2012 Racing Sausage Preview!

This time around I’m going to take a deeper look into the lighter side of the baseball season and preview the upcoming season for the Famous Racing Sausages at Miller Park. From a one time promotional event, to fan favorites, these 5 racers deserve some love, and here is some…

#1 Brett Wurst (Brat) – Brett has had 2 terrible seasons in a row, only winning 11 races in each season, last in the standings both years. Brett is one of the 3 original Racing Sausages and you have to wonder if age is starting to play a role in his on field performance.

#2 Stosh (Polish)- After having a very good 2010 with 20 victories Stosh fell off a bit in 2011 finishing in 3rd place with 15 wins. I think that he has gotten a bit cocky with the sunglasses every race, whether it’s a day or night game, and that little smirk he always has must be motivating the other races to want to beat him.

#3 Guido (Italian)- The champion in 2010 with 26 wins Guido had a terrible 2011 coming in 4th place with only 14 wins. More evidence that age could be a factor in these races as the 3 original Racing Sausages finished in the bottom 3 in victories in 2011. Guido had a great 2010, and so did Craig Counsell, and we all know how that ended.

#4 Frankie Furter (Hot Dog)- One of the young guns, Frankie won 25 races in 2011, not including post season, to come in first place. After only having 13 wins and coming in 4th place in 2010 many scouts are wondering if 2011 was a sign of his true ability, or if he was a one year wonder.

#5 Cinco (Chorizo)- The newest Racing Sausage Cinco has quickly become a fan favorite but has yet to emerge as a dominant racer. Cinco has posted 15 victories each of the last two seasons, coming in 3rd place in 2010, and again in 2011. The top prospect in the organization for years finally got the opportunity in the Majors a few years ago and earned a full time spot on the roster but management can’t keep relying on potential and need to see the numbers he was putting up in the Mexican Winter Leagues here in Milwaukee.

2012 Predictions:

Chorizo: 21 WINS
Italian: 17 wins
Hot Dog: 16 wins
Brat: 15 wins
Polish: 12 wins

The polish has started off the 2012 season with a victory on Opening Day but I don’s see many more wins coming his way this season.

Enjoy the 2012 season, and support your favorite Racing Sausage!

2012 MLB Season Preview

Now that the baseball season is officially underway for all teams, it’s time for me to make my season predictions. I wont go into details and explanations of my thoughts, I’m just going to share the standings how I think they will end, the playoff teams, World Series teams and winner, and Cy Young and MVP for each league.

W=Wild Card Team

AL EAST:

1. Toronto Blue Jays

2. W-New York Yankees

3. Tampa Bay Rays

4. Boston Red Sox

5. Baltimore Orioles

AL CENTRAL

1. Detroit Tigers

2. W- Kansas City Royals

3. Cleveland Indians

4. Chicago White Sox

5. Minnesota Twins

AL WEST

1. LA Angels

2. Texas Rangers

3. Seattle Mariners

4. Oakland A’s

NL EAST

1. Washington Nationals

2. W- Miami Marlins

3. Philadelphia Phillies

4. Atlanta Braves

5. New York Mets

NL CENTRAL

1. Milwaukee Brewers

2. Cincinnati Reds

3. Pittsburgh Pirates

4. St. Louis Cardinals

5. Chicago Cubs

6. Houston Astros

NL WEST

1. Arizona Diamondbacks

2. W- San Francisco Giants

3. San Diego Padres

4. LA Dodgers

5. Colorado Rockies

WORLD SERIES: TIGERS over GIANTS

AL Cy Young:Justin Verlander- Detroit Tigers

AL MVP: Brett Lawrie- Toronto Blue Jays

NL Cy Young: Stephen Strasburg- Washington Nationals

NL MVP: Giancarlo Stanton- Miami Marlins

There you have it folks, what I think will happen in 2012, and a little bit of what I hope will happen.

Look for another season preview coming shortly, maybe even today, focusing on previewing the season in Milwaukee.

Spring Training DO’s and DON’Ts

With 2012 Spring Training officially underway it is time for me to get my blog started for the year. There will be a new format this season, with postings coming 6 days a week (taking Sundays off to do my radio show) with a different theme around each day, and one of the 6 days will be written by another blogger who decided that we should join forces to create one super blog! The new format will start come opening day, but during Spring Training it will be more abstract. That being said, let’s light this candle!

Today I am going to give you my Spring Training DO’s and DON’Ts, 3 of each to make sure that you’ve got your bases covered to enjoy the next month of baseball before Opening Day!

