Each March, before I flee Milwaukee and head to sunny Arizona for Brewers spring training, I make myself an informal checklist of what questions Iâ€™d like answered on and off the field.
This exhibition season, many questions loom large. Coming off an extremely disappointing year, Brewersâ€™ owner Mark Attanasio will spend a record amount to field this team, and we still donâ€™t who will man first base.
So, while Iâ€™ll only see four games during my time out there, March 14-18, it will still be enough time to form some opinions. These are my questions I hope to answer. And if you have some, let me know. Iâ€™ll report back from Maryvale this weekend.
Whoâ€™s on first? I wasnâ€™t overly enthusiastic when I learned of the Mark Reynolds signing, but I have an open mind. My sentimental side is rooting for Lyle Overbay, who did nothing but hit doubles last time around. But heâ€™s quite a bit older. His defense remains sound, but how does he look at the plate? And what about the strikeout-prone Juan Francisco? Did the coaches really fix his swing?
K-Rod distraction? In a way, Iâ€™m glad that Francisco Rodriguez is back for yet another hitch with the Brewers, but Iâ€™m not sure heâ€™s great for bullpen morale, especially if the team is banking on Jim Henderson as the closer of the future. Henderson said all the right things about K-Rod, but he did allude the reputation K-Rod had in Baltimore last year as last to arrive, first to leave. Iâ€™ll keep an eye on their body language when together.
Which Weeks? Maybe no one else does, but I still believe in Rickie Weeks. When he's healthy, Iâ€™m confident that heâ€™s a real quality player. Still, heâ€™s running out of chances, and heâ€™s so, so streaky. Could this be the end of the line for him? Maybe this spring will answer that question.
Braunâ€™s sense of humor? I remember a spring training game in 2012 against the Angels in Tempe, when Anaheim fans were heckling Ryan Braun mercilessly. Between innings, he overthrew the guy he was playing catch with, and the ball almost sailed into the stands. The crowd went nuts, screaming about steroids, of course, and Braun actually laughed. But this was before he was suspended. How is Braun handling the hecklers now? It will only get worse.
Maryvale decay? By now, the Brewers' ballpark is definitely the worst in the Cactus League. While it has a certain charm and is undergoing some renovations, Iâ€™m concerned of reports of stray dogs running amok. That canâ€™t be good. But â€¦
How cute is Hank? I seriously canâ€™t wait to meet this little guy. Iâ€™m a dog lover, especially of strays, and Hank is a wonderful success story. While this has nothing to do with baseball, I want to meet him, pet him, and take my picture with him. Yes, Iâ€™m that guy.
K-Rod stepped on a cactus?...what? Does he run around barefoot? And does anyone really think he was delayed because of a visa problem?....he's going to be a big distraction and a bigger disappointment.
Hank is just as cute as the pictures you've been seeing. He's a sweet pup. Didn't notice fans heckling Braun while I was there, but it was pretty early in March and the crowds were light at Maryvale (still a great stadium in my opinion, but all I need is a patch of grass, a hot dog and a Summer Shandy). Go to US Egg for breakfast and get the protein pancakes. You will not be disappointed.
2 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published Nov. 25, 2015
Any time we see "Ryan Braun" trending on Twitter, we need to take a second look. Today, it's because he's in Milwaukee to take donations for the Hunger Task Force, but there are some new unsubstantiated trade rumors swirling around social media, too.
Published Nov. 20, 2015
I'll go pretty far to see one of my favorite bands live, so a Thursday night jaunt to Chicago to see the Dandy Warhols is a no-brainer for me.
Published Nov. 12, 2015
The Brewhouse Inn was a great staycation, not just because of the retro elegance of this boutique hotel, but because what it represented: my father-in-law spent many years working for Pabst, below the hotel in the "powerhouse."
Published Nov. 4, 2015
The Milwaukee County Parks said that this Sunday, it's giving out free tap beer and root beer at the South Shore Terrace Miller 1855 Bar. That means free refills if you bring your own glasses, or you can buy a souvenir pint glass for $2, or a stein for $7.
Published Oct. 26, 2015
If you've lived anywhere in Milwaukee during the last 30 years, you know the voice of Carole Caine. Simply, Caine is a broadcasting legend here in town, serving as one half of the popular Dave & Carole morning show on 96.5 WKLH since the mid '80s. But that abruptly changed when the station didn't renew Caine's contract this summer, and just like that, she was off the air ... gone, but hardly forgotten. An now she's back.
Published Oct. 15, 2015
Every now and then, I like to get out of our Downtown office and stroll around to clear my head. I've always been vaguely aware of Gertie the Duck and her statue, but I never really stopped to look.
Published Oct. 9, 2015
According to busbud.com, a travel company, Rock Island State Park in Door County is the most Instagrammed place in Wisconsin. I call B.S.
Published Oct. 6, 2015
When Jason and Randy Sklar perform their standup show Friday night at Turner Hall they're the first to admit that Milwaukee is a basically a Bizarro version of their hometown, St. Louis - and not just when it comes to sports fans. The first Adler's Fall Comedy Classic is right in the wheelhouse for the 43-year-old twin brothers, who span every genre of comedy but especially shine when it comes to smart and observational commentary rooted in "insider baseball" sports.
Published Sept. 27, 2015
Maker Faire rolled into Milwaukee this weekend with a stop at Wisconsin State Fair Park. Running along Harvest Fair, kids of all ages were treated to all sorts of science projects, maker projects and DIY culture. Some 175 vendors participated, and organizers said more than 45,000 attendees visited the show.
Published Sept. 26, 2015
This time around, the "S" seems to stand for "subtle." That's not the way Apple is positioning it, of course, but as a user who has owned every iPhone but the first, the 6s model appears to be such an incremental upgrade, most customers may never realize the difference. This review assumes that you have some familiarity with iPhones, and cuts to the chase with real-life examples instead of benchmarks