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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Carlos Gomez, left, and Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole, far right, began a bench-clearing ball on Sunday.
Carlos Gomez, left, and Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole, far right, began a bench-clearing ball on Sunday. (Photo:

Top 5 Brewers brawls of all-time

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez and Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole started one of the biggest baseball brawls in recent memory, leading us to remember the top bench clearing melee's in team history.

1. Mike Caldwell vs. Reggie Jackson

After a couple brush back pitches from the Brewers lefty on July 27, 1979, Jackson threw his bat halfway to mound after popping out to third. Caldwell picked it up, tried to snap it in half, and a brawl ensued with Jackson wrapping his hands around Caldwell’s throat.

Two days later, the squads fought again when Jim Gantner caught a forearm from Lou Piniella, clearing the benches – which resulted in Yankees pitcher Luis Tiant emerging from the clubhouse wearing nothing but a towel and clenching a cigar.

2. "Go-Go" goes off in Pittsburgh
This incident led to punches being thrown, including by teammate Martin Maldonado.

3. "The Kid" sticks up for "Gumby"
On July 20, 1982, the benches cleared when Robin Yount ran over Minnesota Twins shortstop Lenny Faedo without sliding in the sixth, in retaliation for Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek going in high on second baseman Jim Gantner in the fifth inning, knocking him out of the game. Hrbek and Brewers pitcher Bob McClure were ejected for fighting.

4. "Scrap Iron" fights everyone

It’s truly hard to pick one of former Brewers manager Phil Garner’s scraps, because they’re all equally ridiculous – but these three definitely stand out:

  • On July 25, 1993 Garner and White Sox first base coach Doug Mansolino got in a tussle after White Sox announcers Ken Harelson and Tom Paciorek had accused Garner of ordering his pitchers to hit Sox hitters.

  • Oddly, the brawl on Aug. 24, 1993 started because Oakland A’s closer Dennis Eckersley was ejected for arguing balls and strikes, which later led to manager Tony LaRussa’s ejection. Garner complained about the time LaRussa’s ejection was taking, causing LaRussa to go after Garner. That led the benches to clear, resulting A’s…
Seeing Ryan Braun slam home runs in bunches shouldn't be a surprise.
Seeing Ryan Braun slam home runs in bunches shouldn't be a surprise. (Photo: David Bernacchi)

Braun's power surges no surprise

Ryan Braun "broke out" Tuesday afternoon in Philadelphia with a three-homer performance in a Milwaukee Brewers victory, his first long balls of 2014 and his first since May 22, 2013.

Factoring in injury and suspension, it was a 25-game drought.

If it seems like a long time, it is – but not for Braun.

In 2010, he went 22 games without a home run. In fact, Braun typically goes long stretches without going deep.

Here are Braun’s longest homerless streaks:

2007: 10 games
2008: 18, 10, 15, 13, 10
2009: 17, 19, 10, 14
2010: 14, 15, 11, 11, 22
2011: 13, 16, 11, 11
2012: 10, 11
2013: 11, 10, 20

And those are just the double-digit periods. In his career, he has gone at least five consecutive games without a home run 58 times.

In 950 career games, Braun has gone without a home run 529 times.

With the three dingers Tuesday, don’t be surprised if Braun hits two to three more in the next week, either. This is what he does.

He typically catches fire in pockets of games anywhere from four to eight times in a season.

2007: 34 homers in 61 total games.
2008: 31 in 47
2009: 24 in 42
2010: 14 in 30
2011: 25 in 49
2012: 34 in 63
2013: 6 in 11

Of his 214 career home runs, 168 have come in just 303 games.

What does it all mean?

It means he’s the epitome of a "streak" power hitter, and he’s been that way since Day 1 in the major leagues back in 2007.

So, enjoy the ride for the next week, and wait patiently for the next wave to roll in.

Third baseman Aramis Ramirez.
Third baseman Aramis Ramirez. (Photo: Andy Tarnoff)

Opening Day never gets old for Brewers

Aramis Ramirez pulled his Milwaukee Brewers warmup over his head, three minutes before he was to take to the field for stretch and batting practice a little after 10 a.m. He took a sip from a coffee cup, moving at a veteran’s pace.

Now 35-years-old, Ramirez broke into the major leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a teenager 16 years ago. He made his debut in May 1998, and he was a September call-up in 1999. His first Opening Day came at the turn of the century, on April 4, 2000 against the Houston Astros.

Today marks his 15th Opening Day, but after 1,924 games and over 2,000 hits, it’s a day that never gets old.

"No – Opening Day, man," Ramirez said, "it’s a great feeling. It’s a special, special thing. I think every baseball player should be able to accomplish it. I’ve been blessed to do it for many years."

His younger teammates were already out on the field, taped, sporting their eye black, excited for a new start and everything that could happen over 162 games.

"Coming into a new season, Opening Day is always different," Manager Ron Roenicke said. "It’s exciting but there’s also a lot of anxiety there."

"We’re not sure what’s going to happen and how the season’s going to go. Some of them are wondering if I’m going to play or am I not going to play and what’s going to happen there. It’s a fresh start. We don’t control, we can’t control what happens."

A sampling of some of the coverage from Monday regarding the Marquette men's basketball position.
A sampling of some of the coverage from Monday regarding the Marquette men's basketball position.

Milwaukee's one not-so-shining moment

March 24, 2014 won’t soon be forgotten by many, especially those who cover sports in Milwaukee.

It was a day when Milwaukee-based social media was set aflame by rumors of Shaka Smart’s hiring by Marquette University. Tweets were delivered – and re-tweeted – furiously, and the day ended with camera crews camped outside of the Al McGuire Center on the Marquette campus with nothing to film.

So what happened?

It would have been easy to jump on everyone involved, from traditional to non-traditional to student outlets – and I admit I have had some fun on my own Twitter account with it all – but it wouldn’t be fair to just say everyone just made stuff up.

While I can’t speak for those I don’t know, but I will go to bat for those I do.

There’s no way WTMJ radio sports reporter Doug Russell and the Journal-Sentinel’s Marquette beat writer, Michael Hunt, tweet what they did without reason:

No veteran and respected television sports reporters go public with what they did without reason.

This was proven on Tuesday, March 25 when WISN Sports Director Dan Needles and FOX6 sports anchor Tom Pipines stood by their initial reporting that Smart was indeed, going to be the coach at Marquette as of Monday night.

If you believe in your sources and reporting, that is what you do.

Needles addressed the topic first thing on Tuesday, March 25 when he took to the air with 540 ESPN Wisconsin co-host Drew Olson.

"I’ll stand by my source. Absolutely. If you can find a better source, go ‘head," Needles said. "It sounds as though things could be … maybe he had a change of heart, I don’t know. But from everything I know he agreed to become the head coach at Marquette last night and was going to be coming to Milwaukee."

Pipines took to Twitter to do the same thing: