We’re just seven calendar days into the MLB season (or about 4%, if you’re into math), and I don’t know about you, Milwaukee, but I’m ready for some good old fashion overreactions. On the surface, the 2-5 Brewers appear to have done everything in their power to race to the bottom of the NL Central, where they’re poised to metaphorically pop the top on a triple hops filtered Miller Lite and get comfortable for the rest of the season. But are we really ready to throw in the towel on this team after just two bad series?
A lot has caught my eye over the past week that I’ve been anxious to get down on paper. Here’s what I’m buying and selling after week one.
Jesus Aguilar: Aguilar essentially forced the Brewers to put him on the 25-man roster after posting ridiculous numbers during spring training (.452 avg, 7 HR, 19 RBIs in 26 games). As if grabbing what many believed was the last spot on the team wasn’t enough, Aguilar has continued his hot streak and is now making it difficult for Craig Counsel to keep him out of the starting lineup. He’s got seven hits in six games, getting on base more than half of the time, and turned two incredibly difficult double plays in the late inning tie-ball game against the Cubs on Friday night. Considering Aguilar is a lifetime .233 hitter, he’s likely in the middle of the hottest hitting streak of his four year career.
The $20 Million Dollar Concessions Upgrade: Opening Day was a blur (because it was so exciting, obviously). But amidst all of the crowds and pandemonium, it was amazing to be able to get a craft beer on tap and an AJ bombers burger without having to walk to the first base concourse. Aesthetically speaking, it’s a huge upgrade. Practically speaking, there’s more access to way better food options than just your standard Klement’s sausages. While they were still working out some of the logistical kinks with the sellout crowd, I think this is a huge upgrade to the Miller Park fan experience, and I look forward to clogging my arteries there for years to come.
Eric Thames: After three seasons in South Korea, Thames played well in his first week back in the MLB; he posted four RBIs and his first of (hopefully) 40+ home runs this season. But what has me looking at Thames jerseys isn’t his numbers, it’s his personality and attitude. He carries himself incredibly well in every interview I’ve seen him take part in: he’s positive, and you can tell he cares a great deal about winning. But he’s not just talking the talk, he’s putting his money where his mouth is. Remember two paragraphs ago when I talked about how unexpectedly well Jesus Aguilar is playing? Well, Aguilar’s success is coming at the expense of Thames starting first base job. So what did Thames do? Something that so many Brewers, such as Rickie Weeks, Matt “#theworst” Garza, and even Jonathan Villar have been vocal about not wanting to do: he offered to switch positions. Thames has played multiple games in the outfield, stating that he’ll play anywhere the team needs him to. What a breath of fresh air- that’s the kind of guy I want in my clubhouse when this rebuild is complete.
Also Buying- The last minute secondary ticket market for Opening Day, Carlos Torres, Bombers Sauce, flipping between meaningful Bucks games and April Brewers games, the helmet flap.
Predicting season long success based on the Opening Day game. Four Opening Days ago, Carlos Gomez smashed the first pitch against the Atlanta Braves to the wall in Center field. Not to be content with an easy standup double, Gomez rounded second and was tagged out sliding into third base, silencing a crowd that was jumping up and down with excitement. No joke, I turned to my friend and said “I hope that isn’t a metaphor for how the season is going to go”… it was. You don’t need me to remind you how the Brewers spent five months in first place before crashing and burning in August and September and missing the playoffs. If you buy into the idea that Opening Day is an indicator of how your season is going to go, than we might as well call it quits on the 2017 Brewers. Not only did they lose, but they lost their Opening Day starter Junior Guerra to a calf injury that will sideline him on the DL for a minimum of six weeks. LIFE IS CRUEL!!
Katy Feeney. [Editor’s Note: Did anyone else just do a Feeny call after reading that?] Never heard of Katy? She’s the MLB Senior Vice President in the Commissioner’s Office in charge of scheduling, and she really hosed the Brewers this year. Katy knew the Brewers biggest weakness would be their pitching, and she pitted us against two of the most stacked lineups in all of baseball to start the season. While she gave us a gift in keeping Opening Day in Milwaukee for the 8th consecutive year, is it too much to ask to bring the Braves or the Padres to town? There’s a point to be made here. The Brewers went 2-5 against the former World Series Champions and a team in the Rockies that many expect to contend for a Division Title. Don’t call the season just yet.
Also Selling- The 50/50 raffle, Domingo Santana, Chicago traffic in Milwaukee, Potawatomi Hotel and Casino.