Archive for August, 2008

No No-No?

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

Breaking:

Brewers pitcher CC Sabathia just completed a one-hit complete game shutout against the Pirates.

The one hit, a glorified Andy LaRoche bunt in the fourth inning, was mishandled by CC Sabathia when he tried to barehand the ball. It was immediately ruled to be a hit by the official scorer (an employee of Major League Baseball, and not the Pirates - for those wondering) despite the disagreement of Brewers players, FSN Wisconsin announcers, and even a large group of Pirates fans who chanted “change the score” after the final out, amongst others.

The official scorer decided not to change the hit into an error after reviewing the play. A team can make an appeal to the league to have the ruling modified, which the Brewers are said to be pursuing. Earlier this season, the league modified some alleged hits surrendered by Guillermo Mota into errors, so such a change is possible.

Regardless of the outing’s potentially-historic status, it was another great performance and a big win for CC. Let’s hope the league does what many view to be the right thing so we can, in time, celebrate the second no hitter in Milwaukee Brewers history.

For what it’s worth, in my (probably pretty biased) opinion, the ruling should be changed.

Who Gets the Call?: Predicting September Promotions

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

 

With Milwaukee's roster to expand to 40 on Monday, who will get the call? Here are some guesses.

When the Brewers return to Miller Park Monday, the clubhouse will be a bit more crowded. As most everyone knows, Major League teams expand their rosters from 25 to 40 players on September 1st each season.

Thanks to Brew Crew Ball, Brewerfan.net’s “Mass Haas” and Nashville Sounds Manager Frank Kremblas -  we can safely say Milwaukee will promote Brad Nelson (IF/OF), Vinny Rottino (C), Mat Gamel (3B), Tony Gwynn Jr. (OF), Joe Dillon (IF) and pitchers Mitch Stetter, Tim Dillard and Mark DiFelice. But that still leaves seven more players left to be called upon.

One can assume Russell Branyan has a spot on the team once he returns from the DL and Laynce Nix (who was promoted in place of Branyan) will remain with the club too.

Here are some unfamiliar names you may also see roaming the dugout, bullpen - and maybe even the diamond - when September is upon us.

Infielders-

• Alcides Escobar (SS/Huntsville) – A lot of Brewer fans have been excited to see the Escobar kid we’ve been hearing so much about play under the bright lights. Though only in Double-A, Escobar is listed on the Milwaukee’s 40-man roster. Always gifted with the glove, Escobar’s bat looks to have caught up with his infield prowess. His numbers are all-around gawdy. I’d love to see him contribute as soon as possible. 

• Callix Crabbe (2B/Nashville) - The middle infield is already crowded, especially with Dillon to be promoted, but Crabbe has played at the Major League level with San Diego this season and hopefully would be able to improve on his .176 BA (6 for 34) he tallied in his stint there. He’s servicable, at worst.

Outfielders-

• Jay Gibbons (OF and DH/Nashville) - Gibby hit .312 in Nashville (109 AB) and has more Major League experience than anyone else in the system. I don’t see why Milwaukee would’ve signed Gibbons if they didn’t plan on calling him up to help come September.

• Hernan Iribarren (OF/Nashville) – Hurricane has twice been promoted to Milwaukee’s roster this season and played OK (2 for 14) in his sporadic opportunities there. Iribarren can add outfield depth, could handle emergency middle infield duties. His 19 steals in a partial season in Nashville (trails Gwynn by one for team lead) make him ideal for pinch running or double switch situations.

• Brendan Katin (OF/Nashville) – Kaitin led the Sounds with 19 homers and trailed only Brad Nelson in RBI (72). Posted a respectable .542 SLG, but struck out over 100 times and walked just 13 in over 300 AB. If Mel Stocker doesn’t get the call, Katin could.

Pitchers-

• Joe Bateman (RHP/Nashville) - He’s probably the best pitcher left on Nashville’s roster not already rumored to be called up. Who can argue with a 1.60 ERA, 22 hits, 37 strikeouts and sub-one WHIP in 33.2 innings? I’ll be surprised if he’s not on the roster Monday.

• Lindsay Gulin (LHP/Nashville) – This Sounds southpaw just named to his second Pitcher of the Week award and has been the only real staple in an otherwise shaky Nashville starting rotation with his 3.54 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and K/IP ration of nearly one. There’s not much of a place for Gulin on the team as far as starter or long relief roles go, but if his performance as a starter can translate into the bullpen, bring him in.

- Barring the unlikely return of Yovani Gallardo, those are my guesses to who will be on their way to Milwaukee for Monday’s game. I’d like to see what others think.

