Al's Ramblings



Monday, June 30, 2008

(6/30/2008 11:24:00 PM) - Al

Another day, another umpire calling it in, calling JJ out on strike three on a ball that almost bounced.

Truthfully, I might just start over. The lack of effort is ridiculous, and it's getting worse as the season goes on. They might as well be flipping a coin.


6/30/2008 11:24:00 PM



(6/30/2008 11:22:00 PM) - Al

Doug acts like he knows he'll have to trade someone he does not want to in order to land a coveted SP.


6/30/2008 11:22:00 PM



(6/30/2008 11:20:00 PM) - Al

They interviewed Capuano on TV, and I did not recognize him.

He may be back next year, but it seems unlikely it will be in MIL.


6/30/2008 11:20:00 PM



(6/30/2008 09:16:00 PM) - Al

Frank Catalanotto didn't start Monday even though he's a career .441 hitter in 59 at-bats against Mike Mussina.

While Catalanotto hasn't exactly been a bust for the Rangers -- he's hitting .280 this season -- GM Jon Daniels made a huge mistake in not only giving the veteran a three-year, $16.5 million contract but also forfeiting the 16th overall pick in last year's draft to do so. The Rangers will attempt to trade Catalanotto, but they're going to have to eat a significant portion of his salary to make a deal happen.--Rotworld


Doug has always liked dealing with TEX, and loves "professional hitters" like Frank. However, if a trade was to be made, I'm sure the Crew would like an LH OF who could play all 3 OF spots, not just 1B and LF.


6/30/2008 09:16:00 PM



(6/30/2008 08:52:00 PM) - Al

I wonder if Feingold thought it included a tax on soil...


6/30/2008 08:52:00 PM



(6/30/2008 08:24:00 PM) - Al

Water quality has been a concern for the sailing events, given that many coastal Chinese cities dump untreated sewage into the sea.

Gee, I wonder if that little nugget of fact could be related to the water turning green?


6/30/2008 08:24:00 PM



(6/30/2008 07:12:00 PM) - Al

So far this year, 8 teams are off of their "expected record" by 5% or more...or at the midway point, 4 games or more. Perhaps an even bigger surprise is that 6 of those 8 are "negative", or have fewer wins that you'd expect.

ATL: -6
TOR: -5
CLE: -5
OAK: -4
PHIL: -4
CWS: -4


LAA: +7
MIL: +4

I'm going to see if there is any seeming correlation between these 8 teams and how they hit with RISP and how their bullpen pitches, these are the two most common reasons people give for a team outperforming their runs scored and allowed.

So, in theory, you would expect a team who has underperformed their run differential to struggle in "clutch" situations and their bullpen to struggle, right?

ATL: 17th (of 30) in OPS with runners in scoring position, 8th in bullpen ERA
TOR: 30th, 4th
CLE: 7th, 30th
OAK: 9th, 7th
PHIL: 2nd, 2nd
CWS: 4th, 1st

3 of the 6 teams are actually top 10 in both categories that you'd expect them to suck at. The Phillies and White Sox are both top 5 in both. The others are top 10 in one, but not the other. Not a lot of correlation, to say the least.

LAA: 15th, 22nd
MIL: 18th, 20th

Heh. Neither of the outperforming teams are doing either of the two things that well. The Angels OPS with RISP is the only number which is in the upper half, in fact.

I went into this expecting no correlation in the OPS/RISP, but maybe some in the bullpen ERA. This reinforces to me that a team's run differential and their +/- ratio is very likely 95% luck, and luck alone. There may be a slight manager's impact, but those do not seem to repeat themselves from year to year either.


6/30/2008 07:12:00 PM



(6/30/2008 06:08:00 PM) - Al

One name that has not come up in any trade discussions that might be available is Aaron Harang, the Reds' ace that has struggled a tad this year, and the Reds may look to rebuild with younger, cheaper SP's.

He is signed through 2011 at $10-11M per, and while he is just 3-10 this year, his ERA is only a third of a run higher than his career mark...probably just a victim of a few fly balls that sneaked over the fence rather than were caught on the warning track.

I have a lot of reservations about giving too much for a dozen starts, but for a solid SP signed for a few years (and who is about 30), I'd be a bit more accepting. Also, he fits the "buy low, sell high" mentality I love to follow. The fact is, if the Reds had given him more run support, he might be 7-6, and worth a lot more in trade. Odd things like that are exactly what to look for.


6/30/2008 06:08:00 PM



(6/30/2008 05:28:00 PM) - Al

There are no fewer than three funny things about any debate over bottled water:

1. A friend of mine used to work at a brewery in the Twin Cities that took a variety of outside jobs from other companies. He was a machinist, and he always appreciated the relative calm of those shifts when they were bottling water...the only stoppages was usually planned...when they had to stop the line to put in different labels. Same water, same bottle...different label.

{Another person said this same thing was done at the cheese factory she worked at...one would be the expensive name brand, and the very next hunk would be a store brand like IGA.}

2. Most of the bottled water is simply municipal tap water that has gone through boiling and safety procedures...that's also why it rarely tastes very good.

3. By far the best water I've tasted is water from a natural spring, one that watered our young cattle growing up, and another that fed out along a country road a few miles from my boyhood home. The irony here is simple...there's no way anyone could sell it, as it could easily be loaded with germs or parasites. Can you imagine the legal consequences? They'd ruin it by heating it up and such, and after all that, the yummy flavor would be gone. Some say the same thing about how milk tastes after it is "processed".


6/30/2008 05:28:00 PM



(6/30/2008 01:28:00 PM) - Al

None of the Padres' veterans have much interest in relocating to Milwaukee, per MLBTR, it would appear.

Maddux and Wolf's numbers are pretty bad away from Petco anyway, though Greg may well revert to the means in Miller Park.


6/30/2008 01:28:00 PM



(6/30/2008 11:08:00 AM) - Al

I'll be taking a look at "expected records" later today, and see where teams "should be", and also see if there can be found any sort of correlation between good bullpens, clutch hitting, and teams having better "luck".


6/30/2008 11:08:00 AM



(6/30/2008 10:09:00 AM) - Al

Someone finally defends the free market of oil, and they do it well.


6/30/2008 10:09:00 AM


Sunday, June 29, 2008

(6/29/2008 08:44:00 PM) - Al

Ramblings is fortunate enough to have received a guest post from our friend Troy. His words are in italics below, with my added thoughts in bold. Thanks Troy!!

Record 44-37 (Pace 88-74)

The Brewers are officially half way thru the 2008 season. Here is a breakdown of each players pace and a few words on each.

Jason Kendall- Pace 2 HR 48 RBI with a .704 OPS. Kendall has been terrific. He's throwing out about 40% of runners which is far more than could have been hoped. He calls a great game and doesn’t need many days off. The fact he's actually hit quite well for a catcher is simply icing on the cake.

Mike Rivera- 2 HR 16 RBI .807 OPS. Rivera has only had 40 at bats all year so we don't have a lot to judge him on. He's done very well on the rare time's he is called upon. Barring injury we will continue to get little playing time and all we can hope for is doing an admirable job behind the plate.

Ryan Braun- 40 HR and 116 RBI .874 OPS. Braun's numbers are obviously solid. But for a player of his skill set to have a .322 OBP is simply inexcusable. Considering he had a 1.034 OPS last year his numbers have fallen off to some point. But that is to be expected. He plays deep and lacks range in LF but he's been OK out there. I think his numbers will only get better as the year goes on.

A .550 SLG will hide many warts. His defense has been very good, he has the potential to be very good in the OF eventually.

Mike Cameron- 24 HR and 56 RBI .758 OPS. Cam has been terrific in the field (at a very important defensive position) and seems to have a good presence with the younger players. He's never been a high average guy but has hit with so much power even though he's hitting under .220 he's been plenty productive and in line with his usual career numbers per game. Great base runner.

12 HR's is in about 45 games. OBP is disappointing, but has been a nice stopgap in CF.

Corey Hart- 28 HR and 102 RBI .852 OPS. Hart has been the most consistent performer all year. He could walk a little more but you can't complain about his production. Also very solid in the field and on the bases.

One of the most underrated players in the game.

Gabe Kapler- 10 HR and 44 RBI .853 OPS. Kapler has filled in admirably when called upon. He seems to be a great 4th OF and is a solid defender. Yost has used him perfectly as he probably wouldn't put up numbers anywhere near that good as a regular.

Russell Branyan- 22 HR and 36 RBI 1.091 OPS. He's only had 86 at bats to prove himself but has simply been off the charts. He's always been a player willing to take a walk and that will hit with a lot of power. He may do little else but on a team where he's not depended upon to be one of the stars he is fitting in very well. This pace is probably a bit much to ask but there is no reason to believe he can't keep up good production. Has been surprisingly solid in the field.

Bill Hall- 20 HR and 56 RBI .672 OPS. Hall has been very productive against lefties and should continue to thrive in that roll. Against rightys he's hit with some power but has gotten on at a horrible rate. His d has been bad too. At this point he is a legit platoon player.

Better than this, but probably better suited to be a middle IF where a .750 OPS is a legit number.

Craig Counsell- 2 HR and 16 RBI .682 OPS. He seems to be Mr. Consistency and you know exactly what your going to get from him. He's certainly well past his days as a starter but he fills in admirably when called upon. Lacks range but sure hands in the field and always makes the pitcher work.

Joe Dillon- 0 HR and 8 RBI .634 OPS. Hasn't done nearly as well as last year but 57 at bats aren't a whole lot to go off. He again isn't afraid to take a walk and seems to work pitchers well.

Hard to judge in such few AB's. Still looks outstanding the way he works the count.

Prince Fielder- 32 HR and 84 RBI .847 OPS. Not bad numbers at all for your average 1st baseman but for a 23 year old coming off a 50 HR season a tad disappointing to say the least. Teams seem intend to pitch around him and at times he has tried to do to much instead of just take the walk. However power hitters run hot and cold and by the end of the year his numbers may be right in line of what you were expecting. Still much like Braun his OPS has dropped from 1.006 in 2007 to .847 so that is rather significant.

JJ Hardy- 12 HR 52 RBI .723 OPS. Hardy has come back to earth after last year's breakout performance and really these numbers are more in line with what you'd expect from him. Hitting in front of the pitcher made sense for the team but obviously it's a big change from having Braun and Fielder behind you in the order. Since moving to 2 hole and getting the shoulder healed up he seems to have gained a little more confidence. As always not a ton of range but very solid in the field.

I think he's been at about 75% since early in '07.

