22
Apr 13

The End of the World: An OOTP Diary

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. OOTP Doug MelvinSo 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 →


10
Apr 13

Brewed For Her: A Stale Brew

Wow. Just... wow.

Wow. Just... wow.

To say the Milwaukee Brewers haven't been doing a lot of things right lately is something of an understatement. Between the bullpen pitching like they owe the strike zone money, Carlos Gomez and Rickie Weeks' ongoing re-enactment of Weekend At Bernie's and Weekend At Bernie's 2 at the plate, and Ron Roenicke's apparent Punk-ing of John Axford by way of (attempted) multi-inning outings... things could be better. Yuniesky Betancourt is an everyday starter for Christ's sake! Excluding really cold games that allow lil' Yunie to look like a manbaby with his cherub cheeks poking through his ninja mask, that's never a good thing.

With all the bad things happening on the field so far this season, you'd think the organization would go above and beyond to ensure that other elements of the game experience are enjoyable enough to cancel out the sub-standard baseball games themselves. And to a point, the front office and PR department has succeeded in doing this. I mean, there's that awesome Briggs & Stratton roulette in-game promotion! Last week, a concession worker begrudgingly honored my request to mix both lime and strawberry-flavored margarita into my mug. Plus, Miller Park is just in time to ride that "Gangnam Style" wave.

However, the Brewers new "Brewed For Her" promotion is one of the worst, most poorly-thought, tone deaf attempts to get fans to the park I've seen since "Gary Sheffield effigy night" back in 1995.

For those fortunate enough to miss this soft-colored, heart-laden promo flyer, on May 25, Miller Park's Gehl Club will transform into a place for the LAAAAAAAAAYYDEEEEEZ!!!

Since women evidently aren't intelligent enough to be entertained by an unimpeded baseball game on its own, Brewed For Her aims to help distract women from hard-to-understand elements of this man's game and all its "points", "home's runs" and utter lack of Kardashians with a series of antiquated offerings such as:
• Style tips from fashion experts & 15 top merchandise vendors
• Special selection of women's Brewers apparel & accessories
• Interactive stations / demonstrations for hair & nails
• Gift bag filled with Brewers goodies
• Game ticket including food & beverage in the exclusive Gehl club

OH EM GEE!!! You mean for a mere $115, gurlz can get access to a closed off section--awesome usage of "exclusive" by the way to suggest watching the game from 600 feet away from behind a splotchy window is somehow VIP--of the park while indulging in some of the most generalized feminine activities ever?

Style tips from fashion experts? I'd love to be a fly on the wall to hear a Boston Store buyer take time from their day to tell women, "Tie a knot in that Aoki shirsey! And remember, pink is always a home run! Home run is a baseball term that is a positive thing, by the way." Demonstrations for hair & nails? "Adjustable caps, ladies. Cheaper than fitted hats and great for holding ponytails."

Unfortunately, there won't be enough time available for the lecture from an adjunct Alverno professor entitled "Spitting and Chewing Tobacco: Gross. But necessary?"

In short, I'm a dude and I find this to be incredibly sexist and offensive. Maybe in 1950s American society, a time that marginalized women and discouraged them from sports viewing, this would've had a place... barely. But we're living in a time where thousands of females are in fantasy baseball leagues, there's an array of talented and hardworking female reporters and columnists contributing to the baseball conversation and newscycle. I personally know a handful of ladies who know as much or more about the Brewers than I do. Unless there's a Brewed For Him game planned with equally predictable activities like "Shotgunning beers for dummies" and an "All you can meat bar... MEAT MEAT MEAT [grunt noise, fart]", I don't think this type gender-specific promotion has a place in a 2013 Major League baseball stadium.

I know some women will gladly attend this, and that's their right. Not all women love baseball, and I think (or hope) that's the demographic that Brewers PR was intending to hit when it came up with Brewed For Her. However, I think the shortsighted activities, the cringeworthy flyer design and the promotion's existence missed the mark entirely.


04
Apr 13

Homestander: Fantasy And Reality

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.

Last weekend, my fantasy league had its draft in a secluded backroom at a bar (creatively called "The Bar") back in my hometown of Appleton. This is the eighth year of my league, so we all kind of have our tendencies. Some over-study, others do next-to-no work (me), there's the guy who takes five minutes to pick, the dude who always drafts Shin Soo Choo two rounds too early, the one running two separate projection aps on his elaborate bar-table war room. Among other tendencies I have (taking too many starters way too early), I've always been the guy who doesn't draft any meaningful Brewers.

