Nomar on 'roids?
This witch-hunt needs to stop. We were lead to believe that stories completely lacking substance about players using performance enhancing drugs would stop once the testing got stricter and the season got underway...Well apparently not, because everybody seems to be on Nomar Garciaparra right about now.
Is this how it's going to be from now on? Every time a player has injury troubles there are going to be major publications and top columnists in the country speculating that player is on steroids? This is ridiculous. The only reason it won't stop is because talk-radio loves it, gossip columnists love it, and evidently the public loves it too.
B.J. Surhoff had injury problems early on with the Brewers, maybe he was on 'roids.
I thought the U.S. Congressional Hearing for MLB was their version of the Salem Witch Trials, but maybe we need to be more overt with this. Let's just have Jose Canseco cry out "I saw Goody McGwire with the devil!" and everybody can gasp at each new accusation.
Brewers Rained Out Monday
Wes Obermueller will have to wait until another day to make his first start of 2005. The Brewers and Cardinals were rained out Monday night. The game will be moved to the off-day both teams had scheduled, which is Thursday. That will be a day game. This rain-out came at a good time for the Brewers. Ben Sheets is still dealing with an inner ear infection and the bullpen would have been thin with Obermueller starting. Now they get another day to rest.
Geoff Jenkins doesn't seemed to concerned about the pitching staff. He was hoping for a Wednesday day/night doubleheader instead of a single game scheduled on the off-day. He doesn't appear to be down with the decision to play on Thursday.
"This is not an off day, we're here for six or seven hours," Jenkins said. "You enjoy your off days just because you relax and do whatever. It makes no sense."
I was always led to believe that the players hated doubleheaders, especially day/night ones, because it takes up their entire day. Jenkins comes across as a professional athlete bitching about something that isn't important at all, but I understand that some of these guys probably value their off-days a lot--especially because they only get a few during the season. Nevermind that they get six months to "relax and do whatever" in the off-season.
So I just turned on the NFL Draft. I like the NFL, don't get me wrong. But how come the draft is such a big deal? The weeks leading up to it are filled with "rumors", of which 99% are completely inaccurate.
Does anybody have a better job than Mel Kiper, Jr? The guy works about three weeks a year, and gets paid quite well. You may be wondering how I know he gets paid so well, but come on...Look at that hair--Nobody making less than about $800,000 a year could afford buying so many hair-care products. Plus Kiper, Jr is less accurate than a weather man.
Also, the draft has been on for about an hour so far...And THREE PICKS have been made. Great television.
ESPN just ran a commercial saying "Go deep...The Draft Matters". They were talking about how Zach Thomas was the 157th pick in the 1996 draft. So ESPN is telling people that they should watch EIGHT HOURS of draft coverage, just to see the one Zach Thomas-type player who gets drafted. You know somewhere in America, there is some loser decked out in his favorite team's gear telling people "see, that's why I watch the draft!".
Crew's 7-Game Losing Streak Comes to an End
All it took was a gem from Victor Santos. Santos dominated the Giants in his first MLB complete game, as the Brewers snapped their losing streak by winning 6-1 at SBC Park. After a particularly brutal spring and a healthy dive in production the second half of 2004, everybody was skeptical about Santos. So far in 2005 though he has been the most consistent starter on the staff.
Manager Ned Yost decided to "shake up" the lineup by moving Damian Miller to the 2-spot, Geoff Jenkins to 3, Lyle Overbay to 5 and Junior Spivey to 6. Most likely this had very little to do with the six runs the Brewers scored, but can you really blame a manager for trying something like that? Yost can't go out and swing the bat, so other than sub people in and out, he can't do anything but change the order in which they hit. Spivey has a little higher SLG% in his career over Miller, but nothing that is substantial.
I know computer simulations show that very little is accomplished by changing the lineup. There are things that aren't accounted for in those simulations--such as how players are pitched when their hitting 1st as opposed to 8th. Or how a player is pitched with a base-stealer on in a running situation. I doubt that these subtleties would make a huge impact, but again it is something that cannot be quantified. Just because something cannot be quantified doesn't mean it should necessarily be minimized or dismissed altogether.
Here is your expert analysis for the game: The Brewers won because they scored more runs than the Giants.
Brady Clark and Damian Miller have been off to a good start in 2005. Carlos Lee and Geoff Jenkins look as though they are coming around finally. It would be nice to see the Crew run off a nice string of wins here to get back near .500. They'll have their work cut out for them as they have two more vs. San Francisco before heading to St. Louis for three.
This afternoon Milwaukee sends Chris Capuano (0-1, 4.41 ERA) to the mound against Brett Tomko (0-3, 6.75 ERA).
I haven't commented on the Gary Sheffield incident at Boston the other night, so I thought I'd take a moment to do that now.
While Sheffield did show great restrain in not jumping in the stands and fighting fans, I still think he has to be punished for taking a swing or push or whatever it was at a fan. I'm not saying a lengthy suspension, but I don't think a game or two would be too much to ask.
