You asked, we answered (The finale)
I know what you’re thinking: "Did they really need to do a part 3?"
Quite frankly, the answer is "no." But then again, they didn’t need to make the "Major League" franchise into a trilogy but they did. Besides, we all know bad things happen in threes. Thanks to all who submitted questions. Feel free to email or tweet at us any time with any question and we will save it for a future mailbag!
(TT = Tim Thompson; TB = The Bullpen)
Q: I have four tickets to a Cubs/Brewers game at Wrigley Field, and three buddies who want to go with. How do I tell my wife she’s staying home? (submitted by Saxcat70)
TT: I wish I could lend you The Bullpen's Wayback Machine because your best option would be to establish a long-standing tradition before you say "I do." If your wife knows you have a decade-long tradition before marriage, she should understand and not have a problem with staying home.
If your marriage is years old and you have not established such a tradition, you probably are walking on thin ice. I would probably start with a question along the lines of, "Gee honey, why has it been so long since you went shopping with your girlfriends?" The odds are you will receive some sort of "busy life" answer. If you do, that’s perfect -- but let it sit for a little while before you bring up the game.
After an hour or so, say something to the effect of, "You know what, dear? I’ve been thinking. I have a chance at four tickets to watch the Brewers beat the Cubs at Wrigley, and I know how you hate dealing with that Chicago traffic. What if I took Larry, Darryl and his other brother Daryl while you and the ladies go shopping?"
If this doesn’t immediately send her to the phone to call her friends, you can suddenly "remember" the $50 gift card (to her favorite retailer, naturally) you won in a raffle but left at the office and offer that up as an incentive to spend an afternoon at the mall. (Note: If you did not actually win a gift card, rush to said retailer to pick one up.) Good luck!
TB: So we’re giving relationship advice now? That’s a slippery slope to climb … you know that your very-soon-to-be Mrs. and my Mrs. read this, right?
That said, here’s my advice to you, Mr. Saxcat70: Ditch your buddies, put two of the tickets on StubHub and use the proceeds to fund a romantic overnight getaway for you and Mrs. Saxcat70. If it’s a 1:20 p.m. game, celebrate the Brewers' victory by hopping on the Red Line toward downtown and your nice hotel room along the river. The take her out for a nice dinner, followed by a stroll through Millennium Park.
Trust me, this approach will benefit you far more in the long run than an afternoon of drinking tepid Old Style and peeing in a trough next to your buddies.
Q: If the Brewers weren't planning on bringing up newly acquired IF Jean Segura until September, why did they waive Cesar Izturis? Calling up Segura was the right call, anyway – he hit .433 in his short stint at double-A Huntsville. But how much coin did the Brewers save by letting Cesar go? Was waiving him solely for financial reasons? (submitted by dnd)
TT: I missed my last coffee date with Mr. Melvin, so I am going to have to speculate. My guess is that it had nothing to do with finances. Izturis was a scrap-heap player who, relatively speaking, cost the franchise very little. But why did they not wait until September to call up Segura? He was ripping the ball in AA before he got the call, batting over .400 in eight games. Is that enough evidence to anoint him MLB-ready?
The obvious answer is no, but then again, what do we know? I assume management believes he is at least on the verge of being MLB-ready and at this point have every intention of making him the starting shortstop in 2013. Why not challenge him a bit more now, a plan with minimal downside? Only time will tell if the trade (or early call-up) was the right move but as always, I have faith in Doug.
TB: I have always said, "Trust the mustache," and he very few times has failed to live up to expectations. As Tim said, waiving Izturis had nothing to do with money – he was signed to a one-year, $875,000 deal. Rather, the move was all about clearing a roster spot for "the future," and Izturis was the obvious choice. (He since has been designated for assignment by the Washington Nationals, who claimed him shortly after being released by the Brewers.)
Since being summoned to the big leagues, Segura has shown that he can play shortstop, but has struggled at the plate. He is a free-swinger who rarely walks, but many players are that way at his age, so he just needs to develop more at the plate. It remains to be seen if he will do that as the everyday SS in 2013 or if he will get another season in the minors.
