Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Playoff roster and lineup

1. Mike Cameron CF
2. Bill Hall 3B
3. Ryan Braun LF
4. Prince Fielder 1B
5. J.J. Hardy SS
6. Corey Hart RF
7. Rickie Weeks 2B
8. Jason Kendall C
9. Yovani Gallardo RHP

against LHP Cole Hamels


The 25-man roster was put out, as well. Congrats to long-shot Brad Nelson who's left-handed bat won him a spot. Also, all three left-handed bullpen arms are on the list:

Brewers' NLDS roster
Dave Bush Pitcher R R
Eric Gagne Pitcher R R
Yovani Gallardo Pitcher R R
Seth McClung Pitcher L R
Guillermo Mota Pitcher R R
Manny Parra Pitcher L L
CC Sabathia Pitcher L L
Brian Shouse Pitcher L L
Mitch Stetter Pitcher L L
Jeff Suppan Pitcher R R
Salomon Torres Pitcher R R
Carlos Villanueva Pitcher R R
Jason Kendall Catcher R R
Mike Rivera Catcher R R
Craig Counsell Infielder L R
Ray Durham Infielder S R
Prince Fielder Infielder L R
Bill Hall Infielder R R
J.J. Hardy Infielder R R
Brad Nelson Infielder L R
Rickie Weeks Infielder R R
Ryan Braun Outfielder R R
Mike Cameron
Outfielder R R
Tony Gwynn Jr. Outfielder L R
Corey Hart Outfielder R R

Also, according to a Brewers.com article:
All but two players who were with Milwaukee on the final day of the regular season will remain with the team throughout the NLDS, though only six inactive players can be in uniform. Sveum chose Branyan, Dillon, Kapler, Riske, Vinny Rottino and Sheets for that distinction.

Infielder Mike Lamb and catcher Angel Salome left the team Tuesday. Lamb, who was not eligible for postseason play because the Brewers acquired him after Sept. 1, went home to Southern California because his wife is expecting a child. Salome traveled to the team's training center in Phoenix and will participate in the Arizona Fall League.

The Brewers' other post-Sept. 1 pickup, reliever Todd Coffey, will stay with the team.

Very cool feature on the Brewers

Over at ESPN.com I just found this which is a breakdown of every Brewers player report card. The page is linked off of their website for the MLB Playoffs, which means you can get this on every team in the postseason. It gives all kinds of stats, as well as a grade for each section, an overall grade and tells you whether that players stats are better or worse than the MLB average.

I could spend quite a bit of time on this page.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Brewers have two versions of an October/postseson logo out that I love. With any luck they'll be come merchandise soon! Thus far I can't find the one of the left all on it's own.

Unlikable Brewers?

Deadspin has their NLDS preview up. It's written by avid Cards fan Will Leitch and contains this gem:

6. The Brewers Aren't Particularly Likable. You have to be happy for Brewers fans, who have waited 26 years for a return to the postseason. But you don't necessarily have to like this team, which, in the opinion of this Cardinals fan, have taunted, showboated and chest-pounded to a rather excessive amount for a team that, until yesterday, had never won a damned thing. (Whatever my thoughts on the Cubs franchise, their players act like they've been there before.) I know, I know: Complaining about baseball etiquette is the last refuge of the elderly, jilted, crotchety fan. I'm pretty certain that I'm only acting out of emotion and am 100 percent wrong. But still: I'm not the only person who feels this way.


We've actually been over this before, so I won't get into it once again other than to say that a Cardinals fan who gets upset about showboating and posturing is the ultimate in hypocrisy.

That being said, other than Braun, I wonder where the the evidence is that this team is a bunch of chest-thumping Neanderthals.

I can understand that I'm not the most objective observer, but I really wish someone would give me some concrete examples that don't include Ryan Braun's cocky ass. I'm willing to listen to the argument, but so far, no one's actually made one. Ryan Braun's watching of homeruns does not a team situation make.

I certainly don't want to get into one of those fan debates where everyone just tears down the other teams. I just feel the criticism is a bit much. Is it fair to ask a team of 20-somethings who have never been there to act like they have? I can understand both sides of the argument on the answer to that one. (A) They're professionals, they should act like it. B) They're kids who haven't been there before, how can you expect them to act any differently? ) Also, can you give "credit" to the Cubs for acting like they've been there before when part of that act is to act like you deserve to be there, no matter what?

Where's the line on this one? There are Milwaukee fans that would argue that they want their team cocky, that they want them to think they're going to win all the time and they want them to have the swagger. Power of positive thinking, and all that. If a team's literally put all their eggs in this year's basket and the team knows it's now or (possibly) never, is it wrong when the team gets an attitude that shows that they, too, think they're going to win?

I don't assume the answers to those questions is "No." I think it's a thin line. If our team went out there and didn't fight and didn't swagger, I think there would be those that would be saying we don't want it enough.

