Archive for February, 2007

REAL baseball starting tomorrow

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

I go through stages in the offseason:

- Acceptance: Coming to grips with the fact that the season is over and inevitably (hopefully no longer) accepting that the Brewers failed to make a postseason run (or appearance for that matter)

- Intrigue: Another offseason, what will the Brewers do? Will Melvin make another sweet deal and land the Crew some nuggets? Will they sign another can’t-miss all-star like Hammonds?

- Antsyness: OK, WHEN is opening day again?

- Stir crazyness: It’s not even spring training yet?

- Mind-numbing anticipation: SPRING TRAINING! Brewer news! Constant baseball talk on ESPN! This is the year!

- Borderline psychopath: Checking Brewer sites and boards every 5 minutes for news nuggets, listening to Cactus League games at work, combing through box scores (Gary Glover pitched ANOTHER scoreless inning. He MUST be the real thing!), drawing ball and glove logos on every inch of scratch paper I have, etc.

- Complete psychopath: Curled up in a ball on my bedroom floor, drooling, repeating my ideal opening day batting order (Weeks, Estrada, Fielder, Hall, Hart, Jenkins, Graffanino, Hardy, Sheets),figuring out how many seconds are left before Sheets throws out the first pitch of 2007, not bathing, etc.

- Absolute euphoria: Baseball season is here. I will do nothing else but watch the Brewers, read news about the Brewers, over-manage my jugernaut fantasy baseball team to another championship, go to Miller Park for games and talk to my friends about what I would do if I was Ned Yost, which is anything I’d want to do, by the way. If I were Ned Yost, I’d have guided the Breweres to at least three World Series wins and I’d be untouchable throughout the state.

I’ve entered borderline psychopath phase as exhibition games are set to begin and will soon transition into complete psychopath as we count down the weeks to opening day. Yet somehow, I’ve managed to maintain a relatively healthy relationship with my girlfriend for three baseball seasons, going on four, and currently hold a steady job (which I manage to fit in between blog posts and t-shirt transactions).

April 2nd, you can’t come soon enough…

Hey, news guy, what are you excited for this year?

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Hey, that’s me! Yeah, it is now my new job to wake up at 6am every morning to deliver you fine people the daily Brewers news. Reading all of these Brewers stories every morning only drives my excitement for the upcoming season upwards. With the risk of duplicating Bryan and Tyler’s resent posts, I will now give you the things and players I am most excited for this upcoming season. No negetives from me. I’m warning you, this may be long.

Players

  • Prince Fielder. As I hit on in this morning’s news post, I’m thinking Prince is gonna break out in a huge way this season. I don’t think it is too much to expect 40+ taters and 100+ RBI’s this season. Remember how we were all worried about his defense before last year? Kiss that goodbye.
  • Johnny Estrada. A solid catcher not only defensively, which is most important as a catcher, but offensively. Better than solid even. It will be odd seeing a Brewers catcher hit well, but I’ll get used to it. I grew up playing baseball and spent most of my “playing days” at catcher, so I have a soft spot for catchers. I probably watch this position more closely than any other throughout the season. Why else would Eddie Perez be my favorite player during the ‘04 season?
  • Bill Hall. Let’s face it, everyone is stoked (yeah, I said it) to see what Billy will do this year.
  • JJ Hardy. This Brewers heartthrob is by far the Brewers most solid player on defense, but I think this guy has serious potential to be nearly as solid at the plate. He won’t hit 30 home runs, but I wouldn’t be surprised one bit to see him hit close to 20 with 50-60 RBI’s while hitting .300. Stay healthy JJ! I love the way you turn on those fast balls.
  • Ben Sheets. The main reason: I’m so sick of hearing all the Kerry Wood comparisons. I’m most excited to see him dominate this season and shut the critics up. He will!

Other “things”

  • Tailgating. Chimon! Give me some secret stadium sauce. Sorry boys, hold the kraut.
  • Cubs games. The best excuse I can think of to be really obnoxious to people. I dispise the Cubs and their fans that come to Miller. YOU GOTTA TAKE IT BACK NAH!
  • This years “Brewers” trip. Here we come Nashville.
  • 5 bobble heads and one nesting doll.
  • Hopefully meeting new, obsessed Brewers fans through this website
  • Last, and far from least: OPENING DAY. My ego can only take 2 months of everyone around me calling me a dork (amoung other things) for talking Brewers constantly. It seriously affects my “love life.” I’m talking about dating, mom.

