Emptying the notebook…
Some random thoughts from the eve of Opening Day in San Francisco:
— Unfortunately, it appears that weather could play a role. Fans could have worn t-shirts and shorts had the opener been scheduled for today, but they’ll be bundled in rain gear on Tuesday. The phrase “day-night doubleheader on Wednesday,” was even uttered in the press box, sending shivers down my spine, but as everybody in baseball loves to say, it is what it is. Here’s hoping the weather forecasters are wrong.
— Manager Ken Macha will use the same starting lineup on Tuesday that he used Friday and Saturday in Los Angeles (with the exception of the pitcher, of course):
Rickie Weeks 2B
Corey Hart RF
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
J.J. Hardy SS
Mike Cameron CF
Bill Hall 3B
Jason Kendall C
Jeff Suppan RHP
Macha isn’t worried that Hart seems to have stopped hitting in Spring Training after inheriting the two-hole. It’s too small a sample, Macha said, to draw any conclusions. He hopes to utilize Hart’s speed in that spot, and also thinks Hart will see a more steady dose of fastballs there.
— I’m not 100 percent sure whether the Brewers’ broadcast will show it, but U.S. Airways pilot Cpt. “Sully” Sullenberger will be tossing out the ceremonial first pitch on Tuesday and American Idol Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks will perform the national anthem.
— Macha intends to keep his five starting pitchers lined up this season, meaning each guy will have an extra day of rest when the team has an off-day. That’s very good news for Dave Bush, as the fifth starter is usually the one whose schedule gets thrown out of whack.
— Trevor Hoffman played catch again on Monday and told Macha it went well. Club officials may begin on Tuesday devising a plan for Hoffman to work off a mound, according to the manager.
— All of the non-roster players departed on Monday morning for their respective Minor League destinations, so Macha called his first real team meeting before the final workout of the spring. He laid out the team rules devised by a group of returning players that I believe included Cameron, Suppan, Kendall, Hall, Hart, Hardy, Fielder and Weeks and maybe Dave Bush and Craig Counsell. Macha also said a few words to tie a bow on Spring Training.
“I had a five-minute talk about how fun spring was for me and how much fun it was watching them go out and play,” Macha said. “It’s a special group of guys and my message was that special things happen to special people.”
— Macha told of what he viewed as a special moment on Saturday. The Brewers were trailing when left fielder Ryan Braun left the game, and Braun retreated to the clubhouse to shower and change into his street clothes. But when the Brewers rallied in the late innings, Braun changed back into his uniform so he could see the finish in the dugout.
“These guys root for each other,” Macha said.
— The Brewers released a whole slew of information about their home opening weekend, including some notes about parking and tickets. You can see the entire news release here.
— My prediction for the Brewers: 84-78, which could still be good enough for second place in a balanced National League Central. I asked a few other members of the traveling party for their thoughts and my win total is definitely on the low end. Braun’s back worries me a bit, and so does the bullpen.
Anyone care to share their own predictions?