Like with the Ron Artest situation, I hate the rationale of "YOU WOULD'VE DONE IT TOO!". First of all, no I wouldn't have. Second of all, I understand that people have an instinct to defend themselves. Ron Artest wasn't defending himself, Nor was Stephen Jackson for that matter. They were running in the stands looking to fight anybody they could. That's not self-defense. Gary Sheffield didn't do anything like Artest of Jackson, and I do agree he could've went "Artest" and ran into the stands like a psychopath. He didn't, and that is good for the game. Still he should have some sort of consequence, because you simply cannot have players going into the stands. Fans don't go on the field, players don't go into the stands and we can all live happily ever after.
Fans are stupid. Players are stupid. If you go to a game, don't throw things on the field, don't spill beer on players, don't take a swipe at a player. Just sit there, enjoy the game, drink your beer and try not to incite a riot.
Brewers Lose, Brewers Lose
Odalis Perez took a no-hitter into the seventh. Chris Capuano struggled with his control but still had a solid outing. Ricky Bottalico allowing a three-run homerun to The Gamer (Milton Bradley) was the back-breaker as the Crew lost 7-3 to the hottest team in Major League Baseball last night at Miller Park.
I got my first look at Norihiro Nakamura. That guy has the most messed up swing I have ever seen. I don't see how he can be a productive hitter in the Major Leagues. The guy steps into the bucket on every swing. Offspeed stuff away should dominate that guy. He has had good seasons in Japan, but I just can't see how a guy that pulls off of the ball so much could ever have success in the Major Leagues.
After knocking the ball around against the Pirates in the opening series of the season, the Brewers offense has somehow managed to look worse than it did in 2004. It is only 12 games into the season, so sounding off the panic alarm might be premature, but with all the cynicism that surrounds this team, it won't be long before the fanbase turns on them again.
A little more than a week into the season and the Brewers are currently in fourth place with a record of 5-6. By looking at their runs scored/runs allowed differential they should be doing a little better, but it is still very early in the season.
It is dissapointing that they have a record of 5-6 because of the starting pitching they have had so far this season. In 11 games they have had outstanding starting pitching and have been close in every game so far. Brady Clark and Damian Miller have been outstanding at the plate, while Carlos Lee has struggled and Geoff Jenkins have been brutal.
The Brewers are 4-1 against Pittsburgh, 1-2 against Chicago and 0-3 against St. Louis so far.
Milwaukee starts a two-game series with Los Angeles tonight at Miller Park. Chris Capuano (0-0, 4.35) takes the hill against Odalis Perez (2-0, 1.59). Porn Stache will be playing second base for the visiting Dodgers.
City of Milwaukee Slowly Being Taken Over by Orange Vested Cult
So as I've been driving around lately I've noticed an alarming trend--there are people with Orange Vests all over the city of Milwaukee. I don't know when it got to this point, but they are EVERYWHERE.
First it started as a few Orange Vests near the Marquette Interchange, but now they have completely taken over that piece of land and claimed it as their own. Now the Orange Vests have even spread further up 43-North and 94-West. They have altered lanes, closed down exits and caused other forms of transportation-based terrorism. The Orange Vests are taking over the world.
Well, the first week of the season is complete and the Brewers are 4-2. Space that out over the entire season and that's a record of 108-54. Hey come on, let a guy dream.
All facets of the club have been playing pretty well. The starting pitching has been great, the offense has been solid, the bullpen has been doing the job. Really, this team could be 5-1 given the way they lost the finale in Chicago, but that's the way baseball goes.
I've been checking the Baseball America prospect report daily. For those of you who don't have it, I highly recommend signing up for it. Dave Krynzel has been on fire in AAA. Rickie Weeks and Brad Nelson have been solid too. Krynzel has been the real story so far. He has been showing the ability to hit for average and provide doubles power. After his outstanding Spring Training, perhaps all of the Krynzel skeptics (like me) will be proven wrong. I really hope so for the Brewers' sake.
Opening Day was about as good as it gets yesterday. Russell Branyan provided some serious power, Doug Davis threw another gem, and Jeff Cirillo made his first regular season appearance in a Brewers' uniform since leaving after the 1999 season. A few years of toiling in obscurity allowed Milwaukee fans to forget that Cirillo was a non-roster washup and allowed everybody (including Cirillo) to hope he can rekindle his success of the mid-90s in Milwaukee.
The past week I have been unable to edit the site, luckily today I was able to make it work. I don't know if this problem will subside for now or if I'm going to be posting infrequently still in the future. Hopefully the site stops giving me problems.
38 Minor Leaguers Suspended for Steroid Use
I just read on ESPN that 38 minor leaguers were suspended for taking steroids. Most of the players aren't top prospects, and some of them are former big leaguers who appear to be heading nowhere. Former Brewer Robert Machado was caught, even though he is currently a minor league free agent.
