Since this is a holiday weekend and even less people than normal will be reading, this will be more of a truncated, stream of conciousness SMM as I don’t want to spend too much time thinking……..

Last week in this space I wondered whether the Milwaukee Brewers extra inning loss at Minnesota would be a springboard for their season. Since their home series win over the lowly Astros this past week didn’t provide much in the way of a definitive clue, I’m again wondering the same thing about Yovani Gallardo’s complete game shutout over Johan Santana and the New York Mets. Gallardo needed only 121 pitches to finish the game; that number has barely gotten him through 5 innings in his other starts this year……….It seems like Friday night hero Corey Hart has been ‘hot’ lately so I looked up the numbers. On the season, Hart is hitting .260. Over the last week, Hart has hit… .260. What did Corey Hart hit last season? You guessed it: .260. Hart does lead the Brewers with 10 home runs and his OPS is a healthy .871, but that’s only slightly above his career average. For some reason Hart, much like his teammate Rickie Weeks, always leaves me expecting more……….People complain about manager Ken Macha’s demeanor but I appreciate his understated, wry sense of humor. I also believe it has very little to do with whether the Brewers win or lose……….Is it my imagination or do the Brewers play better when centerfielder Carlos Gomez hits second in the batting order?……….Count me among those pulling hard for pitcher Chris Capuano as he tries to come back from his second Tommy John surgery. It was reported that the Brewers will call up Capuano this weekend and insert him into the starting rotation. Capuano was ‘lights out’ in his minor league rehab starts. If he can even come close to replicating those numbers in Milwaukee, he can help the Brewers (not to mention my fantasy team). The pitcher that GM Doug Melvin decides to send out to make way for Capuano will tell a lot about how determined the front office is to salvage the season……….If and when the Brewers reinstate relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman to the closer’s role, they should use John Axford or Zach Braddock as his set-up man rather than Carlos Villanueva. I think Hoffman would be more effective with either of the hard throwing rookies pitching before him as a change of pace and it could help groom one of them as an eventual replacement……….The Brewers should take down the centerfield banner showing Hoffman’s save totals and put up one tallying shortstop Alcides Escobar’s defensive mistakes. Maybe they could then arrange for a promotion with a charitable donation based on his error totals so at least someone could realize some benefit from them. In the meantime, I’m still waiting to see the fielding wizard he was hyped to be……….Where would the Brewers be this year without Casey McGehee? McGehee leads the league in RBI and has solidified the third base position for Milwaukee. His production has partially mitigated the effects of Prince Fielder’s early season batting slump. A big ‘thank you’ goes out to the Chicago Cubs for basically giving him away.

Now that the NFL has awarded the 2014 Super Bowl to New York City (nee New Jersey), it’s funny to hear the speculation from other cold weather sites jockeying for position. It’s understandable that the NFL would want to play its marquee game in its largest market as a reward for building the Giants and Jets a new stadium, but I wouldn’t expect to see that feat repeated. The Super Bowl is a much a media event as a football game and I can’t see its corporate partners wanting to spend 5 hours outside in 20 degree weather; a point that will be driven home when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sees the number of empty seats in the 4th quarter……….When I first heard that UW Athletic Director Barry Alvarez was named to the College Football Hall of Fame I was kind of surprised but, looking back, Alvarez leading the Badger football team to 3 Rose Bowl wins is even more amazing in retrospect……….Is Johnny Jolly an idiot, or what? Seriously!……….Disappointing loss by UW-Stevens Point, blowing a 6 run lead in the D-III World Series yesterday. Hopefully, the Pointers can bounce back today……….Back when the Indianapolis 500 really was the “greatest spectacle in racing”, my favorite Indy driver was Rick Mears. Mears won the race 4 times and was a master of the oval even after a serious crash crushed both of his feet. Tomorrow pole sitter Helio Castroneves has a chance to duplicate Mears ’4-peat’. Not surprising that one of the advisors to Castroneves Penske racing team is none other than Mears……….I’ll miss the TV broadcast of the ’500′ this year as I’ll be on the road to Miller Park Sunday morning, but that’s okay. Much like baseball, the ’500′ is just as enjoyable (if not more so) on radio; probably due to the enthusiasm of the track reporters……….Finally, we bid a fond farewell this past Monday to an old TV friend as CTU agent Jack Bauer went ‘off the grid’ when Fox’s ’24′ ended its “8 Day” run. Yes, the show was frequently over the top with its ridiculous subplots and display of otherworldly technology. Despite all of its shortcomings and criticism that the show had ‘jumped the shark’, ’24′ always remained compelling viewing for me. I thought this last season was one of the best and even my wife said she would miss it. Somehow, I just don’t see it working as well as a movie. Here’s hoping Jack can elude the Russians and the Chinese in his retirement.

Thanks for reading. Drive carefully and enjoy the rest of the long weekend.

 

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  • Chris

    I see your musings, and raise you specific thoughts:

    1. Batting average means little to me. I think it’s about production, and Hart’s .871 OPS says a lot about his worth to MKE right now. He’s getting on base and hitting for power–I will take that over batting average any day.

    That said, his greatest value to the club might be via trade for much needed pitching. While I am pulling hard for Capuano, too, I doubt that he will be a magic tonic for the ails of the staff. Their problems are more profound than that.

    2. I also like Gomez in the Two Hole. For that matter, so does Morticia. (Rim shot, please!)

    Kidding aside, Gomez has been a much greater asset at the plate than I expected, but he is wildly inconsistent and sort of flaky, and that goes for his play in the field and on the bases. In fact, he reminds me of..

    3. …Escobar. Like you, I think this guy is significantly overhyped, particularly with the glove. Maybe he will grow into his game, but right now he seems pretty ordinary in all facets of play.

    4. I like Casey McGehee. I really do. In fact, he might be considered the team MVP at this point. But I am still having a hard time believing in him. I bought shares in Hall and Hart too early and got burned, so I am holding off on investing in McGehee, LTD. (That’s “limited” as in “his minor league numbers are far too limited for me to believe he could be this good in the majors.”)

    5. Barry’s selection to the College Football Hall surprised me, too. He didn’t coach all that long, and while he resurrected a moribund program and had a nice run, his record doesn’t really jump off the page. While I could argue that he deserves that statue at Camp Randall, I am not sure a national honor is as appropriate.

    6. I always hated Mears for the same reason a lot of NASCAR fans hate Jeff Gordon today: He seemed like the Yankees, with inevitable success fueled by a pile of cash. I will miss seeing the 500 tomorrow, but I have a feeling I will enjoy myself at Miller Park.