Tagged: Ken Macha

Milwaukee Brewers Uniform Number History: #40

Wondering who wore a certain uniform number all-time for the Milwaukee Brewers?

The Brewer Nation has got you covered. If you found this list on its own, head back here for the full repository after checking out this one.

#40

Floyd Wicker (’70-’71)
Jerry Bell (’71-’74)
Pete Broberg (’75-’76)
Sam Hinds (’77)
Willie Mueller (’78)
Dave LaPoint (’80)
John Flinn (’80)
Bob Gibson (’83-’86)
Mike Birkbeck (’87-’89)
Darren Holmes (’91-’92)
Mike Ignasiak (’93-’95)
Ben McDonald (’96-’97)
Chad Fox (’98-’99, ’01-’02)
John Foster (’03)
Ben Hendrickson (’04, ’06)
Scott Linebrink (’07)
Brad Nelson (’08)
Ken Macha (’09-’10)
Takashi Saito (’11)
Jose Veras (’12)
Johnny Hellweg (’13)

Ken Macha: How Far Must the Milwaukee Brewers Falls Before It’s Over?

By: Big Rygg

The writing is on the wall. The precedent has been set…twice. The only question remaining is: When?

The Milwaukee Brewers have a decision to make, and there are rumors swirling that they may be making that decision during an internal meeting scheduled for today.

The timing works. The Brewers have an off-day tomorrow after yet another disappointing run of games. As I write this, they’ve lost five of six on this road trip including an extra inning affair yesterday.

Many times when a team makes a change mid-season, it is done on a day when that team has no game to play so that the new manager (whomever it may be) has a day to get things in order. This is why many people were pointing to May 24th (the team’s last day off) for a change to be made. The noise got so loud that Mark Attanasio took the time to state that no change would be made that day.

By the way, it’s not a good thing when the owner has to start fielding questions about the job security of his employees.

To be fair, the team responded well following that last day off. They went 4-2 on a six-game homestand and Macha seemed to be at least tentatively secure going forward.

All of that good will has been wasted in this most recent run of terrible decision-making and unacceptable results. The team is 1-6 over the past seven games and has fallen to a season-low 12 games under .500.

The Baltimore Orioles most recently and the Kansas City Royals before them, perenial losers over the last decade-plus, decided that things weren’t working yet again. They made the sometimes tough choice to replace the man in charge of putting their players in the best position to succeed.

The same needs to happen in Milwaukee.

Macha is no longer managing to win, not that he was succeeding much when he was. The decisions that he is making seem to be fueled by a desire to simply keep his job by not losing again.

That style of managing, and please pay attention kids, does not work…ever.

You have to have an agressive, attacking, hit-them-in-the-mouth-before-they-hit-us attitude to succeed in any competition at the highest level.

Macha doesn’t have that killer instinct any more, if he ever did.

There has been a lot of rhetoric about how Macha doesn’t throw the pitches or swing the bats or field grounders. All this is true. However, preparation, focus and dedication are things that he has control over. Under his watch, the team is committing mental mistakes the likes of which haven’t been produced by this team in some time.

When the message is no longer being received sometimes all you can do is change the vessel that delivers it.

To quote the late, great Owen Hart: “Enough is enough and it’s time for a change.”

How does tomorrow look on your calendar?

What Has Happened to This Team?

By: Big Rygg

It has been a while since I’ve written anything in this space. The reason for that is two-fold.

First, I am the proud parent to a new baby boy (he’s a month old today, as a matter of fact)! Second, the team hasn’t exactly given me much in the way of motivation to sit down and really put forth any concerted effort.

To be fair, in all reality it is the former that has kept me away more than the latter. I can write about my favorite team in the dead of winter when they’re not even playing with no issue. Certainly I have had plenty on my mind during these recent lean days but diapers/bottles/baths/bonding/etc. really chew up my “free” time.

I was going to sit down and write a free-form rant (I even advertised it on my blog’s Twitter account – twitter.com/BrewerNation) but I got busy and calmed down while caring for my little boy that can’t care for himself yet.

That’s kind of a metaphor for the 2010 Milwaukee Brewers so far this year.

I know that the team will tell you that they are maturing and how they don’t want to be seen as the team that other teams love to beat, but if you ask me all they’ve accomplished by toning down their youthful exuberance is rip their own heart out.

