I've been holding this one in my back pocket until former Brewers pop-up machine Yuniesky Betancourt tricked another team into signing him or, worse yet, was taken back by the Brewers. Fortunately, the Phillies fell victim to the veteran middle infielder's cherubic Cuban charm, inking him to a minor league deal to serve as an insurance policy for the empty shells which once encased Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley.
Anyway, we're getting dangerously close to becoming "The Best Phillies Blog In The World" too, so I'll just get to the original point of this post. A few weeks ago, my pal and former Right Field Bleachers cohort, Jared, alerted me to a little musical number called "The Best Song Ever Written About Yuniesky Betancourt" he found on MySpace. Anxious to see if the lofty claim was true, I didn't even remember to make fun of Jared for using MySpace.
Written and performed by a band called "Green Bay" (but with the Green Day font and baffling use of skulls as cover art), the two-minute song manages to be both the best song about Yuniesky Betancourt AND the worst song about anything ever. Essentially, it's just 120 seconds of some dude dicking around on a piano and mispronouncing Yunie's name. It's pretty rough, and I should know. I'm the official expert on this song. As I write this, the song has only been played four times... three of which are by me. It was uploaded Sept. 9, 2011... when Betancourt was in his final month or so with Milwaukee, for reasons unknown.
The band's catalog is a treasure trove of cringe-inducing goodness. Each song is like two minutes long and none have more than 15 plays. Some of what awaits you...
"Shaun Marcum Wins Lots Of Games"
"Oh oh oh Shaun Marcum. He's a very good pitcher for the Brewers. No on can stop-a Shaun Marcum. He can not be stopped. Shaun Marcum is playing for the Brewers. He's winnin' lots of games for the Brewers. Nobody can hit Shaun Marcum because he pitches with such precision."
I'm as big of a Marcum apologist as you'll ever meet and I disagree with most of that. The accompaniment of a keyboard on accordion setting saves the whole thing, though.
"Jonathan Lucroy (Oh Joy! Oh Boy!)"
Actually pretty amazing. I mean, it's amazing he found two other people to harmonize with for the chorus. Otherwise, this one's predictably bad too.
"Corey Hart Has Heart"
I like how this on makes reference to how Corey Hart's last name (Hart) sounds like the word "heart" and that Corey Hart has heart and that he plays on the Milwaukee Brewers. I counted "Corey Hart has heart" being sang or spoken 25 total times in 1:27. The best part is when the lead singer says "sing it boys!" and the other vocalist is also him.
"Casey McGehee is a Fine Man"
Though awful as well, this 1:21 nightmare starts off innocently enough: jangling piano, a throaty off-key howl butchers McGehee's last name, that same voice reminds us that Casey was a Brewers player when this song was written. But Green Bay quickly takes artistic liberty by making a bunch of unsupported claims. Such outrageous statements include:
- Casey finds a way to get on base.
- If he ran for mayor of Milwaukee, he'd be voted in to lead the city (don't bring politics into something already flawed enough).
- Every girl in Wisconsin loves [him] and goes crazy for [him]. They all love [him] and [he] gets the pick of whichever one is most pretty. (Aside from the creepy visual, I'm pretty sure Kevin Mench had more pull in his time with the Brewers)
- He's a good player. (who was traded for Jose Veras and nobody cared, especially the ladies)
"John Axford, The Man With The Moustache"
"Who's gonna get the save? The man who doesn't shave. The man who is so brave. John Axford. Axford, the man who pitches real fast. Axford, the man with the moustache."
Oh great, now I'm sterile.
"Ryan Braun Is The Real Deal!"
That seals it. Ready the Braun bust for Cooperstown. One part that gets me is the lyrics "All the other players kind of make me yawn, but not future Hall Of Famer Ryan Braun." Doesn't any player with talent that's Casey McGehee-level or higher make this guy shoot and influence the way he votes? Or did I vastly underestimate how bad this guy wanted to bone Casey McGehee?
