Some things to read while taking the plunge.
While the actual All Star Game isn't until tonight, it's possible the Brewers have already received most of their exposure for the week after Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks competed in the Home Run Derby last night. Fielder and Weeks were both booed heavily in Arizona, presumably over Fielder's decision to choose his teammate over Arizona slugger Justin Upton. Weeks was eliminated in the first round and Fielder in the second, but not before he hit the event's longest homer. You can see the video here.
By hitting 14 home runs last night Fielder knocked $14 off the price of Loge Outfield and Terrace Box tickets for the Brewers' four game series against the Dodgers in mid-August.
Prince Fielder came up short last night, but at least he still has this: He's had 22 or more home runs at the All Star break in three of the last five seasons. Elsewhere in good news, Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar debunks the theory of the post HR Derby slump.
The two Brewer representatives will get another chance to impress the crowd tonight as they start the All Star Game. Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder will bat first and fourth, respectively. That has me wondering: Have two Brewers ever batted in the first inning of the game before?
Normally about this time I'd be writing a note on contract incentives and the money Brewers are making for appearing in the game. This year, however, Cot's Contracts says Braun, Fielder and Weeks don't have incentives. Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com remembers covering all three players as draftees and minor leaguers.
At any rate, the fact that the only Brewers in the game are starting should mean the team will be done for the night pretty early. Flip Flop Fly Ball notes that only one player (Carlos Beltran in 2006) has played a complete All Star game since 1997.
It would have been three Brewers starting tonight, but Ryan Braun's calf is going to hold him out of the game. Matthew Leach of MLB.com reports that Braun is in Arizona, though, and took BP with the NL squad yesterday. He expects to return to the lineup when the Brewers resume play on Thursday. Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen is replacing Braun on the team, and Matt Holliday is starting in his place in left field.
While three Brewers are spending the week in Arizona, Cody Scarpetta is on his way back to Huntsville. He was returned to AA after just one day in the Brewer bullpen (FanShot), with Tom Haudricourt predicting Mike McClendon will be recalled to take his place on Thursday. The JS has a story on Scarpetta's brief stay in Milwaukee, and Mass Haas of Brewerfan.net has the story of former Brewer farmhand Tim Bausher, who was called up in a similar situation and finished his career with one day of major league service time.
Meanwhile, Craig Counsell continues to accumulate major league service time despite the fact that he's hitting .170/.270/.210 this season. TheJay noted that the Counsell bobblehead is scheduled for August 14, so he'll likely be around at least that long. Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times notes that it's been 4000 days since the Brewers held Bob Wickman Poster Night a day after trading him to the Indians.
Mark Kotsay is still here too, but at least he's been better lately. Jack Moore of Disciples of Uecker notes that Kotsay has hit .385/.407/.692 while getting most of the playing time in left with Ryan Braun out.
Of course, karma is on his side. The Brewers are now 3-1 since I set fire to my Braden Looper t-shirt jersey on Wednesday night.
Since I've already mentioned Counsell and Kotsay, I might as well go straight into today's Yuni Notes:
- Jacob Peterson of Beyond the Box Score says Betancourt is baseball's worst player when it comes to making pitchers work.
- If the Brewers don't DFA Yuni by Friday, I'm going to owe Rubie a six pack of Akita Thunderdog.
When the Brewers resume play on Thursday, they'll do it with a tough stretch ahead of them: They play eleven games in eleven days on the west coast with trips to Denver, Arizona and San Francisco. Brewers Mix is not deterred, though, and says a second half surge is in the cards. Yovani Gallardo will start for the Brewers on Thursday.
I have no idea what Nyjer Morgan is doing with his All Star break, but I bet it's awesome. He won Brewer of the Week last week for the second time, and modeled his new "Plush" jersey t-shirt for John and Cait.
In the minors:
- Toby Harrmann is reporting the Brewers have signed 27th round pick Chad Thompson, a pitcher from Orange Coast College, to a well-over slot deal.
- Chris Jackson of MiLB.com has a story on Nashville infielder Eric Farris and his attempt to increase his value by learning to play shortstop.
