Saturday, June 26, 2010

This Is Why I Don't Believe in Anything

Alright, so maybe I'm overreacting with the title here, but what a heartbreaking loss it was for the United States on Saturday. Even though the circumstances were different, the result was the same - a 2-1 loss to Ghana has eliminated the United States from the World Cup.

I know that once things settle and I look back at this World Cup I'll remember it for how miraculous some of the things that happened to the USA were, and that it was a great time where the nation really started to rally together around this team. From the Clint Dempsey goal against England, to the Slovenian comeback, to the Donovan goal in extra time against Algeria, it really has been quite amazing what has happened to and for this team. But the fact remains that even with that, even with all the luck on our side, another team I root for not only has their run come to and end, but it ends in heartbreak.

For many of you, watching this game may have been a decent way to spend an afternoon, but tomorrow you'll be back in your regular sports mode where soccer is on the backburner. But for me, soccer is a big deal. This national team is a big deal. Watching them try to improve their position in these World Cups every year since 1994 has been a big deal for me, and it's just gut wrenching to watch the Americans exit a little earlier than they should have, again.

In 2002, there was a non-called handball in the box by the Germans, but it went undetected and the Americans were sent home. In 2006, it was a disappointing loss to Ghana that kept us from advancing out of group play, losing because of a unquestionable penalty kick that was awarded to the opposition. This year, it was the fact that 120 minutes was just too much for these team, as they had already been pushed to the brink both physically and emotionally. In every one of these Cups though, the U.S. could have done better, and I keep waiting for the Cup where they do in fact do better. This year just isn't the year.

It makes me wonder - as all heartbreaking ends often do - why I even root this passionately for this stuff. The Packers loss to Arizona left me in shambles, and that's pretty similar to how I feel today. There's just a feeling of emptiness, a feeling of frustration, a feeling of wondering when all this fan heartache is going to finally pay off with a championship of any kind. As stupid as it sounds, it's hard being a sports fan, especially when you really do put a lot of your own emotion into the battles that someone else is fighting for you. It's a strange phenomenon really, how affected we are by sports.

But if I'm feeling this way, God knows how the players are feeling. Even though it's one and done in the knockout stage, you really have to be proud of these guys. They fought hard, came back to tie the game, and ended up running around a soccer field for 120 minutes, just one goal short. Hopefully people realize how special this team was, instead of retreating back to pissing all over soccer again.

The game itself started just like any other typical U.S. game as of late, as they gave up an early goal when Kevin-Prince Boateng scored in the game's fifth minute. It was a goal that had many questioning the starting nod to Ricardo Clark by Coach Bradley, and why Bradley didn't go with the lineup that looked so strong against Algeria. The defense was cut up on the play, the ball squeaked past Tim Howard on the near side, and the Americans once again found themselves needing a comeback.

They were granted with one when Clint Dempsey was ripped down in the box, setting up a penalty kick for Landon Donovan. Donovan barely made this kick, using the inside of the right post to guide the ball into the back of the net. At that point, the U.S. was in control of the game, and they had plenty of chances to take the lead. But just like the first ninety minutes of the game against Algeria, no matter how good the chance the U.S. just couldn't convert.

With the game tied at one and the final whistle blown, the stage was set for extra time. Thirty more minutes were to be played, no matter what. If the game was still tied, we were going to the penalty mark. But again, Ghana found a way to shred the defense and score early, as Asamoah Gyan somehow was able to keep his balance and lift a ball just over Howard. From that point on, the Ghanaians used every time-wasting tactic in the book, but it didn't matter. This game was over from the moment that ball hit the net, and the U.S. just didn't have anything left in them to comeback once more. There were some chances late, but when you run out of gas you run out of gas, and the tank was empty for Uncle Sam.

This wasn't a team that was going to win the World Cup by any means, but they did have a great opportunity to at least make it to the semifinals and play on the final weekend of this World Cup. Ghana will now take on Uruguay (winners over South Korea) in the quarterfinals in what has to be the weakest quadrant of this tournament's knockout round. Both teams are deserving, for sure, but both could have been beaten by the United States. Especially Ghana, although they were ready to capitalize when they had opportunities while the United States could not.

