Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Poor Derrick Turnbow. His line in tonight's game:43 pitches, 6 runs, 4 walks, 4 hits, and only two outs.
He entered the game only after the score was 13-5 and he forced us to use another pitcher from the bullpen because he gave up 6 runs and couldn't get out of the inning.
I'm sure he's a great guy, and I will always cherish my Derrick Turnbow bobblehead with "real" hair. And who can forget the FSN commercials in 06 in which Derrick was combing the hair on his bobble, like a kid with a Barbie Doll.
I honestly hate to see someone self destruct the way he had. But he's at rock bottom and we need to stop wasting roster space on this guy. He's a headcase and has a lot to work out.
Please, for the love of all that is holy, please let today be the last day that we have to see Derrick Turnbow.
We ranked #1 overall in Promotions and Food and #2 in Affordability.
Other areas in which stadiums were ranked:
History & Tradition
Getting to the Game (ranked third)
Neighborhood (our worst ranking at #18)
Cleveland actually didn't rank #1 in any category and had a #19 rank in hospitality, but the Brewers got double digit rankings in three categories, which proved to be the difference.
Check out all the rankings here.
Congratulations to the Brewers for making Miller Park such a great place to watch games.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
From Yahoo Sports:
"Apr 27 3B Bill Hall was out of the starting lineup Sunday despite collecting five hits in the previous two games. Manager Ned Yost wanted to give either Hall or 2B Rickie Weeks the day off to let INF Craig Counsell see some action. Yost put the names of Hall and Weeks in a baseball cap and had Hall pick to see who would be out of the lineup. Hall picked his own name, and thus had to sit."
How is there even a decision between Bill Hall, with his game tying home run and five hits vs. Rickie and his sub .200 BA?
I'm not saying I could be a manager and I'm not sure (other than Simmons) who I'd want for a replacement, but when I read things like this, I wonder if ANYONE wouldn't be better?!
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Jordy Nelson, WR, Kansas State
Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville
Patrick Lee, CB, Auburn
Jermichael Finley, TE, Texas
Jeremy Thompson, DE, Wake Forest (who is apparently the brother of Packers tackle Orrin Thompson)
Josh Sitton, G/T, University of Central Florida
Breno Giacomini, T, Louisville
Matt Flynn, QB, LSU
Brett Swain, WR, San Diego State
Seven of our nine draftees were on the offensive side. Larry McCarren, while hosting a draft special asked Coach Mike McCarthy about it and he said "It's about time."
McCarren noted that McCarthy is known as a quarterbacks guru and wanted to know what McCarthy had to say about the quarterbacks Green Bay drafted.
Brohm: very consistant. He's a guy that does everything well. I like the way he plays in the pocket. I think he'll fit very well in our 1 back schemes.
Flynn: He's a winner. He's a national champion. He did a very good job managing the offensive. It's a wide open offense with run and shoot and gadget plays and he managed it very well. He's very sound fundamentally. We had him rated a lot higher than we drafted him.
And just for stats sake, here's the Packers' pick breakdown:
1 30 Traded to Jets for New York's picks in rounds 2 (36) and 4 (113)
2 36 Jordy Nelson (Acquired from Jets)
2 56 Brian Brohm (Acquired from Browns for defensive tackle Corey Williams).
2 60 Patrick Lee
3 91 Jermichael Finley
4 102 Jeremy Thompson (Acquired from Jets for Green Bay's picks in rounds 4 (113) and 5 (162)).
4 113 Traded to Jets along with pick 162 overall for New York's pick in round 4 (102).
4 128 Traded to Rams for St. Louis' picks in rounds 5 (137) and 7 (217)).
4 135 Josh Sitton (Compensatory pick)
5 137 Acquired from Rams; Traded to Vikings for Minnesota's picks in rounds 5 (150) and 7 (209).
5 150 Breno Giacomini (Acquired from Vikings)
5 162 Traded to Jets along with pick 113 overall for New York's pick in round 4 (102).
6 194 Traded to Giants in 2007 for running back Ryan Grant
7 209 Matt Flynn (Acquired from Vikings)
7 217 Brett Swain (Acquired from Rams)
7 237 Traded to Saints for sixth-round pick in '09
Post draft, we also signed some guys as free agents (all information from the Journal Sentinel Packers blog):
*Wisconsin punter Ken Debauche has agreed to terms on a free-agent contract with the Packers, according to Journal Sentinel Badgers beat writer Mark Stewart. He averaged 42.5 yards, which ranks second all-time at Wisconsin. Only 115 of 231 attempts were returned. Can also on placekicks.
*Northwest Missouri St. tight end Mike Peterson agreed to a contract with the Packers as an undrafted free agent, according to a source. Peterson, who will be 26 in November, is 6-foot-2 and 247 pounds. Could play fullback and/or H-back. A high school running back that graduated in 2001, he played baseball in junior college before quitting to go to work at a lumberyard and shipyard. He then decided to walk on at Division II Northwest Missouri State after five years away from the game. Has good athleticism but might fill more of an H-back role because of his height. Had 38 catches for 536 yards and five touchdowns as a senior. Drew interest from 10 teams that sought to sign him after the draft
*Undrafted free agent J.J. Jansen of Notre Dame agreed to a free-agent contract with the Packers, according to his agent Paul Sheehy. Took over at long snapper for the Irish midway through the 2005 season and has never had a botched snap on any of his 300-odd attempts between punts and field goals. After the retirement of veteran Rob Davis, free-agent Thomas Gafford is the only long snapper on the Packers' roster.
- LB Danny Lansanah, UConn: 6-foot and 243 pounds. Ran a 4.72 40-yard dash...After totaling 202 tackles, five sacks and six interceptions his first three seasons, had 121 tackles (14 for losses) in 13 games as a senior with two sacks and four interceptions....Known to have good instincts and is aggressive although he lacks top speed....Had a pre-draft visit with the Packers....22 years old....Packers were very interested in him because they signed him right after the draft.....Projected as an inside linebacker...All Big East first-team choice.
- RB Kregg Lumpkin, Georgia: 5-foot-11.5 and 242 pounds...Ran a 4.64 in the 40 at the combine. Sat out the 2004 season after tearing the ACL in his left knee, and he missed much of his senior year because of a broken right thumb (two games) and a torn lateral meniscus and sprained posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee (four games).....Was always in a rotation or stuck behind Knowshon Moreno and Thomas Brown...Played in just six games as a senior and rushed 12 times for 44 yards after carrying 162 times for 798 yards and six touchdowns as a junior....Tough to take down but doesn't have great speed and has durability issues.
