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Brewers Benefit From Trade They Don't Make

Friday, July 31, 2009 · 0 comments

This isn't an article about how the Brewers actually benefited by not making a trade, because they didn't. This is an article about how despite the Brewers lack of action at the deadline, there was a deadline deal that could have just as much impact on them as the CC Sabathia trade did last year. Edwin Encarnacion was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays!


Now, I know that it's foolish to compare the two deals, but this is seriously a great day for the Brewers organization. Encarnacion is the biggest Brewer Killer in the league, and with him being shipped to the American League, the Brewers will now only face him once every three years (maybe) rather than nearly twenty times a season.

Sure, the Reds get Scott Rolen in the deal, but Scott Rolen worries me a lot less than Encarnacion. I know that Rolen is a better player, but it didn't matter against the Brewers for the former Reds third basemen. Encarnacion killed us as bad as Bill Hall killed them. Man, even when Hall sucked he still owned the Reds. Same with Edwin and the Brewers.

But alas, the Brewers only play the Reds three more times this season, so this trade probably will have little to no effect on the Brewers this season. But I don't care. The old saying goes, "Keep your friends close, and keep your enemies closer". I for one couldn't be happier that Encarnacion is as far away now from Milwaukee as possible.

The Most Laughable Trade Ever

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I just got a text message from my brother that read, "Vargas baby!" My reaction: I legitimately LOL'ed. That's right folks, Claudio Vargas is back with the Brewers, in what may be Milwaukee's only trade today. It seems that the prospect of having to start Mike Burns and Carlos Villanueva on back-to-back days this weekend was too much for Doug Melvin, so he called up the Dodgers and brought Vargas back to Milwaukee. You'd have to assume Vargas will start this weekend.


Claudio started for the Crew back in 2007, but was released in the spring of 2008 for not being very good. This season, he's spent most of his time on the DL, but does have a 1.64 ERA in eight relief appearances for the Dodgers.

I'll happily welcome him back, as I've said I always love a good reunion. It became pretty clear a few days ago that the Crew probably wasn't going to score a big pitcher at the deadline, which is even more true now that Jarrod Washburn has been shipped to Detroit. So welcome back, Claudio.

I'm a little saddened by this trade however, because of my college alumni ties. Vinny Rottino, the former UW-La Crosse Eagle that can basically play every position, has been shipped to L.A. as a result of the deal.

Some might say that it's rare to see a trade between two contenders on Trade Deadline Day, but as far as I can tell, only one of the teams in this trade is actually contending. Burn!

Seriously though, this trade is classic. To me it's like one of those trades in fantasy football where two teams talk about these grandeur blockbuster deals, and then they end up trading a backup tight end and a defense for a backup running back. Nice to see that kind of stuff happens in real life as well.

Bucks Add Hakim Warrick

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Hey, this is a nice little signing. After being courted by the Cavs, the Sixers, and the Bucks, Hakim Warrick chose to play in Milwaukee for some reason. Warrick, who can play both the power forward and small forward positions, has spent the last four years playing for the Memphis Grizzlies. He'll now be a Buck, at least for the next season, as his contract is only a one-year deal.


There's no word yet on how much he'll be making this season, although it was reported that the Cavs offered him somewhere in the $2 million ballpark. I'd expect he'd be making a little more than that though, with his tenure in the league already.

Either way, this is a good signing for Milwaukee. Warrick will probably be starting a good number of games this season, and is another young, athletic body for the Bucks squad this year. Hey, maybe they won't be any good, but at least they'll be fun to watch!

Update: The Bucks just cut Salim Stoudamire. So much for that signing last year. I mean, the man nearly ruined Bucks Survivor!

Update: And now Bruce Bowen is gone too, released.

Dreams Come True: Hall, Suppan Both Off Active Roster

Thursday, July 30, 2009 · 0 comments

This has to be one of the greatest days in Brewers history. Not only did they get a victory, but both Bill Hall and Jeff Suppan were removed from the active roster. Unfortunately, they are still members of the Brewers club, but we'll take what we can get at this point.


Jeff Suppan has been placed on the 15-day DL with a strained left oblique, or so they say. To me, this seems awfully familiar to a point - it was either last season or the year before - where Suppan was placed on the DL after he had been sucking. That's what it looks like this time as well, not that I'm complaining. That means the Brewers need to find a starter for Saturday, which could end up being recently sent-down Mike Burns, or maybe Tim Dillard. Who knows at this point.

Whoever is called up from Nashville will probably leave before Bill Hall gets there, as he as been demoted to the Sounds for the time being. Words can not describe my joy that this has occurred. Hall has been nothing more than a late-inning defensive replacement lately, and the fact that he appeared in neither of the blowouts against Washington this week was a very telling sign.

Kudos to Hall for accepting the demotion, as his approval was needed as he has more than five years in the majors. Hall needs to work on his swing, but more so his confidence, and hopefully he can figure that out in time for next year or maybe this year. Hall's contract means he's probably not going anywhere for awhile, so the least we can do is cheer him on a bit. No one has been called up to replace him, but it's likely it will be Hernan Iribarren.

Back to .500

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I watched most of Thursday's game at a bar (a. of course, b. sweet life), and I have to say I was pleased by what occurred when I was there. The bar wasn't that busy - it was a Thursday afternoon after all - but there was a lot of support for the Brewers nonetheless. The people in attendance still did cheer each run and lead change loudly, and seemed much more optimistic than I have been this past week. Regardless of how I feel about their playoff chances, it's nice to see not all hope is lost.


This was one of the more interesting games of the season as well, which will happen anytime the scoring gets kicked off with a Craig Counsell home run. The Brewers had a 2-0 lead at that point, but home runs by Ryan Zimmerman and then Prince Fielder left the game tied at three, which is when things got real interesting.

What will be remembered most about this game are the plays at the plate, including the Mike Cameron one seen above. Cameron was out by a mile after a Jason Kendall groundout, but Will Nieves isn't a very good catcher so Cam was able to slide basically through his legs. Later on in the game, there was another close play when Corey Hart just beat out a tag after a wild pitch.

The Zimmerman home run ended up being the only time the Nats would score, and the Brewers ended up winning the game 7-3. Gallardo pitched well, giving up just those three runs in seven innings and striking out 11 batters. Kudos to Todd Coffey and Mitch "The Pitch" Stetter, who both pitched a scoreless inning each.

So the win brings the Crew back to .500, and four games back in the NL Central. There is still a chance, for sure, but with a trade looking unlikely and and still no clear signs that we're a legitimate contender, this next week is going to be awfully interesting. First up, a weekend series in San Diego, followed by games in Los Angeles and Houston. We should know by this time next week just where this Brewers season is headed.

Winks Thinks: The Final Brett Favre Edition

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I guess nothing is really final when it comes to Brett Favre, but this week I try to write about him for the last time as he has decided not to play football this season. For now, anyway. I thought I'd get some heat for this column, but so far nothing, so maybe more people agree with me than I thought. Either way, the latest edition of Winks Thinks can be found here. Also in the edition is my hopeful lineup for the Brewers next season, thoughts on Mike Vick, and thoughts on the most overrated band on the radio these days. Bon appetit.

Maybe the Brewers Have a Chance After All!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 · 1 comments

Okay, I won't lie to you. There's no way I can post that headline after what I wrote earlier this week about how the Brewers season was over. However, it was refreshing to see the Crew actually come from behind and beat the Nationals on Wednesday, and I'm really wishing I took my brother to this game instead of to the one the other night.


Manny Parra wasn't anything too special on the mound, but the offense was able to overcome the deficit thanks to home runs from Casey McGehee and Mike Cameron. Ryan Braun tripled for the second consecutive night, and would eventually score on a wild pitch. And J.J. Hardy did his part by grounding out twice (although two runs did score as a result, so yay?)

In an effort to stay positive, I'm going to acknowledge the fact that there is still a lot of baseball left to be played. But I will also stay the course when I say that a team that has given up 27 runs to the Washington Nationals in three games is not a playoff team.

While I don't think it's impossible that the Brewers could turn it around at some point, I still just don't see it happening, not this year, not with this team. That doesn't mean I'm not going to stop watching, or stop rooting for the Crew, it just means that my expectations are a little lower than they were at the beginning of the season.

