Saturday, May 26, 2007

Take a Hike!

I'm off the grid til Tuesday, camping somewhere in the middle of Wisconsin. See ya!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Brewers call up top minor league prospect Ryan Braun

Braun brought up for his bat

Dessens placed on 15-day DL

Posted: May 24, 2007
San Diego - With third base turning into a black hole offensively in a lineup struggling to score runs, the Milwaukee Brewers could wait no longer to call up Ryan Braun.

The Brewers announced late Thursday night that Braun, 23, their top everyday prospect in the minor leagues, was being summoned from Class AAA Nashville. Club officials waited until after Braun played in the Sounds' game against Memphis in Nashville because they wanted him to get additional at-bats after spending time recently on the disabled list.

To make room on their roster for Braun, the Brewers placed reliever Elmer Dessens on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right shoulder, retroactive to Saturday. Braun is expected to be in the lineup tonight for the game against San Diego.

Contacted at Nashville's Greer Stadium after getting the news, Braun said his manager, Frank Kremblas, called him into his office and merely gave him the flight itinerary to San Diego.

"He didn't say anything," Braun said. "It took me a second to figure it out. I couldn't believe it. It's absolutely incredible. It's great to get the opportunity and I'm looking forward to the challenge."

The decision to summon Braun was made because the third-base platoon of veteran infielders Craig Counsell and Tony Graffanino has generated virtually no offense. The Brewers rank 28th among the 30 major-league clubs at that position in slugging percentage (.273), 27th in batting average (.214), tied for 26th in home runs (one) and runs scored (16) and 25th in runs batted in (14).

Braun, on the other hand, took a .726 slugging percentage and 1.152 OPS (on-base plus slugging) into Nashville's game against Memphis, both figures tops in the Pacific Coast League. Twenty-two of his 39 hits were for extra bases, and he led the Sounds with 10 home runs. After going 0 for 4 with a walk in Nashville's 9-5 victory, Braun was batting .342 with 22 RBI in 34 games.

The Brewers are looking to add some punch to an attack that has slipped badly during a 4-9 stretch that began with the previous trip to New York and Philadelphia. Over that 13-game slide, they scored three or fewer runs eight times.

"We're struggling right now offensively and we thought we'd give Ryan an opportunity to see if he can make an impact on the ballclub," said Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, reached in Florida, where he was watching Class A Brevard County.

"But this is not a case where we expect one guy to come up and carry the ballclub. We've got to perform better as a team offensively. Ryan has performed very well offensively down there and we think he's got a chance to be a good big-league player. We'll see what he can do."

Braun, a confident player, said he didn't consider himself a cure-all for the Brewers' offense but expected to be successful.

"I'm extremely confident and I have a belief in my ability," he said. "I think I can contribute right away. I don't look at it like I'm coming up to save the club. I'm just looking forward to contributing and helping the team win a pennant."

Selected in the first round of the 2005 draft out of the University of Miami, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Braun put on a hitting display in the Brewers' training camp this spring, beginning with a two-homer, seven-RBI performance in the first exhibition game. He batted .353 with five homers and 15 RBI in 11 games, missing more than a week with a sore elbow.

But the Brewers didn't think Braun's defense was ready for the major leagues. A former shortstop who converted to third base in his final year at Miami, he had particular difficulty making accurate throws across the diamond, committing four errors in exhibition play.

The Brewers sent Braun to Nashville to work on his defense, admitting that his bat probably was good enough for the majors. He committed only three errors in Nashville.

"The staff there told me he's playing much better defensively," said Melvin, who saw Braun handle only two grounders earlier in the week while in Nashville to watch three games. "They feel it hasn't been an issue. They're not that concerned with it."

Counsell and Graffanino did the defensive job at third for the Brewers, with Graffanino committing the only two errors between them. But they weren't getting it done on offense. Counsell is hitting .231 with no homers and eight RBI, and Graffanino - who also has started eight games at second base - has seen his average dip to .187 with one homer and eight RBI.

