The off-season turned into the on-season quickly this year. Outside of all the Major League players sitting in the Brewers repair shop, all is well here in Phoenix.
Rock and I are looking forward to a big sponsors weekend at Maryvale. This Friday, March 11, we will host an online chat during our broadcast. I’m not sure how we’re going to pull that off but John Steinmiller will think of something. We look forward to hearing your questions. Just keep ’em short and sweet. I need to be able to read them between pitches.
Ron Roenicke has had quite a bit to deal with in his first month in uniform. I’ve been hearing so many good things about the new Brewers manager. I’m not surprised. I’ve known him since 1997 and my response to those who praise him is, “Just wait.” Just wait, because to truly see what kind of manager he is, wait until times get tough. That’s where you win or lose your players. I’ve seen him “win” these battles for years and I suspect he’ll do the same in Milwaukee.
After one week of games, the biggest surprise is Erick Almonte. There is a bench job open for a righ-handed bat. Almonte can play the corner infield and outfield spots. He could play shortstop in an emergency. Offensively, he’s solid. It’s not just about the numbers, which are good at this point. It’s the approach at the plate. He’s the kind of guy that doesn’t give away at-bats. He uses the entire field, shows power to all fields when ahead in the count and can shorten up and put the ball in play when behind. Coming off the bench is a tough gig and not many hitters can pull it off. If they were that good with the bat, they’d be in the lineup everyday. Water finds its own level. For me, Almonte has already built up enough equity to earn the first shot at that gig. He hit .320 in Nashville last year. In ’09, he hit .291. There is a track record, albeit unconventional, in place. Maybe at 33 years of age, Almonte can write a great “comeback” story.
Speaking of “comeback’s,” here’s another guy I’d like to see get a shot in the big leagues. Check out “The Comeback Kid” video (and others) from B. Reith. I don’t know him but I’ve never heard anyone like him. How this Milwaukee-boy is not all over my TV and Radio is beyond me. Crazy talent. Enjoy.