Rob Vosters
Dear Ken Macha

Restless Trade Syndrome (47-45)

By - Jul 19th, 2009 11:23 pm
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Dear Ken Macha,

We’ve been waiting for a trade for what feels like forever, Ken. Brewer fans have been forced to subsist on a steady diet of baseless rumor, innuedo and over-hyped speculation that maybe, just maybe, our months-long regional nightmare of underperforming baseball would end, perhaps at any minute.  Our non-denominational prayers were answered on Sunday when word spread that an actual trade was afoot. Was it true? Did Doug Melvin really unholster his (t)rusty tradin’ pistol? I scanned the western horizon in the area of Miller Park and, lo and behold, puffs of white smoke were wafting into the air from the chimney of Bernie’s Dugout. It was official — our first significant trade of the season!

Felipe Lopez, former second basemen for the Arizona Diamondbacks, was acquired for the low, low price of two minor leaguers (one single-A reliever and one J.D. Salinger-loving triple-A outfielder). Considering your team’s dearth of consistent hitting, Lopez might just bring the shine back to Doug Melvin’s recently tarnished trading mystique. Lopez will join his new teammates and you in Pittsburgh on Monday night as the Brewers look to extend their winning streak against the Pirates to eighteen straight games.

Although not quite the blockbuster mega-deal that many of the antsy Brewer faithful have been urging Melvin to make, I think this is a much smarter acquisition than giving up the future of the team in exchange for another short playoff run. I had as much fun last year banging my thunderstix together as everyone else, but wasn’t the Brewers’ largest problem in the mid-90’s (besides employing Sal Bando) their completely decimated farm system? Why would we want to revisit that sad and awful time by giving away our future shortstop and third basemen just so we can lose another playoff series? I suppose that’s not a question you can answer, Ken, but you were in a good position in Oakland to see how successful a team can be if it spends money wisely and invests in it’s farm system. Why mortgage our continued stability for another underwhelming additional week of baseball? Your boss, Mark Attanasio, is a smart fella and he’s most likely well aware of the fact that he’s not going to make any money this year or the next if he adds another $15 million in payroll for 2009 and 2010. For comparison, after generating $173 million in revenue in 2008, the Brewers only made $11.3 million in income.

If anyone is deserving of that income, and some of Jeff Suppan’s salary once he’s gone, it’s Prince Fielder.  His victory in the home run derby over former Brewer prospect, Nelson Cruz, and his hot hitting before and since the All Star break have firmly cemented Prince’s status as the most important piece of your offense. Fielder has drawn alternating criticism and praise during his career in Milwaukee; the former usually appearing when he’s not hitting as many home runs as people want or when he’s not giving local media the “friendly face” they’re looking for when he’s interviewed.

Unlike Brett Favre at any point in his career, Prince Fielder actually looked like an overjoyed kid on Monday night after he won the home run derby. In the subsequent interviews I got the impression that Prince, relaxed and happy from winning, is merely a sensitive guy with a distrust of the local media’s sometimes specious motives. On a national spotlight, there was less apprehension in his voice and more of a smile on his face. I’m sure that’s closer to the side you normally see, Ken, but I hope it’s not too late for the rest of Milwaukee to notice it and realize how essential Fielder is to this team.

In other news, it appears you may have a thief in your clubhouse, Ken. The slightly gross sounding Chuck Garifien’s Sox Drawer reports that White Sox infielder “Gordon Beckham” is having his at bat song, “Your Love” by The Outfield, ripped off by other players.  Do you know who else uses that song, Ken?

Frank Catalanotto!

Apparently, the 22-year-old Beckham, who wasn’t even alive when the song reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1986, is on a crusade to keep other players from using the most stadium-friendly song about a lonely dude’s affair. He even negotiated with the Atlanta Braves’ Kelly Johnson to limit his usage of the song to once per game. Seriously?! That’s like Kayne West allowing Hall & Oates to perform “Grounds For Separation”.  Or in a comparison that you might recognize, Ken, it’s like Ray Charles allowing Art Blakey to perform “Moanin‘”. See what I mean?

Earlier in the season I praised Frankie C. for his use of the song, so it goes without saying that I take “Gordon’s” professed ownership of the song as a personal affront to Frank. Authenticity is the name of the game these days (even though no one knows what that really means anymore), and if anyone deserves to be calling up other major league baseball players and demanding that they only play “Your Love” once per game, it’s Frankie C.

Series against both the Pirates and the Braves this week can mean only one thing, Ken: must-win games. Enjoy the added pressure!

Best regards,
Rob Vosters

P.S. — Ken, if you could have had an at bat song during your playing days, what would it have been? “Break My Stride” by Matthew Wilder? What do you think, dear readers?

0 thoughts on “Dear Ken Macha: Restless Trade Syndrome (47-45)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Well done, Mr. Vosters. Draining the farm system today at the expense of future strength is not only a poor short-term strategy, but puts undue pressure on high profile, un-budgeted acquisitions in crisis mode each season. And that’s a cycle the Brewers clearly cannot afford.

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