Tag Archives: brewers

Tony LaRussa Shall Not Be Mocked

Do you hear those insolent fans, Yadier?

Yes, sire. I believe that’s the local custom of “giving you the business.”

I care not a whit for what these barbarians call it in their vulgar dialect. They’re mocking me, Yadier. Me! Would you not say that the Cardinals play the game of baseball the way t’was intended to be played?

No one would dare say otherwise, sire.

And would you also not say that baseball is the Good Lord’s game?

Certainly, sire.

Of course you would. Therefore, it follows that the Almighty has appointed me to rule these Cardinals. To stand for such insolence against me would be to mock His Divine Will. And that I cannot brook! Instruct the pitcher to hurl the sphere toward one of their beloved favorites.

Certainly, sire. I will command him to dent Ryan Braun’s upper back. Will that be all?

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Coming this Summer: Lesbian Grandma, Starring Pete Rose

Just in case you missed it, the highlight of MLB’s Opening Day was Pete Rose showing up at the Brewers-Reds game in Cincinnati. Or more specifically, that he raided your grandma’s closet before going to it.

Hundred bucks says there’s an 8-ball on the back of that jacket. Pete would take that bet.

Scratchbomb’s Thoroughly Compromised 2011 MLB Preview: NL Central


2010 record: 75-87

Biggest offseason acquisition: Matt Garza, who, along with Carlos Zambrano, could give the Cubs the angriest 1-2 pitchers in baseball.

Biggest offseason loss: Tom Gorzellany, on purely technical grounds.

Is this the year that the Cubs…: Whatever you were going to say, no.

Best name on 40-man roster: Welington Castillo, Dominican duke.

The That Guy’s on This Team? Award: Kerry Wood, whose presence here seems more weird than it should.

Spring standout: Last year’s star callup Starlin Castro has 12 RBIs and 4 home runs, which can only mean his untimely demise is imminent.

Probable Opening Day starter: I’m sure Zambrano has already made it abundantly clear to Mike Quade that he will start on Opening Day.

Biggest question for 2011: Has Alfonso Soriano been so underwhelming for so long he’s come all the way back around to being underrated?

Strengths: Idyllic ballpark with laissez faire attitude toward the wearing of shirts

Weaknesses: The oppressive weight of history

Semi-serious assessment: The Cubs are a little better than I first thought before taking a closer look at their lineup. Carlos Pena is a good fit for Wrigley, and Garza should fare well in the National League. I don’t know if it adds up to contending per se, but I think they’ll enjoy a solid season of not completely sucking.

Continue reading Scratchbomb’s Thoroughly Compromised 2011 MLB Preview: NL Central

Scratchbomb’s Thoroughly Compromised 2010 MLB Preview: NL Central

harrycaray.jpgCHICAGO CUBS

2009 record: 83-78

Local weather: If you don’t like it, just wait a minute!* (* joke stolen from your grampa)

Namesake: The smaller partner in a “bear” relationship

Has it really been 102 years since they won a World Series?: Yes, but some days it only feels like 75.

Perpetually overused team-related headline: Lovable Losers. How many losers have you known that were lovable? Most losers are bitter, sour human beings.

Best name on 40-man roster: Esmailin Caridad, because when you’re Esmailin, the whole world esmailes with you.

The That Guy’s on This Team? Award: Kevin Millar. Or as he used to be known by guys named Sully, MILLAHHHHHH!

Spring standout: Youngster Tyler Colvin, who’s not only batting .468, but is also not a pitcher, so he can’t have a Kerry Wood/Mark Prior-style flameout.

Probable Opening Day starter: Carlos Zambrano, provided he doesn’t get into a scrape with a Gatorade cooler first.

Biggest question for 2010: In what ways will the fates cruelly toy with this team this season?

Advantage to start the season: Arctic conditions will adversely affect visiting teams who have not brought their own Sherpas.

Semi-serious assessment: Only the total shitshow that was the 2009 Mets prevented the Cubs from being the most disappointing team in baseball last season. I would expect them to improve, but they’re also relying on a number of players who’ve been hurt off and on the past few seasons (Zambrano, Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez). I could see the Cubs finishing anywhere on the continuum of success. Except winning the World Series, of course. That will never, ever happen. Ever.
Continue reading Scratchbomb’s Thoroughly Compromised 2010 MLB Preview: NL Central

1999 Project: Games 104-109 (Flirting with First)

Click here for an intro/manifesto on The 1999 Project.

wrigley.jpgJuly 30, 1999: Mets 10, Cubs 9

The Mets began a six-game road trip by outlasting the Cubs in a sweltering game at Wrigley. A heat index of 114 knocked out local TV transmission and some of the traffic lights outside the stadium. Even players who hailed from the Caribbean and South America said it was some of the most oppressive weather they’d ever played in. “Just thank God there was no Astroturf,” Mike Piazza said after the game, “or they would have been taking corpses off the field.”

Masato Yoshii had his shortest outing of the year, lasting only 1 1/3 innings and allowing seven runs. After giving up a 465-foot bomb of a homer to Sammy Sosa in the first, Yoshii was knocked out of the game by a brutal second inning in which he gave up seven consecutive hits (including a single by starter Steve Trachsel and back-to-back triples by Mickey Morandini and Sosa).

