Results tagged ‘ Miller Park ’
by Kevin Kimmes
Yes, today’s title (well part of it) is taken from the musical “Damn Yankees”.
Already I can hear some of you saying, “A musical? That’s girl stuff!”, but in this case, oh how wrong you would be. See “Damn Yankees” is the story of a devoted Washington Senators fan named Joe Boyd who sells his soul to the devil so that the Senators can acquire a “long ball hitter” and finally beat the “damn Yankees”. It’s a story about unflinching devotion to your team even when you know that the outcomes will probably just break your heart.
Now replace Senators with Brewers, and Yankee’s with Cardinals, and you have a story that most Milwaukee fans can identify with because we, much like Joe, have seen our fair share of suffering over the years. It’s part of what being a small market fan means to me.
It means having the odds stacked against you:
From 1998 to 2012, Milwaukee played in the NL Central, the only division in all of baseball that was composed of 6 teams. So what, you say? Well, due to the fact that the division contained 1 more team than most (2 more than the AL West), Milwaukee’s chances of winning the division in any given year were a meager 16.67%. That’s 3.33% lower than most MLB teams.
It means being thankful for what you have:
When the Braves pulled up stakes and headed south to Atlanta, Milwaukee was left with a gaping hole where baseball had once resided. To their credit, the White Sox did try and remedy this to some extent by playing some games each year at County Stadium, but it just wasn’t the same as having a team to call our own. For this reason alone, I will always respect Bud Selig, not for being commission, but for returning baseball to a city that truly loves the game.
If you need further proof of this point, consider that Milwaukee ranked 11th in overall attendance last year despite being the team with the smallest market.
It means taking the highs with the lows:
My experiences at Miller Park have included being on hand the night that Milwaukee clinched the NL Central title for the first time and the day that they were officially eliminated from the 2012 playoff hunt. You learn to love the highs and accept the lows. It’s all part of loving the game.
It means staying true to your team, even when all hope is lost:
I ended the 2012 season by catching 3 out of the last 4 Brewers home games at Miller Park. Milwaukee was mathematically eliminated from the Wild Card hunt after losing the 1st of the 4 games, but I went to the remaining games anyway. Why? Because, you never know what you might see. In fact, for my troubles I got to see Martin Maldonado hit his first career grand slam, and Kameron Loe and Manny Parra pitch for the last time as Brewers.
Kevin Kimmes is a regular contributor to creamcitycables.com and an applicant for the 2013 MLB Fan Cave. You can follow him on Twitter at @kevinkimmes.
By: Ryan Smith
Most sports fans would agree that, when it comes to all-star games and the festivities associated with them, Major League Baseball puts the other professional sports leagues to shame.
But that’s not saying much.
When you break it down, the other leagues aren’t doing a whole lot to overtake MLB in this category.
The NFL’s Pro Bowl is a joke. If it’s before the Super Bowl, you are missing the best players from the league’s two best teams. If it’s after the Super Bowl, no one cares because, well, it’s after the Super Bowl. Hell, they almost cancelled the damn game in the last few months!
The NBA used to have an impressive All-Star Weekend. Used to. I remember when the Slam Dunk Contest had the league’s best players competing year-in and year-out. These guys wanted to win. Back before Vince Carter was a salary-cap albatross, he absolutely tore the place down. Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan also found the time to compete – and win – this once-wonderful competition. Now, the contest is filled with a bunch of bench players who can jump but can’t actually play a lick of basketball. And, believe it or not, the All-Star Game itself features less defense than a typical regular season NBA game.
The NHL’s All-Star Game is…well, to be honest, I can’t stand hockey. When they went on strike, I realized I didn’t miss the NHL. Maybe the NHL has an amazing All-Star Weekend. Who cares? It’s hockey.
That brings us to Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. As I said before, this is the best All-Star Game in professional sports. But it could be better.
With that being said, here are a few suggestions that, in my opinion, would make MLB’s Midsummer Classic even better:
1) Make the Futures Game a bigger part of the festivities.
This little four-day break from the grind of the regular season is supposed to be an exhibition – a time to celebrate the season thus far and a chance to showcase the best of the best…and Pablo Sandoval. Well, if it’s an exhibition and a showcase, then why not shine a little more light on this game, which selects the best players from all minor league levels? First of all, this game draws the short straw by being broadcast on the Sunday before the ASG, when there are still major league games being played. If you were lucky enough to tune in to the dominating performance by Team USA on Sunday night, you were able to see some of the pitchers and hitters that will soon become household names. I know this will never replace the Homerun Derby as the biggest event before the game itself, but it is by far the best display of actual baseball talent before the game.
2) Fix the Homerun Derby.First of all, no captains. That’s just stupid. Especially when one of the captains has been on the DL for a good chunk of the season and cannot even participate in the ASG itself. Instead, why not just take the top four homerun hitters from each league’s roster? Taking the guys who have hit the most homeruns in that given year seems to make sense, right? Right. So let’s move on. Next, the winner should be the guy who hits the most homeruns over the course of the entire contest. A few years ago, Justin Morneau “won” the Derby, but no one remembers that. Everyone remembers Josh Hamilton hitting 28 homers in the first round. Maybe Hamilton tired himself out with that first round. Should he have stopped at 15 and saved something for the final round? No! The Homerun Derby is supposed to be entertaining, so let’s do whatever we can to keep it that way. Finally, why not add a little twist to the Derby? College baseball’s homerun derby features a bonus ball (similar to the last ball in each rack of the NBA’s Three-Point Shootout), so why not add that? Or maybe they could have special “zones” that are worth two homeruns? When Sammy Sosa was wowing the crowd at Miller Park in 2002 with his shots off of Bernie’s slide or when Prince was knocking them into the fountain in K.C., why not give them a bonus? I’m sure I could think of more changes for the Derby, but I’ll move on for now.
