Archive for March, 2007

The End of Spring Training News and Views

Friday, March 30th, 2007

- My initial reaction to the Maxim/Hendick trade was that we really did get a sandwich for Hendrickson. Another catcher??? At first, I wasn’t as happy as I thought to see him gone, but then I thought about it. We’re probably losing Miller after this season and there’s a chance we won’t be able to keep Estrada very long either. If we lose both of those two, then we bring up Rivera and Closser, then there’s no one left. Planning for the worst case scenario. I like it. And it was for a pitcher who has a terrible attitude and work ethic. The more I thought about it, the more I agreed it was better than a sandwich.

- The reason I was unsure about it was because I was hoping, wishing, praying for a LHP or Third baseman.

- I do like the Elmer deal. I think he’s better than Helling, and Helling did a great job eating up innings without giving up a lot of runs.

- I hope Jenks keeps playing with a chip on his shoulder. See my first N and V on why I think he’s going to do well

- Everytime I checked Spring Training and saw a Vinny Home Run, I got a little excited, if you know what I mean…I know Tyler did too.

- Nix is on the DL and I hope this doesn’t become a normal occurrence

- You can tell Brian Anderson was on the golf channel. He has a soothing baritone voice. Problem is, he needs to get excited. If anyone else watched a spring telecast for even a little bit, you know what I mean

- Speaking of booth people, I don’t think there can be bucketheads this year so let’s start our own: Time for the RFB BRIGADE. I’m sure the other guys can think of something more snazzy (especially while partaking this Sunday/Monday).

- Counsell…I respect you and I like that you love Milwaukee, but you need to kick it up. Your glove is great, but is your arm able to be a third baseman? Your bat is fairly solid (that’s even a stretch), but without much power. Averaging a strikeout in almost every 5 AB’s in spring isn’t going to help your perma .250-.260 BA.

- After looking at the third basemen available for even a possible trade, I think Counsell might be the best we have right now. Jamey Carrol from the Rockies has a higher BA and same amount of power (not much) as Counsell (Not to mention he’s a 2B/SS like him NOT a normal 3B), but I’m not sure they’re going to part with him. Not to mention, they don’t need an outfielder and I was hoping to trade Mench in this deal. Other than that, Eric Hinske anyone??? Ha. Didn’t think so. Time to try to be positive about our third base situation for the first part of the year

- Sportsline has the Brewers ranked second in the NL Central and just behind the Mets for the Wild Card. I’d be pleased, but the last time Sportsline gave so much love the the Brewers, things went south (See Last Year)

- I will be missing part of the Pre Opening Day Party to partake in Brewers on Deck. Hope to see some RFB support down there. I’ll be probably handing out Bumper Stickers and trying to get Ben Sheets or Prince’s autograph. Since they usually set three at a station, I’m hoping Dave Bush is at the station I’m at. I already have Bill Hall, Cappy, and JJ Hardy’s pen marks. I also have Benny’s, but it’s on a Bucks ticket stub (Jared and I were at the Bucks game and he was there…oh and it was right after he struck 18 BATTERS OUT!)

- Not much else than being overly excited that the season starts THIS MONDAY! Seeing the season tickets was like Christmas all over again. I wore my Brewers Jersey at my school, even though I’m not sure it fits into the teacher dress code. I figured it’s the Brewers, you gotta take it back!!! See you all opening day 2007.

Estrada Walks, Brewer Runs.

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

Hey world! I apologize for the lack of blogs currently. Things have been nuts in my neck of the woods as I sprint to get everything I need done to atone for me skipping everything for the opening day game. As far as the other “bloggers” go, I have no excuse for their behavior, nor do they.

Logging on to the Brewers homepage today, I was launched to levels of happiness rarely felt, when I witnessed the mugs of one(s) Derrek Lowe and Ben Sheets side by side, displaying a regular season matchup mere days away!!! I have Tofurkey brats marinating in Hamms and I’m putting the final touches on a series of Juan Pierre…tiny head-based heckels. Love is in the air and she is a fair dame wrought in the imagination of Abner Doubleday.

