Tuesday, June 29, 2010

F*@k Hunter Pence! And other tales from Milwaukee

I can’t remember when I started saying “F*@k Hunter Pence!”. It probably started when he did something good (for the Astros) and I threw a temper tantrum and started swearing at him. I know that it started during the 2008 season and I’ve said it so many times, most of my family and friends say it now, too. You should try it. It’s catchy. It feels good. Any time Hunter Pence gets a hit or makes a catch in the outfield, “F*@k Hunter Pence!

Our second day in Beer Town started with a quick walk along the Lake. It was a beautiful sunny morning. I will have knee surgery on Thursday so I tried to enjoy the walk because it might be a while before I go for another. We then headed to the Original Pancake House for breakfast. Good breakfast. I recommend it. Then we did some shopping for Brewers’ gear. Two of my favorite things—baseball and shopping.

The Brewers got out to a great start on Monday night against the Astros, jumping out to an early 5-2 lead. Ryan Braun singled in the first to score Corey Hart. Rickie Weeks had a run scoring single in the second and Milwaukee tacked on two more runs on a Hart single.  Manny Parra got the start for the Brewers and he wasn’t sharp. He faced six batters in the first inning and even got an error when he dropped the ball in a rundown. The second inning went better for Parra but he came back to give up two runs in the third. Pence reached on a fielder’s choice and later scored on a wild pitch. F*@k Hunter Pence.

Braun hit his 11th homerun of the year to leadoff the third inning for the 5-3 lead. Whooo! High fives all around.

After our shopping trip, we toured the Miller Brewery. It is very close to Miller Park (go figure) and free. It is fairly interesting and there are a lot of It’s Miller Time jokes. Roughly 1/3 of the tour is spent waiting for the others in your tour to get caught up with the front of the group. The tours are led by highly enthusiastic college students. We asked our tour guide if this was his dream job and he said, “yes, no doubt.” The best part of any brewery tour is the free samples. Somehow I ended up taking the tour with three people who do not like beer. My brother tried to drink some Summer Shandy and couldn’t do it. So, I had to take one for the team and drink all of the samples. I stopped at five glasses of beer. I mean, it was 4 p.m. and we had several hours of tailgating ahead of us. Pacing in baseball is important. It’s a long season.

The score remained 5-2 until the top of the sixth inning when the wheels started to come off for Parra. After giving up a single and a walk, Parra was pulled for Carlos Villanueva, who got two outs but also gave up a hit and a walk. 5-3. And then Villa was replaced by Todd Coffey. I told the guy sitting next to me that this was a mistake. It was. Hunter Pence promptly lined one down the third base line to tie the score. F*@K HUNTER PENCE. Ahhhhh!

After the brewery tour, we headed to Miller Park to tailgate. If you’ve never tailgated at a Brewers game, you’re missing out. You will find some people who are serious about their brats. I made friends with a 5-year old named Connor. He likes Ryan Braun, too. After several hours of tailgating we headed into the stadium. We had good seats. Section 116, row 8—between home plate and the Brewers’ dugout.  In an effort to take a photo of Willie Randolph in the dugout I unknowingly got too close to Brewers owner Mark Attanasio. The usher told me to find a seat, which prompted me to ask: “Find a seat or find my seat?”

After a fairly miserable start, the Brewers have started to turn things around in the last several weeks. After the Astros tied the score in the sixth, I wondered whether the good Brewers or bad Brewers would show up. Would we see the old Brewers or would the new and improved model show up? Old model. The Astros tacked on four more runs to win going away 9-5. Hunter Pence went 3 for 5.

We finished our road trip at .500—not bad. It was sunny in Milwaukee. 

Astros 9, Brewers 5
Game played June 29, 2010

Monday, June 28, 2010

Waiting for Ryan Braun

Are we there yet? That was pretty much my only thought as I drove from my brother's house in Mauston to Miller Park on Sunday morning. My only goal was to get there as soon as possible, so I might have driven a bit too fast (but that's subjective, right?). It was pouring rain for most of the drive, making me appreciate the retractable roof at Miller Park even more. It would suck to drive 5 1/2 hours just to sit through a rain delay. We had left a bit later than we had hoped. We had to get gas, go to the grocery store and buy beer. I love Wisconsin because you can actually buy beer in the grocery store on Sunday. What a novel concept, Minnesota. Minnesota fail.

We pulled into the Miller Park parking lot at 12:40 p.m. for a 1:10 start. I chugged a beer in the parking lot and then we headed for the stadium. I had purchased tickets from Stub Hub and they were pretty good. Section 116, Row 13--so between home plate and the visitor's dugout. The only problem is that I sat behind Marge Simpson. This chick had what seemed like two feet of hair piled on top of her head. I had to lean to the side to see around the hair. I usually end up behind tall guys. I've never had to sit behind someone with big hair before. Hairdo fail.

The Brewers opened the roof just before the game started. The rain had passed. My Mom instantly became concerned that I might get sunburned. Specifically, she became concerned that my pasty white thighs would become sunburned. The other thing that was difficult was keeping score while holding a beer and eating a pretzel with a cheese cup. I made it work though because I am big time. I did spill a bit of my beer on my Mom's foot, though. Beer fail.

Chris Narveson pitched a 1-2-3-4 (double to Bradley) first inning but got through it without giving up a run. Great start for the Narv-Dog! If you set the bar low, you'll rarely be disappointed. Rickie Weeks took the second pitch that he saw out of the Park for a 1-0 Brewers lead. Strangely, this would have held up. Narveson went on to pitch 8 scoreless innings. The Brewers added two more runs in the fifth inning and John Axford pitched a scoreless ninth to shut the door on the Mariners. Brewers win! No fail here.

After the game, I chugged a beer in the parking lot. It's all about symmetry, people. Then we headed to the hotel. We could not check in because our room was not ready. Apparently Justin Beiber was playing at Summer Fest and our hotel was taken over by teenage girls who had been inflicted with Beiber fever. Yikes. While we waited, we walked down by the Lake and around the art museum. Milwaukee gets kind of a bad rap for being sort of an armpit (the Cleveland of Wisconsin) but it is actually very pretty. I'll post pictures when I get back to St. Paul.

In an effort to fulfill my true calling as a groupie, we went to Ryan Braun's restaurant for dinner. It is a nice place. We made the rookie mistake of getting a huge appetizer and then a full meal where we should have just gotten the appetizer. It was a pretty decent meal with large portions. They had beer on tap, which totally worked for me. It wasn't the best food I've ever had but it was good. I would go back. Our waiter was cute. He said that Ryan "would probably" stop by later but we decided to just call it a night. Groupie fail.

Brewers 3, Mariners 0
Game played 6-27-10

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Baseball round table

Well sports fans, you're in for a treat! Live from my brother Nick's living room (where I'm sitting on bean bag), four of the greatest baseball minds ever, sit down to answer your questions. Yes, we are on our way to Miller Park for Sunday's game but we're never too busy for our loyal fans. Actually, we just ate too much to move.

Question 1: Who is your summer boyfriend?

Karen (Nick's girlfriend): I'm evaluating the potention of Casey McGehee. At first glance he looks kind of old. But he has the stats. And knowing that he is actually a couple of years younger than me is helping immensely. I intend to visit Ryan Braun's Waterfront in hopes that Ryan and Casey will be there. So we should probably stake the place out to maximize our exposure potential.

