Al's Ramblings



Sunday, June 30, 2002

(6/30/2002 07:31:00 PM) - Al

So, every single year, we hear complaints about what a poor job the fans do voting for the All Star game, and how someone else (players, media, coaches) ought to vote for the players. Then every year, the manager makes a selection that can only be described as "incorrect". How can you justify taking Benito Santiago over Paul LoDuca?

The Old One--.279/.322/.467
LoDuca---------.313/.372/.440

I guess we knew Brenly had no respect for OBP, as he leads off Womack, but how silly. How valuable can a player be that gets out 68% of the time? This had nothing to do with getting a team a rep either, as Bonds was voted in for SF.


6/30/2002 07:31:00 PM



(6/30/2002 04:27:00 PM) - Al

Thought I'd share my FIRST e-mail I've received, quite a shock as I haven't publicized the site.

"Al, keep up the writings, I've enjoyed them even though I'm a Cubs fan. I sense a lot of the same problems with my team as yours, and we're both struggling as if to prove that right. I have to agree about the Kile thing being very dark also. Here in southern illinois, it was obvious how hard the TV guys tried to keep it serious Tuesday, but other than the ceremony before the game, and the post game show, it was close to normal. Lots of stories and laughter, but always serious when a sign was shown with a 57 on it. Tough to maintain that tone during a kid's game. Good luck to the Brewers, except when they're playing the Cubs. Josh"

Blogger did have my site on it as one of the newly created, so I assume that's where Josh came across it. Thanks for the visits and the kind words.

If you are reading this and like it, tell a friend. If not, tell me why.


6/30/2002 04:27:00 PM



(6/30/2002 03:39:00 PM) - Al

Only in MIL can a reliever come in, give up two walks and balk in a run, and have the pitching coach stand ignorantly in the dugout and not do a thing. Dave Stewart appears interested only in deflecting the blame of his NL worst pitching staff away from himself. On the Twins broadcast, Bert Blyleven said he asked Dave how he was doing, and Stew's reply was "I'd be doing fine if my pitchers were pitching better". Stewart, who angrily played the race card after TOR chose a GM who could speak a complete sentence rather than himself, sits in the dugout game after game, never showing any emotion, and never doing a thing to support his pitchers. Often, it's a good idea just to go out when things are going badly just to give the struggling pitcher a break, offer morale support, and the like. Dave is above all that, choosing to spend his time complaining that "the man" has it in for him.

By the way, the final line on Rusch, 4 runs in 7+ innings. I would ask exactly what the plan was, but I know full well it was to leave Glendon in there until he struggled. Was that too long?

Without a doubt.


6/30/2002 03:39:00 PM



(6/30/2002 03:13:00 PM) - Al

2 of the first 3 hitters reach, NOW the move is made. Again, if Rusch had only thrown 80 pitches, I can see it, but going on fumes after 108, why let him face the heart of the MIN order? It's almost like Royster forgot he doesn't have to worry about PH for the P in an AL park.


6/30/2002 03:13:00 PM



(6/30/2002 03:10:00 PM) - Al

Glendon Rusch, 108 pitches entering the 8th inning. He has pitched a fine game, 7 innings, 2 runs allowed. But, he's allowed 10 baserunners. As I often say, how long do you intend on leaving him out there? Would you rather have a fresh arm out there, or a tired arm? I always go by the saying, "it's better to take a guy out a batter too early than let him pitch to a batter too many". With the #2-4 batters due up, he seems to be set up to fail.


6/30/2002 03:10:00 PM



(6/30/2002 12:50:00 PM) - Al

Speaking of contraction, it seems funny to me so many folks say that MON should "trade away their future...because they may not have a future". But, who else will be contracted? MIN was granted a year to get a stadium passed. TB and FLA are both protected by the laws of Florida. That would seem to leave OAK or ANA, and while possible, both sem highly unlikely. MON seems a much better relocation candidate...at 8500 a game for the 2nd year in a row, the thought of remaining a major league city seems laughable. It just seems to me a team that will likely move somewhere shouldn't trade away the entire system for a shot at the wildcard. Smart moves like Colon are fine, mind you, but I fear a good AA arm going for a reserve catcher.


