Friday, October 30, 2009

Its almost November

Its been a while since my last blog, no reason, just been busy. So its almost November and Sports are at the all time high. Baseball is wrapping up the World Series with NYY and PHI, i'm not that interested really, I'm not a fan of the Yankees and Phi won last year, but its still baseball. The Badger football program has had another down year, there projecting us to be in the outback bowl again this year, wahhooo. At least were not finishing last in the division. The Packers play their biggest game of the season in 2 days and I can't wait any longer for the game to be here. If your not from this Planet then you must know that the Traitor #4 is coming to town once again. I am really hoping that the packers stick it to the vikings and defend our turf. I'm honestly had it with this whole Brett Favre situation, everybody has a take on it and that's great but I don't want to hear about it anymore. The Media has exploded with this and it almost has made me watch the news for just the news!! The packers moved on and so should everybody else, no one talks about Aaron Rodgers and how good he is, and I strongly think that people should talk about him. I think he is better than Favre. You're reading correctly, I said that Rodgers is better than Favre. OK, next topic.

The Bucks have been in the news and rumors lately as well, Michael Redd is healthy and is in the last year of his contract and there are speculations that he will be traded. That's not the only rumor that is out there, Herb Kohl has said that the Bradley Center is good for 8 more years and pro ceded to mention that he would not fund a new arena by himself he would need investors. That brings up the questions, are the Milwaukee Bucks going to be the Bucks much longer? We saw first hand last year the Seattle supersonics move to Oklahoma City and the bucks could be headed to Seattle next. More to come on that as the situation pans out.

Badger Basketball is right around the corner and Bo Ryan's team is hungry this year after being bumped out of the tourney by Xavier. Seniors Jason Bohannon and Trevon Hughes look to lead this young team against the Always tough Big 10 conference with last year's runner up MSU and powerhouse Purdue. This young inexperienced team will have to overcome a lot to make a big splash in the big 10. Its going to be a rough year for the badgers I'm afraid.

Not to much new with the Crew, off season is here and thoughts of spring training are already in my head. The questions have already been asked and people want some answers. Who are the Brewers going to add next year to put them back on top?? Pitching? Is Prince going to be traded? We will wait and see.

Until next time, Happy Halloween and stay healthy!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

51 games in

Here we are the start of June and the Brewers are in first place?? I guess I didn’t expect this out of the crew this early. Playing great and winning series is the type of baseball that I expect out of my team, whether that happens is another story. I was a little harsh in my previous entry at the beginning of the season, but I do like to be proven wrong from time to time. A couple things I wanted to touch on now that were just over 50 games played, starting pitching, offence/defense, and new additions to the ball club.

Pitching can make our break a franchise. An offence can help you win games by producing runs, but pitching wins you games by stopping the opposing team from scoring runs. To be honest, our pitching has been great. We have the second lowest ERA in the majors right now and were getting great starts and going deep in ballgames. Our bullpen has been on fire with Todd Coffey and the Hoff shutting people out in the later innings. Each one of the five (Guarrado, Suppan, Looper, Parra, Bush) have had rough outing during the season, but what pitching is going to be perfect all the time. I’m rather pleased with the performance of our pitching staff. I’m hoping that it does not start to fade and people start talking about trading Prince Fielder for pitching help again. I know I was one of those naysayers but I have changed my mind on that ship.

Our offence took a major hit a couple weeks back when Ricky Weeks injured his wrist and is done for the year. Major hole was created at second base. Ken Macha has done a nice job of rotating Counsel, McGhee to fill that spot. I am starting to really enjoy watching Casey Mcghee hit the ball, he’s got a nice future if he can hold his own at 2nd. Future is uncertain on how this situation will resolve itself. Weeks was staring to have the kind of year he was talked about having for 4 years now. His bat was on fire and his fielding was improving, thanks to Willie Randolph working with him. Hopefully with weeks gone, Randolph will focus his attention on up and comer Matt Gamel. Although his bat speaks for itself, his fielding speaks louder. I hope to see good things from the Gamel this year and maybe find his way onto the field more as the year goes on, he is our future 3rd baseman for now. Defensively were doing fine, an error here and there won’t kill a ball club.

