Hey, it’s me again – BCB’s resident bobblehead aficionado. With the final weekend of the 2015 MLB regular season upon us and the Milwaukee-less postseason right around the corner, I figure it would be a perfect time to put my predictions for the 2016 Brewers all-fan bobblehead giveaways down on paper, er… I mean, Word document that is copied and pasted into FanPosts.
A couple of things to know before my predictions:
- I wanted to get these predictions out now because over the last couple of years, the Brewers have been quick out of the gate to announce their all-fan giveaways for the next season right after the World Series has ended for the current season. So after the 2014 World Series ended, they announced their bobblehead, t-shirt, gnome, and fan vote giveaways for 2015 almost immediately at the pace of 1-2 giveaway reveals a day via Twitter, Facebook, and the Cait Covers The Bases blog. They’ve been faster and faster every year on revealing these – I remember when you had to wait until February before you found out what the bobbleheads would be. That was back in the day, and by "day", I mean 2010.
- I will only be covering all-fan bobblehead giveaways here. That means no gnome predictions (I’ve actually come around a little on these – the Scooter Gennett and Matt Garza this year were much cooler than I thought they’d be… still not the biggest fan of them, though) and no special limited bobblehead predictions. That pretty much means the annual season ticket holder bobblehead (usually an All-Star player), Stitch & Pitch, and any theme nights like the Star Wars and Major League nights from this past season. A lot of teams are doing the Star Wars nights these days, so I anticipate the Brewers will do one again in 2016. You know what? I will throw a prediction out for that – Braun Solo. But then again, he could be a season ticket holder All-Star bobblehead giveaway or an all-fan giveaway (see my list below), so that might be just a little too much of the Hebrew Hammer. Still, Braun Solo does sound pretty sweet.
- Lastly, the amount of all-fan bobblehead giveaways on an annual basis have increased over the years. It used to be around 6 for a while, then 8, and now 10 the last couple of seasons. Here’s the thing, though – I don’t know if you noticed but the Brewers have cleaned house recently and are in a bit of a rebuilding mode. Trades have eliminated some potential bobbleheads (Mike Fiers, another Carlos Gomez because why not?), potential offseason trades might put the kibosh on other bobblehead options (Adam Lind, K-Rod), and some bad blood between a player and the team and/or fan base might nix any bobblehead plans for that player (I’m looking at you, Garza). What’s left in big name recognition? Not much. In a few years, some of our young guys will probably get their own bobbleheads, but it’s too early for many of them now. As the organization is scaling back their competitiveness expectations, they should also be scaling back on their all-fan bobblehead giveaways. Honestly, 10 would be too much for the 2016 season, and this is coming from a guy with 424 bobbleheads as of this writing. There are 13 Sunday home games next season, though, so who knows? Maybe they will have 10 again (and 2 gnomes and a fan-vote giveaway like this season’s knit winter cap).
So I will predict what I think will be some of the 2016 all-fan bobbleheads and will also add a little list of maybes/wish list at the end:
1. Jimmy Nelson – The kid’s been around long enough now and is a big part of the future of the team, so I think a 2016 bobblehead of him is a lock, probably the closest thing to a guarantee on this list. A bonus for making the bobblehead of him bouncing back after taking a line drive to the face – maybe the head will have a big bruise on it but he’s got a look of competitive adrenaline on his face and is holding the ball up, saying "I’m good – let me keep pitching, Skip!" – but I doubt that happen.
2. Ryan Braun (All-Time Home Run Leader) – Our favorite love-him-or-hate-him player became the all-time home run leader for the Brewers franchise this past season. I think there’s a strong possibility that this will be commemorated in bobbleform. At least this seems more likely than an All-Star Braun or a Braun Solo, as mentioned previously. Perhaps the home run leader bobblehead will be Braun extending his swing while hitting a dinger since there’s never been a bobblehead of him swinging before (say what you want about him, but he does have a beautiful swing).
3. Craig Counsell (Manager) – Lately, a lot of teams have been giving away bobbleheads of their manager leaning up against the dugout fence. Craiggers seems to be here for the long haul – Wisconsin boy, fan favorite, Attanasio/Melvin/Stearns/me-approved – so I definitely think there’s a good chance we’ll see this kind of bobblehead for the only CC that really matters (sorry, Sabathia).
