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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, April 18, 2014

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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:


I had to grind out a couple pars on the golf course just to make sure I beat dad on the scorecard.
I had to grind out a couple pars on the golf course just to make sure I beat dad on the scorecard.

Sorry, Dad, there is no mercy in sports

Elgin Cook was all smiles in the Oregon Ducks locker room within the BMO Harris Bradley Center Wednesday afternoon in advance of the NCAA Tournament, the former Hamilton High School standout holding court with national and local media as he answered questions about his homecoming.

He fielded a handful of questions about Milwaukee, and then the conversation turned toward his father – former NBA All-Star guard Alvin Robertson. Robertson played nearly four seasons with the Bucks from 1989 through the first half of the 1992-93 season, averaging 12.7 points, 5 assist and 2.7 steals.

The 6-foot, 6-inch Cook has three inches on his now 51-year-old dad, and said he was just able to start beating him one-on-one a couple of years ago. He admitted the games are still very competitive however, which is something any child who engages in sport with a parent can related to.

In fact, that was just highlighted for me on my recent golf vacation. I went with my dad, and we played 153 holes in five days over the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail that runs throughout the state of Alabama.

Now, I’ve been able to "beat" my dad in golf for a while now – I frankly practice and play (and obsess about it) more, and can hit the ball further – but there’s still an edge there. He wants to beat me, and me, him. And, as the week wore on and we grew more and more tired, I struggled with my swing.

I realized I haven’t played a fully healthy, unrestricted round of golf since the fall of 2012 and man, it showed at times. I wasn’t hitting cold shanks, but it was close. So there were a couple times where I became acutely aware that our scores were closer than they should’ve been down the stretch – and my focus definitely intensified and I made sure to grind out a couple pars to "win."

And what was I "winning" exactly? Nothing. We don’t gamble. We don’t really talk too much trash. We just play, and enjoy the time out on the course together. But there’s something about keeping s…