Chuck Klein Says…


On the 1935 Goudey baseball card series, known as the Gehrig series, there is a blue strip on the card that states ‘Lou Says’. Without question Lou Gehrig was THE player of that year. But part of the series was dedicated to one Chuck Klein. Yes. There was a strip on the card that stated ‘Chuck Says’.

Why Chuck Klein? He is one of only of six players ever to have had five or more consecutive 200-hit seasons since 1901. Imagine, only six players have ever accomplished this spectacular feat. The ‘Hoosier Hammer’ was one of the great sluggers in the late 1920s and in the 1930s. He was the first player to be named to the All-Star Game as a member of two different teams, as he played for the Phillies fifteen years (1928-33, 1936-39 and 1940-44), the Cubs (1934-36) and the Pirates (1939). He is acknowledged as one of the Top 100 players all-time. The right fielder was named to the Hall of Fame in 1980.

He was one of the great Philadelphia Phillies. The Great Depression hit the city hard, and as unemployment climbed, fans stopped coming to baseball games. Attendance at Baker Bowl, where the Phillies played, dropped from 299,000 in 1930 to 156,000 in 1933. The Phillies were on the verge of bankruptcy. The team owner Gerald Nugent had no choice but to unload his most valuable player to help satisfy the club’s debts. And so on November 21, 1933, the Phillies traded Klein to the Chicago Cubs for shortstop Mark Koenig, outfielder Harvey Hendrick, pitcher Ted Kleinhans, and $65,000 in cash. The Cubs paid their new outfielder $30,000, the highest he made in the Major leagues.

While with the Cubs, he was injured, he was part of the team that got them to the 1935 World Series.

After one season with the Pirates he was back with the Pirates in 1940. One of the few bright spots of the season came on September 4 with the Phillies held ‘Chuck Klein Night’ at Shibe Park to honor their longtime slugger. More than 18,000 fans attended the game, the largest crowd to watch a Phillies game all season.

For a few bright years, Chuck Klein was one of the great stars of the game. He is honored by not having his number retired but by have an old English type-font ‘P’ retired by the Phillies. He is one of only two to be so honored. The other? Grover Cleveland Alexander. They join #1 Richie Ashbury, #14, Jim Bunning, #20 Mike Schmidt and #32, Steve Carlton for a team founded in 1883..

There were only five other players to accomplish the feat of hitting 200+ hits in five or more consecutive 200-hit seasons. Al Simmons (1929-1933); Charlie Gehringer (1933-1937); Wade Boggs (1983-1989); Ichiro Suzuki (2001-2010) and Michael Young (2003-2007).

All of these players are members of the Hall of Fame or will be upon eligibility.

Play Ball!
chuck-klein2

Ferrellish


There are 25 players on the active roster of each Major League Baseball team. There is a manager and several coaches. Each play an important part in a winning team. Without a strong manager who understands his team, there is no success. Without a good hitting coach, who takes time with each of his players to build routine and confidence, there probably is no success. Without a good pitching coach, who can feel when a player has reached his breaking point without pulling the string too quickly, there probably is no success. Without a good bullpen coach, you can’t have success if he does not have a complete understanding about that pitcher he is sending in on that given day. The bench coach has to be the encyclopedic mind who allows the manager to make the decisions with all of the knowledge at hand, both in player performance and possible circumstances which may or may not affect a decision.

Coaches are more than teachers. Some get ahead and are glued to a franchise because they are ‘good guy’s’, always quick with a quip. That get the voices in the broadcast booth to proclaim how funny he is and what a great guy he is. After all, the third base coach of the Milwaukee Brewers said ‘I’ve been teaching the hot dog vendors some signals. Well, just the one where they throw me sausages’.(Twitter 03.10.12)

Yes. Coaches are more than teachers. They are more than just funny guys or pals or good to be around. They should not be promoted because of propinquity. Just being with an organization a long time should not insure one of promotion and continued position. Coaches are important because they have to make sure they put the players in a position to succeed and not fail.

