Greater Expectations (33-24)
Dear Ken Macha:
It was a portentous week for Brewer fans, including the most important fan: you.
On the heels of the release of Jorge Julio, Manny Parra offered his most sincere tribute with a spot-on impersonation of Julio (4 innings, 11 hits, 10 runs (all earned), 2 walks, 5 strikeouts) in a disastrous outing against the Florida Marlins. We also watched as Prince Fielder caught fire and Jason Kendall, J.J. Hardy and Corey Hart continued their competition to be the first with a batting average below the Mendoza Line. Oh yeah — and two consecutive victory shutouts (including one by replacement player impersonator Jeff Suppan) and two different come from behind losses.
It’s fitting that for such an up and down week you finished the road trip at 3-4. 5-2 was tantalizingly close, but you didn’t really deserve that considering the scatter-brained performance the Crew displayed against the Marlins. Not even the new name — LandShark Stadium, born out of a sponsorship agreement with beach accessory peddler Jimmy Buffett — could rebrand the putrid performance of the Brewers on the road against Florida. If I had known this before my last letter, Ken, I surely would have warned you to avoid Florida at all costs.
Standing just a few games past the one-third mark of the season, weeks like the past one will begin to frustrate fans exponentially more as the calendar turns toward September. No matter how common they are during any season they’re the equivalent of abandoned swimming pools for mosquitos, breeding nothing but rampant speculation and trade rumors.
People are already speculating on who General Manager Doug Melvin will sacrifice in order to appease the god of playoff baseball. Corey Hart has been mentioned by other cities’ journalists, including Atlanta’s and Boston’s, but Tom Haudricort gleefully smacked that theory down. JJ Hardy is part of my favorite trade scenario involving this year’s trimmer, fitter C.C. Sabathia: San Diego Padre hurler Jake Peavy. I’m sure Jo Cat’s Pub won’t be the same without Hardy around to break up the Bon Jovi rock blocks, but I’m more than willing to make that sacrifice for the greater good. I insist!
We’re in a new stretch of the season, Ken. The weather is occaisionally warmer; the roof is actually left open on occasion and your every move will be picked over with a fine-tooth comb because we’re genuinely eager for a playoff series that doesn’t end in the first inning of game five with Jeff Suppan on the mound. Your bunting strategy, the team’s personnel moves, even the decision to pitch Villanueva three days in a row are all becoming recognizable decisions that have a more tangible effect on the outcome of the season. In April and May they’re brushed off and forgotten, but not in June, Ken. Not in June. (Ken: Read that sentence slowly and with a low voice)
I’d like to say you’re in luck because the Colorado Rockies are in town, but they just swept the Cardinals in St. Louis. And then it’s the White Sox, which will provide some great moments of culture shock when our indomitable local drunks are scared shitless from the wild-eyed antics of the southside faithful sure to make their way up the Dan Ryan and out of Chicago for once. So… out of the pan and into the fire, Ken!