"There are a couple of other positions that need to be more productive, too," Melvin said.

Counsell and Graffanino originally were signed as free agents over the off-season to provide backups for middle infielders J.J. Hardy and Rickie Weeks. The Brewers hoped third baseman Corey Koskie would return from the post-concussion syndrome that sidelined him for the second half of the 2006 season but Koskie remains sidelined with continuing symptoms and might not play this year.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Outfield musical chairs

Last year the Brewers suffered major injuries in the infield and Rickie Weeks had a case of the dropsies, so management found themselves scrambling for infielders. By the time we were ready to talk Spring Training, the team found itself needing to clear some room.

Now we’re looking at a cadre of above average outfielders and not enough spots to play them in. With the emergence of Tony Gwynn, Jr., it’s obvious that there will be some wheeling and dealing on the way to empty out our outfield.

Right off the bat, I’d like to say my vote for first man off the island is Geoff Jenkins. Now I’m not shy about publicly disliking the guy, but in this case, I pick Jenkins for the following reasons:

I’m sick of the sentimentality factor. Sure, the guy’s been around here awhile and he’s put up with some lean times. But that’s not a reason to keep him around. He’s one of the few remaining holdovers and I think it’s time to stop looking back and talking about how bad we were and instead “live in the now.” This team is a lot better than anything we’ve put on the field in a long time. Which leads me to…

I’m afraid that the obvious choice to go is Gwynn and I think that would be a shame. I understand that Tony will have more stock on the open market and bring us more bang for the buck, but I hate to see his homegrown talent go elsewhere. We had a stellar class of guys that we drafted and brought through our farm system. Gwynn’s the only one of those guys not currently in regular rotation. He’s proven that he deserves the chance. He’s got the speed and the bat and the few times he’s gotten in this season, he’s proven that he has a comparable arm to Jenkins.

Two years or so ago, guys like Jenkins were necessary as leaders on a team of youngsters. They were the face of the team, the recognizable names and they were the guys that showed the rookies the ropes. But we’re not in that position anymore. Prince, Bill, Rickie, Cappy, Ben – they’ve all stepped up and now they each could be termed a leader. The older veterans had a purpose when this was a bunch of new guys fresh off the farm, but that’s not the case anymore. It’s time to let these guys take the leadership.

Jenkins has, and always will be, streaky at best. He is not someone we can count on to be solid and consistent. That being said..

Jenkins has had a strong showing and has yet to hit the slump we all know is coming and we all are dreading. His stock isn’t going to get any higher than it is now. I say we shop him around now, before he starts whiffing and showing exactly why we’d like to pawn him off on someone else.

Jenkins is the king of the ineffectual, completely inconsequential “hot bat.” The man has hit more one-run homers when we’re down by 4 or more runs than anyone else on that team. And he’s consistently swinging for the fences. He’s clearly not a power hitter. This is his 10th season in the league and he just hit 200 HRs. I really wish he’d stop trying to make the highlight reel and instead start a rally and get on base.

My most personal of pet peeves about him is his little league swing. Anyone will tell you that you cannot, should not, will not lift your front foot when at the plate. Yet Jenks is absolutely known for it. The more he lifts that damn leg, the less accurate he is. And it drives me nuts. If they were able to break Bill Hall of flipping the ball from his glove to his throwing hand in a little more than a season, I don’t see why Jenkins cannot unlearn this Mickey Mouse swing.

But really, my ideal outfield is Hart, Hall and Gwynn, so the rest of the guys are superfluous as far as I'm concerned. Poor Gabe Gross is going to have a career of riding the pine and pinch hitting and filling in. He seems content with it and he certainly steps up when he needs to, but I say lose the platoon and send both Mench and Jenkins packing.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Back in the Swing of things

I try to avoid the puns, but this one certainly seemed more than appropriate.

Last night the Brew Crew found their rhythm led by Rickie Weeks, who had sat out the past 4 games. But Rickie was back with a vengeance. He was was 4 for 5 with 3 RBIs in the leadoff position.

