Al's Ramblings



Tuesday, October 31, 2006

(10/31/2006 08:01:00 PM) - Al

With the elections a week away, just thought I'd combine a few of my thoughts that are semi-related to the topic.

---Years ago, Madonna had a single called, "Papa Don't Preach". This was in the days when MTV played music videos (note to the young, yes, I am extremely old), and the video made it quite apparent the song was about a young woman who had decided against ending her pregnancy, and, as the song said, "was going to keep her baby". Some groups came protested this as "promoting teen pregnancy", or glorifying it. I said at the time that only Madonna could create controversy with a song about not having an abortion.

Sadly, she now has made news about adopting a youngster from the genocide ravaged Sudan. Hopefully, this will not prevent others from looking into helping out a kid in Africa or elsewhere. The media created a minor stir after finding out his parents were not dead, but his father had given him up because he could not support him. Amazingly, this uneducated, non-English speaking man was no match for the firestorm of media who pounced on him quicker than you can say, "How has the UN watched the thousands of deaths and destruction in the Sudan and not done a single thing about it?", and quickly put out statements he may or may not have said, or even understood.

In the end, it's too bad so much negative was placed on a situation that was 100% positive.

---Back when I was a political science major at Eau Claire, we were fortunate enough to have a guest speaker, as anyone was better than listening to the far-left lecture of either Mr. or Mrs. Sipress. We went to a larger hall, along with a couple other classes, and listened to then attourney general Jim Doyle. I thought he was a good guy, perhaps a bit of "politician slick" in him, but overall, I found him very intelligent and non-partisan. I basically feel the same way about his time as our governor, though I wish he would have signed a property tax freeze one of the couple times he did not. Ironically, I've agreed with most all of Doyle's other moves, including the casino deal that was later overturned.

Meanwhile, I like Mark Green, from what I've seen of his actual stand on some issues. However, neither side has felt the need to do much except sling mud and what I would describe as quarter-truths...there may be some truth in there somewhere, but it's tough to find. Green's ad campaign started with him in ads with his family, and since then, it's been pretty tough to watch.

---Meanwhile, the "big" issue, based on ads I've seen, is the amendment giving domestic partners the same legal rights as married couples. I have yet to see an ad of any kind for a "yes" vote, while being bombarded by "no" commercials on TV, radio, and newspapers. I have stated before I am completely ambivalent over the issue, and have no problems with any couple, whether they be gay or straight, being able to be in some type of legal, binding contract.

That said, this was a big issue in 2004, and almost all, if not all, of the states where any type of question that was perceived as a "gay rights" issue had it voted down. WI is about as moderate as it gets, odd because the strange city/rural split somehow ends up being 50/50, or very close to it.

Personally, I think this would have a much better chance of getting a majority of "no" votes if they'd quit promoting the fact a no vote is beneficial to same-sex couples.

***URDATE: Adam e-mailed to inform me that a "no" vote would be beneficial to both gay and straight couples. I thought I made that clear above, but apparently, not to him at least.

---What's up with Michael J. Fox advising people how to vote, then admitting he's never even read the question? One thing I wonder is why Fox often appears in public without taking his medication, at least, that's what I assume he is doing, unless his tremors have taken a huge turn for the worse. I still recall John Edwards carnival/revival like tale in the '04 campaign, basically saying Christopher Reeve would be cured if only all types of stem cell research were allowed.

I'm about as far from a scientist as you can be, but even I know it's an awful slippery slope. I have a difficult time with the thought embryos are being thrown away instead of used in tests...but also know what is next if that occurs.

---You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.--John Kerry

Oof. That's about as bad as it gets, and his "explanation" that it was a joke doesn't exactly make a ton of sense, given that Kerry isn't known for his dry humor. It's a head-shaker, and almost beyond belief that Kerry once served in wartime and could easily be described as a hero for doing so. It's been a long, slow, bitter trip downhill since then, to say the least.

I just reread it, and to be honest, I have trouble even believing he said it. It's almost beyond comprehension, and simply offensive.

---Does it bother anyone else that Herb Kohl's campaign ad basically is anti-market and anti-capitalism? Is there anyone who believes the answer to high gas prices is to ...involve the government? I have trouble fathoming he'd even run such a thing, being all but unopposed.


10/31/2006 08:01:00 PM


Monday, October 30, 2006

(10/30/2006 09:52:00 PM) - Al

Ramblings would like to welcome Jason as a contributor.

Jason is a friend of mine from way back in my Eau Claire days, and is an accomplished, and published, writer. Jason will be taking part in the upcoming end-of-the-season roundtable, and will be joining the team soon. Welcome aboard, and I'll be adding Jason's e-mail to the sidebar soon as well.


10/30/2006 09:52:00 PM



(10/30/2006 09:44:00 PM) - Al

Just wanted to mention that the Crew was rumored to have some interest in Dave Roberts, CF last with the Padres.

I like Roberts, he's certainly a solid OBP guy, though he's just a few years younger than myself. With an 80% SB success rate over his career, he can still run, that's for sure. He may be able to help guys like Hall and Weeks with that aspect of the game as well.

This is a move that would make a lot of sense if Gwynn was a RH hitter, or even Nix or Gross, but none are. If Mark A doesn't mind a spendy pair, Roberts/Clark would probable equal a top 10 guy in a straight platoon.


10/30/2006 09:44:00 PM


Saturday, October 28, 2006

(10/28/2006 10:27:00 PM) - Al

The Crew has signed a Cuban defector, the first ever as far as I know. He is known as a slick fielding SS, and is supposedly very fast. Brewerfan.net seems to be the only place reporting this signing.


10/28/2006 10:27:00 PM


Friday, October 27, 2006

(10/27/2006 11:29:00 PM) - Al

Congrats to the Cards...I still think the Brewers are every bit as good if healthy.

I must admit, I find it mighty funny that Ronnie Belliard has a ring, and Lopes/Royster/Taylor are all probably sitting at home wondering how SL won with a 2B who doesn't run fast.