Newest additions to the crew as of last May are, obviously Matt Gamel, pinch hitters Jody Gerut and Frank Calamanotto have been brought on to fill in that pinch hitter role that was craig counsel. Brad Nelson was given the option to AAA and am uncertain what happened after that. And as of today, reliever Jorge Julio was released by the team, they brought up reliever Mike Burns from AAA. We shall see how this pans out.

Until next time, Go Brewers!!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Brewers, brewers, brewers....Season is finally here!

So I know you can’t judge a book by its cover, and that’s how I am looking at the start of this Brewers season. Off to a rocky 4-8 start, the crew seems to be showing the flaws that we all picked apart in the off season. Starting pitching, bullpen, and offence are the issues that come to mind. Now I know as well as anyone that it is way too soon to be making the ultimate decision on where the crew is going to be in the standings at the end of the year, but surprisingly I’m kind of happy about the way things are going right now.

The starting pitching is exactly what I thought it would be, average. Suppan, Gallardo, Parra, Looper and Bush are how they line up, not in that order. They all have shown signs of greatness but no consistency. The only exception so far is Gallardo. The game he pitched against the Mets on 04/18 was the best I’ve seen him pitch in a while, but lets not get so excited, one game means he can pitch, when he starts putting together 3 or 4 good outing in a row is when I will know he is comfortable. The other 4 are easily replaceable. Suppan needs to be let go and the Brewers can eat his contract. I don’t think he was worth the money that he is getting. Parra is still young and needs work. Bush, again signs of greatness, but he gives up the big runs early and then settles down, how about the other way around son. Looper is another case of the Suppan’s. We picked him up because he has start under his belt. He still can pitch and will put up decent numbers, but not a guy you can count on. If I had to grade them right now, C-

The bullpen is my other troubled area of the team. We have a great group of guys who work hard and want to improve and help there team win. Villenueva was a guy last year who you could count on in the 6th, 7th and 8th innings if needed, this year he has been given a new role until Hoffman gets back from the DL, closer. Well, the brewers haven’t had many opportunities to get saves because it seems like there down every game, but the times that Villenueva has been in the game, he has not pitched well. My guess is that he has a little added pressure because of the title he has been given or expected to be given, his problem right now is all mental. He’s thinking about it too much in stead of going out there and just pitching. Once he realizes that, I believe he will be back to that guy that the crew can count on. Seth McClung is the other guy who I believe has a huge upside, that’s not a pun on Seth, he really is a huge guy. He is literally a presence on the mound, he’s big and tall and very inconsistent. When he got the opportunity to start last year he had some games where he was lights out. Since coming out of the bullpen this year, there are no lights flashing or even on right now. He’s been nothing short of terrible. His walks are defiantly troubling, I don’t know if he can’t find it or what, but right now when he’s in the game, I worry. On the up side to the bullpen, newcomer to the Brewers but not a newbie by any means is Todd Coffeey. This guy has been stellar. The past couple games that he has entered, the man has just been awesome. Last night he went 2 1/3 innings and recorded a save. Closer maybe??? Who knows, we shall see when Hoffmann gets back.

The Brewers offence is easily describable in one word, streaky. In baseball you’re considered a good hitter if you get a hit 30% of the time. The highest batting average ever was Roger Hornsby, who had a .403 average over the span of 4 years back in the 20’s, but the point is, ball players are not machines, everyone expects them to hit a home run or a base hit every time at the plate. Granted your going to have a 4-4 game once in a great while, but lets be for real. I guess the thing that bothers me for the most part, and this is why I love being a fan because I’m not the one standing at the plate, but I would give just about anything to be able to have that much talent to be able to be a ball player, but what bothers me is the strikeouts. The crew was just about as bad as you could get last year in this category, but I guess when you’re a home run hitting team, your going to have strikeouts everyday. Back to the topic, the Brewers have as good as a team as anybody, they just are very streaky. One week there hitting the seams off the ball and the next their hitting themselves on the way back to the dugout for striking out. I would really like to see them formed into more of a base hit small ball club. I really think that’s what wins ball games. Sure everybody likes the home runs, but to be honest, you live or you die by the long ball. So, while the offence finds itself, the crew needs to do a better job as a team to find other ways to score runs to compensate for the pitching this year. I think Dale Suavme is going to need to work hard this year. That’s why they kept him around.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m rather pleased on where we are 2 weeks into the season. I’ve said it before, I would much rather them struggle out of the gate and find themselves down the stretch and have momentum to make a run, than to start fast and fade late. I’m looking forward to a great season. Until next time…..

