Angst & Ecstasy (or “A Winter of Content & Discontent”)

Wow…the past 168 hours have seen its share of ups and downs in Brewers’ nation:
One Brewers’ home has been a venerable paradise–lots of sun, warm temperatures, and consistently warm temperatures…the other, a stark, bleak, and dreary place covered in haze, chilled by bitter winds, and surrounded everywhere with snow, snow, and more snow.
Also, some members of Brewers’ nation are seeing the glass as half full, and are filled with hope, optimism, and excitement…still others are frustrated, bitter and, perhaps, downright angry.
You would think the happy ones would be the ones that are where the sun is shining, right? Not so.
First the happy people–Brewers’ fans started lining up Thursday night outside of Miller Park to be the first to grab single-game tickets that went on sale Saturday morning at 9 a.m., braving lows in the teens, at least 4″ of snow Friday night, and winds of over 20 m.p.h. to be the first to see their beloved Brew Crew (or their Cubs, as rumor has it some Flatlanders migrated north to get tickets to see their team in Milwaukee) in their quest for the 2007 NL Central crown. On the Brewers’ web site around 5 a.m. this morning (more on that later), the Brewers posted that only 2,000 opening day tickets remained, and that most were standing-room only (my roadtrip was cancelled at 2:37 a.m., when my buddy, a county trooper that had spent all night digging cars out of the ditch, informed me that the Wisconsin DOT still had not finished plowing I-94 to Milwaukee, due to the 1-2″ of expected snow actually surpassing 6″).
Now for the grumpy people…some of the players are, apparently, not as happy:
* Geoff Jenkins is irritated with the likelihood that he’ll be platooned in left-field with fellow millionaire Kevin Mench…even going so far as to ask for a trade if he can’t be an everyday player. Brewers’ skipper Ned Yost is hiding any remaining ill-will towards Jenkins, indicating that both Jenkins and Mench should want to be everyday players and that some good old healthy competition will bring out the best in both of them and that the result will be a better team.
* Kevin Mench is equally unhappy with the platoon, implying that he still thinks he’ll be dealt before the start of the season.
* Ben Sheets is mad at someone from last year, too. Seems Big Ben thinks a teammate or coach thought he was faking or at least not willing to play through one or both of his injuries from last year. At least it sounds like he’s using that to motivate him to disprove his critics.
There is at least one happy camper–after some bitter contract negotiations, Tony Graffanino, reportedly, is glad to be sporting the Blue and Gold again in ’07:
"It doesn't matter anymore," he said. "I'm here to help this team win. I want to win. ... I was just telling Prince [Fielder] today at the batting cage, a lot of guys go into Spring Training confused and they don't know what's going to happen, and everything always seems to work itself out. I've been around long enough to see that happen."
Glad at least one player has figured it out.
David Hannes
Copyright 2007

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