brewers baseball and things


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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.


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Chuck “my bags please” Porter

No, this is not about the Brewers reliever who suffered the loss in what still is the longest game, time wise, in MLB history, 8 hours, 6 minutes. The game took two days, May 8th and 9th, 1984 and was played at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. The White Sox won in the 25th inning when Harold Baines hit a homer off Porter.

Porter, by definition is someone who carries luggage and loads, hence the Chris Berman nickname. He’s helping someone on the go and that someone is Edwin Jackson. This is an update, a glorious one in honor of Edwin Jackson. A few posts ago, I discussed the starting pitcher in the hopes he might be called back up to the Nationals and win a spot in their starting rotation or bullpen. Unfortunately, the Nats released him, but the A’s picked him up and sent him to AAA where he pitched well enough to earn a call up.

Yesterday, he got the nod to start the game and did well. (6IP, 7K’s, OBB’s, 1 ER) A no decision, but he showed that he can still pitch in the big leagues. He’s only 34 years young and here’s the kicker……he is now tied with Octavio Dotel for most franchises played for in the history of baseball – 13. What makes his traveling ways even more remarkable is that he’s a starter, not a LOOGY.

If I added a photo to this post, it would be a 13-sided collage.

Dear Edwin! You inspire me. Maybe you’ll one day pitch for the Brewers. If not, it doesn’t matter, I will always remember you, especially if one day I lose my job. I will never get too down.

Your friend and fan,
Steve


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stepping up and sitting down

Steve Sax had one named after him; so did Steve Blass, of curse, yes curse, this has nothing to do with their first name being Steve or I sure hope not anyway. It’s too small sample size to start attributing reasons especially not as silly and unsabermetric as a name. By the way, I often use the expression unsabermetric. I do not intend this as a dis or an insult. I find the science and math to better evaluate player performance as very fascinating. I simply don’t grasp most of the metrics, but I’m working on it, one at a time.

OK so on to the syndrome. Sax’s was an inability to throw the ball to first base, kind of important for a second baseman. Blass’s was an inability to throw strikes and get batters out. The syndrome hit Blass so hard that his career was cut short. Sax went on to have a few good seasons, both offensively and defensively.

What about career minor leaguers who don’t too well when they get a chance and their opposite…. mediocre minor leaguers who star in the show. I have no idea how to conduct the research for this so I’ll revert to what’s on the top of my head. In terms of career minor leaguers, I give the nod to Kilakila Kaʻaihue, born in Hawaii, an on base machine with power in the minors. But it never translated into much in the majors. He spent a few seasons with the Royals and A’s, then Japan. He’s now coaching a high school team somewhere.

Bob “Hurricane” Hazle was a big name in our house growing up. My dad made reference to him anytime anybody got on a roll doing something. He had OK stats rising the ranks of the Braves minor league system. In the year that he was called up, 1957, to give you an example, he hit .279 for AAA Wichita with 12 home runs in a little over 300 at bats, certainly good, but not out of this world. He saved that for the show where in 41 games (to replace the injured Billy Bruton), he hit  over .400 in 134 at bats, had a .477 OB%, slugged .649, and hit 7 home runs. The Braves went on to win their first ever National League and ultimately, the World Series that season.

Hazle was out of baseball in a few years. He finished with a .310 career average.

PS…yes the fences are closer to home plate, the ball seems juiced resulting in weaker hitters blasting opposite field home runs, but Jesus Aguilar barely made the team out of spring training and last night he broke up the Cardinal’s Jack Flaherty’s no-hitter in the 6th with a home run and then hit a walk off blast in the 9th off Bud Norris. He now has a team leading 16 home runs. I believe in Jesus. The Brewers believe in him. He is certainly making the most of his opportunity.

The Brewers have beaten the Cardinals in back to back games and once again sit atop the NL Central and maybe most revealing, have a winning record against division rivals.


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sort of a prayer

So Tony Horton gets traded from the Red Sox to the Indians for Gary Bell and he’s probably wondering why since Ted Williams had called him a natural in 1963 at Spring Training. Or maybe he didn’t wonder why. Maybe he witnessed George C. Scott (yes the Boomer’s middle name was Charles) on defense and knew he wouldn’t get a chance at first with the Red Sox. Sure, Scott could hit home runs, but he could also play great D. He even won a few gold gloves according to baseball reference. He musta been a big part of the Brewers. I don’t remember that far back, but a friend of mine from Milwaukee who now lives in Vancouver, Washington was in the south, in Mississippi, and he stumbled on George C. Scott, yes the baseball player and he took some pictures. He was manning a Hickory Smoked Pig House. This was before he passed away or at least I think he passed away?

