Posts Tagged ‘Dale Sveum’

Hail Sveum!

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Man, that was a negative post. On the positive side, Dale Sveum rules!

Why?

Because he’s the reason Hart and Weeks are hitting over .230. He’s the reason Craig Counsell is still a serviceable option at the plate. He’s worked his magic with most of the hitters and that’s why this team doesn’t blow any more than it already does.

Some people will say “The team still can’t hit with RISP…” True, but they never have been able to! For the past 15 seasons, the Brewers have been able to score about 14% of all baserunners on average. The Brewers have been able to score about 54% of runners on second and third with less than two out while Sveum’s been HC, which is a better percentage than every season in the past ten years except one.

Here’s a testimonial from Corey Hart who went from Boo’d to Curtain Call’d

“It’s all Dale,” said Hart, referring to Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum. “Dale’s worked really hard to change some things around for me and help my mindset. What he did is help me get the ball in the air.”

Since Dale has been the hitting coach, the team hits .263 on average. It was 1999 when the team hit over .263 before that.

Not enough? Since Dale’s been the HC, the team’s OBP is about .340. During 2008’s run, it was .325! Again, you have to go back to 1999 when the team was on base more than that.

So even though things suck hard right now, can we at least all agree that Braun, McGehee, Gallardo, and Sveum are pieces we can be happy about?

Think you’re better than Yost or Sveum? Try it! Make a lineup!

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

So to go along with my lineup analysis post, I’ve calculated the run value for every brewer player with over 100 ABs for every lineup slot, as well as some platoon values for selected players.  So now I can find the optimal lineup for the Brewers 2008 season.

But now I ask you - can you?

We’re assuming that every player listed below can finish a full season (or in the case of Branyan, a full season as the lefty half of a platoon).  I want to see how well you guys can make a lineup.  You might be surprised at what the optimal lineup actually is.

RULES -
1.  You must fill each position.
2.  You will have some platoon options.  If you use a platoon, you must post two SEPARATE lineups for vs. RHP and vs. LHP.
3. Platoons will be counted as vs. RHP 2/3 of the time, vs. LHP 1/3.  This is crude but it tends to work well for platoons.
4. Each lineup must include a pitcher.  The pitcher’s spot is counted at 65% pitcher batting, 35% league average pinch hitter batting.

OPTIONS FOR EACH POSITION.
C: Kendall
1B: Fielder, Fielder/Branyan Platoon
2B: Durham, Hall, Weeks, Counsell, any platoon of those.
SS: Hardy, Counsell, Hall, any platoon.
3B: Hall, Counsell, Hall/Branyan, Hall/Counsell, Counsell/Branyan.
OF: Kapler, Hart, Cameron, Braun, any platoon.

Whoever makes the best lineup wins some pride.  Sorry,  I don’t have anything to offer!

Mark Me Down for Macha

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Ken Macha is the right man for the Brewers’ manager position.

I felt the former Oakland A’s manager was the strongest choice before I started looking deeper into his background. After doing some digging, I’m more convinced than ever.

The Upside

Doug Melvin has emphasized past success in his search for manager. Macha has been nothing but successful as a manager. In four seasons as the A’s manager, he led the team to two division titles. His worst season in Oakland was good for 88 wins and second in the division. And while Yost’s Brewers stumbled in the second halves of seasons, Macha’s A’s thrived. The A’s were 178-116 (.605) after the all-star break in his four years as manager. Macha brings important playoff experience as well, having taken the A’s to the ALDS twice and the ALCS once. Macha’s stint in Oakland was so successful, many wondered out loud why he was let go, including David Pinto of Baseball Musings.

How have the A’s done since Macha was fired? They’ve had two losing seasons in a row.

Macha proved in Oakland that he can manage a young team in a small market and have success. His philosophies — not utilizing many “small ball” tactics and using the individual strengths of his players to win as a team — would suit Milwaukee’s power-hitting approach well:

You manage to your players and that’s really what you try to do. When I managed in Oakland, we didn’t have many runners. We didn’t steal bases. Why bunt when you’ve got a guy who may hit a home run? You know, you hear what I’m saying? Maybe that doesn’t endear you to fans because the fans want to see more bunting and hit-and-runs and action and things like that, but as a manager, what you need to do is have your players do what they do best and win the game.

And he became known for his level-headed, even-tempered approach:

My philosophy was always try to remain calm at all times because it’s tough to make good decisions when you do have calm in your brain. To not be calm, it makes it even tougher to make good decisions. My philosophy is to try to remain calm at all times and I was hoping that my players would reflect the same thing because it’s tough to play angry. You’ve got to be under control.

Macha’s Midwest background and down-to-earth personality should also appeal to Brewers fans and the local media, who would not have to put up with a surly, short-tempered manager anymore. While Macha has been criticized for being a bit dry at times, he is friendly, personable and honest (sometimes to a fault). He even has something in common with Mark Attanasio. In a strange coincidence, the Pittsburgh native’s birthday is the same as the Brewers’ owner’s — Sept. 29.

