Al's Ramblings



Wednesday, April 30, 2008

(4/30/2008 09:51:00 PM) - Al

I'll be working tomorrow, so I will be missing the game, unless FSN repeats it in the evening.

The irony here is, I've been talking about "punting" several times over the years, leaving the SP in to save the 'pen, and for whatever reason, it never happened, and tonight, I didn't bother, and that's exactly what Ned did, though he didn't have a great opportunity to, as Jeff's pitch count was up and he didn't want to embarrass him.

Hopefully, Seth will either close it out or get most of the way.


4/30/2008 09:51:00 PM



(4/30/2008 04:03:00 PM) - Al

Dave Bush gives up a run in 6 frames in Nashville. Nice outing in a likely very short stay in AAA.

I do have to wonder if there is a future for Turnbow in Milwaukee, as barring injury, he is well down the list. As I pointed out, I have never seen so many decent players on the waiver wire, so teams really needing an upgrade have plenty of options that are cheaper and cost nothing in trade.


4/30/2008 04:03:00 PM



(4/30/2008 03:44:00 PM) - Al

The Mariners are calling up Jeff Clement and Wladimir Balentien and designating Brad Wilkerson for assignment.

It's just another example of how poorly the Mariners are being run. Clement and Balentien only needed to stay in the minors for another week to guarantee that they wouldn't be eligible for free agency until after 2013. Wilkerson gets the heave ho despite going 3-for-3 with a walk last night. Obviously, the team made the decision before then, as both Clement and Balentien were held out of Tacoma's lineup last night.--Rotoworld


Oof. Just an overall lack of planning from the get go, as things have not changed a bit from late March to late April. SEA has been lost since before they signed Richie Sexson to a mammoth contract most everyone knew would be an albatross long before it expired.


4/30/2008 03:44:00 PM



(4/30/2008 03:38:00 PM) - Al

When winning 75% of your games isn't good enough...

I don't recall Avery Johnson being the one who overpaid for Jason Kidd either. It's just painful to see coaches hired and fired for no reason at all, and the NBA seems by far to be the worst offenders.


4/30/2008 03:38:00 PM



(4/30/2008 11:47:00 AM) - Al

Adam mentions the high pitch counts of the relievers that threw last night...I guess that's the downside of having strikeout guys rather than sinkerballers who are more likely to retire the side on 7 pitches.


4/30/2008 11:47:00 AM



(4/30/2008 11:44:00 AM) - Al

Sheets reported no pain after his outing. I think he may well start throwing less and less between starts, so his spotty control might well be the case for much of the year, if he remains healthy.


4/30/2008 11:44:00 AM



(4/30/2008 11:33:00 AM) - Al

I find the simpleness of Carter and others to be so touching...these people just don't see why they can't make up the rules now so that their person wins. I'm the first admit, the rules look like they were written by a 17 year-old on crack, but they are what they are. No one is going to revert back to popular vote just because the official way sucks.

I saw an article the other day saying Clinton is now running for '12, as she did in '04, barely giving Kerry any support at all, other than a speech at the convention that reeked of obligation.

My goodness, the other day Reverend Wright said more of the same stupidity he has been "misquoted" and "taken out of context" with, and Obama had to basically quote me...by saying Wright's words were ignorant and without merit.

{Seriously, AIDS was created by the US government to infect blacks? This is the same gov't that struggles to deliver the mail, right?}


4/30/2008 11:33:00 AM



(4/30/2008 10:59:00 AM) - Al

The recession has not started yet...despite the year-long claims of politicos.

Two funny thoughts about how the economy is being reported...

...We saw a lot of articles about how many people were out of work when unemplyment hit 5.1%, headlines had "pink slips" and "depression" in them...when Bill Clinton defeated Bob Dole in '96, when even Liz Dole voted for Clinton, the economy was near its peak...unemployment was 5.4%. You can look it up.

...Many reports about the stimulus package have come to the conclusion that people will spend the money on gas and food, or pay off credit card debt. Now, I'm no expert, but were they not going to buy food if this check would not have come? Not fill up their tank? And while many people should pay off their credit cards, even if they do, that allows plenty of jiggle room on the card.

Last week, I called my wife and told her to call and order a Papa Murphy's pizza, and that I would pick it up on my way home. She called back and told me they told her half-an-hour. I was about 10 minutes away, so I decided just to go straight there and hope for the best.

The line was literally out the door, there was at least a dozen people ahead of me. Granted, PM's could be considered a "budget" type of place, but many of the folks walked out with 3-5 pizzas. A couple Fridays ago, we went to Wiggly Field, which is known for its fish fry throughout the entire region. We always go early, as to avoid the crowd, but even before 5, it was packed.

You'd have a be an idiot to not realize the economy is not booming, but today is far from a Carter-esque misery index of 20+.

FYI, if you doubt my continued contention that the economy is in a continual cycle of "booms and busts", go here to see unemployment rates over the past 60 years, and use your mouse to scroll down...you'll literally see before your eyes a constant wave.

That's funny, because Hillary implies there was no unemployment during Bill's presidency, and Obama often sounds as if the economy has sucked for the past 50 years.


4/30/2008 10:59:00 AM



(4/30/2008 10:47:00 AM) - Al

I know nothing about NBA assistant coaches, but the fact I've heard of every one of Skiles' choices is impressive.


4/30/2008 10:47:00 AM


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

(4/29/2008 10:36:00 PM) - Al

Good to see Gagne pumping in strikes tonight, especially given the 3 run lead.

Even Soto's double isn't a bit worse than a walk.

Ward needs to cut down on that swing, or a season-long sub .100 BA is in his future.

Off the bat, I thought the final out was a foul ball. That said, I'll take it.


4/29/2008 10:36:00 PM



(4/29/2008 10:29:00 PM) - Al

It's hard to believe watching Mota pitch that he was relegated to mop-up status just last year. His velocity is still very good, and his slider moves so much, it's rarely a strike, but hitters still swing at it.


4/29/2008 10:29:00 PM



(4/29/2008 10:24:00 PM) - Al

Ramirez hits a breaking ball that was going to bounce in the dirt for a single to LF.

Sometimes, you just gotta tip your cap.


4/29/2008 10:24:00 PM



(4/29/2008 10:14:00 PM) - Al

All the recent talk about how the Crew hits with men on base brings back memories of this post, way back in 2004.

The phrase I put in bold is still very much true, but sure is discussed a lot to this day.


4/29/2008 10:14:00 PM



(4/29/2008 10:12:00 PM) - Al

Thanks for making April the 2nd most viewed in Ramblings' history!


4/29/2008 10:12:00 PM



(4/29/2008 09:57:00 PM) - Al

The Cubs with 3 hits against Torres, not a one hit even remotely well; and the bses are cleared by a nicely hit ball in the gap. Sometimes, the game just isn't fair.

UPDATE: Three singles off Salomon Torres for the Cubs, one an infield hit, then Fontenot laced a double into the right-center gap, clearing the bases for Chicago.--JS blog

Well, two were IF hits, and no mention of how only one ball was hit hard the entire inning. That recap is kind of like summing up Roger Clemens' year thus far with a down arrow...while true, it really doesn't do it justice.


4/29/2008 09:57:00 PM



(4/29/2008 09:49:00 PM) - Al

I watched the YouTube video that the dad of a soldier uploaded, and while I will be the first to say our military deserves better, I don't think it was any worse than you'll see in "campus housing" all across the land. Other than some mold, which did not appear widespread, many of the things the video showed were cosmetic in nature...chipped paint, rusty handrails, and such. I believe new barracks are in progress, so while things that are dangerous should be taken care of ASAP, I would not expect fresh paint and the like on something being replaced.

I've long said a 10% across the board pay increase for five years is long overdue, at least for the enlisted men and women. Yes, that would cost some money...but I'd put that under the heading of you can't afford not to do it.


4/29/2008 09:49:00 PM



(4/29/2008 09:43:00 PM) - Al

Vin Scully made that comment on Mike and Mike this morning. They asked him what's the greatest change he's seen in 60 years doing games and he mentioned just that. When he started, it took players 2-3 weeks just to get into shape. Nowadays, they can play games for real by the 2nd week of spring training.

Mike


Mike is referring to my thoughts a while ago. You can tell how much better shape the players are in the way SP's were going 110 pitches from Day 1.


4/29/2008 09:43:00 PM



(4/29/2008 09:39:00 PM) - Al

I hate to keep mentioning it, but after an entire night of a tight strike zone, calling a 3-1 pitch to Tony Jr. that was well high, and maybe inside as well, a strike makes you wonder how exactly this is the best they can do.

I just can't get over how many pitches they've missed, and it's not even the end of April yet. I mean, they're still fresh and the hot weather hasn't hit yet...wait 'til it's 95 and they've worked 40 days out of the last 41.


4/29/2008 09:39:00 PM



(4/29/2008 08:32:00 PM) - Al

The Crank thinks Sheets looks like the former Packers' QB.

Never heard that before.


4/29/2008 08:32:00 PM



(4/29/2008 07:59:00 PM) - Al

I'm no expert on how long it takes to put the home plate umpire's equipment on, but golly, this is one of the longest delays I can ever remember for such an incident.

I had not really noticed that umps were still wearing suit jackets, I thought they had went to windbreakers.


4/29/2008 07:59:00 PM



(4/29/2008 07:20:00 PM) - Al

Two more decent options are released.

None of the guys available all offseason (Kenny Lofton, David Wells) or waived thus far (Claudio Vargas, Steve Kline, these two guys) will be confused with top quality players at this stage of their careers, but I can't say I ever recall an April with so many free players available that could easily fit on the back end of many a team's roster.


4/29/2008 07:20:00 PM



(4/29/2008 07:14:00 PM) - Al

Mike Cameron once again proves spring training is about 3-4 weeks too long.

Also, Marquis is at about 25 pitches in the 1st, always a good sign.


4/29/2008 07:14:00 PM



(4/29/2008 06:45:00 PM) - Al

Mindy McCready confirms report.

I've had nothing to say about Clemens' supposed drug issues, because the only person who spoke against him was as uncredible as they come. However, given Ms. McCready has nothing to gain except a further soiled reputation, you really have to look hard not to, at the very least, think Clemens is a liar.

At some point, one has to wonder if she looked like this or like this when they were a couple.


4/29/2008 06:45:00 PM



(4/29/2008 04:09:00 PM) - Al

Al,

The New York Times joined the long list of folks weighing in with their view of Prince not eating meat. Yeah, the writer slips in a couple of the all-too-easy jokes that can be made about Milwaukee natives and their eating habits, but I thought it was a good read. Last line in the story is a great little bit of writing. I know the New York Times makes you laugh, for all the reasons they do not intend, but I'd say it's worth folks' time to check it out.

James


Could be better, but it could be a lot worse, especially given the Times' normal effort.