There are fans that agree that are team is cocky, but don't care. Who cares, as long as we're winning.

It's a big of a Catch-22, isn't it? Doesn't every team have a swagger, a cockiness, a desire to kick ass, especially as the season goes on? Couldn't you pick one or two guys off every team that their rivals love to hate for their showboating and attitude?

Do we then degenerate into "well everyone else does it" as our argument?

Food for thought.

(edited for clarity)

It took all night...

My whole cadre of pictures is available here. There's 505 of them, fair warning. Sorry there's so many, but it's too exciting to go around and delete pictures and this way those who weren't there can see the post-game celebration.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Brew Crew

Says it all, doesn't it?

I love this picture even though it doesn't look like much. Prince came over to the fans on the third base side. He hugged one of the grounds crew guys. And then he just walked over and stood by himself for a second - like he wanted a minute alone to process. Very cool

Suppan and Villy

Cam on the dugout


Suppan spraying the fans

Doug Melvin's about to get the gatorade cooler

Stupid people got in the way, but I like this shot anyway

Sheets and Villy

Ben Sheets and Villanueva

Some more pictures

Still uploading to a gallery. Only 33% complete - I think I went a little overload. Some of my favorites so far, though...

I think that's Mota in the middle

The whole team on the pitcher's mound

Seth McClung carries Durham to protect Ray's hammy

Prince celebrates

Ben Sheets on the dugout

Manny and Seth say thanks

Seth McClung with a Brewers world championship wrestling belt a fan had.

Ben Sheets likes it

Dave Sveum, Bill Hall and Ed Sedar

CC in a Brewer flag cape

Corey and JJ on the dugout

Corey Hart on the dugout

CC and Sveum chatting

You Gotta Believe!

I literally just walked in the door from today's Brewers game that started 5 hours ago. The game was only 2 hours and 25 minutes long. About 25,000 fans sat in the stands and watched the Mets game on the JumboTron and then we watched the team celebrate. I literally took over 500 pictures. I didn't stop to see what I got, I just kept clicking. Why? Because the Brewers just made their first postseason in 26 years!!!

Needless to say, there's tons to come.

In the meantime, let's just say it:

Milwaukee Brewers, 2008 Wild Card Champions !!!!!!

For now, I'll leave you with 2 of the many, many pictures I took.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ben Sheets is pitching

Lou Pinella's trotting out the reserves, but the Cubs did that against the Mets the other night and it certainly didn't mean a win for New York.

Ted Lilly's pitching for Chicago, but probably won't last more than 70-80 pitches.

Dave Bush will be in the wings in case Ben Sheets falls apart.

Two games left

We have a one game lead on the wild card with two games to go!!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

2 quick things...

Rumors are swirling that JJ Hardy injured his hand in the celebration at home plate and could be out for the season. It started with conjecture, but Tom H at J-S contacted the media relations guy who in turn contacted Gord Ash who said they wouldn't/couldnt saying anything until JJ got to the park today. Tom H said that Gord Ash would have dismissed it out of hand had there not been some questions swirling. Stay posted and hope that we see Branyan and/or Escobar this week, not the stellar combo of Counsell and Hall at SS and 3B.


Also, on FSN prior to last night's game they reported that as a team, the Brewers have donated over $500,000 to charity and Eric Gagne alone is responsible for more than $200,000 of that.

Wow. Just wow.

Gene Wojciechowski knows what the fans are going through

Brewers' playoff push not for faint of heart

MILWAUKEE -- Their starting rotation has been reduced to initials: CC (Sabathia) and TBA (To Be Announced). Their manager was hired exactly nine games ago. Their margin of error is thinner than bratwurst casing, which means the Milwaukee Brewers' playoff future depends almost entirely on these next three days.

"And we've got to play the best team in the National League," says Brewers infielder Craig Counsell. That would be the Chicago Cubs, who clinched the National League Central division title days ago and are fresh from their Beat The Mets Two-Out-Of-Four Tour. Milwaukee was rooting for a Beat The Mets Three-Out-Of-Four Tour, but New York scored a run in the bottom of the ninth Thursday night for the win. By the way, Lou Piniella sat five of his Cubs regulars. Now the Cubs come to Miller Park. Not much is at stake -- only a precious NL wild-card spot for either the Brewers or Mets and, you know, unemployment. Milwaukee and New York, which are tied for the wild-card lead, have already gone through one set of managers this season, so there's always the possibility of more pink slips.

