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MICHAEL HUNT &t


MICHAEL HUNT &t
When it comes to Brewers -Cubs, this is not a fair fight.

Oh, you thought I was going to mention how Kosuke Fukudome somehow becomes Ted Williams against Milwaukee pitching.

No, I'm talking about Danny Gokey's forthcoming singing of the national anthem at Miller Park vs. Denise Richards' recent crimes-against-musicology rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at Wrigley Field.

Now for the disclaimer:

Just as I've never watched "American Idol," I've never seen one of Richards' movies. But she used to be married to Charlie Sheen, who played Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn in "Major League," which, of course, was filmed in Milwaukee.

Sheen also portrayed Oscar "Happy" Felsch in "Eight Men Out," the greatest Baseball movie ever made. Felsch, the centerfielder for the 1919 Black Sox, was born and raised in Milwaukee and played for the minor-league Brewers before being sold, presumably against his will, to our neighboring city.

So in a Kevin Bacon six-degrees-of-separation kind of way (Bacon was in "Sleepers" with Joe Attanasio, father of Brewers owner Mark, but enough of that), we come right back around to the series at hand.

And, yes, against all reason, Fukudome has hit almost .400 with something approaching an .800 slugging percentage in 17 career games against the Brewers . Otherwise, things are pretty much where you thought they'd be upon the resumption of what has become one of Baseball's more enjoyable rivalries.

After a period of adjustment, the Brewers have hit the kind of stride that has taken them to a place in the National League Central warranted by their talent. They are hitting the ball, pitching the ball and catching the ball to their abilities, so no surprises there, unless you believed starting pitching was going to be an insurmountable problem. It's early May, so we'll see.

As for the Cubs, their slow build from 2007 looks like it again may be in play. Or at least they're hoping so. There is no reason why they shouldn't eventually run away with the division as they did last season. Their $135 million payroll, a couple of bucks from being the second largest in Baseball, dwarfs the Brewers' $80 million expenditure for roughly the same results at this time.

Meanwhile, they're both looking up at the St. Louis Cardinals with what should be a sense of admiration. Hate on Tony La Russa all you want, but the man gets results even as upper management remains inert. The Cardinals always seem to find players, like this 28-year-old rookie Brian Barden. You would think the Cardinals would eventually go away, again leaving the division to the Cubs and the Brewers , but all Chicago and Milwaukee can do at the moment is worry about each other this weekend.

It is possible that Derrek Lee will be less of a pain in the neck to the Brewers . Dave Bush, Yovani Gallardo and, yes, Jeff Suppan, have been pitching extremely well. Carlos Zambrano won't be available, not even to pitch hit, but Ryan Dempster has this thing for the Brewers . Combined, J.J. Hardy, Mike Cameron, Corey Hart, Ryan Braun and Bill Hall are hitting .133 against him.

Then again, the Cubs have yet to be subjected to Trevor Hoffman inside Miller Park, where the thundering AC/DC intro has forced manager Ken Macha to take refuge in the bat room for the sake of his hearing.

If Hoffman does happen to appear this weekend, it would be music to the ears of the Brewers , no matter who is trying to carry the tune.

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Send e-mail to mhunt@journalsentinel.com

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 8, 2009

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