What an unforgettable season of Milwaukee Brewers baseball! After 87 games, numerous injuries, and two managers, the Brew Crew currently sits in last place in the National League Central and looking up at all but two other teams in the Major League standings. After this weekend, players and fans alike will get a brief respite from the brutal Brewers baseball when the MLB All-Star Game comes along. Though this season has been quasi-2002-like in its all-around horribleness, there actually have been a few bright spots. Just past the halfway point, Milwaukee Record took a wincing look back at the last 87 games to honor a few people and pups with some ultra-specific mid-season awards.
Scrappiest — Scooter Gennett
Ryan “Scooter” Gennett is the type of player most Wisconsin sports fans can get behind. The minute middle infielder in all his scrap iron glory is a fan favorite because he’s like most of the folks who cheer him on: white and not particularly good at sports. Perhaps an unconscious reaction to his fast track to the majors, immediate bobblehead giveaway, and effortless usurping of the second base job long held by Rickie Weeks potentially hurting his “gutsy” and “gritty” backstory, Gennett proceeded to play abysmally enough to be sent down to the minors. Baseball John Kuhn and his .269 OBP are back with the parent club, though, scrapping it up one try-hard 0 for 4 game at a time.
Runner up: Craig Counsell
Best manager — Craig Counsell
Though he’d managed winning seasons in three of his four seasons at the helm, Ron Roenicke was axed 25 games into the season following an atrocious 7-18 start. He was replaced by scrap king and metro Milwaukee’s favorite local boy done good Craig Counsell, who was swiftly inked to a three-year deal to serve as Brewers manager. In spite of qualifications that ranged from watching a lot of baseball during his playing career and being Doug Melvin’s buddy, Counsell overcame a rough start to register a respectable (under the circumstances) 30-32 record, including winning eight of the last 10 games. It could be worse. It has been worse.
Runner up: Ron Roenicke
Best distraction — Hank The Dog
Not unlike a couple making a desperate, last ditch effort to save what’s left of their crumbling marriage, the Milwaukee Brewers decided to ignore the oh-so-bleak writing on the wall and adopt a dog. Coming to terms with the likelihood that your city’s baseball team is in last place, has no semblance of a minor league system, must book fucking O.A.R. to get fans to the ballpark (that taxpayers are still funding 20 years later, by the way), and will probably never win a World Series has never looked so cute. Hank edges out noted Oshkosh MILF Front Row Amy for this honor.
Runner up: Front Row Amy
Best minor league prospect — N/A
Unlike the vast majority of underperforming teams at the bottom of their respective divisions, Milwaukee doesn’t have many valuable prospects waiting in the wings to grant hope of better things to come. Going into this season, the Brewers had just two prospects in Baseball America‘s top 100 list, Tyrone Taylor (No. 93) and Orlando Arcia (No. 94). Right now, Arcia is probably the closest thing Milwaukee has to a “top prospect,” but that doesn’t really mean anything. For frame of reference, hobbled E.T. lookalike Khris Davis and future middle reliever Jimmy Nelson used to be Milwaukee’s top prospects. Poor scouting and frequently emptying the minor league cupboard of any prospect who even sort of panned out in trades for names that appease casual fans has left Milwaukee mired in an unsavory position where they’re likely to stay for year and years. But how ’bout that Hank The Dog, right?!
Runner up: Orlando Arcia, we guess
Most requisite All-Star — Francisco Rodriguez
Well, someone has to go to Cincinnati, right? It might as well be the guy with the 14th most saves in baseball. Seriously, though, despite the shortage of save opportunities, K-Rod has been masterful this season. Over 32 innings, the veteran reliever has 19 saves, a 1.41 ERA, and a paltry 0.88 WHIP. That’s good, but not necessarily worthy of an All-Star nod. Major League Baseball’s requite All-Star rule renders K-Rod Milwaukee’s only participant in the midsummer classic, despite the fact five National League relievers who didn’t crack the roster have more saves than he does, including the unquestionably more deserving likes of Mets’ Jeurys Familia and Washington’s Drew Storen. Hopefully this empty league-mandated gesture ups K-Rod’s trade value.
Runner up: N/A
Best promotion — Talking Bob Uecker Major League commemorative bobblehead
Even in the midst of one of the least interesting and most disappointing Brewers seasons in a long time, fans can take solace in knowing they can listen to Bob Uecker describe the awful events on the radio almost every night. On July 21, 4,000 lucky fans can bring the hilarious broadcaster’s iconic voice home in the form of a talking Bob Uecker bobblehead commemorating his role as play-by-play announcer Harry Doyle in Major League. One perk of a lame duck season is that as the shitty marathon progresses, Ueck is more prone to saying crazy things on air. Yeah, Major League came out 500 years ago, but what did you expect the Brewers to do, give away Jonathan Lucroy Star Wars bobbleheads? Wait, they did that too. Never mind.
Runner up: (Tie) Bud Selig standing in front of a wall bobblehead, Goo Goo Dolls post-game concert
Least tradeable — Kyle Lohse
The past two seasons, Kyle Lohse was worth every bit of his three-year, $33M contract. Fittingly, the aged hurler’s final year of his deal (that falls during an altogether lost season) is also his worst in a Brewers uniform and one of his worst in his 15-year career. Thus, Lohse goes from cheap and experienced rental to being virtually untradeable. So worry not, that Lohse Brewers shirsey isn’t likely to become outdated any time this season. Then again, you’re probably not wearing it out in public these days anyway.
Runner up: Matt Garza
Best — Bob Uecker
“Mr. Baseball” takes home the desirable “Best” award for the 45th consecutive Brewers season. If you have to ask why, you’re not a baseball fan and have no soul.
Runner up: Ed Sedar