It began with an uncharacteristic speech in the clubhouse by the star veteran who channeled the past champions to motivate his teammates.
Then the troops took over.
The 2016 Major League All-Star Game held in San Diego, CA, in the shadows of the great aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Midway (CVA-41), was one of the best in a long time. The power of the American League was evident along with solid pitching.
In the end, it was the strength of the American League or more specifically, the Kansas City Royals. In Tuesday night’s All-Star Game, Eric Hosmer of the Kansas City Royals was named the MVP after collecting two hits, two RBIs and hitting a home run. And his teammate, Salvador Perez crushed a two-run homer as the American League won 4-2. Mets manager Terry Collins, who was the skipper for the NL squad, had certainly seen enough. Always classy in defeat, Newsday recounted this story: “We said the same thing,” Collins said of fans having flashbacks. “I’m tired of seeing (expletive) Eric Hosmer getting a big hit. (Expletive) sick of it.”
It’s tough being a Met.
It was the fourth straight victory for the Junior Circuit and sixteenth out of the last twenty. The record now stands at 43-42-2 with the National League leading. The latest tie of course was held in Milwaukee during the 2002 game when teams ran out of eligible players in extra innings.
It’s tough being a Brewer fan.
Next year, the 88th All-Star Game will be held in Miami. And if you have never attended this event, it is a ‘Must See’ on your bucket list.
On the 400th anniversary of The Bard’s death, when the buds of Spring state ’Now is the Winter of our discontent’, two teams met near the Johnson Cookies sign atop the factory that produced the legendary Johnson Cookie cards of ’1953, ’54 & ’55, exactly two seasons removed from a time when they ruled the Senior League. On Saturday in a Park called Miller, with a roof over thine selves, they came out of the dugout dressed in togs alike Major League uniforms taking the field as though they were the real, genuine version of those teams not so long ago. ‘There is some ill a-brewing towards my rest’ said the merchants wence I answered ‘Why, though hast put him in such a dream, that when the image of it leaves him he must run mad.’ This was not Sir Toby Belch but a fellow named Anderson, once removed from the team of D’Backs in the land of Sun, who is to say politely in a crowed of boisterous fans, is not the best of pitchers. He is not a Sir. He is not a Toby. But he does make us belch.
On this night, not the ‘Twelfth Night’, but the Eighteenth night of the new season’s play, two pitchers decided to set back time and proceeded to throw 59 pitches in the first inning where there were more 3-2 counts than the master of liver pills could provide. ‘If it be thus to dream, still let me sleep!’ said ol Sebastian. I wanted it to be a nightmare. The game became unwatchable as that first inning lasted nearly an hour. And they wonder why the younger women and men do not grasp the game as their parents and grandparents do. The home team with the funny logo on its cap, however, had fans in the stands, young and old, mostly older. ‘It is the cause’, they said. It certainly was not the pitching. When this many come out to witness such trivial play where the three basic tenants of the game of ball is played…pitching, fielding, hitting (‘You are three men of sin’)…is not in evidence, then in the stands they say, ‘I must eat my dinner.’ Ah, The Tempest. But after all, this is one place where you don’t have to ask another if they want to grab something to eat. After all, this is the land of beer and cheese for butter or wurst.
‘Alas poor Counsell’, the fans sympathetically murmured. No matter what he did, the more he changed pitchers, the more he knew this would be a long season of discontent. He has no pitching except for the horse from Klamath Falls, OR. Of the eighteen games this season, in just the first three weeks of the dream of the impossible, this team, our team…the team of our hearts and of our youth, languish near the bottom of quality starts. In a world filled beyond the a cup full of stats, quality start stats measure the strength of a team. As for the Cream City nine, they rank 29th out of 30 teams with with only 4 quality starts as that horse, James Jacob Nelson, has three. Without quality starts, the bullpen is soon to wear out. As Craig of Whitefish Bay must say, ‘O, reason not the need.’. ‘Hey, David of the House of Stearns. I need some pitching!’
