Tag:Milwaukee Brewers
Posted on: September 20, 2008 9:19 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2008 8:31 am
 

Being a Brewers fan is like being Charlie Brown

I've been following the Milwaukee Brewers for the previous 30 years and it is just too difficult and frustrating. The Brewers just can't seem to make it to the MLB Postseason. That 1982 World Series was 26 long years ago. Ughhhh! 

This is the second straight season in which Milwaukee has self destructed ... imploded if you will. I guess it's just not meant to be this year, but it's frustrating because the team has a lot of young, talented players. I think I need some advice from Sally.

It shows me that there is tremendous parity in the Majors. The competition is strong. For instance, I look at the Chicago Cubs and they're just so good. That's difficult for me to say, but it's true. They're so damn good and have a lot of talent on that team.  The Cubs play with more heart than the Brewers and that may be a reflection of the team's coach, Lou Pinella. I wonder if Linus has some intelligent answer in response to the Brewers' woes.

Milwaukee has failed to play well against the Major League's upper-tier teams. The Cubs have had their way with Milwaukee, as have the Mets and Phillies. Milwaukee seems to be intimidated by teams with better records. I'm not quite sure what the x-factor is, but I'll point out a couple of things:

One, we don't have enough clutch hitters on the team who can knock runners in. If you look at the RBI total of our Nos. 3 and 4 hitters, it's pretty embarrassing. Milwaukee needs to make a decision on Rickie Weeks. In my opinion, he's part of the reason the offense is stale. We need a leadoff hitter who can get on base more frequently. Ughhhh! 

Also, middle relief has been horrible. Milwaukee's starting pitching has put the team in a position to win, but the middle relief has failed to step up and serve in their set-up roles. The closer spot has been problematic. Ughhhh! 

This is a relatively young team and it seems like the offense goes into prolonged slumps together. It's either feist or famine. There isn't one guy on the team who has been consistent all season long, and that's problematic. Ughhhh! 

Granted, the season isn't over yet, but we don't deserve to be in the postseason. I'm not sure if Dale Sveum is the answer or not, but it is obvious to me that the issues I referred to above need to be addressed.

I felt this way about the Packers in 1995. The day the Brewers clinch a playoff spot is the day I will well up in tears. Meanwhile, I will spend another year wondering if the Brewers will ever make it to the postseason. I can't tell you how frustrating this is. I want this team to win so badly and it just doesn't seem like it will ever be meant to be.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 29, 2008 9:31 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2010 3:53 am
 

Miller Park a testament to America's pastime

As the Brewers and Cubs continue their four-game series in Milwaukee, I can't help but think about the growing rivalry between these two teams, how the Brewers are now competitive and how Miller Park has breathed life into the city.

There was a time not too long ago in which the highest-grossing home series for the Brewers would be any against the Cubs, whose fans would flock to the city in large numbers and dominate the home-crowd attendance totals.

But the Brewers have been attracting large crowds virtually every game and it is cool to live in Milwaukee and root for the home team.

A reason attending a Brewer game is trendy is that the organization is fielding quality teams and appears to have competent management at all levels. Another reason why is Miller Park. 

I was an intern for the Brewers in 1995 and one of my tasks was to walk around County Stadium's parking lot and collect signatures. Enough of these would guarantee that a five-country tax appropriating the necessary funds to help pay for a proposed new stadium would appear on a ballot for the state government to vote on.

There were a lot of strong views on both sides of the fence regarding the impact a new stadium could have on the city. There were those who were strongly opposed to and those in favor of a sales tax, which would affect Milwaukee county and the four surrounding counties.

And boy did those two sides clash in volatile debates and arguments!

In what has been called the most lobbied bill in the history of Wisconsin, the state senate needed Racine state senator George Petak, a republican, to change his vote in the last hour to help pass the bill 16-15 on Oct. 6, 1995. Petak ended up enduring a lot of criticism because his vote did not reflect the wishes of his constituents. It was a bold move on his part and it ultimately cost him his seat in the state senate.

He is still regarded as a hero by many who were in favor of the sales tax, but is demonized by others for going against the majority wishes of his constituency in favor of what he felt in his heart.

I don't live in Milwaukee anymore, but I hear from my family members that the sales tax is still being scrutinized. But one thing is for certain and that is Miller Park has revitalized the Menominee Valley on the city's west side. It's a terrific place to watch a baseball game and has become a very popular destination.

