Spiritual Pilgram


It is that said time of the year when baseball fans everywhere feel a bit despondent. It is a time when other sports are beginning to cut in on the glorious days of this sporting summer, taking some of the press headlines away from the sport of 108 stitches. And today, for many of the teams in the sport reportedly founded by Doubleday, they have entered the 30% solution period…they only have 50 games left in the regular season.

For teams like the Milwaukee Brewers, running 1/2 have behind the NL Central leading World Champions of last season, this has been a year of delightful discovery. This team made up of rebuilding journeyman, a flawed aging and aching star, and a youthful front office and clubhouse management, the excitement they have created is what gives baseball the spirit of the ages for their fans everywhere. They have found the mystery other search for…chemistry…that drives success.

The philosophy that success breeds success, and positive thinking bring good things to the top, have all been exercised in enormous doses of hope and excitement. And so much of it is due to a ‘spiritual pilgrim’ of this team.

Hernán Perez de Ovando was a 13th Century nobleman. Hernán is a Spanish given name, originating from Germanic Hernan in the Visigoth culture in Spain. It is the Latinized version of the compound name Fard-nanth, which seems to mean ‘gentle traveler’ or ‘spiritual pilgrim’. The House of Hernan gave its name to those with the surname Hernández, the -ez at the end denoting membership of that House. The surname, like many Spanish surnames, is of Teutonic-Gothic origin.

In Milwaukee, Hernán is the ‘spiritual pilgrim’ who has become the glue that holds a team of wildebeests together on the plains of baseball. One of the many vagabond players the Brewers have compiled to form a team as they re-build from their recent glory days of Prince-Ryan-Cory-Rickie and the Gang, Hernán is the key to getting this team to where they are today…far ahead of what anybody in baseball expected of this Craig Counsell led team.

Players fall down because of physical ailments, then another steps up. This has happened to the Pigsville Nine all year long. Villar stumbles out of the gate after given a clear path to future stardom and Sogard takes his place. Sogard goes down and Hernán Pérez takes his place. Piña has been a rock behind the plate while each of his co-workers have been injured, first Bandy, then Vogt and then and then Bandy again and now Susac. At first, two unknown talents have taken the bag, one from Korea, Thames, who knocked the cover off the ball in April, then Aguilar who goes by the first name of Jesus, has filled in everywhere and has given the first base position solid thumbs up during the season. At short, Arcia is on the brink of becoming a superstar. On Friday, he nearly singlehandedly won the game for the Cream City team, first with the bat and then with his defense as the team shut out the near mirror-image of themselves in the American League, Tampa Bay. And yesterday, it was Arcia again who helped the team earn another shutout and Davies 13th win of the season, At third, an overachiever in the Don Money school of playing the hot corner, Shaw got knocked out of the game yesterday with a weird injury sliding into second and being hit on the neck with a thrown ball by the Ray’s catcher. Hernán Pérez filled in. In Center, a host of player have filled that position, be it Broxton or Brinson, Phillips, Nieuwenhuis or, yes, Hernán Pérez again. In left, the steady, Braun has, when not injured, been the solid star performer he has always been. But when injured, you will find Hernán Pérez filling in. And in right, Santana, is the rising superstar of this team. Rock solid arm in right, his batting has driven him up the ladder of ‘most reliable’ on the team. Yet one he needs a day off, Hernán Pérez can be found in right. On the mound, Davies has been the most underrated and most abused pitcher in the majors, not only by the entire game ignoring his contribution to the team but the continual harping by the television announcers who are more or less suggesting this right hander is lucky in winning the amount he has because the team ‘hits for him’ or because he isn’t as precise with his pitches as they think he should be. At last glance, he appears to be the stopper of the team. Wake up Bill. Then there is Nelson, the powerhouse right hander who is always a threat to go the distance. Garza is finally earning his pay with surprisingly solid work, while Anderson, before he went down with an injury was considered the top arm on the team. Yet he was replaced by a Harvard trained, quick worker, Suter who has been brilliant in his few outings since he came up. Then when the bullpen was completely overworked, when the Midshipman Drake, Hughes and Knebel were ineffective, Hernán Pérez came in for an inning to assist. Yup, the same Hernán Pérez who plays first, second, shortstop, third, left, center, right and is the back-up to the back-up catcher on the team. Then there are the latest additions to the bullpen, the ever returning Jefferess, Starzak and the future superstar starter, Hader. They all probably talk to Hernán Pérez for something because everyone knows the value of this man.

