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⚾️

Wallowing In A Season To Forget…Or…


Day after day, night after night, the season lumbers on. The old adage of ‘The Dog Days Of Summer’ is a misnomer as this season has been going down since the beginning of the season for the Pigsville Nine. This neighborhood team is stocked with today’s names of the game, with guys like Cravy, Boyer, Knebel, Marinez, Scahill, Pina, Carter, Villar, Arcia, Broxton, Nieuwenhuis, the Blue’s Brothers lost brother, Jake Elmore and others. Yes, Ryan Braun is still with the team, the only star who remains, and the only player hitting above .300 for the season. Maldonado, Nelson, Gennet and Peralta also are names of familiarity. Each day they face big names on bigger teams. And if you haven’t been paying attention, the Cream City Nine is just a breathe away from the cellar of the Central Division of the National League. Going into Sunday’s play, they are 56-73 with a .434 winning percentage and 26.5 games behind the leader.

After a brief winning streak, Craig Counsell’s team has dropped three straight to the charging Pittsburghers as the second to last month of the season comes to an end. For many, it is way too long to continue through the remaining games. However being very fair, just because there are non-familiar names dotting the box score for the Crew, this does not automatically mean they are not good. You can actually imagine Counsell’s pre-game speeches, pulling from one Jimmy Dugan of the Peaches: ‘All right, everyone, let’s listen up now, listen up. Hey! Something important has just happened. I was in the toilet reading my contract, and it turns out, I get a bonus when we get to the World Series. So, let’s play hard, let’s play smart, use your heads.’

The positivities are a buzz. So let’s follow the Buckminster Fuller philosophy at this point in time. “When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”

Think about that for a second. Here we have a guy named Pina behind the plate. Did you see that beautiful throw on Thursday evening when he fired down to second and got the runner trying to steal? When putting a puzzle together, to meld the team, the catcher is an important cog. Then over at First, there is Mr. Carter…a behemoth of a man, with the softest, sweetest swing every conceived. He is a giant among men. When he connects, the ball flys beyond belief. At shortstop there is the kid who followed the kid (All-Star Segura) who followed the kid (All-Star Escobar) who followed the local kid (Counsell) who followed the kid (All-Star Hardy) who followed the original Kid (Hall of Famer, Yount). It is called the ‘Litany Position’ in Cream City. A deeply religious town, litany is a perfect name for that position on the Brewers. Five decades of the rosary. Five guys who made a legend at the position located just South of the Stadium Interchange.

At third there is Perez. Taken off the waiver wire last season from the Detroit Tigers, he possesses the ability to play a host of positions and can hit with power. He was a byproduct of Melvin’s last-ditch effort to rebuild a team before departure. While known for his many bad trades, this acquisition may be a touch of genius. But then again, Georg Lichtenberg once said, ‘Everyone is a genius at least once a year; a real genius has his original ideas closer together.’ Sorry Melvin.

In center is a perplexing individual. Broxton can run like the wind (although to my knowledge, nobody has ever seen wind running). Thus the kerfuffle. He came up 0-for-forever, then got sent down, brought up, sent down again and then brought up again where he discovered that with a brand new batting style (congratulations to the Brewer’s hitting coach, Coles) has turned him into a real good hitter. While often not taking the correct line in chasing down a ball hit in his direction, he could be the sleeper of the summer.

In right, there is the true definition of a journeyman. Nieuwenhuis is simply a Nieuwenhuis. No more explanation is needed. At times he can hit the cover off the ball, especially when he plays at Miller Park. But there are other times when he can commit two errors in a single inning. He’s a Nieuwenhuis. And that spells trouble for the heir apparent in right, Santana. Hurt most of the season, when he got well, he was at home and nobody was going to out hit Nieuwenhuis at home. Thus, he has to wait until September when the team will be on the road for the majority of the closing month. This is another legendary position for the Brewers. Just a couple of years ago, Aoki brought new life to that position. Before him, Hart and Hall, Bichett and Lescano, Moore and even Braun was the center of fan adoration. It’s just one of those positions that endears for the hometown nine. Perhaps Santana can begin to live up to his great anticipated reputation.

In pitching, there is Nelson, Davies and Peralta, all of whom bring hope. While the two righties have struggled to find their top form, it is left hander Davies who has risen to the top of the staff. There is hope with the trio in the days ahead.

While this may look like a rose-colored view of a team which is struggling to remain relevant to a town that is devoted to…country western…err baseball in the summer (nearly 36,000 came out to see the team Saturday night with the main draw a country western singer who gave a concert after the game), it is still fiction. As Tom Clancy stated, ‘The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.’

