Thursday, May 27, 2010

Brewers June 1 Pitching Staff


There is just no room and no reason to keep Suppan and Vargas. For that matter, there is no reason to keep Doug Davis. The above 12 are the best arms the Brewers currently have. I suppose the jury is still really out on Capuano but keeping Suppan and Vargas around while losing the possibility of an arm that can actually contribute is foolish.

We'll see how Melvin actually plays it. I'm guessing there is no way he swallows his pride and jettisons Suppan but as I am the constant pessimist, I'd love to be proven wrong.

Jake Peavy is an Idiot

The east coasts version of the Journal Sentinel ran a piece yesterday about Hoffman struggling, and the evil organization that refuses to stick with him. Jake Peavy was more than willing to bash the Brewers:

“He’s the epitome of what the game’s about, playing the game the right way and being the ultimate professional,” said Chicago White Sox starter Jake Peavy, a former teammate.

“You can’t help but to pull for a guy like that, and I hate to see what’s happened. I don’t necessarily agree, looking from the outside in, with how they treated the situation. Everybody goes through tough times. And for him to throw the eighth inning of a game and then somebody else save it, I just think that’s as disrespectful as can be.”

I can only assume Peavy is crossing his fingers and hoping his White Sox never have to respect Hoffman. I really doubt he'd be hammering Ozzie for taking Trev out of the closers role if it was his wins Trevor was pissing over the outfield wall.

Hoffman, despite a total inability to get guys out or throw his fastball for strikes, continued to insist he was still perfectly find and demanded the ball in the 9th. How is this not disrespectful? To his teammates, his fans and the organization Hoffman basically said "screw you, I can still do this!" Reminds me of a 95 year old grandma who refuses to give up the keys to the Oldsmobile.

Thankfully, it appears Macha is ready to end this grave injustice that has been inflicted upon the Closer.

Hoffman, for whatever reason (yet again a simple lack on the sunk cost concept is likely in play) the Brewers feel it is imperative to get Hoffman back in the closers role. I assume/hope that this is an attempt to increase his market value in order to make him tradeable. Excellent in theory but in practice...who could Melvin possibly get for Hoffman? Hardy was cheap and Melvin was able to turn that tarnished brass into a center fielder likely to set the organization back at that position for two years. Hoffman is at best an untrustworthy closer owed $8 million. Any club taking him off the Brewers hands will also have to pay him a half million buyout if they don't want him in 2011. There's just no value there, even if he does start to pitch well for the next couple weeks.

Trevor Hoffman has proven he can no longer pitch well in high leverage situations. What exactly has he done to "earn" the spot back? Let Braddock or Axford save games for the rest of the year. They'll learn to pitch to major leaguers or we'll learn that they don't belong on a ball club that has a chance to win (meaning next year's team of course).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Cold Weather Super Bowl

They should absolutely play the Super Bowl anywhere and everywhere. Why?

1. There is no such thing as “neutral” or “ideal” conditions.

Sometimes the Super Bowl is in hot weather venues that get hot. Sometimes it rains. Sometimes indoors they blow off a bunch of smoky fireworks at halftime. Sometimes the punt hits the scoreboard. You get the idea.

I’ve heard many people (some named “Mike”) argue that cold weather would have some sort of special impact on the game, but there is no such thing as “normal” weather. Normal is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes the snow causes a fumble, but sometimes the sun causes a muffed punt.

2. I don’t care about the people actually attending the game.

The vast, vast majority Super Bowl viewers will watch the game on TV. Since the type of fan who attends the Super Bowl is different than your run-of-the-mill football fan, I could envision a scenario in which there are empty seats if the weather is bad, but I find it more likely that those tickets would find their way into the hands of someone who wanted to use them. And I don’t care. If you didn’t want to use them, you could have given them to me.

3. I don’t care about the media.

The Super Bowl is not media vacation day. Your job if you are a reporter, in case you forgot, is to provide news coverage of a football game. It is not to gawk at scantily clad enhanced women on South Beach.

If you can’t find a hotel in Green Bay, tough. Stay in Appleton or Milwaukee or Sheboygan or even Chicago, and drive or hop on a Megabus. Don’t like the nightlife? I don’t care. Find a dive and talk to Rusty the trucker at the end of the bar for awhile. You are there to report. If you want a vacation, take a vacation.

4. Bad weather games are fun to watch most of the time.

Sometimes they suck. Rain can really muck things up. But sometimes they’re awesome. ESPN replays the Ice Bowl every year for a reason. The snow globe game was awesome. Viniateri kicking in the snow was cool. I even liked the old Fog Bowl, where not being able to see was half the fun. Snow games rule in general. There is no reason that it should not snow on the Super Bowl.

