82 and Nothing

Hank The Dog's dish wound up empty in 2014

“He’ll never make any enemies,
He won’t complain if he’s caught in a freeze.
He’ll always ask, he’ll always say please,
Beautiful loser, never take it all,
‘Cause it’s easier and faster when you fall,
You just don’t need it all,
Oh, oh, you just don’t need it all.
You can try but you can’t have it all,
Oh, no, no, can’t have it all”. – “Beautiful Loser”, Bob Seger

It’s been almost two weeks now since the Great Implosion of 2014, the epic collapse of the Milwaukee Brewers, who once again defied all odds of common sense and statistical impossibility, and thus added another inglorious chapter to their 45 year history in major league baseball. Beautiful losers, those Milwaukee Brewers.

After reigning as kings of the NL Comedy Central for 150 shimmering, magical days this past summer, the Boo Crew not only failed to win the division, they failed to qualify for one of the two generous Wild Card spots created by its former owner and baseball commissioner, Bud Selig. They not only choked, they carved themselves out a place in MLB history alongside the ’69 Cubs, the 2007 Tigers and Mets, the 2011 Red Sox and Braves, and the greatest of all, “The Phold”, the ’64 Phillies, losers of ten straight, blowing a nine game lead with 12 games to play. Oh no, they couldn’t have it all.

The Blewers managed to foul off an 9-17 record in September with a combined record of 31-48 over the last three months, discarding a 51-32 mark and 7 1/2 game lead in late August for a final embarrassing mark of 82-80 when the stench of the second half of the season finally wafted out of Miller Park in a 5-2 loss to the Mighty Cubs. 82 and nothing.

As of last week, General manager Doug Melvin and owner Mark Attanasio remained mute when it came to the future of beleaguered manger Ron Roenicke and his staff of coaches. All they can do is sit back and watch the Kansas City Royals win three straight post season games, all in extra innings as the they move close to an ALCS appearance. Never mind that the Kansas City manager is Ned Yost, and his hitting coach is Dale Sveum. Just accept it as dumb luck that their right fielder Nori Aoki, the center fielder, Lorenzo Cain, and the shortstop Alcides Escobar, all starters, are all former Milwaukee Brewers, jettisoned by Melvin and Attanasio. Flip the channel and you’ll catch J.J. Hardy homering for the Baltimore Orioles, switch again you’ll see Zach Greinke twirling a victory for the Dodgers.

None of this apparently bothers either one of these clowns. Like water off a Canadian duck’s back, Melvin explains it all nonchalantly away, always in search of the solutions for the mysteries of nine game losing streaks, lack of run production, an overworked bullpen and just plain pathetic base running and defense when it really counts. I’m sure he’s well into another case of LaBatt’s, watching reruns of his pet project, Carlos Gomez, making another base running blunder, and smiling anyway. Meanwhile, his boss, Attanasio, pens pseudo heartfelt apologies through the PR staff of the Brewers to the Screwer faithful at the end of every disappointing season. This is becoming an annual tradition that exquisitely illustrates his professionalism and general lack of any knowledge of just how the devoted fans in Milwaukee and Wisconsin really feel about the team.

So while their “franchise” player, Ryan Braun (.266, 19 Hrs, 81 RBI) explores cryotherapy to repair the damaged nerve in his right thumb, (perhaps from squeezing all those syringes in 2012?), and Hank The Dog waits for another bone to be thrown his way, Brewer fans must endure another miserable Wisconsin winter praying that maybe, just maybe, at some point in the not too distant future, a championship season is waiting for them. This just in, with the current regime in charge, that won’t happen.

Unfortunately for the Brewers faithful, until the dynamic duo of Melvin and Attanasio part ways, more .500 seasons will be the order of the day. If 2014 proved anything at all, it’s that baseball in Milwaukee is ultimately defined by losing, now even in more imaginative and inventive ways than one can possibly imagine. It appears that that those in charge, at least as of today, are just fine with that. It also proved that their is another living, breathing idiot inside the Brewer organization, the person that nominated Braun for of all things, the Roberto Clemente award.

Beautiful losers, oh, you just don’t need it at all.

82-80. 82 and nothing. RIP 2014 Milwaukee Brewers.

And For What

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