Al's Ramblings

Monday, November 30, 2009

(11/30/2009 11:07:00 PM) - Al


Again, I love the blog. I just wanted to say that when I first heard that the Reds were trying to cut payroll I immediately thought, "How is that Cordero contract treating you now?" At the time of that signing I knew the Reds were not a contending team and it was wasteful to spend $11 million per year (can't remember the exact total) on a closer. I too wouldn't mind seeing Harang in Milwaukee.


The irony is, Cordero has been top notch, and he's still all but untradeable, unless the Reds take a contract back, as there are plenty of very good closers who will sign for far less, and not even a team like the Yankees or Red Sox want to pay a set-up guy that much.

11/30/2009 11:07:00 PM

(11/30/2009 08:15:00 PM) - Al

Hypocrisy overload...going green is for the little people.

If those peasants wouldn't use so much fuel heating their one-room abodes while driving down the value of the mansion next door...

11/30/2009 08:15:00 PM

(11/30/2009 06:56:00 PM) - Al

If a Broadway show would get reviews this bad, they'd have to close it down.

The only ones that have not noticed the obvious indecision about Afghanistan is the US old media.

11/30/2009 06:56:00 PM

(11/30/2009 04:53:00 PM) - Al

Keep in mind, that doesn't mean there won't be some tough decisions coming. The Reds payroll was $73 million in 2009. They have already committed over $64 million to nine players for 2010. Does that mean some players could still be moved to meet payroll?

"I don't want to talk about that," Jocketty said. "I'm still working on it."

It sure seems likely either Harang or Arroyo will be dealt by the Reds, with Cincy possibly picking up some salary, especially in the case of Harang. Those two should remain a top target for Doug, as both are likely as good as anyone mentioned, except possibly Edwin Jackson.

11/30/2009 04:53:00 PM

(11/30/2009 04:46:00 PM) - Al

Alex Cora signs with the Mets, 1y/$2M. Once again, suggestions from the casuals that Doug resign Counsell for $1M shows ignorance and simply no idea how valuable a solid utility infielder is. It also takes Craig's best replacement off the market.

11/30/2009 04:46:00 PM

(11/30/2009 02:30:00 PM) - Al

I never got too excited about this, because illegals are covered now, as clinics and ER's cannot refuse care to anyone. However, once again, what he says versus the way it is seem to clash with little mention by the old media.

Fans of Joe Wilson are saying "I told you so" as we speak.

11/30/2009 02:30:00 PM

(11/30/2009 02:25:00 PM) - Al

I always hate to admit it, but I agree with Tom H's thoughts as to who the Crew will offer arby to.

I was hoping someone would sign Cameron before the deadline, but it does not seem likely.

UPDATE: Adam doesn't think they'll offer arby to anyone. I wonder if Doug feels the market for Lopez will be hurt by rumors of his grumpiness and such.

11/30/2009 02:25:00 PM

(11/30/2009 02:22:00 PM) - Al

We'll see if this ends up being true or not, but even the LA teams have budgets they have to follow.

11/30/2009 02:22:00 PM

(11/30/2009 01:52:00 PM) - Al

Adam discusses a Prince extension, Lo Cain, the Dominican academy, and Caleb Gindl's low organizational ranking in his mailbag.

I'll add Caleb is short, so he'll have to prove himself more than if he was 6-3, 195. His bat will get him to the bigs, if he can keep producing.

11/30/2009 01:52:00 PM

(11/30/2009 01:18:00 PM) - Al

The best and worst of Black Friday.

11/30/2009 01:18:00 PM

(11/30/2009 12:28:00 AM) - Al

Another McCain wonders about Afghanistan.

She's right though, the media has lost interest, and sadly, no one even bothers getting on their case about it.

As I said long ago, the answer is simple...either listen to the guy in charge, or put someone else in charge. The astonishingly slow pace to do anything is far from reassuring from a fellow famous for voting present.

11/30/2009 12:28:00 AM

Sunday, November 29, 2009

(11/29/2009 11:54:00 PM) - Al

Kelly Shoppach may be non-tendered, and why he's a good option.

11/29/2009 11:54:00 PM

(11/29/2009 10:42:00 PM) - Al

Possibly, the weakest monument of all time. I've seen park benches with a nicer plaque involved.

11/29/2009 10:42:00 PM

(11/29/2009 09:48:00 PM) - Al

Fuzzy math tries to make shopping numbers worse than they were...down 8% per person? They were up 0.5%, modest to be sure, but with online sales expected to be up 3-5% this holiday, any positive in the stores is good news.

11/29/2009 09:48:00 PM

(11/29/2009 06:16:00 PM) - Al

Millwood discussions not recent.

I did not bother linking to the original post, as it just said, "The Brewers have inquired about Millwood," which is the case for every SP in the bigs that might be moved.

11/29/2009 06:16:00 PM

(11/29/2009 03:30:00 PM) - Al

Robert is right that MLB could use a better PR man. However, there's nothing wrong with the sport to speak of at all...he's fixed all the major problems, though revenue sharing could be tweaked.

The irony is, people are digging into the very minor to prove the game is no perfect...playoff schedule and a lack of an international draft both getting a lot of ink. When Bud took over, it was a lack of drug testing and such.

The game has progressed so much under Selig's reign, those who deny the advances may as well be flat Earthers.

11/29/2009 03:30:00 PM

(11/29/2009 01:57:00 PM) - Al

Despite him having a kizillion dollars and a horde of publicists on the payroll, Tiger Woods just keeps making himself look like he (or his wife) is extremely guilty of something.

People with nothing to hide do not hesitate to talk to the authorities. Remember how the flying saucer boy parents kept delaying the inevitable talk with the police?

11/29/2009 01:57:00 PM

(11/29/2009 01:03:00 PM) - Al

The "average" person is upset because the media is in the pocket of the far-left, which sees nothing wrong with the government taking over huge pockets of the economy, even though that, by definition, is what socialism is.

AS I say at least once a week, the Dems should be thanking the heavens that the mid-terms are in '10 and not a few weeks ago. By then, much of the anger will have probably subsided.

11/29/2009 01:03:00 PM

(11/29/2009 09:19:00 AM) - Robert R.

There are reports that Bud Selig will step down as commissioner in 2012 having turned down requests to extend his stay. Considering that the man is 75, I think that's more than reasonable.

Speculation will turn shortly to who will replace him and what qualities they should have. To me, Bud Selig's biggest weakness has been in public relations and speaking. The game is in excellent shape financially, albeit the wealth could be spread around better, and while there are problems, all other sports share the same set of problems. Arguably to greater degrees. Yet, you'd hardly know it from some of the coverage.

With that in mind, I'll throw out John McDonough, current president of the Chicago Blackhawks, as a candidate. He worked with the Cubs for 20 years and turned around the public image of the Blackhawks. Improving the PR of a sport with as much going for it as baseball should be a piece of cake in comparison.

11/29/2009 09:19:00 AM

(11/29/2009 12:05:00 AM) - Al

NFL picks, Dolphins, Colts, Seahawks, and Jags.

It's not often where you could easily pick against both undefeated teams to lose.

For the points, I got the Vikings and Ravens.

11/29/2009 12:05:00 AM

Saturday, November 28, 2009

(11/28/2009 10:01:00 PM) - Al

French prez helps free convicted, admittedly guilty child molester.

As if we needed yet another reason to despise the French.

11/28/2009 10:01:00 PM

(11/28/2009 03:34:00 PM) - Al

Occasional contributor Jason runs with the CF catching a foul ball and links to this story involving Ty Cobb.

11/28/2009 03:34:00 PM

(11/28/2009 03:16:00 PM) - Al

Friend of Ramblings Mayhem sends in this link which discusses Ft. Myers talking to the Brewers about an eventual move to Florida for spring training.

11/28/2009 03:16:00 PM

(11/28/2009 12:08:00 PM) - Al

One of my favorite websites to look at each day is the survivalist one I have bookmarked, as I have it labeled "Panic Now" there. They are convinced things will soon fall apart, though they are always pushing back when it's all going to fall apart...when I started reading it a couple years ago, it was 2012, now, it's 2014-15...or even later.

Of course, as a natural skeptic, this is par for the one can say they are idiots because "it's going to happen" at some time in the future...note the similarities between those nuts and the Al Gore load of crap he's selling. It's a disaster...or at least, it will be soon.

You have to wonder how different the US would be if the elderly in Florida knew how to mark a ballot. He sure hasn't impressed anyone since 2001, with his incessant bellyaching and "the end of the world" preaching. I'd say he reminds me of a snake oil salesman, but I wouldn't want to offend snake oil salesmen.

11/28/2009 12:08:00 PM

(11/28/2009 11:54:00 AM) - Al

$1T for health care...$2.5T...or $6T?

First of all, someone should be shot for using a ten year period in which the plan does not start until year 4 or dumb do they think we are?

I recall seeing that Medicare's cost in 1990 was ten times the estimate back when it was approved. Is that a realistic guess...probably, especially when obvious lies and distortion is taking place to minimize the publicized cost.

What's especially pathetic is the old media has a dozen people fact checking Palin's book, yet the Cato Institute is the only one bothering to read this bill...which by itself, is larger than Reagan's last budget in its entirety. How deep in the administration's pocket can they be?

11/28/2009 11:54:00 AM

(11/28/2009 10:40:00 AM) - Al

I bumped this up, as I added my comments this AM.

Recap of a Milwaukee interview with Doug, my thoughts in brackets:

--Pujols is the best player in MLB, not just the NL. Nice to see Braun and Fielder finish so high.

--The way Doug remembers it, MIN was disgusted by Mark Prior's demands, so they went with Mauer, who was popular with their fans, so they did not suffer from not taking the consensus #1 guy.

--Doug thinks the Marlins had the 2nd biggest payroll the last time they won the title, but you hear more talk about it when the Yankees win. The season is so long, it's tough to hold up without a larger payroll.

--Enjoys the challenge of competing in a mid-market. A lot easier to go from the bottom to contention to the next level.

{That's probably true. Even moreso, when you go from 90 to 80 wins, everybody wonders what happened, when in reality, if the rotation performs at career norms, that's close to a 90 win team.}

--Tough for a team like the Brewers to offer arby to Cameron or Lopez, because if they accept it, the payroll is unmanageable.

{Sounds like the payroll may be a bit "tight" if this is the case, especially with Lopez, who in theory, would be very tradeable at 1y/$5M. That said, if they go through arby and then show up in Arizona injured, you could be stuck with them on the DL...this is the risk you take, and as Doug would say, an advantage of being a large market...they can risk something like that far easier than the Brewers.}

--Comparables between Prince and ARod's contracts may be similar. Both very productive and young.

--Might let Gamel play some OF in Arizona, tough to pencil him into the OF without him ever having played out there. It comes up "all the time" in internal discussions.

