brewers baseball and things


12 Comments

The Billy Martin George Steinbrenner boogaloo

I was watching a documentary the other day, about Billy Martin. A fighter from his early days in Berkeley, California, growing up poor, playing under Casey Stengel on the Oakland Oaks. Stengel liked him so much that when he got hired to manage the Yankees, he brought Billy along for the ride, not so much because he was super jock, but because he had fire in him, played hard, over achiever, all that and more. Interesting side note of Martin as a player – he hit way above his career .257 average during his playoff appearances…99 at bats, 33 hits including 5 home runs.

When he was released by the Yankees, he maintained his offensive numbers for three years, but then at the young age of 33, he called it quits, played only 11 years. According to the documentary, being released by the Yankees cut his career short, messed up his mind a bit. Oh well, then he became a manager, first with the Twins, then the Tigers, Rangers and finally the Yankees and all those dramas with Reggie and Steinbrenner, followed by Billy Ball in Oakland and then back again to New York.

What I like is that the documentary doesn’t focus entirely on the New York dramas. I mean they cover it and why wouldn’t they? It’s as good as that hit sitcom from the 70’s called SOAP. I loved that show. The documentary also points out that Martin won everywhere and he did it by running, bunting, stealing home, hitting and running…..I love that style.

I still haven’t finished watching the two hour show, but during my imposed intermission, I did a you tube search for Letterman and Martin because I remember seeing him on the show. Funny story by Martin plus what I didn’t remember was the music selection as they faded to commercial. I guess they call that irony.

Advertisements


8 Comments

a love story/addiction with a happy ending

It happened at McDonalds, probably from the salt or grease or maybe that’s the same thing? It was the Egg McMuffin, hashbrown in the envelope, and coffee. I felt orgasmic elation while chewing and swallowing. I did it often, at least once a week, a religion of sorts. I was hooked and every final chew and swallow made me feel miserable and alone. I wanted more and more and when that craving seeped into the post breakfast hours, I knew I had a problem so I went to the Problems Center and stated my claim.

“McDonalds,” I said, “The Egg McMuffin to be more specific and those hash browns in the sleeve.”

“Next” said the intake counselor, shooing me off to the side and out the door. They apparently expected alcoholism, a mental disorder or drug addiction. I felt even worse than when I entered, more alienated and alone like my problem didn’t exist.

But I still had my baseball cards to manhandle, to store and stack in violent spurts, to fling against the wall, to go all Mussolini on and in the process purge my demons or at least take my mind off salt, thanks to the sugar-coated piece of cardboard rectangular gum inserted in each pack. Dealers would be no doubt be around every corner, in drugstores, pharmacies, five and dimes, ma and pa’s, just like the old days. For 50 cents, I could quickly slip into the wax pack daze again….726 or 792 cards to complete a set, enflaming my already off the charts obsessive compulsive disorder, but a cure for boredom, a fuck you McDonalds and your salt. I would have something bigger and sweeter – sugar, baseball cards. I would be released into something else, into a cardboard craze like when I was a kid.

My favorite card of all time was a Topps 1980 Gorman Thomas, favorite not because he’s squatting on the grass, bat aimed down, donut at the end, Gorman with that golden lion look, the handlebar moustache, long hair, and ready to go, ready to face anyone attitude…..all that’s cool, but it was my favorite card for a different reason, favorite because I couldn’t get it.

I bought up the whole fucking Bears Pharmacy, wasted all my paper route money and still no Gorman and I was growing up in Milwaukee at the time, weird, no Topps regional loyalty. I got every other card in the set, but no Gorman. The summer passed and eventually I got it, don’t remember much more, other than standing on cement and feeling a sense of relief.

That was a long time ago, but the cure was real. Why not today? Because something happened to the hobby. I don’t write for the economic herald so I won’t even begin to try to unravel what went down. The only thing I know for sure is that more sets were introduced and the price of cards went way up. Fast forward even more years and some cards are available only on-line and only during a short window of time. A clever idea to immortalize a moment, but what the hell can you do with a digital card?

