably is old enough to know better, as spring training is at least a couple weeks too long as it is.


2/18/2008 10:43:00 AM



(2/18/2008 09:00:00 AM) - Robert R.

I've been to a pair of preview screenings lately and so some new movie reviews.



War / Dance



One of the nominees for Best Documentary this year, War / Dance focusses on school children of a Ugandan refugee camp and their experiences during the Ugandan civil war. The fact that almost all of them have personally been affected by the violence, all seem to have lost at least one parent or sibling. And, of course, the refugee camp is barely above subsistence level and hardly secure. But, it turns out that the children of the camp are talented, so talented that they've won a regional competition and have been invited to participate in a national song and dance competition. And we get to witness some of the healing aspects of music. The remembrances of the war combined with the preparations for the music competition form the basis for the title.



What's of most interest, and probably most problematic, is how the children's stories are framed. While for the most part powerful and, I've no doubt, typical of many children, the director frequently has the children speak directly into the camera and tell their story. It's a powerful effect, but you can't help but wonder if this is reality or, being less charitable, something rehearsed with multiple takes until just the right reading was reached. There are other scenes where the idea of some staging crops up and people are obviously aware that a camera is present. And the stories are often punctuated by some excellent cinematography, sometimes reminiscent of the best that National Geographic presents, which is surprisingly expressionistic.

It's somewhat ironic that the actual performances by the children come off as most authentic and least self conscious of the camera. The joy of performance and the pride the children take in excelling are obviously genuine. And they are talented. It's interesting that when the competition becomes nearer the documentary assumes something of a storytelling quality as we're presented with an underdog narrative. With a bit of the tension of SPELLBOUND and American Idol thrown in. Whether they're going to win the competition or not is trivial in the big picture, showing up and doing well is enough of a reward, but adding the rooting interest as to their finish turns it into something that perhaps will get some people on the edge of their seats. I'm not sure if it's appropriate for a documentary on the Ugandan civil war, but it may make it more entertaining and entice people that normally wouldn't watch a documentary to do so.


To me, War / Dance blurs the boundaries between documentary and entertainment, although not in a Michael Moore silly stunt way. That makes it interesting and entertaining, but also problematic. Still, the overall effect is powerful and it's not a movie that offers simple answers. Heck, the only mention of the USA is when a truck arrives delivering food aid and it's not a call for the USA to become more involved. If anything, it's a simple statement on the healing power of music.

War / Dance should be making theatrical appearances this spring. You can view the trailer here.

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2/18/2008 09:00:00 AM


Sunday, February 17, 2008

(2/17/2008 08:43:00 PM) - Al

We snowblowed (obviously, spellcheck does not live where we do) and shoveled for 15-20 minutes right before 6 tonight. The snow is getting so high, it's tough shooting it over the pile, as our blower is an older model.

That said, it sure beats a couple hours of using the shovel.

I asked the Rambling Wife if she thought our insurance would cover it if our deck falls in due to the weight of the snow...she didn't answer, which I'm used to.

And, the Rambling Son started soccer today...details are on the spouse's blog.


2/17/2008 08:43:00 PM



(2/17/2008 04:49:00 PM) - Al

Adam discusses the injury front, and I would guess the rotation, as of today, would include Sheets, Suppan, Capuano, Bush, and Villy.


2/17/2008 04:49:00 PM



(2/17/2008 04:39:00 PM) - Al

Many have guessed Edwards prefers Hillary, because if he didn't, an endorsement of Obama likely would have occurred by now.

Meanwhile, GW is probably much more popular in Africa than he is at home.

Banners across the route, decorated with Bush's image against a backdrop of Tanzania's Mt. Kilimanjaro, read: "We cherish democracy. Karibu (welcome) to President and Mrs Bush."

Others read: "Thank you for helping fight malaria and HIV." Dancers at the airport and at Kikwete's state house to greet Bush on Sunday, wore skirts and shirts decorated with his face...

...he is enjoying the different reception in Africa.

Beaming repeatedly during a press conference with Kikwete, he made a point of referring to his welcome on the streets, which he described as "very moving"...

Kikwete told Bush: "The outpouring of warmth and affection from the people of Tanzania that you have witnessed since your arrival is a genuine reflection of what we feel towards you and towards the American people."

In a reference to Bush's domestic problems, Kikwete added: "Different people may have different views about you and your administration and your legacy.

"But we in Tanzania, if we are to speak for ourselves and for Africa, we know for sure that you, Mr. President, and your administration have been good friends of our country and have been good friends of Africa."

Bush has spent more money on aid to Africa than his predecessor, Bill Clinton, and is popular for his personal programs to fight AIDS and malaria and to help hospitals and schools.

Bush has stressed new-style partnerships with Africa based on trade and investment and not purely on aid handouts.

His Millennium Challenge Corp. rewards countries that continue to satisfy criteria for democratic governance, anti-corruption and free-market economic policies.

Bush signed the largest such deal, for $698 million, with Kikwete on Sunday.

Because of the U.S. anti-malaria program, 5 percent of patients tested positive for the disease on the offshore islands of Zanzibar in 2007 compared to 40 percent three years earlier, the Tanzanian leader said.

Bush's legacy in Africa would be saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of mothers and children who would otherwise have died from malaria or AIDS and enabling millions of people to get an education, he said.

"I know you leave office in about 12 months' time. Rest assured that you will be remembered for many generations to come for the good things you've done for Tanzania and the good things you have done for Africa," Kikwete said.


Emphasis added.

Very popular in Africa, very unpopular with African-Americans. The irony is thick when you are talking about the cloud of politics.


2/17/2008 04:39:00 PM



(2/17/2008 04:30:00 PM) - Al

Dave Pinto posts his chart of expected runs scored, the Brewers finish 5th in the NL.

Note how awful the Giants appear, almost a half-run behind the 29th place team. Oof.