- The affiliates went 3-4 last night, with Wisconsin second baseman Nick Shaw going 0-for-1 with three walks in their 6-3 win over Quad Cities. You can read about that and more in today's Minor League Notes.
- Cody Hawn is having a pretty disappointing season for Wisconsin, but he did have a hit last night to extend his streak to 12 games.
- Looking back a day, Caleb Gindl hit for the cycle in Nashville's win over Albuquerque on Sunday. He's hitting .283/.351/.474 for the Sounds this season.
- Also on Sunday, Tyler Thornburg pitched a scoreless inning in the Futures Game. Jaymes Langrehr of The Brewers Bar has a review of his performance, and Harry Pavlidis of The Hardball Times has the PitchFx data for Thornburg and the others who pitched in the game. Thornburg is hoping to earn a September callup.
- Baseball America has a story on Wisconsin pitcher Matt Miller, but it's subscriber-only.
This seems like a weird time to test it, but the Brewers are working on a new demand-based pricing program and are trying it out for three August and September games in the Loge Outfield and Bleacher sections. Follow the link to learn more.
We've talked a fair amount about attendance in this space this season, but it's not the only measure of a team's popularity: Sports Business Daily reports that Brewer TV ratings are up 32% in 2011, and are now the fifth highest in baseball. (h/t Hardball Talk)
This isn't exactly a power ranking, but it's close: Justin Hull of The Score 1570 ranked the top ten Brewers at the All Star break. Elsewhere in power rankings:
- FanGraphs has the Brewers holding steady at five.
- Beyond the Box Score has the Brewers sixth.
- Craig Calcaterra has the Brewers eleventh, down two spots.
- The New York Daily News has the Brewers 12th, down two spots.
- ESPN has the Brewers 12th, down three spots.
If you're looking for more Brewer content today but you're sick of reading, the View From Bernie's Chalet podcast is up. This week's topics include the All Star break, the minors and predictions for the second half.
The Brewers are off this week but Prognostikeggers remains. Follow that link to make your All Star Game predictions.
Astros: Claimed pitcher Lucas Harrell off waivers from the White Sox.
Athletics: Released pitcher Bobby Cramer.
Braves: Placed third baseman Chipper Jones on the DL with a torn meniscus.
Dodgers: Announced the retirement of infielder Juan Castro.
Giants: Placed infielder Bill Hall on the DL with a left leg laceration.
Nationals: Placed catcher Ivan Rodriguez on the DL with an oblique strain.
Phillies: Placed outfielder Shane Victorino on the DL with a thumb sprain.
Rangers: Placed shortstop Andres Blanco on the DL with a stress reaction in his lower back.
White Sox: Placed catcher Ramon Castro on the DL with a broken right hand.
Yankees: Third baseman Alex Rodriguez has been placed on the DL following surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
In former Brewers: Royals Review has a profile of catcher Ellie Rodriguez, the franchise's first All Star. Rodriguez made another All Star team as a Brewer in 1972.
As is nearly always the case, today's "It Could Be Worse" involves the Astros. Saturday's loss dropped them to 30-61, the first time in 20 years they had been 30 games under .500. They lost again Sunday to fall to 30-62, and have the worst record in baseball by seven full games. The Cubs are baseball's second worst.
Meanwhile, the Pirates' surprising 2011 season continues. I've already mentioned that Andrew McCutchen replaced Braun on the NL team, but Kevin Correia was also selected as a fill-in, giving the Pirates three All Stars for the first time since 1990.
Scott Rolen will play third base and bat ninth for the NL tonight, as roughly the league's fourth choice to play the position. Aramis Ramirez of the Cubs was also invited as an alternate, but declined. Jack Moore of FanGraphs has a look at the sad state of third basemen in the NL.
All told, this season's enormous number of opt-outs and injuries means that 83 players have been selected to the All Star Game. That's the highest total in history and represents more than 10% of all active players.
Looking back a few days, the Reds say they enjoyed their stay at the (supposedly haunted) Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee over the weekend.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go accept my award.