Let’s hope that the new constructors of tomorrow’s Brewers create fiction that makes sense.

Play Ball!

#otsmlb.com #win63 #‎watchingattanasio⚾️

‘The Moment’

'The Moment'

‘The Moment’


Many people in life have ‘a moment’. And, in the annuals of life, one time…..just one time, a person has ‘the moment’. It is defining.

On Friday with most of the crowd headed for the parking lot, the 31 year old rookie sensation, Junior Guerra, was pitching a gem for the Cream City Nine. He had stepped into the top of the ninth against the mighty Pirates, having giving up only two hits the entire evening and now was leading 3-0. He appeared to be in complete control.

His journey in Pigsville had begun, not against the Pittsburgh nine, but when rookie General Manager, David Stearns’ made his first official move after being hired in that position. He claimed, last Fall, one Junior Guerra off waivers from the Chicago White Sox. As Manager, Craig Counsell said, ‘I don’t think anybody accurately forecasted this. But he was claimed for a reason. He was claimed because we thought there were possibilities there and there was talent there. We thought he was a guy that had gone about it in a really different way and got to this place in a really different way, but that he was a really good pitcher at this point. This level of success, maybe not. But yeah, I think we thought he’d have success.’

And he showed his confidence that really wasn’t at all about the Bob ‘Hurricane’ Hazel of this generation, but rather the rookie manager’s grasp of the psychology of the game. In the 9th inning, Junior had begun with only 87 pitches and Counsell was attempting to have his starting pitcher finish a complete game, the first complete game for the Brewers since last July. The first batter, Matt Joyce, got a single. Then John Jaso was walked. Two on, nobody out, Gregory Polanco was coming to the plate as the tying run.

It is one thing to face Jaso, but it was quite another to face this guy before the big guy in the Buc’s lineup.

The eyes of the 29,000+ were all on the manager in the dugout. Would he come out and bring in, what has been, a very iffy bullpen to try to wrap up the game? Or would he let his rookie pitcher try to complete the game in style? It was the beginning of ‘The Moment’ that will live with Brewer fans forever. Out came Counsell, looking quickly right down the first base line, then eyes down and walked up toward the mound as he approached the pitcher and the gathering infielders, Carter, Gennett, Villar and Jonathan Lucroy (in his last inning and game as a Brewer?).

Collectively the crowd at Miller Park was disappointed expecting the manager to accept the ball from his pitcher. But now he became a fan-legend in the land of beer, brats and cheese. With Guerra offering the ball to the manager, Counsell refused to accept his pitcher’s decision and slapped him on the back and it was now his game to try to finish. With stunning and overwhelming approval and cheers from everyone in the crowd and those watching on television, Counsell left the mound, with an astonished pitcher receiving slaps with the gloves of the other players on the mound. This was ‘The Moment’ when the guy from Whitefish Bay proved to be the next great Brewer manager, in the shadows of George Bamberger and Harvey Kuenn. Right then and there, Craig Counsell would be marked in history as doing something that most in the stands had never seen. But to be truthful, all were very happy to see. What a confidence booster. This was one giant step for the kid from Whitefish Bay.

The rest of the story, although a bit bizarre, finished with a win. Polanco hit into a fielder’s choice as Carter forced the runner at second. Andrew McCutcheon hit into another fielders choice to drive in Pittsburgh’s only run when Marte singled off the head of the second base umpire before Jeffers relieved Guerra and retired Kang to end the game with another (sic) Brewers victory. While the details of the game were unusual, THE story was about the decision that Counsell made on this historic night. ‘I really wanted him to get through the inning’, Counsell said of Guerra. ‘I thought he pitched like he deserved to, and I don’t think he was tiring or anything like that. I thought he was still making pitches.’

Guerra had won his seventh game of the year. He had lowered his ERA to a most respectable 2.70, ranking him #8 among Major League starters, just behind Stephen Strasburg and ahead of Jake Arrieta. And for all the stat rats, in 16 starts over 103.1 innings this season, the ‘Velvet Venezuelan’ has posted a 3.67 FIP, and an 85/34 K/BB rate while generating ground balls (46.3%) and infield pop ups (11%) along with a 20.8% K rate and an 11% swinging strike rate.

But the real story that will live well beyond the wins and losses of the pitcher will be…’Do you remember the time when Counsell walked out to the mound and kept the pitcher in the game?’ That will be ‘The Moment’. And that is when Whitefish Bay’s favorite son became THE manager of the Milwaukee Brewers in the minds of the Crew’s faithful forever.

Play Ball!

