Al's Ramblings



Thursday, April 30, 2009

(4/30/2009 10:07:00 PM) - Al

I've said it many times, but the idea Hoffman can be so effective with an 88 mph fastball and a 84 mph change is mind-numbing.

I still feel he'll "struggle" a bit versus LH hitters, as they seem to see him a ton better.


4/30/2009 10:07:00 PM



(4/30/2009 09:06:00 PM) - Al

Another fine outing by Suppan. It would certainly seem his first couple outings were the outlier. Of course, tell that to the casuals who fail to comprehend what a small sample is.


4/30/2009 09:06:00 PM



(4/30/2009 08:14:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers aren't doing much with this ARI fireballer, but they are working his pitch count up, several 3-2 counts and lots of K's, which by definition takes at least 3 pitches, and often 6+.

I'd estimate he's at about 70 pitches in the 4th, so he's probably only got 5 in him.


4/30/2009 08:14:00 PM



(4/30/2009 08:10:00 PM) - Al

The Rambling brother mentioned in an e-mail that the Royals are doing well. I replied they are doing exactly as I thought, winning about 40% of their games...except I had no idea Grienke would pitch perfectly, winning every game he starts. If he can do that all year, they have a shot.


4/30/2009 08:10:00 PM



(4/30/2009 07:51:00 PM) - Al

Great line by Glenn, but honestly, I think Biden's proven why he campaigned in Iowa for a year and got about as many votes as I did. You can be mighty impressive in 60 second clips and well rehearsed 15 minute bits on Meet the Press, but clueless the rest of the time.

Much like Palin and the Alaskan media, it probably hurt Biden to only have to deal with the kind, softball questions the Delaware papers lobbed his way.

Biden manages to make a fool of himself in his first public appearance in forever. Can't you just hear the advisers..."Why doesn't he read the memos?"


4/30/2009 07:51:00 PM



(4/30/2009 07:09:00 PM) - Al

If, down the road, the A's or Rays have to relocate, Stark says San Antonio, Las Vegas, and Mexico were the locations MLB was considering in reference to the Marlins.--MLBTR

I was shocked to hear on the news of late that Mexico City has 20M residents. Obviously, you have issues to deal with such as the peso often having little value, and that of the huge population, many live in conditions that would qualify as third world like. Still, it's a corporate mecca, though I seem to recall Monterrey, a smaller, richer city being considered back when the Expos were kicked out of Montreal by apathy. Vegas would be a haven for visiting teams' fans to travel, and San Antonio is the largest city without MLB, I do believe.

I'm not sure when, but I have little doubt MLB will have 32 teams in the near future...in fact, I would assume discussions may start taking place any time, as I know it was a long process when MLB added the Rockies, Marlins, Rays, and D'Backs.


4/30/2009 07:09:00 PM



(4/30/2009 07:04:00 PM) - Al

One good bypassed area is southwestern Wisconsin, between the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers - Crawford, Vernon, and Richland Counties in particular.Look at the topo maps - it's full of hills.

There really is no reason to go through there. Major highways are far from that area. The Mississippi has some traffic, but not the Wisconsin River - that's really just recreational.

The very small nuclear power plant in La Crosse has been long shut down. Ft. McCoy is well East of La Crosse.--survivalist website on "good areas to go with easy access"



I was born and raised in Richland Center, and all I can think of is, it almost sounds like a tourism slogan:

Richland County...there's really no reason to come here.


4/30/2009 07:04:00 PM



(4/30/2009 06:59:00 PM) - Al

ECON 101...by watching The Office. I wonder what college credits I should get for watching Seinfeld and Married with Children religiously over the years?


4/30/2009 06:59:00 PM



(4/30/2009 06:10:00 PM) - Al

FSWisconsin and the Brewers agree to a new deal.

What is not mentioned is how long it goes, and if this is a renegotiation of the old one, which paid the lowest in MLB and went through '12, if memory serves. Maybe they said they'd extend it at favorable terms if they threw out the last 3 years.

I was hoping Mark A's master plan included starting his own TV channel, and then putting a AAA team in Madison or northern Illinois to provide cheap programming. Well, at least the first half, as I'm the only one who has ever brought up the 2nd.


4/30/2009 06:10:00 PM


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

(4/29/2009 10:40:00 PM) - Al

What if Obama was a member of the GOP?


4/29/2009 10:40:00 PM



(4/29/2009 08:53:00 PM) - Al

NBC discusses Yo.


4/29/2009 08:53:00 PM



(4/29/2009 08:19:00 PM) - Al

The AP rips apart Obama's "facts"...really.

I think I just saw a pig fly by my window...


4/29/2009 08:19:00 PM



(4/29/2009 07:10:00 PM) - Al

the Pirates allowed Snell to throw 131 pitches--BCB

Remember last year, in the heat of the playoff race, Sabathia went 128 because of an error in the 9th (and I think he pitched around one guy to face another). You would have thought the world ended, the way the casuals overreacted.

128 while fighting for the wildcard is one thing, 131 in April is another. Note that with a one run lead heading into the 9th, and his top two relievers unavailable, Macha still went to the bullpen because Yo was already at 112.

Ned always erred on the side of caution, so one has to think the common thread here is the braintrust. In Doug we trust.


4/29/2009 07:10:00 PM



(4/29/2009 06:48:00 PM) - Al

Carlos Corporan called up to backup Kendall for the next couple weeks. He is said to be a fine defender, and that's good, because he can't hit a lick.


4/29/2009 06:48:00 PM



(4/29/2009 04:26:00 PM) - Al

The good folks of Minnesota should be embarrassed yet again by their state's actions.

The internet is not the same as a phone line. Buy a clue, boys.

Note Pennsylvania tried this 5 years ago to block porn and the court giggled at them. If you don't learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it.

Not to mention, the technology is beyond these simpletons now. If you have MLB.tv, you can watch Brewers' games even if you are in a blacked out area...just by connecting to a "proxy" in another part of the world...you know, somewhere the game isn't blacked out.


4/29/2009 04:26:00 PM



(4/29/2009 04:01:00 PM) - Al

Rivera DL'd, no move to fill the 25 man as of yet.

By the way, Lucroy is not on the 40 man, as he does not have to be added yet, regardless of what the JS says.


4/29/2009 04:01:00 PM



(4/29/2009 02:56:00 PM) - Al

I can understand Hoffman not being able to go for a 3rd day in a row, but Coffey is also unavailable? I guess he did go the last two games as well.

EDIT: CV does the job, so the details do not matter, I guess.


4/29/2009 02:56:00 PM



(4/29/2009 02:19:00 PM) - Al

If Rivera has to be DL'd, the Brewers have plenty of options. Angel Salome is the only one on the 40 man roster, so he'd have to be considered the favorite, but Vinny Rottino is currently in AA, and Carlos Corporan is in AAA backing up Salome, and is considered a good catch and throw guy, albeit, not a fraction the prospect that Angel is.

Heck, if the Crew had some days off, I'd probably just let McGehee be the backup and bring up another bench bat, or possibly even Swindle for a bit, just to take a bit of pressure off the relief corps. Kendall has shown he can play pretty much every day, and Salome is just a phone call and a plane trip away.


4/29/2009 02:19:00 PM



(4/29/2009 10:49:00 AM) - Al

Heh.

Adult language at the link, but it is a funny picture.


4/29/2009 10:49:00 AM



(4/29/2009 10:46:00 AM) - Al

I know hockey isn't your thing, given that I can't really remember many other posts about the game, but a second team in the Toronto area makes a lot of sense. The Leafs sell out, have sold out, and will continue to sell out games at an amazing rate, and to be quite honest, the team's not very good at all. They also charge high prices and have their own TV network (does that remind you of any MLB team out east? Maybe two of them?). They also have the highest franchise value in hockey, and they haven't won a Stanley Cup since 1967, when the league was still at 6 teams.

The demand is there, and you can bet that some of the less affluent in the Toronto area would be switching for sure. Games in the new team's arena against the Leafs would be a HUGE event, as others that haven't switched their rooting interest over to the new team will go after any available ticket to see the Leafs play live in their home city, or close by, anyway.

Joe


However, for the long-term growth of the NHL, I don't see a 2nd Toronto team really doing a lot of good. In addition, couldn't the same be said about Montreal?


4/29/2009 10:46:00 AM



(4/29/2009 10:44:00 AM) - Al

Hey Al-

I understand that the season is only 20 games old (small sample size alert!) but I find it refreshing to see how the Brewer's offense has been exceptionally patient, especially with Braun and Hart.

Some stats to throw out:

2008 Brewers, 550 BB in 6251 PA. 9th in the NL
2009 Brewers, 86 BB in 781 PA, 4th in the NL. Projected to 688 BB for the season.

2008 Ryan Braun, 42 BB, .335 OBP
2009 Ryan Braun, 14 BB, .478 OBP (in 92 AB, for 600 AB 92 BB)

2008 Corey Hart, 27 BB, .300 OBP
2009 Corey hart, 12 BB, .398 OBP (in 88 PA, for 600 AB that projects to 82 BB)

I couldn't be happier with the way the Brewer's lineup has played thus far, especially considering the caliber of pitches they've faced for much of the season. Perhaps it's the hitting coach, but I tend to think it's players maturing - Braun's third full season and Corey entering his age 27 season, both good things.

Jordon


With the exception of Weeks, of course.


4/29/2009 10:44:00 AM



(4/29/2009 08:17:00 AM) - Al

2006 fourth-round pick Evan Anundsen pitched a no-hitter and struck out 10 for Single-A Brevard County on Tuesday.

A strong groundball rate and above average command hasn't gotten Anundsen much attention as a prospect. The no-hitter, though, will draw notice. The 20-year-old Anundsen is 2-2 with a 1.44 ERA for Brevard County. He's a high-80s guy and he doesn't have a strikeout breaking ball, so his margin for error seems pretty slim. However, his ability to generate grounders does give him a chance of making it.--Rotoworld


The part of that paragraph that really says something is that despite being a 4th round pick, he probably only has the ceiling of a middle reliever. That says a couple things:

1. Corey Hart was an 11th round pick. While it's wonderful to be able to pick early and find guys like Fielder, Weeks, and Braun, finding a starter way down like that is beyond belief.

2. I feel it makes those first and second round picks all the more important, because the odds are, few of the other guys will ever contribute. I've always leaned toward taking position players early, as pitchers simply get hurt so much more.

Of course, it's hard to build a pitching staff without some top picks, and other than taking hard to sign guys later and throwing money at them, I'm not sure how to get high ceiling arms without using a high draft pick, other than simply getting lucky.


4/29/2009 08:17:00 AM



(4/29/2009 08:08:00 AM) - Al

I find it amusing there is still debate about why the price of oil went up last year.

Speculators? I'm pretty sure there are still speculators out there, and somehow, they are unable to drive up the price.


4/29/2009 08:08:00 AM



(4/29/2009 12:06:00 AM) - Al

Very funny title, and an interesting picture of the "photo-op" that the administration claims ignorance about.


4/29/2009 12:06:00 AM


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

(4/28/2009 11:21:00 PM) - Al

I know I'm over thinking these things, but somehow, I doubt "the most interesting man in the world" would be some old graybeard who apparently wears a suit all the time...even when boating.

And speaking of beer, if I was a beer drinker, I'd avoid Lite beer, because I'm afraid of what it would do to my brain cells. In addition to apparently giving you the attention span of a nervous cocker spaniel, I am afraid it would turn me into some geek who carries garden gnome statues around with me...because I'm afraid of bowling alleys?

Is it just me that notices that no matter how immature the guys act, they always have a pretty girl next to them?


4/28/2009 11:21:00 PM



(4/28/2009 11:01:00 PM) - Al

I have defended Rickie Weeks many times, and once again, had to suffer through seeing him given an error on a play 29 other official scorers would have scored properly, as a fielder's choice. But, as is often the case here at Ramblings, I am taking the road less taken...as a contrarian, I often choose to do so.