One message board that I read has a poster who is pretty much an idiot, and is always wondering why the Crew picks up guys who have been released, as they obviously aren't any good. Tonight, the Cards are celebrating with Jeff Weaver and Preston Wilson, who were both released this year, for crying out loud. Whenever you think you are "above" looking at the waiver wire, because those guys can't help you, the game will come back to beat you very, very quickly.


10/27/2006 11:29:00 PM



(10/27/2006 10:12:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers hire a new hitting coach, and I've already forgotten his name. You can find it here.


10/27/2006 10:12:00 PM


Thursday, October 26, 2006

(10/26/2006 08:43:00 PM) - Al

Mark A did a radio interview today and mentioned how bad the TV deal is. I have to wonder what the Seligs were thinking when they signed a deal that went until 2012...a lifetime and a half in the business of sports.

I'm listening to the discussion now, will update as necessary.


---Offered Washburn 3y/$21M, glad they didn't go higher.

---Going to make bids on "a number of free agents" this offseason, hope to get a couple of them.

---Corey Lidle was in the David Bell trade, but was pulled back by the Phillies at the last minute...I believe Mark said that was "creepy" or something like that.

---Had to do the Lee trade, happy to get Mench and Cordero. Not sure if Kevin will remain, but plenty of teams have interest in Mench.

---Do not have enough depth right now, though we had much more than the year before.

---"Some guys said in the season ending meeting that we had a better chance in '08 than '07, and I said let's not talk about '08."--Mark A

---TV deal is huge limitation, looking to get a huge premium next time, but '12 is a long way away.

---Spent all their revenue sharing money last year, mostly on major league salary, but some on the stadium, minor leagues, and added some front office people.

---Looking for another $10M a year player to go with Ben Sheets.

---Will overpay slightly if needed, and will pay money to make a trade happen.

As I've said before, when you look at other owners in sports, we are really lucky to have Mark A. Seemed much more open thatn at other times.


10/26/2006 08:43:00 PM


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

(10/25/2006 09:52:00 AM) - Al

I was just looking at available players this offseason, and the name JC Romero jumped out at me. Despite a 6+ ERA in '06, Romero compiled an outstanding 601 OPSA versus LH hitters...which means lefties hit JC like you'd expect a weak backup catcher to hit for a season. Take a look here at Romero's 3 year splits, which include a 623 OPSA versus lefty bats.

One of the things Billy Beane has done so well within his budget limitations in Oakland is the way he has looked at what a player can do and not worry about his weaknesses. Most all players are subpar at something, and if they are true 5 tool players, they cost $15M a year. The Angels declined JC's option for $2.75M in '07, and I can see why...that's premium reliever money, and at this stage of his career, JC is not a premium relief guy...except versus LH bats.

This is a perfect example of understanding what a player has to give and making him a fair, yet respectable contract offer. Romero has two things to offer, maybe three if you're an optimist. He gets lefties out an at astounding clip, and he has been durable throughout his career...he can give you an inning in a blowout and still be able to give you a batter or two the next day, unlike a Dan Kolb type. Also, if you wish, you can factor in his veteran presence and his past successes as minor positives.

He is not a guy who is going to get a long-term, top dollar deal, like the Cubs signed Howry and Eyre to last year, but I sure see some top loogy potential there, if utilized properly. Some teams will shy away from him because they know there are some LH arms out there like Brian Shouse, cheap and effective, if you get fortunate and one sticks to the wall. Others (the Bando and Taylor regimes come to mind) will avoid him due to his high ERA last year. Beane, and others, simply don't care, and go about their job, trying to improve the staff one arm at a time. I'm on record as saying I think Doug Melvin will add a couple relievers this offseason, as it was a weakness in 2006.

Romero is not an elite guy, but he has all the makings of being a "nice fit" in the bullpen, as would a durable righty, ala David Weathers, who I've discussed here as well. I wouldn't go higher than $1.75M for JC, but I'd offer him that, or near that, on the first day I was able to.


10/25/2006 09:52:00 AM


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

(10/24/2006 10:06:00 PM) - Al

This is funny because it's true.

The 4 stages of a poker blogger

Stage 1: Here is my blog. I've just learned how to play poker and I'm going to impart my knowledge to you as I learn. "It's so much fun telling everyone how much I know about poker".

Stage 2: This is easy. I'm winning xxbb/100 hands. I'll be quitting my job next week to go "pro". Here's some blogging about how much money I'm pissing away, just because I can. I'm like a trust fund baby only I'm earning my money playing poker.

Stage 3: Man, I've been running bad. I just lost more money this week than I used to make in a year. Oh well, things will turn around. These people I'm losing to are horrible. They just outdraw me on the river everytime. I don't mind losing to idiots cause i know in the long run, i will win.

Stage 4: Most recent post was 6 months ago.


Hat tip to Iggy.


10/24/2006 10:06:00 PM



(10/24/2006 07:53:00 PM) - Al

A labor agreement without a strike? Selig is nothing but a showoff.:)

Details are at the link, $400K minimum salary in a few years.


10/24/2006 07:53:00 PM


Monday, October 23, 2006

(10/23/2006 08:22:00 PM) - Al

Daron Sutton will not be back next year.

Unless Jennifer Love Hewitt buys the house across the street that's for sale, this will be the best news I hear for several months.


10/23/2006 08:22:00 PM



(10/23/2006 07:27:00 PM) - Al

A few days ago, I wondered why volleyball shorts are cut so high. Today, I received no less than a pair of answers, along with an opinion.

Al,

I guess I differ from your opinion in that I don't find these volleyball uniforms to be "risque" by any means. So the uniform bottoms are a little snug on the body? I'm not sure how short they were cut, but I've never really seen a volleyball player wearing a uniform bottom that made me wonder if they even had a bottom on. Even so, if you step outside in today's society (summer in Wisconsin) you'll see that there are plenty of girls wearing shorts that are shorter than what these volleyball players wear.

I'm not sure if your problem with this is the shortness or the tightness of the uniform bottoms? To me, this is a non issue. Calling volleyball uniforms "risque" is a little bit misguided if you ask me. Of course I am younger than you and probably everybody else that views these uniforms as "risque". My definition of "risque" is probably pretty far off from your definition.