6/30/2002 12:50:00 PM



(6/30/2002 12:20:00 PM) - Al

Watching the attendance numbers in the Twins/Brewers series have been a bit surprising. Many Twins fans are very anti-Brewers at the moment, due to Mr. Selig's ties to the Crew, and the contraction mess last winter. About a month ago, I read in the paper that the Twins were expecting 95-100,000 fans for this 3 game series. Earlier last week, the number was dropped to about 90,000. So after 2 games, the total is about 56,000, and on Friday they estimated a the smallest crowd of the three, about 25,000, would attend today. That would be about 81,000, especially disappointing when one considers that many Brewers fans, including myself, cross the border, or are transplants. To be safe, I will guess about 10% of the crowd each game were MIL fans, meaning the total pro-MIN crowd is going to end up somewhere in the 73,000 range...less than 25K a game.

That puzzles me greatly. Many teams draw much better in the year following success, which the Twins had in '01. Many teams draw well in seasons in which they are leading their division, which the Twins are. MIN is a young, exciting team; one which I enjoy watching immensely if the Crew is not on. They play wonderful defense, have speed on the bases, and a good offensive attack. We're talking about a club that is several games ahead in a weak division, and to me, the main competition just declared itself rebuilding and traded away its ace. I don't dislike the White Sox, but they seem to me to be closer to a .500 team than a division winner. I just can't understand why the Twin Cities seem so slow to jump on the bandwagon. The Twins rank 24th in attendance, of 30 teams. Hey, I know the Metrodome is awful, but anything in the bottom half is just illogical.

EDIT--The Twins draw 88K for the series, according to the TV broadcast. They must have about 32-33K in the Dome today, very odd they'd have the biggest crowd on Sunday. Sticking with my 10% Brewers' fans estimate, that's about 26,500 Twins' fans per game. Low, but not as bad as I'd estimated.


6/30/2002 12:20:00 PM


Saturday, June 29, 2002

(6/29/2002 09:15:00 PM) - Al

After watching the last of the 10-2 Brewers win, I switched it over to check on SEA/COL, as I have Freddy Garcia on many of my fantasy teams. I can't believe SEA brought back Edgar Martinez when the man simply cannot run. He hobbled down to 1B on a routine grounder to 2B, looking as if he could not move a bit faster if his life depended on it. SEA isn't struggling, obviously, why not give Edgar time to heal? That's just an injury waiting to happen.


6/29/2002 09:15:00 PM



(6/29/2002 07:52:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers are up 3-1 in the bottom of the 4th this evening. It shall be interesting to see how badly Royster uses his bullpen tonight, as is his MO. Jose Cabrera started, and he certainly can't be expected to go much more than 5 innings. Often times, watching Jerry (and before that, Davey Lopes) run a pitching staff is like enduring a root canal...it isn't always as painful as you think it will be, but you still dread the time in the chair. At least twice this current season, the braintrust has elected to have the current pitcher hit for himself...only to replace him with a reliever to start the next frame. Needless to say, planning; both short and long-term, is not a strength of the current regime.

At one point, reliever Luis Vizcaino was on pace for 109 appearances, and 130 innings pitched. So, one day on his pre-game radio show, Jerry was quoted as saying he had to "find a way" to not use Luis so much. One would think that would be as easy as sitting down, mapping out a plan to find how often Luis should be used (for instance, if you feel his "maximum" he should pitch for the season is 90 innings, that's about 3.5 innings a week) would be the way to go. Or, to be cynical, it'd be as easy as not bringing him in too damn often. So, that night, down 4 runs entering the 9th, Luis was thrown out there to pitch yet another meaningless inning. You could just about hear Jerry, in a situation that maybe a team comebacks from maybe 0.25% of the time, uttering, "Well, we can't let 'em get any further ahead!"

Of course, a manager shouldn't make more than a win or two's difference in the W/L column. Even a ridiculous move may well pay off, despite the fact the probability of that occuring is nearly nil. I have long argued it is a manager's main job to "set up his players to succeed". If you have your best reliever in there, and he gives up a run to lose in the 9th, not much you can do. If you run out of pitchers after 10 innings, and have to warm up the next night's starter, you have bungled your job at an immense level.

As i type this, the Brewers lead 5-1 in the bottom of the 6th. Cabrera is still in there, he just allowed a double and has fallen behind the next batter. Activity in the bullpen you ask? Nope. In the time it would take to get a reliever ready at this point, the Twins could work their way right back into the game...but hopefully, this little managerial stupidity will be lost in the memories of a win. We can hope.


