07/12/10 7:15 PM ET
Anne in the Stands: Optimism abounds
By Anne Stratton / MLB.com
Throughout the spring and early summer I've been (mostly) patient while the basketball season (a winter sport) finally ended. During the first rounds of World Cup Soccer, I rooted for underdogs and superdogs, enjoying the fervor and flavor of each nationality.
I've even tolerated the annual pre-season drama of Bret Favre's "will-he-won't-he" angst. Through it all, I've been getting antsy for my sport, America's pastime, to take center stage.
On top of those distractions, all of the sports gurus began burning up the airwaves with speculation over which lucky team would get to pay LeBron James next year.
Recently, after LeBron finally signed with the enemy, I assumed valuable television minutes would be focused on my favorite news. I tuned in Sports Center, and what did I see? Highlights from...Summer Basketball.
Summer basketball? (Audible sigh here.)
An Optimist's Point of View
Here's an understatement: this year my team has not played a steady streak of red-hot baseball. Even during a hope-inspiring patch of games this past couple of weeks, the guys have left enough men on base to fill section 121 and 122 at Miller Park.
Am I often discouraged? Yes. But am I ready, willing and able to pluck out signs of improvement among the blown saves, lopsided scores, base-running errors and two-out, men-on-base wild pitches?
Affirmative, because I am and have always been a Faithful Fan.
Islands of Hope
With and without the waxed mustache, John Axford gets batters out!
Prince has been walked so often, he should change his cleats to walking shoes. I know he'll explode with hits again. I KNOW it.
I am betting the average distance of Corey Hart's hits is 300 feet. Rickie Weeks has proving his worth. He gets on base. He walks. He's speedy. Dave Bush is looking like his old self. Kameron Loe is a valuable addition to the bullpen. Jonathan Lucroy is my new favorite. I love the guy. He even throws out base-stealers! Though Yovani Gallardo, the ace, is injured, he'll be back. Ryan Braun has done the unheard of; he's had some bad at-bats the last couple of weeks. But we all know his talent is there. He'll be back, because he is wonderful. I'll repeat that: RYAN BRAUN IS WONDERFUL.
The All-Star break gives everyone a chance to rest up and heal. The second half of the season is going to belong to the BREWERS. Read it and believe. Trades
After the All-Star break, I always start worrying that one of my favorite players will be traded, and I begin to act just the way my grandson did at his third birthday party.
As soon as the other three-year-olds arrived at his house and scattered around the family room to play with his toys, he flung his body across his favorite trucks. Whenever one of the other kids tried to pry a toy from his grip, he hung on, screaming, "MINE!"
If I could do that with Ryan, Prince, Casey and Corey, I would.
Anne Stratton is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.