I will agree with you though that the tightness of the uniform bottoms can be very unflattering to a large part of the female population, especially here in Wisconsin.

-Jon


While I will agree they are not tighter than some shorts you see in June, and not shorter than others, they are tight and short. And while I will certainly not be critical of the appearance of an entire state's gender, I will agree that the word "unflattering" is an accurate one.

Al,

Apparently the uniforms are comfortable and they stay in place better while jumping and diving, makes sense to me. By the way, love your site.

Benjamin


Thanks for the link and the kind words, Benjamin. I've never had any trouble with my shorts "staying in place", as long as I wore the proper size, but to each their own.

Finally, I would say this is the response that wins the mythical blue ribbon.

Al,

Under "bun huggers" in the attached link is the supposed reason for the uniforms worn by volleyball players -- seems like, more than anything, one of those things that has just stuck, based on a prior generation's belief, whether justified or not -- maybe the equivalent of Tom Haudricourt continuing to believe in batting average or small samples? :-)

Nick


Money quote from the link:

These shorts are compulsory for girls and women in some schools and for some adult athletic events such as volleyball. It is claimed that their tight fit and the fact that they barely go down past the "buns" give wearers an unhindered range of motion that is necessary in sports such as volleyball. However, the figure-hugging nature of these shorts makes some wearers feel uncomfortable, and making them compulsory for women has been described as "venturing into the arena of athlete exploitation".

Since when is range of motion so important in volleyball, and not other sports?

Thanks to those who took the time to write and dig for info. I think I'll ask another one of my personal brainteasers soon.


10/23/2006 07:27:00 PM


Sunday, October 22, 2006

(10/22/2006 07:54:00 PM) - Al

Hi Al,

As always, I still check your site several times a day. I saw your post on the girls volleyball unis, and I agree 100%. Even if all the girls were "cute," showing them on the news promotes these sicko's fantasies. Same thing with high schools promoting cheerleaders' car washes. As a resident in a municipality frought with pedophiles(Waukesha), that's just an asinine idea, not that is isn't elsewhere. But for the media to broadcast shots of young girls scantily clad and high schools allowing these uniforms, they're simply fostering a double standard. That's nothing new for the media, who've created a society where the discipline of children is wrong. Hence, we have a society where kids don't fear anything and feel it's glamorous to shoot up a school. I'll digress; that's another issue for another day. But certainly the people that make such decisions about girls' sport unis need to take that into account. We're not in the 60's, 70's or even 80's anymore. Keep up the great work, Al! You seem to be an enlightened individual or, at the very least, someone who has "true" common sense.

Kevin


I'm still waiting to hear from someone who has an idea why the volleyball uniforms are so risque, and unflattering to 95% of the female gender.


10/22/2006 07:54:00 PM



(10/22/2006 02:18:00 PM) - Al

I have been asked to comment on the recent legislation in many e-mails since it was attached onto the port security bill and later signed into law. I have not because no one really knows what the effect will be in regards to online poker, especially weeks, months, and years down the line. If you want to know more about the bill, Card Player has 29 pages of recaps starting here.

First of all, allow me to say that, for the most part, the changes have not affected anyone's ability to play online. A few sites have pulled out of the US market, but the vast majority are still available. The big test will probably be what happens when Neteller, a hugely popular online money transfer site, tries to pull money out of a bank after the 270 day timeframe given to business to become in step with the law. Right now, Neteller has said they will conduct business as usual, so until that changes, all the talk is for the lawyers.

I will simply say this...every expert that has studied the legislation has said that there is absolutely nothing in the bill that makes it illegal to play poker online...as the bill was solely designed to impede money transfers to onlite gaming sites. In fact, some have even said that the language of the bill should not even affect poker, as it is a game of skill, and the bill specifically refers to games of chance.

Time will tell what the long-term will hold for online poker. Hopefully, the outcome will be positive for the game that takes a minute to learn, and a lifetime to master.


10/22/2006 02:18:00 PM



(10/22/2006 11:08:00 AM) - Al

An agreement on a new deal is expected to be finalized before the end of the World Series, two months before the current deal expires. It will be the first time ever an extension has been reached, coming just four years after the two sides agreed on a new deal without a work stoppage for the first time in three decades.

Give the players credit on this one. They let it be known to the Players Association leadership that they wanted a deal, and wanted it quick. Life is good in pro ball, where the minimum salary is now $327,000, the average salary is at $2 million, attendance is breaking records, and teams are making money, too.

The Players Association leadership would have liked to have gotten even for what it felt was being pressured into a drug-testing plan but the players weren't interested.

The new deal won’t have any major changes from the past, but there were be several subtle alterations that will have a long-term benefit. The two sides have agreed to eliminate draft choice compensation for teams losing free agents, and they will have a slotting system for bonus money paid to June draft choices.


Emphasis added. The players are far too busy counting their cash to be worried about making a point, and the union leadership should know that. Some say that draft pick compensation is not dead, but will be changed.

Looks like Mr. Selig will be ending his reign with the first-ever friendly bargaining session and successful compromise. Good for him.


10/22/2006 11:08:00 AM


Saturday, October 21, 2006

(10/21/2006 08:49:00 AM) - Al

Via Aaron Gleeman comes this accurate op-ed piece that agrees with me...the postseason is almost entirely luck.

Billy Beane hit it on the head...it's 5 (or 7) hands of blackjack. Even if you play perfectly, you can easily lose when your line drive is hit right at someone, while the other guys hit a couple seeing eye grounders.


10/21/2006 08:49:00 AM


Friday, October 20, 2006

(10/20/2006 11:01:00 PM) - Al

Caterpillar Inc. on Friday reported disappointing quarterly earnings and cut its 2006 and 2007 forecast on slowing demand for its earth-moving equipment and rising raw material prices that are eroding margins.

Illinois-based manufacturer of heavy equipment reports a third-quarter profit of $769 million, but results fall short of analyst expectations.

The news sent Caterpillar shares down nearly 12 percent, down $10.02 to close at $59, its biggest one-day percentage loss in nearly seven years, and dragged down the broader market in early trade Friday.


