SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS

With so much going on this post is dedicated to a few stories that need worthy comment. Here we go:

THE PIRATES OUTDO EVEN THEMSELVES!

As if it isn’t bad enough that this woeful team is on pace to lose 100 games for the 8th time in franchise history, and post a record 19th straight year of futility, a recent report stated that ownership was pocketing the luxury tax payments they received instead of investing in player development thus posting a healthy profit. Listen fans. Baseball is a business and owners invest quite a bit of their own money in a team and like any other business they expect a reasonable return on their investment. This whole notion that it is somehow wrong to make money owning a team is fallacy. Fans seem to think that there is an untapped flow of money to pay for overpriced talent to help a team be competitive, or in the Pirates case, just to reach respectability.

Fans certainly have the right to question a team’s motives after all it is their money that contributes to a team’s operating budget. And the Pirates recent cleansing of good players is quite objectionable – Jason Bay, Nate McLouth, Xavier Nady, Jack Wilson, Freddy Sanchez, Ronny Paulino, Adam LaRoche, Matt Capps, Tom Gorzalanney have all been jettisoned. Still, one must look at what the team has gotten for these players and the future looks promising IF the team makes a commitment to keeping them. Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata, Ross Ohlendorf, James McDonald, Ronny Cedeno, Steven Jackson are all  highly touted young players.

Add home grown Neil Walker, Paul Maholm, Zach Duke and Andrew McCutchen and the team has a great nucleus for the future.

As for the profit, one must consider that these owners also invested in the building of PNC Park a jewel wasted on a bad team and have built a development complex in the Dominican Republic.

In terms of hopelessness, the team has set a new depth of failure. Five pitchers have lost at least ten games this year- Ohlendorf 1-11), Charlie Morton (1-11), Maholm (7-14), Duke (7-12) and Jeff Karstens (3-10) with Morton’s line being particularly ugly. The last time this happened was 90 years ago– when pitchers made many more starts than at present.

MANNYWOOD TO CHI-TOWN

Yes the White Sox are hot, currently in second place and riding a seven game winning streak. They are trailing front running Minnesota by 3 ½. So by what logic does General Manager Kenny Williams justify the distraction that is Manny Ramirez to the team? They are already well stocked in geezers that can no longer play every day – Andruw Jones and Mark Kotsay to name two. If he wanted to add to this group of golden brethren, why not bring Frank Thomas out of retirement?

SURE. THEN BREWERS WILL WIN THE DIVISION NEXT YEAR

In one of his state of the team interviews, Brewers owner Mark Attanasio expressed deep disappointment over how this season played out for his team. He stated the obvious, that the pitching staff once again let the team down.  Despite spending millions on pitching, General Manager Doug Melvin has struck out. Not one has been a dependable front line pitcher or a dependable relief pitcher for that matter.

The system sorely lacks top prospects at the upper levels of the minors with only

Amaury Rivas, the recuperating Mark Rogers and the troubling Jeremy Jeffress showing any sign of potential. This year saw the arrival of Zack Braddock, John Axford and Mike McClendon so maybe better days are ahead but all three work out of the bullpen.

Now that Attanasio has sworn off signing free agent pitchers how in earth is this team ever going to improve?  They better get some ready to start now pitchers. The club can hit with anybody but it is frustrating to constantly watch 5-1 leads turn into 7-6 losses.

Attanasio has already hinted that Ken Macha is gone but so much blame can be placed on him. He was successful managing in Oakland because he had Tim Hudson, Barry Zito and Mark Mulder as his top three starters compared to Yovanni Gallardo, Randy Wolf and …. Doug Melvin also needs to be held accountable for this mess.

AND THE ANSWER IS

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sports pages posts fan polls. Here are some recent Brewers questions and my comments.

1.   If there’s no Prince next year, who would you like to see at 1b?

    The void he will leave goes beyond the field, especially at the pre game meal where shipments of lettuce and celery will sharply decrease.

    2.   Should the Brewers retain Manager Ken Macha after the season?

      His treatment  of Trevor Hoffman alone should get him fired. Can you say “Willie Randolph”?

      3.  Is the problem with the shadows at Miller Park real or imagined?

        If you are Ryan Braun, blame the shadows to cover up your dreadful fielding. If you are anyone else, it doesn’t matter.

        4.  Which team would you rather see win the NL Central?

          ABC – Anyone But the Cubs/Cardinals

          5.  How are you feeling about the Brewers these days?

            Thank goodness Badger football has started. It will be a pleasure to watch a winning team for a change.

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