3) Change the roster selection process.
I think this year’s roster fiasco proved that fans just don’t know what they’re doing. Sometimes, the managers struggle with this, too. I know the fan vote will never be taken away, but it should be. Derek Jeter wouldn’t have been good enough to start in the Futures Game, let alone the ASG. And don’t even get me started on Kung Fu Sandoval. Anyway, since the fan vote has no chance of changing, let’s look at the other elements of the roster selection process. Personally, I think the players might do the best job in selecting the most-deserving participants for the ASG. So why do they need to vote by the end of May? When the players selected Lance Lynn as an all-star this year, he was still pitching really well. In that pesky month after the players voted, the wheels fell off for Lynn, yet he still made it ahead of Zack Greinke. So let’s push back the deadline for the players to vote so their selections accurately reflect as much of the season as possible. Also, instead of just having the manager of each All-Star Team select players, why not have all of the managers in each league vote? It just makes sense to include as many voices as possible in this process.
4) Bring in some fun announcers.I’m stealing this one from Manny Parra (@MannyParra26), who tweeted that the ASG should have All-Star announcers. I completely agree. Now, I must admit that I may be a bit biased for two reasons. One: I hate Joe Buck. Always have. Always will. Two: If we’re talking about All-Star announcers, don’t you think our very own Bob Uecker would be in the running? As Parra tweeted, “Anyone else think that the All-Star game should be announced by Uecker, and Skully? Would make sense…All-Star Announcers.” Bob Uecker and Vin Scully announcing the ASG together? Sign me up, please.
5) The Managers should be from this season’s best team in each league.
If the game is supposed to matter, then why do we have the managers from last year’s World Series? This makes absolutely no sense to me. And this year, it has gone to new levels with the retired Tony LaRussa taking the reigns for the NL. (Ed. Note: I know the National League won 8-0, but that doesn’t make it any less ridiculous that a retired guy is managing in a game that is supposed to matter.) Why in the world is a guy who is no longer managing having an impact on home-field advantage for the World Series? This doesn’t seem like a tough change, so make it happen, Bud.
6) Quit having the game determine home-field advantage for the World Series.
This is the biggest change that needs to be made. There is no way that a game being played in July should have a direct impact on the World Series. Remember, this rule was put into place because the 2002 ASG ended in a tie. Because we couldn’t live in a world where the ASG ended in a tie, Bud Selig decided that he would take this exhibition game and have it play a pivotal role in the freaking World Series! In that very game that ended in a tie, I remember Torii Hunter making a leaping catch at the wall to rob Barry Bonds of a homerun. For the most part, the players were always trying, so why change it? Seriously, this needs to stop. Let’s just let this exhibition game remain an exhibition.
These are only a few changes that I think would help the overall All-Star experience for Major League Baseball. As is, the MLB All-Star Game is the best of the best in professional sports. But that doesn’t mean that they should stand pat.
With a few simple changes, Major League Baseball could make the Midsummer Classic a true classic.
By: Ryan Smith
The term “bandwagon fan” is one that carries a negative connotation. The bandwagon fan only starts to support a team when that team is having some level of success. If the team is a historically bad team or is a team that is experiencing tough times, the bandwagon fan is nowhere to be found. To be labeled a bandwagon fan is often meant as an insult. The “true fans” have a sort of animosity towards the bandwagon fans because, well, they’re bandwagon fans.
I grew up a fan of two teams: the Milwaukee Brewers and the Boston Red Sox. I was a fan of the Brewers because I grew up in Wisconsin and was lucky enough to attend a game or two every year at County Stadium. I was a Red Sox fan because I actually got to see them play of television occasionally. I also wanted to be a pitcher when I was young, and Roger Clemens became my favorite pitcher for quite some time. When he bolted to Toronto, I stayed with Boston. To this day, I cheer for Milwaukee and Boston. It’s what I’ve always done, and while I may be more of a die-hard for Milwaukee as I attend more and more games each year, I assume I’ll always root for both teams.
Boston and Milwaukee. I’m not sure if there could be two more opposite markets outside of New York than those two. Red Sox Nation spreads far across the globe, with many lifers and bandwagon fans sporting Boston gear on a daily basis. Even when Boston struggles from time to time, they still sell out every game and do very well when it comes to merchandise sales. Frankly, Boston is such a large market naturally that the bandwagon fan does not make much of an impact to the day-to-day and season-to-season operations of the Red Sox front office.
I’m pointing all of this out because the Milwaukee Brewers are getting very close to the point where the bandwagon fans are going to disappear. And I have one message for Brewer Nation:
The Brewers need the bandwagon fans.It’s no secret that Milwaukee is the smallest of the small-market teams in Major League Baseball. From 2002-2006, the Brewers ranked no higher than 17th in total attendance in any of those seasons. In 2007, when Milwaukee finished above .500 for the first time since the ’92 season, Milwaukee’s attendance jumped to 12th in all of baseball. After that, the Crew finished 9th (2008), 9th (2009), 11th (2010), and 7th (2011). In 2012, the Brewers are currently sitting in 11th place once again.