No, this is not a "best of" post, although it reads like one...check out this post, almost exactly one year ago. Note that even after today's massive overreaction (being a market contrarian, I'll be buying CAT like mad Monday morning) to outstanding earnings, CAT is up 30% from where it was a year ago.

CAT is an American icon of sorts, made 3/4th's of a billion dollars in the past 90 days, and is currently selling at about 10 times projected 2007 earnings...and is currently on sale. Ding, ding, ding, this is what we call a perfect storm of potential.


10/20/2006 11:01:00 PM



(10/20/2006 10:35:00 PM) - Al

Maybe someone can enlighten me about this.

Most nights on the sports, they show some high school girl's volleyball highlights. Without fail, the young ladies are wearing short, tight shorts that would likely be considered vulgar by some. Consider these gals are 16-18 years old, it seems very wrong for them to be wearing such risque outfits...not to mention that, dare I say, many volleyball players are not built for that type of attire.

Is there a reason for this other than tradition? I can't think of any. Click the "e-mail Al" link on the sidebar if you have any ideas.


10/20/2006 10:35:00 PM



(10/20/2006 10:22:00 AM) - Al

I watched the CBS lineup last night, though I miss Without A Trace as the final act...Shark is a bit generic, though I do like James Woods. I switched over to the Cards/Mets game twice...the first time, I watched the pitch that Chavez made the leaping catch on to rob Rolen of a HR. The second time, I saw the first hit dropping to lead off the 9th for NY. I then continued watching to the end.

I was left with one and only thought:

I have no doubt that a healthy Brewers' team is better than the club representing the NL in the World Series.

None.


10/20/2006 10:22:00 AM


Thursday, October 19, 2006

(10/19/2006 08:41:00 PM) - Al

Hundreds of family, friends and teammates remembered Lidle on Tuesday at an emotional 45-minute outdoor service in his hometown. At a reception later, they munched on In-N-Out burgers, his favorite fast food.

Heh.

I have attended many a wedding, party, or funeral in my day (Though not nearly as many as most, as many seem to have some sort of aversion to not attending any event to which they are invited. I always chuckle at the look of horror I get when someone bemoans their fate that they were invited to 8 weddings in 3 months, and I say, "Just don't go". It's like they suddenly lose control of their own individual ability to make decisions once they open an envelope with vellum in it.) in which after the meal, we stopped on the way home and picked up a snack, which about says it all.

If there is anything more incredibly, off-the-charts more predictable than a wedding dance, it's the reception. One choice is always "chicken", which is the safe choice, but also forever unsatisfying. The other choice is usually "steak", but it doesn't much matter, because I'm afraid it will either be a low quality or barely cooked, so I hardly ever check the box. At my wife's holiday party one year, I did decide on the filet mignon, which was about 4 inches thick, and the middle 3.5 inches was uncooked. Not wanting to cause a scene, I ate about half of it, after which in appeared the steak was sitting in a bowl of V8.

What's especially astounding is, most people pay a high price for these terrible meals...while most guests would prefer burgers or the like. I like Lidle more now than I did the half-dozen times I suggested the Crew go after the sinkerballer.


10/19/2006 08:41:00 PM


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

(10/18/2006 12:46:00 PM) - Al

Around the batting cage at the playoffs, the boys are saying it's close to a dead-solid lock that Carlos Lee will sign with the Astros. It's apparently one of the reasons the Brewers traded Lee to the Rangers. They knew they were going to lose him in free agency, so they decided to cut their losses and get what they could for him.
-- Houston Chronicle


Hat tip to CNNSI.com

I have trouble believing an NL team would pay Carlos as much as an AL one, but I s'pose he'd be perfect in that ballpark.


10/18/2006 12:46:00 PM



(10/18/2006 12:41:00 PM) - Al

Todd Coppernoll, a fellow RC grad I believe, wonders if Gary Sheffield will make the Hall of Fame.

If he retired tomorrow, probably not, but as long as he plays 2-3 more years and puts up decent numbers, I would assume he's in.


10/18/2006 12:41:00 PM



(10/18/2006 12:37:00 PM) - Al

Updates may be light for a bit, as mt computer is down at the moment. The gentleman from India told my wife that it must be the ethernet card, which of course I wouldn't know from a greeting card.


10/18/2006 12:37:00 PM


Monday, October 16, 2006

(10/16/2006 10:05:00 PM) - Al

I probably would have picked the Cardinals to upset the Bears if only if had been played on Sunday, but I never imagined Chicago would look past Arizona on a Monday night.

I guess that's why they play the game, huh?

EDIT: AS I hit "post", the Bears force a fumble and return it for a TD. My exact thought when I went with the Bears was, "If Chicago wins 24-21, that's a moral victory, but it's still a loss."


10/16/2006 10:05:00 PM



(10/16/2006 09:33:00 PM) - Al

A beautifully written piece that apparently, will go right over the heads of 42% of the public.

This is why my contrarian picks do so much better than my "go with the crowd" picks...if I could pick just stocks that the 42% that don't get capitalism or markets like, I can only imagine the return.


10/16/2006 09:33:00 PM


Sunday, October 15, 2006

(10/15/2006 09:34:00 PM) - Al

While some will argue Bud Selig deserves none of the credit (really, they will), George Will gets it right in his column today...baseball is indeed in the midst of its golden age.


10/15/2006 09:34:00 PM



(10/15/2006 07:37:00 PM) - Al

Glenn discusses how one book is selling compared to Cindy Sheehan's.

Part of this may simply be Sheehan's 15 minutes were up months ago...and for some reason, the media didn't seem to notice. But, I have to wonder if this is a direct correlation between this bit of info and Air America's demise. I never heard a second of AA, but every time I saw a quote from the network, it was always one of extreme pessimism, and my first thought was always "How could anyone listen to that all day?"...it just would be too depressing.

It makes perfect sense to me, as it's just like the episode of Seinfeld when Jerry tries not to be funny, he launches into a diatribe about death and what it all means...I can't imagine George, Kramer, and Elaine hanging out with that guy for 10 years.


10/15/2006 07:37:00 PM


Friday, October 13, 2006

(10/13/2006 10:14:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers claim former top prospect JD Closser on waivers from the Rockies.

