Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Win in Wisconsin

I know, I know…the Indians are playing home games in Milwaukee…just like the team in Major League did for the 1989 film…on the same day the collector’s edition of the DVD was released…canceling the “Wild Thing Vaughn Glasses Giveaway” originally scheduled for the Tuesday game at the Jake. Look, I’ve seen the house that served as the outside of Roger Dorn’s house in the movie (it’s on Lake Drive in Whitefish Bay), so I’m aware of the similarities. The irony is not lost on me, nor is the ridiculous fact that the Indians are playing “home” games in Miller Park against the Angels. The DiaBride, in fact, thinks it’s all been planned by Paramount to sell more DVD’s.

Moving on…
The situation represents a complete breakdown on so many levels, it’s almost not worth revisiting the situation (must…keep…blood pressure…in check) – but the cumulative effect of the cancellation of an early-season series, against a team not scheduled to come back to Cleveland are just too immense to ignore.

To say nothing of the shortsightedness of the whole scheduling process and the shoddy decisions made by many parties all weekend, the Indians and Mariners are now forced to forfeit their mutual off days later in the season to try to get 4 games in. They only have two mutual days off, so it will be interesting to see how MLB tries to accomplish this without the Players’ Union vetoing the plans. Interesting or not, the Indians are assured of having their rotation screwed up at some point this season and those precious off-days late in the season are now in serious jeopardy.

Hopefully, this situation results in some sort of rule for scheduling going forward; whether it be scheduling divisional rivals in early to mid-April (they play them enough with the unbalanced schedule) or playing games early in the season in warm-weather cities or cities with domes. If nothing is done as a response, it will simply be another poor decision on an increasingly long list of ways that MLB tries to sabotage a golden era of baseball by putting fans’ interests in the back seat.

All of that being said, there’s finally baseball being played and that’s a good thing…no, a great thing!
Finally being able to watch a full game (not during a workday or cancelled by snow), some thoughts on the game:

The Indians have decided to go with their all-blue batting helmets with the home white uniforms tonight and the result couldn’t look better. Why don’t the Indians just switch to all-blue hats and helmets at all times? Why the red bills at all? I’m a huge fan of the all-blues and as the game went on, it only grew on me.

The loss of Victor Martinez from the clean-up spot was immediately felt in Milwaukee as Grady stole 2nd, leaving 1st base open with Hafner up. Hafner walked on 4 straight pitches to bring Blake up. Casey (fighting to keep the C at the front of his name instead of the K, but not very well) watched 3 strikes go by without taking the bat off his shoulder. Dellucci ended the inning with a soft liner, leaving Sizemore and Pronk on. It didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things (and Blake hit a solo HR); but hopefully, that doesn’t become a familiar sight in Vic’s absence. Rick Manning mentioned that Mike Rose (who traveled with the team to Milwaukee in case Vic went on the DL) returned to Buffalo. Come back Victor, Pronk’s going to need you.

It was strange to see banner ads around Miller Park for an Indians-Angels game, advertising everything from UW-Milwaukee to FSN Wisconsin. Then, the scrolling ad behind home plate advertised that “Champagne of Bottled Beers” – Miller High Life. As a quick aside, a few years back on a trip to Milwaukee, the DiaBride, her brother, and yours truly decided to hit the Miller Brewery Tour at 10AM on a Saturday (in our defense, that’s 11AM Eastern Time) and ended up in the Miller Beer Garden sipping High Lifes. After a few “Champagnes”, we decided that it was the best beer we had ever tasted and that fresh, cold High Life is as good as it gets. Obviously, we walked out with multiple cases of High Life and have drank the champagne ever since when making trips to the shore of Lake Michigan. By the way, High Lifes in Milwaukee (where it’s fresh) and outside of Milwaukee are two completely different animals. If you’re outside Milwaukee, the way to maximize your High Life experience is to put the High Life bottles on ice to get them ice-cold, crack them open, and say hello to the Girl in the Moon as you put down the beer that was, for years, the flagship of the Miller Brewing Company. But, I digress.

