brewers baseball and things

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letting the arrow fly



Prince Fielder dropped an anchor at first base in 2006 and didn’t move. His name was penciled in the lineup almost every game during his stay in Milwaukee. And when the free agency bell rang after 7 years, we passed a hat around so he would stay.The gesture was more a symbolic appreciation than a realistic possibility. Milwaukee didn’t have that kind of money.

Prince helped usher in a new era in Milwaukee; a winning one and as it turned out, he gave Milwaukee the best years of his baseball life; 230 homeruns in just over 6 years of full-time service. He played all 162 games in 2009 and never played fewer than 157 other than his rookie season of 2005.

The Brewers won the wild card in 2008 and in 2011-the final year of Prince’s contract, they took over first place in the NL Central. There was talk of trading Prince to a contender in exchange for top prospects all 2011 season long. But the Brewers were winning and Prince played out his contract.

The Brewers milked power and production from Prince at a bargain basement price. Yeh, he entered arbitration after this third year and earned a 7 million dollar raise and 4 million dollar raise each of his next two seasons, but he was worth every penny.

A 15 million dollar contract for a guy who hits 35 or more home runs, drives in 100 runs, gets on base and hits for a decent average is a steal in today’s game. For whatever reason or no reason, Prince has not been the same player since leaving Milwaukee.

It’s hard to let go of players drafted and developed by a team like it’s hard for parents to let go of children and lovers to let go of lovers no longer lovers. The silence is loud and first base feels empty, but tectonic plates shift and fields dry up. We love you and wish you well, but goodbye.

Yovani Gallardo was also a big part of the Brewers return to winning. After 13 years of consecutive losing seasons, the Brewers climbed above the .500 level in 2007 which happened to be Gallardo’s rookie season. He quickly became the team’s opening day and number one starter.

Gallardo is eligible to be a free agent after this season and just like Fielder in 2011, the Brewers find themselves in a bit of a pickle. But it’s no pickle at all because once again they find themselves in first place. Gallardo will most likely stay and not be traded for prospects to a contender.

The decision is not so easy because teams are no longer automatically rewarded with compensation draft picks for free agents signing with other teams. The details are sticky, but the simple deal is-you get nothing.

Fielder flew the coop in the 2011; one year before the new Collective Bargaining Agreement so the Brewers did get a compensation pick. They won’t get one with Gallardo, but him staying and not being traded is a win win situation because dollars hinge on every ball and strike he throws from here on out.

Teams are watching and wondering how much the 28-year old is worth. If he stumbles a bit, better for the Brewers. They can resign him for cheap. And if he thrives, even better for the 2014 pennant race and hopefully, the playoffs.



Gallardo is a streaky pitcher and he’s shown over the first seven years of his career that June and September are his best months. We’re talking about an entire season of data for every month. The numbers are interesting, but not much can be done in terms of preparation and strategy other than holding on through these summer months

Over his last four starts-all in the month of June, he’s pitched 27 innings and allowed a measly three earned runs. Yesterday was June 29th; not quite July, but Gallardo was facing his nemesis-the Colorado Rockies; a team he’s never beat in his career; 9 starts with an  0-4 record and ERA close to 6.

The Rockies lived up to their reputation as one of the best offensive team in baseball; banging out 10 hits off Gallardo, scoring 8 runs in 5 innings. Only 5 of them were earned; two scoring on a double error by the Brewers in Gallardo’s last inning-the fifth. The Brewers throwing the ball wildly all over the infield felt like bizarre justice after the Brewers scored three runs on a passed ball during the team’s last series in Colorado.

Jean Segura and Carlos Gomez both sat out because of injury, but this was more about Gallardo still not figuring out the Rockies. They scored three runs in the first inning with four hits and a walk. Final score; Rockies 10, Brewers 4.

The Brewers are 51-33. 


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a small little gathering

Galliano is a name I will always remember as fat mouthed mickey’s malt beer and dumpster diving for day old donuts. We called Galliano, “g-lee” because he wouldn’t tell us his first name.

He showed up at the wall ball diamond to pick a fight. He was a new kid and needed to mark his turf, posing as a gambler with a wad of cash. We should have called him “hot plate.”

He was easy meat for The Last Straw Fantasy Baseball League driving around town in late March looking for the year’s new recruits. They suckered g-lee and his last 260 bucks without lifting a finger. The rules were real simple. Draft 25 major league baseball players and sit back and watch as the season makes or breaks you. That was the last we saw of g-lee until the all-star break.

He returned to the wall ball diamond looking real pale. He had quit the fantasy league, but it had nothing to do with success or failure. He was in second place. He was just bored, real bored.

sidney mines, novia scotia

sidney mines, novia scotia

The draft day in early April turned out to be the first and last time the owners got together. No one even watched games on tv. They stared at numbers on screens and forgot all about their favorite teams.

“Fantasy is for private sky box general managers,” G-lee said.

On the day he returned, it looked like rain, so we headed indoors to play strat-o-matic baseball. G-lee  had nothing else to do, so he bought some mickey’s malt beer and came inside.

He made a lot of “i’ll be damns” while looking at the detailed player cards, advanced strategy charts and the dice. Man oh man, he loved rolling those dice and when the red one landed on 3 and the two white dice added up to 6, he grabbed his hitter’s card and sang “home run 1-15 or fly ball 16-20.” And when he rolled that 20 sided dice to determine the outcome, he recited a play-by-play we never knew he had in him.

Yeh, g-lee loved all that, but what he loved even more was the beer, pizza, and simply hanging out.

I don’t know this Tony guy in the following video, but there’s definitely some g-lee in him.