20/20!

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

A big heartfelt “Way to go!” goes out to Corey Hart, who renewed his membership to the exclusive 20/20 club with a homerun in Pittsburgh Saturday. Hart is one of five Brewers to hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases in the organization’s 38 year history, and he is the only Brewer to ever do so twice - and in consecutive seasons.

Congrats, Corey. I know the perfect way to celebrate this momentus accomplishment - sign a multi-year extension.

Get Pissed, Joe - Round Two

Saturday, August 30th, 2008

I’m back for the second installment of get pissed… I’m actually pretty pissed I have to write this. Like I don’t have better stuff to do than essentially make people read about what jacks me up. Not to mention, I have to follow up this weeks more than solid “Hump Day Heckler”. Who exactly put me in this “time slot?” I blame Jared. It’s typically his fault. Thanks Jackass.

Translation: "Only $700,00 per home run"

First, could we make that Fukudome’s head I’m holding this week? That’d be much more appropriate because not much pisses me off as much as Cubs fans and those stupid headbands. You’re telling me you actually drop ten skrilla on those dumb things? In all fairness to those innocent pieces of fabric, it’s not you, headband, that has my Gap undies in a bundle. It’s the love for Fukudome in general. Hell, I’m pissed that I’m pissed about this. How can I be upset about the Cubs dropping phatty cash for mediocracy…at best? I really should learn to control my temper.

I think the whole “anger thing” has more to do with the previous Cubs/Brewers game I attended. I was asking Cubs fans why they are so in love with this guy. Okay, so I was sorta picking an argument. But that’s fair, isn’t it? After all, he really hasn’t done jack. Well, not for that cash. Anyway, no Cubs fans would “bite” on the conversation stimulator I offered, so I went on the attack. “Wouldn’t you rather have Gabe Kapler for way, way less money? He has better numbers for the number of his at bats,” I asked. Oh boy! That got the north-siders going. “Gabe Kapler. hahaha,” they’d bellow back. Hey dip-shit, go check the numbers. Do you even follow baseball? Or is it just a drunkin’ party at Wrigley like Mr Obama recently suggested? (That’s a rhetorical question. I’ve been there. I know it is) Just jump on that bandwagon Cubs fans! “New guy, lame ass headband, only ten bucks. Get me ten of those.”

The point is, you guys got screwed, and I want the pleasure in listening to you admitting to me that you got screwed. $7 million? You got taken for a ride. Face it!

Damnit! This is certainly, by far, the most pissed I’ve been about the Cubs screwing themselves. (Well, better to take it from yourself than a goat, right Cubs?) I’ll continue my quest to have my question answered during the season finale series at Miller. I’ll let you know if I get any reasonable answers. I’m highly doubting it. Those with Old Style drunks typically have little of value to say.

In the News (8/29)

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Thanks to the devoted Milwaukee fanbase, 3 million is now a reality for 2008.

The Brewers were off yesterday and, thus, we RFB warriors took a rare breather from blogging. But back again with an impromptu Friday linkstravaganza, In the News returns - better late than never.

Brewers News

- Three million tickets have been sold at Miller Park!: We did it together, guys. Keep up the good work. More people through the turnstyles means more money to spend to ensure the Crew remains competitive for years to come.

- The Brewers and their staff are preparing for the possibility of baseball in October: Hearing stuff like this never gets old to me.

- Brewer fan pissed at the Cardinals for swiping game two Wednesday? Cardinal fan angry at Milwaukee’s cockiness in taking 10 of 15 in the season series? Take an example from old school hip-hop…You gots to chill!

- Baseball Digest Daily’s Brian Joseph makes J.J. Hardy one of his players to watch this weekend… and beyond: He is coming in hot, and has played well against the Pirates all season long (near .500 average, four homeruns, 10 RBI) – also, Hardy is a career .303 hitter in September and October games.

- Brew Crew Ball gives us their first take on the playoff roster.

- Jayson Stark sees the Yankees pursing CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets aggressively this offseason: I could see Sheets in stripes, but I’m banking on Sabathia landing out west unless the Yanks absolutely bowl him over with coin.

- The Brewers have a fair amount of free agents next season: Beyond Sheets/Sabathia will they be able (or want) to keep Gagne, Cameron, Shouse and Durham in town?

- Brew Town Beat Tears a Post-Dispatch writer a new one: Funny and accurate stuff, guys.

- Bugs & Cranks Power rankings: The debut of incoming freshman, Tyler “Bill” Maas, in the rankings can be seen on number seven and 17.

