Al's Ramblings

Monday, October 31, 2011

(10/31/2011 09:37:00 PM) - Al

We don't have to lay anyone off.

Funny, I don't recall anyone chanting that.

10/31/2011 09:37:00 PM

(10/31/2011 06:44:00 PM) - Al

Aardsma would be a fine rehab signing, if he would agree to an option for '13 for market value, probably $4-6M. I would assume it would "only" cost a 40 man spot and a $1M.

10/31/2011 06:44:00 PM

(10/31/2011 06:39:00 PM) - Al

As Gleeman says, when you have to make a point to say the GM has complete control, you know the GM does not have complete control.

They didn't trade Mike Napoli for Vernon Wells because the manager liked him folks.

10/31/2011 06:39:00 PM

(10/31/2011 06:34:00 PM) - Al

Sabathia's contract extension - 1-year, $25 m. for 2016, and a $5 million buyout. Total guaranteed, five years, $122 m.. $25m option '17--Olney

So much for the heavy guys being punished. For those keeping track, that's either $30M for one year or $50M for two...for his years of 35 and 36.

Great googily-moogily.

On one message board the other day, someone said a 1B with an above average OPS was worth $3M. What decade exactly is he living in?

10/31/2011 06:34:00 PM

(10/31/2011 06:20:00 PM) - Al

I would have loved to have taken a flyer on Derek Lowe for $5M in '12, for an A ball pitcher. His BB/K/HR numbers were almost the same as the previous season, and his velocity was all but the same, but he was very unlucky, as his .332 BAbip indicates. His 754 OPSA isn't bad at all. You also have to wonder how much having a right side of the infield of Freeman/Uggla hurt a RH ground ball pitcher like Lowe, as I think both rank horribly defensively.

I wouldn't project him as a 3.50 ERA guy, but 4.25 is not unlikely at all, given his past success.

10/31/2011 06:20:00 PM

(10/31/2011 05:58:00 PM) - Al

Compare this goofy Cain allegation to the way the old media helped cover up Edwards' affair...they don't even bother hiding their bias anymore.

You know, most of us realize that people that wait a dozen years are just looking for cash. Anita Hill still makes her living telling her story, which she kept to herself until it was profitable.

10/31/2011 05:58:00 PM

(10/31/2011 05:42:00 PM) - Al

Word from MLB is that the mgr for All-Star will be commissioner's pick. Could be new SL skip, could be Roenicke.

I promise you Roenicke wants no part of it, but will act thrilled if chosen. Same way I always tell whoever I'm happy to do service work on someone else's client if they're no longer with the company or on vacation, then tell the Rambling dog why it sucks.

10/31/2011 05:42:00 PM

(10/31/2011 05:24:00 PM) - Al

Abe e-mails in another link questioning the validity of climate change.

When you start getting paid based on how funky your numbers are, it's amazing how funky those numbers become. As I've said before, Al Gore's fortune is based upon various lies, fibs, and complete fabrications. When global warming was exposed for the crock it is/was, they just changed the name and now every out of the ordinary weather event is blamed on this fiction by rubes who don't know any better. Luckily, the old media would print the Earth is round if the liberal establishment told them it was. Note the article is from the UK...

10/31/2011 05:24:00 PM

(10/31/2011 05:14:00 PM) - Al

Brewers' OF defensive metrics...Braun ranks last in UZR and DRS...but still "nominated" for Gold Glove. I'm the first to say Ryan looks better out there than he used to, but to pretend he's one of the best LF's in the NL is absurd.

Of course, we've all been saying for years that to win a Gold Glove, you have to be a good offensive player...I think we've just seen proof of this. I don't take the voting for these things seriously, because the people voting for them don't either.

Of course, you could argue that he is better than Holliday...

10/31/2011 05:14:00 PM

Sunday, October 30, 2011

(10/30/2011 06:10:00 PM) - Al

Note the disbelief in the article that one of Obama's economic policies isn't working as they said it would.


10/30/2011 06:10:00 PM

(10/30/2011 06:00:00 PM) - Al

Giants exercise Affeldt's option for $5M, give Lopez 2y/$8M.

Those hoping the cost of relief pitchers would fall are, once again, about a decade behind the times.

10/30/2011 06:00:00 PM

(10/30/2011 05:45:00 PM) - Al

Sure a lot of violence at these protests.

Remind me again, how many arrests at the tea party events?

10/30/2011 05:45:00 PM

(10/30/2011 05:40:00 PM) - Al

John McCain sends out this piece, wondering what happens if we "lose the peace" in Iraq.

November of 2012 cannot come soon enough.

10/30/2011 05:40:00 PM

(10/30/2011 03:13:00 PM) - Al

Brust shakes free and streaks to the rim for two. Coach Ryan cracks a smile and says "That's how quick he is." Brust has 22 pts.--BadgerMBB Twitter

It is just the intrasquad game, but I expect to see Taylor, Gasser, and Brust on the floor a lot this season, with two big men. Brust can just flat out score, and both he and Gasser are athletic enough to defend small forwards. Brust also looks like he is the backup point guard, so when Jordan sits, he'll pick up those minutes as well.

10/30/2011 03:13:00 PM

(10/30/2011 02:26:00 PM) - Al

UK paper tells of declining numbers at Occupy after the snow...US old media ignores this, which I predicted weeks ago. Look, if you don't have the desire to get a job, staying outside when it's not comfy ain't going to happen.

10/30/2011 02:26:00 PM

(10/30/2011 02:02:00 PM) - Al

Yuni's option declined, as expected.

10/30/2011 02:02:00 PM

(10/30/2011 01:15:00 PM) - Al

The Rangers, Nationals, and Brewers top Buster Olney's list of potential landing spots for Grady Sizemore.--MLBTR

Unless Sizemore can play 1B or SS, I do not see it, especially since Doug said in his presser how nice it was having a pair of CF's going into the offseason, and obviously Hart/Braun are signed long-term.

10/30/2011 01:15:00 PM

(10/30/2011 01:12:00 PM) - Al

Sveum among first to be interviewed for Red Sox job.

One would have to figure he'd take a couple guys from the present or past Brewers' staffs. You also have to wonder if Robin Yount would be willing to go to BOS, as he has shown little desire to work in baseball, especially away from ARI.

10/30/2011 01:12:00 PM

Saturday, October 29, 2011

(10/29/2011 10:53:00 PM) - Al

That sound you hear is the Badgers' football bandwagon emptying.

Great win by Minnesota earlier today. The Gophers were thrilled to win a single game in the conference, and the Badgers are upset they're going to have to "settle" for, you know, a January 2nd bowl.

Trust me, not a lot of sympathy out there for you.

10/29/2011 10:53:00 PM

(10/29/2011 05:30:00 PM) - Al

My plan of going to the Halloween party as an Occupy person has been ruined...I just realized I already showered today, and I don't like using the bathroom outside.

The funny part is, like I'd ever go to a Halloween party...

10/29/2011 05:30:00 PM

(10/29/2011 03:51:00 PM) - Al

The JS just noticed Prince doesn't fit into the 2012 budget...heh. The only way they could fit him in would be to deal a SP for pre-arby players and went with Narveson as #4 and penciled in a cheap option, such as an acqusition, Fiers or Peralta as #5.

I could see a SP being dealt, but Mark A has said on many occasions that he does not feel that type of move "works" in MIL, at least if they hope to contend next season.

10/29/2011 03:51:00 PM

(10/29/2011 03:46:00 PM) - Al

U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000

Fed budget: $3,820,000,000,000

New debt: $1,650,000,000,000

National debt: $14,271,000,000,000

Recent budget cut: $38,500,000,000

Now, remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget.

Annual family income: $21,700

Money the family spent: $38,200

New debt on credit: $16,500

Outstanding balance of credit: $142,710

Total budget cuts: $385

Would you still agree to spending more? Will you vote for people who think you should spend more?

It's not a revenue problem, though it is becoming one in the Obama economy.

10/29/2011 03:46:00 PM

(10/29/2011 03:25:00 PM) - Al

Area districts saving millions of taxpayer dollars simply by changing to an health insurance not benefiting from union extortion tactics.

It is amazing how easy it is to stop spending taxpayer funds when you have someone in office that gives a damn and isn't a token liberal who sees us as an open wallet.

10/29/2011 03:25:00 PM

(10/29/2011 01:56:00 PM) - Al

Being a perpetual underdog fan, Indiana has some very solid skill players. Let's hope they stick around and get that program, along with the gophers, back to respectability. Both coaches signed seven year contracts, so it's no surprise to anyone neither team has the talent to compete at the Big Ten level as of today.

Both are sleeping giants, if only they can stop the cycle. Northwestern basketball is close to breaking through, but it takes a lot more bodies in football to achieve that.

10/29/2011 01:56:00 PM

(10/29/2011 01:49:00 PM) - Al

World Series ratings up 12%. Many people are saying this is proof you don't need a big Eastern metro area involved...but, those geniuses do not realize last year's did not have one either. NY/BOS/PHIL would have been even higher if it went seven games, as a competitive series leads to more casual viewers.

10/29/2011 01:49:00 PM

(10/29/2011 01:16:00 PM) - Al

The National Enquirer had to report the John Edwards affair, as the old media just helped to cover it up, because he was their pretty boy, far-left hope.

Now, Howard Stern is forced to do the same thing with the Occupy goofballs.

10/29/2011 01:16:00 PM

(10/29/2011 12:49:00 PM) - Al

I found this the other day, and got 11 of 15 of the top selling beers correct...if you want to do it, click the link before reading on:

SPOILERS: I had no idea Natural Light was still being made...I haven't seen an ad for it in 20+ years. I was running out of beers, so I put in Milwaukee's Best Light never expecting it to be there, and sure enough, it was. Ditto for Heineken, Michelob, and Corona; which were all in the top eight. Surprised Sam Adams was so low. And admittedly, I'm not a beer drinker, but I'd never heard of Yuengling, which is apparently a Northeast favorite.

10/29/2011 12:49:00 PM

(10/29/2011 12:37:00 PM) - Al

The Rambling wife just called, she's on her way to a quilting store that's closing the local outlet. She also had to take some old printers and a monitor to Best Buy for them to recycle (my suggestion, that she throw them out in the weeds behind our back yard was ignored). She said she literally could not believe how busy BB was, including a huge crowd around the IPad display, which as she points out, are a mortgage payment for many folks.

Don't forget, even with an economy that can only be called "weak" at best, 85-90% of the public is employed, and probably pretty comfortable...of course, the average person has credit card debt of $10K, so what's another $600?

10/29/2011 12:37:00 PM

(10/29/2011 12:08:00 PM) - Al

Once again, the nanny state mentality rears its ugly head.