Prince Fielder tied J.J. Hardy for the league lead in HR by hitting two last night. The boys now have 14. Prince's only two hits last night went yard. Not a bad night's work!

The Brewers are officially in a win streak, with two straight. This is heartening information, since we lost 7 of the last 9.

The team compiled 13 hits last night and 12 hits in Sunday's win against the Twins. If ever there was a way to shake off a slump, I'd say 25 hits in two days is the way to do it.

Monday, May 21, 2007

State College Baseball news

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, ranked No. 25 nationally in the coaches' association poll, will face No. 4 Emory in the opening round of the 2007 NCAA Division III baseball championship.

The Pointers (32-15), who clinched a berth in the eight-team field by winning the regional at Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday, meet Emory (39-8) at 10 a.m. Friday at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute.

Emory rallied for a 6-5 victory in 12 innings over unranked Ferrum to win the South regional Sunday in Ferrum, Va.


Carthage College will face perennial power Eastern Connecticut State in the opening round of the NCAA Division III baseball championships.

Eastern Connecticut State (38-10), ranked No. 11 nationally in the latest coaches' association poll, won the Harwich (Mass.) regional today with an 18-3 victory over Keene State.

Carthage (36-11), which won the regional at Illinois Wesleyan on Saturday, faces Eastern Connecticut State at 1:15 p.m. Friday at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute.

Eastern Connecticut State will be making its 12th appearance in the national championship, including its fifth in the last six seasons.

The Warriors won national titles in 1982, '90, '98 and 2002. Last season, the Warriors finished 1-2 in the national championship.

Carthage is making its first appearance in the national championship since the 2002 season. The Red Men went 0-2 in the double-elimination tournament that season.


Roller Coaster Brew Crew

There are those bandwagon homer fans who will tell you that this is more like the Brewers they know "and love". I'm not one of those fans.

Let's get something straight here. This Brewers team didn't crack .500 last year. Adding one very expensive pitcher in the off-season doesn't take you from sub-par to spectacular in the matter of a few months.

It's completely unreasonable to expect the Crew to win 120 games this season. It was never going to happen. And the thing is, they don't have to. With a mediocre division at best, the Brewers only need to win 90 or so games to win their division.

The season is only a quarter over, so everyone just needs to take a few deep breaths and settle in for awhile. In some ways the homers are right, same old Brewers. They haven't had a metamorphosis in the off-season. They haven't changed that much from year's past and therefore we're going to see signs of the fact that this is a young team. It's always been a streaky team.

I'm not trying to explain anything away. I'll be the first to admit the past week has been ugly. Last night was the first time in something like 5 games that we scored on something other than a home run. That's not going to win you games and it's totally getting away from what was working so well for the team through April.

That being said, J.J. Hardy and Prince Fielder are on top of the league leader board for HR and without them, this week would have been even more bleak.

I was at the game yesterday afternoon and I saw a bit more of the spark that seemed to have been missing this past week. We were down by 4 runs and we rallied. Every player did a part. Congratulations to Geoff Jenkins on his 200th career home run. This team was not an April flash in the pan. But I warn you, there will be more down times. However, I think that this team is absolutely going to prove to be worth the ride this season.

Strap in and enjoy it!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Ballad of Brett Favre

As usual, I’m a few days late commenting on this, but I didn’t want the Brett Favre debacle to fade without a few thoughts.

Do I think Brett Favre has a point in being disappointed in the transactions made and not made by the Packer front office this off-season? Absolutely.
And he wouldn’t be alone. Every fan in the state of Wisconsin was disappointed at the lack of firepower acquired.

That being said, I think that Favre and many fans have an inflated sense of his worth. The man is not a God. He’s a damn good quarterback who is admittedly past his prime. And I don’t know that it’s right for him to make demands on a team because he wants to play one more year.