DONT: Panic over injuries. In Spring Training there are a lot of guys getting banged up, which is to be expected early in the season. Most Spring Training injuries are not a big deal. Starting pitchers will miss a start, or a bullpen session but stay on pace to be ready for the start of the season. Even injuries where the player will miss opening day or the first few weeks of the season don’t always have a large impact on the team. Last season Zack Greinke missed most of the spring and the first month of the season, but went on to go 16-6 for the Brewers and played a huge part in their division championship. AJ Burnett seems to be in a similar position for the Pirates. Lucky for AJ and the Pirates the injury doesn’t impact his throwing, so he can return to the mound physically ready.

DO: Find out your teams position and roster battles. You don’t want to be the person watching your favorite team and yelling at the TV for not putting in a guy that is in Triple-A, or even worse, with another team. A lot of common names on your team may have moved on, or may end up not making the team out of Spring Training. Not ever team will have battles for starting spots around the field, but most have competition for a 4th or 5th starting pitcher, bullpen spots, and the bench, which are still fun to watch.

DONT: Worry about stats. In Spring Training there are a lot of things that can lead to a player having very good, or very bad numbers. Hitters are usually further along than pitchers are, pitchers aren’t going a lot of innings so one bad outing can inflate numbers, and there are a lot of rookies playing that don’t belong where they are, yet. That being said, there are also a lot of rookies that will show up and give their club everything they’ve got and put up huge numbers, but end up in Double-A. Stats in Spring Training do not tell the whole story.

DO: Check your local listings for re-airs of your teams games. Even though your team is playing at noon on a weekday, you might not have missed your chance to see the game. Often times games will be aired later in the day or sometimes the next day. Take advantage of sometimes the few chances you get to catch your team on TV in the spring.

DONT: Turn off the game after the big name players leave. In Spring Training, especially early games, the every day players are not going to play an entire game. Pitchers will pitch 1-2 innings in their first start, and usually add an inning each start, and your teams closer will pitch in the 4th or 5th inning before heading to the golf course. Even though the field might be filled with players with numbers in the 80’s and 90’s, don’t turn the game off. Get to know some of the young players in your teams organization. This could be the only chance you get to see your teams top prospects and draft picks until they get called up to the big leagues. It’s always fun to know what those kids can do.

DO: Have your own Spring Training. Football season is over, it’s time to get your head back into the swing of things. This is the last time you can call the Manager the coach, the Ump a Ref, and the Clubhouse a locker room without looking like an idiot. Lastly, some of you may have had your grill packed away for winter, take it out and heat it up because it is baseball season!

There you have it folks, my Spring Training DO’s and DON’Ts, Enjoy the games.

Follow me on Twitter at ESZ_CoreyP and tune in to the Energy Sports Zone every Sunday morning from 9-11cst on MNEnergy.com

NL Central putting the A$$ in class

Since returning to Miller Park the Brewers are 7-1 and thanks to the help of a few other teams, have widened their lead in the division to 2.5 games. Sweeping the hated Cubs, and the lowly Astros before facing off with the 2nd place Cardinals the Brewers have finally started to play like a 1st place team. However, today I have decided to talk about two of those opponents instead of the Brew Crew, the Astros and the Cardinals.

Starting at the bottom (of the division) the Houston Astros had been talked about as much as any team as the trade deadline approached. Key players like Michael Bourn, Jeff Keppinger, Wandy Rodriguez, Clint Barmes, and of course Hunter Pence had been linked to many trade rumors. Continuing their trend of trading away their top players to build for the future (Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman in ’10) the idea that Houston would trade players like Pence, Bourn, and Keppinger comes as no surprise to anybody. The surprise comes with how they handled the trade of outfielder Hunter Pence. Last Friday night while the Astros and Brewers started their 3 game series, Houston General Manager Ed Wade was very busy taking phone calls. Hunter Pence was in the starting lineup on Friday night despite rumors that a deal was close to done that would send Pence to Philadelphia. Typically when a trade is almost done a player will be removed from the starting lineup so the acquiring team can rest easy about an injury. The Astros decided to take a different route.

In the bottom of the 5th inning in Friday night’s game Hunter Pence started to take is position in right field. Before he could make it to the outfield grass, he was called back into the dugout and informed that he had been traded to Philadelphia. TV cameras caught the run of emotions from surprise to sadness. As he emotionally hugged his teammates and coaches working his way to the clubhouse to pack his things, the rest of the players on the field and the announcers were left confused and shocked. Trading a player during a game happens quite often, but there is a reason they are left out of the starting lineup. Days earlier, the night before the Mets traded Carlos Beltran to the Giants, he took his entire team out to dinner knowing he would likely be traded the next day. Amongst all of the moves Houston made at the trade deadline giving players, especially a face of your franchise, a chance to make his goodbyes is a classy move that the Astros failed to make.

