Author: Bob Harkins

National League first baseman Fielder of the Brewers watches three-run home run in fourth inning during Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in Phoenix

Fielder states the obvious, calls it his ‘last year’ with Brewers


Quick everyone, raise your hand if you expect Prince Fielder to sign a huge free-agent deal this offseason to return to the Milwaukee Brewers.

(… waits …)


Well I can’t say that I’m surprised. Neither apparently, does Prince Fielder, who told TBS on Wednesday that this would likely be his last season in Milwaukee.

The Chicago Tribune has the goods:

Fielder made a reference to teammate Ryan Braun and regrets that the duo won’t stick together after this season.

“It’s been great, unfortunately, this is probably the last year of the one-two punch,” Fielder said. “But I think it’s been good, five years, him and me. Hopefully, we can go out with a blast.”

The Brewers are in position to win their first division title since 1982, when Robin Yount, Paul Molitor and co. went all the way to the World Series before losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. They will not be favored to get that far this fall, not with the powerhouse Phillies ruling the National League.

The Brewers say they will make Fielder an offer after the season, and maybe a deep playoff run (along with the champagne parties that go with it) will convince ownership to open it’s wallet. But with big money committed to Ryan Braun ($61 million), Rickie Weeks ($34 million) and Corey Hart ($20 million) beyond this season, expected raises coming for arbitration-eligibles like Shawn Marcum and John Axford, as well as the question of what to do with Zack Greinke (a free agent after 2012), a serious play for Fielder seems unlikely.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Brewers will cease to be a contender after 2011. After all, it was an improved pitching staff that led to their rise this season, with only the Phillies, Braves and Giants allowing fewer runs per game in the NL this season.

That being said, it sure is fun to watch the big guy hit a baseball. Players like Fielder don’t come along too often. Enjoy him while you’ve got him, Brewers fans.

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Sorry Cubs, the Reds plan to keep Jocketty

Walt Jocketty

Cincinnati general manager Walt Jocketty has an expiring contract, leading to speculation that he would leave the Reds for the Cubs, who let Jim Hendry go in July.

One report said that the Cubs had even discussed the possibility. But Reds owner Bob Castellini tells the Cincinnati Enquirer that Jocketty isn’t going anywhere. He also said of Reds manager Dusty Baker’s future that “of course he’ll be back.”

It makes sense, as the Reds seem to need only a few tweaks rather than an overhaul.

As far as what this means for the Cubs, our friend Patrick Mooney of has an in-depth look at the issue, and at the importance of this hire in what is ultimately a winnable division.

With Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder poised to become free agents, and the Cubs hoping to land some hotshot executive, the Central landscape could change dramatically.

But if Tom Ricketts gets this hire wrong, then the scouting and player-development infrastructure Hendry built could crumble. This organization could be set back for years to come, and starting all over again later this decade.

It’s a risk the chairman’s willing to take. The rest of the division will be rooting against the Cubs.

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Bill Buckner earns redemption, and some laughs along the way


Bill Buckner will always be remembered for that one moment in the 1986 World Series. You know the one.

He’s been tormented by the play for years, and for the most part has avoided talking about it. Who would have thought that Larry David, a New York Yankees fan, would come and make everything right?

David talked Buckner into appearing on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” in an episode that aired on Sunday. In the first key scene, David tosses a baseball signed by Mookie Wilson to Buckner, who – naturally — lets it skip off his hands and out a window. In the end, though, Buckner redeems himself by safely catching a baby that is tossed from a burning building.

You can watch the drop here, and the catch here.

Buckner, who is currently the manager of the Brockton Rox, talked about the show with Dan Patrick, saying “I thought the whole thing was hilarious.” (Watch video above)

He also answered questions about why he did the show (“His whole thing for doing the show was to try to make me look good”), and explained that the baby-catching scene took six hours to shoot because of the difficulties of getting the baby to “land in the right spot” — not because he couldn’t catch it.

Asked if he could have done the show 10 years ago, Buckner said “Probably not. Things kind of changed for me both personally and publicly. Everything’s fine. I’m happy. Life’s good.”

Good for Bill Buckner. Being on that show is probably the best thing he could have done from a public perception standpoint. There is no way he will ever escape the 1986 World Series, but now he will also be remembered as a pretty funny guy who can poke fun at himself — as well as a damn fine major leaguer with more than 2,700 hits over 22 seasons.

As for Larry David, perhaps the next call he should make is to Steve Bartman. Hmm?

H/T to Rick Chandler, who had an early take a couple days ago.

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