brewers baseball and things


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the beautiful scam

The minor League Brewers began in 1902, survived  both world wars and were maybe the only Milwaukee team not subject to the volatile fluctuations of capitalism. I sort of made up those last three words because they sound intelligent, but they might be true too.

I never studied capitalism but I ate a sandwich at a Jamaican restaurant and overheard a conversation. I love eavesdropping. I love the word and i love the act. It’s maybe my favorite sin. The lady said in that most wonderful of Jamaican accents; “something’s gotta die for something to be born.”

I figured that was maybe capitalism or maybe not? The rich rely on gypsies to carry 2 x 4’s to build their houses or something like that?

The minor league Brewers  seemed to sort of just appear out of thin air with no exploitation and scam required and they even suffered some tease and amputation to boot. County Stadium was built for them. A big stadium like that built for a minor league team. Kind of amazing, but also built to woo a big league team to town one day. Yep, That pretty, smiling face caked up with press conference make up to win a suffering franchise from elsewhere; promise some milk and honey or beer and parking lot paradise; a better way.  Picking up girls at the abortion clinic I guess.

Bill Veeck owned the St. Louis Browns and his team was bankrupt around the same time County stadium was being built so he petitioned his American league brothers to move his team to Milwaukee, and the brothers said no way Jose, but Veeck’s attempt didn’t go unnoticed.

It shook the penny-pinching pants of Lou Perinii; owner of the Boston Braves. He didn’t want no body moving in on his AAA geography. His Milwaukee Brewers were the AAA affiliate of the Braves who were floundering in Boston ; bad attendance or no attendance, not really winning except the occasional miracle and having to compete with the Red Sox .

So Perini followed Veeck’s steps and petitioned his National League brothers and surprise to everyone; they said OK and so the Braves packed up their bags and moved to Milwaukayeeee and the minor league Brewers? Well, they no longer had a stadium and so they moved to Toledo. One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor. Maybe that’s capitalism or Bob Dylan?

So Bravo to the Brewers; the minor league Brewers. I think you were the last team in Brew City to not be a scam. Milwaukee screwed over Boston and got the Braves and 13 years later those same Braves moved to Atlanta and so Atlanta screwed over Milwaukee and five years later Milwaukee screwed over Seattle; stealing their Pilots.

A giant screw fest orgie. I wish the Brewers were Mariners and an expansion team, but the show must go on Bob Barker.

I don’t know any absolutes or truths other than this life unfurling its plot day after day, but there’s bound to be an author of all of this or maybe not. That’s a personal matter so all I can do is taste as much as possible and get my lava bubble juices flowing and this requires deep breathing because the St. Louis Cardinals have aligned with the USA military.

I always suspected a secret agreement between NASA and George Steinbrenner but this Cardinal military alliance could result in tanks lining the Mississippi keeping fans wearing blue from walking under the arches.

He goes by the name Mitch Harris; a Navy Lieutenant and apparently he’s the first graduate of the US Naval academy to pitch in the majors since 1921 and Nemo Gaines.

Harris gave up 2 hits and 2 walks in one inning plus of relief yesterday. Jams and discipline he’s good at.. Made for some heart warming moments during another Brewer’s loss, but Ryan Braun stole the show announcing that the early season funk was his fault. So much for baseball being a team game. Braun craves attention; by any means necessary.

The Brewers are 3-15.


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orchestra of obsessions

I’m no good at cooking, but I lower broccoli onto a bed of rice; turns the green nodules a nice fluorescent and softens em up. I don’t like toilet paper so I always take a shower immediately after a bowel movement. I’m bad at remembering quotes or lyrics so I just make em up.

“Find me a baseball commissioner not exploited by those showing off their wit and creativity and I’ll stop peeing in the shower” or maybe not because peeing in the shower rids my athlete’s foot.

Old man bars are a medicine chest of wisdom and cure. It was in San Rafael, CA where I learned of pee and showers and smoother souls and god bless that old fart because I put his poetry to use right away and like anti terrorism measures, I’ve had no athletes foot ever since; 20 years and counting.

