brewers baseball and things


shake it off

A band of young boys connected by habits were never bothered by a baby sleeping in a stroller or a drunk using the curb as a headrest. The boys marveled the way both slept so peacefully and wondered, if underneath all the dust, dirt and flesh, they dreamed the same dream?

The boys roamed day and night in search of automobiles. Didn’t matter what make or model. Hoods were pried open and innards removed. Nothing but bare aluminum carcasses remained. The parts transplanted to dusty lots. Strangers came from far away. Their knees crunched. Must have been retired catchers. They were drawn to the coils and gaskets spread out in stick-figure formations, crop circles, a  virgin wind, boys crawling along rocks barefoot, into caves. A stubbed toe. Dog fights by the canal. Ambulance sirens. Stitches, the disabled list, but the roster is 25 deep so a few bullpen meltdowns or tripping around second base. A seven game losing streak. Holes in your shoes. Wet socks. Shake it off. The season is long.

Doc, pass me a few of those pills and sure, I’d love a shiatsu. I love dogs.

A dog? What’s a matter with you boy? Hop up on the examining table and I’ll give you a massage, not a dog. Shake it off. Relax. 

But how do you shake off an entire season Doc? 

I scrolled the roster of the 1942 Philadelphia Phillies to see if any names reappeared on the 1941-1940-1939-1938 teams as well because they lost 100 games five years in a row, only team to ever do it. The Washington Senators lost four in a row, 1961-1964 and so did the Mets, 1962-1965, but only the Phillies did it for five.

I couldn’t find a player appearing on all five teams, but right-handed pitchers Ike Person and Boom Boom Beck, outfielder Stan Benjamin, catcher Bennie Warren, and most interesting of all, third baseman Pinkie May were on four of them.

Merrill Glend “Pinkie” May”…. What crappy luck! He plays on the last four of the Philly 100 loss seasons and then he plays one more year – 1943 and then Pinkie goes off to war and never returns to baseball. But somewhere along the way he met a lady, because he’s listed as the father to Milt May who wasn’t born in May, but did enjoy a 15-year career as a catcher. And the closest he came to being on a team with 100 losses was the 1975 Astros who lost 97.

I’m not sure I would really want to be traded mid-season, to a contender anyway. It would make the dance and dive, that late September mosh pit celebration around the mound feel kind of strange, lukewarm like I didn’t really belong, foreign country.

Jonathan Lucroy says the Brewers don’t appear interested in winning anytime soon and since he’s not getting any younger, maybe they should trade him because he wants to play on a winner, not a re builder.

But there is loyalty in panhandling to feed a fix and enduring all the moon phases of a team’s face lift and  being in the seats for all 81 home games. My thoughts return to Robin Yount and twenty years with the Brewers, with the same freaking team and no other team. I counted eighteen players in all who enjoyed careers of 20 or more years and played each and every one of those years on the same team- Brooks Robinson, Walter Johnson, Red Faber, Jim Palmer, Mel Ott, Stan Musial, Yaz, Stargell, Trammel, Biggio, Brett, Gwynn, Ripken, Kaline and Yount, but  all these guys played on winners at least once.

Only Luke Appling and Ted Lyons of the White Sox and Mel Harder of the Indians never stepped foot in the playoffs.