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The Magical Effects of Winning

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Small market teams are small market teams, right?  Having a little hope for the future won't change the fact that the Brewers are doomed to be perennial 4th-place finishes, will it?  

On the contrary, it's amazing watching what has happened this offseason with the combination of a more involved, positive management and the results on the field.  We've been hearing for the last month about the record-setting ticket sales, but now, the real money is pouring in from sponsors, new and old:

"We're seeing the strongest interest in being involved with the team since I've been here," said [VP of Business Operations Rick] Schlesinger, who joined the Brewers in 2003. "We are working on some national accounts that normally only look at Chicago or Minneapolis. A lot of doors that have been closed in the past are suddenly open."

Miller may be substantially upping their involvement; new sponsors like McDonalds are getting in, and perhaps most importantly, 95% of sponsors renewed this year--usually, that number is around 80%.  Heck, it's impressive that Milwaukee Brewers sponsorships merited an article in MSNBC.  

A few other things:

  • JJ Hardy will be out for "several days" with lower back spasms.  What this team needs is a magical back-spasm remedy.  Attanasio: get on it already!  Yost isn't worried, but it's hard not to be a bit concerned.

  • Here's a team preview, which continues to prove that USA Today is not your #1 source for baseball news.  (Brew Crew Ball is!)  It's mostly a puff piece on Prince Fielder.  Not that I mind some recognition --something tells me that's a happier tone that the Pittsburgh Pirates preview took.

  • Speaking of puff pieces, here's one on Wil Rodriguez, one of the army of NRI lefties in Brewers camp.  One oddity: I think he's in camp as a LOOGY, but he throws a screwball.  Screwballs move in the opposite direction of most breaking pitches, which counteracts the usual advantage pitchers have over same-side hitters.  In other words, I'd expect Wil to be better against righties.  But heck, if he can render Ichiro harmless, I don't particularly care what he throws!

  • Yost is completely obsessed with what his pitchers do at the plate...which I suppose is  a good thing.  After all, Ben Sheets tallied negative 104.7 win shares as a hitter last year.   (Okay, it was really about 2.5--still pathetic.)  I didn't notice this in the short time I watched yesterday's game, but while Dusty Baker used a DH for the Cubs, Ned went without.  

  • Just in case you were worried that Shane Nance, a minor leaguer the Brewers sent to Arizona in the Richie Sexson trade, would become a lights-out closer and make the Brewers losers in that deal, fear no longer: Nance has retired.

At the moment, Zach Jackson is on the mound for the Crew against San Diego in the top of the 6th...and he just gave up a dinger to Doug Mirabelli.  That makes it 3-2 San Diego.  Come on, [minor league] boys, let's get some runs!