Call it what it is…Braunschweiger covers the skies over the Cream City Nine like none other before in the history of baseball in this midwestern setting. Usually the talk is about hope and what if’s. Today it centers around how will he handle it. How will the team handle it? How will he perform? How will he handle the jeers when he steps to the plate time and time again when the voices of the opposition are the loudest? How will he handle the bombardment from the fans in the tight confines of right field throughout his tour of cities this season where the taunts are more pointed and individually pin pricking? From the moment when he steps out of the protected environ of the clubhouse and the dugout, and onto the grass, he will be under some of the greatest scrutiny in baseball.
The Brewers on the other hand are using the old fashioned methods of banging the drum of interest. Attempting to get the fans fired up with various hoopla, and the signing of aging starting and relief pitching, the answer to the team’s success still all centers around the one thing management is not talking about…that guy in right field.
The management instead are talking about having a possible team record in payroll. That’s what you get when you hire old players and trade away your best lead-off hitter who only cost a couple of million a year. It is also reflective of having one of the lowest payrolls in the game in one of the smaller markets in baseball. Mark Attanasio has been stated that he expects to win this season. As reported in the Journal Sentinel he stated ‘We’re at the point now where we’re well into the top half of payrolls in the major leagues. We have more pitching depth than we’ve had, really, in 10 years. As I’ve explained to everybody, as investors you wouldn’t make that decision to lose.’ He added, ‘The ownership group felt like this was the year to invest (more) in the team. I think we’re going to surprise people this year.’
Perhaps. They added Matt Garza and brought back K-Rod for the bullpen. Some estimate the new payroll will top $102 million. Yet this team will go only as far as their #1 player takes them. The guy in right has to perform up to and above his MVP season and during the history-making first few years of his being in the majors. No more Prince to protect him. No more Aoki to be on the base paths ahead of him to provide the added potential RBI. Now with the pressure of all that upon him, will he be able to make this a winning season for the Cream City Nine?
This week we will hear the call,