Looking at his AAA numbers, Closser had a nice .384/.440 line, but that was in the hitter friendly Colorado Springs ballpark and PCL. But, any catcher that isn't an awful hitter should get every chance.


10/13/2006 10:14:00 PM


Thursday, October 12, 2006

(10/12/2006 09:06:00 PM) - Al

Drudge links up that North Korea is literally almost an entire century behind the times, with nearly the entire nation's electricity shut off at 9PM.

I can't believe the regime will last long enough to become a dangerous power, as many African nations have cell phone towers going up like tinkertoys. We may have to come up with a new term to describe N. Korea, as 3rd world seems insulting to the 3rd world.


10/12/2006 09:06:00 PM



(10/12/2006 08:01:00 PM) - Al

Al,

Corey Lidle pitched an inning for the Brewers as a replacement player in spring training during the strike…so he sorta was a Brewer.

Eric


I saw that in an article last night, actually. He was labeled a "scab" by some and was never fully accepted, though that it was minor the past few seasons, the story said. If memeory serves, Damian Miller also played that spring. Those guys have never been allowed to join the player's union, but of course, reap all the benefits (except no baseball card money, that goes through the union, I believe).

Two things to say about Lidle's untimely death today:

1. It seems likely this will add some legislation concerning private planes in major metro areas...which I would have guessed was already on the books. It's only been said in passing, but there were fighter jets above every major city in the US yesterday within an hour of the crash, that alone is reason enough to severely limit the risk of terror as well as amateur pilots.

2. I'm a bit tired of hearing Lidle referred to as a "New York Yankee", he barely played there, and it is sort of implied that makes it more of a tragedy. Not that ESPN is anything but flawed, but it's tough for me to believe they'd devote a fraction of the time to a member of the Royals or Devil Rays.


10/12/2006 08:01:00 PM



(10/12/2006 07:33:00 PM) - Al

Damian will be back after exercising his option...$2.25M is a huge bargain for a C of his caliber.


10/12/2006 07:33:00 PM


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

(10/11/2006 07:13:00 PM) - Al

I probably mentioned Cory Lidle as a possible Brewers' acqusition target as much as any player who has never played for the team. I know Robert has said a few times that it is amazing this sort of thing doesn't happen more often to pro athletes, as they have free time and resources to take part in dangerous hobbies...and he's very much correct.

Ramblings extends sympathy to Lidle's family and friends.


10/11/2006 07:13:00 PM



(10/11/2006 03:30:00 PM) - Al

Chris Spurling signs a minor league deal with the Crew, and he'll get an invite to spring training.

Spurling is a nice arm to have stashed at Nashville, especially given such factors as his low K rate and low ceiling...nice depth to have, even though you hope you'll never need to use it.


10/11/2006 03:30:00 PM



(10/11/2006 02:07:00 PM) - Al

Glenn from Instapundit and his wife talk to an Army recruiting honcho who sounds very unhappy that no one is reporting the recruiting and reenlistment success.


10/11/2006 02:07:00 PM



(10/11/2006 09:37:00 AM) - Al

Hmmm, I'm thinking that if these numbers are true, the odds may be tilted toward the house.


10/11/2006 09:37:00 AM



(10/11/2006 09:20:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers are strongly considering shifting Hall to the outfield for next season and he said he had a "pretty good idea" how that will shake out.

"They've got to make sure about a couple of injuries first," said Hall, referring to Hardy and third baseman Corey Koskie. "They promised they would let me know in plenty of time for spring training."


I would leave Hall at SS myself, but it looks more and more like he'll be an OF next year.


10/11/2006 09:20:00 AM


Sunday, October 08, 2006

(10/08/2006 08:55:00 PM) - Al

Bill Hall is expected to be a full-time outfielder for the Brewers next year, another sign they will shop Geoff Jenkins. Hall finished an incredible year as a super sub with 35 homers.--Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune

If Rogers wasn't a complete knob, this might have some actual credibility. That said, the mere fact Hall is listed on the team's web page as eligible for arby and as an IF/OF makes me feel it's about 70/30 Billy is being looked at as an OF right now.


10/08/2006 08:55:00 PM



(10/08/2006 11:21:00 AM) - Al

Surely George doesn't really feel Lou Pinella is the answer to anything, right?

If you want proof how little a manager means, take a look at Lou's tenure in Tampa Bay...bad team, poor record, despite Lou's constant promises that he wouldn't accept losing.

With any luck, George will also bring in older veterans who "know how to win", and hopefully he'll pick up some guys looking for a job since Dusty Baker is out of work...you can almost hear Shawon Dunston calling his agent, can't you?


10/08/2006 11:21:00 AM


Saturday, October 07, 2006

(10/07/2006 08:12:00 PM) - Al

How out of touch are the Connecticut Dem primary voters?

Looks like Lieberman in a walk.


10/07/2006 08:12:00 PM



(10/07/2006 07:12:00 PM) - Al

I set the over/under for the Steinbrenner explosion at 40 hours.

That's a shame.


10/07/2006 07:12:00 PM



(10/07/2006 10:57:00 AM) - Al

The JS reports on a study that shows the economic impact of Miller Park at $300M.

Frankie Cordero's optioned renewed, Chad Moeller takes his free agency, and Chris Spurling clears waivers and is now off the 40 man...nothing to see here, keep moving, move along, folks.

Moeller's departure leaves a bit of a gap at AAA as far as catching depth, as I'm not sure if minor prospect Lou Palisimo earned a spot with his middling AA campaign or not, and regardless, I assume the Crew will sign a veteran backstop who is solid defensively to be the callup in case of injury, but needless to say, catchers who can't hit are not difficult to find.


10/07/2006 10:57:00 AM



(10/07/2006 09:52:00 AM) - Al

Billy Beane described the best-of-five series with the Twins as "5 hands of blackjack", and doesn't seem very impressed with himself.

I think most every GM would take a lot more pride in winning a title over 162 games than 5. To be honest, many of the good Yankees' teams that had that fine stretch were built for as 7 game series, with 3 great starters and a weak 4th and 5th spot...and somehow, they stayed healthy enough to win.


