Al's Ramblings

Friday, December 31, 2010

(12/31/2010 11:27:00 PM) - Al

Katie Couric should wear a short skirt and never say a single word. How is this broad anything but a laughingstock?

12/31/2010 11:27:00 PM

(12/31/2010 09:30:00 PM) - Al

Hey, my kid's 8, and if some old guy punched him, my first statement would be, "I'm sure he deserved it."

12/31/2010 09:30:00 PM

(12/31/2010 08:45:00 PM) - Al

Andy Cooper's ratings have fallen because he's the village idiot. I'm sorry, when you just make up stuff about Katrina, report it as fact, and then go about your business as if nothing happened and pretend you can just smile and keep reporting fiction because you're a Vanderbilt don't know who's dumber, Cooper or CNN?

12/31/2010 08:45:00 PM

(12/31/2010 08:34:00 PM) - Al

My God, the constant whining of airline passengers is just never ending. You stood up for a couple hours, Tall Boy. shut the hell up about it, and next time, maybe you won't try to save $3.55 by flying Spirit, a bargain carrier.

I'm 6-3, and I've driven two Saturns for the past 16 years. I could have chosen a vehicle with more leg room, but I am thrifty, and, dare I say it, have managed to get by without taking my desire to save a buck to the press to complain about Saturn not supplying the same amount of leg room as an Escalade would. The idea this dude should get a comfy extra leg room seat every time he flies because he's a few inches taller than me...try again Floyd.

12/31/2010 08:34:00 PM

(12/31/2010 08:01:00 PM) - Al

Dwight Howard has a dozen T's in what, 30 games? Tell him to grow up. I don't mind Bo Ryan working the refs and getting a technical once in a while. Bo is smart enough to know when he needs to "make a statement" and when he needs to stay calm and make a point without giving the opponent two throws.

To be blunt, I doubt Dwight can spell "t" never mind know the intricacies about when to argue and when not to.

12/31/2010 08:01:00 PM

Thursday, December 30, 2010

(12/30/2010 09:48:00 PM) - Al

A look at the economic impact of that NHL game Fangraphs called a "gigantically wasteful."

Turns out, holding hands and singing folk songs...not responsible for any economic boom. When you're a bit to the left of Marx, you're going to look like idiots a lot.

12/30/2010 09:48:00 PM

(12/30/2010 09:45:00 PM) - Al

Vodkapundit simply tears apart some anti-military clown who teaches "peace studies."

When your job is a punchline, might be best to shut up and drink your wine quietly while listening to NPR.

12/30/2010 09:45:00 PM

(12/30/2010 07:54:00 PM) - Al

I think it is painfully obvious, but that doesn't mean Haggard has to just blurt it out like that.

12/30/2010 07:54:00 PM

(12/30/2010 05:37:00 PM) - Al

Kansas State player gets unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, forcing his team to go for their 2 point conversion from the 18, rather than the 3, down 2 with a minute to play.

It is difficult to believe just how stupid the average football player is. It's astounding they manage to find the stadium when they're on the road.

12/30/2010 05:37:00 PM

(12/30/2010 05:20:00 PM) - Al

Fangraphs embarrasses themselves with some buffoon writing an anti-capitalist rant against, gasp, the NHL Winter Classic, stating it's silly to build an ice sheet for 10 days, just to tear it down again.

Lenin would be proud. However, common sense tells me it's profitable to do so, and it's a marvelous way of getting more people in the stadium, and to market a sport which rarely gets mainstream coverage.

That idiot would be shocked to know that Madison Square Garden, as well as any number of indoor arenas, transport from hockey to basketball to hockey to the circus to any number of things in a 48-72 hour span. I've never heard of hours of hard, tedious labor referred to as "gigantically wasteful," but when one has no respect for, you know, marketing and selling entertainment, I suppose anything is possible.

The first comment mentions that the entire premise is incorrect, as the last two Classics were in baseball stadiums. Hard to believe someone would actually argue that it is better to let a stadium sit empty rather than utilize it.

12/30/2010 05:20:00 PM

(12/30/2010 04:37:00 PM) - Al

Finally gave in and went to the walk-in for my constant sore throat, cough, sore tongue, overall run down-ness. Was given an antibiotic and antihistamine. I'm sure I could have beaten it, but I didn't feel like missing work and going to bed at 9 any more.

12/30/2010 04:37:00 PM

(12/30/2010 01:05:00 PM) - Al

Constitution "hard to understand" because it's over 100 years old.

Oof. Makes the Bible and Shakespeare all but impossible then.

12/30/2010 01:05:00 PM

(12/30/2010 12:23:00 PM) - Al

Ryan Braun proves how intelligent he is by lending only his name, and not any money, to the restaurant that bears his moniker.

12/30/2010 12:23:00 PM

(12/30/2010 12:12:00 PM) - Al

Army is wearing the tightest football jersey tops I've ever seen. Most players don't even have them tucked in, they have a slit near the bottom that just sits near their waist. It makes all of them look pudgy, so I can only imagine how a true pudgy person like me would appear.

12/30/2010 12:12:00 PM

(12/30/2010 11:49:00 AM) - Al

NYC unions may wish to take a PR lesson. If a tiny fraction is true, they just set unions back to the stone age, as they have been proven unneeded in the last couple decades.

12/30/2010 11:49:00 AM

(12/30/2010 11:34:00 AM) - Al

Stossel begs the gov't to stop helping us.

The free market worked just fine to regulate this sort of thing for over 200 years. We live in a nanny state in which gov't thinks they can make everything better by making it harder to run a business.

Who do you s'pose employs people?

12/30/2010 11:34:00 AM

(12/30/2010 10:52:00 AM) - Al

Gas prices predicted higher, no one seems to care.

I blame W, myself. That said, when Obama complained about gas prices when he was running, he showed ignorance of the free market, and has shown no desire to let them work as president either.

12/30/2010 10:52:00 AM

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

(12/29/2010 08:53:00 PM) - Al

Minor league team intros Three Dog Night.

Pork and nitrates, delicious.

12/29/2010 08:53:00 PM

(12/29/2010 07:19:00 PM) - Al

It doesn't matter what the joke is, Gore is always the punchline.

This is what happens when you tackle a long-term issue with short-term results. Add in private jets flying all over the world to tell the common rubes they're wasting energy, it's an ideal situation for those of us well versed in sarcasm.

12/29/2010 07:19:00 PM

(12/29/2010 06:02:00 PM) - Al

If these two kids can't make it, the rest of us have no chance.

12/29/2010 06:02:00 PM

(12/29/2010 05:13:00 PM) - Al

Heh. It's funny because it's true.

12/29/2010 05:13:00 PM

(12/29/2010 01:39:00 PM) - Al

Sheehan predicts the Brewers make the playoffs, and the Orioles will be a surprise team.

I've been big on BAL for a year or so, so I wasn't wrong, only early. Sadly for the O's, a solid season could well have them winning 72 games and being out of it by mid-May.

With much of the roster in place, I should do '11 projections and have some sort of running win total. Much like the Bucks, this Brewers team is deep. The Bucks have struggled, with injuries and learning to gel together, and are still in the playoffs if the season ended today (thank you NBA Eastern Conference).

12/29/2010 01:39:00 PM

(12/29/2010 11:04:00 AM) - Al

The NFL may as well be counting dollar bills after last night's ratings.

12/29/2010 11:04:00 AM

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

(12/28/2010 08:33:00 PM) - Al

Cris Collinsworth correctly argues the NFL will be sued in the future for not canceling a game.

Other thoughts...I think this will lead to a Tuesday Night Football sooner rather than later. With the college football season still ending in late November, I think we'll see Saturday Night Football the second half of the season as well.

12/28/2010 08:33:00 PM

(12/28/2010 07:00:00 PM) - Al

Lottery winners exclude one.

I knew they were scum when I read the phrase "the lawyer for the seven winners." You only get a lawyer when you know you're guilty as sin (or get dragged to court).

12/28/2010 07:00:00 PM

(12/28/2010 06:28:00 PM) - Al

Boykins suspended tonight for grabbing a ref. Dooling will play point, with Salmons or MaM picking up any leftovers.

Not sure what Earl was thinking...

12/28/2010 06:28:00 PM

(12/28/2010 01:11:00 PM) - Al

Many of us have said the same thing for years. While we're at it, his college records too. The fact he won't and then talks about his "transparent" administration is headshaking.

12/28/2010 01:11:00 PM

(12/28/2010 12:57:00 PM) - Al

It's amazing how quickly these NBA coaches that played not that many years ago, suddenly think that the days of the which a common score would be 118-114, claim the effort was greater then.

At best, I'd say the effort on the defensive end far surpasses what we used to see. I don't even think it's close.

12/28/2010 12:57:00 PM

(12/28/2010 10:53:00 AM) - Al

Gleeman looks back at the 27th best Twins' player ever, who had a single good season with the Crew before injury. Now, a torn rotator cuff for a position player is looked at as a relatively minor ailment.

12/28/2010 10:53:00 AM

(12/28/2010 09:58:00 AM) - Al

Heritage looks at the top ten charts. Note the one that speaks only of "the big three" entitlements. No solution can be spoken of without fixing them. It shouldn't be #1 on the list, but it's near the top.

12/28/2010 09:58:00 AM

(12/28/2010 09:42:00 AM) - Al

It's a long read, but NY Mag discusses the libertarians, and what exactly they are all about.

Excellent definition...if you are in the tea party and a social conservative, you are a Republican. Tea party and social liberal, a libertarian.

I've always had a lot of libertarian streaks in me, though I just feel it's being consistent...government should do as little as possible, as the markets will do a far better job. Why would I care what is going on between two consenting adults over on Curiosity Lane?

However, it's that lack of national defense backbone that separates me from the modern crop...I have no concern if some FBI guy/gal is skirting the letter of the law if they are able to eavesdrop on a terror plot or plan to attack a platoon of our soldiers or Marines. As noted in the article, Penn Jillette, of the magic team Penn and Teller, has taken the Mike Moore ignorant approach to 9/11...oh well, it's going to happen. Well, over enough time, it probably will. That doesn't mean we don't try and prevent it.

12/28/2010 09:42:00 AM

Monday, December 27, 2010

(12/27/2010 08:12:00 PM) - Al

Fangraphs likes the Saito signing, as the only risk is health and about $2M guaranteed. The big gambles have already been taken, as much of the team's success is dependent on the pitching arms of the top four in the rotation.

12/27/2010 08:12:00 PM

(12/27/2010 07:24:00 PM) - Al

Capuano and Brewers break up, remain friends.

Cappy wants to start, and the Crew's five spots appear full. I was hoping he'd return as a 6th SP, but Chris wants to at least have an opportunity to win a spot in the rotation. If you look at Mark Rogers and see a backup SP, they still need to bring in one more guy. I'll list a couple of my picks later.

12/27/2010 07:24:00 PM

(12/27/2010 07:22:00 PM) - Al

ESPN is reporting the Packers are in the playoffs with a win. That's in response to an e-mail asking about a 3 way tie.

12/27/2010 07:22:00 PM

(12/27/2010 01:26:00 PM) - Al

Saito deal is done.

12/27/2010 01:26:00 PM

(12/27/2010 11:25:00 AM) - Al

I agree with every word written about canceling the game last night. I don't recall the exact moment we all became wimps, but it has happened. I have little interest in driving in snow, or watching a game in cold or snow...but many would love to.