There’s part of this story that’s a bit fuzzy and I think it’s an important part in deciding whether Brett was justified or just whining. We have no idea what passed between Brett and the front office to get him to return this year. I feel like there had to be some promises made. Favre got the ankle surgery that he’s been putting off for years now. I think there had to be pressure from the powers that be to get that done. I imagine there was some deal making that took place. And I imagine that Brett told them he’s almost done and he wants to go out a winner.

If there were deals made, then I do think the Packers gave Brett and big F- You!

The flip side of this story is what some are saying it the unmitigated gall of Brett to think that his wants and desires can and should dictate the roster moves of an entire team. Sure, nostalgia says it would be great to have one last, fabulous season with the man who will be a Green Bay icon from here on out. But when Brett leaves the team doesn’t just roll over and die. Does looking to the future of this team beyond the next year and beyond the Brett Favre era make him an asshole? I’m not so sure. Sure, it wasn’t the sentimental move, but shouldn’t your GM be concerned with more than emotion?

When I first heard that Favre offered to give up some of his salary to bring Randy Moss here, I thought “what a slap in the face.” Because, really, when was the last time you heard of a pro athlete offering up some of his money to better the team?

Clearly, I’m not sure exactly what to think about this story. I feel like it’s a mighty fine coincidence that the story about Favre demanding a trade didn’t come out until he made some not so flattering comments to a reporter in Mississippi. Why would the informant wait to leak that information? Shady, shady dealings if you ask me.

I have a feeling this saga isn’t going to conclude any time soon.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

All it took for front page coverage was two losses in a row...

These are screen caps from the and homepages today, both with stories on the Brewers. Interestingly, all we had to is start playing like is start playing like the hapless Brewers that everyone knows and loves and suddenly there's a rash of stories saying how we just may be for real.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Eat it, New York

Ok, so maybe I'm a little bitter about all the trash talking that's being done about my fair Brewers.

Everyone's been talking about this series as the measuring stick for the Brew Crew, since they say we haven't played anyone yet. Our stats are skewed, we're not as good as we seem, all that jazz.

Today, I'd like all those people to eat their words. Today's 12-3 win ought to shut up a lot of doubters out there.

The Brewers jumped out to a 4-0 win the old-fashioned way. After last night's long ball bonanza, it was nice to see the Crew string together hits and send men around the bases as it's meant to be done. Even pitcher Ben Sheets laid down two beautiful bunts to advance runners. A routine pop-fly into shallow center field by Prince Fielder scored Craig Counsell on the tag up and then led to a run-down of J.J. Hardy between first and second. J.J. was able to string it out long enough for Tony Gwynn, Jr. to score from 2nd.

Of course, the Mets weren't to be counted out and rallied to make the score 4-3 in the 5th courtesy of a pinch-hit 2 run homer.

The game stayed close after that and I admit to having a little nap in there somewhere. But thankfully, I woke up for the good stuff.

But before I get to that, I'd like to make a major salute to Tony Gwynn. Due to some late game heroics, his absolutely spectacular play for the length of the game is going to lose the spotlight it would have had. Gwynn had 3 hits, a walk and 3 runs. He also made an amazing play in right field, playing a ball perfectly off the wall and throwing the hitter out at second.

Sometimes the roster moves Ned Yost makes leave me a little confused to start the game. However, every time he's seems to be pulling something out of his rear end, he ends up smelling like roses. It seemed like a strange play to rest Rickie Weeks, our leadoff hitter and a fast base runner. However, it proved, once again, to be ingenious. I have no idea where we'll put him, but we need to find a more permanent home for Tony.

The Mets pitching staff had a rough 7th inning. Two hit batters and a hit loaded the bases and Gwynn had his third hit for an RBI single. That left the bases loaded for J.J. Hardy, who hit a grand slam! That made the game 9-3.

The slam was Hardy's third home run in four games and tied him with Prince, evening their competition for the first time. According to, the slam was also the first runs off pitcher Joe Smith in 18 major league games.

Corey Had a pinch hit 2 RBI triple in the 9th and Hardy had a sac fly, giving him 5 RBIs on the game.

