Saturday, August 30, 2008
In this audio interview while in New Orleans, Nashville Manager Frank Kremblas reveals the names of eight Sounds who have been told they will be called up September 1st -- there could be others from lower in the chain, including outfielder / speedster Mel Stocker, now playing in high-A. Kremblas only discusses the Sounds players here. I believe that other than this audio link on the Sounds site, we're the first source to bring this to your attention -- yay for us . More importantly, here's hoping each player contributes even a tad down the stretch, even to rest players in perhaps meaningless games in the final week. Special congrats to Mat Gamel and in particular longtme farmhand Brad Nelson.
RHP Tim Dillard, LHP Mitch Stetter, RHP Mark DiFelice, UT Joe Dillon, C Vinny Rottino, 3B Mat Gamel, OF Tony Gwynn and 1B/OF Brad Nelson
Mat Gamel will need to be added to the 40-man roster, and in turn, look for the formal addition of Michael Brantley to the Arizona Fall league team to take Gamel's place.
Friday, August 29, 2008
McCain tells lies about Hurricane Katrina
By Lisa Kaiser
On the third anniversary of the deadliest hurricane in American history, it’s appropriate to remember the 1,800 people who lost their lives in the storm, the countless residents of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast who lost their homes, and the promise made to the victims that the negligence and disorganization displayed by the Bush administration would never happen again.
But it’s not appropriate to tell lies about helping Katrina victims—especially if you’re running for president. In April, Sen. John McCain tried to generate headlines by visiting New Orleans and promising that Bush-style bungling would “never happen again in this country.”
Two weeks ago, in his discussion with Rick Warren at the Saddleback Church, the Republican presidential nominee told a whopper.
“I went to New Orleans after Katrina,” McCain told the Orange County minister. “The Resurrection Baptist Church was doing tremendous work with thousands of volunteers, I’m sure probably from here at Saddleback, coordinating the efforts of thou sands of volunteers, including my own church, the North Phoenix Baptist Church, who came from all over America. And various authorities, off the record, told me, off the record, that they were doing so much more good than the government organizations, that it was incredible.”
But when, exactly, did McCain have this conversation? Talking to Warren, McCain implies that he rushed to the damage area and inspected the recovery efforts.
But, in truth, McCain didn’t go to New Orleans until March 2006, six months after the disaster. An estimated 140 members of Congress visited the region before McCain did. Three years ago, as Katrina was battering the Gulf Coast, McCain was celebrating his 69th birthday with a big cake and a meet-and-greet with President George W. Bush in Arizona. The “let them eat cake” photo of the two men has taken on a life of its own on the Internet.
A few weeks after the disaster, McCain voted against establish ing a congressional commission that would study the response to Katrina. He opposed it again in 2006. As Factcheck.org reports, when asked earlier this year why he voted against creating the Katrina commission, McCain denied doing so. “McCain responded that he ‘supported every investigation and ways of finding out what caused the tragedy.’ That’s not true,” the Web site states.
What’s more, McCain voted against extending unemployment benefits to the victims of the hurricane and spending $28 billion for hurricane relief.
McCain told Newsweek in April that he hadn’t come up with any plans for a still-recovering Gulf Coast. “I really don’t know,” he told Newsweek’s Holly Bailey.
So how will he deliver on his promise that a tragedy like Katrina “will never happen again”?
What’s your take? Write: email@example.com or comment on this story online at www.expressmilwaukee.com.
Cubbies aren't so lovable after all from SI.com
There are certain things you learn when you move to the Midwest. For instance, there doesn't have to be a technical reason (like, say, construction or an accident) for a long traffic jam. No matter how hot it may get -- and a Heartland July can melt Volkswagens -- people will still wonder if it's hot enough for you. Slow-moving tractors are always looking for a spot in front of you on two-lane highways.
And lots of people hate the Chicago Cubs.
Seriously, how could you not love the Chicago Cubs?
Well, as it turns out, there are a lot of ways. You could grow up on the Southside of Chicago, where Cubs fans are viewed as a whole tribe of spoiled Ferris Buellers. You could be a St. Louis Cardinals fan raised to believe the Cubs are only cute and cuddly to the people who see them from afar. You could be from the greater Milwaukee area, only two hours north of Chicago, where maybe you have had the whole lovable Cubs thing rammed down your throat all your life to the point of bursting.
I asked one friend, a lifelong Cardinals fan, a lifelong Cubs hater, a sensitive soul who admits bawling like a baby during Brian's Song, if maybe he could feel glad if the Cubs finally win. After all, it has been a 100 years. He looked at me as if I had asked him if he felt any sympathy at all for Attila the Hun. "I hope they lose for another 100 years," he said. "At least by then, I'll be dead."
The author has charts of each team and the fees they charge on tickets in both the cheap and la-ti-da sections.
Brewers fans, rejoice. We have it good. Very, very good.
God bless the Brewers, devil take the Mariners
If there's one team I've learned to respect from looking at these prices the last two years, it's the Milwaukee Brewers. They do something very rare in pro sports; they treat their fans with respect. They'd rather grow a fan base than gouge one. Not only are they the only team to not have a processing charge, but also they have the lowest convenience fee in MLB.
On the one hand, as a Cubs fan I don't like seeing them move forward because it jeopardizes my team's chances. But I can switch off that part of my brain for a second. Taking a less parochial view, they are the most root-for-able squad out there. They develop from within, do a great job evaluating talent and serve as a model to properly deal with fans. Hang your head high, Brewers fans—you root for a club to be envied.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Tensions have been high between the Brewers and Cardinals for 2 seasons now and I think most of us can't really understand why. The Cards really aren't our biggest rival and until this year, the Cards really haven't had anything to fear from us.
Then you read things like this:
* One more thing: I don’t understand the Brewers. I just don’t. Really, I admire that team and its talent. Doug Melvin is one of the best guys in the game and an excellent GM. There are so many good players on that roster. But why do the Brewers always have to pull stunts? Why do they have to go knucklehead on us so often? What’s up with yanking their shirts out of their pants on the field as soon as they win a game, which, despite what they claim, really is an insult to the other team? What’s up with some of the showboat HR trots? What’s up with a journeyman like Villanueva gesturing wildly and cursing in the direction of the STL dugout? I don’t understand why this talented team feels that it needs to act up like NBA bad boy Ron Artest, or something. I don’t understand why this Milwaukee team feels the need to be controversial. I don’t understand the arrogance, considering that the Brewers have won NOTHING since 1982. And I don’t understand how Yost continues to allow it to happen. The Brewers will probably make the playoffs. They are that good. But we must ask: can you fellas at least hold off on the showboating until you actually win something?
That comes from this blog over at StlToday.com written by a St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer- read the whole thing.
First, let's address the completely wrong statement about Carlos Villanueva being a journeyman. He's been traded once - when he was a single-A player - and he's been with us ever since. So right off the bat, this guy loses some credibility.
Now let's look at the shirt untucking. A different blog on the SAME WEBSITE, this one called Bird Land, posted just two days ago about the shirt-untucking. Some quotes:
The untucking of the jerseys has become a bit of a Brewer signature...
