By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Nov 10, 2009 at 5:09 AM
You're sitting at home, watching the Victoria's Secret fashion show on TV and trying to decide which model you are going to date.

You sit down with your 3-year-old son to logically explain to him that throwing a Nerf football against a lamp is inappropriate behavior and he should please stop doing it.

You listen to Eric Clapton playing guitar and think that you're going to buy the same kind of guitar so you can play just like him.

Welcome to the World of Hopeless Causes. You're not going out with a model, your kid doesn't understand logic and you won't be Clapton.

And there's one other thing you can add to the list of hopeless causes.

The Brewers will not make it to the playoffs next year, or the year after that, or the year after that or the year after that, or ... well you get the point.

The World Series is over. The Yankees bought it. And the gap between the rich teams and the rest of us is growing faster than Lance Armstrong pedaling downhill.

I know there's this theory that all you have to be is smart to compete in Major League Baseball. Good decisions are seen as the great leveler of the playing field. People cite the New York Mets, the second biggest payroll in baseball, as a prime example.

But what happens if you're rich and smart. Let's say you're Warren Buffett. You're a lot more powerful than some brilliant rocket scientist who works at NASA.

I know the world of sports fans is full of optimism. I want to feel like that, too. I really want to have a heart full of hope that the Brewers will be in the thick of things next season.

But my reality is a little different. There is almost no hope in my reality.

I'm like the guy who has a friend who's a down-and-out alcoholic and drug abuser. He never met a drink, a drug or a pill he didn't like. We all want him to get better. So he decides to give up beer, hoping that will do the trick. Hopeless.

My Brewers traded a matinee idol shortstop for a .229 hitter. We traded for a guy who got benched last year. Now, Carlos Gomez may well prove to be a serviceable major league baseball player. His defense and speed may make up for his lousy hitting. But you've got to admit, it's a small move.

It frees up some salary cap money so the Brewers can kind of compete for a free agent or two. They can try to find some pitching for their money; someone who might actually be better than Jeff Suppan. This may prove to be a smart move, somewhere down the line. But it does very little to make my feeling of hopelessness subside.

Suppan made over $12 million last year. He was 7-12. He had an ERA of 5.29. These are not statistics of a $12 million pitcher. 

The big difference between teams like the Brewers and teams like the Yankees is that the Brewers are stuck with Suppan and his $12 million. Sadly, they need him on their roster. If the Yankees had been faced with the same Suppan situation, they would eat his contract and send him packing, signing another free agent to take his place. And they'd keep on going until they found someone who could actually pitch.

Like I said, I can only see the gap between these rich teams and the other teams growing larger by the year. As long as you have stupid moves and injuries, there will be a chance for the small market teams to make a dent.

But it's a slim chance. Very slim. The kind of chance that makes me feel sad and hopeless at a time when I ought to be vibrantly playing in the hot stove league.

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.