4/29/2008 04:09:00 PM


Monday, April 28, 2008

(4/28/2008 07:15:00 PM) - Al

ABC News mentioned tonight on their evening news that oil has gone up 80% since 2/08, and gas has only gone up 33%. Sooner or later, with the summer driving season and continued demand from India and China, gas will "catch up", or at least come close.

I recall saying gas would be $4 a gallon should oil hit $100, and oil is nearly $120 and it's only $3.50ish. With the travel months upcoming, we might well see $4-5 gas, and soon.

That said, at least I'll get free Brewers' tickets out of the deal.:)


4/28/2008 07:15:00 PM



(4/28/2008 07:14:00 PM) - Al

We got about an inch or so of snow today, but it has just about all melted. Meanwhile, Stevens Point, 30 minutes to our south, got 6.8 inches.

Incredible.


4/28/2008 07:14:00 PM



(4/28/2008 07:10:00 PM) - Al

I talked briefly to my brother this evening, and among other things, he reported the Orioles may be winning, but they are doing it with smoke and mirrors, as he is unimpressed by them.

I just took a look at the standings, and they are 14-11 despite being outscored, as their expected record is 12-13.

I like what the Orioles did, trading Tejada for prospects and picking up Adam Jones and their closer for Bedard. But, if they finish anywhere but 5th in the tough AL East, many of us will be shocked.


4/28/2008 07:10:00 PM



(4/28/2008 04:05:00 PM) - Al

Byron at Goatriders asked me to do a 5 Questions series preview, and the link for that can be found right here.

Thanks to Byron for asking.


4/28/2008 04:05:00 PM



(4/28/2008 03:58:00 PM) - Al

The parents who watched their child die will indeed be charged, though many feel a conviction is doubtful.

I did not think they would be charged at all, so I cannot complain, I guess.


4/28/2008 03:58:00 PM



(4/28/2008 02:39:00 PM) - Al

Tom asks where the clutch hitting is...but of course, when you click on a link instead of using the tiniest sample available, you'll find that both RISP and "close and late" stats are much better than overall.

The offense is almost exactly league average, 11th in runs scored, and 12th in both OBP and OPS. Hopefully, that will improve. The team OBP and such is of much more concern than what happened in a handful of AB's over the weekend.


4/28/2008 02:39:00 PM



(4/28/2008 12:07:00 PM) - Al

I have a pair of appointments for this afternoon, but I will be back later to discuss things of note on this off day.

By the way, our lawn is covered with snow...insert your own punchline here.


4/28/2008 12:07:00 PM



(4/28/2008 11:35:00 AM) - Al

This is interesting to me, that both papers (WSJ and USA Today) I sometimes read (albeit online) are among the few whose circulation is headed upwards, while the New York Times (who some would say is a tad biased) is in free fall.

I chuckle every time I see that Weekender NYT ad, offering me the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday offerings for a mere $6 a week (more outside of NYC). It's about as out of touch as one can imagine a media outlet to be.


4/28/2008 11:35:00 AM



(4/28/2008 11:30:00 AM) - Al

I rarely would comment on a 15 year-old posing "topless", but since she really isn't, I'll straddle the line here.

1. First of all, what photographer would even dream of taking a shot of a 15 year-old that is questionable?

2. The picture can be seen in the link above, and as anything I post, is safe for work. Not only isn't it revealing, it is far from artsy or dare I say, even well done.

Much ado about nothing.


4/28/2008 11:30:00 AM


Sunday, April 27, 2008

(4/27/2008 08:16:00 PM) - Al

Why does it matter how tall a RB is? I can see you having doubts about a 5-7 QB, but at 5-7, 200, he seems very muscular, and if he can run a sub 4.4 40, more power to him.


4/27/2008 08:16:00 PM



(4/27/2008 08:02:00 PM) - Al

UPDATE/BUMP: See bottom.

Dave Bush is sent down to make room for Cameron.

I assumed it would be a pitcher, but among the group of CV, Parra, Bush, Turnbow, and maybe even McClung; did not know who it would be. Personally, I would have sent down Parra, as his outings have been effective but very short, I think he could use some time to work on some stuff.

Hopefully, Dave will use this as a time to go down and be aggressive and dominant, just like Gabe Gross and Rickie Weeks did last year, and Joe Dillon is doing currently. It seems unlikely he will be down for more than a pair of starts at most, and it also seems quite probable that the Brewers may well shop Derrick or Seth, as neither would clear waivers or have options remaining.

Ned and Doug sound as if he is going down to start a couple games and get back in the groove, at least they hope.


4/27/2008 08:02:00 PM



(4/27/2008 07:31:00 PM) - Al

A West Point cadet is taken in the 7th round of the NFL draft.

I had not heard of the new policy allowing him to follow his dream of playing in the NFL and be a recruiter in his off time, but it is a fine idea. If he is able to convince a couple fine scholar-athletes to consider a military academy, or even spark some interest in some high school kids in serving their country, he will be far more valuable in this capacity. I think the Navy utilized David Robinson in a similar manner.


4/27/2008 07:31:00 PM



(4/27/2008 06:50:00 PM) - Al

Two notes from yesterday:

The Rambling family went to Stevens Point and visited Golden Corral, and then to the Evil Empire to buy some staples.

At the breakfast buffet, I took my son up to help him pick out his food, and one of the college age males seated near us was up there. He did a swooping "excuse me" to a pair of young women standing in front of us. He seemed like a handsome enough young fella, but was wearing a bright blue hat. As he walked away, one of the ladies said to the other, "A hat. What possesses a man to wear a hat"? Strangely, I know nothing about fashion, and I've said the same thing many times...though hats do look good if you are a pimp.

At Wal Mart, my wife went off to buy something, so my son and I overheard two women talking:

One said, "I didn't think you bought food here", and the other replied, "Well, everything here is like $1 cheaper, so if you buy 30 things, that's a lot of money saved".

Yes it is, and that's why Wal Mart stock has gone from $44-$57 in just a little bit. I actually sold mine at $52 a while back, but of course, no one ever went broke locking in a profit.


4/27/2008 06:50:00 PM



(4/27/2008 03:04:00 PM) - Al

Parra has now pitched an entire month and not made it through 6 frames. He certainly has not embarrassed himself, but he is fatiguing the bullpen all by himself.


4/27/2008 03:04:00 PM



(4/27/2008 02:46:00 PM) - Al

The Marlins just tried a play the Twins ran several times a year back in the early 2000's...with runners at 1st and 3rd, the runner on 1st takes a huge lead, or even leaves early. It is almost always done with a LHP on the mound. So, when the LHP begins his motion, the runners both take off, and there really isn't a whole lot the defense can do.

However, Prince made a real nice throw, and Rivera had the plate blocked off. I don't think I've ever seen it not work, actually.


4/27/2008 02:46:00 PM



(4/27/2008 02:38:00 PM) - Al

I think people are putting the cart a bit ahead of the horse thinking Matt Morris is done and will retire.

It will take a stint in AAA, but if he wishes, he may well be in a rotation before the end of the Summer.

As I say about any big leaguer who has had success, I'd love to see him in AAA with an agreement he can opt out as a free agent in 30-45 days. Right now, he doesn't look to be much of an option, but you can never have too much pitching.


4/27/2008 02:38:00 PM



(4/27/2008 02:23:00 PM) - Al

The IRS sent us a note about 45 days ago kindly telling us we owed more on our 2006 return. We studied it and discovered the problem, we think, but do not feel comfortable doing it ourselves. So, we had to go into Turbotax and print up a copy of the return, to take to a tax guy now that 4/15 has passed.

All 27 pages of it. That's even more than this past year, when I am officially labeled an "independent contractor"...and since we believe the problem is that I failed to attach a "schedule A" or two, it turns out it should have been 29 or 30.

Irreparably broken is the only description that even begin to explain the state of the US tax system. Time to start over, ASAP.


4/27/2008 02:23:00 PM



(4/27/2008 02:22:00 PM) - Al

This post and comments on eating cheaply pretty much proves a point I've often made...it is easy to eat cheap, and easy to eat healthy...but difficult to do both at the same time.


4/27/2008 02:22:00 PM



(4/27/2008 02:09:00 PM) - Al

I'm not sure where the home plate umpire is flipping the coin, but he is about as inconsistent as any I've seen this year...high strikes, low strikes, wide zone, tight zone, it seems to change from pitch-to-pitch.

I do not know what happened, but the quality has fallen off a cliff in the season's first month. It's almost noteworthy when the home plate ump goes an entire game without you noticing how poor a job he's doing.


4/27/2008 02:09:00 PM



(4/27/2008 01:22:00 PM) - Al

Just saw my friends Brian and Jodi at the game, they were the ones with the newborn baby in a backpack style holder.

Jodi is actually one of the godparents of the Rambling son.


4/27/2008 01:22:00 PM


Saturday, April 26, 2008

(4/26/2008 09:48:00 PM) - Al

Dave Pinto points out why early season numbers are so absurd, as he discusses Prince's stats jumping after a single game.


4/26/2008 09:48:00 PM



(4/26/2008 09:36:00 PM) - Al

Incredibly stupid statements like this do not play well in Peoria, to use the old movie term. Sharpton, who much like Zsa Zsa, is famous for being famous, needs to quit being covered by the media. His silly attempts to create news should just be ignored.

And somewhere, the Obama camp hopes that when the news outlets discuss this, they won't go to a clip showing their candidate with Sharpton.


4/26/2008 09:36:00 PM



(4/26/2008 07:42:00 PM) - Al

Just so everyone is aware, if you have Charter and are not able to see the game tonight, you are the only ones. Every other cable system in the state has it on (outside Milwaukee, of course, where the game is not supposed to be on WMLW), all satellite providers have it on, and so forth.

I have spoken with 3 people from Charter, and the first 2 may have well have been my dog with the ability to use a search function. I'm call them sniveling idiots, but I would not want to offend sniveling idiots. The first explained to me that this was a MLB Extra Innings blackout issue, even though it is totally unrelated to:

1. MLB

2. Extra Innings

3. a "blackout" situation

I told her she was full of it (this was all on the chat room in their "chat with a technician" area, and asked for a supervisor. she told me to call their general help line, which I did. I then asked the fella to go right to a supervisor, because I knew the odds of him helping me was about the same as me splitting an atom. He insisted I give him my name and phone number, then a short description of my problem. Ignoring common sense and the like, he then told me there was nothing they could do, all they were doing was sending out the feed that FSN was sending to them.

I paused, considering for a moment just hanging up and seeing if I could set up a Direct TV installation for sometime next week. I then informed him of "double feeds", how FSN had to send out one thing for the Milwaukee area and another for the rest of the state, and every other cable provider in the state had the game on and they did not, and that if he did not understand the issue, he should just have sent me to the supervisor like I originally asked. Properly defeated in his cable TV knowledge by a guy who still doesn't understand how a fax machine works, he said he would pass me along to the first supervisor who became available.