And while it’s garnered different reactions around baseball — “It’s not something the Cardinals would do, I don’t think,” said one Cardinals pitcher — the practice may have more profound roots than its celebratory cousins, be it the elbow bash, the bob and weave or the Lambeau Leap.
More than a fashion flair of victory, it’s a show of respect to a player’s father.
It’s only a matter of time before this untucking catches on. Fans doing it in the stands will be first. And is there anything wrong with that? Chad Johnson can have props waiting for him in the end zone and that’s great theater. Sluggers strike poses as their home runs clear the wall, others point to the sky in praise and still more have elaborate hand shakes and patty-cakes to celebrate. The Rams had their bob-and-weave choreography after the Greatest Show’s TDs. Wasn’t it the Detroit Tigers who had their mosh-pit moments as players jumped and body-checked each other after wins?
Guess a little Ickey Woods never hurt anyone. Maybe the Cardinals should adopt a touch of flair. Maybe they already have. Just think, after a win Yadier Molina unclips his kneepads, shakes free of his chest protector and leaves them stacked neatly at home plate.
Never say it!!! The Cardinals have a player that does something to signify the end of the game? But clearly they wouldn't do that. They're entirely too classy.Nevermind that Mike Cameron has been untucking his whole career to honor his father and the team joined in this year.
And really, if the shirt untucking after a win concerns you that much, you know the surefire way to make sure it doesn't happen, right?
Need I remind you that Ryan Braun got beaned in the ribs/lower back (where he's been injured recently) last night because of a home run he hit earlier in the season? Is that class?
But I CANNOT STAND the ridiculousness that is this hypocrisy from the Cardinals. Last night they were so frustrated after their embarrassing 12-0 loss that they were throwing their helmets (see Glaus, Troy), barking at the umpire and generally acting childishly and that's acceptable behavior?
But don't take my word on how off this guy's blog post is, take this comment:
— Ohio Fan 8:32 am August 28th, 2008
— jriley2 8:56 am August 28th, 2008
— BringBackSchoendienst 8:57 am August 28th, 2008 3
...Way to call out the Brewers for watching HR trots while Pujols is the most notorious offender not named Soriano in the game. But in your press release, er, interview of him, you so conveniently let him skirt that issue. — Governor14 9:05 am August 28th, 2008
...Albert you are seen by many as a class act in your profession. Stay that way. Stop feeling that others disrespect the game when they don’t If you are going to police the game, clean up your act, and the acts of your teammates before you start your crusade across baseball.— MadisonWIBrewerfan 10:28 am August 28th, 2008
My theory on this goes thusly: We're the upstarts - the interlopers. The Cubs and the Cards have been the top of the heap in the NL Central for a very long time. They've had us very neatly put in our place and they were comfortable with us there. Now, suddenly, we've moved out of our perceived place and we've made the other two very unhappy and uncomfortable and there's backlash. People don't like it when their status quo is upset. They're slapped us around for so long and now we're no longer acting the doormat and they're upset. They feel entitled to be at the top of the division and we are messing with that.
In some ways, I can't blame the Cards. They have the third best record in baseball and they're 3.5 games out of the wildcard. Of course, they're frustrated. We took the season series, winning 10 of 15, most of them on the last at-bat.
The Brewers writer at Bugs and Cranks says we all "gots to chill":
You are supposed to be the embodiment of equanimity, Cards fan, because you’ve been here before. As of today, the greatest single accomplishment of the Brewers franchise was taking the Cardinals to seven games despite not having Rollie Fingers in 1982. You should feel good about that. You have no reason to feel threatened by a franchise that has watched October baseball from home every year since then, or to begrudge the long-suffering Brewers fan a few moments of joy.
He proved it was a good move by hitting his first AAA homerun yesterday.
Even better, Tony Gwynn Jr hit a game-winning homer
Box Score Here
(stolen from Brew Crew Ball)
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
That being said, color me shocked when I realized the Badgers play this weekend. So before I start with any Badger football, I want to catch up with anything that's been put out there since the last time I remembered we also play football in August ....
The biggest story is that Time Warner and Charter picked up the Big Ten Network. Allelujia!!
The second biggest are the new student section seating rules. Tutorial video here.
Basically, there's wristbands and there will be long lines. Good luck!
Lots of talk about returning seniors on O-Line, but don't forget about the soph. Center John Moffitt
(he also has a blog going on UWBadgers.com)
Bleacher Report says Ohio State shouldn't count their chickens, they have to beat us first. Of course, the write up starts:
Wisconsin was the laughing stock of the Big Ten before Barry Alvarez came to town. Since then, Wisconsin has become one of the more premier programs in the nation. Before the Badgers' 1993 title, their last title was in 1962.
Wisconsin made six total bowl appearances from 1889-1990, winning only once. Under Barry Alvarez, the Badgers appeared in 11 from 1991-2005, winning eight times, including three Rose Bowl titles.
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by Derek Zetlin
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema addressed the media Monday to answer questions about Saturday’s season opener against Akron. Here are the highlights:
Injuries: Sophomore CB Aaron Henry will not play. Senior LB Jonathan Casillas, senior TE Travis Beckum, senior FB Chris Pressley, and freshman DB Antonio Fenelus are all questionable.
Junior Matt Fischer will handle the kickoff duties and field goals within 15 yards. Freshman Phillip Welch will kick field goals from beyond that point. Freshman Brad Nortman will be the starting punter.
Junior RB P.J. Hill is the Badgers’ feature back, but expect to see sophomore Zach Brown in third down situations and freshman John Clay in short yardage and goal line situations.Profile of Allan Evridge from WI State Journal
UW vs. The Spread Offense
The ever-changing story - Pressley out (8/22) and Pressley lobbies to play (8/25)
College Football News named Beckum the #1 TE in the country
Badger team profile from DetroitNews.com
An intriguing game?:
Sept. 13: Wisconsin at Fresno State (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN360)
Give the Badgers credit for having the guts to play Fresno State at Bulldog Stadium. Hill is calling it the biggest night in his program's history.
Akron coach's presser about Wisconsin
Big Ten Fans' season previe
Depth chart for Akron
Bruce Ciskie's preview at FanHouse
CBSSportsline on Akron game
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE
Considering the Badgers retain All-American TE Travis Beckum, top-flight RB P.J. Hill and four veteran linemen, expect Wisconsin's offense to look strikingly similar to last year's unit. That was one of the nation's most balanced offenses, with 200.8 rushing yards per game and 208.0 per game through the air. There is one issue, at least in the early going: New quarterback Allan Evridge, who started six games at Kansas State in 2005, and new receivers Kyle Jefferson and David Gilreath have limited experience. Watch for the Badgers to play it safe early and gradually unfurl their passing game.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE
After an unexpected downturn last season, which was partially instigated by injury problems, the Badgers have refocused under new coordinator Dave Doeren. Actually, Doeren was co-coordinator last year, but the Badgers believe Doeren's exuberant youth and direct approach has re-invigorated the defense. There aren't many new links to exploit. MLB Jaevery McFadden didn't play a lot last year, but you know he's good if he ripped the job away from incumbent Elijah Hodge.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"A team that played in the national championship a year ago, Ohio State, had a 3-2 ballgame [with Akron] going into the half. ... So we have the same opponent, we have them in our home stadium, and we have the same aspirations and goals that Ohio State did, I'm sure, going into that opening game a year ago." -- Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema playing up Akron while emphasizing the Badgers' lofty ambitions in 2008.
