In the world of symphonic music, the orchestras of the world are led by a conductor, who is regarded as the task master. He is the one who whips the orchestra members into place by relentlessly practicing over and over again until everyone understands his or her part and intones correctly every single phrase of every single measure. The entire group is led by a concertmaster, usually the number one chair violinist who is the second highest person in the orchestra. Then comes the first chair oboe, who is the one that begins the orchestra by first, carrying a tuning fork and plays a perfect ‘A’ to bring everyone into tune.
Orchestras are measured by their excellence. There is a group which contains the ‘Major’ orchestras. In America, according to various sources including Gramophone, one of the leading music publishers in the world, the Majors are Philadelphia, New York (#12 in the world), Cleveland (#7 in the world), Chicago (#5 in the world and the top in America), Los Angeles (#8 in the world), San Francisco (#13 in the world), Boston (#11 in the world) and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra (#18 in the world). Then there are minors, divided like baseball into various levels. While there may be good musicians in Milwaukee, as a group, they cannot hold a candle, or in this refrain, a violin bow, to Chicago.
Baseball is very much like this. The manager is the task master. The coaches are the one who train, over and over again the disciplines of a major league player, in every situation, in every condition. Then there are the star players who set the tone for the team. The General Manager is the one who makes the chemistry work, mixing the whims of this player with the wants of another player, and so forth and so on. The Milwaukee Brewers today are a step away from relegation. They have earned an ‘F’.
Here is a team which is playing with, on Friday, a minor league catcher, a minor league second baseman and a below average coaching staff. The shortstop just got off of the DL. The Center fielder is a step behind what he was last season due to injury. The left fielder is the fourth outfielder on the team. And the manager is new. Since taking over three weeks ago, things are not going so well.
This is not a good team. Nor, with all realism, was it ever a good team even though they led the league last season for the first five months. The swan song they went into in September is legendary and that carried over in Spring Training and in the first two months of this season. The sad losing song is the same.
This team needs new professionals in many positions, most importantly in pitching, in coaching and in the general management of the organization.
They will have to trade away some of their better players to bring in top young talent from the minor leagues. They will have to free up their salary structure to lure free agents pros to come play in their world-class ball park. They need to reach the very top where it is most important, and that means pitching. They need pitchers like Zach Greinke who as a Brewers never lost a game he started in Miller Park. How impressive is that? Considering that Miller is a hitter’s paradise and a home run haven, ZG’s performance was legendary. There are pitchers who will become free agents who can come close to matching that record. Milwaukee needs them.
Now for the hard part. San Francisco needs a third baseman. As difficult as it may seem and this being his last year, Aarmis Ramirez should be dealt to the Giants if for nothing else, to free up some cash. Then there is Gerardo Parra. A gold glove outfielder, he should be dealt while he is hot. A middle relief pitcher could be pulled off. There of course is Ryan Braun. With $100,000,000 due him in the next five years, he is the key to a top ranked pitcher or two top prospect picks. Washington needs a top quality outfielder and they have pitching. He would be perfect for the Yankees who need a star attraction like Ryan for a couple of their top minor league pitchers. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim need an outfield of his caliber. Milwaukee needs a top-level pitcher. Texas, Seattle, Detroit, and Cleveland could use a player of Braun’s caliber. Milwaukee needs a top-level pitcher. Even the dreaded St. Louis Cardinals will need an outfielder. Milwaukee needs a top-level starting pitcher or a couple of their top prospects. The rest including Khris Davis, Matt Garza, Kyle Lohse and Martin Maldonado could all bring Cream City something of value. Davis simply was a bad replacement for Aoki. Garza was washed up. Lohse just seems extremely uncomfortable on the mound. No pace. No rhythm. No confidence.
What they should not do is mess with the middle. No trades for Lucroy, Segura or Carlos Gomez.
All of this hinges on a new general manager with vision for the future. That is why it is important that the first step that should be taken is to bring in an architect to put a new team together who understands the game as it is today. Pitching is paramount. Starting pitching is a necessity. And a coaching staff that are proven winners is a must. At present, including the new manager, there are only three other coaches who have won a League Championship or a World Series (Coles won a WS with Toronto in ’93; Tunnell won a NL title with St. Louis in ’87; and Shelby won two WS with Baltimore ’83 & Dodgers ’88.). And it is important to understand this: the current general manager has never won a League or World Series title.
The new General Manager has to be able to see into the future and blend all of his or her skills in bringing a winner to Cream City.
And that is the job of the owner. He not only has to have vision but has to be knowledgeable enough to find that perfect baseball person to take up the challenge Milwaukee presents.
The music they are playing in Milwaukee is off-key. Fans at Miller never boo. But on Saturday the dissidents drew the nation’s ear with the sound of displeasure. Some of the players are below average. Some of the coaches are below average. The new manager has been a winner in the game. Now, let’s surround him with other winners and make music together.
Tap the violin bow on the music stand and allow the oboist to play an ‘A’. We are #watchingattanasio. So far, all we have here is a Concerto in F Flat. Now is time to get in tune and make some music on the field of play.