20
Jun 13

Homestander: Pants Party Edition

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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07
Jun 13

Homestander: Critical Thinking

Each Thursday preceding Brewers weekend home stands, Tyler Maas Vince Morales 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 @vintown

There is a witch hunt going on in the MLB and it involves our favorite son, Ryan Braun. I don't know why, but there is. The mainstream media is a big part of it because they want to get the scoop, they want to break the story and they want to get the page views. They learned from the Melky Cabrera situation that he just doesn't get the clicks anymore. They've learned that Alex Rodriguez, once a ratings bonanza of controversy on par with Tiger Woods, just doesn't get the viewers like he used to. In order to strum up some business with this Biogenesis thing, they need a name with some value. A guy who is still good, they NEED Ryan Braun. I guarantee you if someone ends up suspended for this thing (and they shouldn't be unless they fail a drug test, but that's another rant) that the media will tell you that "so and so was suspended, but still no word on Ryan Braun" because "so and so" doesn't get the clicks, but Ryan Braun will. Ryan Braun is forever stung by this thing and it sucks. Whenever there is a thing with PEDs, he will be brought up. Right now, every dumb person I know just assumes that Ryan Braun did PEDs and he WILL be busted soon. There is no burden of proof, only a belief in what ESPN tells you.

v-for-vendetta-creator-muses-on-anonymous-act-L-Bf8KkgWhich is why I say this, don't believe everything you read or see on TV. The media lies. They have an agenda. Sometimes that agenda is protecting their corporate sponsors and sometimes that agenda is to get more viewers. Ryan Braun can be used to fit that agenda. I'm not saying he's guilty or innocent, I'm just saying you need to look at what you know and make up your own decisions. Use critical thinking and stop letting ESPN or whoever else decide things for you. You can do it. We are Anonymous. Continue reading →


03
Jun 13

Scooter-Mania FINALLY Reaches Milwaukee

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.


23
May 13

Homestander: No Bones About It

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.

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.

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15
May 13

Rickie Weeks still Rickie Weeks

weekskissLast 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?

R-I-C-K-I-E W-E-E-K-S

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 →

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