Carlos Gomez: Hot-Headed or High-Intensity? by Andrew Dunn-Bauman
Gold Glove Center Fielder Sparks Debate with Brawl in Pittsburgh
We’re three weeks into the season, and the Milwaukee Brewers sit atop the NL Central at an MLB-best 15-5. Everything is peachy in Brewer Nation. Well, almost everything.
Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh, Carlos Gomez hit a long fly ball to deep center field, and proceeded to trot towards first and watch the ball fly until it hit the fence. Gomez then picked up the pace around first base and ended up diving into third base safely with a triple. Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole, who gave up the triple, came over barking words not suitable for this blog at Gomez, who promptly hopped up and started verbally retaliating. Gomez was quickly separated from Cole by players and the umpiring crew, and the situation seemed to be under control, even as both benches were emptying. But when Travis Snider came in and said something to Gomez, things got ugly fast.
Gomez took the first swing of the brawl, getting a piece of Snider, who then tackled Gomez and had to be pulled away by Rickie Weeks. Martin Maldonado came flying in and landed a clean punch on Snider as well before the heated players on both sides were finally restrained and cooler heads prevailed.
This wasn’t the first time Gomez got in trouble for admiring a fly ball, though he claims that he thought his triple Sunday was just a hard fly out. Gomez was suspended for one game last September after benches cleared between the Brewers and Braves. He admired a homer off of Braves starter Paul Maholm, and was met by catcher Brian McCann ten feet in front of home plate before the benches cleared and punches were thrown.
All of this history with Gomez begs the question: Is he out of control, or just a passionate player?
I tend to side with the latter. In both incidents, Gomez was technically the “instigator” by watching his fly balls for too long. But both times, a member of the opposing team reacted inappropriately as well. Brian McCann shouldn’t have met Gomez halfway up the baseline during his home run trot, and Gerrit Cole was out of line with the profane language he used toward Gomez.
Gomez plays the game of baseball with a lot of flair. That’s part of who he is as a player. He plays hard, he (almost) always hustles, and he puts on a show. He brings a Richard Sherman-like intensity to the park every night, and as a result, he gets a bit testy when rudely confronted by an opposing player. I’m guessing he also isn’t the only player that takes exception to being sworn at.
I don’t have a problem with the way Gomez plays. At all. Fans come to games to be entertained, and Carlos Gomez arguably does that better than any other player in the league. He was in the wrong to turn the altercation physical by throwing the first punch, and he will justifiably be suspended for his role in this most recent skirmish. But if I’m Ron Roenicke, I’m not telling Gomez to change his approach to the game one bit.
Opposing fans will hate on him, and he will continue to play the game with a higher level of intensity than anyone else on the club. And as long as he keeps contributing to Brewer victories, nobody can fault him for it.
After the Wisconsin Badgers were knocked out of the Final Four by the Kentucky Wildcats, lots of Bucky fans needed a little time before looking at next year. Some were real quick to figure out where UW fit in to next years Big Ten (and beyond) race. Personally, I needed a little time. I had to see what the top underclassmen in the B10 were going to, when it came to their NBA careers, specifically the current powers in the Big Ten. Let’s take a look at who left:
Michigan lost Big Ten Player of the year, Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III. Stauskas grew more from his freshman year to sophomore year than any player at that stage I’ve ever seen. He’s a top 20 pick. GR3 showed flashes of the player many think he can be. I don’t think he was very consistent. He probably should’ve stayed but who am I to judge? He’s a late 1st/early 2nd rd guy. Michigan will likely take a step back.
Michigan State’s Gary Harris went pro. When you’re the leading scorer on the trendy powerhouse team in the Big Ten, why would you stay? I think he’ll be a really good pro who will create on his own more than Tom Izzo allowed him to. Couple Harris leaving with Keith Appling & Adreian Payne gone to graduation and MSU will struggle to find points!
Ohio State is losing 2 big contributors from last years team: LaQuinton Ross & Aaron Craft. Ross was the teams’ leading scorer & rebounder. Craft was the team leader & the best on-ball defender in the country last year. Sorry, osu…you’re not as good either.
Indiana has lost 4 players from last years team either due to transfer or in Noah Vonlehs’ case, the NBA.
I’m sure there are others that I’m leaving out but with all that talent LEAVING the Big Ten, and most of Wisconsin’s team coming back? (Dekker, Kaminsky, Hayes, Gasser, etc - SG Ben Brust is the only major contributor UW will lose) Look out BigTen…the Badgers are gonna be TOUGH to keep out of the spotlight. Bo Ryan’s NEVER finished out of the top 4 in the B10 and I’d be SHOCKED if it started next year.
~~Success Versus Cardinals Necessary by Andrew Dunn-Bauman
The Brewers are off to an incredible start to the 2014 season. With a nine-game winning streak already in the books, the Crew owns the best record in the MLB at 10-3. Things have been clicking on all cylinders in Milwaukee, but there still remains a thorn in the sides of players and fans alike: The St. Louis Cardinals.
