Remember not so long ago when the Brewers had the best record in baseball? Well, the good news is the Brewers are still division leaders. The bad news is the Brewers are trying awfully hard to nail down what is probably their inevitable standing as the worst division leader in baseball. They are currently 4-9 in the middle of a stretch in which I said they would finish no less than 9-10 (Thanks, guys.) with series against the Padres and Braves upcoming. Their offense, which earlier in the season was making up for some questionable pitching, is now floundering, with three or fewer runs being scored in eight of the last thirteen games.
The good news for the Brewers is that — unlike in seasons past — they are in the enviable position of being able to improve from within by calling on some promising minor-league prospects to provide a jump-start. First up is third baseman Ryan Braun, who will make his major-league debut Friday night against the Padres. Braun is batting .342 with 22 RBI and 10 home runs this year with the Nashville Sounds. In comparison, the Brewers’ third-base rotation of Tony Graffanino and Craig Counsell has been batting .214 with one home run so far this season.
If things work out, Braun will give the team the offensive spark it badly needs right now. If things don’t work out, Braun will not only struggle against big-league pitching (his first test? Hall-of-famer Greg Maddux. Despite being about 59 years old and about 18 years past his prime, the veteran Maddux won’t make things easy on the youngster) but also leave the Brewers more vulnerable on defense. With the way things have been going for Milwaukee lately, I fear the latter. But Braun should be given time to develop; with the Brewers’ NL Central competition being what it is (no other team over .500), they aren’t in danger of falling out of first place any time soon.
So the father of the St. Louis pitcher who died after he crashed his truck into the back of a tow truck is suing practically everybody and everything even remotely involved with his son’s fatal traffic accident. No matter that Josh Hancock — who had a blood-alcohol content of nearly twice the legal limit, was speeding, using his cell phone, wasn’t wearing his seat belt, and who was in possession of pot when he slammed into a tow truck — was undoubtedly and unquestionably the sole cause of the accident. He is even suing — and you are reading this correctly — the driver whose stalled car was being assisted by the tow truck.
I feel sorry for Dean Hancock. As a father myself, I recognize what a devastating blow it must be to lose a son. Even a son who is 29 years old and on long living on his own. The senior Hancock’s grief may be compounded by the feeling that he could have and should have done more to help his son of his now-well documented addiction to alcohol. He may be looking at these frivolous lawsuits as the chance to carve out some sort of victory, no matter how hollow, out of a nightmarish situation.
But I have little sympathy for those who drink and drive, for those who have such little respect for the rest of us that they see fit to treat their car not as a mode of transportation but as a deadly weapon. While those who Josh Hancock left behind are grieving, the fact remains that Josh Hancock put himself in a position where death — his or someone else’s — was a very real possibility. The tow truck driver — who is also being sued — and the person who called for the tow truck did not. Are the rest of us somehow not allowed now to call for assistance because we fear being sued? Should I cancel my AAA membership because I fear the use of it will result in legal action should someone not paying attention or who is too drunk to drive will smack into me as I await a lift?
If Josh Hancock had died in a home invasion, would his father sue the construction company for having the audacity to build on land that was prone to such criminal activity? Josh Hancock’s father needs to funnel his grief into donating his time and money to alcohol prevention programs or organizations set up to help eliminate drunk driving. That is the only way he can even hope to honor his son’s memory. Instead he is tarnishing it.