brewers baseball and things

i don’t even like jewelry

13 Comments

The Arizona Diamondbacks won the 2001 World Series and that sounds so wrong. No franchise four years into its existence should be allowed a ticker tape parade. It hardly mattered that the New York Yankees run of three consecutive 2001-world-series1World Series triumphs was busted up by a bloop single over a drawn in infield. Or that New York didn’t enjoy their Boston Strong Hollywood equivalent. What really got under my skin was Arizona one upping the Florida Marlins as the quickest team to the top.

To make matters worse, those freaking Marlins won not one World Series, but two and they did it in less than 10 years (1997 and 2003). And to make matters doubly worse, the Marlins bought their teams through free agency and then played fire sale with the entire roster. I’ll give the Diamondbacks credit for signing Randy Johnson and trading for Curt Shilling. The duo formed one of the best 1-2 pitching punches of all time and at least Arizona fans show up at games.

But what about new franchises born in the 1960’s? Teams didn’t all of a sudden fly to the moon. It took drafts, development, flat tires, threats of relocation. What about the California Angels? They had to wait 42 years for a trophy. Or The San Diego Padres? They still haven’t won anything and neither have the Houston Astros, Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers or Montreal Expos/now Washington Nationals. And the other team born in the 1960’s-The Kansas City Royals. They waited 17 years.

Free agency makes Cinderella stories like the D-backs and Marlins not really Cinderella stories at all. The worker’s revolt that began way back when and became legal tender in 1973 quickly mushroomed into million dollar Swiss bank accounts. Who woulda thunk? I guess the Toronto Blue Jays did. They were the first expansion team to exploit free agency by winning back to back World Series in 1992 and 1993 with rosters putting George Steinbrenner’s pocket book to shame.

But then again, Steinbrenner and the Yankees aren’t that opposed to a home cooked meal. The team’s last dynasty (1997-2000) featured a core of players (Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams) and pitchers (Andy Pettite, Orlando Hernandez, Mariano Rivera, Hideku Irabu) drafted or originally signed by the Yankees themselves.

Most teams that thrive do it with a nice blend of drafted players, a few free agent signings and one or two relevant trades. But take away those free agents and teams have to really scramble or get lucky and become miracles as in the miracle New York Mets of 1969, the only expansion team from the 1960’s I haven’t mentioned so far.

Yes, the Mets were also sworn into baseball existence in the 1960’s, in 1962 to be exact. The Mets initially suffered growing pains. They lost 100 games in five of their first seven seasons, but in the eighth year, The Mets won 100 games and why not say it again. There was no free agency.

Yep, 1969 was the big year and it was more than luck. It was draft and development, 1969Metsespecially pitchers. The Mets drafted Nolan Ryan and signed Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman as amateurs. Actually, Ryan didn’t pitch all that much in 1969, but throw in Tug McGraw-also an amateur signing and Gary Gentry-also drafted by the Mets and scratch what I said before. It was luck.

But I shouldn’t be envious. I took to baseball just as the Milwaukee Brewers reached respectability, in their tenth year of existence. And it almost doesn’t seem fair. I didn’t have to suffer through the dismal beginnings when the Milwaukee Brewers lost so many games  like expansion teams are supposed to. I was learning how to walk and use the toilet.

The Brewers won 93 games in my maiden voyage season as a fan. It was 1979 and I rode a Brewer’s wave with drafted players like Gorman Thomas, Paul Molitor and Robin Yount. Throw in a few excellent trades for Ben Oglivie, Cecil Cooper, Pete Vukovich, Mike Caldwell, and Rollie Fingers and that wave endured. It even almost happened. In 1981, the Brewers almost won the division and the following year, they almost….dammit. They lost to the Cardinals in the World Series, but still, I tasted it or almost tasted what those whatchamakalit D-back and Marlin fans have already tasted. Ah , the hell with it. Maybe I am jealous.

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Author: Steve Myers

I grew up in Milwaukee and have been a Milwaukee Brewers baseball fan for as long as I can remember.

13 thoughts on “i don’t even like jewelry

  1. It’s the San Diego Padres fans that I can’t figure out. Do they even care what happens with their team? Where is the wave of Padres fan outrage over the futile past half century? Why are they not out there turning cars over and picketing in front of Starbucks? What’s up with that franchise?

    • Great to hear from you Bill. Maybe it”s the weather; too sunny in San Diego. Petco Park mellows everyone. The Padres have topped 2,000,000 fans every year since 2000 with the exception of 2009 when they came up a little short at 1.9. In 2004, they even hit 3,000,000 good for 7th highest in baseball. In terms of wins and losses, I can’t really say anything as a Brewers fan because the Friars have been in the playoffs five times since it all began in 1968 including 2 failed trips to the World Series. Either way, that’s certainly more than the Brewers have done.

      Maybe Met’s fans have more rage than other fans because they live in the Yankees shadow and feel they have something to prove or maybe they just won’t settle for mediocre or maybe it’s a combination of both or none at all. In any case, I cherish New York and cherish its talk radio about baseball, its everything about baseball. Thanks Bill!

    • And Today the Padres signed Josh Johnson for 8 million. They must have heard you Bill and either jumped the gun too early or taken a good risk. The guy has a horrible habit of getting injured, but when he’s on, he’s an ace. What do you think?

