Where Do We Go Now? (69-73)
Dear Ken Macha,
The beginning of the Packers schedule pushed the Brewers lingering season off of the local sports radar, with only idle speculation about potential offseason moves to keep the season’s quickly diminishing flame from being extinguished. So, as you try to manage the remaining 20 games of the season in as unremarkable of fashion as possible, it’s probably a little disconcerting for you to know that quite a few people are suggesting that your dismissal should be on Doug Melvin’s list of offseason moves.
Is that fair, Ken? I wouldn’t necessarily call your performance to date, bad. It’s not that you’re at fault for the chronic injury troubles or depressingly flat performances from a number of expected contributors. But you’re also not rallying the players or fans with your rather milquetoast approach. Plus, you’re not a former Brewer player, which guarantees you at least three seasons of risk-free bad managing (unless you’re Dale Sveum). Hell, Ned Yost was given 5.925 seasons because his mere association with the 1982 team was considered valuable enough to have him sit in the dugout, lips pursed and occasionally put down his transistor radio tuned to NASCAR talk radio to start yelling at an umpire in order to scare the team into playing better.
Mark Brouhard — Member of the 1982 Brewers team? Check. Same age as a certain Brewer manager whose name rhymes with “toast?” Check. Who is Mark Brouhard? A former rightfielder with a better OPS+ than Ned Yost, that’s who. I think that fact alone guarantees his consideration as the next Brewers manager. I’m sure there are a lot of people who would love to again be reminded of the 1982 team every time they complain about the manager.
Williams James Surhoff — If the Brewers want to draw the generation of fans who were too young for the ’82 World Series but were all about the 1992 .500 champions, PLUS draw from the “future manager’s position” of catcher, Surhoff just beats out Australian sensation Dave Nilsson. B.J. was more versatile than our previous manager who was also a catcher and also named Ned. He played every single position except for pitcher. Considering how often fans want to move Rickie Weeks and Mat Gamel to the outfield or propose some other random positional switch, having the sage counseling of Surhoff could do wonders for our mix and match players. If only we still had Bill Hall.
Dan Plesac — As you know Ken, there’s something about ex-players-turned-announcers that raises their managerial cachet. Take you, for example — all your TV chit-chatting during your year off from managing only made the Brewers want you that much more. So, maybe it’ll turn out the same way for former Brewer (+1) three-time All-Star (+1) and MLB Network analyst (+1000) Dan Plesac. When your pitching staff is kept together with duct tape, twist ties and prayer, maybe having a pleasant voice tell you to hit the shower after another 4-inning start is just what we need. Plus, he’s got a smirk that’ll piss off the St. Louis Cardinals a hell of a lot more than an untucked shirt.
Geoff Jenkins — We’re all in Favre withdrawal, Ken. Now that he’s no longer dominating our local news (not really), there’s a large stubbly void in our lives that could only be filled by another stubbly dude who looks just like Brett: Geoff Jenkins. Jenks was the longest serving and most consistent NL-era Brewer. Even if that consistency included being consistently unable to hit left-handers. Having a Favre of our own would satisfy the crustiest of local Favre apologists and add an extra angle of unnecessary media intrigue should Jenkins begin waffling when putting together his daily lineup. Can you imagine 162 mini-dramas? If the real Favre can come out of retirement again, why not the fake Favre, too?
Craig Counsell — It might sting a little more to have to turn over the keys to your office to a current player, but why not, Ken? Yeah, it’s your job blah blah blah, but Craig is scrappy and seems to get along with the players at least as well as you do. He’s 39, so he’s increasingly aware of the fact that he’s in the twilight of his career, and he’s a local boy from Whitefish Bay, which should give him a nice incentive to take your job. Plus, it would be just like Major League II, except for the parts where you die from a heart attack, Craig owns the team and Dennis Haysbert provides a vaguely offensive interpretation of Buddhism. But other than those minor differences, it’s just like the second-best Major League movie ever!
There you have it, Ken. As the saying goes, “Keep your friends close and your potential managerial replacements closer.” I’d suggest sending them all this friendly Someecard (assuming Mark Brouhard is aware of the Internet) and hope they take pity on you.
Don’t stop believin’ this week, Ken. The Cubs and Astros may share your pain at being all but eliminated from the playoffs, but they’d sooner steal the luggage from your hotel room than let you continue your three-game winning streak. Better double check that Samonsite lock, Ken.