Rickie Weeks- 14 HR 44 RBI .690 OPS. Weeks takes his walks and HBP but has struggled to maintain any consistency with base hits. He has hit with some power and seems to have hit into a lot of bad luck. He seems just too talented to not improve considerably in the 2nd half. A recent ESPN article that polled some baseball men around the league picked Weeks as the most likely player to have a strong 2nd half comeback after a weak start and I would tend to agree. Is so fast always makes things happen when on the bases and has made improvement with the glove.

I'll agree on the 2nd half, has hit in horrible luck.

Ben Sheets 18-4 2.83 ERA. Has been the horse you would expect him to be. The number one question with him has been health and to this point that hasn't been a major issue.

Jeff Suppan 8-12 4.05 ERA. Sup has been the solid innings eater you expect him to be. He seems to always be there every 5 days and always keeps you in the game. His record is not a good indicator of how he has pitched.

Manny Parra 16-4 3.95 ERA. Seems to have really settled in after a bad start. Clearly he has the stuff to be an excellent big league pitcher. Still has some control issues (46 walks in 86 2/3 innings) and lacks consistency but I guess that's too be expected of a young pitcher. Also has never thrown a ton on innings as a professional so will he wear down over a 162 game season?

On pace for 173 frames, probably a bit higher than they would like. Still maturing as a pitcher, he and Yo might both be as good as Sheets if they remain healthy.

Dave Bush 8-14 4.94 ERA. Bush still can't get away from the one blowup inning a lot of times. Still he eats innings and usually keeps you in the game. Not too many teams in MLB that wouldn't love to be able to say that about there # 4 and # 5 starters. People don't realize that a guy that usually goes 6 innings and has an ERA under 5 is a genuine commodity these days.

Seth McClung- 10-6 4.25 ERA. Has been a pleasant surprise. If he can maintain decent control there is no reason to believe he can't continue to be a solid back of the rotation type.

Bullpen- The bullpen overall hasn't been all that bad. Torres has been magnificent as the closer. Gagne certainly had his struggles but he did save 9 games and we managed to win a few of his blown saves. Mota has been for the most part solid with a few notable exceptions. Shouse and Stetter have been solid. Riske has struggled so far but has always been lights out in the 2nd half. Really I have more confidence in him having a strong half than anyone in the bullpen. Villanueva seems to have settled down since his demotion to the bullpen. This unit is very scary and I think in need of at least one more quality setup man (could that end up being Gagne?) but overall really has been above average.

Ned Yost- I've been critical at times of Yost and truth be told I wouldn't have been upset if they made a change in the off-season. But I think Yost should be given a lot of credit. The Brewers have played more road games, had one of the hardest schedules in MLB, the offense as a whole has been somewhat disappointing, there's been some blowup games, Capuano and Gallardo were lost for the year and were still on pace to win 88 games. That's pretty remarkable and he obviously kept the team together. When this team was 4 games under .500 and falling quick they could have fallen apart and settled on another lost year but they didn't. He takes a lot of heat but to me this is by far his best performance as a manager and he's showing me he belongs.

The record in one run games, his overachieving of his expected record, and his fine use of a pitching staff ravaged by injury...I'd say he's done his finest work. The bullpen seems to be brilliant since Turnbow's demotion, and he has handled Parra, McClung, and Bush very well. Never has a pitcher throw too many pitches either. His detractors have had to rely on second (and often third) guessing and grasping at straws.

Overall- I don't think you can emphasis just how much losing Gallardo hurt. That's not a guy you can just replace. Not only that the starter in place of him is clearly going less innings than Yo would have which puts more strain on the bullpen. I expect the offense to be quite a bit better in the 2nd half. But can the rotation hold up? Parra and McClung in particular are two pitchers who haven't proved they can help you for an entire season. Plus after April we've managed to avoid any injuries in the rotation. Can we really expect to go another 81 games without a starter going down? If one does we don't have a lot to come back with. Villaneuva would probably be next in line and after that we really have nothing you can rely on. Can Torres and the patched together bullpen continue to maintain their relative success? Also the team is 17-7 in 1 run games and has been outscored for the year. Generally almost all teams in MLB regardless of record end up pretty close to .500 in 1 run games.

Score for the year is usually another good gauge to if you've been a little lucky or a little unlucky so far. The reality is the stats bear us out more as a 41-40 type team and very fortunate to have the record we do. However if the rotation can pitch as it has since late May and the offense comes around as I expect it will you certainly can't rule this team out as at least a wild card team. Were currently 2 games behind St. Louis for that but at least 3 games ahead of the rest of the field. If we can go 44-37 in the 2nd half as well I think we have a fairly reasonable chance of making the playoffs. Will also see if Melvin can pick up another arm for the bullpen or rotation and we can continue to miss the injury bug. At least we've had this run to make it to the point we got a chance.


I would agree a pitcher or two will be added (I still hope for Derek Lowe), and maybe a LH bat for the OF to start once or twice a week and PH. It is ironic that the call is for a SP when the Crew has the 4th best SP ERA in the NL.


6/29/2008 08:44:00 PM



(6/29/2008 05:45:00 PM) - Al

Gagne activated, DiFelice sent down, with Yost saying he needs to work on getting LH hitters out....which sounds like my first impression of him as well.

Look at his splits. My goodness. We might be able be make him the first ROOGY in MLB history.:)


6/29/2008 05:45:00 PM



(6/29/2008 01:44:00 PM) - Al

After allowing 10 runs while getting 3 outs in his last outing, today Bronson Arroyo has given up 2 hits through 5 innings.

Slowey has been near perfect thus far, with some help from the umpire, who has called strikes several times on pitches 6 inches off the plate. Luckily, he's done that for both teams.


6/29/2008 01:44:00 PM



(6/29/2008 01:30:00 PM) - Al

When someone starts telling you how bad the US is, tell them about Yemen, where 8-9 year-old girls are forced to marry, and inform them of how completely ignorant they are.

FYI, the link contains disturbing words, as any story about Yemen will.


6/29/2008 01:30:00 PM



(6/29/2008 01:24:00 PM) - Al

I may be the only one, but I don't notice any more bats breaking than ever.

Wood bats are going to break. I think there has been more emphasis on pitching inside of late, which has led to much of the breakage.


6/29/2008 01:24:00 PM



(6/29/2008 01:17:00 PM) - Al

Seems odd Joe Mauer is catching today, especially when you see Mike Lamb DHing and hitting 9th. I know Aaron Gleeman has often lamented that Gardenhire hates to have Mauer DH when the only other C on the roster is catching, in case of injury.


6/29/2008 01:17:00 PM



(6/29/2008 01:11:00 PM) - Al

Doug Melvin on the FSN pre-game today, and Gord Ash on the radio version earlier, both hinting they will be looking for a SP should the club stay in the race. Gord especially said that, while they would have to be overwhelmed to deal top prospects, that they did have some guys who were "behind" some young players currently in the majors.

Doug added there was very little talk yet, as most teams feel they are still in race, or close enough to not justify trading veterans.


6/29/2008 01:11:00 PM



(6/29/2008 12:07:00 PM) - Al

If these two even-keeled kids can't make it, what hope is there for the rest of us?


6/29/2008 12:07:00 PM


Saturday, June 28, 2008

(6/28/2008 11:54:00 PM) - Al

Mike sends along this link that tells us Jerry Royster is now stumbling along in Korea.

That'll boost baseball to the next level in Asia, let me tell you.


6/28/2008 11:54:00 PM



(6/28/2008 10:26:00 PM) - Al

Glenn with 3 straight posts tonight that tells the story of American politics well...Heath Schuler blasts the House members, Obama rethinks his Iraq position, and Phil Gramm, who has forgotten more about economics than most will ever know, wonders aloud why some states lose jobs while others gain...some states are still thinking the 1970's will return.


6/28/2008 10:26:00 PM



(6/28/2008 09:52:00 PM) - Al

It's a pretty easy game when you get 26 outs before you allow a run. Parra is 8-2, and the season is just under half over, so Bill Schroeder says he's on pace to "win 12 or 13"...heh.

Clemson must not teach Ciphering 101.


6/28/2008 09:52:00 PM



(6/28/2008 09:49:00 PM) - Al

I heard about this yesterday, and thought that all scoring changes had to be made and the stats finalized 24 hours after the game.


6/28/2008 09:49:00 PM



(6/28/2008 02:45:00 PM) - Al

Olney sees the Brewers and the Cubs as more interested parties. (Ken Rosenthal mentioned the Brewers and the Rays as C.C. suitors yesterday.) Later in the post, Olney notes that Sabathia has a 1.96 ERA in his last fourteen starts. Yowza.--MLBTR

A sub 2 ERA over 2.54 months is very impressive, I'll give you that.


6/28/2008 02:45:00 PM



(6/28/2008 02:15:00 PM) - Al

Al,

I heard an opinion given on the radio, on why investors love speculating on oil. The guy said that anything can go up or down. Oil, however, seems to only go up because of tremendous demand and the shaky state of affairs in the Middle East. Buying up oil causes supply to be short and every time there is a rumor of more conflict, people panic even more. He said this causes oil to be as sure of a bet as there is, so more investors come in daily as they catch on. It seems to be a vicious cycle that fulfills itself.

Carl



It is true today, but if you substitute "real estate" for oil and turn back the clock a few years, it would also be true. The markets are based on supply and demand, and they are, by definition, accurate. That's not to say some things are not over and undervalued...that's why I bought Wal Mart at 42-44 and sold it at 52 (and why it now sells for more than that).

Silver was $50 an ounce when that market went straight up back during the Carter years...it's been nowhere near since. It is a bit of a perfect storm for oil right now, but it too, will pass.


6/28/2008 02:15:00 PM



(6/28/2008 01:51:00 PM) - Al

I don't watch either, except when flipping channels late when their networks are rerunning their respective shows, but I can't believe O'Reilly cares at all what some hack that draws a third of his audience (same time slot) says.

It's like the Twins calling the independent team in Fargo and asking them what they think of them.

UPDATE: Seems Bill now hold "only" a 2.4-1 lead...


6/28/2008 01:51:00 PM



(6/28/2008 01:44:00 PM) - Al

A list of arms that may be available at the deadline. I like the lower tier of SP's more than the upper echelon.


6/28/2008 01:44:00 PM



(6/28/2008 01:31:00 PM) - Al

Dave Pinto with ponderings about Sid Ponson, now that he's helped the Yankees win a game.

The message boards were ablaze with Yankees hate after they signed Ponson, but as usual, those who do not see value in a veteran player on a minor league contract lack understanding of the game. I'll sign any vet to play at AAA, as it is no risk, all reward.


6/28/2008 01:31:00 PM



(6/28/2008 01:23:00 PM) - Al

What will Jay Leno do?