Minor Leagues

- Huntsville hurler Jeremy Jeffress had a rough outing Thursday, giving up six runs on six hits over two thirds of an inning: He’s had a great year since returning from suspension, sometimes those games just happen.

- Since his recent promotion to Nashville, Mat Gamel is hitting just .235 (4 of 17) with eight strikeouts: With how Gamel has been in Huntsville, you almost have to chalk up his slow start at triple-A to a new, more difficult level of play and a simple and natural slump.

NL Central

- More on the Pirates/Pedro Alvarez contractual stalemate: If not resolved, he could possibly be eligible for the 2009 draft.

- John Brattain has a message for Pedro.

Other

- Hank Steinbrenner promises “There is going to be a lot going on this offseason.”: He’s already mentioned interest in Sabathia, Sheets and Toronto’s A.J. Burnett, but I think the most popular move for the Yankees to make would be banishing Hank from baseball.

- Would you swap an iTouch for your Brewers bobblehead collection?

- Mark Simons aka “The Doorman” asked us to refer readers to Brewerfan.net to make a bid on his seats for next Saturday’s game to go to charity. The deadline is Monday, and last we heard, bids were up to $300.

- Prince Fielder endorses soup?: Not yet, but here’s a glimpse to how it might play out.

- Roger Ebert just gained like 10,000 cool points: He now has exactly 10,000 cool points.

In the News (08/27)

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

This is what caused Pujols to throw a tatrum...and then lead-off with a double

Today’s Game: Brewers 3, Cardinals 5
Record: 77-56, Second Place
Games Behind the Cubs: 6

Today’s Game

- The Brewers lost due to an ugly 8th inning. Manny Parra looked very good, but the Brewers defense and bullpen let the team down and allowed St. Louis to escape the proverbial “nail in the coffin”.

- Anyone see Pujols livid at Villaneuva? Most pitchers would be excited like this after escaping what he did. And I understand the opposing team would be angry, but to come towards the pitcher in a “menacing” way and cuss him out? I guess it’s because he’s part of the Brewers who “show other teams up”. Listen St. Louis: The Brewers don’t watch their home runs as much as other teams. This is coming from a guy who watches almost every game. Alfonso Soriano watches more home runs than the entire Brewer team. The untuck is not meant to “show you up”, it’s an homage to Mike Cameron’s hard working dad. So stop being whiny babies

- That said, Pujols getting angry might have been the turning point, because when he got to bat, the entire game turned.

Brewers News

- Hey Brewers Fans! Are you worried about losing Ben Sheets and C.C. Sabathia at the end of the season? Well, fear not because Fan Graphs has found a new ace for the team! It’s Derek Lowe!!!….oh…wait….

- Chuckie Hacks has some interesting Ryan Braun stat-age for you

- Brewers seem indifferent about Instant Replay coming

Minor Leagues

- The Brewers bought a player! Brett Krause was bought from the Independent League St. Paul Saints where he was a North Division All Star. He will be playing in Huntsville.

- Arizona Fall League Rosters are out! There are a bunch from Brewer farm club members playing in the league this year for the Peoria Javelinas (What kind of name is THAT???). Some notables making the trip are Jeremy Jeffress, Angel Salome, and Matt Gamel.

NL Central

- Today’s News out of St. Louis was all about how the Cardinals don’t own the Brewers anymore. After 8 straight years of losing season series’ with St. Louis, this year the Brewers are 10-5 against the Cards. St. Louis Today and Yahoo Sports both commented on this. They even conceed that the Brewers might be hard to catch

- Joe Posnanski from SI.com wrote an article about how NOT EVERYONE LOVES THE CUBS…and then asks the question “how can anyone not like the Cubs?”

- How does one cope with Zambrano being Zany?

Other News

- Dugout Central thinks the most impactful late season trade was…drum roll….Adam Dunn. Really? Brew Town Beat puts this guy in his place.

- An unbreakable bat? Perhaps so, but the picture makes it look like a fat whiffle bat

Hump Day Heckler(s) Double Teamed 2 Da Xtreme: A Story of Two Able-Bodied Hecklers

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008


In lieu of the winning streak, I don’t have much to complain about regarding the Brewers. Thus, Tyler and I have crossed streams to unleash a friendly fire amongst our own ranks. As avid Brewer game attendees, we’ve both noticed through the years, chiefly this one, that most people believe the price they paid on the ticket gives them the right to heckle terribly. As if.