Managers can lose games because of a wrong hunch or a blundered tactic. But the most important coach on a team is probably the third base coach. The ‘Windmill Man’. Why? He is the most exposed. His duties include holding or sending runners rounding second and third bases, as well as having to make critical, split-second decisions about whether to try to score a runner on a hit, a wild pitch, passed ball or mental mistake while accounting for the arm strength of the opposing team’s fielder and the speed and position of his baserunner. His is, in short, critical to a team’s success.

The Milwaukee Brewers have a third base coach and this is a condensed view of some of the decision he had to make this season.

On Tuesday, 3.24.15 vs D’Backs, the third base coach had Jean Segura attempt to stretch a double into a triple with one out. Segura was out. It wasn’t even close. But then again, this was Spring Training and it is a time to try things out. Perhaps in the future of the season, this lesson will have been learned. 

On Wednesday, 3.25.15 vs Rangers, the third base coach had Carlos Gomez attempt to stretch a double into a triple with two outs. Gomez was out even though it was clear that GoGo was not performing up to his standards in the outfield as it appeared that he had slowed up a step from the previous campaign. But it was still Spring Training. Perhaps by the time the season began, this lesson would have been learned.

On Thursday, 3/26.15 vs Mariners, the third base coach of the Brewers had Scooter Gennett attempt to stretch a double into a triple with two outs in 2nd inning. For the third straight day, this runner was out. OK. It was still Spring Training and perhaps in the regular season this lesson will have been put into the memory box and it would not happen when it counted in the regular season.

On Saturday, 3/28, with a runner on second, stood the Brewers starting pitcher Wily Peralta. A hit to right field and third base coach does not give a signal to the runner who lumbers around third. Strangely, the runner scores as the ball, thrown in by the right fielder, hits the rubber and slows it down long enough to allow Peralta to score. Why no signal? Well, it is only Spring Training and perhaps he was thinking about something else as there are a number of pretty girls in the stands and he loves to wave to all.

On that same Saturday, 3/28, the game was tied 2-2. Runners were on second and third one out. Aramis Ramirez was on third. A fly ball was hit to right field. Third base coach and Ramirez go down the third base line toward home before the coach motions for Ramirez to go back to third and tag up because the right fielder catches the ball. The right fielder throws Ramirez out at third to end the threat for a double play. Well, it is only Spring Training and after all, they don’t count in the standings. Lessons learned. Spring Training is done. Lessons learned.

The season has begun. On Tuesday, April 7, 2015, in the second game of the regular season, in bottom of the 4th at Miller Park, with the Brewers trailing the Colorado Rockies 3-0, Adam Lind, leading off, hits a ball off the wall in deep right center field. He is waived to third by the third base coach and is easily called out with a relay from the center fielder. Rule #1 in baseball: never commit the first out of an inning at third. OK. this is the real season. Every decision counts. A coach must always put his players in a position to succeed. Well, it’s only one mistake. And after all, coaches are human too.

On Friday, April 10, 2015, with Kris Davis at third, the pitch got away from the catcher, going nearly to the first base box seats and the third base coach did not advance him, even though the Brewers were down in the game. Your mother could have scored. OK. that’s two. It’s early. Only April of a very long season.

On Friday, May 22, 2015, the third base coach held Willy Peralta at third with the game tying run. He could have scored. You could have scored. That’s three.

On Saturday, May 23, 2015, the third base coach sends Sanchez home and is out at the plate. On that same day, May 23, 2015, he questionably sends Ryan Braun home who is out at the plate. Brewers loose in extra innings. That’s four and five.

On Wednesday, May 27, 2015, he sends Khris Davis, who had hit a triple, to go on contact with one out. Ball is hit to the first baseman, Brandon Belt of the Giants, who easily threw home to Buster Posey to tag the sliding Davis. The world could see that nobody would be able to score with Belt facing home plate. Belt, Posey and the Giants’ announcers were a bit stunned to see anyone running on a ground ball to first with one out and the game tied 0-0. With Aramis Ramirez the next batter, who hit a single to right, the run would have scored. Problem was, it would have been the game tying run as the Brewers scored one in the inning and lost 2-1. Now do you understand the value of a good 3rd base coach? That’s six.

In St. Louis on June 3, 2015, the third base coach sent Jonathon Lucroy, who is probably slower than your mother, from 1st to second and was thrown out for the third out in an inning that could have produced some runs as they were trailing 7-3 at the time. While you may question that this was the first base coach’s responsibility, the player looked toward the third base coach as he had rounded the bag on his way to second for a signal. He could have signaled a ‘no go’ and the player would have returned to first. But he didn’t. That’s seven.