They no longer seem to be having fun while playing a fun game. They no longer seem to be enjoying their days at the ballpark which is an enjoyable place. They no longer seem to have that swagger that carried them to a 90-72 record and a post-season playoff berth WAY back in 2008.

Yeah…2008. Remember when CC Sabathia couldn’t be stopped and this team was having fun all summer long? It doesn’t seem that long ago when you think about it outside of sports, but in Major League Baseball so much can change in two short years.

I could list things like that they’ve had three managers since then, or that they’ve burned through four pitching coaches but the main thing that’s changed from 2008 to 2010 isn’t tangible like that.

It’s the fun.

Let me break it down to you this way. They say that a group takes on the personality and characteristics of its leader. But has there ever been a seemingly more mismatched pairing than Ken Macha and the majority of this Brewers roster?

Macha is admittedly old school. Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot about old school baseball. I like (most of) the unwritten rules. I like drilling a guy for showing up the game. I like a good old-fashioned bench-clearing brawl.

The players, and perhaps it’s mostly as a by-product of their median age, is decidedly new school in a lot a ways. The earthquake celebration against San Francisco, Braun and Fielder’s boxing celebration after home runs, the untucking of their jerseys after victories…it all is about having fun.

They never were trying to show anybody up. They were simply trying to enjoy each other and each other’s successes on the field.

But apparently somebody got in the ears of the clubhouse leaders over the off-season and planted a distinctive “knock it off” somewhere in there.

Sure, Braun and Fielder still celebrate home runs and now Fielder and McGehee have even developed a little foot shake routine. And yes, if they were still untucking their jerseys with a 16-26 record, it might seem a touch out of place.

My argument, though, is that once this team stopped having fun this team stopped playing loose. They’ve been uptight, trying to be to too perfect (I’m looking at you, pitching staff) and generally almost seem to be playing scared.

Not that they’re afraid of the ball or anything, but they’ve got “What’s going to go wrong tonight?” syndrome.

When you arrive at the ballpark and expect to lose, you generally lose. I’m not saying that any players have told me that they feel this way, or that I’ve heard any of them say it or even imply it. It’s just my feeling as a very interested observer.

Maybe getting Trevor Hoffman fixed will be the spark that this team needs. It can’t be easy when the innings are getting late and you don’t have at least a four-run lead. Hoffman was so maddeningly inconsistent that you almost had to assume failure and be pleasantly surprised if he came through.

Maybe getting healthy will provide the boost that this team needs. When your Opening Day centerfielder and rightfielder have missed time and 40% of your starting rotation has replaced due to injury or ineffectiveness and your setup man is on the DL and now your starting catcher will miss at least two weeks…

Then again, maybe simply getting a few wins will be the ointment that heals the wounds of so many losses.

If you win, maybe you loosen up. If you loosen up, maybe you win some more. If you win some more, maybe you stay loose and go on a run.

So the question becomes: How do you win to start that chain of probabilities?

My answer to that question sounds simple. In fact, it sounds so simple that one might wonder why it isn’t already happening. It sounds so simple that one might question why it was ever abandoned in the first place.

That answer to the Milwaukee Brewers? Find a way to enjoy the game again.

Untuck those jerseys, watch a few home runs a little too long, pump your fist when you strike out a guy in a key situation on defense, hoot and holler and get the other guy’s dander up, put a target on your back again if you must.

In short…just relax and be yourselves.

You might find out that it’s what’s been missing this whole time.

September 2009: Personal Milestone Time

By: Big Rygg

September 2008 was a time for celebration for both the Milwaukee Brewers and their fans. A playoff berth, the team’s first since appearing in the 1982 World Series, was clinched on the final day of the regular season and the streamers rained down inside of Miller Park. One of the longest playoff droughts in Major League Baseball came to an end and the city of Milwaukee rejoiced.

September 2009, on the contrary, has been a time of hoping to finish the year above .500 in the win/loss percentages. It has become a time of cringing whenever an opponent takes a lead in a ballgame. It has become a time of fans clamoring for the return of both Packer football and, to a lesser extent, Bucks basketball. (And when you’re ready for the return of Bucks basketball, you know things aren’t going particularly well with the beermakers.)