A century ago, people thought nothing of spending a year of their life traveling across a vast land mass, full of dangers such as disease, unfriendlies, and uncomfortable, tough conditions.

Now, people expect the government to rescue them when they are a half-mile from their car on a near perfect autumn afternoon.

10/29/2011 12:08:00 PM

(10/29/2011 11:44:00 AM) - Al

Adam with a preview of the offseason. His number they have to play with, about $9M, would pretty much take them out of the running for any major free agents, including Prince. That pretty much agrees with my belief that once Fielder turned down the extension, or failed to reply, as Boras is prone to do, they spent it on Weeks and acquired the SP's.

I think Doug will look to pick up a RH/SH veteran to "protect" Gamel at 1B...possibly one that can also play 3B or the OF (or in the case of Ryan Doumit, who I talked about during the postseason roundtable, C/OF), and look to bring Hairston back...I assume they will at least touch base with Jerry's agent and try to use the exclusive negotiating period, as his versatility is a perfect fit, not to mention if the season started tomorrow, he'd be the best SS they have. Xavier Nady, a RH 1B/OF, also seems like a realistic fit, as does Juan Rivera, both noted lefty destroyers.

It's very easy to imagine McGehee fitting in at either 1B or 3B in some sort of "soft" platoon to begin the '12 campaign.

10/29/2011 11:44:00 AM

(10/29/2011 11:30:00 AM) - Al

Meghan McCain sends out this article...her dad likes to go back to the same joke, over and over.

I don't feel so bad now, because I do the same thing, as Ramblings longtime readers will agree.

10/29/2011 11:30:00 AM

(10/29/2011 01:18:00 AM) - Al

Ann's correct, the old media is having a terrible time straddling the imaginary line it has created.

That's a shame.

By the way, whatever happened to the guy who said Obama was a god a couple years ago? I mean, I'd love to see him interviewed and hear his opinions.

Rubes, one and all.

10/29/2011 01:18:00 AM

(10/29/2011 12:53:00 AM) - Al

Pelosi defends Obamacare waivers...they are small companies.

One of them...McDonald's.

In addition to having the Air Force at her beck and call for cross-country flights during her time as Speaker (chuckle, giggle, guffaw), she's a moron among morons.

10/29/2011 12:53:00 AM

(10/29/2011 12:38:00 AM) - Al

A few weeks ago, the Big 12 looked all but dead. Now, colleges are begging to get in, and sad when they can't.

10/29/2011 12:38:00 AM

(10/29/2011 12:11:00 AM) - Al

Teacher who won $1M from video game called in sick the day he won.

Ah, to be a union member and have no repercussions for lying to your employer. I'd fire his ass so quick, he'd cry all the way home, million bucks or not.

10/29/2011 12:11:00 AM

Friday, October 28, 2011

(10/28/2011 11:55:00 PM) - Al

This may be the stupidest, most untrue article I've seen in the decade I've been writing Ramblings.

Carpenter is at least 100 wins away from being considered for a Hall of Fame spot, and how many good teams he has been on means nothing. That's just embarrassing.

10/28/2011 11:55:00 PM

(10/28/2011 11:44:00 PM) - Al

So many fans buy these shirts (and we wonder why personal debt is so high) right away, as Kramer would say, it's a write-off to give away the other shirts to have them for sale right away.

10/28/2011 11:44:00 PM

(10/28/2011 11:32:00 PM) - Al

Fangraphs with a dumpster fire of a piece on Prince and how he will age.

Prince is not "normal" by any means, but the concern is valid, especially if you're talking about signing him for 6-7 years, and even moreso in a non DH league.

10/28/2011 11:32:00 PM

(10/28/2011 11:10:00 PM) - Al

Congrats to the Cards. A better reinforcement of the best way to a title has never been more clear... 90+ games, make the playoffs, and then hope for the best. Beane's contention that "it's just luck" isn't completely accurate, as there's a great amount of skill involved in playoff baseball. However, the idea that you can somehow build a team to be both healthy and effective in those short series at the end of the year is laughable.

If anything comes out of this, it may be the end of the 2-3 ace SP's and the start of more depth in the bullpen. As I have said before, at least teams can afford to add a couple relief guys at the deadline, both in payroll and prospect cost.

Also, both the participants were very offensive oriented, which was ignored by the cliched "pitching and defense," doesn't fit the narrative.

10/28/2011 11:10:00 PM

(10/28/2011 10:37:00 PM) - Al

Bill Bennett does get it wrong, and this gent explains why. Right now, there is simply no reason for men to "settle down," as women do not demand they do, and neither does society. I often think I'd still be single if not for the Rambling wife, as I had no intention of marrying before 30 (even though the competition was hellishly fierce, I tell ya), and to be blunt, almost all single guys I know seem every bit as happy, if not far happier, than those who are legally wed.

Add that to "the woman always gets the kids and the cash" legal system scoreboard, and matrimony is simply a losing proposition (no pun intended) for men. The numbers don't lie.

10/28/2011 10:37:00 PM

(10/28/2011 10:24:00 PM) - Al

Andre Agassi is fixing the education system one city at a time. Tomorrow night, his Vegas academy will guarantee it can last forever (I assume that means they can run it just on the interest/investment returns) with the annual celebrity fundraiser.

Good for him. As bad as most public school systems are, they can only go one direction.

10/28/2011 10:24:00 PM

(10/28/2011 10:14:00 PM) - Al

Heh. And the tea party groups always left the place cleaner than they found them.

10/28/2011 10:14:00 PM

(10/28/2011 10:07:00 PM) - Al

Man cuts off own arm in homemade guillotine.

No word on who will take his place as the smartest dude at the local Occupy movement.

Thank you, I'll be here all week.

10/28/2011 10:07:00 PM

(10/28/2011 09:54:00 PM) - Al

For the NBA players who follow me: Missing a month of the seasons costs $400M. Going from 52% to 51% on 7 year deal costs $280M!--Darren Rovell, CNBC sports business reporter

As of today, it's now a case of the players either fighting for a principle (heh), or simply not understanding mathematics.

10/28/2011 09:54:00 PM

(10/28/2011 09:50:00 PM) - Al

Luckily, Tim Tebow is a Christian, so he's fair game to make fun of.

Otherwise, of course, we'd be racists, and fair game for a terrorist attack.

10/28/2011 09:50:00 PM

(10/28/2011 09:44:00 PM) - Al

Peppermint Patty and Marci are not just friends, Charlie Brown--under the trending Twitter topic of rejected Peanuts specials


10/28/2011 09:44:00 PM

(10/28/2011 09:26:00 PM) - Al

Occupy Madison loses permit, because they're a bunch of scumbags.

No offense intended to bags of scum.

By the way, Obama has spoken out in support of these misbehaving fools. Look for history to be rewritten soon on that fine call.

10/28/2011 09:26:00 PM

(10/28/2011 07:53:00 PM) - Al

Forbes with a ten part series on strip clubs, strippers, and so on.

This is why we must have the internet.

I worked with a couple women in the Cities who worked a night or two a week as a "dancer," and from what I read, most are there part-time and make very good money at it.

10/28/2011 07:53:00 PM

(10/28/2011 06:01:00 PM) - Al

Incredibly long, but very worthwhile magazine article about being alone, with David Foster Wallace references worked in.

10/28/2011 06:01:00 PM

(10/28/2011 05:34:00 PM) - Al

Violence and theft...that's what Occupy is all about.

Funny, this apparently just started today, according to the old media. Heh.

10/28/2011 05:34:00 PM

(10/28/2011 04:52:00 PM) - Al

BAL to hire TOR assistant GM.

If you can't beat 'em...

Looks like a good choice, as TOR has fared competitively in the AL East and has a top farm system. That is a tough division.

10/28/2011 04:52:00 PM

(10/28/2011 04:18:00 PM) - Al

Breaking down Occupy...they're like a cult of socialists. The only real thing they are sure of...they want to travel, picnic, and party, and not have to pay for a damn thing.

10/28/2011 04:18:00 PM

(10/28/2011 03:55:00 PM) - Al

Each team would lose about 12 to 15 games with a Dec. 1 start. But they could reclaim a half-dozen or so games by extending the season through the end of April, two weeks past its usual conclusion. The rest of the games could be made up by adding an extra two to three games per month.--NY Times

So, they could make up 6 of the 12-15 games by playing an extra couple weeks, then make up 2-3 games a month in 4.5, they can make it a 88 game season!

If you're an Occupy protester, you won't get it, so just go back to your cartoons.

10/28/2011 03:55:00 PM

(10/28/2011 03:49:00 PM) - Al

Reports are plentiful that the NBA will have a deal by the end of the weekend. Perhaps the most optimistic is e-mails from the 76ers and Nets to their ticket department that it's time to get back to work and "all hands on deck" Monday.

I'm a pretty casual NBA fan, but let's be blunt, the Bucks are a far better option than Criminal Minds reruns on Ion and SVU's on USA.

10/28/2011 03:49:00 PM

(10/28/2011 03:25:00 PM) - Al

A single media outlet decides to cover Occupy honestly. Maybe two.

10/28/2011 03:25:00 PM

(10/28/2011 03:22:00 PM) - Al

Enemas and colonics...find out where you can find these near your house--Spam e-mail title

If I did have an interest in either of these, I think I'd pass on going to a place which uses online bulk e-mail to recruit their clientele.

10/28/2011 03:22:00 PM

(10/28/2011 03:15:00 PM) - Al

Funny, I would have much preferred a 2-1, well pitched, crisply played contest.

I am not a fan of 48-42 football games either. I don't follow the trends, I set 'em.

That said, if anyone still disagrees that the postseason is a crapshoot, you are probably out at Occupy, beating up the homeless that keep trying to take the food.

10/28/2011 03:15:00 PM

(10/28/2011 03:11:00 PM) - Al

I've been playing dad to the Rambling son today, watching Netflix together, library together, Mastermind together, Cousins together, shower...apart.

I checked my work e-mail this AM, and this is the first time I've been on Firefox (as a testament to the backwards company to which I contract independently (though I prefer the term 1099 executive, which I heard on a radio ad for a tax service once), they only use Internet Explorer for their site and mail).

More contrarian opinions to come.

10/28/2011 03:11:00 PM

Thursday, October 27, 2011

(10/27/2011 09:10:00 PM) - Al

Wuertz had a sub 3 ERA in the first half, then battled injuries in the 2nd half. OAK may not be able to afford him regardless, but add him to the list of available quality relievers the Crew will look at for next season.

10/27/2011 09:10:00 PM

(10/27/2011 08:32:00 PM) - Al

The brainwashing that went/goes on in Communist society.

Of course, if you're a complete idiot, you think it's utopia.

10/27/2011 08:32:00 PM

(10/27/2011 06:41:00 PM) - Al

MLB CBA almost done, compromise reached on draft pick bonuses, no mandatory slotting, but some sort of tax on overpays.