Keep checking back daily for Brewers news and the RBF blog. I agree Tyler. Let’s pick it up a bit boys. J-Rivs, lets go!

It’s (Not) Miller Time.

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Looks like Damien Miller hurt himself playing first base during an intersquad game. I’m not too frightened by it. He should be back… and since we have Rivera and J.D. Closser to backup Estrada behind the dish, it’s kind of alright if he isn’t. The one major downfall is I’m sure this would’ve been an oppurtune time to better learn first base.

One of the few gems in my fast-paced and fairly lame life right now is that spring training games start tomorrow. The A’s are going to get it…hard. March 6th brings about the first time the Brewers and Cubs will butt heads. I realize it’s no big deal, I just especially hate the Cubs.

A few other dates I have circled on my baseball related calander… which I’ve titled, “My temporary reason to keep kicking,” include: 1. March, 25th for our fantasy draft… i’ve ironically named my team “Cubs Jr.” 2. April, 1st into the 2nd opening day pre-party 3. April, 2nd for the main event… opening day!

After that, it’s all up hill.

Glad to see everyone posting,
Tyler

Shot through the Hart and Yost is to blame.

Monday, February 26th, 2007

…he gives our crowded outfield a good name. No huge surprise to me in hearing that Hart is penciled (more like that kind of ink that’s really hard to erase’ed) in as the starting right fielder for opening day. What does kind of strike me is the timing of the announcement (contextualized in the JS article featured on our news page).

I mean Yost basically said Hart would be the man when Jenks was rumored to be moving back to left and with Mench’s lack of athleticism and seemingly weak arm, he is no option at right. I like that blanks are being specifically filled in already. Hopefully this will both allow Hart to relax and let him mentally ease himself into a nearly everyday job as well as send a message to GJ and Kevin Bench… (cough)… I mean, Mench that Yost is infinately ballsy who won’t take guff from overpayed mid-market infants. Trade rumors set aside, doesn’t the platoon of Geoff and Mench totally trump the epic pair of: John Vanderwall and Ben Greive three seasons ago?

In closing: Despite how Graffanino’s off-season situation lead to the eventual loss of Jeff “Skrillo” Cirillio to the Twinks, you pretty much have to love him still. With Koski hurt for Moses knows how long, and Weeks coming off an injury that was preceeded with shakey fielding, he adds depth, talent and experience to our infield. He can plug basically infield hole… except arguably short. He may not be worth Jorge De La Rosa in raw talent, but I can make one gaurantee that unlike the Royals southpaw, Graffy will not go 6-18 with a 5.93 ERA and a WHIP that nears that of Steven Hawkin’s high school grade point average.

We set up our new shipping room. Buy a shirt and we’ll prove it!

The Beginning of Spring: News and Views

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

Ah Springtime. The time when a young man’s fancy turns to love…of BASEBALL. Here are some Spring Training views of my own

In the category of good (like if Vinny Rottino becomes the next Chase Utley) news:

Prince Fielder – Wow. He arrives early to camp unsatisfied with his first year (which was pretty darn good) and is resolved on improving his game. I must admit, I was skeptical about Prince. I wanted the Crew to keep Overbay and move him to the outfield just in case Prince wasn’t ready like we thought. I was just unconvinced about Prince’s defense and his drive. He’s proved me very wrong. I will eat that crow. Last year, not only did he do well, but the fact that he’s not happy and is driven to do better is a tremendous sign of maturity from this young slugger. Prince could rest on his name alone, but he seems determined to make a name for himself.

Bill Hall…you earned it.

This is how far we have come with catcher depth in only a couple years. We used to have to choose from Mo-Mo and Gary Bennett, which was basically like trying to choose who has more musical talent: Paris Hilton or Ashlee Simpson. We now have Estrada, Miller, and Rivera (with Closser as a worthy candidate too). Catchers are a valuable commodity often overlooked and it’s good to see such current and future talent.