5. It’s fair.

There are 32 teams in the NFL, but only about 6 of the home cities benefit from the Super Bowl. Basically, the media’s desire to gawk at women on South Beach costs Chicago and Green Bay and Buffalo and Cincinnati and Cleveland and Pitt and Denver and Kansas City and every other cold or small city with a team millions of dollars by not allowing them to have the Super Bowl.

6. Detroit had a Super Bowl. So did Jacksonville.

7. Baseball plays their championship in cold weather.

The November Classic could be played in Florida or LA or Arizona every year. I know it’s a series and so you can move back and forth between venues, which is different, but baseball doesn’t care about weather or city size, and they easily could.

8. “No one wants to go to X in February” isn’t true.

Denver has skiing. Green Bay has all sorts of history, as does Pitt. Chicago is a huge city with a ton of stuff to do, as is Philly. New Jersey is close to New York. If you are concerned with selling these Super Bowls, there are ways to sell these Super Bowls.

9. I don’t care about the players.

If you are playing in the Super Bowl; if you have earned the great honor of playing in the Super Bowl, I don’t care about whether or not you have enough night clubs to go out to in the 3 days before the Super Bowl. I really don’t. After you win, you can go to New Orleans all you want.

All of the arguments against having a Northern Super Bowl strike me as serving a group of people that I could not care less about. Weather is part of football. When you play football as a kid, you play in whatever weather you have. If you play on Thanksgiving, you’ve probably played in a cold game or two. High school kids play in cold and in slop, and don’t earn a cent for doing so. Weather is normal. The Super Bowl is already fake enough. The NFL should open the field to everyone for the simple reason that it would make the game more interesting, and I would argue, better.

If the Brewers do not call up Cappy, everyone should be fired.

I’m not going to tell you that Cappy is going to show up and be an All-Star and save the season. I’m not going to tell you that he isn’t going to hurt himself again. I will tell you that:

1. Cappy > Suppan and a bunch of other guys.

2. Cappy is cheap.

3. You need pitchers.

4. He might be quite good.

5. Even if he is bad, he will still be better than Suppan.

They have to call him up in 4 days or he can become a free agent. They must do this.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

And you thought it couldn't get any worse

I kind of feel like Attanassio just shot my dog.

Of Melvin, the GM whom Attanasio inherited when he purchased the Brewers in September 2004, Attanasio said, "Doug Melvin is very, very secure. You're not going to see any GM changes here. Absolutely not. Doug Melvin has built up too much credibility. You're going to have to a lot more than even a bad season for him to have any issues with his job security. To all of our fans, look, it feels great to get it off your chest, but you're going to have to be dealing with our general manager for a long time."

Friday, May 21, 2010

40 Man Roster Shuffle

Gregg Zaun's injury last night is going to require some serious shuffling (and some hard decisions about) the 40 man roster. Your Milwaukee Brewers may look quite a bit different in a few hours.

And hey, it's nice to know that they can still occasionally beat the Pirates.

UPDATE: Lucroy has officially been added to the roster, to make room the Brewers moved Riske to the 60-day DL opening a spot on the 40 man (I have no idea why that didn't happen earlier, Riske is recovering from Tommy John).

That leaves Gomez (if activated Stern would obviously ship out) and Braddock...whose call up would make things very interesting. If they really want to add a pitcher, at this point it would make sense to even Melvin as Braddock needs a 40-man spot and there aren't a lot of other places to turn.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


That is Trevor Hoffman's WHIP after the disaster today. It is the worst on the team.

Update: Baseball Reference has him at 2.154. The reason that they are correct is that I credited Hoffman with an extra 1/3 of an inning, however, as he failed to record an out, he apparently pitched 0 innings, not 1/3.


Every day you pitch you crush people's souls.

Is Anything More Depressing Than The Brewer Bullpen?

I can't even really criticize the decision-making from last night. Yo had to come out, and Coffee is one of your best relievers (in theory). Yet all of Yo's hard work, once again, was gone in the blink of an eye. Here are the WHIPs of everyone in the pen not named Carlos:

Hawkins - 1.714
Suppan - 1.820
Stetter - 1.5
Vargas - 1.979
Hoffman - 1.769
Coffey - 1.412
Parra - 1.426

Now check out the Cardinals:

Franklin - 1.043
McClellan - 1.163
Boggs - 1.304
Motte - 1.463
Reyes - 0.882
Miller - 0.682
Hawksworth - 1.630

And Hawksworth, WHIP dog though he is, has only a 2.35 ERA somehow. Basically, the best non-Carlos Villanueva member of the Brewer bullpen would be confined to mop-up duty for the Cardinals most of the time. (Well, not really since La Russa makes 100 pitching changes per game witch requires everyone to pitch, but you get the idea.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Will Macha Make It To Cincy?

Another piss poor performance, another home sweep. Is this Ken's last game?

Macha or no, I will be at both games. Contemplating brining a paper bag for my head.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Organizational Bullpen Cluster F'

Two things I read this morning really drive home the futility of this season.

