Author Archive

Homestander: It’s Almost Over

Miller Park, milwaukee brewers, Off-Base September 12th, 2013

HomestanderEach 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, Shepherd Express and The A.V. Club Milwaukee. All views, naughty words and weirdo sentiments are his own. Follow him at @TylerJamesMaas.

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.

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Homestander: Buy Me Back

Miller Park, milwaukee brewers, Off-Base August 1st, 2013

HomestanderEach 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.

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Homestander: More Like “All-Star LAME” AMIRIGHT?!?

Baseball, Food, Miller Park, Off-Base July 18th, 2013

HomestanderEach 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 All-Star Game is pointless. It's not only worthless, it's actually detrimental, in my opinion. I detailed it in a column a few years ago, but essentially:
• Putting the fate of the classification of "All-Star" (that once carried such importance and pride with it) in the hands of people voting 35 times apiece with each of their email addresses leads to the game being a popularity contest instead of an acknowledgement of accomplishment. Carlos Gomez and Jean Segura totally deserved to be there. Others, not so much.
• Having the game in the middle of the season is flawed, as the All-Star classification stays with a player, even after his average dips below .250 come September. By this logic, John Buck arguably deserved to be an All-Star this season.
• Between increased worries about pitch counts, innings limits and injury concerns (mixed with players opting not to go) and Last Chance polls, more players than ever are appearing in the mid-summer classic. Everyone is an All-Star, which makes a contest once populated with only the best the game had to offer into a pedestrian affair.
• Fans shouldn't want players on their favorite team to become All-Stars because earning an All-Star nod can (AND IS) used by agents in contract negotiations. Fans who are voting in droves to see their favorite players represent their team in the ASG are unwittingly making that player more expensive to re-sign and risking his departure once his deal is up.

While most of you were watching the All-Star Game, I was getting shithoused on a blanket at a public park and watching weirdo stoners hulu hoop while Painted Caves played nearby. I regret nothing. Spring Break 4 Evaaaaaaa!!!

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Homestander: Pants Party Edition

Baseball, milwaukee brewers, Off-Base June 20th, 2013

HomestanderEach 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.

After Vince and I spent countless hours of planning, crowdsourcing, screen printing, drinking a bunch in the 400 level of Miller Park and calling it a meeting, and anticipating for weeks, Pants Party weekend is nearly upon us. For those of you who will be there, I'm excited to get blotto in your presence. So excited, in fact, that I can't even think of an intro. I hope you guys asked off Monday.

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Scooter-Mania FINALLY Reaches Milwaukee

Baseball, milwaukee brewers June 3rd, 2013

ScooterManiaFor being a player who's never played a game in Milwaukee, Brewers fans sure seem to love Ryan Joseph "Scooter" Gennett.

The fan base's blind affection so generously heaped upon the childlike frame of the scant second baseman is probably on account of two main reasons. First, and most important, Gennett hit .297, stole eight bases and tallied 60 hits through 50 games in Nashville this season. Not bad at all. But it seems like the primary reason fans have been ardently clamoring for Scooter to climb the prospect ladder is--aside from him not being Rickie Weeks--is on account of how he's managed to play slightly above average triple-A ball while still being able to shop at Gap Kids. Well, the boisterous and largely-unintelligible cries of Team Scooter were finally heard today, as the impish infielder was promoted to the Milwaukee Brewers 25-man roster.

Let me start by saying that I harbor no ill will toward Gennett. I wish him loads of success in Milwaukee over the course of a lengthy and memorable career. However, I just don't see that happening. Sure, the little guy is the sixth rated prospect in the Brewers minor league system, but that same minor league system is considered to be among the worst in baseball. The Expos have better prospects waiting in the wings. Being the sixth best prospect the Brewers has to offer is as much a badge of honor was being one of the best actors in Fast & Furious 6, a touring musician in support of Josh Groban or third runner-up in the Miss Vermont pageant.

We live in an age of baseball that's, thankfully, less reliant on a player's ability to "look" like a pro and "show he has the tools to last in this league" and 5,000 other things you've heard Harold Reynolds say. I won't pretend to be an expert on advanced metrics, but I do appreciate that player evaluation has advanced beyond looking at how an adult man looks in a uniform, how hard he can hit a baseball and how he "leave it all on the field." I love the increased acceptance of defense-first players on rosters throughout the league and how ballparks are adding OBP to their jumbotron stats.

Yet Scooter-Mania seems to hint that no matter how much we know about baseball and how much the way we watch the game has changed for the better, it's nothing compared to the allure of seeing a man with a unique body-type play at a level and with a frequency he shouldn't be permitted. Scooter Gennett is baseball John Kuhn. In the same way the collective screams of "KUUUUUUUUHN!!!" showed Lambeau Field preferred to put the fate of 4th and 1 in the incapable hands of a white, 250-pound undrafted backup fullback from Shippensburg instead of Ryan Grant in his prime, is the same logic that goes into seeking out a 5'10" (listed--he's maybe 5'6") and 150-pound singles hitter taken in the 16th round to take over at second base for a struggling-but-proven first round pick/former All-Star with three 20-homer run seasons to his credit and a career OBP that's higher than any single season Gennett has had since low-A ball.

As a whole, we like "scrappy" and "gritty" players because they're like us. They weren't blessed with the bodies to be able to succeed in professional sports. When an Eckstein or a Gennett squeezes through the cracks, it's a victory for us. Maybe we can do something with our life someday. Maybe we will get that raise so we can finally buy that boat or trick that cute bartender into going on a date with us. It's all kind of sad. And when the anomaly has a nickname like "Scooter," we're eating out of his hand.

I might be wrong (and I really hope I am), but I just don't think Scooter Gennett is the answer... unless the question is in regard to a cheap, warm body that will keep fans watching a fourth place team while Doug Melvin tries to free up salary by trading Rickie Weeks for peanuts. Right now, even Jeff Bianchi seems like a better option at second than Gennett does. And if Gennett is so goddamn valuable and meaningful for Milwaukee's future, then why start his arbitration clock, toss him unnecessary service time and rob him of regular at-bats in meaningless contests?

As neat as it is to see a homegrown prospect ascend to the Major League level, I think both the time and the player are wrong. Bookmark this and tweet quotes at me when I'm wrong, but I think Scooter Gennett is more likely to wind up as a funny "Oh my God, I forgot about him!!!" reference we pull out to make friends laugh in 2019 than a productive every day player at the big league level. Rickie Weeks may not be the right man for Milwaukee's 2B job right now (even though he is), but neither is a scrappy-gritty miniature who we can live vicariously through.

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