2/17/2008 04:30:00 PM



(2/17/2008 04:14:00 PM) - Al

In a Q&A with Doug Melvin, Adam gets him to mention both his hesitation to sign long-term deals with young players and to trade his rotation depth due to the fact players get hurt.

Doug is simply several steps ahead of the casual message board fans, who just don't get it. For them to suggest moves is like me telling Lance Armstrong how to ride a bike.


2/17/2008 04:14:00 PM



(2/17/2008 03:04:00 PM) - Al

Yep, Gallardo has torn cartilage in his knee, will miss 4 weeks, and open the season the DL.


2/17/2008 03:04:00 PM



(2/17/2008 02:39:00 PM) - Al

Yo Gallardo might require minor knee surgery, meaning he'd miss 2-3 weeks.

This, my friends, is why you need more than 5 starters. Many have been trying to give away Claudio Vargas the entire offseason, and suddenly, he's looking like a valuable cog.


2/17/2008 02:39:00 PM



(2/17/2008 01:41:00 PM) - Al

On the note about Spring:

Al,

Do you know the dates for any of the Brewers' promos other than the bobblehead days? I am unable to make plans for which games I will buy next Saturday until I know, but the ticket office is tight lipped, and I cannot find them online.

BJ


Spring Madness is 5/9-5/12 (half price tickets, $1 hot dogs and pop, Friday-Monday versus the Cards...the first 3 games will be loaded with SL fans), and the list of announced promos is here. Other than that, I do not know, and season ticket holders supposedly have not been given a list either.


2/17/2008 01:41:00 PM



(2/17/2008 01:31:00 PM) - Al

I spoke to soon about the snow, as we are now supposed to get 3-8 inches (by the way, way to be precise).

The Rambling Wife told me she could not see the tracks from an hour earlier when she came home from church this morning.

I guess some are still supposed to get about a foot, but it still is awful.


2/17/2008 01:31:00 PM



(2/17/2008 01:16:00 PM) - Al

Mike Hunt doesn't seem to understand the only people perpetuating the "sideshow" is the mainstream media. Without ESPN and such, there's no way Congress finds time to have a hearing that even they admitted was completely unnecessary.

They are so busy reporting on a report with details several years old, they barely report the game is setting records for popularity annually.

These darn trees are blocking my view of the forest, says the reporter.


2/17/2008 01:16:00 PM


Saturday, February 16, 2008

(2/16/2008 09:42:00 PM) - Al

I spent the past couple hours in an online tournament, and made the money. Soon after crossing the cash line, I was dealt 99, and went all-in, as I had about 8x the big blind left. I only got one caller, a player who had less than myself, who cyberly turned over AT. A ten came on the flop, and I missed both a 9 and an eventual straight draw, leaving me with little left and in the big blind. I was dealt AT, and knew I had to call or go all-in when my turn arrived. Well, one player raised, and everyone folded...I called.

He turned over 99.

I got no help, having lost with both ends of the same matchup. Sometimes, it's just not your day.


2/16/2008 09:42:00 PM



(2/16/2008 09:21:00 PM) - Al

Adam recaps the day in Arizona.


2/16/2008 09:21:00 PM



(2/16/2008 09:13:00 PM) - Al

An article about Yost's ejections, which includes a lot of "assumed" facts by Tom H, as none of Ned's quotes are used but a lot of "facts" are stated about the Pujols HBP.

Actually, the other ejections are just part of the stupidity of MLB, umpires are often out of position and often eject players because they are grumpy, and still, despite progress, have no boss, and can pretty much do whatever they want with little retribution.


2/16/2008 09:13:00 PM



(2/16/2008 09:09:00 PM) - Al

The Sunday JS column is up.


2/16/2008 09:09:00 PM



(2/16/2008 07:21:00 PM) - Al

Talkin' Baseball recap, 2/16/08

Jim Callis of Baseball America is the first guest:

Felt it was nice to see both the Cubs and Brewers compete all the way to the end, both franchises have had struggles.

Defense is much improved, Bill James used to talk about how pitching and defense were related, that good pitching was often just average pitching with good defense. Cameron one of the best defenders in the game. Braun might well have improved to a decent 3B, but it makes the team better in 2008, no doubt.

{Some talk about steroids, I zoned out.}

Kendall's reputation is that of a very good handler of pitchers, rest of his game has declined somewhat.

Probably be a pitcher or two dealt before the end of March, Doug has said he is looking for a AA or AAA pitcher to develop and possibly help the major league team if needed.

Jack Z deserves a lot of kudos, because he's taken guys for slot money and not had extra picks. He's had advantages like drafting somewhat early, but other than that, he's just done a fine job of scouting and taking players that have turned the Crew around. Should be a GM soon, but he does not promote himself, lays low.

Question about taking a college reliever, the feeling is that they will take the best player available at every spot. If they feel they have a SS or 2B that will be a star in 3 years, it does not matter if they have Hardy or Fielder, they'll take him and see how they develop.

Jeremy Jeffress, former first round pick, is out at least April due to a positive drug test, and has failed others in his career as well. Still has a great arm, but how smart is he, how good is his work ethic and so on.

Sheets is injury prone, no doubt about it. Going to tough to give him a long-term deal with all those. Still, he's a fine pitcher, but Sheets will get money, as he still won 12 games last year, even missing time.

Gord Ash on next:

Build from within, add players as needed through trades and FA signings. Tried to do things differently, as they have to, as they do not have the money to just do stuff the same. Has played radical defenses, have combined traditional scouting with stats oriented approach. Opened a Dominican academy again, felt they could help the kids in the offseason in addition to having a presence there to sign more guys, have a program in Arizona for kids that teaches them about the lifestyle in addition to teaching about baseball.

