October 13, 2006
Visiting Team Getting to Lambeau Field Now More Complicated
When visiting football teams play the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field they stay at the Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton, WI roughly 30 miles away. For years the Brown County Sheriff's Department escorted the teams' buses to Green Bay. The practice of them stopping traffic outside their jurisdiction (Appleton is in neighboring Outagamie County) may shake up visiting teams' travel plans to the consternation of an Appleton hotel manager:
[Brown County Sheriff's Capt. Randy] Schultz said he plans to ask the state Legislature to allow the escorts much as funeral processions now are permitted. And he also said he has asked two hotels in the Green Bay area if they would house visiting teams and "both are substantially interested."
According to Nancy Peterson-Bekx a former district attorney the escorts the sherff's department is doing violates Wisconsin state law:
Peterson-Bekx said Tuesday she was unaware of the stir caused by an opinion she has aired several times over her career as a police trainer. "The problem is the law is very clear on what an authorized emergency vehicle can do," she said. "And escorting a bus for an NFL team is not one of those circumstances.
I'd like to think that since the escort has been occurring since 1982 that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," but we live in a litigious society with people suing for much less than a car accident from an improper police escort.
"Forget the Police Escort"
September 27, 2006
Report: Terrell Owen Tried Suicide
A Dallas television station reports Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens is in the hospital because of an attempted suicide:
Flamboyant Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens attempted suicide by overdosing on pain medication, even putting two more pills into his mouth after fire rescue personnel arrived, The Associated Press reported Wednesday citing a police report.
If true it shows that even superstars with money and fame can have a hole in their soul.
In the same ESPN story is an odd Bill Parcell's quote about injured wideout Terry Glenn:
On Tuesday, the Cowboys also practiced without tight end Jason Witten, whose wife was having a baby. Wide receiver Terry Glenn practiced, albeit with several stitches in his thumb.
Was this another example of Parcell's sarcasm? What a strange detail to reveal. Late night comedians will have a field day with this.
"Police Report: Owens Hospitalized after Suicide Attempt"
UPDATE: I guess T.O. wasn't feeling too down in the dumps. He says his painkilers combined with suplaments caused a bad reaction:
As if to prove he's doing fine, Owens went from the hospital to catching passes from quarterback Drew Bledsoe within two hours, then proclaimed himself "very capable of going out there and playing on Sunday" — despite whatever happened Tuesday night and a broken right hand.
Owens said he was "kind of out of it" which would explain his behavior in the police report.
But then we have T.O.'s publicist who turns the incident into an attack on the football player:
Etheredge also appeared at Owens' news conference, saying she "did not take anything out of his mouth" and that it was unfair for anyone to think Owens would kill himself.
Wrong, Ms. Etheredge. When the media gets a police report that says an NFL player attempted suicide that's news. If the report had been about the third-string Dallas wide receiver instead of Owens it would have been news. Since Owens is one of the most colorful characters in the NFL that makes it a story Drudge links to and ESPN puts on their front page. And really, T.O. doesn't shy away from attention. He would have felt insulted if he was taken to the emergency ward and no one reported on it.
"Owens Denies He Tried to Kill Himself"
September 19, 2006
Gammons Returns to Work
Three months after suffering a brain aneurysm ESPN baseball know-it-all Peter Gammons will cover tomorrow night's Boston-Minnesota game at Fenway Park.
"Gammons to Return to Work"
September 15, 2006
Reggie Bush: On the Take While at USC
We now have a non-football-related answer to why the Houston Texans chose Mario Williams over Reggie Bush. The Yahoo! Sports reporting doesn't change my mind that the Packers should have tried to draft him. I would have picked him #1 and watched him like a hawk to make sure he didn't treat NFL rules as cavalierly as he did NCAA rules.
"Cash and Carry"
September 13, 2006
Packers Trade Gado and Other Ted Thompson Moves
Ted Thompson continues to shake up the Green Bay Packers line up trading last year's surprise star Samkon Gado to the Houston Texans for running back Vernand Morency. The Packers get a speedier running back but give up a proven run producer. Starter Ahman Green had a major injury last season. Although he ran well against the Chicago Bears Sunday quality depth is important.
In a questionable move yesterday, the Packers cut fullback Vonte Leach. That leaves William Henderson as their sole fullback. The guy's not getting younger, and Leach had a good game. Coach Mike McCarthy must be planning to use more two tight end formations which would mean fewer plays for a fullback.
As for signing Koren Robinson I think part of it was a salary cap play as well as a realization that getting good field position on punt and kickoff returns might put the offense in better situations to make plays and reduce mistakes.
"Texans Trade Morency to Packers for Gado"
September 10, 2006
Better Luck Next Week
It's not a great start for me in the Webloggers League when my bench players score more than my starters. But that's why they play the whole season.
September 02, 2006
Quit While You're Ahead
Kevin Kouzmanoff, the baseball gods have spoken. On your first ever major league pitch you hit a grand slam. It won't get any better than that. Retire now.
August 28, 2006
Let's Play Some Fantasy Football
I have three spots open in my fantasy football league. We have a corps of regulars, most are veteran webloggers. Most of us at least pretend to know what we are doing, and the league winner gets bragging rights in the blogosphere. [Audience ooos and ahhhhs.] Although few have ever bragged about their championship. (That's because I've never won.) I run the league through NFL.com. It's free and has live scoring so you can get a steady stream of
August 16, 2006
Landis' Father-in-Law Dies
When it rains it pours. Tour de France winner Floyd Landis will soon deal with hip replacement surgery. Then he'll fight doping charges. Now, he also has to deal with the loss of a close relative:
David Witt, the 57-year-old father-in-law of embattled Tour de France winner Floyd Landis has died, authorities said Wednesday.
It might have been a suicide which puts even more stress on Landis and his family.
"Cyclist Landis' Father-in-Law Dies"
August 14, 2006
Did the NFL Ban the Spike?
Scout.com's article on new NFL rule changes has to be wrong. According to their interpretation the league banned the post-touchdown spike [emphasis mine]:
Individual players are prohibited from using foreign objects or the football while celebrating. They are also prohibited from engaging in any celebrations while on the ground. A celebration shall be deemed excessive or prolonged if a player continues to celebrate after a warning from an official. Previously, players were not prohibited from using props or celebrating on the ground.
Taking the football and slamming it into ground looks like a violation of the rule to me.
A Hampton Roads (Virginia) Daily Press story puts the rule change this way [again emphasis mine]:
Another rules change will prohibit an individual player, not just two or more, from engaging in prolonged, excessive or "premeditated" celebrations. Players also cannot use a prop, such as the ball, to celebrate - a point illustrated in the video shown Thursday at Redskins Park by Washington running back Clinton Portis' resuscitation of the pigskin last season.
As a response to Chad Johnson's hijinks this is quite extreme. What next, banning the Lambeau Leap?
"NFL Rule Changes for 2006"
Packers Dismal Pre-season Opener
For those, mostly Packers die-hards, the first pre-season game against San Diego was a bust. The offense couldn't do anything and the defense looked out of position all game. People may start getting worried about first-round draft pick A.J. Hawk. At times he looked overwhelmed by the Chargers' veterans. But he still ended up with five tackles, two solo and three assisted. That's better than number one pick Mario Williams' debut.
But oh do I wish Reggie Bush was wearing green and gold.
August 13, 2006
Armstrong to Landis: You Talk Too Much
Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong told Floyd Landis to keep his mouth shut and stop publically defending himself against doping charges:
"In this day and age, you're not going to get a fair shake in the media," said Armstrong, who rode his bike for charity Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Unfortunately for Landis this process could take months. After his hip surgery Landis will undergo tests and evidence will be gathered so his doctors and lawyers can mount a defense for why foreign testosterone was found in his system. Hearings and appeals will take a long time. Even if Landis is cleared he may never get out of his cloud of scandal.
"Armstrong Urges Landis to Lay Low"
August 06, 2006
Landis Taking Testosterone Doesn't Make Sense
Floyd Landis' publicized urine tests are very damaging. It will be hard enough for him and his experts to explain why his body had such a large ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone. It will be harder to explain why tests showed some of the testosterone wasn't made by Landis' body.
What has me scratching my head is why the ratio was too high after his legendary/infamous stage climb in the Alps that brought Landis back into Tour de France contention. I've read nothing that taking in testosterone before a race would benefit a cyclist. If he wanted a boost he should have taken amphetamines yet he didn't test positive for them. Testosterone is used over weeks and months to build up muscle. We haven't heard Landis testing positive after previous stages.
Here are a couple possibilities:
I'm an Occam's Razor guy so I usually avoid conspiracy theories. So I have to go with the notion Landis cheated. I just can't figure out why when what the evidence we has says wouldn't help him.
August 05, 2006
Landis' Second Sample Forces Disciplinary Procedure
Floyd Landis' "B" sample was found to have an outlawed ratio of testosterone to epitetestosterone. It was also confirmed that testosterone not produced by Landis' body was found in the "B" sample. The results confirm the original findings from a French laboratory.
Landis was fired from his Phonak team, his case has been referred to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for investigation, but he still retains the Tour de France championship even though "Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said Landis no longer was considered champion, but the decision to strip him of his title rests with the UCI."
Landis continues to claim he has never doped, but it's up to him, his lawyers, and doctors to explain his test results.
"Landis's Second Sample Confirms Original Finding"
August 04, 2006
Landis' Second Sample Results to be Released Saturday
The results of Tour de Franch winner Floyd Landis' "B" urine sample will be announced by a French lab tomorrow morning. It's expected that sample will show a ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone higher than cycling rules allow. If that happens Landis could be stripped of his Tour title, fired from his team, and banned from cycling for two years. However, this is a process that will involve doctors and lawyers so it will take time:
Assuming that Landis's case is not resolved by a "savior ‘B' sample," it could be several months before the case is ultimately resolved, although there is considerable pressure from both sides to move the matter through the system as quickly as possible.
But if an unnamed six-time major race winner is telling an Italian paper the truth, "No one can win [a major cycling race] without doping."
"The Landis Case: Savior 'B' Samples a Rarity"
"Mum's the Word on Test of Landis"
"Landis Awaits Backup Sample Result"
Top Wisconsin Sports City
Milwaukee beats Madison as the top Wisconsin sports city according to The Sporting News.
NFL Refs Get New Uniforms
It must be the season of new, ugly sports stuff. First, we had the Milwaukee Admirals' new logo of a skull that should make Disney and Johnny Depp's lawyers cry foul. Then Brian Fraley found NFL referees will ditch decades of tradition to look like jockeys.
"Fashion Statement: NFL Refs to Sport New Uniforms"
August 01, 2006
Outside Testosterone Found in Landis' Urine
A test to determine whether testosterone found in Tour de France winner Floyd Landis' urine was synthetic found some of it wasn't produced by his Landis' body:
The French national antidoping laboratory in Châtenay-Malabry performed a carbon isotope ratio test on the first of Landis’s two urine samples provided after Stage 17, the person, who is in the cycling union’s antidoping department, said in an interview yesterday.
Landis' doctor Brent Kay hoped this latest test was a false positive. About the testosterone to epitestosterone ratio that put Landis in this situation Kay said, "Although Floyd’s was elevated, it’s not off the chart or anything." That's not reassuring to Landis' fans. Now, with evidence of outside testosterone Landis and his medical and legal team will have even more explaining to do.
"New Finding Challenges Tour Champ’s Claim"
July 30, 2006
Here are some stories on Floyd Landis' doping charges with commentary later tonight:
July 29, 2006
Floyd Landis Defends Himself
Tour de France winner Floyd Landis says he will work with doctors to show he has an abnormal level of testosterone in his body. Anti-doping officials determined there was an unusual ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone in the urine sample Landis gave after winning stage 17 in the Alps.
Landis was a guest on Larry King Live Friday night. Not the most eloquent speaker he told the audience he has never used any banned performance-enhancing substances, but saved many medical questions for his doctor who was also a guest.
Seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong was a guest via telephone. He supported Landis and mentioned the same lab that tested Landis sample was the one that supposedly found an old sample of Armstrong's that showed he cheated. Neither Armstrong nor Landis would come out and claim an anti-American conspiracy among French anti-doping officials.
C.W. Nevius writes that Landis' and his doctors' work "will not be easy:"
"What he is going to have to do,'' says Testa, who is working with Heiden to start up the new Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in Murray, Utah, "is get into an excellent hospital that has no connection to the Tour with a good department of endocrinology that has a name. Then they need to study him as a subject to prove that something physiologically changed under the stress.''
"Floyd Landis Proclaims His Innocence"
July 27, 2006
Floyd Landis' Positive Test Taints Tour de France Victory
Tour de France winner Floyd Landis is in sports purgatory. One of his tests found too much testosterone in his system. Landis denies cheating, but has been suspended by his Phonak team while a second sample is being tested. But with the poor reputation surrounding the sport--the Tour started with many big names bounced from doping charges it will be hard for Landis to shake cheating charges even if future tests don't prove he blood doped or used performance-enhancing drugs. Landis' legendary turn-round in the Alps that took him from wearing the yellow jersey to being eight minutes behind the leader to only 30 seconds will have cycling skeptics wondering what he injected.
Landis understands this:
"Unfortunately, I don't think it's ever going to go away no matter what happens next," Landis said during a teleconference Thursday, hours after his Tour de France victory was thrown into question by a positive test for high testosterone following his gritty performance in stage 17 of the race.
A member of the World Anti-Doping Agency Dr. Gary Wadler said if Landis was cheating with testosterone it would take weeks of use to have an effect. Earlier tests would show signs of such use.
We're at the early stage of the investigation. Tests will be done, and people will talk. What once was a special Tour de France could have a disasterous ending.
"Landis Denies Cheating After Positive Test"
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
July 26, 2006
Brewers' New Racing Sausage
You can't call it "pandering" unless trying to get more paying customers to come to the ballpark is pandering. The Brewers have a simple equation: more fans at the ballpark means bigger budgets to spend on better players who will hopefully bring more wins and championships. Brewers owner Mark Attanasio is a very rich man, but he won't bankroll a team unless it makes good business sense. Hispanic American money does just as good a job paying Ben Sheets' salary as German American money.
Adding another ethnic sausage accepts the reality of Milwaukee's growing Latin American community. With Brewers radio announcer Bob Uecker heavily pitching this weekend's Germanfest the team certainly isn't sacrificing one ethnic group for another. Once upon a time Italians and Poles were Milwaukee newcomers. Klements is smart to make chorizo, the Brewers are smart to tap an untapped market, and I'm hoping they sell chorizo at Miller Park so I can down one or two in between brats.
July 23, 2006
Americans Conquer Europe
Tiger Woods wins the British Open, and Floyd Landis wins the Tour de France.
"Another Claret Jug for Woods"
"Landis Continues American Dominance at Tour"
July 22, 2006
With Time Trial, Landis Claims Yellow Jersey
No one has asked Floyd Landis what beer he drinks. Someone should because we all want to know his secret from collapsing at one stage of the Tour de France only to destroy his competition the next day. And Landis being the presumptive Tour winner could have a fat endorsement check coming his way.
It would have been a shame for Landis to have had his now legendary stage 17 comeback wasted had he not won the Tour. Instead of becoming merely a bit of cycling trivia Landis' performance amounts to one of the most amazing moments in American sports history. That's regardless of the lack of public attention now that Lance Armstrong is racing no longer.
With Landis' upcoming victory--the final stage into Paris is ceremonial--he can go into hip replacement surgery with a huge grin knowing he answered Daniel Coyle's question, "Is is possible for someone with a ruined hip to win the Tour de France?"
"Landis Claims Yellow Jersey, all but Assuring Tour Victory"
July 21, 2006
Landis' Legendary Leap
American cyclist Floyd Landis did something yesterday that is not suppose to happen. Wednesday, Landis cracked on the final climb of stage 16 giving up his yellow jersey and falling over eight minutes behind the leader. That looked to be the end of his Tour de France title chances. No one thought after his body gave out that Landis could overcome such a lead not even Landis. He told reporters, "I don't expect to win the Tour at this point. It's not easy to get back 8 minutes." All he was thinking about after Wednesday's ride was to "drink some beer."
I want to know what beer he drank because, on stage 17 "Lazarus" Landis conquered the final climbs in the Alps, destroyed the competition, and put himself into position to win the Tour de France. From the first climb Landis launched himself ahead of Tour contenders Oscar Pereiro and Carlos Sastre and never looked back. Riders in the peloton asked Landis to take things easy in the heat. He replied, "Go drink some Coke because we're leaving on the first climb if you want to come along."
Here's what William Fotheringham wrote for the Guardian:
On the Saisies his team-mates had set the early pace, one of them - Miguel Angel Martín Perdiguero - with such gusto that he was unable to complete the stage. Landis disappeared as if the finish was around the corner, sprinting up the gutter alongside the lead riders in the string. Ahead was a group of 10; by the ski lifts at the summit he had halved their six-minute lead. On the day's second major mountain, the Colombiere, he was alone, pouring vast amounts of water into his helmet every few minutes to counter the 30C heat, and on the descent his advantage reached nine minutes - enough to make him the race leader on the road.
Eurosport called it "one of the greatest [performances] in the history of the Tour de France." Injured American cyclist Bobby Julich called it "a miracle in cycling."
When stage 17 was through Landis beat Sastre by over five minutes putting him in third place only 30 seconds behind Pereiro. Saturday's time trial, Landis' specialty, will decide the winner of the Tour and if the yellow jersey stays on the body of an American cyclist.
"How Landis Delivered a Ride for the Ages"
July 03, 2006
Stuff the Ballot for Capuano
Milwaukee Brewers' pitcher Chris Capuano is in the running for one of the final spots on the All-Star Game roster. Fans vote for the final spots so I'm telling all my readers who are Milwaukee Brewers fans to vote early and often.
July 01, 2006
Ford Traded for Villanueva
The Milwaukee Bucks traded point guard T.J. Ford to the Toronto Raptors for all-rookie team power forward Charlie Villanueva.
Villanueva can score, as shown with his 48-point game against the Bucks in March. I saw it live. He was hot, hot, hot. But I don't know how well the power forward plays defense. A jump shooting team needs good defense for the times when they get cold.
The Bucks must feel Mo Williams is capable physically to go an entire season at point guard. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, "Villanueva is expected to move right into the starting lineup at power forward, which will allow Bogut to slide over to center." That means center Jamal Magloire will probably be traded. To whom and for what is to be determined. Maybe a back-up point guard.
June 28, 2006
New Bucks Colors and Logo
The new uniforms, to be revealed in September, better emphasize the green and use the silver and red for accents. They're the Milwaukee Bucks not the Chicago Bulls. Or else we can re-name them the "Milwaukee Tomatoes." What they should steal from their Illinois rivals is the simple design of the jerseys. The new Bucks logo would work well for that.
"Bucks Unveil Updated Logo, New Color Scheme"
Soccer: Perfect for the Post-Modern World
Frank Cannon & Richard Lessner declared soccer "truly Seinfeldesque, a game about nothing, sport as sensation." It represents the "nihilism, existentialism, and anomie that have overtaken Europe." And soccer is against human nature for its emphasis on the use of one's head and the illegal use of one's hands.
UPDATE: I've been a little behind in writing about soccer. Betsy Newmark has links and thoughts.
Coming Soon: New Milwaukee Bucks' Colors and Logo
At 7:30 CDT the Milwaukee Bucks will unveil their new team logo and colors.
As for the draft the Toronto Raptors picked Andrea Bargnani, some Italian I've never heard of, as the #1 pick.
UPDATE: It's 7:35 and no news yet. Herb's team isn't too prompt.
UPDATE II: It's 7:45 and on the Bucks' website they've replaced purple with Ohio State red. That should make Michael Redd happy. The logo is still the same.
Few Americans Watching World Cup
ESPN can hype it all it wants with commercials filled with action, rock music, and passionate fans but people aren't watching the World Cup:
Despite a high level of media coverage for the World Cup soccer tournament, three-fourths of Americans (78%) are not following the action very closely if at all. A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults found that just 6% are following the tournament very closely.
Since Pele in the 70s soccer fanatics thought the day would come when the sport would catch on in the United States. The U.S. team now makes regular World Cup apperances, there's a professional soccer league, and English player David Beckam is recognizable here, but the sport still hasn't caught on.
It can't be a lack of scoring. 1-0 games in baseball are some of the most exciting, nailbiting affairs in that sport. Soccer's lack of American popularity has to do with the game itself. Playing it is enjoyable. Players run around trying to fine open spaces to receive a pass then do some fancy footwork to try to break for the goal. The feeling of kicking is similar to swinging a baseball bat. The full range of motion and the connection between body and object ignites the senses.
However, from a fan's perspective soccer amounts to 20 men running around a huge piece of grass kicking a ball and occasionally putting it into the net. There's flow to the game, but it's nothing like a series of passes around the basket in an NBA game where teammates find someone cutting to the hoop for a layup. Other than penalty kicks soccer doesn't have that one-on-one moment like a pitcher facing a batter with two outs and the bases loaded. Soccer doesn't possess the power and beautiful violence of Walter Payton taking a hit from a middle linebacker, bouncing off him, then delivering a punishing shoulder shot to an on-coming safety.
To be blunt American's don't watch soccer because they have other, better sports to watch. For us non-fans we'll ignore the hype and consume our soccer dosage as SportsCenter highlights.
"World Cup Scores Only Small Audience"
June 17, 2006
Iran Eliminated from World Cup
The World Cup is already a success in my eyes: Iran was eliminated with their 2-0 loss to Portugal:
While Portugal were celebrating a second straight win in Group D - and coach Luiz Felipe Scolari's ninth in succession overall in FIFA World Cups™ - Iran were left to reflect on what went wrong after their second defeat confirmed their elimination. After a goalless first half in Frankfurt, Deco broke the deadlock with a long-distance strike in the 63rd minute and Ronaldo sealed the victory from the penalty spot with ten minutes remaining.
"Portugal 2-0 Iran"
June 11, 2006
Hooray for Mexico
I care little about the World Cup. Yes, I'm a typical America. But I like two things: 1. an American win; and 2. an Iranian loss.