The first is Macha's approach to the bullpen, spelled out:

If there is one thing you can expect from a Ken Macha managed team, it's a depleted bullpen.

To be fair, Macha hasn't been blessed with a huge arsenal of starting pitching, but he hasn't helped either. Pulling pitchers from games early for no reason, pitching relievers on consecutive days for multiple innings are the perfect way to end up in the current situation they're in...

n the first 34 games this season, the Brewers relievers have had to appear in way to many consequetive games. I'm not faulting Ken Macha entirely. Short starts have lead to a lot of innings the bullpen has had to log. My biggest problem is what games the relievers were used in. Todd Coffey and Carlos Villanueva have worked in back to back games unneccessarily a couple of times. What is the point of pitching one of those pitchers in a blowout game if they pitched the night before? The only thing that can do is where down an arm.

I'm not really concerned about how they fare in that game, but the road that lies ahead. Todd Coffey was overused last year and has started to see it catch up with him. His velocity is down and his pitches aren't moving as much. Mitch Stetter saw a similar decline at the end of last season when he lost all ability to throw a strike.

On paper, the Brewers should have one of the best bullpens in the National League. The starting pitching is a big reason for the large amount of innings, but Ken Macha is also to blame. If he is unable to show any ability to manage a bullpen, it will cost the Brewers mightily. Possibly, also his job.

It's pretty clear Macha is pretty well clueless when it comes to the pen. Sadly, Melvin seems to be afflicted with the same disease:

The Brewers are still in their sixth week of playing regular season baseball, and they already need reinforcements for an overworked bullpen.

The team on Saturday optioned outfielder Adam Stern back to Triple-A Nashville and promoted right-handed John Axford in time for an afternoon game against the Phillies. Axford gave the Brewers a 13-man pitching staff, and manager Ken Macha said it would remain that way for the "near future."

"Whether that's a week or 10 days, something like that," Macha said.

Axford was excellent in Spring Training and continued to pitch well at Nashville, where he was 3-2 with a 2.03 ERA (13 1/3 innings, 3 earned runs) and two saves in 12 games.

What exactly is the point of calling up righty John Axford, 27 year old never-will-be who is currently pitching mediocre (don't let McCalvy fool you, look at him numbers) in AAA? The Brewers have potential Closer of the future Zach Braddock absolutely twirling at Nashville. 16.2 K/9, 3.38 K/BB, 1.2 WHiP....the kid might just be the real deal. He is 22 years old and is dominating. Why pass him over when the team is in desperate need of back of the pen help??

I imagine Melvin is worried somewhat about contract situation, but the past few seasons have shown players are willing to reward teams giving them a chance early and will trade short term huge deals for security. Worst case scenario he comes up, kills it, doesn't sign a deal and the Brewers lose a couple months of control. Big deal, he's a bullpen arm, you aren't going to give him an 8 year deal anyway.

Damn the tiny little contractual risk, bring up Braddock and give the team the best chance to win.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cardinals Collective Monocles Fall Into Their Collective Martinis

Seriously, what a bunch of namby-pamby wusses. Carlos Lee popped a ball up, got mad at himself and spiked his bat. This self-criticism, despite containing no shirt-untucking, led pitcher Chris Carpenter to start a riot.* Tony La Russa, who was probably drunk, supports his pitcher:

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa contended that Carpenter did nothing wrong.

"Well, routinely now, hitters pop up a pitch they think they should do [something] with, and they start making noises, and that really is disrespectful to the pitcher," La Russa said. "Most of the pitchers just turn around and ignore it. Carp doesn't. And I think Carp's in the right.

"I think respect should go both ways. He gets you out, he gets you out. Just zip it and go back. He gives it up, you zip it and let the guy go around the bases. Most pitchers, they let the guys jabber. I don't think Carlos Lee is anything special as far as a guy who disrespects, but it's so common now."

My understanding is that when the Cardinals lose they get mad if the other team celebrates, and that if they succeed and get a player out, they get mad if the failing player expresses emotion about failing. Carlos Lee makes a salient point:

"I guess he's allowed to yell and say anything he wants because when Lance got that hit, he was screaming and yelling and saying all kinds of stuff out there," Lee said. "But as a hitter, we can't get emotional? Why? I got a pitch to hit and got mad because I should have hit it and I popped it up. I got mad at myself."

The Cardinals are such assholes.

*And yes, this is entirely Carpenter's fault. He had Lee out. Lee wasn't "showing him up" because you can't show someone up if they get you out. He was the equivalent of the ump who follows a guy back to the dugout just because he feels like starting something. What a jackass.

This is nothing new for the Cardinals, of course.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

He's Back

Poor Ned Yost. Sure he's back in the game, but boy was he dealt a shitty hand.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Today we attempt to answer several questions. Do people still try to bait Joe into stupid answers even if there is no Ken Tremendous to read them? Is Joe still providing the same stupid answers? Is Joe actually writing these or is it some ESPN intern? Let’s find out.