Try to get players added into deals that might help 3-4 years down the line, like Carlos V was acquired. Strength in scouting remains in North America, with a bit more emphasis on Canada than most. Korea and Japan are like the Wild West, not interested in paying huge bonuses and competing with the big market teams.

Happy with bullpen depth, have a lot of guys who have been good in the past, and were available because they are coming off poor years, like Mota. Riske and Torres are workmanlike, and almost everyone can throw more than an inning. Shouse is good, and both Randy Choate and Mitch Stetter might help out as well. Feel comfy with Gagne and Turnbow at the back of the 'pen.

Lean toward high school players more than most teams, feel they are somewhat higher ceiling on average.

Whoever does well in CF might really help themselves while Cameron is out.

Much easier to just send a player with options back to AAA than waive a player...gives you more flexibility later.

Kendall is a good OBP guy, high walks, lots of singles. Had Lasix, feels he's seeing ball better. Very good at handling a staff, will work with Maddux.

Cameron is a nice all-around offensive player, does a bit of everything. Very good baserunner, goes 1B-3B and 2B-home very nicely.

Team speed is much better than a few years ago.

Yo Gallardo came into camp with a sore knee, just developed in the past week or so.

HS pitchers tend to develop slowly, but often turn out fine if you can be patient. College guys might be abused a bit. All pitchers have a lot of injury risk involved.

Mark Rogers feels good, will use this season to get him back to 100%. Jeremy Jeffress has had a good offseason, hopefully he has learned what it means to be a professional, both on and off the field.

Manny Parra:

2007 could not have been better, except for the minor injury. Hope 2008 can be as good.

Big improvement is consistency, need to hit that location, or guys in the majors hit mistakes hard almost every time.

Can make mistakes when ahead in the count, especially in and out, and with breaking stuff.

Tony Gwynn Jr:

Nice piece on him that was linked to here a few days ago. Tony says the article was 99% true.

Wants to win the CF job the first 25 games and go from there.

Bullpen and entire staff is very deep.

Could have played every day a few years ago when team was weaker, needs to keep plugging away. Need to be more consistent at the plate, be a better OBP guy.


2/16/2008 07:21:00 PM



(2/16/2008 03:31:00 PM) - Al

By the way, BP predicts the Cubs will win 89 games, and have the Brewers winning the wildcard...though they have several teams with 86 victories, just one behind the Crew.

Thanks to Ron for reminding me I had not shared that, as the BP article is pay only.


2/16/2008 03:31:00 PM



(2/16/2008 03:19:00 PM) - Al

He (Obama) also touted his plan to give college students $4,000 tuition credits if they devote 100 hours to public service.

Is there a reason why volunteering is suddenly worth $40/hour? I can kind of understand paying someone $10/hr if you can make $7-12/hr at retail, restaurant, and other common part-time jobs...I'd certainly prefer working at Applebee's or a store in the mall than a homeless shelter, but some would choose the service.

At $40/hr, I see a lot of fraud and "that's community service?" scenarios.

I did just see today in an ad he wants to waive all federal income taxes for seniors making under $50K a year. I'm not a tax man, but a retired gent making $30K isn't paying much in taxes anyway...however, if this would include IRA's, and required withdrawls; it would make a lot of interest garnered over the years be a tremendous tax-free investment.


2/16/2008 03:19:00 PM



(2/16/2008 03:11:00 PM) - Al

For you folks who are scheduled to get hit with double digits of snow...

better you than me.


2/16/2008 03:11:00 PM



(2/16/2008 03:09:00 PM) - Al

The Badgers win a tough Big 10 game (is there any other kind?) at home, and my boy is busy playing Wii, so I'm off to nap.

Bohannon did play, by the way, one of 5 who ended in double figures.


2/16/2008 03:09:00 PM



(2/16/2008 01:40:00 PM) - Al

Baseball Prospectus has projected the 2008 season based on their Pecota guesses...which Robert sent me a while back, and I am still having trouble opening.

BP '08 projections--.339/.450, 829 runs scored, 765 runs allowed, 87 wins
2007 actual---------.329/.456, 801 runs scored, 776 runs allowed, 83 wins

I do find it interesting that after all the talk of the massive 40 runs or so improvement the Crew supposedly accomplished on defense, none of the simulations seem to notice. Either many were exaggerating Braun's bad D and/or Cameron's good D; or they just did not concern figure in the defense at all.

Does the improvement in OBP make sense? Well, Kendall should get on more than Estrada, so that rings true. Cameron and the LF platoon should be about equal, though many (like me) expect Mike to add some offense being in a neutral park for 81 games (though probably more in SLG).

SLG lower? This seems to be a common thought, as most are guessing Braun and Fielder to decline, despite their youth and added experience. The C spot should fall off power wise, and I would personally expect fewer HR's from Hardy, maybe with more doubles.


2/16/2008 01:40:00 PM



(2/16/2008 01:33:00 PM) - Al

The Marlins will get a new stadium in 2011...of course, I will need to see some dirt dug before I consider this a done deal.

I believe Tampa also has a new deal in the approved stage, and with the Twins and A's also having new ones planned...I'm not sure who would be a team that is very much in need of a ballpark to be competitive.

Unless I'm forgetting a weak link, I would expect expansion talks to become quite serious in the next few years.


2/16/2008 01:33:00 PM



(2/16/2008 08:51:00 AM) - Al

Of the several strange things that came out of the Kidd no-trade to Dallas, the whole thing about Stackhouse being released and then resigned by the Mavs after a month takes the cake.

I do not know much about the NBA salary cap other than salaries roughly have to match if one of the two teams is over the cap...which almost all teams are (which makes the term "cap" a misnomer, but hence, I digress). That said, when you are talking about things like this, as well as bringing retired players out of retirement and trading them in order to "balance things out", I think it's safe to say that if it ever did work, it is now officially broken.


2/16/2008 08:51:00 AM



(2/16/2008 08:44:00 AM) - Al

Really rich guy who does goofy things for publicity declared dead.

