Al's Ramblings



Monday, March 31, 2008

(3/31/2008 07:35:00 PM) - Al

I sure am glad to see Ned take Sheets out after 99 pitches. While some second guess Ned, I have always appreciated his minimizing the starter's pitch counts, with near precision like accuracy. I'm one to always err on the conservative side, and I continue to do so. I do not know what the "magic number" is to keep pitchers healthy, but I can promise you it is less rather than more.


3/31/2008 07:35:00 PM



(3/31/2008 07:10:00 PM) - Al

As the TV guys said, what a great ballgame. All the pitchers seemed on, except Wood and Gagne...Eric looked terribly uncomfortable from the minute he came in, kicking at the dirt, and after a pitch or two, he stood behind the mound and leaned on his knees, as if he was injured, but then just kept on pitching. His inning was almost a textbook case of what happens when you work from behind.

Those folks who insist Gwynn will never be anything but a reserve had to be questioning themselves after today, as Tony had about as good of an all-around day as you could imagine. I've compared him to Dave Roberts many times, and I still do, though today is obviously a tiny sample.


3/31/2008 07:10:00 PM



(3/31/2008 02:00:00 PM) - Al

The PS3 giveaway has been bumped below this one, which will need to be refreshed as the game wears on.

The Cubs are taking the field.

--I take it more than a few people took the day off, as the poker site I often visit has 150K on right now, as I've never seen over 130K before. It's evening in Europe, and when you add that to the baseball fans, you get a peak.

--The first pitch conditions can only be described as "very foggy".

--Tony Jr. gets the first hit of the season, a slow grounder to 3B, no chance for Ramirez, and also steals 3B with 2 out, as Carlos Z never glanced at him.

--The JS also has a running game blog today, right here.

--Ryan Theriot drives it to RF, and Hart barely had to back up. I don't think the ball will carry much today.

--After a 1-2-3 bottom of the 1st, Corey Hart drives one to the wall in CF, and the TV team says the wind is "shifting", so maybe there will be some blasts.

--Allow me to chuckle at the truthfulness of the Miller High Life ad in which the gent asks the luxury box what inning the game is in, and the "fans" give him blank looks as they eat...fruit? Sadly, from my experience, that ignorance is often the case regardless of the seat location.

And thank goodness they are there.

--Rickie Weeks is now 1-1 on defense thus far, handling a well hit grounder.

--Fukodome drives a liner to the CF wall. Note, he can hit the fastball.

--Both Braun and Gwynn are wearing stocking hats over their caps in the field, but I believe they have to have their cap logo showing, as both are wearing their stocking hat oddly.

--Nice stop in the dirt on a swinging strike by Kendall gets sheets out of the 2nd, still no score.

--It looks more like Xmas Day here than Opening Day, as we have snow just a pouring down. The folks about 45-60 minutes north of us are forecast for 6-10 inches, while we were in line for flurries and then rain. I also heard thunder earlier, the first of the year.

--After Sheets K's, Kendall walks. I'm telling you, he should be hitting 8th!:)

--Jace, no chill. Pacifico. Trust my dad on that one--JS blog

Looks like I'm going to have to invest in that "idiot to English" dictionary. Any wonder why these papers keep printing stuff they have to correct in a day or two? Me neither.

--Game is delayed less than 45 minutes in. We'll see if the pitchers are able to return, I assume it depends on the length of the rain.

--For the delay, FSN trots out a Best Damn special...you could almost hear the entire state clicking the remote all at once, couldn't you?

--I missed the rest of the 3rd I guess, as the game started up earlier than I had heard. Pretty much exactly what you'd expect from a game between Sheets/Zambrano matchup.

--Another storm is on the way, meaning the team that scores first may have a huge advantage as far as getting the win.

--Some people never seem to get the point. I didn't say ALL early-season series need to played in warm weather or places with a roof. The point was it needs to be broken up and spread out, especially during the first two weeks since MLB wants to start the season in March.--JS blog

And by "spread out", he means they should never schedule a game where it is raining at the time. Ah, when life is simple and you can just complain about the game which is a trillion dollar industry. Of course, the reality is the warm weather/dome teams do not want to play 9-12 games at home in early April either.

--Al, don't you get it? The dome teams should play all their games at home in the first two weeks, and then the cold weather teams should make those up during the Summer, preferably on the weekends. Jon

Jon is joking, but that's exactly what they said in Cleveland last year, as it was all Bud Selig's fault they built a ballpark without a retractable roof, completely at the mercy of the Midwestern weather. They said they should switch series with Anaheim...never mind the 120K tickets the Angels had sold for that August 3 game set.

--Another 1,2,3 frame for Sheets, no score through 6.

--Gwynn with his second hit...maybe Cameron will be known as Wally Pipp.:)

--I'm off to grill dinner in the snow (or supper if you prefer), so blogging will be light for a while.


3/31/2008 02:00:00 PM



(3/31/2008 01:59:00 PM) - Jason Christopherson

UPDATE: Stickied to the top due to the timely nature of entering the contest, and not to get lost in the minutia of opening weekend posts.

Scroll down for more recent updates.

Thanks to Ayn and the fine folks at Bragman Nyman Cafarelli (BNC), we are able to offer a nice reward to a few of our loyal readers.

Three copies of MLB 08: The Show for Playstation 3 are up for grabs. Some info on the game:

· MLB 08 The Show is the long running officially licensed baseball title available exclusively on all PlayStation platforms: PLAYSTATION 3, PlayStation 2 and the portable PSP.

· MLB 08 The Show is available exclusively for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable consoles.

· MLB 08 The Show is the best-selling and most realistic baseball simulation available.

· MLB 08 The Show for PlayStation delivers the closest experience possible next to actually playing in the Majors.

· MLB 08 The Show is available right now wherever video games are available

How do you win one of these games? It's very simple. Just send me an email any time between now and Monday night at midnight and indicate that you want to be entered in the drawing. Let's rest Al's and Robert's inboxes--just send them to me this time. I'll randomly draw three winners on Tuesday and I'll reply to you asking for your address. Please, just send one entry per person/email address to keep it fair.

Thank you very much for making Al's Ramblings a part of your daily reading ritual, and for making me feel so welcome as a guest poster. Good luck to all!


3/31/2008 01:59:00 PM



(3/31/2008 01:55:00 PM) - Al

Looks like a window of opportunity will lead to the game starting at about 2.


3/31/2008 01:55:00 PM



(3/31/2008 01:35:00 PM) - Al

Miller Park made out of Legos...complete with retractable roof.

That young man has a bright future.


3/31/2008 01:35:00 PM



(3/31/2008 01:30:00 PM) - Al

The league announced the season opener would be Washington at the New York Giants on Thursday, Sept. 4. It will be on NBC with kickoff set for 6 p.m. The game will have an early start because that is the night presidential candidate John McCain is expected to receive his nomination at the Republican Convention.

I am impressed with the NFL's scheduling department looking into the future like this, but I cannot imagine many football fans turning the channel in the 4th quarter to see Mr. McCain speak, even though I suppose it is an important address he will be giving.


3/31/2008 01:30:00 PM



(3/31/2008 01:21:00 PM) - Al

The Crank predicts the Brewers will win 88...with no other NL Central team over .500. Time will tell, but seing HOU in 2nd makes me question the whole darn thing.


3/31/2008 01:21:00 PM



(3/31/2008 01:18:00 PM) - Al

Friend of Ramblings Nate has started his own blog, stop by and say hi.


3/31/2008 01:18:00 PM



(3/31/2008 01:13:00 PM) - Al

Fascinating picture show of a pro-military event in Berkley, CA, thanks Glenn.

I personally wish the local businesses would not have to suffer the parking woes and traffic jam that probably sends many potential customers elsewhere, regardless of their views. However, I suppose the odds of a recruiting center being off in the middle of nowhere is rather tiny.


3/31/2008 01:13:00 PM



(3/31/2008 12:59:00 PM) - Al

The Crew claims a former top arm on waivers and sends him to Nashville.

Richie Gardner appears to be a pitcher, not a thrower, based solely on his BB/K and K/9 numbers.


3/31/2008 12:59:00 PM



(3/31/2008 12:43:00 PM) - Al

Craig Coshun is reporting the game is not likely to begin until 3PM.


3/31/2008 12:43:00 PM



(3/31/2008 12:40:00 PM) - Al

My e-mail tells me at least one person is disappointed I have not posted my annual projections yet. I will do so soon, they are made, but I was planning on making them "pretty", but time may dictate I just put 'em up and maybe make them beautiful later.


3/31/2008 12:40:00 PM



(3/31/2008 08:47:00 AM) - Al

Happy Opening Day!

The weather may not be good, to say the least. Cold, misty, with a chance of rain. Hopefully, the lack of a roof will not affect the many fans who took the day off and/or traveled to attend.


3/31/2008 08:47:00 AM


Sunday, March 30, 2008

(3/30/2008 08:28:00 PM) - Al

Brewers reassigned LHP Chris Narveson, RHP Steve Bray, INF Ozzie Chavez and INF Abraham Nunez to minor league camp.

We imagine both Narveson and Bray would have made the Tigers, not to mention a couple of other teams, but there was no room in Milwaukee's pen after the team loaded up on veteran relievers. Bray is the better bet to contribute in relief come June or July, but Narveson is adequate protection for the rotation.--Rotworld


Funny how weak the Tigers bullpen is, considering many are picking them to beat a very tough Indians club.


3/30/2008 08:28:00 PM



(3/30/2008 08:03:00 PM) - Al

I wish I would have said what a disaster a Juan Pierre long-term contract would be...oh wait.

The sad thing is, Pierre has some value, but not as a LF.


3/30/2008 08:03:00 PM



(3/30/2008 07:35:00 PM) - Al

Joe Morgan is defending Lastings Milledge's antics last year with the Mets on ESPN.

I hold a "act like you've been there" behavior standard, though I'd rather have good players than choir boys. That said, I do find it amusing when a team rushes a kid to the big leagues at 21 and then is disappointed when he acts immaturely, and gives up on him at 22. The NBA is famous for it, as about 50% of the kids drafted right out of high school were dealt when they failed to make an impact by age 20.

EDIT: I forgot to include that the president was booed by about 50-60% of the crowd, but in 95% Democratic DC, that might have been a moral victory.


3/30/2008 07:35:00 PM



(3/30/2008 07:32:00 PM) - Al

Joe Lieberman bemoans his party's isolationist and anti-free market stances, while endorsing McCain.


3/30/2008 07:32:00 PM



(3/30/2008 07:28:00 PM) - Al

Once a Marine, always a Marine.

Somewhere, I can just see the ALCU trying to find the punk so they can file an "unnecessary violence" lawsuit against the elderly hero.


3/30/2008 07:28:00 PM



(3/30/2008 07:12:00 PM) - Al

Tom H says Prince will play, and wonders why they aren't playing in Miller Park...because apparently, it never rains in Chicago in early April, just late March.:)

The shortsightedness of the casual fans (and beat reporters) never fails to amaze me.