Anyway, if the playoff situation were any more fluid it'd be in a bottle of Aquafina. The possibilities are so nerve-racking that Milwaukee interim manager Dale Sveum glances constantly at the out-of-town scoreboard panels on the left-field wall. Eva Mendes could be standing in front of the Brewers dugout and Sveum would tell her to move. "I look at it the whole game," he says. "That's what's so fun about this. Some players can play a whole 15-year career and never be in this situation." As recently as Sept. 14, Sveum was the Brewers' third-base coach. On Sept. 15, he was their manager, replacing the most surprised man in America, Ned Yost. Since then, the Brewers have changed coaches, starting pitchers and lineups. And thanks to yet another Mets late-season free fall (losers of four of their past six, eight of their past 14), Milwaukee could squeeze its way past the bouncer and into the postseason club for the first time since 1982. Sveum isn't Yost. Yost was usually clean-shaven. Sveum has a 5 o'clock shadow by noon. His stubble looks like it could beat up a Hells Angel. Sveum isn't against small ball, either. Bunts. Sacrifice bunts. Steals. He'll try it all. It doesn't always work, but you can't accuse him of being predictable. I'm sort of rooting for the Brewers to reach October, partly because it's a better story, and partly because nobody should have to watch the Mets' bullpen. Plus, it would be fun to see if the amazing Sabathia can pitch every inning of an entire NLDS. Depending on how this weekend shakes out, Sabathia could start Sunday's game against the Cubs. It would be his third consecutive start on short rest, not that the Brewers have much of a choice. "If it means going to a playoff game, you've got to throw your best pitcher out there," says Sveum. "He's very much up for the opportunity." Sabathia is 10-2 with a 1.78 ERA since the Brewers acquired him July 7 from the Cleveland Indians for four minor leaguers. He's not going to be here much longer. Sabathia is going to make so much coin on his next free-agent deal that the feds will borrow bailout money from him. "It's tough in these days of sports, in life, to surpass peoples' expectations," says Counsell. "That's because people put these impossible expectations on stars. But he's surpassed anybody's wildest expectations." But Sabathia won't pitch Friday. Instead, Jeff Suppan, who hasn't surpassed expectations, will face the Cubs' 17-game winner, Ryan Dempster. Suppan is 0-for-September (winless in four starts, 10.47 ERA). And TBA was all you got on the Brewers' Thursday media release for Saturday's probable starter. Ben Sheets, who hasn't pitched since injuring his elbow on Wednesday, is talking about making a mound appearance. And while it isn't official, a more likely choice would be Dave Bush, who threw 92 pitches on Tuesday. Whatever happens, at least the Brewers are still a playoff candidate. A season ago they blew a division lead to the Cubs and were lapped by Colorado for the wild-card spot. "A slow fade," is how Sheets describes it. "We started 24-10 and the rest of the season we weren't that good," says Counsell. This year? "I see our team so different," says Counsell. "I see our season so different. I don't really see us as the same team." If the Brewers are nervous, they aren't showing it. Shortly before they took the field for warm-ups Thursday, Sabathia was slouched on a couch wondering out loud what kind of football player Kimbo Slice would have made. Sheets walked around with a catcher's mitt on his left hand. First baseman Prince Fielder sat in front of his locker and sprayed cologne on his bald head. And ask Counsell, Sheets, Sveum and shortstop J.J. Hardy what it's like to be in the passenger seat of this three-game series against the Cubs, and you hear the same word: "fun" -- but with a warning label. "I think you feel like every game is a do-or-die game," says Counsell. "It's more consuming, for sure." By the way, Counsell is the guy who coaxed a pinch-hit walk out of reliever Jesse Chavez to load the bases in the bottom of the 10th inning Thursday night. That forced the Pirates to pitch to Ryan Braun, who hit his first career walk-off dinger, which just happened to be his first career grand slam, which just happened to be the first Brewers' grand slam of the season. So the Brewers and Mets remain tied for the wild card, and the Mets shave a half-game from the Philadelphia Phillies' NL East lead (Philly is ahead by one). Sphincter muscle alert! "The season's three games now instead of 162," says Sveum. "Every game is a playoff game." Do-or-die resumes Friday. Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at gene.wojciechowski@espn3.com.

Beware the Hoff

No, not that one.

This one:

Micah Hoffpauir, the Cubs September call-up who last night went 5-5 with 2 homeruns and 5 RBIs.

Last night's game line should have read
Mets 7
Cubs 1
Hoffpauir 5

Kid raked last night and you'd better believe that Lou's going to ride that horse until it's lame. Here's hoping this kid doesn't light up Suppan's night.

Coolest Thing Ever

Found on Brew Crew Ball,

ESPN the Mag created a jukebox that has the walk-up music of every major leaguer, by team.

I'm not sure why, but I think this is great. Especially because the message boards are constantly littered with people asking which song Ryan Braun is batting to.

Check it out here.

Ryan Braun

Despite the fact that we all knew Braun wasn't comfortable at the plate and was swinging all over the place, we now officially know that he hasn't been feeling the same at the plate since he strained the muscles around his rib cage.

Thankfully, that didnt' matter, as Braun hit a walk-off grand-slam last night in the 10th inning to keep the Brewers tied with the Mets for the NL Wild Card.