If this season is to be measured by the owner’s need for being competitive in each and ever game, the team named after the monk’s brew of Miller, shows promise. On Saturday, they came back, time after time to give hope. As late as the bottom of the eighth, a fellow on the Crew, another from his former team of D’Backs named Hill, drove a ball which dreams are made of…flying up and up…with hopes of bringing in the leading runs, fell into the hands of that cheesesteak fellow up against the fence in left.
The fans were perplexed. Flummoxed, if you will. In the stands they were heard to say, ‘Once more unto the breach dear friends’ to which the fellow named Romeo yelled out, ‘Dreamt a dream tonight.’ His seat mate, Mercurio, stated ‘That dreams often lie.’ Everyone of the lads laughed. Sitting behind the dugout on first, the only place to watch a game, the lads continued the banter of the moment, Hammy said, ‘A dream itself is but a shadow’. Caliban stated, as the home team took to the field in the top of the ninth, ‘Who I waked, I cried to dream again’. Give me another brat. And some mustard. Now standing, glaring at the pitching mound, he yelled, ‘Did you hear that new pitcher from the pen of bull, some mustard on that ball…now.’
His friend, Antigonus, harking the vendor for more mustard, looked back and up at Cal said ‘Dreams are toys’. After all, these are the kids who pretend they play in the Major of Leagues. This is the fate of a feigned philosophy called ‘rebuild’. It is false hope for us, the diligent bees of the Crew…the True Blue Brew Crew of 2016. ‘What’s in a name?’ Hammy stated, raising one of Wisconsin’s finest brews, standing up with cup held high in his right hand, foam slipping over the top and dropping upon his bald noggin, ‘To die, to sleep-To sleep-perchance to dream…ay, there’s the rub, for in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pass.’ To which Mac responded, sitting watching the next action on the field unfold, talking on top of Mac’s soliloquy, ’Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.’ he muttered to no one in particular, showing his disgust for that fellow who weaves the tales for the faithful to follow from afar.
The owner, that fellow from afar, basking in the warm climes of a California so Southern, watching via satellite on his telly, was heard saying he is pleased the team is competitive, no overwhelming losses (except for last Monday or Thursday against a team at the bottom of the Junior Circuit called the ’Twinkie’).
Stearns/Arnold/Counsell…this is the triumvirate of the Milwaukee Brewers. They will attempt to put together a team that will do something none have done with this organization before…win a World Series. In 45 years, no combination of General Manager, Assistant General Manager and Manager have ever won a Word Series for this franchise. For those who are 45 years old, nada. For those who are 55 years old, nada for a ball club in this city. For those who are 57 years old, join the ‘never seen a World Series winning ball club in this City’ (NSAWSWBCLITC) club.
It has been a long, cold dry spell.
Now these three will go about their business devising a way which will bring a winner to this City.
What do they have? They have a catcher who can hit, but didn’t this past season because of injury and other things. Can’t really get full value from him until he proves he can hit once again. They have a first baseman who actually stayed healthy and can hit. Good time to trade him. They have a second baseman who might be able to hit but has a difficult time fielding. No trade value. There is a shortstop who has shown signs of great promise and on again, off again fielding and hitting. No real value there unless he gets hot. There is no third baseman except for Rodgers but he might be better at first. No value there.
A left fielder who can hit and hit with power but has one itsy bitsy problem. He can’t throw. The entire league takes advantage of his poor arm strength and accuracy. But teams need hitting and the American League would be a perfect place for this young, valuable bat. The Angels would always go for more hitting because they have never believed in pitching. No real center fielder that is proven. Scout the waiver wires. Center fielder who can run like the wind and hit for a team that traded away their last two who could do so, one to Kansas City and the other to Houston, would be the way you would write a help wanted ad for this position.