3/30/2008 07:12:00 PM



(3/30/2008 07:10:00 PM) - Al

Dave Pinto picks the Brewers, and puts the rebuilding Pirates in 3rd, which would shock many.


3/30/2008 07:10:00 PM



(3/30/2008 07:03:00 PM) - Al

The new DC ballpark looks shiny and beautiful, with the backdrop of the buildings in our capital.

I wonder if they'd have a new stadium had they stayed in Montreal...heh.


3/30/2008 07:03:00 PM



(3/30/2008 06:57:00 PM) - Al

BP has their final projections up, the Brewers are still winning the wildcard.


3/30/2008 06:57:00 PM



(3/30/2008 04:21:00 PM) - Al

If not for Seth McClung's radar gun readings, and the Brewers discussing Dave Roberts with the Giants, it seems like some sort of deal could have been made including Steve Kline and Roberts, both past targets of the Crew.

You'd never win a pennant with a team made up of the many veterans who have been waived and have yet to sign, but worse teams exist.


3/30/2008 04:21:00 PM



(3/30/2008 11:20:00 AM) - Al

With Mitch Stetter in Nashville, maybe I'm wrong, but if Damaso Marte is available cheaply at the deadline, I gotta think the Brewers will be interested.


3/30/2008 11:20:00 AM



(3/30/2008 11:10:00 AM) - Al

The forecast for Wrigley Field looks, dare I say, like "need a roof" weather.

I know a lot of folks take Opening Day off each year, so it is too bad for them.


3/30/2008 11:10:00 AM


Saturday, March 29, 2008

(3/29/2008 08:44:00 PM) - Al

Internet rumors indicate the Brewers discussed Vargas and Munson, among others, to the Giants for Dave Roberts, who they liked as a FA after the 2006 campaign.

I was just thinking the other day that I bet either Roberts or Randy Winn is brought into the mix in late July, when they will cost much less, as the Crew will only be responsible for about 2 months of their salary.


3/29/2008 08:44:00 PM



(3/29/2008 08:10:00 PM) - Al

The LA Coliseum is being used tonight for an exhibition...check out this picture of the 201 foot LF.

A routine fly ball to the LF tonight, you ask? They might be called off by the SS.


3/29/2008 08:10:00 PM



(3/29/2008 07:51:00 PM) - Al

Pricing something like bottled water at $4 for a 3-hour, outdoor, summer event is a public health risk, plain and simple, and I'm surprised teams get away with it.--

This bit of drama brought to you by Brew Crew Ball, a usually good Brewers' read, though it would appear Jeff Sackmann is not contributing much anymore. I'm not sure of the situation at DC's new park, but at Miller Park, they have no rules against bringing in your own water, many drinking fountains, and of course, plenty of sinks if you need water.

Why do you get the feeling the ones that don't understand capitalism are also the ones who buy the most overpriced stuff at the ballpark?


3/29/2008 07:51:00 PM



(3/29/2008 07:38:00 PM) - Al

Long-term offers made to Braun and Fielder, and Mark A thinks 3M is in reach, among other things in this MLB notes piece.


3/29/2008 07:38:00 PM



(3/29/2008 07:26:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers continue to improve all aspects of the fan experience at Miller Park.


3/29/2008 07:26:00 PM



(3/29/2008 07:23:00 PM) - Al

The Crew has stations fighting for their radio broadcasts, which hopefully will lead to more cash.


3/29/2008 07:23:00 PM



(3/29/2008 10:25:00 AM) - Al

How silly is it to look at spring training numbers, you ask? After a 2-4 game last night, Rickie Weeks now has a higher BA than Corey Hart for the exhibition season...and we have not seen a single "What's wrong with Hart?" thread on a message board.

It never fails to amaze me how badly people understand how math works.


3/29/2008 10:25:00 AM



(3/29/2008 12:31:00 AM) - Al

I have no idea how this is graded, but any table that shows Ron Gardenhire as the best manager in the game will be roundly criticized by Gleeman, so I choose not to get too excited about Yost ranking 3rd.


3/29/2008 12:31:00 AM



(3/29/2008 12:25:00 AM) - Al

I believe Jason is going to be posting a little reward for the readers of Ramblings today, and in the meantime, I just wanted to thank you for your readership...it would seem as though March will be either the 2nd highest amount of "hits" in our history. It's proving to be a tough thing, defeating the combo platter of an Aaron Gleeman and a MLBTR link in the same month.

Here's hoping you continue to join us in April, as the real fun begins.


3/29/2008 12:25:00 AM



(3/29/2008 12:18:00 AM) - Al

My son finally fell asleep after our "camp-in", which basically involves me sleeping on the air bed in the family room, my 5 year-old son on the sofa, and my wife happily sprawled out on the king sized bed.

My wife loves camp-ins.

I just wanted to share this little exchange I had with the Rambling son earlier this evening:

Son: Who is ahead, Daddy?

Al: The Badgers are down by 12, it doesn't look good.

Son: 12? They need to hit four 3 pointers.

Al: Um, yeah. That's really good math, nice job. How'd you figure that out?

Son: Because 6+6=12.

Al: Oh.

I'm not sure if his little mind calculated 6 points is 2 3's and 2x2=4 that quick or if he just got a bit lucky.


3/29/2008 12:18:00 AM


Friday, March 28, 2008

(3/28/2008 08:06:00 PM) - Al

This race is great for the party...until it isn't.


3/28/2008 08:06:00 PM



(3/28/2008 07:57:00 PM) - Al

If you ever wondered what it would be like to play a team that never missed a shot, welcome to the Badgers' world.


3/28/2008 07:57:00 PM



(3/28/2008 07:17:00 PM) - Al

Sadly, the news about Doug Davis was true.


3/28/2008 07:17:00 PM



(3/28/2008 07:11:00 PM) - Al

Let's hope Davidson does not keep shooting the ball like they did the first half.

They certainly have a shooter's chance.


3/28/2008 07:11:00 PM



(3/28/2008 07:10:00 PM) - Al

Oof.

Difficult to believe anyone is that ignorant.


3/28/2008 07:10:00 PM



(3/28/2008 05:36:00 PM) - Al

I'd like to thank Robert for his succinct yet informative recap of my least favorite part of the baseball season, the cliche-filled days of spring training. The roster choices were rather apparent way back when, other than the Claudio Vargas release and the Mike Rivera victory in the backup catcher spot, which was yawn inducing if ever there was was one.


3/28/2008 05:36:00 PM



(3/28/2008 05:12:00 PM) - Al

I was just reminded that I watched the second half of Field of Dreams last night on WGN...it is something I often do before the baseball season, as it sums up how many people feel about the classic game. I know there are a few folks who have trouble getting into it because of the "magic" or "ghosts" in the movie, but I'm not into those things at all and I have always found it quite enjoyable.

There are many things to like about it, but to me, I especially enjoy the way baseball just weaves its way into every single part of the story...from the farmer in Iowa to the author in Boston to the doctor in Minnesota. It all revolves around the way baseball has and does grasp people from all over in its simpleness...nearly every day for 6 months of the year. Even today, in an age that barely resembles life 100 years ago (many would say even 20 years ago), baseball still is easily the best sport to listen to on the radio, and not feel like you are getting cheated.

I just put realized last night that another reason many bond to the film is the emotional swings it puts you on...many of the plot's "big twists" come together seamlessly in the last 15-20 minutes, leaving the viewer with a "wow" feeling, even if parts of it may drag a bit. Also, as I have noticed before but I don't believe ever put into words, the funniest line in the film {Huh, when'd these ballplayers get here?} is uttered just a couple minutes before the line that waters the eyes of many grown men, especially those whose father is no longer with us {Wanna have a catch?}.

I think it was Jim Valvano who said how he defined a great day as one in which you laugh and one in which you cry. He wasn't talking about Field of Dreams, but he could have been.

EDIT: The part of the speech most remembered is below. There's little doubt Field of Dreams fits the bill, all in the last few minutes.

To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special."--Jim Valvano


3/28/2008 05:12:00 PM



(3/28/2008 04:40:00 PM) - Al

I have held back mentioning this item, as the girl in question lives within a couple miles of my home.

The death of an 11 year-old has been dominating our local news, and with good reason. I'm not sure any words can discuss such a tragedy, especially since, from all indications, we're not talking about an accident or a freak occurrence, just from a lack of judgment and common sense. From reading between the lines of the news reports, it sounds as if either no charges will be filed or a very minor one...almost seeming to justify the actions, or lack thereof, of the girl's parents.

All week, as I have talked to clients, this has been mentioned almost at a whisper, often by women who have asked me, "How could this happen"? I really do not know, and in my position of remaining apolitical, could not really comment much more than that.

I just found out today that their are other children in the home, who remain at risk. I admit, I'm a bit puzzled by the lone public statement in which the mom told the AP "We're not religious fanatics", or something like that...rather than, you know, something along the lines of "allow us time to grieve, we have no comment at this time". This is the response of their..."church" , take that as you wish, but it seems as defensive as the mom's statement.

I am not all knowing, but allow me to say this...last time I checked, hospitals allow prayer.


3/28/2008 04:40:00 PM



(3/28/2008 08:36:00 AM) - Robert R.

The Arizona portion of Spring Training is over for the Brewers. While looking at statistics and the team's record in Spring Training games is of dubious merit, there still are things that we can draw from Spring Training. A partial list.

1. The core of the team is healthy.

Yes, there have been some minor issues around Hardy, Weeks, and Braun. And Gallardo is going to miss a couple of weeks. But the only truly serious injury is to Capuano and the Brewers can cope with that. The Mets and Cardinals can only wish that they had the Brewers team health.

2. The Brewers don't have as much starting pitching depth as we thought they did.

Between the injury to Capuano and the release of Vargas, the Brewers are down to five starting pitchers with any kind of track record at present and six when Gallardo comes back. Given the fragile histories of Sheets and Parra, we'll have to hope that's enough.

3. Catcher is the weakest position in the Brewers' organization.

I think the only people particularly happy about Mike Rivera being named the backup catcher are Mike Rivera, his family, and friends. Given that Jason Kendall is no certainty to bounce back, it's certain that Doug Melvin will be watching the waiver wires and talking to other GMs. I expect that we'll be hearing a lot of rumors about Gerald Laird and Jason Jaramillo this Summer. I also expect that one of the Brewers early picks in the draft will target a catcher.

4. Alcides Escobar can really field.

With Hardy out for a week, Escobar got more playing time than I think people thought he would and seemed to make a highlight reel play every game. For once the hype that a fielder could be a Gold Glove candidate seems legitimate. I don't know if he'll ever be more than a #7 or #8 hitter, but barring injury he'll be in MLB in a year or two and making highlight reel defensive plays.