Every starter except Geoff Jenkins had a hit in the game. The Brewers, who haven't lost consecutive games since dropping a season-worst three in a row from April 4-7, matched a season high for runs.

Now Starring Damian Miller as King Midas

This article is from earlier in the week and makes an interesting observation about our record thus far.

We're 10-0 when Damian Miller is in the lineup and 14-10 when he's not.

"Yeah, I am solely responsible for our record," said Miller.

Interesting. Very, very interesting.

More and More media attention

Now that we're playing a series in New York, a whole new cavalcade of media outlets are paying attention to us. Now don't get me wrong, I'm all about the Brewers' name being bandied about as much as possible (though this bandwagon is getting mighty crowded) but when The New York Times covers us the next time, maybe they could use a less demeaning headline:

Brewers Not Looking Like Perennial Losers.
(This is the headline I've seen it linked to as, but it's not the headline on the top of the page, so you figure it out)

This one, from a New Jersey paper says "Youthful Brewers Really Have Arrived" .. you know, only now that they've noticed. Not before.

Thanks New York. Really. Like we needed a reminder.

Brewers 4, Mets 5

Last night's Brewers game was an exercise in futility and home runs. I read something today that one of the Mets said that they won that game from start to finish. I'm not sure I totally agree with that, but I did feel like we were playing catch-up the whole game.

There were 6 home runs in this game - with only one run, a Met run, scoring on other than a home run.

Prince Fielder and J.J. Hardy continue to compete. Prince hit his long ball in the sixth and J.J. followed up in the 8th. J.J. is one HR behind Prince. Prince's put him at 11 and tied for first place with Barry Bonds and Adam Dunn for the most.

The Brewers appeared poised to show that they weren't going to let extra media attention and pressure get to them. Jeff Suppan pitched three hitless innings.

Everything fell apart in the fourth inning. In a span of seven batters, the Mets had four runs on six hits, including two home runs. David Wright hit a solo home run. Carlos Beltran hit a single that replays showed Suppan tagged the base on, meaning Carlos Delgado's ensuing HR should have just been a solo shot. Instead, the Mets scored 3 runs in 3 at-bats. Moises Alou hit a double of the wall and scored on Paul Lo Duca's single later in the inning. Suddenly, it was 4-0.

The Brewers battled back on the homers by Prince and J.J. as well as one by Geoff Jenkins, but it was not enough.

Once again it was the "big inning" that screwed the pooch and put the Brew Crew out of it for good. Of all the things we've done well this season, this is one of those rare low points. Yost and Maddux really need to find a way to address this.

UW Men's Hockey releases schedule

Yes, we haven't even reached the dog days of summer, but the Badger Men's Hockey team is already gearing up for next season.

Next year's schedule here

Nominee for the Darwin awards

So let's say I have a documented drug problem. And let's say I'm a professional athlete. And let's say I have a history of doing things that make people question my sanity.

So I just finished serving my one year suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy and I ask the league kindly to let me back in.

Do you think I sober up before I apply for reinstatement? Do I realize that since I have a sketchy past full of failed drug tests and I've just served a suspension that before they even consider my appeal they're going to make sure I've cleaned up my act?

NO NO NO! Because I'm Ricky Williams and I'm literally the most fried person on the face of the planet.

Ricky Williams fails drug test, delaying his appeal for reinstatement.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The pressure's off Hardy

J.J.'s hit streak ended yesterday at 19 games. While it would have been great for this to continue, I know he was feeling a lot of pressure every time at the plate, so I'll take no streak but a relaxed hitter any day of the week.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Holy Crap, the Brewers might be for real

Let's recap:

Best record in baseball

5.5 games ahead of the Cubs to lead the Central Division (and 9 games ahead the last place Cardinals)

Prince Fielder was NL Player of the Week and JJ Hardy was Runner-Up. Two other Brewers, Jeff Suppan and Carlos Villanueva, were nominated.

In tonight's game, Prince hit a 3-run homer to tie him for the lead for most HRs in the majors. JJ hit a solo shot, to stay one behind him.

