According to an extremely small sample size of my twitter followers the Bucks aren't quite back, but Brandon Jennings definitely has their attention. Following one player over the rest of the team seems about par for the course for an NBA team so this isn't very surprising. Personally I make no qualms about liking the Bucks now specifically because of this one player so I don't really have a problem with it. He's awesome and it's certainly better than not liking the Bucks at all right? But the more I thought about it, the more I thought that while this sort of behavior is perfectly acceptable for you and me maybe the rest of the Bucks players don't feel the same way. Everyone I talk to says that the past few games at the Bradley Center have been the loudest they have been to in years and it's all because of this one guy. That can't do much for Andrew Bogut's self esteem, right? Then again, what do I know about the Bucks locker room? It's not like I have ever been inside of it, recording their conversations and dictating them on the internet. OR HAVE I. Read the rest of this entry »
Bill Simmons is a writer for ESPN that you probably have heard of. He's probably the biggest "celebrity" writer on the internet and is responsible for roughly 1/5 of the posts at Deadspin. Despite influencing roughly every sports blog on the internet and setting a gold standard that anyone who thinks that it's a good idea to write on the internet should try to attain, he is one of the most divisive figures in the sports blogging world. Often accused of being smug, a name dropper and overusing the same references time and time again (I once emailed him begging him to stop with the Battle of the Network Stars references) Simmons is generally un-apologetic over his style. His style is his style. He has his fans (which I count myself as one) and his detractors, but in the end there's not much you can say negatively about him. His "voice of the fan" perspective has become skewered a bit over the years, but it still is a "voice of the fan" because when it comes to baseball, the NFL or gambling on the NFL he doesn't know what he's talking about most of the time (just like a real fan.) However, when it comes to basketball Bill Simmons leaves the "voice of the fan" behind and becomes something wholly different, one of the greatest living basketball writers alive.
Now, I've never been the biggest basketball guy. I think it's a great sport to watch, but there have been one too many times in my lifetime when the officials have clearly affected the outcome of a game and you can't tell me any different that the league didn't influence these decisions. The most egregious example would of course be the Dallas/Miami Finals from a couple of years back. I know that I'm not the only one who feels this way and was completely turned off by this series, but somehow the NBA always finds ways to pull me back in. Whether it's Lebron James or Brandon Jennings, I always find a reason to end up watching some games and a lot of this can probably be attributed to the writing of Bill Simmons. His passion for the game in his columns is infectious and there have been more than a few times I have ended up watching a playoff series because he will not shut up about it (Bulls/Celtics from last season is a great example.) When I found out that Bill Simmons had written a 700 page book about basketball I pre-ordered it right away. I've always enjoyed him as a writer and he is far too serious about the sport of basketball to mess this up. When The Book of Basketball arrived eight days ago I dug right in and I wasn't disappointed. Read the rest of this entry »
I don't want to talk about Carlos Gomez. Not tonight. Let me just say that my first word was "gross" when I heard about it. GROSS as in "b. Offensive; disgusting." Yeah.
So I'm not talking about this. To properly explain my feelings I will post a few things that other people have said about this trade and you can get where I am coming from.
Carlos Gomez is a young player who swings at too many pitches at the plate. This handcuffs him from taking too many walks and also causes quite a high strikeout rate. From personal experience, Gomez also rarely makes solid contact at the plate, either.
In all aspects, he is a black hole offensively.
To acquire Hardy, the Twins gave up Gomez, an outstanding defender in his own right. Milwaukee apparently wanted a premium defender to replace Mike Cameron in center field, but they’re taking a pretty big hit offensively in the swap. Gomez strikes out too often to make the slap hitting gig work, and his inability to bunt himself on base in 2009 caused his average to sink to unacceptable levels.
Even with his elite range in the outfield, Gomez is going to have to improve offensively in order to be worth a starting job. With infields taking away the bunt, he’s going to have to get himself on base in other ways, because it’s nearly impossible to justify starting an outfielder with a .286 career wOBA when you’re trying to make the playoffs.
J.J. Hardy is a good player who had a down year. I'm not sure what Carlos Gomez is. Thus far, a pretty big underachiever.
Gomez has been a poor hitter, but is still just 23 with plenty of possible fruitful years ahead of him. The cachet here that the Brewers liked was his defense, which should help the Brewers and their flyball pitching staff. A leap forward offensively may be a long shot to ask for, but perhaps Doug Melvin is hopeful Gomez can experience a Michael Bourn-type breakout.
Yes, he's just now turning 24. But however young, you'd like to see a bit of progress, right? Gomez's seasonal OBPs: .288, .296, .287. That looks like a guy who just doesn't get it, at all. Sure, he did much better while still just a baby in both Double- and Triple-A, but those seasons are starting to seem like a long time ago.
"He's still learning; he has areas to work on,"
I'm far from convinced that Gomez will develop into an above-average hitter, but combined with his defense even something as modest as .275/.325/.400 would make him All-Star caliber.
