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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

S.I.: Jenkins: Strange Brew (but It’s Working)

Ronnie’s Wallbangers are this week’s cover boys. Yep, they’re jinxed.

Happy hour in the Brewers’ clubhouse starts early, with Morgan flexing in two coats of baby oil, Axford scanning the room for the putters used in naked golf, and the team listening to a head-rattling mash-up of music ranging from Marilyn Manson to Lil Wayne. In the dugout the starting pitchers recline in their personal cushioned chairs, including one they claim has supernatural powers to improve changeups. Batters commemorate hits by raising their claws and growling like beasts from the movie Monsters, Inc. They celebrate walk-off wins by punching one another in the kidneys. All teams have customized handshakes ... but the Brewers have customized handshakes with their security guards.

The Brewers irritate some traditionalists—or as Morgan calls them, “plain-Jane wonderbreads.” This year St. Louis manager Tony La Russa has accused the Brewers of everything from throwing at Albert Pujols to stealing signs to changing the lighting at Miller Park depending on which team is at the plate. (Major League Baseball dismissed a formal complaint about the latter). Last week catcher Jonathan Lucroy flipped his bat after a home run, and a couple of Dodgers recoiled. “As long as I can remember, that’s how they were,” says L.A. outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., who came up through the Brewers’ organization. “Everybody had fun. Everybody showed emotion. It was a relaxed environment. You add Nyjer to that mix, and he is the ingredient that makes it all bubble over.”

Greg Franklin Posted: August 24, 2011 at 04:47 PM | 43 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brewers, music

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   1. phredbird Posted: August 24, 2011 at 05:19 PM (#3907894)
jinxed? does that mean maybe they'll lose more than 5 or 6 games the rest of the way?
   2. Joey B. is counting the days to Trea Turner Posted: August 24, 2011 at 05:49 PM (#3907921)
Morgan's personality was pretty cool when he was playing well, but strangely enough it got annoying quickly when his caliber of play went dramatically downhill.

Let's see how everyone in Milwaukee feels should the same thing eventually happen there.
   3. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 24, 2011 at 05:56 PM (#3907928)
Why doesn't Milwaukee get the 'small market' advocates rooting for their success?
   4. JJ1986 Posted: August 24, 2011 at 05:57 PM (#3907929)
Why doesn't Milwaukee get the 'small market' advocates rooting for their success?


Probably because everyone hates Bud Selig.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: August 24, 2011 at 06:08 PM (#3907936)
Why doesn't Milwaukee get the 'small market' advocates rooting for their success?


Who are you referring to? Is there some anti-Brewers backlash I'm unaware of?
   6. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 24, 2011 at 06:21 PM (#3907943)
I am not suggesting a 'no respect' or 'backlash' sentiment.

Just curious as to why folks who come out of the woodwork when a Cincy or Pittsburgh compete don't do the same for Milwaukee.

Again, merely a question

If it's being perceived as whining or some such I retract it completely and terminate the discussion.
   7. Swedish Chef Posted: August 24, 2011 at 06:22 PM (#3907944)
I don't think small market advocates like it when small market teams are successful, it undermines their complaints about the big market teams.
   8. Tin Angel Posted: August 24, 2011 at 06:22 PM (#3907946)
Since the chemistry seems great, and if the Brewers have some postseason success- does it entice Fielder to stay in Milwaukee? Or do the Brewers under no circumstances have the cash to keep him?
   9. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 24, 2011 at 06:28 PM (#3907952)
Into:

Prince is gone. Milwaukee will make a competitive offer (I suspect) but he is gone and to think otherwise is foolhardy.
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: August 24, 2011 at 06:32 PM (#3907957)
Just curious as to why folks who come out of the woodwork when a Cincy or Pittsburgh compete don't do the same for Milwaukee.


I don't see it as whining or anything. I just hadn't noticed any difference between the response to the Reds of 2010 v. the Brewers of 2011.
   11. whoisalhedges Posted: August 24, 2011 at 06:43 PM (#3907961)
Prince is gone. Milwaukee will make a competitive offer (I suspect) but he is gone and to think otherwise is foolhardy.