And instead of banking on the $100 I bet Gweeds that the Brewers would make the playoffs this season, I am now budgeting for when I will be able to pay him.


Player of the Game: Mike Cameron

(P.S. I resent the comparisons people are making when comparing me to a Cubs fan about my reactions to the Brewers game on Tuesday, but I suppose I understand where you are coming from. With the crowd cheering every pop fly on Tuesday night, as well as the terrible traffic and construction on the way home, my brain must have thought I was in Illinois or something, and it seeped into my writing. I don't apologize for calling the season over, but I do apologize for any behavior I exhibited that resembled that of a Cubs fan.)

Let's Drink Red Bull and Lift Some Weights

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This is for the next time that cardsfan9 decides to visit The Bucky Channel. I wanted to give him something to listen to while he was reading. Enjoy Slipknot!

Introduction to Sports Betting

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If you’re a huge sports fan and are looking for a fun and profitable hobby, online sports betting is for you. You may already enjoy playing at one of the best USA casinos and want to try your hand at something new. There are several online sportsbooks clamoring for your business and willing to offer bonuses. Before creating an online sportsbook account, you should take a minute to familiarize yourself with the different types of bets available.

Making a Straight Bet

The most common type of bet is a straight bet in which a bettor wagers on either the favorite or underdog to win. In basketball and football, a point spread is taken into consideration. For example, if you bet on the Miami Dolphins, who are favored by two points over the Oakland Raiders, Miami must win by at least three points in order for you to win the bet. If Miami wins by two, it is a tie and the funds are re-deposited into your account.

Making a Money Line Bet

With a money line bet, you simply select a winner with no regard for the point spread. If you bet on the underdog to win, your payout would be much higher than picking a heavy favorite, where the odds are much higher for a victory.

Making a Totals or Over/Under Bet

If you’re not sure which team to bet on, you can bet on the total points the two teams will combine to score. This type of bet is known as totals or over/under bet. For example, it is projected the Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills will score a total of 44 points and you bet on the under. The two teams must score no more than 43 points for you to win.

Making a Parlay Bet

The parlay offers bettors an opportunity to make big bucks without risking much. A parlay bet involves two to 12 games and increases in payout the more games you wager on. If you have a five game parlay and one of the games has a no action outcome, you still get paid out on the other four games. If any of your wagers lose, it kills the rest of the parlay.

Making a Teaser Bet

A teaser bet is similar to a parlay in that it involves multiple games but differs because it gives you the ability to alter the point spread. The ability to move the point spread increases your chances to win. However, the amount of money you are awarded is much lower than a standard parlay with the actual spreads.

The Brewers Owe My Brother an Apology

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For the past four or five years, I have been taking my youngest brother to a Brewers game sometime around his birthday. He's almost 17 now, so for him, the outing has turned from "Hey cool, I'm at a baseball game" to the two of us actually having legitimate baseball discussions. It usually doesn't matter too much whether the Brewers win or lose, it's a nice way for us to hang out and have a good time.


This year however, was a little different. This year we just didn't see the Brewers lose, we saw their season virtually end at the hands of an 8-3 loss to the Washington Nationals. No matter what we wanted to tell ourselves, we both knew the game was over after the Nats jumped out to a 1-0 lead off a Nyjer Morgan home run. And with the game, would go the season.

The whole crowd knew it too. I have never been to a Brewers game where the crowd has been just so out of it, not really caring anymore about the product on the field. I don't blame them either. The biggest pops of the night from the crowd were for The Wave, The Bubble Cam, and the booing that occurred when some event staff person took away and then popped a beach ball that was floating around (sidenote: the Miller Park event staff needs to lighten up a bit, you're working a baseball stadium not the Goddamn White House).

We enjoy going this game each year, Brewers, we spend the money on tickets, parking, food, and merchandise. We feed your beast in hopes that you will give us an entertaining product on the field. But with displays like the one you gave us Tuesday night, we wonder why we do it in the first place.

By the way, Miller Park, when I spend $50 on a fucking seat, I expect a good view of the game. Not some obstructed view where we have to poke our heads around a railing and whatever fat fan decides to stand in front of us for a few minutes. Not cool.

Will we be back next year for his 18th birthday? We sure will, because that's what sports and ultimately the Brewers mean to us. You may have sucked ass on Tuesday, but we made the best of it, because that's what we do.

So do what you have to do Doug Melvin, because on the car ride home next year I'd like to be talking to my brother about how fun the game was instead of wondering whether or not I should have just gave him a card with $20 bucks inside.

(Oh, and whoever had the bright idea of doing major construction on the northbound lanes of Highway 45 after a Brewers game probably shouldn't even bother showing up to work today.)

Player of the Game: Ryan Braun

Farewell, 2009 Milwaukee Brewers Season

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 · 2 comments

Well, that should do it for the Milwaukee Brewers season. You can argue that there is still plenty of season left, but I saw this thing die in person tonight. From the moment Nyjer Morgan took Carlos Villanueva deep, you could literally feel all remaining hope and optimism collectively sucked out of Miller Park. It's over, folks. It's good and done for.


I'll have more tomorrow, but in the mean time I need to shower off that loss and try to sleep without having Carlos Villanueva haunt me in my nightmares as well. Don't believe me that this season is over? Hell, read the obituary.

Worst Soundtrack Ever, For Sure

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Last year was the first time in like ten years that I didn't buy the new Madden game, a decision that was 95% based on the fact that Brent Favre was on the cover. This year though, I may have to skip out on the purchase again based on this horrendous looking soundtrack:

2Pac - Can't C Me
Airbourne - Heads Are Gonna Roll
Alice In Chains - Them Bones
B.o.B - Created A Monster
Bang Camaro - Revolution
Beastie Boys - Sabotage
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
Cypress Hill - Get ‘Em Up
Helmet - Unsung
Iron Maiden - Aces High
Judas Priest - Painkiller
Kid Rock - I Am The Bullgod
Killswitch Engage - Reckoning
Korn - Blind
Mastodon - Divinations
Nas feat. Puff Daddy - Hate Me Now
Nirvana - Breed
Pantera - Walk
Public Enemy - Shut Em Down
Rage Against The Machine - Guerrilla Radio
Set Your Goals - Gaia Bleeds (Make Way for Man)
Slipknot - Duality
System Of A Down - Sugar
The Vanity Plan - Before I Die
Young Dre The Truth - Cheah Beah


Now, not liking a soundtrack isn't any reason not to buy a game, but the Madden soundtrack is kind of held to a different standard. One, because it's been a launching pad for bands in the past and two, because most of the time I play Madden I'm making trades or simming through seasons, so I hear the soundtrack quite a bit. Quite frankly, people care about the Madden Soundtrack.

Slipknot, System of a Down, Pantera, Korn, Alice in Chains, and Black Sabbath? I am a guy that likes almost anything for music, but one genre I can't stand is "Angry Weightlifter Rock". All these bands sound the same, are too aggressive for my liking, and basically suck. Oh, and I hate 2Pac too.

Looks like I'll be playing a lot of Madden this year, only with the volume on mute.

Nationals Prove Why Brewers Aren't Playoff Contenders

Monday, July 27, 2009 · 4 comments

The title of this post wasn't easy to write, but I feel that it's the unfortunate truth. This was supposed to be the time of the year where the Brewers really put it together against some of their weaker opponents, but so far that hasn't been the case. Even with our struggles against Pittsburgh and Atlanta, you still would have thought that redemption could have been found against the Washington Nationals, but clearly that's incorrect as well. The Nationals flat out embarrassed Milwaukee tonight, pounding them at Miller Park by the score of 14-6.


Nationally, the story will be how Josh Willingham hit Grand Slams in consecutive at-bats, and deservedly so. But locally, Brewers fans will be talking about how this season is starting to get away from us, if it ever really was even going to be something special to begin with.