Nick (brother): I'm good.

Sally (Mom): Davey Nelson, I probably should go for. I don't know. The umps are probably more my age.

Question 2: What do you like about baseball and/or how did you become a Brewers fan?

Sally: My father, two of my uncles and my grandfather all played baseball so I spent my summers watching them. I think I went to my first Brewers when I was 8. I guess it would have been the Braves then.

Karen: I grew up watching the Braves on TBS. I remember when Chipper Jones was a rookie. I always liked baseball.

Nick: I used to hate baseball. I couldn't stand to watch an entire game. I used to time my naps by the Brewers games but I've since seen the light.

Sally: It's way more fun to watch now that they're on FS Wisconsin all the time.

Question 3: What do you hope to accomplish this weekend?

Nick: Watch baseball.

Rachel: Drink beer (oh and watch baseball).

Karen: A) Make a final determination about Casey McGehee; and B) Watch Escobar to see for myself if the Hardy trade was a good; and C) I hoping to lose the ahhhh feeling that I have for Corey Hart and Prince Fielder; and D) I will drink more than two alcoholic beverages; and E) I want to pick the winner of the sausage races. I'm an overachiever.

Sally: I'm tired of accomplishing things. I'm just going to be a spectator and watch and enjoy. I'm going to sit at Miller Park and think about how lucky I am.

My Mom and I listened to the Brewers game on the radio on the way to my brother's house. The Brewers fell behind early 0-2, came back to take the lead 4-2, before falling behind for good 5-4.

I'll be at Miller Park tomorrow and Monday.

Mariners 5, Brewers 4
Game played 6-26-10

'Jonathan gettin’ out the whooping stick tonight'

Rookie catcher Jonathan Lucroy hit his first major league homerun and collected his first three big league RBIs with a blast into the Brewers’ bullpen in the third inning. The homerun tied the game and gave the Brewers a lot of momentum as the both the fans and the dugout erupted in cheers. Carlos Gomez hit the very next pitch out of the park, in the middle of Lucroy’s curtain call, and the route was on.

After struggling a bit early, Dave Bush rebounded to give up just three runs over six innings. Carlos Villanueva, Kameron Loe and Trevor Hoffman each pitched scoreless innings to preserve the victory.

Lucroy added a double to deep left field in the eighth inning, which prompted Brewers’ announcer Bill Schroeder (here and forever after “Rock”) to say, “Jonathan getting’ out the whooping stick tonight.” Lucroy has been a real bright spot for the Brewers since being called up in May. Just 24 years old, Lucroy was expected to spend the entire season in Triple A but because of Greg Zaun’s injury and Angel Salome’s mental struggles (I’m not making that up), Lucroy got the call. Because he can actually throw runners out, he quickly replaced George Kottaras as the Brewers starter. I’m a fan.

It was the fifth win in a row for the Brewers, who are in a make it or break it part of their schedule. They are in the middle of a nine-game home stand and have Seattle, Houston, St. Louis, San Francisco and Pittsburg on the schedule before the All-Star break. (St. Louis is on the road but then they are back home for the Giants and Bucs’ series.) The Brewers are now 33-40 and 7.5 games back of Cincinnati. St. Louis is a half game back of the Reds.

In an effort to be as supportive as possible for the drive to .500, I’m heading to Milwaukee today.  Yep, I’ll be blogging from Miller Park with a beer in my hand, which is different than blogging from home with a beer in my hands. The beer will be a lot more expensive.  I’m so excited I can’t sleep which is why I was up at 5:45 a.m. I’m the kind of person who is more likely to go to bed at that time. Go Brewers!

Brewers 8, Mariners 3
Game played 6-25-10

Friday, June 25, 2010

Ohhh crap—it’s a sweep!

My friend Beth, who grew up in Faribault, once exclaimed (cue the Minnesota accent--think Fargo): “Oh crap, we’re goin’ backward” when she discovered that she was facing the wrong direction in a limousine.  

For a while this season, the Brewers were going backward. Either the pitching was terrible or the hitting was absent. Either Trevor Hoffman would blow the lead or the Big Boys would strike out. Either Rickie Weeks would drop the ball or George Kottaras would throw it into the outfield. The team was regressing from its 2008 playoff year and even from its (just under) .500 ballclub of 2009. And 2009 felt like enough of a regression for me.   

With a sweep of the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday, the Brewers won their fourth game in a row and climbed back into third place in the division, 8 games back. The last time the Brewers won four games in a row was in April after a sweep of the Pirates. It’s been a tough stretch. I am starting to feel like the baseball gods are starting to kick back with a cold one, however, and the Brewers are catching some breaks. I hope that this is the beginning of something good.

Holy crap! Sweeping the Twins is pretty exhilarating. I feel flushed.

Yovani Gallardo took a perfect game into the sixth inning before giving up a hit but went on to pitch a complete game shutout. Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder each hit 2-run homeruns in the third inning, and the Brewers tacked on one more run in the fourth, for a 5-0 lead. The Twins were unable to mount any sort of rally against Gallardo, who notched his seventh victory of the year. With the shutout Gallardo lowered his ERA to 2.36. 

Brewers 5, Twins 0
Game played 6-24-10

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The land of 10,000 insults and one defensive Brewers’ fan

By now, it’s probably become obvious that I live in Minnesota but don’t like any Minnesota sports teams. I’m a Wisconsinite through and through, no matter where I presently reside. I still drink Leinies with my over easy eggs. The day I had to turn in my Wisconsin plates and get a Minnesota driver’s license was a sad day. Don’t get me wrong, I love St. Paul and I love living in the Twin Cities but I will never think of myself as a Minnesotan. I still refer to Wisconsin as my “home” and my residence in St. Paul as my “house."

I grew up in Bloomer, Wisconsin—population 3,500. My Mom is a huge sports fan. I don’t remember my Dad being very into sports in my youth but because all of his children played sports and my Mom dominates the remote, he became a fan.  With the exception of Duke basketball, which I inflicted on my family, all of my rooting interests were introduced to me by my Mom. And all of those interests involve Wisconsin sports teams. When the Brewers made the playoffs in 1982, my Mom watched the games. This is my earliest memory of baseball. I was eight or nine. I sat and watched with her and she explained the fundamentals of the game to me. Thanks to my Mom, I know that batting below .250 is not so good. I’m not sure what it was about baseball but I was instantly hooked. Paul Molitor became my favorite immediately.  (My Mom grew up before Title IV so she never got to play sports. She only got to watch her Dad and brothers. Just thinking about that pisses me off because she would have kicked ass.)

We didn’t have cable television because we lived out in the country (yep, I grew up on a dairy farm --can’t get much more Wisconsin than that) so I would listen to the Brewers on the radio, with Bob Uecker calling the games. I developed my own system of scoring because I didn’t have an actual scorebook. I just used a spiral notepad. I remember listening to the game that snapped Molitor’s 39-game hitting streak in bed on my clock radio. He was on-deck when the game ended.