I agree. It would take a really weird aligning of the planets for Prince to stay. The fact is, do you want to sign a fat man with minus defense to a 10-year contract? I'd love to have Prince stay. For five years. He wants more than that, and I don't think the Brewers can afford to give him more than that. The customer's always right, yadda yadda -- but for Prince to remain a Brewer, he would have to go against every piece of advice his agent gives him.
   12. spike Posted: August 24, 2011 at 06:44 PM (#3907962)
I like the bowling ball celebration. I like the hands raised growling. I am rooting for the Brewers (unless they face Atlanta). I find the Tony Plush thing annoying and part of the NBAification of American sport, right up there with the obligatory first letter of the first name, first syllable of the last nickname applied to virtually all players regardless of how dumb or contrived it may sound. I would accept that this may be a bit "get offa my lawn!" on my part, but there you have it.
   13. whoisalhedges Posted: August 24, 2011 at 06:45 PM (#3907964)
Also, consider how the Brewers have locked up Braun and Weeks with extended deals. Do you not think that if they considered it a possibility, that they'd have tried the same with the big man?

Absent collusion, he's gone.
   14. whoisalhedges Posted: August 24, 2011 at 06:50 PM (#3907968)
right up there with the obligatory first letter of the first name, first syllable of the last nickname applied to virtually all players regardless of how dumb or contrived it may sound

Yeah, I hate seeing the constant references to D-Ped in the media.
   15. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: August 24, 2011 at 06:52 PM (#3907969)
I like the Brewers because they annoy the #### out of the Cardinals AND Giants.
   16. spike Posted: August 24, 2011 at 07:00 PM (#3907977)
Would that someone had tried "A-pu". Imagine the t-shirts.
   17. jmp Posted: August 24, 2011 at 07:01 PM (#3907978)
The Brewers have offered Prince a deal in the past, but IIRC Boras countered with 8/$200 Million. So Fielder is having a monster year and he will test free agency.

I wouldn't be surprised if we see somewhat of a repeat of the CC situation, where the Brewers have the highest initial offer on the table and Melvin waits while other free agents get jobs and Prince waits for the offer he wants.
   18. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: August 24, 2011 at 07:15 PM (#3907991)
Just curious as to why folks who come out of the woodwork when a Cincy or Pittsburgh compete don't do the same for Milwaukee.


I had noticed this as well and think that there's something to it.

I think that familiarity is part of it. The Brewers have been competitive for a while, so it's harder to remember where they were before 2005. And they slowly built up to being good -- they finished .500, and then took some steps forwards and some steps backwards. A slow progression to 2011. The Reds were pretty bad for a while (even their 80-82 2006 team was worse than it's record) and then suddenly won the division. The Pirates have been bad since forever and then were suddenly in first place near the trading deadline. We're used to the Brewers being pretty good, so it doesn't feel as exciting. It's not the same story.

The other thing is that the Brewers underperformed some people's expectations a few times in the last half-decade. So now that they're winning all of the time there's a little bit of "Finally!" rather than proper respect for what the organization has managed to accomplish.
   19. phredbird Posted: August 24, 2011 at 07:18 PM (#3907992)
if the dodgers management could scrape together some money they should go after fielder. he would be absolutley huge in LA.
   20. Out of Accent Shallow's mouth go burning lamps Posted: August 24, 2011 at 07:18 PM (#3907993)
"Tony Plush" is miles better than "N-Morg".
   21. JJ1986 Posted: August 24, 2011 at 07:19 PM (#3907994)
he would be absolutley huge in LA.


Pass.
   22. . Posted: August 24, 2011 at 07:34 PM (#3908002)
he would be absolutley huge in LA.

He'll be absolutely huge anywhere he goes.

I caught a good piece of the Crew's act here in NYC last weekend. What's not to like? Their best teams (1978-82, and now) have both featured characters and a lot of hair. Which is nice.
   23. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: August 24, 2011 at 07:34 PM (#3908003)
I think the Cubs will sign him for about 8/200.
   24. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 24, 2011 at 07:39 PM (#3908011)
Just curious as to why folks who come out of the woodwork when a Cincy or Pittsburgh compete don't do the same for Milwaukee.


