Posts Tagged ‘Postseason’

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.

CC-ing This Thing to the End

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

I don’t think anyone can express how much CC Sabathia has meant to this team. I mean, the dude is 10-2 with 1.78 ERA in 16 starts for Milwaukee. In a few short months, he has become a team leader and is literally willing the team to the postseason right now with short-rest starts for a torn-apart rotation.

I didn’t think I could appreciate CC anymore, but then this little nugget came over the blog wire this morning:

Brewers ace CC Sabathia — awaiting his third successive start on three days rest next Sunday — has told his agent to stop complaining to his team’s front office about his arm being overused or injured, according to baseball commentator Peter Gammons in an interview on radio station 1050 am in New York.

“Don’t call them anymore,” Gammons quoted Sabathia as telling his representatives at Legend Sports Group. “I want to win.”

The man crush has officially reached epic proportions.

A professional athlete taking a huge risk of health and wealth for his team, a team he’s been with for less than 12 weeks, is completely unheard of these days. An athlete telling his agent to shove it? Classic. No matter where Sabathia ends up after the season, I will forever be a CC fan.

Brewers fans, this man deserves the ovation to end all ovations when he takes the mound Sunday. Hopefully, it will not be a sendoff, but merely a catapult to help push CC and the Brewers into the playoffs.


MLBHub.com Network Member

Advertise with the MLB Hub Network
Insomniac Ink