I'm just happy to see that the Brewers are fielding competitive teams and that Miller Park is a living and breathing testament that America's pastime is very much alive and well in the city of Milwaukee.

Now that I live in South Florida, the Marlins are in a critical stage I know so well. If a new baseball park in Miami can do for the Marlins what Miller Park did for Milwaukee, then Marlins fans can rest assured that baseball will thrive in the area that once hosted the Orange Bowl. It isn't the greatest neighborhood, but hopefully a new ball park can breathe life into it similar in nature to the Milwaukee Brewers model.

Posted on: July 18, 2008 10:38 am
Edited on: July 23, 2008 9:38 pm
 

When I became a fan

I was around 9 or 10 years old and I found myself becoming engrossed in the game of baseball. Growing up in working-class Milwaukee in the 1970s and 1980s, the Milwaukee Brewers were the kings of the city.

Specifically, I'm talking about 1980, 1981 and 1982. At that time, the team consisted of Hall-of-Famers Paul Molitor, Robin Yount and Rollie Fingers. Other players included Cecil Cooper, Ben Oglivie, Gorman Thomas, Ted Simmons, Mike Caldwell, Rollie Fingers, Pete Vuckovich, Charlie Moore, Moose Haas, Jerry Augustine and many others.

It was such a great time and I was at a great age to enjoy baseball. These guys were mythic figures to me. True heroes.

I can't leave out Mr. Baseball, Bob Uecker, whose radio play-by-play voice is still very soothing to me. His voice reminds me of my childhood. Uecker, who grew up on Milwaukee's northside and was a neighborhood friend of my dad, has a sense of humor, a way of using expressions and a local accent that natives are awfully familiar with. He is truly a local legend.

Whether the Brewers were on TV or radio, I would stop everything I was doing and tune into the game.

I would score games on meticulously hand-crafted box scores and would archive them in different folders that were color-coded based on the month of the season. I would also chart stats. My family members nicknamed me "Stats" because I was always interested in the numbers. I didn't care much for the nickname, because it was their way of making fun of my passion. My parents loved that I was consumed by baseball because it kept me out of trouble.

I grew up in a house that was less than a mile away from Milwaukee County Stadium in the City of West Allis (56th street near Harvey and Audrey Kuehn's Cesar's Inn), and I used to walk over to Brewer home games (even at 9 or 10 years old) -- cutting through the Veterans Hospital like thousands of others on game day -- and sitting in the bleachers by myself. I would come early and watch batting practice and stay for the very last out.

I hated going to the game with my childhood friends, because they wanted to screw around and cause trouble. There was a time and place for that, but for me it wasn't at the game. I had different priorities, such as filling out a box score and cheering for the team I loved. I also enjoyed Bernie Brewer sliding down the Beer Barrel out in Left-Center field. He'd slide down after a home run and balloons, simulating beer bubbles, would be released into the sky.

I would also attend games with my dad, who was also a big baseball fan. My dad, who worked for Milwaukee County, was more of a National League guy who never got over the Milwaukee Braves leaving town. He didn't care for American League baseball and the way that it was played, but he would accommodate me because he saw my passion.

After the game, my dad would take me to one of the local taverns, which I loved. He'd have a couple of beers and talk baseball with the bartender and fellow patrons, while I'd eat popcorn and play the pinball machine. For some reason, it was very acceptable in Milwaukee for kids to hang out in taverns with parents. For those not familiar with the city, there's a neighborhood bar on every block in Milwaukee.

Attending games with my dad were always special occasions and provided a common bond between us two.

During that time, Milwaukee had the morning Milwaukee Sentinel and the afternoon Milwaukee Journal, and because my three older brothers were paper carriers (paper boys), we'd always receive a stack of papers at our back door. When that would happen, I'd grab the sports page and read all the box scores and all the columns on the Brewers before my brothers would head out on their routes. They didn't like me messing with their papers so I had to be very delicate in my mode of operation, or else face a whoopin' at the hands of one of them.

I loved collecting baseball cards at that time. For every Paul Molitor or Robin Yount, I would receive 10 Mark Brohards or Peter Ladds. Oh, that was frustrating! Regardless, I would study the back of the card, memorizing players' heights and weights, as well as minor-league and major-league stats.

