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Feature
 
 
Hope Springs Attorney

Johnson
on 03/23/2005

 

Ah... spring has sprung in theory, and now a season of hope is upon us. The Brewers, a team that is a national laughing stock, is soon to begin the 2005 regular season. They are still a huge long shot to play a single meaningful game in September, let alone in October. Their goal is not the World Series, but to finish at .500; 81-81, out of the playoff race early. They have one legitimate star who will only play every fifth game. They have a starting shortstop who has never played a big league game. They have a starting rotation filled with three cast-offs, and a fourth yet to be determined cast-off. Their bullpen has been ravaged by trades. They traded their All-Star closer and his setup man. They signed only one mid-level free agent. Their starting center fielder, first baseman, second baseman, and third basemen will be fellow cast-offs. Who in their right mind could be a fan of this team? Why would anyone want to listen to any game played by them other than to hear the Uke call the play-by-play? Even though I believe 70 wins is a more believable goal, I remain a fan. I think the Brewers have more to be proud of in the last four years than any other team in baseball. Why? I'll give you some reasons.

First of all, I give you the Los Angeles Clippers, the Cincinnati Bengals, and the New York Mets. The Clippers and Mets have no excuses because they play in the two biggest markets in sports. These are teams who have people in their front offices that I would not trust to run the local McDonald's restaurant. Anyone who can take the monetary resources they have and lose so consistently deserves to be taught wrist strengthening exercises so that they can properly flip a burger, not run a multi-million dollar enterprise. This year, everyone loves the Mets. The last time the Mets were predicted to be a contender was when they acquired Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar, and a host of other high priced free agents. They still sucked. This year, they may be better off, but probably will still suck. Any GM who will trade a prospect like Kasmir for a pitcher like Victor Zambrano is bound to fail, and fail miserably.

The Brewers have a GM who has not only made no real boneheaded moves, but has also found new levels of GM quality by drafting well and unearthing a diamond in the rough or two. He has made more from the waiver wire than the Mets have made out of the millions they threw at Mo Vaughn by a long shot. Dan Kolb, a frequently injured pitcher jettisoned from one of the worst pitching staffs in recent baseball history, became an All Star closer and a top flight pitching prospect in a trade. Scott Podsednik turned into a solid center fielder, and then a legitimate .280/30/100 guy in a trade. Thanks to Toby's Top 50 Prospects, most of the frequent visitors to this site know all about the avalanche of talent that JJ Hardy will start. Laymen fans will soon learn quickly and the stands will fill. All by placing the right people in the right positions.

Speaking of which, Mike Maddux also fits the bill. All the pitchers seem to like him, and he seems able to get more out of pitchers than others could (see Victor Santos). Ben Sheets likes him and may stay at least partially because of him.

One sign that the sun may be shining on the Brewers franchise is that of all the prospects that the Brewers currently have, the biggest weakness is third base. Last year seemed like a lock for the Brewers to finish .500 until a late season collapse of epic proportions sent them into the fifth pick in the draft. The fall from grace was terrible to watch, and may have seemed like a kiss of death for the franchise. The silver lining of the situation is that we now have a high draft pick in a strong draft featuring the deepest pool of third basemen in recent history.

Another thing to be proud of is that the Brewers payroll was a mere fraction of many other teams, and yet they were competitive for most of the year. Small market teams that make the playoffs like the Twins and the Athletics got to their status as contenders the same way the Brewers are doing it, by stockpiling young talent, making shrewd moves, and keeping what is worth keeping.

Finally, I bring you the experts. The experts always seem to dismiss us as losers. They have far more important articles to write about steroids, and about 40 year old players. The Brewers don't sell national magazines, and thus do not get written about. As much as Dickie Vitale loves Duke, the baseball writers write about steroids, the Yankees, and the Red Sox. In the NCAA previews, the most trusted writers picked Wake Forest in the final four. The most trusted writers chose us last in the division as well. Lets hope that they are as wrong about us as they were about Wake Forest.

 




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(2005-03-23)
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