To me, the choice is obvious...do stand up on three Friday and Saturday nights a month and spend 5 days a week playing with his cars and motorcycles. That's pretty much exactly what Bill Cosby and Jerry Seinfeld do, and they seem generally happy with their lot in life, sans the dirty hands.


6/28/2008 01:23:00 PM



(6/28/2008 11:20:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers typically send a heads-up to the visiting clubhouse when they travel. That memo says to get the junk food out and replace it with healthy stuff. So the Brewers have done without potato chips, sodas, candy and whatever else for most of the season. Well, that message didn't make it to Minneapolis, apparently, because the visiting clubhouse was stocked with rows of candy, chips, kids' cereals, cans of soda ranging from cola to strawberry and even a personal pizza heater. "We haven't had much of this," shortstop J.J. Hardy said.--JS

I understand the idea, but my goodness, if a 27 year-old wants to drink a Pepsi, I'm sure he will, and I admit, I could not care less, especially if he hits the ball hard.


6/28/2008 11:20:00 AM



(6/28/2008 11:08:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers' acquisition of reliever Scott Linebrink before last year's non-waiver deadline offered a glimpse of their strategy in trading for a potential free agent — one they could reprise in their quest to land Indians left-hander C.C. Sabathia.

For two months of Linebrink, the Brewers sent the Padres three minor-league pitchers — lefty Joe Thatcher, whom they had signed as an undrafted free agent; righty Will Inman, a former third-round pick; and lefty Steve Garrison, a former 10th-rounder.

Linebrink didn't get the Brewers to the postseason, but Milwaukee received two compensation picks when he signed with the Chicago White Sox as a free agent. Those picks proved to be the 35th and 54th selections in this year's draft — far higher than where the Brewers had initially selected Inman and Garrison.

The loss of reliever Francisco Cordero as a free agent yielded two more premium picks, giving Milwaukee six of the first 62 choices. The Brewers could end up with a similar windfall next year if they acquire Sabathia, then lose both him and right-hander Ben Sheets in free agency. Yes, their rotation would suffer, but the team will be getting back righty Yovani Gollardo, who is out for the season after undergoing knee surgery.

Make no mistake: Major-league teams exist to win World Series, not collect draft picks. Still, the Brewers are so good at drafting and developing, they can have it both ways.

Their Class AA team is deep in position prospects, giving them the potential to acquire a pitcher such as Sabathia to pair with Sheets for a postseason push. And the extra picks would enable them to keep reloading under their gifted scouting director, Jack Zduriencik.

The Brewers will not necessarily land Sabathia; teams such as the Rays and Red Sox also are deep in prospects, and the Yankees could be motivated by an additional incentive.

Any team that acquires Sabathia would gain an exclusive window to sign him long-term before he reached free agency.--Rosenthal


Constant discussion abut the Crew's interest in CC, as they have admitted to wanting to add an SP, have made trades at the deadline before, and have a deep farm system that would allow them to make such a deal. I still feel the Indians could get back in the race, as I'm not impressed by any of the AL Central teams, but that ship is sailing as every day passes.

I have said in the past I'd hate to give up any of the top 7 or so prospects the Crew has, so I would just as soon aim a little lower than Sabathia myself, but Doug went after a top reliever last year, and got a guy many felt was not even on the market, so I doubt he will not go after all SP's available.

Actually, I'd be more likely to give up a top 7 guy if they went after a non-FA...a solid SP that could step into the Sheets' role in 2009 would be extremely valuable.


6/28/2008 11:08:00 AM



(6/28/2008 10:57:00 AM) - Al

The rambling son and I just played a couple games of Wii baseball, the easy 3 inning variety found on Wii Sports. If I groove him nothing but fastballs and he pitches me fairly, we are pretty even, though he tends to "get hot" after seeing nothing but BP pitches after a while. A couple things:

1. One of my OF's dropped a routine fly ball, neither one of us had ever seen that before.

2. I hit a ball to deep RF, we both thought it was a HR, but it bounced off the railing and back onto the field, and was ruled a double. The lack of an umpire probably kept an ugly bumping incident from taking place...sigh, remember the days when MLB umpires were not simply an embarrassment?

3. Allow me to say, there's nothing more damaging to the ego than having the "mercy rule" invoked when your opponent is 6 years old.


6/28/2008 10:57:00 AM


Friday, June 27, 2008

(6/27/2008 08:40:00 PM) - Al

I am on the computer, but I am forced to use Internet Explorer, as was my son at his summer class today, as Firefox is apparently down.

It is simply off the charts how bad IE is when you rarely have to use it.


6/27/2008 08:40:00 PM


Thursday, June 26, 2008

(6/26/2008 09:08:00 PM) - Al

Heh.

Allow me to say, anyone who compares anyone to Hitler is very possibly one of the most ignorant people on the planet.


6/26/2008 09:08:00 PM



(6/26/2008 08:31:00 PM) - Al

Impressive day one by John Hammond, selecting Joe Alexander and picking up Richard Jefferson in a trade for Yi, Bobby Simmons, and cap room.

I expected there to be a total rebuilding, but right now, it's tough not to look at the team and imagine a healthy group winning 35-40 games, which is plenty for a playoff spot in the East.

It's funny, Yi and Simmons have nearly identical stats over their careers, but Yi is looked at as loaded with potential because of his youth.


6/26/2008 08:31:00 PM


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

(6/25/2008 11:00:00 PM) - Al

I did not see this, but I would have to agree, while there has been a lot of people talking about "speculators", few seem to realize there are such people in the stock market, real estate, and all commodities, not just oil. Do they cause prices to rise and fall a bit more steeply? Possibly, as most traders (those that are not investors, those that buy and hold) cannot tie up their cash, so if the market starts heading up or down, they have to cover right away, even if that means taking a loss.

But, the real estate market was loaded with speculation, and it eventually fell. That's what markets do. Up and down, down and up...it's capitalism. People looking for someone to blame to make it easy for them to feel better need not look past the fact we've made it impossible for oil companies to drill in most places in the oceans, in ANWR, that there have been no refineries built for 3 decades, and so on.

All those little things add up, and let's not forget, states and the feds love to tax gasoline, because it's dirty and an easy revenue source. I promise you, India and China are not going to curb their demand, as industry has helped to pull them out of third world status.


6/25/2008 11:00:00 PM



(6/25/2008 07:51:00 AM) - Al

I'll be out of town on business the next couple days. Depending on the internet connections, posts may be sporadic.


6/25/2008 07:51:00 AM


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

(6/24/2008 11:25:00 PM) - Al

Many are finally noticing the Crew is 17-6 in one run games. You can give kudos to the bullpen, but most of it is plain old luck. Tonight, Prince had a pair of line drives at him that turned into double plays. There is no skill involved there, my friends.

That is likely to "balance out" a bit, but on the bright side, they will almost assuredly win far more than half their one run contests, which bodes well for them having a few more wins than "they should".


6/24/2008 11:25:00 PM



(6/24/2008 11:02:00 PM) - Al

Sheets, to no one's surprise, will see what he can get as a free agent this offseason. I've been saying this for as long as I can recall.


6/24/2008 11:02:00 PM



(6/24/2008 10:57:00 PM) - Al

I thought they already tried this once, but I can't say it's anything that excites me.


6/24/2008 10:57:00 PM



(6/24/2008 07:08:00 PM) - Al

Taverez elects free agency rather than going to AAA.

You have to wonder what's going through Julian's mind, as it seems unlikely anyone will give him a chance without minor league time, after inactivity with BOS and inconsistency with MIL.

Of course, it would not be the first time Scott Boras gave out horrendous advice.


6/24/2008 07:08:00 PM



(6/24/2008 06:36:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers once again miss the ace of the opponent's staff, as Tim Hudson will not make a start. I have not been keeping track, but memory alone makes me think this has happened several times in this 30 game stretch the Crew has played well.

Not only didn't it happen early in the campaign, it seemed as though they were facing the top 3 guys often times. These things balance out, as does strength of schedule.


6/24/2008 06:36:00 PM



(6/24/2008 04:01:00 PM) - Al

I've mentioned this factoid about how long train travel takes several times when people say we should have spend more on subsidized train travel. It is simply unsuitable for anyone to travel by train unless you are on a sabbatical.

This is also why Americans have a fascination with the automobile...it is necessary, as other options to go from point A to point B are few and far between in our huge, spread out nation.


6/24/2008 04:01:00 PM



(6/24/2008 10:58:00 AM) - Robert R.

I'm behind on my reviewing.

Roman de Gare

Roman de Gare is a French thriller that's making its way through the art film circuit now. It's something of an homage to Hitchcock, the title translates as "Crossed Tracks" which could be an alternate title to Strangers on a Train, but approaches a Hitchcock thriller by way of the French New Wave. It also has a lot to say about the nature of the storyteller.

It's directed by Claude Lelouch who was somewhat on the fringes of the French New Wave although he won the 1966 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for A Man and a Woman, a film I haven't seen. In that sense, his film style used for this film is something of a throwback, but the devices used are still certainly effective.

The movie is something of a puzzle movie. One which sets out to disorient the viewer early. We're thrown into the interrogation of a famous author and within minutes we're thrown into a seemingly unrelated plot. A stranger (Dominique Pinon) picks up a woman, Hugette (Audrey Dana) who's been abandoned at a gas station after a fight with her boyfriend. And the stranger agrees to impersonate the boyfriend for a visit to her parents. The movie throws various hints at who this stranger could be, a runaway high school teacher, a ghost writer for a famous author, an escaped serial killer, or, somewhat cheekily, God, and uses that uncertainty to create mystery and tension. Is he playing along because he's being helpful, because he wants story material, or so he can kill her? Is there relationship genuine or based on lies? Or both? Who is lieing to whom? And how does this all tie back into the famous author?

Without spoiling the movie, let's just say that there are answers to most of these questions. With additional plot twists and a final sense of justice. I don't know if it quite hangs together, we have to take a character's word, something this movie should warn against, that justice has been served at the end, but for the most part it's a fun time getting there. Although you should be warned, false tension/red herrings are rampant in the movie.

And, it should be noted, that it's well acted throughout. The two main actors more than carry their load and have good chemistry together. They're just mismatched enough to be believable and funny at the same time. There's also a nice visual sense to the movie, which keeps the directoral flourishes to a minimum, which works with the story. It's very interested in presenting the story from a writer's p.o.v.

Overall, I think most people are going to have a fun time watching this. Especially those that love puzzle movies. It's most certainly not a great film, but it's a good film with thrills, mysteries, comedy, and enough ideas to almost hold everything together.

Normally I'd link to a trailer, but you're probably better off going in cold and just enjoying the ride.