Credit where credit is due. the third base coach waves Segura in the bottom of 2nd on June 13, 2015, from 1st on a double by Scooter Gennett to take 2-1 lead against Nationals at Miller Park in game #3 of series on Saturday.

Back to reality, on July 23, 2015, with runner at 1st & 3rd (Perez), down by a run and nobody out, the third base coach lets Perez try to score on a hit back to the pitcher who turned two by throwing to second to get that runner from first (for the first out) in the inning as shortstop then threw to home to easily get Perez attempting to score from third. This single mistake took the Brewers completely out of the inning and the game. Honestly, people are still scratching their heads on this. That’s eight. 

On August 12, 2015, with nobody out, with Brewers leading 1-0 against the Cubs, Gennett hits a double with Segura coming up. Segura lays down a perfect bunt to move the runner to third. But wait! The third base coach does not stop Gennett as he over runs 3rd and continues toward home. After the pitcher fired the ball to the first baseman to get Segura, Anthony Rizzo sees Gennett way off third and fires the ball to third to double up Gennett. Brewers loose a perfect chance to score with a runner on 3rd and one out. Eventually loose in 10 innings with a walk off, their 11th of the season. That’s nine.

Players are gauged on both their hitting and fielding. This season so far, only one player has more errors than the third base coach on the Milwaukee Brewers and this is the #1 error prone team in Major League Baseball.

Without fully analyzing all of the teams in the AL and NL, we cannot say the third base coach of the Milwaukee Brewers has cost more games than any other third base coach in the game. But just in this brief examination, he has, in the eyes of this writer, made nine mental errors that costs the team games. With 70 losses so far this season, only three other teams have more, all in the National League. Imagine if those nine errors were not committed and the team actually won those games. They would be a .500 club.

Granted that is wishful thinking and certainly this team, this year, has failed miserably. But the coaches must be held responsible for not winning just as the man who hired them, namely the fired manager of the Brewers who started the season and is now the third base coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The third base coach of the Milwaukee Brewers should put his players in a position to succeed and not fail. That is his sole responsibility. For years this coach has proven he is not up for that challenge. It is time for a change.

Play Ball!
23 August 2015 overtheshouldermlb

Averages

Averages overtheshouldermlb

Baseball is all about averages. You can predict with fair accuracy, how a team will perform based on averages of pitchers and hitters. After all, this is a game of pitching and hitting.

In 2014, many followers of the Milwaukee Brewers believed that this was a team of destiny. In fact it was. It was destined to fail. As the beginning of the year, for the first three plus months, the team performed way above average with Lucroy having a career year, Aramis Ramirez experiencing one of the best first half of the season performance in his career, Carlos Gomez having an All-Star first half and a rookie second baseman doing way better than expected. And the pitching staff was doing well backed by a bunch of runs to support victory after victory.

Then, the bottom fell out. Some blame it on Matt Lapay, a college announcer who was brought into help fill in for the team’s voice, that being Brian Anderson who was frequently away from Brewer telecasts to work with whatever network needed him for whatever sport. But in fact, sometime in July, Lapay or not, players who had questions about when the ball would fall throughout the hot first half of the season, discovered the disaster that awaited them. Lucroy didn’t quite deliver as he had earlier in the season. Braun was not really Braun as he was experiencing a hand problem. Ramirez stopped delivering in the clutch. Gomez began running into trouble rather than pushing for success. And the pitching staff got old overnight.

For the season, after it was all over, in 2014, the Brewers ranked #15 in hitting with a .250 batting average. And it ranked #17 in pitching with an ERA of 3.67.

Yet what did the general manager do? He felt it was enough to reward their manager with not a one year but a three-year contract extension feeling that overall the club had improved and that the last half of the season was simply a ‘blip’, something that just happened and wasn’t the fault of a manager who brought the team to its first Division title in decades a few years earlier. What many do not understand, that was a team that was managed by Ned Yost who last year took his new team, the Kansas City Royals, to an American League Championship and just a run away from a World Series title. It was not Roenicke who was responsible. He just got into a very good car and drove it to a Divisional championship. Yet he was rewarded for that?