(11:02 AM)
We've got Joe!

If you’re the ESPN chat “Buzzmaster” do you get to put it on your resume? I totally would. You know all that buzz at ESPN? I was the master of that buzz. If you’re detecting less buzz now than in the old days, well, that’s because someone isn’t the ol’ Buzzmaster anymore.

Joe Morgan
(11:03 AM)
Congratulations to Dallas Braden for such a fantastic performance last Sunday. Now, maybe he can move on from the A-Rod incident and just concentrate on having a good career.

And thank you, Joe Morgan, for bringing up the A-Rod thing while at the same time claiming that Dallas Braden can move past the A-Rod thing. Why not just “Congratulations to Dallas Braden for his perfect game.” You just have to mention A-Rod, don’t you.

Xander (Philly)

I know its a marathon, but the Phillies have the best record in the national league AND smoked the Cardinals 3 out of 4 all while missing Jimmy Rollins and JA Happ. National league isnt even close...

1. The Phillies are tied with the Padres for the best record in the NL.

2. Winning a 4 game series 3 to 1 at home is what you’re supposed to do.

3. Those 3 wins were by the scores of 2-1, 4-0, and 7-2. Two of those are comfortable wins, but they’re not exactly blowouts. Smoked? Really?

4. The Mets and Nationals are only 2.5 games behind the Phillies.

5. Jimmy Rollins was a piece of shit last year (.250/.296/.423). Moreover, he was a piece of shit in a league leading 725 PAs. Missing him isn’t that big a deal (though he has been hot in the early going this year, in a very small sample size). It’s probably offset almost entirely by no longer having Pedro Feliz on the team.

6. The NL West appears to have several quality teams. There is baseball played in the Pacific time zone, believe it or not.

7. The apostrophe is right above and next to the Shift button, AND you clearly managed to find that.

Joe Morgan
(11:04 AM)
I don't think you can ever discard the Cardinals because of their pitching. The Cardinals are the closest to the Phillies, but I've said since the beginning of the season that the Phillies are the best team in the NL.

I’ve tried hard to discard the Cardinals, but they keep finding their way home from the dump somehow. And now I have this restraining order…
I’m glad that Joe found someone to support his preconceived notions. That’s just what we need.

Travis (Houston)
The Astros may have a bad record but upside is are pitching has been great but wins dont come what should the Astros do?

That Texas education system is doing a bang-up job. The Astros pitching has been OK, but it certainly hasn’t been great. There are 8 teams in the NL that have given up fewer runs than the Astros, which makes them the definition of mediocre. The Astros biggest problem is obviously offense. They’re the only team in all of baseball not to have cracked triple digits in runs scored yet. If Travis was literate he could have looked that up himself. Instead he needs Joe to tell him, probably while using some form of the word consistent. And he’ll probably repeat himself. And he’ll probably repeat himself.

Joe Morgan
(11:05 AM)
You have to have offense. Everyone can talk about how great pitching staffs are, but you have to score runs. To win consistently, you have to be able to score runs. The best teams can both pitch and score runs.

Did you know that you have to score runs? To be consistent? Score runs? Score? Runs?

John (Nevada)
Joe, what (if anything) can the Cubs do to get things turned around in the NL Central???

I’ll take one of your 3 question marks John. Joe can have the other. I’m not sure what to do with the third. Maybe I’ll leave it there and create proper punctuation. Seriously, what is it about online chats that turns people into complete dunderheads. Are they so excited about getting their little question in that they just type as quickly as possible? And if that’s the case, why add extra punctuation?

Anyway, the Cubs pitching has suffered this year. They’re given up more runs than all but 5 NL teams, and pitching has carried the Cubs for several years now, but to me it mostly looks like they’ve been unlucky and poorly managed. They have several bullpen arms with good numbers, but the bad ones have been in too many high leverage situations. Couple that with the fact that Alfonso Soriano has apparently stolen Aramis Ramirez’s supply of PEDs, and you come up with a slow start. Much as I dislike the Cubs, I think things will turn around for them in short order.
The Cubs are also one of the few teams that Joe actually watches!

Joe Morgan
(11:06 AM)
I've been watching the Cubs for the last 3-4 years and I always thought they were a good team. Every year there seems to be something missing. This year it's the same. I just do not see them as being a really good team this year, unfortunately.

So he sees them as being a really good team, except for one thing which he can’t define, and also, they’re not a really good team.

That one thing?


Joe Morgan
(11:07 AM)
But things could change. Without Zambrano in the rotation, I don't think they'll be a good team. If he is in the rotation, he has to pitch up to his capabilities.

