For some football fans, it's very hard to say goodbye.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Now it's time to concentrate on the undefeated Packers.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Well, the Brewers are just about done for the season. I haven't totally given up as long as we're mathematically still in it and chasing the chokingest team that ever choked. Last night's game was a disaster and it didn't have to be. I like Ned Yost, but he's shown all year that he can't manage a bullpen. Last night, after Yost was ejected, we learned that Mike Maddux and Dale Sveum can't manage a bullpen either. Everyone in the bar I was at knew Turnbow was done after two batters. I knew before he even went in. When they finally did pull him, they brought in Brian Schouse, a true LOOGy (Lefty One Out Guy), to pitch to two right handed batters and then pulled him to let Spurling, A righty, pitch to a left handed batter. This is precisely the opposite of what a competent manager would have done. A competent manager might also have let the best relief pitcher in the National League put that fire out. All the news this morning is about McClung beaning Pujols, but I refuse to believe that the loss of McClung and one base runner should make for a situation our bullpen can't get out of if you use them right.
The first mistake was breaking the Turnbow Rules. Turnbow is a very talented pitcher. But he's also totally bonkers. There are certain situations in which he dominates. There are other certain situations in which he loses games big time. After watching him pitch for a few seasons, it's pretty clear what these situations are. I really believe that Turnbow could be a useful tool out of the bullpen if our coaches followed these three simple rules:
1) Never pitch Turnbow two days in a row. Yost likes for him to be the 8th inning guy when we're ahead. The problem is that if we're ahead two days in a row, Turnbow pitches two days in a row. And he usually blows it one of those times. Turnbow's ERA on no rest is 8.72 (in 27 games). His ERA on one day of rest is 1.05 (26 in games)and on two days it's 0.00 (in 7 games). Turnbow should pitch every other day or so regardless of what the score is.
2) Only put Turnbow in in the beginning of an inning. Do not let him inherit any runners. They will score. Turnbow's opponent average when he starts an inning is .088. With runners on it's .241. With runners in scoring position it's .345. Opponent OBP in those situations is 323 and 424 respectively.
3) If Turnbow walks even ONE batter, pull him. You shouldn't walk any batters if you're the set up man. And Turnbow is most certainly not the kind of pitcher that takes a while to warm up. He's either on or off. And when he's off, he is OFF. When that levy cracks, the flood is coming unless you minimize the damage by pulling him.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Pilgrimage. On Sunday I attended the football match between the Chargers from San Diego and the Packers from Green Bay. My brother got the tickets sort of last minute so we didn't get a chance to go all out tailgate-wise. We rolled into "the bay area" around 10:15 and headed up to Curly's Pub. Curly's is a great alternative to tailgating. It's a cool bar right inside Lambeau Field, and remarkably, it's usually not that crowded. The bro and I each got a few beers and a pulled pork sammich and headed into the decidedly unfrozen tundra. The 85 degree weather was a rare treat since I usually end up at mostly December games (I have both the Raiders on 12/9 game and the Lions on 12/30 on my calendar this year). Another rare treat (at least rare in recent years) was the dominant performance of the Pack against a tough Charger team. I love the pass-happy west coast offense and I LOVE Brett Favre. I really do. Nothing beats watching that ol' gunslinger complete a sweet pass and then jump around like a kid on Christmas. Except maybe watching him run the ball for a first down. As great as the Jennings TD was, my favorite play of the game was when they lined up with two backs, shifted them both two receivers while the Charger's D geeked out, and then had their 50-year-old QB run the ball. Awesome stuff.
Brewers. On Monday I went to the Brewer game. The Brewers basically need to win out if the Cubs play .500 ball for the rest of the season. It's a daunting task, but the way we've looked the last few nights, it just might be possible. Last night, Prince clouted dingers #49 and #50 making him the youngest player ever to hit 50 in a season. Nice.
The Fonz. VisitMilwaukee, a group that promotes tourism here in Milwaukee, is hoping to erect a bronze statue of Fonzie on the corner of Wisconsin Ave. and Water St., right by my office. I like this. Because what's Fonzie like? Come on Yolanda what's Fonzie like? [Cool?] What? [He's cool.] Correctamundo. And that's what we're gonna be.
Lots or people that are not from Wisconsin automatically think of Happy Days when they hear mention of our state. And hey, that's better than Dahmer, right? There's a bronze Mary Tyler Moore statue on Nicolet Mall in Minneapolis, and the Fonz defines us to the same degree MTM defines the Twin Cities. Additionally, Milwaukee is a tourist destination for few people. But if there's one group we can count on, it's bad-ass Harley riders. The Fonz statue will be a nice additional stopping point for these motleys when they come for the Harley museum and stuff like that. Also, given the proximity to Water St., it will be a prime target for drunk people hoping to put garbage cans on the heads of statues. And who doesn't like that? So all in all, I like the idea. I just wish it was Ralph Malph instead.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
While it's true that no culture loves an underdog quite like Americans, how then to explain the general sentiments attached to the exhilarating National League Central race?