6/29/2002 07:52:00 PM



(6/29/2002 07:21:00 PM) - Al

I have never witnessed a team that makes more outs on the bases than the '02 Brewers do. Call it aggressive baserunning if you will, but you only get 27 outs a game. Making one or more of them on the bases simply means you get less batters to the plate. It is difficult to imagine that being a good thing. The really painful thing is how many times we've lost a runner on the bases with less than two outs. In by far the worst case, Eric Young was thrown out trying for an inside the park HR once to lead off the game. You know how the old saying is to never make the 1st out of an inning at 3B? They don't bother saying that about home because it's so obvious, it need not be said. As I watch tonight, we've lost a runner at home, with the #5 guy in the order coming up.


6/29/2002 07:21:00 PM


Friday, June 28, 2002

(6/28/2002 03:49:00 PM) - Al

Great comeback win for the Brewers last night, as they rallied from 2-0 down in the top of the 9th to win 7-2 in 11. The Crew set a record of losing something like 114 games in a row they trailed after 8 innings, and they have now won 2 of those games in the last month or so. I'll be the first to admit it is a meaningless thing, as runs scored in the 1st inning don't mean a bit less than those scored in the 9th, but it is a bit of a "pick-me-up" when you expect to lose and a victory occurs.

We will be leaving for the Metrodome in a couple hours to watch the Brewers face off against the Twins. It's always kind of strange rooting against MIN, as we root FOR them 156 games a year, except when they play MIL. Needless to say, we'd love to see the Twins make the playoffs, but for the next 3 days, we hope they play horribly.


6/28/2002 03:49:00 PM



(6/28/2002 03:40:00 PM) - Al

MON picked up Bartolo Colon last evening, likely acquiring the best pitcher on the market. They gave up 2 excellent prospects...but also got the Indians to take Lee Stevens, a very overpaid 1B who ranks as one of the worst in the game. CLE also threw in cash. It seems to me a more balanced deal would have had MON getting Colon, and CLE getting talented prospects. I don't understand why CLE felt the need to take crap and give money.


6/28/2002 03:40:00 PM


Thursday, June 27, 2002

(6/27/2002 10:45:00 PM) - Al

There has been much talk of how much of a chance small market clubs have to compete in today's MLB. Of course, the fact OAK has had a very nice run with a very small payroll, by comparison, doesn't exactly help the claim that it is near impossible to win without being Top 10 in payroll. The Twins having a second solid campaign also goes against the feeling of hopelessness that some feel. My feeling is simple: Money makes it easier to win, but planning, luck, and intelligence play a bigger part.

The Brewers have about a $50 million payroll in 2002. That's bottom half, but it's difficult to think of that as not enough to win. What's really sad is if one delves deeper into the salary issue, horrendous decisions regularly see the light of day. The Brewers are paying two catchers that have been released $1.55M, Bako and Casanova. Due to poor roster management, they had to release a decent, if unspectacular utility IF in Luis Lopez, who was overpaid himself at $700K. Eric Young makes $2M, and isn't nearly average. Utility IF's Mark Loretta and Lenny Harris make $6.1M combined, and barely play. Alex Ochoa is serviceable versus LH pitchers, and plays good defense, and makes $2.75M. Jamey Wright, who is still being paid for potential and has yet to pitch a full season, is making a whopping $4.2M. Two relievers on the DL, Chad Fox (one full season, two major arm operations) and Curtis Leskanic (good middle reliever, but overpaid after 2 good months as a closer) make $3.6 million combined. Jose Cabrera is a veteran reliever, and he makes $700K.

Add them up, and you have $21.6 million, over 43% of the total payroll, being spent on 10 players, only 9 still with the team, spots that could be just as easily filled by guys like Izzy Alcanatara, whose rights the Brewers own even. Commonly called "free talent", they are cheap, useful AAA vets who can sit on the bench just as easily as overpaid MLB vets can. But, you have to avoid giving inflated contracts to role players...and THAT'S the issue that has kept the Crew down.

It's not the payroll, it's how they choose to use it.


6/27/2002 10:45:00 PM



(6/27/2002 10:01:00 PM) - Al

Am I just missing it, or is the latest round of Lite commercials worse than awful? If I want to watch under 30's with pretend problems, I'll become a therapist. One buffoon "accidentally mugs a guy" (may want to lay off the alcohol, my friend), another jumps out of a moving truck (scared of a dummy, hoo boy), and yet another breaks up with his gal seconds before finding out she won the lottery. As I sit watching the Cardinals game, a group of guys having experienced real loss recently, those ads seem exponentially bad.


