Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ryan Braun Appeal in January | Brewers Fans Hope for Reversal

Ryan Braun Drug Test

Ryan Braun has a bit of hope that things will turn out well during his appeals hearing this January. Despite the dire reports that no player in professional baseball has ever won an appeal, Brendan Katin did just that in 2007. While the reports that I am contradicting are correct, only because they mince words, Katin, then a minor league player for AA Huntsville, did in fact dispel the accusations that he had ingested steroids.

True, just twelve men on major league’s entire forty-man roster have appealed, and all have lost. Katin is still considered a professional baseball player. He’s the only professional baseball player to ever win on appeal.

Drug Test in MLB Baseball

Katin woke up one morning to a call from Huntsville's employee assistant director who told him of the news. Of course Katin denied the accusations and immediately contacted his agent to file an appeal. If you are unaware of baseball's testing rules then you should be informed that two urine samples are being taken for testing. If the first comes up positive then a more comprehensive test is done on the second. Katin was {unlike Braun,} informed of his failure on the first sample. Braun only learned of his fate after the second, more conclusive test, had been done.

Katin's second test came back negative, which cleared him of all wrong doing. Technically, he was able to appeal after the first test and before the second, thus the record shows him as being the only professional player to ever overturn a positive result. So don't be discouraged Braun, your former teammate at the University of Miami was able to win his appeal. If you truly are innocent then the light shall shine upon you as well.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Nutcracker Ballet at Uihlein Hall 2011

The Milwaukee Ballet is once again performing The Nutcracker this holiday season. Uihlein Hall at the Marcus Center is where you will find all things Nutcracker up through December 26. This is Michael Pink's version as far as the production, but we all know that the music is exclusively Tchaikovsky. This two hour performance will have one intermission, and tickets are going fast.

Nutcraker Facts

  • The first run of the ballet was not well received

  • Thankfully for Tchaikovsky, his suite was something that fans came to love

  • Americans love Pyotr Ilyich very much

  • The Nutcracker is based on story by E.T.A Hoffman

  • The first performance of the ballet took place nearly 119 years ago, in St. Petersburg Russia

  • Children played nearly all the roles up until 1934

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Brewers Fill Roster Spots with Aramis Ramirez and Alex Gonzalez

Brewers sign shortstop

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin finished his trip to the annual winter meetings with two final signings. Melvin filled two big holes in the roster this week when he pulled in a deal with free agent third basemen Aramis Ramirez and shortstop Alex Gonzalez. Ramirez has reportedly signed a three-year deal while Gonzalez signed on for a single year. The contracts will be finalized as soon as each passes a physical.

Aramis Ramirez Heads North from Chicago

Ramirez is coming to Milwaukee from the team's league rivals, the Cubs. He has played eight seasons in Chicago, last year appearing in 149 games for the team. He batted .306 during 2011 with twenty-six home runs and ninety-three RBIs. Ramirez will attempt to fill Prince Fielder's shoes as the Brewers premier slugger. He may also have to pick up the slack that will be left behind should Ryan Braun lose his appeal for the alleged positive drug test.

Gonzalez is a bit of a puzzling choice. With the lowest on-base percentage last year, he replaces Yuniesky Betancourt who had the second lowest. He will be the fourth starting shortstop that has played for the Brewers in as many years. It was most likely about the money, as Betancourt was going to cost the Brewers way too much to keep him around.

While Gonzalez is a nine year veteran of the majors, his experience on the field leaves a lot to be desired. He has only played 110 games in the past decade, including a complete absence from the league in 2008. Last year he played for the Braves and hit .211, with fifteen home runs and fifty-two RBIs. Many critics are suggesting that Melvin bring up a reserve shortstop from the minors, just in case his experiment with Gonzalez goes south.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Touring a Milwaukee Bicycle Paint Shop with an Artist

Bike Painter Wisconsin

I had the honor of dining with an artist the other night. No, he doesn't work with clay or charcoal. He works exlusively with paint. His works are rolling through the streets of America right now. Yes, you could say that his works of art are mobile. He is probably the the best bike painter Wisconsin has ever seen. How do I know this? Let me rewind to our pre dinner conversation to give you an idea of how much this guy cares about his work.

We first stopped at his house for a pre dinner drink. He lives in a Milwaukee flat that is tastefully decorated with a mix of 50's furnishings, and vintage skateboards. He had just come home from his shop and was still a bit stressed from his day. When he spoke up about it, he mentioned that he was unhappy with the way that a final clear coat had gone on to one of the bike frames he had in his shop. Later, when I had the chance to see what he was talking about, my untrained eyes saw nothing wrong. He pointed to a couple of spots on the frame, where the down tube meets the seat tube. I didn't pretend to see what he saw, and I trusted him when he said that there was something wrong. He would never let that slide, and the frame was slated for a redo on Monday morning. When he explaind what it would take to fix the problem, I understood a bit more of what he was up against. Nothing leaves his shop until he's happy. Artists can be that way.

Wisconsin may have a short summer season, but some of the most die hard bicyclists will tough it out and ride all year long. He's one of those guys. When we drove with him to the restaurant, our route included a portion of his daily commute. He pointed out the bike lane to my right in a tone that you use when you talk about your pet, or your lover. Milwaukee could use more bike lanes, and people that speak so fondly of them. He's not one of those guys that partakes in the annual Milwaukee Bike race. He's just a huge fan of things on two wheels. Some lucky bike rider will be rolling on that frame he cared so much about, not knowing that this artist just couldn't let it leave his shop until he was satsified. Yes, some things are still made with love and care.