Seems like there was an awful lot of national interest in the Brewers finally moving into contention around 2007-2008. Pee your pants for the Brewers, and all that.

Now they're just another periodic contender. No one cares when the Twins compete, either.
   25. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 24, 2011 at 07:41 PM (#3908015)
"B-Ruth."
"H-Aaron" (pronounced "heron," maybe?)
"T-Cobb."
"M-Schmidt."
   26. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: August 24, 2011 at 07:43 PM (#3908020)
I wouldn't be surprised if we see somewhat of a repeat of the CC situation, where the Brewers have the highest initial offer on the table and Melvin waits while other free agents get jobs and Prince waits for the offer he wants.


yep.

Maybe I just don't follow Weaver (also a Boras client) enough, but the wide reaction has been 'he left $40 million out there'. I'm assuming he's the outlier. Would be thrilled if Prince had the same response. It's not my money, but as an interested Brewers fan, I would never offer the man anything more than 4 years, maybe with a player 5th. However, I have this vision of Prince wanting to maximize every possible nickel all in the name of amassing everything in his life bigger and better than his old man.

separately: I don't sense any spite against Milwaukee's success, or depressed enthusiasm, but there does not seem to be the small market gleaming if it were Pirates or Royals. Perhaps there will be if their run continues, but right now all the focus has to be on the QB depth chart of the Denver Broncos!
   27. The Artist Posted: August 24, 2011 at 07:47 PM (#3908025)
Harvey, I'm rooting for the Brewers (if the Giants don't make it). I loathe the Phillies and the Braves as much as Sam Hutchenson loaths Bill Hohn. I think they are a great story, and I thought emptying the farm system (like they did this year) was ballsy as hell to take a shot.
   28. LionoftheSenate Posted: August 24, 2011 at 08:17 PM (#3908042)
My impression about the Brewers (small market) success not attracting a gushing of "small market" support is that they have actually carried themselves like a major market club by making several bold trades for superstars (2 Cy Young winning pitchers) in recent years and the Brewers also have two of the very best hitters in the game, possible #1 and #2 NL MVP candidates and recently taking a big contract off the hands of a New York club no less.

These are traits that are not consistent with the small market/little guy fairy tale. Least I forget extending Braun deep into the decade for +$100 million a deal most felt was unnecessary risk.

This is a franchise that, for at least one year anyway, is carrying on like it is a genuine Big F****** Deal.
   29. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 24, 2011 at 08:19 PM (#3908044)
This 'emptying the farm system' mantra has continued so much folks think it's gospel

I think if these same folks checked out players like Tyler Green and Wily Peralta they might be surprised about the quality of some of the prospects.
   30. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: August 24, 2011 at 08:23 PM (#3908047)
I think if these same folks checked out players like Tyler Green and Wily Peralta they might be surprised about the quality of some of the prospects.


Everybody's forgotten about Mat Gamel as well, despite that he's probably going to be the 1B next year and will probably put up an .850 OPS.
   31. The Artist Posted: August 24, 2011 at 08:25 PM (#3908049)
I think there's little doubt that the Brewers have one of the bottom 5 systems in baseball. But hey, Keith Law, Kevin Goldstein, the BA guys - they are all clearly ignoring the talent that's around the corner.

Cmon Harvey - you need to stop spouting this "no one believes in us" stuff. The Brewers gave up a lot of talent. That doesn't mean there isn't talent remaining in their system, but they are arguably the worst system in baseball (the White Sox maybe?) - that's an empty farm. They did it for the right reasons and I think the draft choices this year will help (Jungmann and Jed Bradley are both pretty talented), but you'd be hardpressed to suggest that they are an average system, or a barely below average one either.
   32. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 24, 2011 at 08:32 PM (#3908059)
Based on post 31 and the tone I was intending to avoid I cease involvement in this discussion.
   33. morineko Posted: August 24, 2011 at 08:35 PM (#3908060)
The farm is empty but in some positions it is less empty than others. For some reason there are a lot of interesting 1B and OF guys (although it seems like the primary draft criterion for the OF appeared to be "is he short")
   34. Eric L Posted: August 24, 2011 at 08:35 PM (#3908061)
Harvey, I remember well the deafening silence when the Padres played well for 5 months last year...Then they had to go and justify that lack of faith, dammitt
   35. Spahn Insane Posted: August 24, 2011 at 08:36 PM (#3908063)
I caught a good piece of the Crew's act here in NYC last weekend. What's not to like? Their best teams (1978-82, and now) have both featured characters and a lot of hair. Which is nice.