12/27/2010 11:25:00 AM

(12/27/2010 10:27:00 AM) - Al

Rotoworld is using a source in Japan, stating the Crew may be close to signing Takashi Saito.

Obviously, a very nice addition if he can have another healthy campaign. He's 40, but he's been outstanding since arriving in the US a half-decade ago.

12/27/2010 10:27:00 AM

Sunday, December 26, 2010

(12/26/2010 11:31:00 AM) - Al

I wonder if the Sunday night NFL game being postponed 'til Tuesday will lead to higher ratings for the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl?

NBC should run Xmas Vacation tonight, but I doubt if they own the rights to it anymore. Unpromoted, it still would likely win its time slot.

12/26/2010 11:31:00 AM

(12/26/2010 09:22:00 AM) - Al

The Rambling wife told me not to go the Rambling in-laws Xmas today because of my illness and overall "sit, cough, and mope" mentality. I'm sure those that I would have infected are thankful.

12/26/2010 09:22:00 AM

Saturday, December 25, 2010

(12/25/2010 08:35:00 PM) - Al

I've seen the more than 10 seconds to take a free throw called many times over the years. Note, Howard had the ball for 14-15 before it was called today.

They should call this every time for a week, and he'd change. It just makes the games far longer than it should be.

12/25/2010 08:35:00 PM

(12/25/2010 07:43:00 PM) - Al

I slept from 2-7 today, and am still exhausted. Ears, throat, swollen glands, hurts when I cough. I gotta believe a visit to the walk-in is in my future.

12/25/2010 07:43:00 PM

(12/25/2010 10:55:00 AM) - Al

Merry Christmas. I'm enjoying the spirit of the season, despite feeling like crap...both ears seem to be infected, with the right one feeling as if it weighs 1000 pounds. At least the shooting pain has stopped, from 8-10 this AM, I laid quietly in bed, in darkness and total stillness, dreading the next episode of stabbing pain.

Sadly, I've been taking Amoxicillin for a couple days, as I had some left over and my throat was so sore I thought maybe I had a tonsil infection, a malady I suffered through in my college years.

Hence, a day of quiet celebration.

12/25/2010 10:55:00 AM

Friday, December 24, 2010

(12/24/2010 09:36:00 PM) - Al

Hey Al,

I'm a long-time reader of yours (Nebraska Matt) who now lives in beautiful Idaho! Just wanted to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas. Thanks for always striving to be objective (if that is ever truly possible) and for your wit. I check you every day. May God bless your family time together and grant you his peace through Jesus.

Idaho Matt

PS - I've often gotten the impression from you that your wife and son attend a WELS church. I happen to be a WELS pastor! Small world, big God :-)

The Rambling wife and her folks are debating the merits of going to the Candlelight service, which is at 10PM here. Merry Xmas to you as well, Matt. There must be 3 or 4 Matts that write regularly. And yes, despite growing up Catholic, my wife now goes to a WELS church, which is a Wisconsin Lutheran for those who do not know.

12/24/2010 09:36:00 PM

(12/24/2010 09:23:00 PM) - Al

Merry Christmas to you and your family Al,

Just catching up on your blog and your entry on Wal-Mart is spot on. The people that claim that they don't shop at Wal-Mart are liars. All walks of life, all salary brackets, all genders. I have a old college roommate who is a general manager at 3 Wal-Mart's in 2 counties. Met him and other friends for lunch today and he told us something that shocked us all. Anybody who questions the strength of Wal-Mart needs to listen to these numbers from yesterday.

Wal-Mart store A averaged just about $41,000 in sales per hour and brought in over $980,000 in from midnight to midnight. It's strongest hour was 11 AM-12 PM with sales that brought just over $60,000 in sales. Second biggest hour? 8 PM-9 PM at just under $58,000.

Wal-Mart store B averaged just over $37,000 in sales per hour and brought in just under $890,000 in from midnight to midnight. It's strongest hour was 10 AM-11 AM with sales that brought just over $45,000 in sales. Second biggest hour? 8 PM-9 PM at just under $43,000.

and lastly Wal-Mart store C averaged just about $39,000 in sales per hour and brought in over $930,000 in from midnight to midnight. It's strongest hours were 10 AM-11 AM, and 12 PM-1 PM with sales that brought just over $52,000 in sales. Second biggest hour? 8 PM-9 PM at just under $51,000.

That is 2.8 MILLION dollars in sales in JUST a 30 mile radius! The numbers are shocking. If any wonder if Wal-Mart is controlling the marketplace right now they need to face facts and admit that if you can get the same item for less then any person, rich or poor, black or white, man or woman will go seek their savings. If they aren't then they are just dumb and a liar.

On that last note, A Merry Christmas to all!


PS: Laughed at your 2.5 men post. Three of the major four networks have family related/Christmas related programming, while CBS is showing CSI Miami reruns. Will be interesting to see if the move pays off for CBS or if they ended up punting the night.

I'm not sure why anyone would knowingly pay more, but to each his own, I guess. WM is known for several things, a lack of fashion for one, but if you need an inexpensive sweatshirt or something, you also know where to go. I don't think I've bought sweatpants anywhere else in a decade, and they have always carried Fruit of the Loom brand.

Thank you for the sales info...I worked at many retailers over the years, and none of them had a clue. My last store had about $650K in inventory and did about $3M in sales...we sold the store about 5 times in a year (a turn using retail lingo). TRU did 3-5 turns depending on when we're discussing, as they tried to lower their inventory in later years. Meanwhile, WM has all but solved the equation, as they have locations doing 25-40 turns a year. Despite this, many in the retail world all but deny WM exists...I spoke out at one of my last management meetings and said instead of doing this and that, we should be able to cut our inventory by 50-75%, and was told WM's "numbers weren't real" and "those numbers are not possible."

They are simply so far ahead of the game, they are the only ones playing.

12/24/2010 09:23:00 PM

(12/24/2010 03:57:00 PM) - Al

According to Twitter feeds, both Badgers' basketball players and the Bucks have off until the 26th. That's nice.

12/24/2010 03:57:00 PM

(12/24/2010 03:53:00 PM) - Al

It's no wonder the stores are busy...all the post-Festivus clearance sales have the malls packed!!

12/24/2010 03:53:00 PM

(12/24/2010 03:34:00 PM) - Al

Those seeking last-minute Christmas gifts should knoweth that Wal-Mart has great deals on trampled human corpses.-top tweet on Twitter

That's some funny stuff.

12/24/2010 03:34:00 PM

(12/24/2010 03:17:00 PM) - Al

Watching Andy Griffith...what are sheaves, and why do they have to be brought in?

A sheaf is one of the large bundles in which cereal plants are bound after reaping. Plural is sheave.--Wikipedia

The song "Bringing in the Sheaves" is based on Psalms 126:6, which is a favorite around the Rambling home, but I'm probably boring you.

12/24/2010 03:17:00 PM

(12/24/2010 02:01:00 PM) - Al

According to TV, the best 2.5 Men ever is on at 2:30 Central this afternoon on FX. It's a Christmas episode, it's in poor taste,and it's hilarious.

Also, FYI, the Badgers basketball game from last night is tape-delayed and on Big Ten tonight at 7.

12/24/2010 02:01:00 PM

(12/24/2010 01:32:00 PM) - Al

Teen pregnancy at lowest rate in 70 years, since they started measuring such data?

Now, that's boring, but the interesting part is, why? The first thing I noticed was that the age group is 15-19...even 20-25 years ago, when I had friends in that age group, it was not uncommon at all to get married at ages 18 and 19. Now, I can't say it occurs hardly ever, though not unheard of.

Many people will say it is due to the efforts of...the side they believe in, be it birth control or abstinence believers. However, my natural contrarian nature, as well as Freakonomics, have taught me to look at things another way. Some are blaming the economic conditions, though at best, that seems like a stretch.

I think I've also seen studies that show teen drinking is also down (a quick google shows many "drinking down, drug use up" pieces. I'd say that's as likely to be much of the cause as anything else...I don't think it's anything but common sense to think that the marriage rate being down and alcohol, which impairs judgment, being used less; have resulted in fewer unwanted pregnancies.

12/24/2010 01:32:00 PM

(12/24/2010 01:21:00 PM) - Al

Ted Kennedy's dog died...his name was Splash.

Fact is always funnier than fiction.

12/24/2010 01:21:00 PM

(12/24/2010 01:15:00 PM) - Al

Our unions wish you a Merry Xmas.

Outdated and Unneeded for a Century for $800, Alex.

12/24/2010 01:15:00 PM

(12/24/2010 12:42:00 PM) - Al

I filled up the Vue up with gas for our drive in a couple days, and I also needed another tank of propane, because I grill all winter. Upon walking into Kwik Trip, two young women asked me if I would like a pizza sample. I replied I did not get a body like this by accepting free pizza samples.

Great merriment was enjoyed by all. The cashier was still laughing when he came outside to open the propane holding area. The key to happiness this holiday season...self-deprecation.

The little grocery a mile or so from us was packed, as the Rambling wife needed stuff for Chex Mix. No matter how overpriced it is, all food places are busy on Xmas Eve.

12/24/2010 12:42:00 PM

(12/24/2010 10:48:00 AM) - Al


NO MORE SHIPPING IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS, but you can send Kindle books or gift cards. Otherwise, I can’t help you. If you’ve procrastinated this long, it’s brave-the-malls time!--Instapundit

I do have to go out and get gas for the grill, as my last canister ran out the other day. The Rambling wife was just going to offer ham on Xmas Day, but I felt marinated grilled chicken breasts would be a fine addition (especially to me, as while I enjoy ham, I much prefer poultry), and I was informed to purchase some overpriced peanuts while at Kwik Trip, where I will buy propane and and fill up the Vue with gas as well, as we will be on the road later for the in-laws' Xmas. Other than that, I do not think we intend to leave the house. I see a record retail day was predicted for today, surprising because you'd think Xmas Eve being on a Saturday would be busier. However, often times families would have their get togethers that day, so maybe Friday is the perfect storm.

I added on the note about warming because we all say that a dozen times a year. Unless you're a snowboarder, no one really likes the cold, even if some of us would hate it being hot all the time.

12/24/2010 10:48:00 AM

Thursday, December 23, 2010

(12/23/2010 10:01:00 PM) - Al

Wal Mart is trending on Twitter...everyone saying how it is so busy, parking lots full, and so on. And yet, many will say they never go there.

Many people lie. A lot.

12/23/2010 10:01:00 PM

(12/23/2010 07:22:00 PM) - Al

I have never had seafood stuffing...I think it's far more popular along the coasts than here in the Midwest. The Rambling wife said she wasn't including stuffing in our Xmas Day feast (ham, chicken, cheesy hash browns, scalloped corn, and dinner rolls), I took it as an excellent opportunity to try such a recipe. In my internet search, I came across this highly rated, yet hellishly simple one, use a box of Stove Top, and add seafood of your choice, sauteed in butter with onion.

I chose shrimp and crab. Sounds like an easy first try. The Rambling wife doesn't think either of her parents will even try it, so I guess it will be up to me to rate it.

12/23/2010 07:22:00 PM

(12/23/2010 07:04:00 PM) - Al

Badgers not on Big Ten network like it says on UWBadgers'com.

Looks like they're forcing me to look for illegal internet feeds. I feel dirty just thinking about it.

12/23/2010 07:04:00 PM

(12/23/2010 05:48:00 PM) - Al

So, would anyone notice if Google put up a generic Santa and reindeer?