I'm worried about Rickie. While in the past, he has always walked a ton, thus far in '09, he's walked 3 times in 82 AB's. Granted, it's a small sample, and he's belting the ball for nearly a .500 SLG thus far. But, the most important thing a batter can do to help his team is "not get out", and that's exactly what OBP measures. So, even though he's making good contact, he's still getting out at a pace far above his lifetime rate. He has not been swinging at a lot of bad pitches, so that's a good sign. Maybe he's just been challenged more and will start piling up the BB's once pitchers start throwing him 1-0 and 3-1 breaking stuff. But, my gosh, Corey Hart walked 3 times tonight. Let's hope I'm just overreacting.

Let's hope.


4/28/2009 11:01:00 PM



(4/28/2009 10:56:00 PM) - Al

Ah, it's just one big popularity contest anyway.

It's been as bad a debut as I could have imagined...and I had pretty low expectations. Some folks hate to admit it, but history seems to indicate that while the media fawns, Joe Public is unimpressed.


4/28/2009 10:56:00 PM



(4/28/2009 10:14:00 PM) - Al

Hey Al-

Is this what you would call "setting up to fail"? Why on earth would Russell let Maholm go back out there on 107 pitches?

Jason


I found that odd as well, especially since in order to do it, they had to have him leadoff the top of the inning. Not a good example of planning it out soundly.


4/28/2009 10:14:00 PM



(4/28/2009 09:46:00 PM) - Al

I tell you what, it is astounding that any of us are still alive.


4/28/2009 09:46:00 PM



(4/28/2009 09:07:00 PM) - Al

BA seems shocked the Crew is double switching...you know, it's a simple strategical maneuver.

Not sure if Bush meant to hit the two batters in a row or not...but if he did, throwing away two runs could well cost the team the game.

I was surprised Rivera did not stay in the game, as he looked to be at 70-80%. I can understand if it tightened up, but it didn't even have time, as he was due up 4th the next inning.


4/28/2009 09:07:00 PM



(4/28/2009 08:34:00 PM) - Al

Despite the networks best attempts to pretend this never happened (I still have not seen the video on TV), the public seems a bit miffed. At the office today, it was all anyone talked about, despite the hyping of the "swine flu" to be the most dangerous thing ever.

I'm sorry, but who's in charge? Oof.


4/28/2009 08:34:00 PM



(4/28/2009 07:08:00 PM) - Al

Always a relief when the first WMLW game of the year (the others were not on FSN because the Bucks were) makes it onto FSN. Sadly, I'm sure they'll still miss one during the year...and that call to Charter truly makes me wonder about the future.


4/28/2009 07:08:00 PM



(4/28/2009 06:14:00 PM) - Al

Braun just noticed how close the HBP was to his head.

I've always taken the Tom Kelly approach to these things, which is basically to ignore it and just try to win the game, which is far more important than the juvenile antics. If ever the time for retaliation, with 2 outs in the 9th inning strikes me as a lost opportunity.


4/28/2009 06:14:00 PM



(4/28/2009 05:43:00 PM) - Al

I have heard people suggest a 3rd MLB team for the New York area (probably in the upper-class suburbs of New Jersey or Connecticut), but a 2nd NHL team in Toronto?

I recall someone starting a Boston baseball team in some league, but I cannot remember who, or it it has had success.


4/28/2009 05:43:00 PM



(4/28/2009 01:24:00 PM) - Al

"There's a certain amount of discipline you need as a pitcher," said Macha, who has encouraged Parra to throw his changeup more and not try to blow fastballs by every hitter.--JS

That's because Macha isn't allowed to tell it like it is like I can.


4/28/2009 01:24:00 PM



(4/28/2009 10:52:00 AM) - Al

I am checking with CDC but my thoughts on Swine Flu: 1500 cases amongst 500Mil people is hardly a pandemic?--Dr. Drew on Twitter

I say this often, but I bet 1500 people have the flu every single day in Mexico and the US.


4/28/2009 10:52:00 AM



(4/28/2009 08:05:00 AM) - Al

Larry Kudlow misses the big point...the government can barely get the mail delivered, never mind run a gigantic company like GM.


4/28/2009 08:05:00 AM


Monday, April 27, 2009

(4/27/2009 10:34:00 PM) - Al

It's not hard to imagine Carlos V being relegated to just above Jorge Julio in the bullpen totem pole...he has been as inconsistent as Parra thus far. DiFelice has been all but unhittable versus RH's, and not bad at all versus lefties either. Stetter has been early perfect versus LH's. Coffey has been very good, and more unlucky than bad in his one rough outing. McClung has been wild, but has not been hit hard.

Funny how we haven't heard much about Braun's side of late. Or Prince's weight, for that matter.

I wonder if Macha forgot/did not think about double switching when he brought in Coffey. It worked out perfectly, of course, but while I can understand wanting to use Hoffman even in a tie game in the top of the 9th, I'm not sure he wanted to be down to McClung and Julio entering inning 10.


4/27/2009 10:34:00 PM



(4/27/2009 10:30:00 PM) - Al

I'll be honest, I'm having trouble believing this even happened.

I can only imagine the outcry if the W White House would have decided this was a fine idea.

I'm starting to comprehend why raising taxes and implementing unheard of spending hikes struck these folks as good ideas...oof.

EDIT: Glenn adds video.


4/27/2009 10:30:00 PM



(4/27/2009 10:18:00 PM) - Al

I realize I notice things no one else does, but how did Weeks not score from 1B on the double by Hart? He must have waited to ensure the ball was not caught, but from the moment the ball was hit, it seemed to me that the only question was fair or foul, not caught or not caught.

I'm plenty happy to see plenty of cushion for Hoffman, as he gave up a run in each of his rehab outings, and is due to face a pair of lefties, and his splits have not been all that good versus southpaw bats of late.


4/27/2009 10:18:00 PM



(4/27/2009 10:05:00 PM) - Al

Top Brewers prospect Lorenzo Cain will not need surgery on his knee.

MRI results revealed a slight tear in Cain's posterior cruciate ligament, which is a much better injury to have compared with a tear to the anterior cruciate ligament. He will be out four-to-six weeks, at which point his knee should return to full health. This is great news as a serious ACL injury would have meant losing almost an entire season in his development.


Wow, 4-6 weeks never looked so good.


4/27/2009 10:05:00 PM



(4/27/2009 10:01:00 PM) - Al

As I said, Doug has no interest in Pedro, at least not now.


4/27/2009 10:01:00 PM



(4/27/2009 09:09:00 PM) - Al

Nelson is trying to pull everything up there. He's never going to have any success trying to pull the pitch on the outside corner. He's looking every bit the 800 OPS AAA hitter that he is.

Once again, this is why March means nothing...and we still have to put up with AAA guys having a couple dozen good AB's versus inferior talent despite having hundreds of AB's in AAA to show exactly how much ability they have.


4/27/2009 09:09:00 PM



(4/27/2009 09:05:00 PM) - Al

The folks that raise and sell pork are not pleased with the naming of the latest flu bug.

They're just lucky the FDA hasn't banned all sale of pork...they've done it before for no reason.


4/27/2009 09:05:00 PM



(4/27/2009 08:12:00 PM) - Al

If you watched any of the ESPN game last night, you probably saw, either live or on replay, Jacob Ellsbury stole home. My goodness, the way they fawned over it, you'd have thought it had never been done before, or that he had hit in his 57th straight game, or something truly remarkable. If memory serves, I think Rod Carew stole home seven times one year.

In the age of 24/7 media, it amazes me that the somewhat rare is treated as a superb display of talent.


4/27/2009 08:12:00 PM



(4/27/2009 08:01:00 PM) - Al

After the first inning, when the Pirates scored twice on a walk and several bloop/infield hits, their offense has looked weak for a big league team. Of course, take Braun and Fielder out of the Crew's order, suddenly, they look kind of vanilla as well.


4/27/2009 08:01:00 PM



(4/27/2009 07:23:00 PM) - Al

At the point in the pageant when the young lovelies are asked questions by those who pick the winners, the flamboyantly gay man (who by day pries into the private lives of stars and scrawls human DNA-spewing phalli under the faces of those he doesn't like) asked Miss California, Carrie Prejean, whether she approved of gay marriage....

...Perez Hilton, whose real name is Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr., affirmed Miss California's fear: "She lost it because of that question. She was definitely the front-runner before that." Miss Prejean received zero points from Perez Hilton, who put her on the spot defending her faith. She finished in second place...

...In fact, in the beauty contest that was the 2008 presidential race, Barack Obama - the left's hand-tailored candidate and an icon of "hope" in the gay community - like his vice president, Joseph R. Biden Jr., shares Miss California's stance on gay marriage.

"I'm a Christian," Mr. Obama told the Chicago Tribune. "And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman."


Read the whole thing. It's hard to feel sorry for Prejean, who like Vanessa Williams losing the title because she dared to model nude, got far more publicity than she would have by winning the meaningless display of how you fill out a bathing suit and walk in heels (I'm sorry, scholarship pageant) anyway. However, despite the fact I'm as ambivalent about gay marriage as I could possibly be (I feel it should be a states issue, and all I know is, I don't want to spend my Saturday at Fred and Frank's ceremony anymore than I do Fred and Franchesca's. I really don't.), the hypocrisy of Perez and others (Andrew Sullivan especially, who used to be as good a writer as there was on the planet, is now so consumed with this one issue, he is now so bitter as to be unreadable).

As I said before, whoever decided a gay guy who writes mean things about people based on how they look and what they are wearing is more than likely not a very good judge of female good taste anyway. What a blithering idiot.


4/27/2009 07:23:00 PM



(4/27/2009 07:00:00 PM) - Al

Why is it hard for me to take the swine flu thing seriously? Well, because all the survivalist sites are, and they are always wrong.

[Well, that's not really accurate, but when you always predict the end of the world as we know it every day, it's tough to take anything seriously. And yes, sometimes the market does fall, but when you say it every day, it loses its credibility.]

Our local talk station this AM said "the flu" kills 36K people in the USA every year, though mostly the weak and frail elderly. Of course, if the swine flu kills one member of your family, it throws off your perspective, I understand.


4/27/2009 07:00:00 PM



(4/27/2009 05:18:00 PM) - Al

I was just glancing at the Pirates' lineup for tonight, and was so unimpressed I had to go check to see how many runs they've scored this year...and was surprised to see they're 5th in the NL, and have scored 13 more runs than the Crew.

The bottom 3 in the lineup, Jarmillo, Bixler, and the pitcher, are all very weak. Craig Monroe is a decent platoon guy, but he's hitting 3rd, and is facing a same handed pitcher. Eric Hinske is a solid role player, but he is not really a middle of the order bat either. Nyjer Morgan is off to a good start, and you gotta like Andy LaRoche. But, when you take Nate McLouth out of that lineup, it leaves quite a hole.

Sadly, because this is baseball, PIT will probably score a dozen runs off Looper.


4/27/2009 05:18:00 PM



(4/27/2009 04:09:00 PM) - Al

Heh. It's sure a lot easy reading a teleprompter than it is leading the free world.


4/27/2009 04:09:00 PM


Sunday, April 26, 2009

(4/26/2009 07:28:00 PM) - Al

The hypocrisy of the green folks is just off-the-charts.


4/26/2009 07:28:00 PM



(4/26/2009 04:16:00 PM) - Al

Pirates scared off by being shot at.

Watson, I think we're onto something.


4/26/2009 04:16:00 PM



(4/26/2009 04:09:00 PM) - Al

Al,

I think what people are trying to say is that there is no vaccine for the swine flu. On the early news I was watching, the doctor said "There is no treatment", but was corrected by the host, that there is no vaccine.

I've heard several people say you should go to the ER for tests if you have the flu, which to me, has the potential to result in long lines and people that should be home resting making others sick.

Jon


Correct on both counts, Jon.


