Tag:Milwaukee Brewers
Posted on: December 16, 2011 6:50 pm
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Love Letters: The Pujols, Braun and Santo Edition

Ho, ho, ho, and all we're missing is the 'w'! How ... how am I ever going to get to my Christmas cards when I'm so far behind on Love Letters? Let's go, Rudolph:

FROM: Shashi R.
Re.: Let's Ease Up on MLB negativity based upon Braun, Pujols stories

Mr. Miller,

Thanks for your piece on cutting out the negativity regarding baseball. When it comes to PEDs and professional sport, the entire public discussion has been a joke for years. Of course MLB players used and use PEDs, but for some reason fans, Congress, and, yes, the media have given the NBA and NFL a ridiculous pass for precisely the same behavior. For every 20 stories or comments regarding MLB and PEDs, maybe we see one story regarding the NFL. I'll never understand the hypocrisy. Either it's cheating or it's not, irrespective of the sport involved.

True dat. My feeling is, people have higher expectations for baseball because it means more to them. The old,"to whom much is given, much is expected." And I will say, that's not a bad thing either.

FROM: Charles S.

Hey a--hole, calling someone Mr. [Pujols] is s sign of respect and also because your colleague does not know Pujols personally and therefore should not call him by his first name. That's call being polite you jerk-off. Your colleague is not Pujol's best friend. Who the f-- are you to be castigating anyone for addressing someone like that. Didn't your parents teach you anything. Idiot.

Obviously, we need to tighten our firewall so Neanderthals like you can't get past it. You're going to lecture me about respect while using language like this? I fear for our country -- low-lifes like you bring our national IQ down with the monkeys. Go crawl back under the rock from where you arrived.

FROM: Mike M.
Re.: Pujols' arrival in Anaheim perhaps a call from higher up

Scott,

I love your work, but this one was way off base. Of course he left St. Louis for the money. It was solely about the money. That's common sense, Scott. He got offered 30 million dollars more than what the Cardinals offered, that's why he left. He didn't go there because God wanted him to. Please don't write dumb articles again. You're usually pretty good, but you're better than this one.

Come on now. What I wrote was, there were other reasons aside from money why Pujols left St. Louis. And after the 99.9 pecent that covers the finances of the deal, there are. Trust me.

FROM: Eric
Re: Pujols' move leaves St. Louis in shock, Anaheim in awe

"It was a performance that, on one stunning and astounding December day, instantly turned bittersweet for anyone rooting for the Cardinals." Good column, but you're accusing Cardinals fans of something that isn't true. Did yesterday's signing change the score of Game 3 and alter the final result of the World Series? I think Cards fans still recall that Game 3 and the rest of this series with good memories.

I'll give you that. But isn't it going to be bittersweet from the standpoint that as years pass and Cards fans revisit that game and World Series, it always will be accompanied by the sting of the way Pujols left?

FROM: John D.

Scott,

Grow up. We in St. Louis are not in shock. We have had a year to get used to the idea that Albert may be gone. Our franchise is far bigger and greater than any one player, even one who, had he stayed like Stan and Bob Gibson could have achieved true baseball immortality. In the end Albert will be associated with California, also known as the land of fruits and nuts. No offense. I have a feeling our little franchise here in St. Lou will do just fine! Let me know if you think otherwise, else I'll assume you agree and are just another coastal hack writer like so many others.

Inferiority complex? I never for a minute said or implied that your "little franchise ... in St. Lou" would not be fine. Last I checked, the Cardinals rank only second to the Yankees in World Series titles. I love that there's so much history that you only needed to refer to "Stan" -- no last name required. Everybody knows. Let me know if you think otherwise.

FROM: Jonathan G.

I assume you have received your ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame. I hope you will consider Jeff Bagwell, Barry Larkin, Don Mattingly, Tim Raines, and Alan Trammell for enshrinement this year. I also hope my note finds you well and you have a Happy Holiday season.

Ballot is sitting right here on my desk. Each of those names will be strongly considered. I'll write about my Hall of Fame choices probably the week between Christmas and New Year.