Maybe, but I certainly would not.

12/23/2010 05:48:00 PM

(12/23/2010 04:58:00 PM) - Al

The Rambling brother asked who Olney had ranked higher than the Brewers pitching staff, which was 3rd in the NL and 6th in MLB.

Olney put the Brewers 6th overall, behind the Phillies, Giants, A's, Rays, and Red Sox.

Forgot about the A's, as they are not just good, but very young as well.

12/23/2010 04:58:00 PM

(12/23/2010 03:07:00 PM) - Al

The entertainment industry does huge business on's one of the busiest days at the movies all year, and many of those folks are making $7-8/hour. Needless to say, no one is shedding a tear for NBA players.

12/23/2010 03:07:00 PM

(12/23/2010 02:47:00 PM) - Al

Doubleheader of buckets tonight, Badgers play Coppin State (I'll guess CS is in South Carolina, I'll look up the answer and post it at the bottom) while the Bucks play in Sacremento. I wonder if many players will not fly back to Milwaukee and instead fly home. The Bucks do not play again until Monday the 27th, so I assume they will not practice again until the evening of 12/26.

ANSWER: Coppin State is a historically black college, located in Baltimore, MA.

12/23/2010 02:47:00 PM

(12/23/2010 02:42:00 PM) - Al

Brewers discuss how the Greinke deal got things hopping around MP.

12/23/2010 02:42:00 PM

(12/23/2010 02:17:00 PM) - Al

I just ran across this post from last Xmas Eve, which is just as true today. Last minute shoppers, watch out for the overpriced liquor and fruit, and for goodness sakes men, do not wear a hat.

Also from the past, the legal version of a Xmas staple. Even though it's Xmas, we can still hate's in the Bible.

12/23/2010 02:17:00 PM

(12/23/2010 01:51:00 PM) - Al

I'm sure many of you are watching the clock tick away, ready to be done until the 27th, or in some cases, until next year. This is the first year I'm working the week between Xmas and New Year's in several years, but I'm still only booked a couple days...'tis not the not the time of year most folks want to see you.

Have a wonderful holiday season. Enjoy Festivus today, and Xmas the next few days. Many of us have extended family get togethers on Sunday and next weekend as well. I have to skip the in-laws big day because the Rambling dog boarding fee would have been approximately equal to the total cost of all expenses incurred to date in the ten years he has allowed us to feed him.

Just the other night, we even checked to see how much Bucks' tickets would be for the three of us on 1-1, and decided even that was inexpensive compared to a long holiday weekend at the kennel.

Allow me to speak for all Ramblings' readers when I thank those serving in the armed forces, in some cases, in harm's way and far from home. Also, a word of thanks to those who serve here at home; police officers, fire fighters, EMT's, and those in the medical profession. If you or someone else gets sick, the ER is open on Xmas Day just like it is on Monday morning at 10AM.

12/23/2010 01:51:00 PM

(12/23/2010 10:34:00 AM) - Al

The Indians announced that they outrighted Justin Germano to Triple-A. The right-hander can elect free agency or accept the assignment.

Germano is still in his prime and has pitched nicely in AAA, and not horribly in the majors. I would assume he'll look for a staff with more openings than the Crew's, but he'd be an excellent minor league free agent to bring in with an opt-out clause for June.

He'll probably settle in and have a few decent years as a middle reliever.

12/23/2010 10:34:00 AM

(12/23/2010 10:21:00 AM) - Al

A lovely story at Xmas, about a tragic loss that resulted in others living, because of organ donation.

I have met many people in my line of work that have received a transplant from a cadaver donor, and some have met the family. It's just making the best of a bad situation.

12/23/2010 10:21:00 AM

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

(12/22/2010 09:57:00 PM) - Al


Love the blog!

With all the added pitching where do you think the Brewers are at with catchers? And what are the stats that best analyze catchers. It seems this has been an issue the last couple years.

Merry Christmas,


Lucroy will start, and Kottaras or Nieves will back him up. The loser of that battle will likely go elsewhere to find a better opportunity, with Rivera and Maldonado in AAA.

I don't think there is such a stat. If they don't use personal catchers, catcher ERA has uses (Jason Kendall's is perennially lower than his backup, for example), but as of yet, no one has come up with ways to measure blocked balls, and other things the backstop does. CS% has uses as well, but often, the catcher has no chance, and not only that, if a pitcher picks off the runner, and he goes to 2B and is thrown out, that counts as a CS for the C...really.

Catching defense is probably a perfect place to actually believe what scouts say. Lucroy has a fine arm, but looked lost when he first came up, but improved greatly, looking far more comfortable and getting far less shake-offs as the season wore on. His offense suffered too, so that's another reason to believe he focused and worked on defense. I thought Kottaras was "ok" in all aspects except throwing, and he did better as the season wore on. Not many CS's, but far closer, and not all strange looking, off-balance tosses.

12/22/2010 09:57:00 PM

(12/22/2010 08:59:00 PM) - Al

I don't get colds much anymore, ever since I started working days, no day/night/day stuff. So, I have had sore glands/throat for a while, and it finally has moved onto my nose and cough. More than that even, I have been really tired, going to bed at 10:30 last night, and missing a fine second half of the Bucks game. Tonight, I took a warm shower (hot makes my skin too dry) to clear my breathing, and the Rambling wife and I had this conversation:

Al: I'm tired.

Wife: Go to bed.

Al: Um, it's 7:20.

12/22/2010 08:59:00 PM

(12/22/2010 08:42:00 PM) - Al

Boise State is a 17-18 point favorite versus Utah in their bowl game. At the half, BS is up 16-3. ESPN halftime show:

Boise State has a comfortable lead...but not as big as you would expect.

Actually, I would say it is bigger.

12/22/2010 08:42:00 PM

(12/22/2010 07:10:00 PM) - Al

I think this does it...the world has gone mad.

12/22/2010 07:10:00 PM

(12/22/2010 06:50:00 PM) - Al

TODAY: Obama pledges 'singular focus' on economy...

ONE YEAR AGO: 'Obama to focus hard on economy'...

TWO YEARS AGO: Obama to put 'renewed focus' on economy...--Drudge

That ought to do it then.

12/22/2010 06:50:00 PM

(12/22/2010 06:48:00 PM) - Al

Brewers sign RHP Sean Green, a reliever who was non-tendered by the Mets.

Green is a ground ball guy, 65-70% grounders, though his numbers look like a generic middle reliever. I would say it is a depth signing, and he will get strong consideration to help fill out the bullpen. Only 13 HR's in 250+ MLB frames, so it often takes three baserunners to beat him.

Far better versus RH hitters (he has a 3-1 K/BB ratio vs RH's, and more walks than K's vs. LH's), so he might be looked at as a durable replacement for Coffey, and may allow the Crew to keep guys like Kintzler and McClendon in AAA, as they have options...Green is 31, so it's unlikely he has options remaining.

Signs for $850K, non-guaranteed. I assume the 40 man spot won him over. Perfect, no risk signing by Doug.

12/22/2010 06:48:00 PM

(12/22/2010 06:43:00 PM) - Al

College students can drink themselves to oblivion with beer or liquor, but thankfully, our nanny state has banned alcoholic drinks with caffeine, which made problem drinkers "pass out"...which makes me think the caffeine was not effective.

Of course, as the video points out, you can still drink or order a Red Bull and vodka, or a Captain and Coke, but thankfully, you can no longer buy Four least until they repackage it without the caffeine.

12/22/2010 06:43:00 PM

(12/22/2010 05:45:00 PM) - Al


You know, I just don't know where they could possibly save another penny...

12/22/2010 05:45:00 PM

(12/22/2010 05:41:00 PM) - Al

CBS once again proves they are just a bit more unbelievable than that drunk guy that stands on the corner by Burger King and yells at traffic as it goes by.

Of course, next time there's a debate, some CBS guy will moderate it, and no one will say a word...because that's the way it is.

12/22/2010 05:41:00 PM

(12/22/2010 02:08:00 PM) - Al

Overreaction for $400, Alex.


12/22/2010 02:08:00 PM

(12/22/2010 02:01:00 PM) - Al

1500 season tickets sold since Sunday. Using a scenario that 75% are 20 gamers, 15% are 40's, and 10% are full-season, that would be 540 full-season equivalents, which using an average price of $25, would be a boost of about $1.1M in the off-season coffers.

Amazing how resigning Counsell has motivated the fan base.


12/22/2010 02:01:00 PM

(12/22/2010 01:38:00 PM) - Al

In WI, the guy that killed Adenhart and others would have got time served and a year of probation.

That may be a slight exaggeration...he probably would not have received any probation.

12/22/2010 01:38:00 PM

(12/22/2010 08:40:00 AM) - Al

Olney ranks the Brewers rotation as 3rd in the NL, and 6th overall. Insiders only, so I did not link.

12/22/2010 08:40:00 AM

(12/22/2010 08:27:00 AM) - Al

The Bucks beat LA on the road after defeating Dallas last week...hard to believe. I went to bed at halftime, as I was too tired and had an early wakeup today...and then could not sleep between 4 and 6AM.

Hammonds is being rewarded for his offseason, as Boykins is the best 3rd PG in the league, no doubt.

12/22/2010 08:27:00 AM

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

(12/21/2010 10:21:00 PM) - Al

If I was in my 20's, I'd be extremely offended by the fact every single ad featuring someone in my age group portrays me as one of the stupidest people on the planet. Can't find my car, drinking too much, can't do the simplest things without help from a girlfriend who looks like a model, and so on.

12/21/2010 10:21:00 PM

(12/21/2010 09:04:00 PM) - Al

Also in the news, grass is green.

12/21/2010 09:04:00 PM

(12/21/2010 08:18:00 PM) - Al

Toys-R-Us is staying open from now till 10 PM Christmas Eve. Not closing at all.

It's the old "it's only one day a year" thing, but golly, most stores will do hardly any business after 4PM. Sadly, however, in the inner city of Detroit, Gary, and so on, they'll be swamped. I can understand the 24 hours a day thing, as they'll all have an overnight crew anyway.

12/21/2010 08:18:00 PM

(12/21/2010 05:30:00 PM) - Al

Brewers claim Roque Mercedes, who they traded for Felipe Lopez. He must throw hard, as his stats are no more than pedestrian.

12/21/2010 05:30:00 PM

(12/21/2010 12:09:00 PM) - Al

Brewers sell 1100 season ticket plans Sunday and Monday. I assume most were 20 game packages, but add in a few 40's and 81's, I would say that's about 350 full season equivalents. I did not even think they would be open Sunday in the offseason.

Greinke puts butts in the seats.

12/21/2010 12:09:00 PM

(12/21/2010 12:04:00 PM) - Al

Coincidence that the red states gained population and blue states lost, or is it a case of people migrating to find a job?

The GOP candidate in '12 picked up 10-12 electoral votes today, and may just be napping or eating a sandwich.

Meanwhile, Nate Silver still gives the Dems a 3% chance of controlling the House next year....

12/21/2010 12:04:00 PM

(12/21/2010 07:28:00 AM) - Robert R.

After 48 hours of mulling the Grienke deal, there's one adage that comes to mind. "Whoever gets the best player in a trade, wins."

And I think that's very applicable in this case. The clear cut, no questions, best player in the deal is going to Milwaukee.

There's plenty to like about Odorizzi, Cain, Escobar, and Jeffress, but plenty of risk as well. And there's plenty to dislike about Betancourt, famously called the Least Valuable Player in baseball by Joe Posnanski. But, there's no question that the Brewers are a better team today and better built for the upcoming season and playoffs than they were last week. Without taking a hit on offense.