5. Braun should be fine in leftfield.

He had a couple of misadventures and that will likely happen a few times at the big league level, but his arm seems to be an asset and his speed will let him cover a lot of ground. All he really needs is some experience now. There's a very good chance that the defensive shifts are going to pay off.

6. Rickie Weeks still has a long ways to go defensively.

He's made progress but is still decisively below average. Spring Training didn't seem to change that. He has many of the tools for the position, but it's looking more and more that we'll just have to accept a flaw in his game.

Overall, this is a team that looks like it can contend, albeit it's a team that still has some readily apparent flaws. Still, that describes every contender in the NL and why it's likely that a move by a GM during the season can make a difference.


3/28/2008 08:36:00 AM


Thursday, March 27, 2008

(3/27/2008 10:04:00 PM) - Al

Dave Pinto is reporting Doug Davis has cancer, but did not link to a story, and it does not come up if you google it, so I guess we can hope he made an error.

EDIT: Dave said in his comments section he got a personal e-mail from Peter Gammons with this news.


3/27/2008 10:04:00 PM



(3/27/2008 09:51:00 PM) - Al

Capuano will try rehab for a month and see how he feels.


3/27/2008 09:51:00 PM



(3/27/2008 08:46:00 PM) - Al

I just got home from yet another 14 hour day. Updates soon to follow.


3/27/2008 08:46:00 PM


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

(3/26/2008 08:22:00 PM) - Al

I don't think I officially mentioned the choice of Mike Rivera as Kendall's reserve, though Doug let it slip last night.


3/26/2008 08:22:00 PM



(3/26/2008 06:56:00 PM) - Al

Dave Pinto discusses how the time zone shift affected Dave Ortiz, as well as his daughter.

The message boards were saying they should have flown over and back in midseason, obviously, they know nothing about how the body works. I'm sure good athletes can overcome this better than most, but unless someday if everyone has to do it (like if Japan gets an MLB team), there's no way teams would not be at a huge disadvantage after returning from such a trip.


3/26/2008 06:56:00 PM



(3/26/2008 06:39:00 PM) - Al

Those folks sure do not like the other candidate their party puts forth.


3/26/2008 06:39:00 PM



(3/26/2008 06:07:00 PM) - Al

You know, I'm so old, I remember back when newspaper didn't just print fiction, they actually reported on current events.

The newspaper industry need not look past its ineptness when the blame for declining circulation comes up.


3/26/2008 06:07:00 PM



(3/26/2008 10:20:00 AM) - Al

Equal amounts of Dems feel Clinton or Obama should drop out of the race.


3/26/2008 10:20:00 AM


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

(3/25/2008 09:16:00 PM) - Al

I have to believe if Oklahoma City does get the Sonics, Seattle will have an expansion team in 5 years or so...as soon as they finally get around to building that new arena.

I also sense a strong possibility the Bucks may soon be in a similar circumstance.


3/25/2008 09:16:00 PM



(3/25/2008 07:51:00 PM) - Al

I forgot to mention that Chris Narveson reportedly received a lot of consideration for a spot in the rotation, as strange as that seems.

At the very least, I would say having him at Nashville made the braintrust feel more comfortable saving the money and letting Vargas go.


3/25/2008 07:51:00 PM



(3/25/2008 07:28:00 PM) - Al

According to friend of Ramblings Cliff, Doug Melvin said on a radio interview he has been trying to trade Vargas for a week (which may explain why Parra's last two crappy outings did not matter) and that he said something to the effect that "Mike will not bat 9th", which will indicate Rivera has won the backup C job.

I am far from a Rivera fan, as he will struggle to get on base 30% of the time (maybe 25% of the time), but it would seem defense is much higher on the priority chart than it has been in the past.

Sadly, Rivera is not much of a defender either, though he may work well with pitchers.


3/25/2008 07:28:00 PM



(3/25/2008 07:24:00 PM) - Al

Tom H has the rotation, which still includes Claudio Vargas, heh.

I think it's safe to say Carlos V is meant to be the #4 guy, it is safe to say.


3/25/2008 07:24:00 PM



(3/25/2008 06:40:00 PM) - Al

MLBTR feels the same way about Vargas and the Crew's SP depth (though I think Tim forgot about Yo) that I do. For the minimum, I would bet a dozen teams will be contacting his agent tonight. I'm surprised the Mets or another team that does not mind adding payroll did not claim him on waivers.


3/25/2008 06:40:00 PM



(3/25/2008 03:58:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Tom Haudricourt wrote yesterday about some contract extension talk for Fielder and Braun. Yeah!! He also mentioned Hart, Hardy and Yovani. I understand Hart, but why Yovani after less then a year?

I'm curious as to your feelings about the possibility of an extension for Hardy. I'm not a believer yet in Hardy. Jack Wilson and Bill Hall come to mind. I think he is good with the glove, but not great. He had a really good offensive year last year, but that is just one year. With Alcides Escobar about two years away, he HAS to be our shortstop of the future. This spring, Escobar has been lights out offensively and defensively. So, does that mean Hardy will be our third baseman of the future? Hall's contract is up in 2010. Maybe move him before the final year? Also, is Iribarren going to be strictly CF this year or CF & 2B? We don't seem to have a 2B prospect but plenty of OF positions tied up for years to come.

Thanks always,

Dan


Allow me to say that I am not sure of anything anymore, as I felt I had a good read of what was going on just by "reading between the lines" until the Vargas release. Right now, your guess is as good as mine.

That said, I would say Escobar is almost a "can't miss" guy, based solely on his defense. I don't think the Brewers have had a guy like that since Ramblings debuted at the very least, and maybe never. If Hardy remains in the organization, say in 2010, he will probably be a 2B or 3B. JJ remains a bit fragile in my eyes, especially when you figure in his back ailments last year...he often looked "stiff" while in the field, and his power production was also quite low in the 2nd half, all signs that his back may well have been more of a bother than was made public.

I would not dream of a long-term deal with Yo for anything except WAY below market value, as young arms get injured at an alarming pace.

I do not know much about Iribarren, except that his move to CF tells me Rickie is entrenched at 2B and the Brewers like him enough to see if he might make it elsewhere, or as a utility guy. If Rickie were hurt tomorrow, I would imagine some sort of Hernan/Counsell/Dillon combo at 2B, so I have to believe he will continue to see some time at 2B, though limited, with Abe Nunez also in the mix.


3/25/2008 03:58:00 PM



(3/25/2008 03:50:00 PM) - Al

Brewers released RHP Claudio Vargas.

Bizarre. Vargas entered spring training looking like a long shot to win a spot in the Milwaukee rotation, but he had a 3.86 ERA in his five starts and it had seemed to be a given that he'd be in the rotation with both Yovani Gallardo and Chris Capuano out. At the very least, the Brewers figured to be able to trade him thanks to his strong spring. His $3.6 million salary proved to be too much of a hindrance apparently. Expect the Astros, Mets and others to pursue him once he clears waivers. Both Carlos Villanueva and Manny Parra will have rotation spots now.--Rotoworld


The ironic thing here is, the Mets are a consensus pick to be NL champs, and they are mentioned along with the Astros, who I feel may be among the worst teams in the league.

I will say this, Reed Johnson is at worst a slightly less than average CF, and he had his choice of a half-dozen teams to choose from. I have to believe Vargas will as well. At the very least, using an option on Parra or Villanueva (which may well still be used when Yo returns) would have been the prudent thing to do in my opinion.

If nothing else, I think this is a sign the Brewers are most definitely in "win now" mode, even if it means not stockpiling talent and using options as a way of maximizing players available.


3/25/2008 03:50:00 PM



(3/25/2008 03:27:00 PM) - Al

I have to agree with Jason, I'm astonished the Vargas move was made. Reports are now that the Brewers saved $2.7M by releasing him now, but to be perfectly blunt, I would much rather have Claudio at AAA as depth than not have him at all. Of course, that's with Jason's caveat that it's not my money either.

I do, however, understand they simply did not feel he was one of the top guys, Doug said they had him 7th out of 7 (I assume they are counting Capuano as injured and Gallardo as healthy). The problem I see is it is certainly not difficult at all for many of us to shudder a bit at the thought of, as of today, the club only has 5 healthy starters, while a few weeks ago, they had 8. Granted, Yo is due back in a couple weeks, but as of today, who is #6...Chris Narveson? No offense intended, as Narveson is no worse than a decent AAA pitcher, but that's quite a step down from having a Vargas type, a solid 5ish ERA guy (albeit with little ceiling at this point). Even with Yo as your 6th guy, how many teams get through 162 games using only 6 starters?

Notice, I did not even mention the fact one of those SP's is Ben Sheets, who is unlikely to start 35 games or throw 200 frames. Heck, neither is Manny Parra, who is not that far removed from being a "wait and see" guy.

So, in closing, I understand Claudio was not one of top 5 (or 6 even), but I still would have loved having him around for depth purposes. I do not foresee the Crew needing only 5 or 6 starters in '08, and I have to wonder if the falloff from Vargas to whoever is not much greater than expected.

While it is nice to see that we had an extra pitcher that will all but surely end up throwing 150 innings in the big leagues that was not good enough to make the team, I have a hard time believing he will not be missed at a later date.


3/25/2008 03:27:00 PM



(3/25/2008 01:45:00 PM) - Jason Christopherson

If the Spurling release was surprising, I would say that today's news qualifies as a shocker.

JSOnline is reporting that Claudio Vargas has been released after clearing waivers. I guess the organization didn't want his $3M contract pitching in Nashville. I know Claudio is a polarizing figure among Brewer fans, and I know it's not my money to play with, but this release just seems wrong. TH's story said that there were some nibbles on the trade market, but not enough to pull the trigger on a deal. Isn't getting SOMETHING better than just a flat out release? I'm a bit puzzled right now.


3/25/2008 01:45:00 PM


Monday, March 24, 2008

(3/24/2008 07:42:00 PM) - Al

Odd to see Chris Spurling released, as while his ceiling is limited, he seemed like very capable AAA depth. Of course, as is always the case, especially among the minor league veterans, sometimes players request their release to pursue a better opportunity.


3/24/2008 07:42:00 PM



(3/24/2008 07:22:00 PM) - Al

Glenn discusses people that refuse to get their kids the proper vaccines.

I do find it very strange an incredible tiny minority gets such a large amount of press.

I do love the idea that Jenny McCarthy - who rose to fame as a pretty, ditzy blonde on an MTV dating show and then progressed to the intellectual heights of a Playboy spread - is someone who should be listened to with respect on the causes and treatment of autism.

From the comments of the original link Glenn provides. Heh.

I do know that polio used to be a dreaded, terrible disease, and now it is a footnote in history.


3/24/2008 07:22:00 PM



(3/24/2008 05:58:00 PM) - Al

I have a shiny blue Cobalt as my rental at least the next couple days, as my Saturn will be having its engine disassembled to try and figure out why it is using oil at a startling pace, about a quart every 1000 miles. Luckily, we caught this about a month before my warranty expires, which leads to the work being free and them supplying me a rental until it is taken care of.