"Mexico 3-1 Iran"
June 09, 2006
Pujols Linked to Grimsley Report
Deadspin thinks one of the names blacked out in the Jason Grimsley report (PDF) is Chris Mihlfeld. Chris Mihlfeld? Who's he? As Deadspin puts it he "has been Albert Pujols’ personal trainer since before Pujols was drafted by the Cardinals in the 13th round of the 1999 draft." That's not to say Pujols is accused of getting performance-enchancing drugs from Mihlfeld. The report says only that the trainer referred Grimsley to a source of "amphetamines, anabolic steroids and human growth hormone."
"So ... We've Got Some Affidavit Names"
June 05, 2006
No US Open for Michelle Wie
Michelle Wie's attempt at qualifying for the men's U.S. Open fell short:
Three consecutive bogeys sent her to a three-over 75 and into the middle of the qualifying pack at Summit, New Jersey today (AEST).
The girl's only 16. She'll make it one of these years.
"Michelle's US Open Bid Fails"
June 04, 2006
Albert Pujols Could Miss Six Weeks
In this year of Barry Bonds passing Babe Ruth on the all-time home runs list we could have been witness to Albert Pujols putting together one of the greatest offensive performances in baseball history. Too bad for us he hurt himself going after a foul ball:
Pujols, who leads the major leagues with 25 home runs and 65 RBIs after winning the NL MVP award last year, will be re-evaluated on Sunday but is expected to go on the DL.
No one's accused Pujols of using steroids. Having him chase after Bonds' single-season home run mark would have returned some gloss to that record.
June 01, 2006
Rockies' Religious Revival
The Colorado Rockies are using Christianity to improve the clubhouse and their performance on the baseball field.
On the field, the Rockies are trying to make the playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons and only the second time in their 14-year history. Behind the scenes, they quietly have become an organization guided by Christianity — open to other religious beliefs but embracing a Christian-based code of conduct they believe will bring them focus and success.
The clubhouse lacks the rowdiness typical of other baseball teams. After eight seasons of losing baseball and an embarassing incident with Denny Neagel management infused the team with a Christian approach. There doesn't appear to be any feeling of forced faith but that could be due to the team's selection process.
The Rockies' success may not be due to what prayer sessions or bible studies as much as the professional attitude displayed. A good work ethic means being serious about one's job, being prepared, and taking the job seriously. The Rockies are using Christianity and good character to do that.
UPDATE: Rockies players say USA Today put too much emphasis on Christianity. Jason Jennings said, "You don't have to be a Christian to have good character. They can be separate. It was misleading."
It may be misleading. It also maybe Rockies players don't want to be labled "goody-goodies" by their peers.
May 24, 2006
Jeb Bush as NFL Commissioner
The possibilty of Jeb Bush replacing Paul Tagliabue as NFL commissioner "was broached during a recent meeting with Patrick Rooney Sr., owner of the Palm Beach Kennel Club." Rooney is the brother of Dan Rooney, Pittsburgh Steelers owner. Bush said, "I met with Mr. Rooney and I said I'm doing my job until I'm finished and then I'm going to consider other things. But I'm not going to do anything until I finish." Tagliabue intends to leave in July. Bush's term as Florida governor ends in January 2007. If Tagliabue stays past July then the Jeb Bush buzz will really strengthen. I have a feeling team owners won't want to wait until next year for a new leader. I also don't think they'll want someone who has the real potential to leave to run for President. Tagliabue has served about 16 years. Before him, Pete Rozelle served 29. They'll want someone with a long-term committment.
"Gov. Bush Quietly Approached to Become Next NFL Commissioner"
May 22, 2006
Smith-La Russa: Not on Each Other's Christmas Lists
There's bad blood in St. Louis. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith are taking it out on each other in the newspapers.
Ozzie is still bummed La Russa didn't play him enough in his last season. La Russa has publically disinvited him to spring training. La Russa went farther and said, "I won't ever be around when he's around. Cardinals fans can embrace him all they want to, and it won't be uncomfortable because I won't be there."
"Tony La Russa on Ozzie Smith: 'He's Not Welcome'"
May 17, 2006
Gatlin Now Shares World Record
Sprinter Justin Gatlin really hates rounding errors:
Gatlin was timed at 9.76secs at an IAAF GP meeting in Doha on May 12, a mark one-hundredths of a second faster than the existing best set by Asafa Powell in 2005.
"Gatlin Loses His 100 Meters Record"
May 06, 2006
New Bucks Uniforms Next Season
Rumor has it the Milwaukee Bucks will be getting new uniforms next season and going retro. I liked the purple but don't mind the colors from the days when Sidney Moncrief and company dominated the Central Division. I hope they keep the fierce-looking buck in the team logo. Even as a kid I wasn't fond of the cartoon Bango.
"Bucks Will Attempt to Change their Luck Next Season by Changing Uniforms"
May 04, 2006
Stick It to the World
Chris at Spotted Horse will be really cheering on the U.S. during next month's World Cup for one big, no huge, reason:
I really hope the US team can win it for one reason. It will drive the rest of the World insane because the American General Public WONT CARE. To have the rest of the World have to suffer 4 years of the Cup being in the not caring hands of the evil Americas would be a taste sweeter than wine.
I've started my chant. USA! USA! USA!
"My 2006 FIFA World Cup Dream"
April 30, 2006
Good Wisconsin Sports Weekend
The Packers didn't screw up the draft, the Bucks showed they still had some life by smacking the Detroit Pistons, and the Brewers decided it was baby seal hunting season by clubbing the Chicago Cubs today and yesterday.
I'm Just Happy to Be Here. Can't You Tell
"Hi, I'm Jason Spitz, third round draft pick for the Green Bay Packers. Ever since my parents put a few thousand dollars in orthodonture work I can't help but show it off to every camera that comes near me.
"I want to succeed and help my new team win lots of games, but if I get too good lots of people will want to take my picture. I don't think my jaw could take that."
April 29, 2006
Davis Might Be Green Bay's Man
In the final hours before the NFL Draft the Journal Sentinel reports the Green Bay Packers will probably draft Maryland tight end Vernon Davis.
"Draft is a Tight Fit"
April 28, 2006
Could the Packers Draft Bush?
The Houston Texans are in negotiations with both running back Reggie Bush and defensive end Mario Williams. Conventional wisdom has had Bush being the number one pick. Suppose the Texans get a better deal with Williams and draft him. Does New Orleans take Bush even though they have Deuce McAllister at running back? Maybe with Williams gone they get the next-best defensive player out there by taking A.J. Hawk. Tennessee needs a quarterback since they've locked out Steve McNair, but they could use a magical back like Bush. The New York Jets have the ageless Curtis Martin, but he'll be turning 32 in a few days. As much as I'd like to hope I can't see Reggie Bush available at the Green Bay Packers' spot even if Williams was picked number one. The only scenerios I can see of the Packers getting Bush is if New Orleans reaches for Hawk at number two of if they trade picks with Oakland who would draft Vince Young, and the Jets grab D'Brickashaw Ferguson. It's not likely to happen, but anything can happen in the NFL Draft. Heck, a few years ago the Minnesota Vikings ran out of time in the first round and had other teams quickly draft ahead of them.
April 25, 2006
One More Year
ESPN learned Brett Favre told the Green Bay Packers he'll play in 2006. Ok, the future Hall of Famer is back, but besides Donald Driver who will he throw to?
That big sigh of relief you heard was from Aaron Rodgers who has one more season to learn before being thrown into the fire.
"Sources: Favre to Play '06 Season for Packers"
April 21, 2006
Super Bowl I Ring Found 20 Years Later
Twenty years later Packers great Jerry Kramer found his Super Bowl I ring.
It was stolen from an airplane restroom in the early 1980s. Kramer heard nothing about it until he got an annonymous call from Canada last week.
"Kramer’s Stolen Super Bowl Ring Shows Up on Internet"
April 20, 2006
Steinbrenner's Billion-Dollar Baby
The New York Yankees is the only team in baseball worth over $1 billion according for Forbes magazine. The Boston Red Sox come in a distant second at $617 million. My Milwaukee Brewers are in 26th place with a value of $235 million. Second-year owner Mark Attanasio should be pleased with last year's 13% increase in the value of his team.
Even though the Yankees are baseball's most highly-valued team it also ran up the biggest loss of any team at $50 million. Curiously the three top-valued teams (Yankees, Red Sox, and New York Mets) all lost money. The only other teams to lose money were the
"The Business Of Baseball"
April 17, 2006
Duke Lacrosse Players Indicted
A Durham, NC grand jury indicted two members of the Duke lacrosse team for sexually assaulting a black woman. It will be very hard to convict since last week defense lawyers announced none of the players who had their DNA tested were linked to the crime. The local district attorney has an up-coming election and is under pressure to be tough with the Duke student athletes. The man has been holding public listening sessions about the case--something that looks very unprofessional.
"2 Duke Lacrosse Players Indicted in Rape Case"
April 15, 2006
Lousy Way to Get Into the Playoffs
There are few causes more hopeless than jumping on the Milwaukee Bucks playoff bandwagon. Tonight, they decided defense was overrated and gave up 120 points to the lowly Atlanta Hawks. The Bucks started well with the starters moving the ball, making good passes, and scoring early and often. When the second team came is all their energy went POOF! Their offensive movement lacked fluidity and their passes were clumsy. On defense they let the Hawks penetrate too easily giving them high-percentage shots close to the basket. After the second quarter the Bucks had to play catch up and didn't make the good decisions needed to keep the lead.
Even with the loss, the Bucks are in the playoffs with Philadelphia losing.
I almost wish they would have just tanked the last few games of the season and missed the playoffs, but in the Desmond Mason/Jamal Magloire trade the Bucks threw in their first round pick in this year's draft. Since another lottery pick is out of the question I'll take some playoff games even though they deserve a quick exit.
"Bucks Back in Playoffs"
April 09, 2006
Junior Backing Bush
Ken Griffey, Jr. has always been a favorite of mine. He can hit for power, for average, and can make jaw-dropping plays in the outfield. Injuries have plagued him recently, but he seems back on track. After his supportive quote for President Bush I like him even more:
Oh, yeah. Good wood. The poor guy needs all the help he can get during these troubled times.
I think I'll start hunting for his Upper Deck rookie card again.
Favre's Fate Still in Limbo
After all the media hype about yesterday's press conference Brett Favre still hasn't decided if he'll play next season or retire. He wants the Packers to do something bold in free agency, but GM Ted Thompson hasn't found a deal he liked. It makes me wish Favre would have lost a few more games last season so the Packers would have won the Reggie Bush lottery. I'm sure Favre would come back to play alongside such an explosive talent.
"Favre Wants a Super Bowl Contender"
April 08, 2006
The Wisconsin Badgers are national champions!!
Now is the time to dance.
Packers Fans Hold Their Collective Breath
Brett Favre will hold a press conference later this morning. He might announce his future with the Packers. No one with the team or even his agent knows what he will say.
"Close to the Vest"
April 01, 2006
2006 Will Be Favre's Last Season...If He Plays
The soap opera that is Brett Favre's future takes another turn. Today's "deadline" where the quarterback was to get a $3 million roster bonus was pushed back indefinitely. To a local Mississippi paper Favre quipped, "If I don't tell them by Saturday, what will they do, cut me?"
What we do know is if Favre comes back it will be for one more year:
In his most recent comments about his murky football future, Favre made one thing clear: If he does return, he told a newspaper in his native Mississippi there is "no doubt" it will be his last season.
If I were Ted Thompson I would have liked to know that a few weeks ago so I could splurge and take a chance by signing Terrel Owens. Both parts of the combination would have loved to score touchdowns in Brett's final season. With this new piece of news I hope Thompson gets more serious in the free agent market. Here's a hint: sign Charles Woodson.
Since Favre is taking his sweet time decided whether to play this season or not I hope he's preparing to play. What the Packers don't need is a future hall of fame quarterback who didn't stay in shape in the off season.
"Favre Says '06 Will Be Finale if He Plays"
"Favre Waits, Watches Packers Before Deciding Future"
March 30, 2006
Red Hickey Dies
Red Hickey, football coach and inventor of the shotgun offense, die at 89. Football fans may think the shotgun got its name from the center "shooting" the ball to the quarterback. Not so. According to the AP it was "so named by Hickey because it sprayed receivers around the field."
Add that to your knowledge bank of useless facts. I bet Ken Jennings didn't know that.
"Shotgun Formation Inventor Red Hickey Dies"
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
Favre Decision Probably This Weekend
Green Bay Packers fans hope and pray Brett Favre decides to return for another season. Signs are pointing to a decision this weekend. The Packers have pushed back Favre's $3 million roster bonus twice with another deadline coming Saturday. If Favre wants to call it quits the team needs time to get back-up QB Aaron Rodgers ready. New head coach Mike McCarthy wants Favre back to see if his stripped-down, back-to-basics version of the West Coast offense will improve Favre's play.
"Coach Has Plan to Help Favre"
March 26, 2006
There's someone in Vegas counting all the money they made for betting that George Mason would make it to the Final Four.
They have the coolest econ program in the country. I'm jumping on their bandwagon.
"George Mason Is a Giant-Killer"
[photo via Flickr]
Instant Hockey Classic
If you can find it turn on the Wisconsin-Cornell hockey game. They've played an entire game and two overtimes and still haven't scored. This has become an instant classic.
UPDATE: Wisconsin wins with a third overtime goal by Jack Skille. They move onto the Frozen Four in Milwaukee in less than two weeks where they will play Maine.
Congratulations also go to the Badger women's hockey team for beating Minnesota 3-0 in Minnesota to claim the national championship.
March 23, 2006
March Madness Continues
Another night of tournament games meant further destruction of my brackets. Cross Duke off my final four list. Did they get stuffed by a young, hungry LSU team. The two later games offered adrenaline rushes. Texas walks off the court with a game-winning three-pointer after West Virginia tied it. Then Gonzaga collapses and hands UCLA a big win.
March 21, 2006
Packers May Nab Top Kicker
The New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers are both in the running for clutch kicker extrodinaire Adam Vinatieri. What doesn't make sense is if he goes to the Packers they'll end up paying more for him than the Minnesota Vikings paid to snatch Ryan Longwell. Vinatieri in a Packers uniform would be great, but general manager Ted Thompson won't look very smart of cost conscious.
"Packers Still in Vinatieri Sweepstakes"
UPDATE: Jib politely informs me Vinatieri is going to Indianapolis. The Colts' bid came out of no where (or sports reporters don't have the connections we think they do). The Packers could go after ex-Colt kicker Mike Vanderjagt, but he's kicked half his NFL career inside the RCA Dome. That's a far cry from the cold and wind of Lambeau Field.
Freedom Defeats Tyranny
There's justice in the world. Japan beat Cuba 10-6 to win the first World Baseball Classic. Cubans are relieved to know they won't be enduring a six-hour victory speech by communist dictator Fidel Castro.
"Japan Crowned Classic's First Champ"
"In the End, Japan Outlasts Field to Claim Title of World Champion"
March 19, 2006
My Sweet 16 Massacre
That smoking pile of ash is what's left of my basketball brackets. Stick a fork in me, I'm done. Two of my final four teams are kaput with North Carolina losing to George Mason (great econ department but little praise on the basketball court) and Ohio State getting knocked off by Georgetown.
March 18, 2006
While some of us will be yapping about the Wisconsin blogosphere UW-Milwaukee will be trying to get to the Sweet 16 for the second year in a row. Go Panthers! Beat those Gators!
"Gators Pose Serious Threat"
March 17, 2006
Last Team Standing
March 16, 2006
Chalk up another tournament upset for the UW-Milwaukee Panthers. They beat Oklahoma 82-74. And for once I picked an upset.
"Wis. Milwaukee 82, Oklahoma 74"
Randy Moss' Agent: Crackhead
Wild ones stick together.
"Randy Moss' Attorney Arrested on Charges of Possessing Crack"
March 11, 2006
Lawrence's Run is Over
Lawrence University was the last undefeated men's college basketball team...until last night. Pre-season favorite Illinois Wesleyan came back from being down 15 points to beat the Vikings 71-68. Going 25-1 was quite a run for a school known more for their students' brains than their shooting ability.
"Lawrence's First Loss of the Season Marks End of the Road"
March 08, 2006
A WBC Disaster
Many people probably have no idea an international sporting event is taking place. Heck, many American baseball fans probably don't know about the World Baseball Classic. Think of it as the World Cup of baseball. Today, the United States lost to Canada. No, I'm not talking about hockey which makes sense. I mean Canada, the land of snow and ice, beat the United States in baseball, America's Pastime. Bud Selig, whose idea it was to create an international tournament, must be pulling his hair out. There's now a chance the United States will not make it into the next round:
The United States (1-1) must beat South Africa on Friday to stay alive in the 16-nation tournament. Even then, the Americans aren't assured of advancing to the second round. If Mexico, Canada and the United States finish 2-1, the tie would be broken by fewest runs allowed per inning.
Ratings in the U.S. for the WBC will be non-existent if the U.S. is eliminated. Imagine the 16-hour speech Fidel Castro will make if his Cuban team moves to the next round, and the U.S. doesn't? Cuba beat Panama in 11 innings today.
If the U.S. doesn't play in the championship game you can kiss any future WBC goodbye. The sport's biggest market won't care in the least.
"Canada 8, United States 6"
March 07, 2006
Congratulations to UW-Milwaukee men's basketball team for another trip to the Big Dance. I want a match-up with Bruce Pearl's Tennessee Volunteers.
"UWM Going Dancing Again"
200 Home Runs
A smart person like Jeff at Brew Crew Ball thinks the Brewers have a shot at 200 home runs this season. Jeff writes, "Milwaukee would probably be up there with the most homerific team in the league. It would also mean the team would go yard 45 more times than they did last year, an increase of over 25%."
I hope I witness some of that power in Arizona later this week.
"2006 Brewers: Bash Brothers?"
March 02, 2006
Today is a Good Day
The Brewers play their first spring training game against San Francisco. T-minus six days until I'm there with my team soaking up the Arizona sun and the margarias.
February 15, 2006
Sherman Goes to Houston
Ex-Packers coach Mike Sherman didn't get another head coaching gig but will be an assistant to Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak.
The Packers still have to pay the rest of his two-year $6.4 million extension they have him last year minus anything anything the Texans pay him.
"Sherman Takes Job with Texans"
February 10, 2006
I wish I wrote satire because Wayne Gretzky being wiretapped by the NSA could make a funny piece.
"Wayne Gretzky Mum About Wiretap Talks"
February 08, 2006
Monday Night Football Crew Named
Joe Theismann, Mike Tirico, and Tony Kornheiser will be the Monday Night Football announcers when it moves to ESPN next season. Tirico will be fine. He's been doing a solid job as the straight man covering a number of sports. Theismann is too much like the Bill Walton of football in that he tries to dominate the talk with his football knowledge. When he's wrong it's incredibly irritating. But on Sunday Night Football there was Paul Maguire to put him in his place. Next season, Kornheiser steps in. He looks to be the Dennis Miller of the group. He'll make quips but without viewers having to search through encyclopedias or Google to figure out what he meant. I could do without him.
It appeared that Al Michaels was going to team up with Theismann as the MNF team. Now, Michaels is free to join his partner John Madden on NBC for Sunday night games. Michaels must have told ESPN he preferred working with Madden than continuing his MNF gig.
Here's an interesting note: Next season, John Madden will have worked for every major network that broadcasts NFL games.
"ESPN Names Crew for Monday Night Football"
"'MNF' Gets 33 Percent More Bald"
February 06, 2006
Post-Super Bowl Contrast
A tale of two cities:
No team had ever won three playoff games on the road and then won a Super Bowl, but the Steelers last night completed a magical ride with a 21-10 victory over the Seahawks, igniting celebrations throughout the far-flung Steeler Nation.
The Seahawks will wake up out of a sound sleep in a cold sweat and remember the dropped passes, the missed field goals, the punt that rolled dead on their 2-yard line, the penalties.
February 05, 2006
Super Bowl XL Prediction
I could be knee-jerk and just root for the NFC, Seattle. But they're not really an NFC team. Most of their history is in the AFC. I could also root for Mike Holmgren and Matt Hasselbeck both former Packers.
I could do all that and think with my heart, but I want to have a correct prediction. Pittsburgh will win. Their defense is better, their offense has come out of no where with its unpredictability, and Ben Rothlisberger is on fire. It should be a good game since both teams are fairly even. Final score: Pittsburgh 31, Seattle 24.
February 03, 2006
Hackers Fave Super Bowl Ad
Geeks and hackers will probably love the Mastercard
"MacGyver to the Super Bowl!"
January 30, 2006
Expect a Monday Malaise
Expect Aaron Rodgers to be starting as quarterback for the Packers next season. That's because if you had to force Brett Favre to make a decision at this moment he would retire. That's what he told ESPN's Chris Mortensen in an interview aired Sunday night. It's not the physical part of the game that's weighing on him, it's the mental. He's not sure he wants the ball with two minutes left in the game. He said he told Ted Thompson, "I don't know if I can give you everything." A month before his final 2005 game he called his former coach Mike Holmgren about it possibly being his last game. Favre would love to wait until training camp to make a decision, but he knows that wouldn't be fair to the Packers.
Despite talk to the contrary that Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy don't really want Brett Favre back next season (I'm talking to you, Mark Belling) both men visited him in Mississippi last week.
If you notice some irritation and mild depression with your Wisconsin co-workers you now know why.
"Favre Says he's Leaning Toward Retirement"
"Packers, Favre Chew Fat"
January 29, 2006
Stuck Watching a Bad Game
There is a downside to getting a partial-season ticket package as a gift: you attend games where you wish you could pull out the remote control and change the channel. Today, my father and I sat through the sloppiest NBA I can remember. Neither the Boston Celtics or the Milwaukee Bucks could made a crisp pass, they couldn't shoot from the floor or free throw line, they made dumb fouls, and they rarely move around on offense. The Bucks snagged a win because Michael Redd got hot in the fourth quarter.