BONUS NON-BREWERS SONG
"Why Did They Trade Richard Jefferson?"
To get expiring contracts. Revisionist history aside, that motive seemed obvious when the trade was made.
Based on the songs about Trevor Hoffman, wanting Favre to stay in Green Bay, Jason Kendall and one called "Bill Hall's Gonna Be Good Again!", it's seems like the musicians (or people who own instruments, rather) behind Green Bay called it quits in late 2011... unless their dropping acid in a crawl space somewhere, hard at work writing a double-LP concept album about how Ekpe Udoh is a good player and that he is on the Bucks.
They say all good things must come to an end. I suppose that's also true for terrible, embarrassing, boner-demolishing things. We'll always have "The Best Song Ever Written About Yuniesky Betancourt" -- the fittingly dreadful and error-riddled audio reminder of the starting shortstop for a Brewers team that we'll never forget.
Full disclosure - I'm not exactly a gamer. I tried playing Guitar Hero once before realizing it was nothing like playing a real guitar... which I also suck at playing. The only system I own is Super NES, and the only game I play on it is NBA Jam. And I haven't even played that in over two years.
This isn't to suggest that I'm in any way better than avid gamers out there. In fact, I'm probably much worse of a person than most gamers. Instead of stimulating my mind and honing my hand-eye coordination by funneling my past time into completing missions, willing a team to a division title, and launching pissed off avian creatures into a series of structures, I funnel my free time into shit like: drinking too much and too frequently, watching sports and comedy on TV, tweeting obscure '90s song references to my staggering 334 followers (and shrinking!), promoting my fairly unsuccessful novelty t-shirt business in a myriad of tasteless ways, singing songs I make up in the moment to my girlfriend's cat, eating foods I probably shouldn't, lamenting my lack of physical activity or income, and Internet porn. Video game obsession is cooler than at least four of those things.
Alas, it's too late for me to become a gamer in a world that's expanded beyond 16 bits. But that--mixed with the on-going absence of any worthwhile Brewers offseason news--won't keep me from campaigning for Ryan Braun, the face of Milwaukee (not counting that oddly alluring look of determination on Milverine's face when he's walking downtown) himself, to appear on the cover of PS3's MLB '13 The Show this season. The popular game is currently accepting votes for seven players on its ballot, and is taking votes through Friday night.
Though I'm personally more invested in getting new Brewer Tom Gorzelanny on the 30th anniversary edition cover of The Goonies, this video game honor would be awesome for Wisconsin sports. That is, it'd be awesome assuming there isn't some sort of weird curse associated with being the cover boy like with the Madden games or when Kirby lost his fortunate in that Ponzi scheme shortly after the release of Kirby's Dreamland 2. Though the Brewers get significantly more attention than the franchise did a decade ago, the (of late) perennially competitive team is often overlooked compared to much of the league. And the visual of Cardinals and Cubs fans having something with Braun's photo ever-present on their coffee tables all season long is too funny to pass up.
However, the vote isn't going Braun's way so far. Of the seven players up for vote, Braun sits a cool (drum roll) SEVENTH!!! Yikes. Sure, Braun's implicit (while withdrawn) connection to a banned substance, his awful shirt line, his polarizing on-field attitude, Milwaukee's small-ish market standing, and the fact that Braun indiscriminately clobbers pitching from all other teams are probably all factors taking votes away from him. But Braun is not even near the least appealing option up for video game immortality. Here are the others (along with current ranking)...
Andrew McCutchen - First Place
'Cutch is the type of player all fans could and should love. He can do it all, and he's quickly becoming a household name. If Braun can't win, I'm glad McCutchen might. Still, he's never led a team to the playoffs and he led no meaningful statistical category last season--two criteria of most cover stars.
Miguel Cabrera - Second Place
Great player. Big titties. He's the total package. Yet voting for some chubby fielding liability who plays for one of Earth's richest sports franchises to be on the cover of a video game is like writing a positive Yelp review of McDonald's.