FROM: Court
Re.: Finally voted to Hall of Fame, Santo a lesson on never giving up

Scott,

Beautifully written column about a beautiful man. You really did Ron Santo justice with this piece. To echo your comments about a man's greatest legacy lying in his ability to continue to teach from the grave, perhaps what Santo has taught us, or perhaps more accurately reminded us of, are those rare moments in life when all bitterness, jealousy, hate, and recrimination fall from our hearts and we accept everything as it is and as it will be, and our empathy for others, even the seemingly worst among us, runs thick and deep. A man who lives with passion and heart is never forgotten. Santo was surely one of those. My sympathies and joy to his family and the great city of Chicago.

Beautifully said, Court. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Posted on: December 10, 2011 9:04 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2011 11:39 pm
 

No messing around with baseball's testing

Teeth? You bet. Let's talk about teeth for a moment.

Ryan Braun testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, revealed by ESPN.com in a Saturday night bombshell and confirmed by CBSSports.com, is rough news for Braun, the Milwaukee Brewers and for major league baseball.

As Braun protests and the dispute is appealed, though, what we know right now is this:

Anybody questioning the bite of baseball's anti-steroid rules should question no more.

Never before, to our knowledge, has a standing Most Valuable Player award winner failed a PED test.

Quick reaction in the heat of the moment? Here goes:

1. Easy as snap judgments are, we need to momentarily hit the pause button until this appeal is heard and a decision is rendered.

2. If it is upheld, then just as Braun's stature will be diminished, baseball's should be elevated.

No player that we know of has ever had an appeal overturned. However, that doesn't mean it hasn't happened behind closed doors.

That a current MVP is busted for PED's and facing a 50-game suspension to start the 2012 season is further evidence that we're way past the Steroid Era. While it is naïve to believe the game is clean and nobody's doing that stuff anymore, at the same time, the fact that testing can work is exhibited by Braun's collaring.

If the failed test is upheld, there will be a lasting stain on Braun and an increasing strain on Milwaukee. Already, the Brewers are expecting to lose Prince Fielder this winter in free agency. That happens, and they lose Braun for the first 50 games of 2011, they are in deep trouble.

Braun cannot talk about his situation until after the appeals process is finished.

Right now, the baseball world awaits his explanation.

"I really hope Braunie's initial test is not upheld," tweeted Jimmy Rollins, the 2007 NL MVP, on Saturday night.

If it is, what I really want to hear is the next conversation between Braun and the Dodgers' Matt Kemp, who finished second in last summer's NL MVP voting.

Recall, anyone?
Posted on: December 8, 2011 2:13 am
 

Fielder talks inch along in Dallas

DALLAS -- Waiting for some juice in the Prince Fielder talks?

Keep waiting.

"We've spent the past three days stuck in hotel rooms going through the flurry of teams that have come in and made their presentations, listening to teams talk about their interest levels, what they see and how Prince can fit into their organization as a player and contractually," Scott Boras, the agent for Fielder, said late Wednesday night. "We're taking all of this information, and I'm heading out to meet with Prince and discuss it and get an approach.

"And then we're going to begin furthering the process with teams."

Translation: Fielder isn't close to finding a landing spot.

The big first baseman declined the Milwaukee Brewers' offer of arbitration Wednesday, confident that there is a long-term deal awaiting him in the market. With all of the attention so far devoted to another slugging first baseman, Albert Pujols, Fielder's status has remained under the radar since the free agent signing period started last month.

The Brewers are maintaining contact with Boras, but they are not confident in their financial ability to retain him. Texas remains interested but on the periphery (for now), according to sources familiar with the Rangers' plans. So, too, does Seattle, whose general manager, Jack Zduriencik, was Milwaukee's scouting director when the Brewers made Fielder their No. 1 pick in the first round (seventh overall) of the 2002 draft.

There are those who believe the Cubs will enter the bidding, but all appears quiet on the North Side of Chicago for now (besides, the Cubs have been involved with Pujols so far). Some people think the Blue Jays will turn aggressive in Fielder's direction.

Boras maintains that the Pujols talks are not impacting those of Fielder, and that whatever decision Pujols ultimately makes will not affect Fielder.