There is a right fielder coming back from injury, who is an emotionally tainted superstar and has a contract only a major market can afford. Are you listening, Yankees? Dodgers? Giants? Angels? White Sox? Tigers? Rangers? Sure, he’ll get boo’d in Arizona but chances are if you are an AL team, you won’t have to go there except for every sixth year. There is a back up catcher who can’t hit. A back up outfield who can’t hit. As for pitchers, we have a great young, up-and-coming pitching staff with favorable contracts. Nelson, Jungmann, Peralta, Davies, they have tremendous value. Do you dare trade any of them in a game today where pitching is more valuable than gold? There is Garza who has a contract bigger than most and cannot win any games. Not much value there. And if anyone…I mean anyone offers anything for him, they should not even think twice. Just get rid of this mess of a contract.
There is relief pitching. There is a left hander who has value because there are very few decent left-handed pitchers coming out of the pen in the Bigs. Just don’t tell anyone that he blows a few games every once in a while. He’s got value. There is a great relief pitcher who is destined to become one of the greatest all-time relievers in the game but has a bit of a problem showing up for Spring Training because…now all together, ‘he has problems getting through Venezuela’s passport procedures’ year after year. But once he gets to Arizona, he only occasionally steps on a cactus. There is that big guy, Hellweg, but he probably doesn’t have much value.
There is a third base coach who can’t hit or coach. He leads the league in bonehead plays, year after year. But he’s such a good guy, and, he’s funny. He tells jokes. Works hard. Must have something on the organization or owner because he’s still here after most of the staff was let go. He probably HAS value…to somebody.
Wait: there is a radio announcer who can’t make road trips anymore yet has more value than most of the guys on the field. A TV announcer who is on more networks than any social media surfer. He’s apparently got value. And that guy who sells the popcorn from the wagon behind home plate in the entrance lobby. He’s got value as he is the one person with salt. Then there is the real asset, Bernie. He’s got value…to somebody who wants to slide for a living. Unfortunately, the people with the most value in this organization are the ‘Racing Sausages’ but they are owned by the sausage maker. Great value…but can’t trade them.
There are those motorcycles in the gap in left center field. They have value. The Miller Park sign would fit perfectly into the man-cave of a fan with a basement big enough to house a dirigible. OK. Limited value.
So, as we stand here today, watching the Kansas City Royals and the New York Mets battle for the World Series Championship, there is this team on the Western banks of Lake Michigan, near a legendary corner of this earth known to locals as Pigsville, where the aroma of Red Star Yeast waffles through the noses of residents in Kilbourntown, Walker’s Point and Juneautown, within eyeshot of Johnston Cookies, that is headed by SAC.
What on earth will they do this winter? Maryville is just 105 days away.
For many fans of the remaining 26 teams no longer playing the game that began when the pitchers and catchers reported back in February, this is the worst of bad times. All of the hopes of Spring have evaporated into listlessness of Fall. Those teams we almost hate are parading around on our television sets as if they belong in the Fall Classic. They are all pretenders.
There are teams in blue, not Dodger Blue, but some kind of blue based in the Midwest or in Canada. There are teams who rarely if ever appear in post season events, outside of baseball card shows, who are not front and center night after night. Much of the land has no team to cheer for, only against. There is no team left west of the Kansas/Missouri border or two miles south of I-70.
There are moose antlers, for goodness sake. Someone hit an apple with a home run. There are vines in an outfield, never seen before in many, many decades. And there are fans who throw Molson bottles and cans onto a field as if it were octopus after a hat trick. Everything about this year is backwards. Opposite of groundhog day, this is the nightmare of ’15, something we have never seen before.
There is a team participating where the second baseman decided to stop running for a pop fly and it proverbially, opened the gates to defeat. There is another team that hasn’t been this high since a guy named Bartman decided to become infamous.
In other words, this is one messed up season of the year as the marathon comes near its end while all of the favorites, except one, are participating in something which has become a traditional classic. There is nothing traditional about this year’s happenings.