-Brewers fan for life

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March Madness 09'

The Dance:

It’s that time again, my favorite time of the year for sports. There’s nothing like March madness. 65 teams battling for supremacy, does it get any better? Personally I get giddy like a child when this time comes around. I love filling out my bracket and contemplating who is going to go far, who is going to get upset and who the sleepers are, and then talking with everybody about it. There’s a lot of buzz out there this year on who’s going to win. In many ways this year is kind of cool, there’s not a clear front runner to win. I guess we will see.

Every year I try to watch more and more basketball during the season so when tournament time rolls around I will be more prepared and could make better educated decisions. Well like years past, I tried, but to no avail, I didn’t watch enough. I did however watch enough to have a pretty good opinion. So here is my bracket in a nut shell and my pick to win.

My final four are as follows: Louisville, Memphis, North Carolina, and Villanova.

Louisville has flown under the radar this year even though they are the #1 overall team. Not much has been said about them, they will be the team to in the Midwest.

Memphis lost 5 seniors and still went undefeated in conference play this year. Granted they are in the conference USA which we all know is not as strong as the BCS schools. Watch out for them to get hot and a rather weak West division. They will meet there match in Louisville and there tourney will end. They were also the first school to go undefeated and not get a #1 seed.

North Carolina is the team to be in my opinion. If Ty Lawson is healthy, watch out. With the combination of Tyler Hansborough, I think the two can carry this team to a national title.

Villanova is my surprise in the final four this year. They too have flown under the radar and have not generated much buzz. There guard play is exceptional and I believe they are the best team in the East region.

My surprise teams: Purdue, Kansas, Xavier.
-Purdue has had a good year, but no one ever gives respect to the Big Ten conference so this year people will know who Purdue is.
-Kansas has had a lot of pressure, being the defending champs and all, but they will make a good showing getting to the elite 8 before getting knocked out by Louisville.
-Xavier is my sleeper this year. Being a 4 seed, there not too much of a sleeper, but watch out for them to knock Pitt off their undeserving pedestal and reach the elite 8.

Here is this year’s disappointment: Michigan State, Pitt and I hate to say it but Uconn.

Michigan State had a great year. Winning the Big ten conference. There loss to Ohio State in the conference tourney was not biggie for Izzo and friends. They knew they were getting a good seed anyways. Good seed or not, MSU is not getting past USC in the second round. USC is another good team and even with the loss of OJ Mayo, they are a team to watch out for. Better luck next year Spartans.

Pitt, what do I say about Pitt? Everybody is jumping on their bandwagon. They play in a very good big east conference and they rightfully deserve that # 1 seed that they have, but I don’t think they are all that great. If Blair gets into foul trouble early, Pitt may be watching in April. I have them losing to Xavier in the sweet 16 round.

Uconn, I guess we can start with that there overrated. I bet Uconn’s women could beat these guys. Big east conference is tough and they had a great year, I just think they don’t have enough stamina to get to the finals. I also having them losing in the sweet 16 round to Purdue.

A lot of speculation on this years snubs, how does St Mary’s California not get into the field of 65?? I know that every year there is always one cry baby, but Arizona did not deserve to get in over St Mary’s. Arizona lost 5 of 6 down the stretch and somehow they got in. Name recognition is why. They’ve made the tourney some 16 years in a row, and the committee didn’t want to break that streak. Granted the Pac 10 is stronger than west coast conference, but oh well. The other snub that is worth mentioning is Penn State. The big ten had enough mediocre teams make the dance, one more was not necessary. Hell, they almost lost the other night in the NIT to George Mason.

