by Danny Mehigan
I don’t really understand these awkward little 2-game series (serieses? seriesi? We need copyeditors like Manny Ramirez needs to ovulate – more on that later) because in all likelihood, there will be a 4-game series later this year to make up for the awkward number of games in each city. There’s more travel, more jet lag, less off days – it’s just dumb. But for some odd and completely unknown reason, Bud Selig and his cronies do not care for my distaste of 2-game jaunts. And they played them anyway.
Now, for the quickest recap in history since I didn’t mention the Reds games from earlier this week in Miami: Monday, a 3-2 loss to the Marlins, and on Tuesday, a 7-0 win behind another ridiculously strong outing from Edinson Volquez. Road split against a first-place team = A+ work.
Before I discuss the baby-sized Brewers-Reds series … there are two sports-related stories for which I need to throw my two cents your way. If everyone else can do it, I can do it. First, Manny Ramirez. Steroid allegations came out yesterday (Thursday) morning. My absolute first reaction, before I read any story or rumor about it, was that he was technically innocent – a victim of pure stupidity and the blissful ignorance with which he plays the game. He never seemed to be the kind of guy who cared enough to go above and beyond to cheat like that. He was good enough already to be one of the best, like Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez, but he didn’t have that insatiable desire to prove it to everyone day in and day out like they did. On top of that, those guys used (or so we think) in the late 1990s and early 2000s when testing was awful and steroid use was poorly policed. To think someone like Manny would try to get away with it in this day in age was fairly shocking on its face, and I didn’t believe it. And that’s shocking because I personally am so very cynical about baseball players thanks to drugs. The only superstars that I still believe to be clean are Ken Griffey Jr. and Albert Pujols. It’s almost frustrating that Griffey seems clean because he got kinda fat, got hurt, didn’t heal right away and now just isn’t as baller because he’s old. We shouldn’t be happy that’s happening, but it does vindicate his cleanliness, for whatever that’s worth. As a Cardinals hater, I don’t like Pujols for how much he punishes the ball, but I respect how outstanding he is. And while it would benefit the Brewers if he were tarnished, it would destroy whatever hope I have left in the game, so I’m scared to death that his name is on the same list as A-Rod’s.
Back to the story: Manny gave the same lame “it’s the doctor’s mistake … it was prescribed … it’s a normal medical issue” excuse that everyone gives who gets caught. What was the steroid? Some bullshit called HGC or something that primarily functions as a female fertility drug. Its second function is to help reproduce testosterone at the end of a steroid cycle so dudes don’t get man-tits. Fuck you, Manny. You don’t need to ovulate. So that means you’re masking steroids. Which means you went from being awesome to being a douche. And that makes me sad.
Next topic of (dis)interest: Brett Favre. Full disclosure, though it’s obvious to those of you that know me, I have man love for Brett Favre. It soured a little bit with his shenanigans in New York last year, but Bulls fans still love Michael Jordan (and rightfully so) and I feel the same way. When you’re a pro athlete, especially a great one, you can play as long as you damn well please. The only problem is that he retired. The Packers wanted to move on, I wanted Brett to move on, and it was due to happen. We (yes, the Packers are we) needed to take the shackles off Aaron Rodgers or else he would be gone and a wasted first-round draft pick. Brett’s skills were diminishing and the team was better off with a different QB. Instead of retiring, getting the sob/slob story from the media, and then coming back after dominating the headlines for a month, he should have just become a free agent with a promise not to go to Minnesota (though who really cares? If he’s not good enough for your team, then let him go to a rival. If he’s honestly a downgrade for you, then it should be a good thing for him to play somewhere else. Ted Thompson, sometimes I wonder if I’d make a better GM than you.
Back to the point … Brett retired again for a solid six minutes before “contemplating” a comeback. There’s a small chance that he never wanted to come back, and that ESPN and other media kind of pulled the idea out of nowhere, which lead to interest by the Vikings, which led to a talk, which thankfully led to Favre turning down the idea of played for the Purple & Gold in 2009. But no matter where the idea came from, it’s time for Favre to hang it up for good. If you wanted to keep playing, keep playing. If you don’t, don’t. You’re on the short list of athletes than have free reign to do whatever you please while you’re in the game – but once you’re out, you should stay out. I’m glad Aaron Rodgers is the Packers quarterback and I’m glad Favre didn’t do too much to tarnish his legacy, but he was inching ever closer to doing just that.
But ah yes, the Brewers and the Reds played two baseball games in Cincinnati this week. A short recap, with a decent amount of the pertinent information:
Wednesday – Brewers 15, Reds 3: Holy ass kicking. Reds starter Bronson Arroyo gave up nine runs in 1+ inning of work. That is not good. Brewers starter Manny Parra pitched okay, but when you get 15 runs of support, you don’t need to light it up to get the win. The Crew rapped out 20 hits, led by Craig Counsells’ four and Ryan Braun’s three (with six RBI). The Reds used shortstop Paul Janish to pitch the 9th inning, and while he gave up five runs including a dinger to Prince Fielder, he did strike out J.J. Hardy and Chris Duffy. I hope they were properly ridiculed. Paul, stick to your day job – even though I guess technically you did, maybe you should stick to being a position player.
Thursday – Reds 6, Brewers 5: Braden Looper had his worst outing as a Brewer, while Micah Owings got the win on the mound and hit the game-winning triple at the plate. The Reds were missing Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto thanks to the flu (SWINE FLU?? AHHHHHHHHHH! Oh wait, it was the regular flu. And you shouldn’t overreact. Like the rest of America/the world). Fielder had three hits and two RBI for Milwaukee. Brad Nelson came thisclose (you can tell it was close, because there’s no space between the words and it’s in italics) to getting his first hit of the year with a game-tying home run in the 9th, but he was about five feet short. Game ova. Flip. Flip.
Records: Brewers: 16-13, 9-7 on the road, 3rd in the Central. Reds: 15-13, 5-8 at home, 4th in the Central.
Next up: The Brewers head home to face the FIBS, I mean the Cubs, for a 3-game set at Miller Park. The Reds entertain the Birds of St. Louis for three days in the ‘Natty.