10/07/2006 09:52:00 AM


Friday, October 06, 2006

(10/06/2006 09:56:00 PM) - Al

Apparently, Billy Beane got a whole lot smarter.:)

Also nice to see Marcos Scutaro, who I was told by some know-it-alls could not play SS in the majors despite playing SS in AAA for 4 seasons, be one of the stars of the series.

And congrats to the Twins on a spectacular season and what sure looks to be a fine future. Like the A's, they've enjoyed quite a run of success, and it doesn't look to end anytime soon.

On one message board, they've been discussing how unfair it is to have a best-of-five series in the playoffs, and I agree, but I don't see it changing. Very few fans want to see 7 or 9 games in that many days, which would be a far fairer test than 5 contests in 6 or 7 days. Very unlikely to change, as it would simply spread out viewing and make many casual fans think the first 2-3 games didn't mean much.

It isn't a coincidence the most popular championship game is the Super Bowl, which lasts a few hours, which allows folks to enjoy the affair while only investing part of a single day in it. With darn near everyone having 25-30 channels...and most having 60+, there are plenty of options over the many days and nights of a longer series.


10/06/2006 09:56:00 PM


Thursday, October 05, 2006

(10/05/2006 09:46:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers picked up Grant Balfour and added him to the 40 man.

His career stats can be found here. Balfour had a decent couple years with the Twins before missing '06 with an injury. I wouldn't say he is a top young arm anymore, but he's a hard thrower who has been "ok"...I'd comapre this to picking up Turnbow a couple years ago.


10/05/2006 09:46:00 PM


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

(10/04/2006 08:36:00 PM) - Al

We changed dramatically over the last few years. People accused us of being a slow-pitch softball team: Get men on base and have someone hit a three-run homer. But we've become more defensive-oriented. There was a time when we could go after players who all they did was get on base. They didn't bring any other skills to the table. They couldn't field, couldn't run.

A player like Matt Stairs wasn't given the opportunity because he was perceived as not being able to do the other things. Now players without skills are being pursued. People who have the highest on-base percentage are the highest-paid players in the league. We can't find it where it's undervalued anymore. There are no bargains any more in that area.--Billy Beane, OAK GM


I think he's a genius, whetehr his club wins one more game this year or not. He's simply one step ahead of everyone else. The run his team has been on the past few years is simply astounding, and I don't think they've ever been in the upper 50% of payroll.

His team now is built on defense and pre-arby talent. He just knows how to work the system brilliantly.


10/04/2006 08:36:00 PM



(10/04/2006 07:35:00 PM) - Al

Once again, the "serial killer" much rumored in the LaCrosse area is irresponsible behavior.

It's an immeasurable shame a young person lost his life, but the far greater crime is the public has wasted the time of the police with cries of a fictional murderer. They should be ashamed of themselves.


10/04/2006 07:35:00 PM



(10/04/2006 11:44:00 AM) - Al

Giuliani is this poll's choice for 2008.

I heard someone say hours after the '04 election that a Giuliani/Clinton confrontation would happen and that it would be very interesting. I agreed then, and I agree now.

Note that Condi Rice, despite saying she will not run, still comes in 2nd, and is mentioned as a VP candidate daily.


10/04/2006 11:44:00 AM



(10/04/2006 11:09:00 AM) - Al

My e-mail today consisted of 2 e-mails from Joel, an unlikely amount of random people insisting they'd send me a large sum of money due to bad luck and international banking regulations, and several Packers' "fans" insisting that the green and gold would have won the Super Bowl last year if not for the poor pass defense of Ahmad Carroll.

Heh.

The "casual fan" level of football fans is off-the-charts, by the way. No, your nickel back is not a vital cog of your team, and it is not addition by subtraction. One writer actually brought up the name of Terrell Buckley, whihc I found ironic, as the much-maligned Buckley had a long career as a defensive back/kick returner after he left Green Bay, far from a failure.

My point remains, rebuilding teams do not release players with potential even if they are struggling. This is a team going nowhere, and on a weekly basis, they insist on making it perfectly clear the only plan in place is to survive the next game, and the embarassment that will likely go with it.


10/04/2006 11:09:00 AM



(10/04/2006 10:46:00 AM) - Al

Al,

Two e-mails in one day! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. The Journal-Sentinel has released the grades for the Brewers today. Bill Hall received a B!!! He is down graded for striking out too much and not having enough RBI considering the high number of extra-base hits he had. What? The kicker is that Graffanino (B+) and Cirillo (A) received higher grades!

Joel


Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I thought about skipping this column, but I checked it out this AM, and then, in complete awe at the fact Hall received a "B", moved along to more important things, like wondering how exactly a mindless buffoon writes for a major metropolitan sports section.

Hall-----.345/.553...B
Cirillo--.369/.414...A
Graffy---.345/.403...B+

My cocker spaniel is currently sitting on the sofa in my "office", contentedly confused every time there is a doorbell sound on TV, he looks at me as if to say, "Is there someone here, Al?", and I always say, "It's on TV, Ronnie", to which he replies by dropping his head back onto the cushion, napping and resting up for the next interruption. I promise you if he stood with his back legs on the chair and his paws hit the keyboard 3 times, his "grades" would not be a bit more senseless than what Tom H spit out.

I'd be embarassed to print that if I ran a free shopper, and needed to fill up the space between the lost and found section and the ad for the dingy diner on the corner.


10/04/2006 10:46:00 AM



(10/04/2006 10:33:00 AM) - Al

Al,

I can not take the Derek Jeter talk any longer. The following career stats are through the 2005 season:

Jeter regular season: .386/.461 = .847

Jeter playoffs: .379/.463 = .842

A-Rod regular season: .385/.577 = .962

A-Rod playoffs: .393/.534 = .927

Jeter doesn’t “step it up” in the playoffs, and he isn’t better than A-Rod (reg. season or playoffs).

PS: Jeter career fielding at SS: .975 fielding % and 4.09 range factor
A-Rod career fielding at SS: .977 and 4.42

Joel


Obviously, Joel does not understand "clutch" and "grit".