Take all of these players, and line them with a Pérez, and you have a team of excitement that has 50 more games to make history happen. And to do that, they have to win their division over the past World Champions. That’s their only path to the playoffs this season as the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Rockies of the National League West appear to have all of the wild card positions filed in the National League.

Thirty point eight (30.8%) percent of the regular season games are still to be played. Fifty (50) games are all ahead of them.

Can this team of spare parts, the Wildebeests of baseball, actually achieve the unbelievable?

Stay tuned. It may all land at the feet of the man named Hernán.

Play Ball!

#watching attanasio

62 To Go


It seemed like yesterday the balls started flying around the spring training fields of Arizona and Florida. Hope was in the air. But today, for many teams, including the Cream City Nine have only 62 games to go. And what began as hope for these players has turned into a shocking first place in the Central Division of the National League. From one of the worst teams in the league to the top of the heap ahead of the World Champions on July 22 is truly shocking.

This team like many others, are a true reflection in their manager, Craig Counsell. As one of the great utility players, who had the opportunity to win two World Championship rings, his team is made up of players who can play a number of positions. And they have players who will be the All-Stars of the future.

Who are these wonders of 2017?

Behind the plate, a younger journeyman, Manny Pena, has a cannon for an air and the ability to block everything a Lombardi-type pitcher can throw at him. He has been given a chance and has taken full advantage of it. This may be the next great catcher in the game today. Eric Thames and Jesus Aguilar at first give an interesting interpretation on being big league first basemen. Mr April, believe it or not, still is among the top home run hitters in the NL even though he hasn’t really hit many in the past three months. Aguilar is one of the best pinch hitters in the majors. And might just become the regular first baseman if Thames continues to slide back to Seoul. At second, Eric Sogard before he was injured, had replaced the fading Jonathan Villar who has been in a season long slump. But because neither seem to regain their hitting eye, it may be a position that the Crew needs to address since they gave up on ‘Scooter’ (who is setting the world on fire in Cincinnati). As short, Orlando Arcia IS the rising superstar. Along with one of the great defensive skills few possess, he has finally begun to hit. Few are better at his position. At third, Travis Shaw is Mr. Consistancy. He is one of the steadiest players in the game and was a brilliant part of a trade by the new GM. In left, one of the great players in the game, Ryan Braun, when healthy is a superstar. In center, the team is awaiting the return of Brinson from the minors to take his place which many expect he will in short order. Brett Phillips has been a pleasant surprise replacing the slumping Broxton, but Brinson will be the man unless the Crew can entice the rerun of one of the greatest players to ever be traded away, Cain, from Kansas City in the disastrous ‘let’s win now’ Zach Greineke acquisition. In right is the next great superstar, Santana Domingo from Santa Domingo. One of the most casual players in the game, Mr. Relaxed has no zone in his strike zone which he cannot hit. Great arm in the outfield and great power at the bat. Then there is the best utility man on a team of great utility men, Hernan Perez. Absolutely a terrific player and can fill in anywhere and do it with style and with power.

Then on the mound, Zach Davies, Jimmy Nelson, Chase Anderson and perhaps Brent Suter give the Nine quality starts. But it is in the bullpen that will determine the fate of the Crew for the remainder of the season. And frankly, the only one who seems to be making a difference it the rookie, Josh Hader. If Corey Knebel can recover to his early season form, the the Brewers have a chance with this improbable lineup of overachievers.

