by Troy A. Sparks
Is there something brewing in the air, or is our major league baseball team trying to make a comeback?
Whatever kind of winning streak the Brewers put together after the midseason break, it may not be enough to save manager Ken Macha’s job.
The Crew played more than half their regular season games, leading up to the All-Star break. At 40-49, they need a break.
And Lord knows, we need a break from all the up and down play from the team.
In 2008, the Brewers were scratching to make the playoffs as a wild card. It was a relief for the more than 3 million fans who appreciated that moment. And I was on the field and in the clubhouse, soaking it up.
Hiring Macha as manager was supposed to improve the squad. It was based on his success in Oakland as their skipper. But here’s the difference: The A’s had more established veterans and better pitching than the current Brewers.
I’ll forgive Macha for the 80-82 record last year. Since general manager Doug Melvin got him some pitching help, and even let him handpick a pitching coach, the pitching and the hitting was supposed to keep the Brewers in the running in the NL Central this year.
Unfortunately, the results backfired in both areas.
Despite having three players selected for the All-Star Game, it doesn’t solve the assurance of a better team. And we had our hopes up.
I can take an off year in 2009. The upgrade in pitching was supposed to save the bullpen. The starters, with the exception of injured All-Star Yovani Gallardo, are still chased from the game by the fifth inning.
The Brewers can go on a 10-game winning streak after the break, and that won’t mean a hill of beans, since they’re out of contention for the playoffs.
Most of us would say that Macha should’ve been dismissed during the Brewers’ road trip in mid-May after the team was swept by Atlanta and Philadelphia at home from May 10-16.
Fast-forward to the present. Losing the last game of a road trip at St. Louis and being swept by San Francisco at home put the Brewers in a five-game losing streak before last weekend’s home series against Pittsburgh. If they lost that series, Macha’s job would’ve been on the line. The Crew swept the Pirates with one-run wins (5-4, 4-3, 6-5).
I don’t like when anyone lose their job. In professional sports, results determine who stays and who goes. Melvin will have to pull the plug and can Macha before their upcoming eight-game road trip at Atlanta and Pittsburgh.
The Steel City would be a perfect stop for Macha because he lives there in the offseason. That way, he can stay at home and not come back.
No one would be crying the blues around here if the umbilical cord were cut. Not Ryan Braun, who doesn’t understand why he’s batting fourth instead of third and Prince Fielder, who flipped places with Braun.
And don’t forget Trevor Hoffman. He probably doesn’t know why Macha lost confidence after some blown saves. Hoffman is still stuck on 596 career saves.
I’m tired of seeing that sign in center field with his save total. Give Hoffman four more saves to reach 600, and he’ll be the happiest man in the world.
Right now, the players are going along with the program and avoid complaining to the press. Bench coach Willie Randolph will right the ship for the remainder of the season if Macha is canned. While we’re at it, send pitching coach Rick Peterson packing and bring back Chris Bosio to fill the gap as he did last season when Bill Castro was fired.
I hope to see rookie-pitching sensation Stephen Strasburg throw when Washington comes here from July 22-24. Miller Park will sell out if he pitches one of the three games.
And if the Brewers win more at home in the second half, the Lupe Fiasco song, “Superstar,” or the Jay-Z/Kanye West track, “Run This Town,” will be blasting in the clubhouse after each win. Or, after a loss, the clubhouse will be quiet.
Maybe the team will relax and feel looser and get some confidence back with a change in command. But on the other hand, this managerial change before season’s end could backfire if Macha gets a chance to lead another team to a winning season.
I now turn my attention to the big free agent announcement. It really wasn’t necessary for ESPN to put LeBron James on national TV to announce where he was going to play next season.
All those little kids at a Connecticut Boys and Girls Club sitting in a room with cameras all around were props. The man could’ve just said where he was going, even though it leaked earlier that James will play for Miami. It was pointless to waste precious prime time space. I watched “Donald Trump’s The Ultimate Merger” instead of that one hour LeBron James garbage.
So, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh along with James will be Miami’s new Big Three. Then Pat Riley might come back to the bench to coach the team again. We’ll see if the Heat has what it takes to win another NBA Championship.