I say this only for the benefit of my legion of young attractive female fans, which as my wife points out, are almost entirely fictional.


3/24/2008 05:58:00 PM



(3/24/2008 05:55:00 PM) - Al

While I stand by my guess that Gwynn, Gross, and Kapler will split the CF starts while Cameron sits out his suspension...it would look for the moment Tony Jr. will get the majority of them at least at the beginning of the season, due to his superior defense.


3/24/2008 05:55:00 PM



(3/24/2008 05:47:00 PM) - Al

I was just flipping channels and on the CBS evening news, they had a story about the plethora of independent oil producers now working, as $100 oil makes many spots profitable that were not before...abandoned old wells, pockets where "just a little" oil is down there and so on. They said 2/3rd's of the US oil production now comes from these independent companies...many of those are a single person with a single drill operations.

A while back, I mentioned that "anyone can drill for oil" and was roundly criticized by those who do not believe in capitalism and those who fail to realize that in the USA, anything is possible if you work hard and have good fortune on your side. Once again, the only person "the man" is holding down is the people who don't care enough to try.


3/24/2008 05:47:00 PM


Sunday, March 23, 2008

(3/23/2008 08:33:00 PM) - Al

Badgers play upstart Davidson at 6PM Friday.

I certainly will be rooting heartily for the UW, but it will be difficult to get too unhappy if the little engine that could pulls the upset.


3/23/2008 08:33:00 PM



(3/23/2008 06:55:00 PM) - Al

I don't know a whole lot about him, but Reed Johnson is a pretty capable OF to be released.

He was simply superb in 2006, I have to wonder how much injuries affected him last year. Hard to believe he'll be unemplyed long.


3/23/2008 06:55:00 PM



(3/23/2008 06:51:00 PM) - Al

Tom H guesses how the roster will shake out, and I agree with his picks, except I would go with Carlos V over Parra, though I am going by who I would take and I assume Tom is trying to pick the roster the braintrust will take north.


3/23/2008 06:51:00 PM



(3/23/2008 06:43:00 PM) - Al

This is why you need SP depth, my friends.

Tough break for Cappy, he is likely out for all of 2008 and quite possibly, a part of 2009...or, he may well be 75% for the early part of '09.

Not only is it very likely Chris has thrown his final pitch for the Brewers, this is why I hate signing pitchers to a long-term contract of any kind. Sometimes, you have to of course, but for those saying that "Signing Sheets (or even a healthy arm like Johan Santana) is a no-brainer", it is rather likely the no-brainer is the person making that statement.


3/23/2008 06:43:00 PM



(3/23/2008 05:37:00 PM) - Al

We just got home, and a look at the ticker says Davidson upset Georgetown. Granted, the Badgers could lose to Davidson just like the Hoyas did, but it's tough not to prefer a #10 seed who relies on the outside shot than a #2 seed.


3/23/2008 05:37:00 PM



(3/23/2008 08:24:00 AM) - Al

We'll be celebrating Easter today, so updates will be sparse.

The Rambling son just uttered the phrase "The bunny fooled me again", so his basket search, while successful, was a challenge.


3/23/2008 08:24:00 AM



(3/23/2008 08:23:00 AM) - Al

Hey Al,

Been enjoying your discussion of sorts about outdated food, and thought I'd chime in. Couple years ago, my family traveled to the great northwoods to visit my parents for Christmas. My brother and his family live in that area as well, and we usually all get together. Long story short, my brother walks in the door of my father's house with three gigantic industrial sized black garbage bags full to the brim. Could barely tie them. As my brother is a bit of a "northwoods redneck", our first thoughts were, "Did he just bring his laundry over?!?". Instead, he drops all bags on the floor, smiles, and then opens them one by one. Each bag is loaded with Frito Lay products. Anything and everything you can think of. Bags and bags and bags. Turns out, there's a local distribution building by where he was working at the time, and just about every week, they dump "outdated" stuff in back of the building. Some was as much as several months "old".

We all divvied up the stuff and I can tell you, other than maybe eating a few too many chips, etc., everything was just fine.

As someone who loves to garden, I routinely eat plenty of stuff that I normally wouldn't, i.e. dirt, hair, and yes, bugs (not on purpose, obviously). I just think that we're all alot tougher than people tend to think...or at least our stomachs are.

'Course, I've just set myself up for food poisoning, didn't I? Well, if I do get it, I hope it'll be from something that tasted good.

James


Yeah, I can't imagine Doritoes "going bad" very quickly. Thanks for sharing, James.


3/23/2008 08:23:00 AM


Saturday, March 22, 2008

(3/22/2008 08:44:00 PM) - Jason Christopherson

As if you needed more motivation to read this blog... :)

Be sure to watch this space in the coming days for your chance to win MLB 08: The Show for PS3! We're still finalizing the details but we have a handful of copies available to give away. Stay tuned.

Additionally, I'll review the PS2 version of the game here in the next week or so. I'm not a big time gamer by any means, but I'll do my best to give you a solid review. Please, if you have any specific questions about the game or want me to take a look at any feature in particular please drop me a line (click on the link on the right) and I'll put a line or two about it in the review or get back to you directly.


3/22/2008 08:44:00 PM



(3/22/2008 08:05:00 PM) - Al

Al,

First time writer, long time reader. I've enjoyed the blog for 4 years, and I enjoy both your baseball and off-topic writings. I also really enjoy Robert's reviews, as I often add his little seen films to my want list on Netflix. I have a pair of things to comment on:

1. I work in a small office of a dozen people. All of us had benefits including insurance, and all but one of us are now on Badger Care Plus, most of us paying nothing or very little. The one who is not is single, childless, and not eligible.

I do indeed wonder at the cost of this program to the state, as I have to believe it is staggering. However, we have all gone from having pretty bare bones coverage to very comprehensive coverage. The oldest person's spouse takes 8-10 meds a day, and they will be saving $150 a month. I wish everyone the best and I only wish all 50 states could start a program like this.

2. I cheered when I saw your post about outdated food. I used to scrounge the outdated cart when I was a college student, and never got sick either. The other day, my wife cleaned out the fridge and I swear, threw out $50 worth of food because "it is only good a week or two after it has been opened". Are you kidding me? She threw out 2 or 3 opened boxes of pasta in the cupboard also, which I think truly would last through a holocaust. We are all such a bunch of idiots when it comes to these things, and as you discussed, recalling millions of pounds of ground beef without a single illness being reported, because some cows (not the most graceful creatures) fell down in a meat packing plant some time in 2007? What an incredible waste of time and resources.

Bryan


I kind of regret being known as "the old food guy".:) As my wife and I always say, if you cook it, it'll be fine. It's kind of ironic, TV shows have guys eating bugs and raw stuff all the time, but if you don't cook an egg or meat until it's black, they act like you'll be on your death bed in an hour. Just like George Carlin says, "Geez, they make you cook the s**t out of everything"!

And yes, Jim Doyle deserves a lot of credit for what would appear to be a program other states may indeed model. Let's hope the cost is indeed less than both of us fear.


3/22/2008 08:05:00 PM



(3/22/2008 07:45:00 PM) - Al

ESPN's Buster Olney reveals in his blog that the Twins have all but re-signed Joe Nathan to a four-year deal, paying $11-12MM per.

Nathan is a fine reliever, but he's 33 and that is the largest contract ever given a closer. The Twins obviously felt the need to "sign somebody", but PR moves never work out well compared to pure baseball decisions.


3/22/2008 07:45:00 PM



(3/22/2008 07:32:00 PM) - Al

It was just an honor watching the Badgers play today, as they simply stopped the K-State attack cold in the 2nd half...though if they hit half their 3's, they would have kept it a somewhat close game.

Trevon Hughes can dominate when he's on; he looks like he's just on another level. Hopefully, he will take it even higher as an upperclassman.


3/22/2008 07:32:00 PM



(3/22/2008 01:12:00 PM) - Al

Ned says he has "no idea" what the rotation will be after Sheets and Suppan.

Yost is very good at pulling the reporters' legs, yet the JS seems to fall for it. I would guess the only question at this point (and possibly, the only roster spot) is whether it is Carlos V or Manny Parra in the rotation, baring injuries of course.


3/22/2008 01:12:00 PM



(3/22/2008 10:25:00 AM) - Al

I have a request, though it may be a longshot. I have someone looking for a pair of tickets to Opening Day at Miller Park, 4/4. I realize that this is a hot ticket, but if anyone has since found out they cannot go, or like me, realize that at the end of the day, it is only 1 of 81, shoot me an e-mail.

I appreciate it.


3/22/2008 10:25:00 AM



(3/22/2008 10:15:00 AM) - Al

As I often say, I just wish a consensus would appear on why I should panic about the planet.

Allow me to say, given the past winter, I'm not so sure I am happy about the "cooling".


3/22/2008 10:15:00 AM



(3/22/2008 09:38:00 AM) - Al

So, the other day I was at GNC purchasing my vitamins, and after finding those, wandered over to the protein bars to see if any were discontinued and on clearance, as normally, they are simply far too expensive to justify purchasing, despite their convenience factor and relative good-for-you quality if used as a meal substitute.

I hit the mother load. Several were marked down, and not just 2 for $15, instead of $7.99 a piece. Many were 75-90% off, $2 for a box of 12 type of thing. Excited, I bought several boxes and went to the checkout. I mentioned the discount and the gent at the register said, "Yeah, the outdated stuff". I said I thought those things lasted forever, and he laughed and then said, "Well, I would not say forever".

When I got home, I glanced at the expiration dates, and all I saw were in April or May, so technically, it is not "outdated" yet, but getting relatively close.

Back in the early 90's, I worked at a pizza place in Eau Claire, and in one of its many locations over the years, one was a strip mall which also contained a Hostess Thrift shop, a place that sells "pulled back" Hostess products at a steep discount. Boxes of Twinkies and Ding Dongs were about $2 or 2 for $3, and sometimes, you'd get lucky with a cart of "extra" special boxes, and they'd be 50 or 75 cents a box. They were usually actually past their expiration date, while normally, they were a few weeks away from actually being expired. I often bought 3-4 boxes, took them back to the store, ate a couple, and left them for the other workers (as then and now, I certainly had no use for them). I recall a shift manager saying that people would even say things like "Why hasn't Al bought any Twinkies?" when there weren't any. Needless to say, no one ever complained about their condition.

Fast forward to last night, as Nightline had a story on chains in California that sell "distressed" and overstock merchandise; which includes package changes, expired products, and even dented cans and the like. These stores are especially popular now with the downturn in the economy. They showed cart after cart, mostly loaded with several of the same item. Cereals, packets of oatmeal, and so on. The reporter and a manager opened several items and tried them, and could not tell any difference...even a cereal that was 9 months past its expiration date.

The conclusion they came to was the dates are good to check the freshness of an item, and other than that, are random and meaningless. If you need any proof of that fact, take a gander at your bottled water...yep, it always has an expiration date.