Monday night the Cardinals rolled into town and robbed everyone in the city of Milwaukee of free burgers, snapping the Brewer winning streak just one game shy of double digits. The loss dropped the Brewers’ record against the Cardinals to 11-24, dating back to the start of the 2012 season.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s far from time to hit the panic button. April has been much kinder so far than I had ever anticipated (minus the weather) for Milwaukee, and I’ll take the best record in the MLB at any juncture of the season, obviously. For fans freaking out about losing to the Cardinals, let’s remember that this squad from St. Louis was slated by almost every pundit to win the NL Central in the preseason. They’re good. Really good. The loss was amplified by the fact that it busted a huge winning streak, but no one could have realistically expected the Crew to sweep the Redbirds.
Now, that doesn’t excuse the Brewers from ever beating the Cardinals. Quite the opposite. For this team to contend in the Central this year, they need to be competitive with the Cards. At least close to .500 ball against them. Back in 2011, when the Brewers won a franchise record 96 regular season games, they played the Cardinals even at 9-9. But that was against a weaker division than the NL Central this year (the Astros were still in the NL in 2011, that’s all you need to know). Wins against division opponents will be at a premium this season (minus the Cubs) so the Brewers cannot afford to be handled by the Cardinals if they want to contend for the postseason.
The Crew has two games left in this set against their rivals from Missouri, and if they fail to win either, the Brewer fan base will go catatonic. The team can absorb this kind of result, but players and fans alike feel it’s high time to make a statement. Jonathan Lucroy said on the Bill Michaels show this morning “I feel like we’re better than (the Cardinals) are.” Let’s see the Crew prove it.
For Brewer updates and live tweets from Miller Park, follow Andrew on Twitter @ADBinMKE
(Dallas ) Whether or not Josh Gasser should have hedged up further into Kentucky's Aaron Harrison's face on
Saturday Night will be long debated. On one hand.Harrison has hit from there before with the game on the line, but then if Gasser gets up further, he risks Harrison's blowing by with his quicks and finding a way to tie a game. No blame, sometimes you just have to tip your cap and say Harrison made a big time play.
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you will know that I consdered the Badger loss on Saturday night to be one of the toughest in state sports history. Final Four appearences are one of the toughest accomplishment in sports, especially for a program like Wisconsin, as we all know. The opportunity was there for a national title,espcially with Flordia losing. I feel Wisconsin is better than U Conn. This is what makes the Final Four loss a difficultone to swallow.
More on Chuck and Wickett when I join Mike from Dallas from 8-10 AM on Monday morning.
Milwaukee Bucks C, Larry Sanders just doesn't get it. This is not a "slam Larry" blog. I'm just so frustrated (like many Bucks fans) with this guy. He was building block. A focal point. A defensive force. A "Milwaukee" guy with a midwest workman like attitude that fans could get behind. Well...that's out the window. Who is Larry Sanders? None of the above (except the defensive force part). Let's review, shall we??
August 21, 2013: Larry Sanders signs a 4-year $44 million dollar extension with the Bucks. A questionable contract for a offensively challenged Center who no doubt is one of the best defensive players in the NBA. By the way, he signed his contract at a Boys & Girls Club in downtown Milwaukee. LOVED THIS. Thought it was great to do it in front of the kids in the city & provide some inspiration. Sanders said this was going to help him become the MAN that he wants to be and the face of the franchise.
November 5, 2013: Larry Sanders was involved in a bar fight at Apt 720 in downtown Milwaukee. Video shows Sanders throwing Champagne bottles into the crowd, in the VIP area. Why was the fight started? I've heard lots of stories and versions of the incident. Regardless, Sanders SHOULD NOT be getting into fights at bars. Can he go to bars? YES. I have no problem with that. But there is no reason he should get involved with fights. We all know Larry has a problem with his temper ON the court (which he's admitted to). And now we know it's not just a "basketball thing". By the way, Sanders hurt his thumb during the fight, causing him to miss significant playing time. Man. Face of the franchise.
November 13, 2013: Reports surface that Larry Sanders was cited twice in January 2013 for cruelty to animals. According to court records, a neighbor called police to say Sanders kept his two German shepherd puppies outside in the cold for hours without proper shelter, food and water. Sanders paid a total of $330 for the two municipal citations. (via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Man. Face of the franchise.
December 5, 2013: Larry Sanders responds on instagram to the heat he's taking for the 720 bar fight. I can't even describe this...just read it. As you would imagine, this didn't stay online very long. Man. Face of the franchise.
April 4, 2014: Larry Sanders was suspended 5 games for violating the NBA's drug policy. Sanders got busted for smoking marijuana...FOR THE 3rd TIME. Sanders apologized but has vigorously defended his stance on the legalization of the drug. I agree with Larry. Weed SHOULD be legal, in my opinion. But here's the problem, Larry: ITS NOT. Just because you're a millionaire and a celebrity, doesn't mean the laws don't apply to you. When they say "don't smoke weed"...well...DON'T SMOKE WEED. Man. Face of the franchise.
