brewers baseball and things


the brewers are 15-27

I feel like an obese person conveniently preaching that beauty is only skin deep. The Brewers lost last night, to the Braves, 10-1, but it’s gonna be ok. It always was ok.

The Middle East and Southeast Asia were carved up by drunk colonizers in the aftermath of World War II or maybe it happened decades earlier? Wasn’t the world once Austria Hungarian Ottoman Persian Assyrian Babylonian Etruscan Hebrew? I should keep my day job, but over there, in some anonymous Idaho stream maybe  there is extra terrestrial dust from long long even longer ago?

Makes me wonder why the Houston Colt .45s included a decimal point before their name and why there was no apostrophe between 45 and s. Was there some drunk grammar colonizing crew that decided exception to the rule or maybe it’s  me who doesn’t know the rules?  Should there be a decimal point before 45?

Apparently there is supposed to be one before .45 but why no apostrophe between 5 and s as in Colt .45s? I guess for the same reason there is no apostrophe between the r and s of Brewers as in Milwaukee Brewers. English is complicated.

The Colt 45s, excuse me the Colt .45s  played in Colt Stadium from 1962-64 before moving into the 8th wonder of the world Astrodome. Colt Stadium apparently featured rattle snakes on the field, horrific heat and humidity and  nasty swarms of mosquitos. Some called it a barn which was maybe generous because barns have hay for rolling around in and smooching and I suspect there was a baby or two conceived at Colt Stadium.

These mosquitos remind me of the black flies of quebec north which apparently drove the native americans on summer vacation to the Atlantic coast. Smart people. They fished for lobster and returned home after the flies were done doing there thing.

Some people think because the Brewers are playing so bad this year, they too should go on vacation, especially since summer hasn’t even started, plenty of time to make a casual escape as opposed to a secret Baltimore Colts sneak out of dodge situation. All the proper disguises could be put in place with minor league brewers replacing major league ones, but the uniform name backs would remain the same name. A little face make up her and there and no one would know the difference. And who would fill minor league rosters? Anyone. Local kids with nothing else to do for the summer. What a thrill for everyone involved. And current Brewer players would be happy as well, catching those lobsters along the eastern seaboard in anonymity.

Early on in the 2014 season way back when there was concern over Carlos Gomez’s swing so hard his helmet fell off or even worse-he dropped down on one knee, but not to pray. It was to keep from falling or maybe both serve the same purpose? But the concern went deeper than Gomez. It stretched up and down the roster. This was a team that didn’t take too many pitches and hardly ever walked.

I was late to OB%, but ode to my strat-o-matic baseball guru. Thank you.  He was the one who ordered Bill James pamphlets from the backs of baseball digests. It took me a long while, but I caught on.  OB% matters.

So April-May-June of last year was an enjoyable drinking binge with all that getting on base and timely hitting. We spiked our next morning coffees with whisky to prolong the feeling,  but we knew it wouldn’t last or the good pitching did, but there were no more ducks on the pond and as a result-no more runs in July-August-September and even fewer this year.

And so home runs are my best friends and that’s OK.  I love the Brewers. Win or lose is beside the point and excuse me while I sound like a fortune cookie cliche, but the journey is what matters and there’s a game almost every damn day and I can watch it if I feel like it and if I had a porch, I’d paint it and listen to a game on the radio and pop a top on a pabst.



another round of Porters please

Some loved their mother surrogate too much. Others were afraid to be alone. Either way, Mrs Z’s influence had to end. We sort of knew someone would replace her. Sort of because the feeling was vague like living in a fog but sure enough;  into that unknown world swirled Darrel Porter and his highly respectable .371 OB% in 1975. 

We first learned about Porter from our strat-o-matic baseball guru. We all had older brothers, but only he had a brother who ordered Bill James Baseball Abstract from the back of Baseball Digest in the late 1970’s. There was no Cain and Abel in their family. The brothers were too different, but they both shared a love for baseball.

One took a path of booze and music and the other computer programming, but they both celebrated on base percentage and our guru was generous with his wisdom. The booze warmed his heart I suppose and after Porter’s 1979 season with the Royals, a poster went up on guru’s bedroom wall and word got out real fast. It was no longer a secret. OB% was the key.

Our annual winter drafts were never the same. All the sentimental and emotional value was sucked out; replaced by stock market perusal of the previous year’s final stat page. No more Freddie Patek because he was small and Jose Cruz because you could say Cruuuuuuuuuuuuuuz every time he came to bat.

What mattered was walks and ob% and defensive range and throwing arms and the points on a pitchers card; a secret system invented by our guru that he shared with us too. Parity arrived to our league and Darrel Porter was our first cause and that carried extra weight in Milwaukee because Porter was the first player ever chosen by the Milwaukee Brewers.

muDThj5K4oO-gGIe1V0XQ9QIn June of 1970, the Brewers selected him as the 4th overall pick and as it turned out, Porter enjoyed the most productive career of any player selected in that first round.

Porter had a drinking and drug habit and went to treatment in 1979. He also became a born again Christian. I don’t know which came first, but either way, his best years were behind him; both in terms of partying and production. Maybe he was just tired as he neared 30.

I was  never sure if guru loved him for the booze or the exaggerated crouch of a stance; part Brett; part Cooper with knees bent even further or maybe he crouched more later in his career. Shocking either way and almost a miracle in that Porter was drafted as a catcher and remained a catcher. It’s tough enough to squat all day on defense and do it again at the plate! Maybe his body became a mold.

