Only two days remain of the year that was 2010. In honor of all the hope and joy a New Year brings, I would like us all to raise our glasses. Let’s take a look back at some of the high’s and low’s of our 2010 Brewers:
The Collapse of Trevor Hoffman — I think it is safe to say that we all anticipated Trevor having another typical season. After all he posted the second lowest overall ERA of his career for the Brew Crew in 2009. As the 2010 season got underway, you could just tell his fountain of youth was getting a little foamy. He was blowing saves faster than Kim Kardashian……..you get my point. In ’09 he recorded 37 saves and a 1.83 ERA. Not to mention he made his 7th All-Star game appearance in a Brewers uniform. In just the month of April, in this the year of our lord 2010, he gave up more home runs and earned runs than in all of 2009. He then went on to blow 5 out of his next 10 save opportunities.
Jeff Suppan is so bad, he gets put in the bullpen, then released — It is no secret that I never wanted Jeff Suppan. He is the Joker to my Batman, the piss in my vinegar, the getter of my goat. I made it no secret that I hated this signing back when it happened, that fateful Christmas Eve of 2006. His ERA this season was an unforgivable 7.84. He made two starts and lost them both. Jeff pitched 31 innings and collected just shy of $13 million dollars. For those of you playing the home game, that is $411,290 per inning. This is the low I am most happy to forget in 2010. Then again, it paved the way for one of my favorite moments too. In his pathetic three and a half year term as my enemy, he was nothing more than a wasted investment.
The Rick Peterson Experiment — We all wanted this to work out. Like many of you, I thought his unique mixture of psychology and physics would make our pitchers better. It just never seemed to rub off on the pitching staff. This should have been a perfect union, he had already served under Macha (Oakland A’s) and Willie Randolph (NY Mets). All you have to do is look at the numbers and they will tell you everything you need to know. Team ERA OF 4.59, in 162 games the team only recorded 3 shutouts, of the 25 players who took the mound this season 14 of them had ERA’s of higher than 4.00. Peterson was brought in to improve the pitching, but it pretty much stayed the same. Did he deserve another year? Probably, but baseball is a game of results. Peterson did not get enough results to warrant a spot on this new coaching staff.
Doug Davis and LaTroy Hawkins — Our big Free Agency acquisitions going in to the 2010 season. Talk about lame ducks. Even Howard the Duck would say these two were beyond pathetic. Some of you will say, “but Lou, they were injured”. So what?!?!?! They still collected 7.5 million dollars. Doug Davis was no good the first time he was here, so we traded him. Why on earth would we think his time in the desert made him better?!?!? He pitched 38.1 innings this season, while collecting $4.25 million. That puts him at just under $112k per inning. LaTroy was no better!! He threw a skull blistering 16 innings and got paid $3.25 million. $203,000 per inning! I saved these two for last for a reason. In my lifetime the Brewers have made hundreds of poor decisions, but I have never seen them set money on fire right before my very eyes. Uncle Mark would have been better putting that money into a Circuit City chain, or Enron, maybe even producing ‘Jonah Hex 2’.
Yovanni Gallardo — In a season where our pitching staff looked like the Titanic, we did have one lifeboat at full capacity. He posted a solid 14-7 record and recorded 200 strikeouts. Yo started 31 games and only surrendered 12 home runs in the launching pad known as Miller Park. Oh yeah, he also had a .254 batting average, .329 OBP, and an impressive 4 home runs. The Crew must have known that Yo was the real deal because they gave him a 5 year $30 million dollar contract extension, just before the start of the season. One of the few instances this year where I agreed with management about a signing. In 2011 it is hard to say what kind of numbers he will put up, but something tells me that having Greinke and Marcum will only make him better.
June 7th — You may be asking yourself, “Lou, why is this day important”. 06/07/10 is a date I have considered getting tattooed on my chest. Truly one of the greatest days in the history of Milwaukee Brewers baseball. This was the day that the Brewers released Jeff Suppan. It was on this day that we agreed to pay Suppan to play someplace else. For three and a half years I had to hide my true spite for him and his contract. It was not his fault though, all he did was piggy-back his 2006 NLCS MVP into a huge contract. Sadly, the Brewers ended up being the chumps who took the bait. Luckily for all of us, June 7th was the day management was able to swallow their money and watch him throw home runs into the sunset.
Hoffman’s 600th Career Save — He had a really rough year. At one point I seriously doubted if he would even get the chance to save enough games to hit this unprecedented milestone. Trevor Hoffman is the only pitcher in the history of the sport to have saved 600 games. While very few of them happened while he was in a Brewers uniform, this monumental moment happened at Miller Park. For a fan base that has had very little “history” since Yount had his 3,000th hit, they could not have cared if he was only a Brewer for that day. When I try to explain to Mariners fans why Brewers fans are better, I show them the video of Hoffman’s 600th save. Mariners fans would have left that game in the 6th or 7th inning, but that stadium is still full of Brew Crew faithful. It almost brings a tear to my eye, but then I remember that I am a man and then the tear goes away.
The Trade — I landed in Chicago O’Hare Int’l Airport on Saturday night December the 18th in order to visit my family for the holidays. When we landed I turned on my phone and checked the ol’ Twitter account and I almost peed in my pants. Word on the street was that the Brewers had a deal in place to land 2009 AL Cy Young winner, Zack Greinke, in a trade. Now, being a Brewers fan it is very easy to just let these rumors roll of your back, but this one felt different. Naturally I informed my father, who shared my cautious enthusiasm. When I awoke the next morning, the deal was done. Literally overnight, the Brewers went from pretenders to contenders. This could end up being the greatest trade in the history of the franchise. At this very moment I still am so full of optimism that I do not even see the other side of the coin. Imagine what an arm like this will do when he gets to face a pitcher instead of a DH. If you are a real Brewers fan, how could this have not been the best thing about 2010 for the Brewers? It certainly was for me. Can not wait to get my Greinke jersey.
If you have other things that you think are worth acknowledging, or that maybe I missed, let me know. This blog is for Brewers fans, by Brewers fans. My optomism for this team has NEVER been higher, which could mean a worse than usual fallout, but I will worry about that next year.
To all of my readers, have a safe and Happy New Year. Please, please, please, for the love of Lindsay Lohan do not drive drunk. If you do, you might miss the 2011 World Series……..I’m not sayin’……I’m just sayin’. Until next time, I’m not Dick Clark… saying goodnight.