      • Glad to see that I was able to have such an immediate affect on the Padres. Johnson is a big gamble, and 8 million seems a bit high to me, but if he can make around 20 starts next year, they’re likely to be pretty high quality starts. That’s a big IF, however. Still, it’s good to see that they’re at least trying (unlike the Mets.)

        • Well, I remember when the Brewers signed Jeff Suppan to a 4 year contract for about the same amount. Actually, it was 6 million for the first year and then it jumped to 8,10, and 12 million. Way too much and way too long. I guess with a one year deal there’s a lot less to lose. The Padres are probably thinking the same thing you suggested-if he can regain some of his previous form and make 20 starts, it’ll be well worth it. But either way, Johnson is not gonna turn them into contenders.

          It would have made more sense if the Mets had pursued him. That’s exactly what they need-a one year pitcher to fill in for Harvey. What about Phil Hughes, Ervin Santana, or Matt Garza on a one year deal? Or will the Mets not bite like they didn’t last year on Michael Bourne?

  2. I have no love for the Dbags, yet that victory over the hated Yankees will ALWAYS be cherished. (also since my beloved Oakland A’s kept getting their ass kicked by those same Yankees)

    • Hey Gary. Yeh, I can completely understand cherishing a Yankees defeat, not so much because it’s the Yankees, but because of a team that always seems to be in the way. For me, it’s the Cardinals, but lately, my coffee must be messing with my mind because I’ve started to appreciate the Kilimanjaro the Cardinals represent in the National League. No matter how hopeful we get as Brewer fans over progress with our young pitchers, there is always two or three new Cardinal aces waiting in the wings. At one point, I sort of tip my hat to their scouting department.

      On a side note, I see that MLBClassic11 uploaded this MLB productions story about the 1973 World Series. It’s not the same of course as that game 4 from the 1972 Series you linked me to, but until the other full games from both Series are uploaded, it’s an effective time machine. Take care!

  3. I’d kind of like to see the Mets sign Bronson Arroyo to a two-year deal. I agree with you that they do need a veteran presence on that pitching staff for the next year or two. Do I think the Mets will actually do anything significant this off-season? Probably not. They’ll just continue to cry poverty and allow this franchise to wither on the vine. Why Selig hasn’t pulled this franchise away from the Wilpons is beyond me. What’ going on with the Mets isn’t just bad for Mets fans and the team, it’s bad for baseball as a whole. To have such a big-market team run so poorly year after year hurts MLB as a whole.

    • Remember that 1980’s movie about the DJ who took over the high school radio? I think the main actor was Christian Slater. I’m beginning to wonder if Mets fans might take over the Met’s embassy and hold Wilpon or someone important hostage with their release contingent on whatever the rebels decide. But seriously, other than the Expos, do you know of any organizations that have been temporarily seized by the MLB?

      I think it was Selig who forced Frank Robinson upon the Expos in 2003 or 2004. And Frank was old, real old. He should have been playing shuffle board. Selig and MLB also moved 20 or so Expos “home games” to Porto Rico, but the silver lining was that Bill Lee did a lot of the color commentary on the radio down there.

      • I think the Christian Slater film you are referring to is “Pump Up the Volume” from 1990. He’s always been one of my favorites. My favorite role of his was in “True Romance” where he played Clarence Worley.
        The Selig coup of the Expos was not pretty. Frank Robinson has since reemerged as a suit on the Board of Directors of the Baseball Hall of Fame, of which I am working on my next blog-post.
        Thing about holding Sandy Alderson and the Mets brass hostage is they might bore us to death before we got very far in negotiations.

        • yes, that’s it. Slater was a bonafide rebel with that mellow hipster voice and didn’t he always look at people from the side? Reminds me of Vincent Gallo in Buffalo 66. The ultimate gambler/football/crazy family/bowling movie. I never saw True Romance and now have something to look forward to.

          Poor ol Bud. He’s still on Montreal’s most wanted list and so is Robinson as his sidekick pawn.

          I don’t know much about Sandy Alderson. I guess his sparkling personality might be a reason. Oh well, it castes Charlie Finley and Bill Veeck in a new kind of kaleidoscope light.

          I’m imagining your next post as high praise for such a balanced and forward thinking Hall of Fame Board of Directors. Ha! Looking forward to some Bill Miller irony!

  4. The way that I look at it, Steve, is that you shouldn’t feel bad at all. The Brewers made it to the World Series in 1982, and I was rooting for Harvey Kuenn and company. (Harvey’s Wallbangers).

    In my opinion, GETTING there is quite an honor. Getting to the World Series, I mean. Think about it. ANY team, no matter how lousy or good they are, can lose a given series of games.

    So you should be proud of the 1982 Brewers. Because they were THERE. And how many other teams WERE?

    Glen

    • Getting to a game 7 without Rollie Fingers was definitely something, but dammit we were up 3 games to 2 heading back to St. Louis and leading 3-1 in game 7 heading into the bottom of the 6th and then it all crashed. But you’re right Glen. It’s 30 years later and it still seems like that game 7 might turn out differently tonight and that illusion could only be possible if the Brewers got that close and they did and god bless you for being a Harvey’s Wallbanger!

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