As crazy exciting as the walk-off was last night, I'm not even sure it ranks in my top 3 best moments in the ballpark, which I just kind of realized as I'm writing about it. There just wasn't as much of a buzz, I guess. It's hard to explain. The Russell Branyan homer earlier in the season as well as the comeback, bottom of the 9th win against the Cards were more heart-stoppingly exciting, for some reason.

That's not to say that it wasn't a killer win, but for some reason it didn't pack the oomph - weird, since this game had so many more implications.

Either way, it was great fun to see another one of our sluggers break out of a slump in the best possible way. I had 4 tickets last night - I took my mom and a co-worker bought the other two. The lense popped out of his glasses as he was celebrating and so I lost out a bit of the post-game rucous, so maybe that has something to do with it. The bleachers went absolutely nuts.

For the ladies. Who knew that was under there. Seriously.
<--- This is what I want for Hanukkah!

EDIT: I apparently wasn't at all paying attention to anything, so it turns out it wasn't Soto.

I don't think we could have asked for more from the Cubs than 2 out of 4, but I happened to be up getting the mom a soda when the play at the plate happened in the 8th inning and I'm still a little in shock.
It was a soft hit that fell in front of Kosuke Fukudome in right field. Church attempted to score from second. Fukudome's throw was pretty right on. The catcher got the ball a few steps up the third base line, but he was directly on the basepath. Church was still a few steps away and I totally thought "They've got him dead to rights." Church did what you see over on the left there, the catcher basically fell over, Church scrambled back to touch the plate and the catcher kind of fell over again, trying to get him at the plate. It was not pretty.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Seriously Classy Guy

A lot of people have been down on Gagne because of his pitching performance, but you can't help but respect his committment to the team, the community and charity work. Gagne's also donating $25 per strikeout by ANY Brewers pitcher at home to charity. Seriously, it's too bad he's had such a rough season, because he's the type of guy I like to have on our team.

I can't find where this was originally published, but I saw this and want to pass it on. Don't know if it's true or not.
EDIT: Go here



MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Eric Gagne today purchased 5,000 tickets to be given away to Brewers fans for tonight's game. The idea for the plan originated with Gagne, who approached Brewers officials late last night to discuss the logistics.

"Tonight we'll be playing one of the most important games in franchise history, and I can think of no better way to thank the fans than giving families an opportunity to pack Miller Park," Gagne said. "No matter what happens over these next four games, I want everyone to know that I think the world of Brewers fans. Three million times they have walked through the gates this year and none of us on the field takes their support for granted. We're going to have some fun out here, and I know that the atmosphere will be electric."

Starting at 3:30, fans can go to Brewers.com to request up to four tickets. Simply click on the "Gagne Giveaway" graphic to go to the ticket request page and enter Gagne as the password when prompted. Fans requesting the complimentary tickets will be subject to a one-time $2.00 fee for printing their ticket order at home, or a $4.00 per order fee for picking at Miller Park will call.

The tickets are first come, first served, and the inventory of 5,000 available is expected to be exhausted quickly.

Gagne has also put in a special request for fans to support this weekend's Drive for Charity along with Northwestern Mutual. Participating fans will have the opportunity to receive a J.J. Hardy collectible Brewers pin with the donation of new or gently used winter coats. Donations will be accepted throughout the Chicago series from the gate opening through the second inning at the Left Field, Right Field, and Home Plate Gate entrances.

I love The Onion

A few Wisconsin relevant things today:

Mets To Play Brewers In One-Game Choke-Off

MILWAUKEE—With both teams collapsing neck and neck, Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that the Mets and Brewers will play a one-game choke-off to determine which team will spiral into playoff elimination. "The 2008 Brewers have proven that they can choke with the best of them, but the Mets have the choking experience," Baseball Tonight analyst John Kruk said. "It really all depends on which team decides to step up and wilt under pressure. Either way, this one should be truly painful to watch." Experts are predicting that the Mets and Brewers will both somehow find a way to lose.


Also, they have the counter-point to the column I wrote earlier...

Packers Offensive Line Proves It Can Stop The Run


Struggling Mets Combine To Form Carlos Voltron

More than you might want to know about Prince

Yesterday's picture of Prince Fielder rounding the bases (shown below) caused quite a furor over the apparent Brewers underwear Prince was wearing. I actually first noticed the blue sticking out of the pants in this picture. Check out Bill Hall.

Well apparently the idea of Brewers underwear or compression shorts is just too good to be true and the story is all over the place

And then, of course, there's the below piece, which is just too great not to post in it's entirety.

Prince Fielder wears Brewers Underwear

Posted by: Richie Rich in Brewers, Home Run of the Day, Uniforms

We see London, we see France … we see Prince ’s Underpants!!

Prince Fielder wins it for the Brew Crew

So last night, Prince Fielder hit a two-run Walk Off Home Run to beat the Pittburgh Pirates and kept the Milwaukee Brewers a mere one game behind the Mets in the race for the National League Wild Card (which they’re going to win).