Melvin was confident enough in Macha in 2002 to offer him the manager’s position over Yost. Macha declined and went to Oakland, but it’s hard to imagine he did anything there but reinforce Melvin’s confidence in the man he believed in six years ago.  If anything, Macha has established himself as an above-average manager and one that is ready for a second chance.

The Downside

There’s a downside to every candidate and Macha is no exception. In fact, after reading the opinions of hundreds of posters on BrewerFan.net concerning the manager debate, it became clear to me that if Macha did not have this one perceived blemish, he would likely be the number one choice in the eye’s of many, if not most, Brewer’s fans.

The perceived knock on Macha is that there was a “disconnect” between him and his players. A handful of those players were very vocal following his dismissal after the 2006 season. They used words like “friction,” “negative cloud,” a lack of protection, disrespect, a lack of trust, deteriorating relationships and “callous attitude” to describe the environment under Macha during his final season as manager (San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle (Pre-Firing), MLB.com, ESPN.com).

Brewers’ catcher Jason Kendall, who played under Macha in Oakland, even weighed in:

I know that the one thing any player wants from his manager is to be protected. If there’s a bang-bang play at first, even if you’re out, if you’re arguing, you want someone there behind you. If you argue a pitch, even if you’re wrong, you want someone joining in. And I’m not sure Macha did that.

What was lacking from those articles, however, was the whole story. That story surrounded a feud between Macha and Oakland’s brilliant but over-controlling and egotistical general manager Billy Beane:

“The reason I was fired, there was too much interference with the job I was trying to do,” Macha said.

He elaborated on that in a 2007 interview with WEEI radio in Boston, calling Beane a “tough guy to work for”:

The manager has a job to write the lineup out, to set the rotation. He has to be able to handle these players and when somebody gets put on the bench, for whatever reason it is, that player comes in and asks the manager. The manager has to be the one responsible for putting him on the bench and handling the player afterwards. And when you’re not working together (with the GM) in that type of situation, it puts you as a manager in a tough situation because the GM wants someone to play and you might not want that person to play… You hear what I’m saying? And now you have to bring somebody in and explain to them why they’re not playing. That makes for a difficult situation.

Macha said all he wanted was to “work together” with Beane and get on the “same page,” but he was never able to do that. He was not the only one that saw the relationship that way. In fact, one source marveled at how long Macha put up with Beane’s meddling:

I don’t know how he put up with it for that long. Everybody has to answer to their general manager and you want feedback and suggestions from the organization. The best organizations are the ones who do things together and are on the same page. But in the end, it’s the manager’s decision who to play, when to play them.

Nico of Athletic’s Nation even took it a step further:

So if you’re wondering how the same Ken Macha who seemed to be a “good enough” communicator, personality and overall manager through 2005 could suddenly not be “good enough” with mostly the same players and actually more on-field success, the answer is simple: It was not the same Ken Macha. It was the neutered, resentful version that Beane crafted. Macha may never have been the best manager available, but he is the victim this time — the victim of an evolution that was so inevitable, anyone but the boss’ boss could have seen it coming a mile away.

And Tim Kawakami of The Mercury News summed up the shattered relationship with one story:

So I saw Billy after a game and asked to talk to him. He said fine, but he had some food and wanted to sit down during the interview.

Where did we go for the talk? Billy zipped right into Macha’s office, which was empty for the time being, plopped down and started eating.

Looked at me, said, “Go ahead, ask.” Usually, everybody stays out  of the manager’s office, by the way, unless the manager is there and is fine with it. Not the A’s way, though.

I started asking, but a few minutes later Macha and Curt Young came back, with plates of food and just in their underwear, obviously looking to eat, change clothes and relax.

They stared at us, I stared at them, Billy just kept eating and talking.

Macha tenatively sat down behind his desk for a few seconds. Very uncomfortable. Shot another glance at Beane. Glared at me. I shrugged, said to Beane, “Umm, maybe we should do this somewhere else.”

Beane looked up like this was the first he’d noticed Macha was there — or cared that he was there — dropped his plate, then just waved at Macha, pointing him out the door. Remember, this was Macha’s own office. After winning for something like the 33rd time in 40 games.

“Ken, you can let us do this, right?” Beane said as he waved.

Beane turned back to me and never looked at Macha again as Macha and Young sighed, got up, and moved out.

That was the relationship. Right there. Beane is the man. Macha always knew it, even when he was in his own office.

