If you are a faithful reader of Reviewing the Brew, you’ll remember that almost exactly a year ago to the day this website’s staff got a little bigger. Reviewing the Brew added a young, ambitious, and devilishly handsome writer by the name of Colin Bennett, and nothing in the world of Brewers blogging would ever be the same again.
That is a complete exaggeration, of course, but this chain of events does allow me to explore a very fun situation. You see, it has in fact been one year since I became a member of this two-man wonder team of Brewers news and opinions, and it also happens to be New Year’s Eve. For those of you who are unaccustomed, it also begins the two most boring months in the Major League Baseball calender. This complete and total lack of excitement means that the only thing we can really do is look back on the year that was, from the veiwpoint of the Brewers and the staff here at RtB.
We begin our journey with the long, slow build up to the opening of the regular season.
In official Brewers news, January saw a slew of changes for the team. Veteran reliever Trevor Hoffman (at the time the all-time saves leader) hung up his cleats for good. The Crew then signed relievers Kameron Loe and Takashi Saito to fill out the bullpen, and Prince signed a massive deal to keep his big bat in Milwaukee for one more year.
At Reviewing the Brew, I was very concerned about the arbitration process, gave a little love to BJ Surhoff, and I got yelled at a whole bunch about my projections for the Division Standings. Lou started the year off right with some hot chicks, introduced to us to our collective man crush with Scooter, and got all worked up about Kotsay and Marcum.
The calendar rolled on into February, and the Brewers began gearing up in earnest to make a run at the NL Central. In February, we found out that Greinke didn’t know how to pander to Wisconsin sports fans as he picked the Steelers to win the Super Bowl (nice one, Zack.) Marcum also got his deal after nearly a month of talks with the team, and Rickie drew his line in the sand about his contract. A bunch of young players – Gamel, DeFelice, and Lucroy, to name a few – intended to prove they belonged on the team. Only Lucroy succeeded in that effort in a real way. By the end of the month Betancourt looked very good, and both Lucroy and Hart found themselves sitting out the beginning of Spring Training.
In RtB coverage, we learned the depths of Lou’s hatred for Kotsay, his love for Axford’s mustache, and he got to say an early goodbye to Prince Fielder. I, on other hand, spent the month telling you why you shouldn’t worry about Rickie, why you should feel bad for Mat Gamel, and why baseball is awesome. All in all, it was a pretty solid month.
If one word could define the Brewers Spring Training, it was injuries. Milwaukee plugged along in the Cactus league with many players giving it their best effort in replacement for injured starters, and the offense still proved that they had the same old pop from the 2010 campaign. Carlos Gomez proved to be one of those offensive sparks, and the benefit of hindsight had not yet reared its head on Eric Almonte. Also, we found out that Zack Greinke is not a good post-up player and should never be allowed within 50 feet of basketball for the remainder of his contract.
In the blogosphere, I introduced the All-Brewers team, gave a shout out to Saito for his struggles with the Japanese tsunami, and seemed very optimistic about the Brewers’ offense. Lou gave some props to the Brewers farm system, made fun of Zack Greinke, and gave his recommendations about who should be on the bench, and got all sorts of jacked up about opening day.
So that rounds out the first part of the Brewers 2011 campaign. It was fun, exciting and wholly uncharted territory for many Brewers fans and we had a lot of fun doing it. Have a happy and safe New Year’s everyone and stop by tomorrow to see part 2 of our look back. I can’t guarantee it will cure your hangover, but it will be better than a hugging a toilet all morning.