Now this year. In 2015 Milwaukee ranks #24 in pitching with an ERA of 4.13 vs 3.67 in 2014. In 2015 Milwaukee ranks #18 in hitting with a .250 BA vs .250 in 2014.

This team has not only not improved to justify Roenicke’s extended three-year contract but has in fact gotten worse. In fact, they remain in the bottom half of all teams who play in the Major Leagues.

Baseball is all about averages. You can tell, with some accuracy, what a team will do when you look at what players have done in their careers, weighted with age and experience and with an experience manager and general manager who guide the ball club.

The Men of Milwaukee’s management do not understand. Averages tell us that. In 2003 when the general manager began his first full season at the helm of the Cream City Nine, the team finished #23 in hitting as it finished with a batting average of 2.56. The pitching staff finished #25 with a 5.02 ERA. And the rest is history.
2003 Batting #23 with a .256 BA. Pitching #25 with a 5.04 ERA
2004 Batting #29 with a .248 BA. Pitching #12 with a 4.24 ERA
2005 Batting #16 with a .259 BA. Pitching #10 with a 3.97 ERA
2006 Batting #27 with a .258 BA. Pitching #25 with a 4.82 ERA
2007 Batting #11 with a .262 BA. Pitching #15 with a 4.41 ERA
2008 Batting #17 with a .253 BA. Pitching #4 with a 3.85 ERA
2009 Batting #9 with a .263 BA. Pitching #27 with a 4.83 ERA
2010 Batting #12 with a .262 BA. Pitching #26 with a 4.58 ERA
2011 Batting #11 with a .261 BA. Pitching # 9 with a 3.63 ERA
2012 Batting #3 with a .259 BA. Pitching #22 with a 4.22 ERA
2013 Batting #19 with a .252 BA. Pitching #16 with a 3.84 ERA
2014 Batting #15 with a .250 BA. Pitching #17 with a 3.67 ERA
2015 Batting #18 with a .250 BA. Pitching #24 with a 4.13 ERA

For his career as general manager, his teams have finished on average #16 in batting with a .256 BA. The team’s pitching has ranked #18 with a 4.25 ERA.

Those are the averages. Baseball is all about averages. The team has averaged 16th in hitting out of 30 baseball teams. This places them in the bottom half of all teams in Major League Baseball. The team has average 18th in pitching out of 30 baseball teams. This has placed them in the bottom half of all teams in Major League Baseball.

If the owner wants to continue in the bottom half of Major League Baseball, he should continue to have the current general manager with the team. If the owner does not, and wants to move into the upper half of baseball, he needs to replace him with a new general manager responsible to the owner only and not to the guy who has not gotten this team, on average, to finished in the top half.

#watchingattanasio

UPDATE: At 1115A (CST), Tuesday, August 11, 2015, Doug Melvin stepped down, effective immediately, as General Manager of the Milwaukee Brewers. He is leaving the job he’s held since September of 2002. The days of #melvinitis may be over. Then again, these are the Milwaukee Brewers. He may still be the head of baseball operations.

Play Ball!

A Wasted Effort

A Wasted Effort


There was a hush in the big room at the ballpark as everyone seated around the table was in rapt attention as they wanted to know what the ‘Big Guy’ thought of the idea.

‘Dumb’, he said. ‘It’s a dumb idea. And I can say that because I am the GM and not one of you.’ Ah. Those words. It makes you just a little bit proud that a fellow from the North who could, in fact, put two words together without mispronouncing the word ‘schedule’ instead of ‘sheedual’. Yet he is the de-architect. He is the tearer-downer of the team.

While there was a huge departure of Latin players from the Brewers roster as the trade deadline neared, in one of the trades, the one that sent the most popular Crew member to Houston, Carlos Gomez, along with starter, Mike Fiers, was that this GM also traded away the International Bonus spending rights to Houston. It was that little single line in the trade legaleze that may come back to haunt a team which resembles a minor league franchise while season ticket holders pay big boy bucks for their right to view this mess on the field. For the 2015-16 twelve month period, Houston, which already has a bonus pool of $4,248,800, now gets the Brewers $2,389,300 for a total of $6,638,100 which pushed them from #4 to #1, over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Most important, it drops back that lovable Cream City Nine to #30 or dead last with $0 to invest. Any investment they may want to make in the next 11 months will come with a stiff penalty consisting of 75% tax on the amount invested. In other words, the Brewers will have to pay nearly double the amount if they really want to sign an International player.