Many of the player’s frustrations that came out following the season were rooted in the battles that Macha was having with Beane. For example, Beane and Mocha argued about whether Bobby Kielty and Mark Kotsay should be platooned and about the makeup of the postseason pitching rotation. Those disagreements were microcosms of the larger issues the overbearing Beane was creating:

“Billy wanted Kielty in the postseason, and I play Kotsay, and then Kotsay comes out and says bad things about me while I basically got fired because I played him,” Macha said. “It’s kind of sad. That’s one instance, but it happened a lot.”

Macha decided to take the high road and did not make any of these battles with Beane public until after the season, when he was being attacked in the media. Still, he reserved his criticisms and was largely complimentary of Beane.

There is no question that there were issues in the clubhouse, but how many of those issues were Macha’s fault? And were those issues blown out of proportion by a frustrated team shortly after getting swept in the ALCS? A Boston Globe story offered a very different view of the Oakland clubhouse under Macha:

Macha is blunt and my experience with him is that he tells his players what’s expected of them, and he doesn’t coddle them. He took three players with troubled pasts — Jay Payton (who clashed with Terry Francona), Frank Thomas (considered a bad clubhouse influence with the White Sox at the end) and Milton Bradley (incidents everywhere he’s played) — and guided them to productive seasons. He got them playing together. The team thrived.

And, as late as Sept. 24, only a few weeks before Macha was let go, a San Francisco Chronicle blogger said, “The clubhouse mood and atmosphere are partly dependent on the ‘tude of the manager, and the A’s clubhouse has a good vibe.”

Macha also contended the notion that he was not available to his players:

I’m on the field (before games) everyday. I’m on the airplane with them. In my office with the door open. If anyone wants to talk to me about something, I’ll give them an answer. Maybe people didn’t want to hear the answers I was going to give them, and maybe that’s why they didn’t want to come in. But I was available.

For anyone, like myself, who has read “Moneyball,” it’s hard not to admire Beane. He is a visionary and his aggressive — some would say destructive — personality will not allow him to rest until he builds a winner. It’s that same personality, however, that leads him to belittle his managers and create conflict in his own clubhouse, as is well documented in “Moneyball.”

Macha was caught in the environment Beane created and he still finished with at least 88 wins every season and took his team to the playoffs twice in four years, including a trip to the ALCS. He deserves another opportunity, one where he can work with management to establish a winning franchise. Milwaukee is the perfect place for him to get that second chance, a fact illustrated by a telling quote Macha made in May 2007 as he pondered his future as a manager:

I’m hoping that if I do manage again that I’m going to be able to have a relationship with the GM that is going to be a real good, positive relationship.

I was watching the Sunday night game the other day. The Cardinals were playing the Brewers and Doug Melvin came on. He was talking about his relationship with Ned, how much respect he has for the job that Ned does and how much trust he has in him. Really, to build your relationship with your manager on trust and respect is something I’d be looking for if I do get another job.

Doug said, “I back this guy 100 percent. I only had one manager when I was with the Texas Rangers as the GM. I had Johnny Oates there and we built a tremendous relationship and it wound up being a terrific, terrific experience down there in Texas.”

So, just listening to his words, they kind of resonate with me. Hopefully, as I said, if I do get another job, I’ll be able to have a relationship with the GM similar to that.

I think the relationship can be more similar to that than Macha ever dreamed. Make it happen, Doug.

RFB Offseason Roundtable - What to do with Sveum?

Friday, October 17th, 2008

This week’s topic: What should the Brewers do with Dale Sveum?

Tyler

I support whatever move Doug Melvin makes, because management has a much better handle on who has the right stuff to lead a team. There are no fantasy manager leagues and no stats beyond wins and losses to mark their decision making. So long as it’s not Ray Rhodes, I know that on Opening Day in 2009, Milwaukee will have the right guy in the dugout heading a lineup of gamers and battlers. I just don’t know who that guy is.

In all honesty, I don’t know what I’d like to see happen with Dale Sveum. The perception is he’s a straight-shooting managerial throwback who’s well-liked in the clubhouse and interested in the position, but I just haven’t seen enough of the guy at the controls to feel fully confident he’s the man for what seems to be a highly-sought position.

Sure, 12 regular season and four playoff games is more of an audition than most will receive before being pursued, but you have to look at his being the latest interim manager in baseball history as a blackeye on his leadership. How much shaking up can one man do in 12 game, spanning like 16 days? The team Dale was leading was a lineup Doug Melvin and Mark Attanasio brought in and a lineup Ned Yost set for the 150 previous games.

I have to hand it to Sveum for trying to mess with the batting order, but his changes were small potatoes in the grand scheme of bringing a team to the playoffs. He moved Mike Cameron to the leadoff spot, which turned out to be a really bad move, but moving J.J. Hardy into a struggling Corey Hart’s spot in the order was a great move - but neither of these two small decisions had a glaring correlation to a playoff berth. Sveum was declared leader of another man’s team, and the employees of said team20 just so happened to decide and play closer to their potential with him at the end of the bench. Coincidence? Maybe. Good management? It’s possible.