Yesterday I tried to tell myself that I wasn't going to worry just yet, but after Monday night's game it's hard not to call this season for dead. Our pitching staff is in shambles, evidenced by the fact that the Nats scored ten freaking runs off of Jeff Suppan, and also the fact the Carlos Villanueva is being forced to start tomorrow. The bullpen is it's same old inconsistent self, and tonight it was just brutal. Doug Melvin can log all the minutes he wants to on the phone for the next couple of days, but you and I both know that Milwaukee isn't going to get a pitcher that can help them make the playoffs. Not for what teams are asking, and not for how mediocre we are this season.

Offensively, we scored six runs, which should always be enough to beat Washington, but of course the pitching staff screwed it up. Still, our offense hasn't been anything special all year. Outside of Braun and Fielder, maybe it's the Brewers that have a bunch of Quadruple A guys on the roster (as I've been saying the Cardinals do up until I realized otherwise).

Kendall sucks to the point where it makes me angry, Counsell is playing too much, the fact that Hall is on a major league roster is a tragedy, Corey Hart and J.J. Hardy peaked already, and Jody Gerut is playing like the Monstars from Space Jam sucked out all of his talent.

As you can see, I'm to the point that is beyond frustration with this team. I hesitate to call this season officially dead just in case we make a run, but unless the Brewers win and win now, maybe we should become sellers. Maybe we should start thinking about the future. Forgive me if I am overreacting to one loss, but a 14-6 loss against the Nationals that puts you back under .500 will do that to me.

I just can't believe I'm going to pay to watch this shit tomorrow.

Player of the Game: Ryan Braun (Jeff Suppan loses one for being the worst pitcher in Brewers history, pout all you want on that bench Jeffy, I do not feel sorry for you).

Um...I don't really need your help, I just wanted to let you know that I'm gonna win the million dollars... because the U.S. President that appeared on 'Laugh-In' is Richard Nixon and that's my final answer.

Wrestling Analogy of the Day

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Learning that Carlos Villanueva will be the starting pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers tomorrow is akin to learning that The Big Show was Jericho's mystery tag team partner at Night of Champions. Both come as a bit of a surprise, followed by disappointment, followed by the reaction of "all that suspense for this?". Many thought it would be Tim Dillard or Dolph Ziggler, but the popular choice proved incorrect. So did the less obvious choices such as Jarrod Washburn or Christian.


In the end, Villanueva is on the bump tomorrow. Glad I bought 50 dollar seats to go watch him give up six runs in 3 2/3 innings. Don't let me down, Carlos!

Swindle Back Up as Burns is Sent Down

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Well hi there, R.J. Swindle. You're looking pretty mysterious there amidst that black background. What's that your hiding behind that coy little face of yours? You have something you want to share with us?


Seriously, what a weird picture. Either way, Swindle is back with the big league club for the third time this season. He's struggled in his short time with the Brewers, although has been pitching very well in Nashville. The arrival of Swindle means the Brewers will once again have two left-handed specialists in the pen.

To make room for Swindle, the Brewers sent Mikey Burns back down to Nashville. Burns pitched well at times for Milwaukee, but was never anything more than a stopgap in the Brewers rotation. With the move, you would assume Tim Dillard takes his "spot" in the rotation, unless Dillard is destined for a long-relief role should the Brewers make a trade in the coming hours (rumors about Jarrod Washburn have been cooling off however).

One thing is for certain, this Brewers pitching staff looks like it's going to be in flux for quite awhile yet.

Signs of Optimism, Signs of Worry

Sunday, July 26, 2009 · 2 comments

I'm taking a new stance on the Brewers season. I'm not optimistic about their chances, but then again I'm not doubting them either. Right now, I guess my attitude towards the Brewers is non-existent. I love them, I will watch every game possible, and I will talk about them constantly, but I'm not going to get caught up in changing my mind about the season after every single game. It's just too stressful.


On Friday night, I think at one point I actually said, "Season is over". On Saturday afternoon, I became more optimistic, and on Saturday night I was making plans for the playoffs. Now, it's Sunday afternoon and I'm bummed about another loss. The Brewers are not playing good baseball right now, as they haven't won a series or even back-to-back games all month. But, even though they are .500, they are only 2.5 games back of the NL Central lead. And there's still plenty of baseball left to play.

The Brewers don't have much more time to hang out in this purgatory though. The trading deadline is less than a week away, and the Brewers need to make a move to stay competitive. The Cardinals, Cubs, and Astros aren't going to keep giving away games for us forever. And with Dave Bush sidelined now until at least mid-August, something needs to be done quickly. So while I'm pretending not to get caught up in the panic of being .500, if the Brewers are still playing this poorly one week from now, then it's going to be awfully hard not to throw up the white flag.

Saturday - Brewers 4, Braves 0

Player of the Game: Yovani Gallardo.


Sunday - Braves 10, Brewers 2

Player of the Game: Corey Hart.

Which Jersey is Better?

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Milwaukee Bears throwback, circa 2008:

Milwaukee Bears throwback, circa 2009:

The first jersey is a little too New York Yankees, but the bottom jerseys are a little too League of Their Own. Still, I think that there is no question you will be able to spot me in a Milwaukee Bears blue and white throwback uniform in the near future.

Brewers Moves of Interest

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The Brewers made a couple of moves this weekend that may be of interest.

* Seth McClung was placed on the 15-day Disabled List, and Tim Dillard was called up from Nashville to replace him. Dillard was immediately expected to start Tuesday's game against the Nationals, a move that was all but confirmed once Mike Burns entered Sunday's game in relief.

* Here's another low-risk signing the Brewers love. Exiled Nationals relief pitcher Jesus Colome is now a member of the Brewers organization, heading first to rookie-level Helena to try to get healthy. He could be a possible late-season arrival in Milwaukee, depending on the health and effectiveness of the bullpen.

Let's Turn Things Around Tonight

Saturday, July 25, 2009 · 1 comments

Despite the fact that the Brewers fell to .500 with a 9-4 loss against the Braves last night, despite the fact that the Cardinals are now the favorite to win the NL Central for the next 30 years because of one trade, and despite the many problems with the Brewers lineup in general, I still feel alright about this season.

But, we have to turn it around soon. The post All-Star break run in July was something we were looking forward to for a longtime now, because of all these teams we are playing that are under .500. But the problem is, unless we get our act together, the Brewers are going to be under .500 as well.

I don't see that happening though. I really feel like the Brewers are going to make a couple of trades (minor, yet effective ala Felipe Lopez) and that Macha has what it takes to make a contender out of these guys yet. Surprisingly, I'm not panicking at the .500 mark, which is new (although if we lose tonight, I'll probably write a post tomorrow about how the season is over).

Last night was a disappointment, yes (POTG: Ryan Braun), but let's band together and finish this series on a high note. The lineup for tonight:

2B Felipe Lopez
3B Craig Counsell
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
CF Mike Cameron
RF Frank Catalanotto
SS JJ Hardy
C Jason Kendall
RHP Yovani Gallardo

If I ever catch up with you, I'm gonna love you for the rest of my life.

Iron Miss Playoffs in Year One

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Well, that's it for the first season of the Milwaukee Iron. Many (aka me) have speculated that it's going to be one and done for the franchise, but they seemed to have a good show of support last night. The final attendance in their 58-55 loss to the Albany Firebirds was listed at 5,547, and that might actually be a legit figure this time, according to those at the game (when I went there, the "attendance" was somehow double the actual amount of people in the stands).

So the Iron lose, miss out on the playoffs, and their first season is in the books. I wouldn't call this first season a success by any means, but you gotta start somewhere. Keep reading if you want the game recap written by the fantastic Milwaukee Iron Media Relations Department (I actually do mean that).

The Albany Firebirds will live to play another day.

A 21-yard kick by Brian Umstead late in the fourth quarter put Albany up 58-48 and sealed the deal for the Firebirds, who clinched a playoff spot with a 58-55 victory over the Milwaukee Iron Friday night at the Bradley Center. Albany finishes the regular season with a 7-9 record, knocking the Iron’s record in their inaugural season down to 5-11.

Todd Hammel matched his seven touchdown to zero interception performance from theIron’s 66-63 victory in Albany on 5/30, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Firebirds this time in front of a record crowd of 5,547.

Hammel and the Iron struck first in the game, taking the opening possession down the field for a touchdown toss to Antoine Burns. Two Stephen Wasil touchdown passes later (one to Johnnie Butler and another to Anthony Rodriguez) and the Firebirds led 14-6 after the first quarter. Wasil finished the game with six passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown.