Really though, is 15 days (or 10 in MLB) that big of a suspension? Yes you get outed, but I think once players are getting caught more frequently identification won't be that big of a deterrent. You get your 10 day suspension or whatever but it's not like you lose the muscle you spent all off-season building up. Get suspended for ten days and then bulk up and hit possibly hit forty homeruns and cash in for the rest of your life. I don't know, it doesn't sound like that bad of a deal to me.
Brewers 161 Wins Away From Perfect Season
Could things really be changing in Milwaukee? Ben Sheets gets run support? The team hits with runners in scoring position? Jeff Cirillo hits a bomb? What is going on?
Sheets obviously didn't have his best stuff, but he still managed to allow only two runs in seven innings. He struck out six and walked (you guessed it) zero. That's a real sign that you have an ace--When he can go out there without his best stuff and still be tough to beat.
The Brewers just looked like a winning ball club. I know it's only one game, but it's definitely nice to see. What's interesting about the season opener...The Brewers won big, but talk to any Crew critic and they'll say "hey it's only one game". I agree, but if they Brewers had lost 9-2, would it still be "just one game" in the eyes of the fans? I realize that there are twelve years of futility that helps to form people's perceptions, but really this is a different team, with a different owner, and a surprisingly talented team.
The Brewers will go for a 2-0 start Thursday afternoon when Doug Davis faces off against Kip Wells.
Sanchez on Roids
When he's not getting thrown threw a clubhouse wall by Lenny Harris or crying in the dugout, apparently former Brewer Alex Sanchez is juicing. On Sunday it was announced that Sanchez was the first person suspended for violating MLB's Drug Testing Policy.
The fact that he did get caught also reiterates the fact that he is "one of the stupidest people alive" as many people in the Brewers organization had said during his brief stint as the Crew's center fielder.
If Sanchez took steroids, just exactly was he trying to accomplish? He has no chance of being a power hitter (maybe he was influenced by seeing Barry Bonds' transformation from a stick into a beast). Perhaps Sanchez wanted to get a little extra muscle to get some more velocity on the grounders he hits or a little more air under the flares he sends just over the inflieder's heads.
Sanchez denies taking steroids, and on the surface his taking performance enhancing drugs really doesn't seem to make sense. Sanchez has four homeruns in 1,351 career at bats, so obviously he's not a power-hitter and really has no hope of ever being so. Could he have been falsely identified?
First of all, one of the many problem's with the MLB drug testing policy is that it doesn't identify what the player has tested positive for. Nobody is really sure what is tested for, so could Sanchez even test positive for something that is over-the-counter?
How long has Sanchez been juicing (allegedly)? He did hit .322 last year for Detroit. Could it be that taking steroids turned him from a .290 hitter to a .322 hitter? I know he only had 300 some at-bats, but isn't that a possibility? Also, could a slap-hitter like Sanchez symbolize how bad the steroid problem in MLB is? I mean, if a 5'9'' 150lbs banjo-hitter is juicing, could the problem run deeper than we originally thought? If punters in the NFL are juicing and slap hitters in MLB are juicing, what does that say about the steroid problem in professional sports as a whole? I joked that it's only going to be a matter of time before tennis players, golfers and bowlers are accused of juicing, now that might not be too far off the radar.
Well it is here. The Brewers are hours away from kicking off their most anticipated season in quite some time. Last night the Brewers announced their 25 man roster by adding lefty Tommy Phelps and optioning Trent Durrington to AAA Nashville. The Brewers also announced that Chad Moeller will be Ben Sheets' primary catcher. That means Moeller and Wes Helms (who's platooning at 3B) will both be in the lineup. At least for today the Brewers won't look all too different from last year's starting team.
Oliver Perez is pitching for Pittsburgh. The lefty broke out last season for the Pirates by posting a 2.98 ERA and a record of 12-10 that rates high on the Sheets-esque scale of deception. Perez also struck out 239 batters in 196 inning while walking 81.
The lineup for the Brewers will look like this...
Also, the Brewers had more than 15,000 people show up for Brewers On-Deck at Miller Park yesterday afternoon. I've always said it, but this is a baseball town that is just begging to be woken from it's longtime dormancy.
Here are the 2005 Predictions for Against the Grain. Enjoy.
New York (WC)
MVP: David Ortiz, BOS
Cy Young: Randy Johnson, NYY
ROY: Joe Blanton, OAK
MVP: Albert Pujols, STL
Cy Young: Jason Schmidt, SF
ROY: JJ Hardy, MIL
All right, those are my predictions. What do all of you think?
Brewers Have Fake Opener Tonight
The Brewers will face the Chicago White Sox in the first of two exhibition games at Miller Park tonight. There actually is a little drama involved, since both of these teams were involved in a big trade this offseason.
You have to love exhibition games at a team's home park. It's a good way to make season-ticket holders buy more tickets (because the 81 games they pay for aren't enough).
The Brewers have all but set their 25 man roster. As I discussed the other day, this is what it'll be...
de la Rosa
Helling, Borders and Phelps are expected to be sent back to AAA Nashville after this weekend at Miller Park.