All you have to do is look at the stands to see why this is a different type of post season. There are a lot of young people in the parks. Look at Wrigley. They have never witnessed anything like this. There are a lot of guys in the New York ballpark. Women don’t like baseball in that part of New York? Seinfeld in post season? You’ve got to be kidding? They don’t even drink regular beer in one of the parks. After all, its been 20+ years since real fall baseball appeared in Canada. Then there is the guy in Kansas City who insists on wearing an orange Marlins jersey behind home plate behind the batter’s head.
Yup. This is some kind of post season, kind of like being invited to a Thanksgiving dinner from that aunt you’ve never been invited to Thanksgiving since you were a kid and that was because it was your parents who received it and dragged you along, probably for protection rather than enjoyment.
Now all you look forward to is your aunt standing up after tapping that water-glass and saying, ‘What a lovely tradition’.
At this time during the season, some teams are just a M*A*S*H unit. You need to go no further than the Milwaukee Brewers. On Saturday, after throwing another game due to an inadequate bullpen, the hot hitting Khris Davis, the left fielder, twisted his ankle rounding second base. His replacement, Shane Peterson, ran into Ellian Herrera (3B) on a pop up in short left field, left the game with a bruised knee. As for Herrera, he had to be carried off the field and taken to the hospital which showed a deep thigh bruise which may keep him out for the rest of the season. Ryan Braun, the regular right fielder, could not play due to a continuing back injury.
Earlier this week, starting pitcher, Dave Nelson was hit by a line drive sending him to the hospital. He was back in the dugout to see Herrera take his place at Froedtert Hospital. Nelson’s battery mate, Jonathan Lucroy, has been in and out of hospitals from Pittsburgh to Milwaukee to figure out his concussion syndrome after taking one in the mask in Miami a little over a week ago.
But Milwaukee isn’t the only team to have injuries this season. And in no way should it be used as an excuse for one of the great flops of any season by a team that failed to improve itself over the off-season.
There are five teams left in the National League for the race to win the World Series. There are seven teams left in the American League in the race to do the same. All have experienced some sort of injuries during their marathon season.
So as the final two weeks of the season begin, the favored St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers, along with the surprise of the year, the New York Mets are winners of their divisions. The equally surprising Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates finished the playoff group in the Senior Circuit.
Over in the Junior Circuit, Kansas City is the only sure winner of their Division. The West Division of the American League is a battle with the red-hot Texas Rangers leading and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim along with the absolutely surprising Houston Astros all battling for the crown, all of whom are all contending against the phenom called the Minnesota Molitors (Twins) along with the New York Yankees fighting for the playoff spots. The solid Toronto Blue Jays are three games ahead of the Yankees going into Sunday’s games as are the Rangers in the West. It’s all in the loss column: The Yankees have 66 losses; Astros have 71; Angels have 72 losses and Twins have 73 losses. With a five game lead, the Bronx Bombers appear to have a spot in the playoffs. Now the other three fight for the final spot. All eyes will be on the West.
It could all come down to injuries. The Cardinals have been hurt this year and that is probably why Matheny has a full complement of roster players in the dugout and bullpen for the final two weeks. Pittsburgh lost their big, young Korean infielder, Jung Ho Kang, this week and has already had his operation in the hospital on what was described as a major injury which will leave him out 6-8 months. Toronto has Troy Tulowitzki hurting as he is making progress in his return from a cracked scapula. But will he make it? For Kansas City, Alcides Escobar and Omar Infante left Friday’s game with injuries. Houston has had it problems with the injury prone Carlos Gomez who missed the entire Rangers series this past week. For the Yankees, Mark Teixeira has been on the DL with a right shine bone bruise.
So, doctors everywhere? Begin what you call Medical Practice. The walking wounded are struggling to make it though the remainder of the season.
In his book, ‘Is This a Great Game or What?‘, ESPN analyst Tim Kurkjian wrote, “Baseball is the only major sport in which some of the standard-bearers have been dead for fifty years, and a team that hasn’t played in eighty years, the 1927 Yankees, are still mentioned in casual conversation.”