- WR Taj Smith, Syracuse: 6-foot-0 3/8ths and 187 pounds. Ran a 4.58 40....Set the school record at Bakersfield Community College with 53 receptions in 2005. He enrolled at Syracuse in 2006 and had season ended after four games with a collarbone injury. Smith started all 12 games of the 2007 season finishing with 44 catches, 822 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns. Turned pro with one year of eligibility remaining...Will turn 25 in September...Has great vision and is good after the catch....Reportedly has character issues stemming from high school and junior college.
The sixth round had a bit of a rush on former Badgers, as kicker Taylor Melhaff went to New Orleans at #178 overall. Defensive tackle Nick Hayden went three spots later at #181 to the Carolina Panthers. WR Paul Hubbard was picked at #191 by the Cleveland Browns.
Center Marcus Coleman, Punter Ken DeBauche and WR Luke Swan are still on the board.
And as I typed that, Bill Hall hit a home run. Bill Hall, who didn't start the game and just saw his first pitch of the game, hit it into the Friday's in left field.
Alleluia. Mitch Stetter warmed up quickly and came in when Derrick Turnbow loaded the bases with no outs on two walks and a single. Stetter, in just his 12th major league appearance ever, seems like he could be giving lessons to Turnbow about how to keep your composure and keep your head in the game.
He entered a started with a 3 pitch strikeout to Jeremy Hermida. He fell behind 2-0 and then 3-2 to Josh Willingham before striking him out. Stetter also fell behind 3-0 to Jose Cantu. For some reason we can't fathom, Cantu swung away on 3-0 and then at 3-1 popped up. Stetter cleared the side with bases loaded and no outs. Absolutely spectacular.
Anyway, I think the story of the past few days is the lack of offensive output. Yesterday's game was a positive, but for the most part, the Brewers have failed in the one spot that was supposed to not be an issue this year.
Run scoring has been more than difficult, as 10 of our 14 wins have been by 2 runs or less.
Under normal circumstances, this wouldn't be so much of a worry, but we really banked on our offensive output. We knew that Gagne and our pitching staff were going to have some rough spots. WE KNEW THIS. But we also knew that with our batting lineup, one or two run mistakes by our pitchers weren't supposed to matter because our offense was supposed to have given us a cushion.
The biggest problem has been lack of patience at the plate. I have neither the time nor inclination to give you a first 25 games breakdown of this, but I think Friday's game is a good example. Heading into the 7th inning, Yovani Gallardo had 96 pitches. He ended the inning with 114 pitches. Heading into the 7th inning, Marlins pitcher Scott Olsen had just 78 pitches. He was pulled in the middle of the 7th.
We had NO STRIKEOUTS. Normally, I'd be excited about that stat because we've had a problem with that this season. But the reason we had no K's is because we didn't have the patience to stick around for that many pitches. According to my scorekeeping, we had 11 pop-up outs. ELEVEN! We did have four walks - 2 by Bill Hall - which is a huge improvement for him.
We cannot keep putting ourself at that disadvantage. Not only does that mean too many stupid outs, but it means that our bullpen's in the game an inning or two before their's is.
Having no offense means a real small leash for our pitchers. There is little to no margin of error. Our pitchers are allowed one, maybe two, rough pitches and then we have to look to the bullpen to stop any bleeding because our pitching staff has been given no support. This is our already tired, has taken us into countless extra-innings games bullpen. Our not scoring isn't just going to effect the score now. It's going to tire out the bullpen and have long lasting effects.
Yovani Gallardo has pitched two 100+ pitch starts and doesn't have a win. On April 20 he threw 112 pitches, gave up one run on four hits and Gagne blew the save.
Carlos Villanueva pitched 98 pitches giving up 3 hits and 2 runs on April 21 against the Reds. Our bullpen gave up two runs and we lost 4-3.
This kind of things CANNOT keep happening. It's all related and it's going to lead to a very tired bullpen and a lot of losses down the line. We're not even at May 1 yet. It's great that we're still 4 games above .500. It's great that we've won 7 games on the road already.
Every announcer/taking head/coach keeps saying that "sooner or later, this offense is going to break out." Thus far, we have no proof that's going to happen. It's wishful thinking. And "sooner or later" may just be too late.
It's not a matter of being down or negative on this team, it's a matter of fact. If we don't pull out of this funk pretty soon, it could be a really long season with another very tired bullpen.
With their second pick of the second round, the Packers took Louisville QB Brian Brohm. I have really been avoiding draft talk in the days leading up to this, but I had no idea that we were considering a rookie to be Rodgers' backup. For all intents, Aaron Rodgers is still a rookie - he hasn't played enough games to fill a rookie season. I was under the impression that Ted Thompson, et al were unflinchingly behind Rodgers - especially after reading this in last weekend's Journal-Sentinel. I don't mind the Brohm pick. He was solid for most of his college career and was brought up under Rick Pitino. Chad Henne's always rubbed me the wrong way and that could just be a Michigan bias.
With the 60th overall pick, the Packers took Patrick Lee, a CB from Auburn. This is the position that everyone thought we would be filling with our first pick. Charles Woodson and Al Harris are not spring chickens and there were a lot of primetime CBs available. There are some questions about Lee as he wasn't a starter until he was a senior, but his size and physicality should allow him to fit in easily. Heading into the draft, there was a lot a talk about how big time CBs don't have to come from big time schools. Maybe that theory can extend to smaller names at big time schools. Brandon Flowers was a sexier pick earlier in the draft, but the talking heads seem to think that we've gotten as good of a player in Lee with better size.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Sources: Sampson likely to be an assistant for Milwaukee Bucks
By Marc Stein
Updated: April 25, 2008, 9:15 AM ET
Milwaukee has emerged as the most likely landing spot for former Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson.
The Milwaukee Bucks, specifically.
NBA front-office sources told ESPN.com on Thursday that Sampson and the Bucks are discussing an assistant coach's role at the urging of new Bucks coach Scott Skiles.
Skiles has targeted two men who worked in the college game this season -- Sampson and University of New Mexico associate head coach Craig Neal -- to be part of his first staff in Milwaukee. Sources say Wisconsin native and former Bucks forward Joe Wolf, who has coached two teams in the D-League, is another candidate.
Since his forced resignation from Indiana in February, Sampson has spent the past two months with the San Antonio Spurs as an unofficial observer. Sampson was summoned to Texas by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, with whom he has remained close since they worked together as assistants under Denver Nuggets coach George Karl on Team USA in 2002.
Sampson left Indiana in February, accepting a $750,000 buyout in exchange for his resignation and waiving his right to seek further damages from the university after an NCAA report charged the 52-year-old with five major NCAA recruiting violations.
But further sanctions against Indiana and/or Sampson are possible in mid-June when the school's basketball program is subjected to a face-to-face examination in Seattle from the NCAA's infractions committee.