I did get to witness the guy we traded Scott for….Cecil Cooper and he well, we impersonated his stance all the time, Carew like without the continuous alterations, just a consistent crouch that Cooooooooooop. That’s formative baseball years substance, comes back to mind when I catch a spring summer smell. The nose is a powerful organ, wonderful at times remembering pleasantries, but wicked other times when the opposite is true.

So there Horton goes to Cleveland in exchange for Gary Bell. Maybe Horton got bummed out about the Red Sox being so good the year they traded him? That was 1967, a couple of years before divisions were born. There was some last day significance between the Sox, Tigers, and Twins that season and the Sox finished tops and Horton in Cleveland? I don’t know where the Indians finished in the standings, but it wasn’t first. Still, I doubt that bothered Horton too much. I mean he went on to have some pretty decent years. He hit 10 home runs with Cleveland the year of the trade, slumped a bit the next season, but then bounced back in 1969 with a Charboneau year…. 27 home runs and I think that was the pitcher’s year, no? The year they lowered the mounds to give batters a chance against Bob Gibson.

Come to think of it, after doing some minimal research I discovered that he had a decent swan song season too, 17 homers and oh forget it. What good are stats! I think his method of termination was slit the wrists, but he failed and sort of lives on in mystery, but so do most suicides and almost suicides unless they are very good at vocalizing things or writing things down, but even then, as Lori Anderson sang……”Language is a virus.” I guess she meant to say it’s limited at best and doesn’t get to the eye of the storm. There is a Police Song that cites the limits of language too. It’s about love……”de dooo dooo doooo de daaa daaa daaa.”

Today’s billboard – Let Your Inner Self Scream Out.

I sometimes sit on my sofa and stare into space and wish players like Tony Horton had given themselves a break more often and then I realize I’m wishing the same for myself and everyone else.

Sun Ra would sell these types of singles out of the back of a car at shows. Often times they had homemade art work on the cover. Many of them had no record label. This one happens to be on Saturn Records. I believe that’s June Tyson who opens the chant with “Lightning, darkness” and then Sun Ra kicks in with the chant and the Arkestra follows like a caravan….on and on and on.


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a little bit on death

It’s almost the end of June and the Brewers are tied for first with the Cubs, like last year when they played meaningful baseball until the second to last day of the season. Wait a second. I don’t like that word meaningful. It’s as if a non-playoff related game doesn’t matter. Tell that to players who hit 4 homers in a game, strike out 20 batters, or simply get a chance to play.

Anyway, I figure if we get the death talk out of the way, the Brewers will stay alive. That’s a horrible pun or not even a pun, it’s downright disco stupid, but my baseball fever can be just that simple minded at times. Stay alive says my poster. I’ll be seating behind the Brewers dugout or not behind the dugout, but on that side, down in the corner, in right field.

So, onto death, some as predictable as old age and a heart attack; others not so, like being drunk and ornery, getting kicked off a train and then falling into a river and drowning or whichever Ed Delahanty legend you prefer.

All deaths are delved into great detail on the website The Deadball Era  a place maybe overlooked by internet surfers because there is another far more familiar dead ball era, the one that came BBR (Before Babe Ruth.) Some say that era never existed but most people do.

But that’s not the point of this post, death is and more specifically, suicides. I don’t know how many there have been. (The Deadball Era lists them all. Feel free to count yourself) But lift my beer stein lid open and the first name that pops out is Doug Ault. Maybe it’s because I live in Canada and for now, the Blue Jays are the only major league team here? Ault hit the first two home runs in Blue Jays history, both on a snowy, opening day in April of 1977 in Toronto. The Blue Jays won the game and Pete Vukovich earned the save, future Brewer Vuke. But Ault. His career didn’t last long, four years, and he only hit 17 home runs, amazing that two of them came on that one day. He died of a self inflicted gun shot wound at the age of 54.

Danny Thomas. He was called the sundown kid because after joining the World Wide Church of God, he refused to pitch from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. He was charged with rape and hung himself in prison.

There’s no transcript revealing either one of their last breath thoughts.

Tony Horton played seven years in the majors, three and a half with Boston, three and a half with Cleveland. He could have played a lot longer had it not been for an emotional disorder. He was apparently booed heavily and as a partial result, tried to commit suicide. That was in Cleveland. Thankfully, he failed in his attempt. Apparently his psychiatrist encouraged him to cut ties with baseball. There’s not much more info about him.

According to his SABR Bio, he became a bit of a recluse.