Posted on: July 8, 2008 9:50 am

Milwaukee Brewers welcome to the Big Leagues

What you will see tonight at Miller Park will be an absoultely incredible scene.  The season still has 70-plus games to go, but you will see the hopes and dreams of 40,000 plus having a real chance to become reality.  The Brewers have been a franchise in disarray for much of the past quarter century, and that burden looks as if it is about to be lifted.  No longer are the Brewers a team that trades all of its talent away, it is now in the position to take talent from other teams.  It can lock up homegrown talent like Ryan Braun, it can trade for the defending Cy Young Award winner in CC Sabathia.  Many times in the past quarter century my Brewers have felt like a AAAA team, which means that they are better than your typical AAA team, but not quite Major League ready.  This deal for Sabathia ends that.  They are a true Major League team.  They are serious playoff conteders and they even may be the NL favorites to make the World Series at this point.  No longer are the Brewers a perennial doormat or a laughingstock.  This team is here, this team is real and it is a force that deserves to be reckoned with.
Category: MLB
Posted on: June 11, 2008 9:15 am

Where does Griffey rank among the alltime greats?

I was listening to some sports talk show here in Chicago yesterday.  The host, who is a baseball guy and old enough to remember people like Aaron, Mays, Clemente, Banks and others from that generation claimed that at the beginning of his career that Griffey was bar-none the greatest baseball player he had ever seen, and it got me thinking who would be better from those I have seen play.  I couldn't come up with a name.  Some will point to Griffey's highest HR totals coincide with the height of the steroid era from 1996 to 1999, but if you look at his age, those were and should have been his prime years and I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and partially due to that he is not a jackwad as a person, but also due to serious allegations never surfacing about Griffey in regards to steroids.  Personally I don't think a list of the to 25 players of all time is complete without him on that list and I would like to ask of you what you think of him as a player, as a person, and what he means to the game.

For me, I think it is a damn shame that his legacy will be grouped with McGwire, Bonds, Sosa and Palmeiro.  I think those names diminish the meaning of 600 HRs.  Griffey has earned every right to be alongside Aaron, Ruth and Mays in my estimation, those others have not.  While the vast majority of the population will not be able to separate the two, I would at least hope that lifelong baseball fans would be able to tell and note the difference.

Category: MLB
Posted on: April 25, 2008 8:59 am
Edited on: April 25, 2008 9:31 am

Jim Thome. My Homey

Last night Jim Thome of the Chicago White Sox knocked his 513th out of the park.  513, while not a round number, is significant in baseball as he simultaneously passed 2 of the greats in the game.  Ernie Banks and Eddie Matthews.

In the steroid era in baseball, many of the great sluggers of this generation have had their legacies completely discredited due to steroid use and/or allegations.  Some of these names are Sosa, McGwire, Bonds, Palmeiro and I think the jury is still out on A-Rod.  There is a trifecta of stars whose numbers in my opinion are not nearly as appreciated as they should be because there really are no steroid rumors hanging over their heads.  Jim Thome is one of these people, with the others being Ken Griffey Jr and Frank Thomas.  There is an argument that can be made, that Jim Thome is the best pure power hitter, who is also clean, of this generation.  Griffey, while having more HRs, was really a 5 tool, all around player and I put that in a different category.

Since he has come to Chicago, it has been apparent to me that Thome is a wonderful person, always willing to do some good in the world and I am sure many of his fans that he left behind in Cleveland and Philadelphia would agree with that assessment.  It is a shame that his legacy is going to be tainted by the sheer fact he played in the steroid era, alongside some of these cheaters.  Hopefully 20 years down the road, when we look back at the great players of the 1990s and 2000s, Jim Thome's name is at or near the top of that list, as I think in order to fully escape the steroid era, we not only have to punish those who used them, but to prop up the accomplishments of those who didn't.

