So its actually been 9 months since I last posted and to be honest, I have been massively busy and not been able to keep up this blog. That is going to change though.
Since I last posted, my Fiancee and me have finally bought a house. We moved in last weekend. We are only 6 weeks away from our wedding and now Baseball is just around the corner again. Can’t wait.
To top it off, I have finally got a sports channel to watch baseball, so this season I will be watching as many of the games as is possible (without upsetting my soon to be wife too much).
So as we eagerly await the opening of baseball season and yes i know the Cactus League has started already, I wanted to share with you the very first celebratory drink I had in my new home. A Bottle of London Pride, in my finally christened Brewers beer glass.
So over night we had another good result with a 5-2 win over the Padres taking our record to 16-6. We are now 4 games in front of the St. Louis Cardinals in our Division. Things are looking good.
So the only disappoinment today has been the fact I didn’t win an eBay auction on a Rawlings 12″ Baseball Mitt. I really want one now, but i didn’t quite realise how expensive they are! So has anyone got any recommendations on a nice starter one? Remember I live in England so I don’t have a massive choice over here! I’d quite like a bat too….
….so one thing I noticed on playbacks of Segura’s 3 run Home Run last night is that Bernie has a slide at Miller Park! The big kid in me really wants to have a go on that! How do I get to have a go? Does visiting from England qualify me???
So a night off tonight before the 3 game series against our Divisional Rivals, the Chicago Cubs.
I’ve also now created an Official Sussex Brewers Baseball twitter account. Follow my ramblings here: @Sussex_Brewers
Until next time……..We’re top of the pile!!!!
I’m now in to week 3!
I forgot to mention in my post on Tuesday that it marked the start of my 3rd week as a Brewers fan! Get me, I’ll be a veteran before you know it! Although I am rather lacking in one thing to do with writing about baseball, and that is watching a game! I will have to see if there is any way for me to watch a spring training game when they start and see how writing a match report compares to my normal ramblings! I am though, happily reading news of the players now reporting back for training.
So I learnt this week 3 new bits of terminology that may help me get through listening to games on a radio. They are, No-Hitter, Hidden Ball and probably the more common, Stolen Base. I read another blog by DJ who is currently talking about his 5 favourite moments as a Brewers fan (his blog is called DJ’s Baseball Blog). So at number 4 is Nieves No-Hitter in 1987. I read the article but as I’m a complete noob to baseball I had trouble understanding what the achievement of a No-Hitter was. So, on I went to what is fast becoming my most used website, Wikipedia. The idea of no batsmen hitting a pitch for 9 innings is quite an achievement and very rare.
As I understand it, this is where a base runner runs from one base to the next whilst the pitcher is going through his actions. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but from clips I’ve seen on You Tube it appears the base runner sets off before the ball is pitched? There were some comedy moments of runners getting stuck between bases with the ball going between basemen to effectively tag him out. It reminded me a little of an old school game we used to play called British Bulldog. It was great fun and highly amusing seeing someone trying to get to a point before being tagged by the chasing pack.
You Tube then lead me to some of the hidden plays. Now I’m guessing this is the most frustrating way you can see one of your base runners given out. To lose concentration for a moment and not see that the infielder hasn’t actually just thrown the ball away to another of his team mates, only for him to step off the plate for a second and get tagged out. It is probably great if you are the defending team though.
One thing about blogging is that you can be very safe with it. I can post what I like, when I like, and remain anonymous to the world. Whilst I feel this is good (particularly as I’m probably due a review of some sort from the writers guild soon and you have to be prepared for negativity before you get the awards), one thing I do love is keeping up to date through twitter and tweeting about games and other such nonsense. So a question to you out there, who is worth following on twitter? So far I have @Brewers and @AdamMcCalvy (is he someone I need to look in to? Ex-player?). Also if you are interested, my twitter handle is @redstripe78 (Mark Lewis). Twitter is a great way for me to catch up on things as being 6 hours in front of Milwaukee time (what is the time zone called btw?), generally games are going to happen whilst I’m asleep. So feel free to follow me and I’ll probably follow back.