--Expecting McGehee and Weeks to be ready, confident both will be 100%.

--Can't get full value for Weeks due to injuries, if they did want to trade him. Still think Rickie will be excellent, if he's able to stay healthy.

--Can't get into specifics about trade targets, but says the Braves appear to be offering "the guy with 3 years left on his contract", which would be Lowe, which if Doug likes him, he sure played coy, sounded almost disgusted about his contract.

--Said they hope Weeks has a healthier second half of his career, like Molitor. Also mentioned Jayson Werth was given up on by several teams and broke out in his late 20's. Simply cannot afford to give up on young players and have them break out on other teams, as a team that focuses on development.

{Always astounding how the casual fan does not appreciate what Weeks can do, a 2B who can hit for both OBP and SLG, as very few have...Joe Morgan and Chase Utley come to mind. The difficult thing about Rickie is, it will be hard to commit to a long-term deal with him as banged up as he's been.}

--More talk about one of the speed guys, either Gomez or Escobar, batting 9th. Doug says all the studies show you'd score about 30 more runs if you did so, but he pointed out the fans hate it, and kind of suggested many baseball people do too.

--Someone said "Gomez will be the first CF to catch a foul ball". {I think it was Delmon Young.}

--Spring training sites mean a lot to many players, as many have their main home in Arizona or Florida. Also, less travel in Milwaukee, than say a west coast team, often comes up in negotiations with free agents as well.

{Use whatever you can. The fact Doug Davis has a house in Arizona makes it more likely he'll choose the Brewers if the money is similar...unless ARI is the other team. The host added "JJ said the same thing", which I assume means he is unhappy that MIN trains in Florida.}

--Looking for Suppan to bounce back, been up and down, Jeff pitched well at times, but wasn't consistent. Peterson may be able to pick up something minor. Need to add pitching, but looking for someone to come in and compete with Parra, Bush, and Suppan behind Yo. Very challenging market. A ton of stats to look at, and rarely does any pitcher perform well in all of them. Want a pitcher with good stuff, strong mentally, good fielder, good at holding runners, and then you have to remember, sometimes good pitchers have bad years. Don Larsen lost 21 games one year.

{First mention of Bush, as he has to be offered arby, and, if he is brought back, and they add 2 SP's, that's six guys for the rotation. While most of us would love to see that depth, most FA's want to be promised a rotation spot, or they'll just go elsewhere. That would seem to indicate FA SP #2 may be a guy who needs to prove himself healthy, like a Brett Myers or Kelvim Escobar.}

--Mentioned Jason Marquis has been in the playoffs almost every year, though he sometimes has not been on the postseason roster. He's been up and down, but almost always wins 13-15 games, and gives you 200 innings. Joel Piniero was released and was awful, and he had a great year.

--Jason Kendall is far from coaching, wants to play 3-4 more years. Tough to find catchers that can both produce and stay healthy. Talking to several guys, several available. Tough to find catching. Lucroy is bright, walks more than he K's, short swing. Kendall looking to play everyday at this point, Doug implied silently that he's not going to do that in MIL.

--McGehee was claimed off waivers because they thought he could be a better utility guy than Vinny Rottino.

--Many catchers end up elsewhere if they can hit, as it's tough physically.

Thanks to friend of Ramblings Jim for the audio, though I cannot find a direct link, you can find it at ESPN Milwaukee radio.

11/28/2009 10:40:00 AM

(11/28/2009 10:10:00 AM) - Al

The Rambling dog, looking sleepier and more gray by the minute, has found his new pet bed and seems to enjoy it. The Rambling wife put it down fleece side up, to which I told her, "He'll like the smooth side", so she turned it upside down, and within seconds Ronnie had plopped himself down and even remained there when I went to bed.

If only I knew as much about my wife as I do my dog.

11/28/2009 10:10:00 AM

(11/28/2009 02:18:00 AM) - Al

A virtual Badgers' reunion in South Dakota, Krabbenhoft, Steimsma, and Bronson all out there playing or coaching in the NBDL.

I have a hard time believing Joe could not help an NBA team as a role player, but I said the same thing about Mike Wilkinson.

11/28/2009 02:18:00 AM

(11/28/2009 02:11:00 AM) - Al

If you've noticed the support for Obama seems...quiet, others have too.

11/28/2009 02:11:00 AM

(11/28/2009 12:37:00 AM) - Al

My brothers kicked my ass at shooting today, but in fairness they are both in the military. So tired now, and totally smell like gun powder!--Meghan McCain on Twitter

How can anyone not like her, spending the holiday weekend shopping for ammo at Wal Mart and then using it target shooting.

11/28/2009 12:37:00 AM

(11/28/2009 12:22:00 AM) - Al

MLBTR looks at Doug Davis and ponders his future.

If they think he's a "back-end of the rotation guy", they haven't been paying much attention to the back of many rotations.

11/28/2009 12:22:00 AM

(11/28/2009 12:09:00 AM) - Al

I've never heard of this Larry fellow, but he's almost unreadable, and an idiot (Gamel to OAK for a "B grade reliever"?) to boot. Read what he says about the Brewers, but suffice it to say, if he told me fish could swim, I'd double check my reference books.

11/28/2009 12:09:00 AM

Friday, November 27, 2009

(11/27/2009 08:49:00 PM) - Al

It's not often I print up a hand history, though I usually play very standard ABC poker, designed to beat the poor players and leave the bluffing and unorthodox play to those who play at another level than myself. However, once in a great while, things work out after I look at the situation and make my opponent make a tough call...FYI, this is a 10 person sit-n-go, in which 5 people double up and 5 lose their buy-in, 8 remain, blinds are 25/50 with a 5 ante:

Dealt to albethke [5c 6c]
jonyan26: folds
kam1k13: folds
Mr. Sansli: folds
Bargiela007: folds
albethke: calls 50
BH101765: folds
MannerPlz: folds
Waussie: checks

Just myself with the suited connectors and the big blind.

*** FLOP *** [4h Qd 7c]
Waussie: bets 200
albethke: calls 200

I have the open-ended straight draw, especially nice because it is so well hidden, I may be able to really score a huge pot if an 8 or a 3 hit the board.

*** TURN *** [4h Qd 7c] [2c]
Waussie: bets 250
albethke: calls 250

I'm chasing here, I would not have called if turn had not been a club. However, now I have eight cards that give me the best possible hand with a straight, and nine more that give me a club flush...17 cards which almost certainly win the hand for me...I'm calling 250 into a pot of 815, so the pot odds are favorable.

*** RIVER *** [4h Qd 7c 2c] [Ts]
Waussie: checks
albethke: bets 410

I should add here that I have about 1200 chips, and Waussie has about 900. He showed weakness by not betting, even though a seemingly innocent card came on the river (no flush or straight possibilities). I mean, would I have been calling with A/10 the whole way? So, at best, it seems he did not have a whole lot, maybe a 7 or a 4...but my problem is, the only hand I can beat is...5/3...I had the second worst possible hand, as a 2 or a 4 would have given him a pair. I did not even notice that then, but I knew 5 high was obviously not the best hand, and that my only chance of winning the nice sized pot of 1065 was to bet.

I usually would not, as the average player online A)plays recreationally and B)is a calling station, meaning they will call all the way even with a marginal hand. But, as I considered it, the the one thing that made me strongly consider it was his chip total...he only had about 900. So, a bet of half the pot, about 500, would make him risk over half his chips, and leave him short-stacked if he lost...which there was no chance of, but he didn't know that. So, I briefly thought about a bet of about half to two-thirds of the pot. The problem is...I have 5 high, and I only have about 1200 chips...500-700 chips leaves me short as well if he calls (or raises, to which I could not have even considered a call).

One of the things I do pretty well is bet a small amount to induce a call, if I want one. For instance, let's say I had slow-played a set of 4's from the get go...I would probably bet about 200-300 chips...the small amount makes a call almost assured, as they figure it's worth a call simply due to math. One thing I have noticed of late is fewer and fewer calls on those small river bets...more players have figured out if I'm betting 375 into a 2000 chip pot, I must have a good hand, as an effective bluff would be bigger. So, I considered a "too small" bet of about 200...but again, I can't beat anything, and the odds are good he'll call that. So, to sum up, I can't afford to bet enough to "buy" the pot, but I can't bet small enough to make it not painful for me to lose, or I will almost assuredly get called.

So, I have to bet more than 200, but I can't afford there a window there? I did the math on 400...he'd be about 500 if he loses...I'd be about 800...I'd be in tough shape, but just a double-up away from being back to where I started...however, if he has anything besides a Q, that's a tough call, going down to 500. For whatever reason, I typed in 410...and hoped.

Waussie: asks for time

Every player has 30 seconds to decide what to do, and after 15 seconds, a circle with a "60" in it pops up. To request 60 additional seconds, you click on the button. The 60 seconds is for the entire tournament, so most players only use it to do math in their heads or make tough decisions. This told me he did not have much of a hand, but as pointed out, it did not matter, it could beat mine. Even a bad call mathematically would end up paying off for him. The clock kept winding down, and with about 5-10 seconds left

Waussie: folds
Uncalled bet (410) returned to albethke
albethke collected 1065 from pot
albethke: shows [5c 6c] (high card Queen)
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 1065 | Rake 0

I did show the bluff, which I do about once a week. I usually show my big hands, because I want to be known as the guy who only bets when he has the cards...I can pick up more chips that way with draws by leading out and by betting from position. However, this was too perfect.

This is exactly what they mean by "it's game that takes a minute to learn, and a lifetime to master". To me, it's 90% math, but the mental aspect of the game is what separates it from making it a math contest. It took me several minutes to type out why I bet what I did after the river card came, but I did that in about 10-15 seconds in real time. It's just amazing how much you can consider when you have to.

11/27/2009 08:49:00 PM

(11/27/2009 07:45:00 PM) - Al

The thing about media bias is not that they come out and slam you over the head with it...most journalists are far smarter than the Tony W's of the profession. Note this AP story, in which Annie would have you believe no one has bought anything but food and dungarees in the past 365 days.

Money quotes:

The nation's shoppers took advantage of deals on toys and TVs with some renewed vigor in stores and online on Black Friday after a year of concentrating their spending on basic necessities.

Though the first numbers won't be available until Saturday, early reports indicated bigger crowds than last year, with people buying more and even throwing in some items for themselves.

It was an encouraging sign for retailers, which have suffered through a year of sales declines, and perhaps also for the broader economy, which could use a kickstart from consumer spending.

Emphasis added by me, who is not on the DNC payroll (though they are welcome to contact me about an ad on the sidebar)

No fewer than five little nuggets that basically tells the reader "never mind the fact the economy grew by 3% last quarter, you're lucky a snapshot into your diet does not reveal three tiny portions of gruel and some moldy bread". After all, this is in a straight news story, not a commentary or opinion piece. The first three paragraphs of this article has five "facts" to most readers, which easily outweigh that good economic news, a single fact, which granted, goes over the heads of much of the public anyway.