That, of course, doesn't mean that there's not room for improvement. Betancourt, Gomez/Dickerson, and Lucroy in the everyday lineup speaks for itself as three areas that just don't project to be very good offensively in 2011. And Betancourt doesn't project to be good defensively either. But, it's clear where you can try to upgrade and there are at least young players at two of those positions.

12/21/2010 07:28:00 AM

(12/21/2010 12:46:00 AM) - Al

3900 people in rebuy tourney begins at 7. With 100 left at 12:45, I go all-in with AK, called by AJ. The flop comes J63. Turn J. River J.

1. Took 4 of a kind to beat me.

2. I was all-in at least 20 times, and never once did I have the worst hand.

3. That said, considering the best hand held up 20+ times before losing, I should feel fortunate.

12/21/2010 12:46:00 AM

Monday, December 20, 2010

(12/20/2010 09:20:00 PM) - Al

Bud Grant is 83, and looks the same as he did 20-30 years ago.

Just like Steve Martin has appeared identical for my lifetime. Must be the early onset of gray hair, a remark I resemble.

12/20/2010 09:20:00 PM

(12/20/2010 09:12:00 PM) - Al

Hi Al,

Thanks again for your coverage of the Brewers. A baseball executive apparently said that Betencourt's inclusion in the trade nullifies the value of Greinke. I call B.S. on that assessment. What is the deal with Betancourt. I have seen a huge range of opinions on him. One ex teammate said he was very athletic a future gold glover and could really hit. Melvin says he has good range. A writer said he was the worst position player in baseball. Another said he is a real piece of bleep. Really, I have seen some bad players. Offensively I have certainly seen worse SS. I know he has an awful UZR rating....but that seems like a questionable way to rate defense. Any opinions Al?

Thanks Clint

The irony of the stat community is they ignore stats all the time and continue to make statements that are just ignorant. If Yuni continues his career play, he'll be about 14 runs below the average SS, all on his weak defense. I think his power may be aided by Miller Park, which favors pitchers, but also favors HR's.

The key to the Greinke deal is health. Between Counsell and Betancourt, I can't say I'm concerned. Escobar would have been better, but if Greinke is healthy, I can't say they'd be a better team with Alcides at SS. No one can.

12/20/2010 09:12:00 PM

(12/20/2010 07:27:00 PM) - Al

Chris Christie has a future on the national stage. This gets him NRA credibility, and he seems to be one of the few human beings on the planet who takes cutting spending seriously.

12/20/2010 07:27:00 PM

(12/20/2010 07:19:00 PM) - Al

Projected roster with payroll info updated, on sidebar. $81.225M is the new payroll number.

12/20/2010 07:19:00 PM

(12/20/2010 07:15:00 PM) - Al

Craig Counsell's new deal with the Brewers is for a $1.4 million salary in 2011.--JS

Best utility guy on the market for 2/3rd's what he made last year. I'll take it.

12/20/2010 07:15:00 PM

(12/20/2010 07:11:00 PM) - Al

I have a lot more respect for Favre than I ever did before this season. Didn't try to artificially extend his streak by taking a snap, and despite his team being out of it, he's able to play, so he's going to give it a go. No one would even think to question if he just took the rest of the season off, but he still shows up for work.

12/20/2010 07:11:00 PM

(12/20/2010 06:12:00 PM) - Al

Blackfive writes of a Xmas far from home, and like almost every Vietnam POW story, John McCain has a cameo.

I think of this every time they said McCain had a temper. He deserved to throw a tantrum every day after what he went through. Personally, I'd love to see a bit of fire from the current group, who acts as if they are prisoners counting down their remaining two years before cashing in on the speaking circuit.

12/20/2010 06:12:00 PM

(12/20/2010 05:28:00 PM) - Al

This site tells you how much you'll pocket since the Bush tax cuts were extended. The Rambling wife and I barely make more than a high school student that babysits occasionally, and it says we'll keep about $1000 because of it.

Multiply that by millions of Americans, and that's what I call "stimulus" money. As the site recommends, charities will benefit as well. I went to the Rambling son's Xmas program at church yesterday...

{Off topic here, but we got a Xams letter today that spoke of having 5 grandkids' Xmas programs to go to this year. I'd rather tie a knot with barb wire in my nose and pull it out e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y s-l-o-w-l-y. I barely made it through two, and half his chromosomes come from me.}

...and despite the fact I assume most people donate with credit cards and automatic withdrawal, they said they got less than half of their budgeted amount last Sunday, the day after it snowed a bijillion inches. With more money, the average person will give more and spend more.

12/20/2010 05:28:00 PM

(12/20/2010 05:19:00 PM) - Al

Brewers have signed SS Edwin Maysonet and C Shawn Riggans to minor league deals with invites to ML camp.--Tom, JS

Maysonet looks to be a AAA roster filler. Riggans? He's so bad, Wil Nieves was heard to say, "That guy couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat."

{See, that's funny 'cause Nieves can't hit, but he's making fun of a guy who hits even worse.}

Riggans might be looked at as a spring training catcher. With Rivera and Maldonado in AAA and Kottersas and Nieves battling for the reserve spot behind Lucroy, I don't see a use for him past March 20th or so.

12/20/2010 05:19:00 PM

(12/20/2010 04:33:00 PM) - Al

Rosenthal reminds us that, of the rotation, late inning bullpen guys, and everyday lineup, only Wolf is 30+.

That's off-the-charts, especially when you consider that it's a solid team, not a rebuilding type of club.

12/20/2010 04:33:00 PM

(12/20/2010 02:57:00 PM) - Al

Are the Brewers the favorites in the Central?

I think it's certainly between SL and MIL at this stage. Both are likely in the 85-90 range, without knowing much about health and the like at this date.

12/20/2010 02:57:00 PM

(12/20/2010 02:02:00 PM) - Al

I noted several times last year Escobar was unlucky at the plate. Fangraphs agrees, and wonder if Alcides might outhit Cain in '11.

I know Zips has Gomez and Cain almost identical for their '11 projections. I still think Carlos may have a "breakout" campaign, though in reality, Cain may fade as much as Gomez does better.

12/20/2010 02:02:00 PM

(12/20/2010 02:00:00 PM) - Al

Brewers are officially out on Pavano. He would have been a heckuva #5 guy.

12/20/2010 02:00:00 PM

(12/20/2010 01:41:00 PM) - Al

Obama just said by extending the Bush tax cuts, it will grow the economy.

Where was this common sense two years ago, and why have they tried to spark things through government spending the entire time?

12/20/2010 01:41:00 PM

(12/20/2010 01:39:00 PM) - Al

Greinke's transcript of a 10 minute presser. Weeks, Fielder, and Greinke all know each other, live in Orlando.

Also, Jeremy Jeffress is good friends with Royals' prospect Eric Hosmer. So, after the trade, everyone is holding hands, singing folk songs.:)

12/20/2010 01:39:00 PM

(12/20/2010 01:23:00 PM) - Al

Counsell returns, one year deal, terms undisclosed.

Brandon Jennings out 4-6 weeks with a broken bone in what sounds like his little toe. Having a pair of solid backups in Dooling and Boykins will come in handy now.

Much better morning for the Brewers than the Bucks.

12/20/2010 01:23:00 PM

Sunday, December 19, 2010

(12/19/2010 08:10:00 PM) - Al


Do you think there is any possibility the Brewers look for someone else besides Counsell now? Maybe a more defensive player. If Betancourt were to struggle with his slugging he loses any value at all. You think with this pitching staff we may focus a little more on defense in CF and SS because we can now win games 2-1. Gomez takes care of that at CF but as an insurance policy at SS I would prefer a younger player than Counsell. Craig wouldn't be able to play more than a few days a week and lacks range at SS. We can probably get away with a shaky bat who can field more so than last year where we had to out score teams. With everyday players set at 2B, SS, and 3B Counsell made perfect sense being able to fill in admirably at all three spots and give you a good at bat off the bench. But now I'd prefer more of a true backup SS because there's a reasonable chance he will play a lot.

Secondly do you think will add 1 or 2 more relievers? The bullpen scares me more than anything as Axford, Braddock, and Loe will be the key performers and lack experience. Parra and Hawkins should join them. Possibly Naverson (if Rodgers or someone else one 5th spot), Stetter, Estrada or Butler could join them, but we seem to have room for at least one more addition. Maybe sign a couple veterans to minor league deals and see what sticks in spring training?


Counsell is a fine defender at three positions, and is a LH OBP bat. He's by far the best utility infielder that fits those criteria. Nick Punto can play D, but makes far too many outs, and has a tough time keeping his SLG above .300. Other than those two, most guys can't even play all three non-1B infield spots decently, never mind do the rest. Counsell can play SS fine if needed. Compared to the trade market in late July, no FA is even worth mentioning.

I've suggested adding a cheaper reliever when the market clears up for a while. Stetter needs time in AAA, but the other five mentioned should be fine, if healthy. Between Rogers, McClendon, Kintzler, Rule 5 pick Pat Egan, and waiver claim Justin James, they should be able to find a couple guys, but I believe all of those have options, except Egan, who can't be sent down and kept. I'd like them all to be in AAA for depth myself, and one more proven hard thrower added...I suggested Jon Rauch and Manny Corpas in the chat the other day. A solid vet who can go more than one inning if needed. I hope Capuano returns as well, but he may look for an opportunity to start.

FYI, Butler was removed from the 40 and Estrada is a minor league FA.

EDIT: Estrada was taken off the 40, but he still may be Brewers' property. I'll see what I can find out.

EDIT 2: Marco is indeed on the AAA roster, outrighted in October. Thanks to Jim from for the assist.

12/19/2010 08:10:00 PM

(12/19/2010 07:15:00 PM) - Al

Where do you think the trades for Greinke/Marcum leave the Brewers farm system? The depth takes a hit, to be sure, but we have two, maybe three, top round picks this year, and we can hopefully re-stock in time. Where do you think the trade leaves us? Where do you stand on the "mortgage the future," let's "go for it now" philosophy the braintrust seems to be implementing this year? Who are the remaining top prospects in the system: Rogers, Heckathorn, Kentrail Davis? Amuary Rivas?

Lastly, how do you see any extensions for Marcum/Greinke playing out?

Thanks for keeping Ramblings one of my first (and many) visits of the day. Best to the Ramblings family over the holidays.


I think the upper echelon players are gone, but the top ten still isn't that bad, and it's still somewhat deep...the 9th and 10th guys are not bad at all. As I said the other day, they have 7-8 quality options at AA and AAA as far as pitching depth...and they still have 6-7, losing Jeffress.

Of my top 15 I had in April, Escobar, Cain, and Lawrie have been dealt, but several others (Gamel, Axford, Braddock) have simply graduated off the list. At this second, I have Scooter Gennett first.

In my opinion, Marcum is far more likely to sign an extension. You don't change agents to extend, you do so to max your FA payout. Zack just changed agents. Also, Marcum has let it be known he wants security, and is from the Midwest.

12/19/2010 07:15:00 PM

(12/19/2010 05:56:00 PM) - Al

Overreaction at SS?

Betancourt, 2011 projection--.293/.397, 64 simple runs created, 3y UZR/150 average of -13, total, +51

Ave SS, 2010--.318/.372, 65 src, 0 UZR/150, +65

Yuni is -14 runs over 150 games. About 1.5 wins over 162. Can you easily pick up a guy to play SS that can do better?

