This week’s guest for the Thursday Q & A is Brewers blogger Michelle Carpentier from A Girl’s View.  As the tagline for Michelle’s site says, A Girl’s View is one girl’s takes on America’s favorite pastime and the Brewers in particular.  Let’s go ahead and get those takes.

Share with us how ‘A Girl’s View’ began and you started blogging about the Milwaukee Brewers.

During the Brewers 2007 season is when I went from casual baseball fan to baseball obsessed. (I’m not going to lie; it had a lot to do with Ryan Braun.) But of course, the more I learned about the game, the more I assumed I was right about everything and, like any good fan, I thought that I could manage the Brewers better than Ned Yost. Thus, A Girl’s View was born on the very day Yost was fired. I mean, what did the Brewers need to turn it around? Me. Obviously. I didn’t necessarily care if anyone read my blog, it was just nice to know that I had somewhere to, well, just talk. About baseball. And boys.

As it turned out, I enjoyed writing it. It gave me a reason to explore baseball outside of the Brewers. Even though I hung it up for awhile after the All Star game last year, I found my way back. After all, it seemed that Milwaukee was on the verge of having a very big year and I wanted to think that I could have some teeny, tiny part of it.

Here at Pocket Doppler we have quite a few female bloggers, although in general most sports bloggers are male. When you write your posts, do you consciously try to take a different angle based on your perspective as a female sports blogger or not really.

As a female sports fan (and blogger), I find it kind of annoying that my male counterparts generally seem to be surprised that, for the most part, I actually know what I’m talking about. I would say that A Girl’s View is probably 60% baseball coverage and the rest a myriad of my wacky observations.

I don’t try to make every post about the gorgeous men on the field (notice I haven’t compiled a Top 10 Hotties of 2011…yet) but I most definitely try to insert my sense of humor and female perspective into each entry. I find it boring to just recap a game, so I like to lighten things up by making it known that I love a good beard or that Skip Schumaker has an annoyingly perfect team photo. But also that I hate things like Ryan Doumit’s scary eyes or Chipper Jones and the way his lips are the same color as his skin. Frankly, I find it a little weird that no one else cares about these things.

I’m really good at writing exactly the way I talk, too. I mean, that might not be the best writing ever, but it gets my ideas across. However sarcastic or mean or funny or pointless they may be.

Really, I just write what I see. Do I have a slightly skewed, slightly quirky, slightly girly view? Meh. Maybe. That’s just me.

Expectations for the 2011 Brewers were/are pretty high, yet they seem to be an underperforming team to date. What do you attribute that to?

Well, there are the obvious reasons like Zack Greinke’s stupid broken rib or the fact that Corey Hart basically missed all of Spring Training or that Carlos Gomez can’t seem to get a handle on properly running the bases. John Axford’s blown saves certainly don’t help, but neither does nearly doubling their errors in a single series.

Seriously though, and let’s not forget that it’s only the first week of May, the pitching and offense have rarely come together. With the exception of the 9-0 shutout in Philly and the 14-7 domination of the Astros, the Brewers haven’t come up with more than 6 runs in a game. That’s not the team we’re used to. Finally, Milwaukee has a team with a relatively solid starting rotation and the offense has failed to back it up. Like, at all. By this time last season, the Brewers were pumping out runs like nobody’s business. This year, not so much. Even with a pitching corps that’s standing up to the rest of the National League, Milwaukee is seriously lagging in offense. And for a usually offensive ball club, that spells trouble.

At this point, it’s hard to place blame for the slow start but it’s a pretty safe bet to say that if the bats catch up to what the pitchers have been able to do, the Brewers won’t be in trouble much longer.

The most exciting thing that will be happening this week is that Zack Greinke will be getting his first start of the year.  Who do you suspect will be the odd man out in the rotation once Greinke is back fulltime?

I hate to say it, but I think it’ll be Marco Estrada. Despite pitching extremely well while filling Greinke’s void, it seems that the Brewers will be more content having Estrada starting regularly in AAA rather than having him spot-start or pitch out of the bullpen. I’d have to say that I agree if that’s what ends up happening. For how good he’s been, Estrada deserves to be kept on a steady rotation in preparation for any unforeseen problems with the starting five. It seems highly unlikely that Milwaukee would send any of their other starters down, or to the bullpen, which is already carrying 8 pitchers.

On the flipside, they could keep Estrada around to be used as a long reliever, since we’ve seen some unfortunate undoings on behalf of the starting rotation lately. If that’s the case, I could see getting rid of Sean Green because, well, he’s just not good.

What are your impressions of the Ryan Braun contract extension from a couple weeks back?

I was super excited when I heard about Braun’s extension. Not only does it mean the jerseys and shirts I’ve bought were money well spent, but it’s really refreshing to see a player have loyalty to, not just a team, but to a city and its fans. For all the times Ryan Braun has come off cocky and self-lauding, signing a contract that will essentially make him a lifetime Brewer just nullifies them. As a Brewers fan, I accept that we don’t have the best team every season, but I stick with them. It’s nice to see one of the best players in the game accepts that, too. The organization has made it clear that Braun is important to them and he’s reciprocated. I completely applaud the contract extension, especially in a time where pro athletes can seem greedy and agents are just out to get the biggest deal to pad their own wallets. You don’t see a lot of guys these days that want to play their entire career for one team. I think it says a lot about Braun’s character. Let’s just hope he doesn’t pull a Brett Favre on us 16 years into it.

Most people have concluded that Prince Fielder is playing his last season as a Brewer.  Do you think there is any chance that he may actually stay with the team?