Add this to the fact the networks are, depending on your point of view, either just reporting fiction as news (how's that, ahem, "retirement" going Mr. Rather?) or just providing a slanted viewpoint disguised as news, just like Annie did, and it's remarkable Fox News is, by far, the most widely watched cable news source...or maybe, is that exactly what you'd think. Obama's positive ratings have gone from 70% to somewhere in the 40's in less than a year despite the fact the old media have portrayed him as somewhere between a messiah and the bestest mere mortal ever found on the planet.

The old media is slowly becoming a meaningless dinosaur, which will soon be extinct. While technology is partially to blame, incredibly low standards (Tony W works for a major metropolitan newspaper, for crying out loud!), moreso is the manner in which they blatantly inject bias into the simplest reporting (I mean, the Rambling son is 7 and he could crank out 1000 words on Black Friday...anyone could and never leave the house, which makes the fact Annie felt the need to inject total crap into such a mind-numbingly routine article even more bothersome). It's a death that will be richly deserved, though sadly, many of the idiots at AP will be hired by online sites who replace the AP.

11/27/2009 07:45:00 PM

(11/27/2009 06:18:00 PM) - Al

I've been struggling a bit with my internet speed, so I was quizzing the Rambling wife what might be wrong with our router and/or signal. She told me she was going fine, and when the Rambling son asked a question about what was on Nick tonight, we both typed in TV Guide, and it came up within seconds on her laptop, and while my poker tables continued to pop up, over a minute later, I was still waiting for the listings.

Obviously, it's my computer. A while back, "Fast Browser Search" became my default search engine, and we've never changed it. I searched for it (ironically, on FBS) and sure enough, it's just some crap that downloads sneakily and seems to get past most anti-spyware, and the process to get rid of it is several steps long. While that may not be the cause, it is just astounding how much unwanted stuff has found its way onto my computer over the years.

The Rambling wife says she'll get rid of it as soon as I'm not in a, maybe tomorrow.:)

11/27/2009 06:18:00 PM

(11/27/2009 05:44:00 PM) - Al

Hall of Fame newcomers announced. Basically, four good players and a bunch of guys that make the baseball writers look like total buffoons.

The idea David Segui passed the process shows they need a new process, or some writers that live in reality.

11/27/2009 05:44:00 PM

(11/27/2009 04:45:00 PM) - Al

Expanding Medicaid to cover those between jobs and less than 150% of the poverty level would cost a fraction of what this debacle will. It's never been considered, because it's not about health care.

As many have pointed out, this isn't about health care, it's about paying back the legal community by not doing a thing about tort reform, which makes practicing medicine a game of how to avoid settlements against the provider, rather than, you know, doing what's right.

This is the equivalent of fixing a cut on your finger by performing brain your brain doesn't know your finger is injured. Sadly, we're so immune to spending $1T more in a year than we take in, the money doesn't even seem that destructive.

11/27/2009 04:45:00 PM

(11/27/2009 04:28:00 PM) - Al

Was Tiger going to stand in line at Wal Mart? Who leaves their house at 2:25AM sober?

11/27/2009 04:28:00 PM

(11/27/2009 03:53:00 PM) - Al

The e-mail says the crowds this morning were outlandishly huge...though one negative nellie says that's because everyone is broke (So they go out and spend money? That's a stretch, I'm afraid). People skipped stores, as I did, because doorbusters were gone and lines extremely long.

So anyway, the rambling dog and I slept from 7ish until 2:30, when the Rambling wife called to say she was a couple hours from home. Despite me putting his new beds on the floor, he seems to be mighty comfortable lying on the sofa next to me.:)

Back to normal thoughts soon.

11/27/2009 03:53:00 PM

(11/27/2009 08:36:00 AM) - Robert R.

The NFL has a problem. They were able to go a day with a big spotlight and didn't have one game turn out to be compelling. It's easy to beat up on the Lions, but what knucklehead thought Oakland would make a good matchup with Dallas? And the Giants and Broncos, who at least looked decent on paper, turned into yet another 20 point blowout.

I don't know precisely what the problem is, although I suspect that skewing the rules so much in favor of offense is partly responsible for the spate of blowouts this year. But, remember this on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day when there actually will be good, compelling games played.

11/27/2009 08:36:00 AM

(11/27/2009 07:21:00 AM) - Al

American capitalism is alive and well my friends.

I sat in a virtual line for 2 hours in the middle of the night, and disappointed one item I was hoping for never went on sale online, I ventured to Wal Mart at 5...both items were sold out at 4:55. I went around to a couple other stores, more looking than buying (my only "live" purchase was a pair of pet beds for the Rambling dog {because heaven knows, he has trouble finding a place to rest}, though they are basically just large pillows, I can see the Rambling son utilizing them as well). I was shocked to see the line at Target so long that it snaked around the racetrack of the entire store...and I never really did see the end. My foot has been bothering me since the whole "where's the dog" incident Sunday night, suffice it to say, I wasn't waiting.

I heard several people say it was far busier than last year, and a couple ladies volunteered it was the busiest ever...we'll see how the numbers look, as I'm sure online business will be huge, meaning if the stores are even, it will probably be a successful season.

11/27/2009 07:21:00 AM

Thursday, November 26, 2009

(11/26/2009 07:11:00 PM) - Al

I'd like to criticize the Swiss, the fact is, Polanski lived in France for decades without a hint of concern for the fact they were harboring an admitted, convicted child rapist.

I have a hard time even mentioning the French without the same disdain I normally reserve for Cuba and the former USSR. I can't think of a single thing they do as an ally...except happily take our tourist's dollars.

11/26/2009 07:11:00 PM

(11/26/2009 07:01:00 PM) - Al

The WSJ is gutsy enough to tear apart the climate change community...while the rest of the US media pretends the e-mails which admit lies and falsifying information never happened.

You get the feeling if 9/11 would have happened under Obama's watch, the networks and old media would report it as a "transportation malfunction, limited to the northeastern US".

Of course, since the word "terrorism" has been banned in the administration, that means it magically does not exist...right?:)

11/26/2009 07:01:00 PM

(11/26/2009 06:43:00 PM) - Al

The nanny state leads to soup kitchens throwing out food.

The death of common sense and the growth of government mirror each other...imagine that.

11/26/2009 06:43:00 PM

(11/26/2009 06:25:00 PM) - Al

As I drove to the Rambling in-laws this morning, it occurred to me that I did not post my picks. Packers, Cowboys, Giants...and let's hope the NFL wises up and takes the Lions off the schedule in the future.

11/26/2009 06:25:00 PM

(11/26/2009 06:14:00 PM) - Al

I can only imagine how disgusted many folks would be to see how many folks are online playing poker just past 6 on this American holiday. Some, of course, are in other parts of the world, a few in Canada as well, but you know the vast majority of the near quarter million are US citizens.

Of course, you have to remember 95% of people have the day off, and if they did celebrate, some have their feast at noon, some later, and at all points in between.

11/26/2009 06:14:00 PM

(11/26/2009 12:00:00 PM) - Al

There is no end to the gratitude we must feel towards the men and women fighting this war, and their families. As Thanksgiving approaches, our number one task is to be thankful we still have brave men and women ready to sacrifice all for our lazy fat selves and our freedoms. Let us not use that freedom to betray their sacrifice.--Ben Stein, 2005

Allow me to echo Ben's thoughts. There is evil in the world, and there are incredible people who work for a wage that should be far higher that chase evil, often far away from their family and in dangerous circumstances.

On this day, I am most thankful to be defended by the United States military.

11/26/2009 12:00:00 PM

(11/26/2009 11:59:00 AM) - Al

Allow me to link to last year's T-giving post, with prerequisite links that you may want to check out on this, the most original of all American holidays.

11/26/2009 11:59:00 AM

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

(11/25/2009 09:20:00 PM) - Al

The nanny state makes economists decide between the law and common sense.

11/25/2009 09:20:00 PM

(11/25/2009 07:55:00 PM) - Al

Adam throws in his two cents about a pair of SP's.

11/25/2009 07:55:00 PM

(11/25/2009 06:28:00 PM) - Al

Miller Park's field has been put to bed for the year.

11/25/2009 06:28:00 PM

(11/25/2009 06:12:00 PM) - Al

Global warming cover-ups, lies, and false info?

I'm shocked. Shocked!

Note that you had to go to the UK to find this reported.

11/25/2009 06:12:00 PM

(11/25/2009 04:37:00 PM) - Al

Nothing to be thankful for here...noted scumbag Roman Polanski makes bail, or as he calls it, buys his way out of prison.

11/25/2009 04:37:00 PM

(11/25/2009 04:29:00 PM) - Al

Is it possible for a team to have sent more guys onward to be radio/TV guys, especially considering Bon Uecker has been around for almost forever?

Pat Hughes, Jim Powell, Len Kasper, Matt V, and now Rory Markus, who I honestly can't recall what he did (was he a sub or pre-game guy?), yet I do know his name.

UPDATE: Michael says Rory did TV with Del Crandall in the early 90's.

11/25/2009 04:29:00 PM

(11/25/2009 04:09:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers Charity appears to be growing, and on the verge of bigger things.

11/25/2009 04:09:00 PM

(11/25/2009 02:28:00 PM) - Al

What's funny is, Reason has never been a conservative site, but they're turning into one quickly.

11/25/2009 02:28:00 PM

(11/25/2009 01:05:00 PM) - Al

Let's recap my previous places of employment, shall we?

Toys R Us...opening at midnight Thursday night (or Friday morning, to be precise), with a special round of "doorbusters", then Round 2 at 5AM. Thanksgiving Day from 5PM-9PM, then reopens Friday at 6AM.

Paper Warehouse...went bankrupt years ago, bought in court by Party America.

I remember about a decade ago, I told someone the next step would be opening Thanksgiving night at 7 or 8 and then staying open all night. I would guess that's no more than a half-decade away...TRU at midnight, Old Navy at know they have an overnight crew, they might as well be open.

The irony is, I took a five day weekend, as did much of the office. The Rambling son and I went out this AM to pick up some books for him to read at Grandma and Grandpa's the next couple days, and to get a new light bulb for the back yard deck (so we can see the empty chain when the Rambling dog escapes)...every store was very busy, so this was a day off for many...but in retail, this is a terrible time of year.

Even Family Video is open at 6AM Friday, their sign reading "Big Movie Sale". Please, how much can they possibly do from 6-10...$500? Like they would not sell their used movies and games during regular business hours.

I realize it is a huge day for many retailers, but at this point, being a contrarian and just being open normal hours might be just enough to stand out in the crowded marketplace.