In the next couple of days, Bradley will be questioned for his lineup, I will be questioning why Jozy Altidore thinks he's a wide receiver instead of a top striker, and people will go back to not caring / hating soccer. Things will revert back to normal, and you won't hear from this sport again until the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

In the next four years, the United States better hope the young guys have learned from this experience while grooming new members to step in, because one of these times we can no longer be waiting for a future where we are a soccer powerhouse. We should have the team that wins a game like this, and we should have the type of team that is playing after this weekend. We need to do everything in our power to make sure we keep developing players and building the sport. Because soccer in this country is never going to be more than a four year event until we have a team that can consistently make a deep run every four years.

Thank you though, to all of you that have hopped on the bandwagon. You may all now return to your normal everyday activities. I'll be in the corner crying, waiting for the heartbreak to pass.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Thoughts on Nebraska to the Big Ten

For a guy that has been struggling for the last 26 years to get out of Fond du Lac, believe me when I tell you that I do love change. I love when people move away from me, because they have the balls to change their lives in a way that I never could. I love when new buildings and streets are created, and I've often spent many sleepless nights scouring the Wisconsin DOT website for upcoming projects. That kind of nerdiness is why I'm so giddy at the prospect of Nebraska joining the Big Ten, not only for what it means for our conference but what it means for the entire landscape of collegiate sports.

For the Big Ten, the main change in all of this is that they will finally be able to get a conference championship game for college football, something the conference has been dying for so that they are no longer irrelevant for the entire month of December. Of course, there are like twenty other collegiate sports this will affect too, but really we all know that football is the driving force behind this move. Hell, we know it's not basketball. At least, Gweeds and I didn't because we just had about a ten minute conversation wondering if Nebraska even had a basketball team. Apparently, they do.

The move, assuming it's finalized of course, isn't going to take affect until 2012, but expect a lot more moving and shaking to happen once Nebraska does accept the invite to the Big Ten. Some Big 12 insiders are saying already that the conference is dead, as a handful of the conference's teams have an invite to join the Pac-10 in their quest towards a 16-team conference. Some of the Texas teams could then be heading for the SEC, leaving teams like Kansas and Missouri as possible Big Ten targets as well.

For years, the popular speculation was that if the Big Ten ever did expand to twelve teams that the logical choice would be Notre Dame. Notre Dame however has been beyond stubborn in their desire to join the conference, and continue to say that they enjoy being a football independent. But I have a hard time believing that if all this moving keeps happening, if the Big 12 truly dies, and if it really becomes four superconferences, I have a hard time believing that the Fighting Irish will still be as stubborn. Eventually, I would guess that the Big Ten is going to expand to 16 - Notre Dame, Missouri, Kansas, and possibly Rutgers (New York market for the Big Ten Network).

It's funny but really, the Big Ten Network was pretty much the reason all this has happening. The conference has banked off of having their own network, even though the selection is pretty weak between March and August (unless you like watching Iowa/Indiana football games from 1998, and Penn State campus programming). Other conferences now want to follow suit, and are gathering up as many teams as possible to being to build a strong television network. Like I said though, I'm all for this change, and can't wait to see how this all shakes out.

Now, if only I could get the hell out of Fond du Lac.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bucks Survivor: Round Ten

And then there were four. Slowly but surely, Bucks are being eliminating from this Bucks Survivor contest. Similar to the NBA Playoffs themselves, the contest starts out hot in April and then wears a little thin on you by the time June comes around. At this though this contest is proving to be somewhat interesting, outside of the lackluster NBA Finals. I don't know, maybe it's because the Celtics and Lakers got together already a few years ago, but I'm surprised with how uninterested I am in these Finals.

Nevertheless, the Bucks Survivor finals are just one week away, as it's now time for another double elimination round. Not joining us this week will be Carlos Delfino, as he was eliminated with 51 percent of the vote. Ersan Ilyasova was next with 24 percent, while Luc Richard Mbah a Moute wasn't too far behind with 18 percent.

This week's double elimination will be a bit different, as you'll be voting on which pair of Bucks you'd like to see eliminated. Whichever pair has the most votes will not be advancing to the finals, but I think by now everyone understands how the process of voting works. Again, voting can be done at the top right of this blog, and vote for which pair you'd like to see eliminated.