Antonio was the only person who acted as if he had not just finished watching a "just speak in gibberish until the customer hangs up" training tape. He verified that I was supposed to have the game on, but said he was unable to do anything about it, other than "send a form to dispatch". He apologized several times, but kept saying he was all but helpless, other than sending this supposed form.

Oof.


4/26/2008 07:42:00 PM


Friday, April 25, 2008

(4/25/2008 08:44:00 PM) - Al

Jose Guillen will move to left field Friday night and Mark Teahen will get his wish to play in right.

When Guillen signed his contract last year, he expressed a desire to play right field, but is now open to being a team player. "I was the one that told (manager Trey Hillman) if Teahen doesn't feel comfortable in left field, then I'm OK to play there," Guillen said. Manager Trey Hillman thinks it will give the Royals better coverage defensively because "Mark covers a little more range as far as going after fly balls than Jose does."--Rotoworld


Are you kidding me? Guillen has an outstanding arm, and while I'm unsure about Teahen, the odds of it being better are very close to 0%. RF is all about preventing runners from going 1st-3rd, not making Teahen "comfy".


4/25/2008 08:44:00 PM



(4/25/2008 07:45:00 PM) - Al

To date, the team has sold more than 2 million tickets, a 40% increase over the same period last year.--Don Walker, JS

Last year, the Crew sold ticket #2M on 5/23, so they are about a month ahead of last year's pace, though they did not not say the exact day they sold the 2M'th ticket. The 40% higher strikes me as funky math, as that would mean that last year, they had sold only 1.44M tickets as of yet, which means they sold 560K in a month...though this was in part when the team was 24-10, so I guess it's not that improbable. Still though, that's 19K a day, which seems very high, but that's what winning baseball does, I guess.


4/25/2008 07:45:00 PM



(4/25/2008 07:17:00 PM) - Al

Last night, as I often do, I entered a few online poker tournaments at 7ish. Unlike usual, however, one lasted until 1AM, when I was knocked out of a rebuy tourney in 45th place, out of 2800 entrants, who actually entered 11K thousand times.

[A rebuy tourney allows you to go broke and then pay another entry fee and start over, up until the first break is over. Many use this as an excuse to play poorly, knowing they can just enter again, which works our very well for tight, aggressive players such as myself, who never rebuys.]

As I became short stacked, I started looking for a hand to go all-in on, as it really became my only option. This was about 11:30. After not seeing a single pair of cards I could play, sometime after 12:30, I checked the "stats" button, and saw I had only played 9% of my hands the entire night...31 out of 325. Even more astounding, 15 of those times, I had been in the big blind, meaning I had been forced to put in an "ante" before the cards were dealt, basically designed to force the action.

To make a long story slightly shorter, in 6 hours, outside the big blind, I played a grand total of 16 hands, under 3 an hour on average. I guess you could say I folded my way to 45th.


4/25/2008 07:17:00 PM


Thursday, April 24, 2008

(4/24/2008 10:20:00 PM) - Al

I must admit, after all the constant talk of "Obama leads the popular vote" (which I find especially amusing after 2000), I was unaware that Hillary is actually ahead, if you count the FL and MI elections, which were real elections, but carry a rather large "but".

I think the best quote to come out of this was Susan Estrich, longtime Dem strategist and such, who helped come up with the current system:

What were we thinking?


4/24/2008 10:20:00 PM



(4/24/2008 10:10:00 PM) - Al

What's really funny is they spent 2 hours discussing the "UFO" on the overnight show Coast To Coast, which is usually fascinated with aliens and such topics of the "I'm up all night because I'm an idiot or on drugs" crowd.

Of course, I'm sure many folks listen while they are working or up with a child or something, but it'd be tough listening to a bunch of conspiracy nuts and the like if you are sane or sober.


4/24/2008 10:10:00 PM



(4/24/2008 09:47:00 PM) - Al

Watched the short version of the game tonight, it seemed a lot like the past 4 total...could have easily went either way. Not a big surprise the Crew is 2-2 in those games, I guess. Another day of rest for Gagne and Mota, so at least they should be 100%. I would not have used Sal for the 9th, as his inning total is far too high, and he's arguably too effective to "waste" down 2 in the 9th. Ironic that Moyer shut 'em down, but they scored 5 off Hamels.

I'm pretty sure there are rocks on the planet younger than Moyer. He may pitch forever.

I've had a busy week, and hopefully, things will end quietly and successfully and allow me to make it home in time for the game tomorrow night.


4/24/2008 09:47:00 PM



(4/24/2008 06:47:00 PM) - Al

Kids, just say no.

And of course, many feel Winehouse is simply so talented as a musician. I'm pretty sure it's the only profession in the world where you gain respect as soon as it is known you are wasted all the time.


4/24/2008 06:47:00 PM



(4/24/2008 05:28:00 PM) - Al

Friend of Ramblings Philip sends this bit of umpiring to take a look at...compared to this, Prince's called strike three on a ball a few inches outside is not nearly as bad.

I've never seen a base umpire blow a call so badly that other umpires could have easily overruled him, but this is it.


4/24/2008 05:28:00 PM



(4/24/2008 11:45:00 AM) - Jason Christopherson

Since Al will be away, I'll take this opportunity to review MLB 08: The Show for PS2. I'm not sure what difference there are with other formats, but I can't imagine the game play is all that different. My intention was to get this review out there a while back, but I just didn't get the chance to play the game much. The game has been out for a couple of months now, so I realize that if you were at all interested in it you probably would have picked it up already. With that in mind, we'll keep this review short and sweet for those that might still be on the fence. Also, if anyone has individual questions I invite you to shoot me an email and I'll do my best to answer (I apologize to one reader who already sent me a question. I can't find the email anymore, so please re-send it if you get a moment).

There is nothing out of the ordinary as far as game play options. All the basics are available, from exhibition games to Home Run Derby. One game, called "King of the Diamond", is still a bit of a mystery to me. I didn't do much with the franchise mode, either. The game play itself is quite good. I found it extremely challenging at first--even in rookie mode. Experienced gamers probably won't have the same problems. Then I found the "sliders" option. Through trial and error I was able to find the right levels that made the game more fun and less frustrating. You are basically able to customize the game play to whatever style you like. Although I don't have a ton of experience with other games, I was never able to achieve the correct hitting "balance" until MLB 08. I'm extremely impressed by this feature.

Some of the other nice game play functions include batter and pitch analysis, which allow you to see tendencies. Along those same lines you can opt for a "suggested" pitch and location, but even as a beginner I wasn't a fan of this feature. In the season mode there is something called PBP (Prior Batting Performance?) that reward you with better contact if you have been performing above average previously. If you've been awful (my hand is now raised), then it will show the batter's confidence level. The last thing I wanted to mention about general game play is the ability to toggle off the between pitch "fluff" and quicken the game a bit. Too bad a similar feature isn't available from FSN.

The signature game, Road to the Show, is somewhat frustrating. Which probably accurately simulates the feelings of real-life minor leaguers, so I guess that's the point. There doesn't seem to be any special reasons for promotions and demotions. I completely outplayed AA (yeah, that's where I ended up out of Spring Training--wanna fight about it?) and achieve most of my goals while every other catcher in the organization tanked for the season. Yet, there was no promotion. Quick play mode applies here, obviously, but it has its glitches, too. For example, I would fast forward to my next play and it would be catching a pop up or taking a throw from the outfield. I knew as a catcher that if the situation didn't have me batting it was likely going to have me catch a pop up or try to throw somebody out stealing. It would have been nice to have an "offense only" quick play mode.

Biggest positives:
1. Detailed sliders
2. Extremely good play by play. Sorry Al, I miss Matty V! In most games you hear the same lines over and over again (I meant VIDEO games, but for some reason Bill is popping in to my head right now), but not this one. It really sounds like a true game is being played.
3. Pitcher tendencies and swing analysis--you can see just how bad you missed that last pitch.

Biggest negatives:
1. Load time. Hopefully this is better on PS3 or PSP, because the wait time is simply way too long. It really takes its toll during Road to the Show play.
2. I had a difficult time figuring out where the pitch was coming in, but maybe this will come with time. I'm doing my best Braun impression--I don't think I've walked yet.
3. Fairly limited "juke box" gets old quickly.
4. Load time. Yep, it's that bad.

Overall, I definitely recommend MLB 08: The Show for those that enjoy actually playing the individual games. The load time made Road to the Show less fun than it could be, but it's still a good way to whittle away the day. I'd have to reserve comment on the franchise mode, though I would guess the load times might hinder that as well.

Al will soon be announcing another way to win one of two copies of MLB08TS for PS3, so please stay tuned.


4/24/2008 11:45:00 AM


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

(4/23/2008 10:11:00 PM) - Al

I'm out until at least tomorrow evening. I'm just hoping to make it home for Squeeze Play tomorrow night.


4/23/2008 10:11:00 PM



(4/23/2008 10:09:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Let me sum up the message boards for you.

Yesterday and Sunday---They gotta quit having Gagne pitch so much!

Tonight---Why isn't Gagne in there!

Michael



It's funny because it's true.


4/23/2008 10:09:00 PM



(4/23/2008 09:57:00 PM) - Al

The demise of Derrick Turnbow, for one inning at least, appears to have been greatly exaggerated. After Kendall's poor throw, that was a superb job Derrick did.

Kudos to Ned as well. He played the cards that were dealt him by the overworked 'pen of late, related to Rickie's poor toss yesterday, and played 'em like he had gold.

I can all but promise you that somewhere in Miller Park, Doug and Gord are saying, "These fans just don't get it, do they"?


4/23/2008 09:57:00 PM



(4/23/2008 09:47:00 PM) - Al

---I really do not know who the Phillies have on their bench to PH, but Bruntlett being allowed to hit seems odd, given the situation.

---If So Taguchi is the guy PH'ing for the P, never mind the above thought. As far as his offensive prowess goes, So is a heckuva fielder.

---Rick Reed apparently believes consistency is not a necessary component of umpiring. Goodness.


4/23/2008 09:47:00 PM



(4/23/2008 09:30:00 PM) - Al

That's a long walk to the mound Charlie Manuel just had to make. With a LH hitter up, I can kind of understand why he left Hamels in, but at 115+ pitches and after a rocket by Braun...no way I would have dreamed of letting Cole face the go-ahead run.

Turnbow up in the Brewers' bullpen, by the way, and I believe only Derrick. I'd rather see Gagne, who has been up 6 days in a row, but I have no idea if he is available tonight, of course.


4/23/2008 09:30:00 PM



(4/23/2008 09:23:00 PM) - Al

Brian just made a good point, both McClung and Stetter are pitching brilliantly. I'm sure Mitch was supposed to be a stopgap, but since his initial shaky outing, he's been as good as anyone.

Dare I say it, those who say LHP's develop slower have some ammo in both Stetter and Shouse. Until September of last year, I was very doubtful of Stetter even spending a day in the majors.