Bud gets it done. Everyone in the game is making so much money, no one dreams of rocking the boat.

10/27/2011 06:41:00 PM

(10/27/2011 05:21:00 PM) - Al

Absolute stunning cuts to defense...including cutting the Navy to pre-World War 1 levels.

Spend, spend, spend...except when it comes to protecting ourselves and our interests, and then, well, the military isn't that important anyway.

As I have said before, I could have never imagined the long-term impact this presidency will have on the future of the greatest country in the history of the world. A complete lack of common sense and the foggiest idea.

10/27/2011 05:21:00 PM

(10/27/2011 05:10:00 PM) - Al

Article saying Netflix is undervalued. I'd tend to agree, as while it lost 800K last quarter, and will likely lose twice that before they bottom out, they still have 22M households paying a minimum of $8 a month for their service, and they have far more selection, it's not even close, than any of their competitors.

10/27/2011 05:10:00 PM

(10/27/2011 04:20:00 PM) - Al

Macha and Terry Pendleton mentioned as sleeper choices for Red Sox job.

It'd truly be hilarious to see Don Money chosen, just to see if he'd last more than a day or week. After the first loss, he'd probably rip every single player in the old media and you'd have 25 guys in the GM's office.

The irony is, Money managed some of the best prospects in the game the past decade, and yet, according to him, every single one of them sucked. I think it's safe to say he's a "glass half empty" kind of guy. It'd be funny to see him be Doug's assistant, as he brings in guys with warts to be role players, and have Don say "Geez Doug, not single one of these guys you brought in to be sit on the bench is perfect."

Money seems to forget even Babe Ruth got out 53% of the time, and for most of his career, was not very fleet of foot, nor a top defender. Still, teams accepted him for what he was...

10/27/2011 04:20:00 PM

(10/27/2011 03:56:00 PM) - Al

I always wonder how the companies who use real associates in their ads find the extra good looking people.

That memo, which basically reads, "If you have any really attractive people we can use in a commercial," must be so loaded with legal speak, I'm surprised the management can figure out what it means.

Except of course for Hooters, they can pretty much just drop into any location and roll film.

I still recall one year at Toys, in a hard-to-hire store, the store director started overnights a week early just so he didn't have to look at/show the customers one of the seasonal folks he dubbed "the missing link"...think a 6-7 version of Charlie Manson in his 20's. One of the department managers told him you can't discriminate on appearance, and the director replied, "You can when he scares the children."

Almost every company I worked for refused to hire anyone who had ever been convicted of a felony. I once gave a ride home to a girl who was dating a guy on probation, and she volunteered he could not find work. I told her that, and she defensively said "They can't do that!"

Ah, the innocence of youth

10/27/2011 03:56:00 PM

(10/27/2011 03:53:00 PM) - Al

I'm so glad I remembered to wear my Halloween tie yesterday, as I'm home with the Rambling son today and tomorrow. I'll wear it to the office Monday, and call it another year.

Funny, both people who commented on it noticed the orange color, but not the Halloween motif until I pointed it out.

10/27/2011 03:53:00 PM

(10/27/2011 03:09:00 PM) - Al

LHP Mitch Stetter outrighted to Triple-A Nashville.--Brewers

The question I have is whether or not Stetter has the option of declining this and becoming a free agent.

10/27/2011 03:09:00 PM

(10/27/2011 12:33:00 PM) - Al

This germaphobe wants more nanny state rules and regs areas in restaurants?

So, how many kids do you know that have been hospitalized with all these terrible, dangerous germs?

Me neither. Once again, proof that out nation is no wildly wealthy that we have people making up pretend problems just to keep things interesting.

10/27/2011 12:33:00 PM

(10/27/2011 12:26:00 PM) - Al

This gets better every day...Occupy kitchen staff tired of feeding freeloaders.

How dare people show up to get free food they didn't earn while we stinkily chant about getting money we didn't earn!

10/27/2011 12:26:00 PM

(10/27/2011 11:38:00 AM) - Al

I'm being told that Obama folks tried to talk Wis Dems out of costly, uphill recall of Gov. Scott Walker. Local activists blew them off.--Charlie Sykes

In order to win WI, Obama will have to pretend he's moving back to the middle. That's why his siding with the unions and Occupy fools is so short-sighted, as you can't get any further to the left as those two groups.

10/27/2011 11:38:00 AM

(10/27/2011 11:35:00 AM) - Al

Adam with a basic preview of 2012. Not much there that wasn't already known, but a good starting point.

10/27/2011 11:35:00 AM

(10/27/2011 12:14:00 AM) - Al

Word on Twitter is that Occupy is calling for a strike.

Think how the economy will be damaged by a bunch of unemployed idiots "striking."

On that note, sleep well.

10/27/2011 12:14:00 AM

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

(10/26/2011 10:36:00 PM) - Al

Progress being made in NBA talks, per unreliable, but probably correct internet rumors.

10/26/2011 10:36:00 PM

(10/26/2011 10:13:00 PM) - Al

So my question is, if they don't stay all night, why are they so unclean looking? Showers are apparently kryptonite to the ignorant masses.

And yes, the fact they are hypocrites, in addition to buffoons, is simply hilarious.

10/26/2011 10:13:00 PM

(10/26/2011 09:53:00 PM) - Al

Draft bonuses the only thing keeping the CBA from being done. This could be announced as early as tomorrow, as Selig is unlikely to hold it up over something they've pretty much held down with slotting.

10/26/2011 09:53:00 PM

(10/26/2011 08:37:00 PM) - Al

Scioscia with some revisionist history now that Napoli is a star, and he often at behind one of the worst offensive players in the game with the Angels.

It's always funny when managers insist on playing their no hit/good field player, and now struggle explaining why. It's also no fun having to explain bad trades when you don't have a GM title, yet everyone knows the former GM was just a paper pusher.

And, that's probably why Andrew Freidman says he'd rather stay in TB.

10/26/2011 08:37:00 PM

(10/26/2011 07:32:00 PM) - Al

This is why Occupy hasn't faded away as quickly as I thought it would.

The anti-capitalists seem very motivated by capitalism. Heh.

10/26/2011 07:32:00 PM

(10/26/2011 06:49:00 PM) - Al

.325 x .425 x 5447 = 752 estimated Brewers' runs

721 actual runs

I would guess the Crew finished a bit below estimate because of a lack of speed (Prince, Casey, and the catchers) including the pitching staff having the 2nd best OPS in the NL.

10/26/2011 06:49:00 PM

(10/26/2011 06:34:00 PM) - Al

2011 runs scored projection

.320 OBP x .399 SLG x 5524 AB = 705 projected runs for the average team.

In reality, the average team scored 694 runs last year.

705/694 = 1.59% off

OXS was 98.41% accurate in projecting runs league wide. Now, you'll get some nerds who say it's only 95% accurate if you figure it out on a team basis, but in reality, if you want a quick, down and dirty estimate of how many runs your team will score next year, estimate OBP and SLG, knock it down a bit for reserves and injuries, and you'll be pretty close. Sadly, about as close as any of the fantasy books and the like. As Robert has said on occasion, if you take the last three seasons stats and add/subtract 2-3% based on how close a player is to their peak seasons of'll be as good as most everyone.

The funny part is, people ask about SB's, sac bunts, "doing the little things" like hitting behind the runner...and yes, they do matter...about 2% in fact.

If only we spent 49 times more energy talking about "doing the big things" like we should, I wouldn't think Buck and McCarver were such idiots.

10/26/2011 06:34:00 PM

(10/26/2011 06:25:00 PM) - Al

Most dangerous concept in baseball is over reliance on OBP opposed to getting good pitch to hit.--LaRussa

Cards had top 5 OBP in 11 of past 12 years.--Gleeman

Taking bad pitches and swinging at good pitches is very important...especially when you can take OBP for granted, like SL has. Without a doubt, the most important aspect to scoring runs is simply not getting out, which is what OBP measures. However, don't forget that OBP x SLG (OXS) is about 98% accurate every single year in projecting runs scored, so while OBP is #1, SLG is #1A.

10/26/2011 06:25:00 PM

(10/26/2011 02:36:00 PM) - Robert R.

Movie review based on a preview screening.


I don't know if it would technically be called a horror film, but MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE is certainly filled with enough shocks and paranoid suspense to put most horror films to shame. It's a quiet, slow burn of a movie that doesn't succumb to a tendency for cheap thrills at all, the result is a movie that's quietly disturbing. It's also very human and realistic, anchored by two of the best performances of the year.

The unnamed "M" that belongs with the title is MANSON. Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) manages to escape from a cult at the beginning of the film in a scene of quiet tension. Martha manages to connect with her estranged sister (Sarah Paulson) and goes to recover at a lake house, although her sister doesn't know exactly what Martha's been through. There Martha tries to reintegrate with society. But Martha's troubled past haunts her as the film has a subjective stream of consciousness quality as we travel back and forth between the cult in the past and the lake house in the present.

Elizabeth Olsen (the younger sister of Mary Kate and Ashley) is great. It seems every year lately we get a breakout performance from the likes of Carey Mulligan in AN EDUCATION or Jennifer Lawrence in WINTER'S BONE and Elizabeth Olsen carries the film as much as those two did. Martha's a woman without an identity in the world. In the cult, she's dubbed Marcy May to separate her from her past. Martha, at the very least, is suffering from PTSD from the abuses she's received. She might very well be paranoid schizophrenic. The movie revolves around her, often in silent closeup, as we try to make sense of her as she tries to discover herself anew. And, perhaps, forget the past. But, it's clear that the past isn't easy to wash away, despite a large lake right outside. It's a star making turn.

Another thing the movie shares with WINTER'S BONE is a fantastic supporting performance from John Hawkes. He manages to evoke the charisma of Manson without falling into easy cliches. You can just tell though that he views the world and people as something to manipulate to his whims. Despite claimes to the contrary, he manages to create his own little hard scrabble patriarchy with himself at the head. He tears down and builds up his harem of women and followers according to his needs.

There's a trifle of class warfare in this film. Hawkes's cult lives simply off the land in a commune like existence. They talk about being self sufficient, even as they have no problem staging home invasions of the rich for things to steal. The lake house world is a world of total privilege. There are two "families" here, Hawkes's "family" and Martha's blood family, and you can sort of see the male patriarchs in charge of both world. Martha's brother-in-law (Hugh Dancy) uses his wealth and privilege prinicipally to rule his roost. There are scenes in both sections where Martha is drugged, for instance. And where the patriarch gives her a feeling of power, with a gun in Hawkes's case and behind the wheel of a power speedboat in Dancy's case. I think this subtext is a little overstated, but it's not so much so that both worlds are drawn as equivalents. It's just that neither world appreciates Martha as an individual and tries to break her to the norms of both, without understanding her needs at all.