It should be no surprise that as the Brewers started to find more success on the field, they also found more success at the ticket office. That’s how this whole system works. If the team is winning, the bandwagon fans will find their way to the ballpark. And when the team starts to struggle, the bandwagon fans will scatter.But as those attendance numbers so clearly point out, those bandwagon fans are immensely important when it comes to stimulating the Milwaukee Brewers economy. And when the Brewers are selling more tickets, more jerseys, more concessions, more everything, the front office is going to be more inclined to spend some of that money they are making. When those attendance numbers drop, so will the payroll of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Here’s my point: the self-proclaimed “true fans” of the Milwaukee Brewers should not be so quick to vilify the bandwagoners when they jump ship because, unlike Boston, we need them.
The cold, hard truth is that the next few years could be very lean ones in Miller Park. Zack Greinke could (and should) be traded in the next few weeks. Shaun Marcum’s recent trip to the DL should be seen as a blessing to Doug Melvin, because Marcum was quickly pitching himself out of Milwaukee’s comfort zone as far as his next contract is concerned. Rickie Weeks hasn’t been Rickie Weeks ever since he legged out an infield single last July against the Cubs, spraining his ankle in the process. The farm system has some decent pieces, but there’s not a lot that’s ready to be harvested for a while yet. Outside of Ryan Braun, Yovani Gallardo, and The Jonathon Lucroy, Milwaukee doesn’t have a lot of long-term promise on the current roster.
And if the bandwagon fans don’t find their way to Miller Park every now and then, things might not get much better any time soon.
So, to the bandwagon fans out there, I would just like to remind you about the fun times we’ve had these last few years. Remember the Sabathia craze? Prince’s monster shots? Braun’s MVP? T-Plush and Beast Mode? The NLCS? The tailgating? Even though times are rough right now, that can’t erase all of those memories, can it?
And to the “true fans” out there, I just want to remind you to invite those bandwagon fans out when you go to catch the game at a local sports bar. And when you are planning a weekend trip to Miller Park, remember to include those same bandwagon fans in your evite or your Facebook event. Above all else, do whatever you can to keep those bandwagon fans from straying too far.
Bandwagon fans, don’t be strangers to Miller Park. On behalf of Brew Crew Nation, this die-hard member wants to let you know that you are always welcome here.
by Kevin Kimmes
In recent years, Cubs fans have taken to calling Miller Park “Wrigley Field North”. Apparently with this brazen lack of disrespect for our park, also comes a brazen disrespect for our players.
The following photo arrived in my inbox this morning from a friend’s wife who was at yesterday’s game. From what I’ve been told, the man being led away by police and security decided to use his seat in left field to yell obscenities and make herpes accusations against Ryan Braun. For all of his efforts, he was shown the quickest way out of Miller Park and his crappy Cubs went on to lose in extra innings further cementing their spot as the cellar dwellers of the NL Central. See, good things happen to good people after-all!
Happy Friday everybody. Go Crew!
Before yesterday’s game, I had an opportunity to talk to Timber Rattlers relief pitcher Tommy Toledo about what it has been like seeing his childhood dreams come true, and the accident that almost derailed them.
CCC: Tommy, when did you first realize that you could make a living as a pitcher?
TT: I remember the draft was pretty exciting back in college. So for me and my family the ultimate goal was to play pro ball, so after I got drafted, I was really excited about it. That’s when I realized it was going to be a profession.
CCC: Speaking of family, your parents came to town for the game at Miller Park. What was that like?
TT: It was exciting. I flew them out for the two nights just for the Miller Park game. I didn’t really expect to pitch either, because I was in the relief club, but I got really lucky and was able to throw in front of them which was really cool.
CCC: I saw your dad the following day sitting behind home plate wearing the University of Toledo Sweatshirt.
TT: Yeah, my dad is a trip. He loves it. He loves everything about baseball, so he’s been following everybody on the team.
CCC: As you mentioned, your current role is as a relief pitcher. Any aspirations of becoming a starter?
TT: I’m already living the dream right now, so whatever I can do to get on the mound is great. I have no problems coming on in relief, or starting. Any way that I can help out the team, anything at all, that’s up to them. It doesn’t bother me at all.
CCC: In college, you were involved in an accident that lead to you taking a line drive shot to the face. Can you tell me a little about that?
TT: It was a line drive right off the bat in college. I didn’t really get a chance to put a glove in front of it and it hit me pretty square in the face. I had a bunch of fractures and some plates. In total, I had 8 plates and 36 screws, so that’s all under my face right now. It was just one of those freak accidents, so you’ve just got to get over it.
CCC: So, when you take the mound, is there still any lingering apprehension that comes to mind from that incident?
TT: No, not at all. I remember the first day I had to come back. I just wanted to get back out there and throw again. I didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t think about it. I just wanted to play. I had sat out the year before, so I just wanted to get out and play again. That’s just what I wanted to do.
CCC: Now, with you being a Florida guy, how are you adjusting to the weather in Wisconsin?
