Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Zen Dayley: Lordy, lordy, look at Lawrie

Brett Lawrie (pictured) is making a good argument for converting a few Canadians to Milwaukee Brewers fans.

Did you see what Lawrie, the Brewers' first-round pick, did yesterday at the AAA World Junior Championship in Edmonton -- a homer, triple and six RBI in an 18-7 rout of Puerto Rico? Canada is 3-1 heading into their final group game vs. the Czech Republic (a 7 p.m. ET start) and was one passed ball (by Lawrie, but long-term, he's ticketed for the infield, either third or second) from upsetting Cuba on Sunday.

He's something to behold, all right. Canada's in good position, 3-1 heading into their final group game vs. an unheralded Czech Republic team tonight. Korea and the U.S. are 4-0 in other pool, so they'll likely be waiting for the Canadians in the elimination round. It's regrettable that this event hasn't commanded much attention outside the city of where it's being played, but you can't blame the media this time.

It's unfortunate that The tournament's official website looks like something a Junior B hockey team would have had in 1999. It really has to be seen to be believed. It isn't even Web 1.0., it's more like Web 0.1. It's a real shame that Baseball Canada, which has some very professional people (there might not be a Can-Am League team in Ottawa if not for Jim Baba and Andre Cormier addressing Ottawa city councillors last fall), ends up looking bad.

Cam Tait from the Edmonton Journal took the organizers to task already. What's not to understand for the small-fish sports organizations? You want coverage, you want your world championship to get afforded 1/10th of the media exposure that was given to the FIFA Under-20 World Cup last summer or that the Canadian world junior team's summer development camp -- practice games! -- has received the past few days, you better have an easy-to-surf website with scores that get updated pronto. No one has time to check every station, but if the game scores have been appearing on any network's ticker, I must have missed it.

Lawrie racking Puerto Rico for six RBI -- or as a wire-service account put it, "scored six RBIs," like this was cricket -- is as big as anything Steven Stamkos or Jonathan Toews have done athletically for their country.

Anyway, getting back to the main point, following the Brewers is not a bad idea. They have Canadians in the front office, they have Lawrie in their system, they're not beating their heads againt the wall in the AL East and they're not media darlings like the Chicago Cubs. Sounds like the complete package -- not unlike Brett Lawrie.

(Major glove tap to Andy Grabia from The Battle of Alberta, his province's foremost baseball enthusiast. He furnished almost all the links for this post.)


Greg said...


Nice work pointing out the absolute abomination the baseball site is. Here's a question: Why was it easier for me to obtain box scores and follow along with games and results from the World University Baseball Championship — in the Czech Republic! — on a website that was initially written/displayed in Czech, but did have a translated version after some hunting around?

Edmonton organizers should be embarrassed.

battlekow said...

Hey there, I just wanted to let you know that as a Brewers fan, I really enjoyed this post. I've had a chance to talk to all of the Brewers draft picks on the Juniors team except Brett Lawrie (you can check out an interview I did with Stosh Wawrzasek here), and they've all been great, which has turned me into a big Canada fan, kind of like Lawrie is turning Canadian seamheads into Brewers fans. You're right about the Canadian influence on the team--it runs very strong, so strong that we playfully refer to the Brewers as "Team Canada". A few of my other favorite Canadian prospects on the club include Alex Periard, Chris Dennis, and Brock Kjeldgaard. Anyway, thanks again for the nice write-up.

sager said...

Sweet... I gotta get Brew Crew Ball on my Google Reader sooner rather than later.

John Axford, who I wrote about a couple times in my Simcoe Reformer days, is also with the Brewers' Single-A team.

(Could I cheer for the Brewers? They did play spoiler for the Jays back in 1987. It's a pain that never ends.)

Andrew Bucholtz said...

Brett Lawrie and Stosh Wawrzasek are both great Langley guys from the B.C. Premier Baseball League, so our paper's done some cool stuff on them. Go Blaze! Besides, the Brewers are a great team to cheer for for more reasons than just their Canadian contingent: they also have the sausage race!

sager said...

C'mon, Langley's already got its claim to fame — the actor who plays Riggins on Friday Night Lights played for their junior hockey team.

Duane Rollins said...


The Brewers weren't the spoilers in '87 so much as the concrete they called turf at the Ex was. Tony doesn't get hurt, Toronto wins at least two of those seven games, I'm convinced of it.

True story: I had a magic number countdown in my bedroom that summer. I started it at 130 or something. It got all the way down to three...then...well, you know the rest.

I refused to take that "3" off my wall until they got the number lower than it in 1989, which is one of the reasons I look upon the '89 team almost as fondly as the '92-'93 teams.

The magic number is currently 65 by the way...

Greg said...

As an aside about "cheering for the Brewers" they did employee Corey Koskie at one point, have Eric Gagne right now, and now Lawrie coming up.

I was at a Jays/ Brewers game in Milwaukee earlier this season. It was my five-month-old daughter's first "road game" and I arbitrarly deemed her a Brewers fan (hey, forcing a kid to like the Jays this day and age is cruel and unusual punishment, plus, the Brewers had a "pee your pants if we make the playoffs" joke going on last year. That's perfect for a newborn). Also, Ryan Braun is officially her favourite player. Hey, chicks dig the long ball.

Jordie Dwyer said...

Two words as to why this tournament is so poorly organized from a media stand point....
Ron Hayter!!!!!!!

And one example I can point to in explaining my reasoning for that condemnation of a single individual..

A fellow sports reporter that works at a city daily told me this one: A fax appears about two months ago on his desk regarding a press conference on the tournament. It is set for 10 a.m. the next morning (and we all know how difficult it is for sports guys to get up early) and the fax came in at 7 p.m.
So, since there had been little to any advance stuff appear on his desk - ie schedules and other stuff common to help sports reporters do there job - he decides to go and maybe he'd luck out and get something.
Turns out the conference it only to announce a new sponsor has come on board....boy was my colleague livid.
And you wonder why the coverage has been spotty....
Plus Hayter wasn't expecting to have to compete with the INDY either - which took up so much ink in the weeks leading up to it and through the actual weekend that I figured newspapers were actually back in vogue....LOL

andy grabia said...

FYI, box scores, stats and standings can be found here. Thank God.

I was eager to see the US play the Koreans tonight, but it looks like it might be rained out. It's been coming down all day here.

sager said...

The Brewers have long made inroads into Canada ... I know their scouting network reached up into BC way back ... a high school teacher/coach I used to know back in Portage la Prairie, Mike Lukyn, told me about how he worked at a camp or something in BC where the Brewers used to work out prospects.

They had Kevin Reimer (B.C.-born, raised in the States, if memory serves) on their team, too.