About the only elements I'd criticize are Martha's sister and brother-in-law. They're not bad, but they're not in the class of Olsen and Hawkes and they seem more like cut outs than fully realized characters. Sarah Paulson comes off the better of the two as she has an actual arc where she's wanting to become a mother and how she handles Martha she sees as something of a trial run. And, of course, it's complicated by their history as sisters. Dancy is a weak opposite of Hawkes though with his possessions being more charismatic than he is. It probably doesn't help that although it's just a few days in time for the story, it's obvious early that Martha needs serious psychiatric help while Paulson and Dancy dither over what to do. Paulson has the complicated emotional history to kind of explain her dithering, but what's Dancy's excuse?

Sean Durkin wrote and directed the film and it's a master class in mood and sustained tension. The transitions are often purposefully disorienting and it sometimes takes a few seconds to figure out if we're in the past or present, just like Martha. It makes it all the easier to identify with Martha's experiences. The ending may strike some as abrupt, but it's the perfect paranoid uneasy cap on the whole movie. Durkin is a director to watch in the future, displaying chops that M. Night Shamalayan hinted at but never really developed. This is his debut film and if he can build on it, he's someone to really keep an eye on.

There's already Oscar talk surrounding the performances of Olsen and Hawkes and I think they're well founded. MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE is platforming out in an obvious Awards release pattern, but it's worth checking out at the earliest opportunity. It's not often you seem movies with this much tension balanced with great performances and intelligent writing and directing. It's one of the best films of the year.

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10/26/2011 02:36:00 PM

(10/26/2011 12:43:00 PM) - Al

You know, I can't find a single thing to cut...we're just going to have to tax more.

The pain, I can't stand the pain!

10/26/2011 12:43:00 PM

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

(10/25/2011 11:43:00 PM) - Al

Narveson had hip surgery, DiFelice and Wilson off the 40.

Hopefully, Chris' procedure was minor. As I often say, few players are at 100% late in the season.

I would assume the Crew will try to sign Mark and Josh to minor league deals. Both have had some success, and either would be nice guys to have around in reserve, even with April 1st opt-outs.

EDIT: Chris had a chronic condition that needed surgery, and his rehab will take him right up to Arizona. As always, having 6th, 7th, and 8th SP's will be necessary, the average teams use nine SP's over 162 games.

10/25/2011 11:43:00 PM

(10/25/2011 09:51:00 PM) - Al

No pay raises, end of shady overtime practice.

The question isn't why, the question is how the Dems allowed this to go on for decades while the taxpayers paid for it.

10/25/2011 09:51:00 PM

(10/25/2011 04:49:00 PM) - Al

Among tidbits from Cherington's presser, they will likely exercise Scutaro's option.

10/25/2011 04:49:00 PM

(10/25/2011 03:01:00 PM) - Al

Heh. It's the damn bullpen phone's fault.

Hat tip to Trenni, whose many "talents" are wasted now that she's on the radio.

10/25/2011 03:01:00 PM

(10/25/2011 02:58:00 PM) - Al

Bumper sticker of the day: "ANNOY A LIBERAL: WORK HARD AND BE HAPPY!"--The Crazy Granny


10/25/2011 02:58:00 PM

(10/25/2011 02:34:00 PM) - Al

Dodgers slash ticket prices...well below Miller Park, for non-prime seats.

10/25/2011 02:34:00 PM

(10/25/2011 02:23:00 PM) - Al

"Stimulus" money used to attack carbonated beverages.

1. I think they also employ people.

2. The nanny state is the only thing growing in this economy.

10/25/2011 02:23:00 PM

(10/25/2011 02:13:00 PM) - Al

First Vegas, now private jets. Obama doesn't seem to realize that jobs are good...even if they are the dreaded non-government, capitalist occupations.

Elections have consequences. Sadly, the 2008 one has cost many their livelihood, and the only answer is to tax more, spend more, and ignore how economics work.

10/25/2011 02:13:00 PM

(10/25/2011 02:08:00 PM) - Al

Reason talks about the union thugs teaching for a day and getting a pension for life, as I did yesterday.

Despite hitting rock bottom numerous times, the unions prove over and over they are very capable of extracting just a bit more dirt from any hole.

It's all about the kids. Oh, and extorting the taxpayers for every damn penny they can.

10/25/2011 02:08:00 PM

(10/25/2011 12:56:00 PM) - Al

Tom Verducci looks at the strategery last night, and says he doesn't get it.

Personally, I'm not sure if that old joke, how do you tell when a lawyer is lying (his lips are moving) doesn't come into play. LaRussa's excuses, while supposedly being protective of his players, simply make no sense. Most players have the freedom to try and steal a base, but batters ordering the runner to run is...unique. And then, not making any attempt to swing at the ball, even moreso. Misheard which pitcher to get up twice? Were they using tin cans with a string? Crowd noise? C'mon.

I recall once when Macha was managing, he had to send Narveson out to the bullpen with a message because the phones were down. Chris ran out, and after the half-inning, came back, smiling about his new role. That really isn't difficult, to say the least.

To think LaRussa somehow has a better grasp on things went out the window last night. He's as good as his players are, and his planning remind me of the Lopes/Stewart days, when Davey would turn to Grumpy, Grumpy would walk over to the phone, and a conversation would ensue...who to get up, as they had never discussed it, as that would have involved doing something other than telling each other how much better they were than the players now.

Despite this, no one could have won with the Brewers' teams back then. Of course, Loretta and Belliard both sat on the bench, and a year or tow later, were all-stars. They would not have been a 90 win team if Mark and Ron had seen the field, but they would have been a couple games better.

10/25/2011 12:56:00 PM

Monday, October 24, 2011

(10/24/2011 06:33:00 PM) - Al

When asked about long-shots with Cubs and Red Sox for mgr, source said keep eye on Dale Sveum, Mike Maddux.--Joel Sherman

That's at least the 4th mention for Sveum in some point, he stops being a sleeper and becomes a favorite.

10/24/2011 06:33:00 PM

(10/24/2011 04:08:00 PM) - Al

Two union guys taught for a day, will now qualify for $250K in taxpayer funded pensions in IL.

It's all about the kids. Oh...and extortion.

10/24/2011 04:08:00 PM

(10/24/2011 03:50:00 PM) - Al

Ten worst things about living in Vegas.

I've never even been to Vegas, and I only made it to #5, but I am linking it to explain that you can complain about those things in every other city/state as well. Hey, the desert doesn't sound too bad when it's 20 below. You just have to make the most of it. We're a couple small town kids, and neither of us really liked living in the Twin Cities, but we did for over half-a-decade, and certainly did not cry or moan about it like the author.

They'd be unhappy no matter where they lived. That's the way many people are, and it's really kind of sad.

Enjoy the journey.

10/24/2011 03:50:00 PM

(10/24/2011 03:35:00 PM) - Al

One night this last week, the Rambling dog was doing his normal wandering around the living room...he knows when it's about feeding time...when one of his back legs "locked up." The hardwood floor makes it far worse, as he can't get any grip, but he started sliding around the room, his body kind of dragging his one back leg along. Once, he took a corner too close and his back half hit the wall, knocking him down. Then, he went over to a chair, tried to jump up, but didn't make it, falling down on his back.

I carried him over to the sofa next to me, and he started shaking, which sadly, is almost certainly because he was afraid he was missing a meal. I let him go, and he hurriedly jumped down, checked his bowl, and continued wandering...his leg was fine, has been ever since. In fact he has been fine, seemingly healthier than he has been in ages. This is the first summer in years he has not had a "stomach issue," and it's been a while since he has had any medical needs, he had lyme disease before me, and a UTI early in the year.

He's 15, and it's to the point when I say his age, people repeat it, so I take that as a sign he's at an age that's considered "up there." He's such a good little guy, and since he does so little besides eat and sleep, sometimes you get the feeling he can do that for years to come. Sadly, that's pretty unlikely. Every holiday, every haircut, the Rambling wife or myself always wonder if this will be "the last one."

As much as we hope it won't be, eventually, that day will come.

10/24/2011 03:35:00 PM

(10/24/2011 02:55:00 PM) - Al

Down 20 pounds in 3 weeks, but now corporate America has decided to end that.

I'll be starting Occupy Ramblings in the morning. If you dare to join me, just ensure you don't shower or have a girlfriend/wife...or any prospects of either.

10/24/2011 02:55:00 PM

(10/24/2011 02:41:00 PM) - Al

Tom H's chat over at the JS takes a long time to say he doesn't really know.

10/24/2011 02:41:00 PM

(10/24/2011 02:06:00 PM) - Al

Bloomberg with a positive editorial about online poker...of course, what do they know about business...other than that, you know, business network thing.

10/24/2011 02:06:00 PM

(10/24/2011 01:54:00 PM) - Al

If you haven't signed up yet for Free Sports Bet, what are you waiting for. You can sign up now and they'll give you money to bet with tonight! It's even legal, because they give you $1 to get you started.

Hurry up and open an account.

10/24/2011 01:54:00 PM

(10/24/2011 01:48:00 PM) - Al

Let me get this straight, because it's a top heavy class, it's not a good year to be a free agent?

In the real world, that means many of those mediocre free agents will be way overpaid, especially with a new CBA relaxing owners' minds about future profit.

Forest for the trees.

10/24/2011 01:48:00 PM

(10/24/2011 01:44:00 PM) - Al

If Obama would give me a job, maybe I'd lose some doubt too. As is, he's far worse than I could have imagined, and I had rather low expectations, to say the least.

10/24/2011 01:44:00 PM

(10/24/2011 01:26:00 PM) - Al

Just got a recommendation for Jericho for Steve to watch, and the e-mailer said I would enjoy it too. I looked, as I thought maybe it was a 4-6 episode summer lasted 30 episodes, and was actually canceled and then brought back due to viewer request.

By the way, it occurs to me that the Rambling nephew Steve thinks it is hilarious that someone else named Steve is in pain and asking for my advice.

10/24/2011 01:26:00 PM

(10/24/2011 01:02:00 PM) - Al

MLBTR looks at the 1B available, and adds a pair of possible non-tenders, Loney and Barton, who have far better numbers on the road, as their home parks depress their offense, and more than likely, the hitters themselves. Luke Scott's mouth will keep him from getting half the money his offense has earned, and he's recovering from injury, but he'd be a fine 1B/LF/DH for a lot of teams.

I looked at the FA 1B over at Misfit Toys here.

10/24/2011 01:02:00 PM

(10/24/2011 12:55:00 PM) - Al

Old media at its finest...a barely readable column that is apparently trying to argue Nick Punto is better than Joe Mauer?