Sixty-two to go for a team that is made up of players who can play anywhere and are not afraid of any other team.

They are in first place today with one of the best minor league systems in the game.

Will they trade it away to ‘go for it now’ or continue to build this exciting, dynamic and youthful experiment in organized ball? Understand, this has never been done before. Basically, what you have is a team built with players who can play anywhere, anytime…just like their manager. And they are doing it with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball. Is this the new Moneyball? But their plan to build a consistent pennant challenging and World Series threat can only be done by continuing to build their minor league system in the eyes of their manager, where defense and an infectious joy to play the game everyday overcomes everything else. St. Louis has proven this theory time and time again. It is the minor league system that provides the player of the future to come up and step into a winning system to carry the legend forward.

It will be a real test of character of the new GM David Stearns to see how he handles this very difficult situation.

#watchingattanasio⚾️

Rarified Air


Founded in 1969 as something called a Pilot in the American League West, the Milwaukee Brewers in their 49 year history, had their first winning record ten years later in 1978 when they finished with a 93-69 record. Bambi’s bombers had arrived and they were led by Mike Caldwell on the mound. In 1979, they improved to 95-66 with Paul Molitor and they still had not reached First Place in the American League East. The next season they slipped a bit and the Buck Rodgers/George Hamburger managed team was led by Robin Yount. But then, in the 1981 season, in a Strike-shortened season, they finished first in the American League East, with Robin Yount leading the team into their very first League Division Series where they lost, 3 games to 2. Rodgers was again the manager. Then in 1982, led by Robin Yount after a rough start as Rodgers was fired after a 23-24 start and replaced by Harvey Kuenn, Harvey’s Wallbangers brought the American league Championship to Milwaukee for the very first time as they pulled off a miracle victory over the California Angeles in the LDS 3-2 as heroes forever were born, Mark Brouhard & Cecil Copper. In 1983 they slipped a bit, finishing 5th but still had a winning record (87-75) in Harvey’s last season as Robin was again the star player and for the first time in history drew 2.397,131 fans into Milwaukee County Stadium.

The Yount-led Brewers would have one more winning season, 1987, a remarkable year as Teddy Higuera led the team with a 91-71 record, but could only finished 3rd under Tom Trebelhorn. They had one more winning season in 1988 (87-75) as again Teddy led the way.

The next decade brought only two winning seasons, in 1991 when they went 83-79, finishing 4th led by Paul Molitor and the last season with Tom Trebelhorn at the helm; 1992 the Crew finished 2nd in the American league East led by Bill Wegman and managed by Phil ‘Scrape Iron’ Garner. That would be the last winning season until the next Century. They would have to leave their home of County Stadium and their league, the American, which is all the Milwaukee Brewers had ever known, dating back to 1901. Guys like Jeff Cirillo, Jeff D’Amico, Ron Belliard, José Hernández, Scott Podsednik and Geoff Jenkins would never see the top end of the standings as Davey Lopes and Jerry Royster joined Joe Schultz, Dave Bristol, Del Crandall, Alex Grammas and Rene Lachemann as the losing record skippers during 28 years as bottom feeders.

Then in 2007, led by Corey Hart and managed by Ned Yost, they finally had a winning record, 83-79. There was a slight change for ‘hope’. Then in 2008, the faint whispers of Robin, Pauly, Cecil, Simba, Rollie, Sutton, Vuck, Gantner, Stormin and Harvey came back louder as the Brew Crew were back, first under Yost and then by Dale Sveum for a few brilliant games and moments led by Ryan’s remarkable home run and a score of other fabulous plays, Prince pulling off the HR flop, CC Sabathia led the team to the LDS in the National League Central against the Philadelphia Phillies. They lost 3-1 but there was hope, now in the new confines of Miller Park.

Shockingly, they drifted into mediocrity once again under the inept leadership of Ken Macha as Braun and Fielder tried to lead the way.