11/25/2009 01:05:00 PM

(11/25/2009 12:42:00 PM) - Al

This writeup on the minor league system does the astounding act of choosing both a position player and pitcher of the year that are middling prospects at best.

11/25/2009 12:42:00 PM

(11/25/2009 12:12:00 PM) - Al

Ann talks about Sophia Loren "trying to trap" President Clinton. Heh.

The picture at Ann's link, by the way, shows Loren at age 72. Great googily moogily.

11/25/2009 12:12:00 PM

(11/25/2009 11:53:00 AM) - Al

The Padres likely won't want to pay Kevin Correia a raise through arbitration. The team will try to work out a "moderate-sized deal" with him, and if they can't do it, the right-hander could be non-tendered.--Olney, through MLBTR

Geez, the Padres are tight. Correia must be licking his chops hoping for free agency, as he'd have 15 teams making him an offer.

11/25/2009 11:53:00 AM

(11/25/2009 11:47:00 AM) - Al

Rosenthal looks at looming arby decisions. Mike Cameron and Felipe Lopez could easily fit on here as well.

Dave Bush, who is every bit as curious as the free agents mentioned, and Jody Gerut could also be debated among those not yet eligible for free agency.

11/25/2009 11:47:00 AM

(11/25/2009 11:36:00 AM) - Al

The Badgers play Maryland at 3:30 this afternoon on ESPN2. I have little doubt that playing three tough games will "toughen up" this team, but I have to wonder if they wish they would have had an easier road. If they lose today (and they'll certainly be underdogs), that gives them a pair of non-conference losses...with Duke and Marquette left to play.

As teams that are fighting to win 6 games to be bowl eligible know, everyone always talks about how good it is to play a strong non-conference schedule, but then the NCAA will take a team who played cupcakes but are 22-9 instead of the team that went 18-13 and lost to ten ranked teams.

11/25/2009 11:36:00 AM

(11/25/2009 11:29:00 AM) - Al

Gerald Ford logged a $982 billion budget in 1975....

...Obama's first-year budget, adjusted for inflation, is about five times that.

I wonder if it will be five times as big in another 35 years. You'd almost think at some point, government will have to go back to being what it was designed to know, not including helping you buy a new car (before ruining your perfectly adequate old one), send you a $300 check, or send "stimulus" money to study otters or algae for a few months.

11/25/2009 11:29:00 AM

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

(11/24/2009 11:10:00 PM) - Al

The old media is so out of touch, they think they can just ignore the fact climate change is now a minority viewpoint.

11/24/2009 11:10:00 PM

(11/24/2009 09:10:00 PM) - Al

Voting present is frowned upon on the international stage...hey, isn't everyone supposed to love us now?

By seeming less than thrilled to be expanding the amount of troops, Obama is going to have a heckuva time convincing allies to send more help. The fact he voted against funding the war effort while playing politics as a senator may go unreported in the old media, but far from unnoticed by nations about to send young people into harm's signifies a lack of commitment.

11/24/2009 09:10:00 PM

(11/24/2009 08:18:00 PM) - Al

Another couple years, another embattled coach at Notre Dame. We heard the same thing at Nebraska, same thing at UCLA, even Florida State has had whispers of discontent.

The days of the dynasty are long past. Sure, a good coach can recruit and be a solid team until he retires or a scandal hits, but Ohio State and Michigan used to dominate the Big Ten...they don't anymore, due to limited scholarships (heck, 20 years ago, lineman that never started a game in college would be drafted into the NFL, because they had enough free rides to give out it was nothing to bring in 7-8 top lineman every year), expanded TV exposure, and the fact kids aren't limited to regions anymore, as planes and the internet have made the US a much smaller place.

11/24/2009 08:18:00 PM

(11/24/2009 06:22:00 PM) - Al

Former reality TV star and wife of, hopefully, my next Congressman, writes about Palin, and again, why people are terrified of her.

11/24/2009 06:22:00 PM

(11/24/2009 05:17:00 PM) - Al

The Rambling wife found out on a message board last weekend that you could download the latest Bon Jovi album for $3.99, so she did that for me. I don't think it's as good as some of their previous work, but it does have many worthy tracks, my favorite probably being Superman Tonight.

Oddly, the first couple times you hear a couple songs, they sound like another, far older Bon Jovi song is about to play. I'm sure they're unintentional, but I'm sure it's difficult not to "regift" a group of notes that has worked for you in the past.

11/24/2009 05:17:00 PM

(11/24/2009 01:28:00 PM) - Al

Albert Pujols gets all the votes for NL MVP, except for Keizo Konishi, who inexplicably voted for Miguel Cabrera.

11/24/2009 01:28:00 PM

(11/24/2009 12:55:00 PM) - Al

Sportsbubbler thinks Pavano is undervalued.

He probably is, but I'd still prefer a number of others. I worry about his health as well.

11/24/2009 12:55:00 PM

(11/24/2009 11:22:00 AM) - Al

Hard not to look at the decision to send 30K+ troops to Afghanistan as "halfhearted".

You'd think if the surge proved anything, it was either to go big or stay home.

11/24/2009 11:22:00 AM

(11/24/2009 01:31:00 AM) - Al

Trevon Hughes leads the Badgers to a hard fought win over Arizona...and they now get to face Gonzaga, who rested all day after winning the first game of the day.

It's on ESPN's family tomorrow night, if you wish to partake.

11/24/2009 01:31:00 AM

Monday, November 23, 2009

(11/23/2009 11:29:00 PM) - Al


Your mention of Crocs being uncomfortable reminds me of my own experience. After my wife and mom loved theirs, I bought a pair on clearance. I could barely walk at the end of the day. I've since been told that flat feet and Crocs do not mix, as the plastic does not give at all and pushes my small arches upward in an unnatural way.


I am the opposite, I have high arches, but today my right foot is as sore as it's been since I worked retail, and I have a sore on the top of each foot, where the strap dug into the skin. I am not used to walking for an hour in them, and they did not reward me for slipping them on last evening.

11/23/2009 11:29:00 PM

(11/23/2009 11:24:00 PM) - Al

Steelers, Colts, Saints, Cards, Bengals, Chargers, Eagles, Titans, and the other home teams are my NFL picks for the week.

Falcons and Titans versus the spread.

86-45 overall, 8-10 versus the points.

I'm 1-0 for the week thus far as well.

UPDATE: 100-47 overall, 10-10 against the spread.

11/23/2009 11:24:00 PM

(11/23/2009 10:58:00 PM) - Al

I've checked twice, and I do not see a single mention of the Badgers' basketball game tonight in the JS.

I know it's in Hawaii, but I also know a lack of effort when I see one.

11/23/2009 10:58:00 PM

(11/23/2009 08:57:00 PM) - Al

The Crew signs Halama and Capuano to minor league deals.

11/23/2009 08:57:00 PM

(11/23/2009 07:53:00 PM) - Al

The most likely free agents to sign in Milwaukee, you ask?

1. Doug Davis--Doug is just too obvious...formerly pitched in MIL, said he'd like to return, married a woman from Eau Claire, prized for his durability.

2. Jarrod Washburn--If neither Davis or Washburn ends up in MIL, many of us will be shocked. JW has said he'd he'd love to pitch in MIL or MIN, and has also mentioned SEA.

3. Brett Myers--Brett has flown under the radar thus far, but throws hard, is a big RHP, and will likely look to sign short-term after a down campaign in '09...three things Doug loves.

4. Jon Garland--Peronally, I have Garland as the 2nd best FA SP on the market. Note his numbers after he moved to the NL last season. I think Doug may hone in on Jon when others are bidding for Lackey.

5. Joaquin Benoit--Texas connection, and Benoit has the ability to go more than one inning, has good velocity, and can get lefties out. There are so many quality relief pitchers available, I'm sure they'll sign at least one.

6. Eric Hinske--From WI, lefty bat, who can play 1B/LF/RF, used to play 3B, and provides pop off the bench most nights. Nice complimentary guy to Braun and Hart, who can also DH or rest Prince in AL parks.

7. Endy Chavez--I also think Gabe Gross is a nice fit as a backup for Gomez, but he'll be on another list. Chavez is an outstanding defender who bats LH, which seems like a fine fella to spot start with a tough RHP on the mound.

8. Alex Cora--Only if Counsell goes elsewhere, Alex is kind of a poor man's Craig, not quite as good a bat, rarely plays 3B, but probably more rangy at 2B/SS. Hits LH, but has a better split versus southpaws.

9. Bob Howry--Doug talked to Howry last offseason and when he was a FA a few years ago. Still a solid arm, and with the plethora of bullpen help, may last longer than you'd expect.

10. Mark Loretta--Mark would be a nice fit if Craig returns, and may have a special spot in his heart for MIL. If he and Catalanotto would both be back, the Crew would have two of the top 5-10 PH's in the game...line drive hitters with a short swing...Doug would call them "professional hitters".

11/23/2009 07:53:00 PM

(11/23/2009 07:12:00 PM) - Al

I'll be working on my "top ten most likely free agents to sign with the Brewers" list tonight. If you are reading this after reading the list, disregard.

11/23/2009 07:12:00 PM

(11/23/2009 06:22:00 PM) - Al

In addition to a few games in Puerto Rico, I think MLB should play a series in Monterrey, Mexico as well...and maybe elsewhere as well. Let's be honest, the Marlins (and other low attendance teams) losing a series in April or May is hardly noteworthy.

11/23/2009 06:22:00 PM

(11/23/2009 06:10:00 PM) - Al

I wonder if anyone has polled Chris Matthews' leg?

11/23/2009 06:10:00 PM

(11/23/2009 05:48:00 PM) - Al

Ramblings extends condolences to Daniel Negraneau, whose mom (known universally as "Mommy" to all who knew her) passed away.

Odd to see him say the funeral might be Thursday, which is Thanksgiving here in the US, of course. In Canada, however, it is...Thursday.:)

11/23/2009 05:48:00 PM

(11/23/2009 04:51:00 PM) - Al

As Robert pointed out below, Mauer wins AL MVP, Derek Jeter doesn't get a single first place vote, and for some reason, Miguel Cabrera's mom got to vote for the award.

They should probably fix that before next season.

11/23/2009 04:51:00 PM

(11/23/2009 01:46:00 PM) - Robert R.

Baseball America's assessment of the Brewers farm system and top 10 prospects.

Unsurprisingly, Alcides Escobar is ranked #1. And the top 10 appears relatively deep, although I think it would be fair to question just how many prospects have star potential.

11/23/2009 01:46:00 PM

(11/23/2009 01:05:00 PM) - Robert R.

To the surprise of no one, Joe Mauer wins AL MVP.

The writers are being very reasonable this year. And the selection of Mauer over Prior and Teixeira which was criticised at the time as being a "signability" pick is looking better and better for the Twins. He's a guy that you lock up since it's virtually impossible to replace a catcher like him.