Ok, so pretty much every major news outlet (and lots of not so major ones, too) out there has published an article in the past few weeks noting that the Brewers appear to be sucking less than they normally do, but assuring everyone else in the world that it will pass and things will be back to normal soon.

Case in Point:

ESPN (sorry it's insider)
Chicago Tribune
Some Phoenix newspaper
Miami Herald
St.Louis Post Dispatch
Des Moines Register
Charleston Post Courier
LA Times - a taste: "Yes, those Milwaukee Brewers, formerly doormats, a.k.a major league road kill."
Chicago Sun-Times

So are we for real, or just playing grown-up?

These stats are from before tonight's game.

J.J. Hardy is hitting .563 on this current home stand and has an 18 game hitting streak. His BA is .336 for the season, with 8 HR and 27 RBIs.
9 HR and 29 RBIs. A lefty himself, he's hitting better against lefties: vs. Left: .319 vs. Right: .269. He hit two consecutive homers Sunday and his third at-bat was 2 feet from making it 3 consecutive.

Chris Capuano became only the 3rd Brewer pitcher ever to start the season 5-0. He's got an ERA of 2.31 with 31 SO and 13 BB. In last night's outing he threw a 7 hit shoutout in under 100 pitches. He last through 8 innings.

Jeff Suppan, our $40 million man, is living up to every dime. He's 5-2, with 27 SO and 9 BB.

Francisco Cordero is a perfect 13 for 13 on save attempts with a 0.00 ERA in 14.2 innings. He's got 21 SO, 7 BB and has only allowed 2 hits. (He had a wild pitch tonight that let in one run, so his ERA is now not 0)

Though he struggled on Sunday, lefty Brian Shouse had a great start. He inherited 20 batters and didn't let any score over the first 30 games.

Suppan's 4-2 with a 2.55 ERA thus far, leading a rotation that has issued the fewest walks (40) in the NL and ranks fourth in the league in WHIP (1.25).

The Brewers are 16-0 when leading after 7 innings, 12-0 when Cordero makes an appearance, and 12-1 when Turnbow has pitched.

And I'm not sure where I found this, and I modified it a bit, but it's good info:

Jenkins' role has evolved into that of a platoon left-fielder hitting almost exclusively against righties; Jenkins, and the right-handed-hitting Hart and Kevin Mench split left and right field What seemed like a potentially awkward situation in spring training has, early on, been a masterstroke by manager Ned Yost, with Jenkins posting team-highs in batting average (.346) and OPS (.983), while Mench has batted .393 against lefties and Hart .333. "They just crush lefties, so I can't argue with it," Jenkins said. "As long as we're winning games, that's the main thing."

Monday, May 07, 2007

My not-so-favorite Brewer had prime real estate on the front of's MLB page this weekend

This is a really long article highlighting how sad the Brewers had past has been and how hot the future looks .. all through the storyline that Geoff Jenkins is old and has never seen a good season here in Milwaukee - the last time he was on a team above .500 was in 1995 - with USC in the College World Series.

I don't want to post the whole text, but I think there's some good things to highlight:

Funniest/saddest part of the article:

Jenkins was drafted in the first round in '95, had his first call-up to Milwaukee in April '98 -- "John Jaha went on the DL, that's how it happened," he says -- and has been in Brew-town ever since. The Brewers, coincidentally, were also in first place in the Central in April '98, but flamed out and finished 74-88. Jenkins played the next eight seasons amid heavy change: Five different managers, the jump from County Stadium to Miller Park, different logos, new ownership, a new general manager. Losing was the only constant.

"No one," he says, is left on the field from his rookie year -- only a few figures outside the lineup, including an equipment manager; a trainer; a TV color commentator, ex-Brewer Bill Schroeder; and the team's iconic radio voice, Bob Uecker. That Ueck has remained the franchise's most recognizable face for so long is both a blessing for Milwaukee fans, who were raised on his "Get up, Get up" home-run calls, as well as a telling sign: There hasn't been much to root for in this town over the past decade and a half.