Did my t-shirt arrive you may ask????
….well yes it did, and here’s a mug shot of me wearing my new pride and joy holding the English flag.
Until next time…….GO BREWERS!!!!!
Mark Simons, a Brewers Super fan. Does he still have his season ticket right behind the away dug out? I stumbled across a little news piece on this guy on you tube whilst looking through clips of games. It is legendary that a fan can have such an impact on a game. I’m a firm believer that the fans are a 12th man (I know 10th in baseball) and have witnessed on many occasions how fans help their team at games. With my seat at the Amex in the 4th row from the front, on many occasion our section has got a rise out players from the opposition just in front of us.
Be the extra player
In football (soccer) there is a yellow and red card system. The yellow card is a final warning and red card means you’re off the field and your team is down a man. On one such occasion at an away game at Leeds United in May last year (2013), us Brighton fans did everything we could to give their star striker stick (El-Hadj Diouf – known for rising to fans baiting). We did so well that after he scored against us, instead of celebrating his goal, he came running over to us and gave us a hand gesture in retaliation. The referee gave him a straight red card for trying to incite us (officially known as un-sportsmen like conduct). Hasten to say we went on to win the game with that man advantage. It is for this reason, I think attending games and supporting your team is so important. You can make a difference.
Never cross the line
I must point out though, there is a line with this and that downright abuse is not on. It has to be clever and these players have to accept that as professional sportsmen they will take some stick from opposing fans.
A friend of mine whom I sit with at home games is very good at giving the opposing team players stick. He will nearly always get a rise out of the players, but it’s all in a good nature (there is no foul or abusive language). At the last home game, the opposition had a player who’s surname is Husband. All my friend did throughout the game was shout “Wifey”. It got to him at first but by the end of the game he was giving him a smile and thumbs up. After the game, my friend got his autograph on a few items and chatted with him. By all accounts he was a good bloke and my friend now has a few programmes to sell on eBay!
The atmosphere is part of our football culture, to be loud and boisterous, intimidate but support. Real fans will appreciate a good sportsman (even on the opposition), but they’ll want their team to have the edge. I hope this culture lives in baseball because the atmosphere is one of those things that for me, makes attending a game worthwhile. It is the only time you’ll ever get me to sing (albeit very out of tune).
So I’ll be at Miller Park for the season then…..
…I wish, but I do hope the Brewers fans are passionate, loyal and lively and I hope it’s also in good taste and good humour. Update on my t-shirt though, it has been despatched today. Hope it arrives tomorrow!
Until next time…….GO BREWERS!!!!!
Batting seems the coolest
….as a child, whenever we played cricket on our local field or at school, everyone always wanted to be the batsman. Why is it that the appeal to playing a sport that involves bat and ball, being the big hitter is what everyone wants to aspire to? It was certainly true with me and my friends in our sleepy little town in Sussex, England. Yet when I started to go and watch cricket, I found I did most of my beer drinking during my teams batting. It was actually the bowling I was more interested in as a spectacle. I find it phenomenal that a bowler can bowl a ball at speeds of up to 90mph with that pin point accuracy or that a bowler can get a ball to turn in the air using the friction of the ball through its projection. I wonder if I will find the same to be true with baseball. It’s definitely something I’m looking forward to seeing. I found out that the fastest ever pitch recorded was by Aroldis Chapman of the San Cincinnati Reds, officially recorded at 105mph (unofficially at 106mph). Considering a Pitcher is standing and not running, it beggars belief how much power there must be in a pitchers arm. I think I’m going to have to buy a baseball, glove and bat and see if I can get some friends out for knock around. I reckon I’d be lucky to even be able to pitch at 50mph!
