Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for July 2nd, 2012

Long-time Member of Brewers Grounds Crew Dies During Sunday’s Game

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Folks, this is a terribly sad story . . . one I wish I didn’t have to pass on.

During the start of yesterday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Miller Park’s grounds crew lead, Jeff Adcock, died in the Milwaukee Brewers’ bullpen of an apparent heart attack.  Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful; he was transported to Froedtert Hospital in West Allis, where he was pronounced dead.  Adcock was only fifty-one years old, and had worked for the Milwaukee Brewers organization since the age of eighteen.

This link from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel will give you more about this sad story, but here’s perhaps the most important quote:

“We are all saddened by the news of Jeff’s passing,” said Bob Quinn, Brewers executive vice president. “He was a part of our organization for many years, and was a fixture during games in our bullpen area. Jeff developed many friendships with our uniformed staff, and he will be missed by all of us. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Well said, Mr. Quinn.

As you might expect, the Brewers organization and the Brewers players (the bullpen personnel in particular) are taking the loss of Mr. Adcock particularly hard.  Here’s a link to that story, and a relevant quote from pitcher John Axford:

“He was in the bullpen all the time,” said closer John Axford. “Everyone had a good time down there with him. We had special handshakes with him. We liked to see his attempt at basketball moves. He was always there to open the door for you when you come in the game.

“He always wore these gigantic Chuck Taylors (basketball shoes). This year, he wasn’t wearing them, though. So Kam (Loe) bought him so new shoes and he wore them.”

Now, why did this happen?  Perhaps we’ll never know, but pitcher Tim Dillard has a good observation:

“None of us knew what really happened,” said Dillard. “The paramedics got there quick. We were just talking to him and he collapsed. You wonder if there was something you could have done but that’s just human nature. There was nothing we could do. It’s very sad.”

That it is, Mr. Dillard.  That it is.

Here’s a few more words from the second article (with one name inserted by me):

The grounds crew workers will wear a “JA” patch on their uniforms for the remainder of the season. The Brewers relievers also took a huge flower arrangement down to the bullpen before the game Monday night against Miami with a ribbon inscribed “In Memory of Jeff Adcock.

“He was an awesome guy to be around,” said (pitcher Kameron) Loe. “He did anything we needed him to do. He loved his job. He loved being down there. We’ll definitely miss him. When somebody passes away so suddenly like that, you can’t believe it.

“We all loved him down there. Our hearts and prayers definitely go out to their family. I’m sure they’re stunned. Nobody saw it coming. It’s an extremely hard thing to swallow.”

That it is, Mr. Loe.  And I wish I had some answers for you as to why these things happen, but I don’t.  The best I can do is give you the following advice, for whatever it’s worth: cherish the life of your fallen friend.  Honor his memory.  Remember the good times, and even remember the bad times (if he ever shared any), because that’s how you can best remember your friend as he was — as the good person he undoubtedly was, the one who shared so much with you, the one who knew you well and wanted to make you laugh.

Remember him as he was.  But do remember him, because the longer you can remember — and remember as accurately as possible — at least a part of your friend has lived on within you.

I have great sympathy for everyone who knew Jeff Adcock, including the Brewers players and coaches, the grounds crew staff, and every member of the Brewers organization who ever came into contact with him.  A loss that’s this sudden, for no apparent reason, is one that’s very tough to bear, and I hope that remembering your friend as he was — alive, happy, and glad to be doing a job he enjoyed — will help somehow to lighten your grief.

And finally — if there is a positive afterlife (which I strongly believe there is), I truly hope Mr. Adcock is there, is at peace, and is getting reacquainted with all of those friends and family members who may have passed on before him.  Because sooner or later, he will reunite with his friends again, in that place, and ’tis said that all the grief we feel now will be transmuted on that day to pure joy.  I know that doesn’t help anyone who mourns Mr. Adcock now — it doesn’t help me much, when it comes to mourning my friend Jeff or my wonderful husband Michael — but as it’s the only source of potential comfort in this situation, I can’t help but proffer it in the hopes that it may somehow help someone.

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 2, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Ben Sheets Signed by Atlanta Braves to Minor League Deal

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Folks, Ben Sheets’ comeback is official, as he’s been signed by the Atlanta Braves to a minor league deal as of last evening (Sunday, July 1, 2012).  Here’s a quote from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, which is here:

“We’re getting a guy who is a four-time All-Star and there is nothing wrong with his arm,” Wren said. “You have a quality major league pitcher prior to the deadline without having to give up any talent. It really is the best of all worlds.”

Sheets is scheduled to make at least two starts in Double-A Mississippi, largely because it’s only 90 minutes from his home in Louisiana. He’ll go five innings or 75 pitches on Wednesday, then six innings or 90 pitches in a start after that. If all goes well, the Braves think he could be ready shortly after the All-Star break.

This all bodes well for Sheets, as the Braves’ team philosophy is one Sheets can get behind.  Plus, the Braves obviously haven’t forgotten the fact that Sheets once struck out eighteen of them on May 17, 2004 and seem to want Sheets on their side if he can indeed make a comeback a la former Milwaukee Brewers teammate (and pitcher) Chris Capuano.