The Bucks have been in a funk in January going 7-9. They're still within shouting distance of Cleveland for the fourth seed in the playoffs. Injuries to Joe Smith and now Mo Williams are part of the reason. Terry Stotts has to get his players focused better or they'll get bounce in the first round of the playoffs.
"Bucks 83, Celtics 79"
January 27, 2006
Gophers Takes Latest Battle in Border War
College hockey doesn't get enough attention especially in Wisconsin. This year the Badgers are one of the best teams in the nation and the Frozen Four national championship will be in Milwaukee in April. This weekend the #4 Minnesota Golden Gophers come to face the #2 Badgers. Tonight's game was wild and exciting like a good college game can be. After a stretch of three-straight goals the Badgers were down 5-1 and looked like you could stick a fork in them. But the third period was all theirs. They kept the puck in their offensive zone and drew on the electricity produced by the 17,000 rabid Badgers fans. The team's efforts in the final period weren't enough. Two penalties lowered their intensity just enough for the Gophers to pull out a 5-4 win. The Badgers hope to get out of their three-game skid when the again play Minnesota tomorrow night.
January 22, 2006
When it comes to big NFL games the smart money goes with the home teams. Both Seattle and Denver have great, lively crowds in geographic locations that give the home teams some advantages. Denver has their high altitude, and everything might be soaked at Qwest Field in Seattle. Still I don't completely discount the visiting teams' chances. Pittsburgh's defense stunned the Indianpolis Colts. Even more stunning was how unpredictable the Steelers' offense was. Expect the unexpected from Bill Cowher and crew.
The Carolina Panthers have Steve Smith who's mission is to single-handedly carry his team to the Super Bowl. With the streak he's on right now it's not good enough to shut down everyone but Smith. He could score three touchdowns easily today. The Seahawks defense doesn't have to be great. They just have to put pressure on Jake Delhomme and force some turnovers. For the Seattle offense only one name needs to be mentioned: Shaun Alexander. They must run the ball, tire out the Panthers defense, and limit Steve Smith's time on the field.
At the beginning of the season I picked Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XL. I'll stick with half my guess and also predict the Steelers will play the Seahawks.
UPDATE: 24-3 at halftime! I expected the Steelers to win not thrash the Broncos. Still, there's lots of time left, and Jake Plummer should make it interesting.
One more thing, Steve @ No Runny Eggs is looking good on his first pick.
Last of the Unbeatens
Duke, Pittsburgh, and Florida all fell Saturday. That leaves little Lawrence University in Appleton, WI as the remaining undefeated men's team in NCAA basketball. Besides being a very expensive, highly regarded liberal arts school, every year Lawrence hosts the "World's Longest Running Trivia Contest." The contest used to run over the air from the school's radio station. Now this year, it will be a pure internet stream.
By the way, Lawrence beat St. Norbert 79-68.
January 12, 2006
Steven Taylor agrees Reggie Bush should be drafted #1. As for his low opinion of new Packers' coach Mike McCarthy I think he was picked because he got along well with GM Ted Thompson. I was a Jim Bates backer. But with McCarthy the Packers have a man who's risen quickly in the coaching ranks. He's only 42 and never played pro football. That means he's gotten an NFL head coaching job after only about 20 years coaching. Are four NFL teams all loony for promoting such a young guy?
McCarthy's the Man
San Francisco offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy will be the next Green Bay Packers coach. Other than what I've read off ESPN.com I know nothing about him. Too bad my choice Jim Bates didn't get the job. I think age might have had something to do with it. I hope he remains defensive coordinator, but it doesn't sound good. If the Packers draft a defensive player like A.J. Hawk Bates could really put together a formidable defense.
January 08, 2006
Young Enters Draft
Vince Young does the smart thing and is going to the NFL. The kid had nothing more to prove. Only bad things could have happened to Young. An injury or even legal problems could have cost the quarterback millions. Vince is hot and he's taking advantage of it. His amazing Rose Bowl performance has created a debate about who should be the #1 pick. By going into the draft Young proves he's also smarter than Matt Leinart (and will proably get drafted before him).
The Packers pick #5. One mock draft has Young picked #3, but if he fell to #5 should the Packers take him? I've written that I'd pick Reggie Bush over Young at #1. Bush could become a legend. It's harder to evaluate Young. He's a freak of nature with his ability to run and pass. In the NFL no one runs the option because defenses are so fast QBs will get killed. A good comparison is to compare Young with Michael Vick. He's always dangerous with his feet, but his passing numbers have been mediocre. Maybe a better comparison is with Steve McNair. When healthy he can throw the ball with accuracy and is elusive enough on the ground. Quarterbacks don't become legends for their feet. The NFL is a throwing league. Evaluating Young must focus on his ability to pass first. His feet and leadership abilities are only great bonuses.
If I were Ted Thompson I'd stick with Rodgers and pick A.J. Hawk, Mario Williams, or hope D'Brickshaw Ferguson falls.
"Texas QB Vince Young Headed to NFL Draft"
Grading Ted Thompson
PackersNews.com gives Packers GM Ted Thompson a D for personnel decisions during the season. They're too harsh. No one can't evaluate a draft after the first season. Yes, Thompson only drafted on player, Nick Collins, who made a positive impact on the team immediately. I was surprised Will Whitticker made the starting lineup so soon, but Thompson's free-agent offensive line signings didn't pan out. However, as the season went on the line did improve. This year's draft will mostly depend on if Aaron Rodgers becoming a good replacement for Brett Favre.
With GMs you need some luck along with skill. The only reason Samkon Gado got his chance was the running back in front of him (anyone remember him?) on the depth chart fumbled. The rest, you can say, is a made-for-tv movie.
When grading Thompson the sports writers can't just look at what happened on the field. They also have to look at Thompson's alternatives. The only reason Gado was on the team is that there were no better choices available. The same can be said about signing Rod Gardner. No one any good was available until the Carolina Panthers got tired of the wide receiver.
This "evaluation" is just typical limited-thinking I've come to expect from sports writers. More often than not they rely on rumor and groupthink instead of serious analysis.
"Grading the Packers: Sherman, Thompson both get Ds"
January 06, 2006
Vince Young Hype
Stephen Bainbridge has jumped on the Vince Young-is-a-football-god bandwagon. I'll contest his points:
He's got more running ability than anybody this side of Michael Vick plus a fabulous arm and great leadership.
Bainbridge doesn't remember Barry Sanders, or if he wants current players Dante Hall or Vick's teammate Warrick Dunn. Being a UCLA professor Stephen probably is contractually prevented from watching any USC games so he missed Reggie Bush's amazing moves this season. As for Young's arm I'd say it's as good as Matt Leinart's, good company to be in. What impressed me was Young's on-field leadership. He is very, very cool under pressure, and his teammates love playing for him. I don't know if that translates well in the NFL.
Houston's current QB David Carr's contract gives him the option to void it, in which case Houston would have to give him a big bonus and extension to keep him. If I pick Bush, I've got to keep Carr, which would be a double whammy to the bottom line.Success in the NFL isn't wholly dependent on a top-notch QB. Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson both led their teams to Super Bowl victories. A very good running game combined with solid defense usually means success. If I were the Texans I'd draft Bush let Carr go if he wants too much money and look for a journeyman QB. (Johnson might be available since Dante Culpepper will be back from injury.) The money not going to Carr would be used to improve the offensive line and defense. QBs are important, but someone with the skills and potential for greatness like Bush comes along once every 15 years.
Bush is a great player, but QBs tend to have longer playing careers. Plus, while great RBs aren't exactly common place, franchise QBs are rarer than hens' teeth. The conventional draft pecking order thus goes QBs, left tackles, and pass rushers, with RBs somewhere further down.QBs have longer careers because they don't take the pounding RBs do. However, a defense can't hit what it can't touch. Remember Barry Sanders and Warrick Dunn. As a bonus Bush can catch passes out of the backfield or as a wide receiver. He offers great flexibility for an offense and will drive defensive coordinators batty.
Bush went to USC and you all know how I feel about the Trojans.There's that UCLA contractual obligation again. ;-)
Young's hometown is Houston, so picking the home town hero might keep the ticket holders content for a few more years even if the Texans continue stinking.Such short-term thinking doesn't lead to success. When drafting pick the best player available. Winning will put butts in seats no matter who's doing the winning.
"Football Question of the Day"
January 04, 2006
Awesome Big East Debut
The streak of Badger State teams pulling off big upsets continued last night. In their Big East debut the Marquette
January 02, 2006
Favre's Last Game?
Knowing no more than anyone else I don't think I watched Brett Favre's last game yesterday. I don't think he wants to end his career with such a dismal season. He'll want one more shot with all his weapons at ready (Walker, Green, Franks, etc.). If the Packers snagged the #1 pick then I'd almost guarantee Favre would return for the chance to play with Reggie Bush. There won't be any surprise if Favre decides to retire. Maybe his career has taken more out of him physically than he's ever let on. He's only 36-years-old, most of his life is still ahead of him. Since I don't see his love of the football or competition gone I think we'll seeing him putting on the green and gold again next July.
"Favre's Day Rife with Emotion"
December 30, 2005
Snow Shovel Alert
The snow is falling in Green Bay so watch the team's website or call their new "snow shovel hotline" 920-569-7100 if you want to help shovel out Lambeau Field.
"Packers Issue 'Snow Shovel Advisory'"
December 29, 2005
103-Year-Old to See First Packers Game
Margaret McKenney has been living in Green Bay since 1947. Only now, at the age of 103 will she finally watch a game in Lambeau Field. What took her so long? The problem was her husband wasn't "too keen about football." He must have felt like an outsider in football-crazy Green Bay. At least he wasn't a Chicago Bears fan.
McKenny, healing from a recent hip injury, said she "would be thrilled to death" if the Packers beat the Seattle Seahawks Sunday. I hope she didn't mean that literally.
"103-Year-Old Great-Great Grandmother to Attend First Packers Game"
December 27, 2005
A Fiesty One
Not only is Eva Longoria hot (I'm very jealous of Tony Parker), but she has a mouth. When Parker was confronted by a San Antonio cop it's claimed she said, "He's just a Mexican bike cop. He only wants your autograph."
"The Spurs Hate Mexicans (Or Something Like That)"
"Spurs' Parker Cited for Impeding Traffic in Car with Longoria"
Retired Pitcher Robs Jewelry Store
The odd story of the day is ex-pitcher Jeff Reardon arrested in Florida for robbing a jewelry store:
The 50-year-old Reardon, retired since 1994 and sixth in career saves, walked into Hamilton Jewelers at the Gardens Mall on Monday and handed an employee a note saying he had a gun and the store was being robbed, police said Tuesday.
I don't like his "the pills made me do it" excuse. But he's been dealing with the death of his son and heart problems. I wonder if he was contemplating "suicide by cop" but then changed his mind when the police actually arrived.
"Former Pitcher Reardon Arrested on Robbery Charge"
A Pointless Game
Pete Dougherty of PackersNews.com writes:
For the long term, there’s no doubt the Green Bay Packers are better off losing their regular-season finale Sunday against Seattle than winning it.
I know the NFL would frown on a team tanking a game, but a win for either team is meaningless. The Packers only benefit from a loss along with lots of help from other teams to have a shot at drafting Reggie Bush. I don't think most Packers fans would be upset since the season is already a total disaster. What I'd like to see is Brett Favre go for a couple of series then get pulled for Aaron Rogers. Give the kid some playing time. There's nothing to lose, except the game.
Digging in the TAM archives I remember the last time the Seattle Seahawks came into Lambeau Field. They got their feathers plucked.
"Packers Likely to See Seahawks’ Backups"
December 24, 2005
Everywhere You Turn There's a Football Stadium
How many stadiums does Texas have that are big enough to host bowl games? I ask that because I had no idea where they were playing the Fort Worth Bowl last night. It's played in Texas Christian University's Amon Carter Stadium. So, just in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex I count four big-time football stadiums: Amon Carter, Texas Stadium, Gerald Ford Stadium, and the Cotton Bowl. Then there are two in Houston, one in San Antonio, one in Austin, and one in Waco (I'd go to the "Wacko Bowl" in Waco). Those are just off the top of my head. I know I'm missing Texas Tech, North Texas, and Texas A&M.
In Texas they're crazy about football. Even some high school fields have facilities that would impress colleges. There's even an online database of Texas high school stadiums. Everything is bigger in Texas, including their passion for football.
December 20, 2005
Witness Mental and Physical Competition
Want to see what happens at a chessboxing match? Yes, I know you're all shouting, "YES! YES! YES!" Here you go, a match from Berlin. Sorry, I think the captions are in French.
December 18, 2005
Colder than Ice Cream
As cold as it was outside the Milwaukee Bucks were even colder inside the Bradley Center Saturday night. I witnessed live inside the arena a team out of gas from a hard-fought victory the night before in Boston. When their three-pointers didn't go in their layups clanged off the iron. The Bucks got down early to the Utah Jazz and had to fight their way back. Every time something good came to them, a three-point play or a steal for an easy bucket, they lost momentum immediately by allowing a Jazz fast break. The Bucks did end up with the lead briefly at the end of the third period, but the referees decided to replay the final ten seconds because they didn't let a fouled Jazz play shoot his free throws. In the fourth quarter the ice cold shooting returned, the Buck went down ten points, and the end result was an 88-80 loss.
"Utah 88, Milwaukee 80"
December 12, 2005
When Winning is Losing
I have a confession to make: I'm a Green Bay Packers fan who wanted them to lose to the Lions. Hell, I want them to lose all the games they have left this season. Watching Brett Favre complete a pass in overtime to secure a win is always great, but this season is done, over, ka-put. I'm thinking about next year, specifially the draft in April. The one man I want to see in a Packers' uniform is Reggie Bush.
The Pack are now two games behind the truly woeful Houston Texans who are 1-12. In Week 17 the Texans play the 2-11 San Francisco the loser will probably be assured of the #1 pick.
December 01, 2005
Chess and boxing: two great tastes that taste great together?
Bobby Fischer is a jerk. This sport could be his comeback.
"By Hook or by Rook"
November 30, 2005
Police Shut Down Mobile Strip Club
What's with Tampa? A few weeks ago, Renee Thomas and Angela Keathley got busy in a Tampa bar bathroom. Now, last Sunday police shut down a mobile strip club outside Raymond James Stadium.
"Officers Bust Mobile Strip Club At Bucs Game"
November 29, 2005
The first word to describe the Jordan Melo 5.5: Wow! It reminds me of the black Air Jordans I wore on the Hilbert High School basketball team. (Barely played though.) Nike's finally put out a basketball shoe that doesn't look like a boring hunk of leather. It looks great but not great enough for me to plunk down $125.
November 27, 2005
Another ESPN Failure
"Poetry Jam?" On Sports Center?
Yes, you heard it right. I just put up with Stuart Scott dishing out free verse on Sunday's games. Why? Why? Why? Isn't replaying sports highlights enough for the sports network? I don't turn into ESPN for culture. I want highlights.
Sports Center is losing me. ESPN has a problem when I prefer the second-tier guys on ESPNews to the fake press conferences and Stuart "Def Jam" Scott.
November 19, 2005
Golden Eagles Lose to Just Plain Eagles
Marquette lost in their own tournament to Winthrop 71-64. More at SportsBlog.
November 10, 2005
The Sacramento Kings want to rev up their fans before games by sticking it to the opposing team's city. First victim was Detroit:
As the Pistons were introduced, pictures of burned-out cars, abandoned buildings and empty streets were flashed on ARCO Arena's big screen.
The organization plans on ripping on every NBA city this season. Real professional. Call David Stern. It's good for the league's image to have players avoiding hip-hop slob chic but the Kings can blast whole cities? When the Bucks come to down will there be video of fat drunks feasting on brats and cheese?
There was justice. The Pistons stuck it to the Kings, winning 102-88.
Tongue-Tied about TopCats
Carolina Panthers QB Jake Delhomme didn't really know what to say about Renee and Angela's Wild Night. If he's like me he wishes there was video or at least one picture. (I thought camera phones were everywhere.)
And for you legal-eagle types here's the police report.
UPDATE: Renee Thomas, through her lawyer, denied having sex in the bathroom stall. A woman who was in the stall next to the two cheerleaders doesn't think they were having sex either.
Another woman, Jennifer Chaconas, told the Charlotte Observer on Tuesday that she was in the bathroom and believes the cheerleaders were not having sex. She said she could tell the women were dressed and the brunette - later identified as Keathley - told the angry crowd her friend was having a problem. Chaconas assumed Thomas was sick from drinking too much, she said.
November 09, 2005
Third Cheerleader Vindicated
November 08, 2005
Just Why Were They Down There?
Let's add this speculation to the the Carolina Panthers cheerleaders story:
As you would probably expect, we’re getting all kinds of tips and info about the two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders who sis-boom-bahhed each other over the weekend, and we’ve even got some people on the inside whispering in our ear.
"Smells Like Team Spirit in Carolina"
Owens on the Packers
Since GM Ted Thompson is prevented by NFL rules from commenting on acquiring players on another team the Journal Sentinel asked a few Packers if Owens should become a Packer. Al Harris would pretty much kiss his ass:
"I would welcome him with open arms," cornerback Al Harris said. "I would drive to the airport, pick him up, take him to his room and pick him up for practice the next day. I think he would give us all kinds of hell. I think he'd probably sit here in his locker and not talk to anybody.
Grey Ruegamer think he'd be bad news:
He may be one of the greatest receivers in the NFL currently, but he does more to disrupt the locker room because he's all about me. Guys respect his talent but they don't respect the 2-year-old antics that go with it.
It isn't going to happen. It can't happen. Owens on the Packers means they'll lose their shot at the #1 draft pick and USC's Reggie Bush. Then they're a couple free agents from one last Super Bowl run for Favre.
"Time for a T.O.?"
November 07, 2005
Sex + Cheerleaders = Traffic
When all else fails a story involving sex and hot woman-on-woman action sure boosts traffic. The Tampa police are also getting plenty of interest in the Carolina cheerleader story.
"Quote Of The Day - Lipstick Lesbians Edition"
Girls Gone Wild: NFL Cheerleader Style
Two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders were arrested this weekend after a bar patron complained they were taking too long having sex in a bathroom stall. Renee Thomas is accused of punching a woman in the face. Thomas wants to be a dental surgeon so she could claim she was just giving the woman a close examination of her teeth...with her fist. Thomas' favorite quote is "Pain is weakness leaving the body." Her second defense could be she just wanted shove a little weakness out of that woman's body.
Thomas' partner in crime (as well as some hot girl-on-girl action) is Angela Keathley. She really thinks "friendships" are the best part of being a Panthers cheerleader. I wonder if she's as friendly with other cheerleaders as she is to Thomas.
The first comment at Wizbang reads, "Shouldn't they be working for the Vikings?"
"Carolina Panthers Cheerleaders Arrested"
November 06, 2005
Fight Led to Owens' Suspension
Terrel Owens' suspension was for more than bashing his team:
Terrell Owens was involved in a locker-room fight with former teammate Hugh Douglas a few days before the All-Pro wideout was suspended indefinitely without pay by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Too bad MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch is, uh, dead.
Another team will take a chance on Owens. He's too talented. If the Raiders didn't already have Randy Moss I'd Al Davis would try to get him. How about Owens with the Vikings? That organization is so screwed up they'd be dumb enough to do it.
"Owens-Douglas Fistfight Contributed to Suspension"
UPDATE: ESPN's Chris Mortenson said if the Eagles released Owens the Packers have no interest in him. That's saying something. Owens is the type of player who could turn Green Bay's season around.
Melvin Gets Contract Extension
It was a pipe dream thinking the Brewers should hire Theo Epstein. Now, I woke up to reality:
As promised at the end of the regular season, Attanasio extended the contract of general manager Doug Melvin for three years Saturday, running through the 2009 season. Melvin had one year remaining on his original four-year deal, signed with the former ownership group headed by the family of Commissioner Bud Selig.
Melvin has done a good job so far. He relying on the farm system and not taking big risks on big-money free agents. Now is the time to take some chances. I hope a rumor about a certain Anaheim Angels pitcher with Wisconsin roots becomes reality.
I have a suspicion that the way the Brewers improved is along sabermetric lines. I'll have to look at some stats.
"Melvin, Brewers Seal the Deal"
November 05, 2005
Saturday Sports Report
Terrel Owens has been suspended indefinitely by the Philadelphia Eagles. He bashed the team for not properly recognizing his 100th touchdown last Sunday and said the team would be undefeated if Brett Favre were their quarterback. If the latter comment is Owen's way of kissing up to the Packers who could use a wide receiver Packers GM Ted Thompson should stay far away. Owens is a 31-year old player who will expect a lot of money, and probably more after he signs a contract. Also, Owens' agent the infamous Drew Rosenhaus isn't loved in Packerland.
The Bucks' T.J. Ford should change his last name to Mazda, because he "zoom zoom zooms" past opposing players. [Wait, Ford owns part of Mazda. It's cosmic. --ed] The Bucks went to 3-0 with a win over the Shaq-less Miami Heat tonight.
The Badgers got blasted by Penn State 35-14. There went Barry Alverez's chance at ending his Wisconsin coaching career with one more Big Ten title.
November 03, 2005
The Kid Comes Home
Expect the hottest autograph at next spring's Brewers training camp to be new bench coach Robin Yount. Manager Ned Yost and new third base coach Dale "Easter 1987" Sveum persuaded the Hall of Famer to return to the city he played so hard for. March can't come fast enough for some Arizona baseball.
"Yount Returning to Brewers as Bench Coach"
P.S. I still want the Brewers to hire Theo Epstein. No minor league ball for him. At least I want to hear a rumor that the Mark Attanasio was talking to him.
November 01, 2005
Get Theo Epstein
Brewers GM Doug Melvin has done a good job making deals and finding diamonds in the rough to finally bring a non-losing team to Milwaukee. For that he should be thanked. But Mark Attanasio should be on the phone talking to ex-Boston GM Theo Epstein. He resigned yesterday due to a falling out with ownership. The kid knows his stuff. Moneyball worked for the Red Sox, and it could work for the Brewers. An added bonus is Epstein could possibly bring Bill James with him.