4/26/2009 04:09:00 PM



(4/26/2009 03:42:00 PM) - Al

I'm sure Macha regrets giving Nelson AB's today as well. The guy has a 800 OPS in over 1000 AAA AB's, and needless to say, that translates to sucking unless you are a catcher or SS. I don't think I've ever seen a guy take more strikes or swing at more balls in my life, small sample alert noted.

This, my friends, is why spring training numbers mean less than nothing.


4/26/2009 03:42:00 PM



(4/26/2009 02:01:00 PM) - Al

I don't think I've ever seen a pitcher as intellectually challenged as Manny Parra. He honestly appears to simply have no idea.


4/26/2009 02:01:00 PM



(4/26/2009 01:56:00 PM) - Al

Sounds like the feds need to read Drudge.


4/26/2009 01:56:00 PM



(4/26/2009 01:42:00 PM) - Al

The Rambling brother checks in to say that thus far, Tamiflu is effective versus the swine flu, but some are afraid it could build up resistance if used heavily. According to this, he is correct.

One person this AM said there was "no medication to combat this strain"...which again, seems to have been a bit panic inducing.


4/26/2009 01:42:00 PM



(4/26/2009 01:31:00 PM) - Al

I was just wondering if the Brewers will consider sending Brad Nelson down for a couple weeks to get some AB's, but then I remembered he's out of options and the most obvious replacement, Tony Gwynn Jr, is not on the 40 man roster.

Nelson needs to take some pitches. Swinging at the first pitch and hoping for the best is not much of a strategy.


4/26/2009 01:31:00 PM



(4/26/2009 12:21:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers may be emerging in the hunt (for Pedro Martinez).--Boston Globe

I don't see it. I think they already have 6 starters better than Pedro, and Martinez is still pricing himself as the pitcher he was years ago.


4/26/2009 12:21:00 PM



(4/26/2009 12:12:00 PM) - Al

Counsell and Nelson get the nod. I guess .500 isn't bad at all.


4/26/2009 12:12:00 PM



(4/26/2009 12:03:00 PM) - Al

It doesn't even take 90 minutes of CNN to make me sick. However, as with everything CNN does (remember that little Katrina, ahem, "exaggeration"), the facts do not equal the hype.

Sadly, when coverage is this bad, many will be treating rumor as fact, just like they did with Katrina (m any still think the false CNN claims were true, just like many still think Sarah Palin said "I can see Russia from my house", when it was actually Tina Fey, because the reporting on it was so biased).

Hellishly overblown coverage like this is exactly what makes people like me tend to make light of everything, because it's just overstated. What's really odd is even though 9/11 happened and an event like it remains a threat, less than a decade later, it is ignored and never talked about; while every time someone throws up because they ate a jalapeno, it gets 24/7 attention.


4/26/2009 12:03:00 PM



(4/26/2009 10:01:00 AM) - Al

Mitch Stetter has been scouted by the Red Sox in case the team needs another situational lefty, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports.

Stetter, who gave up Gary Sheffield's 500th homer, has held lefties to a .170 batting average in 46 at-bats in his career. Cafardo says the Sox are just being thorough in case they need another lefty in the bullpen down the road. Doesn't bode well for Javier Lopez's grasp on a bullpen spot.--Rotoworld


I would guess this is a case of a Boston reporter thinking everyone else is just a farm team for them. I'm sure they like Stetter, as do many teams, but as long as he's effective and cheap, I don't see Doug even discussing him. If my math is correct, he isn't even eligible for arby until 2012.

I would expect rumors to start popping up soon for guys like Hardy, Hall, and maybe even Fielder, especially if the Crew does not get back in the race. Those would at least make some sense, as they are getting expensive and the Brewers have replacements in AAA for them. But, Doug has never traded a young, proven major league pre-arby player that I can think of, even in the Sabathia swap.


4/26/2009 10:01:00 AM



(4/26/2009 08:06:00 AM) - Al

The medical gent on TV just said he sees an "overreaction" to the swine flu as far more dangerous than the flu itself. He sees it as "already weakening", and says it appears the US has built up immunity to it, compared to Mexico, where 82 have died.

I have to wonder if this is from living in a global world, where many of us come into contact with others that have been all over every day, without even knowing it.

Years ago, back when she was running for leader of the free world, Hillary Clinton said President Bush had failed the citizenry by not stockpiling enough flu vaccines in case of a shortage...never mind the obvious expiration issues. I know the US have millions of doses of Tamiflu, but from what I have heard, it is not effective against this variety.

Time will tell if it's a major pandemic or little more than a media creation.


4/26/2009 08:06:00 AM



(4/26/2009 07:52:00 AM) - Al

Bea Arthur has passed away. I barely remember Maude, but watched The Golden Girls often. I did not even know she left Girls and the show was renamed The Golden Palace for a season.


4/26/2009 07:52:00 AM


Saturday, April 25, 2009

(4/25/2009 11:36:00 PM) - Al

Last year in early April, I did my share of sump pump blogging, as ours ran for about 2 weeks straight, as the snow was melting and we were getting a ton of rain.

This year, it has been dryer, and the snow melted about three times, so less water went into the ground at once. We never heard it run...until tonight, after a very heavy rain last night. The weather reported we received over 2 inches in the last 48 hours, and it's been running tonight regularly.

While I keep hearing from folks that farmers need the rain, we're hoping for a dry spell. It always irritates me that the only thing protecting our basement from water damage is a $79 piece of equipment that you can't even see.


4/25/2009 11:36:00 PM



(4/25/2009 11:13:00 PM) - Al

I have to wonder who Macha will give a day off to tomorrow, as Russ Ortiz has some off-the-chart platoon splits in '07 and again this year. I would figure Cameron will get the day off, with Duffy picking up the start, and you could quite possibly see Counsell in there...though it could be at any of 3 spots.

Tonight's win guarantees a winning road trip, by the way. Has anyone else noticed how the bats have "gotten it going", coincidentally, at the same time they quit facing an all-star every game. Weird.


4/25/2009 11:13:00 PM



(4/25/2009 11:09:00 PM) - Al

Swindle sent down, Hoffman activated.

While I would have probably went with RJ over Jorge Julio, I should have known Doug would choose velocity over the big breaking stuff.


4/25/2009 11:09:00 PM



(4/25/2009 11:05:00 PM) - Al

As Janeane Garofalo would say, another group of racist rednecks got together today.

I'd like to say some of them rednecks are mighty attractive.


4/25/2009 11:05:00 PM



(4/25/2009 09:31:00 PM) - Al

Both Weeks and Hall hurried their throws and did not set themselves, and both threw them in the dirt. I suppose they don't want to be slow and let the runner beat the throw, but I've always believed in taking a "beat" to compose yourself, getting a firm grip on the ball, and then firing. Twice tonight, that would have been preferred.


4/25/2009 09:31:00 PM



(4/25/2009 09:01:00 PM) - Al

HOU with incredible good fortune in the 8th...one well hit ball and no walks has equaled three runs. Short-term, luck is better than skill. The 3rd out was on a ball driven well into the gap. Far better to hit a blooper tonight. Coffey was just a victim of terrible luck.

Irony about the home plate umpire...it's a huge strike zone, but it's been very consistent. Not sure what Pudge was arguing about, he moved that ball several inches to try and frame it as a strike. If he moved it, obviously, he didn't think it was a strike either.


4/25/2009 09:01:00 PM



(4/25/2009 02:09:00 PM) - Al

Lo Cain injures knee, may be out for much of the season.

He may well have been a realistic possibility to replace Cameron in CF in '10. Now, probably not.


4/25/2009 02:09:00 PM



(4/25/2009 01:27:00 PM) - Al

CBS with a nice fluff article on how the Brewers all like each other.

If they win 68 games this year, you won't see many of these.


4/25/2009 01:27:00 PM



(4/25/2009 12:47:00 PM) - Al

Hoffman threw another inning in Nashville, and will be activated Sunday, barring soreness and such today.

Unless there's a pitcher who is hurt that we do not know about, I assume Julio or Swindle will be the ones removed from the 25 man roster. I usually prefer the player with options be sent down, as it keeps depth in the organization, but in this case, I'm torn:

1. To be honest, I just think Swindle is better.

2. McClung is in a fine spot to be the long man and #6 SP.

3. The depth at AAA is actually looking pretty good. Tim Dillard has been exceptional in his three starts, and Chase Wright and Nick Green have been ok, and each have K'd almost a man an inning. The bullpen is not loaded with prospects, but has plenty of solid generic veteran relievers, the best thus far has been Chris Smith, with a head shaking 14-0 K/BB ratio.

I think Julio is a nice enough vet to have around, much like Mota last year. He can be dominant if he is "on". I'd probably go with Swindle right now, however.


4/25/2009 12:47:00 PM



(4/25/2009 12:43:00 PM) - Al

This is why I do not understand why Lamb just didn't go down to Nashville with a handshake agreement he'd be released or traded should a team want him in the majors, or else the Crew would bring him up within 7 days, or something like that.

Now, he's in AAA, and he's wasted a couple weeks when he could have been impressing scouts.


4/25/2009 12:43:00 PM



(4/25/2009 12:14:00 PM) - Robert R.

I was at the Timber Rattlers game last night. A few thoughts on some of the prospects, based on an extremely limited sample size.

Brett Lawrie - The guy will hit, no doubt. He didn't elevate the ball last night, except on a long foul ball to right field, but you can see by his short, quick stroke that he projects well. Runs well too. He's very raw in the field though. He displayed some decent range and a strong arm, but he also dropped a ball on an SB throw, was out of position on another costing the team a potential dp, and certainly has a lot of work to do on his pivot. He'll hit though.

Cutter Dykstra - Small sample and it's early, but he looks very ordinary to me.

John Delaney - Old for the league. And I don't know how his stroke projects. But, he looked like the most polished player on the field. Especially defensively. Considering his age, he probably should be pushed quickly.

Brock Kjeldgaard - Lots of power. He hit a long HR to right center. Seems to have a decent eye, but his swing looks to me like he'll have problems making contact against better pitchers.

Michael Marseco - I doubt anyone really considers him a prospect. He's tiny. He was listed at 145 but he certainly doesn't look it.

Wily Peralta - Seemed to have decent stuff, but still pretty raw. Certainly had trouble staying in the strike zone.


4/25/2009 12:14:00 PM



(4/25/2009 09:54:00 AM) - Al

The Appleton paper talks to Reid Nichols, Crew's farm director.


4/25/2009 09:54:00 AM



(4/25/2009 09:36:00 AM) - Al

Rich Hill (elbow) allowed one run and one hit in three innings Friday in his first rehab start for Single-A Frederick.

Hill is scheduled to spend 30 days in the minors, but it's quite possible that he'll be back sooner if he can just stay away from the walks. For what it's worth, he didn't issue any in this one, though he did hit one batter.--Rotoworld


BAL may have made the deal of the century if Hill returns to '07 form.


4/25/2009 09:36:00 AM



(4/25/2009 09:15:00 AM) - Al

The Brewers are tied for 1st in the NL in quality starts. I recall Doug saying before the season started that one of the strengths of the team was that they were putting a major league starter out there every day, a fact many overlooked as they focused on losing Sabathia and Sheets.

They may not have guys that will shut out their opponents, but as showed thus far, they do have 5 guys that will usually go 6 strong and keep you in the game.


4/25/2009 09:15:00 AM


Friday, April 24, 2009

(4/24/2009 10:15:00 PM) - Al

Al,

When you did your top ten list of prospects, you had both Dykstra and Gindl on your list but not Cole Gillespie, who I really like. Now that he's healthy and playing in Nashville, what do you see him doing?

Paulie


I am not fond of Gillespie for these reasons:

1. RH bat, just like Braun and Hart.

2. Limited to LF due to his arm.

3. When you compare his production to his age and level, it isn't very impressive.

For example, he had a fine .386/.472 line in AA last year...but he's 24. Lo Cain did .363/.486 at 22 and plays CF. Corey Hart produced .340/.467 at AA...when he was 21.

