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Posts tagged “Milwaukee Brewers

Brewers Bring Allstars To St. Louis

Here we are in mid July and Baseball celebrates itself as a sport and a part of our american culture. The All Star Game still resonates as a point baseball fans step back assess their team they follow, and curse the teams that are their rivals. For this town that is our Milwaukee Brewers baseball team. a couple of games over .500 and a factor in the National League Central Division. Considering the circumstances of Injury (Weeks), lack of consistency (Hardy, Hart) or just flat out under performance (Parra, Hall). There are the good things like the All-Star performances of Prince “P-Phunk” Fielder and “The R” aka Ryan Braun, Trevor Hoffman is pitching like he is a youngen all over again and others have stepped up to try to fill holes that were not anticipated to happen.

That being said it has not been uneventful has it? A lot of second guessing, over thinking and knowing better than those involved, it has been a summer of I feel as casual fan and observer tension. After the trade for CC Sabathia and momentum built through the second half of last season with that out of world performance he had and just the consistency they had last season. We haven’t had that moment of definition…we will have that moment come up really early in the next couple of weeks. Enjoy what happens as it happens or suffer with it.

Steve Haywood, Host of “The Game”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


Brewers Season Over As Phillies KO Crew

Man, what a ride…it lasted a little too short, but it was fun wasn’t it? As I sit here in the press box at a dark and empty Miller Park I am less the 3 hours removed from watching a capacity crowd stand up and cheer the Milwaukee Brewers players as the Philadelphia Phillies celebrated at the pitching mound moving on to the NLCS. They gave you a season to cheer didn’t they? They gave you reason to become a regular user of Malox and Bayer in the month of September and then a reason to get out the bottle of the good hooch the last game of the year and party like its 1982.
 
The Brewers did all of that and then some, they dealt with adversities like losing Ben Sheets who has probably thrown his last pitch in a Brewer uniform, and not getting a lot of runs. They also gave you late game heroics in the last week of the season against Pittsburgh and those Cubbies from the city of Chicago, via Braun, Weeks and P-Phunk Fielder. We watched Corey Hart go out there and struggle like no other Brewer down the final run of September, but keep humping along, fighting through it and of course we got to see the greatest stretch of clutch pitching by C.C. Sabathia, who not only help carry this team to the post season, but revive hope in a fan base and community that had lost it’s faith that it could happen here and happen now.
 
They gave us the awkward firing of Ned Yost, who in a lot of ways is the reason they got this far, and maybe the reason the scuffled the way they did too. They did all of these things on this great ride of following a sports team trying to get to the top of the heap, living and dying with every pitch, at bat and going from sipping champagne to packing boxes and saying good-byes in a week period.
 
All of this happened, it was so much fun that if you didn’t enjoy the ride you have only yourself to blame. The Phillies may have celebrated at Miller Park on Sunday, but we celebrated the last three weeks with baseball games the mattered, a venue worthy of coming to see them in (thanks Selig and Petak), and an experience that took 26 years to have happen. It is time to get off the ride for now, but next time lets stay on a little longer and have a little more fun…Buckle up!

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


Brew Crew Needs To Bring It Against Philly

Aiiight…it’s time to get grimy!

If you don’t understand the definition of the first word used here find someone that speaks Haywood-ease and they will explain it to you. 26 years is a long time to drop a beat down on somebody, and not a lot of people have that patience except Nelson Mandela and Brewer Fans. At the time I drop this knowledge on you the Brewers are preparing to take the field at Miller Park and try to get back in the series against the Philadelphia Phillies who dragged them in the illa-delph for a 2-0 series lead and beat are ace, C.C. Sabathia. Most of the year C.C. handled his business like grown folks do, but gave up one bad inning and 3 bad pitches in game 2, cost him a loss…Damn!

Nobody could hit the ball with a tennis racket, sheet metal, much less a bat in Philly, which compounded the problems at Citizens Bank Ballpark. Well guess what, this team is flat out due to have the baseball gods shine on them again like they did last Sunday when they got an invitation to the dance called the MLB post-season. There is no reason to believe this team has any shot to win this game, much less this series…got them where we want them.

So I will roll into my pre-game show at a local establishment and spew greatness for a couple of hours, then step to the yard Ipod bangin some Public Enemy, KRS-1 or P-Funk (I don’t know no better), hit the press box about the time Bob Uecker puts the 1st pitch out there and enjoy all the elements that are to be enjoyed after a 26 years of neglect in this town. I suggest you do the same.

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


Brewers Black Baseball Players Excel

Just because I don’t play the card does not mean it is not in my deck!

