Monday, April 5, 2010

Exhibition Baseball Fever - Representin' Ye Olde English D

Really, I should be spending my time this evening saying something about the Bucks, and their hard road now that Bogut is done for the season following his gruesome injury.  If by some stroke of luck you haven't seen this injury replay - you may want to skip it altogether.  It's bad, and nearly on par with the Theismann's leg getting destroyed.

But like Mr. Fitz-Hume, I also spent my time at Miller Park for some exhibition baseball this weekend and given that its opening day, I'd rather talk about that. I'm the resident Tigers fan here, but I enjoy the Brewers and usually go to Miller Park for 5-6 games a year.  Given my aversion to travel in the American South, and the fact that the Brewers and Tigers don't meet in inter-league play this year, these exhibition games were the perfect way to get a preview of my squad before the season started.  The price was right ($10 for seats everywhere in the lower levels) and being within shouting distance of Old Man Leyland is my idea of a fun evening.  So I headed over to the ballpark with a bud of mine on Friday night, and we were disgusted to find that they were charging $10 for parking.  Ugh.  My seats in Section 113, Row 14 cost as much to park the damn car.  Whatever, I just wanted to bust the Olde English 'D' outta my closet, have a few brews, and see Drinky Cabrera, Maggs, and friends.   The seats were great.  Close enough that I decided to break out my newest toy to shoot a few vids. See video below for a little taste of some nice Brewers bases loaded defense late in the game. Clearly, I'm not much of a cinamatographer.

Aside from a brief run in with the standard pain in the ass sawed off runt of a fan who felt the need to tell me the 'Tigers really suck, huh?' after the game, a terrific evening.  I got to see the new Tigers I was curious about up close (Scott Sizemore and Austin Jackson) and caught a nice cross-section of what Max Scherzer is all about.

Then on Saturday, like many other Tiger fans - I was right back in my seats for another go, this time with the entire family in tow.  It's not often I'll get a chance to bring the 4 of us down to sit in infield box seats for under $50, so I thank the Brewers for that.  The wife and boys enjoyed themselves, and I got what I wanted again, but with lots more runs in the second go-round (Tigers hit 5 HRs).  Nice to see that Austin Jackson's bat is hot going into the season, as he looks like he'll ease the pain I felt from losing Baby Grand (my favorite MLBer since Sweet Lou Whitaker).  I was excited to see Joel Zumaya come out for some work, but disappointed once he started throwing.  His control was dismal, at one point throwing 7 balls in a row.  He never touched triple digits either (but did hit 99 mph a couple times).  A far cry from the last time I saw him in person (vs. Milwaukee last year in Detroit) when he came in to strike out Hart in 3 pitches.  All fastballs, going 99, 101, and 103 mph.  Here's Leyland giving him the hook shortly after Santiago let the easy double play ball go through the wickets.

And speaking of Hart, I'm truly disgusted with the number of Corey Hart fans that were in attendance.  Everywhere I looked there was a damn #1 jersey.  Like Mr. Fitz-Hume, I also chalk it up to the low IQ fanbase in attendance more than anything. Hart jerseys and people who don't understand the value of OBP are one thing, but I also had to endure these two jackassess...
...who made it their obnoxious mission all game to be the center of attention by getting up and dancing between almost every pitch.  Thanks guys.  My moment of redemption came when they starting chanting  "Jaaackson.  Jaaaackson.  You Suck!", after which Austin proceeded to hit a blast over the wall in dead center. And then there was the blond bimbo twenty-something female in my row, who wanted to come off as some kind of hitting expert by continuously shouting at Jim Edmonds to "Tighten up your stance! You can't run if you stand like that!!!"  Gee, ya think a guy with 16 years of MLB experience and a career 0.284 average might know a little about how to hit a baseball and get out of the box?  Just a thought.

Some other observations:
1)  Tiger fans really did come out pretty strong.  It was cool to see.

2)  A tip for Gregg Zaun - if you're going to use 'Rush' for your AB music, 'Limelight' is not the best choice.  'Working Man' works much better.

3) Carlos Gomez seems like he has a new lease on life in Milwaukee.  As a student of the AL Central, I've watched him play at Minnesota, and he almost seemed to have a cloud over him because he was the guy they got when they dealt Johan.  He could be a real difference maker on the Brewers (and it looks like he had a stellar opening day against the Rockies)

4) The Tigers have a ridiculous amount of hard throwing pitchers.  Verlander, Scherzer, Zumaya, Coke, Schlereth, and Valverde can all touch the mid to upper 90s routinely.  For better or worse, that's the Dombrowski way - Power Pitching.

5) Brandon Inge remains one of the slickest fielding 3rd basemen in the game.  He made several plays both games that should have been infield singles.  His glove doesn't get enough respect.

6) The jumbo pretzels that Murdock turned me on to last season, are even better when you go with the cinnamon sugar option.  Stay away from the garlic salt though (learned that the hard way in '09 - sorry Section 214).

7) My wife completed her collection of 'Racing Sausage Beanie Babies', purchasing '#4 Hot Dog' on our way out.  If the Brewers want her to continue buying souvenirs, they need to add another sausage to the group eventually.  My suggestion - some kind of smoked sausage.  He can run with a stogie in his mouth or something.  That or a little Vienna sausage, that is some midget in a costume roughly half the size of the others.

For those of you enjoying meaningful baseball today in person - I'm looking forward to your reflections on another opening day at Miller Park.


  1. Gopher - I enjoy watching Zumaya light up the gun as well, but to be honest, I may be able to strike Hart out in 3 pitches. I don't know if he could turn on my 81 mph heater. Note 81 mph heater was last recorded in 1999 at a minor league game in Madison with Duk of Big League Stew fame running the gun. I am guessing my heat is at the Doug Jones 70 mph level right now.

  2. Also glad the pretzel choice worked out for you. Didn't get one yesterday but will probably gram one on Sunday night.

  3. 81 mph is serious stuff. Impressive. Being a lefty, I pitched into my teens, with pretty good effect until my lack of velocity caught up with come Varsity. Had you developed a knuckler, you might be working a more interesting career right now.

    I think you are missing the point on Zoom-Zoom. Its not that it was impressive that he blew Hart away on three pitches last year. It was how absolutely late and ridiculous Hart looked even trying to hit those three pitches. Your 81 mph heater might get him out, but swinging and missing 3 seconds late on a 103 mph-er is way more entertaining!

  4. I was there Saturday and I must give props to the Tigers fans. Not a single issue and they were cool shit. As we rolled up to our spot we were next to 2 tigers fans. They were having some issues putting up the EZ-UP and it was raining. I helped them get it up and they invited us to sit under it to tailgate. We would have been wet as hell if they hadn't offered. Was a cool experience and so much different then dealing with Cubs fans.