TT: For the first month it was a little cold, I won’t lie, it was a little chilly. It was cold for me, it was cold for everybody. Now, it’s starting to get nice. It’s really nice outside right now. So, it was a little adjustment made, but it’s over now, so we’ll see.
CCC: What players did you learn the most from watching growing up?
TT: As a little kid I grew up watching Cal Ripken Jr. and Mariano Rivera. He’s my favorite pitcher, so I was bummed to hear him get hurt a couple of days ago. I grew up watching those two guys, and I remember watching Greg Maddux. I loved watching him pitch. My dad helped me out when I was little. He coached me the whole time. So, it was just a bunch of different people.
CCC: Finally, what do you think it has taken to get you to where you are at right now?
TT: Hard work. Just trying to get out there every day, staying on a routine. A lot of it is God given. I’m just thankful that every day is another chance to get out there and play. My parents, my family and my friends have also been very supportive.
Tommy is currently 3-0 with 1 save and an ERA of 3.00 in 8 appearances. He can be found online at @TommyToledo13 on Twitter.
We at Cream City Cables wish Tommy all the best this season, and look forward to his continued success.
On Friday night, Max Walla hit his first homerun as a Timber Rattler. While this accomplishment in and of itself is commendable, it becomes something even bigger when you consider where the feat was accomplished. Miller Park.
(Note: This is the second time that Max has accomplished this feat as he hit one out during the Rising Stars Game at Miller Park last year).
I had a chance to talk to Max the following day about the homer, how he prepped for the game, as well as what inspires him to be the best that he can be.
CCC: On Friday Night you collected your first homer as a Wisconsin Timber Rattler. Can you tell me what was going through your head as the ball was leaving the park?
MW: Well, obviously I put a good swing on it, I hit it a little high, and just was hoping it had the distance to get out. You know, it’s surreal circling the bases of a major league ballpark and hearing the canons go off, that’s pretty cool.
CCC: Obviously playing at Miller Park required a different level of preparation. What adjustments did yo make in BP to account for this?
MW: It doesn’t really require any different sort of preparation. It’s the same game, maybe just on a little bigger stage. You just try to focus on the basics. In BP you want to see if you can get a few more out of the park than normal, but you just have fun with it. You don’t get to take BP there too often.
CCC: As one of the youngest players on the team, what advice have you received from the other players and coaches so far?
MW: Well, just to slow the game down and keep doing what you’re doing. You’ve got to remember what makes you valuable to the organization as a ball player, so obviously you’ve got to know your role and try to improve the things that you don’t do as well to make yourself a more complete player.
CCC: Being from New Mexico, how are you adjusting to the weather here in Wisconsin?
MW: Well, you know Albuquerque gets pretty cold in the wintertime, so I mean, it’s not too much of an adjustment. Yeah it’s a little bit windy, but like I said, I’ve played in stuff like this before. Obviously, this isn’t ideal conditions, but really when are they? So really, it’s not too bad and hopefully it warms up really soon.
CCC: Any pregame rituals?
MW: Yeah, you know, I do like to read the Bible a little bit and pray. I am a Christian so I mainly try to focus on playing for Christ, not for myself or anybody else. That’s something that God has given me so I hope to glorify him while I play to the best of my abilities.
CCC: Final question, who is the player that you learned the most from watching their game?
MW: I think in recent years, it would be Jordan Pacheco. He’s been up and down with the Rockies this year. I had a chance to work out with him this off season. He’s been in the big leagues and I’ve learned a lot from him regarding on-field routines, off-field routines, as well as good ways to go about your business. I’ve learned a lot from him, and am very thankful for him.
We at Cream City Cables would like to thank Max for taking time to talk with us, and wish him the best of luck as he continues to climb the ladder within the Brewers organization.
By: Ryan Smith
2012 would mark the second-consecutive season that I made it to the Milwaukee Brewers home opener. Now that I’m writing for Cream City Cables, I thought this would be a good opportunity for an article. After tossing around a few ideas, I decided that I wanted to tackle the day in the form of a running diary. I chose to take this approach for two reasons:
Reason #1: I’ve enjoyed the writing of Bill Simmons for over a decade now. I find his mix of sports content, opinion, pop culture and humor to be consistently entertaining to the point that I still look forward to his weekly articles on Grantland.com. Being a Bill Simmons fan, some of my favorite articles that he has written have taken on the running diary format.
Reason #2: I don’t remember the 2011 home opener. The game started at 1 pm. We were drinking outside of Miller Park by 8:30 am. We had jello shots with the tailgaters around us. Shots of whiskey and blackberry brandy were passed around generously. My cousin Zach brought beer margaritas – a concoction that is equal parts frozen limeade concentrate, citrus soda, beer, and tequila – and I feel that he was very liberal with his use of tequila. In our circle of friends, we call these “Flux Capacitors” because they tend to allow the consumer to travel through time, which is a nicer way of saying they make you black out. So yeah, I figured that a running diary would force me to stay coherent throughout this season’s home opener.
With all that being said, I woke up early on Friday, April 6th, grabbed a six-pack of Spotted Cow and a black coffee, and headed out to the apartment of Cream City Cables creator Nate Petrashek. It was finally time for some Brewers baseball. Let’s jump right into the action.
