Brewin' Up a Melting Pot
As it turns out, black players aren't the only multicultural selling point the Brewers have. Last year, Ryan Braun became the most notable Jewish player in baseball when he won the Rookie of the Year award. This year, he's joined by Gabe Kapler, who also happens to be a devout Jew. In fact, according to Kapler's Wikipedia page, he has a Star of David tattooed on one leg, with the inscription "Strong Willed, Strong Minded" in Hebrew, and the post-Holocaust motto "Never Again" with a flame and the dates of the Holocaust on the other.
(Apparently, the "record" for most Jewish players on the field at one time is four, in 1941. Kapler joined two other Jewish Boston Red Sox on the field in 2005. Apparently, someone keeps track of this.)
So, basically, it's pretty cool that the Brewers keep making strides in areas important to a lot of people. It's unknown whether the Crew has any gay players, but Eric Gagne spoke only French until he got to junior college, so that's probably close enough. And regardless of actual sexual preference, Kapler seems to be a big hit on gay sports sites, as pointed out by HeatherRadish.
In fact, speaking of ethnic identities and the Brewers, check out this question Tom Haudricourt received during his Brewer Mailbag today:
Q: Maurice of Milwaukee - Hi i'm a african American who is a big Brewers fan? So here my question With six picks in the first two rouds what positions/Pitchers you think they will look at ?
A: Brewers Mailbag - Wow, it's way to early to project that stuff right now. They don't even get their first pick until No. 16, I believe. The draft board doesn't firm up until the final days before the draft. Check back then.
What in the hell does his question have to do with the fact that he's African-American? From now on, people in the Mailbag should identify themselves by race before asking Haudricourt a question:
Q: Hi, I'm Saul, a Jew from Milwaukee. Why is Fielder batting fourth?
Other Brewers notes:
There's no doubt Ned Yost is doing an excellent job, given the team is 11-7 and still not hitting a lick. And I was one of the people ready to burn him at the stake after "beanballgate" last year.
Now, I concede that fans always tend towards being in favor of playing "smallball." It gives them a chance to prove how much more they know about strategy than their manager. But it still seems like the Brewers botch an inordinate amount of chances to score runs in tight games. Of course, there are plenty of variables that we as fans don't know.
For instance, J.J. Hardy gets a leadoff single in the 9th yesterday in a 1-1 game. Ryan Braun is up. Maybe Braun is a terrible bunter - but it seems that would be a good time to move the runner over. (As it is, Braun walked, and Fielder hit into a double play behind him, and Corey Hart grounded out.) The same thing happened in the 10th inning - and the Brewers would have wasted a couple of runners had Edwin Encarnacion not booted a tailor made double play. It just seems like the people who advocate for a more station to station approach seem to be winning over Yost at this point.
It seems like Bill Hall would be a great guy to play with. And I'm not saying that just because he's coming off a productive series. He's always encouraging his teammates, giving hi-fives, and never complained about being shuffled around on defense. Seems like the kind of guy you'd want around.
I noticed that at one of the upcoming games, the Brewers are offering free prostate exams before the game. Come in, get checked, and get two free tickets. There are several problems with this:
First, once you realize what a prostate exam is, it sounds a lot less like a good idea. It ain't like getting your ears checked, folks. Although if I had the choice between having the doctor's arm halfway up my rectum or ever watching Derrick Turnbow pitch again, grab the rubber glove.
Secondly, what happens if you get checked and the doctor there actually finds something? One would think that the people getting free prostate exams at a Brewer game are the same people that might not have health insurance. So Bernie Brewer gives you an exam, tells you you have cancer, and gives you two free tickets. Off you go now. Enjoy the game.
Last year during a FOX game, Geoff Jenkins mentioned that Craig Counsell's nickname was "The Grumpy Rooster." I demand that the announcers mention this every time Counsell steps to the plate.
Speaking of announcers, I think Bill Schroeder and Brian Anderson are outstanding. They are as good as the Bucks' Paschke and McGlocklin are unbearable. And that's saying a lot. I mean, seriously - if you were starting a franchise tomorrow, are Paschke and McGlocklin the two guys you're hiring from scratch? Of course not. But because of their history with the team, they lumber on from year to year to year, making watching games even more unbearable.
Except for the obvious exception (Gagne), the bullpen has been outstanding this year. Torres, Mota, and Riske have all been good. They're a big reason the team is 11-7. But that makes last year's season all the more hard to take. Because the team hit lights out last year, but still ended up fumbling away the season. Had the bullpen been merely bad, instead of execrable, the Brewers would have won the NL Central by 6 games. And yes, the fact that I'm still sore about last year means I need some kind of counseling.
One camera shot into the dugout this weekend showed Ben Sheets hi-fiving some players after scoring a run. The Crew should hire a coach whose sole responsibility it is to make sure no other players come within 5 feet of sheets at any time. In the bathroom, there shouldn't be anyone within three stalls of him.
Two years ago, any team in baseball would have been envious of the Brewers' young crop of talent. Hardy, Weeks, Hall, and Fielder all looked like they had enormous potential. As it turns out, it looks like Hardy and Weeks may not turn into the stars we had once thought. They may certainly turn into decent players, but appears both might be headed for light-hitting middle infielder roles. If that's the case, Hardy's first half of the season last year may turn into one of the greatest statistical anomalies in Brewers history. (Slightly ahead of the year John Jaha played in 148 games, hit 34 home runs, and was only arrested for drunk driving three times.)
Gallardo's going to be an All-Star this year. Bank it.
POST MONDAY NIGHT UPDATE:
TURNBOW! TURNBOW! TURNBOW! TURNBOW! TURNBOW! TURNBOW! TURNBOW! TURNBOW! TURNBOW! TURNBOW! TURNBOW! TURNBOW! TURNBOW! TURNBOW! TURNBOW! TURNBOW! TURNBOW! TURNBOW! TURNBOW! TURNBOW! TURNBOW!
(That would be the Brewer reliever carrying an artery-clogging 9 ERA. You know, the one who complained last week about being relegated to "mop up" duty? The one who Yost had to go to tonight despite carrying an unheard of 14 pitchers on his roster? Fortunately, Turnbow is now back to his regular role as Designated Game Blower. The world is right again.)