The bonus pool is determined based on reverse order of winning percentage from the 2014 major league season which means that the Brewers finished somewhere in the middle because of their monumental collapse last season. Now that they are in the need for fresh new talent, they have $0 bonus to entice new players from around the world to consider Milwaukee their home.

On today’s active roster of the Milwaukee Brewers there are seven players who are Internationals. This week they traded away their two best players who were Internationals. Obviously with no bonus pool for the next year, there will probably be none added.

In a time when the game is loaded with International stars, the Brewers find themselves with precious few of star quality. If they are to build out of this extreme hole they themselves created, they need to rethink their position on the climb out of obscurity. If they really want to get above, not just even with the Mendoza Line of baseball they find themselves in at present, they have to become less satisfied with the world of mediocrity they have created.

Perhaps trading the star center fielder to another team could have been done without giving up a starting pitcher that had some value himself. It could also be stated that the trade didn’t have to include giving up the International Bonus. But then they are led by a guy who thinks a moose is a national icon … in Milwaukee. This isn’t Chatham, Ontario. For a guy who began his executive career in baseball as a batting practice pitcher, his claim to fame is that he helped bring the franchise its first postseason berth in 26 years. Yet he has never won a league pennant of any kind during his storied baseball executive career.

This is called: melvinitis.

The chance of the Milwaukee Brewers improving themselves as have Houston and Arizona are hidden in a cloudy permanency that hangs over Miller Park like another losing season. The maddening reality of losing two of the most popular players on the team this week is depressing enough. But the hope hinges on a person who has shown he is better at digging a hole than digging out of one.

Play Ball!

Plus/Minus

Plus:Minus
IMG_1406

The dwindling days of the trade deadline brought Aramis Ramirez back to the Pirates where he began his career. And to be honest, during his last season before he retired, he looked ever bit the player over the hill who stay one season too long to satisfy an itch that historically has driven ballplayers beyond their useful years. His movement around the hot corner had slowed while his deadly accurate throws to first lost a bit of the zip it once had. And to add injury, he actually did not make a pick up of a ball with his bare hand and throw it to first which had been his trademark of a great third baseman in his past. To get anything for him is a plus, in this case a minor league player. Thus, the Brewers have removed a major salary off of their payroll and replaced it with a waiver list pickup replacement. This position is wide open for a young player to take in 2016.

Carlos Gomez, as was stated here in the beginning of Spring Training has lost a step. He has also become increasingly inaccurate with his arm. During Thursday’s game in Arizona, he made two terrible throws to third, one of which allowed a run to score. On Saturday, on a routine play he threw a ball back to the second baseman which was remarkable in that Gannett was about to make the stop on a ball that was thrown out of frustration rather than accuracy. He kept the man at first, but it showed something is not right with GoGo. The man simply is not the same. Yes. He is exciting. Yes. He creates an active clubhouse. Yes. He was last year at the top of his game. This is the time to trade him for a really good player.

The tension of being on the rumor trading block is affecting Gerardo Parra’s play in the field. On Thursday he misplayed a ball, which at best would have been a double but was graciously not given an error by his local hometown official scorer after doffing his cap during a tribute to him a few minutes prior. He is hitting very well, better than he ever has in his career. He would be a terrific bargaining tool for a trade but, if you can trade Gomez for a good player, Parra should stay and move to center and stay there for a long, long time. No. He is not a fast as GoGo. No. He is not as flashy as GoGo. But, he is so much better than Khris Davis that there is no one who can replace him. Besides, in an interview with Bob Bremley over the weekend, Craig Counsell admitted Parra is his favorite ballplayer, or at least that is what Bremley said as he was pushing Taco Bell.

Jean Segura is the perfect pawn in the maddening Brewers ‘two in the bush is better than one in the hand’ philosophy of baseball deal making. Historically, it has always been the allure of the potential of someone else rather than the stability of what you have that has haunted the Cream City Nine. Thus, Segura is doomed to leave, and hopefully he will bring a very good player in trade.