CC Sabathia - Third Place
I take that back, if Braun can't win, I want CC to grace the game cover. Even with Yankees garb, every time I see Sabathia, I can't help but smile. He makes me think of the Wild Card run in 2008. Plus, even bigger/better moobs than Cabrarea.
Matt Kemp - Fourth Place
Matt Kemp is a wealthy and successful Los Angeles resident who used to bang Rihanna. He doesn't need anything else given to him. I hate the way life works.
Bryce Harper - Fifth Place
Have I mentioned that I hate the way life works? This cartoon character can't even drink legally (not that he would, being that he's Mormon) and he's financially set for life. Unless God actually exists and he opts to smite Harper for using a sinful amount of eyeblack, Bryce will be around the league until 2033, making the game I love a tad more annoying with every year that goes by. I don't need another place to see him right now. Save that for PS4 or impending Playstation/Wii combination system "The DP Station".
Buster Posey - Sixth Place
Sure, why not give Posey ANOTHER thing Braun deserves more? It worked so well with the MVP last year.
You can cast you vote HERE or by sending a tweet with the hashtag #MLB13BRAUN
Excuse our lack of Hot Stove posts during winter meetings and this week's free agent free-for-all. Fortunately (if only to excuse our laziness), nothing really happened with the Brewers. Unless the front office's collective heart and wallet grows three sizes in the coming days, it looks to be a fairly frugal holiday season for Brewers fans.
Best case scenario, Shaun Marcum decides to make up for that whole NLCS thing, and allows the Brewers to sign him to a rich one- or two-year offer. But more likely, Milwaukee will push on with its talented (but green) cast of young hurlers or sign a past-prime hurler to his last payday; someone like Carl Pavano, Kevin Millwood, Derek Lowe or hologram Cory Lidle.
While we fans wait to open our popcorn tin-equivalent gift of various un-sexy Brewers acquisitions, get some holiday shopping done. Better yet, funnel your love of baseball into your shopping and cross some names of fellow fans off your list with some of this stuff. Also note: Vince and I are BOTH celebrating birthdays next week, and we have very expensive taste.
Milwaukee Brewers Man Cave 36" Sign
This sturdy $55 metallic wall sign is the perfect way to let those unfortunate enough to share your company know that, yes, you are a man and, hell yes, they better believe you like the Milwaukee Brewers baseball organization and, finally, if they can't take that... GTFO the Man Cave.
Various Discount Meats From the Klement's Factory Store
Always a Miller Park fixture--from sponsoring the Racing Sausages to being the official encased meat of the stadium, Klement's is an unbeatable idea for that carnivorous Brewers fan... not counting Usinger's, which is ever-so-slightly better, if you ask me. A few blocks down from Klement's factory headquarters in Bay View, a seedy utility closet-sized space at 2650 S. Chase Ave. doubles as a little slice heaven. Here, small details like store decor, sanitation and proper packaging are strewn aside in the name of value. Beyond the usual brats (for less), the outlet store offers beef sticks, summer sausage on the cheap, as well as dirt cheap weird items like ring bologna, head cheese, braunschweiger and ham balls. I don't exactly know what a ham ball is, but for 50 cents, I can't afford not to pop that fucker in my mouth at least once.
Electronic Bay dot com is a great source to obtain the various figurines to help line the mantle of that toy-freak on your X-mas list. Here, there's an array of oversize-headed sports hummels that range from official stadium giveaways to high quality limited edition rarities and terrible, terrible knockoffs.
One search yields a world of results. If you weren't one of the some-40,000 to nab a Derrick Turnbow bobblehead with synthetic "hair," here's your chance. For an extra buck, most sellers will throw in actual Turnblow hair the ex-closer sold so he could pay his gas bill. You can also re-live the saddest epoch of Brewers baseball with a Jeffrey Hammonds bobble that, fittingly, costs too much and does absolutely nothing. For a mere $17.99, this limited edition Ryan Braun bobblehead (right) could be yours. It appears to be limited edition because Goose Gossage's face is painted over Braun's.