6/27/2002 10:01:00 PM



(6/27/2002 07:38:00 PM) - Al

Eric Young got picked off 2B with none out in the 1st inning tonight. I'll try not to go into detail the plethora of reasons he shouldn't even be playing, as Ronnie Belliard is 7 years younger, cheaper, and better offensively and defensively. EY was signed in the offseason because he runs at an above average clip, and makes contact. The latter is totally worthless, and considering Young steals bases at almost an exact break even clip (successful about 2/3rd's of the time), that is close to worthless also. Belly had the 7th or 8th best OPS among 2B in 2001, and is in his Season of 27, often recognized as a player's peak. But, because he isn't considered a prototypical "leadoff man", he was deemed to be a problem. In one of Rob Neyer's better quotes, he stated after the EY signing that when an offense struggles, "blaming a 2B with a .418 SLG isn't the answer".

So, Belly mostly sits this year, EY is seemingly continuing his decline (to be expected at 34), and the Brewers' offense currently ranks 12th in runs scored, down from 11th in '01. This is not to say EY is a bad player, he just isn't our best option at present. According to most reports, the Crew was the only team interested in EY as an everyday player, others envisioned him as a 2B/OF utility guy. A similiar signing last winter was when we signed Matt Stairs, a vet who also has value, but he was given a mere pittance of $500K, which is on the low side of about right. Young was given a 2 year, $5M deal, which is not just silly, but foolish. While some argue it "isn't that bad", paying above average money for below average production epitomizes why this organization continues to underachieve. Also, expecting a 34 year-old to "bounce back" after a sub-par season shows that while earnest and hard working, the braintrust continues to hope rather than plan.


6/27/2002 07:38:00 PM


Wednesday, June 26, 2002

(6/26/2002 08:29:00 PM) - Al

Everything seemed perfect in the Brewers quest to trade Jamey Wright at the deadline for some prospects...except Wright has pitched more like Orville Wright, and that may offend Orville's kin. I've suggested he's not 100% healthy, but who knows. It seems to be yet another serious indication Dave Stewart may have been the biggest one year wonder in history. The legend of Stewart would still be alive and well had he never taken the Crew job, but as long as the Brewers continue to be the worst staff in the NL, that legend is dying a bit more each day.


6/26/2002 08:29:00 PM



(6/26/2002 08:21:00 PM) - Al

In a story so strange Ripley wouldn't believe it, the Red Sox have signed and are allowing a 33 year-old to play rookie ball. It happens to be the son of Ted Williams, BOS legend. Possibly the most obvious case of nepotism in sports history, and really, just sad. We're not talking about a Jim Morris with a 98 mph fastball, or a great athlete like Michael Jordan. We're talking about an old man (I can say that, I'm his age) taking a summer off and playing with a bunch of kids. While BOS claims he's not taking a roster spot of a "prospect", there are certainly 100,000 amatuer baseball players infinite times more deserving of an opportunity than this guy, whose only claim to fame is his dad is Ted Williams, one of the finest hitters to ever play the game.


6/26/2002 08:21:00 PM



(6/26/2002 07:50:00 PM) - Al

Arrangements have been made, which is difficult when you have a 24 day-old, but we will be visiting the Metrodome this Friday, when the Brewers come to visit. I took the whole weekend off, with the intention of maybe going to all three games, but unless something changes, Kim and I will only attend the Friday tilt.


6/26/2002 07:50:00 PM



(6/26/2002 07:46:00 PM) - Al

Tonight, on the Brewers radio broadcast, unbreakable records came up, and as usual, Joe D's 56 game hitting streak came up. No doubt that's a tough one to break, but I think it will be done in the next 50 years. One that hardly EVER comes up is CY Young's 511 victories. Yeah, lots of luck with that one. Win 20 a year for 20 years...and you're only 111 short.


6/26/2002 07:46:00 PM



(6/26/2002 07:35:00 PM) - Al

So today I'm reading about the NBA draft, and it struck me as odd I'd never heard of "Jay Williams", the #1/2 projected pick, out of Duke. I wondered what position he'd played and such. Finally, I saw him referred to as "Jason Williams", which is what he's always gone by, but I assume he's changing because of the existence of another Jason Williams in the NBA. Funny how the mind is slow at times.


6/26/2002 07:35:00 PM



(6/26/2002 09:38:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers won 2-0 last evening, in a butt friendly 2.5 hour affair. I switched over to the Twins game afterward, and it was in the top of the 7th. Uggh. The more I think about it, the more I question the ceremony honoring Darryl Kile that was held RIGHT BEFORE the game. For the Cards, wiping away tears followed by playing baseball less than 5 minutes later must have been as unlikely an occurance as they've experienced. A slow start would have been expected, and often, when a pitcher is going well, if you don't get 'em early, you don't get 'em. Glendon Rusch had one of his best outings of the year, but a couple extra early hits could have changed the game. And to think, today the Cards have the memorial service, but at least they'll have hours to recover from that.