I think Doug will see how it plays out. A Craig/Yuni combo platter is likely to be about a win below average. Will there be a SS upgrade available in July? Time will tell. The difference between 87 and 88 wins is important, 76 and 77 is not, and neither is 96 and 97.

12/19/2010 05:56:00 PM

(12/19/2010 05:48:00 PM) - Al

Troy sends the Insider piece Keith Law wrote. Quick recap:

1. Calls Marcum one of 3 #1/2 SP's the Brewers have, after calling him a #3 when acquired. Heh.

2. Surprised KC took Escobar and Jeffress, as both have "character issues." We all know Jeremy has been caught using several times, but Alcides has nothing on his resume except an angry ex-wife/girlfriend.

3. KC should have waited and got more.

The more he writes, the more I understand why he no longer works in MLB. He undervalues all but the stars, he seems to forget a team made up of all average players will win 81 games.

12/19/2010 05:48:00 PM

(12/19/2010 05:39:00 PM) - Al

Wait, some outlets still saying Jeffress involved in Greinke trade. Other saying PTBNL instead. What's the actual story here???

Just found this on Twitter, 5 hours after Jeffress was announced as officially dealt to the Royals. How can people not understand how to google something?

12/19/2010 05:39:00 PM

(12/19/2010 05:11:00 PM) - Al


I get the feeling that most people do not like to use BBref's WAR, but it does have that Betancourt was worth 1.3 WAR to Escobar's -0.7 WAR. Betancourt is not a good player, but compared to what Escobar did last year it probably won't be that much of a drop off if any at all. Is all this crying about Betancourt possibly being the starting SS legitimate or is it a bit overblown?


Everything is overblown by many. They view roster filler at AA as having some sort of outside chance at the majors, and forget to take into consideration if a guy is 22 and in AAA, or if he's 25 and in A ball. I do not use WAR (wins above replacement) because those stats envision solid replacement players just falling off trees and into a team's lap, and being cheap and consistent. Betancourt is above average offensively for a SS, because most SS's can't hit at all (see Punto, Nick). He's below average defensively, but let's not pretend a guy being 10-12 runs below the norm is some kind of rare occurrence, Hawpe was -40 one year, Dunn was -25/30 for several years in the OF.

Escobar will probably be better next year, both on defense and at the plate. Betancourt is what he is, but there aren't 30 SS's better than him. And, I have not confirmed it yet, but SEA is still paying part of his salary, and KC sent $2M for his '12 buyout...given I assume the cash is changing hands now, Yuni will be almost free in '11.

12/19/2010 05:11:00 PM

(12/19/2010 04:03:00 PM) - Al

Looks like Harvard may want to dip into their billion dollar endowment fund to maybe do a tad bit of research before accepting every blowhard who puts down a 4.0 on expensive pieces of paper.

You couldn't pay me enough to go to one of these prestigious, pompous, self-important schools. They are nothing more than a cliched parody of themselves. Look at the buffoon who fooled them...I doubt if he can talk to a girl for more than 10 seconds without drool hitting his shirt, but yet, Harvard, completely fooled.

12/19/2010 04:03:00 PM

(12/19/2010 03:51:00 PM) - Al

The message boards full of drama...what I find funny is that while Betancourt is being downgraded for his subpar defense, Gomez never gets any credit for his outstanding defense. It does work both ways. When you're not using the numbers properly, you're just embarrassing yourself.

12/19/2010 03:51:00 PM

(12/19/2010 03:30:00 PM) - Al

One thing no one has talked about yet, Greinke's ERA was 4.17, but his FIP was 3.34 (his xFIP was 3.76), possibly hurt by the Royals' poor defense. His expected production is likely in the 3.25-3.50 range, even ignoring he's just a couple years removed from an ERA in the low 2's.

EDIT: Not including the AL to NL switch, which is probably in the 0.20-0.40 range

12/19/2010 03:30:00 PM

(12/19/2010 02:18:00 PM) - Al

Melvin said Yuniesky Betancourt, who came with Greinke in the trade, will be the starting shortstop and likes his offense and says his defense is underrated.

"I think he's an exciting player who is still young," said Melvin. "He led their club in RBI. I think he will do OK in the field."--JS

Tom puts words in Doug's mouth. Doug thinks "he will do OK" because he can't say his new everyday SS is a poor defender. His UZR indicates he's better than Felipe Lopez at SS, and similar to Jeter, so maybe Yuni will win a Gold Glove...heh.

EDIT: This will probably lead many fans to say the Crew is a poor defensive team, but ironically, they said that about last year's group, and they were almost exactly average. I always find it strange that although something is a click away, many still get it wrong, because it does not fit their narrative.

The Crew would have fallen from 15th (of 30) TO 20th last year in UZR with Yuni playing SS instead of Alcides, FYI.

12/19/2010 02:18:00 PM

(12/19/2010 02:14:00 PM) - Al

"I told Zack, 'It feels like were getting C.C. but for two years and maybe even longer."--Doug

Already discussing extension. Doug does not waste any time.

12/19/2010 02:14:00 PM

(12/19/2010 02:10:00 PM) - Al

"Betancourt gives our club an established but young shortstop coming off his most productive season."--Doug

As poor as he is defensively, he's far better than free talent, or trusting 41 year-old Counsell (if he returns) to be able to play every day. And, he does have a good SLG for a SS. Considering the Royals had to throw in money, they were happy to be rid of him, and the Crew hesitant to take him...but a match was found.

12/19/2010 02:10:00 PM

(12/19/2010 01:53:00 PM) - Al

Fangraphs hints KC should have got at least one "can't miss" guy. That's the overwhelming feeling, though I think they forget the Royals dumped Betancourt.

12/19/2010 01:53:00 PM

(12/19/2010 01:42:00 PM) - Al

"It says we're going for it. We're all in. I don't think anybody could ask for anything more."--Braun to JS

"Don't really know (Greinke) much yet but really looking forward to getting to know him!"--Braun to AP

I think both Ryan and Zack date models, so they can discuss that.

12/19/2010 01:42:00 PM

(12/19/2010 01:35:00 PM) - Al

Wonder much fun we'll have in a decade when we look back and read all the climate change "the sky is falling" stuff? Check out this 2000 piece lamenting the end of snow.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to laugh, and laugh, and laugh...

12/19/2010 01:35:00 PM

(12/19/2010 01:10:00 PM) - Al

Ryan Braun is fired up. "I don't think anyone thought this was possible without trading Prince.--Adam M

"We were getting better with Marcum, now Greinke ... Brewers are for real!!!"--Corey Hart tells AP

12/19/2010 01:10:00 PM

(12/19/2010 12:59:00 PM) - Al

Jeffress not in trade.

Jeremy Jeffress just informed he's been traded.--Jeremy's agent, about 2 hours apart

I'm sure glad I'm not paying this clown 5% to give out bad information and be so darn sure of himself, even though he's clueless. If he told me grass was green, I'd look down.

12/19/2010 12:59:00 PM

(12/19/2010 12:58:00 PM) - Al

It is Jeffress, KC decides to take the risk on the former drug user.

12/19/2010 12:58:00 PM

(12/19/2010 12:55:00 PM) - Al

Everyone is assuming Narveson is #5 and Pavano is no longer being looked at. I'd still love to see Capuano return, and be SP depth.

Could they still bring in Carl? They would be over $90M, but that would be quite a staff, wouldn't it?

12/19/2010 12:55:00 PM

(12/19/2010 12:52:00 PM) - Al

I think the Brewers are more than set in CF, with Gomez and Dickerson. I like Boggs for what he is also. Chris did not overwhelm in his small sample in MIL, but he's better than many CF's that start. Might well see a "soft platoon" at times, especially if Carlos struggles.

12/19/2010 12:52:00 PM

(12/19/2010 12:50:00 PM) - Al

I find it humorous that Greinke had the same ERA as Wolf last season, and just a few less IP. Wolf's very solid season was lost in the mix by all but the most serious of fans.

12/19/2010 12:50:00 PM

(12/19/2010 12:41:00 PM) - Al

After insistign all morning Jeremy Jeffress was not part of the trade, his agent now says he "may be," as the Royals are doing a background check on him, deciding between him and 1-2 others.

That entire profession must be full of the most egotistical, ignorant human beings on the planet. Never has so much attention been lavished on a more unneeded group of do-nothings. Shut the hell up and take you 5%.

I'd negotiate myself, and pay a lawyer per hour to review the contract before signing. Last thing I want is some dweeb calling me all the time and "hanging around" me because I'm their meal ticket. If I "made it," I might have to hire a personal assistant to look over possible endorsements, if I cared to do those things. I don't think players realize they're paying someone that's totally unneeded, as many players now don't bother, and just have legal assistance, as I suggested.

And, every damn one is just so slimy. It's incredible.

12/19/2010 12:41:00 PM

(12/19/2010 12:31:00 PM) - Al

MLBTR compiles links about the trade.

12/19/2010 12:31:00 PM

(12/19/2010 10:31:00 AM) - Al

Rosenthal reports Greinke waived his no-trade clause and got nothing in return.

12/19/2010 10:31:00 AM

(12/19/2010 10:28:00 AM) - Al

Cain's and Jeffress' agent is reporting Jeffress is "not in the trade."

Agents really can't be trusted, but he should know, and he is not commenting on Cain, take it for what it's worth.

12/19/2010 10:28:00 AM

(12/19/2010 10:23:00 AM) - Al

"They're not as good as the Phillies, but they're better than anyone else out there.--Jerry Crasnick, ESPN

High praise.

Many are wondering what the lineup will look like. They seem to forget Gomez, Lucroy, and Escobar hit 6-8 much of last year. With all due hesitation because batting order is close to meaningless over 162 games, I'd certainly consider having Betancourt hit 9th due to his lack of OBP, and because the SP will often be a better hitter. You could argue Gomez might see better stuff to hit if he bats 2nd, and admittedly, I like him in that spot, even though his OBP is as bad as Betancourt's.

12/19/2010 10:23:00 AM

(12/19/2010 10:07:00 AM) - Al

Jeffress' name out of deal, PTBNL is. Jeffress is on 40 man, so he cannot be a "true" PTBNL, but as I said, maybe they just can't reach him.

Jim Fergosi told the Royals if they moved Greinke they "had to get Cain" in return, per Gammons.

Greinke turned down a deal to the Nationals on Friday or Saturday, but agreed to to MIL, because:

1. They are closer to winning.

2. Likes the city.

3. Agent convinced him it would be good for him to pitch in weak NL Central.

All folund online in 5 minutes, no idea what it true or not.

12/19/2010 10:07:00 AM

(12/19/2010 09:54:00 AM) - Al

The national media finally gets around to verifying the Greinke deal...though Jeffress may not be included. Or, possibly the Brewers just haven't been able to tell him yet, and Doug is famous for not having players find out online.

I'll be discussing this much of today, but while it is overused and a cliche, Doug is all-in. He's going for it, and now. Sadly, he's given up a ton of youngsters for a pair of top arms...but they are one pitch away from surgery. That's the risk you take when you deal with pitching.

12/19/2010 09:54:00 AM

(12/19/2010 12:30:00 AM) - Al

Well, I'm off to bed. The Rambling son has his Sunday school program in the AM, and I have to stop by the office for a bit as well...probably won't be back until afternoon.

I'd be shocked if Greinke is not in MIL for a physical in the next couple days, however.