4/23/2008 09:23:00 PM



(4/23/2008 09:06:00 PM) - Al

Al,

As to the fans not knowing the roster, you'll be happy to hear that today at the game, two guys were discussing things in a knowledgeable way, using phrases like "makes contact" and "tries hard", when I overheard this:

Guy 1: Whatever happened to Mike Cameron?

Guy 2: Who?

Guy 1: Mike Cameron, he was the CF they signed this winter.

Guy 2: You mean Kapler?

Guy 1: No, Cameron used to play with the White Sox, good fielder.

Guy 3, who overheard: He's out, ankle or hamstring I think. He's supposed to be back in a week or two.

Guy 1: Oh, thanks.

Guy 2: Who?

Mark


You realize, these are the same folks who know how to better utilize the roster.

I would also mention the fact the same crowd who obviously has no clue about the roster set-up immediately started the wave after booing. The wave, which was never anything but the dictionary definition of "casual fan", and was last popular in 1985.


4/23/2008 09:06:00 PM



(4/23/2008 08:38:00 PM) - Al

After Prince is called out on a pitch several inches outside, Dave bush gets squeezed and then is forced into a 3-1 count to Pat Burrell.

Seriously, I don't know how these guys can sleep at night. From one game to the next, there's simply no consistency, no standards, and no effort. I'd say the umpires appear drunk, but I wouldn't want to offend drunks.


4/23/2008 08:38:00 PM



(4/23/2008 07:41:00 PM) - Al

I just heard that the Brewers are scheduled to face LH SP's tonight and then the next 3 games. I recall reading on a message board after the Crew signed Mike Cameron that teams would alter their rotations so they never threw a lefty versus the RH dominated lineup.

You realize, these are the same people who insist they know how to balance out bullpen usage better than the manager.


4/23/2008 07:41:00 PM



(4/23/2008 07:32:00 PM) - Al

Milwaukee now has an outdated arena that they will not sell naming rights to because some heirs do not understand economics, and the idea of the city or county (who fought the Bradley Center tooth and nail because they had to put up the infrastructure to get a free building) doing anything to get a new arena built is as laughable as it gets.

I see absolutely no way this turns out positively short of a wealthy person making another gift, like Herb Kohl did in Madison or the Pettits did in Milwaukee.

This story has already been written, yet the ending will still be a surprise to many, whether it happens in 5 years or 15.


4/23/2008 07:32:00 PM



(4/23/2008 07:21:00 PM) - Al

Pat Burrell could not have thrown out Weeks with a military grade, laser guided weapon, but still chose to make a throw that missed the cutoff man by 20 feet.

It's throws like that make you wonder if he is even paying attention to the scouting reports and such. Much like Adam Dunn, some guys are just mighty lucky they can hit.


4/23/2008 07:21:00 PM



(4/23/2008 06:34:00 AM) - Al

Those folks who think there's nothing to running a bullpen might even be challenged to decide who is ready to go and who isn't after yesterday's affair. A look at the bottom of the box score will tell you that both Mota and Gagne threw almost 30 pitches, while many others pitched for the 2nd time in 3 days, and so on. If you go by the strict guidelines many set up when Gagne pitched 3 days in a row, I'd estimate 3/4th's of the bullpen is unavailable tonight.

It's a good thing for them they only have to wait and see who gives up runs to decide who should and should not have pitched.


4/23/2008 06:34:00 AM


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

(4/22/2008 10:03:00 PM) - Al

"Gabe (Gross) is out of options, so we decided we needed to do something," general manager Doug Melvin said. "He really looks like he was coming around at the plate, but he'll probably get more at-bats in Tampa. They were looking for a left-handed bat there."--JS

Doug sums it up succinctly. It sure is nice having a GM with a plan and is able to understand what he needs to do to carry it out.


4/22/2008 10:03:00 PM



(4/22/2008 08:55:00 PM) - Al

I will warn my loyal readers that updates will be limited the next few days, as I will be on the road from about 7AM-evening. I realize Jason and Robert both have lives as well, so other than an occasional post should something major go down, as Robert did when he beat me to the Gross trade, I would not expect a dozen updates Wednesday-Friday.


4/22/2008 08:55:00 PM



(4/22/2008 08:46:00 PM) - Al

Just thought I'd link the AAA stats to you here...there's a reason that team is struggling, as only Hernan, Branyan, and Nelson are off to real good starts. On the pitching side, other than Stetter, who is now up, only Tim Dillard appears to be pitching nicely, and he has a very low ceiling, given his K numbers.

You'll probably see some more signings of minor league veterans in the next few weeks, as the Crew looks to fortify their organizational depth...if memory serves, Joe Dillon was signed last year for just that purpose.


4/22/2008 08:46:00 PM



(4/22/2008 07:56:00 PM) - Al

Al,

I was locked out of Gameday, ESPN, and most sites at work today, so I followed the game on the JS blog. Did you look at it? All the stupid "shout outs to my West Coast buddies" were gone, just game action.

I think Tony was told to lose the immaturity, and now.

Bradley


I did not check it until just now to link it, and Bradley is correct, it is down and dirty. It almost is barren of any and all comment, as if written by a robot.

That said, still oodles better than it was.


4/22/2008 07:56:00 PM



(4/22/2008 07:52:00 PM) - Al

Adam is more optimistic than I am Geoff Jenkins won't get booed.

I'll guess it's about 2-1 cheers, but I would not be surprised if it's close to a 50/50 split.


4/22/2008 07:52:00 PM



(4/22/2008 07:51:00 PM) - Al

Other than that, it's a really nice city.


4/22/2008 07:51:00 PM



(4/22/2008 07:33:00 PM) - Al

Glancing at the Rays poorly done depth chart, Gabe might step right in and play, at least versus many RHP's. He may have found a nice team for him.

FYI, his turf numbers mirror his career, so that is unlikely to give him much of a boost.


4/22/2008 07:33:00 PM



(4/22/2008 07:16:00 PM) - Al

Joshua Butler was a second round pick of the Rays last year. High K numbers, great success at low A last year, but seems to have plateaued a bit at high A in limited time.

Seeing he was a 2nd round pick and a college pitcher, I thought he may be on the "fast track", but that would appear to not be the case.


4/22/2008 07:16:00 PM



(4/22/2008 06:59:00 PM) - Al

I went upstairs as soon as the game was over, as I had some serious grilling to do. Thanks to Robert for the update, I actually heard it on the local news tonight.

I don't dislike the Gross trade at all like Robert does, though I would probably agree it makes the team a wee bit weaker at this second. Howver, I think he is forgetting a simple fact...once Braun/Cameron/Hart becomes the everyday OF, there simply is not many AB's to be had for the reserve OF's. Tony Jr. is better at most aspects of the game; range, arm, speed, but certainly not hitting for power. I would give the OBP edge to Gross as well, though some Gwynn supporters may disagree.

I am very surprised the Crew got such a nice player for him, as while Gabe was once a top pick and still has a decent ceiling, he remains at this point "just" a reserve OF. I'll look up Butler's numbers, and the best of luck to Mr. Gross.


4/22/2008 06:59:00 PM



(4/22/2008 06:26:00 PM) - Robert R.

The Brewers trade Gabe Gross to Tampa Bay for pitching prospect Josh Butler.

Josh Butler is, according to Baseball Prospectus, "a big righty with a heavy sinker that generates tons of groundballs". He's a 2nd round pick in 2006 and, on the surface, it's a decent talent for talent swap.

That said, I strongly dislike the trade, unless there's something else in the works. IMO, Doug Melvin has just made the 2008 major league club worse, which is wrongheaded in a contending year. The team is short on lefthanded bats as it is, so why trade away one? Especially one that takes walks, on a team that's bad at that aspect of the game. And who has a modicum of power, which is something that neither Counsell nor Gwynn can claim. Although he's undoubtedly a better defender than Gross, I'll be surprised if Gwynn's final offensive numbers aren't significantly worse than Gross's from both an OBP and SLG perspective.

IMO, the odd man out should have been Kapler, despite his early season heroics, as the Brewers already have enough righthanded batting outfielders once Cameron returns. Or one of the excess relief pitchers.

If the Brewers are able to bring in a lefthanded bat with some power as a replacement, I'll understand this better. As it is, I can't see it as anything more than avoiding making a difficult decision regarding the pitching staff by making a shortsighted trade as far as the immediate prospects of winning go.


4/22/2008 06:26:00 PM



(4/22/2008 03:48:00 PM) - Al

Here's the nuts and bolts on Jeff Suppan's tickets to the troops donation.


4/22/2008 03:48:00 PM



(4/22/2008 03:39:00 PM) - Al

I've always said no one notices cold weather until it hits the East coast, and this map seems to agree with that. Lots of "fake" stories come out of the New York area, that's for sure.

Hat tip to Glenn.


4/22/2008 03:39:00 PM



(4/22/2008 02:52:00 PM) - Al

The A's are among the teams interested in trading for Brewers outfielder Gabe Gross, who likely will be the odd man out once center fielder Mike Cameron returns from his 25-game suspension for using a banned stimulant. Gross, a left-handed hitter, plays all three outfield positions, and some executives believe that he could produce a .500 slugging percentage against right-handed pitching. He also could make sense for the Rays.--Ken Rosenthal

Gross makes sense for a lot of teams, to be honest, especially until he's arby eligible. One possible slip of the tongue by Ned was that he said something to the effect that he intended to have Gwynn and Dillon back on the 25 man once Sheets and Cameron are both eligible and healthy...that doesn't make much sense if Gross and Kapler are also still around.


4/22/2008 02:52:00 PM



(4/22/2008 12:04:00 PM) - Robert R.

The big question on the radio this morning is "What are the Brewers going to do with Turnbow?"

I can't say that there's an easy answer for this. I think he'd bounce back to be an effective middle reliever, with the occasional blow up, with regular work, but the Catch 22 is that I have no idea how he's going to get regular work. He's behind Gagne, Riske, Torres, Shouse, and Mota presently. He's not a lefty like Stetter nor can he be counted on to go multiple innings like McClung or a demoted starter like Parra, Villanueva, or Bush. And you certainly can't bring him in with guys on base given his struggles with control.

I'd guess he'd clear waivers given his contract and could be sent to Nashville, but I've no idea if he'd just rather become a free agent then and see if a major league team would like to pick him up cheap. What would Pittsburgh, Washington, Florida, Texas, etc. have to lose? Yost and Melvin are pretty loyal and patient, but the current situation just may force their hand.


4/22/2008 12:04:00 PM


Monday, April 21, 2008

(4/21/2008 09:27:00 PM) - Al

It's a triple in 29 MLB ballparks, but it's an error in Miller Park.

Heh.

The lights are tough in RF tonight.

Tim O'Driscoll is in his own little world, and the color o' the sky there is unknown.

EDIT: Now changed to a triple. Why it took 20 minutes is a mystery, however.


4/21/2008 09:27:00 PM



(4/21/2008 09:16:00 PM) - Al

Gotta wonder if the lights are bothering Hart tonight, it looked like he misplayed Glaus' double that drove in two early runs as well.