Ron Dayne: "I'm no bust."
An ESPN.com article on Wisconsin recruiting outside state lines
We have 2 of ESPN.com's Top Ten Big Ten games to watch:
2. Ohio State at Wisconsin, Oct. 4 -- The Buckeyes haven't visited Madison since 2003, a virtual eternity that only adds flavor to a game that could decide the Big Ten. Wisconsin hasn't lost at Camp Randall Stadium under coach Bret Bielema and will test a star-studded Buckeyes defense with arguably the Big Ten's top rushing attack. Ohio State counters with Beanie Wells, setting up a showdown that goes back to the Big Ten's roots of running football and strong line play
7. Wisconsin at Fresno State, Sept. 13 -- A BCS bowl berth is the next step for the Badgers, who get the benefit of hosting the Big Ten's premier teams (Ohio State, Illinois and Penn State) this fall. But first they'll hit the road and face an experienced Fresno State team that rarely gets BCS teams to come to its backyard. If new quarterback Allan Evridge is the man to help Wisconsin make the jump, he'll need a steady performance here.
Not a preview, but still - Weird moments in Big Ten History - Bret Bielema pisses off Old Man Paterno
With his 114th start Monday, Jason Kendall tied for sixth all-time on the Brewers list of starts by a catcher in one season. He will almost certainly eclipse the 121 started by Darrell Porter in 1975 for top honors.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Steve Aschburner, SI.com
Had someone bothered to create and name Denton True (Cy) Young's award after him while he still was pitching, he might have won enough of them to make Roger Clemens feel like LaMarr Hoyt, Steve Bedrosian or another of the one-and-pretty-much-doners.
After all, Clemens won seven Cy Young awards without ever winning more than 24 games in a season, completing more than 18 or logging as many as 282 innings. Young had a dozen seasons in which he won at least 25 (five years of 30 or more). Eleven times, he started at least 40 games and nine times, he completed at least 40. He averaged 334 innings across his 22 seasons in the bigs.
Forunately for the hurlers who have followed in Young's footsteps and hope to win his eponymous award, no one is expecting them to match those outlandish numbers. That shift in what constitutes a "great" pitching season explains how sixteen victories, a 3.48 earned run average, or a 2-3 record in a mere 82 innings could earn Brandon Webb (2006), Bartolo Colon (2005) and Eric Gagne (2003), respectively, a Cy Young Award in recent years. Indeed, this isn't a quantitative honor but a qualitative one.
All of which means that CC Sabathia, if he and his Milwaukee Brewer teammates maintain their current pace, ought to win the NL Cy Young Award this season, which would make him the first pitcher to win the Cy in back-to-back leagues in consecutive seasons.
Here are five more reasons why:
1. There is no set criteria, so why not?
Don't get your annual awards confused here. The Cy Young Award was created before the 1956 season by commissioner Ford Frick to honor baseball's "best pitcher.'' Period. For its first 11 years, the lords of the game didn't even distinguish by league, presenting just one trophy; beginning in 1967, it was split in two and awarded to the best NL and AL pitchers. Again, period.
Therefore, the Cy Young doesn't carry the extra baggage of the Most Valuable Player Award, which allegedly requires voters to gauge the intangible of a candidate's contribution to team success. The Cy Young, as defined, carries no "value'' component. Neither does it require a wire-to-wire, Opening Day-till-October presence. It simply is supposed to go to the best pitcher in the league. Is Sabathia the best pitcher in the NL? Has he been for what is going on two months?
2. All pitchers aren't created equal
Eight relief pitchers have won the Cy Young Award over the past 34 years, beginning with the Dodgers' Mike Marshall in 1974, despite the existence of the Fireman of the Year award which exists specifically for relievers. Nine pitchers have won the Most Valuable Player award since 1956, even with the Cy Young and Firemen awards available to honor them.
Game-over guys such as Dennis Eckersley, Willie Hernandez and Rollie Fingers won both the MVP and Cy Young honors by pitching only in the most important portions of ball games. Is it really that big a leap to cast a vote for someone who absolutely warps the race for a postseason berth for three full months -- in essence, by pitching only in the most important portion of the baseball season? Sabathia, since being acquired by Milwaukee on July 7, has started 10 games, completed five of them, struck out 74 in 79 innings and posted an 8-0 record with a 1.59 ERA. The Brewers also won his no-decision start Sunday against Pittsburgh, after he gave up one run in six innings, whiffing five and walking none.
3. There is precedent for this situation
Rick Sutcliffe is the name mentioned most often here. The red-headed right-hander went 16-1 with a 2.69 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 155 innings pitched after being acquired by the Cubs from the Indians in June 1984. Dwight Gooden, Joaquin Andujar and Mario Soto all had more victories that season. Bruce Sutter logged 45 saves with a 1.54 ERA. And all of them spent the entire season with their respective teams. Yet Sutcliffe blew them away in the balloting with 120 points (runner-up Gooden had 45).
There have been others who earned votes with strong half seasons after switching leagues. In 1998, Randy Johnson, who went 10-1, 1.28 in 11 starts after being traded from Seattle to Houston, finished seventh in the NL balloting. In 1987, Doyle Alexander, who went to Detroit from Atlanta in mid-August and went 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA to help push the Tigers to the AL East title, finished fourth in the AL voting.
In fact, what was Fingers' Cy Young in 1981 if not a partial-season version, due to the strike that gutted the season in the middle of the schedule? After going 1-2 with 12 saves and three blown saves in the "first half'' he went 5-1 with 16 saves as Milwaukee earned a share of the playoffs in the AL East in the second half.
Far more common are pitchers who take a couple months to reach their full Cy Young form, and steal the award from the early favorite. Sabathia deserves to be in that group, regardless of where he began the season.
4. Get over the sanctity of the leagues stuff
Switching leagues makes performing at an award-winning level more difficult, not less so. It's harder to dominate an unfamilar league with unfamiliar opponents and surroundings and no preparation time. Count me in the minority who believed that Mark McGwire -- back in our gullible, digging-the-long-ball days in 1997 -- deserved to be a more viable MVP candidate, well, somewhere than he was. All McGwire did that season was club 58 home runs and drive in 123. Yet he finished 16th in balloting for the NL MVP and didn't rank even one 10th place vote in the AL because he got traded from Oakland to St. Louis at the end of July. Larry Walker and Ken Griffey Jr., the MVP winners in the NL and AL that year, have nothing to apologize for. But when someone can lose out by doing nothing wrong and simply getting traded, the system does.
You have to take the bad with the good here, of course. That means that Sabathia, if the Cleveland portion of his season counted, would be 14-8 with a 2.95 ERA. Right now, that's probably not good enough to unseat Arizona's Brandon Webb (19-4, 2.74). But give Sabathia the month of September, with every start counting in the Brewers' NL Central and wild card chases, and he might overtake the Diamondbacks' right-hander.