#win63
#watchingattanasio

Disrespect



Often, in Urban conversations among athletes, the term ‘disrespect’ comes up. It is usually centered around a verbal slight that the athlete has experienced or believes he has experienced. But rarely has an athlete who is the center of attention had others use the word to express their dismay. And never has a Major League team shown such sophomoric behavior and insensitivity than have the Milwaukee Brewers to one of their bright young stars.

Zach Davies is a young pitcher for the Crew whom the Brewers acquired at last year’s trade deadline from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for OF Gerardo Parra. Many of you probably recall his starts from last September. He appeared in six games for the Brewers totaling 34 innings. He put up a pretty solid 3.71 ERA and 3.81 FIP. His .210 BAA was excellent, which helped keep his WHIP quite manageable (1.21). For those who are not up to speed with the vernacular of the MLB stat wonks…he showed a lot of promise with an amazing amount of poise for such a young pitcher. After he was traded, Buck Showalter, Manager of the Baltimore Orioles called the Brewer manager, Craig Counsell, and told him he was getting a bright young star.

Davies has a slight build (6’0”, 150 lbs) and has a fastball in the 88-91 range. While his build and average fastball is a call his critics give, don’t believe this lack of confidence. Believe the importance he brings to the Brewers as a starter. His change-up is terrific. And he also has an good curveball. But it is his above average command that allows everything to work. Like most pitchers, he needs his command to succeed.

However, he excels in one pivotal area: batted ball distribution. While many today are fly ball pitchers, Davies has always induced ground balls at a well above average rate. It’s an impressive package. Counsell points to Davies’ growing relationship with catchers Jonathan Lucroy and Martin Maldonado as one reason for his recent success. “They’re really getting on the same page and making good choices,” Counsell said. “He’s been on the attack. He’s got all four pitches as weapons. I think he’s really starting to get a feel for playing with the hitter front-to-back, side-to-side. “It’s good stuff.”

Davies used his weapons just before the All-Star break in meeting and beating the Washington Nationals. The Nationals’ lineup features reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper and current NL batting leader Daniel Murphy, who was hitting .347. “He’s a young starter who is learning as he goes and proving as he goes; he’s gaining more confidence, getting comfortable with his stuff, how it plays to hitters and how it needs to be good,” Counsell said. “He’s getting it through experience. It’s not easy to go out there for a young guy and what’s good is that he’s taking everything that’s happened before, applying it and getting better. “

It was interesting how Davies found his way into the starting lineup this season. Matt Garza, 32, was expected to return to the Brewers’ rotation after losing his spot late last season, but he was placed on the disabled list instead. Davies stood out in the Spring as a likely candidate to step into the rotation.

The year before, he faced the Cardinals, always a problem for the Cream City Nine. “He just made quality pitches,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.”He used his breaking ball to steal strikes early in the count. But it was about fastball location and chasing out of the zone with the change-up,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. It left St. Louis’ sluggers frustrated after entering the day second in the National League with 71 homers and a .460 slugging percentage. ‘It’s just one of those where he just had trouble finding the feel on a consistent basis,’ Matheny said. ‘But still, he only gave up only a couple runs, five hits. But he had a lot of traffic and a lot of stress innings.’

Kolten Wong, who struck out twice, said Davies kept the Cardinals off-balance with his change-up. ‘Just something that caught us off guard,’ Wong said. ‘He kept us off balance with his fastball coming in and threw that change-up away.’

That’s the kind of stuff he brings to the game. And he did it once again against the Nationals. That was Tuesday before the All-Star game. On Wednesday morning, the infamous Milwaukee Brewers optioned Davies to Class AAA Colorado Springs to open a roster spot to add first baseman/outfielder Andy Wilkins from that club. It was noted that the team had been playing short-handed on the bench while carrying eight relief pitchers for several weeks. Here, their winning pitcher the previous night in a 5-2 victory over Washington, boosting his record to 6-4 on a losing ball club with a 4.10 ERA in 15 starts, including a 6-1 mark and a 3.24 ERA over his last 12 outings, was ceremoniously banished to the Sky Sox.

Astounding!

Astoundingly stupid.

The Brewers PR spin was that in sending down Davies, the Brewers said he would not pitch for Colorado Springs, which also entered its All-Star break after play on that Sunday. But rather then sending down one of their incompetent relief pitchers, which are many, they pick on the kid…a kid who is a rising star in their own organization. To make matters worse, the official pronouncement from the Brewers was that Davies would not pitch for Colorado Springs. But a player must remain in the minors for 10 days when optioned. Thus Davies would be recalled to pitch for the Brewers on the third day after the break in Cincinnati. That would be today.