It would take the next decade, in 2011, that they would reach the top once again with a 96-66 record as Ryan Braun was the star and Ron Roenicke was the manager. It is the largest winning percentage in team history, .593. The team would win again in 2012 with an 83-79 record and in 2014 with a marginal 82-80 record as Jonathon Lucroy led the Roenicke managed team.

Now, for the first time since 2014, on July 1st, the Milwaukee Brewers are in first place by 3 games over the World Champion, Chicago Cubs, with a record of 44-38. It is made up of players from absolutely everywhere, with the lowest payroll in all of MLB. And the enthusiasm of these players is contagious. The grand master is Craig Counsell, the manager, who uses the lineup card like a bingo player at the church hall. So many players play so many positions, you really can’t tell the players without a scorecard. And the starting lineup for any given day will amaze you. And ladies and gentlemen, this team is in First Place!

A team with a record of 3685 wins and 4040 losses, and a winning percentage of .477, being in First Place is a big thing.

Forty-Nine (49) years.

Three (3) First Place finishes.

This in fact is rarified air in the land of beer and brats.

#watchingattanasio⚾️

Butch From Beloit


On Father’s Day, like so many, it was golf day…first on the course and then in front of the TV watching the U.S. Open, and in between, it was in the pool listening to the Brewers game. But on this day, while much of this is about golf, it all began with baseball.

This is about Alvin R. When I first met him, he seemed like a giant behind the small counter of the pro shop at Beloit Municipal Golf Course. My dad said, as we were entering, ‘That’s Butch Krueger. He led the U.S. Open once.’

Once…it seemed so long ago. He wasn’t the first from the State of Wisconsin to lead the most prestigious golf tournament in the country, but he certainly was the best all around athlete to lead the tournament. Sorry Andy North. But Butch was not only a great golfer but a big time pitcher and star basketball player. As a star pitcher for the Madison Blues, a team which in 1942 would become the class ‘B’ team for the Chicago Cubs, he was known to start three games in a week. But that wasn’t his biggest outing on the sporting stage.

This was…the 1935 U.S. Open Golf Championship at Oakmont in Pittsburgh.

1935 U.S. Open Golf Championship
First Round June 6, 1935
#1 -1 Under Par
Butch Krueger
 United States
71
−1

#2 E
Roland MacKenzie
 United States

72

T3 +1 Over Par
Herman Barron
 United States

73
+1
Cliff Spencer
 United States
Horton Smith
 United States
Jimmy Thomson
 Scotland

T7 74 +2 Over Par
Tommy Armour
 United States

Ed Dudley
 United States
Jim Foulis
 United States
Macdonald Smith
 Scotland

ALVIN KRUEGER LEADS NATIONAL OPEN OPENING DAY FIELD
Making the only successful attack on Oakmont’s dreaded par after one of the most calamitous opening days in the history of the United States Open golf championship, Alvin (Butch) Krueger, 29 years old semi-pro pitcher and a golf professional at Beloit, Wis., yesterday led an international field of shot makers with 35-36 71, one under par. The red-headed Wisconsin entry, a “dark horse,” was the only player among 157 starters to crack par for the full route over a course that raised havoc with some of the most famous figures in American golf. Rallies Near End He pulled a garrison finish to take over the first day’s lead from Roland MacKenzie, former amateur ace and now professional at the Congressional Country club of Washington, D. C. MacKenzie’s par-equalling round, 3S-34 72, had stood up under heavy bombardment most of the afternoon. Krueger touched off the fireworks at the close of nearly 12-hours of desperate, heart-breaking warfare with the bunkers of Oakmont. In this, the Thirty-Ninth National Open Tournament, for weeks there had been tales about the horrors and hazards of the Oakmont course. It took 301 strokes to finish first in the 1927 open tourney, played here, and natives predicted it would take as many if not more this time. “Yeah,” said Krueger, “I heard that, too, but what of it? If a fellow hits ’em straight he’s bound to score.” With few exceptions. Krueger “hit ’em straight” yesterday and he hit them long, too. So, as the sun dipped behind the Allegheny Mountains, he came in with a one-under-par 71, fashioned from a 35 and a 36. This feat supplanted the early leader, Roland MacKenzie, former well-known amateur and now professional at the Congressional Country’ Club. Washington. D. C.. who had a par 72.