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6/24/2008 10:58:00 AM


Monday, June 23, 2008

(6/23/2008 11:03:00 PM) - Al

Many seem to be worried about Jason Kendall wearing down as the season progresses, so I looked up his career splits...they would indicate little to be concerned about, as he's always caught more than most catchers.

Compare those to Cal Ripken Jr's, who was one of the best offensive SS's of all time, but is sadly remembered for an impressive, yet selfish and meaningless streak. Just as you'd suspect, he wore down in the last couple months.


6/23/2008 11:03:00 PM



(6/23/2008 10:25:00 PM) - Al

I wish this was not the way Milwaukee made national news.

What's really sad is you have all these people lining up based on rumors.


6/23/2008 10:25:00 PM



(6/23/2008 09:24:00 PM) - Al

To expand on Robert's point, with Sheets, it's a pretty solid rotation.

Without him, it's well below average.


6/23/2008 09:24:00 PM



(6/23/2008 09:06:00 PM) - Robert R.

Ben Sheets didn't seem to have his best stuff tonight, but he still dominated. He might be the NL Cy Young frontrunner, with good reason. He's certainly the most irreplacable player on the Brewers right now, especially since he limits the number of innings the bullpen has to work.

Yeah, I agree, none of that's really insightful. But sometimes the obvious needs to be stated.


6/23/2008 09:06:00 PM



(6/23/2008 08:41:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Much like you I find the batting order fairly meaningless. Yet by far the number one complaint I hear and read from Brewers fans is that Hart should be hitting lead-off instead of Weeks. It baffles me how so many people just can't seem to understand that's not a good idea. As I type this Weeks and Hart have a nearly identical On Base Percentage for the year even though Hart is hitting about 70 points higher. If they get on base an equal amount don't you want the guy that gets by far more hits and has a little more power to be hitting behind Braun and Prince, in turn often having a lot of runners on base for him in clutch scoring situations? If you hit Hart 1st you in turn have to hit Cameron or Weeks 5th (to split up Branyan and Prince) spots in the order where walks are of slightly less importance and getting hits and driving runs in are of more importance. Hart is ideal where he is. He doesn't walk a lot or have a good OBP so I don't see him as an ideal lead-off hitter at all. Weeks may not be lighting the world on fire but he has hit into tremendous bad luck all year and I certainly expect his numbers to rise. To me he's still a future star. The guy is only 25 after all.

Troy


I cannot believe anyone still cares about batting order, and that anyone is still using BA as anything but a stat to prove they are 25 years behind the times.

Weeks walks a lot, leans into inside pitches, and always has a decent OBP, even when he's not seeing the ball very well. He also runs like the wind, which leads to his high run totals.

The other day, one message board was discussing a Weeks and Carlos V for Mark Grudzielanek trade, apparently overlooking the fact that MG is older, more expensive, and not a bit better (though he is slightly better this year thus far). It still astounds me how people want young teams to trade for older players. My goodness, if I'm going to deal Weeks and CV, I better be vastly improving my team, not picking up some 38 year-old 2B who has been a utility player much of his career. That's simply a bizarro world trade. I don't think Craig Counsell is much of a downgrade from Mark G.


6/23/2008 08:41:00 PM



(6/23/2008 06:57:00 PM) - Al

George Carlin was a brilliant comedian, and Ann sums up some of his better work here.

I often find it ironic that many comics are incredibly unhappy people off stage, and Carlin fit that bill as well.


6/23/2008 06:57:00 PM



(6/23/2008 06:39:00 PM) - Al

After Corey Hart was wild pitched to 2B, Bill Schroeder said, "Now Cameron has to get him over to 3B". After Mike drove a HR to LF, Brian Anderson said, "That's one way of getting him over!", as Bill gurgled in his own little world.

Tell you what, you take a team of guys who play for one run, I'll take a team that just hits. My team will win a lot more than your team. Play for a run, you're never going to get a big inning. The only time that makes sense is if you only need one run to tie or win.


6/23/2008 06:39:00 PM



(6/23/2008 06:31:00 PM) - Al

Brilliant promotion by the Brewers, another "they score, you save", but tickets are limited, so you gamble if you wait.


6/23/2008 06:31:00 PM



(6/23/2008 06:12:00 PM) - Al

Don Walker had an article about the Brewers' fans following them on road trips.

I think a lot of this is just that Wisconsin fans follow their teams on the road...Packers, Badgers, and so on. Much of this is because of the cold weather we have in WI, but for whatever reason, many fans choose to go to Detroit and Chicago and other cold weather cities as well.

I could not tell you why, but I'm sure a couple readers could offer an opinion. I would wager a guess that it is a development that has something to do with how hard it is to get tickets to Camp Randall, Kohl Center, and so on.


6/23/2008 06:12:00 PM


Sunday, June 22, 2008

(6/22/2008 09:58:00 PM) - Al

Thank you to the loyal followers who have resulted in more hits and visits for June of 2008 than June of 2007...and yes, there are many more days left this month.

We appreciate it folks. Keep those e-mails and clicks a coming.


6/22/2008 09:58:00 PM



(6/22/2008 09:43:00 PM) - Al

While this is a rather pedestrian effort, Hunt fails to mention a very important fact...the Brewers simply are oodles better at promoting their product since Mark A took over the team.

While the Seligs deserve many kudos for many things, marketing gurus they were not.


6/22/2008 09:43:00 PM



(6/22/2008 09:27:00 PM) - Al

If you think the article Glenn links to sound familiar, it's exactly the same song and dance you're hearing about oil...which as the article states, is just ECON 101 supply and demand. Since pretty much all environmentalists are against nuclear, coal, and natural gas power plants going up, the blame game will begin anew when the brownouts begin...of course, it will be the fault of the capitalists...because no one allowed them to build new plants.

And around we go...


6/22/2008 09:27:00 PM



(6/22/2008 09:06:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Who are the 7 guys you would not discuss in a trade, the untouchables? I think I know 5 or maybe 6 of them, but curious who the unknowns are.

Steve


Matt Laporta
Mat Gamel
Angel Escobar
Michael Brantley
Angel Salome

To be honest, those are the only 5 I would view as untouchable. In my mind, all project to be major league starters, who will be under the control of the Crew for 6 years, and very inexpensive 3 of them. I'd hate to lose a single one.

Jeremy Jeffress
Jonathan LuCroy

Those would be the next two in my head, but they are both quite a ways beneath the top 5. Jeffress has all the talent in the world, but seems intent on throwing away his career. LuCroy is a high draft pick as well who would seem to be a can't miss major leaguer someday, though he may not be more than a catcher who splits time or is a reserve. I would include them if I had to, but I'd hate to do so for a rental.

For those curious, the three pitchers dealt last year for Linebrink were nowhere near as good as Jeffress potential wise...they look to be bottom of the rotation SP's or middle relievers...nice complementary pieces, but hardly guys you build around.


6/22/2008 09:06:00 PM



(6/22/2008 09:02:00 PM) - Al

Al,

A few weeks ago, you said something to the effect that you did not think Yost should be fired, nor should his contract be extended if the team were to start winning. I thought you were nuts, but you were 100% correct. The team is clicking on all cylinders, and Ned's use of the bullpen and patchwork lineups is a big part of it.

Keep up the good work.

AJ


Nothing gets you printed quicker than sucking up. Thanks AJ, and keep reading.


6/22/2008 09:02:00 PM


Saturday, June 21, 2008

(6/21/2008 08:55:00 PM) - Al

I did not see the game tonight, but I did "watch" the last inning on the computer. Seth McClung continues to show why he was so highly thought of all that time with the Rays, allowing 8 runners in 6.2 frames, his first time over 6, I think.

If I had a dollar for every person I saw that said to release Seth this past March.:) You can't teach velocity, you hang onto those hard throwers as long as you can. Their ceiling is always higher, and their margin for error is far greater.


6/21/2008 08:55:00 PM



(6/21/2008 03:27:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers reportedly have told teams that they aren't willing to move Ben Sheets, even though they're 6-1/2 games behind the Cubs in the NL [Central]. Of course, one losing streak could force them to change their strategy.--Delaware News Journal

Sounds like they forgot about the wildcard in Delaware, but hey, that's what you get in a small market paper...look at the JS.

Sheets is not available, but in a month, if the Crew is at .500 or a couple games below, he might be. However, to worry about the Cubs is erroneous, the braintrust will concern themselves with whoever is leading the wildcard to judge how realistic their chances are.


6/21/2008 03:27:00 PM



(6/21/2008 03:22:00 PM) - Al

The military and small business both have very good approval ratings...HMO's and Congress do not.

By the way, we loved out HMO when we lived in the Twin Cities. I've never understood the scorn, they treated us well and paid every bill.


6/21/2008 03:22:00 PM



(6/21/2008 03:09:00 PM) - Al

A new better GI Bill will soon be going through. You've heard some bickering of late about this, mostly Dems saying Bush and McCain did not support the new version. However, a compromise has been reached, which allows a service member to "transfer" their money to a family member, which was not allowed in the first version, which Bush and McCain spoke out against.

Shockingly, this little tidbit did not make it into biased coverage, such as Jon Stewart's show, which forgot it was a comedy program about 5 years ago, and has since been a pile of unwatchable crap.

(Said meaning no disrespect to piles of unwatchable crap)

Luckily, a site called Military.com exists and reports things the way they are, which renders Comedy Central fake news show as meaningless as it is. What's sad is how funny that show used to be when Craig Kilbourn actually tried to make you laugh while watching it.


6/21/2008 03:09:00 PM



(6/21/2008 10:30:00 AM) - Al

Buster Olney feels the Crew would be a favorite to land CC Sabathia...if they are still in the race come late July.

I would assume Buster is looking at the Brewers having plenty of quality prospects to land CC. I'd be all for adding Sabathia, but I would put about 7 guys on an untouchable list, and to be honest, the Indians would almost certainly require one of them, if not a pair.


6/21/2008 10:30:00 AM



(6/21/2008 10:22:00 AM) - Al

I have some stuff going on this weekend, so updates may be lighter than normal.

Enjoy the weekend. I was just watching the stock picking shows this AM and found that many of the panelists are 100% against giving people that lost homes and property due to flooding a penny from the federal gov't...one person said there's a reason they can't get flood insurance...insurance companies aren't nearly as stupid as the gov't.

Heh. I thought I was an old meanie.

On a related note, despite many evacuations and such, I have not seen or heard a single story about people refusing to leave, or of any looting in the affected areas. I'll leave you to come up with a reason on your own.


6/21/2008 10:22:00 AM


Friday, June 20, 2008

(6/20/2008 09:39:00 PM) - Al

Today, I worked with a young lady who is 19. This means that while I graduated from high school in 1987, she was born in 1988. While I have a vivid memory of the Reagan decade, which shaped many of my beliefs I hold to this day, the first president she recalls is Clinton.