Now this would not be a WI blog if I didn’t mention our teams that our in the tourney. WI is a 12 seed and they play Florida State on Friday night at 9pm CT. Marquette, a 6 seed, plays at 11:15 am CT and they play Utah State. Its hard for me not to want either to win, but knowing that each team has there up’s and downs I had to make decisions. I’m not one of those guys who have Marquette and WI playing in the National title game, because that just would never happen. I have WI losing to Florida State in the first round. They were just not that good this year. They seem to fade in every game they play. They are actually lucky they even got in this year. They were I think the 5th last team to get in or something. Marquette is just unlucky with Dominic James getting hurt. I really thought that they were a final four team, but after the loss of James, they just aren’t the same with Maurice Acker. It’s actually sad because it’s extremely rare that you have three 4th year seniors play all four years with each other and have a real chance at being a contender, and to fall short because of something unexpected is horrible. My heart goes out to Marquette and I’m extremely grateful for the 4 years that James, McNeal and Matthews put in. You will be missed.

Along with the buzz of the tourney itself, people have been griping about what changes need to be made to make the tourney better. The only suggestions I have is that the whole regular conference season, teams battle each other for a conference title. Great, you won the regular season title. Now you get to play in a tournament to see who gets an automatic bid to the tourney. To me, it kind of seems redundant. For example, Michigan State won the big ten championship. They in turn have a bad day and lost to Ohio State. Granted MSU was going to the dance anyways, but where is the incentive to win the regular season, other than bragging rights. I don’t know, just a thought. I guess it gives every team a shot to get into the tourney. Just seems backwards to me. But that is my only suggestion.

So with that said, have a great tourney season, and go Badgers, and Golden Eagles.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Badger's Woes Continue for Bo Ryan's Team

The Badgers woes continue Thursday night at home vs. Minnesota. The badgers have only lost 3 times in the Kohl center since Bo Ryan took over as head coach. The game was a bitter sweet disappointment. I had the opportunity to watch most of the game, and although it was entertaining and exciting, it was missing something. Well a win for the badgers is one, but it almost seemed like at the end of the game, the badgers forgot how to play the game. Minnesota’s press defense was just too much for the badgers down the stretch.

The Badger started out cold, finding them down early, but soon took control of the game. At one point going on a 16-2 run. The game seemed like it was going to all one sided. At half the badgers were up by 10 and things were looking good. With about 3 minutes to go in the game everything went south for Bucky. Minnesota’s press defense shut down any kind of momentum that the badgers were carrying. Minnesota’s Lawrence Westbrook, cousin of Philadelphia Eagle’s running back, hit a 3 pointer with 2 sec in the game to send the game into overtime. The badgers had not answer in overtime and the game was over.

Although the Badgers are 12-5 overall and 3-2 in the conference, defending the big ten title will be a tough challenge for the men in red. The Badgers have not been ranked since the beginning of the season, and with 4 teams from the big 10 being ranked (Michigan State, Purdue, Michigan, Minnesota) the road looks a little bleak. Coming off a tough loss to Purdue on the 11th of Jan, the Badger now on a 2 game skid going to Iowa need to find themselves and continue to work hard to turn this season around. Although 12-5 sounds and looks good on paper, that record won’t hold up. I just don’t believe that the badgers are strong enough to compete in a stacked big 10 conference this year.

I’ve been a Badger fan for all my life, but I was trying to remember the last time I thought that they didn’t have a shot at winning the big 10 title. Umm, can’t think of one. This year is a little different. I just don’t see the senior leadership out of the players that need to be setting an example. Marcus Landry, great player, I just don’t think that he does it for me on this team. Joe Krabbenhoft is a solid presence, but doesn’t pose as a real threat. There are some positives. Were a real young team this year with a log of talent that just needs experience.

I would be willing to bet you that Bo Ryan will work some magic and we will see this team in hunt for the title, he always does. And I don’t expect anything to change this year either. With 13 games left on the regular season schedule anything is possible. That’s all for now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Should Fielder be traded??

Lots of buzz going around about Price Fielder and should he be traded for starting pitching. I have very mixed opinions about this matter and everyday I feel different, but I think I've come to a decision and am ready to share it.

Its no surprise that the "Prince" is a very fitting name for the young gentle giant. The couple years he's been in the league he has had quite a presence for the crew. From the huge shifts opposing teams put on when he's at the plate to the whole controversy of should prince eat a cheeseburger, there's been a lot of talk. But non bigger than should he be traded. Last year I felt he was in a sophomore slump, if you can consider him a sophomore. Coming off a huge year where he hit 50 home runs and had huge expectations coming into 2008, I felt like he hit a wall. Was not the same guy we saw the year before, different attitude, not happy with himself, or his contract. He publicly said that he was not happy with his 1 year deal and he felt like he kinda got screwed and his comment eventually screwed him. As most of you know, Fielder was horrible the beginning of the year. He ended the year with 34 dingers and in my book turned out to be just average.