As he rounded the bases, Fielder started untucking his shirt … which has become a victory celebration for the Brewers this season, as a tribute to teammate Mike Cameron’s working class dad (I learned that from the fabulous Uni Watch).

But as he untucked his shirt … Prince let everybody see his underwear. Let’s tempt fate and zoom in on the waistline of baseball’s resident vegetarian fattie …

Prince Fielder wears Brewers underoos

That is way more Prince Fielder than I ever needed to see.

It might be briefs, it might be boxers, it might be a jockstrap, but whatever it is that’s holding Fielder’s junk in place … it’s got a Brewers logo on the elastic.

ToolshedPrince is actually wearing compression shorts made by a company named TOOLSHED, which specializes in underthings with funky designs on the waistband.

Best … Underwear Name … EVER.

I talked to Toolshed’s Sales/Marketing guy … and as of yet, Toolshed does not have a marketing license with MLB Properties. So there’s no closeup pics of the gear and you can’t buy anything with MLB logos on it from them … unless you happen to crush game-winning home runs for an MLB team like the Brewers.

It’s just as well. 7,193 Brewers fans would just pee in them when the Brew Crew overtakes the Mets and wins the NL Wildcard later this week.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


From the Playoff Pulse column, some crazy numbers:

• Prince Fielder is a career 1-for-18 against Paul Maholm, who will start for Pittsburgh against CC Sabathia on Wednesday night. But Milwaukee's right-handed hitters absolutely clobber Maholm: Mike Cameron is 10-for-15 with a 1.267 slugging percentage against Maholm, while Bill Hall sports a career average of .609 (14-for-23) against the Pirates' lefty. Those are slow-pitch softball numbers.

Detroit removes the albatross from around their neck

Six years too late, but Matt Millen has been removed as team president and CEO of the Detroit Lions.

Someone missing the 31-84 record the Lions have amassed during this reign of terror, Millen's wife apparently told her husband that he's now out of "football prison."

FoxSports.com reported the story yesterday, but it hadn't been confirmed. That being said, one of their supporting details was the large moving boxes in Millen's office.

Yeah, that's usually a sign of something....

Read it here.

Cubs Conspiracy

Over at Brewed Sports they unearthed a possible conspiracy theory on a Cubs fanboard that basically suggests the Cubs should play their hardest against us in order to prevent us from reaching the playoffs, thereby lowering our monetary intake and creating a payroll problem for us in the future.

Poster DannyNoonan doesn't mind the theory, since it involves a team playing their hardest, which you can't fault. His concern comes with the Mets series. If the Cubs were to "throw" a game or two, Noonan wonders where that falls in the spectrum of baseball scandal.

Prince gets the front page

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Damn it's fun to be a fan this week!

Also, a poster over at Brewerfan.net had this to say:

Bold prediction: we will look back on this the same way we look back on Ned Yost's home run against Boston in 1982.

Except, you know, Prince doesn't suck at baseball and we won't hate him for being a crappy manager 26 years from now.


Go watch the walk-off greatness here. Video tab on the right.

Stupid Cubs didn't do their job, but it can't dampen my spirits. Still one game back!!!

A "Muscle" sighting

Clearly Ned Yost didn't hide the body well enough. God knows if Yost had naked pictures of Branyan, or what, but boy did Russell just disappear from the face of the planet there in August. He was placed on the DL quietly, despite no indication that he'd been injured. The barest details were given and it was said he had a problem similar to Ryan Braun's. Braun was out for a week or so, but Russell was just ressurrected in the 4th inning, making an appearance in the on-deck circle.

Packers thoughts...

...Are written at my (hopefully) new gig as the Packers columnist over at Real GM.

Go here and read it. Comment. Tell your friends. Get me traffic. Thanks!

Brewers have a new class A club

The long-rumored move was finally made and the Brewers class A club will now be located in Appleton.

The Crew's single-A affiliate had been in West Virginia, but that team recently signed on with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Rumblings had been going on for a while that this move was coming down the pipe and the switching of ownership of the West Virginia Power assured most people in the know that this was going to be the next step.

The Beloit Snappers had been the Brewers Class A affiliate as recently as 2004 and many of the current roster's players spent time there. The move to bring in the Appleton club will allow Wisconsin residents access to a lot more home-grown talent.

Read the press release here

Team gives Svuem glowing recommendations...

There's an article in today's Journal-Sentinel about Brewers' acting manager Dale Sveum that includes this passage:

Hall of Famer Robin Yount said Sveum should be given more than 12 games to prove he's the right man for the job.

"He gets my vote, if I had one, which I don't," said Yount, who immediately agreed to be Sveum's bench coach when the managerial switch was made. "I certainly hope they feel the way most of us feel and give him a shot.

"I've always believed if he got a shot, he'd do a great job. I think he has the whole package, as far as understanding the game, the integrity, the strategy side. I think he's going to be a great manager. He's very qualified."

