Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The World is Not Coming to An End, Tom

With the Brewers mired in a then 8 game losing streak, the Brewer beat writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did what he does best; tear into the team he covers. In an article published in yesterday’s paper titled, “Misery Loves Company”, Tom Haundricourt wrote that the Brewer’s woes go much deeper than just an injury depleted pitching staff. In his predictably pessimistic tone, Haundricourt suggested the Brewers look in “the mirror” if they are going to “snap out of their death spiral” and questioned their desire to even try and win the game on Sunday.

Haundricourt went on to ruthlessly slam the offense (has lately scored well only for a soccer team) and defense (“then, there's the defense, and we use that word loosely”) and summarized with, “Add it all together and you have the formula for disaster, which no longer can be attributed merely to the loss of two starting pitchers to injuries.” His theory is evidently that the Brewers are slumping because their lack of mental fortitude has “turned a pitching crisis into a team-wide collapse that threatens to ruin their season.” Death Spiral? Team wide collapse? Take a step back there, buddy!

What exactly did he expect of the 2006 Milwaukee Brewers? Is he honestly surprised that the offense has fallen out of the #1 spot in the NL? Was he unaware of the defensive shortcomings of Weeks and Fielder? Most importantly, how could he possibly not appreciate the impact losing a #1 and #4 starting pitcher would have on this or any team?

Nearly every preseason publication predicted between 84 and 88 wins for the Brewers in 2006. Despite the fact that the starting rotation has been ravaged by injuries, the Brewers surprisingly sit only 4 games under .500, at 27-31. I say surprisingly because of just how poorly the replacements to the pitching rotation have done so far. Here is a summary of the 10 starts they’ve made:

While the offense has performed reasonably well in those games, the pitching has been horrendous. Eveland, Hendrickson, and JDLR have combined for a 10.93 ERA and averaging only 4 and 2/3rds IP in their 10 starts. Not only have many of those games been over before the offense even had a chance to make an impact, they’ve put a terrible strain on the bullpen as well. This ultimately has the effect of not only crippling the Brewers in the games they’ve started but also hurting the Crew in all their games.

Even if we only focus on the direct results, that 1-9 record in those games could easily be 5-5 if Sheets and Ohka had made those starts instead. That would have flipped the overall record around to 31-27 and I’m sure Haundricourt would be instead writing about how the surprisingly scrappy Brewers just “know how to win”. Instead of filling his articles with the same old tired and usually negative clichés, perhaps he should spend a little more time looking at this team objectively. Maybe he’ll realize that this is a young, talented team with some obvious flaws but also one with a whole lot more promise than Brewer teams of recent years past.

Take a breath and look in the mirror, Tom.


Anonymous southwest brewer said...

Russ - There have been bad sportswriters since the beginning of time or at least since people started writing about sports. The 2000's will be no different.

I can name 3 in New Mexico that are worse (and I can only name 4 altogether in NM).

My conclusion: When a sportswriter doesn't feel like using his brain, he can easily write some sarcastic, whiny, untrue garbage that an unknowing fan will take as the truth. It's easy and takes only a little time.

I could put together a Dick Stevens or Geoff Grammar (2 of the NM suck writers) article in a matter of minutes. The problem is that a lot of people like to bitch and read about who bad everything is. Slamming the home team apparently shows the writer has balls....and when they get no access to the coaching staff they whine even more and can't understand why they don't get the access....this leades to a "death spiral" of shitty articles and more complaining.

Hardicourt should consider moving to New Mexico. He'll fit right in.

1:57 PM  

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