The sad thing is, Jeter is a fine player, but much like Cal Ripken Jr, he's best loved for the wrong reasons. In Cal's case, he was a magnificent offensive SS, but he's best known for a meaningless, selfish streak. Derek is a top offensive SS, but he's known for the epitome of casual fandom, "being a winner".

Trust me, put Jeter on the DevilRays, they still suck.

I use it as a guideline. You don't read Rob Neyer or Aaron Gleeman writing stupid statements about Jeter, they like him for what he is, as I said, a great player. As soon as a member of the media starts spouting ignorance about him, I know not to concern myself bothering to listen to him about anything else.


10/04/2006 10:33:00 AM


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

(10/03/2006 10:08:00 PM) - Al

This gent correctly predicted the Brewers' 75 win season...note his prediction about the position players' health at the end of Part 1...right on the money as well.

Part 1

Part 2

Hat tip to Dave Pinto at Baseball Musings.


10/03/2006 10:08:00 PM



(10/03/2006 07:58:00 PM) - Al

As I've stated before, I am barely a casual observer of the Packers, knowing only what I know because of the plethora of media coverage they receive in my area. I've mentioned before what a disaster they are, and now, releasing former first round pick Ahmad Carroll 4 games into a wasted season is going to cure exactly what?

I don't know if this guy was any good or not, nor do I know what number he wore. However, I do know this...the Packers are going nowhere in 2007. To be honest, they appear to be a horrible, painfully bad team. Then there's the little nugget that they have a QB sitting on the bench that needs to play, and a QB that used to be really good that is now...well, still playing and well, a legend you know.

This is not just a bad team, it's a team with no direction, no plan, and seemingly far more interested in making roster moves with no motive other than making changes than bothering with any teaching, coaching, or simply letting guys play and hoping they get better. If you had an ounce of doubt if this is a well thought out idea, let's take a gander at this piece of the article:

McCarthy said the Packers intend to give practice-squad cornerback Patrick Dendy and rookie Jarrett Bush a chance to compete for the nickel corner spot Carroll held down.

Whoo hoo, I think you can print up the playoff tickets. Who's going to be the nickel back (and backup corner) you ask?

A practice squad member (passed over by all 32 teams because no one could use him as a member of the active roster a month ago) or an undrafted rookie already released once? And despite the fact they let the incumbent go, there's no clue who will suit up in that spot in a few days.

I will tell you this, if any of the three players mentioned in this post is still a contributor in a couple years, I bet ya it will be the one that was released today...by a team that should be focusing solely on the future.

Oof.


10/03/2006 07:58:00 PM


Monday, October 02, 2006

(10/02/2006 10:18:00 PM) - Al

Two OMC articles about the Crew:

The future looks OK

Drew interviews Mark A


10/02/2006 10:18:00 PM



(10/02/2006 09:50:00 PM) - Al

I agree with most everything Robert said just below...though I am probably more optimistic than he is about 2007. I'll come right out and say it...it's very disappointing to me the Brewers aren't in the playoffs tomorrow. But, when you look at the man-games lost to injury, winning 9 fewer games than it would have took is completely understandable.

The Crew did a lot of things very well in '06. Picing up Bell and Graffy were two of them, giving me faith that Doug will be able to make a fine pickup or two at the deadline when it matters. And the idea Doug acquired a year and two months of Frankie Cordero for two months of Carlos Lee was pure genius. IF (and it is a big if) Koskie comes back at 100% next March, they are a big bat, a couple decent relievers, and good health away from 85-90 victories, and are positioned to make an Oakland-like run a half-decade in length.

The one thing that I keep remembering is simple, and I think many folks forget it...Weeks, Fielder, Hardy, Hart, and maybe even Hall are going to get better. Most players peak at or about 27, and all of them will be even better someday.


10/02/2006 09:50:00 PM



(10/02/2006 09:10:00 AM) - Robert R.

I'm sure grade articles are going to pop up all over the net soon. I may do something more comprehensive myself, but here's some early thoughts on players in 2006 with the only criteria being whether they appear to be part of the group that can lead to the post-season.

Improved their Stock

Bill Hall - A legitimate Silver Slugger candidate. A hard worker that proved that 2005 wasn't a fluke. This is the reason that people wondered about extending players like Brady Clark, who was already in his 30s, Derrick Turnbow, who only had one good year, and Matt Wise. Here's a guy that you should lock up and go out of your way to find a spot in the field.

Chris Capuano - Maybe ran out of gas a bit at the end, but had a fine season. Better than his 18 win season a year ago. He's smart, he works hard, and he's had two good seasons in a row. He's another player that's a no brainer to lock up.

Prince Fielder - He's not going to win Rookie of the Year, but his first season was a solid success with Fielder living up to expectations with the bat and being adequate in the field. And he's only 22.

Carlos Villanueva - I wouldn't have known Villanueva was in the Brewers' organization a year ago without looking it up. And now he appears to be a front runner for the #5 spot in the 2007 rotation. Mastering the changeup has made him a legitimate big leaguer. He's leaped ahead of a lot of pitching prospects through hard work and baseball smarts.

Dave Bush - The centerpiece of the Overbay trade did pretty much what was expected. 210 IP of league average or slightly better has a lot of value. The season would have been a lot worse without him around. Still youngish at 26, he looks to be a fixture at the back end of future staffs.

Mike Rivera - Older than you would like at 30, but ended up having a solid half year with the bat. He's an example of the type of player that Al likes to spotlight with his RUTT picks at the beginning of the year. A Miller/Rivera catcher duo looks servicable, if not better, for 2007, and Rivera has a chance to become a starting catcher.

Gabe Gross - Something of a throw-in in the Overbay deal, he looks like he's going to have a chance to start in 2007. His numbers look very similar to his AAA performance, so it's likely not a fluke. He's just someone who never got an extended chance before, for whatever reasons, and finally ran with the chance he did get.

Corey Hart - Sat on the bench longer than he should have, but had a solid half year doing everything he was asked for in the second half. He's going to start in 2007.

Francisco Cordero - Went from losing his job in Texas to back to being an elite closer in 2 months. Maybe not a long term solution, but he's going to be part of the 2007 team and will either be a key part of a post-season run or traded at the deadline.