12/19/2010 12:30:00 AM

(12/19/2010 12:27:00 AM) - Al

Projected payroll up to $84M, if you include buyouts.

12/19/2010 12:27:00 AM

(12/19/2010 12:19:00 AM) - Al

The more I think about it, Doug may go out and get a SS. I'm not sure if you can have a rotation like that and run Counsell/Betancourt at SS every day. At the very least, we might see a SS picked up in July.

In my mind, it's a done deal. I'm going to change the projected roster page and add up the new payroll.

12/19/2010 12:19:00 AM

Saturday, December 18, 2010

(12/18/2010 11:36:00 PM) - Al

Thoughts, from refreshing Twitter every 20 seconds for an hour:

1. The average fan has no idea how much guys make, or how long they are under team control. The Royals are not trying to win a pennant next year, they know this is a downgrade for '11.

2. I hesitate every time I write Greinke has "anxiety issues," though it is a fact he does. Many folks act like he spends the offseason in an asylum.

3. Many folks just don't "get it" as far as how guys project in the future. Escobar and Cain have not peaked, and will get better. And, they are already plus defenders, which has value, but not to casual fans.

4. Oh, and no pro writers work on Saturday night. None have even commented on it. Even MLB Rumors silent and I e-mailed them an hour into this thing.

5. I've read a dozen people marvel at the rotation, at least the top 4 in the rotation. I haven't been able to say that in a long time...been writing Ramblings for 8 years, even with Sabathia, never had 4 SP's who projected as above average.

12/18/2010 11:36:00 PM

(12/18/2010 11:22:00 PM) - Al adds top pitching prospect to the mix, and does not mention Betancourt. Still, they agree a deal is done pending physicals.

Article up, includes "another major league player." This would appear to be happening, as false trades do not garner multiple links.

12/18/2010 11:22:00 PM

(12/18/2010 10:49:00 PM) - Al

The part about the rumor that makes me think it has legs? Betancourt and money coming back to MIL. KC wouldn't need him, and MIL, even though he's below average, needs a stopgap.

Royals system is awesome, but lacks a CF and a SS -- rumored package at least FITS really well with needs.--Kevin Goldstein

It does make sense, on deeper levels than a blogger could make up, or someone could spoon feed a blogger.

12/18/2010 10:49:00 PM

(12/18/2010 10:16:00 PM) - Al

If proven true, it seems light for Zack, though when one adds in the downgrade at SS, it's a sizable package for MIL...especially for a single arm.

I like both Escobar and Cain, but Greinke is what he of the top five SP's in MLB, and possibly the best under 30. KC probably likes Cain and Escobar for their defense in that park, and as improving hitters. Jeffress' ceiling is close to unlimited, though as I have said, I do not see him as a SP, as few 5-11/6-0 RHP's start long-term...not many throw 95+ with a curve like that either, however.

As of now, no national writers have come forward to throw in their two cents, so tiume will tell.

12/18/2010 10:16:00 PM

(12/18/2010 09:51:00 PM) - Al

Blogger with some credibility says the Crew has dealt Lo Cain, Escobar, and Jeffress for Greinke, Betancourt, and $2M. Obviously, Betancourt has negative value, as the Royals not only paid part of his salary, but he is simply not a good SS.

If true, astounding they got Greinke for so little, though 17 years of team controlled youngsters is not anything to sneeze at...however, none of them look to have nearly the ceiling of a Lawrie, or even a Matt Laporta when he was traded. Alcides is a fine SS, and will likely be a starting SS for the next decade. Ditto for Cain, but while they may be above average offensive players, they also may settle in as average producers and solid defenders...again, valuable yes, but unlikely to be Braun or Fielder types. Jeffress, of course, has a million dollar arm and a ten cent head...I don't see him as a SP, though he could easily be a near unhittable closer with his velocity and big breaking ball.

Greinke is, probably, the best SP under 30 in the game. As long as he can stay healthy and remain problem free with his anxiety, it is an astounding pickup. As with all SP's, health is a big if. Betancourt is well below average defensively...about -12 runs a season the past three seasons, and while he does have some pop, he hasn't sniffed a .300 OBP for a half-decade. He's probably about 15 runs below Escobar on D, and maybe a slight upgrade at the plate, for 2011 at least. It's at least a 1 win loss, and it wouldn't surprise me at all to see Counsell splitting time with him, if Craig returns, of course. The $2M seems to be for his buyout in '12, he makes $4M in '11, less than I would have guessed, but obviously, a lot to pay for less than average performance.

We'll see if anyone else picks up on this and confirms, because at best, bloggers have little reliability in breaking such news. However, Jim Breen has done some writing for a site about Milwaukee sports, so all it takes is a single connection.

12/18/2010 09:51:00 PM

(12/18/2010 07:19:00 PM) - Al

Al-Qaida is planning Christmas attacks in the U.S. and Europe. The U.S. government sprang into action and told al-Qaeda, "Hey, you cannot call them Christmas attacks, you have to call them holiday attacks."--Jay Leno

It's funny because it's true.

12/18/2010 07:19:00 PM

(12/18/2010 03:51:00 PM) - Al

Rumors floating around the fringe of the internet have the Royals and Brewers "getting serious" in talks for Greinke. Gamel and Cain thought to be two of the names, most likely one more. Also, Greinke would require an extension to drop his no trade clause.
Escobar's name is being mentioned as well.

12/18/2010 03:51:00 PM

(12/18/2010 12:50:00 PM) - Al

I see a lot of "healthy" food being thrown out by kids like mine, and, surprise, more tax dollars wasted.

Common sense always takes a back seat to politics. Sadly, politics have become nannies in the past couple years. Gov't has tried to "do it all" in the past couple years, and it can't be done. As small as possible should be their goal.

12/18/2010 12:50:00 PM

(12/18/2010 12:15:00 PM) - Al

Nolasco still being mentioned as a trade candidate.

12/18/2010 12:15:00 PM

Friday, December 17, 2010

(12/17/2010 10:18:00 PM) - Al

Gomez avoids arby, settles for $1.5M, exactly what I guessed on my roster projection, you can click on the sidebar. If only there was a game show in which you predicted what guys would make in arby.

Some will argue he's overpaid, and if they do, they don't understand the value of defense.

12/17/2010 10:18:00 PM

(12/17/2010 06:45:00 PM) - Robert R.

Movie review based on a preview screening.

What’s most surprising watching the Coen’s latest triumph unfold is simply how relatively earnest and heartfelt TRUE GRIT is. It’s a note that they haven’t used much of in their cinematic history and it easily helps the movie carve out a true niche in their filmography.

TRUE GRIT has, of course, been filmed before with John Wayne in one of his most iconic roles as Rooster Cogburn, fat, one eyed, drunken marshal with “true grit”. The earlier film boasts fine cinematography, some choice supporting turns, and a fine action climax, but it’s undone to a minor extent by the subpar turns by Kim Darby and Glen Campbell. While the Coens’ haven’t notably reworked the plot, it’s still all about Mattie Ross hiring Rooster Cogburn to bring in the fugitive Tom Chaney who killer her father, or even much of the dialogue, it’s clear that they returned to the novel as the source of their screenplay, particularly with a framing sequence that’s totally absent from the earlier version. And in returning to the novel, they’ve remembered that the true lead character is 14 year old Mattie Ross.

It’s with Mattie Ross that the Coens’ have struck paydirt and truly created a movie superior to the earlier version. Hailee Steinfeld is a flat out revelation in her role. Her Mattie Ross is a perfect fit for the Coens, she’s not your typical child with an implacable will to deal with, especially when she’s involved in business, but she’s still a 14 year old girl through and through, and often naïve about the ways of the world. Which becomes especially relevant as much of the film is removed from civilization and in the wilds of “Indian Country” where she has to interact with experienced actors all around her. And in her combination of toughness, hard headedness, and girlishness. For the most part she’s surrounded by two men competing for the title of alpha male and yet she manages to make the deepest impression.

Which isn’t to knock the contributions of Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon at all. It’s a maximum compliment that Steinfeld outshines two pros delivering terrific performances themselves. Bridges’ Rooster Cogburn is less an icon and more a flawed human being in this version. Still full of bluster and still too fond of drink, he forms a relationship with Mattie Ross that’s actually quite touching. As they travel together, he becomes something of a surrogate father and she becomes the daughter he never had. As he tells her stories about his life, you get the sense he’s been keeping it bottled up for a long time and the two of them form a strong bond. And that bond stirs emotions that the Coens’ generally don’t touch upon. If there’s ever a movie that fathers and daughters can bond over, this is it. It’s an astonishing element considering that the words “heartwarming” and “earnest” aren’t words you associate with the Coens.

Matt Damon completes the trio as Texas Ranger LaBoef. His character would probably describe himself as STALWART TEXAS RANGER in all capitals. He’s full of braggadocio and a tongue that won’t stop, but there’s just enough hint of self-doubt over his failure to have captured Tom Chaney in the past that Mattie’s taunts seem to hurt. His relationship with Mattie isn’t quite as tight as Rooster’s, but it takes several twists and turns as well. And one of the running jokes of the film is how much punishment he takes, while still keeping on. It’s a fine performance by Damon, physically and verbally.

The dialogue of TRUE GRIT is one of the distinctive elements that must have appealed to the Coens. It’s full of a grandiloquence that’s uncommon in movies. Even in movies written by the Coens who are no strangers to distinctive dialogue. And while it could have come across as effective, the actors are directed in such a way that it just seems the way these people talk. And, as expected from the Coens, the talking is performed by a deep and more than capable cast of supporting characters that are all distinct.

There’s a lot of classical western cinematography by Roger Deakins in the film. None of it is particularly flashy in the way he moves the camera, but that tends to give it a classical charm. And every frame is exquisitely composed. There are images after images of these characters, alone, paired, or in a trio, set forth in a massive space so as to underline how alone they are in the world. The soundtrack is spare and naturalistic, using old fashioned spirituals to add to the score by Carter Burwell. The spirituals aren’t as catchy as the soundtrack to O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?, but they still strike a strong emotional chord.

I like to leaven a review with a little bit of criticism just as a check to what may seem to be hyperbole, but honestly I can’t. TRUE GRIT is a flat out masterpiece and displays an unexpected side of the Coens. It’s by turns funny, exciting, and emotional, gorgeously photographed, well acted, and displays an uncommon level of craft. It’s an instant classic that can stand beside the giants of the genre.

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12/17/2010 06:45:00 PM

(12/17/2010 06:32:00 PM) - Al

It's a slippery slope when you believe discrimination is allowable.

12/17/2010 06:32:00 PM

(12/17/2010 03:00:00 PM) - Al

Click to ask a question. We are live, click to ask a question. I will go until they are all answered, though I'm eating lunch my wife brought home.

12/17/2010 03:00:00 PM

(12/17/2010 01:37:00 PM) - Al

Bill Hall agrees to 1y/$3Mish deal with HOU, expects to be everyday 2B.

Hall may finally have found his home, low expectations, short fences, and he'll hit enough to be decent as a 2B. People forget how crappy most middle infielders are with the bat...Escobar isn't even that far below average. Hall, even if he reverts back to his 2009 and prior numbers won't be bad even if his OBP falls below .300.

12/17/2010 01:37:00 PM

(12/17/2010 01:19:00 PM) - Al

Allow me to say, anyone can "disrespect me" for 10% of what the Giants are offering Renteria.