Chicago Cubs = SI Curse’d

In the category of unsettling (like if Wes Helms was on a bender) news:

Rickie Weeks needed Cortisone shots? Uh-oh. Last time I heard about those kinds of shots, it was to relieve Barry Bonds of his pain due to a lack of a soul. I love Rickie. I stood up for him when his D was shaky last year. (The schmucks on the local sports talk radio up here were begging the team to trade Weeks…morons.) He got through it and BAM, hurt. I hope he gets to 100% and that this doesn’t become a nagging injury all year. I do feel good in Graffy (or El Nino) as his backup, but we need Rickie’s bat and speed.

Can someone tell me why we got rid of a healthy and beloved Cirillo when Koskie’s future is so cloudy? Someone? Anyone? And Counsell? He’s not a true third basemen. I don’t need to see his weird ass swing in a starting line up. He’s a .250 hitter, which means he’s a decent, but expensive backup for JJ Hardy at best. I understand why they have to move Hall to the outfield, but couldn’t they wait until Koskie feels better or Braun gets a little more experience? This position scares the hell out of me for sure. Jared’s previous post is right on.

Joe and Jared hit on Mench and Jenkins quite well. All I have to say is “Well, stop complaining and show me”.

In the category of predictions that could come true, but probably won’t (like chanting “Future Yankee” at Torii Hunter):

I might get a lot of crap for this, but I think Jenkins is going to have a much better year. Why? Three reasons: He seems to have a chip on his shoulder. His benching and the subsequent trade rumors hopefully lit a fire under his butt. Second, it’s a contract year for Jenks and he won’t want a pay cut. He’ll probably hope to score on the free agent market and he’ll need a solid year to do so. Finally, his stats suggest he will have a better year. Since 2002, he’s been up and down. (.243, .296, .264, .292, .271…).He’s due for a .280-.290 year.

In the category of pressing questions:

Many people want to write off JJ Hardy, also known as the females’ favorite Brewer, but they don’t remember that before he had a freak accident, he was tearing it up. Even a manager in one of my fantasy leagues traded Hardy for Chone Figgins in the early part of the year (I’m not saying it was smart, I’m just saying it happened). The big question is will he bounce back and be able to get hits on a regular basis?

Who is Brady Clark? I mean besides the baldest guy on the team. Is he the guy that hit .306 in 2005? Or the guy who hit .263 in 2006 and lost his starting job? We’ll find out this spring.

In the category of WTF (like when Doug Melvin shaved off his ‘stache) news:

Someone tell me why Astro fans feel they are going to run the division. You lost your arms! You have Roy Oswalt and Jason Jennings (who I feel is still a #3 at best)…then who? Wooden Williams? Wandy Rodriguez? Yes, the Berkman and Lee batting tandem is going to be good, but if the Tigers taught us anything last year is that you can’t underestimate good pitching. Oh and enjoy El Caballo half assing it in the outfield. As much as I like Carlos, he has his money now so it will be interesting to see what kind of effort he puts forth.

Cub Fans…let me get this straight. You go out and spend a ton of money of pitchers like Jason Marquis, but when the only reliable, non-permainjured arm you have wants some money, you low ball? Is the guy in charge of this the same one in charge of Lovie Smith’s contract?

Now, as far as I’m concerned, Jenks and Mench can GET OUT!

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

I woke up this morning only to hear that, along with Jenkins, Mench has began his journey back into childhood. Who the hell do these guys think they are.? Yeah Geoff, I understand you’ve been around longer than anyone and were the lone “bright spot” on many bad Brewers’ teams, but what makes you think, with the horrendous past two seasons you’ve had (don’t let the season ending stats fool you), that you desearve to play every day, especially against lefties?? And Mench, two seasons hitting around .270 with 25 homers, not bad, but after your half year with the Brewers, not thinking you earned an every day job. It is apparent that these guys care far more about their personal endeavors than the good of a team. Not to mention, it certainly isn’t going to positively affect the clubhouse when two of your veterans are acting like tit-babies.

I’m not ready to jump on the Jenkins and Mench Haters bandwagon, but hearing about Mench’s comments after Jenkins ticked me off a bit. It is only obvious that one of these guys have to go. Personally, I’d rather have Jenkins out there. I feel he’s going to have a good year…contract year. Plus, Mench is worse than Lee in the outfield. Our defense is a big enough question mark without him in the game. We’ll just have to see what happens.

I’ll hopefully see everyone tomorrow, snow or shine. Damn, this post cost me $4 because I now don’t have time to make my sack lunch. Later.