Punto is a very good defensive player, and much like Counsell, has a pretty good OBP. At $750K, he not only has value, but is probably underpaid by $1.5-2M. However, the mere act of asking the question makes you an idiot.

10/24/2011 12:55:00 PM

(10/24/2011 12:51:00 PM) - Al

Occupy Milwaukee goon, let's see, voter fraud, making a threat of violence, using false addresses...quite a fella to have representing your movement.

Please, please stick around...well, we know they won't when it gets cold, but we can dream.

10/24/2011 12:51:00 PM

(10/24/2011 12:38:00 PM) - Al

Speaking of being stat-minded, Jim Thome will have to wait to find a job and probably only get $1-2M for his 900 OPS, since he's old.

The next Moneyball might end up being signing age 35+ guys to one year deals, because teams are afraid they'll break down. Some might, but considering the market discount, teams can afford to replace them easily.

That's how I'd find my DH every year, wait 'til a couple weeks before spring training starts, and bring in a bat like Thome or Jack Cust...guys who have so many warts only a few teams will consider them...even though they get on base and hit HR's.

10/24/2011 12:38:00 PM

(10/24/2011 12:34:00 PM) - Al

Gleeman shoots us a head up on a new MLBN show which, gasp, talks about stats, rather than the all important "clubhouse leadership" and "wanting it more."

I'll take the guy who can hit and sucks at leadership, thanks.

10/24/2011 12:34:00 PM

(10/24/2011 12:31:00 PM) - Al

Funny, that sounds a lot like limited health care, but since I've been promised that would never happen under this administration, I guess I'm too ignorant to know what it means.

10/24/2011 12:31:00 PM

(10/24/2011 12:28:00 PM) - Al

Try not to feel sorry for this online pro who was forced to move from TX to British Columbia to continue his profession. And look what a dump he's forced to live in.

Actually, it's the American dream and IRS who is suffering. It hurts my feelings to consider this was once the land of the free...even if you play a game of skill online.

10/24/2011 12:28:00 PM

(10/24/2011 12:28:00 PM) - Al

Wondering what Theo will bring is exactly why the Cubs have lost for so long. Avoiding giving long-term, huge dollar contracts to mediocre players over 30 is all he has to do. The Cubs already spend plenty on payroll, they just mismanage it.

10/24/2011 12:28:00 PM

(10/24/2011 11:30:00 AM) - Robert R.

Some thoughts on some upcoming films principally viewed during the Milwaukee Film Festival.

Natural Selection

The opening film of the festival with John Axford, Randy Wolf, and Tim Dillard in attendance. Rachel Harris is the wife of a fundamentalist who is untouched by her husband because she can't bear children and he views sex without the possibility of procreation as a sin. He's seemingly found a loophole for himself by making regular deposits at the local sperm bank. A stroke during a visit reveals all of this and sets Rachel Harris on a road trip to retrieve one of his progeny Raymond (Matt O'Leary), a complete screwup on the run from the law.

Most of this results in your typical indie road movie as Harris and O'Leary bond on the trip back and a series of misadventures. She loosens up some and he actually learns some sense of responsibility. You know where it's headed. Or at least you think you do as the movie swerves from the standard path and becomes genuinely emotionally messy and interesting in the last act and instead of a religious or family parable it becomes about Rachel Harris's character finding her own self worth.

I'm not generally a fan of Rachel Harris who usually falls back on being smug and snarky in most of performances I've seen her in, but she really shines in this role. Perhaps because she's playing against type she gets to remove some of her easy crutches and exercise some of her other acting muscles. Yeah there are writing moments to criticize, I swear that screenwriters sometimes think that religious = stupidly naive, but Harris manages to embue the character with genuine pathos and an underlying spark that we get to see blossom.

Natural Selection is a little overrated, it swept the SXSW festival awards basically, but it's a solid little film with a terrific lead performance and some unexpected twists in formula.

Vincent Wants to Sea

Speaking of formula, Vincent Wants to Sea follows the indie road movie formula almost to a fault. But that formula is essentially American in nature, so transporting it to Europe gives it a fresh novelty.

Vincent (Florian David Fitz) has Tourette's and is unable to cope with the outside world. Not even long enough to not make a scene at his mother's funeral. His absent, politician father convinces/bullies him into checking into a mental facility for treatment. Vincent bonds with anorexic Marie (Karoline Herfurth) and kind of butts heads with his OCD roommate Alexander (Johannes Allmayer). But, it's not long before all three are on the road to the Italian sea with a stolen doctor's car and Vincent's father and the concerned doctor in pursuit.

You can probably guess most of the story beats from there. Still, formula is used because it works. The actors are genuinely good and the scenery is stunningly beautiful in some shots. The movie is also effectively blunt in the dangers of anorexia, so there's at least one life at stake even if the characters don't necessarily realize it at first. Sure it's a coming of age story, but when done well they can still work our emotions and for the most part Vincent Wants to Sea is done well.


Ralph Fiennes makes his directorial debut in a modern dress adaptation of Shakespeare's play. It's not as successful as Ian McKellan's Richard III, but the story is still relevant, the updates make sense and are fun, and the acting is across the board good and in some cases great. Plus, there are some terrific knife fights and the action scenes feel ripped out of modern combat footage.

Ralph Fiennes portrays the title character, the Roman General Caius Martius, dubbed Coriolanus after a military triumph at the City of Corioles over his arch-rival Augidius (Gerard Butler). Coriolanus is opening contemptous of the non-military citizens of Rome, setting out the riot police to stop starving citizens from raiding the graineries, and having no use for non-military niceties in general. He's also a giant momma's boy, raised to be a military man by Volumnia (Vanessa Redgrave). Bowing to his mother's encouragement, Coriolanus seeks the title of Consul and gains the approval of the Senate. But Coriolanus utterly fails to gain to plebians to his side, showing his utter contempt, and is outmaneuvered by populist politicians resulting in his banishment. Coriolanus then teams with Aufidious to gain his revenge by leading an Army on Rome.

That's the gist of the plot. What gives it impact is Fiennes' performance where he's all intensity and almost barks his words. It's a bit one note, but it's effective all the same. He's overshadowed by some terrific work from Vanessa Redgrave. Say what you want about her politics, but she knows her way around iambic pentameter and flat out steals every scene she's in against some rather impressive competition. Brian Cox and Gerard Butler also stand out. Jessica Chastain is over her head a bit though.

It's still a very relevant story. The battle sequences look like something out of The Hurt Locker and the protesters and riot police clashes look current as well. The use of a Fox News / CNN news channel called Veritas is an always amusing way to update the audience on plot developments. It also plays very well on the elite vs. populist message that always draws tension, as well as the charades that politics often are. Shakespeare was a loyal supporter of the monarchy and the play sides with the State over the people and the individual, but there are enough shadings to keep it interesting.

Overall, it's an impressive debut for Fiennes as a director. Coriolanus also illuminates one of Shakespeare's more obscure plays by showing how relevant it still is. At the very least, I wouldn't be surprised if it gains attention through the awards season and we find that Vanessa Redgrave getting at least a Supporting Actress nomination.

The Way

Emilio Estevez directs a movie that seems as far away from Charlie Sheen's sensibilities as possible. That's mostly a good thing, but The Way doesn't quite have the chops to fully live up to it's introspection, spirituality, and earnestness.

Martin Sheen portrays Tom, a successful eye doctor who doesn't have the same view on life as his son Daniel (Emilio Estevez). When Daniel gets caught in a storm and dies on a pilgrimage, The Camino de Santiago / The Way of Saint James, which winds for about 500 kilometers through southern France and northern Spain, Tom is pulled out of his existence to retrieve the body. To deal with his grief, he decides to complete the journey his son set out on. Along the way Tom encounters a Dutch pilgrim Joost (Yorick van Wangeningen) who just seems to be looking for the next party although he's allegedly making the journey to lose weight, a Canadian Sarah (Deborah Kara Unger) who's prickly exterior hides some interior pain of her own, and an Irish writer Jack (James Nesbitt) who wanted to write a book about the Way, but now suffers from writer's block (even though it doesn't effect his natural bent for talking). They form their own little group for the pilgrimage.

Despite some fine acting, particularly by Sheen, and some impressive scenery, the story isn't fleshed out enough to be particularly invigorating. There are some parallels to the Wizard of Oz, Joost needs courage, Sarah needs to find her heart, and Jack needs to get his brain working again, but none of the side stories are as effective or fleshed out as Tom's. It's a respectable effort and a reasonably enjoyable film, even if it's going in all the obvious directions, but it doesn't rise much beyond competent.

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10/24/2011 11:30:00 AM

(10/24/2011 11:27:00 AM) - Al


10/24/2011 11:27:00 AM

(10/24/2011 11:26:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers had four players who ranked in the top ten in UZR at their respective positions in 2011...who are they?

Answer below space...

...McGehee, Hart (yes, despite those two being lumped in as poor defenders all year), and two CF's, Morgan and Gomez.

10/24/2011 11:26:00 AM

(10/24/2011 10:13:00 AM) - Al

Al, why do the announcers act like LaRussa himself made the pitches when the relievers he calls on get batters out, but when he removes a pitcher who has only given up a run and the first reliever promptly gives up a HR, no one questions it?--Steve

Ken Macha actually answered this a year or two ago, when he said, paraphrasing here, "He can do whatever he wants," referring to LaRussa. I've seen him run out of pitchers in the 10th inning enough to ignore the hype myself, but many ignore the moves that simply lack common sense. The one the other night, with Laird running for Molina...obviously, just a move to make a move, as both run slower than molasses in January (see, I was raised in a small town).

Now, onto more important stuff, Steve also tells that he is recuperating from surgery, and asks for suggestions to watch on Netflix. We have the streaming version, but both the Roku and Wii are downstairs, and I usually watch TV upstairs, so I have little idea. Steve says he's especially interested in shows and movies he's never watched before, like series that were only on a season or two, or "hidden gems" among the oodles of other stuff.

Send those links and suggestions to me.

10/24/2011 10:13:00 AM

(10/24/2011 09:23:00 AM) - Al

Great weekend behind us, wonderful week ahead of us.--Facebook friend

This is why I'm anti-social. Shut the hell up.

10/24/2011 09:23:00 AM

(10/24/2011 06:30:00 AM) - Al

All right, some scheduled stuff will hit the site today throughout the work day, scheduled in neatly, as I'll be at the office (though I see on her automated e-mail response my boss is out of the country, so I think it'll be a short day) setting up my week (though it's a short week, as the Rambling son is off school Thursday and Friday).

Just like this, by the way, because unless someone in the house is throwing up, I'm sleeping at 6:30.

