brewers baseball and things

maybe the best mistake of my life

8 Comments

The 20; wikipedia

The 20; wikipedia

Thursday morning I remembered one of the first emails I ever received and slipped it into an omen; hoped for the best. Matt Garza was pitching later that night and fanaticism has no reason; just rhyme and that’s why I do it.

The email asked “How bout a little fishing off the porch?” We used to do that as kids. It was a regular fishing pole with a spinning toy top for bait. We would cast the thing off a second floor porch. The line often swung around and shattered a window below. Garza might need this. He’s been struggling to escape the first inning.

I took the email as an invitation to come hang out in Oakland so I hitchhiked from Montreal. It took close to 14 days. I got stuck in Thunder Bay, Ontario, but eventually made it. My friend was a bit surprised. I had misinterpreted his message. Communication breakdown.

The next day I took the subway-BART to the Coliseum. I saw a saxophone player sitting at the end of the caged walkway connecting the carpeted world of Bay Area Rapid Transit and Oakland A’s baseball.

subwaynut.com

subwaynut.com

A simple King Curtis rendition of Take Me Out to the Ball Game is all he played, but it was sexy like only a saxophone can be. I don’t remember who won the game.

I retraced my steps; heard the same sexy sax, took the Bart to MacArthur station. I walked along 45th avenue, towards Broadway and into a Breakfast in America restaurant on the corner. I sat at the half  moon diner and probably drank some coffee.

I retraced my steps along 45th avenue. The sun was still shining. It must have been a day game. I walked past  Clint Eastwood’s high school and reached Telegraph Avenue and spotted a flat-iron building.

I remembered what some lady at the Oakland Historical Society told me; that the buildings were flat-iron because they were sitting on tracks from the old street car days or something like that.

Caspers; Oaklandwiki.com

Kaspers; Oaklandwiki.com

One of the buildings on Telegraph was Kasper’s Hot Dog’s stand. It was right smack in the middle of the avenue, probably still is. Musta been a flat iron. I sat down and talked to the owner. It was actually the owner’s son. He was wearing a plain white t-shirt and had a wild set of hair; copper, grey swirls in every direction. I don’t remember what we talked about.

Then I went to McDonalds and met an old couple. They gave me a cassette of some radical leftist. I think it was Michael Parenti. I gave it to my friends’ roommate. He was studying at Berkeley to be a political science professor.

So many useless wanderings; back and forth, east coast-west coast, north and south, going nowhere; following clues that maybe didn’t exist, but believing in all of them and promising to make more mistakes.

Matt Garrza had allowed 11 of his 33 runs in the first innings so he changed his pre-game rituals and came out throwing strikes in the first inning Thursday night. I was hopeful. Freddie Freeman did  foul off 6 pitches for a 9 pitch at bat, but a soft liner later and Garza pumped his fist. No runs, no hits in the first inning.

The Brewers were cruising. The most underrated catcher in baseball-Jonathan Lucroy hit a  2 out, run scoring double in the first and added a 2 out, run scoring single in the third and then in the fourth, Logan Shaefer executed baseball’s most perfect play; the suicide squeeze.

Brewers were leading 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh when Dan Uggla battled Garza for 9 pitches and then lined a single to left field. Garza to the showers. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke called for a lefty. Zach Duke emerged from the bullpen. He reached the infield and then stopped.

Roenicke confusion; jsonline.com

Roenicke confusion; jsonline.com

Roenicke wanted Will Smith, not Duke, but Smith hadn’t been warming up. Communication breakdown. Both the bullpen coach and pitching coach were not in uniform. They were attending graduation ceremonies for family members. Communication breakdown.

But Smith entered anyway and made do with  8 warm up pitches. Smith was cold. It was noticeable. He allowed the go ahead, two run single. Roenicke absorbed the blame after the game; called it a communication breakdown.

Ooooops. My talisman backfired, but it might be just what the Brewers need. Who knows. I sure don’t.

Final Score Braves 5, Brewers 4. The Brewers are 28-20.

 

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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.

8 thoughts on “maybe the best mistake of my life

  1. Losing streaks are made of dumb mistakes like that. Yuck.
    v

    • It got even more bizarre after Smith completed his 8 warm up pitches. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez waited until all 8 pitches were thrown and then came out and asked about an illegal substitution. Since Duke entered the playing area, didn’t he have to pitch? The umpires had no clue so they called New York like they would after a replay challenge.

      It took like 7 minutes and meanwhile, Smith was not allowed to throw any more warm up pitches because technically, he was not in the game yet.

      As it turned out, the rule says that a pitcher is only considered the pitcher of record when he walks on the mound or is introduced by the PA announcer. Duke had stopped around the infield and had not yet been announced so Smith should have been allowed to warm up some more during the call to New York.

      But in the end, I have to tip my hat to Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. he manipulated the umpires into a corner and got what he apparently wanted; a cold then warm-then cold again pitcher on the mound followed by a go ahead base hit. His team wins.

      Anyway, as you say v, it was the Brewer’s dumb mistake, but it made for an entertaining finish.

  2. That suicide squeeze was a thing of beauty!

    Brewers have a good team! As the Fates would have it, Uggla had perhaps his best day of the season 🙂 Go Bravos!

    PS, I now have the MLB tv app to stream on our Blu-Ray, so can catch some of the games.

    • I guess we were both watching the game. That’s great! After the squeeze, I was riding high, but that was only the 6th inning. I like the Braves determination and Fredi Gonzalez plays a smooth game of chess. Enjoy the MLB.tv app. It’s a great way to get smitten by an announcer and then all of sudden you become a fan of a new team. I enjoyed the Braves announcers. They really did their homework about the Brewers and offered some great insights.

  3. You’re right about Lucroy. He is definitely underrated. That’s quite some trip, man. So, how were the hotdogs at Kasper’s?

    • I don’t remember how the hot dogs tasted, but that’s no slight on Kaspers. When it comes to food, I always think in terms of quantities and price rather than taste, but I’m working on it. I think caring for a few cows and growing a garden might raise up my taste buds, but so far it’s been in and out of the grocery store, eat and get it over with.

      Bill, I’m glad you appreciate Lucroy. I don’t know how this generation compares to other ones in terms of catchers, but we got some good ones in Molina, Posey, Lucroy, Salvador Perez, the guy in Cleveland I think his nae is Santana and Mauer, but he’s more of first baseman now….but still, Mauer when he was catching…cripes. You could make an argument that he was the best hitting catcher ever.

      • This is a pretty strong era for catchers. I think the only better era was the mid-’70’s into the mid-’80’s, when you had Bench, Fisk, Munson, Freehan, Sundberg, Simmons, Boone, Sanguillen and Carter, to name a few.

        • We’re lucky considering we were both alive during the 70’s and 80’s.

          Yeh, that was an amazing trip for me; irresponsible and careless and stupid, but I did it a half dozen times anyway; back and forth from the east coast or midwest to California; by hitchhiking, amtrak, greyhound and one time I got paid to drive a Penske truck from Milwaukee to San Rafael to deliver skin cream products. All that back and forth covered roughly 10 years of my life. Kind of a waste, but no looking back with a grimace.

          It’s strange and I’m grateful how memories stay buried for so long and then suddenly and usually in spring they come gushing to the surface.

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