9:54 AM – I’m at the apartment of Mr. Petrashek. Nate’s girlfriend Sarah is ready, and Jason Stuewe has also arrived. My cousin Zach and his fiancé Michelle just parked outside. I’m checking to see where a few of our friends are. Our college friends Matt, Hof, and Pete are supposed to meet us at 10 AM so we can get to Miller Park by 10:30. Hof and Pete are historically known for being late. Nate says he spoke to them earlier and they were on pace to arrive ten minutes early, so I ask what time it is. Stuewe promptly replies “Six minutes early.” So much for that.
9:58 AM – Matt arrives with Hof and Pete. This might be the first time those two have ever been early. For anything. Time to load up the cars and head off to Miller Park.
10:27 AM – We stop at a Walgreens to meet up with some of Nate’s other friends. Everyone in our tailgating group packs into three cars. Now it’s REALLY time to get to Miller Park.
10:58 AM – We’ve officially arrived. The parking lot seems more cramped than last year, or what I remember of last year anyway. We quickly realize that the row of cars in front of us decided to set up their tailgate stations as far away from their cars as possible, putting them right at our bumpers. Luckily, they are willing to adjust their tailgating placement so we can all come together and spend the next four hours preparing for the home opener.
10:59 AM – Shots! Before the cars are even unpacked, Stuewe is passing around shots of Jack Daniels. Nate raises his solo cup and yells “Fuck the Redbirds!” I’ll drink to that.
11:09 AM – Apparently, there has been some more tailgate shifting going on, so we have extra room on the other end of our cars. We pack everything up and shift to the east. In the process, Nate drops the grill. Boo, Nate. Boo.
11:15 AM – Stuewe now passes out cigars in honor of opening day. I don’t smoke very often, but I feel this is an occasion worthy of lighting up. So let’s see, I have a beer in hand, I’ve taken a few shots, and now I’m smoking a cigar. 24-year-old me is loving this right now. Cue obscure reference to Will Smith and a “victory dance.”
11:23 AM – I just have to say that this weather is absolutely gorgeous. Perfect opening day weather. Earlier in the week, it looked like we’d be dealing with a windy, 40-degree day. Instead, I see people putting on sunscreen. Where’s my bottle opener?
11:30 AM – Nate starts ranting, saying “You gotta win today! Set the tone!” He’s talking to no one in particular. This is actually pretty routine with him.
11:36 AM – Someone mentions the holiday weekend, to which Stuewe replies “Yeah, I keep hearing about that. What’s the holiday?” Umm, it’s Easter. Kind of a big one. Today isn’t called Good Friday just because of the home opener, buddy.
11:43 AM – So far, I’m on my second beer and I’ve only had four shots. Right now, I think my chances of remember Opening Day ’12 are looking pretty good.
11:58 AM – Can someone make an air freshener that smells like brats on the grill? I don’t care about lavender, vanilla, or apple cinnamon, but I’d be perfectly fine if my apartment always had the scent of brats on the grill.
12:10 PM – Crisis averted. My bottle opener – the one I’ve had on my keychain since college – just broke. Luckily, it was a minor issue and I easily fixed it. Still, a close call.
12:18 PM – Just saw a guy walk by with a personalized jersey. Everyone is our group agrees that personalized jerseys suck. I love when we’re all on the same page.
12:28 PM – You know how you always hear about how Wisconsin has an obesity problem? If you ever doubt it, just come to opening day. Or any Brewer game. I’m looking around and I see fruit and pasta salads on tables all around us, completely untouched. It’s the thought that counts.
12:37 PM – Matt brought steak sandwiches for the grill this year. Bravo, Matt. Great choice.
12:50 PM – Another jersey rant: we all agree that it’s lazy to simply put tape over the name on your old jersey. Fielder is gone. Either accept it and wear his jersey with pride or buy a new one. And by the way, Ramirez isn’t #28.
12:51 PM – Nate is now heckling the guy who has “Ramirez” written on tape over Fielder’s name. The guy is absolutely clueless.
1:00 PM – Finally breaking the seal.
1:03 PM – There’s a fucking line at the men’s room, yet no wait at all for the women. Sometimes life just doesn’t make sense. A guy in line ahead of me says that it’s because “90 percent of the people here are dudes.” That seems a little high. Then again, so does he.
1:10 PM – First trip inside the men’s room of the 2012 season. I think all men assume that the women’s room is the complete opposite of the hell we visit. I figure that they have couches to sit on while they wait and the room smells of daisies and sunshine. Meanwhile, I’m waiting in line, surrounding by the scent of bad decisions.
1:21 PM – Nate returns from the restroom, and apparently I missed a fight. We all agree that it is not proper etiquette to enter the restroom through the exit door. Someone breaking this unwritten rule was then accused of being a Cubs fan for doing so. They proceeded to get into a shoving match while standing by the urinals. Nate left, saying “Nothing good could come from that situation.” Agreed.
1:32 PM – Hof goes to crack open another Bud Light until we question his loyalty to the Brewers. After all, can you really drink a Budweiser product when you are at Miller Park and the Brewers are about to play the Cardinals? Hof succumbs to peer pressure and trades the Bug Light for a Miller Lite.
1:36 PM – The blackberry brandy is making the rounds again. Hof initially refuses, but another dose of peer pressure gets him to take a swig. Peer pressure is Hof’s fatal flaw.
