Part one was a bit more by the book and with part two we had a bit more fun. If you aren't already doing so check out Right Field Bleachers, it's a lot like this site only with more writers, more photshopping and less pretend conversations. Good stuff.
MPD: Congratulations on making me gag myself. Once with the clam chowder analogy and a second time at the thought of Vicente Padilla in a Brewers uniform (hang on.... yep, this one just made me gag a third time). I think we're all at the point now where we are getting antsy for the Brewers to do something. Earlier in the season Melvin was quote as saying he wasn't sure if he needed a bat or a pitcher and I think it has become painfully clear to anyone with even the slightest of baseball knowledge (Tom Haudricourt comes to mind) what the team needs. We're well past the point of wondering if this team will make a move and now we are forced to sit and wait for it to happen. We've actually been (seemingly) waiting so long that it's gotten to the point where people are wondering if they might actually need two starting pitchers. I'm all about waiting for the right deal/player/trade, but come on already. People are dying out there!
You mentioned that you wouldn't mind seeing Corey Hart leaving in a trade and my kneejerk reaction is to say "well, who would replace him?" (Catalanatto is probably a better hitter, but a HUGE defensive dropoff. Gerut is the opposite.) At the same time the two easiest positions to fill on the field are first base and corner outfield. There are lots of bats out there that could step in and do close to what he's doing so I could almost see it. Almost. I'm just not convinced the team is ready to give up on him yet (which is weird considering all the grief he gave them in arbitration.) Does his popularity have anything to do with it? I don't know, but the more I think about Corey Hart, the more he reminds me of Jeff Francouer of the Braves. No great batting eye to speak of. Power to spare. Perpetually underachieving. Short flashes of brilliance. Ends up league average or worse. Hart is older, but he's like Francouer in that he was a lot better two years ago. Hart's improved his walk rate quite a bit this year (which could easily come back to Earth), but so did his strikeout rate went up too and it's come at the cost of some power (which could easily not come back to Earth). I am not sure if he's ever going to be much better than he was in 2007 and considering his first half of 2008 was likely a serious outlier, maybe dangling him out there is the right move. If the team can get some value for him now, why not? Sure, a few thousand female fans would be upset but they had to have figured out he wasn't really attractive at some point right? I don't know if Corey Hart gets you Ian Snell of the Pirates or Erik Bedard of the Mariners. I really just don't know, but I'd like to see Doug try and figure that out. I suspect even the Moustache hates hearing that at-bat music three times a game.
Forget Hart for a second though, let's talk about another can't miss Brewer: Mat Gamel. He only spells his name with one T so you know he's bad ass. I understand (and love) that Casey McGehee has been playing out of his mind for the past month, but can this dude get more than one start in a week? He's shown flashes and in my arm-chair-scout-who-has-no-idea-what-he's-talking-about opinion his at-bats have improved since he first came up quite a bit. He deserves an honest shot out there before they switch McGehee into virtually full time 3B mode. Give him two weeks of starts, then we'll talk. It's all I ask really because I think Gamel could be one of the next great Brewers and he should be out there playing. Or if the team sends him down, it should be to practice right field in preparation for him finishing the season there. Where do you stand on the send him down/keep him up argument and where do you see him going in the future as a Brewer?
Tyler: I set out to evoke gags from readers in everything I write, so I’m off to a good start.
Personally, I just can’t see Corey Hart as a part of the Brewers’ plan. This young core will have to break up eventually, and with Ken Macha’s unwillingness to swipe bags, Corey Hart (a 20-20 guy the previous two seasons) has become less versatile, hillbilly equivalent of Jerry Hairston Jr. – and that’s not a compliment. With Melvin’s apparent unwillingness to sacrifice any minor leaguers of value, I think Hart poses the best chip in trade talks for a MLB-caliber starter. In the professional sports sense, he’s compensated like an indentured servant, he’s shown flashes of unshittyness in past seasons and, like you said, corner outfielders are some of the easiest holes to plug. I doubt Hart alone could net Snell or Bedard (Snell possibly, if not to a division foe) but he gets a deal off to a good start.
And as far as the female fan perspective, Jason Kendall whilst taking a dump and wearing a Remetee is even hotter than Corey Hart. How broads don’t recognize Hart looking like a confused mutant, I’ll never know. Either way, if Hart is to leave, casual Brewers babes from Superior to Beloit will have someone to flick their bean to once Chase Wright is called up.
In the case of a Hart departure, I see right field as good as addressed between Catalanotto and Gerut. One hasn’t hit since coming to Milwaukee, one makes Luis Gonzales look like Andruw Jones in the outfield – but combine what they bring to the team and you’re throwing out a more-than-servicable outfielder every day. And Gerut could benefit from seeing more frequent at bats.