Pat Mahomes came on in long relief and held the Cubs to two hits and one run in 4 2/3 innings, allowing the Mets the chance to come back. He also helped spark that come back with an RBI double that sent Trachsel to the showers in the fourth. The Mets took an 8-7 lead thanks to two-run rallies in the third, fourth, and fifth, but a solo shot from Jose Hernandez in the bottom of the fifth tied the game up. Rickey Henderson responded with a homer of his own in the top of the sixth, and John Olerud hit another to give the Mets a 10-8 lead.

Brought in for the save, Armando Benitez got two quick outs, then gave up a double to Morandini and an RBI single to Sosa that shaved the Mets’ lead to one run. Mark Grace followed with a single that moved the tying run to third. Pinch hitter Tyler Houston hit a shot off of Benitez’s right leg, and the pitcher could not locate the ball at first. After a few helpful screams from Piazza, Benitez threw Houston out at first to end the game.

The reward for their perserverence (other than the win, of course): first place, thanks to a Braves loss to Philly. The Mets hadn’t been in first so late in a season since 1990.

Continue reading 1999 Project: Games 104-109 (Flirting with First)

1999 Project: Games 38-41

Click here for an intro/manifesto on The 1999 Project.

May 17, 1999: Brewers 7, Mets 6

Bobby Jones had yet another poor outing and was charged with all seven Brewer runs. But Bobby Valentine saved his harshest words for home plate ump Bill Hohn, who (in his opinion) called an inconsistent strike zone: “This was a [strike] zone where balls off the plate were called strikes sometimes. [The Brewers] were getting ’em. What did we have, five called third strikes?”

The Mets bench barked at Hohn throughout the game, which might have cost them at its conclusion.They pulled within one run after scoring three in the eighth, then got the tying run on base in the ninth when Roger Cedeno walked. A steal and a groundout put Cedeno on third with two out, so Milwaukee opted to intentionally walk Mike Piazza and face Jermaine Allensworth, who took a questionable called third strike to end the game.

May 18, 1999: Brewers 4, Mets 2

With the Mets up 2-1 going into the eighth inning, thanks mostly to seven solid innings from starter Rick Reed, Valentine brought in Dennis Cook. The lefty gave up two singles, immediately putting the lead in jeopardy.

Valentine yanked Cook and called on Armando Benitez, who struck out the first two batters he faced, but then gave up a three-run homer to Marquis Grissom. Two years earlier, when Benitez was with the Orioles, he gave up a game-winning homer to then-Indian Grissom in game 2 of the ALCS. That shot propelled Cleveland to the World Series. This one just dealt the Mets their third straight loss.

Reed’s quality start looked suspicious to Brewers manager Phil Garner, who demanded the umps examine his glove in the fifth inning. Nothing funny was found, but the request rankled Reed:

If the guy’s thinking I’m cheating, then he’s getting the wrong stats because I had a 7-and-a-fucking-half ERA coming in. If he wants to come out early tomorrow, I’ll teach him how to throw it.

Valentine was no happier. In the bottom of the eighth, Allensworth was tagged out in a rundown between first and second. The manager thought the Brewers had committed obstruction, but the umps both refused to reverse the call or lodge Valentine’s protest with the league office. Still bristling from the glove-check earlier, Valentine went ballistic and was ejected. His team left much quieter, with three straight groundouts to finish out the ninth.

May 20, 1999: Mets 11, Brewers 10 (Game 1); Mets 10, Brewers 1 (Game 2)

99_ventura_gs_1.pngThis rain-necessitated twin-bill allowed Robin Ventura to achieve a curious baseball first. The third baseman became the first man in major league history to club a grand slam in both halves of a doubleheader. Other than this historic anomaly, neither game was pretty to watch.

In the first game, the Mets roughed up starter Jim Abbott for seven runs, including Ventura’s first grand slam of the day in the first inning. But Al Leiter barely fared better, struggling with his control and turning in an excruciating effort. He left after five innings trailing 6-5, but the Mets were able to get to Abbott and the Milwaukee bullpen to retake the lead and stretch it to 11-6.

Benny Agbayani, getting a chance to start in the Mets’ hobbled outfield, clubbed two
homers of the non-grand-slam-variety and drove in five runs. Allen Watson pitched two good innings of relief but also allowed a 3-run homer to Jeff Cirillo in the eighth, which left the Mets with a slim 11-9 margin going into the ninth.

John Franco came on to save the game and turned in a typically weird/nerve-wracking inning. Grissom doubled to lead off the inning, and after a strike out, ex-Met Alex Ochoa walked to put the tying runs on base. After a flyout, Sean Berry hit a pop fly that just eluded Edgardo Alfonzo’s glove.

99_ventura_gs_2.pngGrissom scored, and Ochoa would have also, if he’d been running hard. For some curious reason, he took his sweet time around the bases, and by the time he rounded third, Mike Piazza was waiting for him, ball in
glove. Not in the mood for any Pete Rose-esque heroics, Ochoa ran into Piazza’s mitt, and the game was finally over. Despite struggling mightily, Leiter got credit for the win, his first in almost a month.

The nightcap featured another offensive outburst by the Mets, with no counter-offensive by Milwaukee. Masato Yoshii held the Brewers to one run in seven innings of work. Ventura put the game away with his second grand slam of the day in the bottom of the fourth.