Ah ha! Maybe that one thing is Carlos Zambrano! But it looks like if he’s in the rotation he can still be missing one thing and not pitching up to his capabilities. But isn’t that two things then? D’oh! My brain!

Pete (NC)
Are you surprised by the Nationals being over .500? Can they keep this up?

Joe Morgan
(11:08 AM)
I think I'm pleasantly surprised.

What, are you Peter King now?

I thought they would be better. I am surprised that they've played so well. Part of the reason is Livan Hernandez has pitched great for them. He's a veteran and when a veteran pitches well, it gives the team a little more confidence. You know he can sustain it.

Oakland Athletic 1st baseman Daric Barton: Hey Eric, why so down? Another debilitating injury?

Oakland Athletic Utility Infielder Eric Chavez: Nah, it’s not that. I thought my 72nd comeback was going great, but I’m just not inspired by Dallas Braden.

Daric: Even with the perfect game and the sub-1 WHIP?

Eric: Yeah, he’s just too young and I’m not sure he’ll be able to keep it up! I wish we had someone more like 35-year-old Washington National SP Livan Hernandez. His 4-1 record really must instill Ryan Zimmerman with the confidence he needs to go out there and play his heart out.

Daric: And his unsustainable .188 BABIP and the fact that he has literally stranded 99% of baserunners so far probably doesn’t worry him at all. After all, this guy is a veteran. We know he’ll keep this up.

Eric. Yeah, I mean, sure, he hasn’t posted an ERA under 4.80 since 2005, and in most of recent history he’s been in the upper 5’s, but that’s no reason to think he won’t maintain his current 1.04 ERA. Livan Hernandez would magically heal all of my wounds if we had him.

Daric: Everyone knows that when you turn 35 you turn into some kind of pitching genius. Man, I sure wish we had Livan Hernandez.

RJ (Boston)
Mr. Morgan,Love your work, sir. Question... do you think we will ever see another speed renaissance, like we had in the 80's, with the Cardinals and Royals (and astroturf)? I miss those Herzog teams, terribly.

I’ll be the first one to admit that stolen bases are exciting. I’m a fan. But we’ve learned something about stolen bases, namely:

1. You have to have a high SB% for stolen bases to be valuable at all.

2. Stolen bases are less valuable in front of power hitters.

For these reasons I doubt we will ever see a true return to the speed game. When stealing, it’s much more important to pick good spots and make sure you are successful, and since we have far more HR hitters than we did in the heyday of the Herzog Cardinals, stealing just isn’t going to be as important. Players just aren’t going to be as careless about attempting to steal. In some ways it’s kind of a shame, but that’s the way it is.

Joe Morgan
(11:09 AM)
Those teams were very exciting to watch, because you knew every day someone could use their speed to win a game every day. We went through a spell waiting for 3 run homers to win a game, but they don't happen every day. Speed is there every day. But I like a little bit of everything, but there's no doubt that speed helps.

I hate it when Albert Pujols is going through one of his weakling days. And it sucks that he can only hit home runs with two men on base. An occasional 2-run HR or even a 2-run double would be nice. If only power translated in some other way…

Mike (Ohio)
So, was the biggest crime Griffey sleeping during the game or the 2 anonymous players going outside the clubhouse to the press?

While I am (obviously) not in the media spotlight, I think that sleeping on the job is pretty inexcusable. Maybe if you have a newborn kid or put in an all-nighter last night or something. If you are a professional baseball player, is there any excuse to fall asleep during a game? I know the clubhouse is sacrosanct and all that jazz, and perhaps this was best handled in-house, but is ratting on the sleeping worse than the sleeping itself?

Joe Morgan
(11:10 AM)
That is a great fan question. For me, it's the two guys going outside the clubhouse. If you have something to say, say it to the guy you're talking about.

What if he’s asleep?

Or, if you feel like you have to go to the newspaper, at least be man enough to put your name on it. But that clubhouse in Seattle has been in disarray for the last couple of years.

Wow, I actually basically agree with that, and we even got some insight into the working of the Seattle clubhouse. I wonder who Joe’s source is for that information?

Ben (New Hampshire)
Were you three amazed the Yanks-Sox finished in about 3 hours on Sunday night?!

I had the sound on so it seemed like an eternity to me.

Joe Morgan
(11:12 AM)
To be honest with you, I did not time the game. I only look at the time when the pace of play is slow. If the game is a good game, I don't look at the time. I didn't even know what the time was on Sunday. I thought it was a pretty good game and it moved along well, especially early.

Will someone teach Joe how to tell time please?

I’m going to skip ahead, because a few of these questions were boring and Joe gave basically correct if banal answers. Good for him!

Todd (Philly)
Hi Joe - I tend to believe Ken Griffey Jr - but I was curious if you were ever put in a situation where something wrong was said about you - or what you said - what was your immediate reaction as a player/professional? Did you feel the need to immediately protect your reputation, or are you more inclined to step back first and assess what was going on?