Message to Jenkins: Get real or get out

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

 

Geoff Jenkins

Geoff,

 

While you’ve never been a favorite of mine, I’ve always admired your play. There is no doubt in my mind that you’re always playing 100 percent. You put your body on the line to make plays on the field and your offense can, at times, carry the team. You’re a career Brewer that came up through the minor-league system, one of the few homegrown players on the team for many years. And there were times when you were pretty much the only player on the team worth watching. I even supported you last year when, frankly, you were awful, especially against left-handed pitchers, but my patience with you is razor thin right now after your comments to media demanding a trade if you’re not an every-day starter.

You’re a competitive professional athlete, so I completely understand that you want to play every day. You told the Journal-Sentinel, “My mentality is I don’t like to sit. I’ll take a day off every once in a while but I don’t like to sit. That’s how I’m made. I like going out there and leading the team and being out there with the guys. That’s what I’ve always done.” OK. So, you’ll have us believe that Brady Clark, Gabe Gross, Kevin Mench and other players that typically come in off the bench, are “wired” for that? No, of course not. They want to play as much as you do, maybe more, but you EARN playing time in the big leagues and all you earned last year was a spot on the pine. To be honest, you should have spent a lot more time on that bench, but Ned Yost is incredibly loyal to his players, to a fault in some cases. Do you need me to show you replays of your flailing swings over balls that hit the dirt two feet before the plate or break down your poor hitting stats?

You’re a veteran. You’ve been here longer than anyone on the team. If there’s one thing you should understand, it’s team chemistry and your comments scream “team cancer,” not “team leader.” If you think you should start, shut up and show us on the field. There are a lot of young impressionable players on the Brewers and the last thing we need is players to start making foolish demands and acting like primadonas. Have a closed-door meeting with Yost, work on improving your hitting (perhaps finally give in and modify your ridiculous leg kick), play hard and be a team player. Don’t take it to the media. I thought you were smarter than that. Yost has rewarded players based on performance repeatedly. Do you think he’d platoon you if you were out-performing your platoon counter-part? No.

You said, “I’ve got to go (if not playing regularly). I need to go. They owe me that, as much as I’ve done for the organization, to at least put me in a situation where I get a chance to play.” Get this through your head: The Brewers don’t owe you squat. Get over yourself. You were a borderline all-star player for a couple of years at your best, but now you’re on the downside of a career where you’ve consistently shown you don’t hit lefties well, you’re violently inconsistent at the plate and you weren’t worth the huge contract the Brewers gave you after they traded Richie Sexson. If anything, you owe the Brewers and, right now, you can pay your debts by shutting your mouth.

You call yourself the “utmost team player” in a MilwaukeeBrewers.com article. “I’ll always make sacrifices for the team. If that makes us a better team, that’s what you need to do,” you told the Journal-Sentinel. Well, prove it. Stats say this team would be better with a platoon in left field. You hit lefties well and Kevin Mench hits righties well. You both stink against the opposite-handed pitchers. It’s not rocket science. If you’re a team player and want this team to win, lead by example and settle into a platoon.

Geoff, this is starting to get long and I could go on, but I hope you get the point. I’ll be cheering for you when you run out onto the field opening day to take on Derek Lowe (don’t fall for his low junk in the dirt, please). I’ll even stick up for you in the stands, where you’ve inevidibly lost fans in this blue-color town. But, if you keep this talk up, it’s over. You’re walking a razor-thin line.

Get real or get out.

Jared
P.S. - Could you tell that large-domed fellow you’ll be platooning with that his demands to start or be traded are so ridiculous and unwarranted that they’re not even worth addressing. Thanks G-Off. See you April 2.

140 days of tight pants and Jenks blowing it in his own mouth.

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

I hope this will be brief, though I admit to rambling a bit in past posts. Besides, I have to write a paper about a book I haven’t finished for my Arthurian Legend class that meets in 70 minutes.