Recently, at a bar with some friends, the majority of discussion centered around the ‘Did you know…’ friendly betting game. It is a great way to win a beer or two with your friends at a bar, backyard or ball park.
Did you know when the first touring ballplayers went overseas to play exhibition baseball? If you said it was in the winter of 1888-89 you would be correct. That winter a team of baseball’s first All-Stars went around the world promoting the game of baseball and Albert Spalding’s sporting equipment.
Did you know where the All-Stars played? The teams played very competitive games while touring Ceylon (Sri Lanka), New Zealand and Australia as well as Italy, France and England.
Did you know why the 1904 World Series was never played? The 1904 World Series was canceled due to: stubbornness. Yep. John T. Brush, President of the National League champion New York Giants, simply refused to play the returning American League champion Boston Americans, otherwise known as the Red Sox.
Did you know there were triple headers? Although there were common place in the late 1800’s, the practice was a rare one. In the modern era, the Reds and Pirates played in the first (and last) triple header in 1920. The Reds took two of the three games. They are now prohibited due to baseball’s collective bargaining agreement.
Did you know who the first DH was? That would be Ron Blomberg, on April 6, 1973.
Did you know who the first National Leaguers to DH? The first ones to get an at-bat (within minutes of one another) were ‘The Rickey’ Henderson (SD) and Glenallen Hill (SF).
Did you know which National Leaguer hit the first home run? That would be ‘The Rickey’.
Did you know who was the first pitcher to pitch a no-hitter in the modern era? Chick Fraser of the Philadelphia Phillies threw the first no-hitter in the modern era against the Chicago Cubs.
Did you know the score? 10-0.
Did you know how many were in attendance? 1,200 were in attendance.
Did you know, which city has the most dead ballplayers buried? St. Louis has the most dead ballplayers in a single cemetery. An astounding 180 Baseball Players are laid to rest at Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis.
Did you know how many of those guys were Hall of Famers? None were in the Hall of Fame.
Did you know where the most ballplayers are buried on the West Coast? The record for number of baseball players buried in on the west coast belongs to Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma California. No fewer than 55 former major leaguers are laid to rest.
Did you know two players who are Hall of Famers buried there? Joe DiMaggio leads the way, along with teammate Frank Crosetti.
OK, now did you know who the first President of the United States was to attend a major league baseball game? That would be President Benjamin Harrison.
Let’s face it, the last part of the season is like that. But thanks to Mr. Kurkjian, you can play this game all year-long.
This past Friday, the New York Yankees played the first of their 19 games against their chief rival, the Boston Red Sox. Nothing new there except it went on forever. To be exact, the Red Sox won 6-5 in 19 innings after going scoreless in more than 4 hours and 7 minutes. The game finished a little after 2AM (EST). 628 pitches were thrown in the game, as the Yankees pitchers threw 322 pitches, while the Red Sox staff threw 296. Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts saw a game-high 47 pitches in 8 at-bats. To give you an example of how ridiculous this was, Red Barrett of the Boston Braves on August 10, 1944 against the Cincinnati Reds at Crosley Field won on a complete game, 2-0, and threw only 58 pitches. In short, the game lasted a very long time…6 hours and 49 minutes to be exact. Which brought up a question…are we turning baseball into cricket?
The tradition ladened sport of cricket, decided to limit some of their match play to a one day event. This has led to great crowds and in Australia this year, drew over a million viewers on television for the finals of the Australia victory over New Zealand in the World Cup final. And to be specific about what long means with this sport, the longest Test lasted for 10 days which began in October and ended in November, 1939. The Durban Test match between South Africa and England was to be played as a timeless Test match and some eleven days later it was still left drawn since England had to begin their two-day rail journey back to their ship at Cape Town. It still remains the longest ever first-class match of ten days of actual play. The match was abandoned as a draw after 43 hours 16 minutes of actual play as the game finished at tea on the 11th day because of rain. Talk about kissing your sister.