Those that have Cole higher than me simply are not adjusting for his age and his limited defensive ability. I see him as a reserve/platoon guy, but as the RH part of a platoon, his value is far less than the lefty half. I just don't feel his ceiling justifies a top ten placement.


4/24/2009 10:15:00 PM



(4/24/2009 09:37:00 PM) - Al

The silliness of the media comes out as Cooper is asked what he can do to light a fire under his team, as if Yo was out there throwing BP to the Astros.

Important win tonight, as Suppan and Parra have been far from superb thus far.


4/24/2009 09:37:00 PM



(4/24/2009 09:08:00 PM) - Al

Cecil Cooper has been trying to find some at-bats for Darin Erstad.--BA, TV team

Mike Bourn's career numbers are .304/.314...Cecil hasn't been trying very hard. I'd just as soon have Tony Jr. starting in CF as Bourn, because I'm pretty sure Gwynn is a far better defender.


4/24/2009 09:08:00 PM



(4/24/2009 06:20:00 PM) - Al

I haven't heard a good reason why shipping boats do not hire armed guards, and now that Petraeus agrees, I feel more confident saying it. My goodness, you're out on international water, and someone starts shooting? Ask questions later.

As I said a while back, piracy loses a lot of appeal when 90% of those doing it come home dead.


4/24/2009 06:20:00 PM



(4/24/2009 05:32:00 PM) - Al

I say this every year as the NFL draft nears, but it never fails to amaze me that teams will give up a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th round pick to move up a few spots in the 1st round. Not only does it seem silly, it's one of those "all your eggs in one basket" things...I'd much prefer having 2 good players rather than one, as I've heard rumors that football players get hurt quite often.


4/24/2009 05:32:00 PM



(4/24/2009 04:25:00 PM) - Al

The Rambling wife was ill Wednesday, and the Rambling son is today.

Somehow, I've managed to avoid it thus far.

On a totally unrelated note, today I had to call Medicare for a client of mine. Anyone who has had to call Medicare likely understands my reluctance, as you often have to hold for a long time to receive an answer that you do not want to hear.

Today's call went as well as could be expected, and at the end, when I asked the gal what her name was, she replied "Kianna". Just to verify, I asked her to spell it, and she said "Q-u-i..."

I felt like telling her Al was spelled "A-u..."


4/24/2009 04:25:00 PM



(4/24/2009 11:00:00 AM) - Al

No more earmarks, starting....NOW.


4/24/2009 11:00:00 AM



(4/24/2009 10:37:00 AM) - Al

Hi Al-

Yeah, I watched part of BBT for the first time in a long, long time last night to bask in the glow of Hall’s positively amazing play in Web Gems (how it didn’t make #1 is astounding, but then I remembered I couldn’t care less what ESPN thinks in most cases). Nate Silver couldn’t be more of a dufus. Awful hair, awful commentary, and a deer-in-the-(wrong)-headlights stare. I seriously believe people view SABR folks as the Silver-type, and that’s really sad.

I just checked the directory—Nate Silver is not listed as a SABR member.

Silver is simply one of those guys that you and I can look at/listen to and feel good about ourselves. (That’s why eating at Old Country Buffet is so nice—nothing like feeling young AND thin all at the same time)

The family went over for the home opener of the Rattlers. Man, I love that stadium. Man, I hate shivering watching baseball. Once the bats come alive (and they should), this team is going to be scary good. Although I see Dykstra as sort of “meh”, he’ll have an easier road to the top so a 4th/5th OF in the majors is probably his ceiling. I was hoping to see Nieves and got my wish. He’s got freakish stuff. Scarpetta was touching 93-94 and his offspeed was around 75, hitting his spots along the way. It was a good first day at the park, despite the icicles.

Jason


Good friend of Ramblings Jason checks in. As for Silver, I remember years ago, back when Rob Neyer was good, he did some work in front of the camera for ESPN...but it was never aired. He did a few nights of "pretend" auditions, and supposedly, depending on who you believe, came off as a nerd and/or did not talk perfectly (a slight lisp or stutter, though I have heard him and he sounds fine).

In watching the train wreck that is Nate Silver, all I could think of last night is "How bad could Rob Neyer have been?"

And Jason is 100% correct...that's exactly what many folks think of us who say BA is a worthless number.

One small gripe about Fox Cities Stadium...those metal seats are like a rock, and hurt after a while. I got up and walked around a bit, and when I returned, moved up two rows to an empty section of the comfy, $1 more expensive seats. Other than that, it is a nearly perfect minor league stadium. I've heard many say that if they could increase the capacity to 10K, it'd be better than many AAA parks.

I feel Jason may be underestimating Cutter's potential a bit...remember, he was in high school a year ago, but I think it's safe to say Brett Lawrie is the class of the Rattlers...of course, Braun/Weeks/Fielder types don't come along often. Appleton should enjoy his presence, as many seasons, they will not have a guy like that.


4/24/2009 10:37:00 AM



(4/24/2009 10:27:00 AM) - Al

It's getting harder and harder to deny that the bottom has been reached...although, watching the facts and the numbers has not been a strength of the media.

I'm not sure what exactly the message will be if, as many expect, including myself, GNP once again goes positive in the 3rd quarter, meaning that this recession will have lasted 12 months, which would make it historically very mild.

With the media constantly overreacting to minor issues, I suppose one could argue it is impossible to have a "mild recession" today.


4/24/2009 10:27:00 AM



(4/24/2009 10:23:00 AM) - Al

Brett Lawrie went 4-for-6 with a homer, triple and a double Thursday in low Single-A Wisconsin's doubleheader.

All but the double came in Game 2. Lawrie, who is making the move to second base this year, is hitting .256/.311/.641 with five steals in 39 at-bats.--Rotoworld


Small sample to be sure, but while he's still learning many aspects of the game, one cannot really argue that the ball just jumps off his bat. That's Ryan Braun type of SLG.


4/24/2009 10:23:00 AM


Thursday, April 23, 2009

(4/23/2009 11:46:00 PM) - Al

If I went to a high school game and saw a right-handed pitcher topping out at 90 without much sink and featuring a curve that hit 70 with some wind behind it, I’d assume that he had a pretty good chance of not getting drafted this summer.

You can read the whole thing here, but sometimes I wonder how dense these supposed "experts" are...many HS pitchers get drafted who don't throw anywhere near 90...but with proper coaching and growth, they have the potential to do so. I'm not sure who cares about velocity on breaking stuff, as if some HS kid has a curve that breaks 6-12 inches, I think it's safe to say that's a plus curve.

A HS kid who throws 90 and has a plus curve? The only debate is 1st round or not.

Just such poor work being done, yet being passed off as solid analysis.




http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/bushs-near-no-no


4/23/2009 11:46:00 PM



(4/23/2009 11:25:00 PM) - Al

By Thursday afternoon the Brewers had already sold 15,000 tickets at $10 apiece (for the Timberrattlers game at Miller Park).--MLB.com

Tough to believe, as the Brewers play at the same time, and Appleton is not exactly a long trek...and you can sit right behind the plate for $7 there.

I'm not sure if this shows there is a demand for low priced premium seats or what exactly.


4/23/2009 11:25:00 PM



(4/23/2009 11:14:00 PM) - Al

Nothing makes the team seem a lot better than yet another well pitched game...I've lost track of how many in a row that is, or maybe 6 of 7 or 7 of 8.

If this keeps up, they might stop mentioning the Crew being interested in every SP who may or may not be available.


4/23/2009 11:14:00 PM



(4/23/2009 11:00:00 PM) - Al

Wow, just when you thought it was not possible for a human being to be more stiff than Brett Favre in There's Something About Mary, I saw Nate Silver on Baseball Tonight.

Wowsers. He spent the entire closing segment staring at the wrong camera. No offense to Nate, as I'm far from a Bob Redford look-a-like myself, but I don't think I've ever seen a guy with goofier looking hair in my life.


4/23/2009 11:00:00 PM



(4/23/2009 10:32:00 PM) - Al

Allow me to answer this question...because Endy Chavez is not very good, even if he does have a nice small sample going.

The idea a real writer for NBC wonders why a future Hall of Famer like Griffey is on the ballot, but not a career role player like Chavez is not makes me wonder more about NBC's hiring procedure than anything else.


4/23/2009 10:32:00 PM



(4/23/2009 10:19:00 PM) - Al

Hey Al,

How far into the season before we start talking about canning Bill Castro?

Or, alternatively, how much of the Brewers pitching woes would you attribute to Mr. Castro?


I got this earlier this week, and my reply was 0%. I also would not be giving Bill an extension after the past two games. However, the idea of making long-term decisions based on a dozen games or so has never been more true.


4/23/2009 10:19:00 PM



(4/23/2009 10:15:00 PM) - Al

Heh. Funny how something as specific as "hope and change" is having trouble when faced with real world scenarios.

I'm te3lling ya, you just can't make this stuff up.


4/23/2009 10:15:00 PM



(4/23/2009 07:20:00 PM) - Al

I'll be flipping between the replay of the game and Survivor/CSI, so updates will be limited until later.


4/23/2009 07:20:00 PM



(4/23/2009 10:14:00 AM) - Al

GE shareholders complain that MSNBC is too liberal and CNBC is being told to shut up.

It's hard to believe a network with a lineup more far-left than DC would be the focal point of such complaints.


4/23/2009 10:14:00 AM


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

(4/22/2009 10:59:00 PM) - Al

I just wanted to mention how ironic it is that all is well with the offense because the pitching and defense held the opposition to a single run.

Anyone else think the Crew got 4 outs in the 9th? He looked out at 1B live and oin the single replay they showed.

DiFelice is very good versus RH hitters. Macha has been doing a nice job of finding him opportunity while limiting his exposure to lefty bats.


4/22/2009 10:59:00 PM



(4/22/2009 08:18:00 PM) - Al

No word if Senator Kerry also wants to "save" the pony express and the Edsel.

Oof.


4/22/2009 08:18:00 PM



(4/22/2009 08:01:00 PM) - Al

Now for the important stuff...RF Bleachers compares Trenni's MLB look to her FSN look.

I don't think those pics from '08 do her justice, I thought she looked better as the year went on. She had a "girl next door" quality, and also rarely showed off her assets until late in the campaign.


4/22/2009 08:01:00 PM



(4/22/2009 07:55:00 PM) - Al

The Brewers signed Jason Tyner about 3 weeks ago, and now just allow him to go to the Tigers, where Doug must have felt he had a better chance to get back to the bigs...or maybe just play regularly in AAA.


4/22/2009 07:55:00 PM



(4/22/2009 06:58:00 PM) - Al

I have never heard of a "grocery auction" until now. I can't believe corporate managers have the freedom to make such sales, unless they just don't tell anyone, I suppose.


4/22/2009 06:58:00 PM



(4/22/2009 06:47:00 PM) - Al

Riske is living proof that no matter how healthy a pitcher has been, any pitcher is a risk to sign long-term.

Let's hope he can rehab it and return in a month, until we hear otherwise.


4/22/2009 06:47:00 PM



(4/22/2009 04:18:00 PM) - Al

She has her facts completely wrong, but other than that, she's right.


4/22/2009 04:18:00 PM



(4/22/2009 04:13:00 PM) - Al

This is interesting since Obama said, paraphrasing here, "So be it" if the coal companies go out of business.

How far left is RFK Jr? I'm not sure, but i think it's safe to say the "fringe" is to his right.


4/22/2009 04:13:00 PM



(4/22/2009 04:00:00 PM) - Al

CNN ran an 898-word story on the various Pulitzer winners -- describing virtually every winner -- but was simply unable to find any space even to mention David Barstow's name, let alone inform their readers that he won the Prize for uncovering core corruption at the heart of CNN's coverage of the Iraq War and other military-related matters.--Salon

CNN is not alone here, but they are perhaps the most fictional news gathering organization I've ever witnessed...they don't even pretend to present anything but a one-sided view.

