Brewing up America’s pastime: Focusing on who bats first


Carlos Gomez (left) and Scooter Gennett (right) represent the Brewers’ primary two options to bat leadoff this season. Both Gomez and Gennett have spent time at leadoff in the past and each brings different qualities to the table. Photo provided by Getty Images.

The smell of the freshly made hot dogs, taste of David sunflower seeds and sights of the players warming up fill the aroma that is Miller Park during the summer as our beloved Milwaukee Brewers play an old-fashioned game dating back to 1845. But it’s more than just a game: it’s a national pastime, one that has become a staple of American culture. Since I was handed a baseball bookcase when I was eight days old, I have become infatuated with the sport, and as I have aged it has become the hallmark of my interest. With this backdrop, I decided to take to The Highlander Online to showcase my thoughts about the local bunch of guys living out thousands of children’s dreams: the Milwaukee Brewers.

The leadoff hitter. What a timeless classic as the smaller-sized speed demon approaches the plate, slaps a little bloop single into right field, gets the fans thinking that this will be a good game and then boom- steals second, putting himself right in position to score.


While the aforementioned is the purpose of the leadoff hitter, the vaunted spot is one of more mental significance: to be the first one to hit means the most people are watching, and the most pressure is on the leadoff hitter to get on base and get a good start to the game.


So who gets to hold this cherished spot and kick off the hopes and aspirations for the Brewers? Enter a long dilemma of power v. speed that resonates in two of the team’s core components: Carlos Gomez and Scooter Gennett.


Personally, I like Gomez in this spot. He maintains the aforementioned qualities and purposes of the leadoff hitter while also providing some power, as he had 23 home runs last season.


The Brewers need this early spark to kick off the lineup, as the middle of the order could prove to be fairly vulnerable at times. Ryan Braun  and Aramis Ramirez were deadly during the epic collapse of last September, so a healthy start at the top of the lineup would ideally foster a strong jump-start and less pressure on the big dogs of the 3-4 spots.


Here’s the issue though: Gomez is quickly escalating as the face of the franchise and with his power capabilities, Ron Roenicke might find that his talents are best suited for a more power-oriented spot in the lineup, such as the 2 or 5. So who would then be the leadoff?


Scooter Gennett, the flying second baseman with laser-quick speed would soar into leadoff. Gennett is very good, but just does not possess the same aura as Gomez does. However, if he is chosen, I think he would do a great job given the time.


One of the key components of baseball is the concept of getting into a rhythm and finding ways to produce well given your situation. Along this line of thinking, simply put, if Carlos Gomez is not in the leadoff spot he will experience some sort of readjustment that this team cannot afford. Gomez is the face of the franchise, and should be allowed to do as he wishes, and if that means starting off the game with his presence at home plate, then so be it.


The ball is in Roenicke’s hands. Who will he decide to throw it to first?