Tom "Sky" Skibosh covers the Wauwatosa, Brookfield and New Berlin prep scene for Community Newspapers. If something is going on in local sports, Sky has an opinion about it. If you agree or not with what Sky says, we want to see your comments.
NOW On-line editor Mark Maley asked me a while back to write some blogs on the local professional teams. Having worked in the Milwaukee sports media - in public relations for the Brewers for 19 years, as well as a radio talk show host and with CNI the last six years - I thought it was a great idea. People who know me, know I always have an opinion about something.
Since things have finally slowed down, I hope to do more of that with only summer baseball and the Wauwatosa Spartans football team on the schedule for the next few months.
One of the things I have wanted to talk about for some time has been the Milwaukee Brewers' Bill Hall. A few years ago Hall broke in as a utility player and filled in well wherever the Brewers put him - at second base, third base and shortstop - eventually taking over for JJ Hardy when he had surgery. Hall had a fine season, cashed in with a good contract and in order to get his bat in the lineup was moved to center field, where he struggled a bit.
When he made the move, his offense really went down the tube, so this year, the Brewers were hoping to solve two problems and asked Hall to move back to the infield where he was more effective offensively.
Second-year sensation Ryan Braun had struggled in the infield at third base and he was moved to left field, opening up a spot for Hall. While Braun has done an excellent job in the outfield, Hall has been adequate at third base defensively, but once again his offense was so bad against righthanders, he was eventually put in a platoon situation with Russell Branyan at third.
Since there are more righthanded pitchers than lefthanders, that would mean less at bats for Hall, so he asked his agent to ask the Brewers for a trade. When that became public, Hall was immediately booed by the Brewer fans, who have always been sensitive (and rightly so) to players who don't want to play in Milwaukee. Now the fans have nothing to do with Hall's reason for asking for a trade, but the fact that he wants to be traded is all they need to know.
Manager Ned Yost, who seems to be booed for every decision he makes, including the right ones that don't work out, has said he will also try and get Hall at bats against righthanders. So when Rickie Weeks took his annual trip to the disabled list, Hall had a chance to play second base. His hitting struggles continued and he blew some very routine plays which cost the Brewers a game or two.
My point - I am basically fed up with listening to Hall, his agent and some talk show hosts, especially - talking about how unfair the Brewers have been to him.
Two of the best players to ever play the game - Paul Molitor and Pete Rose - one a Hall of Famer and the other one who should be - did way more than Hall ever did for their teams. Rose played second, third, first and the outfield for the teams he played for. Molitor went even further, playing every position but pitcher and catcher - and neither player ever complained about it and their offense never suffered.
The fact is Bill Hall got paid for one very good season. The fact is, Hall got moved around - like Molitor and Rose did - not because his team disrespected him, but because the team felt he was talented enough to make the moves and help the ballclub.
So Billy, Talking Heads and fans included, remember that when someone says the Brewers messed with Billy Hall. If you can hit a baseball, people will find a spot in the lineup for you.
When Bill Hall stopped hitting- at least righthanders - that's when the problem started.
Now Bill Hall is not Molitor or Rose by any means, but if they can get moved around like a pawn on a chess board, keep their mouths shut and help their team, there is a lesson to be learned there.
Bill Hall has been a classy person off the field and in the community. Hopefully he can turn around his struggles on the field as well.
Agree, disagree, drop me a comment.
And remember to always - be a hit and have a ball.