Porter attended Southwest high school in Oklahoma; same high school as Bobby Murcer and Mickey Tettleton; three future big leaguers from the same school; kind of unique but not out of this world. Porter and Tettleton were both catchers however and both rank in the top 30 all time; OB% for catchers. 

Tettleton finished with a .3688 OB; good for 13th all time and Porter at .3539; 24th place. Porter was traded to Kansas City; not a very good trade for the Brewers; bringing in Bob McLure, Jim Wohlford and Jamie Quirk.

Then again McLure pitched 9 years as a Brewer; starter and reliever and won game 5 of the 1982 ALCS, but then lost two games in the World Series including the decisive game 7.

Porter only played four years with KC; signed with St. Louis and faced the Brewers in the 1982 series and won the MVP. Five years as a Cardinal and two more in Texas before retiring. He passed away in 2002 at 50 years young.

Our strat-o-matic guru loved Porter; that swing and crouch; the ob% and booze; him being a catcher and working so hard; a shot and a cold one at the rail of another long day. We named a cocktail after him; nothing fancy; just a glass of whiskey. We called it a Porter; to remove the baggage from our lives; for a few hours anyway.



everyday mickeys

No one really wants to be a Moses, not even Moses. He was shy and hesitant to lead the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery. He even asked God if his older brother Aaron could do the talking; be his mouthpiece. Who can blame him? But what can you do? It’s unavoidable. Shit happens and then you hear a voice. You either listen or miss the train.

I wonder if Moses made love to a bottle before bed or hooked up with Ezekiel and scored whatever it was that inspired a four winged chariot vision a few books later. Jerusalem whiskey can only do so much. But then again, it did wonders for Damon Maskins; the booze and vision that is.

He was 17 when he moved out of his parent’s house. I think he was driven to dangerous extremes because other kids picked at his rotting carcass like scavengers. They were too afraid to live their own life or didn’t really know how or lacked the courage to try so they coat tailed Damon instead.

Damon played the drums, listened to April Wine and loved Mickey Tettleton. He also slept on a hammock and drank whiskey in the afternoon. None of this stopped him from rolling strat-o-matic baseball dice with us every winter.

Damon moved in with his band members. There were girls there, but when we arrived, they got the hell out of dodge saying…”shit, it’s the paper baseball people.” We were already sorting through cards and too concerned about lefty on lefty matchups to care about girls.

We were a sanctuary to Damon. We never wanted anything from him; only to fill out his lineup card and roll some dice. I think hard work was Damon’s greatest and only vision. Nose to the grindstone day after day. Never stopping with yesterday water off his back. Band practice, bartender, three whiskeys, hanging with with the band for band talk, three more whiskeys, sleep, do it all over again. Strat-o-matic baseball.



Maybe that’s why he loved Tettleton so much. The guy walked over 100 times during five different seasons, hit a home run every 20 or so at bats and squatted in the dirt blocking balls for nine innings. Catchers wear the uniforms of great warriors. Tettleton was a centaur.

I tracked Damon down a few years ago. He was still tending bar and playing in his band. He immediately recognized me. My face doesn’t change that much. He leaned over the rail and looked long and hard into my eyes. I didn’t flinch; had nothing to hide. He finished his shift and we talked for a long while; dropped hundreds of baseball names, discussed the Brewers starting pitching and drank and drank some more.

The situation was addictive for both of us; a pleasant escape from all the useless expectations. He had to work tomorrow and I had to be back at work the following week.

There was never any promise land for Damon or if there was, it was far away from the klingons and their need to be entertained. There was never any promise land for Moses either He never stepped foot in Israel. Seems kind of ironic or something since he was the big star of the old testament, but then again it doesn’t seem ironic at all.

There’s always so much more work to be done.


maybe today perfecto

I think it was a summer afternoon or was it winter? Who knows? Who cares? We were 20 games plus into the 2007 strat-o-matic baseball season so there was no reason to go outside anyway, but maybe I should have.

Dontrelle Willis of the Octopus Kings threw a no hitter against my Over The Fencers. I thought about offering congratulations, but was too pissed off so I rolled the dice one more time and  said to my friend,  “big deal! it wasn’t a perfect game. throw me a beer.”

There’s been other no hitters in Strat-o-matic time. I witnessed two others on TV, but never a perfect game, never 27 up and 27 down without a base runner. On Tuesday night, Homer Bailey was perfect through six innings, but it didn’t last. It seldom does. He walked Gregor Blanco to lead off the seventh inning and had to settle for just another no hitter.

Thanks to Bailey and Joey Votto’s defense, there’s now been 280 no hitters since 1901, but only 21 perfect games out of something like 350,000 games. It takes some impossible balance of perfect wind, moon, tides, humidity, umpires, great defense and oh yeh, a pitcher with pinpoint control.

There’s been at least one perfect game in every month baseball is played including Don Larson’s 1956 October World Series game. The merry month of May has the most with seven. August had to wait until last season’s King Felix. That was one of three in the same 2012 season-the most ever.

Kenny Rogers threw one on July 28, 1994 three years to the day after Dennis Martinez did the same against the Dodgers. That makes July 28th the only day in which two perfect games have been thrown. It’s also Marty Brenneman’s birthday.

Maybe Mark Buehrle’s in 2009 was the most spectacular because of what happened in the 9th inning. Dewayn Wise’s catch almost silenced White Sox’s announcer Ken Harrelson, but mercy! the hawk returned and perfection happened two outs later.