By: Big Rygg
So it’s not always easy to blog (especially when we don’t exactly get paid for doing this) during lengthy displays of ineptitude by the Brewers. Sorry about the absence, Brewer Nation, but we are most definitely still here.
And what do I kick off our Push to the Post-Season with? Why a little playrighting, of course!
Setting: Tomorrow night, Philadelphia, visiting clubhouse of Citizen’s Bank Ballpark
Ned Yost has just placed the lineup card for tonight’s game on the wall. Not expecting much change from the standard not-getting-it-done batting order, the men barely take notice.
That is until one young soul happens by…
Mat Gamel (whistling a happy tune): Second verse, same as the first. I’m Henry the eighth I am, Henry the Eighth I am, I…
From off-stage right Prince Fielder: I don’t hear you singing, rookie.
Prince enters the scene and finds a dumbfounded, yet excited, silent teammate.
Fielder: What gives?
Gamel: Sorry, Superior Leader, sir. It’s just that…well…um…
Fielder: Spit it out, kid…or do you need to sing it out?
Gamel points to the lineup card. With the sarcastically feigned interest of a young child, Fielder looks at the wall.
Fielder: What’s so special? What, is Rivera finally getting a start behind the dish?
Fielder eyes the lineup and his smile slowly fades into a look of confusion. Fielder scans the card up and down three more times before taking it off the wall and flipping it over. Not finding what he wants, he lets out a growl.
This draws the attention of his other teammates and Corey Hart, Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, Ray Durham and Alcides Escobar slide into the scene.
Fielder takes the lineup card in his hand and marches to Yost’s office.
He pounds on the door twice.
Fielder: Skip…what the hell is this? Some kind of a sick joke?
The door opens and out walks Ned Yost.
Yost: A joke? No…that’s tonight’s lineup card.
Fielder: What the hell do you mean that it’s tonight’s lineup card? See, because I was looking and I don’t see “Fielder, first base” anywhere on there.
Yost: Well, that makes sense since you’re not starting tonight.
Fielder is incensed and shoves a passing-by Manny Parra (tomorrow’s starting pitcher). Yost looks bemused at the reaction, but does nothing.
The rest of the team, save Gamel, obviously is confused by Fielder’s not starting, but they don’t know the whole story.
Yost: For those of you that might be confused, allow me to read the lineup card. For what it’s worth, when the lineup card goes up, read the thing…period.
Yost clears his throat.
Yost: Leading off, playing centerfield, Tony Gwynn. Batting second, playing shortstop, Alcides Escobar. Next, hitting third is third baseman Mat Gamel. Fourth is first baseman Brad Nelson. Fifth in the order will be left-fielder Joe Dillon. Sixth is second baseman Ray Durham. After Durham will be the catcher, Vinny Rottino and eighth is the guy that’s covering for Kapler since he’s banged up, Hernan Iribarren. Of course, Ben Sheets is pitching and batting 9th.
Looks ranging from anger to anticipation to sheer and utter amazement alight on face after face in the clubhouse.
Fielder: We’re trying to win the wild card here, what are you doing?
Yost: You are? You’re trying to win a wild card? Are you sure? Well, then I guess maybe I could change the lineup card. I thought I was just doing what you are were doing.
Braun: And that is?
Yost: Isn’t it obvious? I’m playing for next year? You all don’t seem to want to play in October, and since we’ve got all these kids up here to get some experience, I say let ’em get some experience and see who’s got the chops to stick next year.
Hart: Why do you say that we’re not playing for October?
Yost: Because you’re not. I base that on the past 10 days. Chicago hands you the division, but you don’t take it. The Phillies, Cardinals, the Mets…they all lay down, cry wolf and say please just don’t beat us by too many games, and you apparently listen. We’ve been given chance after chance and opportunity after opportunity to ensure our participation in the post-season for the first time in 26 years and you’ve frittered away every one.
Rickie Weeks (to Hardy): Did he say ‘frittered’?
Yost: Yeah, Rickie, I did. Frittered. It’s a word that comes from a time when baseball players played baseball to win. It’s a word that comes from a time when putting a W in the book was the most important thing. It’s a word that comes from a time when every game mattered.
I wonder, far too often lately, if those things will ever happen again here in Milwaukee. I wonder if the Milwaukee Brewers are going to get up for a game…ever again. And I therefore wonder if these September callups should be swapping in at some key positions next year so that we have a chance to recapture the fire that ought to burn inside each and every one of you.
So yes, that’s the lineup card we’re going with tonight. It’s up to each and every individual in this room to figure out for himself whether or not he wants to be in the starting lineup tomorrow and not just what they’re willing to do, but what they’ll already have done by the time I fill it out.
Stepping up comes with the chance of failure, sure, but that’s what this game is. Whether or not you can overcome failure again and again is what makes you a great player in that game. You can piss and moan all you want to about “being benched”, or you can take this as a simple day off and come back focused.
Now, Gamel, Escobar and the rest of you guys…you’ve been handed the opportunity that the rest of your teammates have been spitting on for a week and a half. Get your gear on, get out to the field, and see what you can do with it.
Yost walks back into his office and shuts the door.
This is what I would do if I could write Ned Yost a script and have him follow it for one night. Yost has said he will not scream and yell and throw chairs to try to motivate his team. All I’m trying to do with the above is show that he doesn’t have to.
If any competitor doesn’t react to that in the proper way by being challenged by it, then he shouldn’t be in the starting lineup during a pennant chase any way.