posted May 17, 2013 / No Comments
Well it’s been a while since I posted here at And For What, and for good reason, too many reasons, really.
We can start with the Screwers, now mired in last place in the NLComedy Central, proud owners of 2-11 record in the month of May, 1-5 on their current road killed trip, struggling tonight against the Mighty Pirates.
The Blewers roller coaster season continues, highlighted by the escapades of the Kingsford Bullpen, base running gaffes that would embarrass little leaguers, and untimely hitting night after night. When Carlos Gomez is the guy carrying your team, the result is a 16-22 record and last place behind the Cubbies. Wow, only 124 games to go.
Secondly we can attribute my lack of stabbing at this out dated keyboard to the fine Wisconsin “Spring” we’ve been having. The grass has finally begun to grow after ridiculous stretches of cold days and nights that extended the winter much longer than necessary and deprived my 28 year old mower a shot at another season of cutting grass. Old Red finally stumbled onto the turf two weeks ago, about six weeks later than last year, and has logged all of three mows in 2013. His record breaking status is under review by the Mowing Commission Of America, so no official word has been announced yet, but there may be cause for celebration soon, or if anything, a new mower before me, and my neighbors, go deaf.
(Oh-oh, the Pirates just jumped ahead, 3-1, imagine that).
Anyway, the real reason I haven’t been blah-gging is good ‘ol Las Vegas got in the way again. As per my usual tendency, trips to Las Vegas are becoming, shall we say, somewhat of a regular occurence since 1999. All told, I have logged some 37 trips to the desert since then, trouncing around The Strip and Fremont Street as a single man in the early stages of these adventures and as a married man since 2006. Luckily for me, Cyndi is a fan of Sin City, if for anything at all, certainly the restaurants more than anything else.
Thus we just returned from our second trip to Vegas for Vegas UnCork’d, a food and wine extravaganza sponsored by Bon Appetit, and hosted by properties like the MGM Grand, Bellagio, Caesars Palace and Mandalay Bay.
If you love food and booze and are hip to the idea that with one flat ticket price you can dine and quaff to your hearts delight in the company of celebrity chefs and people dressed way better than you, than Vegas UnCork’d will work.
It does for us, as it did last Thursday, by ushering us into the newly constructed Hakkasan nightclub, the world’s largest nightclub, mind you, nicely flexing its muscle at the entrance of the MGM and towering five floors escalating skyward. “Decadence” would be one way to describe the 88 million dollar joint, “five floors and a maze of fun” doesn’t do it justice, “amazing beyond belief” probably fits in there somewhere. After six or seven or eight Baby Guinness (don’t ask), four pounds of never before seen appetizers and go-go dancers shimmying in our faces, we finally had enough, slithering out somewhere in the wee hours of the new day, Friday.
That was Thursday night, we waited until Saturday to tee up ticketed event number 2, the Bellagio Block Party, hosted by none other than Todd English, he of culinary fame, and a mess of other fine chefs that lay claim to the names of restaurants like Prime, Yellowtail, Picasso’s and other elite dining monsters that will bring you to your knees when the check arrives.
You see, when you attend these events, you still get to sample as much food as you can possible stomach from all these high priced establishments, plus you’re treated to liquid refreshments from the likes of Patron, Stella Artois, Skyy Vodka and a host of exceptional vineyards.
The Bellagio Block Party, situated between the infamous Jockey Club and Bellagio, is discreetly tucked away from the ogling masses, and lasts from 8pm until 11pm, featuring some listenable noise from the local cover band king, Zowie Bowie, and this year it even threw in a full blown Top Chef style cooking competition to distract those in the crowd interested enough to put down their Patron popsicle and push themselves away from the Skyy Vodka Sno Cone station for a look see. Yes, by 11pm, most everyone in attendance was stumbling out back onto the Strip, where, of course, they fit right in.
Throw in 95 degree blue sky days at the pools during the day at at Mandalay, a dinner at the new Nobu restaurant on Friday and another wallet depleter at the “casual” RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay, and you get the drift. We came, we ate, we survived.
(BTW, Pittsburgh 7, Blew Crew 1, top of the 8th)
Lest I forget, there was of course, the MLB, NHL and the NBA playoffs to wager on in the sports book and a few trips to the felt and video poker machines for good measure.
And yes, and for what, the mandatory trip to Fremont Street for Sigma Derby at the D, shrimp cocktails at Golden Gate, and the obligatory Elvis impersonator World Championship regional finals.