12/17/2010 01:19:00 PM

(12/17/2010 01:03:00 PM) - Al

After missing on Sheets last year, the A's seem to be taking the bargain bin approach thus far. I like Humber as a middle reliever and as SP depth.

12/17/2010 01:03:00 PM

(12/17/2010 12:48:00 PM) - Al

The tea party is far more liked than Congress, and the results are loud and years past, that earmarks bill just skates through, probably with oodles more in it.

It astounds me that, as of yet, it also remains totally neutral on social stance on abortion, no stance on gays rights, and so on. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future. That will probably determine its long-term existence. Will it lean toward conservative views, or remain true to small, limited government?

12/17/2010 12:48:00 PM

(12/17/2010 12:43:00 PM) - Al

If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went.--Wiil Rogers

Thanks to Jen Harman for sending that quote out today. Last night, the Rambling dog was confused as to what time of day it was, so he slept on the bed for a while. Listening to that little sigh, snort, and snore was very funny. It's amazing how much room he takes up all stretched out.

12/17/2010 12:43:00 PM

(12/17/2010 11:30:00 AM) - Al

I think the Twins are taking a foolish chance with very little upside...Harsy or Hudson would have been about the same cost, and probably provided more offense and better defense. And, there's a good chance that Japanese SS will really struggle, like Kaz Matsui did.

There have been two offensive players come from Japan and be solid at the plate. Given this fella is basically a no hit/good field middle infielder with a weak arm...who looks like he had a career year last season, I just don't get why the Twins feel this is an upgrade.

12/17/2010 11:30:00 AM

(12/17/2010 10:43:00 AM) - Al

This is a clumsy ticket policy for the Vikings, to say the least.

1. If you don't go, you get a full refund. Seems like they are giving folks an incentive to just not go.

2. Otherwise, it's first come, first served. Line starts forming 2.5 hours before the game...yuck. As a dedicated non-stand in line person, that would tell me it might be better just to stay home...see #1.

Now, is there a good policy? I don't know. But, the above sounds terrible.

12/17/2010 10:43:00 AM

(12/17/2010 09:50:00 AM) - Al

I think Obama's comeback easily could have began with his embracing the continuation of the Bush tax cuts, but instead, complained he was forced into it. It still might, because it might spark the economy, with job creators knowing their taxes are safe for two more years. The media has forgotten how much cash is sitting in banks right now, supposedly record levels, because businesses have banked it rather than expanding and investing.

Obama has spoken out against earmarks, but also minimized their impact (only 1% of the federal budget) and gave no indication he would veto that pork laden omnibus bill before McConnell fixed it with a single page.

12/17/2010 09:50:00 AM

(12/17/2010 09:18:00 AM) - Al

I'm home with the Rambling son today, who has an ear infection and also maybe a bit of bronchial trouble. So, when would be a good time to have a live chat?

EDIT: 3PM it is, probably right after my nap.

12/17/2010 09:18:00 AM

Thursday, December 16, 2010

(12/16/2010 09:10:00 PM) - Al

How bad were the other photos if this is the one they kept?

12/16/2010 09:10:00 PM

(12/16/2010 08:31:00 PM) - Al

The real problem is, grants exist at all. Loans are fine, and have such low interest rates, anyone can afford to pay them back. Grants, on the other hand, are free money given to irresponsible youngsters, and much of it is spent on drugs, alcohol, and luxuries. They should be eliminated yesterday, and if a student truly needs them to attend college, they should join the military, get a part-time job, or, gasp, spend less.

As I've said dozens of time, private colleges should not receive a penny of any type of federal aid, because they discriminate randomly, and are proud of it. Some are racist, some are gender specific, some are filled with brats because of Daddy's money or the fact Grandpa was an ambassador 50 years ago. Many have billion dollar endowments, they could easily afford to not charge tuition...but they happily do, because much of it comes from Joe and Jane Taxpayer.

12/16/2010 08:31:00 PM

(12/16/2010 07:51:00 PM) - Al

McConnell replaces 1924 page spending bill with one page resolution.--Drudge

And they wonder why their approval rating is so low.

Every single earmark, gone. Just like that. With a single page of common sense.

That, my friends, is the residue of the tea party. They're not racists, they're not violent, but they are fiscal conservatives.

And they just did what years of government failed to do...kill pet pork projects that get stuck in bills and never even get read. Two years ago, no one would have believed it.

Somewhere in DC, Nancy Pelosi is saying, "Hey, I would have read it after we approved it."

EDIT: Glenn agrees, and notes many GOP'ers were as guilty as anyone, pushing through pork laden, totally unnecessary projects that help a dozen folks and all taxpayers pay for.

12/16/2010 07:51:00 PM

(12/16/2010 05:46:00 PM) - Al

Senator McCain with his daily top ten list of pork in the omnibus package.

They should be ashamed.

A million here, a million there....

12/16/2010 05:46:00 PM

(12/16/2010 02:17:00 PM) - Al

Jenks signs with BOS, per Olney, so I think we can believe it this time. 2y/$12M.

12/16/2010 02:17:00 PM

(12/16/2010 11:36:00 AM) - Al

Some folks think Prince looks trimmer in these photos...

...I can't really tell, though I think it is safe to say he has not put on any weight.

12/16/2010 11:36:00 AM

(12/16/2010 10:32:00 AM) - Al

I didn't think it was a travel. However, a blocking foul on Bogut looked like a charge on SA both live and in replay. Those are tough calls, and they often go to the home team.

12/16/2010 10:32:00 AM

(12/16/2010 10:07:00 AM) - Al

Pistons sale falls through when Ilitch takes a gander at the books. The Pistons have the best attendance in the league, by the way. If they're struggling, everyone is.

12/16/2010 10:07:00 AM

(12/16/2010 09:04:00 AM) - Al

Craig at HT tells reporters to be accurate...and then says Jenks has signed with TB a little later...inaccurate, as of now.


12/16/2010 09:04:00 AM

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

(12/15/2010 08:25:00 PM) - Al

Bobby Jenks signs with the Rays, Jesse Crain with the White Sox. The reliever market is starting to clear out, and I have to believe Doug adds one when it gets down to the next level, when we stop seeing the 3y/$15M deals and begin seeing the 1y/$2M ones.

EDIT: Rosenthal says Jenks is deciding between several teams, including the Rays and Yankees.

12/15/2010 08:25:00 PM

(12/15/2010 07:46:00 PM) - Al

Mike Hunt shows how tough it is to name the Big Ten divisions, as his ideas are 100 times worse than Legends and Leaders. Even worse, they're not funny.

When the divisions are not separated by geography, the names are going to be odd, like the NHL's were for years, named after people no one really knew.

12/15/2010 07:46:00 PM

(12/15/2010 07:31:00 PM) - Al

It's been eerily quiet on the Pavano news front...I take this to mean they well may be chatting with new teams and/or taking final offers from the teams involved. TEX is said to be un interested, and you know the Yankees have no interest.

I think it's between MIN and MIL, and reading between the lines, Pavano may take less money to stay with the Twins. I have to wonder if Doug has enlisted any players, like Braun, Hart, or Wolf, to give Carl a call and do a bit of recruiting. Funny, many longtime vets, Fielder, Weeks, and Counsell are not signed long-term and would probably not be asked.

12/15/2010 07:31:00 PM

(12/15/2010 07:27:00 PM) - Al

While about 100 million households get ESPN, about 111 million can get ABC.--Sportsday

I've often wondered how many people just get the networks, as opposed to the main cable channels, such as CNN, USA, and ESPN. Apparently, about 10% of households, or about 11M.

12/15/2010 07:27:00 PM

(12/15/2010 01:10:00 PM) - Al

I feel sorry for lots of folks, but the bum who, ahem, allegedly, leaked thousands of classified documents that may put American troops at risk...not one of them.

No pillow? That's a shame.

You know, it used to be we took treason seriously.

12/15/2010 01:10:00 PM

(12/15/2010 12:54:00 PM) - Al

There is no way Aaron Rodgers should even be considered to suit up and play an NFL game after suffering his 2nd known concussion of the season. They need to institute some kind of 10 day "cooling off" period. Of course, this could lead to players and teams hiding them, I suppose. That's dangerous stuff to mess with. Corey Koskie still isn't the same, years after his concussion...and that was one.

12/15/2010 12:54:00 PM

(12/15/2010 12:49:00 PM) - Al

Fausto Carmona may be available from CLE, who is said to be "listening" on the tight pitching trade market.

He was way down in '08 and terrible in '09, but he's still young and bounced back wonderfully in '10. And, he would not require several top prospects...maybe a good, not great one.

Heck, maybe the Crew could get Mike Brantley or Matt Laporta back in some kind of swap.:)

12/15/2010 12:49:00 PM

(12/15/2010 12:01:00 PM) - Al

Senator McCain is doing another top ten list today with pork from the omnibus bill.

12/15/2010 12:01:00 PM

(12/15/2010 11:52:00 AM) - Al

The Bucks won a road game at Dallas Monday night, and suddenly were healthy and playing great.

Today? Salmons has a bad back and Bogut may be out with a migraine. The ups and downs of the NBA.

12/15/2010 11:52:00 AM

(12/15/2010 07:53:00 AM) - Al

Festivus used as a legit religion in CA.

Many of us have worshiped at the altar of Seinfeld for a couple decades, so it doesn't surprise me.

12/15/2010 07:53:00 AM

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

(12/14/2010 08:47:00 PM) - Al

Heh, Chicago politics are now on the big stage.

12/14/2010 08:47:00 PM

(12/14/2010 08:31:00 PM) - Al

Eric e-mails to inform me that the tax bill and this omnibus bill are separate many trillion dollar bills can they slip past us?

12/14/2010 08:31:00 PM

(12/14/2010 07:41:00 PM) - Al

Doug is still talking to Counsell, decision expected soon. I assume Craig is debating between the Crew and a team that either offers at least a platoon gig or a better chance at contending.

12/14/2010 07:41:00 PM

(12/14/2010 07:31:00 PM) - Al

Brewers still in the race for Pavano.

12/14/2010 07:31:00 PM

(12/14/2010 06:52:00 PM) - Al

Your tax dollars at work...or what do thousands of cars look like on an old ball field.

This is also why parts and used car prices took such a and demand ain't a fad, it's basic economic theory.


12/14/2010 06:52:00 PM

(12/14/2010 06:48:00 PM) - Al

Phyllis says to throw out the climate change bribes and payouts.

Note how disappointed folks were about not getting free money from the USA.

That's a shame.

12/14/2010 06:48:00 PM

(12/14/2010 06:41:00 PM) - Al

I nominate the fellas at Reason to kick Obama, Reid, and Pelosi to the curb.

How to balance the budget, easily.


Note how it starts with making small cuts now, not adding earmarks. Idiots.

12/14/2010 06:41:00 PM

(12/14/2010 06:32:00 PM) - Al

Senator McCain is working on his list of waste for this new earmark package:

It's like this is going to be an annual (or more) occurrence with this administration.

12/14/2010 06:32:00 PM

(12/14/2010 06:08:00 PM) - Robert R.

Review based on a preview screening.


Beautiful. Grueling. Passionate. Sensual. Disturbing. Horrifying. Triumphant. Those are some of the words that pass through my mind as I process Darren Aronofsky’s ballet mindtrip BLACK SWAN. And, perhaps, “overwrought” as well.

