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.
I'm not afraid to admit it. In 2008, after a Ryan Braun home run essentially won the ever-important 162nd game of the Brewers season and FSN (as it was called at the time) stayed live to show fan reaction to the last out of the Mets collapse that landed the Brewers in the playoffs, I wept. I was 23 at the time and in (in true blogger form) in my mom's basement with my family... none of whom particularly care for the Brewers, especially when the rare feat got in the way of a week 4 Packers game. I'm sure it was an odd sight for them, but (as sad as it sounds) I'd never felt such joy in my life in relation to baseball.
I went to Game 5 of the NLDS in 2011. Vince and I shelled out $100 apiece for left field bleacher seats, and Vince quickly abandoned me to watch at Friday's out of nervous habit. When the Crew won in extra innings, I stifled a full-on man-sob as best I could, hugged and high-fived strangers as confetti rained down from the metallic heavens. A few tears cracked through my masculine veneer and rolled down my cheek as I scooped up come confetti and departed.
I swear I'm not that guy who cries over sports stuff usually. I'm aware of the invisible line in the sand that separates being a sports fan and being a sports nut. And I'm sure as hell not that guy who cries over anything. At least I wasn't. You'd think as you get older, it gets easier to hold one's emotions in check. To a certain extent, it does become more manageable to weather the constant blows of life's disappointments. But in another sense, the longer you live on Earth, the more you taken in, the more you're shaped and re-shaped, and the more your emotions are eroded and mutated in the waxing and waning of existence's high and low tides. Occasionally, something small or unexpected can just break you down. Or at least that's what I'm dealing with at 28.
If a Subaru commercial, a line from a Weakerthans song or some god damn sports moment from yet another World Series-less Milwaukee Brewers season can produce ocular moisture, I'm seriously afraid for my tear ducts when I become a father (and all subsequent dad moments), when I get married and when I lose a close friend or relative. This makes me a total wuss and I probably shouldn't have written it. But hey, I'll take the Brewers tears when I can get them. I'll just blame it on allergies or being way too drunk.
Last night Rickie Weeks went 1-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout. If that hit had been an extra base hit, it would have been the most Rickie Weeks line ever. 1-for-4 with a walk isn't a sexy line and it's not very fun to watch, but it's good and it's valuable. It's a .400 On Base Percentage and it's what Rickie Weeks does. If you understand that and why it's valuable and why that 1-for-4 with a walk game, day in and day out is actually awesome, then good for you. You're sophisticated and understand the nuances of baseball better than your average fan. Enjoying Rickie Weeks is like listening to Grizzly Bear, it's good if you're into that sort of thing, but if you're not it's pretty freakin' boring and crappy.
How do you spell Rickie Weeks?
No. There are more Es and a lot more Ks.
Rickie Weeks has established himself as a baseball player and he is unlikely to ever change. His walk and strikeout totals will be high, he'll have EXTREME cold streaks and homer-happy hot streaks, he'll play average defense and maybe he'll run a little (if he's healthy.) Oh yeah that's another thing he does: get injured. He's 30 years old and this is his ninth season as the Brewers starting second baseman, he's not going to change. We've done this before. He is what he is. Expecting a better Rickie Weeks is like expecting a strong female role model to emerge on Teen Mom 2. It's not happening.
But what if you, like, don't want to be sophisticated and nuanced? What if you like music from the radio and beer and you like your baseball simple? Me watch baseball. Homerun good. Strikeout bad. Me like runs. What then? Continue reading »
Let's start this off properly: Yuniesky Betancourt is the worst shortstop in Brewers history. That might not necessarily be true, but it feels true. In 2011, his last full season as the Brewers shortstop, he was the worst everyday shortstop in the league. Or at the very least in the bottom five. Even when he did good things, he always followed them up with boneheaded plays, errors and stupid pop-ups. He was the worst. People called him names, people called into radio shows screaming for his replacement and nobody was a fan of him. Nobody. @atmeiller calls him Voldemort and it makes sense because when he was playing shortstop he removed all the light from the world and each one of his swings spread a flurry of Death Eaters throughout Miller Park. He wasn't good at baseball and we were all glad to see him go.
When the Brewers brought back Yuni B, it was like seeing your ex-girlfriend walk back through your door. Only instead of the moderately attractive girl you remember she was sporting a neck tattoo that read "SLUT" and a Nickelback t-shirt that barely hid her pregnant belly. And the baby is yours. The Brewers re-signing Betancourt felt somewhat like the worst thing ever, but it wasn't. Why? Continue reading »
This year's Pants Party is going to be the absolute best. For those of you who don't follow us on social media, we are doing the Pants Party 3 funding entirely through IndieGoGo. What does this mean? It means we have multiple reward levels designed to allow us to hold the biggest Pants Party yet. You want your name on your shirt? We can do that. You want a set a bags to go along with your tickets? We got that. You want to go to Saturday's game? We got you. You want your own booze? We got that too. Unless you want a blownado, we probably got you covered.
The party will be on Sunday June 23rd before the 1:10 game against the Atlanta Braves. (This is also Polish Heritage Day and everyone who actually makes it inside will get a Polish Sausage bobblehead.) The party will start as soon as they start letting cars in the parking lot. We will have all-you-can-drink beer, an additional drinking option (think jungle juice,) all-you-can-eat food (brats, as well as some next level tailgating food,) tailgating games, t-shirts, stickers and much, much more. I am not kidding when I say that it is going to be the best tailgate party of the year. It's going to be the best tailgate party of the year.
Last week saw the release of OOTP14, the latest in Out of the Park Developments excellent baseball simulation series, and ever since then I have been playing it. The game is a definite upgrade from last season, but also I played as the Yankees, I played as the Pirates and I played as the Braves, but I never played as the Brewers. The reason is simple: I don't know what the hell is going on with them or what to expect from them. The scoreless streak, the winning streak, Yovani's DUI and the basic roster construction just don't make a lot of sense to me and I don't know how to make this team better. So how do I manage that team? Do I call up Hunter Morris, DFA Alex Gonzalez and/or Yuniesky Betancourt and ship Axford out of town? Do I Stand Pat? Will any of it even matter?
The truth is I don't know what will happen which makes this, not my favorite, but definitely the most intriguing Brewers season I can think of in a long time. For Doctor Who fans, it's much more Clara than Rose Tyler. Or for people who've actually had sex, it's much more LOST than NCIS. Or for people who aren't good with analogies, it's a mystery that won't be solved over night.
Which I guess makes it the perfect season to simulate with OOTP14. So hold on to your hats because we're doing a diary to see just how bad (or good) this season is going to get. (Again.) Continue reading »