Indeed. These Brewers have way better pitching, though, which gives them an edge in my estimation.

Much though I've always disliked the Brewers, I'm rooting for them now, though I might be torn if they faced the Giants or Indians in the postseason.
   36. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 24, 2011 at 08:56 PM (#3908072)
My impression about the Brewers (small market) success not attracting a gushing of "small market" support is that they have actually carried themselves like a major market club by making several bold trades for superstars (2 Cy Young winning pitchers) in recent years and the Brewers also have two of the very best hitters in the game, possible #1 and #2 NL MVP candidates and recently taking a big contract off the hands of a New York club no less.

I agree with this. The Brewers aren't really an upstart bunch of underdogs, the way the Reds or Pirates were perceived. Not to take anything away from what they've accomplished.

I'm rooting for them, if only because I love the 1980s vintage Brewers baseball caps.
   37. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: August 24, 2011 at 10:20 PM (#3908128)
One thing I really like is that the Brewers' fans haven't behaved like small market fans. They're on a pace for 2.989 million in attendance. One assumes they'll make a little push and draw 3 million. It's a huge success story. Milwaukee *is* a small market, the smallest metro area in all of baseball, and not especially wealthy. And yet they're going to draw 3 million for the third time in four years.
   38. jmp Posted: August 24, 2011 at 10:28 PM (#3908130)
This 'emptying the farm system' mantra has continued so much folks think it's gospel


There is clearly talent in the farm system that will help the Brewers. But I think emptying the farm system can mean other things. If Jose Reyes would have been traded, he would have represented a dynamic improvement over what the Brewers have. Do the Brewers currently have the top talent the Mets would have wanted to trade Reyes?
   39. Greg K Posted: August 24, 2011 at 10:35 PM (#3908140)
Just curious as to why folks who come out of the woodwork when a Cincy or Pittsburgh compete don't do the same for Milwaukee.

I don't think it's a small market thing, I think it's a "team that's sucked for a long time" thing. I get the sense if the Jays made a run they'd get quite a bit of a neutral support, more because of the fact that they haven't won in so long, not so much the market size. I think neutrals just recognize that it's good for baseball to have every team compete every now and then (and maybe a small dose of pity for long-suffering fans).

The Brewers have pretty firmly established themselves as a relevant team over the past 5-6 years. If no one's patting you on the shoulder that means you've arrived.

(I could be wrong, but as I recall when this recent edition of the Brewers started winning it was received quite positively here. I know I did, and still do, wish only good things for the Brewers)
   40. Mark Edward Posted: August 24, 2011 at 11:00 PM (#3908154)
but they are arguably the worst system in baseball (the White Sox maybe?)


I'm a Sox fan- you'd have to have a pretty bad farm system to be worse than the Sox.

Though if Gamel is the Brewers' best hitting prospect I'd take Viciedo over him.
   41. LionoftheSenate Posted: August 24, 2011 at 11:26 PM (#3908172)
#31 is correct. The Brewers system is below average. #31 also notes the Brewers did move these prospects for the right reasons and it has worked once prior (2008) and it is working again. The Brewers got a lot out of their system and depending on how they finish this year, could get much more.

The only prospect they traded that appears to be an above average MLBer is Lawrie. And that deal was a very fair deal for both sides. I realize there are several young players yet to move up through the minors, but none of the players in the CC deal have even reached MLB average at this time.

It's possible prospects are now overrated and worth more traded than kept.
   42. DCW3 Posted: August 25, 2011 at 05:44 AM (#3908482)
"B-Ruth."
"H-Aaron" (pronounced "heron," maybe?)
"T-Cobb."
"M-Schmidt."


Too bad they didn't try this with Jay Bell.
   43. Don Lock Posted: August 25, 2011 at 02:20 PM (#3908619)
Axford scanning the room for the putters used in naked golf


What does this mean and should we be worried?

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