The other day I get an email from a friend. He lives in Vancouver, Washington. He sent me an article about a baseball card bunker paradise. Some guy is opening up a vault and charging people a percentage to store their cards for that futuristic day when the cards will be worth something.

I’m more communist than anything else, not the corrupted version, but the kind that gives everyone healthcare, taxes the rich more than the poor and so on. I don’t like this bunker baseball card idea. It screams of more baseball cards as an investment. I get the idea of preserving the cards as historic relics like cave paintings or ancient Mesopotamian texts. I guess the investors with glass do just this but at what cost? I thought the fun was buying massive amounts of cards, trying to complete sets, trading on street corners if need be, and yeh, they might get damaged, but let me ask you a question…

Would you rather have a hoe stained by saber-toothed tiger blood or a hoe in perfect condition?

There must be a balance between private vaults perfection and Jefferson Burdick who not only invented the number system on the backs of cards, but didn’t protect the cards in sleeves or plastic. He did the adult equivalent of cards stuck in spokes and flipping them against the wall, as they should be maybe because nothing really lasts forever unless people want to go all mummy like and be buried with their cards. Hey that’s not a bad idea, not to be mummified with the cards, but bury them in a suitcase for some future gang of kids to discover. But then they’ll take them inside and mom and dad will say,

“Hey those might be worth something.”

Ah screw it, I’m going to buy an egg McMuffin for breakfast.

 


4 Comments

bored revisited

You might remember the previous post on this site. For christ sake, i wrote it yesterday, a wordpress binge I guess. The post was called bored and so naturally or synthetically since this is a blog and we can’t see each other, the follow up post is called bored revisited. It aims to answer one specific question – why did do the Suicide Crew love Domingo (Sunday) Santana so much?

Well, we got hold of Hankus Pinyata, one of the founding members of the Suicide Crew and he revealed the reasons.

1) Sunday Santana showed no emotion. He dragged his bat to home plate. He could put a stadium to sleep.

2) But who cares about charisma, wearing woes on your sleeve, and all that. Jesus already died on the cross. In 2017 Santana demonstrated tremendous opposite field power….tremendous!

2) He also did a damn good Mike Hargrove imitation, messing with pitcher’s mound mind to the like of 4.10 pitches per plate appearance, good enough for 24th in all of baseball.

Yeh sure he slumped in 2018 but what the hell did the Brewers expect? They forked over their top prospect to get Christian Yelich and signed Lorenzo Cain…..good moves, great moves, took them to the brink of the World Series, but a big screw you to Santana’s 30 home runs the previous season.

He filled in for an injured Yelich in April, but struggled, was sent to the minors, got called up and served as a damn good pinch hitter, big hits in the playoffs too, an over simplification for sure, but the Brewers wanted more flexibility so they traded him to Seattle for a player with the last name Gamel. Sound familiar? It should. He’s the younger brother of the Brewer’s former top prospect Mat Gamel whose career slipped into Indy League oblivion due to injuries. But this new Gamel can apparently man all three outfield positions and work a count too.

Either way, here’s to you Domingo, you were here and now you’ll be there, in Seattle. The Suicide Crew will be watching and know that nothing lasts forever, everyone destined down the drain, Ted Williams came and went, Tony Gwynn too….


Leave a comment

bored

One witches tit-booger freeze-dead of winter day, they slipped into their avocado boots and ducked down into the subway catacombs. There were four of them. They arranged it that way…four corners…..Fuck Bi-Polar. They were Quatro-Polar.

They called it Operation Flipskin.

The subway stretched into beautiful darkness in both directions, east and west or maybe it was north and south…left and right. It didn’t really matter. On one side sat the Suicide Crew angling towards that beautiful infinite tunnel and trailing behind them, following them like flies on shit were the doting mothers pleading with them, begging them to not do it.

The Suicide Crew didn’t envision a hanging or a slit wrist, nothing self-negating like that. Their gumption, as old as Egypt, was more out of curiosity, to see, to finally know if there was anything else. They’d read and heard the slap stick, soppy sentimental, overwrought poetic, arduous scholar and it was all good, if not great,  but they wanted more.