4. David Stearns – Speaking of our new GM in Prediction #3, I think there’s a lot of excitement about him being on board (present company included) and like Counsell, he will probably be with the organization long-term. Doug Melvin got his bobblehead a number of years ago and the Brewers haven’t shied away from doing other non-player/non-mascot bobbleheads before (Bud Selig, Daron Sutton & Bill Schroeder, about 17 Bob Ueckers, etc.), so this will probably happen, if not this year then in one of the upcoming seasons. The Melvin one had him talking on a cell phone – maybe the Stearns one will have him typing on a laptop or sitting in front of a TV watching "Moneyball"?
5. Bratwurst (German Heritage) – The Brewers have given away a regular version of all 5 racing sausages but have only done 4 special versions (Hot Dog – Breast Cancer Awareness, Italian – Birrai, Polish – Piwowarzy, Chorizo – Cerveceros). The Brat is the only one they haven’t done yet in this fashion. So the Bratwurst with a "Bierbrauer" jersey is due this year. Make it happen, Brewers. I hate having an incomplete collection.
6. Vintage (80’s Uniform) – The last two years, the Brewers have given away the "baby-face" vintage-style bobblehead wearing a current uniform and a 70’s uniform. Since the organization loves the 80’s and the height of Brewersdom, an 80’s uniform version of this bobblehead will probably be an option for next season. I’m cool with this as long as they have one for the short-lived, universally-panned, but secretly-loved 90’s uniform with the forest green amongst the blue and gold in 2017. You all know what I’m talking about.
So those are the 6 that I think will most likely happen next year. Here’s a list of maybes/my personal wish list for other 2016 bobblehead options (and also bobbleheads they SHOULDN’T do):
- Any number of the young guys who were brought up this year and impressed (Taylor Jungmann, Domingo Santana, Corey Knebel, Zach Davies) or even young guys who have been around for a couple of years (Will Smith, Jeremy Jeffress, Martin Maldonado) could get a bobblehead, but all of these seem very unlikely to happen. Jungmann and Santana probably have the best chance, though.
- No more Lucroys, Ueckers, or Hank the Ballpark Pups! I love them all, but we’re a little oversaturated with them as of late.
- Teddy Higuera could certainly be in the running. He was inducted into the Miller Park Walk of Fame this past season, so that is more than enough reason to bobblize him. The team usually does at least one classic Brewer bobblehead a season (Paul Molitor, Robin Yount, Cecil Cooper, etc.) and have done some more obscure ones as of recently (Rob Deer, George Scott, Ben Oglivie, etc.). There are a bunch of other older Brewers that I would love to have as bobbleheads (Dan Plesac, Greg Vaughn, BJ Surhoff, Jeromy Burnitz, full-size Pete Vuckovich since the Brewers have only given out a mini version of him…), but Teddy is at the top of that list.
- If management isn’t turned over in the offseason under Counsell’s reign, I’d be down with an Ed Sedar bobblearm. I’m not the first one to come up with this idea (I am a part of MANY bobblehead Facebook pages where we talk about this kind of stuff all the time), but I am totally on board for it.
- Dean Rosko, Miller Park’s resident organist, has been a staple for years and he deserves his own bobble recognition. This is something I’ve been clamoring for on a yearly basis and I will clamor again for 2016!
- And finally, an in-memoriam Darryl Hamilton. I always loved him as a player when I was a kid and enjoyed his time on the radio subbing in for Uecker occasionally. He was tragically taken away from this world in June of this year and though bobbleheads are silly and goofy at times, I think a tasteful one can be made in his honor. That’s probably asking a lot, but I think it would be nice.
- One more quick note before the conclusion: In 2017, it will be the 30th anniversary of the only no-hitter thrown in Brewers history, so in 2 years, there better be a Juan Nieves! This is something else I’ve been clamoring about lately. What can I say? I’m a bobble-clamorer.
That’s my list, kids. I’ve written the word "bobble" or a variation of it 40 times in this post. You’re probably bobbled out. Still, if you’re interested, let me know your thoughts in the comments section on what you agree with, disagree with, and what other options you think there might be next season. To bobblinity and beyond!