Someone asked me on Saturday night how I thought the Brewers would finish this season. When they asked me my immediate reaction was to say "third or fourth, maybe a wild card" which is the nice way of saying "ugh they aren't going to win anything I hate them I wish the Cardinals would fly Oceanic Airlines". I didn't even really think about that too much it was just my natural reaction to assume mediocrity. I'm a terrible fan. My friend then asked what "Vince, the Miller Park Drunk guy" thought about the upcoming season. My first thought was that it was the same thing, this site is nothing if I can't be myself and be honest, but then I remembered that we were embarking on the Casual Era and things weren't quite like that anymore. I wasn't quite like that anymore and my original answer was probably a lie. The old me looked at WAR, injury probabilities, pictures of Ron Roenicke, projected FIP for guys born in 1978 and gave up before the season even started. The new, improved Casual Era me? He sees the season going much better because I don't know how the season is going to go until the season is over. That's why they play the games, kid. Cause I'm Mr. Brightside.
MILWAUKEE BREWERS CASUAL ERA SEASON OUTLOOK
When pre-judging the 2014 season a week before it starts there are many things that we must look at to gauge our enjoyment. We can't possibly predict the wins and losses when we don't even know half the guys on the team so the only thing we can do is try to judge our enjoyment. I will now lay out and study the key factors to making the 2014 Milwaukee Brewers season a fun one.
ADORABLENESS: The Brewers have the potential to be one of the most adorable baseball teams of all time with the introduction of Hank the Dog (despite the possibly nefarious conspiracy surrounding him that I will cover later this week). He's cute, he's a dog and he loves these Brewers unconditionally. In a way there is a lot we can learn from Hank the Dog about ourselves. The Brewers have been running over us with a car for what seems like years, maybe it's time we let Ed Sedar pick us up and cradle us back to health. No? Sorry, bad analogy.
How Hank fits into the regular season Brewers is something that remains to be seen. It's one thing for a dog to run around on the field in spring training with a few hundred people in the crowd. How will he react if there are 20-30k in the stands? Probably by shitting on the field. So Hank as an on field character is probably out which hurts the adorableness factor. BUT what if the Brewers utilized Hank in a Anaheim Rally Monkey kind of way? Like let's say it's the eighth inning and the Brewers are down with Gomez at the plate. Hank appears on the big screen, everyone instantly cheers and goes crazy, but then he starts talking! A TALKING DOG! LOL! And he's like "Hey Gomez, get a hit buddy. Let's "ruff" these guys up!" Gomez will have to take a timeout in the batters box just to laugh and smile and high five some fans, but then he'll hit a 3-run homer with no one on base and we'll all party in the streets like Mardi Gras. They could do this in EVERY GAME. It would be awesome.
Backup idea: Hank goes to the mound for all pitching changes. Imagine Peralta refusing to leave the game and Hank pulling on his pant leg. Or an argument with an umpire where he just barks the whole time.
Backup backup idea: Dog with a Blog.
(Call me, Brewers PR.)
Outside of Hank I am worried about the adorableness of the 2014 Brewers. Unless you think things like people wearing ten year old Overbay shirseys or Matt Garza trying to field a bunt are adorable.
DOUCHENESS: Douche levels may be entering all-time lows for the 2014 Brewers thanks to Ryan Braun not being the focal point anymore. Braun, best known as a dickbag who lied to everyone when I would have had his back either way, probably won't be front and center on everything Brewers related this year as the team tries to help people forget and rebuild their/his image as something that is cool. Look for a quiet, MVP-caliber season with a lot less Remetee being shoved down our throats. It's the ideal Braun. Good at baseball, but never in a QuikTrip commercial.
Underrated subplot: Now that Aaron Rodgers dumped him will Ryan Braun become Wisconsin athlete bros with Larry Sanders? Braun, jealous of Hank, can get tips on how to starve and almost kill him with cold weather as they have drinks and throw ice cubes at Apartment 720. (Too soon?) If this happens forget that first paragraph. Miller Park will be at Douchecon 5.
(Best part of that JS Story? Don Walker telling everyone where Larry Sanders lives. How could that possibly turn out bad? I guess it's a good thing nobody cares about the Bucks.)
REDEMPTION STORIES THAT WE CAN READ ABOUT IN THE MEDIA:
- Ryan Braun is the obvious one, but fuck that dude nobody cares. Just hit your homeruns and go home. Redeem yourself on your own time, pal.
- Rickie Weeks is up there, but I can't go down that road again. I love him, but maybe it's time he goes to the Yankees or something.
- Yovani Gallardo's fastball he left at Leff's Lucky Town.
- Aramis Ramirez vs. His Own Health.
- Mark Reynolds maybe? A .699 OPS last year was his career worst and he's only 30. Maybe he can have another season with 50+ doubles and homeruns. Miller Park should be his friend and I did put $100 down that he has a better season than Corey Hart. So, like, do that.
OLDNESS: Some people think old people are cute. Those people are wrong. Old people are gross and old baseball players suck. The Brewers have decided to bring back Lyle Overbay as a "Mark Kotsay-esque" utility player. He'll probably play good for a few weeks which will then allow him to get way too many at-bats, play an outfield position he is ill-prepared for and ultimately cost the Brewers a playoff game. The good news is they make the playoffs in this scenario. The bad news is a guy name Lyle being a big part of that success. Nothing good ever comes from guys named Lyle. Just ask Julia Roberts.
YOUNGNESS: Dudes under 30! Guys born in the 90s! A guy named Will Smith who was named that while "Parents Just Don't Understand" was on the radio! A guy named Wang! A starter with an unnecessary switch of C and K in their first name! Jonathan Lucroy! scooter.
I feel good about this category. I love dudes I don't know anything about doing things.
STRIKEOUTS: SO MANY STRIKEOUTS! Who is ready? I am so ready. Rickie Weeks taking ball four and getting called for a strikeout. Mark Reynolds causing the panels to shake he swings and misses so hard. Carlos Gomez doing the same thing, but not getting any shit for it. There will be people who hate this team because of the strikeouts, but I think those people are missing the point. A strikeout is the purest out. With a flyball you'll always wonder if maybe the ball hit his bat like 1/16th of an inch to the right if it would've been out of the park. A strikeout? No such question. In this life we are constantly left wondering how our choices shape us, how if we'd have done just one thing different if we'd be rich or successful or happy. Strikeouts take that wonder and the shackles that come with it away. Strikeouts are freedom. Team Strikeout Forever.
HOMERUNS AND STEALS: In the end isn't this the only thing that really matters? The Brewers could go 0-162, but if they hit 1000 homeruns and stole 500 bags I would probably own a jersey of every player on the team. Baseball is so freaking boring just give me steals and homeruns. Like if you don't hit a homerun, you better steal a base. You owe that to me. You owe that to my enjoyment. I spent hard earned money on these tickets! Last season the Brewers hit 157 homeruns and stole 142 bases. With full season Braun, Mark Reynolds and Khris Davis I am hoping for at least 200/200. Maybe more. Can you say best season ever?
OVERALL: Homers + steals + a dog + Ryan Braun taking a backseat - strikeouts - Lyle Overbay = playoffs.