All of this has led to a discussion…watch out purest…about speeding up the game of baseball and how it can be accomplished. One thought could be, after the game enters extra innings, remove the center fielder. What?
Think about it. We are not going millennial on anyone here. We are not talking about making baseball, a team sport, like basketball or football where a player who makes a play he should make pounds his chest, raising arms to the sky, and proclaiming himself the greatest ever. But basket ball did add the shot clock years ago to supply more scoring and thus, excite the fans. Football added the two point, extra point conversion, to attempt to reduce tie games.
Baseball, a generational sport, has always melded generations by bringing discovery to the game. The DH was created to do exactly that. But now, even a league where the DH is in place, still has games lasting into the next morning. In the case of the Yankees/Red Sox game, it finished with only 11 hours to get ready to play the next game on Saturday at 1:05P.
By removing the center fielder, the entire playing area opens up. Some think that the shortstop should be removed instead of the center fielder. Why not, after nine innings if the game is tied, remove the center fielder and if the game is still tied after ten innings remove the shortstop. Yup. Play the game with seven.
OK. We can already hear Bob Costas pontificate on this one. First, he will give you chapter and verse about the essence of the game and the symmetric beauty of simplicity of how the game has been played. He probably hated the fact that the players had to take their gloves into the dugout rather than leaving them on the field as they once did after every inning. No doubt he was against the mound changes. Think about it and he probably had a debate regarding the putting up of fences rather than leaving the ball to roll as far as it could in the good old days. We already know what he thinks about the Designated Hitter.
Some argue that the greatest era in baseball was what it has done in the past, according to the generation you speak with. But if we want the sport to extend into the next Century, the game has to be played quicker. The days of 6 hour games has to come to an end.
Remove the center fielder. Then…what do you think? Just add your comment.
It has been a very interesting first half of the baseball season in 2014 as a couple of things stand out. First, there have been very few umpire disputes that have resulted in the old-fashioned kicking-up dirt and in-your-face heated arguments, spewing high blood pressure to transfer into a blast of spittle upon the face of the beloved ump. Not sure if that is a relief or something we should want back like the ‘No Pepper’ signs on the fence behind home plate. Regardless, the micro view of the slo-mo cameras from the many different angles make today’s baseball look like a reinvention of steam power into the combustible era.
Second is the excitement in several markets throughout America. Seventeen of the teams have officially hit the half way mark in the season. The winningest team in baseball is the Milwaukee Brewers, leaders in the Central Division of the National League. The top team in the American League is the Oakland A’s. There are three areas of North America that are entering the world of delirium. First there is Milwaukee. This week they had a three game series against the Eastern Division leading Washington Nationals and drew over 100,000 fans ON A MONDAY THRU WEDNESDAY time frame. Yesterday’s game was packed to the rafters as they defeated Colorado for the seventh straight game against the Rockies. Surprisingly they rank #8 in attendance with 78.5% capacity. Another area where baseball is king is the Bay Area. Both the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A’s lead their league’s Western Divisions. Both teams are loaded in pitching. Both teams are very exciting. San Francisco leads the major leagues in attendance with 99.4% of capacity while Oakland, in one of the worst stadiums in the world, is drawing 66.9% capacity. Then there is Toronto. They are in front in a very tight Eastern Division of the American league. With over 6 million people in their marketing area, they are the fifth largest city in North America and the largest on the Great Lakes, surpassing Chicago. They are drawing 54.2% capacity but unfortunately that places them only 26th among the 30 Major League Baseball teams. Only four American League teams rank worse (Chicago White Sox with 50.1% of capacity; Tampa Bay Rays while having a disastrous season at 50.0% of capacity; shockingly the high payroll team in Seattle with only 49.9% of capacity and the Cleveland Indians with 38.8% of capacity. FYI: the lowest team in the National League is the Arizona Diamondbacks with only 54.8% of capacity reached this season.)
Frankly, all of those things are shocking except for Billy Beane’s exceptional overseeing of a team with a huge budget limitation and a continual exceeding above expectation as the A’s continue to drive the Western Division in the American League.