Basically:

  • I really enjoyed the news about the 140-game television deal. I am not entirely sure if all will be carried on FSN. Based on the content of the article I read on www.milwaukeebrewers.com I know that at least 125 (not including some spring training games) will be shown via the network. I will be working and schooling quite avidly, but if I’m not trashed and totally awesome in the bleachers, I’ll be doing my best to watch on T.V.
  • The comments Jenks is making about expecting to be “the guy” in left or wanting a trade are super lame. I agreed with certain points he raised and understand his feelings and whatnot, but don’t go public with that stuff. It’s not like G-off (his game all last season until September when it barely mattered) has earned the right to say things like that. Sure, I love the guy. He has been the gem within some terrible teams and so many of his great plays are ingrained in my memory, next to images of great omlettes i’ve eaten, but his play has been woeful lately… especially at the dish. Let’s hope he uses last September’s spark to come up huge early. I’m pulling for him. If not, enjoy the prolonged exposure to Ben Sheets’ dugout goofiness, platooning all season, your half million dollar buyout at season’s end and your Jeremy Burnitz-like future.
  • SATURDAY, MILLER PARK, TAKE IT BACK, YESSSSSS!!!

Good day to you all.

I (kind of) took it back, Na!

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

When Joe says that “most” of us have season tickets, he is simply and kindly saying that everyone in RFB except for myself posesses a twenty game ticket package. You see, I am the only member of this blog who still attends college full-time. Jared and Bryan graduated, Joe and Johnny tried it and opted out (Joe is taking some classes again). Thus, I have very little skrill (money) and the finances I do have go towards school and rent or is misutilized on things like booze and ethnic food.
Anyway, today I and RFB backer, “Hendo” invested in a four game package. My four pack includes the following games: 5-18 (Twins), 6-5 (Cubs), 7-20 (Giants) and 8-17 (Reds). Unfortunately, I was forced to buy seats in the left field bleachers… but I will act as an ambassador to my regular (true) seats. Being that I’m rolling in the tips at work these days, I may buy another four pack at a later date.
Figuring my lack of skill, salvy and flare won’t deliver a sweet summer internship in some far away land, I will do my best to make it to as many games as possible this season. I figure I’m the go to guy when one of the season ticket holding bloggers is busy or comes up limping. As far as their tickets go, I’m kind of like Gabe Gross… if he had a less Christian song playing on his walk to the plate.

I can’t wait to go to Miller Park on Saturday!
I’ll be sure to return soon with actual Brewer news.

Tyler

New season approaching, my nipples protruding.

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

Hoy’ Mates!
I realize that I was the last to partake in the RFB almighty blog, and I have no excuse for that. I simply ask you to forgive me. In retrospect, playing Warcraft all night was not a very responsible action.
I figured I would begin with my delights and disgusts of the offseason. I think overall Doug Melvin did us right, bringing in starting pitcher Jeff Suppan and Johnny Estrada. Jeff is a professional pitcher - who throws strikes, has a solid glove, and can handle a bat, which will be huge for the Crew. (Another pro to his arrival is that the Brewers could never hit him). Johnny Estrada is also a huge addition to the Brewers team. Damian Miller was a great upgrade from the dreadful Chad Moeller and Gary Bennett tandem. But it is invaluable to have a defensive catcher who won’t wear down, hit for average, and have decent pop. However, Doug was not perfect this year. Re-signing Craig Counsell for that kind of jack was pretty superfluous. Especially before knowing whether Graffanino was going to accept of decline the offer sheet. I think Craig has his good points: he is a hard out, puts contact on the ball, great glove, etc. But, in essence, aquiring him meant that Jeff Cirillo would not be wearing the Beer blues this year. And that’s a hard bone for this dawg to chew.
Butch Wynegar is finally out of Milwaukee. I am not a fan who puts the teams success at the plate solely on the hitting coache’s shoulders, but I saw no reason to retain him. I really don’t know how much control they have over Rickie Weeks swinging at breaking balls that hit the dirt 7 inches before the plate, but looking at the team’s collective offensive stats for last season, it was apparent he was not a piece of the championship puzzle.

I will try to speed this blog up by a system I call “Ayyy”s and “Nay”s

I say Ayyy to:
Bill Hall’s new contract
My Yovani Gallardo rookie card
Ben Sheets showing up in good shape for once
Jared getting this great site going
The RFB’s tee-shirts
Bill Hall batting cleanup

I say Nay to:
Robin Yount quitting after one year as bench coach
Kevin Mench’s life
Dave Nelson getting canned
Getting rid of the batting practice logo
Corey Koskie’s conk

Until next time.

Danger.

Insomniac Ink