Now in no way shape or form is this guy not worth the money that he is asking, the question becomes, is the money good enough for him?? There have been numbers thrown about how much he is expected to make, and if no deal is done, he may end up with arbitration money, and I think the fan's want to see a contract done. If he's going to be here, sign the kid to a deal and lets move on. We have enough drama with Brett Favre, and I'm pretty sure he's in NY now. Not to compare the two, but no one likes the dog and pony show, I mean no one. Well, maybe somebody, but not me.

Here's the thing if you try and sign him to a multi year deal, do we even know if he wants to stay here in Milwaukee? I believe he has made it pretty clear that he is going to leave here in 2011 when his arbitration ends. If that's the case, get rid of him now. If he doesn't want to play here, it could turn out to be like Manram. Who knows. In agreement with him not wanting to stay here, there are some issues of why he shouldn't stay here. His weight could be an issue for some people, his defense could also be an issue. It could be argued that both his weight and his defense show that he would be better suited for a AL team, just like his daddy. Whenever Prince comes to the plate, I'm always thinking Home run. He is a dead pull hitter and generally is swinging for the fence. That's great and all, but when we need a base hit to win the game, I think your mentality should change a little. I just don't see him as a base hit clutch hitter, and that's OK, but the Brewers need to take that into effect when they think about signing him. Since Prince came onto the scene sports writers everywhere have classified him as a "pure hitter." To me, that's screaming AL. One last issue that is pretty heavy, no pun intended, is if Prince leaves, who is going to protect Ryan Braun, and I don't mean on water street. You take a big bat out of the line up and I guarantee Braunys walks increase next year. And to mind, we don't have anyone right now to fill that spot.

So here's what I think. Right now, the free agent market is pretty much dried up. All the big names have been swallowed up by the Yankees. I say, we let him take arbitration money, and see how the season plays out, make him an offer he can't refuse. Starting pitching you ask, well there's still a possibility that Ben Sheets comes back, and Bam, were basically the team we had at the start of 2008. And from what I remember people were saying pretty good things about the crew last year. Starting pitching will come in time, and if you have to make a big trade to get it, you better ask yourself, how bad do we need starting pitching. I just don't see letting a guy like Fielder walk out the door. And for who?? Pure hitters just don't show up on Doug Melvin's doorstep everyday. Make the kid happy and give him the money and lets focus on getting back to the playoffs in 2009!!!

Friday, January 9, 2009

First Brewers outlook for 2009

It has not been officially announced as of yet, but Trevor Hoffman has decided to leave the sunny hill of San Diego and come to the brew town for a 1 year deal. $6 million contract with no option for 2010. $1.5 in incentives will make this contract what he was paid last year in San Diego. Only signing a one year deal was an advantage to Hoffman who wants to find out if he likes Milwaukee and can decide from there.

Signing a closer poses a lot of questions for Melvin. Why go get a closer to finish out games, when we have no one to get us to the 9th inning?? Now I'm not saying that I have little faith in our starting pitching(anyone who knows my personality knows that I'm extremely sarcastic), but I do have some concerns. Putting the Franchise on the shoulders on a young pitcher who just came off major knee surgery is risky. Can Yovani Gallardo fill that void, I think he can. He has proven that he can handle pressure, he deserves to be our ace. After the starting spot, our rotation looks kind rocky. Its kind of like putting names in a hat and hoping that the name you pick is going to have a decent day. Don't get me wrong but the 4 others I have in mind have had some good games. Some, is the key word. Here's what my rotation looks like for 2009.

1. Yovani Gallardo. Young talent with a huge upside. He was injured most of last year, but made an incredible comeback to pitch in game 1 of the NLDS. He's my #1.

2. Manny Parra. Manny is 1 more year away from being a great pitcher. Hes got all the right tools, just needs some experience. He's the only lefty in my rotation.