Brewers Continue to Build for (Near?) Future

After using their first round pick to take a prep pitcher in Dylan Covey, the Brewers looked to the college ranks for arms in the early rounds of day two. With the 64th pick, Milwaukee nabbed James Nelson out of Alabama, and then followed up with Tyler Thornburg from Charleston Southern. Both of these guys seem to have a capable future as starters in the big leagues, or least solid options out of the pen.

With their next pick, in the 4th round, the Brewers selected one possible replacement for Prince Fielder when they took Hunter Morris out of Auburn (pictured). Morris is another left-handed power guy, just like Prince, and was actually a second-round pick back in 2007 to the Boston Red Sox. He can also play either of the corner outfield positions, so it's highly likely there will be a spot for him sometime in the future at Miller Park.

After that, the Brewers continued to stock up on pitching, including spending three of their next four picks on right-handed arms. MLB.com has the rundown of the rest of the picks from day two, make sure to check it out.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Brewers Select Dylan Covey

He may not know how to spell Milwaukee, and the only thing he might now about the Brewers is that they have a slide in the outfield, but Milwaukee Brewers fans should get to know Dylan Covey. Taken by the Brewers with the 14th pick in the MLB draft, Covey is a right-handed pitcher set to graduate from Marantha High School is Pasadena, California. The Brewers could have taken a guy from college in an effort to get their first round pick up to the big leagues faster, but they instead chose the third prep pitcher taken in the draft.

Covey seems like a good kid, already drawing comparisons to Chad Billingsley. This season at his high school, he went 7-1 with a 0.40 ERA, collecting three saves as well as striking out 138 batters. He's got a fastball that can hit 96, and also seems to have a pretty effective slider, curveball, and changeup. Sounds like a quality pitcher to me.

Of course, the issue with drafting prep players is that you have to get them to sign rather than to go to college. He does have a scholarship to the University of San Diego, but in the previously linked article to Haudricourt's story, Covey seems like he definitely does want to sign. From everything I've read, I honestly don't see how this kid doesn't sign, and the Brewers seem to have added a quality arm to their minor league system.

Don't be going out and buying Covey jerseys already though, as again, this kid is just 18 years old. We have to remember that the MLB draft is completely different than that of the other leagues, and rarely does a guy go right from the draft to the bigs. Even Stephen Strasburg, a can't miss guy, spent a year in development before finally debuting Tuesday for the Nationals. Hell, we drafted Jeremy Jeffress in the first-round in 2006 and still haven't heard from him (remember, he's currently serving a 100-game suspension for drug abuse).

Still, I like the Covey pick here, and I'm glad that the Brewers got a guy that not only seems legit but one that also seems likely to sign. A lot of the players that the Brewers were projected to add in the first round were taken much earlier, but I'm thinking things turned out already for Milwaukee.

But I guess we won't really know though for another five years or so.

The Nightmare is Finally Over

You know what, I've decided I'm not going to gloat about this. I've been about as hard as you can be on Jeff Suppan during the last few years, and I suppose that I can lighten up on him now that's he finally been released from the Milwaukee Brewers. You know, Jeff Suppan the person is not a bad guy. I've met him before, he was very friendly, and of course we all know that he's been generous to charities and in the community. But he's just no longer a major league pitcher, and the time had come that he had to be released.

Actually, the time had come probably two years ago, but when you pay a guy $42 million over four years, it's hard to just cut ties with him so suddenly. But there was just no way to justify keeping this guy on the roster anymore, and as stubborn as Doug Melvin is he finally realized that fact. This year, in mostly mop-up duty even, Suppan went 0-2 with a 7.84 ERA. He was given a chance about a week ago against the Mets when Macha put him in when the game was tied at three in the sixth, but predictably Suppan struggled and the Brewers lost the game. For many, that was our final straw, and Melvin finally agreed.

The release of Jeff Suppan means that Chris Smith will be called up from Nashville. Smith pitched alright when he was up with the club last year, and has been pitching very well so far in Nashville as their closer. It's always a lot better to have guys in your bullpen that you are confident in, and it was apparent that the Brewers had lost all confidence in Jeff Suppan. I'm not sure if any other team is going to pick this guy up or not, but I doubt it. A minor-league contract maybe, but that's stretching it.

One of the reasons why Jeff Suppan was expendable at this point in the season, according to Doug Melvin, was that the Brewers are more comfortable with their pitching depth now than they were at the beginning of the season. It's hard for me to believe that the Brewers have any comfort level with their pitching staff, but to each their own.