On Wednesday, I was dropped off at the Vue by my partner for the day, and as I loaded in the tools of the trade, my laptop and heavy bag full of various applications into my car, I struck up a conversation with a boy about my son's age, who was walking on the sidewalk. After he showed me his squirt gun and we discussed the weather, I asked him if he lived up the street. He pointed the same way I had and said, "Nope, I live down the street".

I guess it's all in the way you look at it.


6/20/2008 09:39:00 PM



(6/20/2008 09:12:00 PM) - Al

With all the talk of Richie Sexson being released soon, it is interesting to see he has outstanding splits this year versus LHP. He's worth about $12.5M less than the current $14M he's getting paid, but I tell you what, if SEA offers to pay his salary, or almost all of it, several teams should consider him as a platoon 1B/DH.


6/20/2008 09:12:00 PM



(6/20/2008 08:56:00 PM) - Al

DiFelice now has 16 K's and 0 BB's. Sometimes, you see it, and you still do not believe it.


6/20/2008 08:56:00 PM



(6/20/2008 08:52:00 PM) - Al

Yost said the Stetter/Dillard swap has been planned for up to 10 days, as the Crew looked to bring back the improving Stetter for the O's, Braves, and Twins.

That's a surprise.


6/20/2008 08:52:00 PM



(6/20/2008 08:15:00 PM) - Al

Today, I was thinking about how many numbers oriented gurus of the game feel that instead of saving your "closer" for a save situation in the 9th inning, you should use them during a "high leverage" situation...like bases loaded, one out in the 7th.

I have never really bought into this line of thinking, for many reasons:

1. Who defines "high leverage"?

2. Who pitches the 9th inning, assuming your closer gets out of the early jam?

3. What do you do if you use your closer in the 7th, and you have another "high leverage" situation in the 8th?

And so on. I'm the first to say it's kind of silly that managers bring in their closer when they are up by 3 (a save situation), but not if up by 4 (not a save situation). However, there has to be a cutoff somewhere, right?

I also have always found it amusing that those that argue for such strange use of your bullpen will also argue that "anyone can pitch if you're ahead by 3 runs in the 9th". Apparently, Dillard and Riske are not "anyone".:)

I don't see changes happening anytime soon, in fact, I dare to say that some team will either not go with a rotation anymore, or if they have 3 good starters, just use the bullpen for the other day or two. To me, considering most, if not all pitchers, fare better the first time through the lineup, so it makes sense a staff made up of all relievers would kind of automatically be a bit better. Also, one must remember that if one is simplistic, SP's cost a lot more than RP's, so some team might try it as a cost savings idea. In addition, you could always PH for your P, at least if you had runners on base.

As far as changes we'll see, I see that one taking off long before the other.


6/20/2008 08:15:00 PM



(6/20/2008 07:01:00 PM) - Al

Al,

I don't think I saw you mention anything about the Prince trade rumors that was posted on a bunch of sites last Sunday. Thoughts? Ya, I know rumors are unexciting and a waste of time, but what would it take for Melvin to move Fielder?

It would make sense to trade him in the off season (before arbitration raises him to 7-8 million) and get a load of pitching prospects in return. Save money from Fielder, Gagne and Cameron and that will will take care of a couple years on a new contract for Sheets. If LaPorta/Nelson can handle first base, Gwynn in center, they'd even have some money left over for a closer/bullpen arm.

It just seems that with Braun becoming the face of the franchise, and Fielder's lack of a long term contract, it could happen.


Dan


I've ignored several e-mails because I do not find it credible. May Prince be traded someday? Of course he may. Will it be soon? Very unlikely. There's no use having Laporta learning the OF if he's going to play 1B. Brad Nelson would be a loss of about 6-7 wins from Prince, and Gwynn would be a loss of at least a couple wins from Cameron...even though Mike is currently having a sub par offensive campaign.

Now, if someone would propose Prince for Overbay and a 25 or under quality SP from the Jays, I might be forced to consider how that would affect all involved.


6/20/2008 07:01:00 PM



(6/20/2008 05:13:00 PM) - Al

Mitch Stetter returns, Tim Dillard down. Tim certainly pays the price for pitching from behind and not being able to hold a large lead, eventually making the Crew use Riske and Torres.

Stetter regained his control in Nashville, proving it is not the air in Music City that prevents one from throwing strikes, regardless of what Turnbow says.

Also, Cameron is still out with a sprained toe. I know football players often miss substantial time with this, so a DL visit is far from out of the question. They showed him in tennis shoes yesterday, so he was all but 100% unavailable.

Be back close to game time.


6/20/2008 05:13:00 PM


Thursday, June 19, 2008

(6/19/2008 09:36:00 PM) - Al

The Reds may consider trading Bronson Arroyo and Ryan Freel at the deadline for prospects. They are behind a little in the division, but building for 2009 could help. They need pitching more than anything.--MLB Rumors

I doubt if there's a match, but I would love for the Crew to add both those guys...at this second, Arroyo would be the long man in the bullpen, but I'm all for that. However, I believe Bronson is signed through 2009, probably at a very high salary.

EDIT: $9.5M in '09 and 11M in '10. Nice signing, fellas.

UPDATE: I should put in my first of many mentions that if the Crew remains in it and decides to add a pitcher, the list should begin and end with one name...as long as the Dodgers are not challenging for a playoff berth, of course. I've seen folks say he'd be a good guy to replace Sheets next year, as he will be much cheaper, given his age, but I can't say I'd be crushed if it happened.

UPDATE 2: He did have an "issue" a few years ago.

UPDATE 3: The links above appear dead, so this one is still good.


6/19/2008 09:36:00 PM



(6/19/2008 09:07:00 PM) - Al

Bob Uecker's boat damaged.

No word who was driving the freighter, but I have my suspicions...


6/19/2008 09:07:00 PM



(6/19/2008 08:25:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Normally, after going to a game, I'd like to find something to send along via e-mail that could contribute from the first-hand experience. After Tuesday night, though, there's not too much worth chipping in, even though they scored 7 runs, and all of them from home runs.

It was some kind of Little League night at Miller Park, and there was something nice and encouraging about it. It's funny ... I'm good friends with a Milwaukee public schools teacher, and I know their final day was Monday. Sure enough, on Tuesday, there's 37,000-plus people at Miller Park - on a Tuesday. I've seen it before, but it was a welcome thing to see again, as soon as school is out, Miller Park fills up with families and kids for the summer. Just part of the natural rhythm, I guess, but still, a fun thing to see return.

The only other things to occur to me during the game: Branyan with these homers against righties is getting ridiculous. It's fun, yes, but he has 17 hits, and 8 of them are homers. It's silly, really, how reliably he's knocking them out of the park. It's so much fun, and it makes every trip to the ballpark that much more enjoyable. Also, I found myself at the game tonight basically pinching myself about Braun. Right before his 2nd HR, I mentioned to my friend, "C'mon, Braunie ... let's get one here!" Well, it was on an 0-2 count, but yet the guy still gets one he can manage to yank out to right-center. His second HR was followed by my comment to my friend, "And we get to watch this for 7 more years."

Anyway, lots of fun on a Tuesday at the ballpark. It's odd. In most ways, I've pretty much written off the year to the Cubs simply being the class of the division and the National League. But with the wild card out there, there's plenty to get behind. Let's see what happens. With this Branyan insanity going on, and Braun and Fielder being, well, exactly what they are, let's soak it up instead of worrying about what middle reliever Yost might put too much faith in.

Also, uh, Manny Parra? Maybe he hits the wall in a month or two, but it's a lot of fun to watch right now.

Jim


I went to the LL Night ages ago and they got 32K for it even then.

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the possibility of 3M, a mark often thought unattainable given the capacity of MP. I've been saying it since late last season, and I still believe it will occur, if a competitive team continues to take the field.


6/19/2008 08:25:00 PM



(6/19/2008 07:45:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers are hoping Taverez ends up replacing Jeff Weaver in Nashville. They seem to be doing a nice job of working with veterans and convincing them to get some work and see what happens.


6/19/2008 07:45:00 PM



(6/19/2008 06:59:00 PM) - Al

I was at the Brewers game last night, and it was a little breezy walking in from the parking lot, so I went back to the car and got a light jacket. When I got to my seat on the first base side, I took the jacket off, figuring I may need it later.

Then they closed the dome. I was stunned. Many times last night, I looked at the closed roof in disbelief.

Have Brewers fans become such sissies that we can't handle baseball on a slightly cool, summer's evening? I gave Brewers management the benefit of the doubt on some day games in May (when it is 60 in the sun, but probably 45 in the shade). But having the dome closed last night has shown me the horrifying prospect of the Brewers becoming a dome team first, and only open air when conditions are perfect.

(Rambling here...) During the last few years of County Stadium, at one point during each game, the PA would ask "If we were in Miller Park right now, would you want the dome open or closed?". I never attended a game where the crowd wanted the dome closed. I remember being at a game in August 1997 at County Stadium in which they gave all attendees a pin commemorating the Milwaukee Braves 40th anniversary of their World Series win. It was a Sunday afternoon game that was delayed four hours by rain, and when it started at 5:00 PM it was unseasonably cool and still drizzling. Certainly this rainy day - after a four hour rain delay - would have been a push for a dome. Negative. The crowd wanted the dome open.

Wisconsin fans are hearty. Certainly I understand closing the dome during inclement weather, or when it is truly cold. But I think that the Brewers have crossed that line last night. It was a line I had been fearing for seven years, and I don't think the line will push back. I just see it getting worse.

Michael


First of all, allow me to say only an idiot wants the roof open on a crappy day, and it's only proof drunks will cheer at anything. That said, I have no problem with cool weather, but many people (and all women) do. One only need to look at the crowd size before and after Miller Park opened to prove that...in your example, there were 22K people in house on a July weekend day...haven't had a crowd that tiny since 2006, and much of that is due to folks knowing the weather will either be perfect or the roof will be closed.

As Gleeman said a few days ago, Twins' fans will be sitting through crappy weather and a lot of canceled games in a couple years, and you will find no stronger hater of the Metrodome than Aaron.

Your opinion is one I see and hear often, that the roof should only be closed in case of severe cold or rain. I don't really get it, but I'm far from an outdoorsy person. As you said, many, even you, would have been chilly last night, so they close the roof. That's what the roof is for, to make it more comfy to play and watch.