Dear Mr. Selig,

It has become fashionable to rip the statue of you located outside Miller Park and for whatever other crimes against humanity you inflicted during your reign of terror. I can’t comment about  the death camps and destitution across our sad land, but this statue matter is within my grasp since I visited Miller Park last summer.

I spent my formative years wandering the County Stadium lot and there were no statues so it’s a bit confusing with so many now; you, Bob Uecker, Robin Yount, Hank Aaron and maybe Gorman Thomas or maybe that was a grill? There were grandpa drunks and middle-aged drunks and young people learning how to become drunks all across the great parking lot land and that’s what a Milwaukee baseball parking lot is for and nothing has changed with Miller Park; just more statues. But I didn’t really notice because I don’t care about statues or I do but in a utilitarian sort of way; as a place for pigeons and seagulls to sit on top and feel like king birds like random benches for us humans.

Some of the same people who criticize your statue plaster their own photos all over the twitter instagram facebook wordpress internet. Maybe they think their you- know-what doesn’t smell?   

Anyway, I’m biased because I hit home runs in your backyard on East Standish place in Bay side; northern Milwaukee. A co-worker of my dad’s lived next door to you and he had a kid and one baseball thing led to another and we traded baseball cards and played baseball in that back yard. You never cut your grass so your yard became our home run land. The ball disappeared in there and you never complained or maybe you were never home. I don’t really know and don’t really care. I never met you.

The only thing I know for sure is that we hit a ton of home runs and that you Mr. Selig were a used car salesman and worked your ass off and did pretty good and led the group that stole the Pilots from Seattle and brought baseball back to Milwaukee and now it’s 2015 and the Brewers are still alive and Elian Herrera got called up from AAA again and in his first game up, he hit a grand slam and drove in 5 runs matching his RBI total all of last year which  was like 140 plate appearance.

That one grand slam may have saved my life-like the only Milwaukee Braves player my dad ever mentioned; Bob Hurricane Hazle maybe saved lives in 1957. He got called up in August of that year and exploding for a .400 average so they called him Hurricane Hazle. He never really did anything more than 1957; not in baseball anyway. Maybe Hazle goes well with the other thing my dad always mentions. “This ain’t no dress rehearsal sonny boy.” Here in a flash-gone in a flash.

The Brewers were shut out by the Cardinals Friday night. Carlos Martinez is the latest ace to don a red turds gown. Where do these Cardinal pitching ghosts keep coming from? Oh; the mounds of course. The burial mounds.

Herrera went 0 for 3 and his average is now .200. The Brewers are 3-14 and I remember that number as Pi; don’t know what it means, but I think it’s important.


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sleeping on the west jet

I’ve never had much luck with relationships; never had to many; never wanted to or never could; makes the one that lasts a real focused adventure; enjoyable too. I keep the perspective; aware of the alternative; loneliness. That shit can kill you. 

I don’t have much to say on this topic, but one time I was sitting on the bed after sex after not really enjoying it. I was too nervous I guess and just in a hurry to get it over with. And when the four minutes or whatever was finally over, I spoke about vacuum cleaners; not the stand alone kind that freak out dogs, but the central vacuum kind. That’s how this house was. Every room had a hole in the wall and the vacuum was an accordion snake that easily dragged from room to room. You just plugged the sucker in the wall and it sucked up all the dust and raced down tubes hidden in the wall I guess; to a central place in the basement; maybe a bucket. I was blown away.

Maybe I was supposed to get us some water or a piece of chocolate cake. I don’t know. I had no idea. I still don’t. We were so far away like two separate countries with sheets all ruffled up making mountains between us. Maybe the vacuum conversation was a turn off.

There were no broken windows or loud screams or tragic love poems after a year together; just that awkward silence and big relief; like being laid off and knowing you got 5 months to sit on your ass and do nothing and think and say whatever the hell you want and get paid too.

The Brewers owner arrived from his home town Los Angeles the other day. His name is Mark Atanaassio (spelling?) His wife Debbie has become a big Brewers fan. We see the two of them on TV when they come to town to check up on their little investments running around the Milwaukee field. She can’t watch certain pitches. Too much pressure I guess.