I heard they found several plane crashes while searching for him, as that is a rugged area, so it is not at all surprising they did not find the plane. While very unlikely, if you were to create a plan in which a guy would "disappear" for some reason, this is it, eccentric fella with money to burn, just likes doing stuff to say he's done it, and so on. Unlikely, but it sure is not a stretch to at least consider it.


2/16/2008 08:44:00 AM



(2/16/2008 08:39:00 AM) - Al

Planned fainting by the Obama campaign? That's kind of amateurish, if it is indeed not just coincidence.

Hat tip to a tiny little blog from Tennessee.


2/16/2008 08:39:00 AM



(2/16/2008 07:50:00 AM) - Al

Doug seems to feel the NL is balanced, but that the Brewers will be solid.


2/16/2008 07:50:00 AM


Friday, February 15, 2008

(2/15/2008 08:47:00 PM) - Al

Tom H mentions the 5 things to watch in Arizona.

To me, the vital part of the 6 weeks is who and how many guys are injured in meaningless games and workouts, especially the pitchers, but several position guys would be tough to lose as well.


2/15/2008 08:47:00 PM



(2/15/2008 07:09:00 PM) - Al

Right now [Obama is] saying nothing better than anybody has ever said it. At least in my lifetime. It's going have to get specific at some point.--Rush Limbaugh

An e-mailer sends in this quote, and wonders if it is what I've been trying to say...it's certainly in the ballpark. That said, I would not bet too much on the "specific" part...I've been saying that for six months, and he hasn't yet.

I do harken back to George H. W. Bush's 80% approval rating after the Gulf War ended. Things can change a great deal in a few months. Maybe Obama will put forth some fine ideas in the upcoming months and make the "hope and change" talk a mere memory.


2/15/2008 07:09:00 PM



(2/15/2008 06:55:00 PM) - Al

It is true that Bush made it 6 or more innings more often than Suppan last year. Not much, but it is true. Bush was one of our better pitchers at giving us a decent outing every time out.

Logan included a link to a spreadsheet he created (geez, is he an engineer or what?), but I was unable to access it. Just the fact alone interests me, as you could win a lot of bar bets with that info.

BUMP/UPDATE: Friend of Ramblings Logan sent yet another spreadsheet, and this link works. Read it and weep, and I bet your memory is fuzzy on this topic as well.


2/15/2008 06:55:00 PM



(2/15/2008 06:48:00 PM) - Al

Jason Bohannon injured in practice, unlikely to play versus Minnesota tomorrow.

Jason is one of those guys who will seem to opposing fans like he played 6-7 years by the time he's done, as he's played significant minutes as a freshman and a sophomore, and since he's a 3 point shooter, as well as short and Caucasian, he's unique enough to be remembered.


2/15/2008 06:48:00 PM



(2/15/2008 06:43:00 PM) - Al

JJ and the Brewers avoid arby.


2/15/2008 06:43:00 PM



(2/15/2008 04:44:00 PM) - Al

What's this, prices down, sales up?

Who woulda ever guessed such a thing? My predicted Spring sales "boom" suddenly doesn't look nearly as out of the box.


2/15/2008 04:44:00 PM



(2/15/2008 04:28:00 PM) - Al

Hi Al,

Read your blog every day. Love it. I am a big Crew fan living in St. Paul. I post on a forum that gets pretty nasty. The usual you hate Yost or you see some logic in his decisions. I the later. I don't see many games being out of market. I follow them on the internet, listen a lot on the radio (I can get a signal in St. Paul) and read all I can.

Many say my opinion doesn't matter because I don't watch all the games. To be honest, even if I did live "in market," I would probably only sit down and watch 2-3 games a week at most. Life just doesn't allow any more.

To get to the point, how many games does one have to watch to have legitimate takes? I know this is dumb but I'm curious what a logical and knowledgeable person like yourself thinks.

Thanks and keep up the good work!

Darren


I probably watched 120 games last year, and I doubt I got much more from that than someone who really studies the numbers...for instance, I had no idea Dave Bush went 6 and 7 innings a higher percentage of the time than Jeff Suppan did, until I read it somewhere a week or two ago (I have not looked it up, but I do feel it is correct).

The funny thing is, many people who watch games often have very selective memories, and are wrong more often than right anyway. Our minds can't recall 600 things, as it has been proven folks can't tell a .250 hitter from a .300 hitter by memory...if he has 600 AB's, you're talking about a hit a week (150 vs. 180). So, any silly "I watch the games so I know" statements are inevitably incorrect.

I assume you listen to the 106.3 River Falls station, which comes in very good in most of the southern metro, and not good at all in the northern metro. If you can, I would certainly recommend the Extra Innings package, even though you might not see more than a couple games a week...it really makes you feel like you're in the loop. And, if you have Tivo (or a VCR), you can watch a Sunday afternoon game Sunday night, as no one tells you who won...the benefit of being a fan of an out-of-market club.


2/15/2008 04:28:00 PM



(2/15/2008 03:57:00 PM) - Al

Parking will go up, especially for Opening Day and weekends.

Rick S says they could not come up with a good way to keep um, "oddballs" from paying to park in the lots on Opening Day, but not have tickets. So, they simply raised the price to, depending on your outlook, punish those that do or use that silly old economic model of (1)"supply and demand" to encourage people to carpool and such.

(1)According to some presidential candidates, supply and demand has nothing to do with the price of gasoline or the house you own...just everything else.


2/15/2008 03:57:00 PM


Thursday, February 14, 2008

(2/14/2008 08:18:00 PM) - Al

For most of you, this is a meaningless post (as are many others), but for friends and family, my wife started a blog, which she has filled with pictures of our son.

Click here if you wish, if nothing else, just to marvel at how blue the little guy's eyes are.