Another thing that this edition of September is providing, but on the optimism end of the spectrum, is individual players chasing down personal- and team-bests in the game most driven by numbers.

September 19th gave us the falling of a team record when Prince Fielder finally broke his tie with a another Brewer first baseman, Cecil Cooper, in regular season RBI. Fielder hit a sacrifice fly with one out in the bottom of the 8th inning in a game which the Brewers would go on to win. Congratulations to the “Heir to the Throne” as he set another Brewer record.

September 20th gave us three things. First, a nice moment before the game when Prince Fielder was honored for setting the aforementioned RBI mark. Instead of, as what usually happens when a player is honored for something prior to a game, just Manager Ken Macha coming out with a trophy, the entire available team and coaching staff joined Macha for the recognition. What’s more, Cecil Cooper himself (in town because the record was broken against the visiting Houston Astros of which Cooper is the manager) also came out to congratulate Fielder. Cooper received a loud ovation from the sparse crowd. I know because I was there.

Second, the 3rd inning gave us our second milestone in the last two days when Yovani Gallardo recorded his third strikeout of the game which brought his season total to an even 200. Gallardo struck out Astro pitcher Felipe Paulino to reach the mark and then, if for no other reason than to prove he didn’t have to get it against the pitcher, struck out Astro lead-off man Michael Bourn for the second time in the game to end the Top of the 3rd inning with 201 strikeouts. Gallardo would end his day after five scoreless innings with seven Ks, giving him 204 on the season. He is definitely ready to officially assume the “Ace” role next year when the Brewers open their 40th anniversary season on April 5th. Though enough about April. We’re still talking about Septembers.

The third thing that was accomplished this September was the felling of another team record for Fielder. It happened today as well when Fielder was walked for the 100th time this season. He is the first Brewer to ever reach the century mark in free passes (which makes sense why it’s a team record then, doesn’t it?) and in doing so he broke his tie in that category with Jeromy Burnitz (who, for what it’s worth, is tied for 3rd in single-season RBI total with 125).

Fielder also extended his RBI mark today when he reached a personal threshold by slugging his 40th home run of the year. All in all, a couple of nice days that come during a current stretch of good play that has seen the Brewers win five in a row and eight of their last 10.

Oh, and as for that finishing with a .500 or better record thing from before? The team took another step in the right direction today by drawing to within a game of even as they increased their record to 74-75.

After all, it might be a time for personal milestones, but a little bit of a good feeling based on the team’s fortunes wouldn’t be a bad thing either.

At Least They Got It Right In The End

By: Big Rygg

Yeah, the Brewers lost today. It was an annoying game in which the Brewers got their first hit in the 1st inning, loading the bases in the first thanks to a couple of walks, but were unable to push a run across. Heck, they weren’t even able to register another hit for quite a while. It was a LONG day with lots of pitches, especially early.

But that’s not what this post is about.

What this post is about is a little ceremony that took place prior to the game. In a short bit, Manager Ken Macha was handing out offical All Star Game jerseys to the Milwaukee Brewers selected to the game.

But what’s this? There are three Brewers standing to Macha’s right for the ceremony. Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun are announced and handed jerseys with their names and numbers on the back of them. Then PA Announcer Rob Edwards says that earlier in the day it was announced that Dodger Closer Jonathan Broxton was pulling out of the game with an injury and that replacing him would be a man that deserved to go in the first place in Brewer Closer and all-time MLB saves leader Trevor Hoffman!

Apparently the word came down late enough that they couldn’t get a Hoffman ASG jersey whipped up in time so Macha ended up handed Hoffman a Braun jersey as well which led to a humorous moment when Hoffman turned the back of the jersey to the camera and fans.

But it was nice to see the Phillies and NL All Star team Manager Charlie Manuel finally realized when all of Milwaukee (and the rest of the NL) already knew. Trevor Hoffman is having an All-Star-worthy season.

An interesting thought in all of this? Jonathan Broxton pitched in Milwaukee on Friday night, throwing a VERY long 10th inning as Milwaukee did its best to rally from a 6-run deficit. How ironic would it be that Broxton gets hurt in Milwaukee which allows the Brewers’ closer to make it to the All Star Game?