5. Timing and history can make a powerfully persuasive argument
Two pitchers in Brewers history have won the Cy Young Award. Fingers got it in 1981 as the finishing piece to an offensive powerhouse (Harvey's Wallbangers) otherwise ready to win. The next season, Pete Vuckovich, his 3.34 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP beat a lot of prettier competition -- Jim Palmer, Dave Stieb, Sutcliffe -- because his guile and tenacity earned him an 18-6 record, even with a bum shoulder late in the season, and helped earn the Brewers their only full-season division title.
Sabathia might end up posting numbers even more impressive than either of those men, while helping Milwaukee to only its third postseason experience and first since that 1982 team. That alone makes him deserving of serious consideration.
Convinced yet? Let's watch it play out over the next month. Just for the record, too, let's not eliminate Rich Harden, the Cubs' counter to Milwaukee's acquisition of Sabathia. Since arriving from Oakland, Harden has gone 4-1 with a 1.47 ERA, 70 strikeouts in 49 innings and a dazzling 0.857 WHIP. Given another month, he could end up as the NL's best pitcher -- and that is what the Cy Young award is all about.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Today it's about catching up from the work I missed and tonight it's about catching up on the sleep I missed, but we'll return to our regularly scheduled posting tomorrow.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
It's been said that Sabathia should signs of being tired in last year's postseason. He won the AL Cy Young while pitching only one complete game.
He's been with the Brewers about 5 weeks and he's already got 5 complete games for the Brewers.
So why would we put CC back in the game after the 7th inning, much less the 8th, last night? On the surface, it looks like a really risky move. Our bullpen is plenty rested. (Shouse has pitched 1 inning and in 2 games in the last 5 days. Riske has pitched 1.1 and 2 games in the last 5 days and didn't pitch yesterday. McClung has pitched 1 IP in the last 6 days. Gagne has pitched 1.1 IP in the last 5 days.) By Ned's refusal to use them last night is he showing exactly how not secure he is with it? And if that's the case, can we honestly be talking about the postseason if our own manager doesn't trust his bullpen in mid-August?
That being said, Torres is injured and it's likely that Ned asked CC if he was good to go and CC said yes. It's neither guy's fault that the 9th inning played out in a crazy way, with errors and odd hits.
Suddenly it's a bit of a kid-glove situation and our choice is Mota/Gagne or staying with CC. Is there anyone who doesn't trust CC most in this situation?
CC's gone over 120 in 2 games here - and both games were extended in the 9th due to error - thereby making CC pitch more than he should have needed to.
He's a tried and true veteran and while I would hope he wouldn't continue to consistently pitch 120+, I don't think the 2 instances are the end of the world.
JJ has had some rough time in the field lately, but I would actually make the argument that he's doing it to make up for the lack of defense/good play at 2nd. Both errors were when he was rushing to turn a double play and I think it's because he's trying to get his job done and over compensate for Weeks/Durham at 2nd.
Roy Oswalt promises to deliver yet another recruiting pitch to Milwaukee Brewers righthander Ben Sheets, who is expected to be one of the top pitchers on the free-agent market this winter.
“Yeah, this is the last time we see him,” Oswalt said. “I’m going to say something to him and see where he’s at.”
Oswalt and Sheets are close friends, dating to their time together on the American baseball team that won the gold medal at the 2000 Olympics.
Lance Berkman also wants Sheets to know his presence would be appreciated in Houston.
“I’d love to have him,” Berkman said of Sheets, who will start for the Brewers tonight against the Astros.
Friday, August 15, 2008
By making his 110th start of the season, Kendall vested a 2009 option that pays a $4.25 million base salary. He also earned a $100,000 bonus by playing in his 110th game on top of the $150,000 he received when he made his 100th start earlier this month.
Kendall can boost his 2009 base salary to $4.35 million if he starts 120 games and $4.6 million if he starts 130. At his current pace, he will start 146 games, which would match the career high he set in 2005 with Oakland.
Kendall also has $750,000 more in 2008 bonuses within reach. He'll earn an additional $150,000 each for 120 and 130 games played this season, plus $200,000 for 115 starts and $250,000 for 130 starts. The bonuses for games played will be added to his '09 salary, while bonuses for starts are paid out this year.
"I'd love to stay here the rest of my career, however long they'll keep me," the 34-year-old said. "I enjoy the city, I enjoy the fans, I enjoy the team. I couldn't be happier.
"And I still enjoy playing. I still feel as good as I did when I was 21 years old, body-wise. Everybody says, 'You play so much!' But that's my job. It's our job to play."
Kendall, the only catcher in the Majors to start at least 130 games in each of the past six seasons, was a free agent last winter and had offers from as many as seven teams, most of which wanted him to share starts behind the plate or tutor a young backstop. Colorado and Florida were particularly aggressive, but Kendall chose Milwaukee, a team that used a combination of Johnny Estrada and Damian Miller the previous season.
At the time, Kendall was coming off one of his worst seasons. He batted a career-low .242 for the A's and Cubs with a .301 on-base percentage while ranking next-to-last in the Majors in throwing out would-be basestealers.
He entered Thursday's series finale against the Padres hitting .243 as Milwaukee's No. 8 hitter and said he "is not where I want to be at the plate." But he had made dramatic improvements defensively, throwing out 26 of 42 would-be basestealers, a fabulous 38.2 percent success rate. Last year, he was 13-for-124 (10.5 percent).
"He's made it look like a good offseason pickup," general manager Doug Melvin said. "A lot of people said, 'Why would you get a catcher who can't throw anybody out?' We wanted to get someone we knew had a reputation for working with pitchers."
In that area, Kendall, by all accounts, has been a success. Melvin was in the lobby of the team hotel at 7:30 a.m. PT on Thursday, a little more than nine hours after the Brewers recorded the final out of Wednesday's win. Kendall was already checking out and heading to the ballpark for the 12:30 p.m. game.
"He brings a stabilizing presence behind the plate," said right-hander Dave Bush, who has been one of a parade of Brewers starters who have praised Kendall this season. "He cares about how we do out there. I know that when I go out there, I'm as prepared as I can be, and he is, too. That doesn't always translate to a good game, but it gives you the best chance to win."
Kendall is on the verge of becoming Milwaukee's most durable catcher ever. Darrell Porter holds the franchise record for starts behind the plate, with 121 in 1975, and current bench coach Ted Simmons came close in 1982 when he made 120 starts.
In only six other seasons has a Brewers catcher made more than 110 starts: Estrada made 111 starts last season, Mike Matheny started 112 games in 1997, B.J. Surhoff made 119 starts in 1990 and 118 in 1991, Charlie Moore started 116 games in 1977 and Porter made 114 starts at catcher in 1974 before setting the club record the following season.
"Everybody gets tired," Kendall said. "Mentally, you just get it done."
Physically, he is blessed with a bounce-back ability that few players possess. That is especially true considering Kendall suffered a devastating ankle injury on July 4, 1999, when he was playing for the Pirates against the Brewers at Three Rivers Stadium. He tried to drag bunt for a single and fractured and dislocated his ankle at first base. A piece of bone protruded through his skin.
"They said I would never come back," Kendall said.
He did come back, and almost a decade later he was still playing. The irony was not lost on Kendall last month, when the Brewers and Pirates met again on July 4. Just for fun, Kendall attempted a drag bunt but it rolled foul.
"I came full circle," Kendall said. "Some of the Pirates' announcers were like, 'What are you doing?'