Alcohol has many uses: dulling the unrelenting hellscape that is everyday existence AND stocking stuffers! And for fans of MLB's most alcoholic team name which resides in America's drunkest state, the beautiful gift of hooch is always appreciated. Whether it's a four pack of delicious Green Bay-brewed Hinterland Winterland beers to enjoy during spring training telecasts, a bottle of Pewaukee gunt fuel (aka "RumChata") to mix in your morning coffee while you blog about Derrick Turnbow bobbleheads or a bottle of Great Lakes Distillery's Rehorst vodka for your Opening Day bloody Mary's, you literally can't go wrong with the gift of Wisconsin spirits. Unless you're giving it to someone who doesn't drink, at which point you should probably take stock in the type of people you surround yourself with.
Of course I'm partial to Forward Fabrics, as its owner/operator/annoying promoter and all, but there's a wealth of other awesome online outlets offering outside-the-norm products honoring your favorite Wisconsin teams. Obviously, Sconnie has an abundance of great items too, as does Milwaukee Shirt Guys. I also own an embarrassing amount of Wiskullsin products (embarrassing because it's all the panties).
Something for the LAY-DAYS!!!
If I've learned anything from hackneyed '80s stand up comedy, it's that women be shoppin'. So for that penisless Crew fan on your list, spring for a MLB.com gift card so that they can choose from the site's myriad of stupid, useless and ugly items without function that only a woman could enjoy. For Katie - an intentionally distressed denim tote bag with a faded retro Brewers logo. Kaytee would love a beaded gold Brewers bracelet. And if I know Kaityeee, she'll cake the "Pink" of her ironically not pink sweat pants in a thick layer of shit Christmas morning when she happens upon a pair of garish Brewers sequin flip flops.
Framed Photo of Brett Lawrie
Sure, maybe that Marcum for Lawrie trade will go down as a colossal fuck up in Doug Melvin's otherwise-respectable track record of trades. But with this candid pic framed and displayed beside your stupid "Man Cave" sign on your wall, the pain of losing one of baseball's most promising young players will sting a little less.
And, yeah, Lawrie might post 10 straight 20-20 (or 30-30) seasons before all is said and done. But do you really want a guy like this to play for YOUR team? Hmmm... "Yes," you say? I know... me too.
Baseball, milwaukee brewers, Off-Base October 30th, 2012
At virtually the longest period of time spanning the Word Series and Opening Day, we're still more than a month from winter meetings and likely even longer from teams making any notable trades or free agent signings. I'm sure it's not hard to find an exact number of days between now and the Miller Park home opener, but I don't want to see it. It's just too depressing.
So how are fans supposed to bide their time during this bleak, baseball-less period? Do we take up a new hobby, such as canning homemade preserves or banging strangers at swinger's gatherings while dressed up as Huckleberry Hound? Neither sounds all that appealing... even if I found a gently used Huckleberry Hound costume in my price range. Maybe this is the perfect time to start watching New Girl. Then again, I'm probably way behind in the plot. At this point, they probably just call it "Girl" or something. Do we feign interest in the Bucks for a while? Perhaps this is a prime opportunity to better our lives... you know, get back to the gym, read a book not written by R.L Stine for once, apply for somewhat-less soul-crushing jobs, finally determine the reason that "check engine" light has been illuminating your dashboard since April--things like that.
Then again, with the new #GuessBrew promotion, this usually rough stint of boredom, soul searching and all-around trouser flaccidity can be better weathered than it used to be. In previous seasons, fans would have to wait until winter (sometimes even after New Year's Day!) to get information on forthcoming Brewers promotions. And even then, some of us didn't have Internet on our phone, so we'd need to look that shit up on our home or office computers like a bunch of cave-dwelling chumps. Infants had a crazy low life expectancy; the term "Honey Boo Boo" was only used in situations in which someone made a mistake that involved honey, and Walter White had only killed MAYBE two people on Breaking Bad. It's fucked up even thinking how we survived back then.