"I just don't see teams other than the team that signs Albert -- that would be the only team I would think that would be impacted," Boras said. "The real issue is, does a team need a young, franchise core player? These players have so much value to them because they have value from the media content, they increase your RSN [Regional Sports Network] value tremendously, they also increase your attendance and they also allow ownership to retain ancillary players at a greater rate because those players want to stay on a winning team with a core player like that.

"It's very nice to hit in front of those kinds of players, and that attracts players. We saw in Milwaukee a great pitcher, Zack Greinke, let his original team know he wanted to go there and play. And that's because they had players like Prince Fielder there. And I think players sign long term to stay with those teams.

"There's an attraction value that comes with those players that help clubs retain the players they have or attract other ones.

"I just think there are few of them."
Posted on: December 1, 2011 8:58 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 9:52 pm
 

Angels, others, pursuing Aramis Ramirez

Having already acquired catcher Chris Iannetta from the Rockies, the Angels are in discussions with free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez this week as they look to boost their offense, according to sources.

There is no indication that a deal is near. Ramirez is talking with multiple clubs, according to sources, and is said to be whittling his list down to a final few. He will probably make a decision next week during the winter meetings in Dallas. The Brewers also are in the mix according to Foxsports.com.

Working under new general manager Jerry Dipoto, the Angels are targeting players with good on-base percentages being that they ranked 11th in the American League in that department last summer. Ramirez, 33, had a .361 OBP for the Cubs last summer and has a career .342 OBP over 14 big league seasons.

The Angels inquired about him at the trade deadline last July, but Ramirez had no-trade powers and did not want to move his family. He was vocal enough about that a trade never was put to him for approval.

Third base is one of the few areas where the Angels have versatility in what they do this winter. With Alberto Callaspo and Maicer Izturis there last summer, it was one of the lineup's weak links. The Angels asked Mark Trumbo to work out at third base over the winter while anticipating the return of first baseman Kendrys Morales next season. But as we saw last year, Morales, who suffered a badly fractured ankle two Mays ago, is no sure thing.

Izturis was discussed with the Rockies in the Iannetta trade this week -- the Angels instead wound up dealing young right-hander Tyler Chatwood to Colorado. He also has been reportedly discussed in a potential deal with Detroit.

The Brewers currently have Casey McGehee at third base, though he lost favor last season and was replaced at third by Jerry Hairston Jr. in the postseason.


Posted on: October 18, 2011 8:06 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2011 8:09 pm
 

Focused Pujols appreciating the moment

ST. LOUIS -- The questions continue to pelt Albert Pujols like the cold rain of early autumn: Has he taken moments here and there during this postseason to soak in the sights and sounds of what could be his final days as a Cardinal?

His answers remain steadfastly the same: No, he isn't thinking about his impending free agency right now, hasn't thought about it since addressing the matter this spring. And can we please talk about the World Series now?

But here's the thing: You know Pujols can't help but be thinking about it because of his incredibly classy gesture in Milwaukee on Sunday.

When Prince Fielder stepped in to lead off the bottom of the eighth with the Brewers trailing 12-6, Pujols called time from first base in an effort to extend the standing ovation Fielder was receiving from the Miller Park crowd.

It was a gesture that got lost in the post-game champagne as the Cardinals clinched, which was too bad. Because it shouldn't have been.

"I've been in that situation here with the best fans in baseball, and I wanted Prince to have the same feeling that I have here, and the same chills," Pujols said when I asked him about it as the teams worked out Tuesday preparing for the World Series opener Wednesday. "I wanted him to have almost the same tears that I have when I have the standing ovation from our fans in my last at-bat, at least they thought that was going to be my last at-bat here in Busch Stadium at that time.

"And I wanted to make sure that Lance [Lynn, St. Louis pitcher] gave Prince a really good opportunity. I think what Prince has done for the organization and for the city of Milwaukee, what he's done in turning the organization around, is amazing. I just wanted him to have his moment. That was his moment.

"At that moment I didn't look at the scoreboard, I didn't look at who was winning or losing. At that moment, I was looking at the person, at the guy who deserved that standing ovation. I wish it would have been a little bit longer. I tried my best. That's how much respect I have for him and the Brewers and those guys."