But that’s not all. The cheapness of the Milwaukee Nine caused Davies to lose 10 days of major-league service time as well as about $24,000 in salary with the demotion.

To his credit, the mild Mr. Davies, upon hearing the news, quietly told reporters ‘Baseball is a business.’

His agent, the legendary Scott Boras, said the Milwaukee Brewers should not have have sent rookie right-hander Zach Davies to the minors for 10 days to open a spot for an additional bench player. Boras was more direct, saying, “In this game, performance earns respect. After beating one of the best teams in the National League, he was told he no longer was a member of the team. “It’s disrespect for someone who will be a principal part of the organization for years to come, to add a bench player for 10 days. Not exactly a valued ethic. In this game, teams do not send down starting pitchers who are performing well.’

He added, ‘Flying a starting pitcher cross-country interrupts his regular routine and his normal bullpen sessions. This is not how you prepare successful starting pitchers.’

Meanwhile, the Freshman Brewers General Manager, David Stearns, said he meant no disrespect to Davies in making the player move. Stearns said the major goal was to provide another bat for the bench during a period in which Davies would not have pitched for the Brewers. Unfortunately, without experience, young Mr. Stearns created a PR gaff unprecedented in modern baseball management.

‘We certainly value Zach’s contributions to the club and consider him an important part of our starting rotation,’ Stearns said. ‘Given that he wasn’t scheduled to pitch for a 10-day stretch, we wanted the extra flexibility of another player on the bench.’

Baseball purest suggest from a pure baseball point of view, the move makes great sense. Davies, as a starting pitcher who has already made his final start prior to the All-Star break, made it a good decision. He couldn’t be recalled for 10 days but with the All-Star break coming, that wouldn’t even cost Davies a start.

But the baseball side isn’t the only one to consider. We simply can’t forget about the human element. In sending Davies down, the Brewers are costing him service time. That can potentially impact the timing of him becoming a free agent down the road. This is not to say anything of the $24,000 he lost after beating one of the best teams in baseball.

Milwaukee was well within its rights to do this. It’s certainly true that baseball is a business. But good businesses also have business partners. With this move, the Brewers are giving a potential business partner a reason to be upset or frustrated with them down the road. At the moment, Davies isn’t upset (at least not publicly), but Boras clearly is. And you don’t want to make Mr. Boras angry.

It’s certainly a business move, and admittedly, stuff like this isn’t entirely unprecedented. Still, it’s generally not a kind of move pulled by the game’s top organizations. This goes to the root of all that is bad about the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club. They are not a class organization. Nor are they a top organization. In all the years they have been in the Majors, they have never won a World Series, a key mark in measuring the quality of a management team. They have a losing record. Again, not a mark of a good management team.

Now, the new management group is making its mark to the world.

They are disrespectful.

Play Ball!

P.S. So how did Davies do upon his return on Sunday, July 17, 2016?
7.0 inning pitched
92 Pitches
59 Strikes
0 Runs
4 Hits
5 SOs
0 Walks
9 Groundouts
4 Fly outs
23 Batters faced in 7 complete innings

Brewers lost in bottom of the 9th as Thornberg, with two outs walks Hamilton. Then, walks Votto. Will Smith comes in, can’t hold Hamilton as he goes to third and gives up winning run with a Passed Ball (Lucroy), Hamilton scoring.
Final score: Cincinnati 1 Milwaukee 0.

Wily’s Gone!


What a difference a day makes. Yesterday, under beautiful skies at Miller Park, Wily Peralta, the Brewers opening day starting pitcher, beat the New York Mets and hit his first Major League home run to gain a win. Today he has been demoted to the dregs of the minor leagues. Once the powerful hopeful, he is now twisting in doubt on a flight to Colorado Springs. It is the biggest of falls from grace.

The announcement was made Sunday morning. Yet it wasn’t even put on Milwaukee’s website. It was announced through the press. The Brewers have optioned Opening Day starter Wily Peralta to Triple-A Colorado Springs, per a team announcement. There’s no official word on a replacement, though veteran right-hander Matt Garza could be the choice as he has been making his final rehab start earlier this week. Garza hasn’t yet pitched for the Brewers this year because of a back injury. Many think that is a good thing.

Wily Peralta took the hill for the Brewers in their 7-4 win over the Mets on Saturday, striking out four batters and surrendering three earned runs on five hits and a walk in five innings. Given the way Peralta has performed in 2016, that so-so outing counts as one of his best of the year. The highlight of his day came as a hitter, as he blasted a 429-foot home run off Mets starter Logan Verett, his first in the Majors. But something was up when Counsell jerked him in the 6th, with a very limited pitch count. Something was up.