Sampson continues to attend of all of San Antonio's games and practices in his unofficial capacity and traveled Thursday with the team to Phoenix for Friday's Game 3 of the Spurs' first-round series against the Suns. Neither he nor Skiles could be immediately reached for comment.
Sampson has said previously, however, that he intends to defend himself against the NCAA charges at Indiana's scheduled meeting before the infractions committee in June. Sampson could face a "show-cause" penalty at that hearing, meaning that any NCAA school that attempted to hire him during a show-cause period -- typically in the two- to five-year range -- would have to go in front of the infractions committee to determine whether Sampson would be subject to any further sanctions.
Sampson accepted the Indiana job in March 2006 and two months later was penalized by the NCAA for making 577 impermissible phone calls between 2000 and 2004 while coaching Oklahoma.
The latest round of charges against him emerged in October, when an Indiana investigation found that Sampson and his staff made more than 100 impermissible calls while still under recruiting restriction. Sampson was also accused of making at least 10 three-way calls in another violation of his Oklahoma punishment.
Indiana athletic director Rick Greenspan called those violations "secondary," imposing a one-year extension of the NCAA's recruiting restrictions and withdrawing a $500,000 raise for Sampson. The Hoosiers also canceled one scholarship for the 2008-09 season.
But an NCAA report released Feb. 13 by Indiana alleged that Sampson provided false and misleading information to investigators from both the university and the NCAA, failed to meet the "generally recognized high standard of honesty" expected in college sports and failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the program.
Sampson, who has denied intentionally providing investigators with false information, led the Hoosiers into the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2006-07 and had them in position to contend for a Big Ten title this season.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Just my opinion. Anyway, these two pieces were interesting to me, so I'm passing them along.
From last night's post-game press conference:
"I feel at times people are hard on [Turnbow]," Yost said. "But I have faith in him, and as long as I have faith, he doesn't have to worry about nothing."
In addition, and I got this second hand, but apparently the Cards' version of Brian and Bill spent time talking about Ned Yost.
Thought this is as good a place as any but the Cardinals TV crew had a pretty low opinion of Yost and the color guy mentioned that when he talks to 'people who know things' about the Brewers they say that Yost would be lucky to get six weeks into the season before Simmons takes over.
I was just about to post this. I'm neither anti or pro Yost, but to elaborate a little more the Cards' guy said that the immediate feeling among those that know baseball was that when Simmons was hired he would replace Yost early in the season as the Brewers manager.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I can’t remember a time I was so wrapped up in the day-to-day trials and tribulations of a team. Baseball offers a completely unique fan experience – you’re not tied in for 3 hours every Saturday or Sunday for 3 months. You’re in for at least 162 games for a little more than 6 months. It’s so easy to forget that saying it’s a long season is an understatement. Individual wins and losses can’t be measured like you do in football. No one likes to lose, but every baseball team will do it at least 40-50 (and usually more like 80) times a year. As fans, we have to keep this in mind so that we don’t take each loss like a heartbreak.
I have had to keep telling myself this over and over the past few days. I’m so wrapped up in every game and every result that tough, final inning losses have really had the ability to change my mood. I’ve found myself on message boards analyzing every catch, substitution and pitch. I’m usually the person here in my office that rolls her eyes when the guy over in accounting talks like he can coach the Packers/Bucks/Brewers better. Yet here I am questioning every move that Ned Yost makes.
It’s in our nature to find someone to blame when things go wrong and though I’ve tried to stay objective, Ned Yost has won no points in my book this week. His post-game press conference demeanor couldn’t be more off-putting. Even if I didn’t already have questions about him, that right there would be enough to put him on my shit list. He acts like it’s above him to be there, like all the questions are ridiculous and that he shouldn’t have to answer them. I’m sorry Ned, but press conferences are part of the job. You don’t have to like them, but you’re not endearing yourself to a fan base that is already iffy on you. When you make a move in a game that turns out to be questionable, don’t act like it’s unfathomable that a reporter will ask you about the decision. You made the decision for a reason – we just want to know what it is.
I have great respect for Doug Melvin and he likes Ned, which gives Ned a lot of cred in my book. Just as I think it’s ridiculous when actors/actresses get up upset about being in the limelight, I think it’s ridiculous that Ned is so obnoxious during press conferences. His tendency towards “non-answers,” snide remarks and defensiveness has got to stop.
Ned, the club has built a team that has people interested in baseball in
(Memo to Trenni, FSN Milwaukee sideline reporter: A quick check over the history of Eric Gagne showed no stretch of games pitched longer than 5. Your apparent attempt to show Ned you’re on his side and win favor by claiming Gagne had pitched up to 8 or 9 games in a row before was false. I saw a quote after the game where Gagne said that he had pitched multiple games in a row and I don’t know if that was said before or after you gave us that info during the broadcast, but if your source was Gagne, you have to back that up with some research.)
For some reason that I haven’t actually been able to pinpoint yet, I desperately want Eric Gagne to do well. Obviously, he’s our closer and I need/want our closer to be successful as it will have a dramatic effect on the outcome of our season. But it’s not that simple. It’s Eric Gagne himself that I really want to succeed. It’s completely irrational. I had no feelings pro or con about Gagne before he became a Brewer. So why do I care about a guy we have for one season? It’s so strange.
It’s hard to stay objective and not let every game take you on an emotional roller coaster like last night’s 12 inning saga did. Of course the end was a high note, but I was emotionally drained by the time we got there.
This team drives me mad. I take the lows so hard and want answers as to why things aren’t working, but there aren’t always going to be pinpoint-able reasons.
Remember, we’re only 20 games in. Three weeks ago, you’d have never believed that Gabe Kapler and Seth McClung would be the bench player heroes. You wouldn’t believe Gabe Gross would score the game winning run in the 12th and be traded about an hour later. You wouldn’t believe that Prince would have just one home run and Gabe Kapler would have four. You wouldn’t believe that Bill Hall would have 6 HR and 16 RBI while hitting .185.
This is a reminder to all the fans out there, but it’s also a memo to me. Relax. It’s a long season. We’re only a half game behind the extremely surprising Cardinals. The Cubs – well, they’re the Cubs. Their hot start won’t continue either. This is the National League Central.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
TUESDAY, April 22, 2008, 5:32 p.m.
By Tom Haudricourt
Brewers deal Gross to Tampa Bay
The Milwaukee Brewers made a pre-emptive strike to clear an upcoming logjam in the outfield by trading Gabe Gross to Tampa Bay for right-handed pitching prospect Josh Butler.