In a rare philosophical mood Tuesday, Pujols continued.

"I thought it was the right thing to do," he said. "It didn't matter what uniform you were wearing. Things like that, seeing Jeter get his 3,000th hit, seeing the standing ovation that the Yankees fans gave him, those are moments you can't replace. Those are moments that you always are going to take with you and I wanted him to have that opportunity just like I have here."

I still think Pujols will re-sign with the Cardinals this winter.

But if not, this is one of the longest goodbyes on record. Busch Stadium fans cheered for Pujols on the final Sunday of the season when it appeared as if that would be his final home game of 2011.

Then they cheered him in Game 4 of the Division Series in case the Cardinals were eliminated by the Phillies in Game 5.

Then they cheered him in Game 5 of the NL Championship Series in case the Cardinals didn't come back alive from Milwaukee.

Now, the next potential Pujols' farewell at-bats in Busch could come in Game 2 of the World Series here Thursday ... or in Game 6 or 7 here next week.

For now, Pujols is just concerned with attempting to win his second World Series ring in his third Fall Classic appearance with the Cardinals. They were swept by Boston in 2004, then they beat Detroit in 2006.

The big question is how the Rangers will pitch Pujols, who has taken six walks -- including two intentional passes -- so far this postseason.

"I don't know," said Pujols, who is hitting .419 this postseason with two homers and 10 RBI. "Hopefully, I can have the same series I have against Philadelphia and Milwaukee. I'm very patient at the plate, I know that I have great players in front of me and behind me who are going to be able to do damage.

"My main goal is to go out and if I get a good pitch to hit put my best swing on it. And if not, try to take my walk. That's something I've been doing the past two months that I wasn't doing earlier in the year."
Posted on: October 15, 2011 6:43 pm
 

Cards, Brewers so close they deserve Game 7

MILWAUKEE -- This NL Championship Series simply cannot end on Sunday, in Game 6, without the Cardinals and Brewers extending it to Game 7, can it?

Until St. Louis blasted the Brewers in Game 5, the two teams for the year (including this series) were 11-11 against each other. Total runs were almost as close: Milwaukee was edging St. Louis 90-88.

Now, the Cardinals lead the series 12-11 and have outscored the Brewers 95-91.

The teams went 9-9 against each other during the regular season.

"We've both got good teams," Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina says. "The numbers don't lie.

"They have good hitters, and we have good hitters. They have good pitchers, and we have good pitchers."

The Cardinals, who will send Edwin Jackson to the mound for Game 7, have history with them: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, in a best-of-seven series that was tied at 2-2, the winner of Game 5 has gone on to win 36 of 52 series -- including 10 of 13 in the LCS.

The Brewers, who will start Shaun Marcum, have home-field advantage with them: Including the playoffs, they're 61-25 in Miller Park this year. Close the roof, as MLB says it will do for Game 6 because a chilly afternoon/night is expected, and the Brewers are 26-12.

St. Louis infielder Ryan Theriot says he "loves" the atmosphere in Milwaukee, and while acknowledging that these two teams probably deserve to go seven games ... you can guess which way he's leaning overall.

"I don't want to go to Game 7," Theriot says. "You want to get that win as soon as you can. Momentum is a big deal."

Likes: We've got a chance to have a Game 7 in an LCS for the first time since 2008 (Boston-Tampa Bay). ... Last time we had two Game 7s? Try 2003: Yankees-Red Sox and Cubs-Marlins. ... Chuck Berry in St. Louis participating in the national anthem the other day. ... Autumn colors now in Technicolor in Milwaukee and St. Louis both. ... Culver's frozen custard in Milwaukee. Did I mention this? I'm sure I have. But man, their concretes with ground up Twix bars are terrific.