"Playing baseball is fun. I love Milwaukee and I want to play here a lot longer."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
When CC Sabathia walked into Milwaukee's clubhouse on July 7, the first words anyone said to him came in the form of an offer—a proposal that measured an extra-baggy 60 inches at the thigh, 39 inches at the waist and 36 inches at the inseam. "Hey, if you need a pair of pants, you can wear mine," Prince Fielder said to his new teammate and fellow big man. Sabathia cracked up. He hasn't felt out of place since.
"The easiest, most unbelievable transition,"he says now, more than a month after his arrival from Cleveland. And why not? Brewtown is dreaming of its first postseason since 1982, while Sabathia is winning just about every time he pitches. His earnestness and effort are recognized and appreciated by his teammates, and nobody is pretending that Sabathia's time with the Brewers is anything more than it appears to be. He's a temp, a hired gun, and like a mysterious stranger in an old Western, he is destined to move on. The 6'7" lefty will be eligible for free agency this fall, and he'll probably land nine-figure riches in Southern California or the Bronx.
THE BREWERS HAVE LEARNED THAT THE MORE FUN CC HAS, THE BETTER HE PITCHES.
He and his wife, Amber, talked through the possible scenarios, which were complicated by the upcoming arrival of the couple's third child. As speculation grew that the Brewers might be best positioned to make a deal, Milwaukee reliever David Riske, a former Indian and Sabathia's best friend in baseball, started peppering the pitcher with text messages. At one point, Riske cornered Brewers GM Doug Melvin to explain why he thought Sabathia would be a good fit. Riske didn't know that Melvin had already begun imagining how Sabathia might adapt to the stress of changing cities. On July 5, Riske phoned Sabathia to ask, "Where are you? Are you on your way here?"
"I just came out of the movies with the kids," Sabathia said. "Kung Fu Panda."
Sabathia was on the Indians' team charter from Minnesota to Detroit the next day when manager Eric Wedge walked to the back of the plane and told him the trade had gone through. As Sabathia looked around at his former teammates, he could see they were shocked. He wasn't. He felt ready.
The following afternoon, he and Amber flew to Milwaukee. As he stared out the window, he watched Cleveland disappear beneath the plane. This was the place he'd shared the final months of his father's life, the birth of his children, the first years of his major league career. What he felt wasn't sadness, but a full recognition of the crossroads he'd reached. The Sabathias decided to rent a house in Milwaukee, and after a couple of days, CC's mom, Margie, flew in from Cleveland with the kids.
About 15,000 extra fans walked up to buy tickets for Sabathia's first start, a 7-3 win over the Rockies, and the energy he felt that day was something he'd never experienced. He nearly wore himself out fighting his own adrenaline over six innings. Afterward, in the trainer's room, an amazed Riske asked, "Could you believe what you saw out there?"
Sabathia won his first four starts for the Brewers, including three straight complete games. ("Sabathia against the National League is a total mismatch," says an advance scout for another team.) On July 28, he threw a season-high 124 pitches against the Cubs. The workload he has assumed for his temporary employers is daunting, if not alarming, but Sabathia says he's not thinking about that; he's accustomed to being the heavy lifter on a staff. "I'm not worried," he says. "I've always been about winning. I didn't think I was throwing that many pitches against the Cubs. It felt like I was doing what I normally do."
Amber is due to give birth in October. If the Brewers are in the playoffs, Sabathia will hope that blessed event wedges neatly between his starts. If Milwaukee is eliminated, then the Sabathias will be together in Cleveland, where they have, for now, maintained their home. They'll stay there long enough to pack a few boxes and put the house on the market and give the newest member of the family time to start life on earth.
Then they will all move on.
By the way, Yost said Monday morning that he has several top-secret scenarios in mind for his starting rotation down the stretch. He could stay the course and simply bump all five starters back a day when the team is off, but even that won't work during the week of Aug. 25, when the team plays a two-game series in St. Louis sandwiched between off-days. If he changes things and keeps Sabathia and Sheets as close as possible to pitching every fifth day, it leaves them unavailable or only partially available for some of the biggest remaining series. Neither would pitch in St. Louis, and Sheets would miss a three-game series against the Mets in early September and all six remaining games against the Cubs.
And while I do love the idea of Ned plotting Gargamel style, coming up with ideas for how to overtake the Cubs (I'm big on mental images) - this is a valid point. If we leave the rotation as is, we don't have our aces pitching against key opponents late in the season.
The obvious options include giving guys more than 5 days rest (and especially in Sheets' case, this seems brilliant) and using McClung and/or Villanueva as a "6th starter."
Sheets struggled a bit once we got CC and this past week pitched on 6 days rest and went complete game and looked a lot better. It could be a coincidence, but giving him rest seems like a really good plan.
There's also the issue of limiting Manny Parra's innings and whether or not Gallardo will return.
There are a lot of variables and where we stand before the final series will also play a role. If we're already locked into the playoffs, we would all hope that CC and Sheets rest against the Cubs and are ready to pitch games 1 and 2 in whatever playoff series we're in.
Russell Branyan was sent to the DL and Laynce Nix was called up today. Apparently The Muscle has the same injury as Braun does. Of course, we're not making a decision about Braun and the DL yet.
And why Layne Nix? His numbers in AAA are decent (284/.348/.539/.887 with 23 HR), but he has not done well when up in the majors. I guess it's not a huge difference whether it's him or Tony Gwynn Jr and Nix is a better corner infielder option to cover for Braun. Plus, Gwynn's not been hitting very well down in Nashville.
This explains why Branyan has been riding the pine while Counsell's been playing and hitting third (!) in the lineup.
There are some questions on how long Branyan has been injured. I get that this is one of those situations in which you really don't know what the problem is, but Branyan's been sitting since the All-Star Break. Why not DL him and get another guy up? Seems strange.
Branyan's barely played lately, leading me to believe he's been injured for awhile, though they say he tweaked it in BP last night.
I'm sure it's Laynce Nix over TGJ or Dillon because he will basically fill the same role as Branyan - a lefty pinch hitter with some power off the bench.
It's also likely a trial for Nix. He hasn't done well in the majors in the past and now he's putting up respectable numbers in Nashville, so it's time to prove he deserves a spot on the team in the future. He'll platoon with Kapler in left and doing some pinch hitting.
Holy Snapping Duck Do! I just opened mine eyes, and lo! I have not updated this since Hammertime was in the charts... You would not believe the fairy dust I have to clean up. Apologies to my regular readers! Even the little blue ones!.
I am lost in a sea of pseudo-olde-english with learning to play lawn bowls, selling my soul to Google, just generally being of great concern to anyone unfortunate to cross my path, my day seems to be a litany of stuff and giggles from the light through yonder window breaks to I run out of alcohol. I am convinced that I absolutely deserve this after all my hard work. it will be fun fun fun till they take my TBird away.
I declare solemnly I will make more of an effort to blog more often until the nice men in the white coats come back. You wanna test me? I will write more to certain yous; but it might not be you in particular who I write to..