Navigating further into the site, I privied myself to an update of Johnny Estrada’s spring progress. Yes, after claiming to possibly not leave my fantasy draft with a Brewer on my squad, I went and drafted Estrada, way too early, I might add. Anyway, despite hitting a HUGE .444 this spring, he has yet to register a base on balls. That amazed me, so I looked at his career stats… only to find that he hasn’t even walked 100 times since his first professional AB in 2001. That is a staggering and scary pill to swallow. It’s like a Jeff Francour who can hit for average.

Regardless, I hope Estrada can reach into his seemingly endless pool of skill and pull out a career high in walks this year, His numbers are constantly on the ascent, much in part to getting more playing time in the past few years, but he is continually improving. As boring of a stat as it may be, should Estrada chalk up some walks…the runs will come. I wish he could hit 2nd in the order to shake things up, but that’s unrealistic and just plain zany.

Speaking of batting orders, here is what I actually project the batting order to look like come April 2nd:
1. Weeks-2B
2. Graffanino- 3B
3. Fielder- 1B
4. Hall- CF
5. Hart- RF
6. Estrada- C
7. Jenkins- LF
8. Hardy- SS
9. Sheets- Meat

Like it or lump it, that’s what i’d like to see. I’ll take any roster that brings home a W though.
P.S. Doug Davis got shelled by the Cubs today, Brady Clark lined out to leave multiple RISP and Dana Eveland probably carb-loaded. Some things never change.

Maximum, Overdrive a Royal Movement.

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

Let’s be honest. Before this past evening, neither I nor any of you have ever heard about or cared about Maxim St. Pierre. The important thing is that Maxim St. pierre is now in the Brewers system and Ben Hendrickson is not.

Based on every St.Pierre stat I could scrounge, he pretty much is terrible… but he trumps Hendrickson in one major area. Maxim St. Pierre leads Ben Hendrickson 1-0 in the illustrious category of “Not being Ben Hendrickson.”

Let St.Pierre rot in Huntsville for all I care. As Bryan has noted, Hendrickson is one of the best AAAA pitchers i’ve ever known, but for him to demand a trade is too much. Who does he think he is, Maxim St. Pierre or something? I figure Hendrickson will strike once again and stumble into the show come mid-season if not sooner, wearing the deep blue of Royal failure. I hope he and his mentor Jim Eisenrich can go ice fishing on Lake Minitonka this winter and warm themselves next to the newly printed 2008 Kansas City Royal media guide in which his 3-16 record and 7.93 ERA is only challenged by that of Jorge De La Rosa in all his comparable squandered and undelivered potential.

Maxim St. Pierre > than a sandwich, which > AAAA mainstay “Little Ben.” Plus with a name like Maxim, I know he’ll be down to party with us when we hit Nashville later this summer.

Elmer, Clark and why I love Doug Melvin

Monday, March 26th, 2007

Elmer Dessens


The Brewers made a trade today, one that will surely not make any ESPN headlines (maybe the bottom line…) or front page stories, but one that shows exactly why Doug Melvin is considered one of the best GMs in baseball.

On the surface, Brady Clark for Elmer Dessens is hardly awe-inspiring, but when you consider Melvin was able to trade an aging, over-paid veteran with no role on the team for a steady veteran at what could be the team’s biggest weak spot, the bullpen, it looks a lot better.

Dessens’ stats are far from flashy, but over the last three years he has pitched 171.2 innings in relief, with a 3.58 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. Not bad. In fact, it’s far better than most of what the Brewers were throwing out there in relief last year (Remember Winkelsas?) and is even quite a bit better than the league average bullpen ERA, which is somewhere around 4.5. He costs a lot less than Clark, though word is the Crew will pay some of Clark’s salary. And he could fill in with a spot start or two if needed. The trade could also allow the Brewers to send Jose Capellan, who is having a brutal spring, down to AAA since he has an option left and Dessens can serve as the long man out of the pen. There is little risk in acquiring Dessens. If he stinks, the Crew can cut him at little cost. He could also be a nice trade piece for Milwaukee later this season if he is having a decent season and is deemed expendable.