2/14/2008 08:18:00 PM



(2/14/2008 07:39:00 PM) - Al

Interesting contrarian viewpoint...Obama is a downer.

He is to me, but I'm a capitalist. I don't feel many folks are listening to the words.


2/14/2008 07:39:00 PM



(2/14/2008 07:03:00 PM) - Al

4 packs go on sale for a week tomorrow morning.

Looks like a nice chance to get your tickets for bobblehead games, if you are so inclined, before single game tickets go on sale to the general public.

The Brewers are following up on their success from last year in the same manner...sell out the most popular games, then "create demand" for the others. I suppose it's pretty much the same for all MLB teams.


2/14/2008 07:03:00 PM



(2/14/2008 04:52:00 PM) - Al

Another campus shooting, and no surprise, another young male dressed all in black does the shooting.

The violent tend to be extremely unoriginal.


2/14/2008 04:52:00 PM



(2/14/2008 04:47:00 PM) - Al

$25 and the clothes on his back...and he had "success" in less than a year. I think Chris Gardner also proved the American Dream is still alive and well.

Hat tip to Glenn, who correctly points out, some people would fail regardless.


2/14/2008 04:47:00 PM



(2/14/2008 04:26:00 PM) - Al

Chris Spurling obviously appreciates the Brewers, as he accepts a minor league deal with them. He could have gotten that with at least a dozen clubs, though we don't know if the Crew's signing bonus was substantial or not (sought after minor league FA's sometimes get over $100K).


2/14/2008 04:26:00 PM



(2/14/2008 09:38:00 AM) - Al

The Rays contending in 2008?

Hat tip to Dave.

I don't see it.


2/14/2008 09:38:00 AM



(2/14/2008 09:26:00 AM) - Al

I don't think this is more than a young politician "covering himself", just like his little habit of voting "present" on tough issues to not have to explain them away later. However, it's so well written, I had to share.


2/14/2008 09:26:00 AM


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

(2/13/2008 09:04:00 PM) - Al

Looks like Devin Harris may be headed to the Nets in a huge trade for Jason Kidd.

I would say the deal would be a huge risk for the Mavericks, who would lose virtually all their depth for a guy who can't shoot a lick, though he is a good passer and very good rebounder for his size.

I am confident of Harris having a nice career, so I would not do the trade, but I s'pose the Mavs may just be looking at a 1-2 year window.

BUMP/UPDATE: Deal dead for now, as Devean George, needed to be included due to salary cap concerns, has exercised his no-trade clause. May be reworked, but may need to include a 3rd team.


2/13/2008 09:04:00 PM



(2/13/2008 08:30:00 PM) - Al

Badgers win a thriller in Bloomington, as they beat the Hoosiers on a 3 banked in by Brian Butch with 5 seconds left; then had Indy miss an open 3 at the buzzer.

In the short-term, I'd much rather be lucky than good.


2/13/2008 08:30:00 PM



(2/13/2008 07:51:00 PM) - Al

Olbermann's haplessness seems like a comedy routine. He wraps his windbaggery up by saying that the rule has to be "always speak before, not after Barack Obama," which makes Chris Matthews giggle and me fume. McCain was good! Obama had the usual Obamatude, but nevertheless, let's keep our wits about us: It was within the range of human capacity. A god did not walk into the Kohl Center tonight.

And that Olbermann has some nerve knocking McCain whe he (Obermann) flubs and garbles every sentence he wanders into and struggles to find a way out of.--Ann Althouse


My favorite law prof should have just quit writing after her first sentence. Keith's ratings are justly in the toilet...I've seen cable access hosts that are oodles better.


2/13/2008 07:51:00 PM



(2/13/2008 07:12:00 PM) - Al

Adam's column on the bench makes it appear Counsell, Gross, and Kapler have spots all but won. I would agree, with a bit of hesitation about Kapler. I also think that Joe Dillon and Eric Munson are very heavy favorites for two more spots, which probably fills the bench, as long as the Crew carries 12 pitchers.

Add in some Tony Gwynn Jr. while Cameron is suspended, and barring injuries, there's your position players.


2/13/2008 07:12:00 PM



(2/13/2008 06:55:00 PM) - Al

Friend of Ramblings Mike sends along this l-o-n-g article on Tony Jr. and "the hit", as it may always be known in San Diego.

The irony of that AB remains that Junior just hit a good pitch, which would have ended up well low had he not swung. Much like the game-winning HR Braun blasted against Brad Lidge a few weeks earlier, sometimes, a good pitch gets hit.

Some folks refuse to admit that, but it happens often in the majors.


2/13/2008 06:55:00 PM



(2/13/2008 12:27:00 PM) - Al

Thank goodness Kentucky pushed Tubby Smith out, so they can get back to the glory days...oh wait.

Those programs expecting decades of excellence are in for a rude surprise. Notre Dame's football program has seen it, Nebraska's football refuses to admit it, and so on. TV and a reduction of scholarships has evened the field immensely, as proven by Connecticut and Central Florida spending much of the '07 season in the top 25, after being a level lower just a few years before.


2/13/2008 12:27:00 PM



(2/13/2008 12:20:00 PM) - Al

Tom H reports the Crew has 6 of the first 62 picks in this June's amateur draft, and it is a good, deep draft; full of quality bats and college arms.

Many followers of the Brewers have predicted the team will use one of those early picks on a college reliever, who almost without exception throw very hard and make it ot the bigs very quickly...though most end up being "solid" rather than "dominate".

Other than that, I feel they will go after the boring yet effective "best player available", though I would bet the emphasis will be on college players rather than high school, simply due to where the team is at in the "success cycle". The only other thing I could easily see is a catcher being taken with one of the premium choices, if any are deserving of that kind of money.