Maybe after a couple years, the hydrogen and oxygen separates...I hope this never happens to the oceans!


3/22/2008 09:38:00 AM



(3/22/2008 09:21:00 AM) - Al

Obama's speech about his pastor is hurting him quite a bit.

Also, Politico misses one small detail...the fact is, neither Clinton or Obama will have enough delegates when the convention begins, barring some sort of "deal". The popular vote is meaningless, as the delegate system was set up the way it was to disregard the public from nominating a "rebel".


3/22/2008 09:21:00 AM



(3/22/2008 09:08:00 AM) - Al

Sal Fasano alluded to the fact on Friday that he will not accept a minor league assignment.

"Honestly, I don't think that's a good spot for me," Fasano said. "It's hard, because I really don't see myself as a Triple-A player. I've been in the big leagues a long time. I don't want to go back down."


If the Brewers do not like Eric Munson for some reason (though I think they do like him, as they dealt for him), Fasano would be a better choice than Mike Rivera, in my opinion. Sal is the epitome of a hard-nosed reserve C, and to prove it, his offense matches the stereotype...though with the bar so low, he's barely below average for the position.


3/22/2008 09:08:00 AM


Friday, March 21, 2008

(3/21/2008 08:07:00 PM) - Al

The JS reports the Crew told Rottino he is their top C prospect, and needs to focus on being a true #1 catcher rather than a utility man. Of course, this might lead him to being a good enough catcher to allow him to be a backup and a utility man.

They also told Stetter he will be a set-up man and not a lefty specialist at AAA, but rarely is anyone used that way in the minors.


3/21/2008 08:07:00 PM



(3/21/2008 07:14:00 PM) - Al

I read that Mitch Stetter and Vinny Rottino were both sent down today, but have not seen it confirmed. No surprise on either, though I thought Stetter had a chance if Sal Torres was DL'd to start the season. Both are fine, fine guys to have as AAA depth and at the very least, will likely be seen in September.


3/21/2008 07:14:00 PM



(3/21/2008 06:46:00 PM) - Al

Bush and Carlos V each pitch nicely in today's game.


3/21/2008 06:46:00 PM



(3/21/2008 01:27:00 PM) - Al

JJ Hardy will undergo tests to see if he has the flu or something more serious, as he has lost 10 pounds and still feels weak.

I know that this is the way all clinics would look like if everyone got free health care, as folks would go in every time their trick knee was hurting, or their neck was sore, and so on. I wish I had an answer, as I wish everyone (including myself) had outstanding coverage at a low (or no) price. However, costs would skyrocket, as most hesitation about going would melt away.

I think it's as close to an unanswerable question as exists.


3/21/2008 01:27:00 PM



(3/21/2008 01:24:00 PM) - Al

This Gonzaga/Davidson game is about as good as college basketball gets. I picked Davidson, as well as Western Kentucky and St. Mary's, having no idea they'd all be playing at once.


3/21/2008 01:24:00 PM



(3/21/2008 01:11:00 PM) - Al

Al,

You said it earlier in the year. I hate (not an overstatement) Hillary enough to be in that group.


Anyway, we're getting buried here in Milwaukee with this snowstorm. If my co-worker hadn't come across two extra Opening Day tickets for me and a friend this week, I might even be downright in the dumps. Nope, I'm going to look on the bright side.

OK, heading out for a business appointment I have to keep. This normally 20-minute drive should be a real blast. Looking forward to any updates you put up. For what it's worth, the only throw-right, bat-left guy I've ever known on one of my softball teams could absolutely crush the ball.

Jim


My brother just e-mailed to say he had 2 foot drifts in his driveway. It is astounding how the lower half of the state has just been drilled so hard this year, while the Wausau area just had slightly above average snowfall. We have yet to get a single flake today.

I would expect many of the 20% of the Dems surveyed will change their mind come election time, but I noticed the same thing the other day in a survey which had McCain winning against either...but with Nader getting 6%, in what must be a protest vote, as Ralph's family is not that big. Where are those folks who thought constant bickering would help the Dems?


3/21/2008 01:11:00 PM


Thursday, March 20, 2008

(3/20/2008 10:26:00 PM) - Al

Parra's ERA goes up 4 runs, showing exactly why spring stats are meaningless.


3/20/2008 10:26:00 PM



(3/20/2008 09:54:00 PM) - Al

While we discuss how the Brewers are going to hang onto all their talent, we have the White Sox paying their guys big money and then waiving them.

Oof.


3/20/2008 09:54:00 PM



(3/20/2008 09:44:00 PM) - Al

CSF seems to be doing a fine job of doing what they want, which is go at it full speed and hope for the best.

I'd feel a lot better if they missed a few shots to open the 2nd half.


3/20/2008 09:44:00 PM



(3/20/2008 09:12:00 PM) - Al

The Badgers have slowed down the Titans output, but still seem to be rushing a bit, and look like they are playing their opponent's game rather than their own.

Hughes has to sit down with a pair of fouls, that might hurt as the half goes on.


3/20/2008 09:12:00 PM



(3/20/2008 09:00:00 PM) - Al

Badgers off to a slow start, as the quicker Titans are just flying around the court, hitting shots. You get the feeling the Badgers will have to "go small" to keep up.


3/20/2008 09:00:00 PM



(3/20/2008 08:21:00 PM) - Al

If you were watching the tourney, you'll note the crowd stood and applauded the fact that some school from somewhere almost beat Duke, the universally despised epitome of a stuck-up private college, where tax dollars go into the coffers of a foundation that makes the lawn greener and the computer labs bigger for the debutantes and Southern elite.

Why do our tax dollars go to support private schools, who can (and do) turn down and admit students based solely on race, alumni status, and gender?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Allow me to say Kansas State looked nothing like an 11th seed either. I read someone say they were robbed, and I would have to agree.

UPDATE: Before anyone asks, yes, I do have an irrational hatred of Duke.:)


3/20/2008 08:21:00 PM



(3/20/2008 07:43:00 PM) - Al

The JS thinks Parra and Bush may both be in the rotation because they have been moved off the same day, and I would tend to agree. If so, I would assume that is bad news ofr Carlos V, as he has options and is almost certain to go down if Parra is in the rotation.

The funny thing about Manny, who has had a fine March, is no one cares than Craig Counsell is hitting .450, because, we all know what Craig will do. I guess Parra is young enough he can impress, but personally, I'm a believer in knowing who your guys are when you get to camp and not letting a few random results decide roster spots. To me, Carlos is a lot more proven than Manny, so I'd go with him and have Parra as the AAA depth.


3/20/2008 07:43:00 PM



(3/20/2008 03:37:00 PM) - Al

Hey Al,

I just read the question about guys that bat lefty but throw righty. Basically, it seems like batters have an advantage hitting from the left side of the plate. Simply because it's easier to 'see' a pitch if you're a lefty batting against a righty. At a young age, and even up through the pros, there are a lot more right-handed pitchers.

And since you really can't teach yourself to throw with your non-dominant hand, you'll get guys like Jenkins who are natural righties but from a young age (probably cause his dad insisted he hit lefty) are hitting from the left side. Look no further than Prince Fielder. His dad batted righty but his son bats lefty. I can only imagine Cecil made sure Prince hit from the left side of the plate as soon as he could hold a bat.

So if you want your kid to play in the big leagues, do 2 things. Teach him how to bat lefty, and put catchers gear on him. Done and done.


Pat

Al,

My four year old godson is one of those players that bats lefthanded and throws right-handed. We tried hard to get him to throw left-handed to by placing things in his left hand as an infant but he would just move them to his right hand. Having him bat left-handed was something that he picked up very easily though. Basically it was hard to wire his brain to use one hand/arm as his dominant, but much easier to get him to do something a certain way when both hands/arms are involved.

As to why we would do that, I think it's clear the benefits of having a player bat left-handed. If he's not able to hit like handed pitchers, being a lefty gives a lot more opportunity. I was your classic Kevin Mench in high school. I could hit plenty of lefties that could throw upwards to 90 MPH but when it came to righties, I was awful. Hence, my career did not last much past high school.

-Jon

In regards to why there are so many lefties that throw right handed, it is relatively simple. Likely in high school, these players were right handed and tried seeing if they could switch hit to get closer to first base and did well swinging from the left side of the plate. They write right handed, golf right handed, and throw right handed, but because they have trained themselves to have a natural advantage of hitting lefty, they are able to do it that way.

Billy



The thing I do not understand is if they were athletic enough to learn how to hit "backwards", how come they do not switch-hit? I can hit a bit from the left side, but with no power at all (not that I'm hitting moon shots RH, but hence, I digress).

Thank you to those who sent in a response.


3/20/2008 03:37:00 PM



(3/20/2008 03:04:00 PM) - Al

I guess my Georgia over Xavier pick did not turn out so well.

Of course, I probably did not give the Bulldogs much of a chance myself, but figured if I got it right, I'd be looked upon as a genius.:)


3/20/2008 03:04:00 PM



(3/20/2008 08:47:00 AM) - Al

According to the latest Zogby poll, McCain scores 46 to 40 percent against Obama. Just last month it was 47 to 40 — in Obama’s favor! That’s a huge turnaround, undoubtedly traceable to Obama’s recent problems with his pal Reverend Wright. As for Sen. Clinton, Zogby also shows McCain leading, 48 to 40. In Rasmussen’s daily Presidential Tracking Poll, McCain leads Obama 48-42, and Clinton 49-43.--NRO

I not only know the election is ages away, but that popular vote is meaningless.

That said, those who said that a race between the Dems would somehow help them by keeping their constant negatives and barbs in the news every day don't understand the way Middle America (flyover country, as the media calls it) thinks. Given a choice between that (see the ratings of Air America) and a positive outlook that stays above the fray, people in Peoria will rarely choose dissension.


3/20/2008 08:47:00 AM



(3/20/2008 08:34:00 AM) - Al

I know nothing about Cal State-Fullerton except their lineup includes 3 short guards and two forwards of 6-4 and 6-5 guys...almost a blueprint of what I have long noticed is often a successful formula for mid-majors...a lineup full of players that "did not fit in" to what you often see the big D1 teams looking for.

There are plenty of sub 6 foot guys who can contribute to a D1 program, and many who spend a great deal of time doing nothing but shooting from 22 feet all offseason. There are also plenty of guys who were very good post players at 6-3 or 6-4 in high school, and they often are unable to transition to a 2 or 3 spot.

Almost as if to prove my point, ESPN just said that the entire roster for CSF is either a transfer or a junior college player...guys that for one reason or another, did not fit in.

They do worry me though, as it sounds like they have several pure shooters...if they hit their shots, a team like that (think Golden State) is nearly impossible to beat. Hopefully, they will not hit 50-60% of their 3 pointers.


3/20/2008 08:34:00 AM


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

(3/19/2008 11:53:00 PM) - Al

Al:

Just got back from Spring Training yesterday and have a few tidbits I thought I'd share.