Joe Morgan
(11:18 AM)
I've been misquoted. There have been some people that said things about me that were incorrect as well.

This is 100% true.

I've been in both situations. From my perspective, I've always said that when I wake up the next day, it was a new day. I don't dwell on it. Just like I don't dwell on the positive stuff that people say. The Ken Griffey Jr. thing to me is just awful. I don't know the circumstances, but I do know over the course of 162 games that each and every player does something wrong or something that you can criticize. I don't know why that happened.

Apparently his sources in the Seattle clubhouse have their limits.

Adam (Midtown (NYC))

Do you believe you might have been able to extend your playing days (say - thru the '88 season) if there were more ballparks that had natural grass? 20/20 hindsight -- just do not how you, your peers were able to stand on that 'covered concrete' at great lengths during the summer months ...

Joe will not be defeated by mere Astroturf!

Joe Morgan
(11:21 AM)
I played long enough. I played 20+ years in the big leagues. Very few players got to play that long. No doubt, it did take its toll on me to play on the astroturf. I had a regiment to keep me playing. I lifted weights with my legs. I got in the whirlpool before and after the game. When I retired, my knees and legs were in good shape. It definitely took its toll on a lot of other players, whose careers were shortened. I don't think my career was shortened.

I lifted weight with my legs, just like Pat Robertson! I lived in the whirlpool! I am invincible!

Curt (Detroit-Rock City)
Do you think Johnny Damon can be a productive player for us beyond this season?

Johnny Damon is still putting up pretty good numbers, but…

Joe Morgan
(11:22 AM)
Johnny Damon is a veteran hitter. He can hit and handle all types of pitching. Therefore, I think he will be valuable past this year.

1. What does being a veteran have to do with it?
2. Doesn’t this logic support the idea that he will be a good hitter forever? Even when he's like 80? Maybe he's been doing leg lifts and using the whirlpool too!

Now we have to give some credit where credit is due. Two years ago Joe would have made an ass out of himself on this clearly Joe-baiting question. Joe, it appears, actually has learned something. Either that or they have a Joe-baiting detector that alerts one of the interns that a question needs answering. Anyway:

Joe, who do you think is a better pitcher right now, Zack Greinke or Carlos Silva? Carlos already has 3 more wins and 4 fewer losses than Zack.
Joe Morgan
(11:25 AM)

Zack has had some games where they just didn't score some runs for him. He hasn't pitched poorly, but they haven't scored runs for him. But like I said earlier, if they don't score runs, the pitching will suffer. Chicago scores more runs and Silva has been able to benefit from that.

That’s not half bad. Well hell, if Joe can learn that Wins are a lousy stat, maybe there’s hope for everyone.

Your late, disastrous, non-open thread open thread

My understanding of the game going on right now is that:

1. They are losing.

2. Yo took a hard liner in the leg off of Heyward's bat.

3. Some guy named Brooks Conrad, who had no HRs before the series, hit his second in 2 days off of Carlos Villanueva.

So Braun and Yo have both gotten drilled and it looks like they're going to get swept. Man, that's depressing. I Think I'll go make fun of Joe Morgan for awhile.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Big 14? 15? 16?

While nothing can be approved until the Big Ten presidents and chancellors meet the first week of June in Chicago, the league has informed the two Big 12 schools, Notre Dame and Rutgers that it would like to have them join. It is not yet clear whether the Big Ten will expand to 14 or 16 teams but sources indicated Missouri and Nebraska are invited in either scenario. Notre Dame has repeatedly declined the opportunity to join the Big Ten. If Notre Dame remains independent, Rutgers would be the 14th team. The Big Ten would then decide whether to stop at 14 or extend offers to two other schools. If Notre Dame joins, sources say an offer will be extended to one other school making it a 16-team league.

Hat tip, Danny O'Donnell.

Advice For Post-College Baseball Fan

I’m moving to a new neighborhood in about 2 weeks. As the crow flies, my current apartment is about 700 ft from Wrigley Field according to Google Maps and the Pythagorean Theorem. I’ve lived in the shadows of Wrigley Field for about 5 years now, and I can honestly say that if you are a big baseball fan, and you have some options as to where you live, you owe it to yourself to live this close to a baseball stadium at some point.

