The Brewers Had Better Win This Year

I’d scarcely remembered hearing Brewers manager Ron Roenicke talk before last night’s NLCS game 2 between the Cardinals and Brewers.

Now I know why.

During his in-game interview on TBS, it became crystal clear why the Brewers on-field behaviors are so out-of-control that they’ve become despised throughout the league.

Apart from Brewers (and presumably Cubs) fans, everyone wants to see them lose to a Cardinals team that, prior to this series, wasn’t exactly a contender for Miss Congeniality.

Tony LaRussa clubs aren’t well-liked because they play old-school and on the edge—they’re not out there to make friends; they’re out there to beat you. The Brewers are reviled because they think they’re better than they are; they behave as if they’ve won 5 championships; and are so overt in their celebrations that their arrogance is palpable.

On the Brewers roster are three players who have championship rings: Francisco Rodriguez, Craig Counsell and Jerry Hairston Jr.

One self-interested pitcher—whose reputation isn’t sterling in any context—and two utility players.

I doubt their voices carry much weight—literally or figuratively—in that clubhouse.

The player with the weight, Prince Fielder, is running things and he’s a sullen, mercurial individual who has come through for his club, but is also the one who has to be viewed as the catalyst for the Brewers act.

Nyjer Morgan can be referenced as the “attitude” behind the Brewers, but it all stems from Fielder. If he told Morgan to tone it down, Morgan would tone it down.

Roenicke is so soft-spoken and understated that the only way to judge him is the way his team behaves. There are managers who don’t say much in the Gil Hodges tradition, but players know not to muck with them and are aware that the manager is in charge.

Roenicke is just sort of there in the Bob Brenly scope of a manager hired not to screw it up. And he hasn’t. Yet.

He had a resume of managing in the minors and was on a well-respected coaching staff for a strong-handed manager Mike Scioscia.

But Scioscia’s teams don’t disrespect their opponents and the game the way these Brewers do.

They can defend “The Beast” silliness in which they raise their arms when they do….whatever; say that it’s all in good fun. But it’s offensive; and what makes it worse is that these players have accomplished absolutely nothing to warrant it. There are teams that expect to win and behave appropriately when they do; and there are teams for whom circumstances have coalesced into a perfect storm so their results are better than the reality.

The Brewers loaded up on starting pitching with Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke joining Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf; they brought in an All Star closer in K-Rod to set-up for John Axford; their two main bashers Ryan Braun and Fielder have carried them beyond a terrible defense and top-heavy lineup.

Teams like this can win with a weak manager, but they’re not in it for the long haul because Fielder’s not coming back after this season and once the novelty wears off and they need discipline, Roenicke isn’t going to be able to provide it.

The potential championship is worth the compromises they’ve made. But they’d better get that championship this year because it’s the only chance this group is going to have.

All of baseball is watching.

And rooting against them.

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  1. #1 by Jeff on October 11, 2011 - 2:42 pm

    You sure are right about this. A while back it was the whole “untucking” of their shirts act. Now it’s “the beast”, which isn’t even original. I’m pretty sure Juan Pierre started that a long time ago. Anyway, it’s aggravating. I don’t mind Nyjer’s craziness so much because he’s always been crazy, but their celebrations are a bit asinine and you’re right: they haven’t won jack.

  2. #2 by Rusty on October 11, 2011 - 4:53 pm

    Where is the limit to what’s tasteful and what’s ostentatious? People often think of baseball in context of the vintage times where the players are not allowed to show any emotion aside from a high five. Dare they not trot too fast or too slow during a home run or they’ll be ridiculed. A rookie pitchers shall not fist pump after making a tough out. The other month on TV, I had heard that a player shall not swing when it’s 3 balls and no strikes, as it’s rude to the pitcher and the other team to do so. Craziness!

    I think that the Brewers are over the top as well, but is this no different than how football players were dancing all over the place at the end zone a while back and still do to some degree today. Why is this proper for football and not baseball? I thought that there were some rule about on field conduct like football now has, but apparently not as the Brewers has gone further than I’ve ever seen any team take things and they do indeed make baseball look bad.

    I remember when I thought that baseball was becoming too distasteful. It was in the early 90s when the Bash Brothers was doing that forearm smashing and the Nasty Boys was all in your face and arrogant about themselves. I found that stuff extremely detrimental to baseball at the time. But then back then some people thought Ozzie Smith back flipping around was rude. Now days, who but the old fart Mike Francesa types would find these things at all offensive?