- I did end up staying about 2 miles down the street from the Maryvale Complex. I hear things about how bad of a neighborhood it is but think that is a bit misguided. It's simply a working class Hispanic neighborhood. I guess people from Wisconsin may not necessarily be used to that but I wouldn't call it a 'bad' neighborhood in the sense of a ghetto. Now when people complain that there is nothing to do there they are absolutely correct. I won't be staying in the area when I likely go back next year. The Peoria area had a lot more things to do and the Brewers play plenty of games there with Seattle and San Diego sharing a stadium. The cab fare was $40 from the Maryvale area to Peoria which wasn't bad with four people.

- I got a chance to meet Mr. Attansio briefly. All the good things people say about him seem to be true. He's not a rich snob that owns a team as a status symbol. He stopped and listened to a fan next to us that offered a suggestion about some hat and how it doesn't work with women's hair or something to that effect. He may not do anything about it, but at least he listened. He was thanking everybody for coming out on his walk up the aisle. I think Brewer fans should be thankful they have an owner like Mark and I know you've mentioned the same thing on many occasions.

- Rickie Weeks looked awful the whole time I was there. It wasn't that his hits weren't falling in but more that he was completely off in every aspect of the game. His defense will never be above average and Spring Training defense tends to be spotty so I'll give him a pass in that area. But his approach at the plate has me wondering. He's taking a lot of early strikes trying to work the count thus falling behind. Late last year when he was hitting so well he was laying off the pitches out of the zone that would follow when he got behind. To me, part of plate discipline is jumping on some early pitches in the count that are in the zone making pitchers think twice about grooving one right down the middle early in the count. Rickie will probably always have high strikeout totals and that doesn't bother me at all. But he needs to establish himself earlier in the count so pitchers can't follow the formula they've been lately, two strikes down the middle and proceed to throw him trash until he strikes out.

- Simply put, Manny Parra is one of the best five pitchers on this team. I know there are plenty of reasons why he shouldn't start in the rotation, but if he doesn't spend a significant amount of time in the rotation this year I will be very disappointed. He's got good stuff and gets ahead of hitters. Seeing him pitch up close really impressed me. That being said, Dave Bush looked just fine also. But Parra has a chance to be something special if he can just stay healthy. I can see why he may not break with the club, but stashing him away in AAA all year would be ill advised if we are trying to win a division title. I can definitely see why Keith Law from ESPN.com agrees with me.

From Minor League Camp:

- Angel Salome has arms that are bigger than my legs. I've seen pictures, but in person it is astounding how big of arms he has. I watched him take some batting practice, but of course you can't really draw too many conclusions watching a guy take 60 MPH fastballs. I do wonder if he will ever be much of a defensive catcher. Hopefully his offense can carry him.

- A lot of people say some bad things about Jeremy Jeffress and they are probably justified. But we have to remember that he is pretty much still a kid and kids make mistakes. I saw him interacting with some fans and he doesn't seem like a guy that is high on himself, pun intended. I'm willing to chalk his mistakes up to immaturity. As far as we know, he wasn't using any physical addictive substances so the road ahead for him is much, much easier than say a Josh Hamilton or Jeff Allison (who has made it back into Marlins camp). He seems like a humble young man that I am worried a lot less about than most.

- I saw two of the Dominican bonus babies from a couple of years ago, Rolando Pascual and Willy Peralta, walking together. Physically, if you could put together a pitching prospect, these two guys would be specimens. I didn't see them pitching at all and wonder what they will be doing this year. I didn't hear much of them last year. The old 'Moneyball' adage applies here. The Brewers aren't selling jeans so it remains to be told whether these guys can actually pitch.

-Jon


I know Salome has a great arm, but no idea how his overall defense is.

I believe Weeks was just taking pitches early in camp until he got two strikes, so I put little emphasis on his BA. I would obviously like to see him "hit his stride" in the next week.

I think Parra will be up over half the season, if healthy and effective. I still would say he's one bad outing away from being an easy option.

And yes, Mark A is a perfect example for the other owners. He's a businessman, but he does a fine job doing the little things. Seeing how badly Ulice Payne handled his role as president at the end, not understanding where the team was at and trying to win over casuals by throwing at cash at veteran mediocrity, Mark A basically has taken over that role as "the face of ownership" and done a wonderful job...being optimistic, and giving his baseball people the tools and the freedom to do their jobs.


3/19/2008 11:53:00 PM



(3/19/2008 11:50:00 PM) - Al

It's always sad when Ramblings gets more hits when I don't update. Of course, it makes some sense, as some might well check more waiting for an update.

I was in Chip Falls today, so I was gone from 7AM-9:30PM. Luckily, on the off day, nothing happened anyway. I will be back tomorrow, at some time, with several responses to my lefty hitter/righty thrower question. I will leave you with a fine spring training update from a reader. Keep you opinions and thoughts coming in.


3/19/2008 11:50:00 PM



(3/19/2008 10:10:00 PM) - Al

Starbucks seems to have no idea that most people have figured out that their product horrendously overpriced. They seem to be a near textbook example of a company who did well, hit a certain point, and now suffers from not really knowing what to do now that the fad that led to their success has been copied and probably bettered by the competition (I would not know, as I do not like the taste of coffee).


3/19/2008 10:10:00 PM


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

(3/18/2008 11:05:00 PM) - Al

The JS looks at Chris Narveson's unlikely run, which will result in him possibly being one of the top callups from Nashville.


3/18/2008 11:05:00 PM



(3/18/2008 10:00:00 PM) - Al

I feel obligated to update readers on the Danielle Fishel legal tale, which seems to be wrapped up.

Apparently, Ms. Fishel has a single file photo, or the gent at Superficial just likes that one...though I see his point.


3/18/2008 10:00:00 PM



(3/18/2008 08:46:00 PM) - Al

Obama says Don Imus should not be allowed to say bad things about Rutgers' lady basketball players...but apparently, his pastor can say whatever he wishes.

Oof.

I'd much rather sit down to dinner with Imus than some conspiracy nut/America hater.


3/18/2008 08:46:00 PM



(3/18/2008 08:25:00 PM) - Al

About the McCartney thing is not the whole thing about Heather Mills. It's how much Sir Paul is worth. There are estimates that it's $1.6 billion. I'm wondering how much Ringo is worth if that's the case. No he didn't write that much of the music, but he had a decent solo career and he still gets a piece of every recording. The piece just
isn't as large as Paul's. I have a feeling that what Mills is getting is just a small part of what Paul has made over the period of their marriage.

Mike


Considering Ms. Mills has no discernible talents other than being somewhat attractive, $48M seems more than fair. Complaining about winning the end of marriage lottery makes her seem both petty and ignorant.


3/18/2008 08:25:00 PM



(3/18/2008 08:07:00 PM) - Al

Al,

First, keep up the good work on the blog. Over the course of the last year it has become a daily stop for me to get Brewer and other information.

Next, a question that is rather pointless but has me wondering nonetheless. Not sure if you would have any insight but I thought I'd give it a shot. Why are there so many major leaguers that throw right handed but bat left? I have never noticed this being a common thing at anywhere but the professional level, yet there is a large population of players with this trait. I'm a little embarrassed to say I actually started looking at the NL Central to see how prevalent it is. The Brewers have seven position players on the 40 man roster that throw right and bat left: Counsell, Fielder, Gross, Gwynn, Iribarren, Munson and Nelson. Jenkins was the same way. With the departure of Estrada the Crew is without a switch hitter on the forty unless you count Tim Dillard of the pitching staff.

The rest of the division isn't as heavy with these types of players, but still has a significant population in their position corps:

Cubs - 3
Astros - 1 + 3 switch hitters
Cards - 4 + 1 switch hitter
Pirates - 1 + 1 switch hitter
Reds - 4 + 1 switch hitter

Is the ability to bat left handed that helpful in getting to the majors that more players with that ability get a chance to play pro ball? Or am I just unobservant and there are all kinds of little leaguers and high school kids out there doing the same thing? I know that there are more right-handed pitchers out there than left, but does that alone really drive this? For a meaningless question I have an annoying desire to know the answer.

Again thanks for all the work on the blog. I'm really looking forward to this season.

David


I don't know.:)

I know in the upper echelon levels of fast pitch softball, many batters bat lefty because of that extra help it gives them getting to 1B quickly, as the vast majority of those games end in a soccer-like score of 1-0 or 2-1, as pitching is dominant.

I would guess that many young players may well learn to switch-hit to imitate hitters and the like, and they might abandon their weaker side, sometimes RH.

If any Ramblings' readers have more to add, let me know.


3/18/2008 08:07:00 PM



(3/18/2008 07:56:00 PM) - Al

I'm having issues with my internet tonight, so updates might be light.


3/18/2008 07:56:00 PM


Monday, March 17, 2008

(3/17/2008 09:02:00 PM) - Al

Adam with his weekly mailbag, well put as always.


3/17/2008 09:02:00 PM



(3/17/2008 07:24:00 PM) - Al

Allow me to say, I can promise you my wife would happily accept $50K to divorce me.

Some days, 50 cents.


3/17/2008 07:24:00 PM



(3/17/2008 07:12:00 PM) - Al

Rickie Weeks and Chris Capuano both out due to injury...time will tell how long it takes them to get back into the flow of things.


3/17/2008 07:12:00 PM



(3/17/2008 10:27:00 AM) - Robert R.

Second review of the week.

Flawless

The heist film has a long history in a variety of cultures. OCEAN'S ELEVEN, RIFIFI, LE CERCLE ROUGE, THE KILLING, THE LADYKILLERS, SNATCH, and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE are some of the more prominent entries in the field. FLAWLESS is the latest entry and it draws it's pedigree from two prominent sources, THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN which is explicitly referenced in the movie, and the original THE ITALIAN JOB which starred Michael Caine. FLAWLESS isn't a groundbreaking movie, but it has a fine sense of time and place and manages to work some new wrinkles into the genre.

Set against the strains of The Dave Brubeck Quartet's form breaking "Take Five", FLAWLESS takes place in 1960 London just before the sixties really took hold. It's a more conservative time typified by the old, upper class, white male board of directors of the London Diamond Corporation who appear to be some of the last vestiges of colonialism in action. Laura Quinn (Demi Moore) is the sole female executive of the corporation who finds herself, despite eminent qualifications, stuck against the glass ceiling and growing increasingly frustrated. Soon she finds herself approached by the janitor Hobbs (Michael Caine) who offers her a proposition, get him the combination to the diamond vault and he'll steal a thermos-ful of uncut diamonds, too small an amount for the vast corporation to notice, and make both of them wealthy. Despite initial resistance from Moore, it turns out to be a Hobson's Choice (pun most definitely intended) and the plan is afoot. And, of course, complications ensue.