I guess what I’m getting at is the last 12 games is just slightly better exposure to a manager’s skill, and vision than no game at all. Other managerial candidates have much longer track records, but little or no experience with anyone on this Brewers squad. In all, I think Dale deserves a shot to have the “interim” tag yanked from his title, and to be manager. That said, I’d rather get the right man for the job opposed to just inking the latest old Brewer to have some capability to lead a club.

Jared

Dale Sveum deserves credit for shaking the Brewers out of an unbelievable slump and getting them into the postseason. The players obviously like him and he seems like a smart enough guy. That said, I’m not sold on him as a long-term answer at manager yet. I just haven’t seen him manage long enough to know exactly what he brings to the table. I think that’s the dilemma Melvin faces in his decision too.

Originally, I was hoping the Brewers would make a splash with a big-name manager that would command the young players’ respect. But there really wasn’t a name that popped out at me… Bobby Valentine? Buck Showalter? Willie Randolph? Most of the names were either worn tread or just plain unappealing.

Then I started to hear Ken Macha’s name come up and I looked into his background a little more. I have to say I’m pretty intrigued by him. Macha was Doug Melvin’s first choice for manager in 2003, but took the job in Oakland instead. In four seasons as the A’s manager, Macha led the team to two division titles. His worst season there was good for 88 wins and second in the division. He managed a very young team in a small market. Sound familiar? Also, in contrast to Yost, Macha is known for being very level-headed and even tempered, qualities I’d like my manager to have.

There’s a downside to everyone and Macha’s perceived downside is that there was a “disconnect” between him and his players in Oakland. First of all, working as a manager under the meddling Billy Beane is no easy task and it sounds as though Macha and Beane’s tense relationship helped create an uneasy feeling in the clubhouse. Secondly, it might actually be good for the Brewers to get away from a “players’ manager.” Yost seemed to want to be buddies with all his players and Sveum seems to be much the same. Maybe the Brewers need somebody who isn’t going to tell them their shit doesn’t stink, to put it bluntly.

Sveum would be the easy choice as the Brewers’ manager in ‘09, but I think Macha would be the right choice.

Joe

I have not given this question as much attention as it deserves since the end of the Brewers season. Though it has not garnered much attention from my lowliest of brains, I find myself pulling to have Dale Sveum as the Brewers manager in 2009.

First, the players seem to love him. Personally, I think that’s incredibly important. Not only has he received rave reviews from friends Robin Yount and Terry Francona, players such as Ryan Braun seem to be pulling hard for him. Happy players = happy Brewer times(?) Me hopes yes much.

Secondly, Dale knows himself some baseball. I don’t know the guy, obviously, but it seems he has a great feel for ALL aspects of the game. Most importantly, I think he could teach some of the young players about playing some small ball and plate discipline.

Lastly, and arguably most importantly, Dale seems really into this team. He seems passionate about the team, players, and organization as a whole. As many know, I liked Yost, but I thought there were times when he was too subdued and certainly to set in his ways. I don’t think we’ll see that from Dale Sveum.

Hopefully we’ll hear a decision soon, and if I have it my way, Dale Sveum will be managing the Milwaukee Brewers on opening day ’09.

Bryan

I had to do a pro/con list to decide what I’d like to see happen.

Keeping Dale Sveum:
Pros - Well-liked and respected in the clubhouse, won’t need to bring his own staff so the players on the team can stay with the coaches they’ve always been with, he’s a “Brewer Guy”, he’s gotten votes of confidence from prominent figures on the team and in baseball, he doesn’t seem to have glaring favorites (ie - Yost and Weeks/Counsell/Helms)

Cons - Very little experience has head manager, Made many questionable calls as the third base coach, the big knock on Yost was that he couldn’t take the team to the next level but can Dale do it as the manager for an entire year?, spend the entire year wondering if Garth Iorg has learned the signals, will Robin be back?

Finding someone else:

Pros - Brings a brand new outlook on a team that has finally made it to the playoffs but now can’t win at the end of the year, probably has more managerial experience than Sveum, might have postseason experience, might be able to make this team more well rounded

Cons - Might not care as much about the city as Sveum, might want to completely revamp the staff (please stay, Mike Maddux), might make things worse (not get into the playoffs, lack of respect in the clubhouse)

Ok, that wasn’t a complete list, but it helped. Here’s my answer:

People say that Sveum deserves the manager position next year. I believe that he deserves a SHOT at the position next year. He did nothing to hurt himself from being considered the head manager for next year, but if there’s someone better who has more experience with winning down the stretch (this eliminates you, Willie Randolph), I’ll probably want that person. I want the Brewers to take their time with their coaching search; find the right man for the job. It might be Sveum, but it might be someone completely new. I think that even though Sveum has gotten a vote of confidence from the players (which he probably would have gotten regardless of the outcome), the team will be professionals and fully get behind a new coach and/or system. Personally, I’m with Jared on the Ken Macha love as long as he’d be excited to be in MKE. I’d like to see it between Macha, Davey Johnson, and Sveum and let the Brewers think it through and make a decision in November. The bigger question in my mind is what kind of weapons is the coach, whoever it may be, going to have?