….I understand that there is more than one way to pitch a ball too! Yovani Gallardo (whom thanks to DJ I now know to be our star pitcher) is known to throw 4 different pitches in his game, the fastball, the curveball, the slider and the changeup. His fast ball is usually between 92 and 95mph with the other pitches in the 80’s! So that gives the batsman less than a second to work out where the ball is going and swing his bat to connect with it. I need to get my head around the statistics of strike outs and giving up runs, but from what I understand Gallardo is on course for some fantastic stats by the time he finishes his career.
Still no T-Shirt yet
….my Brewers top hasn’t arrived yet. I really hope it does this week. I spent time yesterday at Lakeside shopping centre in Essex yesterday. My girlfriend willingly followed me around the sports shops whilst I looked for anything Brewers related. Sadly, there was nothing, except Yankees and Dodgers stuff and who wants to buy that stuff? Of course I jest. I did nearly buy a baseball and bat but decided against just buying a cheap set for the sake of it. I did want to know though, are baseball bats metal? The one I could have bought yesterday was wood but it really does sound like they are metal when they connect with the ball in a game.
Its 42 days to opening day
…so I can’t resist putting this picture up for my official @Brewers count down.
Until next time…….GO BREWERS!!!!!
So I’m not going to teach you to suck eggs.
….9 Players in a team played over 9 innings. An innings is classed as both teams having a turn to bat and field. When the batting team has 3 outs the teams switch over. When both teams have fielded and batted then that is an innings over. The fielding team has a Pitcher and Catcher (I’m guessing similar to the wicket keeper in cricket) plus 7 outfielders and the batting team has 9 batsmen. Most runs around the diamond (4 bases) wins, simples. I think I’m ready to watch a game. I guess it’s like any sport, the idea is simple, but I’m guessing there are many complexities to this I won’t actually see until I start watching games.
Here’s what I notice first.
….I’ve played cricket and bowling anything up to 5 overs (6 balls per over) in succession really takes it out of your arm. I’m guessing pitchers suffer the same fatigue in game. By the end of it, it can feel like you’re arm is trying to wrench itself out of its socket! So there has to be more than one pitcher in a team and this I can see then opens the possibilities of tactics! Does your best pitcher start the game or come in for the last few innings?
….This made me start thinking about a team’s roster and then I looked in to substitutions. The rules on this seem a little long winded so I think it may be a case of getting used to it. I notice though that The National League and American League differ slightly with regards to the Designated Hitter not being treated as a substitution and the fact that there is a traditionalist’s view on this. I of course cannot comment either way but I am interested to see how this works. What happens when there is a crossover of conferences? What about the World Series games when the best of each conference play against each other? Are Designated Hitters allowed in these games? Either way, I get that substitutions are permanent like in football (sorry guys but you’ll have to get used to me calling soccer football. We all know it is the correct term for it. *insert smiley face*) and once a player is substituted he is out of the game. Is it common for a pitcher to be rested in the outfield for a while whilst an outfielder comes in to pitch? Again this opens more questions than I am finding answers for but can’t wait to see how this all works.
….I took my first look at the Brewers Roster. Firstly, I was surprised that none of them were classified as batsmen (I’m guessing the real term is Hitters). Man that is a lot of Pitchers though. I’m not sure what I expected to see, but of the 40 players, I certainly didn’t expect to see twenty two of them classified as Pitchers! How many are used in a game? Knowing a little about cricket though, I do get that players are more specialised at one certain discipline within the game. So I look forward to seeing how rosters are used and in particular, who are the star players and fans favourites?
You Tube is a bit of a saviour
….there is not a massive amount of coverage of baseball on T.V. in the UK. I may well need to subscribe to ESPN for the season, but for now I’ve been looking at some videos uploaded to you tube. One such video I did find was Carlos Gomez’ home run hit at the Atlanta Braves which started a mass brawl (bench clearing I think you call it) towards the end of the last regular season. Now I know nothing about why this brawl started, maybe it was some history in a previous game, but seeing as our first game is at home to the Braves, it should make for an interesting opening day to the season.