What should the Bucks do? Not my call but thats FOUR strikes in just over a year. As far as i can remember, you only get 3 strikes before you're out.
Larry is no longer the fan favorite he was just one year ago. As for trading him? Ask any GM in the league & they'll tell you that Sanders trade value is ZERO. Due to injuries, Sanders has played in 23 games this season. He's started 20 of them. He averaged 7.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.74 blocks per game. Oh, and by the way, his $44 million dollar extension? It BEGINS NEXT SEASON.
After a long search, Marquette University has named Steve Wojciechowski as it's 17th basketball coach in school history.
Not Shaka. Not Ben "i've been to 3 final fours" Howland. Not Cuonzo Martin. Wojo. This is one that's gonna very interesting to watch. Why did Wojo finally leave Mike Krzyzewski's bench after a decade & a half at Duke? I've got 3 theories on this...
1 - He got sick of waiting. Seriously, was Coach K EVER going to leave Duke? He's been there forever. He's still got great teams every year...although it looks like it's getting tougher for him to go deep in the tournament lately (see Mercer, Lehigh). Recently Coach K said publicly that he'd like to be at Duke for AT LEAST 5 MORE YEARS. At age 37, you figure Wojo wasn't gonna wait til his early 40's to get his 1st gig. So he took it.
2 - He's using MU as a stepping stone to GET BACK to Duke. He may have been told, "go get some experience, then come home". It's a possibilty. Duke doesn't strike me as a "first gig" type of place. Marquette does (see: the last two guys...and now this one) Time will tell if this is a long term buy, or a short term lease at MU for Wojo.
3 - He's been told he's not in line to get the Duke job. This would be a bit surprising, considering how committed to Duke Wojo has become. Player/coach - LIFER. But maybe someone else is in the eye of Coach K. My best guess? Shaka Smart. Why not? He won't go out west. He won't come up north. Maybe he REALLY wants that Duke job, and he's willing to wait around for it. Call it a long shot...
I'm excited to see what Wojo will bring to this team. Will we see the "3-pointer friendly" offense that the Blue Devils run? I hope not. Will Wojo be like Tom Crean & Buzz Williams & bolt for another job? I hope not. But this is what Marquette does. They don't hire the "big" name. They took a chance on an assistant coach on Tom Izzos' bench and that got them elevated to Big East status + a final four (along with other post season tournament births). Buzz? He was on Creans' staff & took the Golden Eagles to 3 straight sweet 16's.
A LOT of programs in this country would kill for that. So let's sit back and watch Wojo work...
Its Tuesday and Andrew Dunn-Bauman has his Brewers Blog
Brewer Fans Quick to Forgive By Andrew Dunn-Bauman
Brewers fans all know the saga of Ryan Braun. They know about the cheating, they know about the lying, they know about the 65-game suspension. But on Monday afternoon, it seemed the Brewer fan base chose to forgive and forget all of that, and instead greeted Braun with a roaring standing ovation as he approached the plate for the first time since July 2013.
For a group of fans that sounded decidedly furious with Braun when news first broke of his suspension, it was certainly more than a bit surprising to witness the reception Braun received from his home crowd on Opening Day.
I fully understand that the Brewers have a loyal and diehard fan base. I understand that they want their team to succeed on every level, as they understand that Braun is an integral part of this team’s success. The outpouring of support from the 45,691 fans in attendance was merely a reflection of how badly this city wants the Crew to succeed this year, how badly they have missed warm weather and the boys of summer, and how badly the fan base wants to put the past to rest.
But I do not agree with the standing ovation.
For one at-bat, just one at-bat, the Brewer fan base should have sent Ryan Braun a message. Boos would have been appropriate, and they would have sent that message that the fans and city as a whole is disappointed in Braun’s actions - both the fact that he cheated the game of baseball, and that he lied about it, trying to drag others down in the process. Silence, on the other hand, would have been eery and infinitely more effective. Imagine Braun being announced only for the stadium to fall dead quiet. That would have been memorable and effective.
Instead the crowd roared for Braun every plate appearance, sending the message that regardless of all the wrong he has done to the team and its fans, they are willing to accept him with open arms regardless. Brewer fans have taken loads of criticism for this, both from fans of other clubs and national pundits. Some of it is warranted. Some of it is excessive and uncalled for.
But the important thing is that the warm reception is in the past now. The Opening Day fanfare has passed as a blip on the screen, and it is time to get down to the grind of the season. Braun deserves the support of Brewer fans moving forward, because he needs to succeed for this team to succeed. And they are completely in the right to support him as a member of this organization. The fans missed their opportunity to send a message, plain and simple. Now let’s leave the controversy in the past; it’s time for baseball.