As for Milwaukee, who would have thought that Doug Melvin would have put together a team this good. A critic of his methods, I have to admit through the first half of this season, he should be given the Billy Beane Award for the most Outstanding General Manager of the Year trophy. He has put together a splendid bullpen by trading one of the City’s most favored players, Aoki, for an unknown left hander in Smith, who has performed way above expectation. The first base fix with Overbay and Reynolds was masterful in bringing veteran leadership to the club and a solid defensive and occasional offensive performance day-in and day-out. The revival of Rickie Weeks has given Scooter Gannett the time to adjust to Big League pitching and provided Milwaukee with great depth at second. Khris Davis is continuing to develop as a key player for the team in left allowing Braunschweiger to learn how to play right field and concentrate on something other than the mess he created last season. Then there is Jonathan Lucroy. Pound for pound, he is the best catcher in baseball this season. Offensively, there is no match. In the clutch, there is no match. He is single-handedly taken leadership of the team and molding it into a winner only Melvin could have seen before the season began. Then there is the manager, Roenicke. He has proven that this year, with four right handers and four left handers in the bullpen, he can manage as well as anyone in the game. So far, I am the one who has to eat crow IF he continues to lead the team to victory and the Central Division Championship, the national League Championship and the World Series kings.
But…we are only half way in the marathon that is known as a baseball season.
If there ever was a team that had kryptonite, the Brewers have exactly that. Or at least historically, the ‘-onth’ following April has the same component for the Cream City Nine. After a superb start in April, we are now declaring the removal of the letter, following ‘L’ from the alphabet when it is the first letter in a word. Thus, for the next 27 days, the team will be known as the ‘-ilwaukee Brewers’. Hey! Baseball is filled with superstitions. This is the least we can do for the ‘Barley & Hops’ boys.
Without question, Saturday evening in Cincinnati was a ‘-atchup’ of pitching excellence with the red-hot Johnny Cueto with 10 Ks nearly unhittable. His change-up, fastball and cutter worked ‘-agic’ at Great American Ballpark. ‘-atched up against the very consistent Yovani Gallardo, the Crew’s #1 starter, the game really became a ‘-atter’ of inches. This was clearly shown in the fourth inning as Phillips bounced a ball past Segura for a hit and later in the inning, Ludwig had a ball escape a diving first baseman (Reynolds) to his right and a diving second baseman (Gannett) to his left as the seeing-eye ball drove in the runs which would be enough for the ‘-agnificent Cueto on this evening. He gave up only three hits. The Reds ‘-anager’ Price said it all: “Good ‘-anaging,” Price deadpanned, “is having great pitchers.” The Reds had that in Cueto on Saturday night along the Ohio River.
Although this was only the third game in the ‘-onth’ of ‘-ay’, it was the Crew’s second loss and third in the last four. It was set up when in St. Louis, Rodriguez, Segura and Braun were out of the lineup. Then Henderson went on the DL. In ‘-ilwaukee’, ‘-ay’ isn’t a good thing. Last season, was futility in action. 6-22 in ‘-ay ‘-atched the worst ‘-onth in club history dating back to the 1969 Seattle Pilots. In 1994, they went 7-21. In 1987, they had a .250 record with 6-18. It’s in the water. Even the famed ‘-ilwaukee Chicks who won the 1944 All-American Girls Professional Baseball League Championship, had a bad ‘-ay’. But it goes back further than that. The original founding ‘-embers, 1901 Brewers, of the American League had a bad one, even worse than the Cleveland Bluebirds. And you don’t think it is the water?
The Ho-chunk Nation who lived on this land near where the stadium stands today, may be a clue to this situation. Their name has been variously translated as, “people of the stinking water”.
It’s time to rename this period in time. It is not officially ‘-ay’ which comes after April and before June. It’s time to rename it. Thus, January, February, ‘-arch’, April, ‘Ho-chunk’, June, July, August, September, October, November and December are the official calendar names.