OK, I did this last year and it was met with such great indifference that I decided to do it again. In honor of my twelfth wedding anniversary this Sunday, here are twelve things I’m thinking about.
1. Brewers Deck The Cards. The four-game road sweep against St. Louis was perhaps the most impressive series I’ve seen the Brewers play possibly ever. A four-game sweep on the road is rare enough, but to do it against the team you’re jockeying for position with not only in your division but in the wildcard race, and to win three of the four games in dramatic fashion (the other Sabathia simply dominated), is astounding. I’ve been revising my expectations for this team all season and lately my expectations keep getting higher. Another few consecutive victories and I’ll not only expect this team to win the NL Central, the NL Pennant, and the World Series, but I’ll expect them to strike oil during batting practice at Miller Park and single-handedly save the economy.
2. Brewers Doin’ It On The Road. Remember how everyone (including me) was complaining and bitching and whining about how lousy Ned Yost’s team was on the road? Well, they haven’t lost a road series in a month, they’ve one seven consecutive on the road, and as of Friday, they’ve now won more games (28) on the road than they’ve lost (26). Only the Angels and (yep) Cardinals have better winning percentages on the road. And looky here, the Cubs are eight games under .500 away from Wrigley Field. Is the Cubs winning the Central still a sure thing? Sure, if you also believe that The View‘s Sherri Shepherd is not legally insane.
3. Braun Thinks He’s All That. OK, so I didn’t much care for Ryan Braun’s narcissistic staredown of his game-winning home run on Thursday night. It’s not a big deal, and sure, the situation calls for a certain degree of chest-thumping excitement, but I still think it’s unnecessary. A move that like unnecessarily further embarrasses the pitcher whom you’ve already embarassed and sometimes leads to later altercations between pitchers and hitters. Either Braun will mature and drop that move or the phrase “Ryan being Ryan” will enter the sports vernacular.
4. Leavin’ ‘Em Stranded. OK, if you’re looking for something to worry about with the Brewers recent surge, here it is. The Brewers are stranding a lot of base runners — three of the four victories against the Cardinals could have been by bigger margins had Milwaukee not had a team LOB total in the double digits. The Brewers are batting only .247 with runners in scoring position — only four (lousy) teams are worse in this important category. Good pitching will bail out teams having difficulty getting runners home, but it’s not something that should be overlooked.
5. Weeks Earns His Nights. You gotta love the Brewers bringing in Ray Durham for the struggling Rickie Weeks. But you don’t have to love them starting Durham on Thursday night after Weeks had been batting .348 with eight RBIs since Durham was signed. Durham went an ugly 0-for-5 as the lead-off hitter Thursday. Durham was the least impressive opening act I’ve seen since Lush opened up Lollapalozza 1992.
6. Bill Hall. Bill didn’t do anything in the final two games of the series, but after his game-winning home run performances in the first two games, I’m almost ready to anoint him as my second favorite person named “Hall,” right above “Monty.” But sorry, Bill, Daryl Hall’s pretty much got a lock on number one.
7. Favre Going Camping. Is this really necessary? Yep. If the Packers didn’t want the circus to come to the Packers’ training camp, they should have released him. Of course, Favre shouldn’t have retired in the first place, but we don’t have to go over that again, do we?
8. Favre Going Broadway. Or not. Despite reports, I can’t see Favre wanting to play in the biggest market in the country, especially for a rebuilding team that has many more concerns than who the starting quarterback will be. (Although that is a huge one for them.) More likely, Favre will go to the Tampa Bay Bucs. Who will then immediately trade him to the Vikings. Probably not, but in a story that has had more intriguing twists and turns than a David Lynch movie, that would be the capper.
9. The WNBA skirmish. With this and Brooke Logan’s inane comments about the possible effectiveness of a female commander-in-chief, this hasn’t been the best week for the fairer sex. Plus, both Sherri Shepherd and Elisabeth Hasselbeck continue to be seen and heard.
10. The Minor League Brawl. As if they were worried about the WNBA scuffle leading sports nation to think that women can be better fighters than men, players on the Peoria Chiefs and Dayton Dragons got into a much scarier brawl in Dayton on Thursday. Scarier because a thug pitcher on the Chiefs shockingly whipped a ball into the stands that sent a fan to the hospital. Hey, I understand why minor league players are prone to fighting. They’re a bunch of frustrated major league wanna-bes playing in the heat of summer in front of largely drunk and indifferent (and small) crowds. Minor league teams are usually good at garnering fan participation in an effort to drum up interest, but participation in the form of a 90 MPH fastball in the face isn’t what fans are looking for. Hopefully that thug pitcher’s baseball playing days are over.
11. Cubs Lose Again. While writing this, the Cubs dropped the second game of a home series against the Florida Marlins. Should the Brewers win Friday night, they’ll be in first place in the NL Central. Could be the best thing to happen since the late, great Comedy Central show TV Funhouse was released on DVD. (Seriously, check it out. But it’s not for the kiddies.)
12. Lance Smith Suspended From Badgers. With Smith’s career in jeopardy, it sort of makes figuring out the Badgers’ glut at running back a little easier. Now if Ryan Grant would only sign . . .