Tyler: Sure – your left field loge seat may have helped pay a slight portion of Guillermo Mota’s meal per diem in Cincinnati back in April, but as one of 40,000 fans on any given night your ability to heckle is severely limited. So don’t abuse your miniscule opportunity to be heard by the likes of Nyjer Morgan. If you’re lame enough to heckle make sure to bring your A game.

A history lesson: Booing was invented by Thadius R. Weinstein in 1872, while he vocally murdered Opie McPhillips of the visiting Mankato Scarlet Knickers during a baseball match against his beloved Charleston Minority Disparragers. It became old and out-dated about an inning after its inception. You know that, “[elongated two syllable], [elongated two syllable], YOU SUCK!” chant that has plagued the mental health of many a right fielder? Well, that gem was coined in the roaring twenties to distract ballgame goers from the starvation brought on by the impending Great Depression. Even then, it huffed meat rocket like few other jeers that preceded it.

Johnny: It is arguable that the old heckles, as stale and sickening as they may be, outshine the new-fangled bro-esque attempts to punk opposing players. If I have to hear “What’s wrong with number 17 [He’s a bum]” one more time this year, I’m going to make it rain with my mookie stinks. When someone goes there right away in a game, it dimishes my own urge to waste my breath on my own contribution because the player who was exposed to the initial douchebaggery has likely already pegged the entire fanbase to be terribly trite and cliché.

What viable Major League athlete would pay any heed to yet another overdone heckle executed half-assed by John Goodman’s fat, drunk and ugly doppelganger? I venture to say even Milton Bradley wouldn’t bat an eyelash to such a weak earshot. Does it enhance anybody’s game day experience to see a fleece-wearing guy with a Juan Pierre-sized melon incessantly bellowing “Hermida has herpes!” when the alleged herpes carrier is sitting in the dugout, and actually named Hernandez?

Tyler: As a self-respecting human, I no longer heckle at games – but I plead that if others are to jeer the opposition, do your research. Even the most casual, mal-informed JS blog commentor fan can ballz up and take 20 minutes from their usual schedule of listening to CCR and mudding to log on to Wikipedia and look deeper into the enemy. For instance, did you know that Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson’s wife is a herm? Tis true, my friends. And Mets outfielder Fernando Tatis was declared legally dead in 1998.

Also when dutifully insulting for the good of some team that doesn’t know/care who you are, make sure to draw attention to yourself – and feel like the star of your section for an instant of your probably meaningless life – by tossing in poignant jeers about a competitor’s recently deceased child, or spouse’s extra-marital affair. After all, anyone who can be drafted on a fantasy roster must not be a real person, right?

Both: A closing thought - Corey Hart doesn’t always know how many outs there are, but when you ask him to tell you – he always knows the minimum amount of mouthbreathing nutsacks in your section. Sit down, shut your face, and watch the game unless you have something funny and original to contribute for the good of spectator brethren.

Heeeeeeecklers, Heeeeeeecklers – YOU SUCK!

“The Doorman” Interview

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

The Doorman

You’ve seen him a thousand times, even if you don’t know it. Mark Simons is on the telecast of nearly every Brewers’ home game. No, he’s not an on-camera personality or even the Brewers clubhouse attendant, he’s just another fan. Another fan with some sweet tickets and more FSN face time than Mike Rivera. “The Doorman” talks about the developing rivalry with the Cardinals, getting creative while heckling, his impressive jersey collection and a “magical” season in the making.

Listen to the interview here:

I’m here with Mark Simons, who is probably better known as “The Doorman” from regular appearances on FSN, and I’m just going to ask a couple questions.

Mark, the Brewers start a big series tonight against the Cardinals and it’s been a pretty heated rivalry between these teams the last couple of years, can you give us any insight into that St. Louis dugout and the tensions between the teams since you sit right next to them when they’re at Miller Park.

I think last year… Basically the Cardinals have sort of treated the Brewers, for as long as Ned Yost has been there, as sort of their little brother. They typically came into Miller Park and cleaned up. Last year was probably about the first time that I actually saw the Brewers really kind of put up a fight. I think you all remember the incident with Prince where La Russa hit Prince late in the game and the Brewers retaliated against Pujols with Seth McClung. Last year, they were pretty chippy. I could hear La Russa yelling at Dale Sveum and the Brewers’ dugout after that whole incident took place. There’s definitely a lot of tension when the Cardinals come into town that wasn’t necessarily there the last few years. It’s definitely a little bit more intense than it was. That’s for sure.

Yeah, and I don’t know if this is true, but it seems to me that you get more glares when the Cardinals are in town too. Do you go after them harder or are they just a little sensitive?