There's nothing too exceptional about the plot of the film. There are twists and turns and red herrings to keep the audience guessing. The movie is paced well and the revelations and plot turns come at the right times. What's really interesting is that the small details keep the thing fresh. For instance, the heist team is a lower class, elderly janitor and a single woman approaching middle age, hardly the team of experts that most heist films consist of. Setting it in 1960 also has a nice effect, there's the cultural foreshadowing where the upper class white males are about to deal with a slew of problems in the sixties and the feminist movement will start, but there's also the fact that it makes it a low tech heist film where cleverness counts for more than having a high tech wire rig. Although the idea of Michael Caine in a wire rig would certainly be a good comedy moment. The film is also told mostly from Demi Moore's point of view which helps keep the audience in the dark about Caine's plans but is also unusual for a heist picture. And there's loving attention to the details and attitudes of the period. The term "mise-en-scène" was invented for a movie like FLAWLESS.

Caine could do this sort of role in his sleep and he's an obvious strength of the picture. Demi Moore fairs fine, but is mostly unexceptional. Obviously, acknowledging her age is something of a smart and bold choice on her part. On the other hand, her attempt at an English accent is really hit and miss, which is only partly excused by her character being an American who's lived in London for close to 20 years. It's mostly a two person show, so the net work of Caine and Moore turns into a plus. The only real issue is that the most malevolent character in the movie is something of a caricature.

There's also a bookend to the film framing the story which is hit and miss. In offering a contrast to modern London full of working women and the 1960 London where Moore's character is a fish out of water, it's very effective. In trying to turn this movie into a feminist piece, it doesn't work because the plot, with Caine being the main planner, doesn't support the notion of Moore as a leader.

While it doesn't live up to its deliberately ironic title, FLAWLESS is a good looking, twisty, intelligent heist film with enough new wrinkles to be a worthy addition to the genre. You probably can see it in a theater without a lot of annoying teens as a bonus. FLAWLESS opens up in limited release on March 28th in Madison and Chicago and presumably Milwaukee shortly thereafter.

Edit: It's worth noting that FLAWLESS is following one of those experimental release patterns and you can already view it as an On Demand movie on many cable and satellite systems, albeit at a price higher than the normal option. It's on Time Warner Milwaukee's sytem as I type this.

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3/17/2008 10:27:00 AM


Sunday, March 16, 2008

(3/16/2008 06:56:00 PM) - Al

They might want to stop saying things like HIV was invented to hurt the black man and that the US "deserved" 9/11 if they wish to stop being vilified. Poor babies.

What's really sad is those wackos are blatantly political, but still keep their tax-exempt status...which lines plenty of pockets of greedy fools.

It's like living in a time when the final 10% of the uneducated insisted the world was flat, and having them continue to have the media cover their ignorance.


3/16/2008 06:56:00 PM



(3/16/2008 06:43:00 PM) - Al

Win the conference, win the conference tournament, and they still do not get a #2 seed, and still end up playing Thursday, which Bo said he would prefer not to.

You know, I'm sure they try hard, but the selection committee simply has no clue. If you could somehow erase this weekend and have them do it all again, it may well be the opposite result. What's really sad is, they do not seem to use RPI or strength of schedule at all, instead relying on...I don't know, magic dice and how the wind blows?


3/16/2008 06:43:00 PM



(3/16/2008 06:37:00 PM) - Al

Georgia doesn't just win 3 games in less than 30 hours, they do it with only 9 players on the roster.

Must be the power of youth.:)


3/16/2008 06:37:00 PM



(3/16/2008 06:13:00 PM) - Al

The Rambling son just had his 5th (and thankfully, last) soccer session at the local high school.

I went to the last 2 practices, and it was about as painful as it gets. Despite all being 5 and 6, many of the youngsters complained of being tired very often, some relentlessly. One youth laid on the floor next to his dad for about half the playing time and kept saying, "I think I'm having a heart attack". The last 20 minutes each week was a "scrimmage", which could more accurately be described as a "kick and run", as strategy and positioning was an afterthought of mammoth proportion.

Today, one of the boys was by far the best player on the court, and often ended up all alone with the ball with only the goalie between him and the net, with 5-6 little fellas either running after him or off on the side of the gym standing in line getting a drink at the fountain. Every time, he would get about 20-25 feet away from the net and kick it as hard as he could...never once coming close to even making the goalie make a save, once missing so badly, his "shot" hit the side wall rather than the area behind the net.

Our son had fun, but we're not going to miss it at all.


3/16/2008 06:13:00 PM



(3/16/2008 06:04:00 PM) - Al

Last night on our late local news, they had on a story about how the cost of food has gone up. They had a nutrition specialist on and she recommended buying a lot of potatoes, rice, and pasta...literally, the three foods that many say you should eat the least of, as their starch turns into sugar as you digest it.

Today, on a Food Network pet food special, a vet said it was ok to give your dog table scraps, because the food we eat is so much leaner and better for you than it used to be (I guess that's why we're all so darn thin!) years ago. I've heard the exact opposite from a pair of vets over the years with our dog.

The lack of consistency between "experts" seems to be getting wider on a daily basis.


3/16/2008 06:04:00 PM



(3/16/2008 05:47:00 PM) - Robert R.

I've been to a couple of preview screenings lately. Of a pair of genres, a road movie and a heist film, both featuring female protagonists. I'll get to both this week, but I'll start out with the weaker of the two.

Bonneville

The road movie has a long, illustrious history. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT and EASY RIDER are perhaps the two most famous examples. More recent examples include THE STRAIGHT STORY, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, SMOKE SIGNALS, and, most pertinent to this review, THELMA AND LOUISE. BONNEVILLE follows a trio of some of the most acclaimed actresses of recent times, Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, and Joan Allen, making their way across the western/southwestern U.S. and having encounters with a young male hitchhiker and a truck driver as they find out things about themselves. Only without the directoral flair, danger, political agenda, or tragic ending that made THELMA AND LOUISE important and memorable.

The plot, such as it is, finds a recently widowed Arvilla (Jessica Lange) reluctantly taking the ashes of her husband across country to Santa Barbara to a funeral arranged by her stepdaughter (Christine Lahti in a thankless caricature of a role). To help her through the journey Arvilla recruits her friends, the uptight Carol (Joan Allen) and the free spirited Margene (Kathy Bates), loads up her husband's '66 Bonneville convertible, and heads out across country retracing her honeymoon, with stops at the Utah salt flats, Lake Powell, and Las Vegas while having some low key (mis)adventures along the way. There's not much of a plot, but then the nature of a road movie is such that a plot really isn't all that necessary as long as the characters are interesting.

Unfortunately, this is where Bonneville comes up short. Despite a trio of really good actresses and a nice supporting turn by Tom Skerritt who takes to courting Margene while on the road, none of these characters are particularly interesting. We discover that Margene, despite appearing wild, can be quite shy. And that the conservative Carol longs to have a fancy red sportscar. And everything we need to know about Arvilla is spelled out by first person narration that makes sure that we don't miss a thing on her road to rediscovering herself. Most modern screenwriting books caution against using narration as a device, often needlessly IMO, but here the writers and director would have been well advised to heed that that advice as the narration does nothing except highlight and underline material we can already see clearly. It's definitely a case of underestimating the audience.

It also doesn't help that the direction is uninspired. We visit some of the most scenic areas of the country and none of the images really come through strongly. There's really no visual flair brought to bear. Or sense of urgency. There's a deadline the characters are supposed to be working against but there's never a doubt that it will be met. Despite picking up a hitchhiker, running aground in a boat, meeting strange truckdrivers, and even dealing with an attempted purse theft, there's no sense of danger or consequences either.

The film isn't without merit. Look at that cast again. And if the scenery is shown without flair, it's still some of the most beautiful in the country. But, unfortunately, it's really only about one step up from a Lifetime movie. Something you could take your mother to and tolerate, but nothing at all challenging. It's good that those three actresses got a chance to work together at a time where it's difficult to find roles and movies featuring women in middle age, but the material simply is not up to their talents.

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3/16/2008 05:47:00 PM



(3/16/2008 03:08:00 PM) - Al

Not only is Hughes at about 75%, Bohannon played a few minutes early and has not played since, though he is on the bench standing during time outs. Hard to figure they'd go with a pair of freshmen rather than their best outside shooter.

Note the announcers have not mentioned this. It's tough to figure how ESPN has 3-4 teams better than the top CBS guys.


3/16/2008 03:08:00 PM



(3/16/2008 01:43:00 PM) - Al

Well, if Joe Lunardi says they are a #2, maybe they will be a #2.

Joe has Ohio State sneaking in as well, so I truly like his way of looking at things.:)


3/16/2008 01:43:00 PM



(3/16/2008 01:39:00 PM) - Al

Braun again scratched with a tight Achilles.

I would say the Crew should probably get an expert opinion in the next couple days, and likely get a specialized daily stretching regimen set up before an injury actually occurs.


3/16/2008 01:39:00 PM



(3/16/2008 01:36:00 PM) - Al

Dave Pinto thinks Shelly Duncan is an idiot. Considering he and another player are now suspended for an act of retaliation that, of course, didn't hurt anyone, I would tend to agree.


3/16/2008 01:36:00 PM



(3/16/2008 01:34:00 PM) - Al

I would love to be a superdelegate...oh wait, maybe not.

This post by Glenn will not go unnoticed by many undecided voters, at least the general tone of it. Much of the increased press about Clinton and Obama has turned negative of late, while McCain has remained above the fray...actually, you know, doing stuff (or making it seem like he is).

EDIT: The cries that this was good for the Dems have turned to nonexistent whispers. If Romney was the nominee, I doubt if there would be much of an effect...but he's not.


3/16/2008 01:34:00 PM



(3/16/2008 10:58:00 AM) - Al

I'm not sure how many reasons you need not to sign a pitcher to a $126M contract, but in case you are keeping track, Barry Zito's situation is why I would not do it.


3/16/2008 10:58:00 AM



(3/16/2008 10:23:00 AM) - Al

Sadly, pretty much everyone is in agreement that Wisconsin will be a #3 seed (not that it really matters, a #7 seed could be playing better basketball right now than a #6...remember UNLV?) regardless of whether or not they win today. In fact, today's game is considered meaningless, as no one thinks it will make any difference if they win today or not.

I, of course, will be rooting for the Badgers (though I guess I will not watch much of the second half, unless I tape it, as my son has his last soccer session today), but I admit, I would be far from upset if Illinois sneaks into the tournament.


3/16/2008 10:23:00 AM


Saturday, March 15, 2008

(3/15/2008 09:41:00 PM) - Al

Sadly, this sounds a lot like the Miller Park accident.


3/15/2008 09:41:00 PM



(3/15/2008 09:04:00 PM) - Al

Manny Parra is stellar thus far. Dave Bush only gives up 2 runs in 5; seemingly on track as the season nears.

That said, Counsell is hitting .450+. Spring is a tiny sample, however impressive.


3/15/2008 09:04:00 PM



(3/15/2008 09:02:00 PM) - Al

3 more sent to minor league camp, including next year's starting LF.