Oddly enough, Gross scored the winning run in the 12th inning as the Brewers topped St. Louis, 9-8, in 12 innings.
With Tony Gwynn Jr. ready to come back from a minor league rehab assignment and Mike Cameron scheduled to join the team after a 25-game suspension next week, the Brewers were going to have a glut of outfielders. Thus, they dealt Gross, who was batting only .209 but had started to swing the bat in recent games.
"It was a little bit out of the blue," said Gross. "Something had to give (in the outfield)."
Butler, a second-round pick in 2006 out of the University of San Diego, was assigned to Class A Brevard County.
Gwynn, who had seven hits in 13 at-bats at Class AAA Nashville, will rejoin the club Wednesday.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
First, Costas brought up Bud Selig and had many complimentary things to say. I'll quote those a little further down. Speaking of Bud's tenure brought them back around to discussing steroids and Costas informed Bill and Brian that things he said to them prior to the game were actually the things that set off the bad blood between him and Bonds.
"I'm pretty sure that my friend Bud Selig is watching the game back in Milwaukee as he kind of makes his trip around the satellite dish and watches all the games but maybe with a special bit of attention toward the Brewers. Baseball does not need a new commissioner. There were times in the past when I was critical of Bud - although I always valued his friendship. But I think on balance, while there will be questions about certain things and legitimate criticisms, on balance if you look at his tenure, his tenure has been a successful one and in many ways a revolutionary one. Because there have been changes, not all of which I've agreed with, but changes under his leadership that he has spearheaded and he deserves credit for a lot of that. ... And if in fact, he was slow on the steroid issue and if the game was slow, he certainly is trying to make up for it now. He's certainly trying to be as proactive as he can be now."
Brian tells an anecdote about Costas being in Milwaukee when Bonds was there and asks Bob where he stands on where things are in baseball right now.
"Well, the economics of the game, while imperfect and I don't know if you can ever fully perfect them, are certainly better than theywere six or seven years ago. Revenue sharing has made matters better. The luxury tax is perhaps not as effective as a salary cap but helps a little bit. And I think a lot of teams have gone to school on the Bill Beanes and the Terry Ryans and the others and they've learned how to make better use of limited resources so you have competitive imbalance, yes, but a less acute problem than it once was. And while they were late and they have to pay the price both in terms of public perception and history and what happens in the record books I think that now they're doing just about everything they possibly can to reduce the use of performance enhancing drugs. You're never going to completely eliminate it from any sports but I think that they've gone a long way to significantly reducing it."
"You know the last time I was with you guys in Milwaukee, that series in July, against the Giants, you asked me about Bonds and it was then that I said 'Look. Looks like a lot of people just are afraid to say it bluntly. I live on this planet. It's clear that the man used performance enhancing drugs. He was a great player but he used steroids to go from an all-time great player to a super-human player.' As it happened, Barry was in the visitors' clubhouse and heard that. And THAT'S what set him off. People thought it was the report, the larger report that I was there to do a portion of, the larger report that aired the next week on HBO. But it was the telecast with you guys that he heard in the Giant clubhouse that set him off."
I actually didn't have a problem with it for a couple of reasons:
1. His ABs stink.
He's not being patient. He's not getting walks. He's swinging at anything and everything thrown at him. He's basically doing everything he's not supposed to be doing.
2. His cockiness.
Look, Braun had a crazy great season last year. But one great season does not a superstar make. The sophomore slump has affected many guys and thus far he looks to be the next on that list. We'd all like to believe that he's going to be truly great for many years, but so far, we don't have the proof to back that up. I'm not saying to give up on him, by any stretch. I'm just saying that maybe he needs to be taken down a few pegs and reminded that a ROY and a good season aren't enough. He could and should be a franchise player and it would help if he weren't swinging for the fences every AB.
3. This quote: (from MilwaukeeBrewers.com)
"I don't need an off-day. I don't want an off-day," Braun said. "I would much rather be playing. I don't ever want to sit. Obviously, there going to be times when you need an off-day when you're tired or you're hurt, but I'm perfectly healthy.
"I'm just an employee. Seriously. I don't make those decisions."
I don't care who the guy is, you don't tell the MLB.com reporter that you're pissed about the manager's decision. That's like running a banner up the flagpole. Swallow your pride. Deal with it. Be pissed, but don't tell the public. It came off petulant and whiny to me.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The Gabe Kapler question has been answered and he is not in the lineup. Apparently Kapler was in the early lineup for today, but then bruised his shoulder in batting practice. According to Brian and Bill on FSN, Ned Yost has said that Kapler is the CF until Cameron returns. He was scheduled to be in today, but after the injury, which is supposedly not serious, Gross is in.
Also, Ryan Braun is getting "a mental day off" after the whole team had the day of yesterday.
The Brewers lineup:
Brewers are special case with five African-Americans
By ANTHONY WITRADO
Posted: April 14, 2008
As the Milwaukee Brewers filed into the clubhouse through double metal doors for a spring training game in Peoria, Ariz., last month, they found a locker and sat down.
Some rested, some grabbed food, others hit the training room.
But in one corner, four players huddled around the 3-inch screen of an iPhone and laughed about whatever they were seeing on the sleek contraption.
Mike Cameron, Tony Gwynn Jr., Bill Hall and Rickie Weeks were those players. Throw in Prince Fielder and, on most days during spring training, that quintet could be found somewhere around the middle of the team's clubhouse.
They would talk about hip-hop music, movies from the 1990s, their dream starting five in basketball and a list of corny slang words someone found from an "urban dictionary" on the Internet.Those kinds of things happen in every clubhouse and locker room from high school to the big leagues. But in Major League Baseball, it doesn't always look like it does with the Brewers.
On this, the 61st anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color line in professional baseball, not every team in the league can boast five African-Americans on the same major-league roster.
The Brewers, however, can do just that.
Cameron, Fielder, Gwynn, Hall and Weeks are all African-Americans, and they are baseball professionals.
In today's society, that combination is becoming as rare as a day when those five aren't reveling in each other's company. Why? The reason is harsh, but real: Young African-Americans are not choosing baseball anymore.
"I don't think Jack would be real happy," said Hall, referencing Robinson, who broke Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947. "He and the other pioneers who gave us this opportunity to be playing right now, I don't think they'd be too happy about it."
Today is Jackie Robinson Day in the major leagues, and every player is welcome to wear Robinson's retired No. 42 on his uniform. Prince Fielder, sometimes sporting baggy pants and high socks this season as a tribute to the Negro Leagues, will wear that number for the Brewers.
"I wore it in high school, so it's pretty cool," Fielder said. "Of course, it's an honor to wear it."
Baseball's tribute is bound to warm hearts today, but Robinson would likely be cold to what clubhouses have looked like in recent years.