I was on my way home last night at 6:30, and Jim Powell said on the pre-game that there was a "very strong breeze", and that they were shutting the panels. Personally, I would have worn shorts, as I pretty much always do if the temp is 45-50 or above, but again, I'm not normal. Of the 34K, I assume half or more were women and children who would have found the temp far too chilly. Hence, the roof was closed. The irony here is, why do you mind sitting in warmer weather? Why be "hearty" when there is an alternative?

Every night on our local news, they show highlights of the Woodchucks tilt, if they were home, and every time the weather is not perfect, all you can see is empty seats. Apparently, the "hearty" factor in Wausau is far less than Milwaukee.


6/19/2008 06:59:00 PM



(6/19/2008 06:51:00 PM) - Al

Al,

I would concur with your earlier post…it is absolutely amazing that Branyan is playing as well as he is. I would start him every game until he cools off…and maybe after. I didn't realize until I looked at up that both Russell and Ryan made their season major league debuts on the same day, May 25th. And both seem to have helped ignite slow-starting offenses…very nice to see. And if we have the same issue next year, based on how the guys are hitting in Huntsville, I am thinking we may have options for the same type of impact next year…hopefully we won't need it!

Jerod


Jerod sent along a download that I'll try to open again later. It is probably worthwhile that they were brought up after about 50 games...that's probably the number Doug considers meaningful as something besides a small sample.


6/19/2008 06:51:00 PM



(6/19/2008 06:42:00 PM) - Al

I guess I'll watch the replay of the game tonight...I wonder if anything exciting will happen?

Heh. Actually, I saw much of the affair this afternoon, so I doubt I'll catch much of it tonight. Dillard is doing a Mitch Stetter imitation, as he is really having trouble finding the strike zone of late. His past two outings make it a real question whether he or DiFelice would be considered the last man on the staff...a query that would have been labeled silly just a bit ago. I think of the 6 runs that scored in the 9th, 4 reached by walk...gotta get ahead and then finish them off.


6/19/2008 06:42:00 PM



(6/19/2008 02:16:00 PM) - Al

Oof.

That's all I got.


6/19/2008 02:16:00 PM



(6/19/2008 02:05:00 PM) - Al

I'm not sure what they are talking about on TV, but Branyan has averaged a HR every 14.8 AB's over his career.


6/19/2008 02:05:00 PM



(6/19/2008 02:00:00 PM) - Al

Can you imagine the outcry if W's people would have told the ladies to scram?

I do recall with several chuckles that earlier this year, some politically incorrect, but truthful, person said that if you looked, you'd always see mostly white people behind Obama, and mostly black people behind Clinton. For months, I checked, and they were right.


6/19/2008 02:00:00 PM



(6/19/2008 01:54:00 PM) - Al

Julian was DFA'd, but I doubt he'll be out of work long...heck, the Brewers might even get a minor prospect for him, as in many games, he was nearly untouchable, while in others, he struggled. His ERA was inflated because of the Mike Cameron misplay in CF, however.

He probably is a 1 or 1+ inning guy who needs extra rest, but he's better than most 12th men.


6/19/2008 01:54:00 PM



(6/19/2008 01:49:00 PM) - Al

John McLaren of SEA was fired today...all I can think to myself is how the only two organizations that have fired their managers midseason are both teams that garner little respect from most folks that follow the game.

I don't think that's coincidental.


6/19/2008 01:49:00 PM


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

(6/18/2008 10:59:00 PM) - Al

I can't believe the Crew hung on tonight, it just seemed like a game where the opposition was going to eventually hit one out. Thank goodness they were playing the Blue Jays, a weak offensive club.

I'll be back with more tomorrow afternoon.


6/18/2008 10:59:00 PM



(6/18/2008 08:20:00 PM) - Al

I never know whether to believe stuff like this or not...when writers use "anonymous" or unnamed players, they could just as easily be making stuff up. Then, when you add in the fact the writer defends every single player in the clubhouse, despite the contention many are "toxic", seems very strange.


6/18/2008 08:20:00 PM


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

(6/17/2008 11:55:00 PM) - Al

"He's given us a big boost, that's an understatement. To be honest with you, when we signed him, I thought he was through. I really did. I just never thought he'd make it back to the big leagues. But he's worked hard and he's been a very, very productive piece of our offense."--Yost on Branyan

I would not say that, but I sure didn't expect to see him starting almost every day, especially with no injuries to justify it. If you would have told me he was doing a nice job off the bench, I'd have thought nothing of it, but what he's done is amazing.


6/17/2008 11:55:00 PM



(6/17/2008 10:33:00 PM) - Al

David Riske looks like he'll be back any day now.


6/17/2008 10:33:00 PM



(6/17/2008 09:53:00 PM) - Al

Al,

I enjoy reading your blog and I thought I'd respond to Jim's email about Twins fans shopping at a south side Pick 'n Save. First, I would object to Jim's categorization of us as Twins fans as 2 of the 5 of us were long time Brewers fans and wearing Brewers gear. It might not have been on the way to Miller Park but we ended up there because we were staying at a downtown hotel and the GPS told us it was the closest one.

I enjoy your blog and though I don't agree with all of your views a little healthy discourse and difference of opinion never hurt anyone.

Drew


Quite possible Jim did not see you, Drew, as I'm sure several thousand Twins' supporters were there, some that live close by, and some that made the trek. That said, one time we stayed by the airport, a long way from where we were visiting. Another, we were 20 miles out of town towards Racine, as we had "points" for a free room. Thanks for reading and I'm glad you don't agree with everything...that'd be boring.:)


6/17/2008 09:53:00 PM



(6/17/2008 09:31:00 PM) - Al

I've just pretty much taken it for granted that DiFelice will go down when Riske returns, but given his fine outing tonight and a simply phenomenal 12-0 K/BB ratio, if the Crew does not plan on keeping Taverez over Dillard, they might just let Julian go instead.


6/17/2008 09:31:00 PM



(6/17/2008 09:11:00 PM) - Al

A scout comments on the prospect laden AA Huntsville team, which I talked about here.

Hat tip to friend of Ramblings Jim from Brewerfan.net.

The scout sees a big future from Mike Brantley, as I do. Those that do not simply still seem to lack respect for OBP...21 year-olds who get on base 40% of the time are rare indeed.


6/17/2008 09:11:00 PM



(6/17/2008 08:47:00 PM) - Al

Parra at 92 pitches after 6, we'll see if he returns. I would think so, but you never know, as the bullpen is rested.

McGowan had allowed 4 HR's all year, gave up 23 tonight...heh.


6/17/2008 08:47:00 PM



(6/17/2008 08:18:00 PM) - Al

It is just astounding that not a single team looked at Russell Branyan this past offseason and thought, hmm, platoon 3B? LF? DH? Lefty bat with power off the bench? I mean, the guy is a .330/.490 career hitter, and while not a magician with the glove, makes the routine play.

Even Billy Beane, with an injured Eric Chavez, did not offer him a non-roster invite to spring training, so Russ chose to sign with the Brewers, where he could play at home in Nashville, and while no one has said it, but I'm sure played a role, knew Doug Melvin was a man of integrity, and would let him go to a big league team if someone asked about him.

Sometimes, the best moves you make get the least publicity


6/17/2008 08:18:00 PM



(6/17/2008 04:02:00 PM) - Al

I have long thought that teams that change managers and coaches midseason are either clueless or desperate.

I think you can mark down the Mets as the former. No idea.


6/17/2008 04:02:00 PM


Monday, June 16, 2008

(6/16/2008 10:25:00 PM) - Al

A bunch of folks write about what is right and wrong with MLB. Not surprisingly, those trying to be negative pull a muscle reaching, as such things as TV blackouts and cheap ticket prices are each mentioned several times...my goodness, I'm seeing all but a dozen Brewers' games this year, and tiks are available for $8 almost every game.

I did not see a single mention of expansion, which is probably the most pressing issue, as MLB needs to look ahead at the next step. Getting a couple state of the art stadiums up before the teams start play is the first step.


6/16/2008 10:25:00 PM



(6/16/2008 10:07:00 PM) - Al

Someone feels they went overboard a bit for Tim Russert...this gent thinks it was because he was a journalist, and journalists love their own. Glad to know I'm not the only one who feels it was just a bit much.

He correctly mentions that they gave Luke Russert was given more time this morning than presidential candidates are...but of course, more folks probably wanted to see him as well.:)


6/16/2008 10:07:00 PM



(6/16/2008 09:33:00 PM) - Al

ESPN with yet another creative way not to show news and highlights...a contest of bands singing Take Me Out to The Ballgame...no, really.

Just astounding how it has gone from can't miss to can't watch in just a matter of a couple years. Other than Ms. Andrews, the entire network needs to start over.


6/16/2008 09:33:00 PM



(6/16/2008 07:10:00 PM) - Al

Erin Andrews was just on the College World Series interviewing...yeah, like I know or care who. I was just checking to see what game was on Monday Night Baseball, and mistakenly found ESPN2 first.

I've discussed this before here, when both Bo Ryan and the host of his show both forgot what question had been asked after a video clip of Erin interviewing Bo. All I can say is, Ms. Andrews simply dresses for success.


6/16/2008 07:10:00 PM



(6/16/2008 04:21:00 PM) - Al

Al,

I saw you posted an article on the environmental damage on the Toyota Prius. I am a researcher at Argonne National Laboratory and look at the lifecycle energy use and emissions of alternative fuel vehicles. The information about the environmental damage from the nickel plant in Canada is true and that this plant obviously did not control there sulfur emissions.

As for the statement "When you pool together all the combined energy it takes to drive and build a Toyota Prius, the flagship car of energy fanatics, it takes almost 50 percent more energy than a Hummer" I co-authored a report in which we compare a Hybrid vs its conventional counterpart and found that a Hybrid uses ~30% less energy and emits ~30% less greenhouse gas emissions over the total life of the vehicle (building the car, using the car, and recycle/dispose of the car).

As for comments on that CNW report, you can find some here.

Regards,
Andy


For a second, I hesitated to post this, thinking it may be a bit too highbrow for me (after all, I still commonly use phrases like "golly gee whiz"), but then I thought how cool it would be if some scientific geek came here to research something.


6/16/2008 04:21:00 PM


Sunday, June 15, 2008

(6/15/2008 08:11:00 PM) - Al

I spent my Father's Day sleeping in while the others went to church, and then all of us went to Golden Corral for brunch. GC was about 75% full when we arrived, about 10:30, and was packed within a few minutes. Lines went to the door for the most of the time we were there. My son, after fighting his way through the hordes of people once with either me or his mom said, "I guess Father's Day is as much an eating out day as Mother's Day is". Apparently, he recalled our talk at Mom's Day when we told him that was a busy restaurant day.