Booze helped. Weed did too or maybe it hurt. Who knows? They didn’t. They were the Suicide Crew. They didn’t know shit except one thing – to stand up from their subway squat and flee the herd of mothers trailing them like scraps around a toilet’s ring refusing to flush. And when they finally moved, an amazing thing began to happen, a little like violet bulbs appearing on branches in spring. Last requests rose, initially only as blips on their mind’s radar, but then mushrooming into a blue print plan to walk, splashing through sewer water and above and then below again.

The weep and wails of mothers echoing in the subway chamber began to fade fast. The Suicide Crew marched on, towards Peoria, Rockford, Beloit, Janesville, and parts unknown, all the way to Milwaukee, home sick as they may be; they made it, upturned sewer cap and all, right there, they arrived in front of the Historical Society on some such downtown streets and what a surprise to find a plaque commemorating the birthplace of the American League, the words chiseled forever or until water wears it all away.

“On the night of March 5, 1900….” and so on, a bunch of bigwigs including Connie Mack and Ban Johnson met to flip off those self-righteous National League bastards and establish their own league.

The Suicide Crew had new life and despite the Brewers not being in the American league anymore and trading away their favorite Brewer – Domingo Santana = Sunday Santana in Spanish and so they crawled back down through the sewer hole to where the rats roamed and wondered how Santana had done in his short career on Sundays, a stupid trivial ponder that the metrics people would mock, but The Suicide Crew didn’t care because they were drunk on canned heat. They, like Santana were heading west, to reach the cactus before spring training.

 


7 Comments

and since the numbers have been working…..

The Brewers beat the Dodgers last night. It was Friday the 19th and 19 was the number worn by Brewer’s shortstop Robin Yount in the 1982 World Series.

So now there will be a game 7 of the National League Championship. It’s set to be played tonight, Saturday, October 20th. That was the number worn by Brewer’s center fielder Gorman Thomas. He also played in the 1982 Series.

First pitch is set for 8:09. Add the numbers, 8+9 and you get 17….the number worn by Jim Gantner who you guessed it also played in that 1982 Series, as the Brewers’ second baseman.

 


Leave a comment

one more time with the numbers!

19.
that’s the number Robin Yount wore in 1982…last time the Brewers were in the World Series. I think I’m repeating myself, but they won the other night when the game’s first pitch 7:39 added up to 19 and well, they’re playing tonight on the 19th of October and in desperate need of a win, down 2-3 to the mighty Dodgers.

Steely Dan’s Hey Nineteen song was released in 1980, the same year the Brewers acquired Ted Simmons, Rollie Fingers, and Pete Vuckovich from the Cardinals in probably the franchise’s most significant trade of all time….significant because all three players were instrumental in the Brewers winning both in 1981 and 1982.

And that song, Hey Nineteen, ran on the charts for you guessed it…19 weeks.

Go Brewers!


1 Comment

it’s all in the numbers…..just kidding

Clayton Kershaw pitched game 1 of the NLCS and lost…lost bad. He was barking at his teammates or it sure seemed like he was while walking off the mound. Kershaw can’t pitch too well when Scott Barry is the home plate umpire and Berry was calling balls and strikes in game 1. He’s faced 126 batters with Barry as home plate ump and he’s given up 31 hits including 7 long balls and get this, only 32 k’s versus 18 walks, less than Kershaw like.  I would think Dodgers manager Dave Roberts would a known this (Joe Buck did) and planned accordingly. He could have started Hyun Jin Ryu for game 1 and bumped Kershaw for game 2, but he didn’t and so I feel lucky the Brewers escaped Milwaukee with one win.

Now the series is tied 1-1 and in LA for the next three nights…..tonight at 7:39 eastern time. Strange time for a start of game. But if you add up the numbers, 7+3+9, you get 19, the same number Robin Yount wore his entire career as a Brewer, including 1982, the only time the Brewers ever made it to the world series. Obviously, the network, whichever one bought the rights to the game is pulling for low media market Milwaukee.