Dislikes: A short flight of only about an hour ... delayed for two hours. Talk about feeling like you're going backwards. ... The very nice waitress at breakfast in the St. Louis airport Saturday morning who crossed over the line when joking that when she turned 51, she got a mustache for her birthday. ... Those hideous uniforms in Saturday's Michigan-Michigan State game. Man, between all this conference shifting and gawdawful uniforms, college football is starting to go to the hounds. ... Aw, they canceled Charlie's Angels so soon? I've been on the road so long I never even saw it.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Deadlines and commitments
"What to leave in, what to leave out"

-- Bob Seger, Against the Wind
Posted on: October 14, 2011 11:15 pm
 

La Russa, Cards bullpen blitz Brewers in Game 5

ST. LOUIS -- You won't see this often. You surely would never see this in the American League. But as Tony La Russa continues to put on a managerial clinic in this NL Championship Series, he actually, for one fleeting moment, put more trust in starter Jaime Garcia's bat than in his arm Friday night.

Yes, St. Louis' 7-1 blitz of Milwaukee, which gave the Cardinals a three-games-to-two lead in this NLCS, was a strategist's delight.

Fourth inning, La Russa called for eight-hole hitter Nick Punto to drop a sacrifice bunt to set up a one-out, second-and-third situation for Garcia. It paid off when Garcia roped an RBI ground ball to shortstop.

Fifth inning, La Russa promptly yanked Garcia with two out, two on and a three-run lead so reliever Octavio Dotel could face slugger Ryan Braun.

It was textbook when Dotel fanned Braun in what turned out to be the game-changing -- game-saving? -- at-bat. And you could see why La Russa pounced to quickly: Braun now is 2 for 10 lifetime against Dotel with eight strikeouts.

Um, that's K-K-K-K-K-K-K-K.

And Braun is probably about a month out from winning the NL MVP award this year.

Chalk up another one for the Cardinals' overpowering bullpen, whose long relief in short order quickly has become the star of this NLCS.

La Russa has managed with a sense of urgency throughout this series, but it seemed even more on display in Game 5. Easy to understand why, too: When a series is 2-2, Game 5 always is pivotal. But with this thing headed back to Milwaukee, given the way the Brewers dominate at Miller Park, it was more pivotal than usual.

Had St. Louis headed to Wisconsin having to win both games in Miller Park, well, it would have been worse than bad cheese curds for the Cards.

But now the pressure is squarely on the Brewers.

St. Louis winning one of the next two in old Milwaukee? Now, that's doable.

Posted on: October 14, 2011 8:03 pm
 

Brewers still sticking with Marcum in Game 6


ST. LOUIS -- The Brewers win Game 5 here tonight, they're up three games to two and in terrific shape.

They lose, they're down three games to two and in horrific shape.

Excuse the extremes, but with manager Ron Roenicke proclaiming that the Brewers are sticking with Shaun Marcum to start Game 6, there really doesn't seem to be much in between.

"Right now we are set on Game 6," Roenicke said. "I don't know what would come up to change my mind on that, but we talked about it quite a bit and we feel great with Marcum going."

What some folks thing could change Roenicke's mind, and what makes others feel not so great about Marcum starting, is the fact that he's surrendered 30 earned runs in his past 33 innings. Marcum has earned just two wins since Aug. 19.

The Brewers are insistent that Marcum has pitched well but simply run into bad luck.

Opposing hitters seem to be saying otherwise.

Roenicke, on the bad luck angle, said: "Some of it comes from not being quite as sharp. I don't think he's quite as sharp. But he is having bad luck. He'll give up a jam shot base hit, then the next guy will hit a ground ball between somebody and then he'll make a bad pitch and somebody will hit a homer off of him."

Early in the season, Roenicke said, Marcum's stuff was "a little crisper", and the manager insists that Marcum is still "throwing well." He called Marcum "our best pitcher" for the first two months of the season.

"And then I thought he was pretty steady from there on out," Roenicke said. "He still finished with a good year."

Said pitching coach Rick Kranitz: "The command part of his fastball needs to be better, and it needs to be down in the strike zone."

The issue isn't quite as urgent if Milwaukee beats St. Louis in Game 5, because then the Brewers have some wiggle room.

But if the Brewers lose and are facing elimination in Game 6 ... well, it will be interesting to see whether Roenicke sticks with Marcum, or whether his "Right now we are set on Game 6" comment meant right now as in Friday afternoon ... but not on Sunday afternoon.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com