We picked up a couple things at Wal Mart on the way home and got home at about 12:15, and both the Rambling wife and myself took a nap, in my case, knowing I'd have to get up just 45 minutes later for the game. Andrew came in once to ask if he could go outside, so it was not a real fulfilling nap, but it did not leave me more tired than I was before either. I got up and plopped down on the sofa with my laptop to play in my normal Sunday tourneys. My wife did not awaken until 2:45, I might add.

After the game, I decided I could not put off mowing the back yard anymore, as I skipped last weekend, because of the rain. It was very tall and still moist, so I had to go slowly, and then showered afterwards, as my body was a-glowing like a SI swimsuit cover model (the first time I've ever managed to compare myself with a 105 pound woman, by the way).

Does anyone remember that we got Seth McClung for Grant Balfour... who was out of options and would have had to have been released anyway? Very simply, you cannot teach velocity. He's been as good as anyone could have imagined.


6/15/2008 08:11:00 PM



(6/15/2008 07:29:00 PM) - Al

McClung (4-3) continued his superb turnaround since leaving the long relief role in the bullpen, scattering two runs and four hits. The righty nicknamed "Chucky" after the horror movie character has pitched six innings in each of his last three starts, giving up a total of five earned runs with 13 strikeouts against just one walk.--AP

Good pitching is good pitching, whether out of the bullpen or in the rotation. He's been an absolute savior to the staff thus far.


6/15/2008 07:29:00 PM



(6/15/2008 01:45:00 PM) - Al

If you spend any time searching the web for news and commentary, you will find oodles of stuff exactly along these lines...people unhappy that people displaced by Katrina are still collecting room and board, while Iowa just will suck it up and get through it, like you'd expect from a Midwesterner.


6/15/2008 01:45:00 PM



(6/15/2008 01:22:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Came across what I could only describe as a "Ramblings moment" tonight waiting my turn in the men's room at Miller Park in the 10th inning. A couple fans were talking about how brilliant it was to do the double switch before the 9th inning that had Iribarren batting ninth so Yost could pinch-hit Branyan to hit the homer. Never mind, of course, that neither of these guys mentioned Yost by name or explained why, exactly, whether it was Iribarren, the pitcher or a box of nails, Yost somehow envisioned losing the lead but having the foresight to set up the opportunity to pinch hit his mashing lefty third baseman to face a dominant righty closer needing a home run to tie.

Of course, if a reliever failed to do his job and protect the lead late, the conversation would have been a lot shorter. Something along the lines of "They gotta fire Yost, man." To be followed by, "Yeah, get rid of him."

Anyway, one other comment on a post: When I was buying our tailgate supplies this afternoon, at a Pick 'n Save on Milwaukee's south side, I noticed several groups of Twins fans doing the same. I found it odd that they'd come from Minnesota and end up buying charcoal and burgers at a grocery store so far out of the natural path to Miller Park from the west. Not sure if that previous e-mailer mentioning road closings was right or not, but seeing roughly 10 people decked out in Twins gear at a south side Milwaukee Pick 'n Save three hours before the game was a little odd.

Lastly, being in the park for Branyan's homer, even though they lost, was one of those great little moments I will never forget.

Jim


Ned did plan that tying HR nicely.:)

What's really sad to me is that the entire plan of the evening was ruined by CV and Shouse, combined, only managing to get a pair of outs in the 8th, as that turn of events left the bullpen very much at risk of exactly what happened.


6/15/2008 01:22:00 PM


Saturday, June 14, 2008

(6/14/2008 11:22:00 PM) - Al

I have discussed a few times how those short outings by starters devastate the bullpen. Tonight, the bullpen was short, and it took 3 pitchers to get through the 8th, due mostly to the wildness of Carlos V.

Last night's 6 inning outing by Bush didn't just hurt things last night, it hurt tonight as well. What's ironic is, many folks argue that you don't need 7 relievers...you can make the argument they could use an extra easily after the 'pen went 8 frames the past two nights. Especially with JJ Hardy apparently unable to go, DL'ing him and calling up Stetter or another fresh arm would not be an unusual move at all. Of course if JJ is going to be all right soon, or they are just waiting to see if he is, that's not gonna happen.

I have to wonder if JJ had a cortisone shot to try and help his shoulder heal, and is unable to swing the bat for a few days. You pretty much knew he couldn't go when they had Rivera PH.

EDIT: Troy corrected me, as I had Bush only going 4 Friday.

EDIT: Even Torres only threw 23 pitches, so I would assume everyone will be available Sunday except DiFelice and Taverez.


6/14/2008 11:22:00 PM



(6/14/2008 05:11:00 PM) - Al

Al,

I was looking around on the Brewers site and JSonline and haven't found any information about how all these road closings are going to impact tonights game. Looks like both Hwy 41 and 90/94 are closed. Granted it is far from the great city of Milwaukee, but those closings coupled with the fact that people have to deal with losing nearly everything they own, I doubt that the game is going to draw what it could have.

A penny for your thoughts.

Mike


A few no shows and late arrivals for sure, but one must remember, even in hard hit cities like Des Moines, only a few city blocks are affected, for the most part, just the riverfront.

Adam did a nice feature on some Twins' fans who drove all day around the weather.


6/14/2008 05:11:00 PM



(6/14/2008 04:48:00 PM) - Al

Dan sends along this article on the damage the Prius is doing to the environment.

Money quotes:

This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the ‘dead zone’ around the plant to test moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles.

The plant is the source of all the nickel found in a Prius’ battery and Toyota purchases 1,000 tons annually. Dubbed the Superstack, the plague-factory has spread sulfur dioxide across northern Ontario, becoming every environmentalist’s nightmare.

The acid rain around Sudbury was so bad it destroyed all the plants.

When you pool together all the combined energy it takes to drive and build a Toyota Prius, the flagship car of energy fanatics, it takes almost 50 percent more energy than a Hummer


Heh. It may save the world, but only what's left of it.


Read the whole thing. It does sound a bit biased, but unless it's written by Edsel Ford IV...


6/14/2008 04:48:00 PM



(6/14/2008 04:14:00 PM) - Al

Joe Dillon finally makes it in the lineup, at 2B as the Brewers face a LHP. Hopefully, he'll get a couple hits and get to play some more. I thought he would play quite a bit, but it's been mostly Hall.

I chuckled to myself last night when Hall made a pair of misplays (he has looked uncomfortable at 2B the entire time). All the message board casuals had wanted "the Dillon experiment" ended after Joe & JJ had a miscue last weekend (I felt it was a ball JJ should have had, myself); while in reality, Dillon has played 2B & SS in the minors. While he does have limited range, he handles the ball fine. So, Ned went with the better defensive player, and Hall has struggled defensively...while not providing the OBP Joe is likely to.


6/14/2008 04:14:00 PM



(6/14/2008 03:48:00 PM) - Al

Hall's error proves costly

Speaking of drama queens, the JS writers deserve a gold medal. In a game that was lost 10-2, even pretending a single misplay had a huge effect takes a plethora of effort, and for the most part, is fiction. Technically, 5 runs were unearned, but as we all know, the runs still count. It makes you wonder if Dillard may well have "eased up" a bit, knowing the runs allowed would be unearned, and also knowing the game was realistically out of reach.


6/14/2008 03:48:00 PM



(6/14/2008 03:04:00 PM) - Al

My brother just e-mailed to say he's never seen such cross network reaction like he has with the death of Tim Russert. As I told him, I think the media might be overreacting a bit, as while I realize Meet The Press is required viewing for "scoops" and such, very few people watch it compared to prime time fare. Not only did Nightline do an entire show about Russert last night, Fox and Friends this morning had their weekday crew in to do a special show about him...that's just strange, I wouldn't expect that regardless.

I just told my wife this is the most mentions of someone who has passed away since President Reagan. I really liked his book too, Big Russ and Me, as much of it reminded me of my dad as well...the men of that generation were a bit understated, simple fellas who liked their red meat and did not overreact to the stuff going on around them...hey, gotta go to work and support the family. In my employment, I talk mainly to retired folks, and about 95% of them think pretty much the same way on most things.

Sadly, I recall Russert's behavior on the 2004 election coverage...he sat there listening to others discuss stuff, and then he would throw out some off-the-wall scenario which would lead to a 269-269 tie. Even as close as the election was, the odds of that was infinitely tiny.

I have never saw a single MtP in my life, though I did always enjoy Russert, as he seemed very much like a regular guy thrust on the big stage, sort of like a local reporter who gets national acclaim for his story on the local flood.


6/14/2008 03:04:00 PM



(6/14/2008 10:44:00 AM) - Al

We have the Rambling son's get together at the bowling alley, so I better get ready for that. I will say though, I sure have seen a lot of complaints about the flooding in the southern part of the state.

Of course, towns and cities are usually built by water, for both commerce and recreation. This AM, there were many "woah is me" stories about Des Moines, which flooded badly in 1993 as well. Personally, I'm not sure if a week of being waterlogged once every 15 years is all that much really, but the fact remains, if you live near water, every so often, you'll have an issue. Des Moines is very proud of being a city with a waterfront (when I visited there, pics were all over all the city guidebooks).

On a personal level, I live a couple miles from the Wisconsin River, although many feet above sea level higher than the river (I have said many times that if the river hits my house, the world has ended). I am sure at some point, the river will be high (or a dam will break), and roads will close. Heck, in Eau Claire, an incredible flood happened in the early 1900's (I blame the invention of the carbon based internal engine myself), and water levels were simply unimaginable, compared to normal. Nature tends to be peaceful 99% of the time...but the 1% sure gets a lot of attention.

In a couple months, the water will be a faded memory. In a few days, it will have moved South, and the problem will shift in latitude. It's a shame, but it's never ending.


6/14/2008 10:44:00 AM



(6/14/2008 09:31:00 AM) - Al

Al,

You wrote once of being able to buy the handicapped seats when they were released at Miller Park. Is there a certain time they let those go to the non-handicapped public? I would like to take my son, but he's just 7 and no way he could stand the entire game.

James


Another James from the Milwaukee area writes in. I did not know, so I called the ticket office for you, James. I figured they were released 30-60 minutes before the first pitch. However, Andy informed me that they are not sold until all SRO only seats are gone. He then said something to the effect of "or after the game starts", so I guess it is possible they would sell them at 6:10 to anyone. And, while the ethics of this may not be fitting, I can't believe anyone "checks" to see if you are actually handicapped...in my limited experience, usually 3-4 folks sit together, and only one is in a wheelchair.

I have little doubt you'll be able to find seats James, especially if you take the little guy up to the play area for a while. However, I'm a big fan, and the idea of paying $22 for standing room makes me giggle like a 9 year-old girl at a slumber party. I'd say take a day off work and take him to a kids and seniors day game, sit in loge OF, get his seat at half-price, and enjoy some cured meat products together with the savings.