    The Brewers crap is a lot like that. Some will love it and some will hate it. I consider it inventive and perhaps a precursor to what will be accepted some 20 years from now, but it’s just an eyesore today and has no place.

    Then again, these days you have the infielders hopping up and butt-bumping each other and I consider that horrible, but I’ve never met anyone else who hated it. We all seem to adore the pie in the face stuff that the Yanks has been doing recently and I feel that’s so rude and childish. And you even have the fans doing stuff like hanky waving or clunking noisy things all game long, how is that any better?

    Even though I personally feel baseball as a whole should take a British approach and be all uppity and proper, that’s so 1930s. It’s not how baseball in the 2010s should be like. They should show a little emotion as it’s good for the sport. Obviously it should not be as crazy as going around like bears when they get on base nor flopping like fish around home plate. I personally thought that the league had rules about these things and I am really surprised that the Brewers are getting away with it.

    • #3 by admin on October 11, 2011 - 9:31 pm

      The whole problem results in the common denominator of the umpires and league not allowing teams to police themselves. They knew there could be a problem in game 1 of the series given the history of the two clubs and issued warnings after Prince Fielder got drilled. Maybe a good brawl would clear all the simmering bad blood, but MLB doesn’t want it.
      The Brewers go so far beyond simply raising a hand to celebrate hitting a homer that it’s known and debated everywhere. Some like it, some don’t. I don’t like it. And I’m not alone.
      It’s not “uppity” to behave professionally and even celebrate in a professional manner. They have a bad mix of personalities with the Brewers and a weak manager and that’s why they’re so reviled and ripe for a major fall.

  3. #4 by LOLITA on October 11, 2011 - 5:33 pm

    First, Fielder isn’t sullen…I don’t know where you got that from. He is soft spoken, but not moody/melancholy. Anyone who knows him knows that part of his personality. He gets animated during games and gets pumped up. He has also said numerous times he does not feel comfortable with being a vocal leader. Second, Ron Roenicke isn’t a weak manager by any means. He just doesn’t publicly scorn or shame his players. When Nyjer Morgan made (I’ll admit hotheaded) comment about Pujols…he was promptly off social media for a while. He had lead to them farther into the post season since 82′. I consider that good management along with having a good team.

    Now, again you say baseball is rooting against the Brewers…have you seen or used social media before? A lot of players that are on twitter are wishing the Brewers win or sending tweets to players like Nyjer Morgan to show support. ESPN has written several pieces on why people should root for the Brewers. Citing how nice the club is, the atmosphere, and the fun they brought back into baseball. Why? Because as a team the Brewers are not maliciously trying to goad teams, but honestly having fun. And correct me if I’m wrong, but other teams like the Rangers do celebratory signals. Pujols sits in the box for a good 20 seconds and watches his home-runs then slowly trots around. I dig when teams get into it, I love seeing teams that care, and show it. That goes for other teams besides the Brewers too-if a team we play makes a great hit….I don’t mind if they do a gesture. If Berkman wants to eat donuts after each HR…I wouldn’t care. He earned that run.

    You say people don’t like the Cardinals because they’re competitive and want to beat people. I would say no, because there are plenty of teams that are good and dominate that manage to not garner enemies. So maybe there is something underlying like personalities, ego, and management that makes so many MLB teams hate the Cardinals. Yesterday for example when Pujols hit an RBI double he ran bases and said “adjust this!” When La Russa claims his team does not and wouldn’t engage in any smacktalk while winning a game.

    Plus, La Russa sued twitter over a parody account….yes really. He has no concept of humor and takes himself way to seriously.

    Needless to say, you can find fault with both teams. I just a good series filled with good baseball.