Thanks to Mike for e-mailing me that piece.


4/22/2009 04:00:00 PM



(4/22/2009 10:12:00 AM) - Al

Good question.

Lost in the minor furor over this is why some no talent hack like Perez Hilton is judging Miss USA. Seriously, the only thing he knows about women is that they are an unattractive gender.


4/22/2009 10:12:00 AM


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

(4/21/2009 09:58:00 PM) - Al

It's a tiny sample, but thus far, Tony Gwynn Jr. has a .390 OBP, 8 walks in 51 AB's, and is 6-6 in stolen bases. Those are exactly the AAA numbers the Brewers have been looking for from Tony, I'm sure.

You gotta wonder if being removed from the 40 man has pushed Gwynn into "I need to impress people" mode, and he's improved his approach to each PA.


4/21/2009 09:58:00 PM



(4/21/2009 08:03:00 PM) - Al

The battle to stay in MIL when Hoffman comes off the DL was a push tonight, as Julio and Swindle both struggled...though RJ gets to come on and try again.

Jorge is pretty much what you see is what you get...a perennial hard thrower who can be unhittable one night and can't get through an inning the next. RJ has astounding numbers in AAA, and at least can throw strikes somewhat on demand. I don't think he'll ever has a run where he'll be lights out like Julio probably will for whoever tolerates his shortcomings.


4/21/2009 08:03:00 PM



(4/21/2009 07:24:00 PM) - Al

Many do not like ratings that are accurate.

Enough said.


4/21/2009 07:24:00 PM



(4/21/2009 06:46:00 PM) - Al

Let's hope Rickie is just a bit sore after Hardy ran into him. Other than the obvious examples of Braun and Fielder, the drop off behind Rickie is as steep as anyone.


4/21/2009 06:46:00 PM



(4/21/2009 06:25:00 PM) - Al

Manny Parra may be the most underachieving pitcher in the majors. He could easily get by with just his fastball for 5 innings a game, and sure, he'd allow a few runs, but he'd challenge hitters, move the ball in and out, up and down, and not be, for lack of a better phrase, a very stupid pitcher. He simply appears to be completely overmatched in the brains department. On 1-2, he simply throws a fastball right down the middle, to a LH bat, no less.

If Jeff Suppan had Parra's stuff, he may never lose a game. Parra's performance, since July of last year, is simply embarrassing. The question asked about a lefty with his stuff should be whether or not he's going to be good or great, not whether or not he's going to manage to make it out of the first inning.

Oof.

EDIT: It's funny to watch Parra face such an overachiever for the Phillies, as Jamie Moyer is the epitome of smart and a thinking man's pitcher, and Parra...isn't.


4/21/2009 06:25:00 PM



(4/21/2009 03:07:00 PM) - Al

There really is a person named Marijuana Pepsi, and she lives near Milwaukee.

Many will find excuses on why they are not successful, including me, every time I miss a sale, for example. However, if you can make it with that name, I think it's safe to say anyone can.


4/21/2009 03:07:00 PM



(4/21/2009 03:01:00 PM) - Al

The irony here is, loan sharks charge far less interest than your local check advancing location, yet only one is illegal.


4/21/2009 03:01:00 PM



(4/21/2009 02:57:00 PM) - Al

No sympathy for those who have lost a ton of cash in their 401K's.

I see this every day, and for the most part, it's "that's what my guy put me in" or "the market will come back", both showing a lack of intelligence, especially if you are 55+...never mind 70+.


4/21/2009 02:57:00 PM



(4/21/2009 02:03:00 PM) - Al

The Rambling wife says this sounds like a lot of fun.

I did marry well.


4/21/2009 02:03:00 PM



(4/21/2009 01:47:00 PM) - Al

The Crew is three days ahead of last year's ticket pace, hitting 2M today.


4/21/2009 01:47:00 PM



(4/21/2009 01:46:00 PM) - Al

Hi Al,

These "lobster bites" are not really lobster at all. They are langostino, which are more closely related to a hermit crab than a lobster or shrimp. It just seems to be a clever marketing gimmick.

Eric



Eric's fact does not change the fact I adore any seafood and breading combo.


4/21/2009 01:46:00 PM



(4/21/2009 11:10:00 AM) - Al

Hurricane Katrina was predicted—in painstaking detail—by scientists, newspapers and emergency officials years in advance. There was absolutely nothing surprising about it—except perhaps that the number of actual casualties was smaller than most of the estimates.

You can read the rest of this article about disaster myths here...but beware, I doubt anything will ever match the simple truth of the above sentences...very well written, and yet completely ignored by the media, because it's not the story that they wanted to tell, damn the truth.

Once again, allow me to point out the irony that almost every newspaper piece that is well done and makes you think comes from outside the USA.


4/21/2009 11:10:00 AM



(4/21/2009 09:15:00 AM) - Al

Barry Alvarez pens a letter to Mike Hunt, written a month before Hunt said why the UW should bring baseball back, explaining why they can't do it, despite the fact all other Big Ten schools can, including piddly little Northwestern.

To be honest, Alvarez's quotes are all lies or untruths. They "could" easily do it, they just choose not to. It reminds me of the politicians who just throw up their hands and say, "Well, I guess the only option is to raise taxes."

I don't think you'll ever witness a public official prove how far over his head he is in an executive position than Alvarez just did. I'd call it ignorant, but I wouldn't want to offend the ignorant.


4/21/2009 09:15:00 AM


Monday, April 20, 2009

(4/20/2009 11:36:00 PM) - Al

He's got a bland name and won't be a guy who gets a callup unless he pitches very well, but Chris Smith, after a fine '08 campaign, is doing the same thing in Nashville. Tough not to be impressed with 13 K's in 9 frames.

Other than Smith, other AAA hurlers doing well are Tim Dillard, being used as a SP, and Chris Narveson, being used as a reliever, with K numbers beyond belief.

On the offensive side, Mat Gamel is tearing the cover off the ball, and is one Bill Hall hammy pull away from the majors. Escobar, who had a fine 2008 offensively in AA (which many tend to ignore, because it does not fit their untrue description of him as a good field/no hit guy), has got on base safely 35% of the time, and would probably be up if either Hardy or Weeks went down.


4/20/2009 11:36:00 PM



(4/20/2009 10:54:00 PM) - Al

I don't really understand this, but I am contractually obligated to post any and all bacon related material.


4/20/2009 10:54:00 PM



(4/20/2009 09:05:00 PM) - Al

The problem with Milton Bradley is not that he's a total idiot, it's that he's a total idiot with no concept of how to minimize the damage he causes.

First of all, don't run into the umpire. Second, take the suspension when you're injured anyway. He is, simply put, a fool's fool.


4/20/2009 09:05:00 PM



(4/20/2009 08:55:00 PM) - Al

Glenn discusses the proposed "budget tightening".

One of the funniest graphs you'll ever see.

UPDATE: And now AP jumps on...$100M is the daily interest cost of the "stimulus", among other things. If only such media scrutiny had existed during the election cycle.


4/20/2009 08:55:00 PM



(4/20/2009 08:43:00 PM) - Al

Mets designated RHP Nelson Figueroa for assignment.

I've liked Nelson since he was with the Crew ages ago. I don't see a spot on the 25 man for him, however...especially with Hoffman due back in less than a week.

The Nationals should pick him up and put him in the rotation. With a career 4.63 ERA in the bigs and a 3.66 ERA in oodles of AAA innings, he's cheap and no worse than the 12th best pitcher on most big league teams.


4/20/2009 08:43:00 PM



(4/20/2009 07:27:00 PM) - Al

Long John Silver's is now offering "lobster bites", bits of lobster breaded and deep fried. The Rambling wife and I were discussing that they must use the "cheap" part of the lobster, and she said that most of the meat is on the tail...then pointed out that's what she's heard, as she's never actually had lobster.

I informed her that's because she made a poor marital decision more than a decade ago.

UPDATE: A tale of a geek and his trip to LJS. Despite his goofiness, I'm truly jealous.


4/20/2009 07:27:00 PM



(4/20/2009 06:45:00 PM) - Al

DC makes 4 changes to their 25 man roster after a dozen games.

The Nationals continue to show little idea, either for the short-term, or the long-term. Add this to sending down Lastings Milledge, a fine 24 year-old OF, for some minor infraction (reports were he was 5-10 minutes late for a team meeting), clueless seems kind.


4/20/2009 06:45:00 PM



(4/20/2009 05:43:00 PM) - Al

Tom H is 100% correct, the problems of a team will shift...especially when you insist on using a tiny sample like 6 games to gauge said problems.

He seems way off in his critique that 49 runs in 12 games is bad...that's 4.1 a game, and 5 per is outstanding. Given the pitching they've seen thus far (Lincecum, Cain, Johnson, Dempster, Zambrano, Harden, Volquez, and Santana), if anything, the offense has probably overachieved thus far. If they're sitting at 4.1 after 40 games, I'll change my tune, but when you see the top arms, you're not going to be sitting at the top of the offensive results.

Watching things as of now, the main issue seems to be a 1-4 mark in one-run games...and while it is true good teams often do well in one run affairs, they do not do as well as they do in games decided by 3 or more...luck plays a much bigger role in a 4-3 outcome than a 7-3 result. Again, using a dozen games to make long-term decisions will result in a lot of short-sighted calls.


4/20/2009 05:43:00 PM



(4/20/2009 05:33:00 PM) - Al

Protesting a tragedy like Columbine seems to me to be exactly what turns many off to protesting. Stricter gun control laws would have affected some mentally deranged teens how? They would make law abiding citizens jump through a lot more hoops and the like, however. There are hundreds, if not thousands of laws regulating firearms...the thought of one more "solving the problem" is laughable.


4/20/2009 05:33:00 PM


Sunday, April 19, 2009

(4/19/2009 07:47:00 PM) - Al

Janeane did used to be very attractive...and yes, she is now clearly anti-free speech...and her reasoning made me dizzy.


4/19/2009 07:47:00 PM



(4/19/2009 04:52:00 PM) - Al

Sunday night's game between the Cardinals and Cubs has been postponed due to rain.

I assume there is no other game being played tonight...what does ESPN run? I know they used to run Cal Ripken Jr's record breaking game.

Ooh, the thought of a 3 hour Baseball Tonight just hit me...like a kick in the stomach.


4/19/2009 04:52:00 PM



(4/19/2009 04:46:00 PM) - Al

Be interesting to see who goes out when Hoffman returns...though Macha did not seem to have much confidence in newly brought up RJ Swindle. I'd say RJ and Jorge Julio are "on the bubble".


4/19/2009 04:46:00 PM



(4/19/2009 03:29:00 PM) - Al

The stock market reacted by driving the price of Penn Gaming's common shares down from the mid-$40s to $11.82. With about 90 million shares outstanding, this gave the company a market capitalization of $1 billion: a strange valuation for a company making money, with little debt and a treasure chest of more than $1.4 billion in cash.--Poker News

Every once in a while, I discuss how good stocks get dragged down by a down market. Take a gander at the numbers above, and it's not difficult at all to see how a guy like Warren Buffet always tries to keep a few billion in cash, just in case he comes across an undervalued company like Penn. Since this was written, PENN has rebounded to 28...but those who got in near the bottom have already doubled up.

They had $1.4B in cash, and the market priced the company at $1B.

Oy vey.


4/19/2009 03:29:00 PM



(4/19/2009 02:33:00 PM) - Al

I'm as puzzled as anyone by the bullpen usage, however, given the 1-2-3 DP, I agree with it.:)

You laugh, but that's exactly the way Tom H and most casual fans judge moves...wait for the result and then make the call.

Stetter and DiFelice made it especially tough for Ken, especially the four pitch walk to Wright, no pitch was within a foot of the strike zone.


4/19/2009 02:33:00 PM



(4/19/2009 02:18:00 PM) - Al

6 innings, and 1 run allowed (probably will end up being 2) for Suppan.