Enjoy your $10 million parting bonus there, Jeff.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Brewers Salvage Sunday, Drop Series to Cards

This post was originally written a full day ago, but Blogger decided to go ahead and crash so I wasn't able to enlighten you on the Brewers series against the Cardinals. Thankfully, the site is back up and running. Also thankfully, nothing major happened today so I don't feel like I missed out on anything. Oh, what's that? Suppan was released? Damn you, Blogger!

The Brewers do not have a lot of series victories under their belts this season, and when you're heading to Busch Stadium to take on the Cardinals, you don't often come home with said series victory. It was decided before game three of this set that the Brewers weren't going to win this series either, but they did have a chance to salvage things on Sunday night with Manny Parra on the hill.

Parra got the start over Dave Bush, although Ken Macha never really gave a clear reason why. The real reason though is because the Brewers need to start decided what this team is going to look like the next couple of years, and we have to make sure we know what we have in Parra. Even if they would have won this series, this season is pretty much lost already, and if that's the case we need to put our eggs behind Parra rather than Bush. But Parra did get the start, and he made the most of it, going 5 1/3 innings with ten strikeouts (including four in one inning due to a wild pitch).

The wheels did start to come off a bit for Mannywood though in the fifth inning, and the bases were quickly loaded up. Enter unlikely heroes Dave Bush and Kameron Loe. Bush struck out one batter to get the second out, and then Loe got the next guy and pitched 1 1/3 innings more as well. The bullpen actually didn't do half bad in this one, although Villanueva did allow one of Loe's baserunners to score and the game was tied at three heading into extra innings. Kudos to Zach Braddock for keeping the Cards off the board in the ninth (he gets credit for the win), and nice work by John Axford to pick up the save in a 4-3 victory.

Now, one of the most interesting things for me this season is this little Player of the Game contest I do, and on Sunday ESPN gave their honor to Prince Fielder. Prince went 3-for-4, which is very respectable, and it does put him in contention for his first Bucky Channel POTG. However, Prince also had zero RBI and only made it home the one time, although it was the winning run. Offensively, he would be my POTG (Weeks, McGehee, and Hart all had RBI, but just one a piece). But in this game I'm going with Parra, for pitching effectively against a good team on national television, in a game he wasn't sure he'd be starting until just a few days ago.

Ugly girls be quiet, quiet. Pretty girls clap, clap like this.

This was a series that did go the Cardinals way however, as they won both Friday and Saturday night, finding different ways to bring pain into the lives of Brewers fans. On Friday, the misery was at the hands of Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright who pitched his first career complete game shutout all while holding Milwaukee to just a pair of hits. In nearly game in which you get just two hits, you are going to lose. That's even more true when you are spotting your opponent eight runs.

St. Louis had no problem taking advantage of the Brewers that were on the bump that evening, as they got after Randy Wolf over 6 2/3 innings, collecting five runs off of him. Jeff Suppan - yes, he's still on the team - game in to pitch the remaining 1 1/3 innings, in which time he gave up three runs of his own. Really just a frustrating performance all around.

As for a Player of the Game for Friday night, these are the games in which I'd probably be better off not giving out the award. But I do like to hand it out the full 162, so let's pick somebody. Let's see, the pitchers were terrible, so they're ineligible. Taking at look at the two guys that had hits in the game, it looks like Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart could both be in line. Both hits were doubles, so that's a wash. But Hart struck out two times to Weeks' zero, and Weeks didn't leave any on base. Let's give it to him.


On Saturday the Brewers managed to deliver a little bit more of a respectable performance, although they still did come away without a victory. Things started off about as well as they could have for Milwaukee when Rickie Weeks hit a lead-off home run, but then the Cardinals answered right back with four runs in the bottom half of the first. Things looked gloomy from there, and it looked like it was going to be another Cardinal rout.

But the Brewers kicked it up a notch in the 6th inning, starting with a Casey McGehee RBI double. Corey Hart then grounded into a fielder's choide that brought home a runner, and then George Kottaras brought McGehee home via the sacrifice fly. The Brewers tied the game up at four and were able to extend this one into extra innings.

