Monday, November 8, 2010

The Harris/Roenicke Barometer

Sometimes sports fans are gifted with polarizing events that separate the wheat from the chaff. The intelligent fan from the fanatic. The Paul Ryan from the Christine O'Donnell.

This week, Wisconsin sports fans were gifted with two such events.

The first was newly minted Brewers manager Ron Roenicke expressing his love for the "small ball." At his press conference he clearly showed that moving up a base if worth giving up an out. An impatience that only old-school baseball fans (and people who think Carlos Gomez is "exciting") could love.

"At times, you're going to say why are you running so much? That's the style I like to play. I've seen it win a lot of games over the years. At times we're going to get thrown out. But over the course of the season we're going to score more runs by being aggressive."

Speaking of Carlos Gomez, I find it hard to believe our new manager will jettison the excitingly fasty small-bally player. I mean, maybe he makes some out but by God is he aggressive! Last year Brewers bemoaned the fact that the vast majority of Fielders home runs were solo shots. This year they applaud the fact that Fielder will have fewer opportunities to hit multi-run bombs thanks to a managers fundamental inability to properly calculate risk/reward.

94% of fans in a recent Journal poll support trading outs for bases.

As of yet there is no poll on the Packers apparent decision to jettison Al Harris, the 36 year old cornerback who destroyed every part of his knee last season. Harris, despite not being activated, has practiced the last three weeks with the Packers. I repeat, Al Harris has been practicing for three solid weeks and has not been activated.

Folks, this is a pure performance issue. Al Harris is simply not as good as the other options on this football team. He is no longer the starting cornerback, and a nickel back who can't play special teams simply does not belong on the roster. The big worry is that Al Harris will end up on the Vikings. So what? The Vikings are a terrible football team with three wins against other terrible football teams. I hope Harris does end up in Minnesota because it will mean he won't be relevant this year.

The point is that these are simple head v. heart issues. I love to see a stolen base. It's fun. Runner v. pitcher and catcher in a battle of wits, speed and deception. In a vacuum a stolen base is cool. Stealing bases as a philosophy to score more runs is stupid. It's stupider when you look at the Brewers lineup. The Brewers scored 750 runs last year. The Cardinals score 736. Small bally San Diego scored a paltry 665 (woohoo PetCo). The Brewers are built to mash. Five players had more than 23 home runs last season, when you look at every player on the roster (starters, pitchers, backups, Zaun) the Brewers still slugged a whopping .424. That is third best in the NL.

In 2010 the Brewers had the second most home runs, 4th highest OBP, 3rd highest OPS, 4th in runs and second most total bases in the national league. The also led the league in at0bats, a stat that is sure to plummet once we start giving away outs. HITTING WAS NOT THE PROBLEM! There is zero reason to change the Milwaukee approach to offense. Offense did not lose the Brewers games. The Brewers are a power team that has no problem scoring runs from first. If you disagree you're an illogical fan who likes speed more than winning.

Right now the Packers have the 3rd best pass defense in football. Al Harris is an unnecessary risk that cannot contribute anything to stopping the run or more important to special teams. Sorry, I love him, but he is superfluous and activating him makes the Packers worse. If you disagree you're listening to your heart and not your head. I hope Al Harris finds success somewhere, but he has no place on the 2010 Packers roster.

In short, if you like Ron Roenicke's base-running philosophy for a team that is already scoring runs by the boatload, or if you think Al Harris should be kept because he's been on the team so long you are probably a witch...I mean irrational.



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Warlock male witches are called warlocks or wizards my god man have you not read Harry Potter ;)

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