Sadly, the Crew was a foul tip away from getting out of the 8th with no runs scored, even after the E9.


4/21/2008 09:16:00 PM



(4/21/2008 07:50:00 PM) - Al

Carlos is doing his best to let the game slip away from him, using the old Grumpy Stewart strategy of shutting down the opponent by putting them all on base.

Looking at it another way, if in the 3rd inning, Carlos had given up home runs instead of walks, the Cards would have scored...two runs, just like they got by CV clumsily pitching around them.

It's no coincidence the top OBP teams score the most runs every year, the best thing you can do as a hitter is "not get out".


4/21/2008 07:50:00 PM



(4/21/2008 07:04:00 PM) - Al

Good friend of Ramblings Troy checks in with a guest post. Thanks for your efforts, sir, the check is in the mail.:)


11% of the 2008 season is complete

Well the good ol' Brew Crew is 11-7 and on pace for 99 wins! Not too shabby considering we've played more road games than home and played a fairly tough part of our schedule. We've only had Gallardo for 1 game and Cameron for none. Can't complain about that!

Offense: Grade C+. Really the grade could be a D- but they've been spectacular in the clutch and that's why their record is as good as it has been. They've definitely scored a lot of runs for the little base runners they've had and power they've hit with. Kapler, Counsell, and Kendall have exceeded expectations and been fabulous. They will never keep it up but at least they ignited an an otherwise struggling lineup. When those are the first 3 names mentioned that shows were hitting poorly. Hall has good HR and RBI totals but every other number is horrible. Braun, Hardy, and Fielder have been shells of themselves. Weeks has been typical Rickie getting on base and hitting for power but he has to get the average up to around .250 at least to make this secondary numbers look as good as they should. Still he's hitting .174 and has been one of our best hitters so that shows you what batting average means. Hart has a decent average and OBP but has hit with very little power of any kind leaving for a poor OPS. There is no reason to think the bats won't be fine with some warmer weather and less stiff competition. The Brewers have been stuck facing other teams 1-3 starters all year and that trend will continue for the next week or so. It's obviously easier to hit off pitchers that aren't as good but when you keep getting tough guys against you it's tough to get going. People love to talk about teams slumping or being hot but the ball being thrown down the middle or a guy pitching well has a lot more to do with that than anything. We've raped left handing pitching and with the most pre-dominant right handed lineup in the league that should continue all year.

Starting Pitching: B-. Sheets has been spectacular and for the first time in 2 years looked like the old Benny Sheets. His next start is going to be skipped so he won't go til Tuesday in Chicago. Let's hope that will heal him up. Gallardo proved to be fully healthy yesterday and they should make a great 1-2 combo. Sup had 1 horrible outing but was otherwise great and he's just Sup he eats up innings and keeps you in games. Bush, Parra, and Villaneuva have all had flashes but for the most part have struggled. They've only made a few starts so it's way too early too judge. We seem setup just fine though.

Relief Pitching: B. I think as a whole the bullpen has been good. We've had a few episodes but so has every other bullpen by now. The pen has kept us in several games we managed to win late. Torres and Riske have proved to be very valuable in that you can use them from the 5th to the 9th and for 2 innings or even more. With the exception of 1 pitch Shouse has been his usual steady self. Stetter showed the last 2 games he can give us another lefty arm. McClung hasn't gotten much of a shot but was great his last 3 inning outing. T-bow is rumored to both be hurt and on the trading block but the fact he hasn't been brought in in a close game shows something is up. He's so up and down you can't ever count him out. Mota has been both good mota and bad mota but has pitched out of some jams and his numbers are good. If he can consistently pitch like he has in some outings he could become a stud for us. Gagne has been the center of much heat. The jury is still out on him but my take is we don't have a replacement. Torres and Riske are too valuable in their current roles. Mota would be next and I'm no more confident in his consistency at times. Gagne did look good about 5 outings in a row. If you want to make excuses for him they are there. Opening Day he struggled with the wet mound and his glasses fogging up. Yesterday he was asked to pitch his 4th day in a row (don't get me wrong he should have been but that is naturally tough) and he didn't pitch as poorly as his results. The 1st HR was literally nearly a PERFECT pitch. Edwin had been in front of the change all at bat and he throws him another on the black or even a little off the black and he hooks it out. What can you do about that? You have to tip your hat. The pitch to Bako was down and in not a horrible place to attack a weak hitting catcher but he got that too. Those weren't meatballs. But that equates to a problem he will have with this current stuff. He's very susceptible to the long ball. I think that will probably be a problem all year. I see him as being similar to what Joe Borowski was for the Indians last year. He lead the AL in saves but his ERA was over 5. They had several better relievers than him but they kept him as the closer because everyone else did so well in there roles. He might have blown 6 or 7 some of which they won anyway and he still closed the door over 45 times. The fact is were 8-1 in games in which Gagne appears. If that continues were in very good shape. But at some point he obviously needs to avoid the huge rallys againist him. 2 times is too early too say he's doing poorly. He's been an asset to this point.

Overall B-: Were clearly not playing as well as our record. But hopefully that's a good thing. In the past I would have let emotion get the better of me and been bitterly disappointed with the loss yesterday. But the reality is it's a 162 game season that's going to happen. We pulled out every other close game on the road trip and still went 5-4 against good competition. The Reds gave us 2 runs in the 10th with the error and they went and took 3 back in the 10th with good hitting. Tip your hat to them and move on. You can't win every game at the end and we were due for a little of that karma. We had more than our fair share of luck in 3 or 4 late wins on the trip so to get mad over one half inning of payback is not being very realistic or intelligent. Hopefully this was our poor stretch with the bats and now we start winning more soundly. We've avoided major injuries and our pitching has been better than expected so 18 games in that's about all you can ask for. I think the Reds and Cards are clearly better than I thought they would be. The Cubs are proving to be pretty darn deep with their pitching staff. It's going to be tougher than I envisioned but there's no reason not to have playoff optimism.

If you wish to give Troy any feedback, e-mail it to me and I'll forward it along.


4/21/2008 07:04:00 PM



(4/21/2008 04:45:00 PM) - Al

Hi Al,

Read your blog everyday, twice now during the season! :)

I have emailed you once before. I respect your opinion and there is a debate on a Brewer forum I hang on. Many are saying that Gagne is your 10 million a year closer and he should be able to pitch four days in a row. While I don't disagree with
that, my feeling is that it is rare when this happens, especially early in the season and why would would Ned even try it? I mean, they signed/traded for guys like Riske, Mota and Torres for their versatility. Why even go the Gagne route and open yourself up for criticism if he blows up?

Heck, I may have even thrown T-Bow in to start the inning and see if he has
anything left mentally.

Please give me your thoughts on this.

Thanks and keep up the good work!

Darren



Darren, thanks for the continued correspondence. Gagne, as the closer, expects to be used in every save situation. He is well aware he will be paid much better in 2009 and beyond if he has 38 saves than if he has 30. Therefore, if you hope to have "an established closer", common sense dictates letting him pitch if it is a save situation.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with, and I would actually prefer, signing a solid relief pitcher for half the price and making him the closer, as I see no more difficulty in getting 3 outs in the 9th than I do getting 3 outs in the 6th, 7th, or 8th.

I have not seen any condemnations about Gagne being used 4 days in a row, but:

1. Gagne said he felt fine, and he looked fine. Encarnacion pulled a change that looked off the outside corner, and Bako hit a fastball that was low and inside. Sometimes you have to tip your cap, or wonder if the Reds knew what pitch was coming.

2. I'm not sure what the mythical limit is on how many days in a row a closer can be used is, but it certainly is not 3. Even when a team is winning, you can easily see 7-10 days go by without a single save situation. I'd start thinking about a mandatory off day after 4 or 5 straight innings, or after a single frame takes 30+ pitches to get out of. Anything else is just casual fans second guessing, which is their right, but proves they are idiots.

3. Tell me something Darren, let's say Ned would have brought in Riske, with the same results. Do you think for a second this would be met with approval? If you wait until after the game to make up your mind on strategery, you will find something to fault after every loss. Heck, I heard a few grumbles after Shouse gave up the HR Saturday...his first in 80+ innings, and his first inherited runner to score this month. If you can fault with that move...

4. As for Turnbow, I think he's fine mentally, and very likely, just needs more consistent work. Of course, as long as he's struggling, it's tough to earn consistent work, and hence, why many talented pitchers are waived or traded to teams that can afford to give them work. Derrick could easily finish the year with a sub 2 ERA, or a 5+ ERA...that's why he's an enigma. He'll have a job somewhere, because he throws hard and has a plus breaking ball. Your guess is as good as mine as to which extreme he is more likely to hit.


4/21/2008 04:45:00 PM



(4/21/2008 04:29:00 PM) - Al

From the University of Colorado's annual marijuana legalization rally:

CU freshman Emily Benson, 19, of Kansas City, said she thinks the decriminalization of marijuana will become a hot topic in the upcoming political season and said she felt part of something bigger than just a smoke-out on Sunday.

“We’re at the starting point of a movement,” she said. “This is a big part of the reason I applied here — for the weed atmosphere.”


I just pulled that quote out because a human being used the phrase "weed atmosphere", and then wonders why she is never taken seriously. Actually, the idea she thinks it will become a "hot topic" in the upcoming election proves she's about as out of touch as one can be.

Although CU junior Max Lichtenstein, 21, isn’t into marijuana or smoking, he also felt Sunday’s event was a chance to do something “bigger” than himself. He passed out 126 Rice Krispies treats with messages attached asking that they act out against the injustices in Darfur.

I salute Max for using the rally to try and get something done that he believes in, but I have to question what exactly he thinks a bunch of potheads are going to do about Darfur.

The reason Darfur is an ongoing disaster is because the UN doesn't really "do" anything, except send aid which is stolen and looted by the enemy. Darfur will be helped immensely when someone (either the USA or another nation) goes in and just starts shooting. The lack of progress despite several years of genocide that has resulted in the deaths of million makes me seriously question the sincerity of those who are "fighting" for justice in Darfur, by talking and signing petitions.

By the way, for all intents and purposes, pot use is decriminalized, as no one is in prison for smoking pot, just dealers. Goodness, we barely prosecute DWI in Wisconsin, until the offenses are unable to be counted on a single hand. In my retail life, I knew of several folks who were ticketed, and most charges were dropped, while a few paid a fine. I'm not sure how much more "decriminalized" it can get.


4/21/2008 04:29:00 PM



(4/21/2008 04:16:00 PM) - Al

The Bucks go with my top choice...first John McCain, then the Bucks...my plan for world domination appears on track.

I wonder if it is a huge stretch that Larry K joins Scott Skiles' staff, as they are siad to be "good friends".


4/21/2008 04:16:00 PM


Sunday, April 20, 2008

(4/20/2008 08:37:00 PM) - Al

I think it is wonderful the Marines are recruiting young women more aggressively. I hope more continue to decide to serve.