Now Brewers fans have some help riding out the darkest epoch of baseball's departure by getting daily updates on which Milwaukee players, personnel and additional periphery figures will be honored as one of the team's 10 all-fan bobblehead giveaways in 2013.
Though I gave all my bobblehead dolls away to other fans when I was old enough to grow pubes (18 months ago), I still like to keep up to date on upcoming promotions. Plus, anything Brewers-related that's not about Ryan Braun being jobbed on the MVP vote or Nori Aoki losing rookie of the year to some Mormon kid who paints his face for attention is welcome news to me. Monday, the team announced that Aoki would be the first bobblehead honoree in 2013. Still, nine more announcements are scheduled between now and November 9. I have no insight into the Brewers social media team's inner workings (aside from assuming Sophia Minnaert probably has no interest in getting coffee with me sometime), but I can still weigh in on some possibilities/likely choices, some outliers, as well as a few of the Crew who I feel should or should not get such an honor bestowed upon them. Here are some (faint) possibilities.
• Ken Macha - Though Ron Roenicke is a more obvious/likely choice to get bobbled, I'd much rather own a throwback to Milwaukee's most vanilla two seasons ever. Complete with a pull string, the doll could liven up any mancave with such famous Macha sayings as "Uhhhh..." and "[clears throat]."
• Ed Sedar - While Doug Melvin assembles the team and Roenicke runs it, it's of little doubt that Sedar is the runaway favorite for both players and fans, giving our hearts the green light no matter the count.
• Stan Kyles - The bobblehead's box could transform into a makeshift garbage can to unfairly dispose of the figurine in at first sign of trouble.
• Jeff Cirillo - He was past his prime once the advent of bobblehead popularity hit MLB in full force. Nobody (except people who watched him try to work as an analyst) has a bad word to say about 'Rillo.
• Kevin Seitzer - Former requisite Brewers All-Star and eventual centerpiece in a trade that brought none other than Jeromy Burnitz to town. Who wouldn't want to remember some of Milwaukee baseball's shittiest years with a relic of one of the team's least shitty players of the time? That's rhetorical, dicks!
• Jeromy Burnitz/Richie Sexson - See above self-loathing.
• Sixto Lezcano - If the already-deteriorating Lezcano doll is brought to the guest relations desk at New Busch Stadium, it can be exchanged for way better bobbleheads of Rollie Fingers, Ted Simmons and Pete Vuckovich.
• Gary Sheffield - With a local shooting range as the logical sponsor.
• Ray King - Doubles as a gumball machine.
• Brooks Kieschnick - God, that would be awesome.
• Carlos Gomez - Because he is awesome and I like him.
• Josh Hamilton - Constructed vaguely enough to pass for Jim Henderson when Hamilton inevitably signs elsewhere.
• Jean Segura - Joke not found. This will probably happen.
• Manny Parra - Well, actually, just an empty box that holds only the crushed hopes that the Manny Parra you were expecting would be somewhere inside.
• Yoshi, Aoki's interpreter.
• Mark Attanasio's wife - For... uhhh, personal use. DON'T JUDGE ME!!!
• The Happy Youngster - Obviously, depicted in his natural state of shoving a terminally ill toddler to the ground so he can scoop up a Jamey Carroll BP ball on the third bounce.
• Bernie Brewer and T.C. Bear open-mouth kissing with the Mississippi River between their feet. Beautiful image, isn't it?
• "E.H." - A maple breakfast sausage that's basically just an insensitive depiction of a stereotypical Canadian, the latest in a line of off-base Klement's racing sausage mascots.