But yes, the Home Run Derby is Monday evening, eminating from Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Milwaukee’s own Happy Youngster (thehappyyoungster.mlblogs.com) will be in attendance in the front row behind the Cardinal bullpen. Cheer him on, but more importantly cheer on Prince Fielder as he takes on several big bats in the Derby.

A Play-By-Play of My Night (short excerpt)

By: Big Rygg

This post will be short and sweet. Here is a recap of a small chunk of my evening.

Ryan Braun is at the plate in the bottom of the 9th inning after Trevor Hoffman unfortunately blew a save.

I happen to glance up at the bullpen since because Ken Macha didn’t double-switch to bring Hoffman into the game, they had to pinch-hit for him in the top of the 10th inning.

So I glance up at the bullpen and see a right arm throw a ball and as the player’s back turns to me I see a # 12.

I say, out loud, “Well, the game’s over one way or the other now. Either we walk off now or they’ll basically do it in the 10th.”

If you don’t know what happened, go check out the box score.

Good night Brewer Nation.

Well I’m on my Way…

By: Big Rygg

So have we finally seen enough? Wait…wrong question. We definitely have. Allow me to rephrase…

So…have they finally seen enough?

Of course the “they” in the revised question refers to Milwaukee Brewer Manager Ken Macha and General Manager Doug Melvin. And whatever might I be talking about when I ask if enough of it has been seen?

That’s a simple answer as well.

Jorge Julio.

Julio almost single-armedly threw the Milwaukee Brewers from a series-opening (and road trip-beginning) victory into a loss. Between walks, hitting a couple of batters and general ineffectiveness all the way around, Julio was ultimately charged with four earned runs without recording a single out.It skyrocketed his ERA from 5.71 (still poor by itself, don’t get me wrong) to 7.79.

Now, to be fair, over his last four outings, Julio had put together 5.2 innings of scoreless ball. This was is mostly low pressure situations. Monday night should have been another low pressure spot again, just bridging the gap between Jeff Suppan who Houdini’d his way around trouble for the most part but did so by racking up 100 pitches in just 5 innings. All Julio was charged with was pitching through the 6th so that Coffey, Villanueva and (if necessary) Trevor Hoffman could take the game over and close the door.

But what did Julio accomplish? He loaded the bases, pushed a run across whether the Marlins wanted it or not, and finally gave way to Coffey who couldn’t stop the bleeding and actually allowed a run of his own in the inning as well. But with a a four run lead, facing the bottom of the order…you just can’t do what Julio did tonight and expect to stick in the big leagues very long.

I’ll admit that after seeing the numbers Julio put up in Atlanta at the end of last season, I was optimistic when the Brewers signed him in the off-season.

After a rough spring, Julio surprised everyone by making the 25-man roster when the team headed north to San Francisco for the opening series of the 2009 regular season. That could be as much of a matter of timing that he’s stuck with the team as long as he has. Julio made the team in the first place primarily because Hoffman was injured so there was an opening. When Hoffman was ready to come back, David Riske needed time on the DL (from which he’s still rehabbing). Even now, when the rumors are that the Brewers will be calling up someone from the minors to help the bullpen out, there’s talk that Mark DiFelice might have to go on the DL due to some elbow inflammation.

But truly, I don’t see how the stars continue to align to allow Julio to ply his trade at the Major League level. Maybe it’s because he does have a live arm and can throw very hard. Maybe it’s because every now and then he comes out and has a few appearances in a row where he doesn’t allow any runs to score.

Therein lies the problem, however, is because you just don’t know who is coming to the mound from the bullpen on a given night despite Ken Macha having Bill Castro call Stan Kyles with the exact same name.

Julio’s earned runs allowed over his last 10 appearances? 0, 0, 1, 0, 4, 0, 0, 0, 0, 4. How can a manager be expected to trust that arm?

So, to quote some lyrics from the song that the Miller Park audio crew has been using for when Jorge Julio is summoned from the bullpen:

“Well, I’m on my way
I don’t know where I’m going
but I’m on my way
I’m takin my time but I don’t know where”

Allow me to respond to those lines the way Doug Melvin should have tonight after the game in Miami…

You’re going to the waiver wire because you’ve been designated for assignment. Oh, and as for taking your time? Don’t bother. Get to steppin’.

(I mean seriously…could you see Doug Melvin say “Get to steppin'”? That’d be hilarious.)