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