Your turn, be heard! What would you like to see happen?

Leadership In Limbo?

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

The Brewers just made the playoffs for the first time in 25 years and the news is filled with speculation about their already fired manager, their interim manager being in jeopardy of not retaining the job, their general manager beginning a lame duck season and their director of scouting being a finalist for another team’s GM job.

What’s going on here?

Well, first of all, Doug Melvin is close to signing an extension. I don’t think we have to worry about losing him.

Jack Zduriencik is among four final candidates for the Seattle Mariners GM job. Jack certainly deserves a lot of credit for helping to build this team and it would be a shame to lose him. He’s also earned a shot at a GM job though and I’d be happy for him if he got it. That said, it seems as though Kim Ng has been the frontrunner from the start and if Jack loses out on another GM job (he was a finalist for the Pittsburgh job last year), he’d continue to be a great asset to the Brewers organization.

That brings us to Dale Sveum. Melvin interviewed him and has since said he has a “short list” of managerial candidates to consider for the job. I’d say that doesn’t bode well for Sveum. If Melvin was sold on him, he would have pulled the trigger immediately. In my opinion, one of the guys on the “short list” will all but certainly impress Melvin and become the next Brewers manager.

And who’s on this “short list”? Melvin isn’t saying… But Tom Haudricourt speculates the list probably includes some of the following:

  • Bob Brenly, previously with Arizona but now a TV broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs
  • Willie Randolph, fired by the Mets during the 2008 season
  • Davey Johnson, who managed Team USA in the 2008 Olympics and is the former manager of the Mets, Reds, Orioles and Dodgers
  • Mike Hargrove, who stepped down in Seattle last year citing “burnout”
  • Buck Showalter, former Yankees, D-Backs and Rangers manager and current ESPN baseball analyst
  • Buck Martinez, former Blue Jays manager and current TBS announcer
  • Ken Macha, who was Melvin’s original choice to manage the Brewers in 2003, but instead chose to manage in Oakland before being fired by the A’s after the 2006 season and is currently a TV broadcaster for the Red Sox
  • Bobby Valentine, former New York Mets and Texas Rangers manager who is now managing in Japan

All of those men have more experience and a higher profile than Sveum and all of them are less familiar with the Brewers and have failed before. Who do you choose?

Randolph, Johnson, Hargrove and Valentine are absolute nos to me. They either don’t seem to offer much or have serious warts.

Brenly, Showalter and Martinez are marginally appealing choices, but while they are certainly higher profile choices than Sveum, I’m not sure they’d be a sure upgrade, at least enough to dump Sveum without giving him a shot.

The one that stands out to me is Macha. He managed for four seasons in Oakland and his worst season was good for 88 wins and second in the division. He was Melvin’s first choice in 2003 before Yost got the job. I don’t know much else about the guy, but it seems like a natural choice and one I think I could get behind.

It’s not known if Macha is interested, but when Haudricourt asked him about the opening, he was (seemingly intentionally) vague in his answers. Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.

It should be an interesting winter.

Trenni Kusnierek End of Year Interview

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Trenni Kusnierek of FSN Wisconsin was kind enough to do a second interview with Right Field Bleachers this season to help wrap up our coverage of the 2008 season here. She discusses the magical season, what’s in store for CC and Sheets and how she’ll spend some much deserved time off.

Listen to the interview here:

This is Jared from Right Field Bleachers and I have Trenni Kusnierek on the phone from FSN Wisconsin. I’m just going to ask a couple questions to sort of wrap up the Brewers season.

First off, it’s been over for a few days now, what are your thoughts on the season?

I think you have to absolutely consider it a success. They hadn’t been to the playoffs in 26 years. They made it. They won a game. You know, I don’t think that’s the showing that the team wanted to have. They had every intention of playing better against Philadelphia and making a run at the NLCS. I know they were confident that they could do it, but they just kind of ran out of steam at the end of the year. To say that the season wasn’t a success would be a disservice to the guys, to Dale Sveum and even to Ned Yost and what they accomplished and what they did for the city.

This city was so alive. You could be walking down the street in the middle of July and they’d be playing a game and you’d hear bars erupt with people just so excited about a winning run or a great catch. It really energized the city and brought a lot of people together. Obviously seeing what happened at Miller Park is proof of that. I think the season was an absolute success. It was disappointing that it had to end in early October instead of late October or early November, but a success nonetheless.

I know you have to stay professional as you cover the team, but you grew up a Brewers fan. What was it like to experience the team’s first playoff run in 26 years being so close to the team?

