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Milwaukee Brewers: Why Corey Hart’s Hot and Prince Fielder’s Not

This is a breakout season for Milwaukee Brewers rightfielder Corey Hart.

He’s making amends for the bad first month of the 2010 season.

And, Hart is winning over the fans who thought he was too proud to take the club’s $4.2 million offer.

Hart turned it down and forced the Brewers to go to arbitration.

He didn’t even deserve that much because he was hurt last season, and his production declined.

Now, Hart looks like a genius, after not only winning a $4.8 million deal, but also staying hot at the plate.

Hart began the week hitting .272 with 18 home runs and 58 runs batted in.

He’s among the National League leaders in the home run category.

There are reasons why Hart is producing right now.

Hart hooked up with Roland Hernandez, a former wood scientist who worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and inventor of RockBat.

Hernandez is a wood expert who knows a thing or two about wood bats.

He convinced Hart and Fielder to use the new bats, which are made of sugar maple.

Once Hart started using the bat, his numbers jumped.

This season, he was in different spots of the lineup.  Now he bats second.

Hitters at the bottom of the lineup and leadoff hitter Rickie Weeks often get on base in scoring position, which leaves Hart with RBI opportunities.

Hart is 18-for-66 (.273) with runners in scoring position.

His 18 dingers scored 27 runs for the Brewers.

When Fielder, who bats third, gets to the plate, the bases are cleared.

Of his 15 home runs, 12 are solo shots.

Fielder is hitting .164 (12-73) with runners in scoring position.

That explains why Fielder has only 32 RBI’s and a .260 average.

He used to bat cleanup, but Ryan Braun hits behind Fielder.

Fielder uses the same bats as Hart.

Clearly, he’s frustrated from his lack of production at the plate.

The other thing that’s in the back of his mind, though he may deny it, is his status as a Brewer after this season.

Fielder, like Hart, are free agents after the 2011 season.

Hart wants to stay.  Fielder may be looking elsewhere.

Fielder’s agent, Scott Boras, shut down talks between himself and team management because he wants to play hardball.

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin might wait until after the season to try to trade Fielder.

It would make him available to all teams.

He already DH’ed when the Brewers played at Anaheim in interleague play recently in an American League ballpark.


Does anybody need a designated hitter?

We have one ready to go after September.

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Interleague Play and Why I Hate It

By Troy Sparks

I’m not a big fan of interleague play.

Maybe fans like to watch it.

American League teams shouldn’t play National League teams during the season, except in All-Star Games and the World Series.

That idea was ridiculous from the start. I was fine with teams playing games within their own league.

The American League has its own identity as does the National League.

A designated hitter can bat for the pitcher in the AL.

You see double switches and pitchers batting for themselves in the NL.

In the NL, when a pinch hitter bats in the pitcher’s spot, that means another pitcher for that team will throw in the next inning.

For years, our hometown team, the Brewers, played in the AL until switching to the NL in the late 1990’s.

The beginning of interleague play in 1997 broke the tradition between the leagues.

All records accomplished during the interleague season are recorded.

Stats on interleague games are tallied separately by league. Any streaks can be put on hold or continued.

An AL team can win 20 in a row and break a record for consecutive wins with 21.

Does that record count if it’s broken only in the AL? Or, does it still count, regardless whether it’s against an interleague team or not?

For example, if an NL hitter gets his 500th career hit, it will register as a milestone but also against an interleague team.

Milwaukee second baseman Rickie Weeks falls in that category. He can collect his 500th career hit against the Texas Rangers at home this weekend.

I think one league has a secret that it wants to show the other league only in the All-Star Games or the World Series.

An AL pitcher might strike out against an NL pitcher in an NL park at the World Series because he doesn’t get to bat all the time.

In an AL park, the NL can use a designated hitter, who gets off his rump about four times a game to bat for the pitcher, but he doesn’t play defense.

Since 1997, results from the All-Star Games have been one-sided.

Interleague play in the All-Star Games didn’t matter.

The AL has won the last 12, not including the 7-7 tie game in 2002.

Commissioner Bud Selig had to add an incentive, after that game eight years ago became an embarrassment to him.

That embarrassing tie happened at Miller Park, right in the commmish’s backyard.

Now, the winning AL or NL team gets home field advantage in the World Series.

These leagues intertwine in May and June every year.

I’m sorry. I just don’t like interleague baseball. Bring back the traditional baseball in our own leagues. Let’s do away with interleague play forever.

To Bad the commish won’t go for that. 

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No Return Investment on Brewer Pitching

When Milwaukee Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio lent his ear to general manager Doug Melvin on the need for more pitching help, he listened.

So Attanasio, who guards his pocketbook with his life, reluctantly spent—I’d say overspent—too much money on pitching in the offseason.

He forked out $67.35 million on left-handed starter Randy Wolf ($29.75 million) and reliever LaTroy Hawkins ($7.5 million).  That also includes the $30.1 million extension the Brewers gave ace Yovani Gallardo over five years.

And don’t even talk about Jeff Suppan. 

The Brewers overpaid him when he came to us, based on his postseason performance with the St. Louis Cardinals.  Now he’s an overpaid reliever, having lost his starting spot as the fifth starter.

This is a problem for new pitching coach Rick Peterson. 

I believe he’s trying to see what’s in the heads of his pitchers.  He should try to find out why they’re slacking off at the job before he finds himself out of a job.

Ask previous pitching coach Billy Castro what happened to him last year.  When the pitching staff gave up all those runs, he was fired.

Since manager Ken Macha, who’s in the last year of his two-year contract—it’s unlikely that he’ll get an extension—is the overseer of the players and coaching staff, the axe will fall on him, maybe before the All-Star break.

A pitching staff that’s 23rd in the majors with a 4.76 ERA and giving up 39 home runs should ask themselves if they spent the bosses’ money very wisely. 

It’s too early to tell right now. 

Wait until July to ask that question.


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