10/24/2011 06:30:00 AM

Sunday, October 23, 2011

(10/23/2011 08:43:00 PM) - Al

Why giving money to Africa is foolish...look at Madonna's grand plans, $11M thrown away, in the hands of gangs, thugs, and whatever they call the mob over there.

Need to start thinking out of the box. As Sam Kinison said, it's sand, and it's always going to be sand. This talk about "a drought" is going on three decades of foolishness.

10/23/2011 08:43:00 PM

(10/23/2011 06:44:00 PM) - Al

Selig still hasn't ruled out 15/15 possibility for

The schedule has been out about six weeks, but I suppose it can be redone. If they add the extra playoff teams, I guess I'll allow it.

10/23/2011 06:44:00 PM

(10/23/2011 06:41:00 PM) - Al

I am shocked...shocked that tax and spend doesn't seem to be working in Illinois.

10/23/2011 06:41:00 PM

(10/23/2011 05:41:00 PM) - Al

I'm already reading tales of overstocked stores and early sales. It ain't pretty out there.

10/23/2011 05:41:00 PM

(10/23/2011 12:09:00 PM) - Al

Don't be surprised if Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum emerges as a top candidate for the Boston job.--Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe

That's the 3rd or 4th time I've seen that. Sveum was a coach in BOS and was lured to MIL by Yount, if memory serves, and has been there ever since. Dale is popular with players, but I doubt there's more than one or two left in BOS who he knows.

10/23/2011 12:09:00 PM

Saturday, October 22, 2011

(10/22/2011 11:23:00 PM) - Al


To your point, just got home from the bar where I watched the game. When the call was announced, everyone was so upset, but as they kept showing the replay, almost everyone admitted it was a TD, as you said, it just has to touch the air directly above the goal line. My friend was so confident, he ordered a pitcher during the review, so we had to stay and finish it. After the initial anger faded, it was easy to see the ball was above the line. Need a laser to make it more obvious to us drunks.

Funny story on the walk back to our apartment, my roomie told some guys who were complaining about the game that they had called the teams back out on the field because they could not overturn that type of play. They went sprinting off to get home and watch the end of the game, that had been over for 45 minutes.


Heh. You kids today, with your dishonesty to each other. There is hope.

10/22/2011 11:23:00 PM

(10/22/2011 10:54:00 PM) - Al

After watching the replay a few times, the word on Twitter is it was not "indisputable," but that he probably did break the plane.

Heh. And I still believe the cheerleaders in high school didn't want to harm our friendship. It's amazing how bias clouds clear thinking.

10/22/2011 10:54:00 PM

(10/22/2011 10:38:00 PM) - Al

Apparently, Badgers' fans on Twitter do not understand the "breaking the plane of the goal line." Heck, he was easily in before getting pushed back. If any part of the ball goes over any part of the line, it's a TD. Arguing makes you look like you need a new TV.

I knew it would be overturned on the first replay, and they only took a little while to look it over. If it would have been close, they'd still be watching replays.

10/22/2011 10:38:00 PM

(10/22/2011 10:33:00 PM) - Al

I'm still trying to figure out how the Spartans lost the tiebreaker last year after defeating the Badgers head-to-head. Heckuva ball game, congrats to the folks in East Lansing...heck, I didn't know it was possible to win a game without vulgar chants.:)

10/22/2011 10:33:00 PM

(10/22/2011 10:07:00 PM) - Al

Stimulus cost more than Iraq War.

Inept know nothings.

10/22/2011 10:07:00 PM

(10/22/2011 09:46:00 PM) - Al

If I saw that ad right, Hampton Inn is now bragging about changing the bedding every time a guest leaves?

If you're impressed by that, imagine the excitement when you realize you can take an apple off the front desk every time you walk by!

10/22/2011 09:46:00 PM

(10/22/2011 09:39:00 PM) - Al

Badgers down 14 with about 10 minutes to play. Game is not over, but if you took the Spartans plus the points, 7.5-9.5, depending on when you bet, you're feeling very secure.

Last I saw, 85% of the folks on Free Sports Bet had bet the Badgers and given up the points. Proof once again that to win, you only have to go against the public, who in most cases, are clueless.

10/22/2011 09:39:00 PM

(10/22/2011 09:26:00 PM) - Al

I must tried looking up what a sports hernia is, but I got nauseous looking at the pictures/diagrams of what we would call "boy parts" to the Rambling son.

I'll just leave it as a mystery.

I recall back when I ran the early morning crew at Toys R Us in Eau Claire, I made a doc appointment for right after a shift, as I was experiencing persistent achy, dull pain in my groin region. He asked if I had been kicked or hit there, and I said no. He said not to worry about it, to take a couple Aleve every four hours, and if it didn't go away in a couple weeks to return, and that it was a swelling issue, and that area was, wouldn't you know, very sensitive. While he was doing this, I had to stand up and look at him instead of the picture he was drawing, as I felt ill. The more things change...

Went away in a few days, and to this day, I tell people you can take Aleve in far greater quantity than they talk about on the package. They always act shocked, as it sounds like you'll be arrested if you take more than 2 every 12 hours.

10/22/2011 09:26:00 PM

(10/22/2011 08:54:00 PM) - Al

Two guys with a sensible, non-exhausting schedule to see all 30 MLB ballparks.
I would much rather follow, you know, my favorite team on a couple road trips each year, but I realize you would not see some stadiums for a decade.

10/22/2011 08:54:00 PM

(10/22/2011 07:30:00 PM) - Al

I can't believe how many people are reporting stats from the Arizona Fall League, as if they mean something. Small samples are anything below 200 AB's or 50 the point of telling what a guy did in a single game is what, exactly?

10/22/2011 07:30:00 PM

(10/22/2011 05:18:00 PM) - Al

50 things I learned from movies.

The comments are also true, by the way. Most truthful, guy shows no pain while in extraordinary beating, but winces when woman cleans wounds.

10/22/2011 05:18:00 PM

(10/22/2011 04:46:00 PM) - Al

The Occupation movement is doing for anarchist theory what the Obama administration has done for European-style socialism: put all the myths festering on college campuses over two decades to the test so the world can watch them falter utterly.

Read the infighting and backstabbing among a bunch of druggies who have now realized it sucks being laughed at and that they are the punchline to every joke that exists.

That first chilly day is going to see the counts plummet. We all know they're going home at night anyway, for the most part. It's tough to show a backbone when you're as spineless as these ne'er-do-wells.

10/22/2011 04:46:00 PM

(10/22/2011 03:29:00 PM) - Al

About three weeks ago, I wrote this on how painfully close the players and owners were. Now, after more bargaining, the owners seem stuck on 50%, and the players at 52.5%.

It's mind numbing how close they are, yet neither side has moved hardly at all. Why a mediator hasn't just said "Let's split this down the middle and call it a day, boys," is the question. Seriously, that's what will eventually happen anyway.

10/22/2011 03:29:00 PM

(10/22/2011 02:35:00 PM) - Al

Yes, Theo is incredibly cheap, when it comes right down to it.

Repeat after me, there's a correlation between winning and GM's. Very little, if any, between managers, coaches, and so on. Remember, a decade ago Lou Pinella was a genius, TB gave away Randy Winn to get him. The Cubs were going to turn it around with him at the helm. You can only do so much without talent.

10/22/2011 02:35:00 PM

(10/22/2011 01:57:00 PM) - Al

Huge measles outbreak blamed on unvaccinated. Somewhere, Jenny McCarthy is saying, "Me no understand measles thing. Vaccines bad. Give kid autism, no care what doc man say."

I'm the first to admit, she's as gorgeous as they come, even at her advanced age, but it's a damn shame she can't get brain implants, and that the old media keeps going to a complete moron when they need a quote on the subject.

Click on the link above, and you'll see several pics of the stunning McCarthy, who is almost 40, and would have most college gals hanging their head in shame, but the article is a hoot (no pun intended), as it tells that her son never had autism, which she claims he got when he was vaccinated, even though he never had it, and that despite no medical training whatsoever, and that her fame is entirely from Playboy, and her continued great looks, she continues to preach against the hazards of vaccines, which she says gave her son autism...which he never had.

The sub headline says it all...son cured, mother still retarded.

10/22/2011 01:57:00 PM

(10/22/2011 01:44:00 PM) - Al

Selig talks about minor changes expected in the next couple seasons.

I think they should do something to give the guys who play in the all-star game a bit of a break...they play 162 games in 180 days, taking 3-4 of those days and having silly media obligations and an exhibition game take up 2-3 of them seems shortsighted. That's why so many players skipped the game, it isn't just a game, it's the travel, media day, game, travel...and soon, you're right back in a 20 games in 21 days stretch. Moving it to Wednesday won't help much for that.

I'm all for a one game playoff between the wildcard's quick and while a crapshoot, so is 2 of 3, and it keeps the division winners from having to sit around for almost a week.

10/22/2011 01:44:00 PM

(10/22/2011 01:25:00 PM) - Al

Twelve minute long Marine video, celebrating their 236th birthday. Discussion of how two retired Marines were told by FDNY on 9/11 not to search a building due to danger, but how they ignored them and found Port Authority police in the rubble.

10/22/2011 01:25:00 PM

(10/22/2011 12:50:00 PM) - Al

The WSJ sums up my fears about Iraq very nicely. I can only hope I'm wrong, but considering that this administration is far more interested in playing politics than it is in long lasting peace in the region, I'm afraid the WSJ's, and my fears, will be realized sooner rather than later.

10/22/2011 12:50:00 PM

Friday, October 21, 2011

(10/21/2011 11:38:00 PM) - Al

Freaking amazing optical illusion. Follow the directions, and don't worry, your monitor will not scream at you or anything.

10/21/2011 11:38:00 PM

(10/21/2011 09:37:00 PM) - Al

Theo officially to Cubs, Bud may have to arbitrate compensation.

10/21/2011 09:37:00 PM

(10/21/2011 07:15:00 PM) - Al

The tale of a couple trying to open a coffee shop.

Or, as many would say, evil capitalist pigs.

10/21/2011 07:15:00 PM

(10/21/2011 06:04:00 PM) - Al

Have you signed up for Free Sports Bet yet? What are you waiting for? They give you $1, and if you lose, they give you another one. And if you win, you can cash out!

100% legal, and did I mention, free? Sign up today, and bet the weekend football games! Or European soccer. Oh, and there's a baseball game or two going on.

10/21/2011 06:04:00 PM

(10/21/2011 05:51:00 PM) - Al

Just the Rambling fellas in the house tonight, the Rambling wife/mom is at "Hobby All-Nighter" at church. We got Cousin's for supper, but sadly, the blonde president of the company must be hanging out elsewhere tonight. The new chicken Alfredo is really, reallly good.

10/21/2011 05:51:00 PM

(10/21/2011 05:36:00 PM) - Al

No one ever brought up the misery index for W's entire presidency.