• Ichiro Jones
According to pretty much everybody, Milwaukee's first nine games after the All-Star break are the most vital games ever, making the previous 85 Brewers contests all but meaningless. People are saying this because 1. Such statements cause reaction and panic, which creates more page views, and 2. It's sort of true.
The Crew resumes its schedule with consecutive three-game sets against division rivals (and teams with better records) Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Cincinnati. Perfection is a must. Anything less only gives Milwaukee 68 games to make up ground (IMPOSSIBLE!). Sensing the urgency, the Brewers front office made some serious noise (the noise of filling out basic paperwork) with some All-Star break moves.
Tim Dillard. DEMOTED!!! Tyler Thornburg. Wake up, bitch, you're a Brewer again! Taylor Green. Go back to Nashville and reconsider your choice in at-bat music! And, finally, Jeff Bianchi... welcome to Milwaukee.
By my count, the Brewers have put a "6" beside five names on lineup cards this season: Cesar Izturis (33 games), Cody Ransom (32, though some of those are from when he was with the Dbacks and I'm too lazy to figure that shit out), Alex Gonzalez (24), Edwin Maysonet (18) and Brooks Conrad (1). Bianchi's arrival signals a sixth shortstop in Milwaukee's future. If and when (and, let's be serious, if) that time comes, it will also be the inaugural big league appearance of the 25-year-old minor league journeyman. So, what the fuck, let's learn some shit about this dude.
Name: Jeffrey Something Bianachi.
Pronounced: Hopefully not. That means he's in the game.
D.O.B.: Does it matter? I just said he's 25. Could revealing his birthday is in October somehow reduce his value more? "Libras can't pick up curveballs."
How acquired: The team expressed remote interest to his agent. The rest kind of worked itself out.
Bio: Amazingly, was taken in round two (50th overall) by the Kansas City Royals in the 2005 MLB Draft, ahead of a plethora of more successful second rounders such as Travis Wood, Nolan Reimold, Kevin Slowey, Yunel Escobar, Chase Headley, Nick Hundley and Tom Italiano... who isn't successful but has a funny name nonetheless. Bianchi was also nabbed 65 picks before Milwaukee took Mat Gamel, who shares a Twitter account with his wife.
Anyway, Bianchi got hurt a bunch--including a torn laburm in 2006 and missing all of 2010 due to the oh-so-rare shortstop Tommy John. He was released by KC, picked up by the Cubs (obligatory "boo" for some reason), released again, picked up by the Brewers, all Milwaukee's backup middle infielders were bit by an outbreak monkey, and here we are... present day 'Merica.
Bats: At an acceptable level for a man who, to this point, has been facing pitchers oftentimes as young as five years his junior. Basically an average in the low .300s and zero power.
Throws: Somehow. It's miraculous, considering his surgically mutilated shoulder. I bet it looks all gnarly. I'm seriously about to charf just thinking about all that scar tissue.
Strengths: More ACLs than Alex Gonzalez. Is not Cesar Izturis.
Weaknesses: Is a younger and more injury prone Cesar Izturis. Doesn't have the best movie quote out there.
Ron Roenicke says: "He's a right-handed bat."
I say: I've been wrong plenty of times. I said Casey McGehee wouldn't make the team in 2009 before he had two good seasons (and one pretty terrible one). There was a brief time when I thought the film MacGruber might not be incredible. I spent, like, 24 years on this planet before trying chorizo. So, yeah, I don't always think things through.
Who knows, maybe Jeff Bianchi will kill it off the bench and make Jody Reed look like Turner Ward by comparison. But he probably won't. And as inconsequential as this move--which basically equates to swapping out Taylor Green, who has huffed turbodong so far--is, it seems to signal the team throwing shit at the wall (on the lineup card) and seeing what sticks. The Brewers are up in the air alright. And trusting at-bats to a player off the bench who currently lacks a single MLB plate appearance can't be a sign the Brewers will land in a cushy place when they come down from this uncertain levitation.
Favorite color: Burnt Sienna.