"Theo Epstein Resigns"
October 30, 2005
Painful to Watch
UPDATE: What's also painful to watch is Brett Favre treating the football like trick-or-treat candy. Hand it out here, there, and everywhere.
UPDATE II: Favre has passed John Elway for second place in all-time passing yards. But right now he could care less about any records.
UPDATE III: The Pack loses again. 1-6 and I'm dreaming of Reggie Bush in a green and gold uniform.
October 23, 2005
After Dante Culpepper's touchdown passes he didn't do his rolling, rolling, rolling celebration. I wonder if someone told him about John Jaggler's reporting on the source of that dance.
Ahmad Carroll didn't commit any penalties but he gave up a big touchdown pass. He's another Mike Sherman-as-GM bust.
A Lovely Half of Football
UPDATE: Patrick "almost" feels sorry for the Vikings.
UPDATE II: Me and my big mouth. The Vikings have scored 10-straight points. Now, Ryan Longwell just missed a field goal to start the fourth quarter. We have ourselves another Packers-Vikings nailbiter.
UPDATE III: Eek! The Vikings have just taken the lead with three minutes left. Favre will need some last-minute magic since Ahman Green was on the turf gripping his knee earlier.
UPDATE IV: The Vikings win with a last-second field goal. Injuries and Vikings defensive adjustments stopped the Packers in the second half. They can't blame turnovers. Favre didn't get picked off or threw any stupid passes. They just don't have enough players to make plays. To my Minnesota readers you may begin your heckling.
October 14, 2005
A City's Silly Sports Obsession
Green Bay isn't listening to me. They're going ahead and turning their city into the Disneyland of football.
Green Bay's Common Council, in September, unanimously approved the renaming of the former Forward Street to Bart Starr Drive. The renaming effort was spearheaded by Sandi Campbell, who along with her daughter, artist C. McLain Campbell, are planning an outdoor monument park in the area.
Will the late Charles Martin get a statue? A lot of Packers fans still smile when he dropped Chicago's Jim McMahon into the turf in 1986. Heck, let's name something after Lee Remmel. He's been around the Packers forever, and he knows more about the team than anyone else alive. While we're at it let's put a statue outside the Green Bay Public Library in honor of the Packalope. He needs some cheering up after having his antlers barred from games.
"Street Named after Starr"
October 11, 2005
The Green Bay Packers may be tied for the worst record in football they're #1 in America's hearts:
Once again this year, the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys remain no.1 and no. 2 respectively in the annual Harris Poll of the nation’s favorite professional football teams, among US adults who follow pro football. Support for the Cowboys remains the same, while the Packers support has slipped a bit from last year. Rounding out the top five teams are the New England Patriots and both Pennsylvania teams: the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Almost one-half of all Americans follow the NFL. 16% of them love the Packers. Roughly 23 million love the green and gold. I shouldn't be surprised. Just about anywhere you go you can find a bar devoted to the Packers every football Sunday.
"Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys Remain Nation’s Favorite NFL Teams, According to Harris Poll"
October 09, 2005
Pack Pounds Saints
Eventually the Packers had to win. Very few teams go through a season without at least one win. And since the Pack isn't the worst team in football (I give the San Francisco 49ers that dubious honor) they would finally find a victory. What I didn't expect was a scoring spree. 52-3. Yikes! It was the most lop-sided win since the Packers beat the New London Diesels in 1943. An offense that worked even with injuries and players shuffled to new positions. The game hinged on turnovers. Brett Favre didn't throw any interceptions and the defense caused five turnovers including two interceptions for touchdowns. The moral of the story is simple: if you don't turnover the ball and force the other team to you stand a good chance of winning.
Now they have a bye to get a little healthy (too late for Najeh Davenport) and prepare for that other disappointment of the NFC North, the Minnesota Vikings.
"Favre Puts Charge in Depleted Offense"
September 30, 2005
Losers No More
The Brewers won. They got behind but they remained calm, hit some home runs, and won 6-5 over Pittsburgh. This ends the 12-season losing streak Milwaukee was on. Now, we need one more win for a winning season.
One More Win
With yesterday's 2-0 win over Cincinnati the Brewers almost have their first non-losing season in ages. That's a pretty good birthday present for owner Mark Attanasio. Three games are left at Pittsburgh. One win assures a .500 season while two wins means the first winning one since 1992. I was still in high school then!
"View from Above"
September 25, 2005
Wisconsin 23, Michigan 20
"Luck of the Draw"
September 12, 2005
The Sports Gods are Smiling
September 11, 2005
Pack Loses Walker
The Packers lose to the not-so-lowly Lions. They did it with a defense that performed ok except for all the defensive holding penalties (I'm talking to you Ahmad Carroll). It's the vaunted offense that failed today. Mike Sherman and Brett Favre will have to think of something now that #1 wide receiver Javon Walker injured his ACL and might be done for the season. There's some bad karma with wide receivers and Detroit. Just ask Charles Rogers.
"Knee Injury May Sideline Walker for Season"
This Beats the Packers Game
Watching the anemic Pack losing to the Lions is frustrating. So I stumbled upon this sports story:
In Sport, it is usually a case of you like what you’re good at. In that case the playing fields of Scotland will soon be rumbling with the heavy footfalls of pachyderms.
Who knew? I bet many Scots didn't. Where does the team practice? Do they go to the Glasgow Zoo and ask them if they can work out in the elephant pen for a few hours?
"Scots are Heavyweight World Champs"
2005 Packers Prediction
It's time for my annual Green Bay Packers/NFL predictions. My beloved Packers deal with a split personality. They have an offense as potent as any in the league. Amman Green, Javon Walker, and Donald Driver are threats to score anytime; and future hall-of-famer Brett Favre can get them the ball. A big question is if they found replacements for guards Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera.
An even bigger question is the defense. Have they improved from last year's dismal showing? Then they couldn't get into the right position, couldn't tackle if they got there, and committed so many penalties. The defensive line hasn't improved. Cledius Hunt got cut for being a lazy bum who didn't fulfill his rich contract. Grady Jackson is a great run-stuffer, but his girth makes him prone to injury. Somehow the defensive coaches have to find a rotation of linemen to stop the run and derive enough of a pass rush to take opponents' focus off of Kabeer Baja Biamila.
I'll ask the same questions I did last year:
Did the Packers Get Better?
General manager Ted Thompson brought in no big-name defensive free agents. He did bring in ex-Patriot Adrian Klemm but who knows if he'll be a starter to replace either Wahle or Rivera? In the draft the focus was on the future by drafting Aaron Rodgers. (Thompson's best pick may end up being guard William Whitticker who could start even for being a seventh-round pick.) The team lacks depth at wide receiver and tight end. On defense it will be a line-by-committee. Nick Barnett, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamilla, and Al Harris are the only real stars on defense. Saying the Packers are the same as last season is being generous.
What About the Opposition?
It will be hard for the Packers to win a fourth-straight NFC North Division title. Minnesota has loss Randy Moss, but they've worked hard to improve the defense by signing ex-Packer Darren Sharper and Fred Smoot. The Detroit Lions have plenty of young talent. This might be the year when it finally comes together. The Chicago Bears, well they're the Bears, but they do have a solid defense. If Cedric Benson gets in gear after holding out so long rookie Kyle Orton could surprise teams.
What About Intangibles?
Brett Favre has made no indication this will be his last season. He couldn't have been too confident with Thompson's off-season moves--including drafting his presumed heir in Rodgers. But throughout his career Favre has never given up. His offensive line will need to gell pass and run blocking. On defense we'll see if new defensive coordinator Jim Bates can get his players to play above their talent level. What will help is if they can cause turnovers.
The Packers play some good teams this season. They play critics' fave Carolina in Week 4, Pittsburgh in Week 9, Atlanta right after that in Week 10, and Philadelphia in Week 12--a month of hell. They get the Bears twice in December when wins will be very important for a playoff birth. Sorry Packers fans, I have to use my head. 9-7 and a wild card spot if they're lucky.
As for my Super Bowl picks I'll go with Pittsburgh topping Philadelphia in an all-Pennsylvania final game.
September 08, 2005
Thursday Night Shootout
If the first half is any indication the Raiders will have a long season. They may win a few shootouts but their defense is incapable of stopping Tom Brady and the Patriots passing game. It would help if they could generate a pass rush. Warren Sapp, you should just hang it up. Al Michaels and John Madden haven't mentioned your name all night.
UPDATE: I'll be ignoring Tim McGraw's halftime highlights every MNF. Pointless. I'm already tired of hearing "I Like It, I Love It."
P.S. "60 Seconds with Jimmy Kimmel" isn't any better. And what an awful new hairdo Jimmy is sporting.
IM During the NFL Opener
Like any good football fan I'll be stuck in front of the tv for the Patriots-Raiders game. I won't be live-blogging it (thank god), but the IM will be on. If you use Google Talk you can reach me at sean.hackbarth--at--gmail--dot--com. On MS Messenger use shackbar--at--hotmail--dot--com.
Get Those Line-Ups Set
To the Webloggers League:
The NFL starts tonight. If you want to start any Patriots (Brady, Dillon) or Raiders (Jordan, Moss, Collins) make sure you get them into your line-up in a few hours.
Good luck everyone. May the best owner (me) win.
August 21, 2005
The Webloggers League is filled. I don't know everyone in the league, but I will soon. This should be a fun year even if I mess up my strategy immediately in the draft like last year. And remember, blogospheric bragging rights are one the line. By the way, who won last year? King, James, Steven, or Kevin (who unfortunately isn't with us this season)? I don't recall any big celebrations.
UPDATE: After a tiny bit of hunting I found Kevin won last season. That's kind of sad that the commish--me--can't remember the recent history of his own league.
Still Looking for Owners
Two spots are left in the coveted Webloggers Fantasy Football League. So close to being full. I know you really, really want in to compete with some of the smartest people in the blogosphere. It's free and the draft is tomorrow night at 7:30 pm. If interested leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail.
August 20, 2005
Down to the Wire
Four more people are needed for the Webloggers Fantasy Football League. If four more people don't sign up there is no draft and I'll have to set up another draft time. I've also just learned from digging through the NFL.com help pages that I can't set the league to public to let any old Joe Shmoe in. (That doesn't please me.) So if you know anyone who wants to play free fantasy football send me an e-mail so I can quickly shoot off an invitation. The live draft is scheduled for Monday at 7:30 pm CT. If you can't make the live draft you can still play. All you have to do is rank players before the draft. Take it from me, watching football is much more exciting/gut-wrenching when you something to cheer for in just about every game.
August 19, 2005
Fantasy Franchises Still Available
The Webloggers League fantasy football draft is Monday August 22, at 7:30 pm CT. Five spots are still open. It's free, on NFL.com, and it should be fun. Who wants in to challenge the smartest fantasy football owners in the blogosphere? Having a weblog is no requirement. If you want to play a little fantasy football, you're more than welcome. Send me an e-mail or leave a comment, and I'll send you an invite.
August 16, 2005
Are You Ready for Some Fantasy Football?
It's less than one week until The Webloggers League live draft 08.22 at 7:30 pm CT at NFL.com. Seven spots are left. I'm now opening it up beyond past owners. Preference will go to those with a regularly-updated weblog (good reason to start one if you haven't already) and who can suck up to the commissioner (i.e. me!). Just leave a comment or e-mail me.
August 10, 2005
If Florida Marlins' third baseman Mike Lowell wasn't playing baseball he could make a good living as a magician. Against the Diamondbacks he tagged out Luis Terrero using the hidden-ball trick. This is the second season in a row Lowell has pulled it off.
Curiously, Milwaukee Brewer Greg Brock pulled off the trick in 1989 on Ozzie Guillen, now manager of the Chicago White Sox.
"Hidden Ball Trick Dooms Diamondbacks"
July 31, 2005
Return of the Webloggers League
This is a post to my friends who have challenged me the past few year in fantasy football. Again I've started up the Webloggers League to see who can lay claim to being the greatest fantasy football mind in the blogosphere. While the league name will be the same the place we will do battle has changed. Yahoo doesn't have any evening times to do a live draft. But thanks to a free market NFL.com is an alternative. The draft time is 08.22.05 at 8:30 pm EDT. That should give you plenty of time to make proper arrangements. Of course the time isn't locked in stone. A really, really good sob story and some cash under the PayPal rug would help ;-).
Here are the league rules. They don't seem out of the ordinary. Lucky for me I won't be able to mess with them (to my detriment).
There's room for 12 teams. I'm giving priority to those who were in the league last year. If you want to play send me an e-mail (sean--at--this domain name--dot.com) or leave a comment. I'll then get you all the info to join.
July 24, 2005
The Disneyworld of Football
No one would know anything about Green Bay, WI if it weren't for the Packers. Yes, the football team is an important part of the city's identity. But you really start to get carried away when you start naming oodles of streets after Packers. The city is getting close to turning their "small-town-takes-on-big-cities" image into hokey, tourist kitsch.
"Packers Fans want Streets Renamed"
Oh, by the way, the Brewers crushed the Reds. Too bad his injuries will prevent him from snagging the all-time home run title.
"Milwaukee 11, Cincinnati 7"
July 23, 2005
Lance Secures Victory
Lance Armstrong wins his first stage of this year's Tour de France, and with it sews up his seventh straight tour victory.
"'It was Never Going to be Enough against Lance Armstrong.'"
July 11, 2005
Home Run Derby: A Travesty!
No longer is the Home Run Derby a special event to watch baseball's best sluggers see how many balls they can hit over the fence. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig turned it into a marketing vehicle for next year's World Baseball Classic. Thanks, Bud. So instead of letting triple crown threat Derek Lee participate in the derby we got stuck with Hee-Seop Choi and his piddly 13 home runs.
Keep this up, Bud, and the Home Run Derby will join the NBA's Slam Dunk Contest in oblivion.
Selig's Stupid Idea
Because of Bud Selig's stupid idea of having participants from countries compete in tonight's Home Run Derby I wasn't going to watch. But as I flipped through the cable channels I stopped to see Bobby Abreu crush 24 balls. Then I watched Jason Bay embarass himself and his fellow Canadians by getting shut out. Then I had to stick around to watch Carlos Lee belt 11 homers. I'm now back to my boycott.
What's next, Bud? Will next year's All-Stars be selected to meet racial quotas?
Going in David Pinto thought it would be a "very low scoring home run derby tonight." I'm sure David is pleasantly surprised.
July 06, 2005
London Gets the Olympics
Tony Blair tops Jacques Chriac again. The Frenchman will have to put up with English food if he wants to go to the Olympics in 2012. Congratulations, London.
"London Upsets Paris to Win 2012 Olympics"
June 28, 2005
The Andrew Bogut Era Begins
Let's hope Bogut isn't the next Randy Breuer. I'm not enamored, but Marvin Williams was too much of a gamble. I really wish the Bucks would have traded down.
"Bucks Take Bogut with No. 1 Pick"
June 26, 2005
Milwaukee's Dynamic Duo
Last night was a good night for Brewers rookies Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks. Both hit their first career major league home runs in a 7-6 win over the Minnesota Twins. Two Brewers infielders leading the team? Hmm... That sounds familiar. Fielder and Weeks don't look like Robin Yount and Paul Molitor, but a long-time fan can wish.
"Young Guns Find Range"
P.S. No I'm not forgetting Jimmy Gantner. If J.J. Hardy can prove he can hit something then I'll dub them the "Terrific Trio."
June 09, 2005
Freezing the Frozen Tundra
The title makes no sense. So what? Hockey is coming to Lambeau Field.
Lambeau Field will be the site of a college hockey game next February, the team announced today. The historic field will be converted into an outdoor ice hockey stadium for the Frozen Tundra Hockey Classic, featuring the Wisconsin Badgers skating against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
I'm so there.
"Hockey at Lambeau Field"
June 07, 2005
Things are Still Good
The Brewers win again, the Yankees lose again, and so do the Cubs. It's deja vu all over again.
"Milwaukee 2, NY Yankees 1"
Things are Good
The Brewers win, the Yankees lose, and so do the Cubs. Baseball in Milwaukee is pretty sweet for a few hours.
Miller Park last night was warm, great for sitting back, drinking cold beverages, and watching a good baseball game. The Yankees' Randy Johnson didn't have his best game, but when the game was tied he really turned it on. Until that point he was throwing a lot of balls. Then the strikes came. I knew then why he's a five-time Cy Young winner. But Junior Spivey hit the go-ahead home run, and a great catch by Geoff Jenkins (I was up too high to see it) sealed the victory.
June 06, 2005
I'm off with my father to the Brewers-Yankees game. We have nosebleed seats at Miller Park. Until later tonight...maybe.
May 29, 2005
Wheldon Win Indy 500
Danica Patrick isn't a joke or a gimmick. Even though she didn't win the Indy 500 today she showed she has the skills and the team to get her a sip of milk. Patrick compensated for two mistakes and almost won. She just didn't have enough fuel to hold off winner Dan Wheldon. But that had more to do with guessing fuel mileage rather than driving skill.
With Patrick's star rising we are seeing a winner of the IndyCar/Champ Car war. IndyCar seems to have some marketing savy and not just with promoting Patrick. With NASCAR's dominance it's tough to name any open-wheel driver but Patrick's further success (she'll have to win a race or become the Anna Kournikova of racing) could do for her sport what Tiger Woods did for golf.
"Wheldon Holds Off Patrick, Wins Indy 500"
May 28, 2005
A Little Sex Never Hurts
It's Memorial Day Weekend for Pete's sake. It's the unofficial start of summer. Heavy reading, thinking, and talking are not the order of these few days. So let's go to that Memorial Day tradition the Indiapolis 500. Sure, the fissure in open-wheel racing (along with the NASCAR marketing machine) has destroyed that sport, but this year Danica Patrick is the star of the show. It's not that she's starting the race at the fourth position or is a driver for the powerful Rahal Letterman team. It's the fact that Danica is cute and knows it.
"It's All Danica, All the Time at Indy 500"
May 25, 2005
Milwaukee "bucked" the odds and nabbed themselves the #1 pick in the NBA lottery. While general manager Larry Harris is grinning from ear to ear I dread what they will do with the pick. The consensus #1 choice is Utah center Andrew Bogut. Let me be blunt: he's a big, slow, white guy. The Bucks have experience with drafting big, slow, white guys. Remember Randy Breuer? I've seen Bogut play a few games in post-season this year. He didn't impress me as a #1 pick. He could pass the ball a little and get rebounds, but he he blended in too much. I'm already declaring Bogut another Luc Longley (also from Australia) and Bryant "Big Country" Reeves. The Bucks should be very willing to trade down and take Arizona's Channing Frey and a veteran. Let someone else be the first pick sucker.
"Lucky Bucks: Team Goes First in Draft"
May 24, 2005
Win With Red
Wearing red equals more wins. That's what some anthropologists concluded from analyzing the 2004 Olympics. If red is a winner expect Democrats and Leftys to complain about media bias for getting stuck with a "losing" blue color.
May 17, 2005
Perfect Game Watch
Wes Obermueller has tossed six perfect innings of baseball. Let's see if history will be made in D.C. tonight.
UPDATE: David Pinto is covering the game.
UPDATE II: Wes just suffered a TAM jinx. Jamey Carroll singled into right. Bummer.
May 05, 2005
The Good and the Bad
The Brewers sweep the Cubs, extend their winning streak to seven games, and move into second place in the NL Central Division (way behind the powerful Cardinals).
Laurence's Houston "Disastros."
May 04, 2005
Marquette University changed their athletic nickname. Alumni and traditionalists who despised the ten-year "Golden Eagle" interregnum won't be happy. The Warriors haven't returned. Instead, fans will be rooting for the Marquette Gold. Yes, Gold as in pile of yellow, precious metal. Gold as in bright color. No longer are Marquette athletes a man, woman, or bird. They are merely an element. MU is entering the Big East as just the Gold. AU as in auful.
Bringing back the Warriors nickname would have forced MU to admit it made a mistake. The Warriors nickname was dropped by a university president who thought that sometime in the future Native Americans would complain about the nickname and logo. Let me make it plain: there was no groundswell to change the name. Native Americans were pounding down MU officials' doors to change the name.
Pro-Warrior alumni are ticked. After ten years of fighting they finally got the university trustees to re-examine the decision. What did those wimps do? They refused to give in but tried to placate them by dumping Golden Eagles. They didn't satisfy them. In fact, I'm sure they enraged them. Gold is a nickname sure to draw plenty of derision from rival Wisconsin alumni. And there won't be anything to come back with. MU alumni and fans will only be able to truthfully state that university trustees are weak-kneed weenies.
UPDATE: Here's the Journal Sentinel's story on this sad event.
UPDATE II: GOP3.com:
We at GOP3.com are extremely dissapointed in the board’s choice and can see nothing but clouds in Marquette’s spineless, oversensitive, flip-flopping future.
UPDATE III: Monday, Marquette professor John McAdams documented how San Diego State handled their mascot debate. Marquette's debate has been little like it:
Marquette may have felt that, by going through the motions of reconsidering the “Warriors” issue that alumni and students could be placated. They appear to be preparing to say “we gave this full and honest consideration, and – sorry folks – Warriors failed.”
Now, pro-Warriors are mad the name wasn't changed back AND the fact that Gold is a stupid nickname.
Sports radio yapper Steve "The Homer" True, MU's basketball's radio voice is trying to find ways of making Gold sound good. He's hyped that soon-to-be conference rival Syracuse are the Orange (formerly Orangemen). Great, twice a year MU will be involved in a Gold-Orange color war. What a clash! How pathetic!
May 01, 2005
My TV: No Basketball Area
Want to know how little I care about the NBA playoffs? I watched more of an NFL Europe game than Miami vs. New Jersey. Watching Dwayne Wade wasn't enough.
April 26, 2005
What a Choice
There's a story involving to what extent Packers loyalty goes. I have to comment.