Albany added a score on defense, recovering a fumble on a backwards pass from Todd Hammel for a four yard TD. After three unanswered Firebird touchdowns, Hammel and Burns hooked up for a second time from 10 yards out before the Firebirds responded with a Wasil touchdown pass to Norman Bauer. With 13 seconds remaining the half, Hammel hit Robert Gill, who finished with 102 yards on seven catches with two touchdowns, to pull the Iron back within eight at halftime.

Just like in the first meeting, the second half of the game was back-and-forth, with teams trading scores the rest of the way. Wasil ran in for a score before Scott Burnoski hauled in a Hammel pass to cut the Firebirds lead to 34-27 at the end of three.

A wild fourth quarter that saw 52 total points scored followed. Burns, Gill, Burnoski, and Bryan Pray all caught touchdowns in the final period for Milwaukee, while Johnnie Butler, Alvin Ray Jackson, and Jon Leible all found the end zone for Albany.

I Changed My Mind Already

Friday, July 24, 2009 · 0 comments

Earlier today I wrote that we shouldn't be geeking out over the Matt Holliday trade, and that the Cardinals still suck. But then I saw their lineup for tonight, and remembered that this team has been wheeling and dealing all season, and they have a much better team then they started out with this season. Maybe the Cardinals are legit. Ugh.

Why Your Stadium Sucks: Miller Park

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Deadspin has a weekly feature right now called "Why Your Stadium Sucks", and I was kind of hoping they would gloss over Miller Park altogether. But unfortunately, that would not be the case, as this week it was our very own home of the Brewers that was put under the microscope.


I love Miller Park so much, as it's in a neck-and-neck race with Lambeau Field for the place I want to be buried. However, if there is anything wrong with this park, it's the insane level of bandwagon fans (and nine dollar Rum and Cokes). I mean, most of us know what we're doing there, but some of you... yikes. There's only so many times you can cheer for a fly ball like it's a home run. Best line of the article: "God created the Earth in six days. He created Brewers fans in 2001."

Don't get me wrong, I love the Brewers, and I love Miller Park, and I love most of our fans. But some of us are just Cubs fans hidden in Ryan Braun jersey shirts. I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm still bitter at the guy that ruined my chances at love with a girl wearing bunny ears the last time I was at Miller Park, when he kicked her out of her seat. Isn't that really the whole point of this blog anyways, to use sports as a way to secretly bitch about girls?

The Wave Live On

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According to the Milwaukee Wave Facebook group page (I know, I hate Twitter, but I'll get my news from Facebook), the Wave have found a local investor to purchase the team for the upcoming season and beyond. The goal is to get 1,000 season tickets pledges in the very near future as they go forward (milwaukeewave.com for more details).

Next up will likely be the talks to enter the National Indoor Soccer League, which has already offered them a spot in the league (why they didn't just join that league one year ago and avoid the whole XSL mess, I'll never know). More details later, assuming you even want them.

Holliday Now, Halladay Next?

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Matt Holliday has been traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. Well, I guess that pretty much wraps up the NL Central. Might not as well even play the second half of the season. The Cardinals are going to the playoffs, the Brewers are not. Let's sell some guys now because this season is for naught.


Seriously people? One little trade and that's it? Sure, it sucks that the Cardinals actually have another legitimate bat in their lineup, but what does that make for them now, two people that are actually decent? Holliday, Pujols, and a bunch of Quadruple-A guys doesn't really scare me too much, I'm sorry. The Brewers, in spite of all their struggles, are still just 2 1/2 games back of first place? Can't wait a little bit before we call this season a bust?

So no, I don't think that the Brewers should become sellers in response to this move. I also don't think the Brewers should overreact and mortgage the future for Roy Hallady to join our pitching staff. I think we should act as if this Holliday trade never happened. Stay healthy, make a play for an average pitcher, and ride the season out. I think the Brewers are just as talented if not more so than the St. Louis Cardinals, it's just a matter of us putting the pieces together. If we can't do it, so be it, but let's not go into panic mode just because of Matt Holliday.

On a sidenote, the Cards gave up a lot of Holliday, including their top prospect in Brett Wallace. This is an all-or-nothing trade for the Cards, but ultimately it's a great deal for Oakland.

Another Link to Something I Wrote

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Just a heads up that I took care of the "Morning Coffee" entry over at the SportsBubbler today, here's a link if you want to check it out. In it, I provide plenty of links for your reading enjoyment today, as well as talk a little about the NFL Draft's new format. Maybe you'll read it, maybe you'll wrote, I just wanted to let you know that, despite the lack of posts this week, yes, I still do run a blog.

Winks Thinks: The Letters Edition

Thursday, July 23, 2009 · 0 comments

Is Winks Thinks slumping? The last two weeks I've written the article, I've gotten negative feedback, if any at all. Maybe the Winks Thinks backlash is starting to set in, or maybe it's getting worse because I don't hate my life as much as I did when I started writing the column. Either way though, a new edition is posted at the SportsBubbler. In it I talk about whether the Brewers should be sellers at the trade deadline, PTI, Big Brother, and I give my predictions for Night of Champions. It's not the best Winks Thinks, but I'm sticking to the theory that a bad Winks Thinks is better than no Winks Thinks. Oh hell, just read the damn thing.

Your Fourth Place Milwaukee Brewers

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 · 5 comments

They're still just two games out of first place, but the Brewers continue to slip in the standings an inch closer back down to .500. Just one game above average, it's a godsend that the rest of the NL Central is struggling as well. Just two games back? Sure. But you can feel many Brewers fans starting to wonder if we really have playoff team on our hands or not.


I still think it's too early to look to next year, but one friend of mine has already wondered out loud if the Brewers should be sellers, something I'll address in tomorrow's Winks Thinks. But until then, let's talk a little bit about the Crew's 8-7 loss to Pittsburgh.

Home runs ultimately defined this game that gave the Pirates their first series victory over the Brewers since Vietnam. Ryan Braun and Ryan Doumit kicked things off with a home run a piece, and the Pirates would eventually expand their lead when Jeff Suppan gave up three home runs in the 3rd inning. It would then be a Casey McGehee bomb that would give the Brewers the lead back, but then Brandon Moss would hit a long ball in the bottom of the 9th to win it. So yeah, lots of home runs.

Other highlights include a terrible outing by Jeff Suppan, another struggling effort by Seth McClung, a Bill Hall 2-for-3 performance (what?), and a pinch hit appearance by Felipe Lopez, which is good because there were rumors he might land on the DL. Other than that, let's just get back home and take down the Braves on Friday.

Player of the Game: Ryan Braun

Prince Ali! Mighty is he! Ali Ababwa...

Check Out Number 21 Down

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That's what I'm talking about! Play the puzzle here.

Bucks Continue to Dump Salary

Tuesday, July 21, 2009 · 0 comments

Farewell, Malik Allen, you've just been "traded" to the Denver Nuggets. I say traded in quotes because the Bucks essentially just gave Malik Allen to Denver for nothing, at least according to the Denver Post. Allen and his $1.3 million player option will be shipped to Denver for Sonny Weems and Walter Sharpe, two guys I've honestly never heard of.


Don't get too attached to them, either, because there's a good chance neither of them play in a Bucks uniform this season. This looks to be a pure salary cap dump, maybe in an effort to clear up more room to sign Ramon Sessions. That remains to be seen, but here's the financial specifics from BrewHoop:
Weems is a hyper-athletic shooting guard whose most notable rookie accomplishment was helping Colorado to the D-League title, but perhaps just as importantly his $736k salary is only partially guaranteed. If the Bucks waive him by August 15 he'll be owed just $174k. Sharpe's expiring minimum deal is for a guaranteed $736k, but... Sharpe is expected to miss all of 09/10 with an ACL tear.
If this is the case, then that means that Weems is likely to get the ax, while I don't know what they'll do with Sharpe. They could keep him on the roster, but that would mean the Bucks would essentially be playing with 14 guys all season. Maybe this deal goes somewhere, maybe it doesn't, but this move was all about cutting cap space and getting rid of an aging veteran the Bucks no longer need. The good old addition by subtraction theory.