Now, imagine being that big of a fan and living five hours from County Stadium but a mere 90 minutes from the Metrodome. We did take a few family trips to County Stadium but largely, if I wanted to see the Brewers (or any other team), I had to go to Minnesota. So cheering against the Twins comes naturally to me because they were always playing the Brewers when I saw them play. The other thing you have to realize about me is that I am the world’s worst loser. Over the years I’ve tried to be a more graceful loser but it doesn’t always work. I hate losing. You’d think having attended Macalester and playing basketball and softball there would have cured me of this, but it hasn’t. One of my college teammates used to compliment me if I scored on her and then she would just try harder on the next play. I was impressed by this and tried it, but it wasn’t me. I once punched my sister at basketball practice because I couldn’t score on her. When some dude made one of the nicest catches you’ll ever see to rob me of a hit in slow pitch softball, I didn’t compliment him like the other people on my team. I said something along the lines of “he can go f@*k himself.” Losing makes me feel downright shameful so I get really defensive. I am working on this. I really, really am. I promise I am, Seth.

Always going to games where the majority of people are cheering against your team does not help with this, though. I had one of my biggest meltdowns ever at the Dome. I was doing the Aitkins diet and not eating carbs. I decided that I could cheat and have a pretzel and cheese cup. I love pretzels with cheese cup. LOVE  THEM!  I waited until the sixth inning to get the pretzel, and by this point, the Brewers were losing. I waited patiently in line. The vendor insulted my Brewers hat. I ordered. There was one pretzel left in the little box. Instead of getting the pretzel (which I told him he should do because there was only one left), he took my money and poured my beer. Some other vendor swooped in at the last second and took my pretzel. The vendor told me he was sorry but they didn’t have any more. He didn’t seem sorry at all.

When I got back to my section, I yelled the following: “I hate the Twins. I hate the Metrodome. And I hate their food service.” And then I sat down in a huff. Frustrated did not even begin to describe how I was feeling. My friend Chris nearly fell over laughing. To this day, I get reminded of my most awesome Dome meltdown all the time. Misery loves company and when everyone around you is happy, it makes losing seem way worse. (When I’m in Milwaukee and the Brewers lose, it doesn’t seem as bad—although that could have something to do with beer…)

The majority of Minnesota sports fan seem downright insulted that you would dare cheer for a different team. Sure, there are some that just like to give you crap about your team but more than I can count seem confused that I live in Minnesota but cheer for the Brewers/Packers/Badgers. “But you live here now,” or “but you grew up close to Minnesota” is something I hear about once a week. I finally came up with something that seems to address this and shut people up. “So,” I ask, “If you moved to Hudson next month, you’d start cheering the Packers?”  People should get to cheer for whomever they want. I don’t begrudge people for liking the Twins/Vikings/Gophers. In fact, if they grew up in Minnesota or their Mom liked the Twins/Vikings/Gophers then they should definitely cheer for those teams. We can give each other crap but who you cheer for should be non-negotiable.

To be fair, I had a nice time at Target Field this year. I thought the Twins fans were way nicer than at the Dome, where I was insulted so much for just wearing a Brewers hat that I thought my name was suck. During the Sunday Brewers-Twins game, we had a good section. We gave each other crap, but in a fun way. I might have said something negative about Justin Morneau (but just because he was killing us) and my brother Nick told me to shut up. “These people have been nice to us all day. Don’t be a baby.” And Nick was right. I apologized. Progress. See, Seth, progress.

The Twins have owned the Brewers lately. Minnesota has won the last five series against Milwaukee. That streak came to an end on Wednesday night, much to my amazement. The Twins have looked really good this year and the Brewers are struggling to get close to .500. Manny Parra and four relief pitchers held the Twins to just 3 runs while Rickie Weeks drove in 3 runs to fuel the 5-3 Brewer victory. John Axford pitched the ninth to pick up his sixth save. Of special note, the Brewers had six wild pitches in the game—a new record. 

Number of “I’m sorry” text messages received in previous Twins-Brewers series: 18
Number of “I’m sorry” text messages received in current Twins-Brewers series: 0

Brewers 5, Twins 3
Game played 6-23-10

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What a Brewers fan might think

Friday, May 21st 2010: I’m sitting in the 11th row behind the Brewers’ dugout at Target Field. I am so excited for this game. I could hardly sit still at work all day. I have my Ryan Braun jersey on. I’m ready for action. It is the first of three Brewers v. Twins games at Target Field.

What just happened? How did we give up seven runs in the first inning? Stupid ump, WTF? And five more in the fourth inning? Why does everyone keep texting me with “I’m sorry” messages? At least we came through with a few runs in the eighth so we didn’t get shutout. Somehow, though, this doesn’t seem like much of a victory. In fact, there is nothing redeeming about this game except for the fact that I was relatively close to Summer Boyfriend for a few hours. Twins 15, Brewers 3.

Tuesday, June 23rd 2010: I’m sitting on my couch. It is a nice couch. It is leather. I have my Cobra Kai softball t-shirt on. I can only watch 45 minutes of the game before I have to go to my softball game (and possibly consume beer). It is the first of three Brewers v. Twins games at Miller Park.

Is this Narveson guy going to get anyone out? How did the first six batters reach? How is it already 3-0, Twins, with the bases loaded and no one out? Why do I have to watch this on the Twins’ feed? Stupid blackout rules. This game seems familiar.  I feel sick to my stomach.

Thank god, a pop-up and two strikeouts. Three to nothing, that’s not bad. We could rally, although we never rally against Scott Baker. He owns us. (Narveson now has a 12.27 ERA in the first inning (15 runs in 11 innings) with opponents batting a cool .408.)

Softball game. We play well. My knee only moderately hurts by the third inning. We 10-run Tiffany’s. We go to Maxwell’s for beer. We sit outside so I won’t be able to see the score of the game but I am not optimistic. We return home. I’ve had several Leinies. Leinies are good. It is possible that I had one too many. It is possible that the beer makes me feel optimistic.

Narveson settles down. The Brewers hit. And hit. And hit. And take the lead, 7-3. Todd Coffey returns from the DL and pitches. It is a mistake. Brewers 7, Twins 5. Ax takes the mound in the eighth after Coffey gives up two runs. Ax closes the door. I exhale.

Brewers 7, Twins 5
Game played 6-22-10

**We welcomed the newest member of the family into the world today. Can't wait to meet you, Anna Rhodetta.**

Monday, June 21, 2010

The girl who loved Ryan Braun

(Left: BEST PHOTO EVER! A walk off untuck 'em for Ryan Braun.)