2/13/2008 12:20:00 PM



(2/13/2008 12:07:00 PM) - Al

I do believe that the criticism of oil companies goes overboard in most instances, but Exxon is another beast. Other companies are at least making an effort to look into and research new technologies and biofuels while Exxon's CEO openly brushes them aside. Exxon is deserving of criticism, but not for it's profit margins. I'm not sure what specifically Obama said about Exxon, but I'm guessing he singled them out for a reason, and rightfully so.--email

He singled them out for one reason...they are an incredibly well run company, and extremely profitable. I would guess the taxes they pay take care of the federal government's bills for a day...we need more Exxons, not less.

As for the criticism mentioned, Exxon's only responsibilities are to follow the laws of the land and to maximize the return for their stockholders.

if Obama doesn't stumble, he's the nominee! Of course I said that after Iowa too, only to look stupid for awhile.--email

I looked mighty intelligent after Iowa, saying that Clinton was the favorite, and that eventually, someone would force Obama to discuss issues and not just make flowery speeches...well, no one has yet. I'd have to say he's the favorite now, though the more he blames companies, who employ millions; the better off Clinton is (not to mention McCain).


2/13/2008 12:07:00 PM



(2/13/2008 08:58:00 AM) - Al

Aaron Gleeman details how far Livian Hernandez has fallen, and asks whether or not he's worth the money.

My question is whether or not the Twins see themselves as contenders in '08. If not, why add a 5+ ERA guy for a single season? If so...really? With CLE and DET in their division?


2/13/2008 08:58:00 AM


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

(2/12/2008 09:05:00 PM) - Al

They will fix the errors of past governments by making that government bigger.--John McCain

I paraphrased that line, so forgive me if it is not exact. It is certainly not as lyrical as what Obama is saying in Madison, criticizing Exxon and Wal Mart for being extremely successful and well run companies, but it does create a clear divide between the two parties.

I also note that Obama speaks rather lowly of "entry-level" jobs, tonight he spoke negatively of working at Wal Mart and in a donut shop...which doesn't exactly endear him to someone like myself, who worked in a pizza place and in retail for the better part of the past two decades. Hey, I would have liked to have started at the top, but it doesn't always work that way.


2/12/2008 09:05:00 PM



(2/12/2008 09:02:00 PM) - Al

Turns out, gas is a bargain at $3 a gallon...at least compared to ink.


2/12/2008 09:02:00 PM



(2/12/2008 07:42:00 PM) - Al

Kevin Mench signs on with the Rangers, minor league deal. Little question he'll win a spot on the 25 man as a platoon lefty masher, most likely at the DH spot.


2/12/2008 07:42:00 PM



(2/12/2008 06:37:00 PM) - Al

I stopped checking out BP ages ago, but since the JS linked to it, I took a look at the NL Central preview today, and once again, I wonder about Joe Sheehan's sanity.

Sheehan borders between lunacy and solid, although many of his moments of goofy can be directly traced to his dislike for Bud Selig, and his erroneous contention the game has not prospered immeasurably from Mr. Selig's leadership.

The quote I found amateurish was this:

One way to solve this would be to find a platoon partner at third base for Bill Hall, who absolutely should be platooned (career .310 OBP vs. RHP)

So, is Hall a platoon player? I suppose he could be, if you had an unlimited payroll and we lived in a world where a guy who could easily start for any team in the majors instead would be giddy about starting 30-40 games at 3B and being a reserve. I guess in that scenario, almost every player would be better in a platoon, as every player has a platoon advantage one way or another.

Let's take a look at Hall's numbers, and those of 3B in 2007:

Hall vs. RHP--.310/.461, 771 OPS, 143 OXS
Hall, career--.320/.467, 787 OPS, 150 OXS
Ave 3B, 2007--.341/.441, 782 OPS, 150 OXS

The real irony here is what a minute platoon advantage Hall even has versus LHP, especially when compared to a lefty killer like Ryan Braun ion the same lineup. Even if all pitchers were RH, Hall would be a just slightly below average choice to play 3B, and as we all know, if you are just a tad below mediocre, you will make a fortune playing major league baseball, and be in high demand.

Of course, Hall's big attribute is his ability to hit for power, and just mentioning OBP is either lazy or just arguing half the story. I am often left wondering what exactly Sheehan is trying to say. There's a thin line between being an "out of the box" thinker and a "what did he say?" crackpot.


2/12/2008 06:37:00 PM



(2/12/2008 04:09:00 PM) - Al

This is as tough as any question I've come across since "the chicken or the egg"?

I do have to believe the findings however, because if you ever read reviews for Air America, the one constant was how depressing and negative it was, hour after hour.

I would also have to ask about the mass media, which many believe leans left, and the way they have stopped reporting Iraq news since the improvement about 9 months ago. While it's usually written off as "if it bleeds, it leads" journalism, maybe it is as simple as being unhappy.


2/12/2008 04:09:00 PM



(2/12/2008 04:07:00 PM) - Al

Wii Fit will help you exercise and get in better shape, maybe without you even knowing it.

All I know is my arm really hurts after playing baseball.


2/12/2008 04:07:00 PM



(2/12/2008 04:02:00 PM) - Al

Al,

I also have the 20 game package, and last year also bought the preferred parking package. The fees this year are the same as last year; $10 with the 20 game package, $12 if you buy parking in advance (online or the ticket office), and $15 day-of.

I'm not sure if there's a $10 package for 4 or 9 game packs.

Hope this helps!

Jody


I could have sworn it was $10 in advance or $12 day of game last year. This is why I tend to dismiss anyone who claims his memory is better than stats because "I watch almost every game".

Thanks for writing, and for the correction.


2/12/2008 04:02:00 PM


Monday, February 11, 2008

(2/11/2008 08:23:00 PM) - Al

If you are wondering when and if your favorite TV show will return after the writer's strike, a list is provided here, kudos TV Guide.

Thankfully for me, all of Cops' fine dialogue ("I swears to God those drugs aren't mines") was not affected.