1:43 PM – The third game of “bag tag” just took place. For those that are unaware, “bag tag” is when one guy decides to backhand another guy in the genital region. This usually results in one participant sitting down for a few minutes. All the males in our group are on complete lockdown now.
1:44 PM – Right now, I’ve had five beers and 11 shots. Once again, 24-year-old me would be perfectly fine right now. I’m thinking that I should slow down. It’s hard not to get drunk when you tailgate for over four hours.
1:54 PM – Nate is getting defensive. For no reason. I like when he gets like this. It’s really easy to get him to rant about pretty much anything.
2:12 PM – Team effort to create a human wall so Nate could avoid a trip to the dreaded men’s room. I love when we all come together to work towards a common goal. Mental note not to walk on the passenger side of Stuewe’s car.
2:31 PM – Time to head in to Miller Park. My official Opening Day 2012 Tailgate line looks like this: 1 brat, 1 burger, 1 hot dog, 1 steak sandwich, 8 beers, 15 shots.
2:48 PM – Today’s free giveaway: 2012 Brewers Magnet Schedule. I like giveaways that I won’t immediately throw in the garbage.
3:03 PM – Does anyone else really enjoy watching drunk people trying to act sober? I just watched a guy swipe at the railing four times before he just sat down on the steps.
3:08 PM – I love the first time that the team takes the field. Not just on opening day either. Every game.
3:10 PM – Gallardo takes the mound for his third opening day start in a row. I still think Greinke should have gotten the ball today, and that in no way is an insult to Gallardo.
3:20 PM – Gallardo gets through the 1st inning, allowing two walks and throwing 20 pitches. Not a great start, but he put a zero on the board.
3:24 PM – Weeks leads off the season with a base hit, followed by a Gomez triple! 1-0!
3:26 PM – Braun comes up for his first at-bat of the season. The ovation is ridiculous. I’m joining in on the “MVP!” chant.
3:27 PM – Braun lines out sharply to short.
3:32 PM – Yadier Molina leads off the top of the 2nd with a solo homerun. I hate Molina. Hate him.
3:37 PM – It’s still the top of the 2nd and Hof is falling asleep. More on this in a moment.
3:38 PM – Did you know that the last concert Randy Wolf attended was to see the band Tool? I love in-between inning trivia.
3:39 PM – Hof heads out to get ice cream. I suggest a soda or coffee. Anything with caffeine, really. It’s a long game, Hof.
3:41 PM – Gamel’s first at-bat of the year and he flies out to center. I can already hear the doubters warming up.
3:46 PM – A woman loses the between-inning game, and the crowd proceeds to boo her. Stay classy.
3:48 PM – Gallardo serves up his second homerun. Tie ballgame.
3:49 PM – Homerun #3…
3:51 PM - …and #4. It’s now 5-2. Hof yells “You suck, Gallardo!” Hof tends to do this at times. He quickly overreacts, only to retract his statement 20 minutes later. I’m surprised he’s not saying we should trade Yo at this point.
3:58 PM – Lucroy visits the mound for the third time this inning. That’s never a good sign.
4:00 PM – I also love when everyone complains about balls and strikes from the stands. We’re sitting on the third base side in the upper deck of Miller Park. I’m going to assume the umpire at home has a better angle than I do right now. It’s probably a ball; after all, most of the strikes thrown by Gallardo today have ended up in the stands.
4:10 PM – Pete: “Fucking Gallardo will probably give up four more this inning too!” I forgot to mention this, but Pete is Hof’s older brother. It must run in the family.
4:18 PM – Hof is dozing off once again, slowly leaning out into the aisle.
4:23 PM – Gallardo is done for the day. He only lasts 3 2/3 innings…not a great start to 2012.
4:30 PM – Hof is falling asleep for the third time. This is getting sad. Or funny. Yeah, I’m going to lean towards “funny” right now.
4:32 PM – Pete has put the rally cap on…in the 4th inning. I can’t blame him.
4:35 PM – Got the “Crazy Cap Shuffle” wrong. I used to own that game. I’m frazzled right now.
4:38 PM – And the Milwaukee Brewers have their first 1-2-3 inning of 2012! Too bad it’s the 5th inning.
4:40 PM – I swear, I can’t go anywhere without hearing “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson. I hate that song. Damnit, Kelly!
4:48 PM – Runners on 1st and 3rd, no outs, and we don’t score. Fuuuuuuuu…
4:55 PM – We have one of those annoying fans behind us right now that cheer extra loud for their team when they are winning. If you were just cheering to cheer for your team, you wouldn’t be looking around and trying to make eye contact with all of the home fans. By doing that, you are no longer just a fan; you are a douche. Fuck you, douche.
5:01 PM – Sausage Race time! I always cheer for Guido. Sadly, Hot Dog gets away with an early start and Guido settles for 2nd place.
5:06 PM – Braun’s now 0-3. Let the steroid comments commence, haters.
5:32 PM – T-Plush pinch hits. His appearance wakes up the comatose crowd for a moment.
5:36 PM – Two on, no outs, and we fail to score again. Somebody pass the whiskey…
5:44 PM – I guessed the attendance wrong too. The jumbotron is owning me today.
5:46 PM – They’re playing “Jump Around” right now. I think 12 people are actually jumping. Everyone else is too tired/full/depressed right now.