Brewers Blank Bucs

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You gotta love alliterations, and tonight was a good time to use one as Milwaukee bested Pittsburgh 2-0, getting some sort of revenge for their loss last night. With the win, Milwaukee is now in a three-way tie for second place in the NL Central, as the Brewers, Cubs, and Astros all are two games back of St. Louis.


The story in this game in my opinion was a former Cardinal in Braden Looper. Loops Troops threw seven shutout innings allowing just four hits with one strikeout. He'll get the Player of the Game tonight, which makes it two straight starts he's gotten the "award". Looper is pitching well, and while he'll give you a clunker here or there, it's hard to imagine where this team would be without him. Signing Looper to his $6 million option for next season has to be a no-brainer at this point.

Looper was added by Prince Fielder, who ended the night with both of the Crew's RBI. In both instances, Fielder singled home Craig Counsell, and Fielder could have easily won Player of the Game tonight as well. However, in these games I tend to side with the pitching, so the award stays with Looper.

Felipe Lopez is Good, Brewers Not So Much

Monday, July 20, 2009 · 3 comments

All you really need to know about the Brewers 8-5 loss to the Pirates (besides the benches clearing that happened after we beaned Jeff Karstens) is that Felipe Lopez went 4-for-4 with a run in his Brewers debut. That means that Lopez was able to do something it took Jody Gerut 44 plate appearances to do, which is collect four hits in a Brewers uniform.

Player of the Game: Felipe Lopez

No, he's going to win. And then he's going to kill you.

Let's Make it 18

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The Brewers are falling further back in the NL Central one day at a time, now down to third place. If only our schedule would lighten up a bit so we could get some victories. What's that? The next four teams we play are the Pirates, Braves, Nationals, and Padres? Don't screw this up, Milwaukee.


First things first though as the Brewers will look to make it 18 victories in a row over the Pittsburgh Pirates, although gut feeling says they won't get out of Pittsburgh with a sweep. Then again, I can't believe they've made it 17 in a row already, so you never know.

One thing we do know is that Felipe Lopez won't be starting at second tonight, in fact he won't be in the starting lineup at all. Apparently, he's not even with the team yet, although he should arrive sometime after the first pitch. This, rather, is the starting nine:

2B Craig Counsell
CF Mike Cameron
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
3B Casey McGehee
RF Corey Hart
SS JJ Hardy
C Jason Kendall
P Mike Burns

I'm assuming we'll see Felipe Lopez as the first pinch hitter off of the bench, if he does in fact get to the ballpark. Hopefully Lopez is able to deal with the shock of being traded much better than Jody Gerut has. I'm still not sure Gerut even knows where he is right now, just that every three days he has to go up and swing a bat. Please don't suck, Felipe.

David Beckham Gets Aggressive

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Soccer was supposed to take off in America after the 1994 World Cup, I mean after the MLS started, I mean after the 1998 World Cup, I mean after the 2002 World Cup, I mean after the 2006 World Cup, I mean after the movie The Big Green, I mean after David Beckham was signed by the Los Angeles Galaxy. What I'm saying is, while soccer has it's fanbase, it hasn't quite "taken off".

The Beckham experiment has been a failure so far, mostly due to the fact that Beckham hasn't even fulfilled his contract, as he's been on loan to Italian club AC Milan for the first half of the MLS season. But Beckham returned to Los Angeles this week to play a friendly against, coincidentally, AC Milan. Let's just say the reunion did not go well.

Box Score Contest Standings

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A few of you have really gotten into the Box Score Contest, for which I am very pleased. For those that don't know, when I do a Brewers recap I link to the box score, only I do so by using a reference from either a movie, tv show, song, or pop culture. The winner of the contest is going to get a free t-shirt.

Free t-shirt, you might ask. Haven't we been hearing this for awhile? Well, yes, you have. I still owe the winners of the NCAA Bracket a t-shirt, but there have been problems with my making of them. First, I was broke. Second, I'm not sure the logo I use is going to fly because of it being a rip-off of the Badgers official logo. I have been brainstorming a new logo, and trying to work on a couple for you to vote on. Or you could always make one for me, and you'd be earn a free t-shirt. Or at least, a spot on the waiting list. The updated Box Score Contest standings:

7 - Travis

5.5 - Chad Lyons

4.5 - CC

3.5 - b2

2.5 - GDK

1 - b3, Brad Silvers

Brewers Acquire Felipe Lopez

Sunday, July 19, 2009 · 0 comments

They're looking for starting pitching, but one of the biggest problems for the Brewers this season has been picking up offensively what they've missed from Rickie Weeks. Craig Counsell has filled in decently at 2nd base in the injured Weeks absence, but Craiggers is 38-years old, and is not an everyday guy. McGehee could play second, but he's needed at third because Bill Hall is terrible and Gamel is still working on his defense. So with the asking price for starting pitching insanely high right now, the Brewers went another route in the trade market, scoring Felipe Lopez from the Diamondbacks.


Lopez will be the Brewers new leadoff hitter, and can bat from both sides of the plate as well as play multiple infield positions. It looks like he'll be a stopgap for the Crew this season until Weeks is healthy next year, although some have mentioned we could extend Lopez and move Weeks to center. The Brewers will pay about $1.5 million for his services for the rest of the season, and have parted ways with OF Cole Gillespie and RP Roque Mercedes as part of the deal.

Unfortunately for Gameltoe fans, this trade means that Mat Gamel is going to be sent back down to Nashville. I had originally been against sending Gamel back down, but with McGehee playing the way he has Gamel just isn't getting the at-bats. It's probably better for both the Brewers and Gamel that he gets regular time in Nashville for awhile before coming back up as a September call-up.

Will this trade win us the division? Maybe not. But it was one of the many things the Brewers needed to do if they are going to seriously and not half-heartedly contend for a playoff spot. Next of course, would be to acquire a starting pitcher, something I'm not sure is going to happen though. Hopefully Felipe Lopez isn't it for the Brewers, but it's a good start.

Weekend Player of the Game Awards

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The Box Score Contest will return Monday with an updated standings, as well as information as to why I haven't made Bucky Channel t-shirts yet. In the meantime, here were the Player of the Game awards for the latter games in the Brewers series with the Reds.

Saturday - Brewers 5, Reds 1


Player of the Game: Manny Parra


Player of the Game: Prince Fielder

ESPN Sunday Conversaton: Aaron Rodgers

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Wrestling Analogy of the Day

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Stewart Cink beating Tom Watson after a playoff in the British Open is to C.M. Punk cashing in his Money in the Bank contract against Jeff Hardy at The Bash. Expect a slow heel turn to follow. Discuss.

Player of the Game?

Saturday, July 18, 2009 · 1 comments

Okay, I've never really liked Edwin Encarnacion because he screwed me over in fantasy a few years back, but now I have a legitimate reason not to like him. He has to be the biggest Brewer killer in the league right now, going 4-for-4 last night with a dinger. Man, did he kill us.

Not as bad as Mike Cameron killed us though. What was his deal last night? Cameron is one of my favorite Brewers, but he looked moronic last night. First, there was the ball that went through his legs in centerfield that scored a couple runs, and then there was the hard slide into Bradon Phillips at second that resulted in an interference call for the double play, and took a run off the board for Milwaukee.

So not only will Jeff Suppan get the Player of the Game (he let up three runs, but none were earned, and when Suppan doesn't give up an earned run he's getting POTG every GD time), but I'm going to take away a Player of the Game from Mike Cameron. Thems the shakes when you play stupid. Better luck tonight, Mikey.

I am a rock, I am an island.

Bucks Sign Ilyasova to Three-Year Deal

Friday, July 17, 2009 · 2 comments

Patience is a virtue, and it has paid off for the Milwaukee Bucks in the form of Ersan Ilyasova. A second round pick in 2005 for Milwaukee, Illyasova has spent the last four years either in the D-League or in Spain, with some time on the Bucks roster sprinkled in there as well. But he was drafted as a guy that would help the club years down the road, and those years have finally passed. Illyasova has signed a three-year, $7 million deal that will finally put him back in a Bucks uniform.