Sharon Rosenthal stole $3000 from her union to pay for personal expenses. Financial hardship was her excuse, but somehow her family could afford three-game Packers season tickets. (For hard core Packers nuts that's the Gold package--A.K.A. the Milwaukee games.) The judge gave Rosenthal two choices. She could spend 90 days in the slammer or give up next season's tickets.
For me, 90 days in jail is a long time. I'd give up the tickets and put up with watching the games on the small screen for a season. TV is often the better way to watch a game anyway. So that's not much of a loss. If it were only a week in jail, I'd be tempted to grin and bear.
Now, local sports radio yapper Steve "The Homer" True offered this choice: 90 days in jail or permanently giving up Packers season tickets. That's a choice no true Packers fan should ever have to face. There are tens of thousands of people who have been on the waiting list for decades hoping for a chance at season tickets before they die. To be in possession of such precious items would be really, really hard to give up.
If Rosenthal decides for jail she better do it soon. Training camp isn't that far away.
Ahman Green Arrested
Probably more important to the Packers' offense is the rushing prowess of pro bowler Ahman Green. Getting arrested for domestic violence could be a problem.
Green Bay Packers running back Ahman Green was arrested Tuesday after a domestic violence incident.
"Pro Bowler Ahman Green Arrested on Suspicion of Domestic Violence"
April 25, 2005
La La Lalala
On what how the Packers have to respond to the Lions drafting Mike Williams, Slide writes, "Quick, Bates, stuff several hundred Jobe's Plant Spikes into smurf Ahmad Carroll's....power drink."
"Detroit is Stacked"
April 24, 2005
Is There a Draft in Here?
I'm still holding firm that Aaron Rodgers wasn't a good first round pick for the Packers. When I think of Rodgers Kyle Boller always pops into my head--must be they're both California QBs. There were still defensive linemen available with the 24th pick. Picking a QB in the first round and hoping he pans out is more of a crap shoot than a sure thing. I didn't like any of the QBs taken in the first round. Utah's Alex Smith was great in college, but how much of it was Urban Meyer's offensive scheme? If the Pack wanted a QB, Charlie Frye and David Greene went in the third round.
To an extent we really can't grade this draft until a few years from now. Most of these players won't start for the teams that pick them. Ted Thompson appears to be drafting on potential. That's all well and good, but his other off-season actions haven't filled in his team's current needs. Two starting offensive guards are gone and I'm not confident Thompson has found anyone to replace them. The defensive line couldn't stop the run last year or mount any pass rush. Where's the help there? Thompson decided to match the Minnesota Vikings' offer for Aaron Kampman by giving him a bunch of money. A similar player could have been had for a lot less by drafting. The defensive backfield has Al Harris and a bunch of youngins. If it's possible I see a decrease in quality there.
I'm assuming this is Brett Favre's last year. It would be unwise to gamble on this year being the Super Bowl year by spending oodles on free agent veterans. That strain on the salary cap would prevent the team from properly rebuilding. I just would like to see something from Ted Thompson to make me think he wants to win it all this year. His drafting sure hasn't shown that.
April 23, 2005
NFL Draft 2005
Can they make the draft any slower? It's been three hours and they're still not half-way through the first round. This may be a draft analyst's dream it's not great television.
Anyway, I won't know who my Packers pick until I come home from work tonight. I hope they don't do anything to go after quarterback Aaron Rogers. They need to find Brett Favre's replacement but the first round hasn't been the best place to find future starters (Brett was a second round pick). I have three words for Ted Thompson: defense, defense, defense. Minnesota has been signing free agents (including former Packers safety Darren Sharper) to help their defense. The Pack needs to get quality defenders. It doesn't matter if it's a lineman, linebacker, or defensive back. They need player, good players. My choice would be one of the linemen that falls to the 24th pick. I'd love it if it was Wisconsin's Erasmus James, but that might be taking him too high. If defensive value isn't at 24 then eye a good offensive lineman. By loving Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera they need to rebuild one of the best lines in football.
April 18, 2005
MNF to ESPN
Monday Night Football moves to ESPN starting in 2006. Since cable and satellite are virtually ubiquitous I have no complaints. People with only network television will trade Sunday night football on NBC for Monday Night Football on ESPN. If Desparate Housewives survives into 2006 it may not remain the Sunday night ratings anchor for ABC.
It just proves media in general is getting more and more disperse. More outlets means more opportunity for more people to watch what they want. Eventually you'll be able to watch whatever game you want with your plasma screen tv hooked up to the internet. It will be a pay-per-view world.
April 17, 2005
Signing Ben Sheets gives the Brewers hope, but they're a long way from being serious contenders as the three-game sweep by the St. Louis Cardinals shows. Brady Clark is swinging the bad, but his fielding cost his team the lead. This series was a replay of the second half of last season. The pitching was fine but little offense.
"St. Louis 3, Milwaukee 2"
April 16, 2005
There is Hope!
The days of Milwaukee Brewers futility are numbered now that they have their ace pitcher Ben Sheets under contract for four years. Sheets is happy even if he's surprised he's getting so much money for a kid's game.
Can you believe these crazy people? They want me here for another couple of years. Wow!
That self-deprecation and his desire to be a winner in Milwaukee could make him the Brett Favre of the Brewers.
New owner Mark Attanasio has opened the wallet and now has two quality starters in Sheets and Doug Davis. More quality bats are in order. I'm worried about the non-production from Geoff Jenkins. Trading one of the Brewers' hot prospects might not be a bad idea.
"Sheets Signs 4-Year, $38.5 Million Deal"
April 14, 2005
What are the Vikings Thinking?
Sure, the Minnesota Vikings need to upgrade their 28th ranked defense, but they're taking players from a team that didn't get into the playoffs because of their D. First, the Vikings nabbed Darren Sharper (good pick) and now signed Aaron Kampman. It's looking like the NFC North will be the NFL's version of arena football where the scores will be astronomical. Hint to fantasy football GMs: get lots of Vikings and Packers.
"Kampman Takes Vikings' Offer"
Strikeouts For Troops
However, pitcher Barry Zito has me re-thinking my feelings about that team. He has started StrikeoutsForTroops.com , a project benefiting the wounded troops returning home. Zito is donating $100 per strikeout that he throws this year to the organization.
Strikeouts For Troops provides funds for “comforts of home” for U.S Troops and will assist in providing travel and lodging expenses for soldiers’ families, so that they can visit and stay longer with their loved ones while being treated for their injuries. Additionally, Strikeouts For Troops will provide clothing (as many soldiers arrive with only the clothes on their back), meals, and entertainment to our wounded military. The Freedom Alliance, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, will facilitate the delivery of resources to our wounded soldiers and families.
An admirable cause. Now, get up on the mound and get to work. He had 3 K's in the opener against Baltimore, but was shelled in his last game against Tampa Bay, going 3 1/3 and giving up 8 runs, no strikeouts. Zito takes to the field on Tax Day, going up against Bartolo Colon of The Team With The Longest Name Ever(tm), The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Colon is a starter in my fantasy league, so while I'm looking for some good pitching from him, I also hope Zito can get a few K's that night.
[Sean comments: Shawn, I forgot to inform you that TAM doesn't acknowledge the Angels' name change. Since they haven't moved from Anaheim they should be referred to as the Anaheim Angels or the California Angels. TAM isn't run by suck-ups like ESPN.]
April 08, 2005
Jeter Goes to UWM
The Panthers got themselves a new coach. Rob Jeter was an assistant to Bo Ryan at Madison. The most important part of college basketball is recuiting, and Jeter was Ryan's recruiter. That's a good sign on continued UWM success no matter what style of play occurs on the court.
"UWM, Jeter Seal Deal"
April 06, 2005
With the Brewers recent move to the National League I'm a new convert to the "Designated Hitter is Evil" cult. Michele points out that it's 32 years old. Conventional Wisdom has it that it will never leave the game because it allows old players to keep collecting a paycheck in the American League. But that doesn't explain Julio Franco. He's old, still productive, and plays in the National League.
"And Baseball was Never the Same Again"
P.S. Another day, another net outage. At least it was fixed sooner than the past few days.
April 04, 2005
Tar Heels' Title
Congrats to North Carolina. When they got it into Sean May he was unstoppable. Illinois made their run by finally hitting three-pointers in the second half, but at the end they didn't make wide open shots.
UPDATE: All the talking heads on ESPN are saying how NC won because of Sean May. Granted, he had a tremendous game. But if Illinois wouldn't have given up the two easy buckets off NC in bounds plays or Luther Head made just one of his three pointers in the last few possessions we might have had overtime. This game was extremely close. Closer than the five point margin.
National Championship Halftime Report
Both North Carolina and Illinois are very athletic teams. They can both run up and down the court. NC's strength has been it's ability to score inside with Sean May. They've also done very well scoring on the fast break after Illinois misses.
The Illini seem to think they're only allowed to take three-point shots. There was a fast break opportunity late in the first half. On the three-on-one break Illinois opted for the three-pointer. They missed. Illinois is doing a good job moving the ball around. They just have to realize a made two is better than a missed three.
April 03, 2005
My net connection was mysteriously out yesterday afternoon. Thus no posts. Good thing Shawn stepped up to the plate.
Stephen Bainbridge comments on an idea of making the NBA a four-on-four game. It certainly would allow for more spacing which opens up more options for skilled offensive players. Since I really like the wide-open aspect of four-on-four hockey, four-on-four basketball sounds intriguing.
"Packer on the Pros"
March 28, 2005
Down to the Minors
Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks won't be in the majors come Opening Day. From watching them for almost a week I was satisfied with Fielder (good bat, no harm with the glove) and had to give an incomplete to Weeks (didn't play enough to have a good opinion). The problem is neither of the two played so well as to beat out Lyle Overbay and Junior Spivey.
As for Corey Hart the Brewers need to trade him off to a team that doesn't know any better. His overall Spring Training numbers showed otherwise, but when I saw him he swung wildly and was awful fielding in the outfield.
"Brewers Send Down Prospects Fielder, Weeks"
Pearl Volunteers to Leave
UW-Milwaukee loses a good one in Bruce Pearl. The most successful coach in school history took the Tennessee Volunteers job. Who can blame him? His pay goes up to around $1 million from the $275,000 he was making at UWM. How high UWM was willing to go is a question I hope local reporters find out. Tennessee being in the SEC now gives Pearl a chance to recruit top-notch talent. Pearl knows this is his big chance and has given himself the goal of of making the men's basketball program a consistently Top 10 program. That's a high goal in a conference loaded with great teams like Kentucky and Florida. I wish Pearl the best and hope he does better than the other college coach who left a Milwaukee school for Knoxville, Kevin O'Neal. Volunteers fans are already ripping on him.
"Pearl Named New Coach at Tennessee"
March 24, 2005
Way to Go Panthers
There's no surprise UWM lost to the #1 team in the nation. I didn't get to see the game, but from what I saw in the highlights and Coach Bruce Perl's comments Illinois just had more quality players. The Panthers played their hearts out but ran out of gas. Even though they lost they made their school, city, and state proud. The Badgers will have to go to the Final Four to top what UWM did this year.
March 17, 2005
Call it an Alabama slammer. That's what UW-Milwaukee dished out to the Crimson Tide. Alabama couldn't defend the three point line in the first half and couldn't handle the Panthers' inside game in the second half. I don't feel bad I didn't pick that game right. Awesome! Simply awesome!
"Panthers' Finest Hour"
My Final Four
If you still need to fill out your tournament brackets--hurry, you're running out of time--I'm picking Illinois, Wake Forest, North Carolina, and Kentucky. Illinois will face NC with the Illini winning the national title. If you're looking for a first round upset I'm picking New Mexico beating Villanova.
Viking Extreme Makeover, Continued
The Minnesota Vikings have signed a 4-year contract with Brad Johnson, for services as backup quarterback. This brings him full circle, after a 7-year absence. Johnson started his career as a backup QB with the Vikings, and now's he's back in that position, this time with more experience.
March 16, 2005
This vacation unfortunately comes to and end. I'll be flying home tonight, back to the cold and snow.
Player to Keep an Eye on: Texas' Marshall McDougal
He swings a good bat and plays some mean third base. On Tuesday, against the Rockies McDougal had all three put outs in the first inning, and some of them weren't softly hit balls.
He's a Rule 5 draft pick so he'll probably be staying at the big league level all year. The big problem for him is Hank Blaylock is not moving from third.
What I'll Most Miss about Phoenix (Besides Baseball)
Sitting at a Starbucks watching beautiful women walk in, stand in line waiting for their soy venti vanilla latte, extra foam, then walk out into the sunshine.
More Spring Training Pics
Ben Sheets coming out to pitch. He didn't do so well.
Brady Clark signing autographs.
March 15, 2005
Extreme Makeover, Vikings Defense Edition
This is a few days late, but being that Sean is such a Packer fan and that I am such a Viking fan, it's of great delight to me that the Vikings Defense is being built this offseason, especially if we are using former Packer Darren Sharper to do it. Nothing will be finer for us than using him to burn Brett Favre.
How long until camp opens?
Tom Haudricourt wrote up a whole story about how Brewers prospects Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks are always around each other at Spring Training. I noticed that too. They come out together for warm ups before each game, they go down the line signing autographs together, and they hang around in the dugout. They've been playing minor league ball for a few seasons, and when they both make it to the big leagues the chemistry they've developed certainly won't hurt the team--not that chemistry is that important.
"Striking a Match"
Some things never change. I may be on vacation (which will be ending way too soon) but one of my duties when I can snatch some net time is to clean out the spam comments from the weblog. Ugh!
March 09, 2005
UWM's Champagne Dreams
After last night's conference tournament victory the champagne was flowing for the UWM Panthers. That's not good when many of your players are under 21. Coach Bruce Pearl isn't happy, but he should just make his players do some extra wind sprints and leave it at that.
"Spiritof the Moment"
March 08, 2005
Yabba, dabba doo!! The UWM Panther are going to the NCAA tournament.
"Panthers are Dancing"
UWM-Detroit Halftime Report
The Panthers are not playing like league regular season champions. Their full-court press on Detroit bothered them, but UWM's half-court offense was lousy. On offense the Panthers turned the ball over too much resulting in lots of Detroit points.
UPDATE: 9:12--Whoa! A few McCants three-pointers along with some serious defense and UWM has taken the lead.
UPDATE: 9:45--If UWM loses much of the blame can be put on the Panthers' poor free throw shooting. They're below 50% at this point.
Playing for a Ticket to the Dance
UW-Milwaukee will be facing Detroit in the Horizon League tournament championship game tonight. With a win the Panthers are in, but if they lose there's a good chance they'll be NIT bound. Go Panthers!
"Titans Stand in UWM's Path to NCAA"
February 24, 2005
Randy Moss is off to Oakland. Good. Get that trash out of the NFC Central. It's good even though it looks like the Vikings are improving their defense which is bad for my Packers. I don't care. I don't need to be insulted by him anymore.
February 06, 2005
TAM's Post-Game Report
No shilling cars here...unless a luxury car competitor wants to pump some bucks quickly into my tip jar.
The Patriots win. A dynasty is assured. Deion Branch gets the MVP, but Stephen Bainbridge makes a good case for Rodney Harrison. I, however, won't count his last interception from a desparate Donovan McNabb.
The commercial MVP goes to Kinkos for their ripping of other SB commercials. They narrowly beat out the Anheuser-Busch thank you ad. Coming in at third was AmeriQuest's "bloody cat." I hate monkeys so CareerBuilder.com lost big time with me. The biggest loser was MBNA. Rugby is a cool sport. Gladys Knight is a great singer. That doesn't mean combining the two is a good idea.
"Ad Watch: Tracking Super Bowl Commercials"
TAM Halftime Report
Tied up at 7. New England's lucky their defensive mistakes that allowed Philly to stay in the red zone haven't resulted in more points. While both defenses are having their way the second quarter showed both teams are able to adjust their offenses.
In the battle of the quarterbacks Donovan McNabb has made a few plays but is under more duress. For New England Tom Brady is, well Tom Brady. His coolness and leadership doesn't remind me so much of Joe Montana but Bart Starr.
In the Super Bowl of commercials the winner so far is the Kinkos ad that mocks all other Super Bowl ads. The biggest loser has to be MBNA. Combining Gladys Knight and ruggy is a definite head scratcher at TAM Super Bowl Central.
I am surprised the Go Daddy commerical got past Fox's censors.
UPDATE II: Stephen Bainbridge didn't like the Kinkos commerical but agreed with me about the MBNA one.
Super Bowl Predictions
Super Bowl Sunday means eating party food, drinking beer, watching the game, then beating your wife. Oops! That last part isn't true. What I'm trying to get at is consuming mass quantities is a staple of Super Bowls. Which is why I'm bummed I'm still fighting a cold. Coughing and messed up taste buds can't properly savor a cold beer, hot wings, and pizza. But illness won't stop me from watching the game (and the commericals) and making predictions which I've posted at SportsBlog.
"Some Super Bowl Predictions"
February 01, 2005
Is Favre Done?
The buzz in Wisconsin has to do with Donald Driver's comments on Sirius Radio today. On The Opening Drive he said,
He's a real close friend of mine and we've been talking back and forth, and I think he's pretty much going to hang 'em up. I always told him, if you're coming back just because of that playoff game, don't show up. But it you're going to come back to try and win another Super Bowl, we'd love to have you.
Later in the day, Driver told WTMJ radio that he hasn't talked to Favre in about a month. Where's all that "talking back and forth?"
Brett's brother Scott told the Green Bay Press-Gazette, "Right now, if you ask me, I’d say I’m pretty sure that (Brett’s) coming back." I take more credence in his brother than his #2 wide receiver.
January 27, 2005
Packers Thug Dies
Back in the 1980s, the Green Bay Packers were dreadful, full of has-beens and never-could-bes and lead by coaches who played under Vince Lombardi. An especially lousy time was the Forrest Greg era. His teams were happy to end up 8-8. But what really marked Greg's teams was all the thugs on them. Mossy Cade was convicted of rape while James Lofton was acquitted. On the field, who could forget Charles Martin bodyslamming Jim McMahon into the turf.
I bring these bad Packers memories up because Charles Martin died from kidney disease. He was 46.
"Former NFL Defensive Tackle Charles Martin Dies"
January 14, 2005
New Packers GM
Ted Thompson is the new Packers GM. Head coach Mike Sherman still has his job, but he now has a new boss and only one year left on his contract. The latter point may hurt the Packers in finding a replacement for defensive coordinator Bob Slowik--assuming Sherman is smart enough to fire him. The conventional wisdom has it that a new coordinator would be nervous about coming into that situation since Thompson could fire Sherman along with all the assistant coaches after next year. If that becomes a problem, Thompson will have do decide if the team can afford to give Sherman a one or two-year extension and be willing to eat the remaining years if the Packers fall apart.
"Thompson Named Packers New GM"
January 13, 2005
A Broken Ford and a New Owner
The post-show report will have to wait. We have breaking sports news. First, Milwaukee Bucks guard T.J. Ford won't be playing this season. Last year, he injured his spinal cord in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. It's been almost a year and one surgery since then and Ford still can't even practice. Ford and the Bucks should be honest with their fans. I'll be shocked if the guy ever plays again.
"Ford Ruled Out for the Season"
Mark Attanasio being approved as the new owner of the Milwaukee Brewers is really the end of a process that began last October. Now, it's official.
"Baseball Owners OK Sale of Brewers"
Sherman Out as GM
Being Packers country the top story this morning isn't Gov. Doyle's State of the State Speech. Instead, the Journal Sentinel reports Mike Sherman will be stripped of his general manager duties. Packers president Bob Harlan wants Seattle Seahawks front office man Ted Thompson to run the show. Next season is Sherman's last under contract.
The concern with Sherman has not been his regular season coaching record which is an impressive 53-27. What worries Packers fan like myself are his player personnel decisions, his inability to build a respectable defense, and not winning in the playoffs. Removing GM duties may help with getting better players. But Sherman may not like this demotion. A new GM will want to work with Sherman to seriously improve the defense. That will mean dumping defensive coordinator Bob Slovik who happens to be a close friend of Sherman's. No one knows how Sherman would react to to a GM telling him to ax his friend. Good chemistry between coach and GM will be key to getting the Green Bay Packers back on track for a Super Bowl run.
"Sherman May Soon Be Out as Packers' GM"
[Crossposted to SportsBlog.]
January 11, 2005
Living in Wisconsin for almost my entire life, I knew Packers fans were the loyalist, nuttiest fans in all of sports. I knew about the guy who dresses up as "St. Vince" for every game. There's the "Packalope" who wears a helmet with deer antlers attached to them. Then there are the drunks who get on television for taking off their shirts during a December game. But I've never heard of fans mooning the visiting team's bus as it left Lambeau Field. That explains Randy Moss' post-touchdown celebration, but it doesn't justify him acting like an ass (pun intended).
"Colts' Dungy Comes to Moss' Defense"
January 09, 2005
Vikings Vault over Pack
I don't mind my team losing to a better team. That's what happened today with the Vikings beating the Packers at Lambeau Field. What I do mind is an egotistical moron like Randy Moss mooning the greatest fans in the world then rubbing his ass on the goal post after scoring a touchdown. Why he wasn't penalized, I don't know. I do expect the NFL to fine him. If a Philadelphia Eagle happens to give Mr. Moss a late hit, I wouldn't feel bad. Moss has so much talent. It's wonderful watching him fly past defensive backs, soar into the air, and snatch a ball for a touchdown. But he's also a manchild who gets many people disgusted with professional athletes.
The loss to the Vikings is only the second ever home playoff loss for the Packers at Lambeau Field. The first loss came two years ago when Michael Vick. His future performance could change, but Mike Sherman is the worst post-season coach in Packers history.
January 04, 2005
Enough with the Blowout
I've given up on the USC-OU game. One half of USC tossing the ball at will all over the field was enough for me. I'm sure BoiFromTroy is very happy.