BLACK SWAN is a companion piece to Aronofsky’s THE WRESTLER in a lot of ways. It’s very much a character study of a young, up and coming ballerina Nina (Natalie Portman) who appears to be cracking under the pressures. And, like in THE WRESTLER, we see in graphic detail the hell she’s putting on her own body. The film’s primary colors are black and white, but the third main color is blood red. One of the first shots of the movie are of Portman’s bruised and bloody feet and the film never lets you forget the destruction she’s waging on her own body in the pursuit of her art. There are rashes and scratches on her body, apparently self-inflicted. And, as the pressures mount and her psyche starts to crack, the body horror takes on even more extravagant forms.

Natalie Portman is at the center of the whole film and it’s easily a career best performance. To start with, Portman has transformed herself into a credible ballerina through what must have been punishing work. The transformation is internal as well. Pushed by an overbearing former dancer mother (Barbara Hershey) it’s obvious that Nina has no life outside of her dancing. And while that has led to technical perfectionism, it’s left her at a loss to bring anything outside of craftsmanship to a role. Portman’s character initially is a model of innocence and fragility, but the role of the Black Swan calls for her to bring out her dark side and be seductive and passionate. The movie makes the distinction between technical perfection and emotional perfection and we get to vividly see Portman’s conflict as she tries to find the emotional life she’s lacking. Or, perhaps more accurately, has kept bottled up waiting to explode.

And the trigger for the eventual explosion is a rival dancer Lily (Mila Kunis). Like Portman, Kunis also delivers career best work here. Beyond the physical transformation, Kunis is Portman’s emotional opposite. Irresponsible, unrepressed, passionate, and apparently very happy. She’s a model to aspire to and a threat, all rolled up into one package. Aronofsky isn’t being particularly subtle with the character, she has black wings tattooed to her back and dresses in black compared to Portman’s white, but it’s a very effective performance. The mirrored opposite doesn’t stop just at casting, practically every scene has a mirror in it of some sort. Again, the film is many things, but subtle is not one of them.

But, subtle isn’t what Aronofsky is aiming for. He’s aiming for elevated melodrama with heart on the sleeve emotion and moments that sucker punch the audience. And he pulls out all the tricks he has to achieve those ends. Handheld camera work creates a jarring effect. Special effects are used judiciously to show Nina’s psyche collapsing. The soundtrack is filled with effects from inappropriate laughter to the sound of wings. There are abrupt, unsettling jump cuts. And Aronofsky lets it all come together in the finale where art and reality combine in a manner that’s clearly reminiscent of the 1948 ballet film classic THE RED SHOES. And if there are a few missteps prior, they’re mostly erased in the tour de force climax.

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12/14/2010 06:08:00 PM

(12/14/2010 05:46:00 PM) - Al

Even the census data is showing how badly the government does...trying to integrate for decades...turns out, they succeed by staying out of the way!

12/14/2010 05:46:00 PM

(12/14/2010 05:40:00 PM) - Al

Heading to the floor to talk about the $1.1 Trillion 1924 page omnibus spending bill that includes 6488 earmarks totaling nearly $8.3 billion.--John McCain

So, why is the man who should be president the only person talking about this monstrosity? It's like Stimulus Part Two...pardon me, but I do not want another.

12/14/2010 05:40:00 PM

(12/14/2010 04:01:00 PM) - Al

I filed my amendment today to eliminate all funding for earmarks in the omnibus spending bill.-John McCain

I was of the opinion they should just pass the compromise, because while it's got soem pork in it, it is vital they don't raise taxes, as well as adjust withholding, and make businesses spend millions getting that all changed by the new year...a hidden tax on business, imagine that in this environment.

That said, with all the earmarks and pure waste now inserted in this disaster of a "let's ignore the electorate" bill, I have to lean toward on holding an up and down vote on the first day of the January session to keep the tax cuts and only the tax cuts, and just see who has the guts to ignore common sense, the GOP, and the president and vote to raise taxes.

It's not a revenue problem, it's a spending problem. As long as these buffoons insist on throwing in extra cash for wine, women, song, and crap for their own districts that would get voted down 434-1 if it was a bill of its own, who has the guts to do it out in the open.

To quote the House leader, Nancy Pelosi..."I'll read the bill after it passes."

And she got voted back in! Seriously.

12/14/2010 04:01:00 PM

Monday, December 13, 2010

(12/13/2010 10:59:00 PM) - Al

Cliff Lee agrees to terms with the Phillies.

1. Halladay, Oswalt, Lee, Hamels has to be one of the best top 4 in history.

2. The Yankees' fans no doubt cost their team Lee. Don't mess with Southern belles.

EDIT: Lee leaves $40-50M on the table. Yankees offer was 6y/$135M, with player option for $17M in year 7. Phillies a 5y deal for sure, money believed to total $100-110M. What's funny is, some casuals still think the Brewers 5y/$100M offer to CC was not "serious"...Lee signs for similar money.

So much for that, so much for the idiots who think the union "makes you" sign for the most money. Peer pressure can be ignored very easily if you are strong of character...and have a wife who was yelled at by Yankees' fans.

12/13/2010 10:59:00 PM

(12/13/2010 10:54:00 PM) - Al

The hilarious part is, he campaigned so strongly against the Bush tax cuts...and now readily admits they are needed.

Flip-flop. I've lost track, let's just say hundreds.

12/13/2010 10:54:00 PM

(12/13/2010 09:56:00 PM) - Al

The Bucks battle back after being down 22 to beat Dallas, who had won 12 in a row.

Huge win for the Bucks, who continue fighting back to .500...tonight was the first game all year the Bucks put a healthy player on the inactive list. Getting healthier and playing better are probably not a coincidence.

Dooling and Gooden both with some outstanding defense late.

12/13/2010 09:56:00 PM

(12/13/2010 09:53:00 PM) - Al

Today, a couple silly fellas (Olney, Gammons) started making fun of Jon Heyman because he kept saying a third team was involved in the Cliff Lee sweepstakes.

Tonight, it looks like the Phillies are the favorites to sign Lee.

The moral of the story...never doubt a writer whose entire career has been made by writing everything Scott Boras tells him to.

12/13/2010 09:53:00 PM

(12/13/2010 09:10:00 PM) - Al

As I predicted, president's approval trending downward. And, only 2 of the 3 days polled has been since he walked off during the press conference, which means it will very likely go down again tomorrow. Considering health care was both unpopular and labeled unconstitutional, they're probably a few days away from heading upward.

Of course, they're two years away from November '12.:)

12/13/2010 09:10:00 PM

(12/13/2010 07:55:00 PM) - Al

Phillies looking to trade dump Joe Blanton to free up cash for Cliff Lee.

He's supposed to make $8.5M the next two years. As with any SP, I'm sure the Crew would listen. He had a bit of a down year in '10...though his ERA looks to be a direct result of bad luck, a high BAbip, and his FIP was actually the lowest since 2007.

Amazingly, his fastball has averaged between 89 and 89.5 mph every year since 2005.

He's a bit heavy (says the guy who wishes he had Blanton's build), but he's a horse...he's thrown 175 innings each of the past six seasons, and 194 or more every year except '10. He also barely walks anyone, and despite being around forever, just turned 30.

Considering the Phillies probably are not asking for much, I'd be all over Blanton.

EDIT: The Phillies may be willing to eat some salary. Blanton suddenly looks even better.

12/13/2010 07:55:00 PM

(12/13/2010 05:54:00 PM) - Al

I have more respect for Favre now that he has given up the streak. Many, if not most, would have asked to take the first snap, hand it off, and then be removed.

As with any streak like that, there's a lot of luck involved. I didn't miss a day of work in many years, I think it was 7-8, and since then, I've either missed work or taken a day about 20 times in the last seven years. My friend Jon went years without a sick day as well, and once when I called him, I asked how his 3 day weekend had been. Turns out, he had been sick the whole time, finally feeling good enough to eat Sunday night.

With the new rules/procedures regarding concussions, it will be a long time before anyone starts/plays that many games in a row...the only possibility I can imagine is a specialist; a kicker, punter, or long snapper.

It has been 6,651 days since Brett Favre's streak started. The Barcelona Olympics finished 7 weeks before his 1st start.--Darren Rovell

12/13/2010 05:54:00 PM

(12/13/2010 09:29:00 AM) - Al

Greinke has the baggage of his mental issues as well, which cannot be dismissed. I much prefer Garza...and probably Shields as well, to Greinke.

12/13/2010 09:29:00 AM

(12/13/2010 09:22:00 AM) - Al

The Dodgers are in discussions with Bill Hall to be their primary left fielder.--Rosenthal

What year is it? How long have I been asleep?--Seinfeld, when Kramer is standing in the kitchen in a suit, saying he has to go to work

Hall could be a decent 2B/SS, but on a good day, he's far below average as a corner OF, and if he reverts back to form after a minor comeback last year, he'd be far overmatched. There are a dozen guys who'd be better options for the Dodgers.

12/13/2010 09:22:00 AM

(12/13/2010 08:59:00 AM) - Al

From the folks who wanted to call terrorism "manmade disasters"...obesity is a "threat to national security."

They just don't take defense seriously, by comparing it to overweight folks. Trust me, when the Greatest Generation saved the world in WW2, they didn't do it by eating fruits and veggies. While the elite in CA and NY might nod their heads in agreement, us in flyover country thinks it's a sign of being out of touch and soft on defense.

Of course, maybe I'm clinging to my guns again...and I don't even have one.

12/13/2010 08:59:00 AM

Sunday, December 12, 2010

(12/12/2010 01:57:00 PM) - Al

Righthander Carl Pavano is drawing interest from a few other clubs, but has told teammates and club officials that he really wants to stay in the Twin Cities.

His agent, Tom O'Connell - however - is going to do his due diligence. He will get the best offers he can for his client and show him all options before they make a decision. That means they will wait to see who might be more motivated to sign Pavano after Cliff Lee finds a home. For instance, if Lee goes to the Yankees, the Rangers might turn to Pavano.

I don't think the Twins have to match the best offer to keep Pavano.--Star Tribune

As excited as they were about the Brewers' offer, that makes sense. Is it worth taking $1M or so less a year to stay in MIN? Time will tell.

12/12/2010 01:57:00 PM

(12/12/2010 01:52:00 PM) - Al

As long as the undies have been washed, let's not fret too much about our murderers, rapists, and thugs not getting them brand spankin' new, ok?

The concern about the extreme minutia of the human equivalent of pond scum? Minimal.

12/12/2010 01:52:00 PM

(12/12/2010 01:49:00 PM) - Al

I'm telling you, there was no waste in the "stimulus," and it created jobs!

12/12/2010 01:49:00 PM

(12/12/2010 01:37:00 PM) - Al

Updated 1-21, best estimate as of this second


Narveson--500K (estimated pre-arby)

Axford--450K (estimated pre-arby)
Braddock--425K (estimated pre-arby)
7th RP--450K

Lucroy--450K (estimated pre-arby)

Weeks--5.5M (estimated arby)
Betancourt--1M (SEA paying $1M, KC paying $2M)
McGehee--600K (estimated pre-arby)

Dickerson--475K (estimated pre-arby)


Buyouts for vets--4M

Total w/buyouts--$83.425M

12/12/2010 01:37:00 PM

(12/12/2010 01:32:00 PM) - Al

The official total is 13 inches in Wausau. Our driveway is about half done, as we hope a neighbor will finish it with his blade this afternoon. Hard to do the sidewalks because we kept going off course into the grass. spark at all. Guess we need a tune-up.

12/12/2010 01:32:00 PM

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

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