4/20/2008 08:37:00 PM



(4/20/2008 08:13:00 PM) - Al

I am seeing ads for the first time for the film Made of Honor, in which a guy is asked by his lady friend to stand up at her wedding. This apparently is supposed to be the source of great hilarity.

The irony here is, I have been in one wedding, other than my own, and I also stood up on the bride's side. I worked at the pizza place with the guy, and got to know his wife as well. I was friends with both, and they decided to get remarried (they had divorced and got back together), and since she didn't have many female friends, I was asked to be the one who "crossed the aisle".

Sadly, it wasn't funny at all. The only kind of humorous event occurred at about 2AM, when a tired Al dropped off the bride and/or groom (I can't remember) at their house, and in doing so, pulled up in the residential neighborhood on the left side of the street, and because of said move, was told by the local police officer this was not my best option, and given a breathalyzer test. It came back at or near 0, but many giggles were had as everyone else insisted I was the only member of the wedding party who would have passed, including several who had been driving, of course.


4/20/2008 08:13:00 PM



(4/20/2008 07:40:00 PM) - Al

Dana Eveland moved to 2-1 by holding the Royals to one run and three hits in 5 2/3 innings on Sunday.--Rotoworld

Both myself and Doug felt Eveland was the key to that entire trade. I find it amazing how many casuals gave up on a very young southpaw because he took a while to develop.


4/20/2008 07:40:00 PM



(4/20/2008 07:14:00 PM) - Al

My brother just e-mailed wondering why I didn't have Joe Dillon going down as a possibility.:) The funny thing is, the only real possibility the way they are doing things (Parra starting Tuesday, Bush backing up Sheets Wednesday) would have been Stetter, who was used and pitched brilliantly today.


4/20/2008 07:14:00 PM



(4/20/2008 04:13:00 PM) - Al

...one possible theory for why the careers of Scientologists tend to go south is that the famous actors, such as Jenna Elfman or Juliette Lewis, "get so involved in thinking only they can save the world" that the sect overwhelms them.

This may be true: Elfman has had little luck since the cancellation of "Dharma and Greg," Lewis gets little acting work, Elfman’s husband, Bodhi, is only known because of Jenna and rocker Beck hasn’t had a real hit album since "Odelay" back in 1996.

As for Travolta, his career had a brief revival in 1994 with "Pulp Fiction." But he’s headlined a series of flops since then from "Be Cool" and "Ladder 49" to "Lucky Number," "Swordfish" and the Scientology-based sci-fi film "Battlefield: Earth." The rare exceptions were non-leads in "Hairspray" and "Wild Hogs."


I noticed this ages ago, though it was kind of silly to talk about until Tom Cruise went insane on Oprah, and literally stopped being a star in the minutes that followed. One of my favorites, Leah Remini, is a member and hopefully, she'll break the pattern of falling off the face of the Earth now that King of Queens ended its run.

Just looked up Ms. Remini to provide a link, and was surprised she left school at age 14. There seems to be a pattern of the uneducated flocking to Scientology.


4/20/2008 04:13:00 PM



(4/20/2008 04:03:00 PM) - Al

Larry K seems to cut down Mike Redd as he heads out of town.

The funny thing is, people seem to forget Redd is a top ten scorer, and rarely are those fellas top defenders, to say the least. As I said a while back, I have little doubt they will choose to build around 2-3 young players and market the rest of the team. That said, to pretend the best offensive player on the team was the problem indicates to me Larry K may have been quite overmatched as a head coach.


4/20/2008 04:03:00 PM



(4/20/2008 03:25:00 PM) - Al

You certainly won't get any complaints from me after a 5-4 road trip through a pair of tough cities and the pitching matchups versus the Reds.

Nice to have Yo back, he pitched a beautiful game today, too bad it had to be up against Harang. It sure seems like the Crew has seen an awful lot of the opposition's top 2-3 SP's thus far, and that trend will continue with the SL 2 game set.


4/20/2008 03:25:00 PM



(4/20/2008 03:13:00 PM) - Al

Neither of Gagne's HR's allowed appeared to be bad pitches...you have to wonder if the Reds figured out a way he was tipping his pitches...Encarnacion's especially looked to be on the outside corner or even away, and he still blasted it out.


4/20/2008 03:13:00 PM



(4/20/2008 02:45:00 PM) - Al

Golly, Mitch Stetter is going to be hard to send out after his pair of outings thus far. Like many lefties, if he can throw strikes, he's very tough.

He might be ammunition for those who insist southpaws develop later, as Stetter was pure roster filler until the second half of last season.


4/20/2008 02:45:00 PM



(4/20/2008 01:59:00 PM) - Al

You sure don't hear many people wondering why teams go with shifts anymore...they seem to work many times more than they do not, that's for sure.

To be honest, if you are not using them, one almost has to question your ability to understand math...ignoring the data is comparable to playing playing the lottery as an investment.


4/20/2008 01:59:00 PM



(4/20/2008 01:39:00 PM) - Al

Danica Patrick wins her first IRL race, though I doubt she wore heels like when she visited Dave.


4/20/2008 01:39:00 PM



(4/20/2008 01:25:00 PM) - Al

Sure is a good thing Adam Dunn can hit. He's probably in the bottom 5% in the game both in the field and on the bases.


4/20/2008 01:25:00 PM



(4/20/2008 01:20:00 PM) - Al

He is still very young, as he turns 21 in a few weeks, but Michael Brantley is already a top prospect, as he is probably one of the youngest players in AA, and still doing very nicely, 9 walks in 54 AB's, just under a .450 OBP.

He is the son of former major leaguer Mickey Brantley.


4/20/2008 01:20:00 PM



(4/20/2008 01:08:00 PM) - Al

He is due to be deployed with the Royal Navy in June for three months and will leave the army in January next year to become a full-time working royal.

That's what we call an oxymoron, folks.


4/20/2008 01:08:00 PM



(4/20/2008 12:41:00 PM) - Al

TOR seems to be making many decisions based on non-baseball factors, as Frank Thomas is still, at the very least, a solid part-time DH. Little doubt that they were avoiding the clause on his contract kicking in.

He'll be picked up by someone, without looking it up, he'd probably be a fine addition for the Twins...but given Thomas' "lack of grit" and inability to play several positions and not hit a lick, it is doubtful they have an interest.


4/20/2008 12:41:00 PM



(4/20/2008 11:36:00 AM) - Al

A couple thoughts about the 25 man:

Not only will Stetter go down soon, I would assume as soon as the bullpen gets back on normal rest and such, which should create a spot for Tony Jr. to return. Unless of course, an injury happens, or some sort of deal is made.

Dillon will have to spend 10 days in Nashville unless someone is DL'd, but to be honest, that's probably the best thing for him...much like with Weeks and Gross last year, there's nothing wrong with getting 4 AB's a game in a pressure free atmosphere.

Once again, Bill uses one of my lines, "thinking outside the box". Basically, they are going with a 24 man roster with Sheets out for now, and if that's the case, it is not completely goofy they would choose to go with 13 arms and 11 position players...especially with none of the position players needing a PH, like a weak hitting SS or C would.

The TV team just said Bush will be the long man today, if case Yo struggles. That should alleviate some of the pressure on the bullpen all by itself. It's possible, though not likely, Stetter is sent out after today and Gwynn brought back. I can't believe 14 arms will be the norm for long.

I just wish they'd change the CBA to allow for 26 or preferably, 27 players on the active roster (maybe with a 25 man "active" roster to be turned in daily). That would allow for much more strategy to be used, PR for a PH for example. However, I know many have talked about making it 24 to eliminate such things, as they feel it adds time to the game. Possibly you could put some sort of caveat that would help some purists...though they'd probably still be playing without gloves and in wool uniforms if they were allowed to. Heck, I love seeing guys like Mel Stocker and the like be able to use their one weapon to alter the outcome.


4/20/2008 11:36:00 AM



(4/20/2008 11:29:00 AM) - Al

With Gallardo going today, Dave Bush's start gets skipped, but Bush will be the one who fills Sheets' normal spot in the rotation. That allows Sheets to go on six days of rest, which he has been doing with all the off days this month.--JS

Ben has pitched witrh an extra day's rest each time this year, but that would be considered 5 days rest, as you don't count the day they pitch.

As I was typing, I think Trenni just said the same thing, said 5 days rest was "normal". Either I'm wrong, or everyone else is.


4/20/2008 11:29:00 AM



(4/20/2008 09:55:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers have sent Joe Dillon down to make room for Yo, leaving them shorthanded on the bench until other moves are made.

Obviously a temporary move, as I am sure they'll be down to 13 (or quite possibly 12) arms in a day or three. I doubt Joe will even bother leaving the team, at least for now.

Of course, he cannot come back in 10 days unless someone is DL'd, so it is possible Tony Jr. will be brought back from his rehab stint first, if indeed they play the "wait and see" game with Ben.


4/20/2008 09:55:00 AM



(4/20/2008 09:44:00 AM) - Al

Dave Pinto points out Beane's attempt at the high road is silly to those who pay attention...Beane let Tejada walk because he wasn't worth the cash even when they thought he was 2 years younger.


4/20/2008 09:44:00 AM



(4/20/2008 09:31:00 AM) - Al

The Hardball Times mentions many of the umpires the Crew has seen and struggled with thus far in 2008, in this article.

Today's arbiter is Randy Marsh, who also has a tiny zone, much like Dana DeMuth.


4/20/2008 09:31:00 AM


Saturday, April 19, 2008

(4/19/2008 09:38:00 PM) - Al

On the second pitch, Shouse left a changeup down and in, the classic lefty wheelhouse, and Votto banged it into the seats in right field, tying the game, 3-3. Before that, Shouse had not allowed a home run since Sept. 22, 2006 - 54 1/3 innings and 83 appearances.--JS

That's quite a streak. Let's hope he soon starts another.

Joey Votto looks as strong as they come. I thought he popped out to medium RF, and was very surprised to see it end up in the seats.


4/19/2008 09:38:00 PM



(4/19/2008 09:05:00 PM) - Al

Yo is an almost certainty to be starting tomorrow, but Carlos V is listed as the Monday starter, meaning it is either Bush or Parra out of the rotation, and from what Yost has said, you have to believe Parra.

Unless Ben is placed on the DL, choices would include:

--Stetter back to AAA.

--Parra to AAA.

--McClung traded or DFA'd.

--Turnbow traded.

--Bush to AAA (the option necessary to do so because of his veteran status has already been acquired).

I listed them in the order I feel is most likely. That said, if it were my decision, I would send Parra down...of course, I would have done that Thursday and kept Hernan around, so my opinion is meaningless.

To be honest, I would just keep Manny with the team (though technically sent down) and have him shadow Ben Wednesday. Either that or if it is clear Sheets will miss 5-10 days, just DL him and let him have 15 days to heal up.