It was amazing. I think it’s obvious that although we have to be somewhat objective and not be afraid to criticize the team or ask questions when questions need to be asked, you’re supposed to, at the heart of it, be a bit of a fan. You’re supposed to support the team. We fly on the charter. We have access to players that other people don’t get. It was an absolute thrill.

To be on the field, I brought my brother down and one of his friends, to be on the field when the Mets lost and we clinched and to turn around to go do interviews and have an entire bottle of champagne dumped over my head, that’s a dream come true to be a part of that, to be a part of the celebration. It was unbelievable.

When Ryan Braun hit the home run to put the Brewers up 3 to 1 against the Cubs, I literally got choked up because I knew at that point that they were going to win the game. I had no doubt that they were going to win the game. I had a feeling the Mets were going to lose. I was only 5 the last time they went to the playoffs. So, to experience that and be a part of it  and to go down on the field and hug Bill and Brian and Craig and my brother and everybody else in the Brewers’ family, I think any reporter in town, even one that works for a local affiliate, will tell you that it was amazing.

Speaking as a fan, it was certainly a great season, a little disappointing at the end, obviously, because you hoped the team would go further, but it was a great step in the right direction and a lot of fun. What was the mood in the clubhouse following that last game on Sunday?

Disapointed, but I think there was some definite optimism. I don’t think the guys were happy that the season ended. I mean, a lot of them hung out in the dugout way past the final pitch. A lot of them seemed very confident in the ownership group, in Doug Melvin, that they are going to go after the pieces that they need to continue to be successful. You know, CC Sabathia made it very clear that he was going to listen to any offer. Whether or not the Brewers sign CC, I don’t even know if that’s possible. I think Doug Melvin and Mark Attanasio, you know, you’re going to clear up some salary. You’re going to clear up $10 million with Gagne. You may clear up some money with Mike Cameron. Is there a trade? Obviously maybe you make a trade with Billy Hall or Rickie Weeks and get some other movable parts in there, maybe a guy who takes pitches a little better.

I don’t think you can say anything but positive things about the moves Doug Melvin has made and they know that they’re really just a few pieces away from being a contender. You look at the way Yovani Gallardo performed this year, maybe if you get another really good pitcher in there, you’d have a pretty good 1-2 punch again. Now, getting someone like CC was unbelievable. You may not get someone of his caliber, but if you can get someone close to that, I don’t think the team is going to be in dire straits next year like some people think it’s going to be.

You mentioned Sabathia, what were your impressions? Did you think that his comments about wanting to try to come back to Milwaukee were genuine?

Yeah, absolutely. The reason I think that is I’ve had a chance to talk to his family a little bit. I’ve talked to his wife a number of times and I’ve talked to his cousin and one of his friends. They all said that CC genuinely likes Milwaukee.

CC was pretty emotional in the clubhouse. He became friends with those guys and I don’t think that he expected to become as close to the guys in the clubhouse as he actually did. And that says a lot. That goes a long way for a player. If you’re comfortable with guys and you feel like you’re part of a team that wants to win and you feel like you’re part of a team that can help each other win, that’s a driving force.

Now, money is a huge, huge thing, family security. We all know these guys don’t work until they’re 60. So, security is a huge, huge thing. CC is from the California area, but he spent the last 11 years, 10 years, in the Midwest. I don’t think it will happen, but if it does happen, it wouldn’t shock me based on how CC liked it here. What would be shocking is that maybe the Brewers came up with enough money to offer him.

What about Sheets? What was his mood like following that last game?

Very emotional. He got very choked up in our interview with him. I asked him how proud he was of the guys and about his memories in Milwaukee. He was very choked up about that he loved the guys in the clubhouse and the hardest thing about walking out that day is that he may never put on a Brewers uniform again.

He did make a joke. He said, “We all thought Cirillo wasn’t coming back and ‘Rillo came back and played in Milwaukee again. So, you never know, I may pull on a Brewers uniform again.” But I think he knows he may not.

However, now that he has this elbow issue, he may not command the money in the free agent market that everyone thought he was going to. There’s going to be red flags. I don’t think the Brewers would sign him to a long-term deal, but they may get him for one year for the money that they paid an Eric Gagne. They may get him for one year for $8, $9, $10 million and say, “Listen, if you’re healthy after that, we’ll talk long-term contract, but if you can’t stay healthy, we’re going to be done with you.” You never know, but the injury, as strange as it may seem, may have played in the Brewers’ favor in keeping him around for just one more year.

How do the players like Dale Sveum and do you think he’ll be back?

Oh, they love him. They love him. Whether or not he’ll be back, I don’t know. The fact that he made it to the playoffs and he helped that team rebound, I think at the very least he deserves an interview, he deserves consideration. But the players, they adored him  when he was a third base coach. You would talk to them about any aspect of baseball whether it be hitting, fielding, just having a head for the game, the name that always came up, and they loved Jim Skaalen as well and Eddie Sedar, but the name that constantly came up … was Dale Sveum, even before he was named manager. I think it speaks volumes for how much they respect him.