6/14/2008 09:31:00 AM



(6/14/2008 09:26:00 AM) - Al

As I have said many times before, I have no idea what to think of the global warming debate, as no one ever answers my questions about Ice Ages and such. However, this fella knows weather, and he seems to think it's a total farce.

I have heard many people claim in the last few weeks that temps have actually cooled in the past few years...I wonder why no one noticed this until now.:)


6/14/2008 09:26:00 AM


Friday, June 13, 2008

(6/13/2008 10:55:00 PM) - Al

Hey gang, I was up at 5:45 this morning, so I was not in a blogging mood tonight. Back when I was young, I could get by with 4-5 hours of sleep. Today, I was ready for a nap at 11. Be back with more tomorrow.

Was nice to see the Crew break the 1M mark already. 3M is still a distinct possibility, if they remain in contention the entire season.


6/13/2008 10:55:00 PM


Thursday, June 12, 2008

(6/12/2008 11:52:00 PM) - Al

Glenn mentions yet another reason why the media are losing customers on a daily basis...they just aren't very good at what they do.

How hard is it really to, you know, take a picture and post the darn thing? If my dog's feet weren't so big, I'd think I could teach him how to do it.


6/12/2008 11:52:00 PM



(6/12/2008 11:32:00 PM) - Al

We went to the Woodchucks game tonight, as it was sponsored by the huge medical conglomerate my wife works part-time for. We planned on getting there about the 5th inning, getting the son ice cream, and then enjoying the post-game fireworks.

Sadly, because of the weather, the game was in the top of the 2nd when we got there at 8ish (scheduled to start at 6:30). No way our son was making it to the end, and we left about 9:45, as the 7th finally ended.

I only mention this because of one funny event. The Woodchucks' catcher could barely run, I'm talking Ben Sheets on a ground ball back to the pitcher slow, so he must be nursing an injury. He hit a grounder between the 3B and SS, and the 3B made a great diving stop, but it bounced away from him a couple feet. He picked it up and looked at 1B...the C was barely halfway down the line. Surprised, he threw the ball to 1B, it bounced a couple feet in front of the 1B's glove...it bounced past him, and the trotting C was safe. Every one of the fans around us said it should be an error on the 1B, after all, the 3B had made a great play.

I still am shaking my head as I type it up, why exactly the 1B should be blamed because the 3B made a fine stop and a bad throw is simply off-the-charts, yet every single person felt that way.

Then, it occurred to me...these are the same folks who blame Ned Yost when he leaves the starter in...or brings in a reliever...on the message boards...now, it all makes some sense.


6/12/2008 11:32:00 PM



(6/12/2008 10:59:00 PM) - Al

Ned Yost said the team had monitored Hardy’s condition all season and used day games as ways to help him rest the shoulder.--JS

Heh. I've seen many complaints about the days off JJ gets. Once again, many fans are simply complaining to complain, completely in the dark about injuries and aches/pains.


6/12/2008 10:59:00 PM



(6/12/2008 06:36:00 PM) - Al

What I do not understand here is, why Jeff Weaver would not have agreed to stick around if the Crew agreed to let him go to any team that wanted to call him up to the majors. Surely, Weaver is not going to improve by going home and working out.

Maybe with the extension, the only choices were the bigs or release him. Boras is known for not having any idea...


6/12/2008 06:36:00 PM



(6/12/2008 03:47:00 PM) - Al

The thing about Ryan Braun, maybe moreso than any player I've seen play every day (except maybe Paul Molitor), is that you can watch a game and say to yourself, "Ryan doesn't seem to be seeing the ball very well", and then check the box score the next day and see he went 2-5 with some RBI's.


6/12/2008 03:47:00 PM



(6/12/2008 03:12:00 PM) - Al

I agree with Bill that it is tough to win with bad starting pitching, but at this point, the Astros bullpen has been far from overworked, in total at least.

Note on that chart as well that despite a lot of extra inning contests, the Crew has pitched the 3rd fewest relief innings thus far. That is probably why the bullpen has been so good, as the most impressive, yet mostly unreported thing about the '08 team has been how good the rotation has been, even down 2 guys and having one removed due to ineffectiveness. As you can see, they are 5th in eating up innings, which limits the time your 11th and 12th men see the mound and keeps the others guys fresh.

Heck, it wasn't long ago Torres was on pace for 110 innings...now, down to 80 or so.

Of course, part of HOU's problem is a seemingly "quick hook" by Cooper...taking out Chacon after a single inning in Milwaukee comes right to mind...instead of letting him try to get through 4-5 frames...in a game they were very likely to lose anyway, down 4-0 early. I think it's safe to say Coop does not like to "punt" a game away.


6/12/2008 03:12:00 PM



(6/12/2008 03:09:00 PM) - Al

Without a new arena, you can expect to see this same article written about Milwaukee, be it in 3, 7, 12, or 15 years, I do not know.


6/12/2008 03:09:00 PM



(6/12/2008 02:39:00 PM) - Al

Riske on track be return next week, Randy Choate will be sent to the minors soon, and Eric Gagne...seems to be making no progress, per Adam.

It seems a bit hard to believe that Eric was 100% before his injury...and once again, the conspiracy nuts (who thought his injury was pretend to get him some time off) look to be...well, nuts.


6/12/2008 02:39:00 PM



(6/12/2008 02:30:00 PM) - Al

Manager Trey Hillman, asked about how Rosa will be used, replied: "Get outs when we give him the ball because we've had trouble doing that with the exception of three or four guys."

Heh. Remember, Hillman was the darling of Arizona this Spring, as he was all chatty about how he was going to use his guys and adjust his batting order, just like he had in Japan. Well, his team sucks, like they have for a decade, their big free agent signing told the press that there is no leadership in the clubhouse, and suddenly, the glow is off.

KC has attacked this by demoting top prospect Billy Butler and continuing to be hesitant to rebuild with youth and trade off veteran mediocrity.


6/12/2008 02:30:00 PM



(6/12/2008 02:14:00 PM) - Al

I have little doubt the airlines will limit the amount of "deals" they give out, but the truth is, every empty seat they fly with is a loss of potential revenue, so last minute flyers willing to buy late will still get excellent discounts.

For the most part, if you fly a great deal, you are either very wealthy or very much in debt. It always irritated me when I worked retail when people would ask for a week off and in the reason space put "flying to San Diego". I would tell my assistant, "You know, I can't afford to fly to San Diego", and she'd tell me sure I could, if I'd carry a credit card balance or stop eating solid food, or invented a time machine and decided not to have a child.

Of course, the troublesome thing to me was the people that flew to SD, or bought 3 big screen TV's, or a laptop for every child...would later declare bankruptcy and have those bills vanish like a thief in the night.


6/12/2008 02:14:00 PM



(6/12/2008 11:12:00 AM) - Al

The Crew announces they plan to keep Mat Gamel in AA for all of 2008.

Thoughts:

1. He'd probably still get the call if the Brewers needed a 3B to play most every day.

2. His defense still sounds like a work in progress, which seems like most of the reason he will stay at Huntsville, to work with Don Money, and quite possibly to keep him out of the "spotlight" of hitting .310 at AAA with 15 HR's in the 2nd half.

3. Perhaps most importantly, it seems apparent he will not be given any chance to win the 3B job to begin '09. His ETA remains July or August of next year.

No such discussion about Laporta. He might be in Nashville before the end of the month.


6/12/2008 11:12:00 AM



(6/12/2008 10:59:00 AM) - Al

The JS notices the Brewers are on pace for record attendance, though the magical 3M mark is not mentioned.

I'm a bit surprised all 3 games this weekend are not going to be 40K+ crowds, but they are "marquee" games, which cost more than most, which the Milwaukee fans have yet to embrace (but opposing fans seem to have no trouble buying).


6/12/2008 10:59:00 AM



(6/12/2008 10:01:00 AM) - Al

Retail spending up the most it has been it six months.

That's funny, everyone they interviewed on TV said they were going to pay down debt. Who would have ever guessed you give people free money...they'll spend it?

Every Tuesday, we have our weekly training meeting in a large office building, and I usually do not get much cell phone reception inside, so I have to go to the area by the front door. Every week, without exception, there is someone telling coworkers that they were counting on the check to pay for something, and then they didn't get it, and now they've been robbing Peter to pay Paul ever since.

Heh. Folks that regularly carry credit card debt have probably spent their stimulus payment several times by now. I had doubts about it, but it may well keep a minor recession from taking place. Of course, more than anything, it shows the public spends money much better than the government spends it for them.


6/12/2008 10:01:00 AM



(6/12/2008 09:20:00 AM) - Al

Al,

Your post about Ken Rosenthal musing on Brewers' prospects got me thinking about what exactly is the perception of Tony Gwynn Jr. around the league. Other than a couple of "swooning" moments about him (the throw from deep right in Shea last year to nail an advancing runner and the triple to beat the Padres in late September), I've always seen him as a no-slug, above-average-at-best slap hitter who plays a fair outfield. But nearly every conversation I have with a "casual" eventually comes around to one of them saying something about playing the guy every day. I've always thought it was his famous name and the universal respect for his father that led to his being thought so highly of. Plus, the guy is very nice to the media, comes across as a good person you'd want your daughter to meet and probably also helps old ladies cross the street.

But, again, I try to remind myself that if someone like me, just a schmoe living in Bay View, can figure out that Tony Gwynn Jr. has limited value and potential at the major league level, surely every major league GM figured that out a long, long time ago. Then I look at the Seattle Mariners organization. Also, Rosenthal, whether he's trying to see if something sticks or not, has to be reflecting at least some kind of overheard MLB conversation or thought process - at least a little bit ... maybe?

Anyway, my point is I thought the Brewers could never get anything of value in a trade involving Gwynn, that he would always be a throw-in to some kind of larger deal. But I hear is name mentioned so often, and with such respect, when I talk to other fans that I think maybe there's a team out there that maybe could be swayed by those non-baseball intangibles I mentioned and talk themselves into a deal where the Brewers actually get something decent in return. Or am I becoming the Bay View Ken Rosenthal?

Jim


To a team with a spacious CF, especially once that may overvalue speed and/or defense, Gwynn does have a fair amount of value...it's not coincidence Tony has been mentioned in several trade rumors over the past couple years. He's finally hitting in AAA, so many probably think he has not peaked yet either.

I stand by my call that he'll be a Dave Roberts clone for a while, start in CF some, be a platoon/reserve guy, and such. It would not bother me to see him in CF for the Crew, but I feel they'll have better options.


6/12/2008 09:20:00 AM


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