It was the longest and by all odds the most gruelling start for any American Open championship since the event was last held on this back-breaking, 6,981-yard layout eight years ago. More than half the field failed to break 80. At least a dozen were within hailing distance of old man par but only two were able to draw up level and look him in the eye as Krueger came through to beat him in the stretch! and overhaul MacKenzie. Although Gene Sarazen’s 75 left him four shots behind at the outset and champion Olin Dutra’s 77 was six strokes off the pace, the vanguard of contenders was well bunched. Third Place Tie Trailing with 73’s, in a tie for third place, were Herman Barron of White Plains, N. Y., Cliff Spencer of Washington, D. C, Horton Smith of Chicago, and Jimmy Thomson, the “siege gun” from Long Beach, Calif. Another quartet was bracketed at 74. comprising big Ed Dudley of Philadelphia, Tommy Armour and Jim Foulis of Chicago, and MacDonald Smith, the Scotch veteran from Glendale, Calif. Most of these old or new figures In the title hunt had opportunities to beat Krueger to the scoring punch in the closing drive, but none was able to match the cool, calculating skill of the 29 years old Wisconsin player. Competing in his second National Open, the slim, wiry Krueger withstood terrific tension to play the last six holes in one under par, giving as fine a shot making exhibition in “the pinches” as ever made in the pitching box. His 35 Going Out Krueger had served notice of his sensational finish by going out in 35. two under par and equalling the day’s best performance for the first half of Oakmont’s bunkered battleground. He had par apparently whipped to a standstill, scoring “knockdowns” by dropping a five-foot putt for a birdie on the second hole and barely missing an eagle as he ran a 30-footer “dead” to the ninth pin. By this time the survivors of an original gallery of more than 4,000 spectators had heard the word and flocked in pursuit of the westerner. Whether or not this rattled him, he experienced a temporary lapse. He scrambled from the rough for his par in the 10th, was bunkered and lost a stroke on each of the next two holes before buckling down to a brilliant finish. His 12-foot putt dropped for a deuce on the 164-yard 13th, and he got down another of equal length on the 14th to save his par. The red head took three putts from 80-feet on the loth, which was entirely excusable and among the day’s commonest occurrences, but he came back to furnish his biggest thrill on the 234-yard 16th. Using a brassie off the tee, he hit the ball within a foot of the cup, for his second deuce. He had par under control again ana made no mistakes as he collected fours on the last two holes. playing a great iron on the home hole.’

Second Round
Butch fired a 77 to finish +4, 2 behind Jimmy Thompson.

Third Round
Saturday, June 8 (morning)
Butch shot a 78, the night best round but tied with Walter hagen for 4th, +10

Fourth and Final Round
Saturday, June 8 1935 (afternoon)
Butch shot a disappointing 80, finishing tied for 6th, +18as Sam Parks, Jr. won +11 and the $1,000 winners check. Butch won $218, equivalent to $3,927.77 today.

A couple of months later, the headline read:
KRUEGER TIES WITH RUNYAN FOR GOLF LEAD
Pros Shoot Sizzle 67 to Top Field of 130 in $5,000 Louisville Open (By Associated Press) LOUISVILLE, Ky., Oct. 12. Led by the sizzling 67 of Alvin “Butch” Krueger and Paul Runyan, a field of 130 golfers, all but a half dozen of them professionals, today moved into the second round of the Louisville $5,000 open. Krueger, semi-pro baseball pitcher of Beloit, Wis., who said he had tried every form of sport and turned to golf seriously only two years ago,’ and Runyan, White Plains, N. Y., pro who has chased golf birdies nearly all his life, were four under par on the course. The low 50 and ties in today’s 18 hole round move into the 36 hole final Sunday. Tied for second, a stroke behind the leaders were Frank Walsh, Chicago, and Victor Ghezzl, Deal, N. J. (who won the 1941 PGA Championship), with 68s. Ed Dudley of Philadelphia, Arthur Bell of San Mateo, Cal., E. R. Whltcombe of the British Ryder cup team, Terl Johnson, Winter Haven, Fla., and Al Zimmerman, Northwest Open titlist from Portland, Ore., were tied up for fifth position with 69 each. Only two top flight contenders failed to qualify. Leo Dlegel, former P.G.A. and Canadian Open champion, withdrew at the turn when his card showed 41, and Alfred Perry, British Open champion, with 78 was the only member of the Ryder cup team eliminated.