While he's been honing his skills, the 22-year old forward has become a solid rebounder, and a legitimate three-point shooter. I really think getting him back in Milwaukee is going to be huge, and maybe the biggest move we'll make this offseason.

Aaron Rodgers' at the ESPYs

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Saw this video over at CheeseheadTV and wanted to pass it along to you. It's a little red carpet interview with Aaron Rodgers before the ESPYs which were taped earlier this week. In the interview, Rodgers gets a nice little dig at the Metrodome's enhanced fan noise, and he also predicts that he'll be facing Favre on the field twice next season. Give it a looksie if you have the time.

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Brewers Start the Second Half Off Right

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How about a Brewers post from a game that was completed nearly 24 hours ago? I would have done this sooner, but I was subscribing to magazines...


The big story from the Brewers 9-6 win over Cincinnati last night has to be Prince Fielder. He may have only had one hit, but it was a powerful one in the form of a 3-run home run in the 3rd inning. Naturally, that should calm everyone's suspicion that his Home Run Derby victory may screw up his swing for the second half, but I'm not surprised he's already homered this soon after the contest.

Prince swung the bat the same way in the contest as he does in the games, putting his entire body into the ball going for power. Sure, he can scatter the ball across the outfield with the best of him, but it's not like the swing we saw Tuesday night was anyone new. Prince hacks like that all the time, and I think that Derby victory is going going to improve his confidence and his home run totals. Refreshing to see the home run, nonetheless.

Despite the power, I'm going to give the Player of the Game to Braden Looper. Somebody named Braden needed to have a good Thursday, because my boy Braden got kicked off Big Brother last night. Not cool. Let's just say you're lucky you got the Head of Household Ronny, because you're going down. But I digress.

Looper gets the Player of the Game with a decent performance on the hill - 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 4 K - but he really gets it for going 3-for-3 at the plate, with an RBI. Anytime you get that kind of performance from your pitcher you have to commend those efforts. I mean, Looper only had three hits the entire season up until last night, and I have no idea where that outburst came from.

Actually, everyone had a good night at the plate, with the exception of Craiggers who was the only one not to get a hit. As my good friend Shep noted, Hardy, Hart, the pitcher, and Kendall had consecutive hits at one point, which had to be the first time this season that that happened. Hardy went 2-f0r-3 with 3 RBI by the way, a strong candidate for Player of the Game as well.

Game two of the four game set is just a couple of hours away now at 6:10CT. Another different lineup tonight, with Campiece hitting in the two-hole:

2B Craig Counsell
CF Mike Cameron
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
3B Mat Gamel
RF Corey Hart
SS J.J. Hardy
C Jason Kendall
RHP Jeff Suppan

Winks Thinks: The Mid-Summer Classic Edition

Thursday, July 16, 2009 · 0 comments

Looks like my advertising is going through some issues today, as HTML code is showing up instead of the actual ads. Be patient, that should fix itself out, and it's not like I make any money off of them anyway. But that's not the issue at hand right now. The issue at hand is that there's a new edition of Winks Thinks posted at the SportsBubbler, and this is your friendly reminder to view the column that should be a lot better for how much time I spend on it. In this edition, I take on the All-Star game, horror movies, as well as former President George W. Bush. Enjoy.

That Explains the High Number of Hits Today

Wednesday, July 15, 2009 · 0 comments

I noticed a bit earlier today that not only were more people coming to The Bucky Channel than normal, but that A LOT more people were coming to The Bucky Channel than normal. Many of them came here as they were searching Richard Jefferson, and likely found this picture:

Hot, right? That's Jefferson back in 2005 with Teresa Lourenco. Okay, so that's what our readers found, but why were they looking for Jefferson in the first place? Well, it looks like our boy with the worst tattoo in sports bailed on his to-be wedding with girlfriend Kesha Ni'Cole Nichols. Nichols obviously is not the girl pictured above, but rather this fine looking young woman:

So why did Jefferson bail in the first place? That we may not know for quite some time, but I believe he was just following one of the oldest adages in the book courtesy of Jimmy Soul, which is to Never Make a Pretty Woman Your Wife.


Hardy for Bedard AND Washburn? I'd Do That.

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There's no question that the Brewers need another starting pitcher if they are going to make a run at the playoffs, but is there a chance they could actually get TWO of them, all for the reasonable price of J.J. Hardy? According to one Mariners blog (U.S.S. Mariner), that would be a trade the Mariners fan base would welcome. Seriously, look at this article, it's almost as if this was written by a Brewers fan.

I don't know, trade Hardy, call up Escobar, then have Bedard and Washburn for the rest of the season? Seems good to me.

Checking In On My MLB Predictions

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Welcome to the worst day of the year if you're a sports fan. There isn't any sort of decent competition today. This is the one day of the year in which there is nothing going on in all the big four sports, and hell, there's not even an MLS game today. To make matters worse, this is the one during the week where the WWE doesn't broadcast a program at all!

So what do we do on a day like today? Well, if we were to follow the media's example, we would look for any sort of filler possible. For us at The Bucky Channel, our filler is going to be a look back at our MLB Predictions, and some readjusted predictions for the second half.


AL WEST PRESEASON PREDICTIONS

1. Los Angeles Angels
2. Texas Rangers
3. Oakland Athletics
4. Seattle Mariners

AL WEST CURRENT STANDINGS

1. Los Angeles Angels
2. Texas Rangers
3. Seattle Mariners
4. Oakland Athletics

Looks like I did alright with this division, but it's tough to screw up a division with just four teams. Honestly, I'm shocked that Seattle is over .500 at this point, and they actually have a better record than the Brewers right now. There's no way you can't credit that all to Russell Branyan. As well as Texas is playing, they are going to have to win the division to get into the playoffs, and they'll be in the race until the final week or two, but the Angels will prevail.

AL WEST MIDSEASON PREDICTIONS

1. Los Angeles Angels
2. Texas Rangers
3. Seattle Mariners
4. Oakland Athletics

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AL CENTRAL PRESEASON PREDICTIONS

1. Minnesota Twins
2. Kansas City Royals
3. Chicago White Sox
4. Cleveland Indians
5. Detroit Tigers

AL CENTRAL CURRENT STANDINGS

1. Detroit Tigers
2. Chicago White Sox
3. Minnesota Twins
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Cleveland Indians

Ha, what a joke. Looks like I was pretty high on the Royals for some reason, but I guess that bandwagon will have to wait for another year yet. I'm not upset that the Twins aren't in first, and I really don't know who to pick between the White Sox and the Tigers to win this thing. Ultimately, I think the Sox are more prone to make a key trade than the Tigers, so I'm going to give this division to the White Sox. Sorry, Detroit.

AL CENTRAL MIDSEASON PREDICTIONS

1. Chicago White Sox
2. Detroit Tigers
3. Minnesota Twins
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Cleveland Indians

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AL EAST PRESEASON PREDICTIONS

1. New York Yankees
2. Tampa Bay Rays
3. Boston Red Sox
4. Toronto Blue Jays
5. Baltimore Orioles

AL EAST CURRENT STANDINGS

1. New York Yankees
2. Boston Red Sox
3. Tampa Bay Rays
4. Toronto Blue Jays
5. Baltimore Orioles

Poor, poor, Toronto. They're just two games under .500, but they already have to think about shipping off guys like Roy Halladay, Marco Scutaro, and Scott Rolen. Them's the shakes when you are the fourth best team in the best division in baseball, thanks to the emergence of the Tampa Bay Rays. It's going to see that the Rays have lived up to expectations, and I still fully expect them to make the playoffs as the Wild Card over Boston. I guess that's kind of more of a wish than it is an actual well-thought out analysis, but if you want to put some more cheese on it this year Collin I'd be happy to do so.

AL EAST MIDSEASON PREDICTIONS

1. New York Yankees
2. Tampa Bay Rays
3. Boston Red Sox
4. Toronto Blue Jays
5. Baltimore Orioles

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NL WEST PRESEASON PREDICTIONS

1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Arizona Diamondbacks
3. Colorado Rockies
4. San Francisco Giants
5. San Diego Padres

NL WEST CURRENT STANDINGS

1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. San Francisco Giants
3. Colorado Rockies
4. Arizona Diamondbacks
5. San Diego Padres

Remember when the Padres put together a nice little run at the start of the season and everyone wondered if there were for real? Of course we all knew that they weren't, but that doesn't explain what is going on in San Francisco. How is this team good? I realize the pitching, but how do guys like Pablo Sandoval become legitimate ballplayers? Eventually, I still think they'll fade, which they better because they lead the Wild Card chase right now. Pencil the Dodgers in the World Series, by the way.