December 28, 2004
Two Papers, One Subject
The Philadelphia Inquirer's Bill Lyon has a beautiful ode to Reggie White. Sadly, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's sports department has no one as eloquent. The best that paper has is opinion columnist Eugene Kane's nice rememberance.
"White Meant Well, Despite His Fumbles"
December 26, 2004
Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!
Reggie White is dead. His stay in Green Bay wasn't as long and his time in Philadephia. But his six seasons helped bring a title back to Titletown and made the Packers one of the most beloved franchises in all of sports.
Brett Favre's golden arm and incredible toughness will be what is most remember about this Packers revival, but I feel safe claiming that a third Super Bowl title wouldn't have happened without #92. It wasn't just that Reggie White was the most dominating defensive end in NFL history. By White coming to Green Bay it told the rest of the league that the Packers were serious about winning. As Tom Silverstein writes, "Soon after his arrival, the Packers were able to recruit free agents from all walks of life because they had the great Reggie White recruiting for them."
Reggie was a leader on the field and for the most part was a good man off the field. Packers fans gave generously to rebuild a burned out church White was a part of. The church was never rebuilt and questions about where the money went weren't answered.
White took flack for a March 1998 speech before the Wisconsin State Legislature where he mentioned racial stereotypes. The overblown attention to his remarks cost him a CBS sports analyst position.
What I'll most remember about Reggie was one play against the Vikings (I think). Reggie was lined up again a big, hulking offensive tackle. The ball was snapped. Reggie didn't run around him, cut to the inside, or try to spin on him. He just got his arm underneath the tackle's armpit and tossed him aside like a rag doll. I don't even remember if Reggie ended up sacking the quarterback. It doesn't matter because I was in awe of such strength and leverage.
If there's a version of Lambeau Field in heaven--and you know there it--all the fans there are chanting "Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!"
I knew Michele was a Favre fan, but I'm not surprised she liked Reggie too.
"Reggie White Dies of Heart Attack"
Here's some blogospheric reaction:
Glenn Reynolds, who rarely posts on sports items, speaks kindly of Reggie.
Steve at Lake View "can't believe it."
Philip Winn, a Vikings fan, shows Reggie some love.
James Joyner links to a story on how influential Reggie was to one teammate.
And then there are also asses like this.
December 20, 2004
Separation of Church and Football: Not this Friday
Captain Ed makes some good points about the upcoming conflict between church and football. I don't quite understand the conflict since I didn't know many churches held afternoon services on Christmas Eve. As a kid, my Lutheran school had it's program during the evening of Christmas Eve. What I don't get is the NFL's thinking of playing a rivalry game (Packers-Vikings) on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Evening I'd understand, but as Ed points out many fans would be doing their last-minute Christmas shopping. With the huge implications of Friday's game stores in both Minnesota and Green Bay will empty out during the game*. Everywhere else there will be no change.
"NFL Game Causes Stir In Upper Midwest"
"O Come, All Ye Packers Faithful"
* Since I close up shop at the bookstore that day I won't complain about the lack of shoppers. I really confident that those hours before the game will turn the store into a madhouse.
December 14, 2004
The Season's Over...for Me
My fantasy football season is over. *Sniff* Which may be a good thing since I ended the season with a seven-game losing streak. The next Ron Wolf I'm not.
My problems started at the draft. At the time I thought I did okay. Looking back my biggest mistake was drafting Fred Taylor over Edgerin James. I just didn't have confidence in Edge's knee. Then I picked Anquan Boldin even though he was rehabing an injured knee.
But I was still in the middle of the pack at midseason. I figured a trade or two would help. My goal was finding a stud quarterback. I traded for Warrick Dunn then moved him the next week for Matt Hasselbeck. I started him a total of one week due to matchups. What I should have done was not trade away Michael Pittman (along with Roy Williams for Dunn). After trading him away Pittman racked up eight touchdowns in five games. I don't know if that would have been the difference in some games, but I certainly would have been in a better position.
Then there was some scoring quirks. I thought my additions would make pass-catching running backs more valuable. In an example of unintended consequences great tight ends were scoring better than above-average quarterbacks. I didn't realize I needed to adjust and just approached this league like any other I've played in. As King (who beat me last year for the league title) wrote, "If you use a book or magazine, you're not drafting right for this league." I was behind right from the start.
Since I now have a long post-season I'm going to have to revamp my approach. On the league's message board King told us about his tools for winning. Looks like I'm going to have to find some fantasy football software or *gasp* learn how to use a spreadsheet.
"And So It Begins, Again"
December 08, 2004
Charges Come from Basketbrawl
Motown Melee charges have been filed. More at SportsBlog.
"10 Charged in Motown Melee"
December 06, 2004
Sleepless in Seattle
That's what Mike Holmgren will be tonight after his Seahawks scored 25 straight points to grab a late fourth quarter lead over the Cowboys only to lose it at the end to rookie running back Julius Jones.
Dallas 43, Seattle 39
December 04, 2004
Sen. John McCain has threatened to intorduce legislation forcing baseball to test its players for drugs. He can claim all he wants that Congress has the constitutional power to do it under the Commerce Clause. He might even be right. But is it appropriate for a Senator to waste his time trying to regulate a sport? By the way I phrased the question, you already know my answer.
There are time when McCain can be really good. Like when he campaigned hard for President Bush even though the two don't like each other. Then there are times when McCain looks like a sanctimonious attention seeker. Talking at length to the Washington Post about this is the latter.
James Joyner has more thoughts.
"McCain Threatens Baseball Over Drugs"
December 03, 2004
Another baseball bombshell from the San Francisco Chronicle: Barry Bonds used the same stuff Jason Giambi did. More at SportsBlog.
"Ignorance is Bliss...at Least in Bonds' World"
December 02, 2004
More on Giambi
I posted some thoughts about Jason Giambi's admission at SportsBlog. Also read this column begging baseball to investigate Barry Bonds. It could be a fatal blow to baseball should he break Hank Aaron's career home run record while later finding out he cheated his way to the record.
"Giambi Used Steroids"
Giambi: Steroid User
The 2000 baseball MVP has admitted to a federal grand jury that he used steroids and human growth hormone. That may explain why he's suffered mysterious injuries this last season.
"Giambi Admitted Taking Steroids"
November 30, 2004
The Legend Continues
That is the amazing career of Brett Favre. Last night, he started his 200th consecutive regular season game at quarterback. He set that record years ago. Through pain and occasional lousy play Favre persevered. Against the Rams he through for just over 200 yards and tossed three touchdowns. It sounds cliche, but we may never see anyone like him again.
November 29, 2004
Brett Favre Day
Brett Favre will start for an unprecedented 200th straight game tonight against the St. Louis Ram. Because of this Gov. Doyle has declared today Brett Favre Day. So wear your #4 jersey, reminisce about last year's incredible Monday night game against Oakland, and wonder if the Packers can scrounge up a defense good enough to give the 35-year old quarterback one more shot at the Lombardi Trophy.
"200 Reasons to Admire Favre"
November 24, 2004
Waiting for an Opponent
Despite two losses at the end of the regular season that cost them a Rose Bowl appearance the Wisconsin Badgers will still be playing on New Year's Day. Tampa will be the place, and the Outback Bowl will be the game. The only question is who their opponent will be.
It certainly didn't take long for travel packages to be put together. The Badgers travel well so you know you wouldn't be lonely in Tampa.
"UW Accepts Invite to Outback Bowl"
November 22, 2004
The Hammer Comes Down
Credit has to be given to David Stern for his tough response to the Motown Melee. Suspending Ron Artest for the season was a no-brainer for me, but I wasn't sure the NBA understood the seriousness of Friday's fight. I'm happy to say they knew a poor reaction to this black eye could have been the begining of a slow, ugly death of the NBA. Now, Stern has to make sure local Detroit authorities go after the people (I refuse to call them "fans") who acted like barbarians. While none of their actions justified what Artest, Stephen Jackson, and Jermain O'Neal did, for the good of basketball a positive, entertaining environment has to be maintained. That means great play on the court, and civil actions in the stands.
"The Artest Suspension"
"Artest Suspended for Remainder of NBA Season in Record Ban"
"No Charges Imminent After Basketball Brawl"
November 20, 2004
If you missed the Motown Melee Friday night you couldn't miss the replays on news networks and ESPN. (I gave up on the game at half time since Pacers were controlling the Pistons.) It started with Detroit's Ben Wallace pushing Indiana's Ron Artest. They pushed and shoved. Eventually Artest was lying down on a table when a fan threw ice on him. I guess that fan thought the hot-headed Artest needed to cool off. That set the Pacer off, and he stormed into the stands flailing away at people. Fellow Pacer Stephen Jackson joined Artest in swinging wildly. Watching a brawl break out at a basketball game was awful enough, but what was most disturbing was Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal walking up to a fan and punching him.
There's plenty of blame to go around. Wallace shouldn't have shoved Ron Artest. Security could have been better. Fans shouldn't have tossed anything at any players. The garbage throwing when Artest was escorted off the court was disgusting. The referees should have done more to end the Artest-Wallace confrontation.
Many are at fault, but there's is one person who transformed this incident from an on-the-court affair into a league disgrace: Ron Artest. He's the one who responded to the ice toss by jumping into the stands and creating a mini riot. He's the one who created an environment where a host of people could have gotten seriously hurt. Ron Artest is a man with a long history of uncontrollable rage. Usually he just expressed his anger through technical fouls. Now it's escaladed considerably.
Players are suspended, and the local district attorney is investigating. Artest, Jackson, and O'Neal should be arrested. But beyond that, Artest, at minimum, should be suspended for the rest of the season. The NBA needs to do this. Simply creating another Michael Jordan won't solve their black eye.
"Basketball Brawl Hits NBA Hard"
November 13, 2004
What a Spanking
The dream is over. The Wisconsin Badgers had an outside chance at playing for the national championship. They needed to win their last two games and hope a couple teams ranked above them would falter. The Badgers failed to do their part by being slammed by a very passionate Michigan State team. For the first time all year the vaunted Badgers defense crumbled giving up 432 yards rushing.
Now, Wisconsin has to regroup, beat Iowa on the road, and pray Ohio State can get their act together and beat Michigan. Only then will the Badgers play in the Rose Bowl.
"Michigan St. 49, Wisconsin 14"
October 31, 2004
Redskins, Packers, and the Election
Today's Packers game will be the strangest one I may ever experience. That's because I'll be rooting for the Redskins. Run Clinton run!
The rational side of my brain tells me the strange Redskins-election streak has no bearing on who in Ohio, Florida, or Wisconsin will vote for on Tuesday. Another part of my brain tells me to not tempt fate. Going by Vegas, Bush is doomed since Green Bay is favored. But since the Red Sox finally won the World Series we know all streaks are bound to end.
I hope Brett Favre, Grady Jackson, and the rest of the Packers have a good season, but I want Joe Gibbs and company to grab a win today. Does that make me a bad Packers fan?
UPDATE: I want to smile that Vikings' coach Mike Tice is a big Bush backer, but I can only go so far in my pro-Bush/anti-Pack stuff. Praising a Viking crosses a line.
October 27, 2004
The Curse is Reversed
The Boston Red Sox finally win a World Series. 86 years of heartbreak vanish in victorious glee.
Does this championship vindicate sabermetrics? That's a question best saved for another time by someone much more knowledgable of the subject. For tonight, Red Sox Nation is standing tall.
"Red Sox World Champions"
"Red Sox Nation Rejoice"
"Red Sox Win First World Series Since 1918"
October 23, 2004
The Wisconsin Badgers will again, beating Northwestern 24-12. Next week the team has a bye then three winnable games to either get into the national title game or destroy the BCS.
Kudos go to Journal Sentinel sports writer Jeff Potrykus for his really close prediction of 27-17 Badgers.
"UW Steamrolls Wildcats to Remain Perfect"
October 18, 2004
Down the Tubes
Cecil Fielder's life is worse than an episode of Behind the Music. He's in debt up to his ears because of gambling, is in a fierce divorce, and his seclusion forced a lawyer to serve his son Prince after a minor league baseball game.
October 17, 2004
Badgers Burst Boilermakers' Bubble
That was a fun headline to write.
Oh to have been able to see that game. Strangely, at work I didn't hear any customers mention the game. Either I wasn't paying attention or those that did watch the game didn't bother going to the bookstore afterwards.
The Badgers have a great chance at going to another Rose Bowl and an outside chance to play in the National Title game. Next is giant killers Northwestern.
"Return to Glory"
"(10) Wisconsin 20, (5) Purdue 17
UPDATE: I almost forgot, we have to dance in celebration.
October 15, 2004
Deja Vu All Over Again
Tomorrow's contest between Wisconsin (Go Badgers!) and Purdue marks the third time the two schools will face each other with both in the top ten.
The big question is can the Wisconsin defense contain Purdue's passing attack. With Wisconsin's great defensive line they can generate a pass rush without blitzing--take note, Mike Sherman. What I think will be even more important is for Anthony Davis to have a big game. If he can run the ball well that will consume time, keep Purdue's offense off the field, and keep Wisconsin's defense fresh.
October 11, 2004
An Ugly Half
Brett Favre is trying to keep the Packers in the game, but when you defense rarely gets a three-and-out and gives up over 300 yards of total offense in the first half one man--one legend--can do only so much. The problem isn't the defense is bad, it's that they've gotten worse as the season's gone on.
October 06, 2004
Pederson May Be Finished
Doug Pederson was the second Packers QB to get knocked out of last Sunday's game. At first, doctors thought he just had a broken rib. We now know Pederson also has a broken bone in his back. He said he'll consider retirement if he's put on the injured reserve list.
"Favre Feeling Better but Pederson Could be Done"
October 05, 2004
My thoughts on the season so far are posted at SportsBlog.
"What a Mess"
Mad Pooper Sued
Packers running back (and former fullback) Najeh Davenport is being sued for breaking into a woman's dorm room in 2002 and defecating in a laundry basket.
I'm surprised this didn't happen sooner. Maybe it had something to do with Davenport's recent success as a football player. Would Mary McCarthy have bothered if the "Mad Pooper" was hawking stereo equipment at Best Buy?
September 26, 2004
Pack Loses Shootout; Legendary Performance
Defense? What defense? That was the question in Indianapolis today. Brett Favre and Payton "Favre, Jr." Manning combined for nine touchdown passes and oodles of offense.
The Colts owned the first half tearing apart the Packers depleted secondary. Favre and the gang kept pace. In the second half, the Packers fought their way back. Late in the fourth quarter, the Packers were within seven points of the Colts and driving. Then Javon Walker coughed up the ball with a great Colts strip. Indianapolis then scored on a Edgerin James run to seal the 45-31 victory.
To those betting types, if you need help with Packers games check out Lisa's prediction then bet the other way.
September 22, 2004
Hamm Hearing Next Week
Next Monday, the Court of Arbitration for Sport will hear Yang Tae-young's appeal that the International Gymnastics Federation strip Paul Hamm of his Olympic gold medal and give it to him. The South Korean wants another gold medal to go along with the one the Korean Olympic Committee gave him.
"South Korea Gives Gold-Medal Treatment to Olympic Gymnast"
September 19, 2004
If wives and girlfriends were actually more susceptible to domestic violence during the Super Bowl, I expect to see a few blackeyes in Green Bay this week. Thankfully, only the Packers got spanked.
"Smith Gets His Wish, Bears Beat Packers"
September 15, 2004
Mike McKenzie will meet with Mike Sherman tomorrow morning. The Journal Sentinel thinks McKenzie is ending his holdout. However, the only thing Sherman has said is "All I know is that I am meeting with Mike tomorrow at 8 o'clock. That's it. That's all I know." Hopefully, McKenzie realized the error of his ways and comes back to fulfill his contract and make the Packers even better.
"McKenzie Will Finally End His Long Holdout"
September 14, 2004
Pack Beats Kitties
Constant blitzing by the defense along with a punishing running game led to a solid 24-14 Packers win over the defending NFC champion Carolina Panthers.
Somebody give me a reason not to declare the Packers offensive line the best in football.
"Packers Overpower Reigning NFC Champs"
September 12, 2004
Brewers Sale Update
A Los Angeles businessman is now in the running for the Brewers.
"L.A. Financier May Buy Brewers"
September 06, 2004
Signing Tim Couch then cutting him may be a sign that Mike Sherman isn't up to the job of general manager. We know he can coach, but the question remains if he can evaluate talent.
Couch never looked good in a Packers uniform. During games he looked indecisive which led to sacks. When he did throw there wasn't the strength he had in Cleveland. Mike Sherman and offensive coordinator Tom Rossley think Couch came into camp with a sore arm. Why didn't they give him a physical before giving him a $625,000 signing bonus? While wasting all that time talking with him as being the possible successor to Brett Favre, the Packers passed up on other opportunites. Favre won't be around forever. Heck, this may be his last season. Just saying, "Hopefully, we can keep Brett around" won't lead to continued success.
"Disappointing Couch Canned"
August 27, 2004
It Just Won't Die
Poor Paul Hamm. After winning a gold medal, he thought he was living a dream. The FIG turned it into a nightmare by flailing away trying to save face over a judging mistake that may or may not have cost a South Korean the gold. Hamm's back in the U.S. presumably to get away from this horrible experience, but the FIG sticks Hamm's nose in it by asking him to give his medal to bronze medalist Yang Tae-young. In the letter (reprinted in the extended entry), FIG president Bruno Grandi wrote, "The true winner of the all-around competition is Yang Tae-young." But on the FIG's website it states, "Paul Hamm cannot be responsible for a judging error." Hamm's not responsible, yet he should be the won to give up his prize. Also in the letter, Grandi writes, "At this moment in time, you are the only one who can make this decision." Yet he told a reporter,
He deserves the medal, and the ranking is clear. ... I respect totally Paul Hamm and all the decisions he makes. If he says give back the medal, I respect it. Don't give back the medal, I respect the decision. He is not responsible for anything.
Grandi wrote the letter because of a Hamm comment where he said, "If the FIG will decide that I have to give it back, I’ll do it." From my interpretation, Hamm would return his medal if the FIG declared Yang the winner. It hasn't done this. On their website, FIG wrote, "Respecting its rules, the FIG has not modified the final score and the ranking." Hamm is still champion.
The USOC came storming to Hamm's defense:
The USOC views this letter as a blatant and inappropriate attempt on the part of FIG to once again shift responsibility for its own mistakes and instead pressure Mr. Hamm into resolving what has become an embarrassing situation for the Federation. The USOC finds this request to be improper, outrageous and so far beyond the bounds of what is acceptable that it refuses to transmit the letter to Mr. Hamm.
Paul Hamm is supposed to be more benevolent than anyone in sports history. Because of a mistake he had nothing to do with he's supposed to ease FIG's embarassment by giving his gold medal to someone who didn't win it. That's not "fair-play" (to use Grandi's word); it's asking someone else to take responsibility for FIG's failure. Hamm thinks he's the gold medal winner, and according to the rules everyone participated under he is. FIG doesn't deny this. There's no time machine in sports where you can change one event without affecting anything after it.
Grandi and the FIG disgust me for trying to play on the conscience of a champion. For shame!
"Officials Ask Hamm to Give up Gold"
[FIG President Bruno Grandi's letter to Olympic champion Paul Hamm.]
Firstly may I extend to you and to the USA team my heartfelt congratulations for your magnificent results at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
I have addressed this letter to you after having read the following statements attributed to you in the American press: “It was very hard to focus after what has happened the previous days. At this moment, I don’t feel that I have to give back my medal. If the FIG will decide that I have to give it back, I’ll do it. There are many different opinions about what I have to do. I can understand my Korean opponent. I believe that something is going to happen soon.”
This declaration, which gave me great pleasure, was made by a great gymnast and true champion who has the highest ethical values. This act, which demonstrates the highest level of honesty, places you amongst the true Olympic champions. I wish to confirm that your words grant you the highest esteem from the worldwide gymnastics family.
I wish to remind you that the FIG Executive Committee has admitted the error of judgement made on the Parallel Bars and suspended the three responsible judges, two from the A panel and the FIG Technical Committee member. Indeed, the start value of the Korean gymnast Yang Tae Young was given as 9.9 instead of 10. As a result, the true winner of the All-Around competition is Yang Tae Young.
If, (according to you declarations to the press), you would return your medal to the Korean if the FIG requested it, then such an action would be recognised as the ultimate demonstration of Fair-play by the whole world. The FIG and the IOC would highly appreciate the magnitude of this gesture.
At this moment in time, you are the only one who can make this decision.
With my bests regards and deepest respect,
August 26, 2004
"U.S. Soccer's Fab Five Go Out With Gold"
You can say that looks are deceiving when it came to the end of the U.S.-Spain men's basketball quarterfinal. With 23 seconds left in the game, a timeout was called for the U.S. team that had an 11-point lead. Coach Larry Brown claims he registered the timeout at the scorer's table (according to international rules) earlier and had no intention of embarassing Spain. Brown looked surprised the timeout was called, and pushed his players back onto the court when he realized what kind of perception he created. Spanish coach Mario Pesquera was furious and waved his finger in Brown's face after the game which set Brown off. Both coaches had to be restrained by their assistants.
"United States 102, Spain 94"
August 25, 2004
The passions surrounding Paul Hamm's gold medal have died down. After a few days of heated calls for Hamm to give up his medal to a South Korean that didn't win it, the ideas of giving up a medal or awarding a second gold have vanished. Good. Now Paul Hamm can start savoring his victory even though his father is ticked at a few people.
"Gymnastics Flap Gets Low Scores"
Kerri Walsh and Misty May took their domination of women's beach volleyball all the way to a gold medal. Their sweep of a Brazilian team capped off an undefeated run where they didn't even lose a game. So far, only the U.S. women's softball team has been more dominant.
"Fun, Frolic and Gold"
Another great story was hurdler Joanna Hayes who set an Olympic record in the 100m hurdles. The favorite, Canada's Perdita Felicien, hit the first bar. Hayes took advantage.