Ryan Braun became my summer boyfriend and favorite Brewer in 2008, thanks in large part to my friend Maren. Maren and I went to Macalester and played on the softball team together. Maren is Scandinavian and swears like a sailor—which is awesome. She has had about 10 baseball players that she referred to as her “boyfriend” over the years. Maren is from Minnesota and a Twins fan but because she spent a year after graduation in Baltimore, she has had a number of Oriole boyfriends, as well. Brady Anderson and Mike Mussina were two boyfriends. I can’t remember all of the others. She just called them her boyfriend … you sort of had to guess which one she was talking about. I notice now that she’s married, she doesn’t refer to her boyfriends as often (as opposed to me).
After hearing Maren discuss her boyfriend(s) at one of our coed beer league softball games, I announced to the women on my team (that’s the Ladies of Cobra Kai “LOCK” for those of you scoring at home) that I was going to select a boyfriend, sort of to mock Maren. I decided to use Annie Savoy’s criteria: No one batting under .250 … unless he had a lot of RBIs and was a great glove man up the middle. It was a toss-up between Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. I had never been much of a J.J. Hardy girl and Ben Sheets was hurt too often. Based on one of the best rookie years I had ever seen (.324 BA and 34 HR), I selected Ryan Braun. And then I discovered he was 24 years old. I felt sort of creepy. I was 10 (or so) years older. A quick scan of the roster was not especially helpful in finding someone my own age. When the hell did this happen? I had been younger than the players for so long, I hadn’t noticed that I had now transitioned into being older than most. Maybe I had to settle for Ned Yost. I had a conference with LOCK at the next game. They all assured me that not only was it not creepy but it was actually desirable to have a younger boyfriend.  So, Ryan Braun it was and is and forever will be because he’s my summer boyfriend now.

Two thousand and eight was a remarkable year for the Brewers as they made the playoffs for the first time since 1982. It was less remarkable for me. A few years before, I had decided to embrace exercise again after being pretty inactive since law school. (I played basketball and softball in college and coached basketball for years so I was somewhat active for a while. During law school, my only exercise was walking to the printer or lifting my constitutional law book. I ate so many donut holes there was a trail of powdered sugar between my desk and the printer.) I did my first 5k on my birthday in 2006 and my first triathlon later that summer. In 2007, I did four or five triathlons and a 10-mile race. In 2008, I had several triathlons planned as well as the Twin Cities marathon. I was going to run the marathon with my sister Megan. I was thrilled. I loved competing again. There was something so wonderful about running…the feeling that I got as the miles went by. I used to hate to run in basketball practice but there was something so peaceful about it now. It made me less anxious about life. I would count down the hours during work until it was time for my workout.

And then I hurt my knee—IT band syndrome. It was sort of my own fault. I should have stopped running but I decided that I could train through the knee pain. I limped through two triathlons and kept up my marathon training schedule—limping home in tears about once a week. At the beginning of July, I had to concede, I couldn’t do the marathon. I could hardly walk. I was bitter and angry but I found a lot of joy in watching the Brewers. And Ryan Braun—especially Ryan Braun. The kid can hit. And, yes, he is attractive, too, but that’s hardly the point.* His flair for the dramatic during the 2008 season is something I will never forget. His homerun in the eighth inning against the Cubs on the last day of the season to break a 1-1 tie made me cry. Seriously, I cried.  My biggest fear in life is that I will never do anything extraordinary; that I will waste my life sitting behind a desk examining title to real property; that I will never do anything special. Being a Brewers fan that year made me feel like something special was happening to me.  

I’m sure it’s no coincidence that the day that the Brewers were eliminated from the playoffs was the same day as the Twin Cities marathon.  I tried to TiVo the game so I could host a marathon finishers’ party for my sister but someone told me the score (Seth must not have been around) and a really crappy day became even crappier.

On many levels, I realize that putting all of my energy behind a baseball team is silly but yet I do it anyway. I know that having a summer boyfriend when you are a happily married 37-year old is silly, but I do it anyway. I realize that telling your husband that you want to have Ryan Braun’s babies is probably crossing the line.** I know all of this, and, yet, I refuse to stop myself because it makes me happy.  

Randy Wolf pitched seven strong innings and the Brewers broke open a 1-1 tie with 5 runs in the top of the ninth inning to avoid being swept by the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.

Brewers 6, Rockies 1
Game played 6-20-10

*OK, it is sort of the point (or a lot of the point). I shamelessly objectify him on most days. Hey, if you can't appreciate your summer boyfriend, you picked the wrong summer boyfriend.

**For the record, Seth says that he is OK with this as long as Ryan Braun pays for the babies.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Some things cannot be explained.

The reality show Mall Cops: Mall of America, for example.* “The cops race against time to reunite two guys,” said the super dramatic voiceover. And, after reuniting a woman with her cell phone (this show is big on bringing people, and people and objects together), the cops talk to a guy who seems sort of distraught. The cops conclude, however, that “he’s just another tired man waiting for his wife to finish shopping.”

Another thing that cannot be explained is why I continue to watch the Brewers. Saturday night’s game…was…just…soo… ahhhhhhhhhhurgh! The Brewers built a 4-1 lead behind six strong innings from Yovani Gallardo (whom the Rockies announcers kept calling GEEEH-ardo). As often happens, however, Gallardo’s pitch count was high so Macha went to the bullpen. Carlos Villanueva decided that the game lacked drama so he gave up two homeruns, including a 2-run shot, leading to a 4-4 tie. (That’s 1/3 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 SO, 2 HR.)

Not content to just blow the lead, the bullpen (Braddock, Loe) proceeded to give up four additional runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Colorado 8, Brewers 4. I would like to reunite the bullpen with the concept of closing out a game.

The Brewers rallied in the ninth. Carlos Gomez and Craig Counsell got on base, setting up a 3-run Corey Hart homer.  After everything that had gone wrong, the Brewers trailed by just one run, with Prince and Ryan coming up. Prince walked and Braun doubled putting runners on second and third with 2 out. The Rockies elected to walk Casey McGehee to get to rookie catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Lucroy was brought up at the end of May to replace the injured Greg Zaun. He quickly moved ahead of George Kottaras on the depth chart. He’s played well and was 3-for-4 on the night. He battled, fouling off six straight pitches, before lining out to right.

At this point I am a little distraught. I’m just a tired girl waiting for her team to put together some starting pitching, timely hitting and effective relief pitching.  Unfortunately, you cannot buy this at Mall of America.

Rockies 8, Brewers 7
Game played 6-19-10

* I want to point out that Seth flipped to this show and decided to watch it. I did not. Just so you know--I have standards when it comes to my reality TV watching. Mall Cops is no Rock of Love.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

GOOOAAAAALLLL!!!! (or not)

The U.S.A. men’s soccer team fell behind 2-nil* in the first half of Friday’s match against Slovenia. Falling behind is bad news for Team USA. The United States is 6-16-5 in World Cup matches. In its 6 victories, the U.S.A. has scored first.  The Brewers fell behind 2-0 after the second inning of Friday night’s match-up with the Colorado Rockies. Falling behind is bad news for Milwaukee. The Brewers are just 5-14 when trailing after the second inning, whereas they are 12-3 if they have a lead after the second inning. Team USA is the Brewers of soccer.

The United States made a badass comeback in the second half. Landon Donovan boomed one at a crazy angle over the keeper’s head and Michael Bradley, running at full-speed, tapped one into the net for a 2-2 tie. The only reason that the US didn’t complete the biggest comeback in its World Cup history was a bizarre reffing decision that called off a goal by Maurice Edu. This wasn’t the only questionable call he made but it was the biggest.  Milian referee Koman Coulibaly is the C.B. Buckner of soccer.