I think Mat Gamel could also help the Brewers if given more frequent at bats, but he could also help the Brewers if sent down to alleviate the temporary logjam at third base. I simply don’t see the benefit of keep Gamel up and not getting regular plate appearances. Then again, I can’t say he’s even the best option to start the majority of games at third at the moment – so what’s the use of keeping him up right now?
In a perfect world, Gamel would be sent to Nashville to work on becoming a right fielder; Hart would be traded for some pants-tightening pitcher and all fans in attendance would be given free Dippin’ Dots, the ice cream of the future, for the remaining Brewers home games. But it’s not a perfect world. I mean, the existence of those pants that can be unzipped to become shorts proves that. Additionally, I’m inclined to think the organization intends on keeping Gamel in the long-term plans for eventual full-time thirdbaseman… just not now. But what do I know?
MPD: When I first emailed you guys I was emailing to ask about what you thought about what might have been "the most important stretch of the season" because the Brewers were playing some of their toughest games of the season. Well, that's over and the Brewers are 2.5 out of the division and 4 out of the Wild Card. Nothing life changing. Now we get to what I think probably IS the most important stretch of the season as the Brewers play their next 17 games against teams under .500. Sure, a lot of them are on the road but these are all teams that the Brewers are better than. If the team is going to have another hot stretch, now is the time. A move would be nice, but even as the team stands today they are much better than the Padres, Nationals and Pirates. Sweeps should be in order. After this stretch we should be doing like 2pac and break out the champagne glasses and the motherf@c%&in' condoms. And if we struggle here? Forget about it. It's over. I hate to be like that, but I think that's the way it has to be. They'd be much better off being sellers (Hardy, Hart, Looper(?), Hoffman(????)) if they were in excess of 5 games out of either race. Now, I don't think that's going to happen. I think they are probably going to go something like 13-4 or 12-5 over this stretch and be right back in the thing. I'm with you on the high 80s win estimate, but a large chunk of them need to come right here. Afterall, the Brewers won the Wild Card last year on the strength of going 14-1 against the Pirates. We know this. This is clear.
What we don't know is this: what is the best eating option at Miller Park? It's pretty clear that the hot dog is out of the running from the get go as the brat dominates it in every category especially when you work in the hot version of the stadium sauce and the grilled sauerkraut. The cheese fries in a helmet are decent (despite being completely impractical, have you ever heard of a paper lining? Jesus H.), but I just broke my baked potato cherry and it tasted like the eating equivalent of looking into Ryan Braun's eyes (in other words, like the first time I heard the Beatles). I've also done the nachos in a helmet thing (again with the paper linings! I am convinced that the Brewers re-use the helmets left under seats because that is the only way this makes sense) and despite the fact that eating them makes you look completely slobalicious taste excellent. If we have to get down to it I think I am going to go with the baked potato because it's the only item in the park that I have ever ate not only every last bit of, but also the container it comes with. Sure, styrofoam is a little painful coming out the other end but I think it was well worth it. In your opinion, what is the best food option at Miller Park?
Jared: Yeah, the next few weeks are pretty key. With the weak schedule coming up, the Brewers should be able to make up some ground in the division and the Wild Card. As far as how important this stretch is, I don’t really get caught up in that. Every series is more important than the next as we get closer to the end of the season and the Brewers remain in the race. If the Brewers are still in the playoff race over the last couple weeks, I’d say the stretch of CHI, PHI, @COL and @STL to end the season will probably be pretty important.
We usually tailgate so I don’t buy too much food inside the stadium, but as far as the best food you can buy in Miller Park? I don’t even think it’s a contest. Cactus League Nachos, chicken or beef, are incredible and the CLN stands always seem to be right next to Leinenkugels stands. There’s nothing like a Cactus League Nachos (extra peppers, of course) washed down with a Leine’s Red.
MPD: Leinies Red, eh? Can't say I'm a fan. I know, blasphemy. So, what should we talk about now? JJ Hardy's beautiful blue eyes? Felipe Lopez's wife? Creative things to do with the upcoming Jeff Suppan bobblehead? The correct way to spell bobblehead? Seriously is there a space in the middle or not? The stupid Lebron dunk video? Why in the hell Tyler has an AOL email? Where can I get a chocolate milk at Miller Park? Wait, I know what it was that I wanted to ask you.