Ahh, speaking of greedy agents…

I firmly believe that if Scott Boras was in no way, shape or form involved in Prince Fielder’s career, there would be a good chance he’d stay in Milwaukee. Okay, a better chance, maybe not good. Sure, Fielder puts up big numbers. He’s gotten exponentially better as a defender. Do I see him on a different level than other first basemen? Not really. (But then again, I don’t get what all the fuss is over Albert Pujols either, so maybe I’m just missing something. Though, that could just be that I hate him.)

I think Prince fits with the team. He’s established himself as a leader among the rest of the guys and if there’s anything he deserves, it’s a long-term contract. I think the Brewers could offer that, just not at the amount of money that other clubs may be able to. And let’s face it, Boras is going to squeeze every last penny out of any interested parties. I think in the end, as much as it pains me to say it, it’s going to come down to money. No matter how much Fielder likes playing in Milwaukee, loves his teammates, etcetera, etcetera, it’ll be a shock if he actually stays past 2011.

A lot was made of the defensive woes of Yuni Betancourt before the season began.  While Betancourt is no Gold Glover, he actually hasn’t played too horribly in the field.  Why do you think that is?

I guess I don’t quite understand where all of the nay saying even came from. When you look back on his career, there’s really no reason to knock Yuni’s defense. He’s got a career .971 FPCT. Big effing deal. Derek Jeter’s is only .977. And he’s supposed to be some kind of superstar…

But really, Betancourt has no choice but to play good D. The Brewers only have one back-up infielder in Craig Counsell and let’s face it, that guy’s getting up there. He hasn’t been nearly as bad as he was made out to be, so I think Yuni is doing the best he can as the everyday shortstop.

In the recent past, we’ve seen JJ Hardy and Alcides Escobar making play after dazzling play and to expect that out of Betancourt is just unfair. He one of those guys that the harder he tries, the further he falls and if the Brewers want to play solid, all-around defense, Betancourt is going to have to be free and easy instead of pushing himself to make the big plays, which I think he’s done well so far. He’s had good plays. He’s made good stops. He just doesn’t have the range it takes to be a great shortstop. It’s not his fault we got to watch Escobar dominate the middle infield last season. That’s a hard standard to live up to.

Speaking of woes, Yovani Gallardo lately seems to be off his game.  Do you believe this is just a quirk or something to be worried about longterm?

Considering Gallardo just added 5 more earned runs to his 2011 repertoire (bringing his total to 28 in 7 starts.  Yeesh), I’m thinking his recent issues may run a little deeper than we all had hoped. Although he struck out 7 in Monday’s game against the Braves, he hit a major wall in the 5th inning. I mean, before I go jumping to any conclusions, I’m gonna just say it again: It’s only May.

I don’t want Gallardo on my list. I really don’t. But with a guy like Marco Estrada knocking at the door for a starting spot, Yo’s got to get his command back. And he’s got to keep it. It’s not to say that a bad pitch here or there is anything to scoff at. Every great pitcher makes mistakes. But Gallardo hasn’t been the same since his 2-hit shut out a month ago.

Of course, ever the optimist, I don’t believe that whatever’s happening to Gallardo is going to be a long-term thing. Because it can’t be. With Greinke finally in the rotation, the Brewers should be unstoppable. But they need the Yovani Gallardo from April 5th to knock a little sense into the current Yovani Gallardo first.

How would you rate new manager Ron Roenicke’s performance to date?

Considering I haven’t seen anything too obvious yet that would put him on my bad side, I’d say Roenicke has done a fairly good job so far. Then again, any manager that doesn’t care if he’s caught smiling in the dugout (or shows any emotion, for that matter) is okay in my book. He seems to have a good rapport with his players and has a lot of faith in them. (Maybe too much in some of them. Carlos Gomez in the 2-hole? Still? Come on, Ron!)

I like a manager that understands a team needs to work on all facets and not rely on any one factor to win ballgames. I like a manager that trusts his players’ instincts. I like a manager that lets guys steal bases. I also like a manager that isn’t afraid to show a little pride when his team does well and can still acknowledge mistakes when they play poorly. Ron Roenicke seems to have done nicely in his first month and he still has plenty of time to impress me before season’s end.

Call your shot, will the Brewers be playing in October and if so how long?

Ahh. The million dollar question.

Again, ever the optimist, I think the Brewers will make it to the post season every year. And every year, with the exception of one, my hopes and dreams are shattered and left to fall by the wayside. This season, however, they legitimately have a chance.

I think April was a small window into what the National League Central holds. It was so up and down (until the Cardinals decided they’d had enough of that) and the three teams that everyone seemed to think would be at the top were at the top. And second. And third. Back the the top. Tied. Three-way tied. Well, you know how it went.

The NL Central is going to come down to the wire. Once all the pieces fall into place for Milwaukee, and don’t worry, they will, there’s no way they won’t be contending. I mean, I hate to put all my eggs in one basket, but I do every year. Why should this season be any different?

The Brewers will be playing in October because they will win the division. (They have to. They just have to!) Given the other teams that are likely to wind up in the NL post season though, eh. October might be kind of short-lived. And that’s okay. It was just so fun in 2008. I’m totally okay if the Brewers don’t make it past the NLDS. But I’d be positively giddy if they do.

…and now for the lightening round.

Your all-time favorite Brewers player is:

Robin Yount. Duh.

Your favorite Brewers blog to read that is not named A Girl’s View is:

Miller Park Drunk.

If there were no Brewers, you would have a blog about:

Observations about stupid people.

If you were a pro baseball player, your position would be:


Should I ever run into you at a bar, I should buy you a ________________ for taking the time to answer these questions.

Stoli Blueberry Press

Thank you Michelle for being our guest this week.  You can read more of Michelle’s opinions on the Brewers and more at A Girl’s View and also follow her on Twitter .

Would you like to be the guest for a Thursday Q & A? Let us know!


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