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
The same page notes what we all knew: Aaron Rodgers is damned no matter what:
A final thought on Rodgers: Has there ever been a player under more pressure in the history of the NFL? It's tough to come up with a worthy comparison -- Steve Young replacing Joe Montana? Brian Griese supplanting John Elway? Certainly no player has had to step in for a legend after a wildly publicized un-retirement and resulting media firestorm. This will be the first time the Packers have had a new QB under center since 1992, and despite his nice preseason debut, it's hard to envision Rodgers having much more than a mediocre season. I list him outside the Top 12 fantasy quarterbacks, making him a backup in most leagues.
Monday, August 11, 2008
As many of you know, I spend my spare time working with our Basset Hound rescue - Basset Buddies. It's a non-profit organization that rescues Basset Hounds in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois.
Their biggest fundraiser of the year is coming up on August 23 and 24 in Muskego and I'll be taking my hound Flash as well as our foster dog Buster.
The average cost of vet care for a hound we take in is $200. That can range from simple check-ups and shots to spay/neuter to major surgery.
We place over 150 dogs a year and currently have 61 dogs ready and waiting to find forever homes.
Please consider donating to this wonderful cause. All donations are tax-deductible and go straight into Basset Buddies coffers in order to take care of these abandoned hounds.
A lot of you fundraise for your kids. These are my "kids" and I hope you'll help me support them.
You can check out the hounds that are available for adoption at bbrescue.org
Thank you for visiting my fundraising page for Basset Buddies Rescue, Inc.!
Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to support my fundraising efforts.
Many thanks for your support -- and don't forget to forward this to anyone who you think might want to donate too!
This was up over on the Shepherd and brought up some good points about the opposing egos involved in the Favre debacle.
All Favred UpBy Joel McNally
For those who may not have heard, over the past few weeks there has been some kind of controversy going on between the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre, one of the greatest quarterbacks in football history.
Ordinarily, any professional football team would be overjoyed to have a great quarterback decide not to retire and instead attempt to lead them to another championship. But in the case of the Green Bay Packers, it messed up all their plans.
See, the Packers had a terrific idea to replace Favre, one of the most durable players in football, with unproven backup quarterback Aaron Rodgers, one of the most fragile.
Because Favre was busy setting football’s all-time record for consecutive starts by a quarterback, Rodgers seldom got any chances to play, but pretty much every time he did, he got hurt.
Well, when you have an opportunity to replace someone who never gets hurt with someone who gets hurt tying his shoes, you can see how that would make the game a lot more exciting.
Also, Packers General Manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy had been planning to surround Rodgers with improved players at other positions to make the novice quarterback look good. If a Hall of Fame quarterback like Favre were leading the team, he would get all the credit instead of Thompson and McCarthy.
Since neither Thompson nor McCarthy was around when Favre was rising to greatness in Green Bay, they have always been in Favre’s shadow. That’s what was really behind Favre’s public ambivalence in recent years about whether he would play or retire.
Favre tried to use his popularity to prod Thompson into surrounding him with better players. Favre would hold off announcing whether he would return to try to pressure Thompson into going after top-of the-line veterans.
When the great receiver Randy Moss became available, Favre went even further. He personally reached out to Moss and offered to restructure his own salary to make money available to bring Moss to Green Bay.
Thompson basically snubbed them both. As general manager of the Packers, Thompson wasn’t about to let a couple of Hall of Fame football players tell him how to do his job. The next time you hear sports talk shows ranting about Favre’s ego, consider the enormous, self-defeating ego it takes for a general manager to turn down the kind of spectacular passing combination Tom Brady and Moss put together for the New England Patriots last year.
Why Turn Against Favre?
That’s been of great assistance to millionaire owners whenever they want to collude to hold down salaries or unilaterally institute drug tests and other changes in working conditions without going through all the bother of negotiating with tough unions.
Oh, sure. You’ll get your predictable “Fire Ned Yost” blather, but top management really has to run a sports franchise into the ground as the Selig family did before you’ll hear a word of criticism.
But why did so much of the sports press and sports talk radio join Thompson in reacting negatively to Favre coming back to Green Bay? Could they really be concerned about shattering the team’s “plans” of moving forward with a mediocre work-in progress who could well be injured shortly after the season starts? Local sportswriters in Green Bay, Milwaukee and every other state media have never been particularly close to Favre.
Whenever Favre wants to put something out, he talks to ESPN, Sports Illustrated or his old friend Al Jones at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss. That should give the state press the luxury of being more objective. But, objectively, there’s little question which quarterback gives the Packers the best chance of winning this season, despite all of Thompson’s beau tiful plans for moving on. As sportswriter Michael Wilbon of The Washington Post wrote last week, “Anybody in his right mind knows Favre, even at 38 years old, is 100 times better than Rodgers.”
At this writing, Favre is expected to be in Green Bay, competing for the starting quarterback job. It’s unbelievable sports reporters would consider that a problem for Green Bay. Not having Favre would be a problem.
What’s your take? Write: firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this story online at www.expressmilwaukee.com.
August 11th, 2008 @ 10:57am
by Tyler Bassett/Sports 620 KTAR, John Gambadoro/Sports 620 KTAR
Sports 620 KTAR's John Gambadoro reports the Arizona Diamondbacks have acquired outfielder Adam Dunn from the Cincinnati Reds.
The Diamondbacks have Monday off, but start a NL West series in Colorado on Tuesday night.
Dunn is expected to start in right field.
The Diamondbacks are giving up three prospects in the deal, minor league pitcher Dallas Buck and two other players to be named later.
Dunn has 32 home runs in 2008 with 74 RBI. His average this season is .233. He has 270 home runs in his career, currently in his eighth Major League season, spending his entire career in Cincinnati.
Dunn has hit 40 or more home runs the past four seasons and is on pace to eclipse that mark again this season. He has also struck out 165 times or more in those seasons, currently with 120 this season.
The Diamondbacks will now have three of the top five strikeout leaders in the National League. Mark Reynolds is second with 147 and Chris Young is third with 122.
Throughout his career in the big leagues Dunn has played either corner outfield position while also getting some time in at first base. He has not played first base since the 2006 season and that was only in two games.
The Diamondbacks have seen their NL West lead shrink to a-game-and-a-half over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Of course, the game winning, 13th inning, walk-off home run made up for some of that.
Earlier in the week Mike Rivera finally spoke up about how awful it's been being the backup catcher who's played just 11 games this season.
"It's draining for me, more mentally than physically, wondering if I'm going to play," said Rivera, who is batting .314 with one homer and 11 RBI in 51 at-bats. "That's the challenging part.
"Every day game, I try to think I'm going to be in there. I get myself ready to play. I've never been through anything like this. You want to contribute and feel like you're part of the team."Of course, he finally got to play on Sunday and proved exactly why he has a right to complain. In five plate appearances he walked three times and had 2 hits, including the game-tying 3 RBI double in the 8th.
MILWAUKEE -- All-Star left fielder Ryan Braun remained out of the Brewers lineup Sunday, saying his lower back injury had made little progress.
Braun said he had trouble sleeping after sustaining the injury while swinging in the first inning of the Brewers' 6-0 win over the Washington Nationals on Saturday night.
"It's definitely not good," he said. "There's no way I can swing a bat today."
Braun, the NL player of the month for July, is listed as day to day, and said he had "no idea" when he would return to the lineup. He said it appeared the injury was to his intercostal muscles, which are several groups of muscles that run between the ribs.
"We think it might be spasms," he said.