No, I definitely go after the Cardinals. They’re definitely a little bit more sensitive. And I’ll tell you, Pujols is actually a pretty good guy. I mean, I give him grief. The first time they came into town (this season), where he actually played second base and didn’t get a hit, they were sort of short on infielders. I started taunting him about his second baseman power. But he’s actually pretty good. The coaching staff, (Pitching Coach Dave) Duncan, (First Base Coach Dave) McKay and certainly Tony (La Russa) are definitely wound very, very tight. You can say a little bit to some of those guys. In particular, Chris Duncan was a guy that I enjoyed getting all over. Troy Glaus was another guy that didn’t take too kindly to having anybody question them in an opposing ballpark. They sort of acted as if, “Oh geez, we’re playing the Brewers so there’s only going to be Cardinals fans there.” I think they definitely know that it’s not going to be, “Come on in to Milwaukee and take three games without breaking a sweat.”

Yeah, and you talked a little bit about your heckling, do you have a favorite guy to heckle at all in the majors?

Well, lately it’s been Brandon Phillips from the Reds. Whenever the Reds come into town, they’re actually pretty entertaining. Griffey, I’ve seen him for so many years now and we both knew a guy so he and I actually usually have a conversation, you know, a friendly conversation before the game. Adam Dunn is also pretty cool. And Dusty Baker actually from all the years he was with the Cubs and all the grief we used to give him when he was with the Cubs, when he came in with the Reds, he looked for us right away, my wife and I, and said, “I’m not wearing the Cubbie blue, but I know you’re going to be after me.” I was like, “You got it.” But Brandon definitely, ah, you know when he first came up with Cleveland, he called himself the self-proclaimed nickname, “I’m going to be the franchise for Cleveland.” After two miserable years in Cleveland, he got basically waived and traded for a sack of beans to the Reds. So the last couple of times he’s come in here I’ve started giving him grief about the fact that he’s going to get traded again for the same guy he got traded for the first time. I always sort of taunt him and call him “The Franchise.” He’s responded by blowing kisses our way. But he takes it all in good fun. I did give him a little bit more grief this last time because he’s supposedly a good bowler so I told him if I had to roll against him, I’d definitely beat him.

So, it sounds like you do a little research before the guys come in then.

Yeah, there’s a great book called “The Who’s Who in Baseball” and that has basically everybody’s stats that’s in the Major Leagues. It’s a great resource when you need to find out whether or not somebody is coming off a career year or a guy that’s basically coming up, that’s basically nothing, you know?

“The Doorman” nickname, where did that come from? I think I heard that (former FSN personalities) Darren Sutton and Bob Brainerd coined it. Is that right?

Yeah, that’s correct. Actually Darren did it first. The Brewers were playing the Cubs and the game before I got excited after a Sosa strikeout and it was on ESPN. So, the next day, the Brewers were playing the Cubs again and I made a motion for Sammy Sosa to sit down. I was standing up and sort of gestured with my hand, “Go ahead, have a seat here, buddy.” And, a couple innings later, Bob Brainerd came down and said, “Hey, could we interview you?” And I said, “Oh, alright.” And he said, “You know Darren has given you the nickname ‘Doorman’” and I’m like, “Oh, wow.” That’s basically how that whole thing started. So, I have Darren to thank.

So, you weren’t “showing guys the door before that?”

No, not really. I was just basically taunting them. That was it. I don’t get out of hand. I know there’s a guy down in Tampa, the famous heckler who, you can hear him if you ever watch Tampa Bay broadcasts. You’ll hear him screaming at a particular player during the at bat. I really reserve my comments. They’re usually sarcastic. They’re usually after they’re coming back to the dugout after they made an out or they’re unable to get the run in or didn’t move the runner over. I’m usually like, “Hey, nice job moving the runner up” or, “Good job bringing the guy home.” Or, if a guy strikes out when he’s pinch hitting, “You’re telling me the pitcher couldn’t do that?” So, that’s kind of the stuff that I typically do. For the most part, it’s pretty good. There are a couple guys that get a little chapped about it, but, you know, for the most part it’s actually alright.

And you keep it clean too, right?

Oh yeah, absolutely. I don’t use profanity and I don’t talk about their families or anything like that. You know if a guy is batting .175 I’m definitely going to talk about the fact that he’s batting an interstate. But the quickest way to get thrown out of a ballgame is to use profanity and there’s been more than one occasion that opposing teams have wanted to get me tossed. Thankfully there’s been security that’s actually been down there that said, “The guy hasn’t said anything profane. He hasn’t said anything about your mother. Go play baseball.”