Now, whether or not, Mark and Doug want to go with an unproven guy? Or do they want to go with a guy that’s taken a team to the playoffs before? That’s yet to be seen. But you like at a guy like Joe Girardi. Who was he before the Yankees got him? Yeah, he was a former Yankee, he had taken Florida into the playoffs [sic], but I don’t think you could call him a huge-name candidate in any way, shape or form to replace Joe Torre and yet they went with somebody who they felt comfortable with, who had been in the organization before that guys really liked and could relate to. So, you never know.

You were talking about some offseason moves. Now, you’ve got some time off. Will you be working for FSN on the Bucks coverage?

Yes, I will. I will. I actually did a one-on-one with John Hammond last night at the preseason game. I’ll take a few weeks off. I’m not going to go back to work until the week of the 22nd. We have a meeting and then I’ll travel with the Bucks to Chicago on the 28th. Up until then, I’m going to hang out, relax. I have piles of laundry, piles of mail, expense reports that I haven’t done, if you can believe this, since the All-Star Break. So, I’ve got about four or five expense reports to do. And I’m just going to relax, hang out, see my family, enjoy Sunday football, go to some weddings, which I usually have to say no to. So, it will be nice. It’s only two or three weeks, but it’ll be nice to have some down time.

And will you be back covering the Brewers in ’09?

Every indication is yes. I don’t see why not unless a huge network comes calling. That would be the only way, maybe the only way that I wouldn’t be back, but I love it. I love covering the team. I love the organization. It is a first class organization from top to bottom, I mean everybody I worked with. I could not have asked for a better return home and that’s not just a company line. That’s the truth. I loved everybody I worked with. We’re pretty lucky. We’re lucky in Milwaukee to have such a good group of people running the baseball team.

Thank you very much. We appreciate it.

In the News (9/16)

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

More the Sveum...

Tonight’s Game: Cubs 5, Brewers 4

Record: 83-68, Second Place (no longer Wild Card Leaders)

Games Behind Cubs: 9… Oh God!

Game Recap

- The Dale Sveum era began where the Ned Yost era left off. Milwaukee lost its fifth straight game, though managing to stay close to a surging Chicago club. CC Sabathia notched his first losing decision as a Brewer.

- Prince Fielder and Ray Durham played well in the loss. Fielder has three RBI - including two towering homers, and Durham had a couple of hits and an RBI of his own. Sveum’s juggling of the lineup didn’t seem to translate into more production at the plate, but I did like Hardy hitting in the five hole and Hart being bumped to sixth.

Brewers News

- If Sveum an Co. can manage to make the playoffs and win the pennant, it wouldn’t be the first time an interim manager accomplished such a feat.

- David Riske is out for the season.

- JS Online has some personnel news: To sum, Parra is in the pen, Bush will make his start and McClung will rejoin the rotation. Gallardo will rejoin the team (in the bullpen) Friday and Kapler will be back Thursday… likely to just pinch hit periodically.

- Brew Crew Ball says hello to Dale Sveum.

- Former opponents express empathy for Yost’s firing.

- Beyond being the worst manager in Milwaukee Brewers history… of the past two weeks, was Ned Yost really bad enough to axe this late and in this way?

- Between the Green Pillars says of the swoon “Things Get Weird”: It seems that way about now.

- Inside the Book “Plays Percentages” on Brian Shouse.

- If you had to choose, which Brewers would you marry, bop and kill? Read my answers HERE.

Minor Leagues

- Sounds Manager Frank Kremblas and Hitting Coach Harry Spilman are also seeking employment after being dismissed last weekend: Huntsville Manager Don Money seems a likely replacement for Kremblas. Best of luck to Frank.

- The West Virginia Power have started to search for a new affiliate club: The dream of Appleton housing Milwaukee’s low-A affiliate continues to become more real!

Other 

- Could Ned Yost wind up in Atlanta’s dugout in the future?: The question seems to make sense as Yost has been employed by the organization before, lives in Georgia and is a good guy to have on your side. I’m not sure if it’ll be as a manager, but I’d almost expect to see him adorned in a Braves uni again at some point.

- Ex Brewer Kevin Mench apparently played high school baseball with “Fake Joba” who claims to have tricked 100 Jersey girls into sleeping with him: See the classy dude HERE.

- The Mets now hold the NL Wild Card lead over Milwaukee by percentage points. The Phillies have taken the NL East reigns. Sweet!