5:48 PM – And the rally cap is on!
5:53 PM – Braun and Ramirez are a combined 0-8 today…
6:02 PM – 10-2, top of the 9th…I should have had more to drink…
6:03 PM – Make that 11-2…
6:09 PM – They said the attendance was over 46,000 for today’s game. Right now, I doubt there’s more than 6,000 remaining.
6:15 PM – Lucroy gets hit by a pitch. Silver lining from today’s game is that Lucroy, Gamel, and Hart have all been on base three times.
6:17 PM – Pinch-hitter George Kottaras hits a 3-run shot, making it 11-5.
6:20 PM – I’m not completely certain, but I think Hof just said he shit his pants. I’m glad I’m driving separately.
6:22 PM – And Braun gets the final out, going 0-5 on the day.
6:23 PM – The Brewers fall on opening day, 11-5. Not a great start to the season, but I’m reminded that we started 0-4 last year. Things seemed to work out well for us then. Time to pack up and head home. I might try to do a few more of these throughout the course of the season. Until next time, Go Crew!
We here at Cream City Cables would like to extend a heartfelt congratulations (and an apology for the above Adele parody title) to Bob Uecker on becoming the latest member of the Brewers family to be immortalized outside of Miller Park.
On August 31st, “Ueck” will join Hank Aaron, Robin Yount, and Bud Selig as the most recent statue recipient at the ball park. Earlier this week, Uecker quipped that his statue would be the first one to be entirely made of paper mache, and that the team also planned on attaching some sort of feeder to it in order to attract pigeons to the statue.
When asked what the statue would look like, Uecker was quick to respond:
“Kind of a Schwarzenegger-type thing. Beefcake. Speedos. Pretty buffed. It’s really enhanced. I’ve seen pictures of the finished product, and, yes, I’m very pleased, as a matter of a fact. It’s drawing a lot of attention. More than that swimsuit issue.”
Swimsuit issue, you ask? Uecker was referring to the infamous picture of himself, poolside, that ran with an article on the Brewers in Sports Illustrated in 2008, and which can be found here.
Now you may be asking yourself, “Why has it taken this long for Uecker to take his place among the immortals, like Hank Aaron and Robin Yount, and…and…well, let’s just focus on those two statues for now…” Well the answer is simple. As current Brewers owner Mark Attanasio pointed out this week, 2012 is the 50th anniversary of Uecker’s first major league game (he debuted as a catcher with the Milwaukee Braves in 1962), and despite being a .200 hitter in his 7 years in the majors, the statue represents just the latest accomplishment for a man who can be counted as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame, the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame, and the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame, among others.
Stay tuned to Cream City Cables all season long as we will continue to cover this story and all the Uecker related news that’s fit to print (and probably some that isn’t).
By: Ryan Smith
To say that Nyjer Morgan is a character is a massive understatement.
Morgan, known better by his “gentleman-moniker” Tony Plush, is a veritable lightning rod for attention any time he steps near the diamond. Whether he is unknowingly delivering a game-winning, walk-off hit, voicing his displeasure with opponents, or simply firing up the Miller Park faithful and his teammates with his now-famous “Beast Mode” gesture, Morgan’s larger-than-life flair is evident from the second you see him.
But what can we expect from “Tony Plush: Year Two”?
Let me start off by saying I want to be completely honest with all of you. During August and September of last season, I was enjoying T-Plush as much as anyone else. I enjoyed all of those antics he would display during games. I loved the energy and enthusiasm he brought to the game. And I really loved the scared look that would appear on the face of Telly Hughes if he had to interview the enigmatic outfielder after a big win.
All that being said, I was also quite adamant in my proclamation that the Brewers should trade Mr. Plush as soon as the season ended.
Now let me defend my reasoning.
When the Brewers acquired Morgan before the 2011 season, I was thrilled. We took a non-prospect in Cutter Dykstra and turned him into a talented, toolsy outfielder.
Now, I also knew that Morgan was a player who came with some baggage. While he produced a few productive seasons with Pittsburgh and Washington (he posted a 5.2 WAR in 2009), he was most famous, or infamous, for his wild and out of control antics while playing for Washington in 2010. Most notably, Morgan sparked a bench-clearing brawl while playing in a heated series against the Florida Marlins. It really didn’t seem to matter who was at fault for the breakout of that brawl (Morgan had already been hit by one pitch and just had another one go behind him). The general public had made up its collective mind: Nyjer Morgan was the bad guy.
I’m a strong believer that sometimes a guy just needs a change of scenery, a fresh start. For Morgan, Milwaukee was that fresh start.
As the 2011 season progressed, Brewers fans started to sense that there was something special about this team. We actually had pitching. We had the best hitting duo in the majors. We had other players stepping up and making plays when we needed them to do so. And we had T-Plush.
Morgan made us love him. He never seemed to take a play off. He played wonderful defense (15.0 UZR/150 between the three outfield positions). He came up with clutch hits. He routinely dropped down bunts for base hits. He energized the team, Miller Park, and all of Brewer Nation.
And yet, there were still those moments when he would remind us of that ticking time bomb that drew criticism from everyone with an opinion just one year earlier.