A week later, in Oklahoma City, OK, on Saturday, October 19, 1935, found him battling Gene Sarazen at the National Professional Championship at the Twin Little Golf Club and beat ‘The Gentleman’ 2 and 1, advancing into the field of 16 on Sunday. The 29 year old Beloit redhead, who was competing in his first P.G.A tournament ‘is probably one of the most talented athletes in the country. He has averaged three games a week pitching for the Madison Blues and has a basketball record which made him considerable money on the professional side. He has been a golf professional only a little more than three years, but it didn’t take him long to make himself known, for he is now one of the finest of the younger pros.

Their match, the seventh of sixteen to go out, brought out the largest morning gallery of the week, one which grew to 4,000 by the time they left the tenth tee. They had come up to the ninth all even, and the 11th saw Krueger go one up. saracen evened it at the next hole, but Butch took the 14th and 15th with handsome golf, while the little Italian wa struggling to say on the fairways. That two up lead was sufficient to save Krueger from one of the typical Sarazen finishes. All Butch needed to shot out the three time winner of this crown was that noble niblick on the 17th, just when it appeared that Gene would win the hole and prolong the match to the finishing hole.

On December 10, 1935, Alvin Krueger, Beloit, Wis., was the 54 hole leader in the Sarasota Open as he fired a corse record 66. With the heading, ‘He can Groove ‘em Now’ as the photo state that Alvin Krueger, Beloit, Wisc., Pro Baseball pitcher who doubles in golf, grooved his efforts recently to lead the field in the Sarasota, FLA, $2000 Open Golf Tournament with a 67, four under par, for the first round. (He broke the course record the next day with a 66). Krueger is a lead-off specialist, have paced the National Open field to the first turn at Oakmont last June.”

In 1936, ‘Butch’ was one of the most sought after golfers for endorsements. He joined Al Espinosa and Babe Didrikson on the staff of The P. Goldsmith Sons, Inc., Cincinnati and had his name on Goldsmith woods and irons in two price ranges. The Grueger woods were sold for $9 and $6.50; the irons (flange soled) were $7.50 and $5. His performance identifies him as a ‘shining one of the youngsters stars with a fine future ahead of him. An all-around athlete, he has been a pro golfer only five years and is picked by Al Espinosa, head of the Goldsmith playing squad, as a youngster who will stay long with he lands at the top.

Two years later, Alvin ‘Butch’ Krueger tied for sixth in St. Paul Open golf meet. Aug. 4th.

Then on June 11, 1938, Alvin (Butch) Krueger, Beloit pro, the former baseball pitcher from Beloit, shot a sub-par 69 to remain within the first 15with a 148 for the first 36 holes of the U.S. Open Championship at Cherry Hills Country Club, Denver, Colorado.

A year later, Charley Bartlett golf expert of the Chicago Tribune covered the Central Intercollegiate track meet at Milwaukee and Bartlctt asked regarding Alvin ‘Butch; Krueger, the Beloit pro and Madison Blues pitcher. Charley believed that Krueger had few it any superiors in golf from tee to within 140 yards of the green. He felt that Krueger would be one of the big shots in pro link circles were the pitcher/golfer able to putt. Bartlett was one of the few who waited for Krueger to finish at Oakmont some years ago after a majority of the other Eastern golf scribes had written their stories giving a player with a 71. But Bartlett had watched Krueger in Chicago and knew he was a capable performer and Butch came home at dusk with a great finish to top the field The other scribes had to cancel their yarns and sit down and write new leads.

