Remember that old theory that as long as Bud Selig was Commissioner then the Brewers would be cellar dwellers? Throw it out. Built like the cast of a smash hit television show, the Brewers have assembled a team of guys who are establishing their identities with this team, playing the role they were born to fill. Directed by the playoff savvy Ned Yost, groomed under Bobby Cox as Braves third base coach, the Brewers have the right guys plugged into the right roles. Looking down their lineup should instantly be a testament to outstanding drafting and developing skills, but awe is not a sensation felt when looking at this team on paper.
Part of the aura of this team is the idea that they are Brewers, they are not like the Red Sox, Yankees or Cubs, whose teams consist mainly of guys who are former-(fill in major league team here)s who have moved to a new team. The Brew Crew is a unit of young guns forging their reputations together.
Much like Seinfeld’s Jason “George” Alexander, Prince Fielder is a pudgy guy making his reputation as a home run hitter in his first big role. Duplicating no players in the lineup, Fielder is surrounded by a hit machine, JJ Hardy, riding an 18 game hit streak, as well as a speedster, Rickie Weeks.
Of course there are also guest stars, such Jeff “Soup Nazi” Suppan, Craig Counsell, whose rings are real and spectacular, and Baboo, Johnny Estrada.
Now just imagine all of those guys together with Jerry Seinfeld and Elaine Benes (Julia Louis Dreyfus) in deep spells of depression. The men who this team was supposed to revolve around, Ben Sheets and Bill Hall, have yet to find their strides, Sheets battling injury once again. Hall has had trouble adjusting to center field and has carried some of it over to the plate. If or when they get on track, this team will only get a boost.
Currently with the top record in the majors, the Brewers, in all baseball seriousness, have brilliantly put themselves near the top of every category statistically. Their bullpen, led by terrific 8-9 combo, Derrick “Kramer” Turnbow and Francisco Cordero, has converted a National League leading 13 saves. Their starting rotation has done well with the stubborn Soup Nazi as ace, pitching to contact, but limiting runs, 3rd in the NL in ERA. The offense is 4th in average, 3rd in runs and 2nd in slugging.
George Steinbrenner is one guest star who will not be appearing on the Brewers. Roger Clemens’ new contract with the Yankees gives him $4.5 million per month. One month’s work would put him third on the Brewers salary list, for the entire year. Ben Sheets makes $9.625 million this season, followed by grizzled Brewers vet Geoff “Peterman” Jenkins, making a little under $8 million. After that, Cordero and Suppan each make a little over $4 million this season, but most of the team’s core will make no more than 400 grand for their season.
This current low output of cash will allow the Brewers to build stability and thus sustainability, keeping them atop the charts longer by filling Miller Park. If they can all keep up these performances of a lifetime, the Brewers simply have to avoid “Newman,” the closing Chicago Cubs, and soon they could get their shot at primetime.
Right now they are on course to duke it out with the Mets for National League supremacy, which could lead to another popular Keith Hernandez guest appearance, as himself, as usual. The Brewers are going to the playoffs. Now that is a must-see.