The Brewers were not Team USA on Friday night. Two plays, which should have been errors, cost Manny Parra a victory (or at least a no decision). Defensive miscues by Casey McGehee and Rickie Weeks led to the two runs that Colorado scored. The Brewers offense, meanwhile, struggled against Jason Hammel. The Brewers were just 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position, with McGehee being particularly ineffective, popping up twice. “If I catch a routine ground ball, if I hit two fly balls, it’s a 2-1 game and we’re out of here with a win,” McGehee said.

The United States needs a victory against Algeria to advance. (There are a few other scenarios that work, too, but a win would be best.) The Brewers need better defense. When you watch other teams like the Rockies or the Angels, you can see that our defense is not as good. I’m talking to you, Rickie Weeks. 

Rockies 2, Brewers 0
Game played 6-19-10

* I don’t really know anything about soccer. My alma matter, Macalester College, is good at soccer and nothing else. (Ask me about suffering though losing basketball and softball seasons.) So, I watched a lot of soccer in college. I know about seven soccer words and I try to use them as often as possible during “matches.” I’ll randomly yell, “cross it” or “good ball.” I’ll pretend that I understand off sides. I don’t. But when I have a clear rooting interest in any sport, I watch it and I want to win. I was genuinely pissed about the first half against Slovenia. I hate losing. 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tacos and beer

The Angels have not been swept at home in 73 consecutive series. The Brewers have not swept the Angels since 1988. Angels’ pitcher Joel Pineiro is 4-0 with a 2.98 ERA against the Brewers. I was tired, eating tacos, drinking Pacifico and lowering my expectations prior to the final game at Los Angeles on Wednesday. (I know this makes me old, but I have a hard time calling the Angels, the Los Angeles Angels.)  I really wanted a sweep but was pretty sure that the best part of my evening might be the tacos and beer.

And I was right. The Taco House never disappoints. The Brewers, sometimes they disappoint.

Chris Narveson got behind early giving up a solo homerun in the first and a three-run shot in the second. The Brewers managed only one run off Pineiro all night, a solo shot by Carlos Gomez. I'm looking forward to my off day on Thursday. I know the Brewers are, too.

Angels 5, Brewers 1
Game played 6-17-10

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dazed and confused

You know it’s going to be a late night when you can work 8 hours, play an entire softball game, go out for pizza and beer and still make it home for the start of the Brewers game. Baseball on the West Coast is hard on Midwesterners. (I am sure that it is hard for people on the East Coast, too, but it has been my experience that the day starts later on the East Coast, whereas Midwesterners like to get to work really early. I am not in favor of this but whenever I say 8 a.m. is too early to be in the office, I inevitably run into people who get to work before 7 and think 8 is late--people like my husband, who have to stay up most of the night and drink a 12-pack just to be able to stay in bed until 7 a.m.)

The Brewers squared off against the Angels for the second game of a three-game series Tuesday night. Local start time:  9:10 p.m.  I was already dragging having had a bad bout of insomnia over the weekend and having stayed up for the entire game Monday night. I was in a fog and knew it wasn’t going to get better.

I tried to clear the cobwebs and focus on the game but I wasn’t sure if what I was watching was really happening. The game started with two quick Brewer outs against Los Angeles pitcher Ervin Santana, but Braun, back to hitting third in the line-up, got a two-out single. And then Prince smoked one to the opposite field and the Brewers were up 2-0. These would be all the runs the Brewers would need as Dave Bush gave up just one run over 7 1/3 innings. The lone Angels' run came in the eighth inning, after the game was over. Corey Hart scored a bases clearing double in the second inning and the route was on.

The lack of sleep must be getting to me because it was almost impossible to remember when the Brewers last had timely hitting and good pitching—in back to back games. So confused. So dazed. So awesome. Wednesday’s game is a “twilight” game with a local start time of 6:10 p.m. Here’s to staying dazed and confused. (But with beer from now on.)

Brewers 7, Angels 1
Game played 6-16-10

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

And sometimes it rains

“It’s a lovely June night,” Seth said, which caused our section to break out in laughter. “The beer is making my hand cold,” I replied.

We had made a last-minute decision to join some friends at a St. Paul Saints game. It was about 60 degrees and raining. Not an ideal night for baseball, but being at a baseball game is never a bad thing; and being at a baseball game with a cold beer in your hand is pretty awesome, actually, even if it is raining. 

The St. Paul Saints used to be a pretty big deal in the Twin Cities. They were one of the charter members of the new Northern League in 1993 and for years would sell out most games. This was back when the Twins were terrible and there was a lot of excitement for “outdoor” baseball. With fun promotions and cheap(er) tickets, Minnesotans flocked to the Saints games. My friend, Dave, had season tickets and I used to go to a lot of games with him. (Thanks, Dave.) The Saints are less of a big deal now because the Twins are good once again and they play outdoors at Target Field.

It was not cold or rainy in Southern California on Monday night; it was absolutely beautiful. As part of interleague play, the Brewers were in California to take on the (California/Anaheim /Los Angles) Angels. The Angels were in a virtual tie with the Rangers for first place in the AL West and were one of the hottest teams in baseball. The Brewers were sending Randy Wolf to the mound against Joe Saunders in hopes that he could give up less than FIVE homeruns in this outing. Say what you will about Wolf (and I probably have), but he has not made any excuses about his performance and has fully admitted he needs to be better.

It’s been said that much of baseball is mental—being mentally prepared; having mental toughness. Randy Wolf found some mental toughness on the mound on Monday night. After giving up a 2-run double in the second, Wolf took a deep breath, and pitched a gem the rest of the way. He went seven innings, holding the Angels to just the two runs on three hits and three walks (and two hit batsmen).

The Brewers scored all the runs that they would need in the third when George Kottarus doubled in Escobar and Ryan Braun hit a grand slam homerun for a 5-2 lead. But, sometimes, when it rains, it pours. Milwaukee added a single run in the sixth inning when Torii Hunter, who has made a living of robbing batters of homeruns, misplayed Casey McGhee’s long fly ball and had it pop out of his glove and over the wall. Five more runs came across the plate in the seventh and one in the ninth.  Braun finished the night with 5 RBI and pushed his batting average back to .300. I’ll sit through this sort of rain any day. 

Brewers 12, Angels 2
Game played 6-14-10

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Does Seth like the Brewers? A love story

You know those shirts that say: “Chicks dig the long ball”? Those shirts point out a cruel irony in my life. Because while chicks may dig the long ball, guys don’t dig chicks who dig long balls. Well, at least not at my level of digging. Apparently it is intimidating to teenage boys if you know more about sports than they do. Who knew? In college, I used to get into power struggles with my boyfriend over whether I liked him more than I liked Duke basketball. Jackass wanted to go to the Mall. I wanted to watch basketball. He cheated, whereas Duke just lost basketball games. You’d pick basketball, too.

I met Seth when I was 24 years old and he was 22. We worked at a book publisher together. We started dating and I remember one of the things I liked about him was that he wasn’t a Twins fan. Seth’s mom liked to tell the story about how she had to quit taking him to Twins games because he would always cheer for the other team and it would embarrass her. For unexplained reasons, Seth liked Ron Gant and cheered for the Braves for a time. I love unexplained sports crushes. I was obsessed with Charlie Leibrandt for parts of my youth. That defies explanation. 