In 66 innings this season, Peralta had a huge 6.68 ERA, the worst mark among the majors’ qualified starters, with 42 strikeouts and 27 walks. His K/BB ratio sits at 1.56, puts him ahead of just eight other starters. Peralta was a more reliable option the previous two years, combining for a 3.93 ERA, 6.67 K/9 and 3.16 BB/9 across 64 starts and 382 innings. At his best, Peralta had a 3.53 ERA, 6.98 K/9 and 2.76 BB/9 in 198 1/3 innings just two seasons ago.

Peralta, 27, is on a $2.8MM salary this year and is slated to make two more trips through arbitration. However, with the new GM, it is possible the Brewers will simply non-tender him at season’s end.

What a fall.

Imagine, at the beginning of April, the big right hander was at the top of his career…making his first Opening Day start. That is an honor for any pitcher in baseball. Today, his career has crashed. It will take a lot of mental toughness to make the fall stop, even himself out and do the hard work of making the climb back up to the Show.

Today the Brewers have Nelson, Davies, Anderson and Guerra. Can they make it happen with this rotation?

So long, Wily. We had so much hope for you.

Play Ball!
#watchingattanasio

A Reason For Kerfuffle


12 walks; 1 hit batsman, 2 catcher interferences, 4 errors against them and they get 10 hits. And two sausage races. 16 runners left on base. Five hours and four minutes with 21 Padres and 20 Brewers seeing action. And they loose a game. Wait! There was a free concert after the game so there were still fans in the stands.

That is the very definition of a ‘reason for Kerfuffle’. It is a disturbance. The word comes from part Scottish ‘curfuffle’, meaning to twist, turn and from Old Irish where there is disorder, confusion.

There is little doubt that there is disorder and confusion in Pigsville.

The home nine’s starting pitcher gives up back-to-back home runs and then the reliever does the same in the top of the 12th inning. The relief pitcher was brought in to pitch hit as the home team had no more position players left on the bench to pinch hit. He walked. Then he goes in to pitch and loses the game giving up the second of the back-to-backs.

Then the mind-dead shortstop, again, for the second time this week, created the third out attempting to steal third from his position at second with Lucroy coming to the plate. As Counsell stated, ’That was a mistake. Early in the count, it’s a play that makes sense, getting to third early. But at that point it was not a good decision.’ Not a good decision? With a third base coach who is acknowledged as the worst third base coach in baseball (including the minor leagues) and a shortstop with no brain, it certainly classifies as not being a good decision.

Madness. As Major General Anthony McAuliffe said in a note back to the Nazi’s at Bastogne, ‘Nuts’.

This is the best of AAA baseball. It is nuts. There are errors galore. There are mental mistakes everywhere. There are kids growing up and making mistakes as Major Leaguers. The Milwaukee Brewers were a great American Association team back in the day at old Borchert Field. They played as though they wanted to make it to the Majors. they played the Indianapolis Indians (farm team of the Pittsburgh Pirates), the St. Paul Saints (affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers), the Minneapolis Millers (New York Giants farm team), the Columbus Red Birds (St Louis Cardinals team), the Kansas City Blues (farm team of the New York Yankees), Louisville Colonels (Boston Red Sox’s team) and the Toledo Mud Hens, the best minor league team of the incredibly bad St. Louis Browns. It was zany. It was wacky baseball. Everyone was trying to make that mad dash to The Show with a great showing. Guys were flying everywhere. And on occasion you would see a glimpse of Eddie Mathews, Willie Mays and the like. But most of the time, you saw errors…lots of errors, both physical and mental. Yet fans were in the stands and eating brats and drinking beer, hoping for a day when they could see the real game…Major League baseball in their city.

Now, light years away from that time, they have their wish. Again, they see the great stadium around them but nothing on the field that represents Big Leagues in any way. Yes there are still, on occasion, the Braun sighting, a Lucroy playing up to his capability when he wants to play and not sounding-off wanting to be traded to a competitive team, and Nelson. But on a 25 man roster, that’s it for top talent. Sure there are fading stars like Hill and Carter, rising hopefuls like everyone else. But in the end, there is just another minor league team taking the field night after night in the City of Beer. #WatchingAttanasio #win63

By the way, the Polish won the second sausage race.

Play Ball!

As for those who are interested in the results of the survey last week, here it is:
Which teams will win 63 games this season?
100% said the Milwaukee Brewers would not win 63 games.

There Ain’t No Pitching In Pigsville


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’).

’This is the excellent foppery of the world’.

Playest some ball!

#watchingattanasio ⚾️