Needless to say, the Stones were in town too, so was Elton John, and, in case you were wondering, yes, the PBR Bull Riding championships, “Last Man Standing”. In fact, that catch phrase could easily have been the theme for our group. As it turned out, Cyndi and me, along with Michael and Mark from LA, we were indeed, the last ones standing when all was said and done. Or in Mark’s case, the first one sleeping Saturday night.
Ladies and gentleman, Vegas is back. Viva Las Vegas!
And For What
And For Vegas
Just one week ago the Scewers were sitting at 2-8, and as I was blogging about their inability to scratch out a single run in the last 32 innings, they inexplicably woke up on the road against the Cardinals and left St. Louis with an extra inning 4-3 victory last Sunday.
It has been nothing but “W’s” since, after a sweep of the reigning World Champion San Francisco Giants, the Blew-Ha’s have been blessed with the arrival of the Chicago Cubs to close out the current home stand at $8.50 Miller Park. When it’s all added up, the Screwers have managed to extricate themselves from the NL Comedy Central basement in the process, evened their record at 8-8, and ironically find themselves just 1 1/2 half out of first.
All of this after the miserable start, highlighted by the ineptitude of the offense in St. Louis, pathetic starting pitching, and a general malaise that was prevalent throughout the entire lineup. All it took, apparently, to kick start the season, was a DUI collected by none other than starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo. Maybe Gallardo’s declaration that too many beers led to his .22 blood alcohol content (nearly three times the legal limit in Wisconsin), rang true with his teammates and the fans, who invariably were feeling the same way. After starting 2-8, drinking a half barrel to forget maybe wasn’t such a bad idea, just hire a driver or catch a cab next time, Yovani.
Suddenly the Blewers are back to banging HR’s, getting decent starting pitching and even acceptable relief efforts from the guys in the Kingsford Bullpen. John Axford seems to be setlting down in the role as a set up guy, so you know what? Leave him there. Let Henderson run it up there in the ninth as long as that’s what’s working, at least for now. Kudos for whoever decided to send Fiers back to Nashville, and a tip of the cap to Burgos for his fine performance yesterday, albeit against the lowly Cubs.
Yes, it appears through my blurry eyesight that the Screwers are once again are up to their old tricks, including some historical base running escapades from Jean Segura Friday night that were simply legendary. They are back to their streaking selves, already putting their fan base through one losing week and now riding another, more entertaining, six game winning streak, and it’s not even the end of April.
So after 16 games, they have managed to shorten the season to 136 contests, leaving me the hope they can still finish 87-75, or 79- 67 the rest of the way. In a division as watered down as the NL Comedy Central, that might just result in a divisional pennant.
Stranger things have happened. Streak on, Brewers, streak on!
And For What
Yeah I know, it's early, and once again Skipper Ron of The Good Ship Roenicke has the injury card to trump all the naysayers. Aramis Ramirez sits on the 15 day DL, Jean Segura missed a couple of games, Chris Narveson in on the DL, Alex Gonzalez missed a couple of games, Braun has, and is a pain in the neck so far, and Corey Hart, the "quick healer", is now on the 60 day DL and not scheduled to return until June.
So for the few players that are healthy, no one is producing, with maybe the exception of Nori Aoki. The Screwers have unloaded a grand total of 5 home runs in 10 games. St. Louis has blanked them in the last two games, and today they drew another doughnut in the first inning. Your RBI leader is Braun with 6, so apparently he is off the PED's for now. Rickie Weeks, jammed into the cleanup role out of necessity, has been pathetic at the plate. As has just about everyone else, including the newly crowned savior named Carlos Gomez, proud owner of the huge contract gift from Doug Melvin and company.
The pitching, which everyone knew would be suspect anyway, has been just that. John Axford has been a total bust, contributing a blown save and basically unable to deliver anything to the plate resembling a major league pitch. The lone starting off season acquisition, Kyle Lohse, has been more than solid in his two outings but has received no run support at all. Gallardo is his typical All-Star for five innings and then Nashville for one horrendous inning, certainly not performing at the caliber of the so-called "Ace" of your staff. Estrada has been serviceable, as has Peralta, but it appears Fiers was a mistake to be included in the starting lineup. As for the bullpen relief, Gonzalez has yet to get anybody out, especially left handers, and Gorzellany, is well, an ex-Cub. Figaro, Badenhop, Henderson and KIntzler, come on, no explanation needed.
Add to that more suspect base running escapades plus a shoddy defense littered with players playing out of position, and you have all the necessary ingredients for a 2-8 start. So where will it end? The World Champion San Francisco Giants come to $8.50 Miller Park next week followed by another series with the Cubbies, who will certainly turn the venue into Wrigley North once again.
