Sure the NFL has ended its 4-month assault on our livelihood and “Free-Urgency” is about to start (Thank you caller to Fox Sports Radio), but the Brewers are still relevant and in the midst of a 4-team division race. Pitcher Shaun Marcum joined Tony Bruno’s program “Into the Night”  on Fox Sports Radio late Monday to share his thoughts on the National league versus the American League, being traded to Milwaukee, and what chances he thinks the Brewers have of making a deep playoff run in 2011.

[The full interview can be downloaded, listened to here .]

Tony Bruno’s show runs Monday through Friday from 9:00p.m.-12:00a.m., and it’s easy to miss if you’re not an avid AM radio peruser. Below is Bruno’s interview with Marcum, and while most answers are pretty vanilla, “you know,” there are a couple gems from the Brewers’ starting pitcher. Marcum’s answers are word-for-word (ish); each question is paraphrased.

How’s life?

Pretty good, thanks for having me.

Did you expect this kind of a race when you came over to the National League, the Pirates included?

To be honest, yeah I did. But I didn’t expect the Pirates to be in it. They have a bunch of young talent that are all really good players, and they look like they’ve come into their own this season. So, it’s nice to see for them.

Thoughts on pitching in the National League versus the American League?

I like [the National League] . It’s more my style of baseball. I’m big on moving runners, bunting guys over, and playing fundamental baseball as opposed to sitting back and waiting for the big 2 or 3-run homerun. So, it’s definitely more my type of baseball. I definitely enjoy being in the National League a lot more than in the American League. That’s for sure.

On the Brewers-Cubs series kicking off getting underway tonight… (Sorry, football on the brain)

It’s going to be a tough series. They’ve got some good hitters, and you know, they’ve got a good starting staff and some good guys and the back end of the bullpen. It’s definitely going to be a challenge for us. We’ve just got to go out and play the game the right way, play the way we’ve been playing all year…Especially at home. And, you know, hopefully if we do that things will take care of themselves.

Are the Brewers built to win this year?

I’d have to agree with you. We’re going for it. I think it started on day one of Spring Training, when we had our meetings. You know, everybody check your egos at the door. It was all about winning and winning now. We’re not looking to the future; we’re worried about right now. We’re worried about the Cubs right now, but we’re more focused on winning this season.

Is it division-winners or bust?

The wildcard is going to be tough to get. I mean, you know, look at all the teams out there — the Braves — and then there are some good teams out there in the NL West, so it’s definitely going to be one of those things where we want to win the division. We can’t rely on other people and trying to get the wildcard. We’ve got to go out there and take care of our business, and that’s trying to win this division. And if we do that, hopefully other teams will kind of ‘catch a cold’ and we’ll be able to do that.

How’s the transition/fit been with K-Rod and John Axford in the bullpen?

It’s been great. Frankie’s been great so far. He’s easy to talk to, easy to get along with, and you know, most importantly he wants to win. So he’s going to do whatever he wants…uh…whatever he can to help us win baseball games, get to the postseason, and possibly a World Series. He’s been great to have on our team so far.

Different mindset or changed dynamic when transitioning from American League to National League?

I don’t think so. I’m not a power pitcher by any means, so the main thing I’ve done over in the American League and here is throw strikes and keep the ball down (you listening, Turnbow?). Some times when I’ve gotten in trouble in both leagues and this season and years past is when I start walking people and getting the ball up in the zone. It doesn’t matter who you’re facing if you’re throwing the ball up in the zone. If I’m not locating, they’re going to find a way to hit it and hit it hard…I don’t really focus on who’s in the box when it’s the American League, National League or DH. I just focus on locating and keeping the ball down.

Complete games still essential if  you have a great bullpen?

I mean, you know, all of us want to go out there and throw complete games and give those in the bullpen rest here and there. I don’t think anybody sets the goal to go out there and throw 6 innings; everybody wants to go as deep into games as they can. But, you know, we’ve set ourselves up with a deep bullpen to shorten the game. If we go out there and do our job — [pitch] 6-7 innings and shorten the game – and get the ball to Latroy, and Saito, and Kam Loe, and Frankie Rodriguez, and onto Axford, we’ve got a pretty good shot to win those games.

…I axed the Brewers-Giants talk…

Trade Deadline. Any more moves? Anything the Brewers need?

You know, I don’t know (That doesn’t make sense) . It’s tough to say. There’s so many teams in contention, that it doesn’t look like there are a whole lot of teams selling. I’m sure every team could use an upgrade here and there, um, but I’m happy with where we’re at. I think we’ve got a good group of guys. The main thing is just staying consistent. We play well at home, and then we sometimes go out on the road and don’t do so well. The main thing is just staying consistent for the 2nd half and anything can happen.

Excellent stuff, here:

Can you sense that these fans think this may be the year? That Milwaukee fans are anticipating something good?

I do. I had that feeling in Milwaukee in ’08 when I pitched in Milwaukee during Interleague play. The fan support there is unbelievable. Those guys are behind the team 100% percent. It’s fun to be a part of, even when you’re not pitching, just to watch and hear those fans get behind everybody. It’s a lot of fun to be a part of. The support that we get is outstanding. You know, if I were to pick a place to get traded to –I told my wife – I don’t think I could have picked a better place. It’s been a pleasure to be a part of this team, and I’m looking forward to, you know, finishing out the rest of the season hopefully on a strong note and playing in October.

Aside from me just E-Bay-bidding on a Shaun Marcum jersey after hearing his answer regarding the fans and Miller Park, there isn’t a whole lot of eye-catching information in the interview posted above. But the Brewers receive so little national attention, it is nice to see one of our own spreading the good word throughout Radioville. And, while Marcum sounded fairly non-chalant –  it was nearly midnight, after all – he was adamant when discussing the Brewers wanting/planning to win this season as well as his praise for the hometown fan support.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled THE-NFL-LOCKOUT-IS-OVER program.

 

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  • Chris

    As Tony would say…”Beautiful, man.”