While Seth and I share a love of basketball, we hadn’t really bonded over other sports. That is why it came as a complete surprise when Seth purchased Major League Extra Innings for me for my birthday prior to the start of the 2008 season. Yah! Every Milwaukee game televised in my home in Minnesota. While I had persuaded Seth to go to County Stadium and later Miller Park earlier in our relationship, it was probably because a lot of beer was involved.

With the help of Tivo, I watched every televised game that year and in 2009 and so far in 2010 (although I sort of skipped a few painful losses. See also Fox Sports Game of the Week can suck It.). Seth would warn everyone: DO NOT TELL RACHEL THE SCORE OF THE BREWERS GAME. SHE IS TIVOING IT. He would shield me from scores on SportsCenter and tell me to cover my eyes and ears if something was about to reveal the score. Seth accepted the fact that I had adopted Ryan Braun as my summer boyfriend, and did not wince when others asked how my boyfriend was doing. How would you feel if your wife repeatedly told you, “Not now, my boyfriend is batting.”?

Seth has sat through endless Brewers games over the last three years; has fist bumped me when Prince homers and consoles me when the bullpen can’t hold a lead. When people ask him if he is a Brewers fan, he just shrugs and says: “Not really, but my life is way better when the Brewers win.”

Prince homered twice.
Rangers 7, Brewers 2
Game played 6-13-10 

Headbangers ball

Saturday night’s game can best be described by conjuring up images of that stress reliever sign prominently displayed in the offices of overworked and underpaid admins. The signs with the big circle that say: “Bang head here”.  Directions. 1. Place on a FIRM surface. 2. Follow directions in circle. (That’s bang head here for those of you scoring at home.) 3. Repeat step two as necessary, or until unconscious. 4. If unconscious, cease stress reduction activity.

The Rangers got out to a 2-0 lead off starter Manny Parra in the first inning. Parra was coming off a 10-strikeout performance against the Cardinals, and he pitched well again, giving up just one additional run through six. It was the Brewers batters who struggled to sustain any sort of rally. The Brewers loaded the bases in the first inning, only to see Ryan Braun bounce into a double play. Bang head here. Milwaukee continued this trend all night. Batters got on; leadoff doubles were hit; runners were thrown out at third; no runs were scored. The Brewers were just 2 for 14 with runners in scoring position. Bang head here.

After David Riske pitched a scoreless seventh, Chris Capuano gave up a run in the eighth to make it 4-0, Rangers. Milwaukee finally broke through in the bottom on the eighth when Braun doubled in Rickie Weeks (who had collected his 500th hit earlier in the game). Trevor Hoffman pitched a scoreless ninth. (I’m writing this just because it’s been a while since I could type that.) 

All the frustration was nearly erased in the ninth. With the bases loaded, Rickie Weeks singled. For reasons that went unexplained, Alcides Escobar stopped at third. Third base coach Brad Fisher sent him but he didn’t go. I had the Texas feed so this was not explained. Instead of the game being 4-3 with the tying run on third with one out, the game was 4-2 with the bases loaded and one out. The crowd was on its feet as NL homerun leader Corey Hart came to the plate. Instead of crushing a homerun, he bounced into a run-scoring fielder’s choice. Bang head here. There was still a chance, though, as Hart’s hustle prevented the game-ending double play. Prince up; two outs; tying run at third. Prince battled and with 3 balls, Chris Ray threw a borderline breaking pitch that could have gone either way. With the count now full, Prince hit a fly ball to left that ended the game.  Losing consciouness...  

Rangers 4, Brewers 3
Game played 6-12-10

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The column that launched 1,000 blog posts

It was the Friday night of the Brewers-Twins series at Target Field (May 21st). I had my Company’s tickets and planned to take Seth and two clients to the game. I had my Ryan Braun jersey ready. I was ready. Even my toenails were painted blue. I was excited because I could walk to the game. Usually I have to drive 5 hours to Milwaukee but tonight I could walk just a few blocks. I felt like a little kid. Sometimes I try to suppress these feelings because I feel embarrassed that baseball makes me so happy. I feel like other people could not possibly understand how I feel about things so I pretend that I don’t feel that way. But I do.

In an effort to avoid work and make time go by more quickly, I turned to my friend, the internet.  I went to the local paper and found an article: Who’s better? Fielder & Braun or Mauer & Morneau. I read the article with interest; then amazement; and then anger.  Interest because this is a great story idea. These are four of the best players in baseball. Amazement because this article was terrible. Anger because the article concluded that Mauer and Morneau were better because they were better clubhouse guys. “For what it’s worth, Mauer, 27, and Morneau, 29, also score huge character points with the Twins. Not to say Braun and Fielder – both 26 – are bad guys, but they’re known more for their scowls,” the article said.

So Braun and Fielder are not as good because they’re less Scandinavian? Also, didn’t Morneau and Torii Hunter get into a fistfight in the clubhouse a few years ago? I watch the Brewers every day and no one cheers harder for their teammates than Braun and Fielder. This was the stupidest thing I had ever read.

I wanted to respond to the article. I wanted to re-write it. I wanted access to the players to ask meaningful questions. I knew I could write a better article. I fumed for three days about the article. Not because the writer concluded that Mauer and Morneau were better—there’s a lot of reasons to reach that conclusion—but because this writer had a job that I wanted. I wanted a voice. I wanted to write about baseball.  

Hey, why don’t I start a blog?

When Chris Narveson sent the Rangers down 1-2-3 in the first inning, I had a good feeling about the game. (Narveson’s stats have begun to be broken down into first inning ERA and his ERA in innings after the first. Never a good sign.) The Brewers took the lead in the bottom of the first when Ryan Braun hit a monster 2-run homerun off the Trevor Hoffman banner in left-center field. Relief. Braun had been slumping lately and Summer Boyfriend is not allowed to slump. Ever.

The Rangers tied the game at two after picking up runs in the second and third innings but Narveson shut down Texas after the third, while the Brewers caught fire. Corey Hart hit his NL leading 17th homer, and Prince Fielder and Casey McGehee followed suit. 

Brewers 6, Rangers 2
Game played 6-11-10

Thursday, June 10, 2010

We don't have anyone else like him

The Brewers won today when Carlos Gomez scored from first on a sacrifice bunt in the 10th inning. I'm not making that up.* 

Gomez walked to lead off the 10th inning; stole second as Craig Counsell bunted and continued onto third base when the third basemen picked up the bunt and threw it to first to get Counsell. In post game interviews, Gomez said he just decided to keep going when he got to second base. "I said, 'Why not?'" Cubs first baseman Xavier Nady tried to throw out Gomez at third but the throw sailed away and Gomez sprinted home for the game winning run. 

Gomez came to the Brewers in a trade for J.J. Hardy. It's been an adjustment for me. JJ is not, and will never be, Ryan Braun, but I liked him. In 2008, JJ went on a hitting streak the likes of which I have never seen. Without that streak, the Brewers don't make the playoffs. Gomez was that guy who got picked off second against the Yankees in the 2009 playoffs. Twins fans seemed angry with him a lot. And, you know, he was a Twin. When we were in Milwaukee for opening weekend, I had a hard time cheering for him even though he was in a Brewers uniform. (See earlier post about my inability to get over things.)

