Each Thursday preceding Brewers weekend home stands, Tyler Maas will help prepare fans for all elements of the upcoming series with the Homestander. Tyler prints Wisconsin-themed shirts at Forward Fabrics and contributes to such fine publications as Milwaukee Magazine and The A.V. Club Milwaukee. All views, naughty words and weirdo sentiments are his own. Follow him at @TylerJamesMaas.
In many ways, October 3, 2012 wasn't that long ago. We have the same president. The lease I signed for my apartment has yet to expire. "Gangnam Style" is, unfortunately, still taking faint, periodic breaths of relevance. Though fewer than six months have elapsed since that early October night, it seems like eons have passed. That evening, Vince, myself and a documented 34,449 others (More like 12,000. We alone were handed 20 free tickets by people who had extras) witnessed the last regular season Brewers game that's occurred to date. Fittingly, it was a loss brought on by the bullpen.
Each of the days sitting between October 4 through this coming Easter Sunday is the longest day for Brewers fans. While there are some worthwhile things like Packer season, holidays, the return of beloved TV shows, the occasional concert or comedy show, feigning interest in Spring Training, and out-of-town excursions to occupy our interest and funnel our attention into, it all amounts to just temporary rest stops on the lengthy, desolate road that connects the last out of one season to the first pitch of the next.
Opening Day is special. Not only does it mark the return of baseball, but it also signals the true beginning of a cycle that includes grilling, outdoor drinking, the notion that before 161 more of these games are through being played the snow will melt and leaves will grow on (and later, fall off) trees. We'll be met by familiar sights, sounds and smells. There's also an infinite field of unpredictable possibilities that span April 1, 2013 and yet-to-be-known departure date of Brewers baseball. Maybe Ryan Braun will earn another MVP award that will be given to Buster Posey. Bob Uecker could muster the funniest statement of his broadcast career. A bevy of Twitter accounts devoted to Miller Park animals could be born. Any one of us could bone someone in one of the single occupancy shitters on the 400 level.
It has been a tough week for Brewers diehards as the Brewers have made moves that seemingly go against the very core of who they are and what they believe in.
First, the Brewers had the audacity to add a 2-3 win player to the rotation by signing Kyle Lohse to a three year deal worth $33 million dollars. (Snarky headline: Kyle Lohse Makes Sense, In An Alternate Reality.) The complaints are many, -- too many years (just like every free agent contract ever,) too much money (just like every free agent contract ever (and also, not really,)) he's 34 and that is way too old (true,) he's a spy for the Cardinals sent to destroy our organization's playoff chances (a very real possibility,) I don't know how to spell and/or pronounce his name -- but perhaps the biggest complaint of all is the loss of a FIRST ROUND draft pick which will now go to the CARDINALS instead. "Are you serious bro?" is what you might say if you were the only person left who thinks Zack Ryder is cool.
Could THIS be the guy who never plays until Corey Hart comes back in May?
Note:This post was being written when it was announced that the Brewers were signing Kyle Lohse. The transaction is in stark contrast to much of the intro, but I'll be goddamned if I'm going to re-write it. Just pretend this was written Friday or something. Cool?
Every mid-February when pitchers and catchers report, life gets a little bit sweeter. Even though most of us are still marooned in the awful and unforgiving Wisconsin winter hundreds upon hundreds of miles away from said pitchers and catchers, the start of spring training offers methadone to help us through until we can score some regular season baseball.
Then position players show up to join the batteries in stretching along the chalk lines and jogging 90-foot increments. Immediately, Mat Gamel gets injured. Soon after, exhibition games start, allowing fans to comb over box scores that detail Rickie Weeks went 0-1 with a walk and some guy you never heard of had two hits in a split-squad contest against the Chinese Taipei WBC team. Maybe Bob Uecker says something funny on the radio while calling a game you don't really care about. A game or two gets televised.
After a barren winter of inactivity, articles and blog posts begin to pile up, each detailing that everyone is apparently in the best shape of his life, those who had a down season the previous year are looking to improve this time around and those who were successful last summer hope to repeat their performance. Some five weeks later, we sit idling at arguably the most frustrating point of the marathon baseball season.
Unless Doug Melvin gets partially digested by a python in the Arizona desert or Mark Attanasio makes a $33M last-minute impulse buy, every marginally-exciting storyline has been exhausted, the Opening Day starting lineup has been set in stone and there's nothing more that can be taken from a game occurring in or around Maryvale. Yet there's still a week standing between now and a baseball game at Miller Park. One of the last remaining uncertainties or points of speculation is who will occupy the lucrative last spot on the Brewers bench. There's a bevy of worthwhile options, but numerous factors both supporting and working against each of their respective cases. Continue reading »
In a surprising turn of events, former Brewers pitcher Jeff Suppan is still trying to pitch in the major leagues. When the Brewers released Jeff Suppan in 2010 (Keyboard Cat, never forget) many wondered if that was the end of his baseball playing career, but he ended up pitching for the Cardinals that season. After that most of us assumed that he would retire to his California restaurant, the cleverly named "Soup's Sports Grill", but he actually ended up playing 2011 for the Royals AAA Omaha team (where he sucked) and then spent part of 2012 getting rocked in San Diego. (Although he did lead the Padres to a win over the Brewers last season which proved once and for all that baseball is unfair and that God doesn't care about the Brewers.) For a guy with a career that should have been over three years ago, Suppan has kept on pitching and continued to make a high six figure salary for sucking at his job.
Sad day for all you CrosBees out there as Bobby Crosby has found himself back in the unemployment line. Crosby hadn't played in the major leagues since 2010, but was attempting a comeback with the Brewers this season. Crosby had a reputation of being an excellent glove man with a bat that resembled a branch that fell off of a dead tree that he was able to live up to in Brewers spring training. Crosby hoped that he could get enough hits off of mediocre pitching in spring training to temporarily convince the Brewers that he had value, but was unable to even accomplish this simple task as he often struck out when hitting off the tee in batting practice.
His time with the Brewers was short lived, but for completionist's sake we have created this archive of his entire Brewers career. For science. Continue reading »