First it was Kevin Mench. I'm blaming this proliferation of whininess on him.
Apparently Jose Capellan is considering retirement. Yeah...riiiiiiiiight. This is after his agent requested a trade. Quick reminder here: Capellan hasn't even gotten to arbitration. His leverage: zero. He has two options: put up with whatever the Brewers want to do with him, or go home. Permanently.
Whatever you think about a system that gives young players so little leverage, that's the way it is, and it's the way it will remain for a while. Capellan knows that (if he doesn't, his agent should be disbarred), his agent knows that (ditto), and the Brewers know that. Basically, talks of retirement and trade requests are whiny, empty threats.
Not only that, but they are just plain stupid from his own perspective. Judging from the poll on the sidebar, the conventional wisdom is that he'll find his way to Milwaukee by the end of the year. The Brewers used about 82 relievers last year, so it's safe to say they might need 8 or 9 this year, too. Sending a guy down at the end of spring training after one full (mediocre) season in the major leagues isn't "disrespecting" him or consigning him to the trash heap. It's making room for better pitchers until somebody gets traded (or more likely, hurt), at which point Capellan can resume his ascendance to slightly better mediocrity.
However, if I were Ned Yost, the odds that I make Capellan my first callup from Nashville just went down. Just like I wouldn't be about to give Kevin Mench a bunch of starts in right field to soothe his battered ego. (Oops, sore topic there.) While Capellan still has plenty of time to improve and may yet be a dominant late-inning reliever, it's looking less and less likely by the month. If he's going to last long in the major leagues as a middle relief guy, he's going to need a reputation for a decent attitude. There are hundreds of guys like that out there--as I mentioned before, 83 of them pitched for the Brewers last year alone. If you're Manny Ramirez, your team will put up with BS like this. If you're not, I hope you like homestyle Dominican cooking on a budget.
"A lot of outfielders have trouble here in day games, there's a history of that," said Gonzalez. "It's no secret to the players that come in here,"
That's probably why the Brewers held a full workout in Miller Park on Sunday afternoon, just to acclimate after a winter away from their own home park. The Dodgers, however, chose to fly Sunday -- instead of immediately after Saturday night's game with the Angels -- and held no workout.
In addition to Gonzalez's mishap, right fielder Ethier broke the wrong way and had to make a leaping, reaching catch on another ball. All three outfielders lost their footing on separate plays, but Pierre said this outfield grass is always slippery.
"It was a bad investment of a ballpark," said Kent. "It's not any different than Day One. It's just a tough place to play."
Um, dude, it's a tough place to play when the opposing team is better than you. I don't remember seeing the Brewers trip all over themselves (since Mench last took the field, anyway), and no matter how many workouts you take in the park, slippery grass is going to do that to you.
What always amazes me about baseball players are how many of them acknowledge all the work that they should be doing, yet don't do. I don't know how many of you remember some of the Brewers coaches bouncing balls off a weird outfield wall in Petco (I think) a couple of years ago, but they were roundly mocked for...what? trying harder to win some baseball games? If it's hard to see in the outfield, wouldn't you...uh, work on figuring out a way to defeat that? You only have to do that 162 times, and 81 of those are in the same park. For several million bucks and one of the greatest jobs on earth, you'd think these incredibly competitive people would suck it up and put the time in to, I don't know, look up before the game starts.
Whatever. I hope that as long as the Dodgers come here, they stay unprepared, and they keep losing. Obviously today it didn't matter much: no matter how much work they did or how few times they fell down in the outfield, they were going to lose.
But, I can't let all this whining get me down. Kevin Mench kept his mouth shut for an entire day and, of course (I think I've heard this somewhere before) Ben Sheets is awesome.