brewers baseball and things


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when Victor lays down with Tussle

I was talking to my friend Earl the other night. He loves reminding me that last year he picked Auburn to reach the Final Four. He reminds me because Auburn did make the Final Four which might not sound like such a big deal, but it kind of is because very few people were picking Auburn to make it.

My favorite Earl prediction so far was him discovering a player in high school a few years ago. He guaranteed that this kid would be an NBA star. He’s from Milwaukee, played high school basketball at Whitnall and then signed to play college ball at University Wisconsin Madison, but then he changed his mind and went to Kentucky, pissed off Wisconsin basketball fans. His name is Tyler Herro. He had a great freshman year at Kentucky and then made himself eligible for the 2019 NBA draft. The Miami Heat picked him in the first round. I forget what number pick, but being drafted by Miami means you know how to play defense or want to learn how because that’s head coach Eric Spoelstra’s reason for being – defense. Tyler also creates his own space for jump shots and moves well without the ball. He’s playing a lot of minutes this year and the Heat are 5-2.

During our phone conversation, Earl said, “there’s so many stats in basketball!” Earl’s good in math, but doesn’t bother with new stats which gave me two ideas. The first one is about Daryl Morey, GM of the Houston Rockets, and one of the first promoters of advance stats or metrics or whatever those things are called  in basketball. He gives all credit to Bill James which gets me wondering if anyone has ever been elected into both the basketball and baseball hall of fame?, probably not, but Bill James might be the first!

The second idea I had was…..well….let’s say there’s this guy, call him Tussle Mcgee. He can complete a Sunday crossword in 20 minutes. He wears an orange sand knit cap, wears it in winter and summer. Most people have him pegged as a drummer in a rock and roll band, but he never listens to music and as far as playing music, he can’t distinguish between a triangle and a tambourine. He’s hooked on mountain dew and a candy bar that’s been out of circulation for many years. It’s called Summit or it was called Summit. He has boxes of these bars stuffed into his basement refrigerator. No one knows where he gets them from. He lives in the same house he grew up in. He lives alone because his parents were killed in a bear attack. Strange to see a grizzly so far south, but there it was, hungry as can be, gobbled up Tussle’s ma and pa. Tussle inherited all kinds of money from his parent’s life insurance policies and so he bought season tickets to the local baseball team, a major league team, the name doesn’t matter, but that he can’t add 8 plus 5 does matter. He stinks at math and so he doesn’t pay attention to a player’s stats, not even batting average and the other back of baseball card stats. Tussle was asked who is the best player in the league. His story ends there.

And Victor’s story begins here. Victor Headlong is the neighbor of Tussle Mcgee and he couldn’t be more different. He’s never been to a baseball game, doesn’t give a damn about the game, never gives it a thought. He plays the keyboards, guitar, and drums and boy can he sing. He also works for NASA. He too was asked who was the best baseball player in the league. He told them to buzz off, that he could care less about baseball. But then this someone reassured Victor that he would never have to watch a game, just plug some numbers into a formula that Victor would create himself, so Victor did it and he quickly came up with the best player in the league.

It was the same one as Tussle Mcgee’s.


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as another season ends

strange to see a work saw on the corner of 14th and cherry, especially one atop a green velvet cloth. i didn’t really see this. i mean there’s probably a work saw and green velvet cloth at 14th and cherry somewhere in the world, but not one i’ve wandered along. i’m not sure why i’m dreaming this up. maybe cherry for an ice cream sunday on a friday night and maybe some player with a number 14 i liked and green velvet because of some latent pool playing desire? at least i think the material a pool ball rolls across is velvet? but that wouldn’t explain the work saw. maybe the saw has to do with music since there is a tradition of people playing the saw. i’m not sure if it’s blue grass or country or who knows maybe jethro tull? frank zappa? probably, oh for sure. i saw zappa on you tube, on the steve allen show, playing the spokes of a bike with a violin bow. anyway, the work saw coupled with the green velvet maybe = music in a pool hall and that would take me back to the days of juke boxes. do they have juke boxes anymore? diners and dive bar rails?

i’m guilty of losing my hunter gene, to go and find these juke boxes, diners, and rails, but to be honest, i barely had a hunter gene to begin with. yeh, i went to a couple of diners sipping coffee, newspaper talk, holding sugar towers, and staring out windows and hunched at a few bar rails and all the conversation made them gardens of courage if you could endure and maybe, along they way, enjoy it.

maybe this is the season of paranoia with winds whooping up more violent and leaves, yeh sure they’ll all burning colorful, but they’re busy cutting ties with their source, twirling all teenage flirt, but old and cement dead paste cement soon, like a couple of leaves on 14th and cherry where i can talk to a man or a lady or a littler one or an older one and discover or rediscover that some people prefer shadows and rain delays and that baseball fields overrun with weeds, dented beer cans, and mattresses with coils jetting out of them are beautiful too.


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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….


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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.

 


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wine, whisky, beer

i’m drinking to Harold Baines tonight; heck i’m drinking to him right now. he was always my favorite player. i loved his swing and high leg kick and amazing arm in right field, maybe not the best range but he had a big glove so that helped. . I even had a jersey made of him at Merle Harmon’s fan fair…..the number 3 and BAINES on the back, not the classic black and white pajama uniforms which i loved but the ones after, kind of boring in comparison, just a banner across the breast with the letters SOX spelled out. Good old placid midwest Milwaukee. No one said a thing about me wearing a white sox uniform.

Anyway, he’s in the HOF now and well, i don’t really care, in or out, like a belly button, don’t matter to me. I’ll still love his humble attitude. Ozzy Guillen said the two of them once drove from Chicago to Milwaukee and Baines didn’t say a word and what about all his game winning rbi’s! When did they stop keeping that stat? I remember him having lots of them. Then there’s him as a DH, countless at bats, years and years worth of at bats, all that idling, all that being stuck on pause, no picking your crotch talking it up defense to forget about striking out with the bases loaded or whatever.

I find life’s riddle, sometimes anyway can be solved by keeping busy and what does a dh do? Watch film of pitchers? Do a crossword puzzle? Pick their nose? There’s no option of running around the block or working an 8-4 or writing a novel unless you’re Jim Bouton or Brosnan but they were pitchers. Cut off your eye brows? A DH sounds both boring and hard. Baines did it and hit well or well enough.

The experts talk about WAR, about the WAR of Baines being way below HOF caliber and it’s all well and good and I believe in their genius, in quantifying player performance thorough multiple variable analysis and making worthy comparisons. I guess that’s why the Reutenshell Analysis Center has announced that from now on, HOF inductions will be determined by a machine. You enter a piece of paper with a player’s name into a fully updated modern machine with all the statistical equations. You wait a few whistling seconds and presto out comes a verdict –  yeh or neh on the HOF, is the player in or not? No more ceremonial speeches, no more debate, no more intangible discussions, just cold hard stats.


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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!


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how did ted williams do that?

if good moods were the equivalent of getting on base

wait a second,

four out of ten?

baseball is really hard.