Sorry I haven't done the past two Homestanders. For one, I've been very busy with totally important journalism stuff. But mostly I've just really struggled to care about the Milwaukee Brewers right now. That's a tough thing to admit, since baseball and, specifically, the Brewers are among the dozen or so things I actually care about in this largely disappointing letdown people call life. Still, I don't care. I haven't watched a full game since August. Since I failed to make my fantasy league's playoffs a few weeks back, I stopped looking at Jean Segura's stats. I couldn't tell you if Carlos Gomez is on the DL or exactly where Milwaukee sits in the NL Central standings.
As a Brewers fan, I should be accustomed to this time of year being devoid of meaning. The team has only made the playoffs twice in my lifetime. However, this is the most disappointing Brewers season I can ever remember. I realistically figured Milwaukee would finish, at best, third in the central... but likely fourth. I knew the young and largely inexperienced roster would have its ebbs and flows. But add in the Ryan Braun suspension, Aramis Ramirez being a hobbled husk of his former self, Rickie Weeks being shitty-then-injured, trading my favorite Brewer (John Axford) for peanuts, fielding Sean Halton and vying for LAST place with the rebuilding Cubs... this year is battling with 2004 for the worst Brewers season ever.
Still, I'll look back at the 2013 season fondly with memories like Segura "stealing" first base, being in attendance when Blake Lalli won a game, meeting Mark Attanasio and awkwardly asking him for a picture on the field in San Diego, Vince and I eating a bunch of dollar hot dogs in gross ways and Vine-ing it, the Pants Party, Gomez robbing that Joey Votto homer, Sophia Minnaert almost dying when a foul ball knocked the mic out of her hand, Bob Uecker saying a bunch of funny stuff on air, becoming acquainted with Logan Schafer's patented "you got a purdy mouth" look during at-bats and sitting in the worst seat at Miller Park. My heart may not be in it right now, but I'll be back again. And again.
Can you think of a better pitcher in Brewers history than John Axford?
Lots. Tons and tons of them. My browser just crashed there were so many search results.
Can you think of a better reliever in Brewers history than John Axford?
Most definitely. He had his stretches, but there have been others who have matched them and others who have beat them. (I think. I didn't really do the research on this one.)
Can you think of a better closer in Brewers history than John Axford?
Sure. Despite being second on the Brewers all-time saves list, the last two years have basically erased the idea that John Axford is or was an awesome closer (even though he really was for a minute.) The idea of "awesome closer" is admittedly a stupid kind of thing, but he was pretty dominant at one point. The best? You'll have to go through something called Doug Henry first, pal.
Can you think of a cooler guy in Brewers history than John Axford?
Four years ago the Brewers were coming off their first playoff season in forever, Ryan Braun owned the city, the sun was shining, the skies were blue, there wasn't a cloud in the sky and all was right with the world. The Brewers were embarking on their 40th anniversary season and were held up as an example of how to do things right. The Brewers built a playoff team through smart drafting and Ryan Braun was the clean, talented future face of the game. It was a simpler time, really.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country Alex Rodriguez was mired in a steroid controversy. Shocking, I know. While Braun was becoming one of the most popular baseball players in the game, he felt the need to stand by his friend who just so happened to be one of it's most hated.
"Everybody makes mistakes, and I'm not the type of person that's going to change my opinion about who he is just because he made a mistake," Braun said. "I wouldn't just disassociate myself with somebody just because he made a mistake. I don't think anybody is perfect, and I don't think he's ever pretended to be perfect."
Making a mistake and not being perfect... That sounds familiar, doesn't it?
"As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect," Braun said. "I realize now that I have made some mistakes."
Oh yeah, that.
Look, I'm not here to vilify Braun for any of this stuff. Not again. If anything, I am over it. What I didn't realize at the time that it all went down is the way that the world would turn on Ryan Braun for this. You need to remember that whenever people get that upset over things then it probably isn't deserved. If people got as upset about the atrocities the government commits every single day as they did about Ryan Braun eating some fucking lozenges then we might actually get somewhere in this lifetime, but that's not the way life works. Not anymore. People only care about minute bullshit that doesn't matter in the long run and they let talking heads get into their brain and rot it away. Johnny Manziel parties and signs his name on a photograph. BAN HIM FOR LIFE! Get lost with that stuff. Use your brains. Why can't college kids make money when universities make billions? Why are steroids even illegal? Why is weed illegal? Why do we have laws that stop people from doing what they want to do?
Okay, I'll get off my libertarian anarchist soapbox and get back to my point which is this: what a difference four years makes. Four years ago Ryan Braun was defending Alex Rodriguez when the whole world was turning on him. Now? Alex Rodriguez is apparently the one who threw Ryan Braun under the bus as Ryan takes his place as most hated man in baseball. This is baseball. Continue reading »
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.
The Brewers organization's decision to issue $10 vouchers to all fans in August is genius. Everything is so smart about it. When in the season the promotion is occurring; the fact that the savings equates to a possible $3.6M (approximately the money gained back from Ryan Braun's salary), the lack of fine print in regard to how and on what the voucher can be used. It's the perfect and self-aware response to a bad situation the team is in (primarily) due to poor judgement on behalf of one of its employees.
Some fans--the same turds who post videos of themselves burning Ryan Braun jerseys on YouTube and pen grammatically-weak sob stories about how their son lost a "role model" (You mean the dude comparing Ryan Braun to an alleged murder on the internet wasn't his original role model?) on comment boards--say $10 isn't enough to account for this lost season. To those fans, feel free to stay home. Miller Park doesn't need your negativity, self-doctored "Fraud" shirseys and drop-of-the-hat booing. Bad baseball played under an open roof by men named Gindl and Gennett in August after a blackout drunk tailgate sesh is still better than virtually everything on this stupid letdown planet.
If a $10 coupon isn't enough to buy back the fandom you so quickly abandoned at the first sign of trouble, stay home. More frozen margaritas, helmet cholesterol and elbow room for me. See you on opening day, when you quietly abandon your self-appointed Brewers strike you went on "until the Brewers CUT the LIER" (they're still contractually obligated to pay $113M to). I'll be the guy pointing and laughing at you when you try to start the wave at a pivotal moment in the game.