My Brewers Romance

Rock and Roll as a popular art medium is dead.
So too are the 2013 Milwaukee Brewers.
So it seemed apropos to commemorate the first half of the 2013 season with a hybrid revieweulogy of one of my favorite bands of all time that also died (well, broke up) this year, My Chemical Romance (who also just so happens to be almost obsessively focused on death and dying).
If you are one of the 21 billion people on the planet right now that listen to music, chances are it is about as far removed from the 90s as roller-blading and frosted tips. No, chances are, you are listening to either a. Hip-Hop/Rap (Rihanna, Kanye, 2Chainz) b. Indie-Electronica (MGMT, Gotye) c. Folk music (Anything featuring a Mandolin or Banjo, i.e. every song on alternative radio) or d. Top-40 Country (ironically enough, with the recent discovery of the overdrive effect by country artists, probably the closest thing to 90’s rock going right now).
Put it this way, if you’re a band that features heavy, down-tuned guitars and gravelly voices, you’re about as popular as a bowl of pudding at the annual jello convention.
And if you are a My Chemical Romance fan it is even worse. Of all the bands that I love, MCR is the one band that I can’t find anyone, anyone at all, to appreciate fully with me. And this is something that I really struggle to understand; mostly from the simple fact that they are just so damn good.
The hooks are insane, the guitar work is precise and ultra-creative, and the lyrics are almost always well-constructed and compelling. I am fascinated by the lack of interest in others when I bring up the band or try to get friends (I even target people who I know are huge David Bowie and Queen fans, of which MCR is heavily influenced and eerily similar in style) to listen. My two main theories involve the fact that a.) MCR just missed the 90’s and therefore there is a lack of nostalgic enjoyment from my demographic, and b.) that the band dressed as “vampire kids” in their formative years as a band (again a phase my demographic missed by a couple of years and never really understood).
Nevertheless, My Chemical Romance, along with Pop-Rock in general is dead and mostly forgotten. And that sucks.
Which brings us directly to the current incarnation of the Milwaukee Brewers.
And so in honor of the break up of My Chemical Romance and the early demise of the 2013 Milwaukee Brewers, I present to you the 10 most poignant My Chemical Romance lyrics that sum up the first half of the Milwaukee Brewers season…
1. “I’m not okay / I’m not okay / well I’m not okay / I’m not O-fucking-kay”
Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first. The Brewers are most definitely not O-fucking-kay this year. At 38-56 they have the fourth worst record in all of baseball. Their minus-65 in run differential is 3rd worst in baseball and at 19.5 games out of first place; the season is all but lost even at the halfway point.
How did we get here?
Poor planning with the starting pitching staff for one. The decision to rely on smoke and mirrors guys from the second half of last year was a fatal flaw before the season even began. Without the late addition of  Kyle Lohse, we may have been in an even deeper hole at the All-Star break. Marco Estrada has flamed out due to injuries, Mark Rogers hasn’t even pitched an inning in the bigs, and the last news on Mike Fiers was that he had moved to Florida, grown out his beard and become friends with someone named, “Wilson.”
Injuries have also decimated the team, as reported by the Journal Sentinel this week, the meat of the Brewers lineup: Braun, Ramirez and Corey Hart combined for 98 home runs last year and have just 14 between the three of them at the break. Not a winning combination.
It’s probably time for the Crew to admit they are not okay and begin to take some action to rebuild/reboot for the future.
{As an aside, despite the fact that this is one of their most popular songs, it has always been my favorite. In life, as in baseball, we are conditioned from early childhood to always tell everyone that we are ok no matter what we are going through. When facing loss, pain, rejection, an abomination of a baseball season, we are always expected to “man up” and tell the world that we are fine. (I guarantee you that somewhere at this very moment Ron Roenicke is telling some reporter that the Brewers are going to be a-ok, even though they are obviously not). Athletes are taught to never show they are hurt and act “ok” even after suffering a brutal injury. Everyone is taught to go to work, hold your head up and smile the weekend after a breakup or a funeral. This song is innately therapeutic in its refutation of the “I’m not ok” moniker. Sometimes we are not ok and we just want to scream it at the world. MCR gave us an outlet for that. And that is pretty OK.}
2. “And the world is ugly / But you’re beautiful to me”
This line goes out to my favorite player, (as you already know) Carlos Gomez. In all of the ugliness surrounding the Brewers this season, Gomez has shone brighter than just about any star in the League. In fact at 5.7 Wins Above Replacement, he leads the entire National League in that category. His slash line of .295/.337/.533 and peripherals 14 homers, 21 steals, 51 runs, and 45 RBI don’t even come close the telling the whole story of the “Golden Retriever.”
He is one of, if not the best defensive center fielder in the game, robbing FOUR potential home runs this half year alone. Advanced metrics list his defense as saving 24 runs for the team above an average league center fielder. And even that doesn’t tell the whole story. Gomez continues to exude a charm and charisma that makes sports worth watching. He wears his love of the game on his sleeve and makes you hold your breath with every dive and every wholly unnecessary mega-rounding of first. But he makes the game of baseball that much more interesting. There are a litany of boring stars that “respect the game” like Ryan Braun (since 2010) and Albert Pujols. But there is only one Carlos Gomez and he is beautiful to me.
3. “Without, without a sound / And I wish you away / Without a sound / And I wish you away”
To Yuni B. After pushing Brewer fans to the brink of insanity in 2011 with his terrible defense and miniscule On Base Percentage, Yuni somehow wormed his way back into Milwaukee. Did he kidnap Doug Melvin’s granddaughter and hold her for ransom? Did he accidentally come as a part of the deal for Jean Segura last year? Did he just keep his jersey from 2011 and show up on the bench day after day until a confused and mildly apathetic Roenicke finally just subbed him in? Is he even getting paid? Or is he just a Yoshi-looking, Milton from Office Space, only he always keeps smiling that Lego-man smile so that you can never truly get mad at him?
Regardless, it’s time for Yuni B. to go before he up and burns the place down.
4. “You’ll never make me leave / I wear this on my sleeve / Give me a reason to believe”