Mark announced that the Brewer starting the season out so bad was not the manager or general manager’s fault. He appeared on the telecast Wednesday night for about an inning and announced that it was the players fault. He didn’t give names or provide any details, but maybe it was an error here or there and a missed sac bunt or pitchers walking batters. I don’t know. It’s kind of weird because those things happen when the Brewers win and yet he stays in Los Angeles and all is hunky dory. Maybe it’s a save face marketing thing. I don’t know.

Anyway, it was kind of funny because when Mark appeared on the telecast Jimmy Nelson our ace was pitching and he was pumped up; red cheeks popping like a trumpet player and fist clenching as he came off the mound. He matched Johnny Cueto pitch for pitch. Score was tied 1-1 in the 8th inning I think, but then Frankie Rodriguez wild pitched in the winning run.

It wasn’t a walk off wild pitch since we were at home but we had to face Aroldis Chapman in the 9th inning and well, same thing with his 103 mph fast ball and it’s not just believing the radar adding to all the visual pollution on the TV screen. It’s not cartoon smoke rising either. It’s batters swinging way too late. Mark was not around to comment on the wild pitch.

But anyway, the next day-Thursday afternoon, The Brewers broke the losing streak; 9 games i think. It was the usual culprits, Million dollar free agents and million dollar trade acquisitions. Kyle Lohse with the 7 inning win and Johnny Broxton a hold. Frankie recorded the save. Easy street. Adam Lind the new guy from the trade  and Aramis Ramirez the guy we signed a few years ago to replace Prince Fielder both hit home runs.

Mark must feel good all about this and his wife Debbie too. They’re back in Los Angeles now.

The Brewers are 3-13.


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climbing attic steps

I can’t remember the sweaty palms of a first crush any more than scratching at the cement of our wall ball batter’s box, but we must have looked super small to nearby birds; standing there beside that big red brick wall and small spray painted square with an x inside; our all-knowing strike zone.

I did the Cecil Cooper crouch. Others went with a super relaxed Eric Davis. There were all kinds and no pitcher’s mound, just more cement. We took chances with no grown ups telling us what to do. I liked being Kent Tekulve; total submarine style; turned pitching into a dance and felt better on the arm.

The greatest moment was whacking one with that 29 inch aluminum bat and watching a deflated dirty yellow ball come to life like that, soaring over the fence and bouncing down an alley and disappearing. There were no bases so no home run trots, but a hell of a lot of flipping the bat, dancing and jumping around. Pissed the pitcher off just the same.

It’s depressing to think maybe I’ve already lived the greatest moments in my life, but maybe we’re not supposed to live very long anyway. There were no heart surgeons 200 years ago. Our ancestors performed rain dances, downed whisky, clenched their teeth and hoped for the best. No wonder Walter Johnson pitched so many complete games. Less to lose with death always a possibility rather than 40 years away, but then again Gaylord Perry pitched plenty of complete games and he lasted into the early 80’s.

Complete games may never return, but the wind pouring through an attic window hopefully will and kids will find a way past the mom or dad border guards and be there to take in the breeze and see the cobwebs all around and invent nightmare mythologies to last an entire childhood. May there never be a dull day. 

The Brewers playing with three starters on the disabled list last night and Aramis Ramirez also not in the lineup. His replacement Jason Rodgers made a bad throw on an easy ground ball; potential third out of the third inning. but instead the bases are loaded and Jay Bruce goes Grand slam. Reds 4, Brewers 0.

The Brewers come to bat in the bottom half; a single and a 2 run homer by replacement catcher Martin Maldonado; a couple of doubles and a single and most runs scored in an inning for the Brewers this season-4. Game tied.

But Todd Frazier in the very next inning; bases loaded again and BAM; another grand slam. Reds back on top 8-4 and in the fifth inning , Zack Cozart hit his second home run of the series. I think the score was 11-4 Reds at that point and then 13-4. Brewers score a run in the sixth. and recently called up Elian Herrera comes to bat after three consecutive walks and BAM Grand slam. It’s suddenly 13-10 and Brewers announcer Bill Shroeder barks it out; Game On!

The Reds added some more in the top of the 7th. Votto hit another home run; final score 16-10 and maybe Jason Marquis pitching has me thinking with  Marquis colored glasses, but Brewer bats seem to be heating up. 