It seems like this year you’re getting some more face time for being the first guy to stand up for a home run. You’re pretty good at calling it off the bat.

Yeah, I’ve gotten fooled a few times this year though. There’s been a couple home runs, balls that I thought were home runs, that didn’t go out. When you sit and you see as many games as I do, you sort of know by the sound of the bat when the ball hits the bat and usually the trajectory of the ball as soon as it’s coming off the bat. Braun’s home runs are usually the easiest because he’s usually pulling them to left. Bill Hall is usually a little more difficult because when he’s going right, he’s taking it to right field and Corey Hart hits them all over the place and so does J.J. Hardy for that matter. Prince, I mean that just goes without saying. Usually whenever he hits it, you don’t have any time to worry about it because you know it’s gone.

Johnny, one of the Right Field Bleachers bloggers, vows to one day own more jerseys than you. How many would he have to shoot for right now?

(Laughing) Well, I’ve got a lot. I collect jerseys so he’s going to have to get close to probably about 100.

And do you have a favorite?

Well, my favorite all-time player is Rickey Henderson so when I was a kid in addition to liking the Brewers, I also liked the Oakland A’s. And Rickey Henderson, when the A’s were terrible in like 1979, was the only bright spot that I got to look at when I got to come home from school and got to look at the box scores and see that the Oakland A’s had lost, but then I’d see this guy “R. Henderson” and I was like, “Gee, I wonder who that guy is.” Of course, these was the days before ESPN or cable so as soon as I found out that he was actually pretty decent, he became my favorite player. I have more than my share of Rickey Henderson jerseys.

OK, well, if you ever want to mix it up and sport a Right Field Bleachers t-shirt at a game, let us know. We’ll hook you up.

Absolutely. In fact, I’ll definitely take you up on that. You send it to me and I’ll definitely wear it to a game, without a doubt.

Alright. You’ve seen a lot of losses from those seats over the years, I’m sure, so how fun has this season been so far for you?

It’s been magical. Last year was, I mean, it was magical until about mid-July and then when it hit August, it was like the worst month I’ve ever seen of baseball. Some of those losses they had last year, that Phillies loss on that Sunday, the Reds loss on Labor Day. Some of those, you just never forget them. This year, the start was kind of like how August felt. When May hit and Gallardo got hurt, I was as despondent as anybody else. I really kind of felt, you know, “Geez, maybe they’re just not that good. Maybe they are going to be destined for not making the playoffs.” When Braunie called out the team and they went on the run and certainly the pinnacle of getting Sabathia… That game against the Rockies was by far the most electric game I’ve ever been at and I’ve been to World Series games. It was just magical. People have just, they’ve responded. You see it in the attendance figures. It’s just absolutely incredible. It’s really nice to see and I hope that they can finish it off and get to the playoffs because I know it’ll be just one heck of a party.

Yeah. There’s just over a month left, 31 games left, do you think you’ll be sitting in those seats on the third base line in October?

As I’m knocking on wood, yeah, I do. I do think the Brewers have a really good shot and if they don’t get it, I’ll be as disappointed as I’ve ever been at any kind of sporting event. The way they’re playing, they’ve got the veterans and they’re playing well on the road. Last year and the year before and every year before that, they were terrible on the road. This year, at the time, maybe a week or so ago, they were tied for the best record in the Majors or in the National League on the road, which is fantastic. And that’s what they need to do. That’s what a winning team needs to do. It needs to play at least .500 ball or better on the road. As long as they do that, they’re going to be fine.

Alright, well, thank you for taking the time to talk to me.

No problem, Jared.

We’ll see you out at the games.

Sounds good buddy, take care.

You too.

Bye.

In the News (8/26)

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

 

Sure, Craig. You can has a hit - hell, has three.

Tonight’s Game: Brewers 12, Cardinals 0
Record: 77-55, Second Place (Wild Card leader)
Games Behind Cubs: 5

Tonight’s Game

- Craig Counsell, Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun each logged three hits and Ben Sheets pitched out of numerous jams over six scoreless innings, as the Brewers ran away with game one of an important two-game set against Wild Card wannabess St Louis.

- The bullpen held down the lead quite well. I was especially glad to see David Riske pitch well in his appearance.

Brewers News

- Ned Yost is on board with instant replay.

- CC Sabathia should win the NL Cy Young, and this is why: Stupid Brandon Webb and his 19 wins!