11/23/2009 01:05:00 PM

(11/23/2009 08:45:00 AM) - Al

Biting skit from SNL on the trip to China.

Somewhere, Ms. Clinton must wonder where this was a year ago.

11/23/2009 08:45:00 AM

(11/23/2009 08:33:00 AM) - Al

The LA Times sarcastically points out Palin and Obama's approval ratings are either even or soon will be. Judging by the crowds at her book signings, I'd say her supporters are far more excited at the moment.

11/23/2009 08:33:00 AM

Sunday, November 22, 2009

(11/22/2009 11:05:00 PM) - Al

Penalty kicks decide the MLS Cup, in front of 46K in Seattle. I know purists hate it, but I adore the shootout.

11/22/2009 11:05:00 PM

(11/22/2009 10:54:00 PM) - Al

What the hell is taco bell thinking!! Bring back the black taco!!!--Seth McClung on Twitter

My wife said almost the exact same thing today. Of course, she pointed out all they need to do is have that delicious spicy cheese sauce available, as the black shell did not taste any different than the regular one.

11/22/2009 10:54:00 PM

(11/22/2009 09:50:00 PM) - Al

Another event in the household this weekend was we once again declared vengeance against the tub drain, which goes from slow to kind of slow to really slow throughout the year. It got so bad a few months ago the Rambling wife started showering in the downstairs bathroom, and after a week or so, the drain reacted by magically fixing itself. Despite us running hot water down it once in a while, and pouring some chemicals down, it has deteriorated to having an ankle full of water in the tub when we finished showering.

So, I brought out the big guns this weekend. Saturday, I poured an entire bottle of heavy duty poison (yet, safe for pipes) down. The Rambling wife reported no improvement. Later, I showered and used the plunger on it, and noted it, if anything, seemed worse. However, today, the improvement was vast, and it seems almost as good as mediocre, not perfect, but far better. Something must have worked loose yesterday, and eventually got carried away. One thing I've seen online is to pour boiling water down the drain, but this only works for old metal pipes, as it will melt PVC. So, I looked up when PVC melts, and after translating from Celsius, found it was 176 degrees. I boiled some water, added some cool and got it down to 160, and dumped it in, hoping to loosen up any remaining gunk.

One problem we have is our drain goes down for about an inch, and then turns right away, meaning I get little suction with the plunger. When we lived in the Cities, I was often able to pull out chunks of hair, but we never get anything but tiny pieces of stuff out in this place.

We'll see how long it lasts.

11/22/2009 09:50:00 PM

(11/22/2009 09:24:00 PM) - Al

Busy night in the Ramblings household, as during the Amazing Race, the Rambling dog somehow got off his chain outside and became one with the neighborhood. Over an hour of searching later, a car pulled up alongside me and said, "I think we found your dog", and sure enough, there he was, as he had been hanging around their house, they told me. No, I'm not sure how they knew I was looking for him, but I'm not going to complain.

Our little friend Ronnie is over 13 1/2 now, and his health is failing (can barely hear, "accidents" becoming more frequent, sleeping very "hard" (often jumps when you touch him, even in the morning) and long. He's as much a part of our family as anyone else (the Rambling son, who has never known life without Ron, began to cry and asked what happens if we never find him), and despite his many odd quirks (too many to mention), is possibly the friendliest little fella to ever grace the species.

I wandered around outside in my Brewers' crocs, and now, the tops of both feet are incredibly red and sore. I almost wear socks with them (my feet sweat and itch otherwise), and I don't know why they dug in so.

11/22/2009 09:24:00 PM

(11/22/2009 04:15:00 PM) - Al

One ranking of the top FA SP's after Lackey. He obviously does not take durability into the equation, as he has Harden 2nd and Sheets 3rd.

11/22/2009 04:15:00 PM

(11/22/2009 02:00:00 PM) - Al

The national media has noticed Brandon Jennings, as Friday's game at Oklahoma City has been moved to 8:30 Central time and will be shown on ESPN.

11/22/2009 02:00:00 PM

(11/22/2009 01:19:00 PM) - Al

Afghanistan is different now than it was.

11/22/2009 01:19:00 PM

(11/22/2009 12:20:00 PM) - Al

Carl Pavano, RHP, free agent - According to agent Tom O’Connell, the action on Pavano right now is "very solid." While Pavano may have to wait until John Lackey gets situated, teams in need of a No. 3 type starter may not wait. The Twins and Brewers are very interested.

John Smoltz, RHP, free agent - He apparently is very excited about what he’ll be able to do with a full offseason and spring training. Now the question is, on whose staff does he end up? The Cardinals still want him, but don’t rule out the pitching-hungry Brewers.

Prince Fielder, 1B, Brewers - GM Doug Melvin is adamant that he will not entertain talk of trading Fielder, who can be a free agent after next season. Team owner Mark Attanasio seems inclined to pay Fielder top dollar to remain a Brewer.

Jason Kendall, C, free agent - The Brewers could still bring back Kendall, who caught 133 games for them, but for now the 14-year veteran with a .290 career average is done. This gives George Kottaras, claimed by Milwaukee on waivers, a great chance to stick as at least the backup to prospect Jonathan Lucroy, who would have to make the jump from Double A.--Boston Globe

It's apparent how active Doug was at the GM meetings when a Boston paper has all these blurbs about MIL. I have questions about Smoltz, who was awful versus LH hitters, and I assume he wants to start. Pavano is not talked about as much, but is a very solid option for most any team.

11/22/2009 12:20:00 PM

(11/22/2009 12:28:00 AM) - Al

I'm pretty sure this is a sign of the apocalypse.

UPDATE: Not only that, on TLC, they are counting down to the series finale of "Jon & Kate Plus 8"...43 hours to go.

Two in one day can't be a good thing. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to put four leaf clovers in my Bible, which I will set under a horseshoe.

11/22/2009 12:28:00 AM

(11/22/2009 12:01:00 AM) - Al

I'm glad someone with no responsibilities or input at all has managed to delay his trip so he can celebrate his gal's birthday.

That reminds me of the unemployed guy down the block telling me he needs a day off.

11/22/2009 12:01:00 AM

Saturday, November 21, 2009

(11/21/2009 11:47:00 PM) - Al

If Counsell signs elsewhere, I'd seriously consider nabbing this youngster from the Twins. According to Seth, he's a solid defender at all three positions who may be an everyday player someday. Aaron is not quite as glowing, though he lists him as a switch-hitter, as opposed to a lefty like BR does.

11/21/2009 11:47:00 PM

(11/21/2009 10:58:00 PM) - Al

BAL looks to be sticking with youth, but have no problem adding veteran stopgaps where they have no prospects that are ready. If they sign quality guys like are mentioned, they might make it all the way to .500 next year.

11/21/2009 10:58:00 PM

(11/21/2009 08:35:00 PM) - Al

Today for lunch, the Rambling wife was one to several craft shows, so I asked the Rambling son if he would like a grilled cheese sandwich or shrimp (it's a little box of fried shrimp meant as an appetizer). He asked for the shrimp. He also requested leftover rolls with butter, as he's a bread person, just like his mom.

He went downstairs to his "play room" to eat and watch TV (he likes going in there so he can shut the door on the Rambling dog). After about 20 minutes, I heard him coming up:

Son: Wow, that was a lot of food.

Al: I know. I didn't think you'd eat it all.

Son: But I did.

Al: Really? My goodness, your stomach must be a bottomless pit.

Son: Actually, a hole that does not have a bottom is called an abyss.

Al: Huh?

I'm not sure the exact day he became smarter than me, but it is indeed in the past.

By the way he "beat" another video game today. As in, he rented it yesterday after school and it is now over. I see online that several adults said they finished it in 3-5 hours, but he's 7.

Meanwhile, I'm still flabbergasted as to how a fax machine works.

11/21/2009 08:35:00 PM

(11/21/2009 03:23:00 PM) - Al

I wonder if it means anything that some of the most conservative states in the nation have the lowest unemployment rates, or is this just a regional thing?

11/21/2009 03:23:00 PM

(11/21/2009 03:07:00 PM) - Al

For those who think people are exaggerating the effect of how mad people are at incumbents, even anti-earmark, incredibly respected John McCain is barely ahead of his primary opponent.

As for him asking Palin for help, I've heard of nothing that says Sarah was critical of him in her book, only a couple advisers. That may well be something that could happen, though to be honest, while I know John is in very good shape, I wonder why he would run again anyway.

11/21/2009 03:07:00 PM

(11/21/2009 02:53:00 PM) - Al

Remember about 30 years ago, when everyone made fun of Cleveland? One gets the feeling Detroit will hold that crown for the foreseeable future.

The irony is, when we were on vacation in Michigan, they ripped on Detroit in Ann Arbor even more than the rest of us do. My friend Joe worked at Wal Mart in the Upper Peninsula, and he told me the college kids would refer to going home to Detroit (mostly the suburbs) as "going back to the ghetto".

11/21/2009 02:53:00 PM

(11/21/2009 01:06:00 PM) - Al

A list of possible non-tender candidates shows a lot of guys that could step right into the starting lineups on many teams, and bench spots on most every club. I'd love to see Shoppach and Johnson (the two Kellys), Conor Jackson, Ryan Church, Mike Fontenot (can he play SS at a non-sucky level?), Gabe Gross, Ryan Lanerhans all considered by the Crew.

While the list of SP's is pretty limited (Dave Bush looks as good as any), Wang and Bonser jump out; and there are oodles of relievers with solid histories, making Doug's contention that the bullpen can be filled out later make a lot of sense.

One interesting name is Brian Tallet...started with TOR last year, and had a 5.32 ERA. He was left in one game to save the bullpen, and gave up 11 runs in 4 innings...remove that, and he had a 4.88...about 4.50 if you do the basic AL-NL conversion.

11/21/2009 01:06:00 PM

(11/21/2009 12:39:00 PM) - Al

The Hardball Times points out Keith Olbermann is a complete idiot.

11/21/2009 12:39:00 PM

(11/21/2009 12:24:00 PM) - Al

A client of mine mentioned this yesterday, basically saying how is government going to run health care when women get all upset at the mere suggestion they wait for mammograms?

11/21/2009 12:24:00 PM

(11/21/2009 06:54:00 AM) - Al looks at the available SP's, and predicts the Crew will end up with Piniero and Penny, though it does not look like much time was spent on destinations.

I think both of them will be considered, but I feel Doug will pick up a younger arm that was non-tendered or in trade. I see Brett Myers as a sleeper, though Doug may hesitate because of his past, which includes a domestic abuse allegation.

11/21/2009 06:54:00 AM

(11/21/2009 06:37:00 AM) - Al

Giants purchased the contracts of OFs Darren Ford and Francisco Peguero, RHP Kevin Pucetas and 1B Brett Pill.