Not a dull moment at Miller Park last night; The two teams combining for 7 homers and 3 grand slams; must be some sort of record; but the Brewers still lost and are now 2-12.

And even if they keep losing; no two losses seem to behave the same; reverse spice of life I guess. Next up Johnny Cueto. The Reds ace set to face the Brewers new ace; Jimmy Nelson Wednesday night.

The Cleveland Spiders were 20-134 back in 1899.


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my master has gone away

There were probably hobos of all sizes and one or two of em maybe looked like Connie Mack who was real tall or seems real tall in today’s black and white photos or maybe it’s the suit and tie that delude me? shoot his back higher than it really is?

Either way, it’s probably better to be small; not for moral reasons, but for squeezing under fences, lifting heavy objects and hopping trains and what not.  

I’ve hopped one train in my life and only rode it for 15 minutes; from Cote St. Luc to Rosemont; two small little boroughs around Montreal. It was maybe the greatest 15 minutes of my life with the only regret being that I jumped off, but braving my cowardly breath and leaping toward the metal handle, ahhhhhh, I felt like a zoo animal escaping the chains and that might sound all romantic, but it’s not true. It’s like the bark being bigger than the bite. I was scared all the way; from inhale to leap to grab the metal handle to pull myself up to the exhale.

But there were a few feelings between the fears and even now almost 10 years later, I wonder about it and play analogy; what it would be like to climb the Fergie Jenkins mound for the first time? I wish they would rename Wrigley’s pitcher’s mound “The Fergie.”

I wonder what criteria science experts use when deciding if a species is endangered?

If i took the Fergie today I’d feel like a farmer in overalls and you betchya, I’d be twanging em and staring out at all the creation like i shoulda been doing on that train; at all the broccoli patch of trees rolling and where sky and land meet.

I’d be like a dog enjoying a buffet table of smells; a wonderful mix of maybe popcorn, beer and perfume and maybe it would remind of some early point in my life and I would have to pause and the opposing team might get suspicious  and make up rules to speed up the game, but smells are powerful.  

I would wear my arm on my sleeve and not be a bionic prince. I’d keep reminding skipper that I work 10 hour days in the off-season ; shoveling cow manure on daddy’s farm. “I don’t need no tommy john surgery” I’d tell him and then he’d know that  i sure as hell don’t need no relievers neither.

But I guess Roenicke had no choice last night, but then again I don’t think any teams score many runs anymore; not with defensive shifts and Tommy John bionic arms and no more PED’s. This is a Pitcher’s World dammit, but Aramis Ramirez already announced his retirement after this season and Carlos Gomez-the Brewers best hitter or at least the most entertaining has been shelved with a hamstring problem.

So Roenicke had no choice so he pinch hit for our fill in ace Jimmy Nelson in the 6th inning. Fill in because Kyle Lohse’s ERA sounds like science fiction after 2 starts; 11.17. And the Brewers only scored one more run and the Pirates score three and so it goes.

I’ve never seen a home run hit farther at PNC than Starling Marte’s blast off Johnny Broxton; up to the second deck in left center; made the score 6-2 Pirates.

And I’ve never seen a batter lay down a perfect sac bunt and realize it was either make contact or feel Ray Chapman. The fastball from Jeremy Jeffress came flying in; heading for the batter’s face. He had already squared to bunt so he just raised his arms and sweet jesus, ball hit bat somehow and ball rolled up the first base line looking like 8 ball hugging the rail and the camera followed the batter who never left the batter’s box. There were no pats on ass and high fives when he reached the dugout; just a collective sigh saying  “whooooo daddy, live another day.”

The Brewers are 2-8; worst record in baseball.


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not a love letter, but still

I didn’t hate her for throwing an ash tray against my head, but in that quick flash, I wasn’t thinking what a beautiful dark angel you are either like oh baby…bless you for getting me up and out the door and back to 10 hours picking vegetables on my knees.

I guess I liked nightmares so I grabbed whatever from the floor. A flimsy silver pizza tray usually worked the best and flung it at the crazy bitch’s head. She would scream and then I would kick up a mess in route to the door and make sure to slam it a few times. I took the apartment steps in a few seconds. Kiss my ass doctor. I never needed a TV back then; the good old days when I had potential; when I danced on cars with sun roofs and kicked em in and felt good and right doing it. 