"Hayes Wins 100m Hurdles in Olympic Record"
August 24, 2004
Leave the Golden Boy Alone
Michael Hunt offers some sense about Paul Hamm's gold medal:
Share the gold? It shouldn't even be on the table, and the USOC should be ashamed for even thinking about it. This isn't kiddie gymnastics, where everyone gets a prize for showing up. Credit the South Koreans for sticking up for their guy, but this isn't Salt Lake City, where the judging was fixed. It's just, well, weird beyond belief.
George Vecsey also gets it right.
Fortunately, FIG President Bruno Grandi sharply said the decision won't change including awarding Yang Tae Young a gold medal. And no, Hamm still shouldn't give his medal away nor should he be brow beaten in the media.
"Burden of Dispute Misplaced on Hamm"
August 23, 2004
Keep that Medal
USA Today's Christine Brennan is part of the "America should apologize for doing well" crowd. She put pen to paper and called for Olympic champion Paul Hamm to give his gold medal to South Korea's Yang Tae-young. In Brennan's view, "Hamm would reap benefits he cannot yet imagine; addition by subtraction, if you will." Hamm must relinquish his gold medal because "it [is] the right thing to do."
Metaphysical certitude in any human endeavor is impossible. Mistakes are made by everyone. In sport officials make mistakes often. Umpires call strikes that are no where near the strike zone. In basketball, referees miss charging fouls. In hockey, officials fail to call off-sides. In these sports, teams can't complain after the game is over that because of bad call they should receive credit for a partial victory.
In the men's all-around competition, the South Korean coaches could have and should have immediately complained about Yang's start value. That's the rule in gymnastics. They didn't do that, and Yang lost out on those precious points. Is it fair in some Platonic sense? No, but such utopianism only exists in books and the minds of Leftists.
I'm not a die-hard rules-are-rules guy. Common sense and logic should trump that. In this instance, everyone knew what the rules were, and they were followed. To go back and changes scores would be absurd because it would toss every gymnastics competition, past and future, into chaos. A winner would be chosen that day, but none of the participants would be sure the final standings would have any permanence. Days, weeks, months, even years could past, and someone could find something to question the results.
I'm sure if we looked hard enough at the replays of all Yang's performances we could find some flaw the judges missed. U.S. men's gymnastics coach Miles Avery said Yang should have been deducted 0.2 because of an extra hold on the parallel bars. Does Yang and the South Koreans really want to do that? Do sports fans really want to be stuck waiting for weeks of analysis and lawyerly gobble-dee-gook from the Court of Arbitration for Sport?
We also don't know what would have happened if Yang's parallel routine were correctly scored. Hamm knew how much he needed on the high bar to get the gold. Who's to say Hamm wouldn't have thrown in some even more difficult elements to pump up his score and top Yang? Who's to say Yang wouldn't have changed his routine knowing he was ahead? Paul Hamm has it exactly right:
We don't know what the outcome of the meet would have been. Maybe the other gymnast (Yang) would've relaxed going into high bar (the last event), maybe he would've made a mistake. Who knows? The point is we don't know. That's why a score has to be contested by the end of an event.
Playing "What If?" turns sport into a parlor game instead of the serious competition that this is. Thus, I've changed my mind: no second gold for the Yang. Unless we find some form of corruption, like in the 2002 figure skating scandal), the final results should be just that, final. At what point does a final decision really become final? In international competition we know: in an all-around the scores are set at the end of the rotation barring a protest. The rules were followed. Paul Hamm shouldn't be put on a guilt trip for winning. Leave him alone and let him enjoy his accomplishment.
"Only One Maneuver Remains: Give Up the Gold"
"USOC 'Willing to Consider' Second Gold in Gymnastics"
[Warning spoiler below.]
Paul Hamm took the silver medal in the high bar. He tied Italy's Igor Cassina with a 9.812. Based on a "complex tiebreaking formula used in gymnastics," to use the AP's words, Cassina won. Should Hamm be able to go back to the video tape and find one of Cassina's mistakes the judges missed? Of course not. But the South Koreans (and too many overly-sentimental Americans) want to jump into the Wayback Machine and make the past perfectly fair.
"Paul Hamm Waits Out Boos, Then Wins Silver"
August 21, 2004
The Real Dream Team
"Would Finch Ever Pose Nude?"
Hamm's Medal Tainted?
Gymnastics judges admit they made a mistake that cost South Korean gymnast Yang Tae-young a gold that was awarded to Paul Hamm. The judges based their scoring on a 9.9 scale even though Yang's same routine was scored on 10 scale in the team qualifying and finals. A one-tenth addition would have vaulted (pun intended) Yang from bronze to gold beating Hamm by 0.051.
The International Gynmastics Federation (FIG) won't change the results saying the South Korean team didn't protest the score at the time of the rotation. Knowing Hamm had a long way to go to be in contention, they may have not been as adament in their complaint. After the fact, they realize how important the mistake was.
The FIG refuses to release the judges' names, but the AP reports Spain's Benjamin Bango and Columbia's Oscar Buitrago Reyes set the 9.9 starting value and the U.S.'s George Beckstead was the panel chairman. Others may have been involved, but only three judges were suspended. I want to know if these same judges worked the team qualifying and finals. If so, how could such an obvious mistake take place?
Should Paul Hamm give up his gold medal? Did he actually earn it? Would sportsmanship dictate he return the gold and accept the silver?
Paul Hamm earned that medal. He fell on the landing of his vault, yet turned some spectacular performances on his other events to leap from 12th place to 1st. Hamm had no power over the judges. He didn't force a screw up of Olympian proportions. Hamm only did what he had to do, and that's tumble and fly like he never did before. Someone who did so much doesn't deserved to be punished by an uncontrollable error.
Yet Yang also shouldn't be punished for something outside his control. He was denied a gold because some judges couldn't get their act together.
Reporters are comparing this judging mess to the figure skating fiasco in 2002 in Salt Lake City. Corrpution took place there, while incompetance happened in Athens. Even the South Koreans aren't complaining of corruption even though an American was one of the judges. Olympic officials came to a solution in 2002 by awarding two sets of gold medals. Awarding golds to both Hamm and Yang would be the best ending.
"Judging Error Led to Hamm's Gold"
"Hamm's Gold Was in Error, but He'll Keep It"
"Hamm to Keep Gold Despite Error"
"Shades of Salt Lake City for South Korea?"
"Do the Right Thing--Give S. Korean a Gold Medal, Too"
August 16, 2004
The NY Times' Dave Anderson has some interesting prognostication for Whistling Straits' future:
Look for the 2012 United States Open to be awarded to Whistling Straits by the United States Golf Association, which has already committed to holding its 2007 Senior Open here.
Eight years to wait for the U.S. Open. Oh, well. I plan on being there in 2007 for the Senior U.S. Open.
"'Dyeabolical' 18th Hole Earns Its Major Stripes"
UPDATE: Future major golf events aren't just the hot air from Herb Kohler. PGA chief executive Jim Awtrey said the PGA Championship will return and "someday there will be a Ryder Cup here."
"'No question' PGA Championship will return to Whistling Straits"
August 15, 2004
When it was all said and done Pete Dye was right.
Dye said he expects "somebody will shoot a 65 or 66" on the 7,514-yard layout that plays to a par 72. And the winning total? "With the weather that's forecast, 8- or 10-under par," he predicted.
Vijay Singh shot a final-round 4-over-76 yet made his only birdie in a three-way playoff to win his second PGA Championship.
The world's best golfer were tearing apart the beast in Thursday's opening round. The greens were soft and there was no wind. In today's round, conditions changed. The wind kicked up and the greens were fast from a lack of rain. Singh survived a tough round of golf and shined in the playoff.
Singh praised the Wisconsin fans:
But the fans were incredible. I thought they were very fair. I had fans from the very first day. I played with John Daly and Tiger the first day, and they were loaded there, too. I was used to the fans going to the last day, but I thought they were very fair. Very enthusiastic crowd out there, and they were cheering for everybody. It's nice to have fans like that when you play golf tournaments. They really appreciate good golfing.
Such a good response only helps the course's future. Herbert Kohler, CEO of Kohler Company which owns Whistling Straits, says he already has a verbal committment to host another PGA Championship and possibly a Ryder Cup.
"Timely Birdie Gives Singh Second PGA Title"
[Crossposted to SportsBlog.]
August 14, 2004
There was a Trump sighting at Whistling Straits today:
In past years, a Donald Trump sighting might have been big PGA news. At one point Saturday, The Donald planted himself at the crest of the hill that the golfers climb to leave the 9th and 18th green. Mickelson nearly pulled a neck muscle doing a double take as he walked by Trump.
"Final Round Should Have Plenty of Headlines"
August 12, 2004
Whistling Straits wasn't the beast everyone thought she would be. Darren Clarke shot a 65 to take the first round lead and 40+ others shot below par. Because of the PGA's alterations and the lack of strong winds the course might not even be the "toughest PGA Tour course in the Greater Milwaukee area."
Whistling in the Wind
Whistling Straits, the home of the 2004 PGA Championship is even more daunting and intimidating in person than on television. Watching a camera fly over holes surrounded by sand traps, inhospitable rough, and towering rises is one thing, but walking up and down, up and down, up and down will prove to scoffers that golf is truly an athletic sport.
Yesterday, was the last day of practice. It was the last chance to map out strategies, see how balls rolled across greens, and how the weather would affect play. Hopefully, the weather wasn't a precursor for the tournament. The wind was coming out of the northwest. It added to the chill already in the air. Players and spectators both had to cope with a day in the mid-50s with rain showers and a wind that drove the precipitation sideways. I got tired not just from walking, but from nasty weather.
Yet the weather didn't stop me from seeing some of golf's biggest names. On a practice green together were John Daly and Greg Norman. I followed Jim Furyk through six holes and watched Mike Weir chip on the massive 18th green. Nick Faldo hit the straightest drive off a tee I ever saw. It was a laser beam. David Duval and Justin Leonard both walked past me to get to the next tee.
The closest I came to anyone was Tiger Woods. I was headed to the practice area to see of the world's number one player was there. At the clubhouse stewards blocked off a path signaling a player was approaching. It was none other than Mr. Woods. His walk was business-like, focused. Just a brief smile and a slight wave to his fans was all he gave. Tiger was at work.
I'd love to tell you I took a bunch of pictures to dribble out to you over the next few days. Unfortunately, my digital camera broke after a few shots. So, any suggestions on a new one that uses SmartMedia would be appreciated.
I did take two interesting pictures before my bad luck.
I couldn't resist a picture of this odd sign. The "vans" happen to be Cadillac Escalades scattered all over the course.
Today is when swings count. I'll be there bright and early. So, once again, expect few posts until the evening.
For some insider info, the Journal Sentinel has a pretty good weblog covering the tournament.
August 11, 2004
Watching Some Golf
Don't expect any posts from me until tonight. I'm spending the day hiking around Whistling Straits watching golf's best practice. If I don't do something stupid like forget my camera, there will be pictures too.
"Whistling Straits is a Bear"
August 08, 2004
To the Air
Last night, 60,000+ Packers fans filled Lambeau Field to watch a scrimmage. Yup, a scrimmage. Only in Wisconsin.
As for the play, iffy defense (missing starting cornerback Mike Mackenzie) may have persuaded Mike Sherman and Brett Farve to capture the spirit of the "Mad Bomber" Daryle Lamonica.
It's a lousy time for the Brewers to be in a funk. Not that there's really a good time.
"Offensive Changes Have Come to Pass"
July 25, 2004
"Armstrong Takes Victory Lap"
July 24, 2004
Sunday morning, Dennis Eckersley and Paul Molitor will be inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. They are the 99th and 100th inductees.
Aside: If you ever get a chance to go to Cooperstown, it's a wonderful little town, and the Hall of Fame and Baseball Museum are a delightful place to spend a day. I recall my visit fondly and will return some time.
Molly is going into the Hall of Fame with a Brew Crew cap on his head, and he should. All time with the Brewers:
Category -- Rank -- Total
(stats courtesy of the Star Tribune)
July 23, 2004
The Golf Tournament Formerly Known as the GMO
Wisconsin's annual PGA stop, the U.S. Bank Championship is the toughest it's ever been since coming to Brown Deer Park. Paul Azinger called it "a mini-U.S. Open." It used to be that the winner racked up an outrageous (20+ under par) score. The course is one of the shortest on the tour but the roughs are think. Wisconsin native, Jerry Kelly described one as "a bird's nest in a hawk's nest."
But wait until a few weeks when all the PGA stars go 40 miles north to challenge the monster Whistling Straights in the PGA Championship. Earlier this month after playing the course, 2002 PGA champion Rich Beam said, "Maybe it was just the setup that was throwing me off, but I think some of the long holes, with the narrow landing area . . . That's insane. It just doesn't seem fair."
"Eight-Way Tie for First at Brown Deer"
July 18, 2004
Webloggers League Update
The Webloggers League has ten willing
July 15, 2004
Webloggers League Update
So far, seven people have decided to throw their hat into the most intense and super-fantastic fantasy football league in the blogosphere. That means three spots are left. You better hurry, only 40 days until draft day. Read this for how to join (and get beaten by me).
July 13, 2004
Fantasy Football Time
Traning camp hasn't even started (I was watching baseball's All-Star Game tonight), but I've already made arrangements for the second year of the Webloggers League. If this season was anything like last season the greatest fantasy football minds in the blogosphere (at least three players had Ph.Ds--just not in fantasy football) will make it a tough, exciting contest filled with plenty of trash talk.
Will King attempt to repeat as league champion? Or will yours truly get over the hump and be victorious? Or will someone else take the title? I am offering a prize this year: one dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts (or 12 Tim Horton's goodies should a Canadian take part and win). That should provide even more incentive than plain-old bragging rights.
Just go to Yahoo's page to register. Here's the league info:
July 11, 2004
Big NBA News
Shaq might be headed to Miami.
July 06, 2004
Golf Fans, Begin Drooling
June 22, 2004
Is anyone else raptly watching Jeopardy! everyday?
This Ken Jennings is something else. Today was his 15th day of winning. (That site might be a day behind or so.) A software engineer from Utah, he consistently is winning around $30,000 a day, and is quickly approaching $500,000 in total winnings.
It used to be you went 5 days and that was it; they gave you a check and the keys to a new car, and an invitation to the annual Tournament of Champions. Now, they took away the cars, but you can keep winning until you lose. And Ken shows no signs of losing.
It's interesting to watch... and a bit disheartening. I've wanted to be on Jeopardy! for years, but watching Ken I'm just blown away and afraid that if I did end up on the show, I'd be fodder like the rest of these folks who are taking him on each day.
I just was perusing the Jeopardy! site; they are doing, or have done, contestant searches in Minneapolis. Do I dare try? Are the Keegan's Irish Pub trivia geniuses at Fraters Libertas going to try out?
NBA: Crime and No Punishment
As the Kobe Bryant case moves closer to the start of a trial, author Jeff Benedict is promoting his latest book: Out of Bounds: Inside the NBA's Culture of Rape, Violence, and Crime.
Based on a first-of-its-kind investigation into the criminal histories of 177 NBA players from the 2001–2002 season, Out of Bounds shows that an alarming four out of every ten NBA players have a police record involving a serious crime.
This is 2x the rate of crime involving NFL players. Minnesota's Vikings seem to have a running problem, with recent accusations of drunken driving, fighting, and rape/sexual assault. Benedict also has written a book on crimes in the NFL: "Pros and Cons: The Criminals Who Play In The NFL."
Sports leagues, from the commissioners offices to the teams themselves, must stop looking away from the crimes that their players are (alleged to be) committing and take a strong stand against lawlessness. I suppose one could argue that they need to stand back and allow the law process to occur, and take any disciplinary action only after the court has found the perp to be guilty, in order to protect themselves from lawsuit. But in a private league, there need not be any due process or wait for the court to make a judgment. Contracts should be written with clauses that allow a team and the league to immediately release a player and distance themselves from the sort of behavior that is rampant today.
June 21, 2004
Sean is a nice guy, and didn't give me a lot of junk for my Twins losing twice in last weekend's three-game series. We did get a victory yesterday.
For Twins fans, Twins Geek is the premiere fan-based site. He really goes off into some statistical analyses sometimes that can make your head spin, but it's cool. Check it out.
June 20, 2004
At Saturday night's Twins-Brewers game a fan slid down an escalator only to hit a program cart and the concrete. The cut on the man's head was termed "self-inflicted." The question that isn't answered is if the dork is a Twins or Brewers fan. Inquiring minds want to know.
"Fan Falls off Escalator"
June 15, 2004
The Pistons take the NBA championship with their 3-1 series victory over the Lakers. Since I can't stand watching Larry Brown's style of NBA basketball (strangely, I like it in the college game) this championship doesn't improve the NBA's standing in my eyes. I didn't care about the Lakers either so I pretty much ignored the finals.
"Pistons Send Lakers Packing, Win Third NBA Title"
Favre's New Back-up
The Packers have agreed on a one-year deatl with ex-Browns QB Tim Couch.
"QB Cushion: Couch, Packers Reach Deal"
June 13, 2004
Weirdness in Miller Park
In the Houston-Milwaukee game the Brewers' Ben Sheets threw only nine pitches in one inning and struck out the side. He became only the 37th pitcher in major league history to do that. Later on, the Astros' Brad Lidge struck out four in an inning to stop a potential Brewers rally.
[Cross-posted to SportsBlog]
May 27, 2004
Lambeau's House Found
A Green Bay father and son spent the better part of a year digging through old maps and records to find Curley Lambeau's birthplace. The lawn around the house has been re-named the "Original Lambeau Field." Expect rabid Packers fans from across the globe to make annual pilgramages.
"Lambeau's Home Found"
May 19, 2004
Brewers first baseman, Lyle Overbay, failed to get a hit ending his hitting streak at 18 games. Milwaukee did beat the Expos in rain-soaked game San Juan.
May 18, 2004
27 Up, 27 Down
Tonight, Randy Johnson tossed a perfect game against the Braves. More on this at SportsBlog.
Who'd Have Thunk?
As of today, the Milwaukee Brewers are only three games out of first place in their division. It's not just a case of being in a weak division because if the team were in either the east or west they'd still be in the thick of things. After coming into this season with a very low team payroll few thought the Brewers would amount to much. However, they're actually competitive. They've won more than they've lost, and they're fun to watch.
May 17, 2004
18 Sheets to the Wind
Ben Sheets struck out 18 Atlanta Braves and allowed only three hits in a complete-game victory yesterday. It was Sheets' best game ever as a pro, and it's arguably the greatest pitching performance in team history. The closest comparison is Juan Nieves' no-hitter in 1987. For more, there's Baseball Musings and Cheesehead Sports.
May 11, 2004
Wes Helms got out of his slump by hitting a walk-off homerun in the 14th inning to beat the Expos. If you ever go to a Brewers game this year don't leave if they're behind. This team refuses to quit.
Better than Expected
Coming into this season the Milwaukee Brewers seemed to be destined for another horrible season. They only won 62 games last year, and in the off-season they traded away their best player, Richie Sexson. So far, they've done better than most predicted. Only one game under .500 after a full month of play is wonderful. Thanks to great play by first baseman Lyle Overbay, named the NL Player of the Week, and pitcher/pinch hitter Brooks Kieschnick who hasn't given up a run in his last eight appearnces.
"Overbay Earns Notice for Torrid Week"
April 26, 2004
I hope the Packers' first round pick Ahmad Carroll can play because he certainly has the mouth. He had this to say about last year's infamous fourth-and-26 play against the Eagles:
You know, we're not going to let that happen this year. We can't dwell on the past. It's a new day and it's a new year and that's my job to go out there and ... see if I can put my team in fourth-and-40 situation instead of fourth-and-26.
"NFL DRAFT: Secondary First"
April 25, 2004
Packers Draft: Day 2
The Packers have one pick left and still haven't taken anyone on offense. Mike Sherman better have a good explanation. Supposedly, this draft was loaded with wide receivers, yet the Pack found none to their liking.
April 24, 2004
Packers Draft: Day 1
This year's NFL is suppose to be loaded with wide receivers. Since I'm not sold on their current batch of WRs I'm worried that Mike Sherman focused too much on defense. Two cornerbacks, a defensive tackle, and a punter were drafted by the Pack. No receivers or quarterbacks in that mix. That's not to denigrate first round pick Ahmad Carroll. I worry about his size (5'10" going against Randy Moss)He's a burner who made plenty of tackles in college. Guess we'll be stuck with Tim Couch or Doug Pederson backing up Favre next season.
"Packers Pick Cornerback in First Round"
"Top Pick Will be Put to Work"
"Packers Buck Trend"
April 19, 2004
Scenes from Phoenix
April 15, 2004
I thought the guy who got Barry Bonds' 660th home run ball was pretty lucky. The next day, the same strange man in a mask got Bonds' 661st home run ball. We now know that strange, lucky man was Oracle CEO and billionaire Larry Ellison.
"Just Waiting for the Sock of the Bay"
UPDATE: It looks like I'm wrong. Some guy named Larry Ellison snatched both Bonds' homers, but it's not THE Larry Ellison, the shogun of Oracle. After re-reading the NY Times story then the San Jose Mercury News story, I see no mention of Ellison being a billionaire. If the Mercury News, in the heart of Silicon Valley, didn't mention him as the head of Oracle, then it wasn't the billioniare Ellison. Me bad. Thank you Eye for pointing it out.
April 10, 2004
Ten Sheets to the Wind
The Brewers won their first game at home this season by smacking the Astros 6-1. Ben Sheets pitched his best game as a pro by blazing a fastball in the upper-90s and striking out a career-high 10 batters.
"Sheets Looks Sharp"
April 08, 2004
An American Legend
Saint Paul at fraterslibertas.com went off on women's college basketball in particular and women's college athletics in general. On one point, he's correct: women athletes shouldn't act as barbarian-like as men. But he disparraged the women's b-ball game too harshly. I rarely watch women's basketball, but I watched this year's Final Four with much enjoyment. These players were really good. The movement away from the ball was as good as the men's college game and far better than the NBA. The cuts to the basket were precise and effective even if they weren't as fast for Saint Paul's ("it actually appears as if they’re all playing under water") taste. Tennessee, LSU, UConn, and Minnesota hustled for the ball with so much passion. Big plays were made by real stars. Minnesota's Janel McCarville displayed soft hands and good footwork. Her teammate, Lindey Whalen was fearless going to the basket.