At 12:17 on the 1st Tee #70 in the field, Alvin ‘Butch’ Krueger, Beloit Municipal Golf Course, Beloit, Wis. was pared with Klarke Morse, of Wellston, MO, along with Leo ‘O’Grady, East Amherst, NY, teed up for the Silver Anniversary PGA Championship, at Seaview Country Club Atlantic City, NY on May 25, 1942. In the field were Ben Hogan, Ralph Guldahl, Sam Parks, Jr. (who had won the 1935 U.S. Open) Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Jimmy Demaret, Lloyd Mangrum and Sam Sneed among the 116 best pro golfers in the world.

In 1976, Krueger was named to the Wisconsin Golf Hall Of Fame.
1976 – ALVIN R. “BUTCH” KRUEGER

I never knew Butch Krueger was a red head. I remember him sitting on the bench of the second tee and saying, ‘Just hit it straight down the middle. You’ll never get in trouble and it will allow you to plan on your second shot.’ His hair was gray. But he was still athletic looking. And his tone was always reassuring.

One day I brought my catcher mitt to the course in my golf bag and on one of the fairways, I think it was the fourth, I pulled out my glove and ball Butch and I had a catch. It was one of those rare days in the Fall when few were on the course. That’s one of my most memorable moments with this once leader of the U.S. Open.

Here’s to Butch Krueger who on this Father’s Day should be enjoying watching the U.S. Open from Erin Hills and the Brewer game from his position looking down on all of us.

The Mystical, Mysterious, Magical Tour


Part Houdini, part Blackstone. The Master of Minestrone in Baseball. 2 tablespoons of 30+ rookies, 1 large Korean import. 1 slightly crumbling superstar. 3 great young arms. 1 relief pitcher. An overpaid starting pitcher who has been on the DL more than not. Hercules who sometimes plays first. Two catchers who are an equal part of one. A second baseman with all the speed in the universe but no baseball brain. A centerfielder who simply can’t find his hitting grove. And absolutely there is no rhyme err thyme or reason why this concoction should work. But the Wizard of Whitefish Bay has leaned on a learned master in his dugout and worked closely with a newbie GM, and stirred this unbelievable pot of people like himself into a winning unit. In fact, his team, the beloved Milwaukee Brewers have risen to the top of the Central Division of the National League on Sunday, June 11, 2017. Are you kidding me?

Last night in Arizona in 106 degree temperatures with the roof open (the D’Back’s owner is so cheap…How cheap is he?) there was a 30+ refugee at First Base, a 30+ refugee at 2nd base; a multidimensional player at 3B; a first baseman playing left field (and it looked like a 1st baseman who was playing left field); a rookie in centerfield who got his first hit on Monday, sent down on Wednesday, brought back up on Thursday; and regular players in right field, shortstop and catching.

The night before, in 106 degree temperatures with the roof open (the D’Back’s owner is so cheap…How cheap is he?) every regular position player was used in a two run victory. Every player off the bench was used. That doesn’t usually happen in non-extra inning games. But the Wizard of Whitefish Bay was busy mixing his concoction and cooked up another victory.

On the record, they are 1 game ahead of the World Champions of last year. And they have a winning record on the road, one of only three teams in the National League to do so (Washington and Colorado are the others, both leading their divisions). They are the only team in their division with a winning record and one of only five in the league to do so. How good are they? Who knows?

This is a real team…a group of guys who are bonded with…their skipper and their bench coach. They are a group of carrots and onions, with a bit of mystery thrown in. And as they continue on this unbelievable magical tour of a baseball season, from city to city, they are exceeding all expectations.

Don’t wake up.

Don’t do anything you didn’t do yesterday.

Don’t change your socks or shoes.