The last place outside of the media free locker room or clubhouse that political correctness is not a worry is the barbershop. As I sat at my barbershop which is Ronnies on Center street in Milwaukee I heard something that caught my attention about the Milwaukee Brewers that I thought was funny and at the same time sad.

The elders in the shop were talking about how it was about time the Brewers got over their hatred of black ballplayers and put winning first. Hatred of black ballplayers? The Brewers? Put winning first? I was at a crossroads of thought when I heard this brought up and wondered aloud if that was the case in the past and now. I really have never sensed the Brewers from a standpoint of racial aspect have been a franchise that has went out of their way to avoid black ballplayers. I also feel they have never went out of their way to cater to brothers either, they just went for what they thought were the best players for their franchise at that time.

The one instance where there was a question of racial issues in the Brewers franchise was with one Gary Sheffield, and even with that one you have to cite the source at the time of the allegations of racism. I can think of a lot of ballplayers from back to George “Boomer” Scott, Cecil Cooper, Darryl “Hambone” Hamilton, Gregg Vaughn, Eric Young, Jeffrey Hammonds, Jeffrey Leonard and so on and so on. Henry Aaron is the most revered baseball player in Milwaukee history, so there is love from that perspective. The Brewers even gave a black manager a shot in Davey Earl Lopes, that didn’t work out to well so we just move on. My point is the Brewers under the old regime of the Selig Family and the new regime Run by Mark Attanasio have been at least on par from what I can see in terms of ratio of African-American ballplayers as major aspect of the franchise. Actually the Brewers in 2008, which are 20+ games over .500 can on any given day if C.C. Sabathia is pitching have as many as 5 brothers on the field which is way above the ratio of 8-10% of African-American ballplayers in the Major Leagues now.

Now the next question is have the black ballplayers been the anchors and or focal point of the franchise identity over the years and my answer to that is, NO! That is no up until recently, and I mean the last few years have the black ballplayers been highlighted as much as any other players on the team. Prince Fielder gets a much push by the franchise as Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks as much as J.J. Hardy and now C.C. Sabathia is bringing a exposure to the Brewers they have not enjoyed since Yount or Molitor. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t try to in the past, just not as hard to me as they should of tried and promoted the black ballplayers over the years.

Now back to the barbershop. I think those feelings presented have some merit, but not as much as one would believe. I really see it this way, we got a good thing going on here right now in Milwaukee. The team is winning and I see a lot of black ballplayers helping get that job done. If I need to play my race card I will play it, the game I see right now doesn’t justify doing so.

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


Time Is Now For Rickie Weeks

Photo Courtesy Of Allen Fredrickson

Hang in there Rickie… hang in there!

I know this is not easy to write because easy to write is bury him, he has under-performed even by his standards this baseball season statistics wise. Easy to write is let’s just play Ray Durham, everyday we will be better if we do, easy to write is Ned Yost protects him too much and now has to make him accountable…more and more he makes too many mistakes at too many times in to many big moments, Rickie doesn’t get on base enough. I hear it all, from some more than others.

Ok…

All of that has merit, all of it does no point in trying to argue it does not when it does. There are other things that have merit too in this conversation of Rickie Weeks, the biggest being to me if you believe in the short term and long haul that Rickie is not the answer at second base, understand that the people who are trying to win and bring a pennant back to the Milwaukee Brewers since 1982 do not agree with you. Rickie is the victim to a certain extent of his own immense talents, the rapid success of a few of his teammates, self applied pressure to make everything perfect as well as the hype of being the number 2 overall draft pick.

When you look at Rickie and where he has come from, but where he was projected to be it is about right, if you really balance it out and are objective and fair about what he has done in his brief four year major league career for the Brewers. Look at his numbers and compare them to others that have become multi all-star 2nd basemen, it takes more time for some than others, that doesn’t excuse some things that should not and cannot happen. Rickie has to be more consistent in the field late in games, patient at the plate and not make the type of mental mistakes we have seen in recent games on the base paths.

He is still been a huge part of the Brewers team recent success, more than he can be blamed directly for certain failures of the team. Accountability becomes more of a issue when your team gets good enough that it matters if and when they make mistakes. Rickie Weeks is a front line guy for the Milwaukee Brewers, has to be held as accountable as Ben Sheets, Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, Ryan Braun, CC Sabathia, Bill Hall and others. But in the process of doing that don’t lose perspective of what he brings to the team.

Ill take talent, every time and 2 times on Sundays. Talent can be taught, skill most times just can’t take it to next level. Second comes success and the impact of what that talent brings in terms of success, I know we have had some hard working, smart and skilled guys play in this town over the years, but when you combine that with the best talent then you have something big time, Rickie has the talent and is hard working and smart, he just has to be more consistent.