NL WEST MIDSEASON STANDINGS

1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Colorado Rockies
3. San Francisco Giants
4. Arizona Dodgers
5. San Diego Padres

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NL CENTRAL PRESEASON PREDICTIONS

1. Chicago Cubs
2. Milwaukee Brewers
3. St. Louis Cardinals
4. Cincinnati Reds
5. Houston Astros
6. Pittsburgh Pirates

NL CENTRAL CURRENT STANDINGS

1. St. Louis Cardinals
2. Milwaukee Brewers
3. Houston Astros
4. Chicago Cubs
5. Cincinnati Reds
6. Pittsburgh Pirates

In all seriousness, the Cardinals are no better than the Giants except for Pujols. Both have good pitching staffs, but their entire batting lineup is made up of Quadruple-A guys. I seriously don't understand how St. Louis is in first place right now, I really just despise this team, and really don't think they're as good as advertised. There's no doubt the Cubs will be better in the second half, and hell the Brewers could end up winning this division as well. Screw it, let's give the Central to Milwaukee. I never said I was a role model.

NL CENTRAL MIDSEASON PREDICTIONS

1. Milwaukee Brewers
2. Chicago Cubs
3. St. Louis Cardinals
4. Cincinnati Reds
5. Houston Astros
6. Pittsburgh Pirates

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NL EAST PRESEASON PREDICTIONS

1. Philadelphia Phillies
2. New York Mets
3. Atlanta Braves
4. Florida Marlins
5. Washington Nationals

NL EAST CURRENT STANDINGS

1. Philadelphia Phillies
2. Florida Marlins
3. Atlanta Braves
4. New York Mets
5. Washington Nationals

The Nationals are pathetic, the Mets are done, the Braves are one bad week away from selling, the Marlins will contend until September, the Phillies will survive the tragedy that will be the Pedro Martinez experiment.

NL EAST MIDSEASON PREDICTIONS

1. Philadelphia Phillies
2. Florida Marlins
3. New York Mets
4. Atlanta Braves
5. Washington Nationals

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AL PLAYOFFS PRESEASON PICKS

Yankees over Twins
Angels over Rays

Yankees over Angels

NL PLAYOFFS PRESEASON PICKS

Cubs over Dodgers
Phillies over Brewers

Cubs over Phillies

WORLD SERIES PRESEASON PICK

Yankees over Cubs (6 games)

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AL PLAYOFFS MIDSEASON PICKS

Yankees over White Sox
Angels over Rays

Yankees over Angels

NL PLAYOFFS MIDSEASON PICKS

Dodgers over Cubs
Phillies over Brewers

Phillies over Dodgers (same as last year, I know)

WORLD SEASON MIDSEASON PICK

Yankees over Phillies (6 games)

Talk amongst yourselves.

Brewers Deliver Mixed Results As NL Loses Again

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 · 2 comments

I'm going to talk much more about the 2009 MLB All-Star game in this week's edition of Winks Thinks, but I will say that I wasn't very pleased with the game riding on two San Diego Padres at one point. Heath Bell was one such Padre, and he gave up a sacrifice fly to Baltimore's Adam Jones which sealed the AL's 4-3 victory.


That's the thing about All-Star games, players from teams that have no business deciding home field advantage in the World Series ultimately do so, but I don't even care. I love these games, and love that something is actually on the line. Unfortunate the NL lost though. I guess the Brewers will have to win game seven in Yankee Stadium instead of Miller Park.

As for those Brewers, they delivered mixed results as the headline would suggest. Ryan Braun got the start in right field, but went 0-2 with a line drive to center as well as grounding out. Kind of saw that one coming, he didn't do that well last year either when he went 0-for-3 with 2 K's.

Prince Fielder did do well however, clutching up while pinch-hitting in the 2nd inning with an RBI double that at the time put the National League in the lead. Trevor Hoffman did well in the 6th inning, throwing just five pitches to get three outs in his brief, yet effective, appearance.

Overall, a fun night. It was a quick game that was much different from the 15-inning barnburner of last season, but it was still a good game. I know that a lot of people don't care for this glorified exhibition game, but it's one of my favorite nights of the year. The top talent in baseball all on one field for one night, including three guys from the team I live and die for. Nothing to complain about there.

When I was in the 6th grade I was a finalist in our school spelling bee. It was me against Raj Patel. I misspelled, in front of the entire school, the word "failure".

Video: Bucks 91, Kings 86

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Brandon Jennings with 14 dimes, including an alley-oop to Amir Johnson, Joe Alexander playing legitimately well, and an appearance from Szymon Szewczyk. Trust, you're going to want to watch these highlights.

Untucked and Beautiful.

Monday, July 13, 2009 · 4 comments

And the Brewers and Cardinals rivalry escalates to a whole new level.

Prince Fielder Wins the, You Know, Home Run Derby

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In an impressive, you know, showing, Prince Fielder was able to, you know, win the 2009 Home Run Derby by beating, you know, the Texas Rangers' Nelson Cruz in the finals. Fielder hit six home runs in the final, you know, round to beat Cruz, a former teammate with the Brewers back in, you know, September of 2005.


Prince actually got a good cheer of support from the, you know, Cardinals faithful and that pretty impressive to see, even after he, you know, untucked his shirt to celebrate his victory. His winning isn't that much of a, you know, surprise, but I kind of figured he might tire out easily. Luckily, he had a long time to, you know, rest inbetween rounds which may have helped him, you know, win the contest.

Braun Batting Cleanup, Playing Right

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The All-Star linueps have been announced for Tuesday night, and Ryan Braun will have the duty of batting cleanup for the National League. You figure each starter will get at least two at-bats, and with Braun being higher up in the order he could get a third. It all depends how well he is hitting, I guess, and we'll see if this mini-slump of his carries into Busch Stadium tomorrow night.


Braun was slated to be the Brewers cleanup hitter last season, until he and Prince went and begged Ned Yost to switch spots in the batting order. We've yet to hear whether Braun has already cried to Charlie Manuel about having to hit fourth, or if he's going to suck it up.

Don't look for Braun in left field, either. Old Man Ibanez is going to be out there, while Ryan Braun is going to have to play in right field. Hopefully that's not too big of a problem for him either. I don't know where all this anti-Braun sentiment is coming from in this post, I apologize. To make it up to him, here's a link to his clothing line, which in no way at all would be embarrassing to wear. Damn, there it is again. Anyway, the starting lineups:

National League
SS Hanley Ramirez
2B Chase Utley
1B Albert Pujols
RF Ryan Braun
LF Raul Ibanez
3B David Wright
CF Shane Victorino
C Yadier Molina
RHP Tim Lincecum

American League
RF Ichiro Suzuki
SS Derek Jeter
C Joe Mauer
1B Mark Teixeira
LF Jason Bay
CF Josh Hamilton
3B Evan Longoria
2B Aaron Hill
RHP Roy Halladay

For some reason, the American League lineup always looks more threatening to me. Maybe it's because they haven't lost an All-Star game in like sixteen years. Oh well, I'm still looking forward to the game tomorrow night. Don't forget about Monday Night Raw... um.. I mean... the Home Run Derby... tonight either.

Bucks Off to Good Start in Summer League

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As you can see, the Bucks summer league team is off to a good start. Their 65-59 victory over the Mavericks on Friday was followed with an 80-69 victory over the Cavs last night. With a starting lineup of Brandon Jennings, Jodie Meeks, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Joe Alexander, and Amir Johnson, the Bucks without question have the most NBA-talent ready roster in Vegas. You look at some of these other rosters and you're lucky to find too many guys you've even ever heard of, but the Bucks roster looks pretty solid.

Hopefully, that will help come next year. Getting Jennings and Meeks already on the floor with Mbah a Moute and Alexander will pay dividends, and having Amir Johnson figure out his new teammates early won't hurt either. I can honestly say that I'm more excited about the Bucks Summer League team right now than I was for the real Bucks team most of last season.