It was in extra innings though when the heartbreak struck us again, only in an entirely different way than the night before. After Chris Narveson went six innings, the Brewers used Kameron Loe and Carlos Villanueva before they got to John Axford. I've been real impressed with the Ax man since he came to Milwaukee, but the Cardinals got to him on Saturday and Colby Rasmus finished it off with a walk-off single to end the game. The Brewers have done real good this season at allowing teams to win in their final at-bat, and this was no exception.


Thankfully though, Milwaukee did pick up the win on Sunday night, and at least fooled a national audience into thinking that they are competitive team. We'll see what happens against the Cubs this week, as their three game set with them starts Tuesday (see you at Miller Park on Thursday if anyone's going).

Saturday, June 5, 2010

While We're Getting Hammered at a Wedding, Here's Some Bucks News

You may be asking yourself, why is there a picture of Anthony Mason on this post? Well let me explain, his son Anthony Mason Jr. worked out for the Bucks recently. Many other players worked out, but it was funny to see a Mason back at the Bradley Center. Let's pray to God that Milwaukee will pass on him, but who knows. He doesn't look like he will get drafted, because he was hurt and missed part of the season last year. He did however bring up how Wesley Matthews was undrafted, and started in the playoffs. So maybe someday he will find himself wearing a Bucks jersey, but for now lets build this team around people not named Mason.

A couple of other names that worked out are: Luke Babbitt, Jordan Crawford, and Keith "Tiny" Gallon. I will explain Mr. Tiny later, but first lets take a look at the other two guys. Luke Babbitt is a 6-foot-9 athletic player from Nevada. He has really impressed I guess at different workouts for teams. He has a 6-11 wingspan and 37.5 inch vertical jump that has really opened people's eyes. They think in the NBA he would be a small forward, but could possibly play some power forward. The Bucks are looking for a power forward to play along side Andrew Bogut to take some pressure of him. Keep this guy in mind as the Bucks get ready to pick, because he could be joining the team.

Jordan Crawford on the other hand is a 6-foot-4 guard who made a name for himself at the Bradley Center in the NCAA tournament. He also has some inside track to the Bucks, because coach Sampson recruited him to play in Indiana. Crawford ended up transferring to Xavier to finish out his college career. In his two tournament games in the Bradley Center he scored 28 in a win over Minnesota, and 27 in a win over Pittsburgh. So this may be more of a situation where he has a few connections so lets talk him up a little more, but who knows. He would be more of a second round pick for us I think if he falls that far.

Keith "Tiny" Gallon is another guy that has an in with the Bucks. He is a former teammate of Brandon Jennings at Oak Hill Academy. He is a 6-foot-9 296 pound power forward, but says he is a little brother to Jennings. He still talks to Jennings, and Jennings is helping him with his draft workouts. So coming to Milwaukee was a big thing for him, because he would really love to run the court with his boy Jennings again. If he was taken by the Bucks it would be with their last pick in the second round. But little background stories like this are always cool to talk about. My guess is he doesn't get drafted, and the Bucks throw him on the Summer league team if anything.

These are just a few of the things going on right now for the Bucks. Milwaukee has brought in many other players including some bigger names like Wayne Chism (Tennessee), Deon Thompson (North Carolina), Jon Scheyer (Duke), and Raymar Morgan (Michigan State). Those are just a few of the bigger names, but my guess is none of these guys become Bucks.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bucks Survivor: Round Nine

It's our first true upset this season for Bucks Survivor as John Salmons has been eliminated. I figured that Salmons would make it to the final three with Bogut and Jennings, but that's why we play the game. One of two things could be going on with this result. Either A) people are unsure of Salmons' status and that caused him to be voted out earlier than normal or B) people are trying to sabotage my Bucks Survivor creation. Either way, Salmons has been eliminated, and the beat goes on.

Here's a look at the results for the last round. I'm going to show you how much of the vote the players got percentage-wise rather than showing the actual vote totals, because it's less depressing for me that way.