Only now is she a black angel in the convenient rear view mirror sort of way like sitting on a ferry-boat and drifting backwards and seeing the city in its entirety for the first time.

I loved the 1983 Chicago White Sox. Tony LaRussa was the manager and he looked like Father Guido Sarducci from SNL and he probably still does and that was always enough proof for me. I had crushes on things for stupid reasons. I liked LaRussa and Jimmy Leyland too. He was the third base coach; Harold fish face Baines played right field. Ron Kittle hit a ton of  home runs and he was only a rookie, but unfortunately he had to play the outfield; probably left field because Baines and his great arm were in right and because Luzinski was the DH. Luzinski was made to be a DH.

Kittle had great glasses and looked a bit like John Denver and wasn’t in baseball more than a Kiner decade. Funny that he became a hitting coach. He may still be. Funny because he had very little plate discipline; didn’t walk too much.

The pitchers included Floyd up and down the Bannister and Richard M802ZX Datson. I think the biggest winner-maybe even 20 games was LaMarr Hoyt and he fit the nickname bill for that team-Winning Ugly because he wore a Grizzly Adams beard and lots of weight and because he wasn’t a strikeout pitcher but he won at least 20 games that year. Ozzy Guillen the SS used to spit massive amounts of sunflower seeds up in the air; looked like spraying circus fire.

It wasn’t right to love the White Sox; not in Milwaukee like nowadays it’s not ok to be ok with the Cardinals; but if my mom told me that she had been keeping a secret from me; that all of my family were from St. Louis and that’s where she wanted me to be buried. Well, I could hopefully adjust. Even under a Muslim Dictatorship, we could make moonshine or die trying, 

The Brewers lost 2 out of 3 to the Cardinals and former Brewer Mark Reynolds drove in his first run of the season as a Cardinal yesterday….made the score 2-0. Final score 4-0 and that makes 3 home runs in 9 games for the Brewers and last place in the NL Central with a 2-7 record, but I don’t really hate the Cardinals. 


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in this season

In this season of seagulls never running out of breezes and 52 cards fleeing the safety of decks; there’s nothing sadder than a golden Labrador limping across a field, but there’s a trapeze wire above our heads and squirrel and crow play “i got next game,” ready to taste each other’s blood for the first time again.

Two kids stand under the wire and take turns flinging a pair of abandoned shoes. The squirrel panics; darts east and west; looks up and down and finally surrenders; pushing off hind legs and soaring to a near by branch. The crow doesn’t blink.

The kids try 20 times to lasso the shoes onto the wire and fail; don’t even come close, so they ditch the tradition that brought them together in the first place.

I feel like an ice cube shut off from all this volcanic activity; the Brewers 0-4 heading into Saturday’s game against the Pirates.

One kid is small and he reaches down and grabs a coke can stuck between the bars of a sewer grate and pretends it’s a football and runs round and round in circles. The other kid is tall and does nothing and that’s maybe why the two of them are best friends. They need each other like an explosion needs an empty chamber. One serves, the other vollies and together they dream up an empress who never needed a country; just a river and sky.

The Brewers were the last team in baseball to reach the win column and Jimmy Nelson; what a win; struck out 9 Pirates in 7 shutout innings Saturday.

A black lab approaches; its nose twitching spastic across creation; an explosion of smells again and the dog chooses my hand so I’m sure its an elder saying “life sucked as a soberite” and the dog’s galloping paws are the rattling chain of a liquor store door and a beer or four more.

Last year’s 10 lap lead in mid May aroused too much expectation lust. I prefer the “I probably lost my apartment keys” mentality when suddenly there they are and life was nothing but a turnkey situation all along and I’m inside and the Brewers are leading the Cardinals in St. Louis; 2-0 and then 5-2 and Jeremy Jeffress is on to pitch the 7th inning.

He ignores a Segura throwing error and keeps the lead at 5-4 and Broxton in the 8th and Rodriguez in the 9th and that’s 27 outs and a win to spoil opening day at Busch and I wonder how many 8 x 12 prisons lean towards paradise? 

The Brewers are 2-5.

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