|10 things I hate about Brew|
By Jim Armstrong
Special to Page 2
Talk about a room with a view. Bud Selig's office rests 20 stories above Milwaukee, the only town he's ever called home. The glass wall to the left of his desk offers a postcard look at Lake Michigan. Yes, he once told me, a cool dip sometimes sounds like a plan.
Beats going to Miller Park at any rate.
What, you think Marquette got spanked by Kansas? That was a moral victory compared to the Brewers' opening homestand, when they were swept by the Giants to fall to 0-6. So what else is new? These are the Boys of Bud we're talking about. They finished 56-106 last season and haven't made the playoffs since '82. Since then, they've become about as popular in Milwaukee as Chardonnay.
If Detroit is the bad baseball capital of the world, Milwaukee is its sister city. At least Tampa has bikinis and palm trees, not to mention the occasional Lou Piniella temper tantrum to keep the fans amused. Milwaukee? They've got the best ballpark food in America, but the product on the field is enough to make you lose your lunch.
While those other small-market misfits, the Royals and Pirates, have provided a flicker of hope for their fans, Selig's former and future team -- he's put the franchise in a trust until he pulls the plug on his current gig -- keeps stumbling through the motions. And to think, he wanted to contract the Twins and Expos.
The Brewers are in trouble, all right. They were a league-worst 31-50 at home last season, when attendance dropped by almost 850,000 at the House that Bud Built. Hey, stuff happens when you score the fewest runs in the league (627) and have the worst team ERA (4.73) this side of Coors Canaveral. The only positive development was that they didn't break their own major league record for strikeouts.
As ugly as things are in Milwaukee, don't go blaming Bud for this mess. He not only switched the Brewers to the National League, where their hitting problems figured to be less glaring, he led the charge for a new ballpark in his hometown and managed to squeeze some more petty cash out of George Steinbrenner to help the game's small-market stepchildren.
What else could Selig possibly do for the Crew? Lots of things, now that you asked. He is, after all, the commissioner. He can do whatever he wants, as long as Don Fehr says it's OK.
After considerable exhaustive debate, we at Page 2 have devised 10 new rules that Selig should institute on behalf of the Bad News Brewers. We even came up with a name for them just to, you know, make it all sound official. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the Selig Decrees:
1. The Brewers shall receive the first pick in the draft every year. All other major league teams shall be required to use their No. 1 draft picks on players represented by Scott Boras.
2. Opposing leadoff hitters shall be required to consume four brats upon reaching first base against a Brewers pitcher.
3. Tuesdays at Miller Park shall be fastballs-only nights for opposing pitchers. Any pitcher detected throwing a breaking ball to a Brewers batter shall be required to trade in his Mercedes and buy a Taurus from Selig Ford.
4. All managers named Ned shall receive no less than a wild-card playoff berth.
5. When the Brewers play in an American League city, the home team shall use Ed Charles' brother, Ray, as its designated hitter.
7. Opposing teams shall wear wool retro jerseys whenever the temperature exceeds 85 degrees in Milwaukee.
8. In the event the Brewers reach Game 7 of the World Series, the opposing team shall be managed by Roy Williams.
9. Any pitcher opposing the Brewers shall be required to take the Miller Brewery tour and sample the company's products the day before he pitches. David Wells shall be allowed a double-header. He can take in the tour the morning he pitches, too.
10. Any time they face Randy Johnson, the Brewers shall receive 10 runs upon showing up at the ballpark.
So what's a fan to do if the commish takes us up on our suggestions and the Brewers still stink like day-old beer? This is Milwaukee we're talking about, Sparky. You tailgate in the parking lot and skip the game.
Jim Armstrong, a sports columnist for the Denver Post, is a regular contributor to Page 2.