Fatugue In August

The ‘Dog Days Of August’ in baseball is not relegated to teams out of the running. Following the 2020 year of Covid, where players new and veteran alike, walked through a 60 game season in a breeze with the winds of pandemic everywhere. But not this year.

This is a Big League season.

This season, the younger players who are in their 1st, 2nd and/or 3rd year, are beginning to wilt. The flowers of their inexperience are drooping, making their minds wander as they face the heat and humidity of everyday sameness. These are groundhog days.

A big, multi positioned bench is critical. And there is a noticeable increase in injuries, especially in starting pitchers and stars who are trying to carry the entire load of the team on their backs.

This is a different year where on day a team can lead by four games and within a whisper, be trailing by two.

This is a year where a team can go and win 13 straight while another loses 19 straight.

This is the year of exhaustion.

Look at the Brewers. Built for the duration with a bench loaded with players who can fill in at a number of positions. And, arguably this team has the best top three starters in baseball with Woody, Corbin & Freddy. They are a horror show for opponents and are built by Stearns to win a post season short series.

But fatigue has set in.

Brandon Woodruff in August is not the same tight control pitcher who dominates, as earlier in the season. Freddy Peralta only finished two inning in his last start and was placed on the 10 day IL. Corbin Burnes is finding the paint gard to cover as umps become entangled in the ‘Dogs’ as well.

In certain innings, their minds wander and let opponents get back into the game, placing additional pressure on the relief corps.

Then there is this: last week in four games, the Brewers lost a starting player each of those game days. The fourth, willy Adames, left the game early after the first inning Tuesday, following Eduardo Escobar on Sunday with Tyrone Taylor out on last Saturday following Freddy Peralta on the Friday a week past.

While Adames cam back this Saturday’s loss to the Twins in Minnesota, this is the time to put all of these players and starters on a rotation missed. They all need to recover and welcome the freshness of Fall ahead.

If not, the best chance for the Brewers to win the World Series may vanish. And that would be a shame. Attanasio, Stearns and Counsell have crafted this team brilliantly to win now.

This, arguably, is the best Brewer team ever assembled.

Rest is the cure, even if we lose a series or two before the big post season arrives.

Rest is the cure.

We need to win in October.


It Was Heaven


For every kid who ever entered a baseball stadium, it becomes a treasured memory. It is usually the biggest thing one has ever seen or experienced at that time. And the moment you first get a glimpse of the grass, perfectly mowed and greener than green could be, your mouth curls into a smile and eyes light up as the entirety of that moment…that single moment opens up a world that you had only dreamed about.

On one Thursday evening in August, that experience was reawakened in all of us in a corn field in Iowa.

Joe Buck perhaps said it best. ‘It is a quiet crowd…almost reverential…like going to church.’

To baseball fans everywhere this is their cathedral of dreams…dreams of childhood…a thousand Christmases all rolled into one.

Everything was perfect. The old fashioned scoreboard with people dressed in the era putting up big numbers.

The dugouts crafted in every detail.

The background was absolutely perfect.

In the 9th, the mighty Yankees showed why they are legends. Behind by 3, and a man on, Babe hit a majestic home run followed by Lou to give the Yanks in grey a one run lead.

In the bottom of the 9th, after the catcher got on, Joe stepped to the plate…cue the music…’I knew what I was looking for and I didn’t miss it. Just coming here playing in the middle of corn, who would have thought that? And who would have thought I’d walk it off as well?

Who would have thought?

Who would have believed?

It was a game played in reality base on a novel filled with hopes and dreams which turned into something better than one could ever imagine or written.

Is this heaven?


But in this world, it is as close as one could hope. Perhaps this is the way it should end.

Perhaps they should never play a game here again. Perhaps, you cannot improve on perfection.

They walked out of the corn fields with wonderment in their eyes. And one could not help notice the stacked Sox logo over one of the team’s left breast on their uniforms. Was that Gandil, Cicotte, Williams, Risberg, Felsch, McMullin, Weaver and Jackson?

In this cathedral of the game, the legend of Shoeless Joe will endure, one hundred and two years after the fact. Anderson made sure of that as the Sox won.

This is the end of the greatest story ever. Man created illusion. Man extended the illusion into a movie that touched us all. Man then perfected the fiction into unbelievable reality of greatness with a Major League game that may have been the greatest ever played.

Man now should leave it the was it was…filled with a cavalcade of memory of what perfection is.

Dad? Did it really happen?

Did you see it? Tell me all about it?

But first, let’s play catch.

#PlayBall #FieldofDreams #Glorious

The Case For Electronic Balls & Strikes

On Saturday evening, way down South in the town Sherman set ablaze, one of baseball’s finest pitchers, Brandon Woodruff fired a strike on a 1-2 pitch, inside the pitching zone over the right side of the plate. The inning was done with runners on the bases, stranded again with the game tied 1-1. Astonishingly, CB Buckner, the guy in blue behind the plate called it a ball. The catcher, Pina, held the glove where it was thrown, well inside the strike zone. Woodruff glared at the ump in futility.

This is the same ump who consistently calls balls outside the strike zone strikes. He has clearly been judged as one of the worst umpires in baseball.

But he is the jury and the judge on thrown balls.

He and he alone determines the fate of the game. And he doesn’t even play.

On the next pitch, Dansby Swanwon smacked the fastball over the left field fence to take a 4-1 lead which the Brewers could never overcome during the rest of the evening.

The Brewers had won seven straight road games And in this game, Wong, Garcia and Cain had multiple hits. But that one single pitch by Woodruff took the toll of momentum in another direction.

Perhaps it is time for baseball to take a hard look at the lessons tennis learned decades ago. Electronic equipment must be brought in to call the balls and strikes. Sure, purists with object, just like they did in tennis years ago. But today, the electric eye tells the truth. It sees balls on the line and over the line. It see balls inside the lines. It calls them the way it should be called.

Empires are still important in baseball for plays at the plate and bases, down the lines, on the fence line and if it were a catch or not.

But as long as umpires call balls and strikes, this game is phony. It suggests it could be rigged. Not to say that Saturday nights game wasn’t on the level. It just was another example that people like last night umpire should not be calling balls and strikes.