I’m not saying it should be a determining factor or anything. If you land a great job right of college in Alabama or Arkansas or some place without a professional baseball team, more power to you, but if you have some flexibility regarding your career you may as well migrate to a baseball neighborhood. It doesn’t have to be Wrigley, of course. Tons of cities have downtown stadia these days. I’ve always been a fan of Denver and could definitely see myself living around Coors Field. But Wrigley does offer several advantages which I will now describe. Let’s start with:

1. The Myth Of The Sold Out Cubs Game.

There are approximately 9 games per year that are difficult to go to. These are the 3 White Sox games, and any Cardinals weekend series. If you happen to be a Brewer fan like I am, this is not a problem for you. Every other game, with the rare exception of a very nice weekend game, can be attended for $10 or less, provided that you are willing to wait until the second inning. The thing about Cubs games is that there is a huge secondary market. The Cubs actually scalp their own tickets, and (this is the important part), there are a bunch of independent scalpers with brick and mortar facilities (which helps to prevent counterfeiting) within a block of the corner of Sheffield and Addison. Before every game these scalpers stand in their storefronts and sell overpriced tickets to tourists and suburbanites, but like any retail establishment, they will always have extra inventory left over after the game starts. Starting in the top of the 2nd they all get desperate to move whatever they have left. If you walk in and simply say “I need 6 tickets and I’ll pay $5 per ticket” they will say “OK” about 50% of the time. 40% of the time they’ll come back with $10, and 10% of the time they’ll tell you to get lost. This is not a problem because there are like 5 of them all in a row, and you can simply go next door, but you probably won’t have to. As soon as you turn to leave they’ll chase you down.

Wrigley has this reputation as being such a tough ticket but it’s just not true. You can go to almost any game at almost any time for less than the cost of a movie ticket. Moreover, since the rooftops across the street have a tough time booking big groups during the week, you can frequently get heavily discounted rooftop tickets via

The Cubs only sell out because of scalpers. They decided they could do better by going with the auction system for a chunk of their tickets. Maybe they do make more money this way, but you can exploit this system. Several years ago I had a job that allowed for a great deal of schedule flexibility. That summer I went to 27 Cubs games (including every game against the Brewers) and at no point did I pay over $10 for any ticket on game day. (I did get a few Brewer tickets in advance for full price just because I had out-of-town guests).

2. Parking Is Not As Hard As It Seems

I’m not going to sugar-coat this. Parking is hard during Cubs games (especially night games) and on Friday and Saturday nights, especially in the summer. That said, I am going to tell you a few secrets that only the locals know.

First of all, if you have been to Wrigleyville you will be familiar with the “L” Red Line train. What you may not know is that the Chicago Transit Authority rents parking spots under the L tracks for well below market price. I believe they are raising the rate to $80 per month shortly, while a private parking spot in the area typically goes for $150-$200. Our spot has been $75/month since we started renting it. Fortunately, the CTA is so bad at publicizing this service that it actually takes some work and some digging around their website to even figure out how to do it, which keeps demand (and price) low.

Second, Wrigleyville is abutted on the east by the Boystown neighborhood. I have found that when people drive to Cubs games that they tend not to try to park in Boystown, and a few spots can generally be found there.

Third, during non-game days and the offseason, parking is relatively easy compared to almost every other neighborhood in the city, and most of the neighborhood is “permit only” meaning only residents are allowed to park on most of the streets.

3. Wrigleyville has most of your basic amenities within walking distance

I am currently within walking distance of 3 grocery stores: a Treasure Island, a Jewell, and a Whole Foods. There is an Ace Hardware 6 blocks away. There are many restaurants, convenience stores, bars (obviously), good public transportation, concert venues, the Brew and View movie theatre that has $5 double features, and access to Lake Michigan.

4. When there is a Cubs game, the bars are extremely expensive. For the other 284 days a year, they are quite cheap.

Monday: Dark Horse, $1 cheeseburger night (with a side too. I recommend the mashed potatoes). Tuesday: The Yard, $1 Cheeseburgers, $3 Three Floyds beer. Wednesday, Murphy’s Bleachers, $3 Brats. Thursday, The Bar Celona, $4 tapas, $10 sangria pitchers. You get the idea.

5. Stadium Sound Effects

Even when I’m not at a game, if I open a window I can hear the organ, the crowd noise, and the 7th inning stretch. If I’m watching the game on TV I will actually get the crowd noise from the stadium like a second before I get the play on TV, which really does add to the experience. Wrigley Field also hosts a few concerts every year. In the past I’ve been able to enjoy Jimmy Buffet and The Police from the friendly confines of my apartment, though I could do with never hearing the 17-minute version of Roxanne ever again.

It’s not all positive of course. You can sometimes feel trapped. The Gay Pride Parade, The Race to Wrigley, and a few other events sometimes make escape literally impossible. Frat boy types will vomit in your yard at some point. I’m getting a bit old for some of this nonsense, frankly. But in general, I’ve really liked living here. My current apartment isn’t too expensive, it a nice 2 bedroom with radiators (read: free heat!) and a 1970s style fireplace and it’s been home for a long time now. The neighborhood is nice, it’s affordable, it has a low crime rate (except for petty stuff like public urination and vomiting on my lawn), and it has a Major League Baseball stadium just dumped into the middle of the whole thing. It’s pretty strange really.