While Yost's short-term enthusiasm is curbed, he makes it clear that the general rise of the franchise -- from the point at which both he and GM Doug Melvin began work in 2003 -- is hardly a surprise. "This is nothing more than the vision we all had five years ago," said Yost. "We knew we had great, young, talented kids in the minor leagues, that we had to kind of tread water until they got here, and then when they got here, we'd be able to compete, with the addition of a free agent or two. And it's just unveiled."

That it has. The Brewers' starting lineup on Tuesday had homegrown hitters in the 1-4 slots (Weeks, Hardy, Fielder and Hall) and six Milwaukee draftees in all, with Jenkins batting sixth and Sheets on the hill. Meanwhile, the club's prize free-agent acquisition, 2006 NLCS MVP Jeff Suppan, was the previous night's starting pitcher and had gone the distance in a 7-1 victory against St. Louis for his fourth win of April.

The acquisition of Suppan, who was inked to the richest contract in club history (four years, $42 million), this offseason, was important on multiple levels. As a 13-year veteran who has thrown at least 188 innings each of the past eight seasons, he solidified a rotation that already included Sheets, rising lefty Chris Capuano, and Dave Bush.

Suppan was also a symbol of the organization's intentions: to obtain him, new owner Mark Attanasio pushed the team payroll above $70 million for the first time, and sent a message that Milwaukee was out of the building phase and ready to make noise.


The strongest argument for why the Brewers are no fluke -- beyond the dominance of Cordero and the payoff of Suppan's addition -- is that the team, as a whole, has yet to hit its stride. Uecker, who has weathered the club's 15-year misery streak from the booth, said before Tuesday's game, "The thing is that they've had a heck of an April, and I don't think they've played their best baseball. Prince and Rickie and Billy Hall, they're not hitting on all cylinders, and yet the team is still good enough to win."

The stats back up the Ueck's assessment: While Hardy has been hot of late, leading everyday players in OPS, Fielder is batting .273 with six homers but has yet to go on a powerful tear. Weeks is hitting .231. Hall is at .255. Sheets is 2-2 and still finding his form. Capuano is 4-0 but insists he's not throwing well yet ("I haven't gone deep into many games, my walks are up, I'm just pitching average," he said).

And a great wrap-up...."So the Brewers plow through May, hoping that what is still just a hot start, a lot of promise, and a nice story, can maintain momentum and turn them into a real contender."

John Stocco, Green Bay Packer?

Watch out Ingle Martin, there's a new 3rd stringer in town! (Or maybe John Stocco's the one that needs to watch out if this picture is any indication)

Ok, not quite there yet, but the Packers did invite former Wisconsin QB John Stocco to rookie orientation camp for what amounted to a 72 hour tryout. Speculation has abounded as to whether Stocco's invite was a good-will gesture to a UW alum who went undrafted and then went unsigned as a free agent.

Stocco thought he'd be drafted or at least signed afterward, but the cards didn't fall that way. So he's taking his chances with the Packers. He's gone on record as saying he has no idea what he'll do if this doesn't work out. It clearly never occurred to him that he wouldn't end up somewhere.

And he's probably a bit justified in that. He's at least as good as, and arguably better than Brooks Bollinger and Jim Sorgi, both of whom are currently solidly holding down backup spots in the NFL.

His stats back it up.

29-7 as a three-year starter, ranked second in yards (7,021), completions (520), completion percentage (.578), attempts (900), touchdown passes (45) and efficiency rating (135.4) on the school's career passing lists.


The Packers had two quarterbacks in camp during their three-day rookie orientation camp, which ended Sunday. Jerry Babb, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound four-year starter at Louisiana-Lafayette, was signed as an undrafted free agent and former Wisconsin starter John Stocco was present on a tryout.

Neither was particularly impressive, but McCarthy said he wasn't making any judgments because both were overwhelmed with playbook material and weren't focusing as much on mechanics. McCarthy said Stocco did a nice job handling the offense.

