Monday, April 2, 2012

Play Ball! (Thoughts on the 2012 Brewers)

Like every year at about this time, the boys of summer are about to return and I couldn't be more excited. For years football was my untouchable number one sporting event, but within the past 5 years, baseball has become my favorite.

The one caveat, however, is that the Brewers must be competitive in order for my interest to remain. If the crew is eighteen games back nine games after the All-Star break, my interest in baseball will wane and I'll begin to anticipate football season.

With that said, here are a few things I am looking forward to finding out this season.

1) Prince is gone; can the new lineup make up for his production with the addition of Aramis Ramirez at Third and Matt Gamel at First? I think they can. I sure hope so. Not only for the Brewers' sake, but mine as well. You see, despite Fielder's baseball productivity, I never was a big Prince Fielder fan. I always felt he was a grab-the-money-and-go type of guy. Despite being a Brewer for many years, he never showed any love or loyalty to the organization. That's his prerogative and right, but I could sense his disloyalty and never chose to be a Fielder fan.

2) I will look forward to the discussions regarding Ryan Braun to be about what he does at the plate and on the field. This off-season was all about what took place between his belly button and his knees. Was he a playa? Was his urine sample handled according to MLB rules? What's wrong with his groin this spring training? Enough! Let's hope he puts it all to rest and has another strong, MVP-like season.

I must digress about Braun. This guy is hanging by a thread (my POV). He is precariously close to being the biggest cad to ever play professional sports in Wisconsin. This is harsh, I know, but he successfully appealed his 50-game suspension and got off on a technicality. He then gave an impassioned speech to gain our trust and compassion. If it is ever proven out that he did indeed take PEDs, he'll have made chumps out of us, his fans.

I rather wish he would've came out a la Andy Petitte and said, "I was trying to heal quickly to get out there and help my teammates win the pennant. I screwed up. Please forgive me. I look forward to rejoining my team after the suspension and getting my team back to the World Series!"

It would have been done and over.

He's only making it worse within the past week by refusing to comment on the case. Grr.

3) I loathed Barry Bonds and watched with incredulity the booming ovations he would get in front of his home crowd, yet, in every other baseball stadium he would virtually be booed off the field.

Are we going to be like Barry Bonds' fans? Will we cheer loudly while Braun gets jeered at parks across the country? We will soon find out. And I don't think I am going to like the answer. I doubt Braun will like it either.

When I am at games, I won't boo or stand when he is announced, I will give him a polite hand clap.

Come out, Ryan, and tell us the truth as you said you would. Then maybe I'll stand and cheer.

4) This spring we eliminated Cable TV from our monthly expenses. The hardest part of the decision was depriving ourselves of nightly Brewers games. However, I was able to reinforce my decision with the realization that I have access to a great national and local civic treasure: Bob Uecker. Now, instead of sitting indoors in front of the TV on a lovely summer's evening, I will relax on our patio with Bob calling the game on the radio. I am looking forward to this greatly.

5) All five of last year's starting rotation are returning, how will they fare? Yovani, Zack, Randy, Shaun and Chris are back, giving the Brewers one of the strongest set of starting pitchers in baseball. The Brewers may miss Fielder's offensive contributions, but this is still a league where pitching wins ball games. And with this lineup, I expect to see a lot of games won!

So with that said, let's toss some sausages on the grill, pop open a couple of cold ones, turn on the radio and get ready to welcome the 2012 Major League Baseball season!

Play ball!!

1 comment:

  1. I've embraced no other "local" sports team in my nearly four years as a Wisconsin resident other than the Brewers. My embrace came quickly, and almost as soon as it came, overshadowed my (then) 24-year ultrafandom of the Cincinnati Reds. I don't know how it happened, but these "little guys that could" (at the time) won my heart and I've never looked back.

    I'd like to get on with the Ryan Braun thing. I'd like it to be part of the off-season chatter. I wish it'd be a "Well, he was proven innocent (technicality or not), so we should take it as such. Let's not criticize him for anything other than his production, hairstyle and poor choice in t-shirt branding." But, I know that's not the society we live in.

    Anyway, I'll be at Opening Day for the fourth time in my fourth year as a Milwaukee resident and I'm so excited I'm fortunate to have that chance. I'm ecstatic about the season and have high hopes no matter the team's shake up in the off season. Matt Gamel, show us your stuff!