In 1995, 19% of big-league players were African-American, according to Richard Lapchick, the director of the University of Central Florida's Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sports.
But those numbers have come crashing down since.
Only 9% of players were African-American in 2004 and 2005, and in 2006 the number dipped to 8.4%. The numbers rose some last season, but two teams - the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros - had no African-Americans on their rosters.
Things aren't any better in the college game. Last season, less than 7% of all NCAA Division I baseball players were African-American, according to a recent story in the Long Beach Press-Telegram.
Those statistics, which surprised people a few years ago but have become common knowledge by now, are why the Brewers are an oddity. Last season, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays had five African-American players. This season, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have six African-Americans, and besides the Brewers, five other teams have five on their 25-man rosters.
"Besides college, this is the first team I've been on that has had more than four," said Weeks, who played at Southern University, a historically black college. "I feel good about the situation because you don't see it a lot. It's been pretty rare to see more than two people on the field who are the same as me."
That won't be the case this season.
Weeks, Fielder, Hall and Cameron will be regular starters this season. And Gwynn, until a hamstring landed him on the disabled list last week, was a regular in center field while Cameron serves a 25-game suspension.
All of those players are homegrown talent, except for Cameron, and no older than 28. Cameron signed with the Brewers in January partly because of the clubhouse's make-up.
He nodded his head slowly and smiled as he was asked if the number of African-Americans on the team was a factor in his signing.
"First and foremost, I had a chance to come to a situation where the pieces are there, and we just have to put them together," Cameron, 35, said. "No. 2, at this particular point in my career, to be able to instill the values taught to me, to get a chance to share those with these young brothers who have one or two years in the big leagues, it's pretty cool."
Cameron got his big-league call-up in 1995, and since then he has played on teams with lots of African-American talent, particularly in Cincinnati in 1999 when the team had eight players. Greg Vaughn mentored Cameron then, even allowing Cameron to live with him during spring training.
Cameron, who has been active in inner-city charities for years, also has two boys - Dazmon, 11, and Mekhi, 6. This spring, they would occasionally dress in full uniform at their father's locker. They'd play catch and take fly balls, and during drills they'd stand to the side and study. Dazmon even left camp for a time to fly back to Georgia for a baseball tournament.
Dazmon and Mekhi Cameron know baseball; they were born into it and have always been around the game. Cameron believes that is why they gravitate toward the diamond, just as Fielder and Gwynn did as children of major-league players.
But Cameron's sons are exceptions today.
Participation drops off
The reason the numbers of college and professional African American players are shrinking is because the kids are drawn to other sports and, in some cases, are never introduced to baseball.
Basketball and football's popularity are the main culprits, as well as dimming media exposure and cost, among a host of other societal reasons.
There is a misconception that those other sports lend themselves to the natural athlete, while baseball requires less athletic ability than basketball or football. It is also seen as boring or slow.
Of course, players take exception to that.
"You have less than eight tenths of a second to decide if you want to swing," Hall said. "I think that's pretty fast."
Still, Fielder can see why kids would gravitate to other sports.
"I wouldn't watch baseball either if I didn't play," he said. "If you've never actually played baseball, it's probably hard to get into it. You can go out and play pick-up basketball because it's easier. You can't do that with baseball."
The lack of media attention individual players attract is another deterrent. For every baseball player in a commercial, there are five or more basketball and football stars with their faces plastered on the screen. And you see them year around, while baseball players, with the exception of Derek Jeter, are rarely in a commercial outside of the season.
But that was not always the case.
"When I was growing up, Ken Griffey Jr. was always on TV," Gwynn said. "You have a little bit now with Ryan Howard, but your basketball stars are on TV all the time.
"You have to reach the community by showing them another African-American is playing the sport. I mean, I don't know if people really recognize Derek Jeter as black. He is (universal)."
Cost has also played a role in the decline of inner-city African-Americans playing the game. Basketball requires little equipment, and football gear - pads, helmets, uniforms - can be reused and is often given out after a one-time fee. That is becoming less and less true with baseball, especially if you have talent and want to play beyond a three-month summer.
So as baseball expenses go up, the number of inner-city African-American players goes down.
"They're making it so that if you don't have money, you can't play," Hall said. "If you want to play on good teams with good coaches, it's a lot. And (inner-city) families don't have $1,000 to just give away for that."
Baseball also doesn't lend itself to instant gratification. Even if drafted in the first round, players usually toil in the minors for a least a few years, and some may never see the illuminating lights of "The Show."
And the hope for college is usually dashed when kids realize they might not even get a four-figure scholarship while some schools are cutting back or cutting out the sport from their athletic departments.
"I really do think that's a problem," Weeks said. "These kids look for the quick fix, meaning football and basketball, and those sports are just throwing away scholarships.
"In baseball, you have to toil for a while. It's a thinking man's game, and it takes a while to accumulate experience and maturity."
Hall, Weeks and Gwynn have held camps for inner-city kids and Hall is even planning to start a charity geared toward exposing African-Americans to the sport. In December, Hall and Weeks took 15 players from the Beckum-Stapleton Little League on a day-long trip to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City. Each player said they learned as much as the kids and plan to continue exposing inner-city children to the game and its players, including themselves.
"Obviously, once we make it, we don't live in urban communities anymore," Hall said. "So they don't get to see us, but they need to understand we listen to rap music, too; we like Jay-Z and Tupac and everybody else.
"We're just like them."
If kids knew that, they might be more comfortable with the game, Hall added. And even though they are adults, the African-Americans on the Brewers roster covet the comfort of being around people like themselves.
"You're going to go where you're comfortable," Cameron said. "Me and (Gwynn) Jr. talk about things maybe only we understand, and I think that's important to have."
While Cameron, Fielder, Hall, Gwynn and Weeks could often be seen together in the clubhouse and in the dugout this spring, the white and Latino players get along with them, and each other, just as well. During spring training, Ryan Braun and J.J. Hardy had ping-pong tournaments with Venezuelan minor-leaguers Hernan Iribarren and Alcides Escobar, and Cameron sometimes yelled across the clubhouse in Spanish to his Latin teammates.
But with the opportunities becoming scarce, the African-American players are savoring this experience.
"We all get along, black, white, Spanish," Gwynn said. "It's not cliquey at all.
"But it is human nature to gravitate toward people you know, people you're familiar with. With the game being predominately white and Spanish, it's rare to have this many African-Americans on one team. So you try to suck it in as much as you can."
Kapler's obviously swinging the hot bat. BUT he's part of a platoon in center until Mike Cameron finishes his suspension. He's only supposed to start when the opposing starter is a lefty. In the series at St. Louis that starts tonight, we're scheduled to see three righties. Does Kapler play anyway, or do we stick with the platoon and go with Gabe Gross?