Time for the "I don't believe in small samples" crowd to come in off the ledge...or more likely, go out there on whatever the worry of the week is.


4/19/2009 02:18:00 PM



(4/19/2009 02:05:00 PM) - Al

I assumed that would be it for Suppan, as he must be nearing 100 pitches, and he led off the 7th, but Macha chooses to let him hit for himself.

EDIT: 96 through 6. Since I don't see Jeff getting more than 3 more outs, I would have PH for him.


4/19/2009 02:05:00 PM



(4/19/2009 01:59:00 PM) - Al

The Tigers are going to be looking mighty foolish paying Sheffield $14M to smack the ball around for the Mets. He'd be an everyday guy if the NL had a DH.


4/19/2009 01:59:00 PM



(4/19/2009 01:46:00 PM) - Al

Talk about a home town call...Murphy leaping to try and catch it before it hits the side wall should have been all that was needed to show that was not a "routine play" by any means.

Cameron driving a HR on the very next pitch made that an especially painful one.


4/19/2009 01:46:00 PM



(4/19/2009 01:22:00 PM) - Al

Hall has been playing superb defense since very early last year, making the casuals who said he was a poor defender (going solely by E totals), look especially foolish.


4/19/2009 01:22:00 PM



(4/19/2009 01:19:00 PM) - Al

In answer to the trivia question, Yount won a Gold Glove, but I'm not sure if he was the last Brewers' player to do so. However, it is mighty tough to get one when you automatically are given a few "phantom" errors each season with the Miller Park scoring.

David Wright doesn't win one if the plays for the Crew, as that grounder in the 1st...and about 10 others, would be called errors.


4/19/2009 01:19:00 PM



(4/19/2009 12:54:00 PM) - Al

I should not even look at these, as they are always horribly done, but the idea of Charlie V being graded as a C-...below both Malik Allen and Dan Gadzuric...is possibly one of the most ignorant things I've ever seen printed in the JS (setting aside Tony W stuff, of course).

CV will be getting a huge contract as a restricted free agent, and just had his best year as a pro. Defending that is so ridiculous, it's off the charts.


4/19/2009 12:54:00 PM



(4/19/2009 11:16:00 AM) - Al

Al,

I'm not sure Suppan is 100% healthy, as his results have been just horrible thus far, just like Riske's were. Say he has a bad outing (like Wang did) today, how long do you see them sticking with him?

Todd


Well, first of all, it's one thing to struggle, and another to have a .622 BAA and a 34 ERA like Wang. I'd say if Jeff is healthy, the next move, should he continue to pitch badly, would be to skip a start. Pitchers go through issues over 162 games, and I think he'll recover nicely...with that prerequisite "if healthy" note.

As I discussed here, Bronson Arroyo was awful last April, as rumors abounded the Reds were trying to dump him or even discussing eating his long-term deal. That's a distant memory now, and seems even kind of silly.


4/19/2009 11:16:00 AM



(4/19/2009 11:13:00 AM) - Al

Hardy and Hart, in an effort to "change things up" for themselves and the club, had their hair died jet black. It wasn't a dramatic departure for Hardy, who had brown hair, but the new look was striking for Hart, who normally has blond hair.

Hart even had his beard died black.--Tom H, JS


You know, I can't so much as leave the house for an hour to go to the clinic that have errors like this sent to me.

When this error is pointed out to him, I just hope Tom doesn't "dye" of embarrassment.:)

Thanks, I'll be here all week.


4/19/2009 11:13:00 AM



(4/19/2009 11:07:00 AM) - Al

This is what John Murtha is doing when he's not saying the war is lost and criticizing our troops.

It'd be funny, if it wasn't so pathetic.


4/19/2009 11:07:00 AM



(4/19/2009 10:57:00 AM) - Al

The Rambling son and I just got home from the walk-in clinic...we're lucky enough to have an 8-4 weekend clinic about a mile from our house, which comes in handy when he's now been diagnosed with his third case of strep throat in the last six months. They not only have two gals checking in patients, but they take you back before you can even grab a very outdated periodical.

This is the first time his "quick test" has ever come back positive, as always before we had to wait for the 24 hour culture to confirm it. Not sure if that's good or not, but at least we can get his Amoxicillin going right away.

I darn near grew up on the pink nectar of the antibiotics, and they give it to me to this day. Hopefully, he won't have to take it as much as me, but with 3 streps and an ear infection of late, he's off to a good start.


4/19/2009 10:57:00 AM


Saturday, April 18, 2009

(4/18/2009 11:11:00 PM) - Al

Let's hope Suppan fares a bit better than Wang.

Given the patience of the Yankees, I assume he'll end up on the DL before his next start.


4/18/2009 11:11:00 PM



(4/18/2009 06:26:00 PM) - Al

Mike Hunt says the Badgers should bring back baseball.

Of course they should. They never should have dropped it, that was about as short-sighted a move as anyone can imagine.

I can't believe some alumni has not stepped up with an offer to build a ballpark, which is one of two or three hurdles they would have to overcome.


4/18/2009 06:26:00 PM



(4/18/2009 02:50:00 PM) - Al

Not only was the Weeks' drop key (did he ever see it, his glove never moved?), the 2-1 pitch in the 9th with Braun running...Hardy swung and fouled ball three, and Ryan had the base stolen. KRod is very beatable, his secondary numbers are borderline below average, and he always is in trouble. Swinging at a ball and taking a strike may well have been the difference in the game.


4/18/2009 02:50:00 PM



(4/18/2009 12:41:00 PM) - Al

I cannot imagine a group of intelligent people wasting their time anymore than creating a road that plays music when you drive on it. And then being so impressed with themselves with such a minor achievement.


4/18/2009 12:41:00 PM



(4/18/2009 12:41:00 PM) - Al

Some things never change...Bill Hall can hit LHP.


4/18/2009 12:41:00 PM



(4/18/2009 12:26:00 PM) - Al

Not often do you see the ball beat the runner and the runner literally slide into the tag with thew result being a safe call.

You gotta wonder if they're even paying attention sometimes.


4/18/2009 12:26:00 PM



(4/18/2009 10:09:00 AM) - Al

The Wall Street Journal says the MN Senate race has had ballots counted in different ways.

If you disagree with that, you haven't been paying attention. What a hopelessly terrible system. It is all but impossible to believe that in the 21st century, we have a state that cannot...count.


4/18/2009 10:09:00 AM



(4/18/2009 10:05:00 AM) - Al

DePo answers questions from fans. I wish Doug or Gord would do this.


4/18/2009 10:05:00 AM



(4/18/2009 09:46:00 AM) - Al

For every "green" job created, 2.2 other jobs are lost.

Maybe they'll make up for it with volume.


4/18/2009 09:46:00 AM



(4/18/2009 09:33:00 AM) - Al

Adam points out the pitchers that the Crew has faced so far. Add that to the ground balls through the hole, the walks, and the fact Prince and Ryan have been "less than their normal selves" thus far, they're probably right about they should be.

The offense is tied for 9th in runs scored, and the pitching has allowed the 4th most runs.


4/18/2009 09:33:00 AM


Friday, April 17, 2009

(4/17/2009 10:44:00 PM) - Al

Nightline just ran a feature on Ryan Air, the no-frills airline based in Ireland where simple folks like myself fly for an average price of $45 (Southwest, our cheapest carrier in the States, charges $119). They spent a lot of the report focusing that you have to pay for food, beverages, checking a bag, paying with a credit card, and so on, but goodness, who cares? Have you ever seen the whining that takes place when people travel here?

"I had to stand in line."

"One of my bags was delayed."

"The flight was delayed because of the weather."

Boo-hoo. As the Ryan Air guy says, if you expect them to buy you a hotel room because it's snowing somewhere, you're not flying the right airline. Ryan has gained a ton of market share and is supposedly the most profitable air company in the world. They also have a near perfect safety record. This is a company everyone should emulating, just like Wal Mart. Why exactly these successful companies get picked on for doing things better and more efficiently is a mystery of mammoth proportion.


4/17/2009 10:44:00 PM



(4/17/2009 09:37:00 PM) - Al

Early on in this season, every game I watch I'm struck by the bad luck the Brewers suffer...Castillo with a pair of infield hits for RBI's. A very tight strike zone, forcing Stetter to challenge Sheffield 3-2. Both teams hit several balls to deep left-center, but not surprisingly, given the RH heavy lineup, the Crew hit the majority of them.


4/17/2009 09:37:00 PM



(4/17/2009 07:25:00 PM) - Al

Jenkins wants to play...reading between the lines, it sounds like he may have turned down some AAA offers.


4/17/2009 07:25:00 PM



(4/17/2009 03:28:00 PM) - Al

I'd love to give Humber a 40 man spot, if just for a week or so and then try and slip him through waivers again with Hoffman returns. However, they'd probably have to DFA Julio (who has great stuff, albeit inconsistent), or return Swindle to Nashville.

He has very good secondary numbers in almost 300 AAA innings. He does not have a high ceiling, but might turn into a very good reliever someday.


4/17/2009 03:28:00 PM



(4/17/2009 10:07:00 AM) - Al

Fans in the sellout crowd of 48,271 and players alike bubbled about unprecedented amenities on a picture-perfect sunny afternoon.--AP

I just have to question that every single new park seems to hold about 75-80% of the old one. I realize seats are wider now, and the focus is on prime, close to the field seating, but the Yankees could sell 5 million tickets a year if they had good weather and a good team...but you need 62K seats to do that, not 48K.

I would just say it's great to have close, intimate seating, but they should not forget about going up and out as well.


4/17/2009 10:07:00 AM


Thursday, April 16, 2009

(4/16/2009 09:56:00 PM) - Al

Perfect Game interviews Bruce Seid, who is taking Jack Z's place.


4/16/2009 09:56:00 PM



(4/16/2009 08:23:00 PM) - Al

Glenn discusses the torture ruling.

To me, torture is more of an obvious thing...causing a great deal of pain, for example. Many of the things most discussed; waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and so on, don't really fit the bill in my view. John McCain, a true American hero, suffered torture, and argues waterboarding does fit his definition.

Needless to say, there's a blurry, gray line. In a world where some extremely evil being may know where a terrorist act is about to take place, personally, I want the guys on my side pushing that line, not twiddling their thumbs and asking politely.


4/16/2009 08:23:00 PM



(4/16/2009 07:57:00 PM) - Al

I watch about as little network TV as anyone, but was shocked today to read in USA Today that two shows I watch and enjoy, Worst Week and Eleventh Hour, are both expected to be canceled.

Worst Week was just hilarious, full of slapstick humor and bizarre situations, but it had as many laugh out loud moments as any show other than 2.5 Men. Hour was smartly written, and had a scientist solving odd and strange mysteries...kind of MacGyver without the duct tape. It also had Bubble Boy star X as a spunky agent assigned to protect him, often in tight professional attire.

Also, CBS may well be cutting veteran shows like Cold Case and without A Trace, because they are costly.


4/16/2009 07:57:00 PM



(4/16/2009 07:54:00 PM) - Al

This feels terrible, but it does work...almost beyond belief. It honestly eliminated my last cold in 36 hours. I'm sure it will knock allergies out as well.


4/16/2009 07:54:00 PM



(4/16/2009 07:45:00 PM) - Al

PIT picks up another quality young player. I really like the way that team is being built, though I'm sure it's far too slowly for the average Pirates' supporter.


4/16/2009 07:45:00 PM



(4/16/2009 04:20:00 PM) - Al

Remember when folks overreacted terribly when Sabathia threw 128 pitches in a game, I believe in August. If memory serves, there was an error behind him in the 9th, and I think he may have "pitched around" a RH hitter to go after a LH bat.

He threw 122 today...in his 3rd start, in mid-April.

Heh.

To prove that god appreciates irony, the Yankees lost 10-1.


4/16/2009 04:20:00 PM



(4/16/2009 04:08:00 PM) - Al

Al -
You mentioned a few days back about everyone in the same #42 may get a bit confusing...I think Uecker would have to agree.