Each are protected from December's Rule 5 draft. Ford, 24, already known for his world-class-speed, raised his stock a bit in 2009, batting .300/.386/.463 with nine homers, 50 RBI, 35 stolen bases and 81 runs scored in 101 games with Class A San Jose. For a guy who didn't show much until this season, making the 40-man roster is a real accomplishment.--Rotoworld

Ford went to SF in the Durham trade. He's 24, so doing well in A ball is not very impressive, but hitting 9 homers and being able to fly should at least put him on the map as a reserve OF in the bigs.

11/21/2009 06:37:00 AM

(11/21/2009 06:35:00 AM) - Al

So, if the experts don't really understand the weather, why exactly am I supposed to be overwhelmed by it?

11/21/2009 06:35:00 AM

(11/21/2009 06:23:00 AM) - Al

A take on the Palin book tour that is so refreshing it must have come from outside the US.

As Dennis Miller says, she irritates the right people.

11/21/2009 06:23:00 AM

(11/21/2009 06:16:00 AM) - Al

Glenn links to National Review blasting the spoiled rich kids in CA.

They don't even know how good they have it.

11/21/2009 06:16:00 AM

(11/21/2009 06:14:00 AM) - Al

$100M to Louisiana to "sway" a single vote.

Sometimes, it's difficult to believe what happens in DC is legal.

11/21/2009 06:14:00 AM

Friday, November 20, 2009

(11/20/2009 11:41:00 PM) - Al

My sources say Oprah and her people have long limited the time she spends in Montecito so she doesn't exceed the number of days mandating her to pay exorbitant taxes as a California resident.--Nikki Finke

Taxes are for the little people.

11/20/2009 11:41:00 PM

(11/20/2009 09:35:00 PM) - Al

The Crew makes their 2nd major Latin America signing of late, signing a 16 year-old SS.

11/20/2009 09:35:00 PM

(11/20/2009 09:14:00 PM) - Al

Freakonomics talks to a former "escort" about the business.

11/20/2009 09:14:00 PM

(11/20/2009 08:55:00 PM) - Al

Looks like John Halama will soon be signing a minor league deal with the Crew...he's been very good in winter ball and was solid as a SP in AAA last year, compiling a sub 4 ERA. Sadly, he's 37.

11/20/2009 08:55:00 PM

(11/20/2009 06:03:00 PM) - Al

Jon Heyman reports DET, CIN, FLA, and KC are the biggest sellers thus far, and that Edwin Jackson is among the most coveted, by SEA and others.

Jackson, Bronson Arroyo, Aaron Harang, Ricky Nolasco, Anibel Sanchez, and Brian Bannister might be some pitchers those teams are taking offers about. It's possible the Marlins may even deal Josh Johnson, as he will be making about $18-20M over the next two years.

11/20/2009 06:03:00 PM

(11/20/2009 11:35:00 AM) - Al

MLBTR discusses Lowe's trade value.

Not going to link, but continued talk of Prince being extended continues, with Tom H sayin that will wait a while, probably January. Everyone loves Prince, but I'd hate to go past his 30-31 age-old range, as I can't believe he will age well, especially in a non-DH league. That said, he'd probably the 3rd or 4th best hitter in the game as of today, and is still a very young man.

11/20/2009 11:35:00 AM

(11/20/2009 11:12:00 AM) - Robert R.

Wisconsin's unofficial State holiday kicks off tomorrow with the opening of gun deer hunting season.

The WDNR has lots of information here.

I know that the deer herd numbers are reportedly down, for a variety of reasons. That said, there are still lots of deer in the state and the hunt has wide ranging effects. Vehicle safety, agriculture, tourism, woodland health, and the state economy including butchers are all affected by the deer hunt. It's an important part of the State that probably isn't reported on enough.

Be safe out there.

11/20/2009 11:12:00 AM

Thursday, November 19, 2009

(11/19/2009 11:51:00 PM) - Al

If you stay up late enough Thursday night, my favorite piece of the week will often appear.

11/19/2009 11:51:00 PM

(11/19/2009 10:47:00 PM) - Al

Allow me to speak for Hank it doesn't.

Sure it may say that, but you know, that doesn't mean anything.

And don't forget, the surge has failed.

11/19/2009 10:47:00 PM

(11/19/2009 10:34:00 PM) - Al

Overblown fears?

I'd blame the old media for most. As stated, afraid of bloggers? Heh.

11/19/2009 10:34:00 PM

(11/19/2009 09:38:00 PM) - Al

Security cameras in Utah show a meteor whizzing by, momentarily turning night into day.

11/19/2009 09:38:00 PM

(11/19/2009 09:19:00 PM) - Al

There's a game tonight? Since I just pick for my own fun, I'm still able to take the Dolphins...of course, since I have no NFL Network (heck, maybe I do, it's not like I'd ever watch it), it's easy to not know how it's going.

11/19/2009 09:19:00 PM

(11/19/2009 08:52:00 PM) - Al

This would seem to indicate those who like Palin do not usually watch Oprah.

11/19/2009 08:52:00 PM

(11/19/2009 08:31:00 PM) - Al

Someone needs to tell these whiny brats that college is not a right. You know, not only is there an entire world out there, many innovators of today, such as Bill Gates, never bothered to graduate.

You know, the military has a terrific GI Bill as well. Serve your country for a few years, instead of begging for grants, and maybe I won't tell you to shut the hell up when you waste your time "peacefully protesting". Buffy, Lance...try getting a job.

11/19/2009 08:31:00 PM

(11/19/2009 07:08:00 PM) - Al

Interesting 2/3rd's of a proposed three way trade, so far, both players rumored have been linked to the Crew, Jackson and Morrow.

I find it hard to believe some value Morrow as highly as Jackson (though Morrow may be affordable to some teams that can't afford Jackson), but reading the comments, several fans seem to agree with myself that Morrow has been rushed and will soon breakout, and many mention his velocity.

11/19/2009 07:08:00 PM

(11/19/2009 06:56:00 PM) - Al

ATL has talked to the Brewers about Derek Lowe, possibly involving Corey Hart or prospects.

The problem with Lowe is he was well overpaid for his age and production last year, and now the Braves are looking to dump him. The Brewers have no overpaid, long-term contracts to swap out, except Suppan, who has a single year left, as opposed to three for Lowe.

EDIT: Rosenthal says the Crew turned down a straight up trade. I think they'd do the players, but not the contracts.

11/19/2009 06:56:00 PM

(11/19/2009 06:53:00 PM) - Al

Brewers announce changes and improvements.

If there's a better place to watch a game, I'd sure like to see it.

11/19/2009 06:53:00 PM

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

(11/18/2009 09:38:00 PM) - Al

Too many jokes here to decide which one to use.

So, how many jobs does a dog park "stimulate"?

11/18/2009 09:38:00 PM

(11/18/2009 08:49:00 PM) - Al

I should probably mention yet another Mulder to MIL mention, which is as repetitive as "Al likes pie" comments.

11/18/2009 08:49:00 PM

(11/18/2009 08:31:00 PM) - Al

Ramblings would like to thank for the mention on his favorite non-Twins blogs. Rarely do I get mentioned with Rob Neyer and the like, except to say "Al sure ain't no Rob Neyer".

11/18/2009 08:31:00 PM

(11/18/2009 07:56:00 PM) - Al

Both Palin and Meghan McCain say the cover is sexist...I don't know why. Clinton used to be photographed out running all the time, the only difference being he looked awful, like I would.

Palin looks great, and should be basking in the glow of being a good looking broad, which I mean with all due respect. I think it's possible to both compliment a person on their appearance and their political leadership. If you don't, that's your problem, not mine.

EDIT: Palin packs them in, even in a very blue state. If only those factories would reopen...

11/18/2009 07:56:00 PM

(11/18/2009 07:53:00 PM) - Al

John Stossel is more upset about the runaway spending than he is about taxes.

I recall people back then complaining that Reagan spent too much on defense...of course, the current administration spends on everything except defense.

Meanwhile, longing for the days of Jimmy Carter? Now if you'll excuse me, a pig just flew by the window...

11/18/2009 07:53:00 PM

(11/18/2009 06:11:00 PM) - Al

Doug expects all the free agents will hit the open market. I sure hope Counsell and Vargas return.

11/18/2009 06:11:00 PM

(11/18/2009 04:00:00 PM) - Al

Washburn sounds like he would like to play for either the Twins or Brewers.

Jarrod gets as little respect as any decent SP out there. I sure would not mind him, though his recent knee surgery and low innings totals makes him a bit down my list.

11/18/2009 04:00:00 PM

(11/18/2009 03:34:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers claim catcher George Kottaras off waivers from the Red Sox. Decent AAA stas for George, who bats LH. We'll see what Doug says, but I would guess he'll be on the 2010 25 man roster, either as a reserve or splitting time.

No word yet from Melvin, but Kotteras asked for his release from the Red Sox because he did not see any playing time there, with Martinez and Varitek in place. Since he's out of options, BOS granted his wish, as they cannot send him down (though I assume they debated keeping him in case of injury, but as Doug would probably do, did the right thing).

Rivera is eligible for arby, and while I doubt he'll get much more than $750K, it's almost twice as much as Kottaras will make. With talk of Lucroy, I don't think anyone would be surprised to see Mike elsewhere when the team reports to Arizona.

Melvin said that Kottaras was claimed merely to add depth to the Brewers' catching situation and provide more options in the spring. Melvin said they're still looking at the position and admitted he doesn't have a front-line guy at present.--JS

11/18/2009 03:34:00 PM

(11/18/2009 10:00:00 AM) - Al

As expected, Cain and Rivas added to the 40.

11/18/2009 10:00:00 AM

(11/18/2009 09:39:00 AM) - Al

Take a look and see who the top comparables to Jason Bay are...I'm sure it won't stop someone from giving him a 4-5 year deal, but Klesko, Jenkins, and others did not age well, as is common for corner OF's...they often fall off a cliff ion their early 30's.

11/18/2009 09:39:00 AM

(11/18/2009 09:27:00 AM) - Al

Lowest ratings yet. As I've said, they are very fortunate the midterms were not in '09 instead of '10.

EDIT: Glenn adds a link and some facts.

EDIT 2:Every time Biden leaves his house, he makes you wish they'd lock him in from the outside. I'm sure he answered tough questions from Stewart, who of course, is just a tad bit left of Ralph Nader.

11/18/2009 09:27:00 AM

(11/18/2009 09:16:00 AM) - Al

Nothing gets you a link on Ramblings quicker than to quote Ramblings in your piece.