Last night, Jennings lead the way with 23 points, 8 assists, and 5 steals. Jennings still has some stuff to work on - his shooting percentage was a bit low and his defense could use some work - but this is a good start for my new favorite Buck. Jodie Meeks had a nice night too with 16 points, and Mbah a Moute stayed true to form with 12 points and 8 boards.

The Bucks are in action again tonight against Sacramenti (Arrested Development reference) at 9:30CT, Wednesday night vs. Toronto at at 5:00CT, and Thursday against Chicago at 3:00CT. You can pay to watch the games here, or you could just fly out to Vegas if you wanted to as well.

Brewers Head Into Break With Much to Figure Out

Sunday, July 12, 2009 · 1 comments

As soon as I saw this happen, I knew it was going to be the picture I was going to use. Bill Hall swinging at ball four, a high fastball that would have gotten him everytime.


Hall is just one of the problems the Brewers need to figure out as they head into the second half with a 45-43 record. It's not that bad, but you would have expected better after their terrific month of May. Depending on tonight's Cubs/Cardinals action, the Brewers will be either 1.5 or 2.5 games back in the NL Central, so there's no question they are in the thick of things. Still, they seem to be going more backwards than forwards right now, and hopefully these three days off can be used to their advantage.

Other problems include: the need for a full pitching rotation, the need for a steady bullpen, the need for Braun not to suck after he calls people out, Jody Gerut, Macha's Ned Yost-like brainfarts, Catalanotto playing better than Corey Hart, the need to realize we're not going to get anyone like Sabathia in a trade, and the need for fans to stop cheering fly balls like Cubs fans.

As for this latest game, the Brewers lost 7-4 in typical Brewers fashion. They were down big, 6-0, made a bit of a comeback, had people believing in their rally caps, had the winning run in the on-deck circle, and then lost the game on a pop-up. I was wrong though, I thought for sure the game was going to end with a Corey Hart double-play, but instead it was a Ryan Braun pop-up. Same difference.

Player of the Game: No idea. Half want to give it to Jody Gerut as a joke for his 2nd RBI as a Brewer, because I didn't realize he already had one. Bill Hall had an RBI double, but he also swung at ball four, and he is also Bill Hall. Mark DeFelice struck out the side in his one inning pitched, but it took him 27 pitches and he gave up a hit and a walk. I honestly don't know who to give it to. Pick someone for me.

Hoffman An All-Star After All

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Please don't judge me for this man-meat picture of Trevor Hoffman I decided to put up for this post. I don't love the guy that much. But he is awesome, and will finally be rewarded as he was named to the 2009 All-Star game.


Hoffman will be replacing the Dodgers' Johnathan Broxton, who has to sit this one out because of some sort of nerve issue in his foot. I don't really know, but don't care either, I'm just happy to see Trevor Time get the nod he deserves.

This will be Hoffman's seventh selection to the All-Star game, which ain't too shabby. Coincidentally, the guy the Padres went with instead of Hoffman, Heath Bell, was named to the team as well. Hoffman may not end up pitching in the game on Tuesday, but I'm just happy he gets the honor of being there.

Burns Gets the Win, Now What?

Saturday, July 11, 2009 · 1 comments

Hey, great job out there tonight Mike, now go pack your bags for Nashville. While that statement hasn't been said yet, it's probably going to be pretty soon as the Brewers look to make a roster move for when they call up Timber Rattlers ace Dave Bush.


Burns pitched like he knew his job was on the line tonight, pitching very well except for a couple of home runs he gave up in the fifth inning, but he recovered nicely. In five innings, he gave up six hits, three runs, and struck out seven. It's not the best outing, but for some reason I'm really pulling for this guy, even though he still has an ERA at 5.54. He's not a spectacular pitcher, but I just like him. I know that's not fair of me because of how much I trash Suppan even though he doesn't always pitch poorly, but Burns isn't making $10 million per year.

Burns did have a highlight reel moment that you will probably see on SportsCenter, although it was more of what he didn't do than what he did do. In the 4th inning, he hit a big RBI single but tried to stretch it out for a double when Manny Ramirez slid for the ball. Burns eventually was out at second, which prompted Manny to blow on his finger like a pistol. Still, it ended up being the game-winning RBI, and I think it's only fair to give our Player of the Game to Mike Burns for tonight. Sort of a mercy win for him, since I think he's being sent down, but he deserves it.

If Burns does somehow stay on the 25-man roster, I don't know who else would be sent down. Chris Smith is a name that pops up because he's kind of like the last man in the bullpen right now, but he's got a 2.08 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 21.2 innings. He doesn't deserve to get sent down, either. Carlos Villanueva's name has been mentioned because of his poor play lately, but he's not going anywhere. It's gonna be Burns, and that's too bad.

Other highlights from the Brewers 6-3 win over Los Angeles on Friday include four scoreless from the bullpen (McClung, Coffey, Hoffman), an 0-for-4 night from the now under the microscope Ryan Braun, and Baby Catalanotto's first home run of the season. I call him Baby because he looks like a little boy that is only playing because his parents are making him, and he would just as rather sit on the bench and eat orange slices. But he's filled in nicely has Hart takes time to milk an injury, so that's good.

Not a Good Night

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Missed the game last night because I was attended The Hold Steady concert in Madison, and I'm not too upset that I didn't watch this one. This was one of those classic Brewers heartbreakers, as Trevor Hoffman blew a save in the 9th inning and then Carlos Villanueva blew it wide open after that, giving up six runs in the tenth. Yikes.

The Brewers and the Dodgers went back and forth for awhile in this one, trading runs, many of which were off the longball. Five Dodgers homered against the Brewers last night, while Mat Gamel and J.J. Hardy each hit one out of the park as well. But it was the Matt Kemp grand slam that ultimately ended this one, as the Dodgers took game one by the score of 12-8.

The Brewers absolutely need a couple of days off right now. You were hoping that this would be a good stretch of games for us towards the break, as the Brewers haven't been further than Chicago since June 23rd. But this last week as been a struggle, losing series to the rival Cubs and Cardinals, and now down early against the Dodgers. After being in first place in the division just over a week ago, Milwaukee is now three games out and four games back of San Fran for the Wild Card. Pretty annoying.

Not as annoying though as waking up in Madison this morning to see that my car was broken into. Goodbye GPS, goodbye iPod adapter, goodbye suitcase with some of my favorite clothes, and my underwear. Seriously, who steals underwear? How mad am I about this? Very mad, as in very mad they just didn't take the entire car. Seriously, if you're going to run off with some dirty underwear you might as well just take my lemon of a car while you're at it and put me out of my misery.

Player of the Game: Mat Gamel, for hitting the go-ahead but not quite game winning home run in the 8th inning.

I threw his little brother off the thirty-second floor of Nakatomi Towers out in L.A. I guess he's a little pissed off about it.

Bullpen Blows Parra's Magnificent Return

Thursday, July 9, 2009 · 2 comments

If the Brewers are going to contend in the second half of this 2009 campaign, then they are going to need Manny Parra to step up. But if Manny Parra is going to step up, then the Brewers need the bullpen not to give games away so willingly when he does, which is unfortunately what happened on Thursday.


Parra looked brilliant right off the back in his return to the major leagues, looking more confident than I have ever seen him. He ended up going seven innings, allowing just three hits and walking just one batter, and also had seven strikeouts. It was a great performance, and he left the game with a 1-0 lead as it looked like he was on his way to a well-deserved victory.

Then the bullpen happened. Carlos Villanueva saw two batters, gave up two hits. Mitch Stetter saw one batter, walked him. Todd Coffey came in, but the hit parade continued, and before you knew it the Crew was down 5-1, and would eventually lose the game at the same clip. It was a heartbreaking loss, especially after the performance Manny Parra gave in his return.

With the loss, the Crew again fall to two back of the Cardinals in the NL Central, and now have to get ready to face the Dodgers this weekend before the break. Hopefully the Brewers can at least win two of three and head into the break feeling good about themselves, and then maybe put a run together in the second half.

Player of the Game: Manny Parra

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