My heart broke when the Brewers couldn't keep Paul Molitor, the object of my most fervent baseball crush. I was happy for him when his new team, the Toronto Blue Jays, won the World Series, but disappointed again when he moved on to the Twins instead of back with us in Milwaukee.
Kevin Seitzer was awesome. I loved watching him bat when he played for us one year. A season or two after we let him go, I was excited to have him back when we signed him again to play in various positions, including first base. He served as a steady leader, finding ways to drive in the guy ahead of him or make a play himself. I was in the dumps that Labor Day weekend when we traded him to Cleveland. We probably got some great players for him, but I didn't care; I wanted to watch Kevin. I cheered for him when he and the Indians made it to the World Series that fall before he retired.
How I loved watching Fernando Viña lead off and get on base any way possible, including getting hit by a pitch. Greg Vaughn's explosive home runs to Vaughn's Valley out there in left field fired up all of the fans and his teammates. I enjoyed Mark Loretta's eager, agile ways as our utility infielder. I rooted hard for the struggling Matt Mieske in the outfield. Through thick and thin, I cheered Jeromy Burnitz's hitting streaks and tolerated his running mouth. I marveled at Sexson's amazing reach, which saved so many plays at first, as well as his home run balls that careened off his bat with such momentum they might have sailed as far as Lake Michigan if Friday's Grill hadn't been in the way.
The guy I still miss, especially when he's in town to play against my team, is Mike Matheny. I was at one of the first games he played for us, fresh up from the Minors, and admired how big and strong he was. Then he took off his catcher's mask (he was one of the first to use a hockey-style mask), and I saw he was very good-looking. I like that in a player.
I have no complaints with last winter's trade of Scott Podsednik for Carlos Lee. Carlos is amazingly agile in the outfield, steady under all conditions and terrific at the plate. But, oh, boy, Scotty was my hands-down favorite. Watching him get ready to steal a base was a ton of fun. And cute? He is really cute.
Who are my favorites this year? Well, Brady Clark and Overbay, for starters, with Lee and Rickie Weeks right up there with Ben Sheets, Doug Davis, Capuano, Damian Miller, J.J. Hardy, Bill Hall and Geoff Jenkins. Oh, and our super-closer Derrick Turnbow. I guess you could say I like this team a lot.
Am I resigned to more departures? No, but I acknowledge they go with the territory of a baseball diamond. A steady fan welcomes the new one with the hope he will bat .375, have error-free innings, pitch no-hitters and lead us into the World Series. As a bonus, maybe he'll be even better looking than Podsednik.