Jonathan Lucroy is being bandied about like an unwelcome domino. For some reason, he is out of favor with current management. Last season, arguably his very best, provided his downfall. Somewhere along the line, he was convinced or convinced his agent to ask for an extension of his contract. But the Brewers didn’t bite. Then his injury this season and a horrible season at the plate so far. His value in the front office is sliding yet he still remains the third best backstop in the National League. This is the time to move him. Why? He is no longer the doubles machine of the past. He is at his peak. He is a valuable player for trading to get another valuable player.

Mike Fiers is an interesting piece in the middle of the power trio (Peralta, Nelson and Jungmann) as he is also well under contract and makes only $513,000. But he is 30 years old. And there is a feeling that he can bring two additional pieces in play. With a covey of arms ready and able to plug the Fiers hole, it might be time to send him to that Canadian team north of Buffalo.

So as the end of the trading deadline appears ever closer, it is time to build for the next championship season. This has been one season to never remember again.

Play Ball!

Dancing Mets And The Polka Brewers

Dancing Mets & The Polka Brewers

Dazzling!

They are New York’s second team. And there are plenty of reasons for that position. They are the Diamondbacks-of-the-East as far as ineptitude in making trades. While the D’Backs trade players away who have been, and for some become future All-Stars, the Mets are reluctant to trade to improve without including the Yankee-type head fakes and faints to get the majority of fans in their mind-set before they make a trade. It is the ‘trade dance’.

Then there are the Brewers. A lovely team formerly in pinstripes, the team from the Cream City dances the Polka. No Metropolitanism here, these are the beer and brat team of the Midwest. They have heart. They cry a lot. They leak out the possibility of something new in the bush when rarely does that exist. They never believed that ‘one in the hand’ is better stuff. Go for the unknown hope of the future…never for the reality of today. That just isn’t parochial. And if there is one trait the citizens of Pigsville are known for, they are and forever will be parochial. ‘Hail Mary full of grace…’.

These two teams were made for each other in trades. After all, Frankie Rodriguez came to the Crew via the Mets. But this is another year. And we have a few examples of this amazing dance as the Loveables attempt to fill the holes at third, at short, in the outfield and at first at the bane of the Brewers. They have good noses. They can smell these things. After all, they are the Mets. They have extensively scouted Jean Segura, the young shortstop of the Milwaukee Brewers who will be moved because of a bright young star in the bush leagues. Remember, ‘One in the hand’ philosophy? But the Mets have sent out signals, via the press, that they don’t like his ‘free swinging’. Using the press to push the price down? What would you expect from the home of ‘The Donald’. Segura has shown some upside and is young. Plus, he has three more seasons under club control. That makes him affordable. If there is one thing those lovable Mets like is ‘affordability’. It solves every question in a press conference. All of this for a guy who stole first base.

Moving to the waltz, there is the Aramis Ramirez dance, as the veteran Brewer third baseman is on the Mets radar. He is the one sitting against the wall of the ballroom. A notorious late season hitter, he is at the end of his playing career. But he still has some pop in his bat, as evidenced on Saturday night. But those lovable Mets have again floated a lovely head fake of ‘who would play where’ if Ramirez were acquired. It’s all so wonderful to see a fully orchestrated Metropolitan talk-fest prior to decision making. ‘Run it up the flagpole and see which way the wind blows’ seems to be a favorite tack out at a sea called ‘Citi’. After all, they would only be obligated to pay the last couple of months of his $14 million contract. (Let’s see, $14 million divided by 6 times 2…) He is the ultimate rent-a-player. They, through the press, let it be known that they don’t like his play on both sides of the ball (per Joel Sherman of the New York Post via Twitter). That means they really must like him.

While all this is going on, the Brewers have the Twins and Rangers looking at Neal Cotts; The Padres looking at Gerardo Parra, along with the Giants who have ‘loved Parra forever’ according to Andrew Beggarly of the San Jose Mercury News (via Twitter). They wanted to get him from the D’Backs but then Arizona didn’t want to trade him to a division rival. Note to D’Backs: you have no rivals until you field a winning team. The 2001 Championship is just a memory. The Angels are also looking at Parra. And of course, those crazy Mets have leaked out that they would like a left-handed hitting outfielder who plays in Milwaukee. Head fake!