Andy Marte has established that, if he’s thrown a ball up in the strike zone, he has a nice doubles stroke to LF. Down and away – that’s another story. But, watching Barfield run around the bases as Marte poked those doubles, for some reason, excites me more than it probably should.

That slo-mo and quick wave that the announcers were so amused by? Seen here at the Wisconsin Badger football games. As a visitor to Camp Randall, trust me, it’s quite a sight to see.

I know that Slider and John Adams made the trip, not as sure about Jason Davis or Fernando Cabrera. Seeing as how The Atomic Wedgie is still only pitching Hernandez (yikes), Fultz, Betancourt, and The Big Borowski – there’s an APB out for JD and Cabrera.

Nice to see that the Indians didn’t have the same hangover from the weekend as the Mariners (who were CRUSHED by the BoSox) as the team came out hitting on all cylinders. C.C. looked sharp, the offense was rolling along with contributions coming from everywhere in the lineup (Ervin Santana didn’t get through the 5th), and the fans in Milwaukee came out to support their adopted team. And…um…I love Kelly Shoppach.

Really, the players really don’t care where they are as long as they are playing, and Milwaukee is as good a place as any. Trust me, with the in-laws being from the home of Pabst, Miller, and Leinenkugel, Milwaukee is a pretty fun city with Miller Park being an excellent place to watch a game (if you can get past the feeling that you’re in the I-X Center when the roof is closed) – so the Indians will be fine.

If you made the trip to Milwaukee, be sure to visit The Holiday House, which my brother-in-law owns. The food is delicious (a little on the high-end), and the bar is excellent and full of choices. Ask for James, he’ll pour you a Spotted Cow (which is also available at Miller Park) to keep you happy.

Nearly 20,000 Milwaukeeans (plus Larry Dolan and Michael Redd spotted by the cameras) were there to watch the Tribe play the Angels. The question needs to be asked, “Would the Indians have drawn more in Cleveland in mid-April?”
Sadly, it’s doubtful.


t-bone said...

I just wanted to mention I'm in all my glory today as I sent notes on the blue batting helmets as well as the Milwaukee Indians t-shirt into Paul Lucas at www.uniwatchblog.com and got mentioned in today's entry! I rule!

What I found in this article regarding blue helmets:

"Complicating matters was the fact that the Indians' travel bags were already packed with their road gear. Amato and his staff had to flop out those uniforms with the home ones. To save time, the team decided to just bring its road batting helmets, which are all blue, rather than the home ones, which have a red brim.

Then this was in another story on the official site regarding the Milwaukee Indians shirts.

To properly root for the Tribe on this day, Salchow, who owns a T-shirt printing business named Insomniac Ink, had on a navy blue shirt that read, "Milwaukee Indians, est. 1989, re-established 2007." The first year listed was in reference, of course, to the year of release for the movie "Major League," which was based in Cleveland but shot in Milwaukee County Stadium.

Here's a link to said shirts.

For the record, while the blue helmets looked slick, we need to keep the red brims for tradition's sake. The red brim also helps bring out the ever-shrinking Wahoo as well.

Rockdawg said...

Two things I really agree with here. First, I have been a huge "Champaigne" supporter for many years. If it's ice cold, it's Gold. Secondly, Mil-u-walk-aye is a pretty fun city. Not much to do but drink and watch sports...sounds good to me.

Paul Cousineau said...

Wayne Campbell: So, do you come to Milwaukee often?
Alice Cooper: Well, I'm a regular visitor here, but Milwaukee has certainly had its share of visitors. The French missionaries and explorers began visiting here in the late 16th century.
Pete: Hey, isn't "Milwaukee" an Indian name?
Alice Cooper: Yes, Pete, it is. In fact , it's pronounced "mill-e-wah-que" which is Algonquin for "the good land."
Wayne Campbell: I was not aware of that.

Rockdawg said...

One of the funnniest things I've seen in recent memory was a Mil-you-walk-aya fan drinking a beer and holding a huge sign that said "Go Whoever." Classic.