Even after the fly-out in shallow left that Counsell caught, Bob thought Hardy was still in the game. It wasn't until they announced in the box that JJ was lifted from the line-up due to a stiff back (could hear Vassallo announce it in the background on the radio) that Ueck corrected his mistake.

Bet that wouldn't have happened if #30 was on Craig's back. :)

Joe


I heard that too. It is an easy mistake to make when everyone is wearing 42.


4/16/2009 04:08:00 PM



(4/16/2009 03:29:00 PM) - Al

Riske to the DL, RJ Swindle, who pitched brilliantly last night, up.

We'll wait and see if this is the same Riske injury or a different one. Word is, he'll be going to see a specialist soon. Link up now.


4/16/2009 03:29:00 PM



(4/16/2009 02:43:00 PM) - Al

In 14 appearances since he was claimed off waivers last September, he has not allowed a run in 12 2/3 innings.

I remember the message boards were full of disgust when the Crew signed Coffey because "what do we want with the Reds' rejects"?

Needless to say, it seems to have turned out pretty well. Or, that's why Doug is the GM, and you are not.


4/16/2009 02:43:00 PM



(4/16/2009 12:36:00 PM) - Al

Scrooge McBiden...I wonder if he really has bags with a $ on the side.

I'm pretty sure we gave more to charity in many of those years...and needless to say, I make a tad less than Joe.


4/16/2009 12:36:00 PM



(4/16/2009 11:31:00 AM) - Al

I can't believe SP's only went 120 pitches 73 times last year...I would have guessed much closer to the 186 they had in '04.

One more reason it's very important to work the count...guys can only go 6 or 7 no matter how effective they are if you make them go to a 3-2 count a few times.


4/16/2009 11:31:00 AM



(4/16/2009 10:24:00 AM) - Al

J.J. Hardy was scratched from the starting lineup Wednesday night due to mid-back stiffness.

Craig Counsell is playing. Hardy receives treatment for his back almost daily, but it usually doesn't flare up enough that he can't play. He should be back Thursday.--Rotoworld


JJ has always been a bit fragile, especially for a young player. That's one more reason he is unlikely to be around after this current campaign.


4/16/2009 10:24:00 AM



(4/16/2009 09:23:00 AM) - Al

A quick Q&A with Doug Melvin, as he visits Appleton on a beautiful day.


4/16/2009 09:23:00 AM


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

(4/15/2009 09:13:00 PM) - Al

RJ Swindle with quite a game today, 3 innings, no one reaches, and 7 strikeouts. Not sure if they are stretching him out for a reason or what, but he has to be a guy to consider should they need a reliever.


4/15/2009 09:13:00 PM



(4/15/2009 08:41:00 PM) - Al

I recall Merle Harmon when I was just a wee little fella, and always enjoyed him. Both Uecker and Jim Paschke with very kind words for him this evening.

Many younger fans may not have any idea he was a broadcaster, as he's probably far better known as the sports store guy to those 35 and under.


4/15/2009 08:41:00 PM



(4/15/2009 03:17:00 PM) - Al

Fangraphs looks at SD's cheap methods of picking up hard throwing relievers.

This is something I discuss all the time, especially with teams not expected to contend. What's wrong with a team projected to win 65 games to throw some relievers against the wall and see who sticks?

To this day, most effective relief pitchers are guys who have failed at being starters at some point, usually in AAA or the majors. Grabbing those who have not stuck elsewhere just makes sense, especially if they only have one or two above average pitches. I'm always surprised no one has tried former MIL curveball specialist Ben Hendrickson as a reliever, where he could throw 80% curves and spot his fastball.


4/15/2009 03:17:00 PM



(4/15/2009 01:15:00 PM) - Al

Booing has even hit the Broadway stages.


4/15/2009 01:15:00 PM



(4/15/2009 11:39:00 AM) - Al

Mike Hunt talks about Appleton...tell you what, that franchise probably tripled in value the day the Brewers called them and asked for a meeting. Talk about living in a land where the streets are paved with gold.


4/15/2009 11:39:00 AM



(4/15/2009 11:09:00 AM) - Al

They've been shooting free throws with the same effectiveness for 40 years.

I'd say most of it is it's not physical, it's mental. There's an awful lot of things to do with your time other than shoot hundreds of 15 foot set shots.


4/15/2009 11:09:00 AM



(4/15/2009 09:32:00 AM) - Al

It's not often a bunch of fiscal conservatives get together and try to give some attention to their plight, feeling overtaxed and ignored. We'll have to see how much press coverage the "tea party" gatherings get today, as well as how many folks show up. I had assumed, until a couple days ago in fact, that this gathering was this Saturday. Many of those most upset are small business owners and the like, and I hazard to guess, few of those will take the day off and drive 4+ hours round trip to make a point.

That said, bringing attention to the problem can only be a good thing.


4/15/2009 09:32:00 AM


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

(4/14/2009 09:01:00 PM) - Al

DiFelice is pitching well, and especially holding down RH hitters, really just allowing a single HR thus far. Tiny sample, but this follows last year as well. Mike has had success facing mostly righties, but I hope they continue to use him just as they have, setting him up for success versus mostly RH bats.

It's hard to imagine him having success as teams load up with 6-7 LH bats as a SP...let's hope I'm not the only one who sees this.


4/14/2009 09:01:00 PM



(4/14/2009 08:42:00 PM) - Al

Bronson Arroyo is pitching a nice game tonight versus the Crew, through 5 at least. I seemed to recall BA got off to a slow start last year, so I looked it up, take a gander at his April splits.

Gee, do you think there was any overreacting there? That was over six starts, not just two like Suppan has had thus far. Any talk of Arroyo being "done"? Moving him to the bullpen? And, notice what he did in May, never mind his season totals reverted back near his career norms.

I've said it once, and I'll say it again...if you are ignorant enough to base decisions on 4% of the season, you will release or send down every guy on the team...many several times. I expect Jeff to end up with an ERA between 4.50 and 5...if memory serves, his results were rough early in Arizona as well, and then he made some adjustments, and he was fine. My only real concern is if he is healthy, if not, matching his numbers may prove to be very tough.


4/14/2009 08:42:00 PM



(4/14/2009 07:31:00 PM) - Al

Andy Beal can play a mean game of poker, as well as run a bank.

The irony, of course, is that most banks on main street are doing just fine, as they gave out solid loans to solid clients.


4/14/2009 07:31:00 PM



(4/14/2009 06:57:00 PM) - Al

Suppan will make his next start Sunday, back a day from his normal day of work. Because of the off day, it will give him 6 days between starts, which could give him some extra pop on his fastball, or it could make his control more erratic.


4/14/2009 06:57:00 PM



(4/14/2009 02:11:00 PM) - Al

Haggling is the new in thing.

I never hesitated to "price match" or do whatever it took to do a sale, big or small. Maybe I was ahead of my time.


4/14/2009 02:11:00 PM



(4/14/2009 01:26:00 PM) - Al

The people that "strongly disapprove" has now doubled, 16% when Obama took office, 32% less than 3 months in. His overall approval, 55%, is just about down to the 53% that actually voted for him.

You can draw your own conclusions, but the one I'll say is simple...his message he sent while campaigning was far more popular than his actions in office.

Oh, and the masses think the economy is getting better. Note that the lowest score ever was on 3/10/09...just about when many of us noted things were looking a lot better. There seems to be a lag on these things, without a doubt.


4/14/2009 01:26:00 PM



(4/14/2009 12:41:00 PM) - Al

I read this book as well, and found it to be rather soft whenever discussing an umpire issue...as if they could not really be blamed for anything, because their job is a tough one.


4/14/2009 12:41:00 PM



(4/14/2009 11:49:00 AM) - Al

I guess it's minor, but it sure will be tough to tell players apart with everyone wearing #42 for a day.


4/14/2009 11:49:00 AM



(4/14/2009 10:01:00 AM) - Al

I listened to Cory Provus again last night, and other than the fact he often sounds like Jim Powell, the other thing I was left with is he needs to pick up Jim's knowledge of the minor league system...especially sharing their numbers with "inside info" he will hear working around the ballpark and braintrust every day.

Jim was excellent at reading between the lines as far as upcoming promotions and such went, and he shared that often...if you were paying attention. Hopefully, Cory will add this as he learns the kids.


4/14/2009 10:01:00 AM



(4/14/2009 09:07:00 AM) - Al

Al,

I was also at the T-Rats game on Saturday. A couple years ago I was at some Gerry Davis (a major league umpire that lives in the Fox Cities) umpiring clinic. He told us that in a two man crew it is always the home plate umpire's responsibility for fair/foul. Although the call was obviously wrong, they were correct in having the home plate umpire make the call.

Tom


Thanks for the info Tom. That does make sense, as it is rare the base umpire is ever on a line, I suppose.


4/14/2009 09:07:00 AM


Monday, April 13, 2009

(4/13/2009 10:37:00 PM) - Al

The Crew does not seem to be getting many breaks thus far...Hart's line drive being caught with the bases loaded being the most obvious. Yo did not pitch badly, but strung together a few bad batters in a row, and the Reds took advantage, so give credit to them. For the second night in a row, walks were at the root cause of the problems. Given their control is probably not yet at midseason form, it's easy to surmise they are being a bit too fine at this stage of the game.

Giving the opponent free baserunners is not a way to shut them down. If Yo gives up a solo HR, no one is bothered, but what hurt were the walks prior.


4/13/2009 10:37:00 PM



(4/13/2009 07:33:00 PM) - Al

Fangraphs ranks the top ten prospects for each NL Central team.

Here was my list a few months ago, very similar.


4/13/2009 07:33:00 PM



(4/13/2009 07:15:00 PM) - Al

Delwyn Young DFA'd. I'm sure several teams will want him as a platoon or reserve OF, and I hope Doug is one of them. Switch-hitter with some speed and a doubles machine...I'd rather have him than Duffy or Nelson, to be honest. He's a guy whose numbers have been inflated a bit by the PCL, but even so, if he can play defense at all, he's worth claiming.


4/13/2009 07:15:00 PM



(4/13/2009 05:54:00 PM) - Al

Suppan, who took the loss last night against the Cubs and hasn't looked sharp from the start of spring training games through his first two starts of the regular season.--Tony W. JS

What's astounding here is, Tony actually was in Arizona (granted, he spent an abnormal time wearing his cap crooked and looking like a clown, but hence, I digress), and still seems unaware Suppan had a very good spring, 2-0, 3.54 ERA.

As I said earlier, unless Jeff is injured, I expect him to be back to his 6 inning, 3 run self as soon as his next start. He needs to start with strike one and go from there. Contact is his friend, he has to accept the fact solo HR's are going to happen.


4/13/2009 05:54:00 PM



(4/13/2009 05:05:00 PM) - Al

Why the tax code sucks.

The really funny one is the one about taxing corporate profits paid out as dividends twice. This despite the fact many folks feel those big, evil companies don't pay any taxes...when the truth is, they often pay twice...just because.


4/13/2009 05:05:00 PM



(4/13/2009 04:09:00 PM) - Al

Not a while lot to say, as my feelings about the Crew is small sample meaningless at this point. However, watching Brad Nelson PH is bothersome to me even though he only has a handful of PA's thus far...take some pitches, and quit trying to pull everything, young man.

I do wonder if not for Johnson's play (say if Bradley had still been in) what the outcome would have been, as Macha's pitching choices likely would have been some combo of Coffey/Stetter/Carlos V from the 7th on. However, it was a very nice play, and deservedly got kudos...other than Torri Hunter, who used to make that play regularly when he was with the Twins, you don't see that often.

Suppan has struggled thus far, but I have little doubt he'll be fine. He started off in Arizona badly as well and turned it around. If he's healthy, he should be back to normal soon. I think the leadoff HR to Soriano bothered him. Jeff is not a shutout guy, so he shouldn't, but he did not challenge anyone all night, it seemed.