Rickie Weeks – you gave us a reason to believe. After listening to countless hours of impatient/ignorant/jerk Brewer fans tearing Weeks down through his struggles and living through the subsequent and audaciously ludicrous Scooter Gennett call up, this is what I had to say at the beginning of June.
Since I wrote that piece, here is what Weeks has done over the last 28 games:
Home Runs
Seriously, find me another second baseman not named Dustin Pedroia that sports a .390 On Base Percentage. Then, grow up!
No matter how many Brewers fans inexplicably hate Weeks, I hope they will never make him leave. Sometimes we only learn to appreciate things after they are gone, and I hope it doesn’t have to come to that anytime soon. But what I do know is that you can line up all the Scooter Gennett’s in the world if you feel like it, but ‘Ol Richard Weeks sure ain’t leaving without a fight.
5. “Pull the plug. But I’d like to learn your name. And holding on, well I hope you do the same”
This lyric is for Logan Schafer; really the only intriguing position player from our pitiful Minor League system.  The Crew is truly now paying the bill for 2008 and 2011. Young players like Brett Lawrie, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain and Michael Brantley would hypothetically be starting for the Crew right now had it not been for the trades to acquire C.C. Sabathia, Zack Greinke, and Shawn Marcum for short periods of time. Now, these trades were worth it every day of the week and twice on Sunday, but they have left the Brewers farm system looking like the one run by Uncle Owen and Aunt Berue after the imperial garrison stopped by looking for a couple of droids.
Players like the aforementioned Gennett, Caleb Gindl, Khris (with an h) Davis, and Sean “Game of Thrones” Halton, provide not one iota of long-term excitement. It is truly and tragically a group of AAAA journeyman that will amount to little more than a late night pot of stale coffee in the Show.
However, Schafer has shown a bit of a spark in his time in the majors. After a pretty dismal start to the season, Schafer has really picked it up recently. His slash line in July is .306/.346/.571 with 2 Home Runs and 2 Steals. Combined with some decent defense, highlighted by a stellar diving catch against the Marlins, Schafer looks like he may have some staying power if the Brewers decide to trade Aoki. I for one hope he stays long enough so others can get to learn his name over time as well.
6. “To carry on / We’ll carry on / And though you’re dead and gone believe me / Your memory will carry on”
“I miss him.” I said to myself on Tuesday as I was watching the All-Star game. Of course I said “eehm” for him because I like to talk like a sportscaster, but nevertheless. I was talking to myself about Prince Fielder; as he belly-flopped into third base with a triple.
It’s been a year and a half now and I’m still not over it. Why the Brewers consistently say they can’t pony up the dough for a super-duper star yet incinerate the equivalent annual dollars on a sum of middle reliever’s and washed up veteran starters that provide replacement level service is completely baffling/frustrating. Having Prince in the middle of the lineup for 162 games a year changes the entire complexion of a team, not only for the production at the plate but the mere psychology of the fact that you are going to have the leader of your team on the field running out every ground ball for 162 games a year. Prince was my favorite player and I wish he was still here; but believe me his memory will carry on.
7. “Big Willie Style’s all in it / Gettin Jiggy Wit It”
Wait? This isn’t an MCR lyric? It’s from Will Smith’s 1998 hit aptly titled, Gettin Jiggy Wit It?
Ok fine. But I still want to use it for the suddenly ferocious “Big Wily Style” Peralta.
Over his last three starts, Peralta has been nothing short of dominant. Over his last 21 1/3 innings, Peralta has allowed only one earned run and struck out 19 batters. His string of good performances actually extends back over his last five starts suggesting there may be some lasting power to what he is doing. Although I have been skeptical of Big Wily Style most of the last two years, I am really starting to like what I see. At 24 years old, there is plenty of room for improvement and if he can keep his head on straight and avoid “right handed Manny Para syndrome” the sky’s the limit for this dude. Now if he can just learn the feet shuffle-shoulder shrug dance from the video, I’ll have no problem with a full Big Wily endorsement.
8. “Do you remember that day when we met / you told me this gets harder / well it did”
-To George H.W. Roenicke.
Scene from the Brewers locker room last week:
Reporter: So Ron, after being handed the keys to the corvette in 2011, would you say life has gotten a bit harder recently?
G.H.W Roenicke: Well now, Tom, hold your horses. Now, I got a plan, see. A three point plan where we’re gonna get Brauny and Gomey and Aoki-y. We’re gonna gather are re-sources and stomp that…those Cardinals right out.
Reporter 2: But you’re really piling up the losses Ron. Do you think you have a chance?
Roenicke: Hehehe. Well, it’s been tough…its’ been tough! But how many losses we’ve got? 58? 58. It’s scary…it’s scary.
Reporter 1: Ron, would you say that you are ready to throw in the towel for the year even though it is still only the halfway point?
Roenicke: Not gonna do it.
(Editor’s note – If you understood why this section is funny…bless your soul. If not, better not to try…just move on).
9.  “I’ve really been on a bender and it shows.”
Who else can this one go to, but Yovani Gallardo.
Rumors have swirled for a while now that Yo is a big proponent of Milwaukee’s local watering holes and that appeared to substantiate this spring when he was busted for drunk driving in Wauwatosa. Now nobody really knows if his Midwest-Amanda Bynes impersonation has anything to do with his awful performance this year except him, but one has to wonder.
Either way, Gallardo has pretty much disappointed me for the last time. After his brilliant performance against the Diamondbacks in the NLDS in 2011, I was certain that he was going to light the world on fire in 2012, even going so far as to lay a $50 futures bet down with my friend Weasel on Gallardo winning the Cy Young that year. Of course that never happened. Yovani did what he always does: threw a ton of pitches, struck out a ton of guys, walked a ton of guys and exited games far too early, far too often.
We always hoped that Yo would turn into the Verlander’s and Halladay’s of the league – with an ERA in the high two’s and a WHIP in the low ones. But he never evolved past the high three’s in ERA and high ones in WHIP. It might finally be time to face reality and realize that Yovani will never be the pitcher we hoped he would be.  If we can get a Tyler Skaggs or a Martin Perez for him, we should get it done ASAP perhaps even before old Yo can finish his next shot of Cuervo.
10. “Synthetic animals like me never have a home” 

