(Twitter: @brewersblend) 7:00am
One special function of being a fan is the natural, genuine emotion that simply takes over after a huge win, a spectacular play or just following your favorite player.
However, that same intensity can manifest itself negatively...and many times it ends up focused directly at an individual player. On occasion it resembles hate, other times it's more of an irritation or loathing. So, to find a sort of middle ground - beyond dislike, but not all-out detestation - I'm looking to truly discover the most despised Brewers of all time (or at least in the last 30 years).
You will get to determine the most despised players by voting on head-to-head matchups.
A player can find himself in the fans' doghouse for a number of reasons: Failed expectations; lots of hype with little production (e.g. high draft pick); being overpaid or owning a team-crippling contract; lack of effort, hustle, mental strength or other intangibles; arrogant, careless and/or selfish attitudes; or plain old poor performance - whether it be on the field, in the dugout or in the front office.
I checked in with a number of individuals, looked back at a lot of articles, blogs and forums, recalled the complaints on sports talk shows and relied on my own emotional memory to determine the individuals that should be considered in the running. Of course, my own bias definitely comes into play, but that's why we're going with the NCAA bracket design to give everyone a chance to vote on which players advance to each round, in search of The Most Despised Milwaukee Brewers Personnel of All Time.
As I mentioned earlier, the list of Brewers personnel (not just players) starts in the mid-80s after the fan base really began more feverishly hanging onto the club's success and failures, thanks in large part to the '82 team. My original hope was to have a full field of 64, but I thought better of it in the end, as the vitriol for players would have been spread way too thin.
Thus, I settled on 32 people separated into four regions just like the NCAA, but remember, the seeds are not based on talent or which players are liked, but the more despised I determined they were, the higher seed they received. You kind of have to look at it backwards: "If I think this guy is the most disliked, he should keep advancing in the tournament."
Having pared down the field to 32, I did need to leave off some worthy candidates - let's say they were on the bubble and it burst (which actually isn't a bad thing for this tournament).
Last Eight Out
Ryan Braun: PED suspicions and accusations growing tiresome
Paul Molitor: Considered a greedy traitor for signing with Toronto in '93
Price Fielder: Awful defense, tempermental attitude and another guy who followed dollar signs
Glenn Braggs: Physical specimen but never developed as an actual baseball player
Ben Hendrickson: Great minor league numbers; awful in Milwaukee
Corey Hart: Injuries every season and prone to go into long, ugly slumps
Carlos Gomez: Lots of speed (can't bunt), takes bad routes on 'D,' and awful OBP
Geoff Jenkins: "Best player on a bad team" syndrome and couldn't lay off breaking ball in the dirt
Once again, the idea is to vote for the player in a particular matchup who you hated/loathed/disliked/despised more. Perhaps you had a huge grudge against a player I listed as a 7-seed...that's perfectly fine...vote for that person and maybe we'll have an upset like in the real tourney.
Now we'll only be voting one round at a time and I'll keep the voting open for Round One until 10pm (CT) on Wednesday, February 20th. Encourage your family and friends to put down their votes as well - even if they only vote on a few of the matchups.
**To vote on each of the matchups, just shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Feel free to add a comment or two as to why you chose a particular individual - especially if it would be an upset pick. Also, definitely add some comments or persuasive arguments on this page at the bottom of the article.
You can even send me some short blurbs via Twitter to @brewersblend.
Have fun...take some trips down memory lane...and do your best to get the people you despise the most into the "Sweet" 16 and beyond.
The first four .jpgs below show each region individually, which includes a brief description as to why each person made the bracket and why they were seeded accordingly. The last .jpg shows the entire bracket where maybe you could predict the winners based on all the votes you think they'll get.
(**The best way to view each .jpg is to right-click and "open in new tab)