11/18/2009 09:16:00 AM

(11/18/2009 08:52:00 AM) - Al


I pretty much read your blog everyday, but I have to disagree with you on your view of the Patriots/Colts game. Like most of the rest of America I was elated to see the Colts win, but if the Packers were in that situation I surely would have wanted them to go for it. The Patriots punter is averaging fewer than 40 yards/punt this year. Accounting for the return this would have put the colts around their own 40 at least. 60 yards is not too far a distance for Manning to cover in two minutes. Also, Belichick would certainly have taken into account the fact that the Indy defense would have been cheating on a pass play within the first 5 yards. It is not like it was any secret that Indy would changed their defense somewhat to better guard the situation. Indianapolis has a pass-defense that ranks in the bottom half of the league and is even worse due to injuries. I feel that the chances of them converting were certainly greater than 40% and probably close to the 76% that they have converted during his time there.

He obviously felt that his team had the best chance of winning by going for it on 4th down. This was not the case of Belichick trying to feed his ego, the best way for him to feed his ego would have been to beat Indianapolis. Any other coach and I would completely agree with the criticism but quite frankly Belichick is almost obsessive about his team, he runs just about everything so if anybody would know how the Patriots would do in that situation it would be him. Most importantly had he succeeded everyone would be praising him. Most coaches would be too afraid to lose the game and would have punted but Belichick was going for the victory.

Also your view on the basketball situation does not take everything into account. Sure the chances of making a 3 under duress are probably 20-25% that would also be the situation on a three after an offensive rebound on a free throw. Then you have to consider that the chances o f getting an offensive rebound on that missed free throw and that is probably about 25% as well. If the team ahead fouls there is an entire sequence of events that have to go right for the team losing to catch up, but if there is no foul the team down by three only has to make one shot.


My only rebuttal is a "normal" 35 yard net punt would have put the ball on the IND 37, as it was on the NE 28. We'll never know where the punt would have ended up, but that seems like a fair estimate.

Fans always want to go for it on 4th down, but field position usually dictates otherwise. In this case, you're taking the clock out of play by only making Indy go 28 yards. I think "trying to win the game" is a bit of a reach, as that's what 1st, 2nd, and 3rd down is for. 4th down is for punting.

11/18/2009 08:52:00 AM

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

(11/17/2009 11:08:00 PM) - Al

Recap of Mark Cuban speaking last night in Milwaukee, as a guest of the Bucks.

Back when he was a billionaire who had just sold, he was interviewed in a mansion in which most rooms were still unfurnished, and he had just bought the Mavericks, He unapologetically answered several of the reporter's questions "Because I can".

I've been a fan ever since.

11/17/2009 11:08:00 PM

(11/17/2009 10:47:00 PM) - Al

Nathan feels NE did the right thing by going for it.

I think his math is wrong. They did not have a 76% chance of making it, on 4th and 2 in a goal-line or game deciding situation like that, I'd say it was about 40% (Indy could over play a bit, because a 15 yard gain, or a 50 yard gain is the same as a 2-3 yard over). No way the Colts drive 70 yards in 2 minutes with 0-1 time outs 40% of the time.

I know Manning is great, but his receivers drop passes and tip balls in the air just like others. For much of the game, Peyton was jumping all over the pocket, as the Pats were putting good pressure on him...but late, they did not. NE also did not make any effort to run the clock down more, throwing an incomplete pass on 3rd down...there was a lack of planning the entire series. The clock is your friend, use it to your advantage.

I compare this to people that want to foul when up 3 late in the basketball game. I say play good defense and maybe switch on screens more than usual, as a forced 3 will only go in 20-25% of the time. Fouling creates a bag of worms...make one, miss one, tip out for a 3...suddenly, you just lost...when not fouling the worst case scenario was either overtime or an inbounds chance in a tie game.

11/17/2009 10:47:00 PM

(11/17/2009 08:54:00 PM) - Al

I was just knocked out of a 180 player sit 'n go in 8th place. I'm happy with the finish, as I usually am when I make the money (the top 18 cashed, hypothetically). However, as per usual, I got my chips in with the best hand, and still lost.

I was in the big blind with QQ, and faced one raise. I considered just calling and then pushing all-in if no A or K came on the flop, but figured I certainly had the best hand, so I pushed, and was called right away by AJ. The flop had an A, and no help came on the turn or the river. I estimate, unbiased of course, and with no exaggeration that of my eliminations, I have went all-in with the best hand every single time my entire life.

The Rambling son had just been out after reading a while to talk to me about how frustrated he is he's been on the same math quiz for 2 weeks. Every day, they take the quiz, and if they pass, they move onto the next one. The Rambling son has many of my traits, one of which is he's good at math, but he told me his biggest issue is not having enough time to write down the answers. For example, he knows 7+8 is 15, but it takes him several seconds to write down 15, and he can't get through the whole thing. Of course, when I was 7, my only concern was when lunch and recess were, so his angst is not normal to me, but maybe he won't be a C student like myself.

Anyway, the Rambling wife was in bed reading with the TV on, so I bemoaned my fate to her, and from his bedroom, the Rambling son began laughing, as he often does when I lose, or my team loses, because he thinks it's funny. I went in and he burst out laughing as soon as he saw me, and the following discussion took place:

Al: What are you laughing at?


Al: Are you laughing at me getting knocked out?

Son: Heh, heh. Yeah.

Al: Why would you do such a thing?

Son: Because, your my joy.

For those who know me, the fact my son said that should come as no surprise.

11/17/2009 08:54:00 PM

(11/17/2009 07:20:00 PM) - Al

BCB runs down who needs to be protected on the 40 man.

I agree, it looks like only a pair of additions need to be made at this time. If a 3rd player goes on the 40, I'll take Chris Cody, though his ceiling and velocity are likely not high enough to justify a Rule 5 pick.

11/17/2009 07:20:00 PM

(11/17/2009 06:48:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers seemingly have three infielders for two spots — Rickie Weeks plays second base, Mat Gamel third and Casey McGehee both.

Yet, as badly as the Brewers need pitching, a trade probably will not happen unless some club offers the pitching equivalent of Gamel, a highly regarded offensive prospect.

Of the three, Gamel, 24, draws the most inquiries from rival clubs. But, as a left-handed hitter, he would help balance the Brewers' predominantly right-handed lineup.

Weeks, 27, did not play after May 17 last season because of a left-wrist injury that required surgery; he also has had surgery on his right wrist, and is getting pricey as he enters his second year of arbitration.

McGehee, 27, finished fifth in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting, but other clubs still are not totally convinced that he is a keeper, mindful that the Cubs waived him at the end of the 2008 season.

Brewers GM Doug Melvin is creative, and maybe he will get the deal he wants for Gamel. More likely, Melvin will pursue pitching help in free agency. He included two strong hitting prospects, Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley in the CC Sabathia trade in July 2008.--Fox Sports

That's kind of the way I see it as well...unless someone wants to swap their version of Yo, I see Gamel going to Nashville and hopefully dominating.

11/17/2009 06:48:00 PM

(11/17/2009 06:07:00 PM) - Al

What's astounding is how the old media is ignoring billions in "stimulus" dollars being wasted or simply untracked.

At least the Examiner has the guts to state the obvious.

11/17/2009 06:07:00 PM

Monday, November 16, 2009

(11/16/2009 10:11:00 PM) - Al

I'll be honest, when I first heard about moving terrorists to New York City for trial, I thought "Even this administration isn't that stupid".

11/16/2009 10:11:00 PM

(11/16/2009 08:49:00 PM) - Al

The Rambling brother just e-mailed about Counsell, and after taking a look at the other available possibilities, the best I can come up with are Jerry Hairston Jr. and Omar Vizquel. Heck, if he's non-tendered, I'd probably take this guy over them just due to his speed and versatility, even though he can't hit a lick.

I think Doug might well trade for a utility infielder rather than take someone off the scrap heap free agent market. Escobar is inexperienced and Weeks gets hurt a lot...that's not a recipe for unknown reserves.

EDIT: Jamey Carroll has not played SS in a couple years, but he'd probably be my next choice after AA. That, my friends, is a light market. I'd be tempted to sign a couple minor league free agent SS's than don't embarrass themselves with the bat.

11/16/2009 08:49:00 PM

(11/16/2009 07:00:00 PM) - Al

Jack Z and Doug seem to be eyeing many of the same players, including Edwin Jackson.

11/16/2009 07:00:00 PM

(11/16/2009 05:17:00 PM) - Al

The other day I spoke with an NL GM who is greatly impressed with what the Orioles are putting together.

"They have a chance to be the Rays [of 2008] in 2011," said the GM. "They've got a lot of talent."--Olney blog

I've been saying this for a while now. BAL and PIT are building the right way, and while it's mighty slow going, you can see progress.

11/16/2009 05:17:00 PM

(11/16/2009 04:45:00 PM) - Al

I did not feel like opening up the computer last night, but I'm surprised I have not heard more fallout from the Patriots decision to go for it on 4th and 2 at their own 28 last night. Bellichek's gruff non-answer after the game, "we were trying to win the game", was a cop out, because surely he knew not making it all but gave the game away, and "trying to win" included making it on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd down. When you fail to make it on three downs, it's time to punt and at least give your defense a chance.

I can promise you the NFL will be investigating this (quietly of course) as you'll never see a stranger decision made.

11/16/2009 04:45:00 PM

(11/16/2009 04:41:00 PM) - Al

I'll be happy if he doesn't apologize for dropping the bombs on them. Because, you know, winning a war is something to be ashamed of in his world.

11/16/2009 04:41:00 PM

(11/16/2009 04:23:00 PM) - Al

Mark Mulder is being linked to Milwaukee almost daily, and it seems inevitable he will eventually sign...though probably to a minor league deal, given his inactivity

11/16/2009 04:23:00 PM

(11/16/2009 04:09:00 PM) - Al

The Chone projections are out. Note again how similar Hart and Kelly Johnson are to each other. Trading Corey for an SP and getting Johnson to replace him would be an option I would be seriously considering, be it by trade or signing Kelly as a non-tender.

Hart is a better OF than Johnson, but Johnson would provide more balance as a LH bat, and also provide depth at 2B. I would say that Hart is more likely to "break out" a bit, but both are probably close to what they will be.

Buying low on Johnson, who had an off year while being banged up in '09, would be a wise move right now.

11/16/2009 04:09:00 PM

(11/16/2009 03:52:00 PM) - Al

Olney says a dozen teams are interested in Craig Counsell, and he'll probably get a multi-year deal.

I'd have no problem giving him one, as his skill set is unlikely to deteriorate, and he is also more likely to stay healthy as a reserve.

The irony here is, casual fans have been picking on Counsell for the entire amount of time he's been in Milwaukee. They just don't get the value of OBP and defense. Craig has been a perfect fit as a lefty bat with the ability to defend 2B/SS/3B. What's astounding is how many casuals think nothing of having Iribarren and Heether as the utility infielders next year, even though neither one them can play SS at anything but a subpar level. With Weeks unlikely to play 150 games, and with Escobar as the everyday SS, a solid, experienced reserve is a mandatory thing, be it Counsell or someone else.