Players in the Brewers' clubhouse have expressed similar sentiments. Though it stunned many when Yost was fired, the angst was soothed somewhat when Sveum was tabbed to finish the season.

"He's one of the most intelligent baseball people I've ever been around," said veteran catcher Jason Kendall, who played with Sveum in Pittsburgh in the late '90s. "It's good to see him get this opportunity. It's a tough situation, but he's ready for it.

"He's going to be a good one for a long, long time. He should get more than 12 games. We'd all love him to be our manager next year, without a doubt."

Pretty impressive words from some pretty respected players.

The article just continues on the theme that makes Dale Sveum the anti-Yost. Straight speaking, honest answers and a whole lot less BS.

"We have a lot in common," Yount said. "We enjoy the same things. There's nothing not to like about the guy. One of the main things I like about him is he doesn't beat around the bush.

"What he tells you is what he believes. If he tells you something, he means it. You know where he's coming from."

And my favorite Dale Sveum quote so far:
"You're not dealing with children out there. They're grown men, they have families, they've raised children. If they can't handle brutal honesty, they probably should be in another business."

Read the whole thing here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A friend of a friend....

The guy who strips the ball here for Vanderbilt is #13 Chris Marve and he's my brother's boss' kid. He stripped the ball from Ole Miss at the goal line with less than two minutes to go, securing Vandy's win and their first national ranking in more than 20 years.

Congrats to him and vote for the play for the Pontiac Game Changing Performance

Desperately trying not to get too excited....

Congrats to Prince!

There aren't words for what I think of Prince Fielder since he's stepped up in the past week or so. People have talked about his loss of power, his lack of leadership and a whole lot of other demeaning qualities, but I feel like this week's performance tells everyone that's disparaged him to sit down and shut up. While the rest of the team is slumping and seemingly ok with losing out on the playoffs, Prince pretty much single-handedly gave the team power.

And for his effort, he was named NL Player of the Week and received an engraved Swiss timepiece (no, I'm not kidding).

Look at the numbers:
BA:. 462
OBP: .533
SLG 1.038
12 hits, 6 doubles, 11 RBI
6 runs scored
Total Bases: 27

In addition, he has a 12 game hitting streak, had 4 multi-hit and 3 multi-RBI games. He has the 2 homers on the 16th at Wrigley.

J.J. Hardy has also quietly shook off the cobwebs and could have been considered for the weekly honors after hitting .480 with a triple and 3 RBI.

It's not over yet...

The Cubs still haven't clinched home-field advantage, so they'll actually be playing their full squad for these upcoming 4 games at Shea.

We're just 1 1/2 games back. Three games against Pitt at home to start off should do us well. Tomorrow's pitcher, Karstens, is just 2-6 and he's facing robot Dave Bush (or, the guy who took over Dave Bush's body and is far out-punting the coverage). Karsten's has lost 6 in a row, gave up 11 hits in 6 innings and seems to be suffering from fatigue. Please, god, let that hold out for one more game.

Wednesday it's Paul Maholm, who for some reason I thought was a Crew killer, despite the fact that he's 0-2 against us.
His scouting report does not bode well for us:
For the ninth time this season, Maholm picked up a no-decision in a start in which he allowed three or fewer runs. In fact in five of those no-decisions, he's given up one or none. Maholm did issue six walks in his last start, though they were a quiet six walks. The seven innings Maholm pitched pushed him over the 200-inning mark, but put him comfortably in position not to exceed the 211-inning maximum set my management. Maholm is still looking for his first win against the Brewers this season. He is 0-2 against them and has allowed 13 runs in 25 2/3 innings.

Not only that, but we have no probable pitcher scheduled. FOR TOMORROW. It's Suppan's turn in the rotation, but one would think that Sveum's smart enough to know that will lead to nothing but bad things. The most likely answer seems to be CC, on three days rest. Of course, the last time we pitched him on 3 days rest, he got his first loss. But if we pitch him tomorrow, we can pitch him again for the season finale against the Cubs.

Another option is Yovani Gallardo and I'm totally torn on that subject. As much as I want to get into the post-season, I don't want it to be at the expense of next year's ace. Not only that, but we have no idea how he'll perform. When every inning matters and we've gone to the bullpen as much as we have this past week, I'd be wary of putting him in there when he could only last a short while.
Thursday's pitcher is Zach Duke, whom we can only hope stays on the path he's put up so far...
His scouting report:
Duke's last start against the Dodgers was eerily similar to ones that preceded it. The left-hander strung together three goose eggs to begin the game, but was hit hard with a four-run inning. He would eventually be taken after five-plus innings, where he allowed 11 hits and five runs. Duke has only one victory in the second half of the 2008 season. He'll look to close the year on a good note against the Brewers, who he is 3-4 with a 5.08 ERA against in his career.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We'll take all the help we can get...

