Happy Trails, Brooks Conrad


Ah, Brooks. In the early spring, it seemed that your career would finally blossom like those first buds of Wisconsin wildflowers. You were a hard-hitting infielder that looked like an answer to our offensive woes.

This did not turn out to be the case. And so, late last week – we sent you off to Nashville with the unenviable title of “Designated for Assignment.” It simply was not meant to be. Like an early spring, you flowered for a short time with Milwaukee, showed promise of renewal and better days to follow. But with one cold day, you wilted – seemingly never again to come about with success.

There was nothing particularly special about the career Brooks Conrad has had up until he was released by Milwaukee this week, and then picked up by the Tampa Bay Rays.

At one point in his career, Conrad was sought over by Major League ballclubs. He had three somewhat productive years in Atlanta, but for some reason, he could just never catch on anywhere. Milwaukee fans hoped that would change. He seemed like the just right kind of scrappy, hard-working guy that always found a home with the Brewers and just got his job done.

Only he didn’t.

He didn’t even get his first hit until June 3rd. And his only other two hits came two days later. So when it was time to bring Thornburg in for his taste of the show, it was an easy bet who was going down. The guy with the .075 batting average doesn’t have to guess who’s getting the short straw. It’s part of the game – if you can’t get the job done, there’s someone waiting in the wings who will. You can guarantee that.

But you can also guarantee – some of the time, anyway – that you WILL get another shot. Once you’ve been to the show (especially with the regularity of a guy like Brooks) you know there’s another team who’s willing to take a chance on you. For Conrad, Tampa Bay was that team. They saw his promise, looked over his stats, and decided that one more warm body who could swing a bat might not be such a bad thing. Luckily for the Rays, Brooks Conrad is just such a warm body. He can also swing the bat, albeit with less regularity than most of his replacements.

And wouldn’t you know it, old Brooks was back on a Major League team in a matter of days from his

reassignment. in fact, that SOB got three hits in six at-bats. He’s hitting .500 as a Ray right now – a nearly 700% increase in performance in about a sixth of the time span.

Maybe he didn’t like hitting in the National League anymore. Maybe he preferred a run-down dome to the retractable roof. Maybe he’s just getting lucky.

For a lot of minor league journeymen, that’s more often the case.

Whatever the reason being, we’re happy to report that Brooks Conrad does indeed know how to baseball again. Just not for us. But there are no hard feelings, Brooks. We wish you all the best.

Or at least an average over .100 for the rest of the season.