I'm trusting you do take care of the Brewers while I'm away and, so far, I'm not impressed
Nailing Jell-O to drywall.
Getting the Brewers to play consistently good baseball in 2012.
Those are three daunting tasks and the last one is proving to be especially tough so far this spring. This week's sweep at the hands of the Royals in Kansas City is but the latest in a season of low ebbs. The offense was spotty, the bullpen flammable, the defense brilliant at times but bad at the worst possible moment, such as at the end of the game Thursday night. What could've easily been a Milwaukee sweep went the other way and now the Crew limps into Minnesota for a weekend set with the bottom-feeding Twins. The inter-league scheduling gods, so cruel to Milwaukee last season, smiled upon the Brewers in 2012 but the Crew has yet to take advantage of the low-hanging fruit.
One can blame injuries, but one would be wrong. This is a team that hasn't hit on all cylinders since it broke camp with everyone healthy in April. Yes, this would be a better team with Alex Gonzalez at short and Mat Gamel at first but it would also be better if guys like Rickey Weeks were performing to previous standards. K-Rod? Maybe there's a reason the rest of baseball took a pass when he was a free agent this winter, because he sure isn't the lock-down reliever we've come to expect.
One more thing. Who thought THIS was a good idea?
The guy in the pink tights had almost blown a game against the Padres Sunday and would botch two more in KC in the days ahead.
Those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it. We take you back to 2001 when the Crew, having just swept the Cubs in a June series, donned what the team called "Sweet Suits" for the flight to Pittsburgh. The Brewers buzz was high, the team four games over .500 amid talk of a possible postseason shot.
Not so much.
The Pirates swept Milwaukee and the Brewers would go on to lose 60 of their remaining 90 games. Did the "Sweep Suits" keep them from playing decent baseball the rest of that season? No, but in these parts they became symbols of counting chickens before they are hatched, of big 'tude and little accomplishment. Such stunts play better when you've actually won something.
Which brings us back to now.
The 80's themed flight was meant as a team-bonding moment, to show the Brewers are loose and fun and playing as one. Fine. Go bowling. Have some KC BBQ. Costume parties with Milwaukee Brewers teams should go the way of icebergs and 19th century luxury liners. This bit has been PLAYED, not unlike the post-game pie-in-the-face routine.
There's a lot of time left this season for the Crew to turn things around. A good time to start would be this weekend in Minnesota. Sure, the Cardinals played themselves back into contention after falling 10 games out in August of '11, going on to beat the Brewers in the playoffs en route to the World Series. Maybe Taylor Green is David Freese in waiting. We can only hope.
Some of you may wonder why a guy whose daughter is hours away from getting married is taking time to blog about baseball. Well, you don't stop being a parent when your kid weds. And, you don't stop being a Brewers fan just because you're oldest is about to walk down the aisle. Love is unconditional, both for kinfolk and horsehide.
Until things turn around, though, it's best for Brewers fans to have either early bedtimes to avoid these late-inning collapses. That, and a very short memory. Or, in my case, a very pleasant and happy personal diversion.
The team, though, should look back and remember the lessons of 2001. Save the costumes for Halloween. It'll make for a happier October, one that might even include a playoff run that is anything but a certainty right now.