2/11/2008 08:23:00 PM



(2/11/2008 07:32:00 PM) - Al

Soon, we're going to see an article about dogs and cats getting along.


2/11/2008 07:32:00 PM



(2/11/2008 07:07:00 PM) - Al

I glanced through my 20 game season ticket mailer I got today, and came across this tidbit...you can buy preferred parking in advance for $10 a game, but it will cost $15 a game at the ballpark. I'm all but sure it was $10 in '06 and $12 in '07...that's a sizable increase.

We usually get it for the ease of leaving, we're on 94 West and on our way home in a minute or two, as opposed to 15-25 minutes to get out of the general parking lot. Like everything else, I guess we'll have to decide if it's worth it on a game-by-game basis this year...if you compare the $10 price in advance to the (I think) $8 general price, that's still an awesome deal.


2/11/2008 07:07:00 PM



(2/11/2008 06:57:00 PM) - Al

Not much at all going on with the Crew, as Tom H is reduced to writing about how many non-roster invites the team has this year.

To be honest, the lack of NRI's probably means the team did not go after a lot of high demand minor league free agents this offseason. Usually, a team only has three things to offer them; cash, an NRI, and/or a 40 man roster spot. Obviously, a larger signing bonus and the 40 man roster spots are preferred, but a chance to show the big league staff often leads to a call-up later on.

With a strong, deep farm system (though now lacking some of the high ceiling players who have graduated to the majors, like Braun and Gallardo), and a "situation" in Nashville (the Sounds cannot get the new stadium built like all had expected when the Brewers renewed), spending on minor league veterans lacks appeal right now.


2/11/2008 06:57:00 PM


Sunday, February 10, 2008

(2/10/2008 08:52:00 PM) - Al

Lenders are afraid that borrowers may find it's worth the hit to their credit scores, if they can drastically reduce their housing expenses. Someone with good credit and a $600,000 home in a town with cratering real estate prices could buy a similar house nearby for $450,000, and then let the other $600,000 mortgage go into foreclosure.

The stage is set for this kind of thing particularly in California, where huge numbers of buyers used low or no-down deals to buy homes. The trend has even spawned at least one new business, San Diego-based YouWalkAway.com, which for a fee of $1,000 purports to guide clients through the process of ditching their mortgages. It launched in early January, and says it has already signed up 180 clients.--Money.com


I saw a feature on You Walk Away on Nightline, and I will repeat the same thing I thought then...

I hope they get paid up front.

I must admit though, those that buy their 2nd house before foreclosure really beat the system, as their credit rating will be recovered in 5-7 years, when they look to move again.


2/10/2008 08:52:00 PM



(2/10/2008 07:26:00 PM) - Al

Scott Olsen completed a community service program that his attorney anticipates will lead to all felony charges against the pitcher being dropped.

Olsen and authorities agreed on this deal last season, and the charges should be dropped within the month. He was arrested last season for driving under the influence, resisting an officer with violence and fleeing and eluding an officer, so the community service is a pretty nice deal. It's also a good first step for Olsen, whose biggest challenge this season could be his attitude.--Rotoworld


Emphasis added by me, and I'll agree with RW...community service for that little escapade is either very lucky or downright offensive, depending on your point of view.

The idea of plea bargaining away assaulting a cop is a headshaker.


2/10/2008 07:26:00 PM



(2/10/2008 02:12:00 PM) - Al

Finkbeiner held a news conference Saturday night to address the growing controversy. Finkbeiner says bad planning and communication breakdowns led to his decision to bar a Marine Corps unit from training in downtown Toledo. Finkbeiner spent much of the twenty minute news conference explaining what he didn't know, and when he didn't know it.

Heh.

I guess many of us won't be vacationing in Toledo now...that's gotta be a blow to their tourism...oh, never mind.


2/10/2008 02:12:00 PM



(2/10/2008 08:34:00 AM) - Al

Both the Badgers and the Bucks lost games at home last night, severely hurting their respective goals, the UW of winning the conference, and the Bucks of getting in the playoff hunt.

By the sounds of it, the Badgers has a lot of turnovers and shot the ball poorly, probably because of solid Boilers' defense on both counts. Hughes had an uncharacteristically bad night statistically as well. As the wind howled last night, I contemplated how I still feel it is unwise for the Big Ten to add more conference games, as the teams just beat up each other more. I know Bo Ryan wishes they played 20, a home and home with every team, but I think that's just a pride and fairness thing. A team like Minnesota would be much better served at tourney time to have a pair of non-conference wins than 2 extra conference tilts.

The Bucks missed many tip-ins and lay-ins, and when you lose by a point, it's tough not to remember those. They have a long stretch (now 13 of 17) of home games, but if you don't win them, it doesn't matter. I can easily imagine them getting on a roll and doing just that, but it's not beyond the realm for them not to by any means. They are pretty much healthy, albeit several guys not 100%, but that's likely the case for many teams after 50 games. Time will tell.


2/10/2008 08:34:00 AM



(2/10/2008 08:16:00 AM) - Al

VeepWatch dedicates itself to VP gossip.

MSNBC has heard the "pimping" comment before, and not cared...unsure if it was because it was Bush or because the "pimpee" was not a young woman.


2/10/2008 08:16:00 AM


Saturday, February 09, 2008

(2/09/2008 08:32:00 PM) - Al

A couple Brewers' notes from this Hardball Times article, and both very positive.


2/09/2008 08:32:00 PM



(2/09/2008 08:25:00 PM) - Al

Tom H's Sunday column includes a note on how many veteran role players are still looking for a job.

While the salaries paid to front line players have gone up, as well as a substantial boost to middle relief, teams seem hesitant to pay many reserves, who often end up getting substantial playing time, much cash at all...especially if a team has a young, cheap option.