3/15/2008 09:02:00 PM



(3/15/2008 08:37:00 PM) - Al

I was on the road the day Badger Care Plus started taking applications, and I recall it well, because nearly single caller that did not qualify for it thought it was horrible. All the ones that did qualify planned to sign up and use it.

I'm a simpleton when it comes to these things, but I certainly have nothing against kids having health care. I have said for the past several years that I wish the state or federal government could convince an insurance company (or several) to put out a "group policy" for anyone who wanted to sign up...if you have good health care through work and don't wish to have it, more power to you. If you have a limited income, the state would pay for your plan (now, your bill goes unpaid, or the state pays anyway, so I do not see much of a difference). If you make a good income, you would pay for the entire amount, but because it is a group plan, I would assume the rates would be far less than most folks can get on their own. In between, your rate would be in the middle somewhere. Apparently, it is much more difficult than my idea, as I have never even heard it proposed...Badger Care Plus (and the subsequent plan for adults without children due to roll out next year) is as close as I have seen, actually.

I have heard several things about BCP thus far:

1. Some are fearful the cost is going to be much larger than what was budgeted. The media promoted it heavily, and sign-up has gone well.

2. I looked at the money involved and was shocked to see how much you can make and still be eligible. The household income limits for a couple with a child or two puts them squarely into what I would consider "middle-class". Maybe even comfortable middle class.

3. I just read somewhere that some cardholders are unhappy their social security number is on their ID card. That's simply beyond belief, in this day and age of rampant ID theft. I believe that will be fixed shortly, but even a "quick fix" is likely to take a year plus, as one must remember, the government has no incentive to do things quickly and efficiently.

When I mentioned this to the Rambling wife, she said Medicare cards also have socials on them, a fact I am well versed in, but had kind of forgotten. Still, someone could steal a minor's identity and no one would know for ages, as a 7 year-old's credit is never checked.


3/15/2008 08:37:00 PM



(3/15/2008 07:57:00 PM) - Al

I realize some say the Dems will unite eventually despite having an option like the moderate McCain, but my goodness, when far-left bloggers cannot even get along, that's a bad, bad sign.


3/15/2008 07:57:00 PM



(3/15/2008 07:12:00 PM) - Al

Trevon Hughes will be a game time decision, no more info given as of yet.


3/15/2008 07:12:00 PM



(3/15/2008 03:28:00 PM) - Al

I took part in my first fantasy baseball draft in a couple years today. I did not play in any leagues last year, and really did not miss it much, after having 4 teams the previous couple. However, changing one lineup semi-daily did not sound that bad, so I went ahead and joined.

Today, I used the same approach I often did in college, showing up 5 minutes before it started and I did not even know what the scoring categories were. In previous years, I would spend hours pre-ranking my players and such, while today, I just used the Yahoo default rankings and when I did not like the top guy, I'd go down until I found someone.

As often happens, I found myself not really liking my pitching staff, as it's easier finding a solid late round pick in the OF or 1B, but it's tough to find a #1/2 SP after the first few rounds. So, I posted I was looking for a SP, and someone offered up Dan Haren. After studying this for 15 seconds, I accepted.

My only point here is I can all but guarantee you the AL MVP will be Grady Sizemore, who I had to give up. He's due for a breakout campaign anyway, and me dealing him away cemented it, I am certain.


3/15/2008 03:28:00 PM



(3/15/2008 03:24:00 PM) - Al

Quite a Badgers' game today, I all but wrote it off when they were down 12.

Hated to see Hughes go down. That will hurt their chances in the "big dance", especially with depth at G.

If you would offer me a trade of an L today and a healthy Trevon, I would take it, even if it meant a #3 seed instead of a #2, I'd do that deal.


3/15/2008 03:24:00 PM



(3/15/2008 10:14:00 AM) - Al

Yost took time Friday to jot down some notes on each candidate for three open spots in the starting rotation. When it comes time to cut two of the five pitchers vying for those jobs, Yost wants to be able to tell the "losers" why they're going to Class AAA Nashville.

"That's going to be a tough decision, and it's all going to revolve around who do we keep and how do we do it," said Yost, who isn't sure if he'll break camp with 12 or 13 pitchers.

"I'm going to have two (starters) go to the minor leagues that are big-league pitchers. And I don't know who they're going to be. For me, (Manny) Parra, (Carlos) Villanueva, (Claudio) Vargas, (Dave) Bush and (Chris) Capuano are big-leaguers.

"I don't have any sense of who it is yet but that's the way that it's probably going to be. I'm trying to figure out the best way for the organization and our team. That's what happens when you get into a championship situation."


Ned has been discussing this just enough in the past few days to make me think the Crew is not planning on taking the easy way out and sending down Parra and Carlos V for the time being. Of course, they could keep 4 of the 5, but that would mean losing Seth McClung, who would be claimed by several teams just for his velocity.

That said, we still have a couple weeks to go, so someone could get nicked up and DL'd in the meantime, and many teams who are currently hoping a young pitcher steps up and claims a spot will see that fizzle and need to acquire someone to stabilize the rotation.

There's a plethora of talent in Milwaukee. I see no negatives in that at all. It wasn't too long ago when we saw many players being waived that were improvements to the 25 man. Now, our AAA depth, especially in the pitching department, looks to be among the best in baseball.


3/15/2008 10:14:00 AM



(3/15/2008 10:08:00 AM) - Al

Not only did the Badgers hold Michigan to 20% shooting from the field overall yesterday, from 2 point range, the Wolves were 4 for 26, for 15%.

While I would love to see Bucky win the next two days, a part of me would love to see either Illinois or Minnesota sneak into the NCAA's, especially if Ohio State is on the outside looking in right now.


3/15/2008 10:08:00 AM



(3/15/2008 09:08:00 AM) - Al

You want to win the SEC tournament, Kentucky or Georgia? Win 3 games in a little over 24 hours.

Oof.


3/15/2008 09:08:00 AM


Friday, March 14, 2008

(3/14/2008 09:07:00 PM) - Al

BREWERS/PADRES---keep refreshing

Joe Dillon leads off with a nice short swing for a base hit. I have to believe he locked up a spot before camp even started.

Mike Cameron's baserunning was talked about by Doug Melvin, and he shows it there, taking 2B on a throw that hits the cutoff man.

I had no idea SD and LA were playing games in China, or if I did, I had forgotten. I can't believe there were many volunteers for that road trip.

Both Prince and Hall hit fly balls near the wall, as neither seems to carry at all. I wonder if the air is a bit heavy at night this time of year.

Right after the TV guys brag how good Vargas' breaking stuff has been, he gets the leadoff guy looking at a curve on ths I feel there's a good ce outside corner.

Yost speaks highly of Gabe Kapler, especially his defense. Reading between the lines, you would think Gabe will make the team and very likely sub in LF for Braun at the end of games.

No offense to Trenni, but I'd much rather have a non-runner who is more attractive in her role.

Ryan Braun handles a nice lazy fly ball. He's already better than Adam Dunn, as he doesn't look like he'd rather be reading a book.

Some discussion of Fielder's new eating regimen. As I said, I doubt if it will take, especially with fish and chicken, as I think he'll get bored with rice and beans quickly. That said, he said he feels better, at the very least, he may well feel a bit quicker.

Is it me or does Jason Kendall look a lot like Dave Bush? He also reminds me of poker pro Gus Hansen.

I sure hate to see Bill Hall running so hard around the bases, as he gets a triple. This is the time of year to be plenty happy pulling up for a double. By the way, he'd have two HR's if this were in Miller Park.

I am heading upstairs for the evening, so this will have to do it. Heck, the second string should be in soon anyway.:)


3/14/2008 09:07:00 PM



(3/14/2008 08:31:00 PM) - Al

I will likely be live blogging much of the game tonight, which starts at 9 our time.

However if you want me to do a scouting report, you are out of luck...I know better than to worry about an AB or a pitch thrown on 3/14 unless the player doubles over in pain afterwards.

After all, according to those know-it-alls, Braun has a hitch in his swing, and Hart will never have any success...he holds his elbow funny.

Really.


3/14/2008 08:31:00 PM



(3/14/2008 08:27:00 PM) - Al

Real GM has their Brewers' preview, which seems pretty accurate.

No, I do not know what PED stands for. The fancy stats they use aren't as good as OBP and SLG, so they just clutter things up.

EDIT/BUMP:

Al, first off I love the blog. PED stands for performance enhancing drugs which is why Gagne,Mota and Cameron have it next to them. Keep up the good work and GO BREWERS!

Tom


3/14/2008 08:27:00 PM



(3/14/2008 08:11:00 PM) - Al

The big brown truck brought me a copy of Working at the Ballpark, by Tom Jones (but not THE Tom Jones) today. Among others profiled is a beer vendor at Miller Park, the guy who plays Bernie Brewer, and Derrick Turnbow.

Rumor has it the author tried to use a JS beat writer in the book, but was unable to locate their office building.


3/14/2008 08:11:00 PM



(3/14/2008 07:34:00 PM) - Al

The JS guys use the word "cut", which of course is incorrect, unless a player is released.

Of the 4, none had a chance of making the team.

I believe today was a "special day" of sorts, players injured after today have to be placed on the big league DL and make big league money, I think. With no chance of making the team, the Brewers protect themselves a bit.


3/14/2008 07:34:00 PM



(3/14/2008 03:03:00 PM) - Al

Horacio Ramirez's agent says seven clubs have already expressed interest in his client. Perhaps he meant to say 0.7.---MLBTR

He's 28 and has a career 4.61 ERA, and will come cheap. I would guess half the teams in the majors will at least talk about him.

I always find it ironic people put so much emphasis on one bad season out of several...that's where you find the bargains.


3/14/2008 03:03:00 PM



(3/14/2008 02:52:00 PM) - Al

Bold talk from White Sox GM Ken Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen is practically a rite of spring. But Joey Cora, the White Sox's normally reserved bench coach, is also bullish about the team's chances.

Williams targeted fiery, tough-minded players after the Sox's 72-90 finish last season, and Cora predicts that new center fielder Nick Swisher and shortstop Orlando Cabrera will make a huge difference.

"We're going to be better than everyone thinks — you can quote me," Cora says. "Those two guys bring some attitude to the ballclub. They're not going to let anything slip. It seems like everyone is going to hate us. We're going to play very, very hard."


And they are going to suck.

Really suck.

Meanwhile, last year they had the worst OBP in the AL and were 12th of 14 on SLG...which I can only imagine will mean more "aggressive baserunning" from Ozzie. Oh, and by the way, 60% of the rotation had a 5.25 or higher ERA last year.

Yeah, they'll challenge Cleveland. Yep.

They might finish 3rd I guess, but probably 20 games behind the top spot, and 15 behind the wildcard. Teams that think they can improve substantially by adding a hard nosed player haven't been paying attention.


3/14/2008 02:52:00 PM


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