Ah, Spring Training, where hope always springs eternal, especially for teams like the Cubs and the Brewers, long time members of the Arizona Cactus League. We know the Cubs pathetic history, but does it really hold promise for Milwaukee in 2013 too?
I certainly thiught so just one month ago, when I boldly predicted an 87-75 finish for this year’s version of Ron Roenicke’s crew. Maybe a Bud selig Wild Card berth, or even an NL Comedy Central title. However, it seems the vibes of bad karma have found their way to Maryvale for the Brewers, highlighted by several key factors, here’s a list of them:
The World Baseball Classic: Roenicke has fourteen players absent for this MLB marketing tool for two weeks in March, including both his starting and backup catchers. For a team with just two returning starters, this is more than just an inconvenience. It will certainly be interesting to see how the chemistry of the pitchers and catchers blends once everyone finally assembles back together, albeit for two short weeks before April 1st, the season opener. Carlos Gomez opting out of the Classic to stay in Arizona is not enough to offset these departures at a critical time of Spring Training.
Ryan Braun: Once again the smoke alarm has gone off, this time in south Florida, in a non descript strip mall storefront run by none other than Anthony Bosch, the grand poobah of PED use. Braun has claimed innocence, albeit mostly through his attorney, refusing to specifically explain why his name is on the same sophisticated legal pad accounting system that Bosch uses, under names like Alex Rodriquez and Melky Cabrera. After a season thst shut up most of his critics, Braun once again must answer to the catcalls at opposing ballparks, at least until further notice. Will this latest PR debacle diminish his producrion in 2013? Only time will tell. Odds are Lucy will continue to put up big numbers, and continue to pay heavy legal billls.
Injuries: For the second straight year, Corey Hart and Matt Gamel are already on the IR with knee injuries, Gamel is done for the season, maybe for his career. Hart is allegedly out until mid-April, maybe May. This means first base is an open audition, with utility man Alex Gonzalez, rebounding from a knee injury himself , the early leading candidate to fill Hart’s shoes, at least until he comes back after regular season in already underway. Gonzalez has never played first base in his life. When it is all sais and done, this is not a good way to start the season. I believe Roenicke was counting on some solid offensive and defensive output from Hart, who looked very comfortable in that role as the season wore on in 2012;
Finally, perhaps the biggest sign that bad karma is hanging over Maryvale, is the most recent heist of Guido, the Italian Racing Sausage. Thankfully his abductors returned him this morning to a tavern somewhere in Cedarburg, but for a few desperate hours it appeared the Brewers might be without yet another key piece to their upcoming season, one of their coveted Klement’s Racing Sausages.
I’ll stick to my 87-75 prediction for this edition of Milwaukee’s major league baseball franchise, but only because I already put it out there. If the bad karma continues, perhaps the “under” wager on 79 wins that Las Vegas oddsmakers have posted is really the paved road to the Pay Window.
Until then, Hope Springs Eternal.
And For What