Braun said he would receive treatment throughout the day to speed his recovery, and was receiving electrical treatment through a wide belt he wore around his waist while autographing baseballs in the locker room before Sunday's game.
Braun is batting .300 with a team-high 30 home runs and 84 RBIs in 114 games.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
Of course, the injury didn't stop Braun from filming a straight-to-YouTube commercial for Remington with supermodel Marisa Miller.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Garret Weber-Gale is a 2003 alum of my high school. He's now, also, a Olympic Gold-Medal winner as part of the 4x100 men's relay in Beijing. Pretty damn cool.
Something I just learned: He set a national public high school record while at Nicolet High School in the 100 yard freestyle in 2003 with a time of 43.49. He is a three-time Wisconsin State Champion, twice in the backstroke and once in the freestyle.
The US team were big underdogs in this event and the French team that took silver had said they were going to smash the US. Instead, anchor Jason Lezak came from behind in the last leg and kept Phelps' gold medal record aspirations alive by getting him the gold in the event that was most likely to cause problems to the 8 medal goal.
Not only did they win, they broke the WR by 4 seconds. The record set by the 2nd team in the prelims. The race was SO fast, the 5th place team finished ahead of the previous world record
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
And while the fight was stupid, to say the least, it doesn't come close to the level of idocy reached by Ned Yost in his post-game comments on the subject:
“It’s not a big deal,” Yost said. “For eight months a year, we’re a family. At times things happen, flare up, but it’s between the family. It’s in the family.
“It’s a little bit rude when your neighbors are fighting next door for you to go knock on the door and ask what happened. We handle it ourselves. It’s between us and it’s nobody’s business. But it wasn’t that big a deal.”Seriously Ned? Did you just all but condone domestic violence?
I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume this isn't what he meant to say, but holy crap, NED?
Of course the altercation and the awful handling of it by Ned have been front page stories since last night. It was also a big topic of conversation on ESPN's Mike and Mike in the morning radio show. Mike Greenberg said it was probably the stupidest thing a coach or a manager will say this year. After the break, after saying that MAYBE Ned's media scolding didn't come out as he may have meant it, he said that the media asking a question about an altercation, captured and broadcast on every sports outlet across the country was at a minimum, worth addressing. Greenie went on to note that Ned's reaction to the media, calling reporters "rude" for even daring to ask about the physical confrontation, shows that he's not in step with what's going on around him.
Here's the thing. We know that's not what he meant. But he said it because he's a hot-headed pain in the ass in post-game interviews. As per his usual, Ned was snippy, condescending and obnoxious in the press conference. A reporter asked him a question that frankly, had he not asked, he should have been fired by his employer for failing to cover the story. Instead of using the opportunity to smooth this over and calmly downplay the whole situation, Ned, in his usual manner, got angry and short with the reporter and instead became the story himself.
Someone get Ned some PR classes. The scuffle was bad enough and would have landed the Brewers in most telecasts, but when the manager makes an even bigger deal about it and all but condones domestic violence, it's front-page news. Every story I've read on the situation mentions Ned's comments. Ned's handling on the media is just plain awful and needs to be addressed.
The Journal went on to report:
Yost, who almost certainly will discipline Fielder for attacking a teammate, also said the matter would be forgotten when the Brewers report to the ballpark today. And he again insisted no one should make a big deal of it.
“There’s a privacy issue here somewhere,” Yost said. “Just because it’s on TV doesn’t make it anybody’s right to know what happened. It’s between us.
“If you want to know what happened, what transpired blow by blow, or what words were said, I’m sorry. You’re not going to know. It’s private. It’s between us and it’s not a big deal. It’s not the first time it happened and it won’t be the last.
“It’s what happens. It makes teams better. It’s not a problem. It’s nobody’s business.”
Monday, August 04, 2008
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Update: Favre to compete for starting jobGreen Bay - The Green Bay Packers are through negotiating with quarterback Brett Favre on a marketing deal and they are anticipating him reporting for training camp Monday and being on the field as soon as he passes his physical, a Packers source said.
Another source close to the club, said that the Packers have agreed to allow Favre to compete with Aaron Rodgers for the starting job and he won't necessarily be the backup this season. Trade talks with Favre have not advanced and coach Mike McCarthy is expected to come up with a plan that will split the practice repetitions with Rodgers.
The Packers released this statement from president Mark Murphy:
"Sixteen years after Brett Favre came to the Packers, he is returning for a seventeenth season. He has had a great career with our organization and although we built this year around the assumption that Brett meant what he said about retiring, Brett is coming back. We will welcome him back and turn this situation to our advantage."
"Frankly, Brett's change of mind put us in a very difficult spot. We now will revise many actions and assumptions about our long-term future, all predicated on Brett's decision last March to retire. As a result of his decision, we invested considerably in a new and different future without Brett and we were obviously moving in that direction. That's why this wasn't easy. Having crossed the Rubicon once when Brett decided to retire, it's very difficult to reorient our plans and cross it again in the opposite direction - but we'll put this to our advantage.
"Brett will be in camp tomorrow. Although there has been uncertainty regarding Brett's return, Ted Thompson and Coach McCarthy had previously discussed this and have had a plan in place. Coach McCarthy will talk to the team and the quarterbacks about the plan moving forward, and after he has done that we will share it publicly.
"No matter what, I look forward to another successful season for the Packers and our fans. This has been a tough situation, but the Packers will make the most of it."
McCarthy is expected to address the quaerterback situation after the scrimmage tonight.
Of course, earlier today it was reported that Brett wasn't sure he would even play this year.
ESPN's Kevin Seifert wonders if that will be a fair fight.
Also, ESPN video on the "breaking story"
Friday, August 01, 2008
Reply to: email@example.com
Date: 2008-07-28, 9:51PM CDT
This is a classified ad for Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks. I'm not going to lie, the condition of this product is very worn down. Well, to be honest, there wasn't much there to begin with, but the value has sharply declined from what little it had. Some arm-strength left. Maybe if you need someone to start a lawnmower or snowblower that has a pullcord? Also, frequently misses the target whenever you put a baseball bat in his hands. If you have a vintage bat that you would like to keep in untouched condition, just put it in his hands and throw him strikes. Any considerations offered, no offer to small.
* Location: Milwaukee, WI
* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
The best I could find was this from a Canadian (?!) news source:
A potential marketing contract could be the ideal solution for everyone involved in what's become a very public dispute between retired quarterback Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers, says his former head coach.
Mike McCarthy said on Friday that a $20-million US marketing deal doled out to Favre over 10 years might end the quarterback's comeback bid, which has seen him threaten to attend Packers training camp when the team is not planning for him to start.
"Brett needs to stay a part of football," McCarthy said after practice Friday morning. "Obviously, he's a part of the Green Bay Packers. This is really something that's been out there all along."
Reports of the marketing deal began to surface on Wednesday night, which was interpreted by some as a last-minute bribe to keep the future hall of famer away from the Packers camp.
But McCarthy said that the deal has been on the table for months and that he had first heard about it at Favre's retirement news conference in March.
Favre, 38, said in a text message to ESPN reporter Ed Werder on Thursday night that he was considering the marketing deal.
