At Century’s End, a Glimmer of Hope
when Frank checked in again Sunday, he found Artie almost giddy with optimism.
The Brewers used a home series against Washington
to build a four-game winning streak and hit the 100-game mark at 47-53. Not
quite a playoff omen, but you never know.
Frank: I’m just back from Yankee Stadium, where I saw two hours of
baseball and 45 minutes of monsoon before hitting the subway. When I got back
to Long Island, they were only in the seventh
inning because the storm stopped things for 2 1/2 hours overall.
Artie: At least you didn’t miss Home Run No. 600 by A-Rod, tainted
though it would have been.
Frank: I’d much rather be on hand for Derek Jeter’s Hit No. 3,000,
which may well come next year. Anyway, A-Rod didn't come close Sunday and got
drilled in his final at-bat.
Artie: Good for him; if Rickie Weeks and Prince Fielder can get
drilled every other day, A-Rod should too.
Frank: Hey, how about Rickie’s beaning Saturday night? It looked
Artie: I had visions of Mike Matheny a few years back, spitting
out blood. But Rickie is a real gamer; he was down for a few seconds, then got
up and calmly went to first—no glaring at the pitcher. And he played Sunday and
hit his 20th homer.
Frank: How about Corey Hart? I saw he jammed a wrist making a play
in right field.
Artie: He didn’t play Sunday but was available for pinch running.
Word is he should be OK. By the way, has Doug Melvin contacted you about
financing an extension of your East Coast stay? In your absence the Brew Crew
went into this week riding a six-game winning streak at home. You’ve inherited
that nickname of “The Cooler” from me!
Frank: I seem to have put the Big Chill on the Yankees, too.
Artie: How's that? They’re in first place as usual, ain'a?
Frank: I mean the Ultimate Big Chill. I hit Long
Island on the 9th and two days later Bob Sheppard, the Yankee
Stadium announcer for almost 60 years, died. Two days later George Steinbrenner
followed. And last week Ralph Houk, who won three pennants and two World Series
as the Yanks' manager in the ’60s, joined them.
Artie: Yikes! Cooler, hell. You're the Undertaker! How's Whitey
Frank: He looked OK at Old Timers' Day on the 17th, but Yogi Berra
missed it because he fractured a foot in a fall.
Artie: Wow, you better leave the Big Apple soon. Bob Turley, watch
your butt! Hey, maybe the Brewers would pay for you to visit St.
Louis and Cincinnati
Frank: Wow, I’m sure hearing a different tone from last week. You
do realize that the four-game streak came against Pittsburgh
Artie: You gotta start somewhere. I’m just here to express the
hope of fans. Don’t cancel the contingency plan for printing playoff tickets
Frank: It’ll help if they can win the home series this week
Artie: Indeed, but after that there’s a totally make-or-break
stretch starting the 30th—on the road for three games in Houston and three at
Wrigley Field, then home for three more with the Astros and four with the
Diamondbacks. Maybe a very lucky 13 straight against losing teams.
After that it’s tougher with 11 against Colorado,
St. Louis, San Diego
and Los Angeles.
So yes, they better dominate the losers—which did not
happen last year after
the All-Star break.
It’s true I’ve been disappointed before. But
I’m encouraged that Manny Parra and
Dave Bush, who pitched two of those double-digit disasters last week, bounced
back nicely over the weekend.
(As did Randy Wolf on Monday night
when the streak reached five. Frank was back in town and at the game—without
Two of the disasters were in
inspiring you to claim the Pirates were
stealing the Brewers’ signs.
Artie: Why not? They’re Pirates, aren’t they?
Frank: The New York
papers didn’t say much about the Bucks’ signing of a backup point guard. And I
needed help; I’m not familiar with the name.
Artie: Keyon Dooling, 30, out of Missouri, played his first four NBA seasons
with the Clippers…
Frank: No wonder I hadn’t heard of him.
Artie: Then Miami, Orlando and the
last two with New Jersey.
He’s 6-foot-3, bigger than Brandon Jennings, a good defender and has some
speed. He’s averaged about 7 points and 2 assists, and I think he’ll be fine in
that backup role. And the Bucks made another move I like, trading
end-of-the-bench power forward Darnell Jackson and a second-round pick to Sacramento for Jon
Frank: Oops, another unknown to me.
Artie: Brockman’s 6-7, out of Washington, and he left there as the
Huskies’ all-time leading rebounder and No. 2 scorer. He’s a total energy guy.
Frank: So he could become the Bucks’ version of the “Birdman,”
Chris Andersen of Denver?
Artie: Except Brockman can shoot, too.
Frank: I agree the Bucks’ roster looks impressive. Still, there’s
one name that’s not being mentioned—Michael Redd. He’s certainly in the picture
financially, guaranteed $18 million for next season. What are they gonna do
Artie: First they have to find out if he really has recovered from
those knee surgeries in consecutive years. The latest word is that he’s not
even going to try to play until February, under the theory that he might have
come back too soon last season. That’s a good idea; there’s really no crying
need for him with John Salmons and Chris Douglas-Roberts as the shooting
Frank: But later in the season, if he’s willing to accept a role
as a sixth or seventh man off the bench, he could really help in situations
where they need outside shooting.
Artie: Hey, you never know when injuries will strike. And there’s
precedent for the Bucks getting a lift in February. That’s when they got Salmons
from the Bulls last season, and it sure paid off.
Frank: I saw on the Journal
Sentinel’s website that my former boss, Garry Howard, wrote a column saying
the Bucks should bid Redd farewell right now. I don’t see why that’s necessary,
since they’ve got to pay him anyway. Why not let him see if he can get back on
the court in a limited role?
Artie: Absolutely. I’ve seen commentary that if the Bucks add
Redd’s shooting to any degree, folks should really watch out for the Bucks.
Frank: Redd isn’t a stranger to coming off the bench. That was his
status on the 2008 Olympic team, except that those guys never needed his help
and he was basically unused. But he was a sub in his first two years with the
Bucks, in 2001-’02 and 2002-’03.
Artie: Backing up Ray Allen before he was shipped out to Seattle.
Frank: Redd averaged in double figures both those seasons, and
they were the only seasons when he's been over 40% in three-point shooting. In
the five seasons after that, ending in 2007-’08, he was averaging over 20
points but not as accurate from long range. As a starter, of course, he took
more shots per game, 17 to 20 all those years. With fewer minutes per game, and
therefore less wear and tear, his shooting accuracy might benefit.
Artie: Another possibility is that if Redd shows he can still play, there could be teams who’d want to trade for him. Who can’t use some extra shooting?