Brewers create drama at odd time
September, 15, 2011
By Christina Kahrl | ESPN.com
MILWAUKEE -- Tony Plush’s tweet war! K-Rod crabs about role! Prince says this is probably final year in Milwaukee! National League Central lead shrinks by five games in eight days! With headlines like these, you’d think everyone’s hair was on fire. Is this the Bronx Zoo or the Brewers?
Following a sloppy 6-2 loss to the Rockies on Wednesday that, combined with the Cardinals’ recent hot streak, has at least made things interesting again down the stretch, the Brewers' players were fairly copacetic.
After helping stir this particular pot with his comments before the game about his time in Milwaukee perhaps being in its final days, Prince Fielder was fairly even-keeled about the club’s recent slump, observing, “It just is how it is. Unfortunately we hit a little bump.”
Nyjer Morgan reassured everybody with a ready smile and an equally ready comment, that now was, “No time to panic, just something we have to overcome.” Rickie Weeks added the observation that there’s, “No panic, no concern. Just come back ready to play.”
So much for player panic in front of the media. Asked about the mood in the clubhouse and whether manager Ron Roenicke had anything to say afterward, Fielder chuckled and noted, “There isn’t nothing really to say. This isn’t 'Hoosiers.' Just to try to go out and win games.”
Pressed about his pregame comments to TBS about his imminent departure as a free agent this offseason, Fielder was frank about how this didn’t really seem like a current events revelation to him: “You guys said it last year. It is what it is. It’s the same thing I’ve been saying.”
That much is true, and where the bidding goes on Fielder and the Cardinals’ Albert Pujols this winter figures to make first-base spending the fulcrum around which the entire free-agent market will revolve. It’s almost certainly better that Fielder has been reliably frank about it, rather than suddenly playing coy and pretending it’s ever been any other way. It’s easy to see how, if he said anything else, it might create false hope and subsequent acrimony among fans in Milwaukee.
It’s just the timing of all this that might seem strange -- heck, it is strange. After last week’s Morgan mayhem, followed by the anticlimax of the Brewers' "showdown series" with the Phillies -- Philadelphia won the first three of four games -- and then Wednesday's comments from Fielder and K-Rod, you almost wonder whether the Brewers aren’t just trying to get all this stuff said and out of the way before October comes around. But if you thought there wasn’t going to be any more drama in the NL Central, you guessed wrong.
Christina Kahrl covers baseball for ESPN.com. You can follow her on Twitter.