Surprisingly, The Mets haven’t said anything about their bullpen. The Blue Jays are looking at Francisco Rodriguez. Everybody in need of a first baseman are looking at Adam Lind of the Crew including those Loveables.

Why all of this interest in a team in last place in the National League Central? Last year at this time this same team was in First place. The only addition since their collapse was Jonathan Broxton who has disappeared in a fog of ineffectiveness. Along with the acquisition of Will Smith who became a Brewer in one of the most despised trades in Milwaukee history (OK…Stormin’ Gorman to Cleveland was a doosey) when traded to KC for Nori Aoki, they also got rid of the numb Roenicke as a manager.

Point is, the teams who are chasing this year’s dream of winning a pennant and a World Series championship, see weakness in the Brewers executive ranks. The non-effective General Manger is in limbo as he is in the process of being offered the face-saving transition to upstairs where he will be in charge of Zoo Nights in August with the title of ‘Head of Whatever’, a title passed down by Harry Dalton in his quiet dual with Buddy Selig, the ex-used car ex commish. Craig Counsell is in line to become the next GM. The San Diego Padres interim manager, could succeed Counsell in the dugout. The third base coach would be replaced; Garza would be sent to limbo on permanent DL and all the world would be better in Cream City. Weak GM? Lower costs for players needed. The Mets love this type of upheaval.

That’s how the Mets play ball..err dance. Floating rumors and letting the pot boil with ‘what ifs’ and ‘why nots’. That’s the way those dizzy Metropolitans like to play the game. And their record shows exactly what a success that has led to. Of course, Milwaukee is not much better. Looks like a marriage made in baseball heaven. #watchingattanasio

It’s time to roll out the barrel.

Play Ball!

The Face

He smiles as if he is lighting up his team when in fact he is lighting up a city. Two doubles, five RBIs and he single-handedly destroyed the Dodgers in Mary Hart’s home park. That was Saturday night in the City of Angels.

But it is more than just a smile and a mile of talent that makes Carlos Gomez the leader of The Crew. Notice what he did when Parra his a home run late in the game. Up on the steps of the dugout, he welcomed Gerarado with a rehearsed chorigraphical routine reminiscent of Prince at his finest. He was the welcome mat. He was the cheerleader. He is the backbone of the team.

In the Era of Craig, he IS ‘The Face’, the heart and soul of the new Brewer spirit. Rival fans don’t like his antics as they think it is showboating. Certainly he has no friends in St. Louis. But to fans of the Pigsville Nine, that is just the way GoGo rolls. Flashing the glove with speed to burn; turning that single into a double; firing behind the runner to double him off of first; and smashing a clutch hit when it counts, Mr Gomez has left Braun and Lucroy behind in a memory of dust for this team’s leadership.

But the best reason why he is what he is to Cream City is what he does to the opposing teams. He made sure that a Braves pitcher who might think of throwing inside would be up for retaliation. And he said so. He created a fun atmosphere with Puig by throwing a wad of gum at him and then making it a contest with their arms on Saturday night. Puig threw a runner out at second. GoGo threw a runner out at first. He simply is not afraid of anyone. And that is a sign of a winner.

If he had not been hurt so much early this season, Gomez would again be an All-Star. He already is an All-Star to Brewer’s fans. Hitting .278 with 41 RBIs as the All-Star break is upon us, Gomez is more than stats. He is a spirit of excitement…of accomplishment that makes this version of the 2015 Milwaukee Brewers now fun to watch.

They finally have a manager who will allow a young man to finish a game. In fact, Taylor Jungmann became the first Brewer in history to have a complete game in Dodger Stadium. He fired 100 pitches in a 7-1 complete game win. He had the force of Gomez banging in five of those runs. And, coming off the mound for the post-game high-fives, there was ‘The Face’ of the franchise making sure, with a slap on the back with his glove to the rookie pitcher that he did OK. In the post game interview he praised Jungmann’s pitching and command.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Carlos Gomez, at 29, is The Face of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Play Ball!