Ned Yost's past plays in this sort of situation are contradictory, so it's hard to say which way he'll go. He's been very adamant about keeping this platoon going, keeping them in the 2 spot of the batting order, since that's where Cameron will be, and generally trying to keep things as even keel as possible up to and through the Cameron switch-over.
That being said, he's also shown a proclivity for staying with the "hot bat."
But what's to say Kapler keeps it up? Do we ride him til he goes cold? A hot streak is great and easy to see and be excited about while it's going on, but you never know how or when it will end. You have to know when to get off the train and Ned showed last year that he doesn't necessarily have the ability to make that call. (*cough*KevinMench*cough*)
You'll remember that both Kevin Mench and JJ Hardy started off last season red hot. Heck, even Gabe Gross had some good numbers at one point last season.
Tony Gwynn's first 36 AB last year: .417/.500/.500/1.000 (He finished the season
.195/.247/.241 /.488 )
Kevin Mench's first 42 AB last year:
So we "rode his hot bat" and here's what he did over the next 48 AB: .208/.204/.313/.517
One could even make this argument about Jason Kendall this season already. He started the season with: .538/.567/.731/1.298 in 26 AB.
We all got really excited and people were talking about putting him at a more advantageous spot in the lineup. Then he did this in the Mets series: .091/.167/.091/.258 in 11 AB with a HBP.
So which way should we go?
Monday, April 14, 2008
Sorry, but I'll pass on the "rescue" movement. I know people who have gotten tied up in that stuff -- they become attached to the dog and then have to suffer the indignity of ten-page applications with references, in-home inspections and visits with the animal, hundreds of dollars in fees, and in some cases outright denial -- because you have CHILDREN! Not because an abused animal might harm the child, but because the child MIGHT HARM THE DOG! As if! Better to stay away from the psychos who coordinate specific-breed rescues; their focus on a particular niche allows them to obsess. Go to the ASPCA or Humane Society where they trust you when you take an animal home, or to a breeder who pours his/her whole existence into producing the best animals available. (As for "puppy mills," that's usually a pejorative term employed by people who would rather make up your mind for you about where you should get your dog, although of course abuses do occur.) Of course, there are is a whole spectrum of experiences and yours has been positive. That's good. On an individual basis, though, I've found the rescue movement to be a noble but ultimately misguided pursuit.
As my experience has been first hand and with multiple rescues, I'm first calling foul on your overexaggeration of the adoption application process.
I can't imagine that anyone who is serious about a dog would have a problem with the rescue wanting vet references and to make sure that you're going to keep the dog in the correct environment. I do understand that there's a process, but from the rescues standpoint, they're trying to ensure the dog goes to a loving home. I guess I feel that if you want the dog that badly, you'll have no problem waiting.
Rescues are filled with owner-surrender dogs, meaning people adopted/bought them and decided they didn't want them anymore. The point of what you refer to as indignity is meant to ensure that this dog does not end up back at a shelter or rescue, but has indeed found a forever home. People tend to buy/adopt animals on a whim and do not understand the undertaking. That's why every year in the weeks following Easter you see news stories about places being overrun with bunnies that people bought for Easter baskets, didn't understand what they were getting into, and gave the bunny away to a shelter.
A rescue is focused on the dog, not on the adopting family. In my specific case, basset hounds come with their own set of issues that need to be addressed before a family takes one on. They drool, they counter cruise, they follow their noses and therefore need to be on a leash or in a fenced in yard at all times. Potential adopters need to be aware of these needs so that they don't get surprised by the dogs actions', get fed up with them, want to return them, or have the dog run away.
There are fees involved in adopting from rescue. Each dog that is brought in is given it's full set of vaccinations and shots. They are treated for the illnesses that are common with dogs who have been in the wild, been neglected or left in a kennel or shelter too long. They are also fixed so that no one can purchase them for breeding and because there are too many dogs out there to begin with. All these things cost money and the adoption fee is one way a rescue recoups it's losses. They are non-profits and are run solely on the adoption fees and fundraising money raised throughout the year. Many, many people involved with rescue do so with their own out-of-pocket money. Foster families do not get money to feed or take care of their dog.
I think it's incredibly naive to think that a child would not do harm to a dog. Most children have no experience around animals and that is a dangerous situation for the dog and the child. Neither of them has the logic or understanding we do and therefore the child treats the dog like a toy and the dog, especially one who's been abused, is used to protecting itself. This is just asking for trouble. Some dogs are accustomed to children and are much better in these environments. This is part of the reason rescues use foster families to help evaluate how a dog may handle certain situations such as children or other dogs.
I guess I'm not sure why you think breeders "who pour their whole existence into a dog" are correct in your eyes, but rescues who focus on a breed are "psycho."
I'm also not sure why you put so much credence in breeders "producing the best animals available." Unless you're part of the about 2% of the dog owning population that shows dogs, this is unnecessary and scarily elitist. I'm trying not to extrapolate from this sentence because I don't know your true feelings, but to me that's a
It's clear to me that you have not had experience with the harm and damage that people do to dogs and therefore have a basic belief in the goodness of people who are looking to adopt. Having worked with malnourished, abandoned, abused and forgotten dogs, I no longer have that rosy eyed view and I don't think that rescues who have seen the worst of what people do to dogs should be called "psycho" for wanting to ensure these dogs have the best possible life from here on out.
Muscle builder, minor league manager, Hebrew Hammer and the Brewers salvation in this Mets series.
Kapler homered for the second straight day yesterday on his way to a 3-4 day that featured the HR, two doubles, 3 RBIs and a walk. That homer is his 4th in just 26 at-bats.
Corey Hart also had a spectacular 4-5 day with an RBI and a run, but he doesn't have pictures like this out there (at least I hope not), so he's playing second fiddle.
Rickie Weeks homered and scored 3 runs from the leadoff spot.
The Brewers came back from a 6-2 deficit in the 4th to beat the Mets 9-7 and take the weekend series.
There wasn't a Brewers fan out there that didn't think the game was over when Suppan and some spectacularly bad defense gave the Mets a 6-2 lead in the 3rd inning.
But Jason Kendall continued his clutch hitting with a 2 RBI single in the 4th and Ryan Braun showed he was happy with the switch from the 4 spot to the 3 spot.
The Brewers had a rough first three innings defensively, with bobbled balls, missed stops and generally looking like they had no idea how to field. They buckled down, however, and turned 5 double plays in the next five innings to keep the 22 Mets baserunners in check (14 hits, 8 walks).