As the mouth piece for certain athletes, I know the easy way out was to bury 23 of the Brewers like a few of my colleagues in the media are and some fans are doing too,which is their right to do. All I will say is what I say to Rickie; “Hang in there”, and Brewers fans believe you will truly reap the benefits in the short haul of the rest of this season and long haul of future seasons.

And for those that think it is time for him to go, you serve a purpose too… motivation! I can’t wait for him to shut you up, here or someplace else which I believe he will do big time. We will revisit the journey of Rickie Weeks soon.

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


That Being Said II – Packers & Brewers

Hello to all of those that have their facts in order, numbers in line and points of reference ready to drop on anyone willing to listen to them.

Yes, that loud minority that is my bread and butter who I never under appreciate is the fans that are stirred into a frenzy or as I was once told ( by the “great” William Johnson) herded as sheep to what is important in the world of sports. If Ted Thompson makes the move to trade future NFL Hall of Famer Brett Lorenzo Favre it would be something; until then it is just conversation. Like I said all along, after doing this for about ten years now the levels of passion and interest in a player, team or sport depend usually on the player, team, or sports current status of success (paging Tiger Woods), that also includes what fans focus on.

If this was 2002 The Brewers would not be uttered out of any ones mouth in this town stats or otherwise, that is the level of indifference they had gotten to. Like the Packers of the eighties… start winning and the tone of conversation changes, and gets more and more dissected. Throw in the internet, sports talk radio, instant access on cable and satellite television and fantasy sports leagues and you have the perfect storm of stat-heads. They can site at the drop of a hat what Trent Green’s completion percentage is or the on-base percentage of Rickie Weeks is. That is ok, except sometimes it doesn’t explain why this team won or this team lost, the competition usually determines that, not stats.

The Brewers are winning now and they are fun to watch and give you something to talk about every day which creates natural thoughts of anxiety and concerns about what is next… fair enough. Stats are something that are used as an point of reference when it benefits ones point of view or even better to justify ones thought process or argument. As we progress the the rest of the baseball season we will see how Rickie Weeks and other “stats” will impact others points of view or will it be plays made or not and if they win… I’m betting on the 2nd one.

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


That Being Said…

It is that time of the year again…

You know the annual gathering of music lovers who get to drunk, eat too much and live life beyond their means in terms of behavior young and old…it’s Summerfest”!

As I sit at our Milwaukee Mile 540 ESPN Broadcast Center on the festival grounds I ask myself questions to help me past time and calm down. I am a little angry about some things that have happened that out of our control, but I’m starting to believe my road dog Scotty Wiz that the show may be cursed, too many strange things happening to us the last few weeks, so I need to get into another place, so it’s blogging time!

The NBA Draft has come and gone and all I can say is John Hammond is changing the culture of the franchise in a numbers of different ways on and off the floor. The drafting of Joe Alexander was no surprise, but in a way it was because of the straight forward way the Bucks went about doing it. The brought him in twice and actually admitted they wanted him and on draft night, they actually took him! Hmmmm, this is uncharted territory for me in terms of blunt straight honest actions with no cloak and daggers. I usually get to the truth, but totally off the record. The second round pick is Luc Richard Mbah a Moute out of UCLA, (that is Luke Ra-shard M-Boo-a-Moo-tay), we’re gonna have to give him an nickname real quick. Bottom line is we will see what the vision is pretty soon of the new GM, stay tuned.

Let me ask you something about the NFL off-season? What the hell is the big deal about off-season OTAs (organized team activities) and minicamps? The most dysfunctional team last off-season was the New York Football Giants, they had all kinds of issues last year from Michael Strahans’ should I retire or not to is the head coach got control of the team or not. You know what, they still won the Superbowl didn’t they? I have not heard one player, coach or management type say that the key to their Superbowl success was how they came together in the off-season OTAs, not one…ever.

So it seems the only folks that make a huge deal about off season absences of veteran players at these gatherings are coaches trying to make a point, fans and MEDIA. Not one off-season workout would have made a difference in that pass Favre threw in overtime for the pick in the NFC Championship.

In looking at few other things, the Brewers are right about where they should be considering loss of players to injury and under-performance by certain members of the team. Pitching has stepped up and been better than thought and Salomon Torres next to Ben Sheets is the MVP coming in and holding the closer role. By the way my newest nickname is for Prince Fielder is “P-Funk”, the reason why is simple, you know that look you get on your face when something stanks that scrunched up face, that’s the same look I get when Prince mashes the ball, that is why I will call him “P-Funk.”

Enjoy the annual drunken, musical pilgrimage to Milwaukee’s Lakefront…I know I do. 

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


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