John Salmons - 28 percent
Ersan Ilyasova - 25 percent
Carlos Delfino - 21 percent
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - 17 percent
Andrew Bogut - 7 percent
Brandon Jennings - 0 percent

So with Salmons now officially the sixth man, we're down to just five Bucks left which will make up the starting lineup. I'd assume we'll go with Jennings at the point, Delfino at the two, Mbah a Moute at the three, Ersan Ilyasova at the four, and then Andrew Bogut at center. The five of them will now be on the block, before a double elimination next week. You, as always, can vote at the top right of this blog, choosing who you would want to eliminate.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Capuano's Return Doesn't Spark Brewers

It's a return that has been nearly three years in the making, but the end result was pretty unspectacular. As good as it is to see Chris Capuano pitch again for the Milwaukee Brewers, this is not the point of the season where you'd like to see your starting pitchers go just 3 2/3 innings. Actually, maybe it is. This team clearly isn't going anywhere, what's the harm in starting a guy who is trying to recover from two Tommy John surgeries?

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for Capuano returning, I just part of me just hoped that he would come out and throw seven scoreless innings and be the talk of the MLB for a couple of days. But instead, we got the kind of performance we should have expected. He pitched well enough, although he did need to be taken out after 82 pitches. It wasn't a terrible performance, and it was good to see him throw again, but like I said, now is not the time to be throwing out starters and hoping for four innings at maximum.

Still, even with the early struggles, the Brewers had a chance to win this game late. Actually a few chances. Rickie Weeks gave them a run in the 7th when he hit a sac fly to score Jonathan Lucroy, and Ryan Braun had an RBI single in the 9th as well to put the Brewers within a run. But neither Prince Fielder or Corey Hart could drive the tying/winning run home, and the Brewers were left to sulk over a 3-2 loss to the Marlins, losing the series three games to one.

The bright spot in this game was that the bullpen pitched fairly well, a performance that included guys like Kameron Loe, Trevor Hoffman, and Zach Braddock. But at the end of the day, this was just another loss. I told fellow TBC writer Gweeds when the Brewers were fighting for a comeback, "If they can pull this game out, I will believe in them because these are the kind of games they need to start winning. If they lose, then I have no hope for this season." I know I'm sort of balancing on extremes there, but that's the way I feel about this squad right now. They just don't have what it takes as a whole to put a playoff season together, much less a winning one.

With that, I say at this point let's play for next year. We have solid guys like Braun, McGehee, and Gallardo to lead us to the promise land. Now let's trade guys like Hart (when he's hot) and Prince to fill in the rest of the gaps. I really think that this year needs to be a reboot year. If we put some games together and make a little run, then I say go for it. But if things continue as is, then Doug Melvin better start reevaluating the situation and start building for next season.

POTG: What the hell, welcome to the dance Kameron Loe. As in, Kameron Loe got a POTG award before Prince Fielder did.

Braun Still Leading NL Outfielders in Fan Voting

This is the face of the Milwaukee Brewers franchise? Ha, I love it. No matter what Ryan Braun is choosing to do outside of the ballpark, his play on the field is continuing to give him national love in the All-Star voting. Braun is still the NL leader in outfielders for fan votes, currently racking up 693,460. He has the third most votes among any National League player, behind just Albert Pujols and Chase Utley who are both running away at their respective positions.

As for the rest of the Brewers, it doesn't really look like we have a shot to get any one else in the starting lineup. I thought that Casey McGehee would be able to make a claim for himself at third base, but it doesn't look it that will happen. Here's a quick breakdown of where the Brewers stand and how far they trail the position leaders (or you could just look at it here too):

First Base - Albert Pujols leads with more than one million votes, Prince Fielder is in third place trailing by nearly 700,000 votes.

Second Base - Chase Utley leads the league with more than 1.1 million votes, Rickie Weeks is in second place although he's nearly 900,00 votes behind.

Shortstop - Jimmy Rollins has the lead, with Alcides Escobar dropping to fifth place in the voting about 300,000 votes back.

Third Base - Casey McGehee is in third place, and David Wright is in second. Who's in first then? How about the Phillies' Placido Polanco. Sure, whatever. McGehee is 170,000 some votes behind the Phillies third basemen.

Outfield - Braun of course leads, with Jayson Werth and now Andre Either joining him as starters. Shane Victorino had a starting spot as of last week, but dropped down to fourth. Braun's lead isn't very comfortable though, as Victorino is just 150,000 or so votes behind Braun. Jim Edmonds and Carlos Gomez are afterthoughts at 13th and 14th, respectively. Corey Hart, your league leader in NL home runs, is nowhere to be found.

