Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February 5- Milwaukee Brewers

Today just seemed like the perfect day to roll out in this Milwaukee Brewers hat. After all, today is the day I went back to bartending. Coincidence!?!? Actually, not really. I had been saving this hat for today since I started this blog. It was only a matter of time before I went back to schlepping beers at Max’s Tavern, so I kept this one to the side. What is incredibly surprising about wearing this hat today is the breaking news about Ryan Braun being named on the latest list of Biogenesis “clients.” Someone pointed this out on my Instagram account earlier, thinking I had put the hat on after the news broke. I can assure that this is not the case. I actually don’t have internet at my house, and since my first class is at 9 AM PST I always pull out the hat I’m going to wear around 7:30 AM PST before I jump in the shower. Even based on East Coast time, most peoples’ days are just getting started. So think what you will, I was just as surprised as anyone else when all of these factors joined forces like news-clustered form of Voltron. (By the way, Pidge Green Boy was always my favorite.)

As far as currently used On Field caps are concerned, this hat has been in my top 10 since it was first introduced back in 2000. I’ve always been a huge fan of navy blue, so there’s a point right there. The gold trim the Brewers had incorporated back in 1994 gave them another point. But the real selling points are the styling of the “M” logo, and most important, the stalk of wheat being used as an underlining border. So money! Going back to the color; since I was a youngling I have always incorporated navy blue into the vast majority of my wardrobe selections. I kid you not; my middle school assistant principal thought I was a member of the Crips. This point is made to be even more hilarious considering that I was living in Bakersfield, California; a city notorious for its lack of racial diversity. Nonetheless, when I got older and this hat became available, I jumped at it. I had lost my original one a number of years ago, but picked this one up in October of 2011. October of 2011 was an equal interesting time in my life as I had marked this hat up about a week before Ryan Braun won the National League MVP award. Since then, things have just gotten weird.

#8- This choice, at the time at least, was a no brainer. Braun had easily won the Rookie of the Year award back in 2007 with absolutely ridiculous numbers: .324/34/97. People talk about how much of an impact Mike Trout had this last season with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, hell, I remember when analysts were saying the exact same thing about Braun; however, he only finished at 24 on the MVP voting list. That one has always left a weird taste in my mouth. Between 2008 and 2011 Braun only hit below .300 once, and that was in his second year when he hit .285; which doesn’t exactly qualify for a sophomore slump. Every year Braun dominated Major League pitching. For as young as he is, and as quickly he’s been operating, Braun was certainly carving out a Hall of Fame career. When he won the MVP in 2011 it came as a small surprise to me, but only for the sake the Prince Fielder had an equally amazing season. And usually when two guys on the same team are just as dominant as the other, someone on another team usually takes home the gold; obviously not in this case as Fielder finished third. All was fine and dandy in the sports world, until the news broke.

I was in Portland visiting my family when the story came out about Braun failing his drug test. At first I laughed, as he was one of the few players that I would have never suspected of taking Pads. Even commissioner Bud Selig was taken aback, as a few months prior he had mentioned Braun’s name as one of the few “good guys” to be playing the game today. Having never met Braun I couldn’t exactly dispute the “good guy” moniker Selig gave him, but from everything I had seen on the field, he seemed pretty legit. It would be a few months before the Braun story got resolved, in his favor. Like a lot of people, I thought the resolution of the investigation of the transportation of Braun’s piss seemed a bit hokey; however, after talking to my girlfriend Angie Kinderman (she’s going to PA school), apparently it is incredibly easy to screw things up (This bit of the information I became privy to tonight). So, Braun was cleared, and Selig had his white knight back in the ring.

When I got selected as a MLB Fan Cave finalist one of the issues we were not allowed to talk about publicly was Braun and his PED allegation. Even now, I still found that to be incredibly stupid, especially considering the fact that he was acquitted. Nonetheless, I kept my mouth shut... for a bit at least. My biggest concern for 2012 was how Braun was going to deal with the increased amount of pressure because of his offseason. Much to everyone’s chagrin, he lit things up. In Braun’s MVP year he went .332/33/111 and the Brewers made the playoffs behind him AND Fielder. In 2012, Braun silenced the critics with a blistering .319, a League leading 41 home runs and 112 RBI. He finished second in the MVP voting behind Buster Posey. Had the Brewers made the playoffs, we might have had the 13th back-to-back MVP. BUT… as we found out today, that would have made for a truly awkward back-to-back offseason.

I doubt this will be the only time we hear of this nonsense this season too. I think with the wave of suspicion that has floated over Braun's head this situation will be his undoing. I'm really not sure when during the season action will be taken, maybe June or July, but it unfortunately will. Such a shame too. He's one hell of an athlete.

#11- My first three year of high school were spent at Centennial High School in Bakersfield; however, my senior year took place at Columbia River High School in Vancouver, Washington. At some other point down the road I’ll give you the skinny on why that was, but not tonight. One of the rival high schools for Columbia River sat on the outskirts of town in a farming community called Brush Prairie where Prairie View High School sat. In 1993, well before I moved there, a 6’6’’ first baseman/left fielder got drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 24th round. He had a decent run with the Indians, but really made his mark with the Brewers from 2000-2003. Richie Sexson made his only two All-Star appearances in 2002and 2003 with the Brewers as he went .276/133/398 in the four seasons he played in Milwaukee. In two of those seasons he hit 45 home runs, and for a time, he was the only offensive threat the Brewers had. After he left the Brewers his career waned, except for one solid year in Seattle (2005). I’ve always been a big supporter of his, and all the times I met and hung out with him in Portland he seemed like a really cool dude. While most in Seattle will criticize his existence, I keep my praise high for him.

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