Scott Paulus / Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club
Sole bright spot for Brewers fans?
As boys growing up in Little Rock, my brothers and I could play baseball most of the year in the end of our cul-de-sac. And thus we did. Given our limited apprehension of time, the big-league calendar seemed to last just as long as our months and months of dusty street games, which made it difficult to grasp why sportswriters and other old people rhapsodized each February about the coming of spring training and the start of a new season. So what?
Twenty-five winters in the upper Midwest have plowed away that childish perspective, of course, and this winter has been the worst of them all. It's encouraging, then, that Wisconsin finally can glimpse a horn of light upon its frozen hellscape. The Milwaukee Brewers begin their schedule of spring training games today, and right now it doesn't matter whether they'll suck again this year or not. Baseball means Bob Uecker's voice on the radio again and warmer evenings ahead.
There's plenty of time to size up what could be an interesting team on the field. Owner Mark Attanasio and other team executives promise this year's Brewers will have the largest payroll in club history, so clearly they're working not to repeat last year's disappointment. Pitcher Matt Garza, who signed in January, will solidify a wobbly starting rotation if he can remain healthy.
I'm not enthused about the Brewers' prospects for the near future. They seem in good financial shape with Attanasio, which lets them get some free agents like Garza, but their best path to success is minor-league development, and their current farm system is considered among the worst in baseball. At the moment, though, so what?