Not a very good night for Brewers' fans...booing several times, cheering loudly for the Johnson HBP...they came off as kind of casual and ignorant. That's too bad, as MIL does not get a lot of national audiences.


4/13/2009 04:09:00 PM


Sunday, April 12, 2009

(4/12/2009 10:52:00 PM) - Al

Not much to add after tonight's affair...you allow that many baserunners, some are going to score.

And Lou can kid himself all he wants, Marmol is the closer by June 1st...and probably well before.


4/12/2009 10:52:00 PM



(4/12/2009 07:29:00 PM) - Al

I'm just the byline. The heroes are the Navy, the Seals and those that have brought me home.--freed boat captain

As the world ponders what exactly to do, the US Navy is the solution.

To make that old line work for today, if the US military didn't exist, the world would have to invent them.


4/12/2009 07:29:00 PM



(4/12/2009 05:54:00 PM) - Al

It's just amazing to me that so many folks compare the Brewers picking up Sabathia last year to picking up Jake Peavy this year...Peavy, of course, is owed millions of dollars through 2012.

Do the Brewers want any part of that deal? I doubt it. I wonder why no one even mentions Roy Halladay, who is only signed through '10, or the many SP's whose deals expire after this current campaign. I just think it is lazy reporting.


4/12/2009 05:54:00 PM



(4/12/2009 05:31:00 PM) - Al

Losing 70 pounds by eating McDonald's salads and wraps.

You'd almost have to say that Spurlock movie was a biased agenda piece, wouldn't you?


4/12/2009 05:31:00 PM



(4/12/2009 12:46:00 PM) - Al

Three of four pirates killed.

I'm just a tiny bit disappointed.--commenter on news site

Heh, me too.

Thank goodness they did not declare refugee status, as the men and women of the US Navy was policing international waters and taking care of business.

Happy Easter to all of those who choose to serve...and many of those are far, far away from home.


4/12/2009 12:46:00 PM



(4/12/2009 09:07:00 AM) - Al

Macha hints that he'll change the lineup some versus Dempster, and I agree...Ryan has a pronounced split...so even a weaker LH bat will outproduce a decent RH one.

This is a spot I'd like to see Mike Lamb on the roster...McGehee isn't really any more than a PH at this point.

Yeah, I'd look for Duffy, Nelson, and Counsell to all start somewhere tonight, so along with Prince, have a 50% lefty lineup.


4/12/2009 09:07:00 AM



(4/12/2009 08:43:00 AM) - Al

Great Britain is afraid to even go after pirates...because they can claim refugee status. My goodness, Europe as a whole seems to be turning into France.

Of course, it is duly noted the US top law enforcement official is not exactly sure what he'd charge them with.

If not for the US military, it seems everyone would just twiddle their thumbs and wish they could do something about extremely evil people plundering and pillaging. Simply astounding.

It isn't tough to figure out why piracy is popular...Somalia is dirt poor, and the riches are out on the high sea. Of course, if 1000 pirates go out, and 900 of them are killed, suddenly, it's not so appealing anymore. I suppose this may go against some, who would choose to sit down and reason with the terrorists...you know, please stop this, it's not proper, here have some tea.


4/12/2009 08:43:00 AM



(4/12/2009 12:01:00 AM) - Al

I'm not one to let commercials bother me, but the current Lite ad is the exception. I realize it is doing its job, because I remember it is for Lite beer. It's the one where they keep cutting away, showing a group of young people in their 20's at a wedding, and the current refrain, "We add hops 3 times in the brewing process".

{The more I think about it, it's a great ad, I damn near have it memorized.}

I guess the thing that irritates me is how frat boyish the guys seem, unable to attend a simple get together without ducking out to toss the football around (and drink the aforementioned Lite beer). The one fella has even taken the time to change out of his coat, and put a sweatshirt over his shirt and tie. Meanwhile, the bridemaids, who look stunning even in their horrible dresses (do the brides really pick out hideous outfits like this so they look better?), come wandering along, and do not question their dating decision making, they smile, and walk arm-in-arm with these losers towards what must be the reception.

They should shake their heads at the fools, and ditch them for some young entrepreneurs...or better yet, the heavy set pizza guy they meet later on in the evening.

Spoken as a heavy-set former pizza guy, of course.:)


4/12/2009 12:01:00 AM


Saturday, April 11, 2009

(4/11/2009 11:20:00 PM) - Al

I was unable to see the game tonight, but from what I saw on the sports, Soriano did not hit a bad pitch...it looked low, though it may have been down the middle. Not much to worry about, as the Crew did the same thing the night before. It all evens out, I guess.


4/11/2009 11:20:00 PM



(4/11/2009 11:12:00 PM) - Al

Hat tip to Jim at Bf.net for the direct link. Thank you sir.

SCOUTING REPORT, 4/11/09, Rattlers vs. Bandits

Dan Merklinger--6th round pick, 2007

Dan doesn't look to have much of a ceiling, but he may well be effective and eventually find a home as a lefty specialist, as his curve ball is like kryptonite at this level, no one could touch it if it was a strike. Never above 85 on the radar gun, but the fastest reading I saw the entire game was 88, so it may well be dialed in a bit slow. Spots his fastball at the letters nicely, blew it by several hitters. Gave up a couple in the 1st, then shut them down until he hit his pitch count in the 5th.

Garrett Sherill--12th round pick, 2008

If he can figure out how to throw strikes consistently, he might have a future in the bullpen, as he keeps the ball down (3 times more grounders than fly balls LY), but as of yet, lacks the control to shut down his opponent. Listed at 6-5, 210, seemed lankier than that. Seemed to be confident, poised.

Brandon Ritchie--24th round pick, 2008

Struggled as a SP last year, but looked decent enough today, after struggling a tad to find the plate.

Jim Henderson--minor league free agent

Henderson is 26, ancient for low A ball, and has pitched as high as AAA, so he is probably just a placeholder in Appleton, waiting for a spot to open up. 3 batters, 3 routine outs, so while he's there, he might dominate. Looks to have plus breaking stuff, everyone had a weak swing.

Shawn Zarraga--44th round, 2007

Shawn does everything well, except he is slow...painfully slow. Benji Molina, holy crap, me trying to get up with a bad back slow. Scouts will say he is gritty and "plays the game the right way"...runs to his spot after every half-inning, runs into the dugout after each half-inning, goes down on knees and just lets the ball hit him on every ball in the dirt. Put up dandy offensive numbers in Arizona last year, one of the last "draft and follows" the Crew had before that was eliminated by MLB. Compact swing for a big man, line drive to the warning track in CF. Throws to 2B on the bag almost every time, took a foul tip in the protective cup area and then was part of a strike out/CS double play on the very next pitch. Only 20, so he could develop into a reserve backstop. Nice kid to keep an eye on. Also, he holds the ball for a couple seconds on every close pitch, umps will tell him to quit that soon, I have to believe.

Brock Kjeldgaard--36th round, 2006, 2nd season as a position player

Pronounced "kel-gard", despite the plethora of extra letters, he smoked the ball in Helena in '08 and drove a HR way out of the park in his first PA today, way over the LF wall. 6-5 and muscular, he also looks like a fine athlete, and had his footwork down at 1B (when Prince was there, he often put his incorrect foot on the bag). Despite spending two years as a pitcher, still just 22, so he's not old for the league.

Brett Lawrie--1st round, 2008

Only saw a pair of PA's, not sure if he was dinged up or if he was only scheduled to play half the game. Only saw him field a routine pop-up, but will say the game seems easy for him...very aware, self-assured. Quick to the ball, nice swing.

Michael Marseco--11th round, 2008

First off, listed everywhere as a RH hitter, and he batted lefty today. Took a lot of pitches, walked twice, but only six times all of last season. Very fluid defensively, small guy, probably a utility INF ceiling. Drove a ball to the gap, and runs well, stole a base. If he was 6-2, he'd probably be a top prospect.

Juan Sanchez---minor league draft, 2008

Looked very solid in the field, turned a couple nice DP's after moving to 2B in the 5th. Got a double at the plate, a bit of pop for a middle infielder. Good numbers overall, and does not seem to have any obvious weaknesses. Nice pickup for depth, if nothing else.

Mike Vass--35th round, 2008

Generic corner OF, looked a bit awkward going back on a deep fly ball that landed just fair in LF corner (but was called foul). Went back up the middle nicely for a soft line drive hit.

Cutter Dykstra---2nd round, 2008

I was disappointed to be honest, as Dykstra just looked like another baseball player. Not overly fast, seems to have good plate discipline, only swings at strikes. I don't think he had a ball hit to him all game. Only 19 and in just his 2nd year of pro ball, maybe my expectations were too high. May well develop some good power as he matures, plenty of room to grow into his body.

ADDED: Cutter may be playing with a leg injury, and not allowed to "go all out" for a while.

Erik Miller--17th round, 2007

Another plain corner OF, but he did drill a double down the RF line, on a hanging breaking ball I could have hit (ok, maybe not me, but any man could have). Missed a routine shallow fly ball, put out his glove and just missed it by a foot or so...the 2B was there, but ran past, did not go for the ball at all...but I suppose Miller could have been confused.

John Delaney--25th round, 2008

Here's my sleeper, Delaney has a quick bat, a good eye at the plate, and surprising power...he drilled a long foul to LF, and then was drilled on the next pitch. About the same height as Maresco, he'll be challenged size wise at every level, but he hit in Helena, and looks like a guy who will produce in Appleton as well. And yes, as you'd guess by his name, he's one of the Massachusetts' Delaneys...


The most entertaining part of the game was the blown fair/foul call. On a high fly ball down the LF line, it landed 12-24 inches fair, bouncing off the bottom of the banner they have on the wall. This is a 2 umpire league, and the field ump was standing between 2B and 3B...I assumed this was his call, but he did not make a call. As the runner trotted home and the batter strolled into 2B, the home plate ump, standing right at home, said, "Foul ball". A few in the crowd murmured "Foul?" and "Foul ball?" People started whispering, asking if it was called foul, as everyone saw it fair by a foot or two. The umpire then brushed off home plate, looked into the visiting dugout, and repeated, "Foul ball."

Many fans heard it for the first time, and literally, laughter was the most common response. The manager, who was coaching 3B, came walking in, dumbfounded, holding his hands about 2 feet apart and pointing. The batter stood at 2B, hands held apart about 2 feet. The runner who had scored came walking out of the dugout, hands held apart about 2 feet. Sure enough, the Rattlers got out of the inning without being scored upon, and that was the difference in the game.

Later, the home plate guy also missed a foul ball. On a 1-0 pitch, the Rattlers' batter had a check swing, and the ball went back to the screen. The scoreboard went to 1-1, but the catcher turned and talked to the umpire for 5 seconds or so. He then looked at the dugout, and then talked to the umpire again. The umpire then held up 2 fingers and said "2 and 0". The batter stood in, and the umpire stepped back, looked at the visiting dugout and said "2 and 0"...and he sounded kind of irritated.

The manager walked out, asked about the foul/ball two, and just threw his hands up in the air, and after talking about it for about 30 seconds, the home plate ump walked out to talk to the base ump, who was standing about 20 feet behind 1B. They talked for about 90 seconds, probably questioning their occupational choice, and finally, the home plate guy started back in, pausing long enough to stop and yell into the visiting dugout "2 and 0" from the baseline.

Again, it had a direct impact, as the next pitch Delaney hit about 400 feet foul, and then the next pitch hit him, in what appeared to be a message...don't dig in and swing from the heels on me. Delaney was thrown out at the plate later in the inning, so the score never was affected this time.

Of course, the rest of the game, no matter how far foul, the fans shouted out "Fair ball! Fair ball!"

Just under 3000, on a perfect day...some people complained it was cold, but some people are wimps. The box score can be found here. I watched the game from section 102, about 10 rows up, a $7 ticket, purchased 10 minutes before the first pitch.


4/11/2009 11:12:00 PM


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