It was basically an ugly game all around, with the Brewers coming out on top. Not necessarily something to be proud of, but we did take the series and after the poor pitching performance by Suppan, Torres and Mota, we'll take what we can get. Gagne got his 3rd save - 2nd in a row, and that's something we can always be excited about.
They have today off and head to St. Louis for a showdown for first place Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Meet Wendell U. Flopbottom.
He's a stuffed basset hound who is traveling the country trying to fulfill his dream of attending every basset rescue's waddle (a meeting of hounds and their owners, with the purpose of raising money). He's raising money for two specific rescues that are dedicated to saving senior basset hounds - Senior Hounds Abound and House of Puddles
His original goal was $1,000 for each of these two rescues - he's already surpassed that goal for HOP and he's raised $692 for SHA - and he just got started on his travels. He'll be at waddles all summer long.
Wendell had no waddle scheduled for this past weekend, so I paid my dues for the privilege to foster this plush pup for the weekend. We went to all kinds of Milwaukee landmarks so that the rest of Wendell's followers could see what a cool place this is. We met tons of nice people along the way and hopefully spread the gospel of basset rescue. He has his own blog that is updated with all his travels. You can check it out here. I took him to Miller, Harley, Marquette, the Art Museum, the Public Market and the Foamation cheesehead factory. We also went to a Brewers game where Wendell got to meet everyone of the racing sausages!!
I try not to do too many soapboxes, but if there's anything I can ever possibly instill in your head, it's to please, please, please adopt your pets from shelters and rescues. Don't support breeders and puppy mills. It's been estimated that 5 million animals a year are killed in shelters in the US. That's over 11,000 animals a day. I understand that people want specific breeds and that's why they don't go to shelters, but there are hundreds of dog rescues in almost every state in the country. Google is your friend. Off the top of my head I can name Basset Hound rescues in Wisconsin, Iowa, West Virginia, Michigan, Arizona, California, Louisiana, Florida, New Jersey and Montana. That's my meager experience in one breed.
If you can't adopt, consider fostering. Dogs that are rescued have nowhere to go. If they aren't placed in foster homes, they live in cages. These dogs have been abandoned and often times abused. They need love and attention as much as they need a vet and food.
My basset hound Flash will be 8 in a month and he's already considered a senior. Senior dogs are less likely to be adopted because people don't want to commit to dogs that they think won't be around very long. Flash was left on a porch, abandoned by his previous owners and tied with rope to a pole. He was about 20 pounds thinner than he is now and had serious medical problems including severe skin allergies. Now he's a happy, more than healthy hound with a family that loves him.
Please, please, please support your local rescues and shelters. Donate time and/or money. If you like Wendell and his story, you can donate online to either of the two senior hound rescues - HOP's Firstgiving Page - SHA's Firstgiving Page
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Williams has forged a reputation as a recruiting star and I'm sure keeping some of the signees of the incoming class as well as McNeal, Hayward, James and Cubillan was a big deciding factor in his hiring.
Full story here.
Press conference at 2 pm.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Agent quietly inquiring with NFL teams about trade with Packers
NBCSports.com news services
Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, who announced his retirement last month after 17 seasons, reportedly could be weighing a comeback with another team.
Favre's agent has quietly inquired with teams about their interest in trading for the three-time NFL most valuable player, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
Favre, 38, has yet to give written notice of his retirement to the league or the players' union. According to the Times, it's also not uncommon for players to delay in doing so, particularly if they are not in immediate need of their pension money.
"That's news to me," Cook said. "I don't think that has anything to do with anything. He's retired, period, point blank."
Reached later by ESPN, Cook said, "That is absolutely false. Absolutely false, and you can quote me on that."
Favre's rights still belong to the Packers, who could trade him to another team.
Sources told the Times that Favre's decision to retire was partially influenced by his frustration that the Packers didn't make a more aggressive attempt to sign Randy Moss. The team twice had a chance to do so, first in spring 2007 — before New England acquired the All-Pro receiver from Oakland — and again this off-season.
Favre retired a day after the Patriots re-signed Moss to a three-year, $27-million deal. Cook denied any link between the receiver and Favre's decision to retire.
"As far as Randy's deal with New England, there were never any negotiations with Green Bay," he said. "As far as I know, Brett retired because he was tired and burned out."
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
My balloon, however, inflated, when I continued to read the article about the Mets' heartbreaking 5-4 10th inning loss on a walk-off homerun by a kid nobody knows hitting his first major league homerun.
And which pitcher gave up the walk-off homer, you ask?
None other than Matt Wise himself.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
According to various reports, Marquette Golden Eagles coach Tom Crean is leaving Marquette University for Indiana University.
The Indiana Daily Student, Indiana's student newspaper, received confirmation from Phillip Eskew, a member of Indiana's Board of Trustees, confirming Crean's hiring. ESPN.com, meanwhile, reported a source at Indiana is on the verge of hiring Crean.
Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, who gained national attention during spring training when he announced his decision to become a vegetarian, is turning it up a notch now that the regular season is underway.
Upset about the Brewers' glorification of meat products during the nightly sausage race, which takes place between halves of the sixth inning during home games at Miller Park, Fielder has vowed not to field any groundballs or swing his bat during the sixth inning.
"I just think it's the right thing for me to do," Fielder said, sipping a post-game protein shake after the Brewers' season opener Monday afternoon at Wrigley Field. "Everything has been great since I became a vegetarian. I feel healthier. I have a lot more energy at the ballpark and when I play with my kids.
"I haven't missed meat at all. In fact, I kind of feel grossed out just thinking about it. I'm not saying people should become vegetarians. I think people should eat whatever they want. I just don't think it's right that the Brewers have that race every night, so I'm going to do what I can to let people know how I feel."
Brewers officials, who admitted to being blindsided by Fielder's protest announcement, are scrambling to find a way to appease their all-star first baseman and Klement's, which sponsors the sausage race.
"We are discussing our options," Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said. "The sausage race is very popular with many of our fans, so we would like to see it continue in some form. But, we also want to be sensitive to Prince's wishes.
"We are talking to Prince's agent, Scott Boras, about solutions, and we are talking to Klement's about adding a soy dog or some kind of non-meat sausage to the race. We hope to have something figured out in time for the home opener. We want Prince and our fans to focus on the pennant race and not the sausage race."
Officials from Klement's could not be reached for comment.
Fielder, however, said that the addition of a veggie dog would not prompt him to end his late-game work stoppage.
"I don't eat veggie dogs," he said. "They're just not very good. It's not so much the taste, it's more the consistency."
Brewers manager Ned Yost said he has not considered what he will do if Fielder goes "on strike" during the sixth and seventh innings.