With Clark out of the picture and Lance Nyx set to start the season on the DL, the outfield situation is looking a lot more manageable for Milwaukee. Bill Hall will start in center with Hart in right and likely some sort of a Geoff Jenkins/Kevin Mench platoon in left, though I get the feeling Jenkins will get some starts versus lefties. Gabe Gross, who I feel has a lot of upside and should see more consistent playing time if Menchkins isn’t working in left, would be the 5th outfielder. Nyx’s injury may even allow for Wisconsin-native Vinny Rottino to start the season in Milwaukee, though the Brewers might also choose to start out with three catchers on the roster since Mike Rivera is out of options and would likely not clear waivers for a minor league assignment. Luckily catcher J.D. Closser already made it through waivers and will play at Nashville this season.

Melvin, you truly are the man, the myth, the moustache.

Brewers Fantasy…

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

No, I’m not talking about cruising for ladies in Milwaukee with Bill Hall as my wingman, though that wouldn’t be too bad either. I’m talking about our beloved Brewer players in relation to the ever-expanding realm of fantasy baseball.

Like many fantasy leagues, the Right Field Bleachers league… a 12-team league the five “active” bloggers compete in, is having its draft this evening. The draft is perhaps the most pivitol day of each fantasy year and in years past, not many Brewers were involved in the proceedings.

Yeah, each league has a team or teams that draft with their heart, instead of their head and takes all available Brewers. You may able to track this if Laynce Nix hits the draft board in the middle rounds. But this year, with the shapings of a great team and a fairly cemented lineup, more Brewers are worthy of your selection. I am far from a fantasy expert and I may not draft a Brewer today, but here is my take on some of them.

1. Load me up on the bandwagon, but I think Billy Hall is perhaps the most valuable fantasy Brewer. Yeah he’s no closer, but he has multi-position eligability in most league formats (including the sparse SS). He will start every day, can stroke 30 dingers without batting an eyelash and is slated to hit behind Prince.

2. Francisco Cordero is one of the upper-echalon contemporary fantasy closers. He’s been pretty much lights out since suiting up in Brewer blue.

3. Rickie Weeks will fill your 2B gap quite nicely should he stay healthy. He has power potential, stolen base capability and he plays one of the thinnest positions in fantasy sports. Get him fairly early on if you can.

4. Last year, Chris Capuano was tied for the league lead in quality starts (25) with ‘Stros hurler Roy Oswalt. He is one of the premiere No.3 starters in the NL and his wicked stuff, combined with that epic pickoff move should keep the ERA in the mid 3’s. Oh yeah, he was an All-Star last season, albiet as a fill-in.

5. Prince Fielder is a monster…not just because he’s strong and crazy-fat. He is a smart hitter, a HR clubber, will be walking quite frequently and (if healthy) will play every day at first base. There’s really no backup for him, so don’t worry about him splitting time.

6. Johnny Estrada is one of my favorites behind the plate. Finally, a (non Joe Mauer) catcher who hits for average. He can hit anywhere between 2 and 7 in the lineup so depending on where he sits, those hits could manufacture a respectable accumulation of ribbies. He also had a white-hot spring training at the dish so he’ll come into Miller Park swinging.

7. Every Roto-mag’s darling is Dave Bush. He is a pretty dependable fourth starter. He brings massive K’s and low walks. He should flirt with a 3.50 ERA and 12-14 wins? He’ll be a sleeper in most leagues, but in Wisconsin… he’ll go earlier than he should.

8. Ben Sheets should be higher on this list, but the injury bug hits him too frequently and in too strange and random of ways. Now he has the run support that never found him in his phenom campign of 2004 and a clean bill of health for the first time in awhile. Draft him if you can, but not too early… a strong gust of wind could blow him on to the DL at any moment.

Others to consider if available: Suppan, Hart, Hardy. Take Braun, Gallardo or Gwynn Jr. if you want to stock up your reserves with young talent.

Good luck with your drafts, unless you’re in my league… in which case, draft Matt Kinney as soon as possible. The comeback is overdue.

IOWhat?