As for the Cardinals, the red birds from the show me state showed me quite a few things in the last two days that I haven’t seen since playing pickup games of baseball at Columbus Park when I was 9. After game 1 of the important series, Cards manager Tony La Russa accused the Brewers of cheating, stating that the banner lights around the field were darker when they were batting than when the Brewers were. After the game Cardinals starting pitcher Chris Carpenter also made accusations that Milwaukee was stealing signs and signaling hitters from second base during their 5 run 5th inning.

In game 2 Tuesday night, things got ugly. In the top of the 7th inning Takashi Saito hit Albert Pujols in the hand with a high inside pitch to load the bases, clearly not intentional considering the game situation. In the bottom of the same inning, Ryan Braun led off the inning facing Jason Motte. Motte’s first pitch was away, but the next two were, very, very inside. The first pitch missed, message sent. The second pitch however came right into Braun’s back. The intent was clearly there the whole time, and not even La Russa will argue that point, “We did not hit Braun on purpose. We threw two balls in there real good just to send a message.” We’ll get back to that. In the 10th inning with the game tied, catcher Yadier Molina was called out on strikes and threw a temper tantrum similar to one you would see when a kid takes his ball and says, “These teams are woops, I’m going home”. Bumping the umpire several times, and spitting in his face while yelling (spitting not intentional) he was quickly ejected from the game, and will almost surely get both a suspension and a fine.

I think that it’s safe to call the Cardinals the most hated team in the NL Central. With La Russa accusing other teams of cheating when they lose, to pregame brawls we’ve only before seen in the NBA, to “sending a message” not to pitch his superstar inside. Message received Tony. The message that the baseball world is receiving though, is that you are your team are sore losers. The bullpen mound at Coors Field is not too flat, and the balls in Cincinnati are not too slippery. Tony, you just cannot stand the thought of another team being better than you to the point where you have made a fool of yourself.

It’s unfortunate that Prince Fielder could not send a message of his own following the hit by pitch of Ryan Braun by hitting a 2-run homerun to give the Brewers the lead. I am not going to argue against pitching inside to send a message. In my playing days I was known to throw at a few players, for even as little as a dirty look before the game. When I sent a message though, I didn’t miss. If I did, I wouldn’t have thrown a second pitch inside to reiterate my message. I hope that Jason Motte will receive a suspension for intentionally hitting Ryan Braun and Tony La Russa also deserves a suspension for admitting to calling for it.

It was almost exactly this time last season when the Cardinals and Reds had a 3 game series in Cincinnati with the two teams competing for the Central Division. Before game 2 of the series there was a dugout and bullpen clearing brawl between the two clubs that had kicks, punches, and many words thrown each way. The Cardinals went on to sweep the series and take a 1 game lead over the Reds. After that series however, the wheels came off and the Cardinals went 22-27 the rest of the season on their way to missing the playoffs. Maybe the heat of summer and a pennant race are too much for Tony La Russa to handle now, but perhaps a repeat of last season’s free fall is in the cards, and the Milwaukee Brewers will celebrating an NL Central Division championship just as the Reds did in 2010. If you really want to get some goosebumps, the Brewers and Cardinals will face off again next week August 9-11, the same dates in 2010 that the Reds and Cardinals held their series.

 

 

On a sad note, I want to conclude this post by remembering a Brewer fan, Marilyn “Bummy” Rathkamp. Marilyn passed away on July 26th, and although she was blind in her later years she never stopped following the Brewers, listening to Bob Ueker every game she could. After her passing one of her sons did credit her for the 7 game winning streak the Brewers were on. Marilyn will be missed.

getting started just as the races heat up

Hello baseball fans!

My name is Corey, and for the remainder of the baseball season, and beyond, I am going to give all of my thoughts and opinions on all of the happenings around baseball. My focus will be on my team, the Milwaukee Brewers. Although I am a Brewer fan, I am a baseball fan first and foremost so my writings will not be biased towards any team. I am disappointed to be getting into this so late in the season, but Pedro Martinez did it one year, and he had an awesome second half, and I’m hoping to do the same.

If you wish to hear more of my thoughts on baseball, or sports in general, tune in to my sports talk show; The Energy Sports Show, Sunday mornings from 9-11 cst, on MNEnergy.com.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to the rest of the season

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