Milwaukee Brewers


Dave Parker, crushing it.

Dave Parker, crushing it.

A few years ago at a place of business we shall leave nameless, I was feeling less than inspired. It was hard to see what, if any, impact I was really making beyond just getting through another day without throwing an inkjet printer three floors down into the lobby. It’s your run-of-the-mill office restlessness, but it was mine and it came at a point where it all felt like one cumbersome weight.

The saving grace here was that I wasn’t alone. I had three or four co-conspirators who were just as frustrated and annoyed by our rigid 8-to-5 life, and we came up with a series of inside jokes to help pass the time.

One of them featured the gentleman in this card, Dave Parker. By the time I learned about him, he was augmenting the Bash Brothers in Oakland, a still-viable designated hitter in his late 30s who could send 20 or more baseballs out of the park. We discovered some truly amazing pictures of Parker in his earlier days as a veritable baseball hurricane in Pittsburgh, winning MVP awards and sporting some terrifying face gear and occasionally lighting one up in the dugout. We printed up all of these and hung them up around the office.

I also had this card of him as a Milwaukee Brewer and I taped it to the monitor of my computer. When things got tough or our boss gave us yet another meaningless or impossible task, it was, “be strong like Dave Parker,” or “what would Dave Parker do?”

It’s March now. This is the time to start thinking about baseball and bitching about lineups and Spring Training scores, typically. But always, it seems like a good time to chill before crushing whatever problem is staring us in the face into oblivion.

What would Dave Parker do? He’d chill. Then he’d take care of business.

Cobra

Ryan Braun: baseball player and person who does not have an effect on my life.

Ryan Braun: baseball player and person who does not have an effect on my life.

Overshadowing actual baseball news yesterday, Ryan Braun was suspended for 65 games for his connections to Biogenesis, a Florida company that supplied baseball players with banned substances. It is apparently a very big deal.

It’s not as though there aren’t other subjects to talk about. The Tampa Bay Rays have climbed to within a half-game of the Boston Red Sox thanks to a Matt Moore shutout yesterday. The Chicago Cubs traded Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers for a small army of young players. The Dodgers might finally be good.

But a player who said he didn’t take drugs admitted to taking drugs, and now that’s all that matters. He must be held accountable. He’s a liar. He’s a hypocrite. He must apologize.

If the context wasn’t obvious, the whole thing is pretty ridiculous. The idea of Braun being required to apologize to me personally or to baseball fans or to those he “cheated” just confounds me. Or, maybe it’s exhaustion. But he has had no impact on my life since winning the National League’s Rookie of the Year award in 2007, and I can’t imagine that changes.

Since the baseball world was duped into caring about Mark McGwire’s and Sammy Sosa’s home run chase in 1998, there has been this constant movement for baseball to right old wrongs and punish anything and everything that moves in an attempt to make the game as pure as it was in the good ole’ days, when men were men and players ran on hot dogs and played hurt and whatever other nostalgic nonsense is spewed up in these cases.

I don’t understand it. I don’t see or feel the moral outrage and I don’t feel particularly good or hurt or vindicated when a player is busted for using outlawed chemicals on his body. (more…)

Say Hey! Yuniesky is back in Kansas City... or something.

Yuniesky Betancourt is not a great player. By most accounts, he’s not even a good player, or slightly below average. He’s in competition for the coveted title of  “Worst Everyday Player in Baseball.”

His 2011 numbers with Milwaukee back that up. in 152 games, all at shortstop save for a few pinch hits, Betancourt hit .252 for a .652 OPS, which adjusts down to a 75 OPS+. He did hit 13 home runs, but walked only 16 times. He’s a slap hitter with signs of pop but no real discipline, and he’ll be 30 years old before Opening Day. If he hits a peak, he probably already has.

With that in mind, it’s not hard to understand the outrage with the Royals signing him to a contract for 2012, if there can be such a feeling regarding the signing of an infielder in Kansas City. Even when that infielder has recently been underwhelming in the same uniform. And the “underwhelming” tag comes without much in the way of initial expectations. (more…)

Luis Tiant long ago earnd a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Ron Santo, the great Chicago Cubs third baseman of the 1960s and ‘70s, had the title of “Greatest Baseball Player Not in the Hall of Fame” removed from beside his name this week, when the Veterans Committee elected him into Cooperstown, as part of their “Golden Era” ballot.

This is an event that should be celebrated. Santo, long a great ambassador of the game, was one of the best players to man third base, an under-represented position in the Hall. He was the heart of the Cubs for more than a decade, hit with power, played with grace and performed at a high level while keeping his diabetes in check in an era that wasn’t as kind to sufferers of the disease, both in perception and treatment.

Of course, this is also an event to be ridiculed. Santo was first eligible for induction in 1980, and won’t be able to enjoy his induction in person — he died last year.

Why he was kept out for so many years, and why the voters suddenly saw him eligible after he left the Earth, is anyone’s guess. There are a lot of flaws with the election system and debate over what makes a player worthy of enshrinement. Some say they can just “feel” it, that they know a Hall of Famer when they see one, and don’t need to think about it. Others hold firm to statistical evidence, coldly drawing a line in the mathematical sand — per position, this guy is in, this guy is out, and there’s no debate. (more…)

The first step in rearranging baseball? Bring the Brewers back to the American League.

Seemingly on cue every 15 years or so, baseball talks realignment. First reports were that it was inevitable that the leagues would go even at 15, with interleague play lasting throughout the season. Now, commissioner Bud Selig says that talk of realignment being definitely on for the 2012 season was premature.

Either way, there are a few parts of the system that have bugged me for a while. Having three divisions, an unbalanced schedule and uneven teams has never looked or felt right, so why not take this opportunity to right a few wrongs?

Well, I’ve had this idea, so we’re doing this. Grab a pen, pay attention, and get ready for the new-look majors, according to these five steps: (more…)

Next Page »