Solid Years - Stabilized their Role

Ben Sheets - Yeah, he basically missed the first half of the year due to complications from his injury in 2005. In the second half, he was very impressive and looked like a staff ace again. 116 to 11 K:BB ratio is unreal. There's no reason not to expect a very solid 2007.

Tony Gwynn Jr. - He might have improved his stock, but at the very least he looked like he was worth the second round pick. Probably never going to be a star due to his lack of power, but certainly appears to have a future as a backup centerfielder.

Corey Koskie - The concussion muddies the waters. Before that he was putting up an .833 OPS and playing very solid defense. Essentially replacing him with David Bell was one of the keys to the second half offensive collapse. If healthy, he should either play a key role or be very attractive trade bait at a friendly contract price.

Mixed Years

Rickie Weeks - Made tremendous progress on defense after a rocky start. Got on base well, stole some bases, and looked very comfortable in the leadoff spot. OTOH, he didn't hit for power and he had another wrist injury, with the latter being of most concern long term.

J. J. Hardy - Hit for some power and played solid defense, but had a bad BA and OBP and got hurt again. With Bill Hall having a fine year, he could be trade bait in the offseason.

Jose Capellan - 71.2 IP of 4.40 ERA is the best year from the relievers that broke spring training with the team. The Brewers had considerable problems bridging the gap from the starters to Cordero in the second half, but Capellan was able to take the ball on a regular basis and although inconsistent he seldom let a game get completely away. That said, he certainly didn't look like a pitcher who was once regarded as a top prospect, but merely like a servicable middle reliever. He'll be part of the 2007 bullpen, but his role may not be key.

Disappointing Years

Geoff Jenkins - His year wasn't anywhere near as bad as his harshest critics would suggest. That said, it was a clear disappointment. He did put up an .871 OPS against right-handers and played solid defense, so he's still useful if deployed right.

Brady Clark - Looked like he'd aged a lot in the offseason. His power completely disappeared and it certainly appeared like his range did as well. At his age, it's doubtful if either will fully reemerge. His BA and OBP were still solid though, so he still has uses as a reserve, although it's likely not in Milwaukee.

Damian Miller - His final numbers aren't bad, but he appeared to be the old catcher he is in the second half. Moeller's failures in the first half likely contributed to that as Miller was overused, but he's not getting any younger.

Dan Kolb, Matt Wise, & Rick Helling - Kolb never regained his former closer stuff. Wise and Helling were injured too often to be of much help. The Brewers are going to have to rebuild the bullpen in the offseason and none of the above look to play significant roles in 2007. Wise is the only one I'm expecting back.

Doug Davis - 200+ IP and a .500 record aren't bad, but Davis was unbelievably wild at times in 2006. 102 BBs isn't acceptable from a key starter and his inefficiency helped tax the bullpen.

Tomo Ohka - A shoulder injury early in the season really contributed to the Brewers problems. And he was anything but dominant when he returned. He gets credit for returning at all, but he'll likely be pitching elsewhere in 2007.

Derrick Turnbow - I've never seen an All Star implode like Turnbow did without an injury being involved. He went from a solid closer to a huge liability in two weeks and almost singlehandedly took the Brewers out of contention in July. His velocity is still good and other teams may be interested, but he could easily be cut next spring training.

Ned Yost - It wasn't all his fault, but he certainly didn't have a good year. His handling of Jenkins and Turnbow in particular was very poor. Really, with Corey Hart on the bench, Yost has no excuse for what happened in the first half with a lefty pitching. A platoon isn't that complicated. Having a 13 man pitching staff really didn't help matters either considering that at times he only had 2 or 3 effective men in the bullpen. Speaking of which, never really seemed to grasp that Shouse is a LOOGY and definitely overexposed him in the second half. His patience with Weeks at 2B was commendable though, as was his handling of Fielder, and he certainly seemed to go out of his way not to alienate Bill Hall early in the season and that proved very beneficial when injuries struck.

Played their way out of Milwaukee

Kevin Mench - A .566 OPS out of a corner outfielder is awful. He'd probably be better in 2007, but he certainly doesn't look like someone who can be relied upon. I suspect he'll be non-tendered or traded.

Ben Hendrickson - Got a chance, was awful. If there's anything as a AAAA player, he's it.

Chris Demaria, Justin Lehr, Geremi Gonzalez, Chris Spurling, Jered Fernandez, Chris Mabeus, Jorge De La Rosa, and Joe Winklesas - All of them were awful and contributed to one of the worst bullpens in the MLB.

The thing that's most troubling and yet reason for optimism is that the veterans on the team were among the most disappointing. The younger players aren't going anywhere and the future is still bright, although 2007 is perhaps a bit muddled while the Brewers try to figure out what to do with the outfield spots not occupied by Hart, try to reassemble the bullpen, and perhaps add some starting pitching depth.


10/02/2006 09:10:00 AM



(10/02/2006 08:38:00 AM) - Al

Looks like Doug agrees with me that Weeks' potential at 2B is simply too high to give up on at this point.


10/02/2006 08:38:00 AM


Sunday, October 01, 2006

(10/01/2006 08:17:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers' key baseball operations staff, including Yost, Melvin's assistant general manager Gord Ash, scouting director Jack Zduriencik and the coaches who will be back in 2007, all met for about five hours at the team hotel on Friday. They went over the roster player by player.

"We assessed our team on some of the things that went wrong, and some of the things we can do better," Melvin said. "We assessed all of the players. I'll tell you what, if you take the guys off the [disabled list], I think we've got more talent here than we've ever had."--Brewers' site


I was thinking almost the exact same thing today, ironically. I was thinking of my statement that the bench of Hall, Gross, Cirillo, and Hart was one of the deepest the Crew had ever had...which turned out to be one of the most accurate statements I've ever made, as three had breakthrough campaigns, while Jeff not only hit LHP's, he had a fine year overall. But, all 4 of them ended up playing every day, due to either injury or trade. Last year's team probably would not have won more than 65-68 games had they suffered injuries like this year's model did.


10/01/2006 08:17:00 PM


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