6/26/2002 09:38:00 AM


Tuesday, June 25, 2002

(6/25/2002 08:54:00 PM) - Al

Saw a couple minutes of the Twins' pre-game show tonight, and the cliches were a plenty, stating how MIN has been successful at overcoming deficits because of "character, attitude, a never say die mentality, etc". As if to prove this, a graphic showed that MIN had "come from behind" 19 times this season...and the AL average is 16. If I am to be one thing, it is to be consistent in my belief that such things as leadership and team chemistry have next to no impact on a team's victory total. Maybe a game or two over 162, but certainly less than plain ol' fashioned luck.

Baseball is a joy because of its simplicity. Each team does whatever it can to maximize the runs they score before they make 27 outs. Teams that make outs on the bases, or give away outs with sac bunts, are fighting an uphill battle from the get go. MIN has been winning, and "comes from behind" a bit more than average for one simple reason...they score more runs than most clubs. Do they do this because of character, or the fact they pray more than their opponents? Nope, they simply get on base at a higher rate, or looking at it a different way, they "make outs" at a slower rate.

What's amazing to me is that, despite the fact that a team's on base percentage is nearly always directly proportional to its offensive output, it is rarely mentioned. Looking at the NL right now, the top 4 OBP teams are also the top 4 run producers. Ditto for the AL. Yet, how often do we hear things like "the key is to put the ball into play", or "they are playing little ball well", or my favorite, "they play good team baseball". What exactly is good team baseball? I'm not sure, but in truth, teams that get on base will always score more runs. How simple is that, really? The more baserunners you have, the more they will cross the plate.

Meanwhile, despite the fact that many will say strikeouts are detrimental to a team's ability to score, it doesn't seem to matter. The Yankees lead the majors in K's this year...and also lead the majors in runs scored. This is probably because they lead the majors in OBP as well. Of all the things to find unimportant, what kind of outs a team makes appears to be near the top of the list. OBP is good because it proves itself in a "if then, then that" way. K's are bad because...why?


6/25/2002 08:54:00 PM



(6/25/2002 07:32:00 PM) - Al

Just watched the quick pre-game ceremony honoring Kile in SL before the play the Brewers. The one thought I kept having was I sure hope they collect all the teddy bears and such from outside the stadium and donate them to charity. Call me silly, but a donation would seemingly be a much more worthy way to spend your money than to buy a toy and put it on the ground in the first place. These "public displays" seem to have caught on, especially since the Princess Di tragedy, and it seems a bit of a waste to me. A card and putting the rest to a children's charity would be a nice way of cutting out the middleman.


6/25/2002 07:32:00 PM



(6/25/2002 05:50:00 PM) - Al

Just a quick intro, I'm Al. My wife's name is Kim. We live in Woodbury, MN, USA. Originally, we both hail from WI, hence, the Brewers connection, which we are able to maintain due to DIRECTV's Extra Innings package, as close as I've come to seeing actual proof that a higher being exists. Our son, Andrew, was born June 2nd, 2002. Our house is also shared by Ronnie, the greatest cocker spaniel in all the land. The reason for the blog is simple: To store my thoughts and writings. It is mainly for me to look back on and pat myself on the back or seriously question my judgements. Hopefully, a few others will find it and enjoy it as well. By no means am I expecting this to be a high traffic site, and that's fine by me. If a few Brewers' fans can read it to enjoy my perspective, great. So far, Day 1 is going just wonderful, thanks.


6/25/2002 05:50:00 PM



(6/25/2002 04:41:00 PM) - Al

Hi, and welcome to "Al's blog". Over the next few days, you'll see some various entries about my life, as well as feelings about my favorite team, the Milwaukee Brewers. It hasn't been a good season (or, a good decade:), but loyalty reigns supreme. I wish things were looking more optimistic, but we'll delve into the problems and successes on a near daily basis.


6/25/2002 04:41:00 PM


Whatever strikes me as interesting, and serious Milwaukee Brewers thoughts. If you are a believer in respecting OBP, throwing strikes, and keeping the ball in the park, you may have found the place you've been searching for. I believe in low taxes, small government, and am not afraid to be labeled patriotic.

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