Strip away the mythology, and they are Goliath. Massive market. Big payroll. Big-name stars and free agents. A marquee manager who earns more than the entire Brewers' 100-plus-homer infield combined.
Yet, as Hunt notes, the national media appears to be rooting for the Cubs in the National League Central race. Well, to be fair, the national media is openly mocking the ineptitude of the NL Central as a whole first, and rooting for the Cubs second. The Cubs have done quite the job of defining themselves as cursed underdogs and lovable losers. But the truth is, this pennant race has the makings of a true underdog story, but the Brewers are the underdogs. The Brewers are David to the Cubs' Goliath; App. State to the Cubs' U of M; Rocky to the Cubs' Clubber Lang (I'm not sure they have a trainer either); 300 Spartans (and some Thespians) to the Cubs' million river-drinking-Persians; Honey Roy Palmer to the Cubs' Buck Holland, Slim Busby, Billy Hargrove (played by a young James Caviezel), Sam Lester, Hambone Busby, Sunny Hawkins, Robby Gillon, Frank Mangrum, Tank Miller and Hammerhead Haggan. Make no mistake, if you want to root for the underdog, you gotta root for the Brew Crew in the NL Central. Here's why:
The Cubs' have a payroll of $100,000,000.00.
The Brewers have a payroll of $70,000,000.00.
And although a difference of $30 million is significant, it's actually more drastic than that. If you look at the key players on the Brewers, most of whom are younger than me, they make close to the league minimum. For example, a typical Brewers starting infield would look like this:
Braun @ $395,000
Fielder @ $415,000
Hardy @ $400,000
Weeks @ $400,000
The Cubs' key players -- Lee, Soriano, Ramirez, Zambrano -- each make around $10 million.
This is clearly a big money team vs. a small money team.
The Cubs play in a market of 9,157,540 people (shared with the Whitesox I suppose).
The Brewers play in a market of 1,689,572 people, the smallest in Baseball.
This is clearly a big market team vs. a small market team.
The Brewers have 17is players on their roster that they drafted and developed within the franchise.
The Cubs are made up mostly of high priced free agents.
The Brewers are the little guy in this fight, and there's nothing any goat or any Bartman can do about it. All that said, I fully believe the Brewers will come out on top. As Mike Vick would say if he were more articulate and up to speed on cheesy cliches, it's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I spend waayyy too much money on food. I eat out for lunch almost every day. My primary lunch places are Jimmy Johns and The Waterfront Deli, due to their proximity to my office. I probably drop about $7 for lunch at Jimmy Johns, and close to $10 at Waterfront. That's like $40 or $50 a week just on lunch. If I wanted to get by on $21 per week, I'd probably have to start brown-bagging it, which I've been meaning to do anyway. I also go out to dinner on most Fridays and Saturdays. This often involves booze. But other than that, I think I'd be alright. So this Sunday, I am going to go shopping and spend just $21 and try to go all week (or at least until Friday night) eating only that food. What would you buy if you had just $21 to spend on food for a week? Here are some of my ideas:
1) Twenty-one 8oz bottles of Vitamin Water, pack of gum.
2) Seven Wendy's Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers, Seven Wendy's cup of chili, Seven Wendy's Frosty Dairy Deserts (those things are awesome). Do you think it's a coincidence that they have a dollar menu?
3) Bottle of Jack, Flinstone vitamins, nerves of steel.
4) 14 Power Bars, 7 Slim Fast shakes, 2 liter bottle of Diet Pepsi.
5) Dozen Eggs ($1.50), Gallon of Milk ($3.50), Loaf of Bread ($2.00), Jar of Peanut Butter ($2.00), Half-pound of Turkey deli meat ($2.50), 5 store-brand frozen pizzas ($7.00), OJ ($2.50).
That one doesn't sound too bad, does it?
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
1. Bring back Bernie Brewer's giant beer mug and lederhosen.
I think I may have mentioned this before, but the attempts to make Bernie Brewer less beer-oriented are really really stupid. After all, his name is Bernie Brewer, he's the mascot of a team called the Brewers, who play at Miller Park. This team has everything to do with beer. And beer rules.
