Each Sunday evening we will review our favorite and least favorite events of the previous week, and share our perspective on how the team is doing. Please enjoy responsibly.
Cheers! (Best event/news of the week)
Scooter Gets Set on Fire and No One Complains: Scooter Gennett has had an eye-opening first half, including brilliant back-to-back performances on Wednesday and Thursday last week. First, he helped Milwaukee avoid being swept by the Nationals with a 5 RBI day including his first career grand slam. The next afternoon, Gennett launched a pinch-hit two-run homer against Colorado. After that game, his teammates had a little fun at his expense by setting Gennett on fire.
This prank amused me a great deal more than it probably should have, and not because of anything to do with the prank itself. A practical joke involving fire in this day and age seems like exactly the kind of thing that would start a minor outrage storm on social media. “What kind of example is this setting for our children?” and all that rubbish. The players would issue brief apologies and the organization would release a statement saying of course the Brewers believe in fire safety and no one should try that kind of thing at home.
As far as I can tell, no apologies were issued, and we all went on with our lives. I’m surprised and proud of how mature we apparently are.
Buzzkill (Worst event/news of the week)
Challenge System Kinks Show Up in Rockies Series: Since instant replay is still a novelty in baseball, we knew it would take some time for them to smooth things out. The main issue so far is that some of the replays take three to four minutes, when anything worth overturning should be obvious much earlier. Any replay that takes longer than 90 seconds clearly does not meet the “clear and convincing” standard we’ve come to expect. Also, I’ve been under the impression the manager had to make a challenge within 30 seconds of the play being complete.
There were a couple of replays during the Rockies series that demonstrated there’s still work to be done. On Thursday, it looked like Lyle Overbay may have been doubled off at first base, but was ruled safe. The Rockies challenged, and although it was close the ruling stood after 2 minutes and 44 seconds. That needs to be tightened up. Then on Saturday, Rockies manager Walt Weiss challenged a caught stealing play that ended the eighth inning well after the end of the play – the Rockies pitcher had even started warming up for the ninth.
These are basically minor issues that hopefully will be resolved soon, but it really is a drag that MLB hasn’t figured out how to enforce replay rules consistently after three months.
Have One on the House (Brewers player who deserves a drink)
Alfredo Figaro: After Tuesday’s torturous 16-inning loss to Washington – in the middle of a 20-games-in-a-row stretch – the Brewers needed some relief for their relievers. They called up Figaro (I assume in the middle of the night) even though he had thrown 22 pitches just hours earlier. He made it to Milwaukee in time to throw two perfect innings against the Nationals the next afternoon. That’s not a bad day’s work.
Time to Sober Up, Pal (Brewers player who made me want to drink)
Martin Maldonado: Coming off the bench on Friday in the seventh inning, Maldonado stuck out – but not before he thought he drew a walk on ball three of the at-bat. Maldonado made it almost all the way to first base before noticing he was being called back. Now that’s just silly.
Funny enough, in a 2007 game against the Brewers, Albert Pujols took a walk on ball three and no one noticed. I guess Maldonado wasn’t committed enough to the bit.
Back on the Wagon (Thoughts on the week ahead)
The Brewers haven’t played in Toronto since 2005, and it sure feels like it. I have few strong feelings about the Blue Jays, but if Paul Molitor won a World Series MVP with them, they can’t be all bad. Interestingly, the first game of the short series falls on Canada Day. Could that mean an especially festive atmosphere at the Rogers Centre? If the Brewers could spoil a national holiday for the home fans, that might be a fine bit of schadenfreude for those of us listening to the game at work at eleven damn thirty in the morning.
The Brewers celebrate Independence Day in Cincinnati this year. Bloody hell, they really need to get some wins against the Reds. I suppose the Brewers could lose all their remaining games to Cincinnati and still make the playoffs. It just wouldn’t sit right if the Brewers had one of their best seasons but still had a losing record to a division rival. Even if the Brewers can’t turn it around against the Reds, at least I’ll always have this to comfort me.
(Image: Associated Press)