As I blog this nonsense, the Screwers are now 21 straight scoreless innings into St. Louis, 28 straight going back to Tuesday in Chicago, thus I would imagine a 2-9 record is not too far away. They say baseball championships can't be lost in April, but with this kind of start and with the lack of depth being exposed with all their injuries, it would appear the biggest Fool's in April are the Brewer faithful themselves.
Here's hoping for everyone involved they can turn it around, but until that happens, there is absolutely no reason to watch this mess, resulting in just another convincing argument to turn on your local Wisconsin radio affiliate and listen to Bob Uecker describe it all to you instead. At least his jokes are funny.
And For What
Here’s today’s powerhouse lineup for Nori Aoki Bobblehead Day At $8.50 Miller Park:
Aoki RF .285
Gomez CF .105
Segura SS .500
Weeks 2B .421
Gonzalez 3B .063
Schafer LF .500
Betancourt 1B .250
Maldonado C .000
Gallardo P .000
Notably absent: Ramirez, now on the 15 Day DL, ensuring yet another slow start, and Braun, day-to-day, with a pain in his neck.
Also the absence of Corey Hart has created a ripple effect throughout the stagnant offense. Not a real positive vibe going up against the likes of Ian Kennedy and the rest of the Snakes today.
Add to that a pathetic performance from just abut everyone in the starting rotation (excluding Lohse), plus the fiasco known as John Axford in the closers role, and you have the recipe for 1-4 homestead and a four game losing streak.
Albeit it’s only April 7th,but the panic buttons have been pushed repeatedly already, and it appears the Screwers are heading into a permanent home at the bottom of the NL Comedy Central, at least for April.
Blew Notes: The team ERA is 5.48 which ranks Mildoggie 13 out of 15 in the NL, and 27 out 30 overall in MLB. Axford has given up a blown save, 3 HRS and owns a 21.60 ERA in two appearances. Braun leads the team in RBI with 4. Chris Davis of Baltimore has 17 RBI to lead the majors through 5 games.
And For What
For those of us that endured many horrible April games at the old County Stadium grounds, news that temperatures will be in the 30′s today in Milwaukee stir up fond memories of Opening Days past. If you were one of the frigid faithful that piled into school buses year after year in the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s to see your beloved Screwers get crushed time and time again, you know what I’m talking about.
You were there despite the rain, snow, sleet and ice, crappy baseball and games that finally started at 4pm, the stadium nearly empty, as Bud seig made the rounds adding up the concession tape receipts. It really didn’t matter if the Blew-Ha’s won or lost, it was a day off of work, or if you were unemployed, a heavier day of drinking than the day before.
It was bus trips, and tailgate tents, the party was on the asphalt and concrete outside the ugly confines of County Stadium, because after all, who wanted to pay the outrageous prices for $2 beers inside the ball park? You got your buzz on before the game, then hung on until the driver tossed you out into the Park ‘n Ride once you were back in Madison, or maybe it was back at he bar you started from. Any way you look at it, Opening Day translated into one big party.
And that is why, now in the age of climate-controlled stadiums like Miller Park, that the real zest for Opening Day has all but vanished. It doesn’t matter now if its 35 degrees or 65 degrees, (as it happens every ten years or so), you are guaranteed a warm and dry seat for a game that will start on time and have you back home rested and ready for work the next day. Where’s the fun in that?
What has changed is the price tag once you get inside the ball park. I’ll refer to it a s $8.50 Miller Park until I hear otherwise from the faithful attending today – since that was the price I paid the last time I visited there, that being the price for a big, screw-top plastic bottle of Lite beer. Beer in a plastic bottle, it doesn’t get much better than that, huh?
The photo above ($6.75) is dated, probably two years old. The point being, now, more than ever, you better get your game on in the parking lot because, unless you are making six figures plus, it is simply way too expensive to consume large quantities of suds inside $8.50 Miller Park. THe days of catching a round for the boys with a $20 bill and still tipping the vendor vanished the last time Pedro Garcia strode to the plate. Now, hombre, you better pack at least a couple of C-Notes in the old George Castanza wallet, or make sure your debit card has been re-charged before you step up to the all-you-can-drink plate at $8.50 Miller Park.
So, if anyone attends the game today, please report back to me here or on Twitter the going rate for a nice, flat, warm draft of the beer that used to taste great and was less filling. These days your wallet is filled less and nothing tastes like actual beer.
Opening daze indeed.
And For What