Brewers: Bring Back Cirillo!

by Greg in

jeff-cirillo.jpgNote to readers: This blog is about the Cape Cod Baseball League, but every once and a while there is a story about baseball that I cannot resist telling. My story about pitcher Miguel Batista is one. So is my story about Japanese baseball. My uncovering a baseball hoax in GQ magazine was another fun one. This week I am writing about a friend who also happens to be a major league baseball player, Jeff Cirillo. The idea for "BREWERS BRING BACK CIRILLO" was all mine, not his. I just hope it helps. The Milwaukee Brewers have made two intelligent choices in their recent signing history, and now it is time for a third. They have twice signed Jeff Cirillo and it's time now for Cirillo to return to Milwaukee for his third and final tour of the National League.

Loyalty has always been a character trait of Milwaukee fans, and loyalty to Milwaukee is a character trait of Jeff Cirillo's.

I mentioned this to Jeff on Friday night and he said something interesting to me.

"I still feel like there is some magic when I put on that Milwaukee uniform," Cirillo told me. "Last season I was up in Minnesota and I kept wondering, 'what am I doing here?' I missed Milwaukee. We went down to Milwaukee last season for an inter-league game and I hit a homerun. I love Miller Park and I'd like to be a Brewer again. It's a great community, and my family and I enjoy getting involved there. But who knows?"

C'mon, Milwaukee, BRING BACK CIRILLO!

Trust me, Jeff Cirillo remains a fiery competitor. Just a few short months ago he was playing in his first National League Championship Series for the Arizona Diamondbacks. And he hasn't lost a beat, keeping to a strict fitness regimen all winter.

The Brew Crew has every chance to win next season. It may just take a little magic. How many teams over history have learned that a little veteran magic can go a long way. Kirk Gibson played in a lot of uniforms, but we will never forget him pumping that arm as he rounded the bases in a Dodger uniform. Cirillo belongs in a Brewer uniform and the team will benefit from his bat, his infield utility and his baseball wisdom.

He did pitch an inning for the Diamondbacks last season. I asked him he might reinvent himself as a pitcher and his answer was fairly clear, "no way."

Over the past several weeks, as winter meetings and steroid crises have largely overshadowed trades, Jeff has waited hopefully for another opportunity to play and another opportunity to contribute.

Jeff broke into the Bigs with Milwaukee in 1994, a fresh-faced hitter and pitcher turned infielder out of USC. He played six impressive seasons for the Brew Crew culminating in a 15-homer, .326 season in 1999.

After stints in Colorado, Seattle and San Diego he returned to Milwaukee for the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

Today he remains the Brewers all-time leader in batting average.

In his second stint with Milwaukee, Cirillo got off to a fast start. Signed to a Minor League contract during the offseason, Cirillo was the Brewers Opening Day third baseman. Cirillo played in Milwaukee from 1994-99 and currently holds the Brewers NL record for highest batting average in a season (.326), which he accomplished in 1999.

Read this online interview with Jeff when he returned to Milwaukee for the second time. In it you get a sense of his love of the game and of the Milwaukee Brewers.

I'm curious what the Brew Crew blogs think of this? Brew Crew Ball, Brewers Locker, Al's Ramblings, Brewers Blog (part of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) and others have great news and commentary on the Brewers.

The Wisconsin Sports Bar blog already has posted on this topic with some interesting speculation and analysis.