It's not just a bad OPS, every indication is that he has a horrible approach at the plate. His terrible OBPs are the result of a terrible approach at the plate. 4:1 K to BB rates tell me that he has no clue what's a strike and what's a ball. Nobody develops really until they stop swinging at balls and start swinging at strikes. Batters like that are just too easy to get out. See Jeff Francoeur. Or Corey Patterson.
The down side is that one injury, and this kid is toast. He can’t move over to a corner. You’ve just got to hope he learns how to hit (unlikely) or stays healthy.
He's still learning to play the game.
Alright, fine. I'll say something. This isn't an outright terrible trade. It saves the Brewers a lot of money and that helps them. My favorite player was expensive. Sorry. He was expensive because he was good. This guy is better than Cameron at defense so he's probably an upgrade, but he's just not good at hitting and unless they go out and get some really awesome pitchers it's going to be pretty hard to sell me that this was a good idea. Why? Look what the bottom part of our lineup might look like:
6. Kendall (or new catcher)
That's not even including the suddenly average Corey Hart or whoever ends up playing third (does McGehee decline? does Gamel stumble?). As of today this lineup leans more on Braun, Fielder and to a lesser extent Weeks/McGehee/Hart than ever before. One wrong move and then what? Our defense will be great, but does that even matter when the team is giving up homeruns? (Which, by the way, gave up more than any other team last year.) Sure we save money, but if we spend it on Jarrod Washburn (Jeff Suppan 2.0) or some other mediocore piece of crap then who gives a rip?
Look, the Yankees and Phillies just played in the World Series. Yes, they both have more money than us, but you know what? They each led their league in homeruns. (The Brewers were third.) What does that tell you? The homerun is king and they've removed 35 homeruns from last year's team for two guys who will play better defense, but will be lucky to hit 10 combined. Can this really be considered a good thing?
Off-Base November 4th, 2009
You probably don't come to a site called Miller Park Drunk to read about the Bucks. We don't really care, it's our blog we'll write what we want. Don't believe me? Tomorrow we're talking about the Admirals. Seriously.
Brandon Jennings is the most important athlete in Wisconsin not named Rodgers, Fielder or Braun.
There, I said it. It's out there and I can't take it back. After watching the Bucks take on the Chicago Bulls last night, I feel this stronger than anything I've felt since I said that The Happy Youngster was a douchebag. I've made my fair share of Bucks jokes in the past and I've even made fun of Brandon Jennings before, but I had no idea he was this good. I had no idea that he'd be, within three games, the best point guard the Bucks have had since Sam Cassell flew away on his spaceship.
Looking back maybe we should have know. I mean, look at his Wikipedia:
In his senior year of high school, Jennings averaged 32.7 points, 7.5 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 3.7 steals per game and set the school record for points in a season. This performance earned him some of high school basketball’s most prestigious awards: the 2008 Naismith High School Basketball Player of the Year, 2007-08 Gatorade Player of the Year (Virginia), 2008 Parade Magazine Player of the Year and 2008 EA Sports Player of the Year.
I mean, they don't just hand out the awards for "Best High School Basketball Player in the Country" to just anybody. Kenny Anderson (more on him later), Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Dwight Howard and Kevin Love are a few past winners of the Naismith Award. It's not like this guy just came out of nowhere. Then again as a guy drafted #10 overall in a draft that Bill Simmons called "the worst draft class since the infamous Kenyon Martin Draft in 2000" by a team whose recent draft history includes Joe Alexander and Yi Jianlian (not necessarily saying Yi is a bust, I just like typing his name) he wasn't quite a "sure thing" either. Put it this way, Brandon Jennings didn't even show up for the 2009 NBA Draft because his agent wasn't sure if he'd get picked in the first round (leading to him showing up in the middle of the draft to get his picture taken with Stern.) He hardly played in Europe and everyone forgot about him. One day, this will be considered one of the greatest things that ever happened to both the Bucks and Brandon Jennings. Here's the others: Read the rest of this entry »
The slow news days have begun and due to MLB rules there is only a playoff game once every six days. What do we do? Inspired by our favorite site The Dugout, we've decided to follow our favorite JSOnline writer Anthony Witrado on a quest. A quest to find love, adulation and respect in a cruel world that doesn't understand him or particularly like him. Will he find what he's been seeking? Or will he fail at it, like he's failed at life so many times before? Find out in Witrado's Quest: A Miller Park Drunk Event.
In part one Anthony learned that his fellow writers at the Journal Sentinel were not fans of his. In part two convinced that they were the only ones, Anthony set off to find someone who liked him at Miller Park only to be met with more failure and a cross-dressing Doug Melvin. In part three Anthony blamed the state of Wisconsin instead of his own shortcomings and headed back to his home in California where his favorite team was playing a meaningful game, but he found that Hollywood celebrities and the Dodgers did not like him either. With nowhere to go he returned to Wisconsin looking for answers. Read the rest of this entry »