- Could the Brewers bring in Mike Lamb for some playoff depth once he clears waivers?: Recently discarded by the Twins, Lamb could help a team in need of a left-handed bat off the bench. His ceiling seems to be pretty low and the largest risk would be robbing an otherwise worthy minor leaguer a spot on the 40-man roster.

- Isn’t it funny how St. Louis writers even know the reason for the Brewers’ shirt untucking and JS “beat writer” Anthony Witrado didn’t: If you’ve been living under the same undeservedly cushy rock Witrado has been, here’s why they do it.

- Brew Town Beat ‘go gets’ in depth on Ryan Braun’s choice of music – and a possible correlation to his (not so good) play on Sunday: He had the new song on Saturday too, and he belted a homer.

Minor Leagues

- Arizona Fall League rosters have been released and feature seven Brewers – and a notable subtraction of Michael Brantley: Brantley’s agent recently said his client was to play in the league. Brew Crew Ball wonders if this is an indication that he may be the PTBNL in the CC Sabathia deal. (Obvious, but better-safe-than-sorry hat tip to Brew Crew Ball)

- Huntsville pitcher Jeremy Jeffress was named the Southern League pitcher of the week: If he stays away from the nugs, be ready to be wowed by this guy at Miller Park in 2010.

- Baseball America writes about Power right fielder Caleb Gindl: He compares to a pre-Padres Brian Giles and has impressed so far in the minors. Here’s to keeping up the good work, Caleb.

- The 29-34 Brevard Manatees were held to just three hits in Tuesday’s loss to Jupiter: You have to hope the Huntsville roster is just insanely stacked, and the rough seasons of Nashville and Brevard aren’t reflections of harsh times to come.

NL Central

- ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark deems the Cubs to have the best rotation in the bigs: I kind of understand the reason behind his decision… as an employee of ESPN, he’s likely only recently heard of the Brewers.

- The number of Cubs bidders have reportedly been narrowed to just five groups.

- The Astros are to bad at trading as Derrick Turnbow is to bad at baseball: Another in depth examination of how the ‘Stros front office dropped the ball… but the trade they refer to may surprise you.

- Speaking of the Astros, they lost to the Reds tonight and nobody cares. But Jack Hittinger isn’t Quittinger anytime soon.

Terrible.

- Anyone within a half mile of Section 206 on Saturday knows our own Joe apparently hates Pirates outfielder Nyjer Morgan (for reasons I still don’t know), but this Pirates blogger seems to dislike the guy as well.

- To mark an official RFB record of TWO bits of Pirates news in the same day, first round selection (and Scott Boras client) Pedro Alvarez has yet to report to his team, over ten days after his signing just before the deadline: It turns out Pittsburgh fans can’t even be excited about the future. 

Other

- Tentative MLB Postseason schedule… you know, incase we need it later on.

- Who will hit the 250,000th homerun in MLB history: My money is on Jason Kendall the 13th for the millionth.

- Did anyone notice Ryan Braun’s uniform looked a bit different tonight? I did.

*Be sure to visit Bugs & Cranks during Wednesday’s Brewers/Cardinals game as I liveblog with my new bud (Cardinals writer) Andrea Reiher. I’m a liveblog newb, so it could get interesting.

Blog Ambassador: Cardinals

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

With the Brewers in St. Louis to partake in an ever-important two game series against their biggest Wild Card threat, I thought I’d catch up with Andrea Reiher, a longtime Cardinals fan who writes about her team at Bugs & Cranks. She weighs in the birds’ surprising season, Ryan Braun’s infamous homer trot, and her opinion of Cub fans. Thanks for your brutally honest answers, Andrea. Your input is greatly appreciated.

Going into this season, did you expect this Cardinals team to play this well with their current cast of players? Why or why not?

As far as this season goes, I read all the stuff [that] y’all [read]. ‘The Cards are going to be terrible, they won’t even be a .500 team, etc etc.’ For some reason, I just didn’t agree. And I have nothing to base that on. I didn’t go to any spring training games; I was mourning the losses of Rolen and Edmonds, I figured after Wainwright our rotation would be held together with silly string and bubble gum. But I just had this feeling that we were going to have a great year. 

So far, they have not disappointed. I mean, obviously we aren’t leading the division or anything, but we are still in the hunt at the end of August. That’s huge. I mean, if our bullpen hadn’t blown just half the leads they did, we’d be winning the division. So no, I didn’t expect it. But I just had this feeling. I was strangely optimistic.