Craig's attributes make him a better option that almost anyone in the sport.

11/16/2009 03:52:00 PM

Sunday, November 15, 2009

(11/15/2009 07:23:00 PM) - Al

If only these were anti-war protests, the media would cover them on a daily basis.

Anti-spending money...not so much.

11/15/2009 07:23:00 PM

(11/15/2009 06:19:00 PM) - Al

Just something I noticed the other day that I thought I would be share:

Iribarren--.362/.412, 774 OPS, age 25
Escobar----.353/.409, 762, age 22

The irony is, if you take a gander at message boards, the consensus is this...Iribarren is a great hitting prospect, he should definitely be on the 25 man roster next year as a backup OF, and he can step right in at 2B if Weeks gets hurt. Meanwhile, Escobar will struggle mightily as he adjusts to the majors, and will really bring the offense down.

Of course, both of the above statements may be true...but they are not backed up by fact. Hernan is a 2B, who has played some OF, and just a few games at 3B. Very few guys have careers as reserve infielders that can only play 2B...Keith Lockhart of the Braves is the only one who comes to mind. Alcides not only continues to progress with the bat, he's worked his way into looking very smart at the plate for the most part. Last August, he came up and hit .300, for the most part, by slapping at the ball and running hard.

Hernan has not been called up the past two Septembers, so I don't see him as likely to contribute next year...I expect him to be be thrown into a trade this winter, as I figure the Brewers will go with a veteran CF reserve behind Gomez. Alcides will, of course, be the starting SS. Once again, it would seem many people simply forget to take into account how old a prospect is. 25 year-olds should do well in AAA, while 22 year-olds rarely do. If you don't take that into consideration, it's tough to figure who will progress to the bigs.

11/15/2009 06:19:00 PM

(11/15/2009 06:10:00 PM) - Al

Casey McGehee has emerged as a solid player, but the Brewers are reluctant to trade Mat Gamel, even if it would net them the starting pitching they covet.--Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune

Rogers makes the old media look bad, which is difficult enough to do, with stuff like this. Gamel was pretty much called "untouchable" last summer by Doug, and now they seem shocked he's not being used as trade bait.

Even if Casey is the 3B, no one knows if Mat will end up at 1B/3B/LF/RF, so they'll find a spot for him if they want to keep him. It's certainly not difficult to imagine him taking Hart's place in RF as Corey continues to cost more and get closer to free agency. If nothing else, Gamel provides that LH bat which helps to balance out the lineup somewhat.

11/15/2009 06:10:00 PM

(11/15/2009 12:27:00 PM) - Al

A headline you'll never see.

I realize many people suffer problems because of health (I think I just saw that health related issues cause 75% of all bankruptcies), but many folks don't need any help making poor decisions.

11/15/2009 12:27:00 PM

(11/15/2009 12:06:00 PM) - Al

You know, I understand why we get Vikings/Lions (not just Favre, there are some MIN fans around here, and two division rivals), but when the line is 17.5, you'd think common sense would prevail.

Luckily, the Bengals/Steelers matchup makes up for it.

While I'm talking about MIN, I've heard some whispers that they might sit Favre for some of the upcoming games, as he is banged up, and they'd like to get their backup(s) some snaps. If they do, it will be interesting to see if they give Favre a "courtesy" start to allow him to continue his streak, or if they just deactivate him.

11/15/2009 12:06:00 PM

(11/15/2009 11:58:00 AM) - Al

I just logged in and signed up for a couple "sit-n-go" tourneys, and when it popped up for me to confirm I wanted to enter, it shows my balance. For at least the second week in a row, I had a very good Saturday evening, winning 6 out of the 8 "double or nothing" SNG's I entered. It occurred to me that between 6PM and midnight my time, the vast majority of players are Americans, as Europe is 6+ hours ahead of us, and it seems very likely that many of the US players may well be "under the influence" of something.

Of course, I've never kept any sort of in-depth log, but if I did, it seems logical to assume I should play more late weekends.

11/15/2009 11:58:00 AM

(11/15/2009 10:59:00 AM) - Al

Adam talks to McGehee about the ROY race.

Most people, including myself, expect Casey to fall off some from his outstanding debut season. However, the things he does well, swing at strikes, take pitches off the plate, and drive the ball hard when he hits it, does not indicate a huge falloff will occur.

11/15/2009 10:59:00 AM

(11/15/2009 10:41:00 AM) - Al

No one will even discuss it, considering Jennings scored 55, but the Bucks won last night despite being outshot from the line and the field...but they had 15 offensive rebounds, and the Warriors had 2. 13 more possessions than the other team makes up for a lot of issues.

11/15/2009 10:41:00 AM

(11/15/2009 10:19:00 AM) - Al

NFL picks...Broncos, Saints, Falcons, Cowboys, and Ravens, plus the remaining home teams.

Against the pointspread, I'm taking the Falcons and Ravens, as I cannot imagine the Browns scoring a point.

78-38 thus far, 7-9 versus the spread, which is why bookmaking is a lucrative enterprise.

I start the week 0-1, by the way.

11/15/2009 10:19:00 AM

(11/15/2009 12:02:00 AM) - Al

I just stumbled across The Dish, which is on the Style network (which for those who know me, will not be the least bit surprised I rarely watch), which is a very funny clip show hosted by Danielle Fishel, who does not possess an extraordinary amount of comic timing, but that doesn't matter as long as she looks like this. Of course, the fact that many in the business think she should lose 20 pounds only makes her more appealing to me.

I don't really have anything else, except to say I wish the show was on a channel I watched more than once every six months.

11/15/2009 12:02:00 AM

Saturday, November 14, 2009

(11/14/2009 11:33:00 PM) - Al

The Rambling family is going to have an early Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, as we were invited to the Rambling in-laws for the actual Thursday feast (surprising after the "wishbone incident" of a few years ago. Anyway, I am preparing the turkey breast using this Guy Fieri recipe from the Food Network. We decided not to go nuts, just a simple turkey, stuffing, gravy, corn, and rolls (the Rambling wife is thinking of making mashed potatoes as well, as they are a favorite of the Rambling son, though he could easily eat his weight in rolls with butter).

I stopped at Aldi the other day to pick up the turkey and a couple other things, and was told to get "a bag of stuffing mix". I only found the Stove Top like box, so the Rambling wife picked up a bag last evening. I was surprised to see a pound of seasoned pieces of bread cut up into small pieces cost $1.99...what's a fresh loaf cost...79 cents? Needless to say, I think that's a profitable item for the grocery.

11/14/2009 11:33:00 PM

(11/14/2009 10:02:00 PM) - Al

I'm still very concerned about Brandon Jennings' ability to stay healthy over 82 games, as he looks like he weighs about 150 pounds, but there's no doubting his ability. They said it was "Lebron-like" as he was effortlessly dropping in the 3rd quarter, and they were right.

The irony is, many said he could not shoot when he was drafted.

11/14/2009 10:02:00 PM

(11/14/2009 05:17:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers did not want Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit for shortstop J.J. Hardy. They also did not want another player the Pirates suggested, right-handed reliever Matt Capps.

No, the Brewers' preference from the Pirates, according to a major-league source, was one of two left-handed starters, Zach Duke or Paul Maholm.

The Pirates said no, and the Brewers wound up trading Hardy to the Twins for center fielder Carlos Gomez.

Both Duke and Maholm, like Hardy, are under club control for two more seasons. Maholm's contract also includes a club option for a third year.

Doumit, 28, has caught 100 games in a season only once in his career; he also plays first base and right field. His contract includes salaries of $3.55 million this next season and $5.1 million in 2011, with a $7.25 million club option for '12 and an $8.25 million club option for '13.

The Brewers instead opted for Gomez, whom they will control for the next four seasons. Gomez, who turns 24 on Dec. 4, is a brilliant defender but undisciplined offensively.

The Brewers, though, see hope — Gomez's walk rate, while still unsatisfactory, improved significantly last season.--Rosenthal, Fox Sports

First we've heard of a Doumit for Hardy proposal.

11/14/2009 05:17:00 PM

(11/14/2009 12:53:00 PM) - Al

I heard all summer that the Brewers thought Braden Looper did a nice job for them, but let's face it: There are going to be a lot of experienced pitchers available at Looper's price tag, so the Brewers can afford to step back, create some payroll flexibility by declining his option, and leave themselves more room in the immediate future to pursue options like John Lackey. If I were to set an early handicap on the upcoming Lackey sweepstakes, I'd throw out an educated guess on the rankings, from top to bottom, that looks like this:

* Mariners
* Angels
* Brewers
* Mets
* Red Sox
* Yankees--Buster Olney blog

I know Yo is being counted on for one rotation spot, but the rest is in flux. I had assumed Parra and Suppan would also be in the rotation (Parra does not have much value considering he throws 95 with his left arm, and is cheap, while Suppan would have to be part of a contract swap), but Manny's name keeps coming up as on the market, so I am not sure anymore.

I did not expect to see Looper's option picked up, for many of the reasons Olney points out, in addition to his health being a bit of a question mark. Also, I did not expect the Crew to offer Bush arby, though of late some have said he could be traded as well. Bush will probably get about $5M if he goes through the arby process, and he was awful after his he recovered? Seemingly, the same queries as per Looper, and similar money involved. That said, Bush is younger and is projected better.

11/14/2009 12:53:00 PM

(11/14/2009 09:58:00 AM) - Al

Long but interesting piece on raising pigs; safely, humanely, and profitably...yet those three things do not seem to go together.

By the sounds of it, 50% or more of piglets often die from being crushed by mom, or some other rather unintentional but very real death by being raised.

11/14/2009 09:58:00 AM

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

Whatever strikes me as interesting, and serious Milwaukee Brewers thoughts. If you are a believer in respecting OBP, throwing strikes, and keeping the ball in the park, you may have found the place you've been searching for. I believe in low taxes, small government, and am not afraid to be labeled patriotic. If you are interested in sausage race results, walk up music, or professional wrestling, you may wish to click elsewhere.

The Ramblings' manifesto can be found here.

I'm happy to pay taxes to help the helpless. I don't like paying taxes to help the clueless. Look at the Occupy movement...I'm forced to pay taxes to help those whose plight I delight in.--Dennis Miller

If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, and your life will be brief.--President Trump

Never have lives less lived been more chronicled.--Dennis Miller

I’m going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,000 years.--Mad Dog Mattis

I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money.--Thomas Sowell

Ramblings makes me want to poke my eyes out with a sharp stick.--Marxist sympathizer (one of Ramblings' proudest moments)

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Al's WTMJ appearance from July, 2015 with Justin

Al's postseason WTMJ appearance with Justin


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