The Web on Ned

Monday, September 15th, 2008

There are wide-ranging reactions from around the Internet on the Yost firing. Let’s take a look at the different takes on the situation:

 

  • Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus: “He earned his firing, and short of replacing him with Dakota Fanning or something, the Brewers will be better off for his absence.”
  • Buster Olney of ESPN.com: “It’s clear that there are players within that clubhouse who aren’t sure if Ned Yost was the right guy to lead this team down the stretch.”
  • Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports: “The move just might save their season.”
  • John Donovan of SI.com: “It’s a bold, maybe crazy game that the Milwaukee front office is playing. But someone had to do something. And that’s what this is: something.”
  • Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports: “Attanasio had nothing to lose, as it had all been lost by Sunday evening.”
  • Mike Bauman of MLB.com: “If the Milwaukee Brewers believe they have solved all their problems with the dismissal of Ned Yost, they will be badly and sadly mistaken.”
  • Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune: “This is desperation in its purest form, with Attanasio’s $90-million payroll and Melvin’s trade for CC Sabathia being undercut by Milwaukee’s recent inability to win when anyone other than Sabathia is pitching.”
  • David Pinto at Baseball Musings: “It seems to me that if the whole team stops hitting, there’s not much a manager can do.”
  • Marty McSuperFly at FireNedYost.com: “Our work here is done.”
  • Al at Al’s Ramblings: “Doug is not one to overreact to slumps, so I have to wonder if there is a backstory to this that we’ll hear about later, probably well into the offseason.”
  • Akittell at Bernie’s Crew: “Nevertheless, there’s no doubt in my mind this is a knee-jerk reaction to the dismal start in September and comes directly from Brewers’ owner Mark Attanasio, seeing as Doug Melvin doesn’t make these kinds of moves.”
  • Woziszeus at Chuckie Hacks: “Basically, why the hell not. He wasn’t going to be here next year anyway…might as well not let him bask in the glory should they make it with the Wild Card.”
  • Brad at Chuckie Hacks: “According to the JSOnline, Ned is finally DONE in Milwaukee. Hallelujah, there is a God!!” 
  • Scott Segrin at In-Between Hops: “Adi-Yost!”
  • Scottage Cheese of Team Wisconsin: “I like it that our ownership has balls.”
  • Nate Roth at Two Fisted Slopper: “I just want to see some winning baseball, dammit.”
  • Steve at Brewers! Brewers! Keep Turnin’ Up the Heat!: “To be honest, as much as I disliked Ned’s in-game decisions, this has an odd feel to it.”
  • Nicole at Cute Sports: “A fire needed to be lit.”
  • Jesse Motiff at Brewers Bar: “Look, this is no doubt a move of desperation but it’s also a move that had to be made.”
  • David Hannes at Brewers Bar: “Thanks, Ned. Many fans appreciate the effort and returning the Brewers to a winning team.”
  • Justin at The Brew Town Beat: “It had to be done.”
  • Brew City Bub at Brew City Sports: “Welcome to the dugout, Dale Sveum.”
  • Winks at the Bucky Channel: “Can this managerial switch do the same wonders it did for the Harvey Wallbangers back in ‘82? Or is it one final move of desperation in a season that may have already gotten away?”
  • JD at View From Bernie’s Chalet: “Well I LOVE the move. It seems Yost had lost the players since September started and with us basically in a 12 game playoff to get to October baseball for the first time in 26 years a move of desperation was made and I am fine with it.”
  • Bruce Ciskie at The Ciskie Blog: “After nearly six years of inept managing in the face of improving —and sometimes elite — talent, the Milwaukee Brewers have seen the light.”
  • Ruffian96 at The Rogue Hour: “CC must be like ‘I came over here for this? Yeah I’m definitely gone at the end of the month’.”
  • Craig Calcaterra of Shysterball: “For as bad as it has been for the Brewers lately, they are still tied for a playoff spot right now. Can anyone recall this happening at such a late date with the playoff race as tight as it is?”
  • Pete Treperinas of Bleacher Report: “It’s a bit absurd that a team who is competing for a playoff berth would fire a manager that has changed the fortune of the franchise.”
  • Dan Stein of Bleacher Report: “Yost is gone, but the problems and urgency remain.”
  • Adam Lindemer of Bleacher Report: “This firing may have been a season too late, but now was as good a time as any.”
  • Chris Bremner of Bleacher Report: “With recent production lacking and the pressure building up, it was clear the Brewers had to make a change, but is that smart this late in the season?”
  • Austin Penny of Bleacher Report: “I think the Brewers have made a huge mistake.”
  • Daan De Karpel of TSN.ca: “While the decision was likely a difficult one for the Brewers Canadian general manager Doug Melvin, he really had no choice.”
  • Bad Kermit of Hire Jim Essian! (a Cubs blog): ”Hang in there, Brewers; Dusty may be available soon.”
  • Jason of Goat Riders of the Apocalypse (another Cubs blog): “The Cubs tried to give the Brewers the division, but they politely refused and it cost Yost a job.”
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