Best of luck, Ben, with your comeback efforts.

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 2, 2012 at 2:04 pm

WI State Senate District 21 Recount Over: Lehman is Senator-Elect

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The recount for Wisconsin state Senate District 21’s 6/5/2012 election is over.  Former Senator John Lehman (D-Racine) has won and is officially Senator-elect.  According to the Racine Journal-Times (under a “breaking news” header), Lehman’s margin of victory is 819 votes as opposed to the 834 votes he had after the official canvass; this means Senator Van Wanggaard (R-Racine) is now, officially, former Senator Wanggaard until and unless he files an appeal in District Court.

The Mount Pleasant Patch has a longer and better article, available here, that shows the final vote totals as Lehman 36,358, Wanggaard 35,539, and has a statement from Senator-elect Lehman:

“It shows that we won the election and all of these allegations of voter irregularities are false and are really much ado about nothing,” Lehman said. “The results from election night have been proven correct through tape and tallly totals.”

But, as I expected, Wanggaard is still crying fraud (from his statement):

“Anyone who argues that this recount was a waste of time, or that we do not need voter, ID, either wants to conceal these potential fraudulent activities or hasn’t been paying attention,” Wanggaard said in statement released this afternoon. “The list of problems now includes missing pages in poll books, missing signatures, wrong voter numbers, wrong and unverified addresses and most shocking of all, unsealed and sealed and reopened ballot bags – all without explanation. None of these issues would have been discovered if not for the recount.”

Of course, as I said all along, I was for the recount — for the same reasons I believed Joanne Kloppenburg deserved to know the truth regarding her race against David Prosser for the state Supreme Court last year.  She, too, ran into some real problems — much bigger ones, in fact, than Wanggaard — with regards to opened/unsealed ballot bags, ripped and torn ballots, tape totals that didn’t match, tape dates that didn’t match, and many other inconsistencies and outright errors — yet the Government Accountability Board still certified that election.  She went for a state-sponsored recount (as that race was within 1/2 of a percent and thus eligible for state assistance); many Republicans cried foul at the time, saying that the result was unlikely to change anything and because of that, Kloppenburg shouldn’t put the state through the recount.  Even with the problems in Waukesha County, which were legion.

And, of course, the recount didn’t change very much; the tallies tightened, but Prosser still won.  The only thing to come out of that recount was this: seventy-one of our seventy-two counties in Wisconsin do a good job conducting elections, while Waukesha County is a horror show.

In this recount, what came out is this: there were some inconsistencies.  Wanggaard picked up, roughly, twenty votes overall.  Some bags were open and/or torn, but not anywhere near to the point things were at in Waukesha County; the tape totals and tape dates were, for the most part, accurate — in short, this was a cleanly-conducted election that proves that Wendy Christensen, Racine County Clerk, does an excellent job even in high-turnout, record-setting elections like this one.

So now that the recount is over, whither Wanggaard?  My guess is that he’s going to attempt to tie this up another round and file a lawsuit in court alleging election fraud.  But doing so is unlikely to get him anywhere, mostly because the allegations of wrongdoing by Republican operatives are so much smoke and mirrors, meant to obscure the valid point that the voters have spoken and Wanggaard has lost.  (The fact that Democrats have also alleged problems with these same Republican operatives, including voter intimidation and “electioneering,” something that is illegal under Wisconsin law, just hasn’t seemed to get much traction, though the Mount Pleasant Patch mentioned it a week or so ago even though I can’t find the link right now.)

For whatever it’s worth, here’s my advice with regards to Sen. Wanggaard: The recount was worthy, but it’s over.  The voters have been heard; the original results stand.  Now, Sen. Wanggaard, it’s time to do the right thing, what the voters expected of you when they voted you out, and admit that John Lehman has won.  Then, go and enjoy the rest of your life.

However, Sen. Wanggaard, if you instead attempt a futile and time-consuming lawsuit a la former United States Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN), you’ll only prolong both your own agony and the agony of your Senate district, with almost no likelihood of winning in court.  This will spend time, effort, and money to little purpose.  In this dismal economy, there’s absolutely no excuse for that.

That’s why I urge you, Sen. Wanggaard, to bow to the will of the voters of your district.  You’ve been voted out.  Now do the right thing, concede this election, and go live your life.  Because assuredly you have far, far better things to do than to file frivolous lawsuits in court.** 

And we, the voters of District 21, have far better things to do than worry about when our new Senator, John Lehman, can be sworn in.  Because in case you haven’t noticed it, Racine needs serious economic development, soonest.  So the sooner you, Sen. Wanggaard, do the right thing and bow out, the sooner he, Sen. Lehman, can get on with helping out the citizens of Racine (city and county alike).  Because we desperately need the help that only our duly-elected state Senator can provide.


** Unlike state Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester), I do know what the word frivolous means and am using it precisely.