My brother Kevin and I would also use the baseball cards to play paper-ball baseball in our bedroom, which got very competitive. If a paper ball hit the closet door, it was a home run. If it landed on a baseball card in the field, it was an out. Damn, those games were a blast. I remember one time running out of the room crying after I lost an extra-inning thriller!

The stars were aligned for me to be a fan. The Brewers fielded great teams, I was 10 years old, and the City of Milwaukee (the greatest city on Earth) provided the perfect setting to become a fan.

Posted on: March 28, 2008 11:57 am
 

Not sure why I like baseball ... I just do

The start of the MLB season is here and I, for one, couldn't be more thrilled. All that offseason stuff doesn't mean anything to me. Roger Clemens, Winter Meetings, Trades and Free Agency ... who cares!  

Now that the season is underway, I'm checking box scores, watching and attending Spring Training games and looking at a lot of stats. I enjoy what happens on the field and I don't want to know about anything else.

I don't want to know about how much a player is making. I don't want to know about who Derek Jeter is dating. I could care less about Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens. None of that enhances or takes away from my love for the game.

I'm looking forward to attending several Marlins games this season and not because I'm a Marlins fan. Truth be known, I'm a Brewers fan, but I enjoy sitting at the ballpark and watching games, no matter which teams are playing.

Here's to an exciting 2008 season. Go Brewers!

Posted on: February 29, 2008 8:17 am
Edited on: February 29, 2008 8:20 am
 

Ah yeah ... baseball season!

Living in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. affords me the luxury of being in close proximity to several Spring Training sites. Some friends and I will be heading to Jupiter, Fla. to attend a Marlins game at Roger Dean Stadium this afternoon.

Spring Training games are a lot less casual than regular-season games for several reasons. I like how players are more accessible before and during the games. Players roam around the field, stretching or running wind sprints somewhere in deep center field. Other players will line the fences, signing autographs or having conversations with fans of all ages.

The Florida sun beats down, the smell of hot dogs and hamburgers fill the air and Jimmy Buffet music plays. The sound of the crack of the bat hitting the ball and the polite cheering from the crowd gets me in the baseball spirit.

I'm looking forward to the season. My Brewers should be strong. I'm not happy about Yovani Gallardo's knee injury, but he shouldn't miss too much time. Milwaukee's lineup is as solid as it has been in years, so I say let the fun begin!

Posted on: February 15, 2008 8:54 am
Edited on: February 15, 2008 9:10 am
 

Things I'd like to misremember

Roger Clemens has made the word misremember infamously cool. And, as such, I would like to work it into my daily lexicon whenever possible.

In fact, I can think of several moments in my life in which I would most enjoy misremembering. Most of these moments likely occurred in high school and college, and involved some degree of intoxication. But the first time I met Sal Bando, I made a complete fool out of myself and I was completely sober. I mean, it's Sal Bando! It's not as if it were Cecil Cooper, Robin Yount, Gorman Thomas or Paul Molitor.

The story goes like this ... I was interning with the Milwaukee Brewers in the Summer of 1995 and I arrive at work one day and I see Bando walking toward me in the office hallway. At the time, Bando was the Brewers' GM, but he was a pretty good player with Oakland during the 1970s. He was at the backend of his career when he played with Milwaukee in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Anyway, I grab his attention and in about a minute's time I attempt to tell Bando how much the 1981 Brewers meant to me.

'I would like to thank you for that season, Mr. Bando,' I said. 'I was 9 years old at the time and it was great to experience a postseason. Granted, Mr. Bando, it was a strike-shortened season, and you were a bit player and injured a lot, and Milwaukee lost to the Yankees in the playoffs, but it meant an awful lot to me ...' Blah, blah, blah!

I guess when I get nervous I try to fit an hour's worth of conversation into a minute and this could not have been more true in this particular instance. Meanwhile, he doesn't say one word to me. He takes in my ramblings, smiles, and then walks away. It didn't take me but a few seconds to realize that I was a blithering idiot. I felt like Chris Farley in those Saturday Night Live skits in which he nervously interviewed celebrities:

"Mr Bando, rem, rem, rem, remember when Rollie, I mean Rollie Fingers, struck out Detroit's Lou Whitaker on a 1-2 pitch to clinch the pennant for the Brewers in '81? ... Do you remember that? ... Yeah, that was so awesome!"

Anyway, that's a moment I'd most like to misremember. I sure I'm not the only one who has rambled on like this in a moment of pure fright.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com