….I think I may need to rest my brain a little and digest, but I think I can get the hang of this. Objective 3 complete then? Maybe, but objective 4 is still a work in progress! Writing is not nearly as easy as it seems (I work with numbers so I may find baseballs many stats easier to get around).
23 days until spring training, 47 days until opening day. Excited yet?
Until next time…….GO BREWERS!!!!!
Why am I writing this blog?
….It’s not very often in your life that you can actually pin point the day something enters your life. In the case of me and baseball I have that exception. Tuesday 4February 2014 will forever now be known as my initiation to The Brew Crew. Do I need to do some sort of initiation? So I thought, why not document it? From that date, I can record everything about my life as a Milwaukee Brewers fan.
I wish I could go back to the time when I first fell in love with my football team (Soccer to those of you in the U.S.). For the record I follow Brighton and Hove Albion (www.seagulls.co.uk) currently playing in the Championship (2nd Tier) of the English Football League pyramid. I have few memories of my time at our old stadium (The Goldstone Ground), I can’t remember many of the games I went to see and this is a real shame, because supporting the “Seagulls” as we call them has become a major part of my life, and something my nephews are now learning as they are dragged, screaming and kicking sometimes, week in, week out to watch us play at our new fantastic 30,500 all seated stadium, The American Express Community Stadium (or The Amex as we refer to it).
In this day and age, with the invention of the internet and digital cameras, we can record every detail of our lives that are important to us. So as I have chosen the path of becoming a Brewers fan, I have the opportunity to record everything so that I can look back in the future.
What have I learnt about the Brewers in my first week of being a fan?
….They are known as the Brewers because of Milwaukee’s association with the Brewing Industry (if that isn’t a good enough reason to support a team you’ve never previously known about then what is!) They play their home games at Miller Park. A 41,900 capacity stadium built for $400 million and opened 6 April 2001 after moving from their previous home (of 30 years) the Milwaukee County Stadium. Miller Park has a fully retractable fan roof to counter the unpredictable Wisconsin weather.
The team itself was formed in 1969, originally in Seattle (known as the Pilots) and played just one season at the Sick’s Stadium in Seattle (Washington). In 1970 the team was acquired through the Bankruptcy Courts by Bud Selig who moved the franchise to Milwaukee after unsuccessfully trying to acquire a number of other teams for the city in the years previous. The Brewers were now born (or re-born if you look back to the early 1900’s when a number of minor league baseball teams played in Milwaukee under the same name). This brought major league baseball back to Milwaukee after their franchise team, The Milwaukee Braves (originally the Boston Braves), whom played in the city from 1953 to 1965 moved to Atlanta forming the now Atlanta Braves. Selig finally sold the club to current owner Mark Attanasio in 2004.
The Brewers play in the Central Division of the National League (founded in 1876). This was originally classed as the Senior League before the formation of the American League in 1901. There are 3 divisions of 5 teams in both the National League and American League (West, Central and East). Their divisional rivals are the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs. So it begs the question, who do we dislike the most? Rivalries interest me. In England, our football teams have some pretty fierce rivalries and it certainly adds to the atmosphere of games!
Answers only create more questions!
….after learning a little about the Brewer’s history there come many more questions. More of which I hope I can answer soon. Who are our biggest rivals? How many players are there in a team for a game? Just how many games are played in a baseball season? Who are our star players? What are the rules to baseball? I’m definitely going to have to write about some baseball soon! Although I have had fun looking through you tube at some memorable moments, More on that another day though. During this next week, I aim to look in to the team, the roster, the manager and hopefully a little in to the rules too!
So a second objective complete!
I now know where the team are located, a little of the history of the team and of the area of Wisconsin. I think that gives me good ground to focus on the real things now. Oh and my t-shirt hasn’t been delivered yet so no picture yet!
A sombre note to end this blog.
I was saddened to find out about the accident in 1999 that resulted in the deaths of 3 workers whilst constructing the new stadium. If I ever get to visit Miller Park, I will take a minute of silence in their memory.
Until next time…….GO BREWERS!!!!!