Coincidence, I s'pose.

10/21/2011 05:36:00 PM

(10/21/2011 03:42:00 PM) - Al

This is exactly how I feel about the news of the impending withdrawal from Iraq...W's policies led to victory, and now, in a curiously timed, year before the election, the troops that have been there to offer assistance and guidance are being removed.

I certainly hope that does not lead to an immediate return to chaos.

Another theory was explored by Reason when we posited that the near-disappearance of the antiwar movement meant that the American left just doesn't care all that much about foreign policy unless a Republican is in office.--Reason, wondering why Iraq and not Afghanistan

It's funny, the protesters are still out, even though even they don't have the foggiest idea why, other than that's where the drugs are.

10/21/2011 03:42:00 PM

(10/21/2011 03:00:00 PM) - Al


Al: All right fellas, welcome. Let's start with an easy one, give me a quick down and dirty review of the 2011 season.

Robert: It's the second most successful season in the history of the franchise. The team wasn't perfect, but worse teams have won a World Series with a little luck.

Jason:  I’m not quite sure how anyone could view 2011 as anything but a huge success.  Most wins by any Brewer team in franchise history, a couple of MVP candidates, a strong pitching staff up and down the line, and some fun and personality to boot.  Sure, a World Series win would have been amazing, but just getting to the playoffs should be the mark of a quality team.  Anything can happen after that. 

Al: I'd say arguably the best team in Brewers' history, but more likely 2nd or 3rd best, as I put far more stock in regular season win totals than playoff results. Also, a perfect example of a GM making a plan, executing a plan, and experiencing solid performances with good health.

So, let's get it out of the way, what percentage chance do you give to Prince returning, and guess where he ends up, how many years, and how much?

Robert: I'll say 1 in 1,000, 0.1%. It's possible that the teams with money have other priorities than 1B/DH, but I have a hard time conceiving of any exact scenario where everything falls into place. I'll toss Baltimore as a likely landing spot with Prince getting less than Pujols, say 5 years and $120 million. Heck, that's probably way too conservative.

Jason:  While I think Mark and Doug will probably sweeten their initial offer a bit (5 years/$125M was the rumor, I believe), I can’t imagine it will be remotely close to what Prince could get in the market. If it were close I think we would have heard more about it. Odds of coming back to Milwaukee seem slim...5%. I’m thinking Boras starts along the lines of 6 years at $26M on average and works from there.

I have to think Prince will end up in the AL East. The Red Sox may want to make a preemptive smash with their new GM and end the David Ortiz era in Boston. The commitment they would have made to Papi would take care of about half of Prince’s salary this season. I also think the Blue Jays might like to kick the tires on him and either deal Adam Lind, who has been good but maybe less than the superstar they were hoping, or Edwin Encarnacion, who is cheap and productive. It would take a major shift in roster management philosophy for this regime in Toronto, but they may need to do that to compete. And the Yankees, well, they’re the Yankees. They’ll worry about lineups later. Baltimore? It could very well happen, again with a new GM in place.

If Theo Epstein comes to the Cubs as is widely reported, the Cub must be a serious player in the Prince/Pujols sweepstakes, too.

Al: I've been saying BAL or DC for quite a while, and I'd say FLA, LA, SF and TEX will also be in the mix. I too have a difficult time thinking he'll get 7-8 years, but I suppose it only takes one team. I'll guess 6y/$144M from the O's. I think the only way he returns is if Mark A ignores his baseball people or if some questions come up with his health. I'll go 4%.

OK, expectations for 2012 are pretty low among the masses. What do you think?

Robert: I don't see why the Brewers can't contend again. They can bring back their whole starting rotation, they have an MVP caliber hitter in the middle of the lineup, they have a lockdown closer, and there's reason to expect better health from the likes of Grienke, Hart, Weeks, Lucroy, and even Gomez. Their infield defense should be easy to upgrade, they got very little out of 3B and SS offensively, and the bench was no great shakes. Yes, they'll miss Prince and will have to address the bullpen and depth issues, but the window isn't closed.

Jason:  From what I’ve read, replacing Prince will likely cost us five expected wins and should put the Brewers at around an 86 win team for 2012. Not bad, but not enough for a return trip to the playoffs in all likelihood.

There is no way we can reasonably expect the pitching staff to be as healthy as it was this year, either. One thing the Brewers organization didn’t have this year was starting pitching depth, and they were extremely fortunate that it was never an issue.

I don’t know if looking for 86ish wins is low expectations or not. I suppose it is coming off a playoff year, but in the franchise history overall it isn’t that bad. Considering the repair that will continue to take place in the minors, 85 wins at the major league level seems like a pretty nice cushion while rebuilding. That said, with a payroll perhaps in the $90M range, it doesn’t seem like enough to be content with.

Al: Before Jason's response, I was a bit more confident, as I had kind of forgotten that their expected win total was 91, and they won 96 due to good fortune, including their stellar record in one run games. However, while their 1B offensive production is all but certain to go down enough to cost the team 30-40 runs (3-4 wins using the rule of 10), other factors may help to minimize the impact:

--1B and SS were the weakest defensively, and an upgrade to average D at those two spots is probably worth 10-12 runs.

--Lucroy is likely to keep improving at the plate, and one way or another, 3B offense is also bound to be better, whether that means Casey returns to form, Green gets more PA's, or a combo of the two.

--While the bullpen was stellar, and KRod will be gone, Doug has been building a decent pen on the cheap since he arrived.

Robert: I think the important thing to remember is that a team with a projected win total in the mid to upper 80s is a team in the playoff picture. Especially since you can address weaknesses during the season and beat up on non-contenders that weaken themselves in August and September. Obviously Doug will have some work to do, but playoffs are still feasible for 2012.

Al: Very true, Robert, yet another factoid often overlooked. That's another reason so many teams "sprint" to the finish line. So then, let's try to predict what Doug will try to do this offseason.

Robert: I think Doug will talk extension with Grienke, see if he can bring in some veteran insurance for 1B and 3B, look high and low for a SS, go the free agent route for the bullpen, and perhaps try to see if he can bundle Marcum or Narveson with a prospect to see if he can get someone with more pure stuff for the post-season.

Jason:  You mean, besides sign a mythical Gold Glove SS with an All-Star bat for $2M?

If the Brewers aren’t committed to Gamel at 1B (I think they are), perhaps platooning him with McGehee to start off, I think they could spend some money on someone like Casey Kotchman, a long-time favorite of mine for whatever reason.

I don’t believe Yuni will be viewed as worth the $6M (or $4M after the buyout), and the popular name now is Clint Barmes and I can’t disagree with that. One of Al’s favorites, Marco Scutaro, might be available but I think he’s a little overpriced and at his age (Marco’s, not Al’s) you can only expect regression. If Boston does hold on to him, though, Jed Lowrie might be an interesting trade candidate. See? I read too! No idea how the teams would match up, though.

Al: I have nothing against Barmes, as he is a solid MLB SS in today's world. I just can't believe the best you can do guaranteeing 3-4 seasons is a guy who has played his entire career in COL and HOU and still got out 70% of the time. Hey, I ran the numbers, and he's probably within a win of Reyes, and will make less than 50%...however, he'll be 33 and much of his value is defense, which may start to fade as he enters is mid 30's..

Jason: I think the Brewers really liked the idea of having an eighth-inning stopper. How much does Doug trust a returning Parra or even Braddock for that role? He could look to the minors (maybe even Peralta to get his major league feet wet?), but more likely I could see a reclamation project like Matt Capps as a possibility.

All in all, I find it doubtful there will be a big splash signing or trade made this year. I fully agree with Robert that Doug will look to extend Greinke, though.

Al: I agree that they will look for an 8th inning guy, and a former closer who can also backup Axford is a likely choice. I've mentioned Jon Broxton, who will look to prove he is healthy and has his velocity back, and therefore may well sign a 1y/$2-3M "make good" deal. They might also consider Hawkins/Saito for that role, if one of them returns.

I'd look for a veteran bat who can bat RH to be signed to protect/platoon with Gamel/Green.

Finally, not only do they not have a SS in MIL, they really do not have one in their entire system. There are a few available of some merit as FA's, in addition to Barmes (and looking at that list, you'll see why I like Scooter) but if a SP is dealt (and I can't imagine Doug heading into '12 with three SP's in the final season of their contract), I'd look for a SS to be the return they look for. For some reason, Stephen Drew of ARI seems like a match, as he is also a FA at season's end.

So guys, give me the names of a couple minor leaguers who will factor into the success or failure of 2012. Also, Mat Gamel is out of options, where will he be?

Robert: Wily Peralta is the prospect that jumps out at me. One of the things that went very right for the Brewers in 2011 was the health of the rotation. They may need similar health to contend again, but you certainly shouldn't plan for it. I'm expecting that Peralta will be starting meaningful games next season. I also think Gindl is likely to replace Kotsay on the roster and the Brewers will attempt to address their infield depth issues with veterans.

Jason:  If Taylor Green isn’t given the majority of starts at 3B, I’ll be disappointed. Platoon with Hairston or McGehee (if he isn’t in a platoon at 1B with Gamel) as needed.

I completely agree that Peralta might be able to see some time in Milwaukee. He should get strong consideration for replacement starts if needed and may spend some time in the bullpen as well.

Either Caleb Gindl or Logan Schafer could also be brought in as outfield depth.

Al: I see Gindl and Schafer spending the season in AAA, barring injuries. Both are young parts of the future who need AB's. I agree Peralta will be SP depth, but I think people undervalue Fiers immensely (41 hits allowed in 60+ innings at AAA is simply stunning)...he might end up as a valuable cog in the bullpen or rotation. Maldonado might be Lucroy's backup or AAA depth. I would guess Green opens in AAA, but will be the main 2B/3B backup (unless Hairston returns as a utility player). For my sleepers, don't forget Mike McClendon and Mark DiFelice, both still in the system. They might not have the pure stuff as Axford and others, but they have options, they're cheap, and they can be effective.

Robert: Anyone else think the Brewers just aren't all that sold on Gamel? I just have a hard time seeing a contender take a risk on two unknown quantities at the corners of the infield. It wouldn't surprise me to see Gamel traded in hopes of shoring up the roster with someone more proven.

Al: Gamel will be somewhere in the bigs next year, as he is out of options, as I said above. He's done everything he can at AAA, and he projects almost as well at 1B as anyone not named Prince or Albert. I think Doug goes with him, brings in a RH veteran bat, and if they need help, 1B is an easy position to fill at the deadline. However, if there is not a role for him in MIL, he and a SP could bring in an upgrade to the staff, or maybe a SP with team control of more than a single season.

Finally, the name of a true MLB FA you could imagine signing with the Brewers for next year.

