By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Aug 31, 2007 at 5:22 AM Photography: Allen Fredrickson

Maybe the Milwaukee Brewers can find a way to have Ben Sheets pitch every game.

Short of that, this season once filled with hope is going to end in despair.

What began as a season full of such excitement is ending in a groaning, sorrowful stagger with a team that has become a well-below .500 team.

The very next thing on the agenda is to figure out what changes need to be made.

What we have arrived at is the first big test for Mark Attanasio, the Hollywood-based owner of the team. He loves to hang with show business types and he once worked for a junk-bond outfit featuring Michael Milken, the disgraced trader who served time in prison.

During the early part of this season, you couldn't tune into a television newscast or pick up a paper without seeing Attanasio, sitting in his box, smiling, talking about these happy halcyon days. He few in from L.A. with regularity, basking in the reflected glow of a season start that put his team in first place by a healthy margin.

He talked about how special it was for Milwaukee. He talked about the wonderful job Doug Melvin had done. He talked about what a wonderful motivator Ned Yost was. He talked about how great the Milwaukee fans were.

Well, at least he's still got the fans. Melvin's job of getting players looks slightly less than brilliant with Scott Linebrink being only the latest example. There were lots of unproven players when the season started. A proven player is someone who performs at a high level for two or more seasons. The dung heap is littered with guys who were stars for a year.

Only Prince Fielder and Corey Hart appear to have answered the bell and kept it together the entire season. Many questions still remain about three-fourths of the Brewers infield, Rickie Weeks, J. J. Hardy and Ryan Braun.

And how about a pitching staff that features Chris Capuano, Claudio Vargas, Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan, the $42 million man. When the season started, that looked like a good bunch of starting pitchers, on paper. Well, the paper has gone through a shredder. Does anyone think that Suppan is worth the kind of money he got?

What all of this means, of course, is that Attanasio has got to step up to the plate. He describes himself as a lifelong baseball fan. He's rich enough now to buy a toy to play with and satisfy his fanaticism. But with that joy there is also a healthy dose of responsibility.

It's all well and good for him to say that Doug Melvin is in charge of the baseball side of the operation. But that's really not true, no matter what people say.

Attanasio is in charge. Of everything. He extended Melvin's contract and it is from Melvin that all things, good and bad, flow.

Attanasio lives in California. It's time to see him in Milwaukee. He's got to show his face around town and he's got to make the rounds of the talk shows, the newscasts, the newspaper interviews.

He's got to let us know what he's thinking. We all remember the reign of Wendy Selig-Prieb and how every move the club made seemed to be both a surprise and a mystery. We've had enough surprises. We've had enough mystery. And we've certainly had enough misery.

What is Attanasio going to do about this bummer of a season? If he's going to stand pat, step behind the microphones and tell us why? If he makes changes, he must do the same thing.

But it's time for him to take a brief hiatus from the Hollywood Hills and step into the land of the Mitchell Park Domes. These are the MILWAUKEE Brewers and its time for Attanasio to become Mr. Milwaukee and let us know. 

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.