June 2007

Kid Crew

What a home stand…two sweeps and a two-out-of-three. 

I’m playing my "Chad Pennington" card and stating for the record that it is an absolute privilege to watch these Brewers play every day.  Not just because of the current success, but because of the potential returns as well.   

Brewer fans, you should be pumped up about where this team is headed.  I look out from the booth and see these young faces perform the way they do, I am amazed.  When Geoff Jenkins starts in left and Ben Sheets is on the mound, every face looking back at me is of Brewer cloth.  Only the catcher (Estrada or Miller) in that scenario is not produced by the Brewers farm system. 

The entire starting infield is 24 years of age or younger…which is younger than my brother’s A-ball team in Bakersfield.  Never in the history of Major League baseball (I’ve checked ‘em all, I think) has there been a younger "everyday" infield lineup.  The closest I could find was the 1973 Dodgers. Steve Garvey (24), Davey Lopes (28), Bill Russell (23), and Ron Cey (25).  That infield stayed together for nine seasons and helped produce four National League pennants and one World Series title.

Ned Yost refers to his ballclub as "young kids," much to the delight of Brian Shouse and Damian Miller.  The staff deserves some credit for setting a daily tone of "business as usual" regardless of the previous game’s outcome.  That being said, I think that playing for the Brewers this season is a new breed of kid.  Based on the way they carry themselves on and off the field, only the date of birth column on the roster gives away the evidence of age.

So, why not this team?  They don’t play like kids, they don’t act like kids, they just are.  Unwavering, confident, and resilient. 

Kid Crew!  They’ve passed every test so far.

-BA

Please feel free to send your thoughts/questions by clicking on the "comments" icon below.

Engvall Says Thanks

Hello Brewer fans!  Well, once again the great people of Milwaukee have proven to me that it is truly America’s city. I had one of the best times that I have ever had in a town. Not only did it start with visiting Miller Park, where I met some of your Brewers, but had the honor to meet Ned Yost and the one and only Mr. Bob Uecker.

What a beautiful park you people have there, my goodness.  Even if for some unknown reason you happen to not be a fan of baseball, you should go to that park just to see it. Your own Brian Anderson set it all up for me and the Brewers and Tyler Barnes could not have been more hospitable.

Then, that night I had one of the best shows that I have had in a while.  The Milwaukee fans are the best, and love to laugh. I didn’t want to get off stage. My dream would be an Angel-Brewer World Series, I would be at every game. Both home and away. Just wanted to say thank you to everyone in your fair city and let you know that it will not be the last time I visit America’s City. Thanks again and good luck the rest of the season.

Sincerely,
Bill Engvall

Guest Blogger: Reckless Kelly

Hey everyone…Here’s a guest blog from my talented bud Willy Braun (no relation to Ryan).  Willy is the lead singer/guitar man of the band Reckless Kelly.  Check out RK in action: Click here  …and at www.recklesskelly.com.     Enjoy!  -BA

How I Won The 2004 World Series (with a little help from the Boston Red Sox)

OK…I know a lot of you Brewers fans out there are probably a bit skeptical, with good reason.  I would be too if I?d just read that title.  But, after reading the following FACTS, I?m sure you?ll agree that I did in fact help the Sox win the 2004 ALCS and ultimately, the World Series.

Any baseball fan knows I never actually played for the Red Sox, but any baseball fan worth his Prince Fielder bobble head would also know the importance of superstitions and good luck.  I?d like to share with you…such a tale.

AUG 26th, 2004:

Been a Red Sox fan since I was a little kid but, somehow, I?d never been to Fenway Park. My friends Tony ?Stapes Stapelfeld, Jay ?Jazz? Nazz, Chris Cody, and John Dowd (back then we called him Juanny D -this was before Johnny Damon tragically fell of a cliff and died in the eyes of the Red Sox Nation) knew I was a fan and had gotten me tickets to the game vs. Detroit.

Bronson Arroyo pitched his way to a 4-1 Sox victory, and even though that put Boston at 9 for their last 10, I still felt somewhat responsible for that night?s win as well as the next seven straight victories. I was their good luck charm.

AUG 27th, 2004:

Second straight game I?d been to…fourth Red Sox win in a row? Coincidence? I think not.

SEPT 4th, 2004:

The Red Sox finally lose one to the Rangers, as my good luck had worn off for more than a few days? The Sox go on to win the Wild Card, sweep the Angels (the Anaheim-Los Angeles-California-whatever Angels of Anaheim and The Surrounding Metropolitan Area) in the Division series, and advance to the ALCS to face the dreaded Death Star that is the New York Yankees.

Oct 14th 2004:

Sox are down one game to nothing to the Yanks…and my band is in Nashville mixing our ?Wicked Twisted Road? record when we need some ?trippy weird background noises? four our song, ?Motel Cowboy Show.?  Our producer, Ray Kennedy, has the idea to record some vocals and reverse the tape, playing it backward. I step in to the vocal booth, and much to the dismay of my fiddle playing Yankee fan brother Cody, say the first thing that comes to mind: REVERSE THE CURSE! Ray reversed the tape and re-recorded it back on to the track. In reverse, it sounds something like ?surf the surf view,? right about at the 3:27 mark on the record.