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

I was actually going to post yesterday, but Bryan’s sweet post made me second guess it. Since I’m leaving for Iowa and won’t be back until later this week, I thought I’d throw in one last post before I leave.

Long story short:
-Moving Braun and Gallardo down was the right move…for now.
-Rottino is still on the roster! Which is the right move…for now.
-As of now, I like Vargas as the fifth starter.
-I can’t wait for Opening Day. The only thing somewhat distracting me is an upcoming fantasy draft.
-I’ve read likely unfounded rumors of Clark and Hendrickson to San Diego for either prospects or Branyan. I’d prefer the prospects or basically anything that 1.Ditched Clark’s $3 million salary 2.Put Hendrickson in any other uniform. Branyan doesn’t do much but fill a spot that is going to be filled by a platoon of two talented players in Counsell and Graffy.
-We at RFB will be getting our “I (Beer) Milwaukee” stickers shipped to us any day now. They will be free with any order, otherwise if you happen to see us at a game or know us… we’d love to hook you up with one/some. Look for the Right Field Bleachers flag in the $8 parking on Opening Day, your stickers reside there.

Well, the time has come to go to Iowa… Sonic food won’t eat itself, but based on the greatness of some of their products, it won’t be long before Sonic food can and will eat itself. I’ll be to sure point an extended middle finger westward towards Des Moines to taunt the AAA Iowa Cubs.

What Will Happen to Hendrickson?

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Hendrickson reportedly appeared to be unhappy with the Brewers when told he was being outrighted back to AAA (even though the Brewers have given him many opportunities). He hopes to be traded before Tuesday. I have it from an inside source that this is what you may see in newsstands tomorrow:

The Brewers Trade Ben Hendrickson for Sandwich

In what as seen as another major coup for Brewer GM, Doug Melvin, it was announced that the Brewers traded perennial AAAA pitcher Ben Hendrickson to Elmer Wooley in Beloit for his cheese sandwich.

“Well, even though it’s tough to lose a former top prospect, we know that as the season progresses, guys are going to get hungry and need relief from this hunger. We feel that the cheese sandwich will provide us more relief than Ben Hendrickson has in the majors. We wish him well in the future.”

Even though Hendrickson passed through waivers without incident, he still hoped the team would find some kind of trade for him. It seemed unlikely, but when 39 year old Elmer Wooley, a Cub Foods deli worker, offered his famous three cheese sandwich for the 26 year old pitcher, Melvin pulled the trigger.

“I’m excited to have the deal go through,” said Wooley, “I was offered Wes Helms for a similar sandwich about two years ago, but I had to decline. I mean, there are three different types of cheeses on this sandwich. I’m glad we could find a trade that could work for both teams.

Ben Hendrickson will have a starting role playing against his old team on MLB 2K7 for the X-Box 360, pending approval from Wooley’s 12 year old son.

Hendrickson appears optimistic about his future.

“It’s going to give me a chance to compete at a major league level on X-Box Live against gamers such as Chixdigthalongball. I was given my chances in Milwaukee and now I feel I can start over. Now I can literally hit reset on my performance.”

Hendrickson will also compete for a spot on Elmer’s summer Softball team.

Twenty Five, a Cherished Numeric Value.

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

A quarter century ago, great things happened on a fairly regular basis.

Obviously, the Brewers reached their one and only (pre-2007) World Series and Milwaukee was a bustling locality swept up in what the greatest medical minds could only classify as “Brewer Fever.” A slightly-less-publicized event of the year 1982 was the birth of an unusually large baby, born with a full sleeve of tattoos, a five o’clock shadow and an inexplicable love of whitetail deer.

That baby would grow up redefine music, complain at hilariously small things and become a vital member of Brewers-related fan blog, Right Field Bleachers. His name is Joe and on March 15th, his internal clock struck twenty-five.

To celebrate this event, Joe, Jared, Bryan and myself (along with various others) went out for dinner and some (many) drinks. The night was lower key than I had anticipated, but between Joe calling me stinky (C’mon, I was in my work clothes) and saying he disliked the jukebox selections, me pounding a portabella mushroom sandwich in record time and later out-doing the alotted amount of “Venom” (limit 2), arguing about fantasy baseball, each RFBer downing a delicious “Samkon” and laying the groundwork down for “Ride That Bus,” it was quite a night.