Look, I'm not cheering and/or excited when people get injured. But I'm also so close to my first baseball playoffs that I can taste it.

Therefore, it's with a happy heart that I report that Mets infielder Damion Easley is out for at least a week with and injured quad. Early reports are saying that he's at least a week from even being able to pinch hit. Easley's possible replacements are a rookie and a guy who just returned from the DL - nothing but good news for the Brewers there. Easley was hitting .272 with six home runs and 44 RBIs in 108 games.

This news came a day after it was reported Fernando Tatis has a separated shoulder and is done for the season. Tatis was hitting .297 with 11 home runs and 47 RBIs after having been called up from the minors. His bat is a big loss for their offense.

Here's hoping these guys get extremely healthy in the off-season!

Hey Bud!

Ken Rosenthal talked to Bud Selig and got some pretty straight answers.

First and foremost IMO, Astros fans need to take a pill - Miller Park was the only option.

Q: You have taken criticism for your decision to shift the Astros-Cubs series to Milwaukee's Miller Park after Hurricane Ike ravaged Houston last weekend. What happened?

A: Those have been questions in Houston, obviously. Look, what happened is the tragedy of the hurricane. We bent over backwards. We considered all of the options. I had three weather services — I can keep you all day going through all this.

When we knew early Saturday morning about the devastation, we knew we couldn't play in Houston. We had to consider other options.

We called Minnesota. They had the (University of Minnesota) Golden Gophers (football game) on Saturday and the (Minnesota) Vikings on Sunday. In Arizona, the Diamondbacks were playing. Atlanta, all three weather services said there was going to be rain. Tampa, the Red Sox were playing on Monday. Washington ... we went through every alternative.

Q: St. Louis?

The storm went through St. Louis. You know what happened to Chicago last week. St. Louis got all that rain. All three weather services said, "Don't even think about going there."

Q: Texas?

A: Every weather service predicted that the storm would go right up through Texas — and that the devastation might be worse. And Texas was playing at home on Monday.

We had decisions to make on Saturday. The more we went through it, the only option we had left was Milwaukee.

(The teams played two games at Miller Park, and the third game will be made up in Houston at the end of the season, if necessary.)

I kept the third game (in Houston). We're not supposed to do that.

We're supposed to play all the games during the season. But I gave Houston the third game if it means something the following Monday.

This was a tragedy.

I frankly wanted to go to Minnesota. The Cubs would have had a lot of fans there as well. Wherever the Cubs go, that (phenomenon) takes place. But Minnesota was out. We had no choice. Between the rain and the domes in use, we had no choice.

We couldn't send them out to the West Coast. The (Astros) had to be in Florida (on Tuesday night). If I sent them to Dodger Stadium or Seattle, they would have played a double-header Monday, then flown all night to Miami.

People can sit around and second-guess. But as I go back through my notes, there were no other viable alternatives. I couldn't send them somewhere where it was going to rain.


There's been a lot of talk about the Rays lack of attendance, but how come no one's mentioning what Bud says here?

Q: How worried are you about Tampa Bay? Here are the Rays, in the middle of a dramatic pennant race, and they're still not selling out.

A: OK, but I'm looking at their numbers. They're at 1.658 million, up almost 411,000. I guess we've got to watch it. I have concerns. But they're going to wind up at a number where they've never been before. It's an amazing story, one of the great stories.

I'm thrilled by it. It's a manifestation of everything I'm trying to do — competitive balance, parity, all that. But of course, I have concerns. I think we need to watch that situation in the next year or two.

Today's blogging is brought to you..

by the letter W

2009 Schedule released

Click here to find it.

This season will start a full week later than last. Our first game is Tuesday, April 7 in San Francisco. At least we won't be subject to Wrigley in 40 degree weather like we did this year.

Home opener is April 10 against the Cubs - that's a three day series over that weekend and is followed by the Reds. Cubs fans + excessively drunk Brewers fans is going to = trouble. Stupid scheduling there.

There's a 10 game series in mid-September to end the home schedule with 3 games with Houston, 3 games with the Cubs and then a four game series against the Phillies at home. We then head to Colorado for 3 and end the season in St. Louis in Oct. 2-4.

*We're home both Memorial Day and Labor Day against St. Louis.
*We'll be hosting the White Sox for interleague, as well as heading to Detroit. We've been to *Detroit a lot in the past few years, so that's a bit surprising.
*The Twins series here is during the week, which is surprising since MN fans will usually travel.
*The two longest road trips are each 9 games - one in April, one in August.
*If we're in contention late again next season, we could have a rough ride. Based on this year's results, we'll be facing tough teams and division opponents. There's 9 against St. Louis, 7 against the Cubs, 4 vs the Phillies (payback?) and 3 against Arizona.

The Man of Glass

After Ben Sheets left yet another game early last night, I was left wondering just how much he costs himself every time this happens. Are we talking $4 million every time he exits? Is there a way to quantify the cost?