At the beginning of the season, my friend Andy asked me how Gomez was doing with the Brewers. "Gomez is the kind of player where you wouldn't be surprised if he was released." After watching Gomez, I could see why he frustrated Twins fans. He never seemed to be paying attention nor was his execution very sharp. After the first month of the 2010 season, I reached the conclusion that while he was somewhat maddening, the Brewers didn't have anyone on the team anything like him. Everyone on the team was like JJ--similar approach and numbers. Gomez is crazy fast and can bunt for a hit (if he can actually execute it). He makes things interesting, and sometimes, those things win games. 

Brewers 5, Cubs 4
Game played 6-10-10

The Brewers released Jeff Suppan on Monday but he escaped the glue factory when the Cardinals picked him up today. I'd laugh if I wasn't so afraid that he'll pitch a perfect game against the Brewers. LOL. What are the chances? 

*Apparently also the manner in which the Cleveland Indians win the WS in the movie Major League. 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The hangover

The Brewers game went much like my workday. I appeared to be trying but, honestly, I lacked focus and didn't meet any of my output goals. The Brewers appeared to be trying--they got on base--but couldn't really get that big hit or keep the Cubs from hitting homeruns. Amazing game last night. Not so much tonight. You could call it a hangover.

Randy Wolf, who tied the game up at 3 with a 2-run double in the fourth, proceeded to give up FIVE homeruns tonight. After giving up 5 runs in the fifth, the Brewers went down without too much of a fight. They kept getting base runners on, Braun came up with the bases loaded in the seventh, but couldn't quite get over the hump.

Is it just me or did Ryan Braun look like he wanted to be anywhere but Miller Park tonight? Hang in there, Ryan.

Cubs 9, Brewers 4
Game played 6-9-10  


Sometimes games speak for themselves. Tonight’s game needs no fancy introduction. It literally brought me to tears. (Warning: Cliché ahead.) One of the things I love about baseball is that there is always a game tomorrow and tomorrow’s game might be really awesome. It might not be. But the possibility is there. And I always show up because I want the awesomeness; the feeling I get when the Brewers win or do something amazing.

Tonight’s game was amazing. To begin, the Brewers were playing the Cubs. I don’t think that I share the hatred of the Cubs that most Milwaukee fans possess. If you live in the Milwaukee area, you probably get sick of seeing thousands of Cubs fans at Miller Park with snarky signs labeling Miller Park as Wrigley Park North or the smug look on Cubs’ fans faces after a victory.  I live in Minnesota so I save my hatred for the Twins.  (Another topic for another post.)

The game featured Milwaukee’s best pitcher, Yovani Gallardo, against Ted Lilly, who always shuts down the Brewers hitters. I expected a pitchers’ duel and that’s what I got. Yo went seven innings and gave up just four hits and two walks and ZERO runs. Problem was Lilly was just as good. Heading into the eighth inning and the score tied at zero, Carlos Villanueva came in, in relief of Gallardo. He got two outs before giving up a single to Fukudome, who promptly stole second. (Teams have figured out that they can run on the Brewers, apparently.) After a walk, Villanueva gave up single to Tyler Colvin that scored Fukudome. Cubs 1, Brewers 0.

Lilly came out for the bottom of the eighth and I feared that this would be it. The Brewers would lose 1-0. Fortunately, Corey Hart is a bit more resilient than me. After having watched two first pitch fastballs go by in previous at bats, Hart decided to sit on one and he crushed it. Crushed it.  Brewers 1, Cubs 1.
John Axford came out to pitch the ninth but gave up back-to-back singles. Koyie Hill scored on a ground out to the shortstop. Cubs 2, Brewers 1. Cubs fans started to look a little smug as Carlos Marmol took the mound in the bottom of the ninth. But Marmol made some mistakes; the first being hitting Rickie Weeks. And even though Carlos Gomez popped up his bunt attempt , Weeks was able to steal second base. The Cubs then walked Prince. Braun (PLEASE GET OUT OF YOUR SLUMP, SBF) advanced the runners on a bat shattering ground out. And, that’s how it stood when Casey McGhee came to bat.  Two out, runners on first and second. Casey battled. Marmol threw more nasty sliders that Casey managed to lay off.  With a full count, McGhee hit a grounder up the middle that neither infielder could knock down. Prince scored from second. Brewers 3, Cubs 2

After the game, Casey was nearly speechless and practically in tears (or maybe it was just me, Seth says I have 95% more feelings than the average person). It was worth showing up for; worth staying up until midnight for (TiVo); worth every minute of it. And I’ll be back for more tomorrow. 

Brewers 3, Cubs 2
Game played 6-9-10

Monday, June 7, 2010


I've held a grudge against the Cardinals since the 1982 World Series. I know I should get over it and move on but I haven't. I felt like I was almost there until the 2008 season when Tony LaRussa declared the Brewers to be "classless" and a "classless organization" because of the whole untucking ritual and apparently because the Brewers players spent too much time admiring their homeruns. It was so bizarre it was almost comical. Why did he care? He'd never cared about the Brewers before. Untucking was more creative than that whole shaving cream/pie-in-face routine (yawn) and was started as a tribute to Mike Cameron's late father. As Bill Schroeder pointed out, I think LaRussa felt that the Brewers were classless because the Brewers were a better team than the Cardinals in 2008. During one Brewers-Cardinals game, I got the Cardinals feed (puke) and had to endure nine innings of the announcers discussing how classless the Brewers were and how "those kind of antics wouldn't be tolerated in St. Louis."

Right, nothing says class like a DUI (LaRussa) or killing yourself while driving drunk and high (Josh Hancock). But I digress...

I was not overly optimistic about tonight's game. Manny Parra was getting another start, allegedly because of Dave Bush's blister. I say allegedly because Bush actually pitched tonight, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Jaime Garcia took the mound for St. Louis-he of the ridiculous 1.28 ERA. But the Brewers came out swinging, scoring two runs in the first inning and another in the third on a Rickie Weeks homer. And Manny Parra (Manny Parra!) was pretty amazing, striking out 10 batters in 5 1/3 innings. He even struck out 4 batters in one inning. He even seemed--dare I say it--mentally tough.

In what can only be described as a bizarre move, Macha brought in Dave Bush for one batter in the sixth after Parra had walked the bases loaded with one out and the score 3-2. He struck out Skip Schumaker and was then pulled for Kameron Loe. Bush seemed confused. I was confused. Dave Bush is now a spot reliever? The Cardinals scored single runs in the third, sixth and eighth innings to tie up the game and send it into extra innings. The Brewers went ahead in the 10th inning when Prince walked, Braun got an infield single, Casey McGehee singled and Corey Hart hit a sac fly. Axford pitched the 10th for his fourth save. AX!

Since Mike Cameron plays for the Red Sox now, it appears that shirts were left tucked in. Too bad, because I am not over anything.