A good portion of our league either keeps Brewers or draft them way too early. Since I'm not about to take Aramis Ramirez in the second round or have Mike Fiers on my team at all, I usually miss out on the homer picks and try to get the best value left. This year was different. First, I reacted to a run on middle infielders by snatching up Rickie Weeks way too early. Whoops! Then I used the free pick from a trade to reach for Carlos Gomez in the sixth round (well, ninth including our three keepers) because he's my favorite Brewer. That's not even the worst of it. A mixture of taking down multiple buckets of beer and wanting to screw over other teams without shortstops yet, I drafted Jean Segura way too early... meaning I drafted Jean Segura.

Just days into the season, I've realized an underlying reason why I don't traditionally draft Brewers. I get too wrapped up in both being a Brewers fan AND being a fantasy nerd. Mixing the two has already led to lofty highs and crushing lows for me. When CarGo had a .125 OBP and no steals in the first series, it sucked all the more. When Weeks hit a homer last night and Miller Park went wild, I high-fived a friend and said "FANTASY!" which made me feel lame for putting stat priority over a player on my favorite real team doing well. As Jean Segura is blistering hot, I kick myself for having him on the bench. In short, it's weird to own Brewers in fantasy. Juggling fantasy and reality is tough. Rickie Weeks is available.
Continue reading →


27
Mar 13

Kyle Lohse, Yuniesky Betancourt and The End of the World

It has been a tough week for Brewers diehards as the Brewers have made moves that seemingly go against the very core of who they are and what they believe in.

dealwithitFirst, the Brewers had the audacity to add a 2-3 win player to the rotation by signing Kyle Lohse to a three year deal worth $33 million dollars. (Snarky headline: Kyle Lohse Makes Sense, In An Alternate Reality.) The complaints are many, -- too many years (just like every free agent contract ever,) too much money (just like every free agent contract ever (and also, not really,)) he's 34 and that is way too old (true,) he's a spy for the Cardinals sent to destroy our organization's playoff chances (a very real possibility,) I don't know how to spell and/or pronounce his name -- but perhaps the biggest complaint of all is the loss of a FIRST ROUND draft pick which will now go to the CARDINALS instead. "Are you serious bro?" is what you might say if you were the only person left who thinks Zack Ryder is cool.

Then, the Brewers filled the 25th man spot on the roster by acquiring Yuniesky Betancourt. (Snarky headline: Brewers re-sign Yuniesky Betancourt as part of effort to find least popular possible transaction.) The Brewers internet briefly exploded yesterday as fans reacted in outrage of the signing. I took part in the vitriol on twitter. I, like many other Brewers fans, don't like Yuniesky Betancourt as a baseball player so why are the Brewers going to pay him to play baseball? Continue reading →


25
Mar 13

Lalli-Freakin-Da! Filling Milwaukee’s Last Bench Spot

Blake+Lalli+Milwaukee+Brewers+Photo+Day+i-SyGRMB-RRl

Could THIS be the guy who never plays until Corey Hart comes back in May?

Note: This post was being written when it was announced that the Brewers were signing Kyle Lohse. The transaction is in stark contrast to much of the intro, but I'll be goddamned if I'm going to re-write it. Just pretend this was written Friday or something. Cool?

***

Every mid-February when pitchers and catchers report, life gets a little bit sweeter. Even though most of us are still marooned in the awful and unforgiving Wisconsin winter hundreds upon hundreds of miles away from said pitchers and catchers, the start of spring training offers methadone to help us through until we can score some regular season baseball.

Then position players show up to join the batteries in stretching along the chalk lines and jogging 90-foot increments. Immediately, Mat Gamel gets injured. Soon after, exhibition games start, allowing fans to comb over box scores that detail Rickie Weeks went 0-1 with a walk and some guy you never heard of had two hits in a split-squad contest against the Chinese Taipei WBC team. Maybe Bob Uecker says something funny on the radio while calling a game you don't really care about. A game or two gets televised.

After a barren winter of inactivity, articles and blog posts begin to pile up, each detailing that everyone is apparently in the best shape of his life, those who had a down season the previous year are looking to improve this time around and those who were successful last summer hope to repeat their performance. Some five weeks later, we sit idling at arguably the most frustrating point of the marathon baseball season.

Unless Doug Melvin gets partially digested by a python in the Arizona desert or Mark Attanasio makes a $33M last-minute impulse buy, every marginally-exciting storyline has been exhausted, the Opening Day starting lineup has been set in stone and there's nothing more that can be taken from a game occurring in or around Maryvale. Yet there's still a week standing between now and a baseball game at Miller Park. One of the last remaining uncertainties or points of speculation is who will occupy the lucrative last spot on the Brewers bench. There's a bevy of worthwhile options, but numerous factors both supporting and working against each of their respective cases. Continue reading →

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