There is another reason Segura landed in the majors so quickly. Once the Brewers gave up on their season and dealt away Zack Greinke to assure they got something in return, the franchise realized that they still needed to do something to keep fans coming through the turnstiles. Milwaukee is a great baseball town … until school starts (unless the Crew is in a playoff race). With the start of school just a few weeks away, you best believe management is doing all they can to keep people interested in a team that is going nowhere fast.
Q: Who is more distracting during a Brewers TV broadcast: (a) Front Row Amy, (b) the bearded man impersonating Front Row Amy, or (c) the drunken bellow of the "C’mon buddy!" heckler heard lately? (submitted by dnd)
TT: After years of not having any sort of broadcast or cable TV in my house, I recently hooked an antenna so that my daughter could watch the Olympic women’s gymnastics competition. Mr. Baseball is no spring chicken and I want to "view" as many Brewers games through his perspective as possible. I’ll defer this one to The Bullpen …
TB: I guess this is time for a confession. I honestly cannot tell you the last time I watched a Brewers telecast, other than to flip over to catch the score. I am frankly embarrassed to admit it, but the Olympics really diverted my attention for the better part of the past month and now football season has begun to dominate my mind. And, every time I happened to catch a piece of a Brewers game on TV or radio, some relief pitcher was giving up runs in the late innings, leading to yet another crushing defeat. Not the best way to keep your fans interested.
Therefore, I cannot answer your question because I have never seen the FRA "impersonator" (I did see a photo, though) and have never heard the "C’mon buddy" catcalls. I will make it a point to watch a broadcast to see if I can catch that – it certainly sounds annoying, if nothing else.
But I do know that FRA is certainly not a distraction for me. She certainly does make the broadcast more, um, scenic. For the record, I do not agree with those who tear her down for her "enhancements" or for her unabashed love for the franchise and/or certain players. I think it’s great that she seemingly has found her passion and believe me, if she were still "Fourth Row Amy" the cameras would find her sooner or later.
Q: What is your opinion on Dusty Baker and the constant criticism he receives, despite the Reds leading their division and having one of the best records in baseball? (submitted by Cory in Cincy)
TT: I really have no opinion on Mr. Baker. I know he’s been around for a while and managed a lot of ball games, so I’m sure he’s an OK guy. Does he get a lot of criticism? I know I’ve seen you post a "Fire Dusty" comment a time or two, but my Twitter timeline is largely filled with Brewers info so I really wasn’t aware of him taking more criticism than any other manager.
Personally, I wouldn’t let the naysayers bother me if my team was in first place with one of the best records in baseball. "Fans" like that usually just make me feel better about my perspective on the game and, really, about life in general.
Since you brought the Reds into the conversation, I will go ahead and say it publicly. I have never -- and will never -- actively cheer for any team other than the Brewers to win, but since it’s obviously not going to be us this year, the Cincinnati Reds are the team I could most tolerate to see winning the whole thing. Or the Pirates. Or the A's. Or the Orioles. Or the Nats. :)
TB: I guess I have heard along the way that Dusty takes a decent amount of flak from Reds fans, but after managing the Cubs and their merry band of whiny fans how bad can Cincinnati truly be? Admittedly I have not spent much time in the Queen City, but it always seemed like a pretty friendly place the few times I have passed through.
I know that Dusty got ripped pretty good during his years in Chicago for his supposed overuse of his pitching staff, to the point that a lot of guys were getting Tommy John surgery (see Wood/Prior). I’m not sure if that is a fair criticism or not, since that surgery is fairly common to all 30 MLB franchises and the blame cannot fall solely on the big-league skipper when both guys were drafted and developed by the Cubs organization.
So, is it fair to criticize Dusty this year, given the Reds’ performance? Probably not, but the Internet gives any moron with a modem and an opinion to scream and cry about whatever they want, and we all know it’s impossible to please all the people all the time. So I will second TT’s advice about not letting the naysayers bring you down.
Oh, and go Pirates!