    More articles:

    http://thebrewersbar.com/2011-articles/august/a-short-history-of-tony-la-russas-complaints.html

    http://m.phillymag.com/blogs/the_philly_post/2011/10/04/reasons-phils-fans-hate-tony-la-russa/?no_ad

    • #5 by admin on October 11, 2011 - 9:28 pm

      First things first, the condescension of “have you used social media before” is a bad place to start off with me.
      Fielder, the “leader” who nearly decapitated one of his own teammates—Manny Parra—in the dugout? Who’s always on the verge of starting a fistfight over absolutely nothing as he did with the Mets Tim Byrdak weeks ago and has done before? The Fielder who was (and presumably still is) engaged in a cold war with his dad? Is that the Prince Fielder you’re referring to?
      No one’s saying he has to be a “vocal” leader; there are quiet leaders—do you think Albert Pujols is Mr. Rah Rah? Tony Perez was the leader of the Big Red Machine and barely said a word unless it was necessary. But they behaved appropriately on and off the field and their teammates take their lead as an example, just as the Brewers are with Fielder to a negative resolution.
      I’ve defended Nyjer Morgan and Logan Morrison using social media (which I have used and am quite aware of)—he’s just having fun—but to denigrate Pujols? Nyjer Morgan? Seriously? That’s audacity to its highest degree and totally out of line; and he only did it because he thought the Cardinals were done and the Brewers weren’t going to see them again this season. And he was wrong.
      How you would know how strong or weak Roenicke is is beyond me. I go by what I see and what I see is a team that is shoving success in opponents’ faces and a manager who came from an old-school background and sounds as if he’d rather be anywhere else other than in the glare of the camera having to speak. He manages like a robot with a little small ball sprinkled in and there’s no discipline evident with that team.
      Regarding LaRussa suing twitter for the fake account, that’s his right and I don’t blame him a bit.
      The more overt a team is in their celebrations, the more they set themselves up for a fall and that’s exactly the position the Brewers have put themselves in with their nonsense, whether you like it or not.

  4. #6 by Josh Hamilton on October 12, 2011 - 8:24 am

    Agreed. This is BASEBALL, not football where it’s expected. They’re showboating, and are arrogant enough to think they’re the best in the league, if not all of baseball. I do hope the Cardinals take them down, just so their own arrogance will be their demise.

    • #7 by admin on October 12, 2011 - 5:17 pm

      It’s interesting you mention football because the one thing I’m continually reminded of when the Brewers celebrate everything they do in such a way is the college football practice (not outlawed) of players removing their helmets and essentially bowing to the crowd after every…single…play.
      I don’t think the Brewers activities should be legislated against, but I do think their opponents should be given leeway to police it.

  5. #8 by Chris Reed on October 14, 2011 - 4:54 am

    Now I know why no one has ever heard of you, you suck it analysis. The Brewers are fun to watch, get over it. I don’t root for anyone else’s team, and don’t expect them to cheer for mine. Remember ‘nice guys finish last’? I don’t think they give runs for charm.

    You seem like typical Cardinals fan, all bore no fun.

    • #9 by admin on October 14, 2011 - 1:20 pm

      Nice guys finish last and so do guys who act like morons.
      Glad I’m a typical Cardinals fan.
      Especially since I’m a Mets fan.

  6. #10 by Chris Reed on October 14, 2011 - 3:05 pm

    Yep, even more typical mets fan. Loser to the core.

    • #11 by admin on October 14, 2011 - 3:52 pm

      Glad to see you’ve taken the lead in the intelligence and class of your historically successful and obnoxiously arrogant team; or is it vice versa?
      Lotsa luck.

  7. #12 by Scott Meyers on October 14, 2011 - 7:00 pm

    Your an idiot and you know nothing about the Milwaukee Brewers. Ron Roenicke is not Bob Brenly. Your an idiot….may god bless your soul and anyone else who comes across this blog. I know feel dumber after reading this. Thank you and by the way I’m a Twins fan that lives in Wisconsin. The Brewers better win it this year is funny. I think there here to stick around with an owner committed to winning. Time will tell though in the mean time your blog is a joke and just shows not everyone should be given a keyboard to type whatever they want.

    • #13 by admin on October 14, 2011 - 7:10 pm

      I’m glad there’s an explanation that YOU’RE dumber after reading me; I’d hate to think YOU’RE functioning in society while not knowing which is the proper version of “YOUR/YOU’RE” to use.
      If you think my Brewers posting made me an idiot, maybe you’d like to read my preseason prediction that the Twins would be terrible. Maybe that would improve YOUR opinion of me.

  8. #14 by Chris Reed on October 14, 2011 - 11:43 pm

    Btw thanks for lending us k rod. Not that you were goin to need him in the post season. I guess your right about one thing, I am kinda dumb, I read you opinion.

    Love

    • #15 by admin on October 14, 2011 - 11:55 pm

      Is it so difficult?
      Your. It’s your opinion.
      You’re (aka you are) You’re a dunderhead.
      Get it?

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