What is the deal with Brewers fans and Cubs fans? I, personally, just enjoy making fun of them. I love the "L" flag. I love being completely hypocritical and making fun of them for being drunk at a baseball game. I don't really HATE them (well, not all of them), I just don't care about them. They are just like us, fans who want to see their team win a World Series. Sure, they are a bit more desperate than us and they somehow feel that they NEED to win so that their life means something but we are basically the same. Every team's fans are the same (except for Yankees fans who have no soul) they just want their team to win a championship. And then another one. I guess what I don't understand is why there is sort of this inferiority complex among many Brewers fans when it comes to the Cubs. I have seen Cubs fans completely take over Miller Park and Brewers fans just shut their mouths about it. Is this because of Bud Selig? Before this resurgence by the team, a Cubs series really did mean Wrigley North and now it ranges anywhere from 60/40 to 40/60. For a long time though there was nothing you could do about it. Does this make us like battered wives who are afraid to ever speak up again in fear of getting smacked? Seriously, why would anyone feel inferior to THOSE guys?
Tyler: I'll drink any beer. Leinies Red is just one of them. I'd even drink another Spahnie363 and that stuff tastes like choad condensation. Hardy's eyes are those of dreams. I'd totally get up in Felipe's wife's guts. If possible, sell your Suppan bobble to one of those bobblehead nerds who lurk outside Miller Park after bobble games. Accept anything they offer you for it: $5, $3, a HPV vaccine shot, not murder, $1 - any of those things will offer more sentimental than a Souphead ever could.
I'm pretty sure the word bobblehead has no space. Anyone who knows for sure is almost assuredly one of the afore-mentioned bobblenerds. Talking to any of those cats isn't worth obtaining the answer. That Lebron James video is like the Revolutionary Road of 30-second dunk clips... worthless and overhyped.
It's true, I am the last living human below the age and above the IQ of 65 to have an AOL e-mail address. I have other e-mails too... but prefer this one; not because AOL is good (it is the worst), but because I think people must think it's funny to receive an e-mail from an AOL address. It's so uncool, it's become cool. Imagine those dumb early '90s print hoodies tween hipsters wear outside while smoking cloves. Maasomenos@aol.com is the dumb early '90s print hoodie of e-mail addresses.
And as long as the chocolate milk is in a plastic container with an unbroken seal, you can bring your own chocolate milk into the statium. Take advantage of that now because Miller Park is becoming increasingly lame in the way of affordability by the year. In the future, fans will have to pee into a high-tech filter just to make their own Miller Lite - then purchase it for $20.
I don't feel like typing any more answers. I feel I've addressed the most important ones. OK, OK... since you're my favorite Brewers blog, I'll take a stab at that last one too.
I think you're right in saying most fans - no matter the team - want the same thing. And in many ways, it does seem Brewer fans either 1. Take it way over the top trying to "represent their team" (while texting during 90% of the game, mispronouncing "Gallardo" and asking why Prince doesn't DH) OR 2. Seem to feel they aren't entitled to get vocal with Cubs fans.
And I must say, I've actually met a lot of knowledgable, respectful and genuinely nice Cubs fans from time to time. Being rivals, we know a lot about one another's teams, so it can sometimes be fun to talk baseball with them. That said, the majority I've met of them are dickface FIBS who further the stereotype of their terrible fanbase.
The difference between Brewers and Cubs fans is it's easier to act like you've been a life-long Cubs fan. The uniform hasn't changed, the team hasn't done jack in 101 seasons, that Ronnie Woo Woo guy still has
an extra chromosome or something, Ryne, Banks and Santo are fallback names to reference when you can't name the current backup catcher. It's really the easiest fanbase to be a part of. They expect to lose and take pride in it.
Judging by the difference in attendance the past 5 or 6 seasons (day and night), it can be assumed half of the Brewer fans are new to the bandwagon. When pitted in a battle of baseball banter against a (likely casual, undeniable douche) Cubs fan they assume has loved the team for life, this Brewers newcomer probably keeps quiet as to not say the wrong thing... kind of the way an intelligent person in church or Anthony Witrado in a middle school writing course would.
But even if you haven't liked the Brewers for a long time, it's important you still come to these games, cheer and even partake in an innocent jab or two at a Cub-fan's expense. Even with a limited knowledge of baseball, there's more than enough material to own any argument. Plus, your attendence means one less seat likely occupied by some vacationing Northside yuppie or some misguided 20-something from rural Wisconsin. Don't sell your ticket to these games (unless to another Brewers fan) and make it obvious who you're pulling for in the stands... then even a 50/50 battle can tip in the Brewers' direction. Beyond that, just pay attention to the game. If I see you texting or turning around to try and start a wave, I'm going to wish flesh-eating herpes on your and your family - Brewer fan or not.
Thanks for having us, MPD. It's been 6 weeks of periodic e-mailing fun.
MPD: But how am I supposed to update my twitter if I don't text during the game? (Kidding.)