It will be interesting to see where Brewers fans land on Ryan Braun when all of the smoke clears with the Biogenesis investigation. My friend Greg already refers to Braun as the “cheating loser.” Others I know continue to insist in his defense. And yet others are apathetic to the whole PED situation in general.  I suppose I continue to fall under the third category. I really just don’t care. If he gets caught, he deserves to be punished. If he doesn’t, then good for him; he worked the system. I just want to watch baseball and enjoy my leisure time. Generally, my leisure time is more improved when the teams I like are winning. And Braun helps the team I like win. So would I rather have him around than not have him around even if he turns out to be a “cheating loser”?


11. “Hello Angel, tell me where are you / Tell me where we go from here”
So, where do we go from here?
It is fairly obvious that the Brewers are left with only two options going forward and to be totally honest, I would be fine with either one.
1. Trade every movable piece you have for prospects and build around Braun, Lucroy, Segura, Gomez and the influx of new prospects. This means you trade Ramirez, Weeks, K-rod, Axford, Gallardo, Lohse, Aoki, Gonzalez, Henderson. Basically hit the reset button and gather as many unknown resources as you possibly can, then spend the next two to three years throwing them against the wall until you get a few to stick. The core-four (TM New York Yankees) will keep the attendance going and hopefully morph into a quality team in three years. I could be easily talked into this option.
2.  Do absolutely nothing and chalk this year up to bad luck. If the Brewers do nothing except re-sign Corey Hart in the offseason ,next year’s lineup would look like this:
Aoki – RF
Segura –SS
Braun –LF
Ramirez – 3B
Hart – 1B
Gomez –CF
Lucroy – C
Weeks -2B
And the staff:
On paper, that is a pretty good team. Assuming Big Wil continues his upward trend, Gallardo gets his head out of his ass, and maybe you make one move for a free-agent pitcher, it could be a REALLY good team.  So, I could also very easily be talked into this option. Hmmm.
So where do we go from here? I guess I really don’t know. I suppose I’ll leave that one up to the pros (you know, seeing as my opinion doesn’t really matter in the slightest anyway).
The only thing that I really know is this: Go out and buy some My Chemical Romance records; because unlike your favorite team’s sports seasons, good music never, ever dies. And if you hold on to hope for anything long enough…well, in the words of MCR:
“If you stay I will either wait all night / Or until my heart explodes / How long? / ‘Til we find our way in the dark and out of harm”
It gets better Brewer fans. It has to.

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Brewers Fan

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Nice read from a fellow Brewer fan

Scot Fagerstrom
Scot Fagerstrom

Stick to baseball … your lack of knowledge, depth and taste in music is as embarrassing as the Brewers ….