19 September 2002

As I mentioned a few days ago, Jose Hernandez is about to break the single season-strikeout record, held by Bobby Bonds with 189 in 1970, as well as the two year record, also held by the Elder Bonds, with an additional 187 in 1969. He managed to hold off last night, much to the dismay of the Milwaukee crowd, as the AP recap tells us:

Brewers shortstop Jose Hernandez went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, moving within one of the single-season record of 189 set by Bobby Bonds in 1970. He had two strikes in his last at-bat and the crowd of 16,349 [Ed's note: Nice ballpark, Bud. Big draw.] at Miller Park began cheering in anticipation.

"I thought it was really disappointing to watch our fans do that to Jose Hernandez," Royster said. "To an All-Star, that was very disappointing. Our fans have been pretty darn good. I haven't had anything bad to say. But for them to stand up and cheer in hopes that he might strike out, I hate to see what would have happened had he struck out. They may have given him a standing ovation."

They probably would have, Jerry, and rightfully so! They probably were cheering for him to strike out, not because they think he's a jerk or they want him to fail, but because they want to see history! I mean, come on, what else is there worth going to Miller park to watch? The Brewers are awful, Houston's all but out of the race, nobody's ever heard of most of the people on Milwaukee's lineup card. Are people going to tell their grandkids that they sat in a Uecker seat or watched the sausage race? Nobody cares about that stuff. Hernandez is making history, even if it is a dubious distinction. If you don't give the fans a team worth watching, then don't blame them for being excited about the only significant event to happen to the Brewers all year.

Besides, it's not all that bad. Hernandez is still having a decent year, with 24 homers and the best OPS among qualified NL shortstops. And it's not like he's in bad company on that list: Bobby Bonds, Cecil Fielder, Jim Thome, Mo vaughn, Jay Buhner, Rob Deer, Mike Schmidt...pretty good company. But apparently Royster is more concerned about his player's fragile little ego than he is about beating the 'Stros, as he's not starting Hernandez in thie afternoon's game. It seems that Bill "Your Guess is as Good as Mine" Hall will be starting in his stead. That gives today's Milwaukee lineup exactly one player with more than 35 RBI. Maybe they should be emulating the Devil Rays?

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