A baseball fan couldn’t ask for much more.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Diamond in the Rough?

Anthony Witrado get paid to write stuff like this.

The raw, undisputed talent is the attractive part of the package.

There is the speed that turns his image into a blur, like a cheapskate disposable camera trying to capture a gazelle in full stride.

And the cannon arm that makes any base runner take stock of their sanity before rounding a base too hard or attempting to stretch a hit into anything more than it should be.

Then there is the body that houses the materials, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame constructed of lean muscle that is a picture of athleticism.

While Paul entertains us for free. Feel thankful folks.

It seems really, really strange to call a guy a diamond in the rough, and write an article trying to provide cover for a GM whose career has obviously gone off the rails, when the player in question is having a career season.

I commented over at that article but I just had to repost it here. If you are complaining about Carlos Gomez at the plate right now, you are in for a rude, rude awakening. My comment over at the urinal:

It does not matter how fast you are if you cannot get on base. Carlos Gomez simply won't play at the level of an everyday player. The sad fact is, as poor as he has played offensively this season it is the best of his career. His career OBP is .291. This year he is at .321 (terrrrrible for a "speed" guy). He is slugging .447 (career average .353...maybe he's no longer a speed guy?) If you are going to claim he will get better, please point to me some evidence? He is, right now, playing way over his head. Career OPS is .647, he's at .768 right now (thanks to likely unsustainable power). His OPS+ is an abysmal 74, right now he is at 104. He's even been getting luckier than at any other point in his career, sporting a .322 BABIP (.310 career). In 1400+ minor league at bats, about half of which were at A-ball or below, Gomez had an OBP of .339 and slugged .399. Offensively he's just been ugly throughout his career. What is troubling to me is that his defensive prowess (which could potentially negate most of his atrocious offense) has plummeted the last two seasons. In 2008 Gomez sported an amazing 18.6 UZR. That fell to 7.6 in 2009 and is sitting at 0.3 in 2010. To make matters worse he is an incredibly stupid baseball player. Combine that with speed and it makes him dangerous...for the Brewers. It's too early to say definitively but all signs point to Alex Sanchez with a little bit more pop and a much better arm.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Congratulations Jody Gerut!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Oh No! It's The Decepticons!

Robots position giant box over oil-spewing well.*

*No, this has nothing to do with sports, but sometimes I make an exception for Transformers. Anyway, for those of you who haven't seen the old cartoon (and I haven't seen the new movies so I don't know how similar they are) the evil Decepticons spent every waking our trying to steal the world's energy supplies and compressing them into "energon cubes".

Bullpen Usage

Innings thrown by Carlos Villanueva (WHIP - .886, ERA - .61, ERA+ - 678), Todd Coffey (WHIP - 1.35, ERA - 2.70, ERA+ - 154), and Manny Parra (WHIP - 1.53, ERA - 4.15, ERA+ - 100) =


Innings thrown by Trevor Hoffman (WHIP - 1.800, ERA - 11.70, ERA+ - 36), Latroy Hawkins (WHIP - 1.714, ERA - 9.26, ERA+ - 45), and Claudio Vargas (WHIP - 1.622, ERA - 5.84, ERA+ - 72) =


Maybe we should try relying a bit more on the first 3 and a bit less on the latter 3. Note also that the innings thrown by the latter 3 have almost certainly been higher leverage innings.

Bill Michaels Quote (or paraphrase, anyway) Of The Day

Bill Michaels had this to say (or something close to it) last night on his show:

"I think they're just looking for some consistency on offense. If they can score 4-5 runs a game they'll win like 9 out of 10 of those as opposed to putting up 20 in one game and zero in the next."

Number of times in 2010 the Brewers have allowed 4 or fewer runs in their 28 games so far: 7.

Does anyone know...

the record for giving up 9th inning grand slams in a season? Because we're on pace for 12.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Team Variance

The Brewers continue to put up huge numbers or no numbers without much in between. They've up 11 runs on the Dodgers in 2 consecutive games now, and on the season they have scored 11 or more runs 5 times in 27 games. Their most common game totals are 0 runs (4 times) and 8 runs (also 4 times).

They really play a lot of blowouts. They have played in 12 games this season where the run differential has been 5 runs or more, and they are 6-6 in those games.

They are, so far, a very strange team.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Belling Rumor: Macha to be fired?

I was listening to Mark Belling yesterday while working out and was sort of stunned to hear him claim there are rumors flying around the city about Macha's imminent demise.

According to Belling "everyone assumes" (no idea who everyone is) Macha will be fired by the end of the West coast swing. He lambasted the Journal for not covering the story (along with ripping the paper for covering the Gadzuric/Bell benchings).

Now, I don't get a lot of news down here in my secluded rural hermitage, and to be honest if news did make its way to my property I would probably shoot it for trespassing, but I have not heard even a whisper of the ax.