The Bernie Brewer's legend began in 1970. The Crew was still a new, bad team and they were having trouble drawing crowds. In June of that year, a brilliant nutcase named Milt Mason climbed on top of the scoreboard and pledged to stay there until the Brewers drew 40,000 for a game. He was there for about 40 days, like Jesus. Mason became the original Bernie Brewer. In 1973 a chalet was built for him in center field, and each time a Brewer hit a homer, he would slide down a slide into a big mug of beer, and balloons would fly up into the air for seagulls to choke on. This version of Bernie remained until the Mid-1980's when the chalet was removed to make room for a sound tower. Bernie was brought back by popular demand in 1993, complete with large foam head and mustache. He still wore lederhosen, and his routine was about the same. But when the Crew moved to Miller park, they decided to ruin Bernie. They took away his chalet and replaced it with a "dugout." A "dugout" that sits 15 stories above the ground in right field. They replaced the giant mug of beer with "home plate." And worst of all, they replaced Bernie's lederhosen with a Brewers uniform. I can't fathom why anyone would support these changes. Here is what Bernie's chalet looked like at County Stadium:
And below is his "dugout" at Miller Park. Can't you just see a giant glass of beer sitting at the end of that slide?
When you think about it, getting covered in beer is what cheering for the Crew is all about. And as the team's biggest cheerleader, there's no reason Bernie shouldn't end up in beer every time Prince Fielder goes yard.
2. Bring back the two-fisted slobber promo.
The two-fisted slobber was a character that appeared on the county stadium scoreboard. His purpose was to discourage bad stadium etiquette. He looked like typical trailer trash; thin, but with a big gut, wearing a wife-beater t-shirt, carrying two beers, and totally drunk. The ad was designed to make a mockery out of such behavior. But we Milwaukeeans embraced the two-fisted slobber. After all, he was funny. I've scoured the interweb for a video of the ad, or even a picture, but I can't find one for the life of me. There are a few websites selling t-shirts that say "two-fisted slobber," but the man depicted on those shirts is an imposter; a horrible monster.
3. Less Filling/Tastes Great cheer.
I have a great idea for a cheer that would be perfect for Brewer games. Normally I hate organized cheering at baseball games. Baseball crowds just can't pull off the wave like college football crowds can. One of the most endearing cheers you'll hear in the student section at Camp Randall stadium is the Eat Shit/Fuck You cheer. This cheer usually starts when several fans from, say, Section N stand up and point to, say, Section O and start yelling "Eat Shit! Eat Shit! Eat Shit!" Within moments, the rest of Section N will be on their feet joining along, and Section O will be on their feet countering each "Eat Shit!" with a "Fuck You!" Simple as that. Although this is perfectly appropriate for a college football game, it's probably not appropriate for Brewers baseball. Fortunately, the good people at Miller Brewing Company designed a reasonable substitute for us back in the 1980s with their "Less Filling/Tastes Great" Miller Lite advertising campaign. So if you are ever at a Brewer game and a bunch of guys in the section next to yours stand up and start pointing at your section and yelling "Less Filling! Less Filling! Less Filling!" please rally your section and start responding to each "Less Filling!" with a "Tastes Great!" That would be totally awesome.
4. Fans that are more versed in when it is appropriate to boo.
On the subject of cheering, a lot of Brewer fans have been real tools lately when it comes to booing. You will never ever hear me boo my own team. I love my Brewers like I'd love my children, not because they are good, but because they are mine. If Turnbow is throwing wild pitches, the last thing I want him to do is throw more wild pitches. He's obviously not trying to play poorly. So I'm not going to boo, I'm going to say "c'mon T-Bow, throw some strikes buddy!" Now there are obvious exceptions to this rule--if Gary Sheffield were on my team I would boo him. But generally speaking, booing your players is bad for your team. If you want to strengthen their home field advantage, get behind them as much as possible when they're at home.
It's okay to boo the other team sometimes. If their pitcher throws at one of our our guys, boo him. Last night when Asstros' manager [and former Brewer great] Cecil Cooper asked the umpire to inspect Cordero's hand for Eddie Harris-style substances, it was cool that we booed him. It's also okay to boo Carlos Lee because he left our team for more money. It was a good decision on his part, but it's cool for us to boo him. However, I was at one game early in the season when Brady Clark was playing for the Dodgers. When they announced his name, some people booed him. That was NOT okay. Brady didn't leave for more money. We traded him. When he was here, he was a mediocre talent that gave everything he had and performed well for us. We should applaud him if he ever returns to Miller Park. And if I ever hear a Brewer fan boo Jeff Cirillo when he returns to Miller Park with the D-Backs or anyone else, I will promptly punch that Brewer fan in the face. Booing is just so mean.
5) A new version of "Beer Barrel Polka."
At Miller Park, we sing "Roll Out the Barrel" after "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh inning stretch. They play this old organ version of the song. It's hard to hear and it's boring. I want to hear an oom-pah band with tubas and trumpets. I also want a little ball bouncing on the words on the score board as we're supposed to say them so the 45,000 of us can get the timing right. Is that so much to ask?