Catcher - Yadier Molina isn't too many votes ahead of Carlos Ruiz or Ivan Rodriguez, but Molina still is the pacesetter. Gregg Zaun was in the top five last week, but understandably he's out of the running thanks to an injury and that fact that he is not an All-Star caliber player anyway.

If Only We Had Five Yovani Gallardos

Boy, Yovani Gallardo sure does make the rest of the Brewers pitching staff look stupid, doesn't he? Not only is he the only pitcher that can deliver a performance that doesn't embarrass the hell out of us, but he also makes up for anemic offensive performances with his bat. Gallardo met both of those requirements on Wednesday night, as he lead the Brewers to a 7-4 victory over the Marlins to give the Crew their first win of the series.

It was a slow start for the Brewers, who gave up a couple of runs to the Marlins in the first few innings but were kept in the game by Gallardo. YoGa actually did something very rarely done by the Brewers this season, which was that he made it into the seventh inning. In those seven frames, he gave up the two runs on just four hits, while also striking out four. But the big moment in this game came when Gallardo lead off the top of the 7th inning with a home run, his second of the season.

It really is night and day how much better Gallardo is than the rest of our staff. In his last ten appearances, Yovani is 6-0 with a 1.93 ERA. As Tom Haudricourt says, he really is the oasis of this pitching staff, but it's almost sad that we can really only hope for quality pitching once or twice a week. I don't know if we have to literally clone him four times to get a quality staff, but right now Gallardo is the Stewie Griffin to the rest of the staff's Bitch Stewie personas.

After the Gallardo home run, the Brewers would tack on five more runs which included home runs from George Kottaras and Prince Fielder. Carlos Villanueva did threaten to give away the lead a little bit, but John Axford came in to record a five-out save and secure the victory for the Brewers. Overall, it turned out to be a decent game for Milwaukee, but they never get that chance late in the game without Gallardo.

With the win, the Brewers are one game better than they were yesterday, but that is still nine games under .500. Thursday night's game is a big one though, as it's going to be Chris Capuano who hopes to even the series for the Brewers. Cappy's appearance will be his first in the major leagues since 2007, so all eyes will be on him to see what he's got. Best of luck.

In other news, the Brewers signed recently-released-from-the-Nationals Brian Bruney to a minor-league deal. Alright, sure.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Baseball Needs Instant Replay, Immediately

Jim Joyce may have made the worst call in the history of baseball on Wednesday night, and that is an understatement. Detroit's Armando Galarraga threw a perfect game Wednesday, only to have Jim Joyce take that away from him because of a terrible call. With two outs in the ninth inning, Cleveland's Jason Donald hit a slow roller to Miguel Cabrera, who threw it to Galarraga who in turn touched the base a step and a half in front of Donald. Somehow though Donald was called safe on the play, and Galarraga only ended up with a complete game shutout instead of the 21st perfect game in MLB history, which would have been the third this season.

You have to give all the credit in the world though to Galarraga, as he didn't freak out after the horrendous call. He just said you have to be kidding me, and recorded the last out of the game. After the game he talked about what pitches were working for him, and how his fielders played very well. I can't say I would have reacted the same way he did.

But it shouldn't have had to be that way, because the MLB needs some sort of instant replay for reasons just like this one. All humans make mistakes, but when they are this bad there has to be rectification. I think replay works well for the NFL, as well as in the NBA for buzzer beaters. Baseball only uses instant replay for home runs, but after what happened Wednesday night it needs to be used more often. I know baseball games are long already, but it just isn't fair for these players to put everything they have into a game and get screwed over by a bad call. How hard can it be to pay another umpire to sit in a booth, and figure out what the right call is. You see too many times when managers come out to argue a call which delays the game, why not instead delay the game for a productive reason?

I just can't agree when a guy works his ass off for 8 2/3 innings, only to have everything he did just be another game. When players go down in history they earn what they did. Wednesday night Armando Galarraga will go down in history for having a perfect game taken away from him on just an awful call. It just seems that this season you see a lot more players getting thrown out, and umpires are missing more and more calls. I'm I saying that I don't respect what umpires do, no, what I'm saying is they shouldn't decide who wins the game. People make mistakes, so having a replay wouldn't be the worst idea in the world.