Well, Tommy Lasorda once pointed out, about all of the big-time autographs — Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Nolan Ryan — and he told all of us when I was on Team USA. He goes, look at this: not one of you has come close to matching any of the accomplishments of any one of these guys, yet every one of them takes the time to spell out their entire name. Until you are better than any of these guys, then you need to do the same. So, I continue to spell out my entire name.
By David Brown
CC Sabathia hit it big in Milwaukee from the moment he arrived in a trade from the Cleveland Indians. The Brewers, 26 seasons removed from a World Series appearance, again have realistic championship aspirations.
By adding Sabathia, whose 6-foot-7, 300-pound dimensions make him the majors' biggest attraction, the Brew Crew gets much more than the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner. They also have — as this week's Answer Man reveals — a giant hot dog, an invisible boy and a revolutionary punctuator.
Oh, and on the extremely small chance he remains in Milwaukee past this season, CC talks about what it'd take to keep him in the Land of Cheese. Quick! Someone call the Bucks.
Q: I read in a secret file that, when you were a little boy, your mom says you had an imaginary friend named "Danny." Please say it's true.
CC Sabathia: Oh, yeah, it's true! His name was Danny. I had an imaginary friend. I don't know when I stopped having an imaginary friend, but my mom and everybody in my family remembers it pretty good. It's definitely true.
Q: What did Danny look like?
CC: I can't remember what he looked like. I mean, I don't think he looked like anything. He was just "there," hanging out with me and playing every day.
Q: Would he be your invisible runner on third?
CC: Oh, yeah. And he'd be the invisible goalie when I played soccer, the invisible receiver playing football. He was always my right-hand man.
Q: I had an imaginary friend, too, whom I shared him with my real friend Nick DeLuca. His name was J.P. Cockroach.
CC: Ha! So it's like the same thing. Maybe he was the same guy — you remember what he looked like?
Q: No. He was just always "there." If you see Danny, tell him to say hi to "J.P."
CC: I will.
CC: [Shaking head].
Q: You know the Onion, the satirical newspaper that does funny stories?
CC: No, I haven't seen it.
Q: OK [scrambling]. I think the headline went something like, 'CC Sabathia, Prince Fielder Keep Imagining Each Other aAs Giant Hamburger, Hot Dog, Respectively.'
CC: Ha! That's good! I mean, we're big guys and always going to be big guys. Nothing really offends me and I'm not really bothered by it. You take it in stride and laugh if it's funny.
Q: When you look at Ryan Braun, what food comes to mind?
CC: Food-wise [laughs]. Gosh. Braun, probably, a steak. He's got a lot of ribbies — ribeyes, RBIs (178 in his first 217 career games) — so, I guess, a medium-rare steak.
Q: To help prove that you have the biggest pants in the majors, can you tell us what size they are?
CC: [Reaching into locker]. Here they are. Forty-four waist. Fifty-six in the thigh. Thirty-six length.
Q: Would you dress in white leather suits and slick back your hair like Al Davis if it meant fixing the Raiders?
CC: Yeah! 100 percent, every day, I would. If they were guaranteed to win the Super Bowl, I would do it.
Q: Sabathia. Is that Greek?
CC: No, it's French Creole. My grandfather's from New Orleans. My family's from there, too.
Q: Will you be curious about the careers of the guys — like Matt LaPorta — for whom you were traded?
CC: I'll pay attention to them; I'll be curious. I know the people in Cleveland are going to let me know about it. I have some friends there and they're going to be telling me every step of the way. I'll be interested.
Q: I'm looking for some dirt on the Indians. You're a guy to ask because you just came from there. The Tribe has been struggling. How much blame should we place on Eric Wedge for not re-growing his imperial mustache in a time of crisis?
CC: Ha. I don't know. Not as much as the fact that Victor [Martinez], and [Travis] Hafner and Jake [Westbrook] and Fausto [Carmona] and everybody got hurt. We can't blame him or his mustache for that too much. I kinda liked the mustache, though.
Q: Does Grady Sizemore talk about trying another career? Because baseball's obviously not working out.
CC: Ha! He talks about football a lot, but I don't think he'd trade anything now for what he might have had.
Q: When is Jhonny Peralta gonna fix his outta whack first name?
CC: I don't think he can fix it now [laughs]. I think it's too late. I don't think that's his fault, though. They messed it up on the birth certificate. I think his mom wanted to spell it regular and then they messed it up.
CC: I had no clue what was going on with that. I never said that I never liked dots. They asked me when I wrote my name, how do I spell it, and I said I spell it "Carsten." I never write "CC". I don't really care about the dots anyway. It's just something that kind of got made-up when I came here. I never stated anything about the dots in my name. J.J., you like the dots in your name?
(Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome from a couple of lockers over, Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy)
J.J. Hardy: It doesn't make a difference. You know, I have 'em, but it doesn't make a difference.
CC: See? Doesn't make a difference.
Q: Are we all putting peer pressure on J.J. to drop his periods because of your situation, CC?
CC: What do you think, J.J.? Should you drop your dots, too [laughs]?
J.J.: Should I drop mine? I mean, I have a problem when people spell out "Jay Jay" [in mail correspondence]. I'm content with "J.J."
CC: OK [laughs].
(Folks, again, Mr. J.J. Hardy. Thanks, J.J.)
Q: Did you know that Ryan Braun's mom works for Anheuser-Busch?
CC: I didn't.
Q: Does that make him a double agent?
CC: I guess that would make him a double agent. But, as long as he keeps hitting the ball the way he is, I don't think there's going to be a problem.
Q: They're putting up a statue of Fonzie in downtown Milwaukee. By how much does that trump the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland?
CC: Oh, yeah. I think anybody who watched "Happy Days" is going to be coming down to see it. I think it's very comparable. I never visited the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. I'm sure I'll check out the Fonzie statue.
Q: You never visited it? That's like people who live in New York and never go see the Statue of Liberty. Anyway, if they're doing a statue of Fonzie here, would you be willing to help fund a statue of Fred Sanford in El Segundo, [Calif.]. He left his wallet in El Segundo
CC: Oh, 100 percent [laughs]. He did leave it there a lot. I'm all for that [laughs]. I'd be there for the unveiling.
Q: This trade has gone well for the Brewers so far, but the consensus is there's no way they can afford to sign you to a long-term contract. So, it might it be wise to start thinking about things that you would accept in lieu of cash, to stay here long-term. Would you stay in exchange for:
— Packers stock?
CC: If it was Raiders stock, I'll be all for it [laughs]. I don't know about Packers stock.
— A seat on the board of Miller Beer? Or your own brewery?
CC: My own brewery would be nice. I'd like that.
— What could we call your beer?
CC: "Periods" [laughs]. "Dots."
— Dots with a "Z." Dotz.
CC: It'd be an ale.
— Would you like to own the town of Appleton, Wis.?
CC: No, thanks.
— Sixth man on the Bucks?
CC: Sixth man, guaranteed sixth man? Oh, awesome! Sixth man on the Bucks, definitely.
Q: I once asked you about this, but if you'd just confirm, that'd be great. You put the kibosh on one of the great urban legends of all time when you said that you and Serena Williams never were an item.
CC: Rumor. All rumor. I wish I could tell you different [laughs] but it was a straight-up rumor. I remember that interview now [laughs].