3. Dave Bush. Bush has made an leap in my book. His run at a no hitter last year was one for the ages. He grew up a lot in that game. Again, young talent, but semi inconsistent.

4. Jeff Suppan. I'm not the biggest fan of Jeff, but his contract says that he needs to be a starter, but not really worthy of starting rotation. NLCS MVP in 06 is the only he can claim too. His stamina is not what is used to be, but what he brings to the rotation, is experience. He has pitched in pressure situations, he's been to the world series and knows what it takes. He's almost like an old Honda. Still runs great, but has its issues.

5. I've put a lot of thought into this last spot. I saw him pitch a couple times last year and his stuff was great. He's tall and red, and knows how to hit. Seth McClung rounds out my rotation. He's probably not the best for the spot, but he is the best option we have right now. The only beef I have with this guy is, he is really hit or miss. He started his career with Tampa bay as a starter, and then was sent to AAA where he was converted into a closer. There was talk of Seth going back to that starter role, but we know now that he will not obtain that role.

The next thing I would like to talk about is our defense. There are some positions that need to be addressed this year from last. Here's my thoughts.

1B. Prince Fielder. Lots of speculation over this guy the past 2 years. Is he overweight, should he be eating meat, is he worth the money?? Tons of questions that need to be answered. Flat out, the guy can hit the hell out of a baseball, no doubt. But can he be consistent. I don't think so. Every time he comes to the plate, I'm hoping for a home run, cause his average speaks for itself. His defense is kinda the same way, spoty at best. Our best bet for 2009 is to try and package him up for starting pitching. He is eligible for arbitration this year and is going to cost the crew a ton of money. He's kinda arrogant and his agent, man what a dick. My solution is bring rookie Matt Gamel up and stick him at first. We still keep a lefty bat, and shotty defense, but he's not as much as a risk at first than at his natural position at 3B. Save's the crew some cash and still keeps a good bat in the rotation. Hell, he could be great at first, who knows.

2B. Ricky Weeks has gotten some attention as well. Is he the man to be our second baseman. When Ray Durham was brought onto the team last year, it put some pressure on young weeks, but he did improve down the stretch last year. He stays at that second and hopefully can learn from his mistakes in 08 and step up.

SS. JJ Hardy has been under some scrutiny lately like everybody else. He is still my SS. Hardy is one of the faces of the organization and he needs to remain there. Clutch hitter he has turned out to be and his average was lights out last year. Alcides Escobar is our other option. Untested but they say this kid is for real. Hardy will be the starter for the year, as I think he should, but there may be some changes if Escobar is for real. Ultimately I fell that keeping both these guys on the diamond is going to key. I don't care who plays short and who plays 3rd, they both need to play.

3B. Bill Hall is out, and either JJ or Escobar needs to play here. Depending on what happens with Fielder this year, we may see Gamel getting some playing time here as well.

OF. Our outfield is pretty well set with Mike Cameron not going to NY as of yet. Still not sure of that. Ryan Braun, enough said, Corey Hard in Right field is a solid bet. He does however scare me when he forgets how to hit the ball. Two times last year Hart was in a horrible slump where he looked like a little leager. He has been branded as a swing at the first pitch kinda guy. He is a good hitter when he stops thinking about what he's doing. Mike Cameron I still feel is a stop gap for something. I don't think he is as good as he once was. Gold glove or not, I will always remember him making 2 horrible plays last year in the first game of the NLDS. Two fly balls that looked easy, although I know they weren't, but a play that a Gold Glover should have made.

Ken Macha is our new manager, and I don't know enough about the guy to make a good opinion on him. I know he came from Oakland where he had some good teams. He's a Pittsburgh guy which we all know is good(not sarcastic). Keeping Dale Sveume was a very smart move. I don't think he was right for the manager, he seems to quite and has personal relationship with some players and that would not have worked out if he was the manager. I guess we will find out what Ken can do for Milwaukee.

This bullpen is ever changing, I will have an update in a couple weeks when its more set in stone. Overall this year is going to be the same as last. I think you need to go out and get Ben Sheets. Sign him to a year deal and work it out from there. We need another solid starter in the rotation. On second thought, if you do get Sheets, you need to get another arm to back up Sheets when he's injured for 10 games. Poking a little fun at old Ben. That's it for now.