Also if you didn't see the ninth inning of this game you have to try and watch it. Austin Jackson made an awesome catch for the first out in the inning. So congratulations to Armando Galarraga for throwing a perfect game in his career, even if it never goes down in the record book. Jim Joyce is a great umpire, but Wednesday night he made a bad call that he will feel bad about forever.

(Sidenote - In Game 3 of the NHL finals the Flyers second goal wasn't counted until it was reviewed upstairs. Not saying that I'm always right, but this just helps my point even more. Sports today are just getting too fast for the human eye.)

Winks Edit: Well said, Gweeds, but I think you might even have to be more harsh to Jim Joyce. If Joyce felt bad about his call, then he should have reversed it when he had the chance. I have no idea what compelled this guy to call the runner safe when he was clearly not, but I think overall umpires are trying to be the story instead of be in the background. When we know the umpires by name, that's a bad thing, and I've heard of Jim Joyce before which means that somewhere prior he already made a name for himself. Keep your face under the mask and don't make me learn your name, umpires. And don't screw kids out of perfect games because you are too proud to admit an error in the moment. I don't care what Joyce said after the game, that call was unforgivable.)

Bucks Survivor: Round Eight

When we got to this point in the contest, I figured that the battles would be come a little more tighter and that each round would bring some drama to it. But it seems instead that there is a very distinct order in just how valuable each individual Bucks player is to this team. Last week, Jerry Stackhouse was kicked off overwhelmingly, and this week, it wasn't close at all, again. With 67% of the vote, it's time to say goodbye to Luke Ridnour.

That leaves us with six Bucks to go, and by the looks of things it may be Carlos Delfino's time to exit, as he was second in voting last week with 17 percent of the vote. It's down to him, John Salmons, Andrew Bogut, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Brandon Jennings, and Ersan Ilyasova. Basically the question this week becomes not who should be eliminated from the contest, but which of these six guys is the best choice for the sixth man?

Voting will start a bit later than normal, but it will still commence at it's normal time of Friday night at 6pm. Again, vote for which Buck you want to eliminate at the top right of this blog.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Running Out of Ways to Describe Losses

I posted a picture of Dave Bush and stared at it for a good twenty minutes in an effort to come up with anything to say. I then wrote that sentence and stared at it for another twenty-five minutes, and still came up blank. Fact of the matter is, what can you really say about this Brewers team anymore that hasn't already been said. That behind us, let's look at the disappointment of game fifty-two.

This game was kicked off with a rough first inning from Dave Bush, and the Brewers found themselves down 3-0 right away. Bushie actually was able to settle down after that and the Brewers did get back in the game in the top of the sixth. Both Prince Fielder and Corey Hart (yes, again) homered in the inning, and we had ourselves a tie ballgame. But not for long.

If there has been any discussion as to whether or not Trevor Hoffman should regain the ninth inning duties anytime soon, you can put those to rest. Hoffman entered the game in the seventh inning and got shelled, giving up three runs of his own, and the Marlins went on to beat the Brewers 6-4. Hoffman was forced into duty even though Bush had been throwing well and only threw 85 pitches at that point, mainly due to the fact that he had a blister. That's a new one.

And that's really all I got tonight on the matter. If you saw the game, it wasn't anything special. It wasn't a heartbreaking loss, it wasn't a devastating loss. It was just another game where the Brewers weren't good enough to win, at at 21-31, those are becoming all too common lately.


Also, Haudricourt has a much of minor league news, check it.

Ahman Green to the UFL?

Remember that upstart football league that played it's first season last year, the UFL? Well, it's actually going to make it for a second season, and it could be bringing Ahman Green into the fold. The teams aren't really the same as they were last season, and one of the new teams being brought into the fold is the Omaha Nighthawks. Green is reportedly mulling an offer to play for the Nighthawks, which would bring him back to the state where he flourished in college football.

It's a push by the league to get bigger named players to come play for their teams, and also to sign players with previously established local ties to an area. Green would fit the latter, and if so he would be joining Daunte Culpepper in coming into the league, as Culpepper has signed on to be a member of the Sacramento Mountain Lions.

So to review, the Florida Tuskers and Las Vegas Locomotives still remain in the league. Out are the California Redwoods and New York/New Jersey Sentinels, in are the Omaha Nighthawks, Sacramento Mountain Lions, and Hartford Colonials. Coming into the league are players such as Daunte Culpepper, possibly Ahman Green. And people still won't watch.

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