Of course, the moment that stands out in my mind as the warning flag involved Morgan’s distaste for a few of the St. Louis Cardinals. After striking out in the ninth inning of a 2-0 loss to the Cardinals, Morgan got into a shouting match with Cardinals’ ace Chris Carpenter before throwing his chewing tobacco at the pitcher. Albert Pujols stepped up to defend his pitcher, and Morgan reacted by calling out the superstar first baseman on Twitter later that night.
This was not the T-Plush we were all falling in love with. This was Tony Plush, 2010.
I wanted no part of that Tony Plush.
I decided that it would be best to ride T-Plush into the playoffs and then try and flip him before he went all bat-shit-crazy on us in 2012.
Now, roughly one month before the start of the 2012 season, I just want to say one thing: I was wrong.
I’ve thought about it quite a bit. Could T-Plush revert back to his old ways, causing more distractions and headaches than memorable plays and wins? Sure he could. But I don’t think that’s going to be the case, and here’s why:
The 2012 Milwaukee Brewers are going to be contenders.
Yes, we lost Prince Fielder. But we added Aramis Ramirez. We got rid of Yuniesky Betancourt. We still have a pretty impressive rotation. We have the ‘stache closing games once again. We have Ryan Braun for 162 games.
And we have T-Plush.
If the Brewers have yet another successful season, one where they are in contention deep into September, Tony Plush is going to keep showing up to the ballpark. According to Manager Ron Roenicke, T-Plush is going to fly around the bases a bit more. He’s going to keep doing crazy things. He’s going to keep flashing the “Beast Mode” gesture that the fans love and opponents hate. And if he produces like last year (.304/.357/.421), we’re all going to love it.
That last part might be the most important element in understanding why I think T-Plush will be just fine this season. He’s quirky. He’s “out there” and somewhat misunderstood. He’s outspoken. And Brewer Nation loves him.
We don’t just tolerate him. We don’t simply accept him. We love him. We love his crazy antics. We love his unpredictable nature. We love the fact that he is a player who truly enjoys playing the game every single day. Maybe Nyjer Morgan or Tony Plush just needed to find a place that would love him for who is. Milwaukee is just that place.
So now, with the 2012 season just beyond the horizon, I’m ready to go into battle with T-Plush. After all, I’d rather have him with me than against me. Plus, as all of his twitter followers can attest to, he already has a pretty good battle cry:
“Watz Goood Nation!!!! Aaaahhhhhhh!!!”
T-Plush, I couldn’t have put it better myself. What’s good, indeed.
(You can follow Nyjer Morgan on twitter @TheRealTPlush)
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been putting this article off for the last few days as I’ve let the reality set in that Prince Fielder has probably taken his last at bat as a Milwaukee Brewer (at the very least until 2021). Now that the news is official, let’s take a look at what it took to bring Prince back to a city that he spent a lot of time in as a child.
2 weeks ago, Detroit’s Victor Martinez sustained a season ending ACL injury which sent the Tigers on a quest to find a replacement in the middle of their batting order. As the team made it clear that they expected to have Martinez back for their 2013 campaign, talk turned to finding a short-term replacement. Based on these criteria, Fielder seemed to be a longshot based on the contract requirements that he was seeking.
Despite the initial talk coming out of the Tigers organization, they shocked the baseball world by making the offer that most had begun to write off as potentially not happening. As the interest in Fielder had begun to dwindle over the last several weeks, with many of the potential suitors deciding to spend their money elsewhere (most recently the Rangers acquisition of Yu Darvish), the likely landing pad for Fielder had begun to look like Washington. This of course would not have been surprising as Fielder’s agent, Scott Boras, represents a large portion of their roster. But, it was Detroit who dug deep and pulled the strings necessary to get the deal done.
The deal will make Fielder a Tiger for the next 9 years (through the 2020 season) and carries a price tag of $214 million. Not bad when you consider that Fielder, now 27, will be 36 when the deal expires.
Like Father, Like Son?
It is no secret that relations between Prince and his father, former Tiger’s slugger Cecil Fielder, are icy to say the least. This is why I, and many others in the baseball community, were shocked that Prince was planning on joining one of his dad’s former clubs. And, apparently, his father can be counted amongst those numbers.
According to USA Today, the elder Fielder was quoted as saying:
“I didn’t even see Detroit in the picture. I didn’t even see that happening with all the talk about the Nationals and Texas Rangers and Seattle. … I never saw Detroit making a move like this.”
The Role of Prince
So what will Fielder’s role be now that he has moved over to an American League squad with a star first baseman? Well, first base of course! It seems that Miguel Cabrera was more than happy to shift back to 3rd base, a position that he has previous experience at, in order to accommodate the acquisition of Fielder. Cabrera, it seems, is even looking forward to the opportunity to play next to Fielder.
The 2012 Season
So, will the acquisition of Fielder be the difference maker in terms of Detroit making it to the World Series in 2012? Well, it certainly won’t hurt. One thing that Fielder and his new team need to keep in mind this season is the effect that the power alleys in Comerica Park may have on Prince’s numbers. As they are deeper than those found in his former home, Miller Park, this may lead to a reduction in the sluggers extra bases.
Overall, the deal should be a win-win for both sides, as it provides Fielder with the numbers that he was looking for in a long-term deal, while addressing Detroit’s needs in the heart of their order. Watch out AL Central, the Motor City Kitties are on the prowl again!