This is a ride that no one knows how long it will last but on this wave, it is going much longer than anyone expected.

Just enjoy.

Play ball!

#watchingattanasio⚾️

Facebook Hits It Out Of The Park


Facebook on Thursday announced a partnership with MLB that will bring 20 baseball games to the social media network. The games are free for all viewers and will air live each Friday, beginning with today’s match between the Colorado Rockies and the Cincinnati Reds. #dailydiaryofscreens 🇺🇸🇬🇧🇦🇺💻📱📺🎬🌎🗺️

The 127th Day


This date is a memorable date for a couple of reasons. It marked a date which saw power pitchers reach a cornerstone in their lives.

When fans watch baseball today, it is very different from years ago. Nobody has to face ‘The Big Train’ or Herb Score, Bob Feller, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan or a Randy Johnson. When you went to a game featuring those power starting pitchers, there was a chance you could see a no-hitter. Yet the one thing you could count on was that batters were just a bit on their toes when facing the heat of these power pitchers.

On this date, in 1917, Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox allowed only two hits as he out pitched Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators, 1-0. Can you imagine being there for that game? Oh, by the way, Ruth knocked in the winning run with a sacrifice fly. In that year, he would go on to start 38 games and win 24 against 13 losses. He had an ERA of 2.01. In Babe Ruth’s 1916 season as a pitcher, his record was 23 Wins and 170 Strikeouts, with a 1.75 ERA, 9 Shutouts and 23 Complete Games, as he was at the time, one of the best pitchers in baseball. He was undefeated as a pitcher in postseason play. In 1916, he had a 1-0 record with an ERA of 0.64 against the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1918, he went 2-0 against Chicago Cubs with a 1.06 ERA. The last time he ever pitched, was in the 1933 All-Star game, when he started and won. Thus what began in 1914 as a pitcher, ended up on the mound 20 years later…a winner. Overall, he won 94 games pitching, losing 46 with a 2.28 ERA lifetime.

Jumping ahead to 1957 on this date, it was another sort of a day in Cleveland as the Indians were facing the New York Yankees in a night game. Herb Score, the fireballing left hander was coming off of a 20 win season the year before where he finished with a 20-9 record with 5 shutouts, an ERA of 2.53 with 263 strikeouts. In his first two years, he was an All-Star and was already 2-1 in the ’57 season. Facing Gil McDougald, as the second batter in the inning, the count was 2 and 2. He shook off the both the curve and slider because he felt he lacked command of his breaking stuff. On his 12th pitch of the night, he fired a fastball that had helped him earn 508 strikeouts over his first two season.

The pitch was low and inside and McDougald lined it up the middle. This is what Herb Score said about the rest. ‘I heard the crack of the bat while my head was down in my follow-through. All I ever saw as my head came up was a white blur. I snapped up my glove, but the white blur blasted through the fingertips and into my right eye. I clutched at my face, staggered and fell. Then I thought, ‘My God, the eye has popped right out of my head!’. Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium was hushed as the career of one of baseball’s best young pitchers and a sure Hall of Famers was finished.

Laying near the mound, bloody and battered, he called on his patron saint for help. He left the field cracking jokes, ‘They can’t say I didn’t keep my eye on that one’, he told teammate Mike Garcia on the field.

In the Yankee clubhouse after the game, McDougald was disconsolate. The seven year veteran and as the American League rookie of the year, told his teammate Hank Bauer, ‘If he loses his sight, I’ll quit baseball. The game’s not that important when it comes to this.”

Talking to Jimmy Cannon the following year he was asked if he felt like giving up. Score said, ‘Give up? I never gave up. When I was first hit, they bandaged both eyes. I could hear people walking. I thought we never appreciated what God does for us. We never think what it is to see. I can see very well. My ankle has been a little sore. But the eye, the only problem I have now is to get the fellows out.’

This date in baseball history is powerful. First we see what a phenomenal player the mighty Babe Ruth was. Secondly, we see what a real man Herbert Jude Score was.

Play Ball!