Jason:  Already mentioned that Barmes, Capps, and, to a much-lesser extent, Kotchman could be targets.

Robert: I can't see the Brewers being in the running for Pujols, Prince, Reyes, or any of the other high priced talent. Pick a decent middle reliever and it's likely that the Brewers will be interested at the right price. Furcal seems too fragile to interest the Brewers. Barmes seems like the most reasonable at SS. I expect Hairston to be back as insurance at 3B. And I expect someone to come in at 1B, either as insurance or as a proven starter. Aramis Ramirez is intriguing to me, especially since he can still play some 3B. Carlos Pena also strikes me as someone that the Brewers might be interested in. I might want to talk to the White Sox and see how much of Adam Dunn's contract they're willing to eat. Otherwise, I think it's just bargain hunting with a veteran.

Al: Allow me to say, I like Hairston as the everyday SS, or as a utility player. Jerry would probably not be able to give you seven days a week, but if you have a solid backup, that's not a big deal. I could see another trade target of this past year, Jamey Carroll, another older player, being brought in to share SS and the utility role, as both would probably be set up for success more playing 125 games than 155. Other than those I mentioned, especially Scooter, who I have loved since he was in AAA before Doug arrived, I'm going to throw out a pair of names:

Ryan Doumit...switch-hitting C who has also played 1B/LF/RF. Doug has some history here...he was discussed in a swap for JJ Hardy years ago. Doumit is not looked at as an everyday catcher anymore, and unless he's able to finagle a starting job somewhere would seemingly be a good fit in MIL.

Mike Gonzalez...lefty reliever, also with some prior interest, Doug talked to him before the '10 season, when he signed with BAL, and tried to bring him aboard on 8/31, but TEX was able to offer a hard throwing youngster. Not just a loogy, almost as effective in his career versus RH bats as LH.

Whether it's Gonzalez or others, I think it's a safe play that Doug, and other GM's, will use the FA P list to fill out the bullpen with some one year contracts on veterans.

Thanks to Jason and Robert for joining me as we look ahead, and to those of you who choose to check out Ramblings all season long.

10/21/2011 03:00:00 PM

(10/21/2011 02:55:00 PM) - Al

A Rambling aunt just sent this out, and I'm happy to let you see it as well. It takes that farmer some precious time to spell out that message every year, but it's a thank you we can all agree with.

Peace doesn't come from holding hands and singing folk songs, it is a direct result of men and women willing to go anywhere in the world and kill evil.

Thank goodness they're on our side.

10/21/2011 02:55:00 PM

(10/21/2011 02:38:00 PM) - Al

The Badgers basketball team has outperformed their preseason ranking more than any other team the past few years.

10/21/2011 02:38:00 PM

(10/21/2011 02:36:00 PM) - Al

Obama's job approval is a mere 4 points higher than LBJ's when he announced he would not run for re-election.--Ben Domenech


10/21/2011 02:36:00 PM

(10/21/2011 01:47:00 PM) - Al

Cards' fan stands to win $375K from $500 bet if SL wins Series. He's already clinched $125K.

I flipped all night between the MLS game, Married with Children, and ended up watching most of the 9th inning. My only thought...LaRussa isn't nearly as good a manager when his bullpen actually gives up a run.

Ask Ken Macha about that, and he'll agree.

I forget who said it on my Twitter feed, but someone said, "Gerald Laird being used as a PR, maybe we should hold off on LaRussa is a genius talk."

The Brewers had 4 very good relief guys, but SL has 2...but 4-5 guys more that are solid...while the Crew just had Loe, who was both unlucky and ineffective during the NLCS, though he is plenty dependable versus RH hitters, in that 2nd tier. One thing to keep in mind, they now play three games in TEX, if the bullpen continues to have to throw 4-5 innings most nights, that depth might be challenged.

We might be seeing a shift in roster building, as both TEX and SL have better bullpens than rotations. It's a lot easier to find 2-3 quality middle relievers in late July and August than it is to add a plus SP or two.

For years, we've heard from many that relievers are overpaid, yet every single playoff team had a very good one. Also, as I said early in the season, when Saito and Hawkins were injured, that will leave them fresh did, and Lance Lynn was able to step right in as well. I bet several teams will start promoting their best prospects in August to help out and to keep their innings down.

10/21/2011 01:47:00 PM

(10/21/2011 01:26:00 PM) - Al

I rarely buy bottled water anymore, as I fill up my bottles with delicious tap most days (or the office has a machine that purifies and makes it cold), but I've had some awful tasting stuff I've actually paid money for. Apparently, Evian is terrible. Dennis Miller was is naive spelled backwards.

Hat tip to Gleeman.

10/21/2011 01:26:00 PM

(10/21/2011 12:49:00 PM) - Al

All right, the postseason roundtable will hit the worldwide web at 3PM this afternoon. It's a dandy, if I say so myself.

10/21/2011 12:49:00 PM

Thursday, October 20, 2011

(10/20/2011 10:12:00 PM) - Al

Hard to believe Amy Schumer doesn't have her own sitcom yet. Gorgeous and hilarious usually gets a show right quick.

10/20/2011 10:12:00 PM

(10/20/2011 06:37:00 PM) - Al

Theo and Jed Hoyer to the Cubs, Josh Byrnes promoted in SD, is done, just waiting for the prospect going to the Sox to pass a physical.

10/20/2011 06:37:00 PM

(10/20/2011 09:26:00 AM) - Al

Casey sends in this clip of Fenway fans assisting an autistic fella who struggles with the national anthem.

I have n o doubt in Philadelphia, he would have been booed off the field as debris rained down.

10/20/2011 09:26:00 AM

(10/20/2011 01:35:00 AM) - Al

Not a fan of that Collmenter/Fiers comparison at all, actually. Different FB/CH combos w/ different mechanics.--Bernie's Crew

Referring to John Sickels top 20 which I linked to yesterday. Both Collmenter and Fiers throw their fastball and change-up about 90% of the time combined. Fiers averaged 88.5 mph, Collmenter 87. Can't see the forest for the trees.

10/20/2011 01:35:00 AM

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

(10/19/2011 09:05:00 PM) - Al

If you're looking for a free agent 3B this offseason, the list is Ramirez...and some others.

10/19/2011 09:05:00 PM

(10/19/2011 07:39:00 PM) - Al

A look at the FA 1B is up at Misfit Toys. I added a note about Gamel, but golly, are Pujols and Fielder far, far better than the others. Even a solid option like Cuddyer is hardly comparable.

10/19/2011 07:39:00 PM

(10/19/2011 05:51:00 PM) - Al

Things to look forward to on Ramblings:

--I hope to have the postseason roundtable up sometime Friday. As I always say, this is one of the most popular features on Ramblings, because it's when my input is minimized.

--I plan on taking a look at every member of the 40 man roster and giving my view of what's in store for each of them. Also, a look at who'll probably be added to the 40 man this offseason.

--A quick recap on my preseason top ten prospects, how they fared in 2011, and who is likely to be added to next year's top ten.

--Finally, I'm going to look at Mat Gamel and what he should be projected at next season. Gamel has been dominant in Nashville for the past four seasons, and is expected by many to either be the 1B or on the bench. A few weeks ago, I asked folks to send in former top prospects who failed to make it in the bigs, and this will be talked about as well.

10/19/2011 05:51:00 PM

(10/19/2011 03:56:00 PM) - Al

Jon Bon Jovi opens a restaurant, pay whatever you can/want.

I've been reading about these for the past couple years, and I think it's brilliant. Many people are going to pay far more than if you did have a price on the menu. Some are going to pay market price. And some will be cheap and pay less. However, I think the former outweighs the latter, easily. Add in some free/cheap labor, I can see this being a huge success.

10/19/2011 03:56:00 PM

(10/19/2011 01:50:00 PM) - Al


Doug's postseason presser is over.

Said starting pitching was key to season. Great to have a pair of CF's, C, closer, and SP's on team right now. Would not discuss Fielder or Yuni, but did say there was interest in bringing back Hairston. Compared Gamel's minor league numbers to Nelson Cruz and David Freese. Likes Gamel's and Green's lefty bats. Thinks people should be higher on Gindl as well.

McGehee: "He did have a season where he regressed. Being somewhere between where he was last year and this year is a fair assessment."--JS

I would agree. If Casey is indeed the 3B next year, they'll have Green in AAA and hopefully Hairston in reserve.

Hawkins and Saito both in good shape for age. I would not be surprised to see one back, but I doubt both.

And Hart will not be moved to 1B. I get so tired of casuals wanting to improve the defense by moving guys all over the diamond. This ain't bar league softball, Corey hasn't taken a ground ball in damn near a decade.

Brewers played 203 games in 228 days, including spring training.--JS

Seems like far too many, especially in March.

ADDED: We know Mat Gamel is here. I look at guys like Nelson Cruz and David Freese. And Mat Gamel has had as good a years as they did in the minor leagues. He just hasn't had the chance because we haven't given him the chance. Is this the time to give Mat Gamel a chance? That's something we have to seriously consider.--Doug, quote from JS

As I've said, barring a trade, Mat will be on the team, as he's out of options. He might fit in nicely on the bench, as he can play 1B/3B/LF/RF, but as Doug says, if you're going to bring someone in, they have to do better than the guys you have. I'll be projecting out 1B and 3B tonight, but I promise you, the list of guys that project higher than Mat is a short one...and those players will come with a hefty price tag.

Do not forget, say Mat only hits something like .330/.420, he still would only be a few runs below MLB average, and making near minimum. Heck, even that is higher than Kotchman's 2011 projection, before a fine year in Tampa.

10/19/2011 01:50:00 PM

(10/19/2011 12:34:00 PM) - Al

Rumors yesterday had the Crew trading Greinke, and today, Marcum. Actually, I doubt Doug will go into '12 with three SP's in the final year of their contract either, but I also doubt he will make decisions on who to deal before he discusses extnsions.

10/19/2011 12:34:00 PM

(10/19/2011 12:11:00 PM) - Al

From Ben Lindbergh at BP this morning:

"The club improved defensively as the season progressed (at least until the NLCS), converting just 70 percent of balls in play into outs in the first half but upping that percentage to 71.8 after the All-Star break, a rate that would have been the best in the league had it been sustained over the whole season."

I know DE isn't your favorite defensive metric (it's not mine either...) but this is the first time I've seen a writer (besides you, of course) address stats, as opposed to just regurgitating the same false "truths", that show the Brewers' defense wasn't as bad as many thought.

Love the blog.


That's probably directly related to the pitching, as defensive efficiency is pretty much just the reverse of line drive percentage. But, when you use the defensive metrics we have available, the defense was above average, unless, of course, you use fielding percentage, in which case, I can't help you.

10/19/2011 12:11:00 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.

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