While we were still mixing the song, I got a call from my Dad, another rabid Yankee lover, with the best news I had ever heard.

?Hey Willy…Hans and Terry Carstenson just called and said if you want their tickets at Fenway to see a game you can have them.?

?Riiiiiiiiight… does he know it?s the playoffs and the Sox are Playing the Yanks?? I ask, in disbelief.

?Yeah, he knows you?re a big fan,? says Dad, ?You should call him? seriously.?

So I call Hans, and sure enough, he offers up his tickets, four of them, in the prestigious .406 Club, located approximately RIGHT BEHIND home plate on the corner of baseball heaven and October bliss.

Dad and Cody can?t make it, but my little brother Micky and his bass player, Gus can…as well as Hans and Terry?s son Ted (we call him Teddy Ballgame.)

Within seconds, I?m on the phone with the airlines trying to find a ticket to Boston on three days notice for anything less than what the Yanks are paying A-Rod for a season.  I book it and start praying the Sox will hang in till at least game 5. The Sox lose game two that night, making it 2-0, Spanks. Dang.

OCT 18th, 2004. A game 3 rain out insures that I will see a game, but it will be game Four instead of Five as per the local ticket custom, and after a 19-8 beating by the Yankees in game 3, I?m thinking as I hop on the plane that morning that I?m gonna fly all the way to Boston to watch the Sox get swept. Even the reversed vocal, my lucky hat and my previous 8 game winning streak at the Fens can?t keep me from thinking the Yanks are gonna take this one. It?s the glass is half empty Sox fan in me. The Glass is always half full through the regular season, most of the playoffs and right up to the point when the ball rolls through Buckner?s legs or Aaron ?who is this guy? Boone knocks one over the wall when the glass starts looking half empty.

But not tonight. No, tonight it?s the Sox turn, grinding it out through 12 long innings of post-season baseball. D-Lowe and the bullpen pitched a great one.  Dave Roberts was everyone?s hero for three innings, and then Big Papi shut out the lights with a ring a ding dingy that just cleared the bullpen fence in right field, but I didn?t see it land ’cause I was too busy jumping up and down slapping fives and just glad to see a victory! There would be no sweep for us and, even though there has never been a team to come back from a 3-0 deficit, I?d just seen the best ballgame of my life and the glass was starting to look half full again.

I think we all know the rest of the tale, the Sox did in fact go on to win 8 in a row, just like last time I was there, and so think I had a lot to do with it. Sure, It could have been the guys that hauled The Babe?s piano out of the lake, or maybe the guy that wrote ?reverse the curse? on the reverse curve sign on the Mass Pike, or it could have even been the Red Sox players themselves. I don?t know for sure who it was, but like any superstitious baseball fan, my story is that it was the reversed vocal and my lucky two- time 8 game winning streaks and I?m sticking to it.

Now, I’m ready for a Sox-Brewers World Series…go Crew!

Willy

The Hood

All is good in the neighborhood.  Literally!  I finally have a neighborhood.  We moved into our house and are currently in the process of unpacking and getting settled.  It’s great to finally have a place to call home.  We have been blown away by the warm reception given to us by our new neighbors.  The people here are great!  What a blessing.  It was no fun going home to an empty apartment.  But, we are all here together, finally.  The family and I have been living out of a suitcase since December 28th.  Now Milwaukee really feels like home and we couldn’t be happier.

As for the Brew Crew…what a roller coaster ride this year has been, eh? One of the great things about working for Golf Channel was the fact that I was able to broadcast a "winning" performance every week.  Think about it…every Sunday, I signed off for the week calling the golfer who finished in first place.  No losing streaks, no o-fer’s!  It’s a different deal now.  I’ve spent pretty much every single day with this team since February 17th.  I like these guys.  I’m emotionally involved.  Broadcasting Brewer wins is easy.  The losses are tough because I want to be fair and "report" the game but I feel the disappointment of a loss just like the players and all of you.  I remember that feeling when I did minor league baseball but not to the extent that you feel it at this level.  So there is a balance to achieve on the air.

The stakes are certainly higher for this ballclub.  They expect, and are expected, to make it to the post season this season.  Whether they fulfill such expectations remains to be seen but, there is no doubt with so many young, talented players, this New Brew Crew has a chance to be very good for a very long time.  The core of this team is 25 years of age or younger.  Which is why this franchise is the envy of many inside the game of baseball.   

So, let’s enjoy the ride as we hit the summer. 

-BA

Here’s one from my bud PG…make sure you check him out at Summerfest July 8th..he’s great live, you won’t be disappointed: Click

Please feel free to send your thoughts/questions by clicking on the "comments" icon below.

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