Category: MLB
Tags: Jim Thome
Posted on: April 15, 2008 9:14 am

Jackie Robinson 61 years later

On this date in 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first African American player in baseball history.  He wasn't the best player available, but probably the best one available to not only play but handle the hatred, the publicity, the heckling and the media pressure this move would undoubtedly bring to the forefront.  His success translated into a generation of African Americans who dominated the game like Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays.  There was another generation of top African American talent led by Kirby Puckett, Tony Gwynn, Ken Griffey Jr and others. Today there are very few African American players in baseball with some teams not even having one on their team.  I don't know exactly what Major League Baseball needs to do in the inner city to promote the game of baseball, but in order for this to remain the finest game on the planet we need to attract top African American talent as we have in the past.  For whatever reason, African Americans are choosing football and basketball in droves over the game I love.  Being a Brewer fan, I am blessed with seeing talented African American players on a daily basis such as Prince Fielder, Bill Hall and Rickie Weeks. When he gets off the DL, I will enjoy seeing Tony Gwynn Jr, and when he gets off suspension, Mike Cameron
Category: MLB
Posted on: April 14, 2008 10:25 am

MLB Heartwarming stories. Meet Gabe Kapler

Gabe Kapler was once on of the hottest prospects in the game, and he played relatively good baseball in stints for the Tigers, Rangers, Rockies and Red Sox, earning a World Series ring along the way.  After the 2006 season, he retired from the game and earned a position coaching the Boston Red Sox A affiliate in Greenville.  After the 2007 season he announce that he misses out on the day to day competition and the inner drive that brings him.  The Milwaukee Brewers gave Kapler a shot to return to the game.  It, by no means was a guarantee as the Brewers were pretty set at Center (Cameron), Right (Hart) and Left (Braun) they also have a youngster in Tony Gwynn Jr who is their primary backup and Matt LaPorta quickly ascending up the Minor League ladder.  He made the team in spring training by playing some marvelous baseball, although it was assumed that when Cameron came back from his 25 game suspension he would be the one to be let go.  However, he is hitting .423 on the season and just socked his 4th HR of the young season yesterday in a 9-7 win over the Mets which is virtually assuring him that he stays on once Cameron comes back.  He can talk faith with his teammate Ryan Braun who is also Jewish, and both he and Braun have embraced the nickname "Hebrew Hammer".  Gabe Kapler has a great baseball mind, and will make a great manager someday, but today and for the foreseeable future he is doing what he was born to do, and that is to play baseball
Category: MLB
Tags: Gabe Kapler
Posted on: April 11, 2008 2:42 pm

Reds Smack Around my Brewers

Holy Crap!!! Does this Reds team have some arms in the rotation and Homer Bailey is still in AAA.  In the preseason I would have been shocked if this team finished above .500 but now that I have seen Johnny Cueto pitch, in addition to the stalworts of Harang and Arroyo, this team really has a solid starting rotation.  They will score runs (but who couldn't at that park) and will be a very formidable foe for my Brewers this season and in upcoming ones as well.  Rematch next week in Cincy.
Category: MLB
Tags: Brewers, Reds
Posted on: April 7, 2008 8:53 am
Edited on: April 7, 2008 8:54 am

Holy Sheets!!

Ben Sheets put forth a dominating performance yesterday, striking out 8 and going the distance with a shutout for the Brewers in front of an SRO crowd on Prince Fielder Bobblehead Day.  When you see him throwing 92 and 94 mph heat early in the game you just know he has his best stuff going.  Usually he starts out 88-90 and gets to the mid nineties in the 3rd inning.  Yesterday he got up to 96 and 97.  There were some very nice defensive plays helping the Brewers and some timely hitting and a couple of longballs, but yesterday was all about Ben.  At 5-1 the Brewers are tied with the Cardinals atop the NL Central and are off to a nice start.  They start this week with a 3 game affair with division rival Cincinnati Reds.
Category: MLB
Tags: Ben Sheets
Posted on: March 31, 2008 11:50 am

Merry Christmas Baseball fans!!

This is my absolute favorite day of the sporting calendar.  Taking the day off and doing nothing but watch baseball from noon till Midnight.  Pigging out on Polish Sausages, brats, dogs, chips, salsa, and oh yeah Beer.  Everyone has a great baseball story from their childhood.  I was at opening day at Wrigley in 1994.  Cub fans remember this as the Tuffy Rhodes game, but Harry stole the show in the 7th.  Hillary Clinton was there to throw out the first pitch, she came up to the booth to sing with Harry in the 7th and Harry planted the biggest sloppy wet kiss on her you could imagine.  She was disgusted but then realized that 40,000 people were watching her plus the folks on TV, and then returned the favor.
Category: MLB
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