2/09/2008 08:25:00 PM



(2/09/2008 02:09:00 PM) - Al

Jim Powell will host Talkin' Baseball from 3-5 on 620 WTMJ this afternoon. If I'm still in my tournament, I'll see if I can pick it up on the internet. I will likely be out and napping, however, so hopefully, I'll be able to find it later on.


2/09/2008 02:09:00 PM



(2/09/2008 12:52:00 PM) - Al

I have not commented on the stranded motorists on I90 earlier this week, because I really did not find it to be much of an issue. I've driven in terrible weather, sometimes as a pizza guy, sometimes trying to get home for Thanksgiving, and sometimes just to get somewhere. Being the type that tries to be responsible, I have perhaps pushed it a time or two, especially a couple years ago when I made a 7 hour drive to Chicago for a meeting...I should have just stayed home.

That said, I would not have blamed anyone but myself had things gone awry. If you are out driving in a massive snow, you can't expect public servants to save you just because you were too dumb to stay home. Heck, I worked with people in Eau Claire that ignored warnings and drove around in huge snows, spinning on the streets and trying to go through huge piles of snow without getting stuck, all in the name of "good, clean fun".

I'm the first to complain about road conditions, especially the day after a big snow. However, 16 inches take a long time to remove. I look at it this way...I would have never hauled my 5 year-old son with me in that type of weather, so it seems obvious those folks knew better as well. If you gamble, you might lose.


2/09/2008 12:52:00 PM



(2/09/2008 08:44:00 AM) - Al

As I have said before, I just wish I knew which way the sky was falling, and then I could lie awake at night with a single climate concern.


2/09/2008 08:44:00 AM



(2/09/2008 08:31:00 AM) - Al

Ramblings' favorite law prof rips apart Kevin Barrett, who should just go away.

If you wonder why The Capital Times will be ceasing publication, one reason is that they insisted on giving space to morons like Barrett.


2/09/2008 08:31:00 AM


Friday, February 08, 2008

(2/08/2008 09:36:00 PM) - Al

In the mail today, a CD from Northern Room, whose website can be found here. I'll tell you about the music itself when I get on the road for an extended time again.


2/08/2008 09:36:00 PM



(2/08/2008 08:56:00 PM) - Al

I've had this conversation with many e-mailers, and others are saying it more often all the time.

Of course, to be honest, wondering if McCain "can" win is foolhardy, of course he can, as a lot of things can change in nine months (ask a woman who has given birth to a human). I think most folks would predict a Democratic win as of today, but no one really knows what the economy, Iraq, and many domestic issues will look like come November.

I felt Rudy had a good chance to win in November, based on his popularity with many independents and in the Northeast. That said, McCain's military service and all-around "toughness" make him an intriguing candidate...especially against either Dem potential nominee.


2/08/2008 08:56:00 PM



(2/08/2008 08:45:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers have added the listed TV games to the schedules on their web site.

Allow me to say 150 games doesn't do it justice. It's easier to say and think to yourself that only a dozen games will NOT be shown.

I know in years past, I have glanced at which games will not be on TV before making the decision on what games to attend. I don't think I'll bother with that this year.:)

UPDATE: I forgot about the 4 games on Fox. I see 7 weekday afternoon games and a single Saturday afternoon game not broadcast.

For many of us, who grew up with 30-40 games a season, it is simply an embarrassment of riches.


2/08/2008 08:45:00 PM



(2/08/2008 07:18:00 PM) - Al

Two interesting names I've seen mentioned for GOP VP, in addition to the many, many who feel it will be Huckabee or Fred Thompson; have been Sarah Palin and Michael Steele.

Palin looks to be a bit too young and from a tiny state, while Steele, though well known from his TV work and convention appearances, has only been a lieutenant governor. That said, considering Obama's lack of a position on many subjects and his own lack of "time served", maybe this is not the year to be concerned about inexperience.


2/08/2008 07:18:00 PM



(2/08/2008 07:09:00 PM) - Al

I'll be honest, the idea an elected politician put this idea forward makes me reconsider the feasibility of a monarchy.


2/08/2008 07:09:00 PM



(2/08/2008 06:33:00 PM) - Al

A Brewers' classic is on FSN tonight, it is from 9-5-07, with the Astros visiting Miller Park. I can't say it rings a bell, but I feel good about the Crew's chances.

A recap of the game can be found here.


2/08/2008 06:33:00 PM



(2/08/2008 03:44:00 PM) - Al

The never ending Erik Bedard trade...has ended.

I give the Orioles credit, they have completely torn it down and started rebuilding this offseason, and they now have a big group of youngsters to throw against the wall and see who sticks.

Adam Jones will be the best player in this trade as early as next year.


2/08/2008 03:44:00 PM



(2/08/2008 03:33:00 PM) - Jason Christopherson

I live about 3 1/2 hours away from Miller Park. The tougher tickets do not bother me all that much because, as Al said, our family goes for a couple of games back to back and if the tickets aren't there, we'll pick another weekend. I think it helps, too, that we select family sections (I love the section overlooking the Brewers bullpen) which probably are a little less in demand. Miller Park is a destination for most of us Brewer fans living outside the area and as such I think many people are like us and would have tickets in hand ahead of time.

While I appreciate Jim's concern, I think it is fans like him that have it worse. I'd love to be able to just pick up and go to a game. I've never done that in my life but it sounds like an awesome freedom to have. However, I'd gladly trade success on the field and at the turnstiles at the expense of that freedom. And I bet Jim agrees with me--especially with 150 games on TV this year!


2/08/2008 03:33:00 PM



(2/08/2008 03:26:00 PM) - Al

I just finished watching Idiocracy, a film that no studio ever released, even though most everyone admitted it was funny.

Certainly not a classic, but if you like Airplane! or such spoof humor, you would probably enjoy it.

If Wikipedia is correct and it cost $25M+, I do wonder where it all went, as it looked like a low-budget flick to me.


2/08/2008 03:26:00 PM


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