4/19/2008 09:05:00 PM



(4/19/2008 08:44:00 PM) - Al

In his first 2 PA's in Nashville, Tony Gwynn Jr. has a hit, a walk, and a stolen base.

I think he's trying to say he's ready to go.


4/19/2008 08:44:00 PM



(4/19/2008 06:49:00 PM) - Al

I just checked the Brewers bullpen ERA, and it is higher than I thought, in the high 3's, 7th in the NL, if memory serves. However, many of the runs allowed have been when the Crew was well behind, or just made the game closer (for example, Brewers up 3, Riske gives up a run or two).

All this goes to show me how easy it is to be a "good" manager when whichever reliever you turn to gets guys out. For the most part, Gagne, Riske, Shouse, Mota, and Torres have been effective, while McClung has been off and on, with Turnbow I think having a single good outing.

I still remember late last year someone said what a good job the ARI manager had done with his relief corps, and then looking it up and seeing their starters had pitched more innings than any other NL team...a manager can indeed look like a genius when your starter goes 7, as it keeps the more questionable relievers off the field. Many of the Brewers' late inning guys are probably on pace for a few too many frames, but I'm sure Ned isn't counting on winning 65% the whole way, nor is he going to have as many short outings as he has had thus far.

Moral of the story...if your pitchers get guys out, you know exactly what you are doing.


4/19/2008 06:49:00 PM



(4/19/2008 06:47:00 PM) - Al

The sun is out, and is supposed to be in the sky again tomorrow. That should help dry things up. I have planned to trim off a few branches off the tree in our backyard so we can easily walk and mow under it, as well as break out the lawn mower and "fertilize" the backyard with my dog's gifts he left over the cold months, which is by far the easiest way to do it.


4/19/2008 06:47:00 PM



(4/19/2008 06:43:00 PM) - Al

Yesterday, I awoke with a terrible sore throat, so i figured I was getting a cold. My other symptoms, a runny nose and dry eyes, made sense too.

However, after 36 hours, I'm pretty sure it's my allergies kicking in, as my symptoms seem to be "on and off", and I'm not developing a cough at all. I just checked several "cold or allergy" sites, and I still am not sure, but am leaning toward allergies.

Either way, it sucks. I never had allergies as a kid, and developed them about a decade ago, pretty much only in the Spring and Fall.


4/19/2008 06:43:00 PM



(4/19/2008 02:29:00 PM) - Al

I'll make my picks for the NBA playoffs brief...I'll take the higher seed in 7 of the 8, while taking the Suns to upset the Spurs. If the Mavericks had not traded for Jason Kidd, I'd pick them too.

If you want to bet on the NBA or any other sports for that matter, head over to Bodog.


4/19/2008 02:29:00 PM



(4/19/2008 02:26:00 PM) - Al

I'm kind of surprised a "player's manager" like Dusty Baker hasn't gotten ejected just to "back up his players".

By the way, from my vantage point, every single pitch in question has been a ball.


4/19/2008 02:26:00 PM



(4/19/2008 02:17:00 PM) - Al

With rare exception, one gauge of an umpire is how often he throws out players...managers and coaches as well, but players are the only ones that really matter.

Tossing out Paul Bako, when about a dozen fans in the ballpark even knew he was arguing, would tell me Hunter Wendelstedt has little desire to do a superior job.

The fact that he then got grief from both Fielder and Hart on called third strikes seem to prove he is, at best, inconsistent.


4/19/2008 02:17:00 PM



(4/19/2008 02:03:00 PM) - Al

I did not understand why the Cubs did not bring up Matt Murton before, and was especially puzzled after seeing Mark DeRosa playing LF yesterday.

I especially liked the rumor a while back that the A's were trying to make a trade for him...not because they needed an OF, but because Billy Beane felt he was underrated.


4/19/2008 02:03:00 PM



(4/19/2008 01:25:00 PM) - Al

After 2 weeks of running every 10 minutes for 10 seconds or so, our sump pump finally got a couple days off...and then it rained. It was going every 3-4 minutes at times, which I guess means the rain simply had nowhere to go, as the ground is saturated.

We need some sun, or even better, a week or so of no rain.

I did see some fields plowed between here and Eau Claire Wednesday, so the soil is drying out here and there...just not our lawn.


4/19/2008 01:25:00 PM



(4/19/2008 01:22:00 PM) - Al

An e-mailer reminds me I never predicted who I felt would make the playoffs.

BOS
CLE
LAA of A
DET

TOR is my sleeper in the AL.

NYM
MIL
ARI

SD

ATL is my sleeper in the NL.


If you wish to place a few bets on my choices, head over to Bodog's sportsbook.


4/19/2008 01:22:00 PM



(4/19/2008 01:15:00 PM) - Al

I can only shake my head at paying $500K for some wine, but it does remind me of when one of my associates bought some personalized M&M's for her son's graduation party. They were very expensive, like $10 for a little 4 or 8 ounce bag, and she had them delivered to the store to avoid any risk of them melting or being exposed to the weather at home with UPS leaving them outside. She was telling us how she was going to mix them with some regular M&M's to "stretch" them a bit. She left for a minute, and when she returned, I had a little bag in hand, and was pretending to chew a handful of them, which, dare I say, just about killed her.


4/19/2008 01:15:00 PM



(4/19/2008 01:05:00 PM) - Al

Watching Prince Fielder run and Adam Dunn defend and throw must be the baseball equivalent of watching Courtney Love try and stay sober. Oof.


4/19/2008 01:05:00 PM



(4/19/2008 12:56:00 PM) - Al

MLBTR predicts Sheets will end up with the Mets next year, 3y/$55M.

I would not go that high with my prediction, but if he makes 30 starts in '08, he might well get that or even more.


4/19/2008 12:56:00 PM



(4/19/2008 12:52:00 PM) - Al

With Sheets at less than 100%, I would say Stetter is a good bet to go down tomorrow when they activate Yo to start.


4/19/2008 12:52:00 PM


Friday, April 18, 2008

(4/18/2008 08:43:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Long time reader, first time e-mailer. I felt compelled to email you because that Time magazine cover absolutely appalls me. It's bad enough that we have the leftist agenda trying to shove this global warming gobbly goo down our throats but then we have a magazine spitting on the memories of our beloved war heroes by attaching their actions to a lie that is global warming.

This just gets into a disturbing trend I've been seeing over the years. Ever since Vietnam, our nation treats our troops horribly. I'm all for free speech and all, but I think it's high time that a line is drawn in the sand. Criticizing our troops and military simply shouldn't be a part of free speech, especially during war times like we are in now. I don't think people understand how this emboldens our enemies and really does do harm to our troops in the line of duty.

These troops fight for our freedoms and there is no reason people should abuse the freedoms that they fight by directing hostility at our freedom fighters.

While the Time cover does not threaten current active troops, it's the bigger picture that needs to be taken into consideration. Respect for our troops has declined way too much. Many of these go so far as being acts of treason, and should be punished as such.

Eldon



While I would not personally criticize a military action, or even a sitting president (I feel Clinton should have resigned after it was obvious he committed perjury, for the good of the country, but would not have forced him out), I have to disagree that no one has these rights. It's a shame people say silly things, such as fib about the civilian dead in Iraq for example, but they do have every right to embarrass themselves by telling such untruths.

I agree about the lack of respect for the military, however; which is a shame on so many levels, I can't even begin to count them up.
_________________________________________


4/18/2008 08:43:00 PM



(4/18/2008 06:25:00 PM) - Al

--Doug said on the pre-game show tonight that they have not made a roster change for Yo yet because they may play 22 innings tonight, or have to deal with a rain out. Hate to make those decisions until you have to, he said.

--Notice you haven't heard anything about that great adjustment involving Bill Hall's hands lately, now that he isn't hitting. That's because those changes, almost always, are more mental than anything else. Some guys change their stance between pitches, for heaven sakes. Sadly, some media members report it like it was delivered on a stone tablet.

UPDATE: Bill must have adjusted his hands before the HR.:)

--Sheets taken out of the game after only 5 frames and 60 pitches. I suppose we can hope for something minor like a blister, but I'm pretty sure his final pitch was a 84 mph fastball, which reeks of something not being right.

UPDATE: Soreness in his triceps, which cannot be good for a pitcher.


4/18/2008 06:25:00 PM



(4/18/2008 12:22:00 PM) - Al

Adam discusses the Brewers' options when Yo returns...again, if they were going to send a pitcher down, I wonder why they didn't do it to bring Stetter up last night.

The only thing that makes sense is they have not made up their mind yet, or they are discussing a possible deal with someone...I would assume for Turnbow or McClung.


4/18/2008 12:22:00 PM



(4/18/2008 11:17:00 AM) - Al

Jeff Suppan will allow all active military folks and their families to attend any game for free the rest of the season. It is wonderful to see Suppan do everything he does with his money.


4/18/2008 11:17:00 AM


Thursday, April 17, 2008

(4/17/2008 09:55:00 PM) - Al

According to a couple e-mailers, the Brewers will be meeting with folks in Sarasota, FL about moving their spring training home there. This will occur in the first week of May. It looks like the Reds left Sarasota because they failed to upgrade facilities, so that would have to be guaranteed for the Crew to consider it, obviously.

Should the Brewers fail to reach an agreement, they will also take a look and listen to Vero Beach and Auburndale.


4/17/2008 09:55:00 PM



(4/17/2008 09:21:00 PM) - Al

Time should know better than to make a Marine mad.

It's tough not to look at the cover and realize it is in very poor taste. The young men at Iwo Jima, with no exaggeration necessary, quite literally saved the world.


4/17/2008 09:21:00 PM



(4/17/2008 09:11:00 PM) - Al

Painful how some sportswriters fail to realize how much talent it takes just to be a mediocre big leaguer.

For those without the ability to watch the video, the writer fails to steal a single base off AJ, who seems to realize just how foolish this whole thing is, and barely gives an effort, almost lobbing the ball to 2B.


4/17/2008 09:11:00 PM



(4/17/2008 08:42:00 PM) - Al

Ken Rosenthal has a piece on Gabe Kapler...Kapler is going to play far too long it would seem, as he is a "gamer".

Even the muscular Kapler looks foolish in a hat, by the way. Men need to stop that look, and soon. You pretty much tell the world you either don't get it, or are a pimp...which do you prefer?


4/17/2008 08:42:00 PM



(4/17/2008 07:28:00 PM) - Al

Read the game blog the JS put together. Tom is literally embarrassing, he's just so simple in his knowledge of things. It's not quite as bad as little Tony calling out to his homies in Cal, and discussing things no one gets but the clowns he is talking to...but it's very, very close.

If you do read it, don't forget to tell yourself that this team is 9-6, having won 60% of their games thus far, a 97 win pace. They don't call him the Prince of Darkness for nothing, friends.


4/17/2008 07:28:00 PM



(4/17/2008 07:21:00 PM) - Al

The Crew calls up Mitch Stetter, sending Iribarren back down. Shouse has been pitching a lot of late, and the Reds have a bunch of LH hitters, so the combination of the two factors probably led to this move being made.