"As far as him coming back here, that's something we'll sit down here in the next two days and decide," he said. "But it would surprise me if he doesn't have an opportunity in the National Football League."

From the Wisconsin State Journal:

Based on what coach Mike McCarthy has seen so far in meetings and practice, Stocco at least has a chance. He shared snaps with former Louisiana-Lafayette quarterback Jerry Babb, who signed as an undrafted free agent and received a $2,000 signing bonus but did little to distinguish himself from Stocco in Friday's workout inside the Don Hutson Center.

"I was very impressed with John," McCarthy said. "He has excellent recall, (and) I thought he picked up the verbiage very well the first day on the job, compared to other guys I've worked with. So we'll evaluate him after three practices. We'll sit down Sunday and we'll talk about all the guys that have been here."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Two weeks too late, but here's the KC pics

Finally, my brother sent me the pics from Kauffman Stadium, home of the Royals. I'll be back later to add some comments and explanations.

More Royals pics

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Last night's Brewer game

I was planning on posting about this from work today, but the workload was overwhelming. I want to get this in before we're too far into tonight's game. I'm writing while watching, so I'm sorry if it's a little disjointed.

Last night's game was nationally televised on ESPN and obviously had a lot of off-field story concerning the death of Cardinal reliever Josh Hancock.

Since that's a story we've all heard, I'm sticking with the game itself.

Prince Fielder had a solo HR, his 6th HR of the season. It was Jeff Suppan's first complete game since 2003.

I was fairly impressed with last night's commentators. They were extremely complimentrary to the Brewers, especially the pitching. They hooked onto our new rotation of Derrick Turnbow setting up in the 8th and Francisco Cordero closing out the 9th. They made the point that having those two on their game effectively shortens the game to 7 innings for any opponent.

I had this discussion with my boyfriend earlier. Ideally, Turnbow will face 3 batters as will Cordero. That's two pitchers for 6 outs. Brian Shouse is our lefty reliever. He never faces more than 2 or 3 batters. That's a lot of roster space and a lot of salary money for 9 total batters. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, as they are all pitching well and making a big difference. But it's something to think about.

It was definitely an interesting game. The Josh Hancock spectre hung over the game, obviously, but there were just some weird plays. Albert Pujols walked on just 3 balls. No one caught it at the time, but the announcers went back and counted the pitches. Pujols threw his bat toward the dugout and started to first, so I guess the ump just went with it.

Kevin Mench scored with only a hit that didn't pass the pitchers mound. He hit a blooper that bounced and scooted toward third. The pitcher finally tracked it down and made an ill-advised throw to first that was about 4 feet to the second base side of the first base bag. Mench got to second on the error. Mench then stole 3rd without a throw even being made. Finally, he scored on a balk by pitcher Kip Wells. Strange play.

There were a lot of good tidbits thrown out in last night's commentary:

*Going into last night's game, Jeff Suppan had thrown just 6 walks in 35 innings this season

*Last season's Brewer's starting pitchers won just 48 games all of last season. They've won 13 already this year.

*Our record after last night's win is 16-9, good for a tie for the NL's best record. Heading into May last year we were 14-11. By mid-May we were below .500 and never saw a winning record again.

*Last year we were 27-54 on the road. This year we've already won 3 road series. In fact, we've only lost one series all season - at home, to the Cubs.

*Brewers starting pitchers are 9-1 through the last 14 games with a 3.21 ERA.

*Bill Hall was in some elite company last season. He hit 35 home runs, had 85 RBIs, scored 101 runs and hit 39 doubles. He led the Brewers in all categories.
There were only 3 other guys ( I didn't catch if this was in the NL or in all of MLB) that hit more than 35 HR and 35 doubles: Beltran, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano)

* Jim Edmonds, a career .289 hitter, hit just 6 of 134 against the Brewers last season (.044)

* David Eckstein struck out just one time in the month of April

* With the win, Jeff Suppan made history. He and Chris Capuano both managed four wins in the month of April, the first time any two Brewers pitchers have done so.