The last time these two teams met marked a series Brewer fans can consider a major turning point in the 2008 season. Do you feel Cardinals fans were able to regard the Brewers as a serious contender as that series played out, or is it something the Cards’ fanbase as a whole doesn’t like to bring up?

Oh, I know we regarded the Brewers as a serious contender. We were honestly just shooting for a split, 2-2. That was a major blow to our season. However, we’re still 14 games over .500. That’s ridiculous for this team this year.  And we’re 3.5 out of the Wild Card, which is not insurmountable.

In Ryan Braun’s final at bat in that series he watched his homer and trotted in a manner deemed to be disrespectful by hoards of both Brewers and Cardinals fans. What do you think the odds are that Braun wears a fastball at some point during this upcoming two game set?

It was kind of a jerk move on his part, but anyone who has played sports has to have done that at some point in their lives. You get pumped, you celebrate, swept up in the moment. Happens to the best of us. If he gets plunked, I’m okay with that. As long as nobody is throwing at his head - which, to me, is not okay - then I’m fine with it. And I think he might. However, it’s been awhile since that series and maybe we don’t need to go putting men on base unnecessarily, you know?

Why do you think the Cardinals failed to acquire a player (or players) at the deadline to help solidify the starting rotation or bolster the bullpen? Did you feel a move was necessary?

I wanted us to pick up a reliever so badly. It felt like the front office really snubbed our guys’ hard work by not. However, we weren’t supposed to be anything this season and this scrappy group of guys has really exceeded expectations. So I kind of want to dance with the guys that brung me, ya know? I’d like to succeed with these guys. Of course, ask me again after we blow a three-run 9th inning lead.

How frustrating is it to have so much money and expectation invested in Chris Carpenter and Mark Mulder, who have both missed significant time throughout the past two seasons?

I’m not frustrated with Carpenter. He’s an ace who has done well for us and now he’s back.  His first start back (until he left) was good. I actually hear rumors that he may start this week against the Brew Crew. I’m not bitter about the money/time invested in Carp. Mulder is a different story.  But again, nobody can see the future. Nobody could’ve known we’d trade away Dan Haren and get a pile of crap in return. Mulder was dominant in Oakland and if he’d stayed healthy, he’d still be dominant. It’s frustrating what has happened with him, but what can you do?

Though lacking their ace, unlikely heroes like Todd Wellemeyer and Kyle Lohse – not to mention Ryan Ludwick – have stepped in to post great seasons and keep the team in the thick of a playoff push. Do you feel these players can continue their surprise seasons and keep playing at such a high level if the Cards reach the playoffs?

I think Wellemeyer and Ludwick have proved their mettle. Ludwick seemed like a feel-good flash in the pan earlier this year, but he hasn’t trailed off.  He’s hitting so great this year and just today threw out someone at the plate. Wellemeyer went through a slump and has bounced back to be good. Those two are fantastic and I think would continue to play the way they are in the post-season.

Lohse is frustrating because for the first half of the season he was so great and now suddenly he’s terrible. He’ll pitch five good innings and then in the 6th inning, like clockwork, he’ll give up five runs. It’s uncanny and it’s happened like five starts in a row. That is frustrating. I would really like to see him back on form.

How good is Colby Rasmus? Who are some other highly regarded prospects in the Cardinals’ system?

Colby has been kind of a letdown in the minors this year, but I like what I’ve seen of Ankiel in center and that just gives Colby time to mature in the minors. As for prospects… you’ve seen a lot of them this year. We’ve started a Major League-leading 10 rookies this year. I like what I’ve seen from Mitchell Boggs, Chris Perez and Jaime Garcia particularly.

How much do you hate the Cubs? Feel free to be as descriptive as you’d like.

The thing is… I hate obnoxious Cubs fans. But I hate obnoxious fans of any team. There is no need to be a complete douchebag, is my thinking.  This year, it sucks to see them running away with the division and 100th anniversary and blah, blah. But the Cards have had so much success in my lifetime that I really can’t bitch. No team is going to be awesome every season and no team is going to suck every season. It doesn’t work that way. This year, since they are doing so well, I hope they continue to and the Brewers go away, and we can have a Cubs/Cards NLCS showdown.

Any predictions for the series? The NL Central/Wild Card race? 

Honestly, I think September is going to be a wild month. I honestly think, based on how poetic it is and destiny and the beauty and symmetry of baseball, that the Cards are going to win the Wild Card and end up facing the Cubs in the NLCS. It’ll be amazing and awesome and stressful. The Cubs should have to beat their big brother from the South to get to the World Series. It’ll be epic.  

Insomniac Ink