Brewers 4, Cardinals 3
Game played 6-6-10

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Fox Saturday Baseball Game of the Week can suck it

Dear Fox Sports,

Thank you for making it impossible for me to watch the Brewers-Cardinals game on Saturday. You are right. It makes much more sense to show the regional match-up of Tampa Bay and Texas to the viewing audience in Minnesota. Also, kudos for preventing the local Milwaukee radio broadcasts from being streamed on the internet. Because of your deal with MLB, I was forced to watch an entire Rays-Rangers game while “watching” the Brewers’ gamecast on espn.com. (Have you ever watched a game cast for 4+ hours, Chris Rose?) And, thank you for showing ONE highlight of the Brewers game during the entire Rays-Rangers broadcast and for interviewing not one, but two, Rangers’ players during your lengthy post-game show, even though the Brewers-Cardinals game went into extra innings. I am sure you were unaware that the Brewers game was still going on when you ended your broadcast, otherwise you would have mentioned it or shown the score or possibly even shown the game.

For the time you prevented me from watching a Mets-Brewers match-up featuring Ben Sheets v. Johan Santana, and for the time you showed me some other random game (which probably involved the Twins) instead of the Brewers-Cubs game during the last weekend of the 2008 season and for this Saturday, too, this middle finger is for you, Fox Sports. Isn’t there a Sarah Palin rally somewhere?


PS—Yes, I could have driven to Wisconsin to watch the game but I had to go to my college reunion dinner at 6:30 and I had no idea how far into Wisconsin I’d have to go. Rumor has it that you think people living in Hudson and River Falls like Minnesota sports teams. Middle finger for that, too.

Cardinals 5, Brewers 4 (11 innings)
Game played 6-5-10

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Knowing when to quit

It all started innocently enough. Seth was watching an Ice Road Truckers marathon.  I was trying to take a nap because I was bored. I was trying to ignore my friend Jill’s text message that asked me to come and join her for a happy hour beer. In the end, I gave in. I can’t resist $2.50 Summits. It’s true. I love beer. Later I attended day one of my 15-year college reunion. I drank PBR out of a can and got a student worker to drive me around campus in a golf cart. Stay classy, Rachel. Sometimes you have to know when to quit. Last night, I did not.

Which leads me to Jeff Suppan. To be fair, by the time he got into the game, it was over. There was no way that the Brewers were going to touch Adam Wainwright. He was too good. But Suppan, who will earn $12.5 million this year, produced the following line: 1.1 innings pitched; 3 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned runs, 1 BB, 1 SO. I have never loved Jeff Suppan--certainly not the way that I love Ryan Braun. (Don’t worry; I’ll devote a lot of time to Ryan Braun. It’s a long season.) But I don’t hate him. He seems like a nice guy. He seems to do a lot of charity work. Should I hate him just because he sucks? I didn’t hate Bill Hall but it was time for him to go. One of my friends from college wanted to send former reliever Doug Henry to the glue factory. In fact, when we met Henry at spring training, she refused to have her photo taken with him because he was glue factory material. Sometimes you have to know when to quit. Jeff??

Lest you think I’m not a serious fan, I watched the game when I got home from reunion.

Cardinals 8, Brewers 0 (OUCH!)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Why blog?

I’ve been married for six years (dating for nearly 13) so it will probably come as no surprise to anyone to know my husband’s reaction to my announcement that I was going to start a blog about the Milwaukee Brewers. “How much is this going to cost? And what do I have to do to make this happen for you?”  Experience has taught Seth to ask these questions. I think we all remember my last brilliant idea to go to law school.

Chris Capuano made his return to the big leagues tonight after having last pitched in the majors in September of 2007. He underwent his second Tommy John surgery prior to the 2008 season. To say that it has been a long road back for him is probably an understatement. The fact that the Brewers are giving him another shot speaks volumes to the current state of the Brewers starting rotation, although Capuano was pitching well in Triple A. Capuano was an All-Star in 2006 and certainly worthy of another chance. 

After college, I worked in marketing. Wanting to do something “more” with my life, I decided that my path to spiritual fulfillment started with law school. So, after taking the LSAT and applying to several law schools, I quit my marketing job, took out massive amounts of student loans and started down that road to fulfillment.

Capuano pitched fairly well giving up one run in the second inning before running into a bit of trouble in the fourth inning. Miraculously, the Brewers bullpen came in and shut down the Marlins, keeping the total damage to two additional runs, for a 3-0 Florida lead. Offensively, the Brewers couldn’t come up with any clutch hits off Marlins ace Josh Johnson. They fought for one run in the seventh and had three straight singles in the ninth inning to cut the lead to 3-2 but Prince flew out and Corey “nobody’s been hotter” Hart struck out to end the game.

I graduated from law school in 2001 and passed the bar later that summer. I currently work as a real estate attorney. In the same way that Brittney Murphy’s abs didn’t feel nothin’ like steel in Clueless, my soul feels nothin’ like fulfilled as a real estate attorney. So I did some soul searching (which, to be fair to Seth, costs money) and decided that I needed to write more. I had, after all, always wanted to be a sports writer (until I discovered that the only job I could find was working in rural North Dakota for $12,000 a year). This blog is my attempt to get back to writing on a consistent basis. There are tons of other blogs about the Brewers that are better than mine. (I am a big fan of several. I love MillerParkDrunk’s comparison of Trevor Hoffman and the Smoke Monster.) But the idea of writing about the Brewers makes me happy whereas journaling about my feelings makes me break out in hives. Hence, the start of my Hang with ‘em Brewers blog. 

Marlins 3, Brewers 2

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Name

Not a hang with 'em tonight. The Brewers overcome the curse of yet another person blogging about them with a victory.

The name of my blog comes from my favorite baseball saying--hang with 'em. I once heard Astros announcer Jim Deshaies describe Harvey Haddix's loss after taking a perfect game into the 13th inning as the ultimate hang with 'em. It's hard to argue with that. Brewers announcer Bill Schroeder typically uses it to describe a well-hit ball that either becomes an out because it was hit right at a fielder or because of an outstanding defensive play. JJ Hardy had a lot of hang with 'ems before the Brewers sent him to Triple A last year.
As for the game, Yovani Gallardo pitched another great game and the Brewers came back from an early deficit to win. Trailing 2-1 in the 7th, Gallardo belted a homerun over the leftfield wall to tie it up. Prince and George Kottaras also homered. After some less than stellar pitching by Carlos Villanueva, John Axford got the last 5 outs for the save.

Brewers 7, Marlins 4

"Having Juan Samuel coach baseball is like asking Luis Polonia to to chaperone the HS girls basketball team."  --Chris

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dave Bush has a blister on his middle finger

Is this blog causing the Brewers to lose? Two days of "the project." Two losses. Since I'm pretty sure that it's the pitching, I won't stop after two days.

This blog is the project. I'll watch every Milwaukee game and blog about it.  I'll write something a bit more stabstantial once each week. I've watched about 155 games each of the last two seasons and I thought I'd see if I couldn't devote even more time to this useless hobby.

Dave Bush got off to a terrible start tonight, giving up 3 runs in the first inning. He settled down after that and the Brewers were able to tie up the game after homeruns by Prince Fielder and Corey Hart. Then Trevor Time happened. I hit fast forward on Tivo and didn't let up until the 7th was over. I love Tivo. I used to love Trevor.

After the game, pitching coach Rick Peterson discussed the Brewers recent misfortunes. "That's what's been so frustrating. Certainly the baseball gods haven't been very kind lately. It's obvious he's not a beer drinker right now." Dave Bush should show this angry god his blister. Seriously, who doesn't like beer?

Marlins 6, Brewers 4