Joe’s birthday was just enough fun to hold me over until April 2nd, when the Crew suits up for the first game of their silver anniversary campaign and pays homage to the wonderous happenings of ‘82 with their superb play, followed 18 days later by Jared’s (also 25th) birthday pilgrimage to Northern Wisconsin.

Yes, though many great things happened 25 years ago, including me not being born yet, this rag tag group of youths and our beloved Brewers will do our all to make 2007 a year to be celebrated.

As Jared said, we take Wrigley on July 1st. Looks like I should start saving some money to pay tolls (Tolls?!?! Seriously?!?!). Since the Cubs, their putrid “stadium,” their overpaid players and hot tempered, redass manager are all a topic of conversation, I will (at Jared’s request) post a link to a weekly fantasy column I write for my college newspaper. The first installment is in regards to Cub, Mark DeRosa. Yes, I threaded in some Cub jabs where I could. Read it here: http://www.advancetitan.com/story.asp?issue=11342&story=5987

Happy St.Patty’s Day. Get wasted and relentlessly purchase Doug Melvin shirts.

On July 1 We Take Wrigley

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

On Sunday, July 1 the Right Field Bleachers crew will be in Chicago in the front row of the right field bleacher box seats as the Brewers crush the hapless Scrubs.

The Chicago Cubs hold some tickets for an Internet lottery sort of thing that I signed up for thanks to a heads up from a BrewerFan.net poster. I got the first available time slot and we took advantage.

The seats look pretty cool (for Wrigley). They’re in the new (2nd year) section in right field. There are some photos of the section in THIS GALLERY (fifth and sixth photos). I’m not sure why they call them “bleachers” when the section has individual seats, but I guess it’s sort of like them trying to pass off the Cubs as a professional baseball team.

If any other Brewer fans are going to make the treck down there for the game, let us know. There should be plenty of seats available since the Cubs will probably be out of the playoff chase by July 1 anyways… If you can’t make it, look for us on Fox Sports Net and WGN. It’s going to be epic.

This season… hold it in!!!

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

According to http://wfrv.com/topstories/local_story_072205639.html sewage runoff from Miller Park is contaminating nearby bodies of water. Being an environmentalist of sorts, pollution to local waters and the potential sickness of Milwaukee residents troubles me… but what strikes my heart even more is that my fair love, the Lady Miller Park is damaged. This archatectural marvel, the residency of some of my greatest (non-sexual) memories and a respectable accumulation of my most wasted moments… is in peril.

First the roof problems came, now the sewage pipe. I realize much of the strain to the structure cannot be avoided. The roof has to be opened an closed, I mean it’s what allows the utter absence of rainouts, and much of why Miller Park is such an incredible structure. So until the sweage pipe is repaired, for the good of Mother Nature and for the reeling locality of our dearest sweet Miller Park, please try to hold it in.

I realize any true Brewer fan pounds an average of six kraut-loaded brats and a twelver of cold brews to ready themselves for each impending Brewers home victory, and to deliver inspirational hecklings such as, “Larry Walker is a racist!” Though I respect that, love that in fact, it can do a number on the bladder and bowels. Thus, we must band together to make a unified, unwavering pledge to hold it at least for the first month of the season.. no longer than two. The problem should be fixed in no time, but I beg of you, the true blue brew crew, to hold it, pinch it off, pee in a bottle or in a bucket at your tailgate station, wear an adult diaper or sport a “turtlehead” for the last few innings… continue these methods until I or local news instructs you to do otherwise.

I speak to you all now, not as an authority, not as some hippie liberal eco-terrorist, but as a Brewer fan who loves this planet (a planet that gave birth to the great game of baseball), a man who loves Miller Park and loves talking about feces to a large-scale blog audience.

Thank you for your time and consideration,
Tyler (President of the Great Miller Park Hold-In of 2007)

Insomniac Ink