"I'm trying to figure out how to win a game against the Cubs," Yost said. "The thing with Prince and his meat isn't even on the radar right now. My focus right now is on getting Jeff Suppan some runs so we can win the second game of the season. As long as that game isn't being played at Miller Park, I don't have to worry about the sausage race."
This is the second time that a sausage race controversy centered on a big-league first baseman. Several years ago, Pirates slugger Randall Simon was arrested for hitting the Italian sausage (portrayed by college student Mandy Block) with a bat during a game. Block suffered a scraped knee; Simon was arrested for disorderly conduct and suspended by Major League Baseball. "I wish Prince had been in the big leagues back then," Simon said from his home in Curacao. "It would have saved me a lot of hassle. I still get people yelling things at me in airports. They say 'Hey #%&*@#, you can't whack our wiener!'" ESPN baseball analyst Peter Gammons compared Fielder's situation to one confronted by another slugger -- Babe Ruth. "I think it was right around 1926 that the Yankees announced they were increasing the price of hot dogs by a nickel," said Gammons, who was a Boston Globe intern at the time. "The Babe was so upset that he cut down his pre-game hot dog consumption from 12 to just two or three and his OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) -- and his waistline -- really took a dip for a couple of weeks. But then they named a candy bar for him and he was back up to his optimal playing weight in no time." Brewers radio announcer Bob Uecker, entering his 38th season behind the microphone, expects the sausage-gate controversy to die down quickly. "I don't think it's a big deal," Uecker said. "Then again, I'm a Usinger's guy. Those brats are fantastic. Have you tried the chicken brats? They are really good. Just ask (former Braves star and Brewers employee Johnny) Logan. He's in the shop there every day." Brewers players showed support for Fielder's mission. "Prince is my guy," centerfielder Tony Gwynn, Jr. said. "The way I look at it, if he's taking pitches in the bottom of the sixth, it will give me a chance to steal some more bases." Suppan also tried to look on the bright side. "As pitchers, we're just going to have to be conscious of the fact that Prince isn't going to gobble up any grounders in the top of the sixth inning," he said. "That's not going to be a big problem, unless there are a whole bunch of lefties coming up. If teams try to bunt, I'm just going to have to get over there and make a play." Suppan, proprietor of a California restaurant called Soup's Sports Grill, plans to consult with Fielder and his chef to devise more vegetarian recipes for the menu. "We sell a lot of salads, but the Boca burger has not been very popular," Suppan said. "Maybe Prince will have some ideas." Fielder's protest may have sparked another mini-controversy in the clubhouse. Closer Eric Gagne, who is French-Canadian, and right-hander Ben Sheets, who grew up in Louisiana, are considering staging their own version of the sausage strike. "We think that they should add an Andouille sausage to the race, eh," Sheets said. "You can't make jambalaya without it." Fielder disagreed. "I had veggie jambalaya the other night and it was great," he said.
This is the second time that a sausage race controversy centered on a big-league first baseman. Several years ago, Pirates slugger Randall Simon was arrested for hitting the Italian sausage (portrayed by college student Mandy Block) with a bat during a game. Block suffered a scraped knee; Simon was arrested for disorderly conduct and suspended by Major League Baseball.
"I wish Prince had been in the big leagues back then," Simon said from his home in Curacao. "It would have saved me a lot of hassle. I still get people yelling things at me in airports. They say 'Hey #%&*@#, you can't whack our wiener!'"
ESPN baseball analyst Peter Gammons compared Fielder's situation to one confronted by another slugger -- Babe Ruth. "I think it was right around 1926 that the Yankees announced they were increasing the price of hot dogs by a nickel," said Gammons, who was a Boston Globe intern at the time.
"The Babe was so upset that he cut down his pre-game hot dog consumption from 12 to just two or three and his OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) -- and his waistline -- really took a dip for a couple of weeks. But then they named a candy bar for him and he was back up to his optimal playing weight in no time."
Brewers radio announcer Bob Uecker, entering his 38th season behind the microphone, expects the sausage-gate controversy to die down quickly.
"I don't think it's a big deal," Uecker said. "Then again, I'm a Usinger's guy. Those brats are fantastic. Have you tried the chicken brats? They are really good. Just ask (former Braves star and Brewers employee Johnny) Logan. He's in the shop there every day."
Brewers players showed support for Fielder's mission. "Prince is my guy," centerfielder Tony Gwynn, Jr. said. "The way I look at it, if he's taking pitches in the bottom of the sixth, it will give me a chance to steal some more bases."
Suppan also tried to look on the bright side. "As pitchers, we're just going to have to be conscious of the fact that Prince isn't going to gobble up any grounders in the top of the sixth inning," he said.
"That's not going to be a big problem, unless there are a whole bunch of lefties coming up. If teams try to bunt, I'm just going to have to get over there and make a play."
Suppan, proprietor of a California restaurant called Soup's Sports Grill, plans to consult with Fielder and his chef to devise more vegetarian recipes for the menu.
"We sell a lot of salads, but the Boca burger has not been very popular," Suppan said. "Maybe Prince will have some ideas."
Fielder's protest may have sparked another mini-controversy in the clubhouse. Closer Eric Gagne, who is French-Canadian, and right-hander Ben Sheets, who grew up in Louisiana, are considering staging their own version of the sausage strike.
"We think that they should add an Andouille sausage to the race, eh," Sheets said. "You can't make jambalaya without it."
Fielder disagreed. "I had veggie jambalaya the other night and it was great," he said.
Of course Gagne's performance is scary for Brewer fans. And if he continues to put up outings like that, there will be problems. But I'm not ready to jump on the Gagne-haters bandwagon just yet. He doesn't play winter ball. He uses ST appearances to focus specifically on one pitch at a time, so I don't worry to much about bad spring training. Hell, Sheets had a crappy ST too, and his day went ok. I'll give Gagne a few outings to get his location down.
It's a small thing, but Eric did pull things under control after that home run. It was a little bit on the too-little-too-late side, but Turnbow wouldn't have been able to do that.
So though the appearance was extremely disheartening, I do find some positives to it, so I'll wait and see.
Besides, Salomon Torres, David Riske and Guillermo Mota had great outings. Mota's stuff was just plain sick. The ball had so much movement on it. Sick.
Badgers' Turris signs with Coyotes
Posted: March 31, 2008
The Phoenix Coyotes signed top draft pick Kyle Turris to an entry level contract on Monday.
The 18-year-old center was the third overall selection in the 2007 draft. Earlier this month, he was ranked as the second-best prospect in the National Hockey League by Hockey News magazine.
Turris just completed his freshman year at the University of Wisconsin, where he was the Badgers' leading scorer with 11 goals and 25 assists with 38 penalty minutes in 36 games.
Journal Sentinel wire report