Over at Bugs and Cranks, the departure left them with questions, too. Namely, is Ben Sheets a mediocre ace or a spectacular middle-of-the-0rder guy?

September 18th, 2008 at 3:39 am ET

Though likely to be buried by a handful of posts about the Devil Rays in no time (just kidding, Post Master Chalk!), I thought I would raise yet another Brewers query, as Mr. Charles and I had in our previous posts.

With Ben Sheets’ departure from Wednesday’s game due to injury, he was unable to obtain his career high 14th win of the season, and – assuredly to the dismay of much of the Brewers’ fan base – might have thrown his final pitch in a Milwaukee uniform. But prior to his impending exit to whatever beautiful locale gracious enough to toss the most coin in his direction, I seek closure in the form of an answer to a question that has plagued me for a number of seasons.

Is Ben Sheets the worst great pitcher in contemporary baseball, or is he the best OK pitcher?

Through the early years of high school I was regaled in the extravagant draperies of pleasant tales that foretold the coming of a savior to my doomed franchise. A man who delivered our American underdogs to Olympic glory was promised to gloriously swoop in and, maybe not next year, or the year after, and probably the one after that… but eventually, again deliver the beermakers to the pantheons of their past playoff appearances glory. This angel was called Ben.

As the painful seasons wore on and glimmers of this golden god’s, uh… moderate proficiency proudly shone as the talent of the team around this master began to solidify, Ben’s numbers continually reached the same somewhere-between-not-bad-and-pretty-good level.

Often mentioned among the greats of pitching, I personally have a difficult time buying that this hurler is deserving to be an assumed member of such company. Yes, he has four All-Star appearances, a career ERA in the threes and over 1,200 strikeouts in eight seasons. He also struck out 18 in a game, should have won the NL Cy Young in 2004, and proved a solid ace and apt star to an often terrible, and otherwise near unmarketable, Brewers team in the early millennium. Plus he even leads Milwaukee in a plethora of pitching categories this season.

These are all very impressive accomplishments this love-handled suburban Badger Stater will never touch – but do these feats alone make him a great pitcher? To me, no.

When I think of a great pitcher I imagine a leader who goes above and beyond his limitations to seek rewards fitting of his status, I imagine a pitcher who any unbiased soul wouldn’t dare keep off the mound when it truly mattered. I see a pitcher who’s won more than 13 games in a season. I know that wins as a stat have about the relevance of Dane Cook at a convention for talented people, but I lay Sheets’ low win totals heavily on a combination of second half struggles and a laundry list of oddball injuries through much of his career.

Check out this list of ailments Sheets has missed time for in his career: tendinitis, inner ear infection, elbow tightness, bulging discs, blisters on throwing hand, strained hamstring, scurvy, hepatitis C, gout, severed head and hermaphrodite. I mean, I made up every thing after strained hamstring, but that’s still a long list! It makes one wonder how many starts Big Ben could’ve made if he’d actually considered training in the offseason instead of sitting around gorging himself on crawdad po’ boys and his own fingernails while imaging more ways to be goofy in the dugout of another team not fit for the playoffs.

If the season were to end today, Sheets and his media-granted greatness would again yield Milwaukee yet another fruitless annual on the outside of playoff contention. I would gladly have him on my roster for years to come and I appreciate all the great Sheets accomplishments I’ve mentioned, but I look at Ben Sheets as he leaves for a lager market knowing full well that he is not a great pitcher, merely the best decent pitcher in the game today.

Too late for do-overs

Jerry Crasnick has a list of players that were supposed to impress this season, but have failed to make the grade.

#7 on the list is Rickie Weeks:

Rickie Weeks, Brewers (.233 with 12 homers)


Weeks was hyped as a 2008 breakout candidate after a torrid finish last season. Now that it's mid-September and he has a lower OPS than Akinori Iwamura, let's scratch that prediction. The Brewers are scrambling to beat out the Mets and Phillies for the wild card, and Ray Durham is logging the bulk of the playing time at second base while Weeks sits and watches.

Rickie Weeks

AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi

Rickie Weeks has committed the second-most errors (14) in the majors at second base.

It might be time to junk that "young Gary Sheffield" tag. Weeks is 26 years old, with almost 1,595 major league at-bats on his résumé, and he's a .245 hitter with a .403 slugging percentage. He's been particularly ineffectual at home this season, with two home runs in 209 at-bats at Miller Park. One team's scouting report on Weeks: His bat speed is exceptional, but his plate coverage is underwhelming. While Weeks crushes fastballs on the inner half, he can be vulnerable to breaking balls and hard stuff away. Although Weeks' defensive numbers look respectable enough this season, his arm is erratic, he has problems turning the double play and he looks scared to have the ball hit to him in big spots. Maybe the Brewers should pull a B.J. Upton with him and shift him to center field. "They think he's really started to take his defense to the plate with him," said a scout.