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 →


28
Mar 13

Homestander: Opening Day 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.

In many ways, October 3, 2012 wasn't that long ago. We have the same president. The lease I signed for my apartment has yet to expire. "Gangnam Style" is, unfortunately, still taking faint, periodic breaths of relevance. Though fewer than six months have elapsed since that early October night, it seems like eons have passed. That evening, Vince, myself and a documented 34,449 others (More like 12,000. We alone were handed 20 free tickets by people who had extras) witnessed the last regular season Brewers game that's occurred to date. Fittingly, it was a loss brought on by the bullpen.

Each of the days sitting between October 4 through this coming Easter Sunday is the longest day for Brewers fans. While there are some worthwhile things like Packer season, holidays, the return of beloved TV shows, the occasional concert or comedy show, feigning interest in Spring Training, and out-of-town excursions to occupy our interest and funnel our attention into, it all amounts to just temporary rest stops on the lengthy, desolate road that connects the last out of one season to the first pitch of the next.

Opening Day is special. Not only does it mark the return of baseball, but it also signals the true beginning of a cycle that includes grilling, outdoor drinking, the notion that before 161 more of these games are through being played the snow will melt and leaves will grow on (and later, fall off) trees. We'll be met by familiar sights, sounds and smells. There's also an infinite field of unpredictable possibilities that span April 1, 2013 and yet-to-be-known departure date of Brewers baseball. Maybe Ryan Braun will earn another MVP award that will be given to Buster Posey. Bob Uecker could muster the funniest statement of his broadcast career. A bevy of Twitter accounts devoted to Miller Park animals could be born. Any one of us could bone someone in one of the single occupancy shitters on the 400 level.

So much could happen. And I'm ready for it. Bring on baseball. 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

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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 →


22
Mar 13

Jeff Suppan to run for Congress if he continues to suck at baseball (Or Jeff Suppan to run for Congress)

In a surprising turn of events, former Brewers pitcher Jeff Suppan is still trying to pitch in the major leagues. When the Brewers released Jeff Suppan in 2010jeff suppan (Keyboard Cat, never forget) many wondered if that was the end of his baseball playing career, but he ended up pitching for the Cardinals that season. After that most of us assumed that he would retire to his California restaurant, the cleverly named "Soup's Sports Grill", but he actually ended up playing 2011 for the Royals AAA Omaha team (where he sucked) and then spent part of 2012 getting rocked in San Diego. (Although he did lead the Padres to a win over the Brewers last season which proved once and for all that baseball is unfair and that God doesn't care about the Brewers.) For a guy with a career that should have been over three years ago, Suppan has kept on pitching and continued to make a high six figure salary for sucking at his job.

Which makes him a perfect candidate to run for political office. Continue reading →

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