I would guess this is more of a short-term strategy than anything else, as they have to make room for Yo in a few days anyway. I suppose you could say maybe something is in the works, possibly involving Turnbow, but I would guess the club has decided to utilize Mitch for a few games to hopefully steal a win.

That said, if they intend to send Parra down when Yo returns, that would have been an easy move to make now and just be bale to have an extra reliever until Yo is activated.

Time will tell.


4/17/2008 07:21:00 PM



(4/17/2008 06:54:00 PM) - Al

I watched most of the game today...again, ironic how the Crew started scoring runs as soon as a couple balls were right in the hitting zone.

That strike zone was tough to take. It seemed noticeably larger for Lohse than it was for Parra, though I may be a bit biased. Without question, however, the strike zone grew by a few inches about the 8th inning, for both teams. Strike three called on Dillon was about 6 inches outside for most of the game. I feel the same way about Dana Demuth as I do about Tim O'Driscoll, Miller Park's official scorer...they may be consistent, but they are still awful. You just cannot be that far from the norm and, in my mind, be good at what you do.

Seth McClung made my constant mentions of his ceiling sound not so silly, and may well have saved his job, and his time with the organization is now all but assured.

Doug continues to look like a genius whose bullpen masterpiece is all coming together perfectly. His rather sound idea, having a whole bunch of big, hard throwing right handers who throw hard and can go multiple innings is just a joy to watch thus far. I had not really realized how hamstrung Yost had been in the past with guys like Wise who were far less effective after a single inning, and relied exclusively on deception.

I would have had a tough time PH'ing Dillon for Gross, knowing the inexperienced Iribarren would have to play CF the rest of the day. He looked shaky on the routine fly ball, but that was his only chance.

I wonder how many infield hits Weeks and Braun (and Hart) will get with their dynamic speed to 1B. I'm sure there are faster guys to 1B from the right side, but I can't believe any team has a group of them like the Crew does.

How about that ringing double Prince hit to tie the game.:) Proof it is better to be lucky than good, in the short-term at least. I was just waiting for Bill to say, "Well, somebody's gotta catch that ball"! There's a lot of gaps on a baseball field, that's why there isn't a no-hitter every week.


4/17/2008 06:54:00 PM



(4/17/2008 12:41:00 PM) - Al

As expected, Larry K is let go by the Bucks. Little doubt the GM simply wants his career to be judged with his own guy at the helm. Best of luck to Larry.

The name I've had in my head, Scott Skiles, is mentioned as a possibility.


4/17/2008 12:41:00 PM



(4/17/2008 12:01:00 PM) - Al

They just showed the highlights of the 9th inning last night, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what led to the scoring outbreak...a nice bunt by Corey and then two balls right down the middle that JJ and Craig blasted for doubles.

They don't hit the balls off a tee, it's a direct result of the pitches they get to hit. That's why proclaiming a "slump" after a game and a half is about as ignorant as it gets.


4/17/2008 12:01:00 PM



(4/17/2008 11:53:00 AM) - Al

I was supposed to take tomorrow off, but due to the illness I described below, am hoping to be off today and work tomorrow. I will say, however, I don't think I could have picked a nicer day to be off...I even broke out the "public" shorts for the first time (as I always wear jogging style shorts in the house, though as anyone who knows me knows I do not jog in them), and was surprised to hear it was only 54 here, as it felt 70.

I think I'll document here how I cannot believe that tanning is still something that is commonplace. I saw one woman whose face resembled a hunting jacket last week, and all I could think of was, "She wants to look like that"? I still recall that when I was in high school, a free magazine that we always got in science class had both an article talking about the dangers of excessive sun exposure and a pair of suntan lotion ads which featured bikini-clad young women. Our teacher was so infuriated by the inclusion of these ads, he had the first hour class tear them out and throw them away, which made school even longer for the guys in the classes that followed.


4/17/2008 11:53:00 AM



(4/17/2008 09:26:00 AM) - Al

I hesitate to even begin this post, because of how unhappy people get over health care and its availability in the USA. But, since not a whole lot of interesting stuff really happens in my life (as proven by Ramblings), I will do so.

Yesterday, I was working with another gent. He has been ill for a few days, but insisted he could work. After our first stop proved too busy to speak to us, my partner asked if I could take him to urgent care. I did, and after taking care of any phone calls and such I needed to return, went into the waiting room until he was done.

I chose a seat by the door, which seemed like the safest spot in Germ World (pause while I rub some antibacterial stuff in my hands), which was also somewhat near the desk. So, over the next 30-45 minutes, I heard every single person's ailment, and in conclusion, found out that every single person who checked in was there because of something that I would either have ignored, or chosen to treat at home by resting and drinking lots of water. Here's a general list of what I heard:

Eye stye (when I had mine, my wife told me to put a warm rag on it a few times a day, which worked fine)

feeling tired and sore

bad cold

feeling weak

allergies (2)

cough (when asked how long, she replied, yesterday and today)

worn out, exhausted

wrist was sore, not sure why


That's what I can remember, and after each person told the receptionist why they were visiting, I thought to myself, "What's urgent about that"?

And while it was a tiny sample, every single person had insurance, which I found surprising, though I wouldn't pay $50 of my own money for those things either.

I have no answer for what's going on in health care, but I will say this...imagine for a second if everyone had universal, no cost to them health care? My goodness, everyone with a sore throat and a trick knee would be visiting a doc looking for drugs or an in-depth analysis of their common cold.

I don't have the answer, but as far as I'm concerned, not a single person after my partner should have even been at urgent care yesterday. I would have been tempted to pull an "ER" and tell everyone to go home, drink water, eat soup, and if you're still troubled in a week, come on back.


4/17/2008 09:26:00 AM



(4/17/2008 09:16:00 AM) - Al

I think it's just time someone comes out and says it...Jimmy Carter does (and says) a lot of things that make little sense at all, unless getting your name in the news doing things that are poorly thought out is your goal.


4/17/2008 09:16:00 AM


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

(4/16/2008 09:10:00 PM) - Al

Derrick is said to be wondering about his role, which given his shaky stuff this far, seems a bit strange, but I would assume this is a thought based on the fact Derrick is a free agent after this year (meaning his contract is up, not that he has enough time to be a "true FA").

Scott Linebrink is a fine set-up guy, and makes about $5M, while top closers make $10-12M. Solid middle relievers make about $3-4M, though many make much less. Derrick would much rather be up rather than down...though until he pitches well, the question is moot.

I think it's safe to say Derrick's focus is not where it should be, which given his inconsistent outings, probably is not a huge surprise. No doubt his ceiling is high, but his floor is also very low.


4/16/2008 09:10:00 PM



(4/16/2008 08:55:00 PM) - Al

I'm listening to the game tonight, as I'm shut out of TV. Two quick thoughts:

1. Much discussion between Jim and Bob about the "offensive slump"...despite the fact the team is 6th of 16 in offense thus far. Obviously, a couple players are not off to fast starts, but that will happen in every 13 game stretch, most just are not as noticeable. So far, I'd be willing to bet much of the drama is being caused by fine opposing pitching, which you'll run into often in a season. This is exactly what Detroit saw early...they seem to be fine now that they are no longer facing guys on top of their game.

2. A pro-ethanol ad was on, brought to us by the unbiased Wisconsin Corn Growers. I have always felt that the first admission of something being truly awful was to see commercials on trying to praise it. I'm not talking about "Drink Pepsi" or "Drive a Ford" ads, that's simple marketing. But when a group feels the need to tell you how gosh darn wonderful something is, and many of the claims sound fishy, it's the first sign of the end...or at least we can hope.

After all, have you seen anything saying how great short skirts are? Anything promoting warm, clear days? How about a spot about letting the free market work?

Not needed. However, ethanol is is need of some PR, to say the least.


4/16/2008 08:55:00 PM


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

(4/15/2008 09:51:00 PM) - Al

The Cardinals are doing a much better job of bunching their hits together this evening, that's for sure. They found a lot of holes with grounders as well. Those things will happen many more times over 162.


4/15/2008 09:51:00 PM



(4/15/2008 07:11:00 PM) - Al

If this is true, it's simply off-the-charts.

The WSJ link also has many of his "present" votes and such, that will eventually be questioned.


4/15/2008 07:11:00 PM



(4/15/2008 06:34:00 PM) - Al

So, is Tim Robbins on drugs, or is he truly this out of touch?

Or, both?

Back when he was making films that actually made money, I don't recall him being unhappy to make "mainstream" stuff.

Obviously, the press should put conspiracy theories on the front page, and soon be a memory. What a clueless putz.


4/15/2008 06:34:00 PM



(4/15/2008 06:27:00 PM) - Al

Ryan Braun gets the night off and is told to "relax" by the coaching staff.

Nice to see Joe Dillon get a start, as he looks good in nearly every single PA.


4/15/2008 06:27:00 PM



(4/15/2008 06:20:00 PM) - Al

Al,

I'm as big a Bush supporter as there ever was. But clearly he's struggling right now. Ideally I'd like to see him stay in the rotation with Parra and have them move Carlos to the bullpen. I say this only because I along with many scouts see Carlos as a relief pitcher more than a starter. He'll miss a lot more bats only being seen one time as opposed to 2-4 times. With his stuff he has to be so fine with his command over the course of 7 innings I don't see him as any better than a 5th starter. To me Carlos would be much more valuable as a Torres/Riske 2 inning setup guy type. Someday I think that will happen but clearly right now the Brewers are going to give him a chance in the rotation. With that in mind I like the idea of Bush being moved to the bullpen for the time being. I wouldn't rule out that Bush himself may be better as a reliever and at worst would be a fine long man/spot starter. Realistically someone will be hurt fairly soon anyway and he can claim his rotation spot back than. I however do not like the idea of sending Parra down to AAA. Parra is not a 20 year old anymore. He has a long history with injuries. Those injuries weren't caused by overuse in the minors. I feel with Parra you may only get so many innings out of him in a year. But they will probably be quality innings. Don't waste those in AAA. Get out of him what you can in the big leagues. If he somehow stays healthy ride him out and see if he could somehow go 200 innings. That's highly unlikely but at this age I see no need to baby him anymore than you would anyone else. He has number 2 starter stuff and if he could stay healthy has a lot of value. But his past has showed that "if" is enormous. As long as he's successful get what you can out of him in the majors rather than have him pitch well in AAA only to get hurt and not help the team at all in 2008.

Buck


A couple notes, Buck...I do not see how anyone would feel Carlos is somehow more valuable throwing 70 middle relief innings than 200 rotation frames.

Parra is still under the Brewers' control through the end of the 2013 season. With that in mind, I am sure they would much prefer him to have healthy for that time rather than in rehab, which is exactly where he will be if he throws anywhere near 200 innings.


4/15/2008 06:20:00 PM


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