Then there was the uber-player; the woman among girls; the greatest women's college basketball player I've ever seen: Diana Taurasi. It's nearly an understatement to say she can do it all, because she did so much to make her team win. She handled the ball as well as any point guard even though she's a guard/forward. She drove to the basket and always had options available. If the defense caved in on her, she'd find the open woman under the basket for a easy score. If the passing lanes were filled she either kick it out to a three-point shooter or dribble it out herself. If Minnesota was dumb enough to put only one player on her, she'd make an amazing spin move and drain the fade-away.
Taurasi is the definition of clutch. If her team needed a basket to squelch the opponent's momentum, she'd dribble down the court and make a three-pointer with a hand in her face. On defense, she was also always in the right place at the right time to steal the ball or block a shot.
Then there's Taurasi's will to win. I can only compare that belief that losing isn't an option to Michael Jordan. A three-peat wasn't to be denied her. Diana was UConn coach Gene Auriemma's assistant coach on the court. At every opportunity, she encouraged her teammates and told them what they needed to do. Taurasi deserved to win those three national titles like few other athletes in American history. To not appreciate the amazing talent Diana Taurasi is unfortunate. But who am I to talk? I can't figure out the infatuation with Kurt Cobain.
[Added to OTB's Beltway Jam.]
April 03, 2004
Since Wisconsin is a football state that doesn't have big league hockey, news in that sport is hard to come by (Madison is the exception with their re-born Badgers). I just found out that my alma mater, the University of Minnesota Duluth (no hyphen) is in the Frozen Four. Even more satisfying is they beat their in-state rivals, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Golden Gophers to get there. And even more satisfying, the Bulldogs stopped the Gophers from going after their third-straight national title. I'd sing UMD's fight song if I could remember it. Instead, I'll hum the unofficial fight song, "In Heaven There is No Beer."
"Minnesota Loses Chance at Three-Peat with Loss to Duluth"
"UMD and Denver to Collide in NCAA Frozen Four Semifinals Thursday at Boston's FleetCenter"
March 31, 2004
Dumb White Athlete
Football Hall of Famer Paul Hornung told a reporter that Notre Dame had to lower their academic standards to "get the black athlete" and have a stronger football team. Boifromtroy has plenty to say [via SportsBlog]. Let me just add an interesting stat:
Percentage of black players on ND's football team: 55.2%
POP! There goes Hornung's theory.
"Hornung: Notre Dame Must Lower Standards"
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
March 21, 2004
God Himself Touched These Arms
That photo is the best one I've taken so far. I'm going to have to invest in a new digital camera with a zoom lens when I come back next year.
March 18, 2004
Off to Phoenix
I'm escaping the cold and snow of Wisconsin for a few days of sunny hotness in Arizona. The Brewers' Spring Training is in full gear, and I'll be there to catch the action. There's something really nice about sitting in a ballpark with a cold beer in hand watching baseball. If there are any TAM readers in the Phoenix area send me an e-mail (sean --at-- theamericanmind --dot--com) or leave a comment. Maybe we can have a confab. I am bringing a notebook computer and digital camera with me. Supposedly my hotel has Wi-Fi so I hope to do a little posting. If I can't then I'll catch you all next Wednesday.
March 17, 2004
Join in the Fun
The SportsBlog basketball pool has only five participants. I want more. Know this, blogosphere bragging rights are on the line as well as a dozen Krispy Kremes to the leader after the Sweet Sixteen. All the details are over at SportsBlog.
March 15, 2004
Ignorance is Bliss
Mark Hasty will be helping us tournament junkies. His qualification: he's "a clergyperson who hasn't seen a single college basketball game all season." As long as he doesn't pick any of the #1 seeds to lose in the first round (even St. Joe's) he should be fine.
Some really good ladies deserve some attention. The UWGB women are headed west to play Houston next Saturday in the Women's Basketball Tournament.
"A Return Engagement for Resilient Phoenix"
For those interested, I set up a tournament pool. Details are over at SportsBlog.
"Pool Now Open"
Panthers in NIT
UMM gets its first NIT invitation. They play Rice Wednesday in Milwaukee.
"Panthers Preparing for First Trip to NIT"
March 14, 2004
It's Tournament Time
Print out your brackets, pour through the possibilities, and put on your prognostication hats. The teams have been picked, and the analysis and arguments have begun. At SportsBlog.org I've post my thoughts on Wisconsin getting a break by going to Milwaukee in the first round (and hopefully second).
"From Steel City to Brew City"
UPDATE: It's no surprise the Badgers make the front page of the Journal Sentinel.
"Staying Close to Home Fine with UW"
March 11, 2004
And Then There Were None
St. Joseph's got their first loss today in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic-10 tournament. Details are at SportsBlog.org.
"Last Undefeated Team Gone"
March 05, 2004
The talk of Green Bay getting Drew Henson has really quieted. Now, Favre's heir might be Titans' back-up QB Billy Volek. He's big and tough like Favre, but can the Packers fit him under the salary cap?
"Packers Eye Volek as QB"
[Cross-posted to SportsBlog.org.]
March 03, 2004
Moss in South Beach?
There's a big rumor involving my least-favorite NFL team. More at SportsBlog.org.
"Feeley to Moss?"
February 17, 2004
Men's Journal named Brett Favre the "Toughest Guy in America."
"The 25 Toughest Guys in America"
[Cross-posted to SportsBlog.org.]
February 16, 2004
The Bucks gave up Tim Thomas and Joel Przybilla for Keith Van Horn. Details at SportsBlog.org.
February 13, 2004
'Riders Selling Shares
I found another story mentioning the Packers' unique ownership. This time it was used right. The CFL's Saskatchewan Roughriders want to sell shares to their fans to pay off debt and improve their facilities. No mention was made of a government buying the team. Shares will just be sold to fans. Like the Packers, what it is is a convoluted form of charity.
"Cash from Shares Aimed at Upgrades"
February 12, 2004
It's give sports fans warm fuzzies to know the Green Bay Packers are owned by their fans. Sometimes people misconstrue the actual ownership structure of the team. Gary West, executive director of the Bowling Green (OH) Area Convention and Visitors Bureau thinks the city of Green Bay owns the team. He's using the Packers as an example of how the ownership of a possible minor league baseball team could be organized. Let me set the record straight: The Packers are not some form of sports socialism. They are a private company owned by shareholders, not the City of Green Bay, Brown County, nor the State of Wisconsin. A governmental body was created to fund the remodeling of Lambeau Field. To do that, a tax on Brown County sales was created. That is about as close to socialism as the Packers get.
"City May Try to Lure Baseball Team"
February 04, 2004
What a Team
The Packers are the third most Ultimate Team according to ESPN.
January 18, 2004
Special Report from Philly
"Panthers 14, Eagles 3"
Oliver Willis already has one wrong weekend prediction. The Patriots topped the Colts. Bummer. Payton Manning is a good quarterback, but the New England defense made him look like a rookie.
As for the Eagles-Panthers (already in progress) I hope Willis becomes 0-2. I'm not predicting a Carolina victory, I'm hoping for one.
Then there's Duck, M.D. in Iowa. Having him win takes him one step closer to the nomination--something bad for the Democrats and the country. However, a Howard the Duck flame-out would extinguish lots of TAM campaign fun.
"Patriots Stop Colts, Head to Super Bowl"
January 16, 2004
14-year old Michele Wie almost made the cut in Hawaii's Sony Open. I have more at SportsBlog.org.
"The Female Tiger Woods"
January 14, 2004
If I didn't have enough reason to root for the Carolina Panthers this weekend, Will Bunch shot off another anti-city column. Who do I talk to to take away Philadelphia's nickname "City of Brotherly Love"?
January 12, 2004
A Bad Memory
Reminiscent of Donovan McNabb's miracle 4th and 26 pass that led to yesterday's loss is another Packers heartbreaker. Back in 1999, the Pack faced the San Francisco 49ers in a wild-card game. I'll quote from the Journal Sentinel story:
All season long, Darren Sharper had been asked to make plays as the Packers' starting free safety, replacing Eugene Robinson.
Steve Young's 76-yard game-winning drive erased Brett Favre's 89-yard drive that gave the Packers the lead.
Packers fans may be used to victory snatched out of our hands, but it still hurts.
"Down & Out: Young Ends GB's season, White's Career"
Here's something depressing. Yesterday's game was the first time in Packers history where they lost a playoff game when leading by at least 14 points. Also, the infamous 4th and 26 conversion was the longest 4th down conversion by an opponent in Packers post-season history. These can be added to Ahman Green's team records set this year. He broke the single-season and single-game rushing records.
P.S. Fox wasn't on the ball. They didn't mention the Pack's record when leading by 14. If they did, I would have blamed them for the debacle.
"Packers Blow Biggest Playoff Lead vs. Eagles"
Praying for Forgiveness
Maybe the Packers' loss is do to my reliance on voodoo instead of Jesus (according to The Eye). And maybe that's the reason I'm down and out with a cold. If so, I'm sorry Lord. It's all her fault. She made me do it. She also shouldn't have sacrificed Elton John. That might have jinxed the Pack. Who would have thought God likes "Tiny Dancer?" One more thing, she is now ranting, but it isn't as long as her blast at Roger Clemens.
"Green and Fold"
January 11, 2004
Stick a Fork in 'Em; They're Done
Guess what can stop Michele's voodoo? Having your star player make a bone-headed play that costs his team the game. Also, a whole lot of bad luck had to happen (good luck for Philly). Getting a first down on fourth and 26 made up for Nathan Poole's miraculous reception against Minnesota. Then if Bhawoh Jue would have tackled Donovan McNabb, then Green Bay would be making plans to go to Charlotte next Sunday.
Dems the breaks. You live by Favre, you die by Favre.
At least Michele isn't ranting and raving...yet.
There's always next year. The Pack will be back!
"End of the Road"
The Shirt on Favre's Back
To add to the already homey feel the Green Bay Packers and their fans radiate, the uniforms Brett and the gang wear each and every Sunday are made only 1 1/2 hours away from hallowed Lambeau Field.
"Meet the Makers of Green Bay Packers Uniforms"
It will be cold in Philly today. That's a plus for Brett Favre who shines in cold weather even though his Mississippi blood hates it. (He's 37-2 when the temperature is below 34 degrees.) Another plus is a Philadelphia sports writer who ripped Green Bay and Packers fans, although he says the column was a joke. I smell fear in the heart of William Bunch. Fear of another Eagles playoff loss at home. Fear of another failed run at the Super Bowl.
But with yesterday being "Voodoo Day" Michele asked the football gods to bless Favre, Green, et. al. A dead eagle, a living eagle, and Elton John (here is the explanation), how can the Packers lose? I better be safe and keep my fingers crossed.
January 07, 2004
Gibbs is Back
I'm usually don't give a hoot about Redskins' football, but the return of Joe Gibbs to run the team puts a big smile on my face.
January 05, 2004
More Pics from Lambeau Field
These are for those of you who really wish you were there. Well, there's always next year.
The fun at Packers games starts early in the morning when tailgaters arrive in the parking lot.
Probably the favorite food for tailgaters are brats. Yum!
Packers fan like to make clever signs, like this one:
We all know Packers fans are a little weird. You can't have such devotion to one team and not be a bit strange. Here we have two examples. First, is the Packer Pope:
January 04, 2004
Live from Lambeau
What a game! What a game! Both Seattle and Green Bay did a good job stopping each other's running game. Packers running back Ahman Green ran for only 66 yards and two short touchdowns while Seattle's Shawn Alexander ran for a mere 45 yards and three short touchdowns. Even with both teams' running games shut down, there was offense. Both Brett Favre and Matt Hasselbeck threw for over 300 yards. The big difference was Brett threw for a touchdown without turning it over, while Matt, Brett's one-time understudy, didn't find the end zone and gave up a game-winning interception for a touchdown to cornerback Al Harris.
It was a long, satisfying day. Next stop for the Pack, Philadelphia. The next stop for me, bed. Expect more pictures after some much-needed sleep. Dreams of touchdown passes and interceptions will be dancing in my head.
Thanks, Michele! Your voodoo worked!
UPDATE: I have to make this quick because I'm really tired. Citizen Smash loves his TiVo (find me an owner who doesn't) because it helped him fast-forward through the dead time during the game.
There is also this short story on Nathan Poole's guest appearance at today's game. Prediction: One day, he will be a Green Bay Packer.
"Poole Receives Key to Green Bay"
Finally, (need sleep, must sleep!) there was a sign at the game that read (I'm paraphrasing): "The only thing Vikings fear more than choking is drowning in a Poole."
January 02, 2004
My View of Lambeau Field
Here's a Quicktime 360-degree view of Lambeau Field from where I'll be sitting Sunday.
If you can't tell I'm a little excited. I wonder how my Minnesota Vikings readers are feeling?
No, I'm not asking for clicks to build my Kings of Chaos army (wait, I just did). I need song suggestions for a CD I will burn for my pilgrimage to the holy ground of The Frozen Tundra. I think I have the Packers fight song and some punk song about the Pack on my hard drive. The Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up" will be on the CD because that's what song used to be played just before every Packers' kickoff. Queen's "We Are the Champions" comes to mind, but my team hasn't won anything...yet. Your suggestions, please.
One other request, vote for Nick Barnett for NFL Rookie of the Year.
I will consider offers.
Fellowship of the Tickets
The mission today (and I choose to accept it) is to get my coveted Packers playoff tickets. I will not reveal the route I'm taking to Lambeau Field in order to protect me from bandits, ticket scalpers, crazy eBay sellers, or wacked out Vikings fans.
[Speaking of the Vikings, I heard a joke yesterday:
Why do the Vikings wear purple?
Because they always choke.]
Since the governor declared today "Packers Pride Day" I'll be busting out my #92 Reggie White jersey. It's not too late. Just run to your nearest sporting good store and get something green, gold and with a big "G" on it. Just don't look as dorky as this guy.
"Fans Plan to Dress up to Back their Pack"
December 30, 2003
Michele the Greek
I hope Michele pulls out some of her voodoo to make sure her Super Bowl prediction comes true.
December 23, 2003
Really Freaking Out
My latest Freaks of the Week column is up at SportsBlog.org.
December 22, 2003
Favre's Dad Dies
Brett Favre's father passed away last night. He was only 58.
Will Favre play in tonight's game? Will this tragedy end Brett's 204 game streak of starting as Green Bay's quarterback? Will his father's death do what drug addiction and injuries couldn't do: stop him from playing?
As someone who's dealt with death in the past few months, Brett's comfort zone has been totally disturbed. For him, his father was his football coach and his biggest fan. Knowing Irv won't be watching him play could be a tremendous distraction. Or it could give Brett the amazing focus needed to pull off a performance for the ages as a testimony to his father.
I don't care if Brett plays or not. That's not the important thing right now. Coping with one's own loss and comforting others is what's most important. Brett's family wants him to play. Football is in their blood, and that may help all of them. Whatever he chooses to do, I support him (like that really matters). Playoffs come and go. In the end, it's just a game. It's just a way to escape from the real world for a few hours.
I offer Brett and his family my deepest sympathy. Godspeed, Irvin.
"Favre's Father Dies Suddenly"
December 18, 2003
Really Freaking Out
It's late. Really late. Two days late. But Week 15's Freaks of the Week is posted at SportsBlog.org.
December 17, 2003
Can anyone explain to me why the union opposes this particular restructuring of A-Rod's contract? What do they have to gain or protect?
"Union Rejects Changes to A-Rod's Contract"
Wisconsin Packers fans have an explanation why the first few minutes of the game against San Diego was missed:
Fox 11 did not broadcast the start of the Packers game at San Diego Sunday.
Not only was Ahman Green's touchdown run missed, but his team-record breaking run was too. He passed Jim Taylor for most yards rushing in a season for a Packer.
"WLUK GM: Fox Admits it Goofed"
December 14, 2003
Dial "M" for Moron
I never thought someone would be so obnoxious as to one-up Terrell Owens in the touchdown celebration department, but New Orleans' Joe Horn did that. After his second touchdown catch he made a call with a mobile phone that was hidden in the goal post padding.
December 10, 2003
Falcons Drop Reeves
How is Atlanta Falcons' coach Dan Reeves rewarded for getting his marquee-player back and a victory Sunday night? He gets fired. I smell a sulking superstar behind this. Details at SportsBlog.org.
"Is 9/11 His Fault Too?"
Week 14 Freaks of the Week
It's late, but my latest Freaks of the Week column is up at SportsBlog.org.
December 07, 2003
I'm trying to start a conversation at SportsBlog.org on the difference between computer analysis in college football (the BCS mess) and baseball (sabermetrics). Why has it taken the latter sport by storm while receives plenty of derision in the former?
Since Cam isn't competitng with TAM in any catagory of the 2003 Weblog Awards, feel free to vote for him in the "Adorable Rodents" catagory.
You're welcome, Cam.
There will be month of screaming in the college football world because number 1 USC won't be playing in the national title game. I have more at SportsBlog.org.
"USC Beaten by Equation"
December 04, 2003
Croom Makes History
James Joyner comments on the hiring of Sylvester Croom as coach of the Mississippi State football team. He becomes the first black coach in the history of the Southeastern Confernce. I don't have anything more to add to James' cogent thoughts except I want to give you a local (Wisconsin) angle. Croom is currently running backs coach for my beloved Green Bay Packers and will finish the season with them.
"The Croom Hire"
UPDATE: Croom may only keep both full-time jobs until Sunday. He's said, "I truly am during this transition period going one day at a time."
"Croom Says Double Duty with Packers May End Soon"
In a related note, for the rest of the season, Packers players will have a #3 decal on their helmets in honor of the late Tony Canadeo.
"Packers To Pay Tribute To Canadeo With Helmet Decal"
Packers Legend is Buried
Running back Tony Canadeo, the "Grey Ghost," was buried in Green Bay yesterday. The Hall of Fame halfback died last Saturday at the age of 84.
In 1949, he became the third player to rush for over 1,000 yards. Now, every season, many players accomplish that feet. Canadeo is fourth on the all-time Packers rushing list and is one of only four players to have his number retired.
"Funeral Held Wednesday for Packers Great Tony Canadeo"
"Running Back Stuck with Pack"
December 03, 2003
Freaks of the Week: Week 13
My latest Freaks of the Week column is up at SportsBlog.org.
November 25, 2003
I'm Still Freaking Out
My latest Freaks of the Week column is up.
Warren Spahn, R.I.P.
Milwaukee sports legend and one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history, Warren Spahn died yesterday at the age of 82. How good was he? Here's a few paragraphs from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story:
During his brilliant 21-year career, mostly with the Boston Braves and Milwaukee Braves, Spahn won 363 games, most ever by a left-hander, compiling 20-victory seasons 13 times. He was known for his longevity, winning 177 games after his 35th birthday, including No. 300 in 1961 at age 40.
Spahn was also a World War II veteran who earned a bronze star and purple heart.
"Warren Spahn: 1921-2003"
UPDATE: For more Spahn links, read my SportsBlog.org post.
November 23, 2003
Another anniversary directly connected to JFK's assassination was the decision to play NFL games two days later. Kevin posts on it at Sportsblog.org.
November 22, 2003
Dave Pinto is leaning toward the legalization of player-enchancing drugs--steroids for example.
So my position is becoming, why not let players who want to use steriods under a doctor's care for a short time period during the off-season? It has to be better and safer than what's going on now.
Unfortunately, what would happen is most players would use them. Those that didn't would be at a significant disadvantage. It would be similar to batting glove use today. Most players use them because they think they'd be at a disadvantage if they didn't. Of course, that doesn't explain the amazing (and gloveless) Vladimir Guerrero.
November 19, 2003
Freaks of Nature
For your fantasy football pleasure my latest Freaks of the Week column is up at SportsBlog.org.
And King, I will defeat you next week!
November 15, 2003
Wisconsin Crushes Michigan State
Lee Evans scored five times in the Badgers' win.
"Evans Spears Spartans"
November 11, 2003
My latest Freaks of the Week column is up at SportsBlog.org.
November 08, 2003
Lousy Sports Fans
My latest SportsBlog.org post illustrates just how bad some Minnesota football fans are.
"A Tale of Two States"
More Brett Next Year
Expect to see Brett Favre slinging the ball around in 2004.
"Brett Favre May Not Retire"
[crossposted to SportsBlog.org]
November 07, 2003
Scholars are Doomed!
My fantasy football team, the Crazy Cooters is the first team in the Webloggers League to break the 1000 point mark. You'd think I'd be comfortably in first place. Uh, no. While players like Payton Manning and Torry Holt play so well week after week, a Ph.D. in the land of the Vikings (oh the insult!) has ripped off eight wins in a row. Last week, I pummeled my arch nemesis and high school buddy so, the chase is on for the league title.
King, you might as well quit now. You may have some secret econometric technique to pick an optimum line-up, but it's no match for one who writes a weekly fantasy football column. You may be ahead of me right now, you haven't beaten me yet. Our showdown is only weeks away. I hope you have plenty of sleepless nights until then.
November 05, 2003
My latest Freaks of the Week column is up at SportsBlog.org.
November 04, 2003
16 teams will play basketball in the new Big East in the 2005-06 season. All the schools shuffling around was confusing enough, now I have to keep track of 15 others when Marquette plays. What this expansion creates is one hell of a basketball power.
"Big East Expands by Five"
November 03, 2003
My post on last night's sweet victory is at SportsBlog.org.
"Packers Beat Vikings"
October 29, 2003
Week 8 Freaks of the Week
My latest Freaks of the Week is up at SportsBlog.org.
October 26, 2003
Ok Sports Weekend
The Badgers looked bad, but the Vikings lost, and my alma mater swept the Minnesota Golden Gophers. It turned out to be a good sports weekend even without the Packers playing.
"One Less Undefeated Team"
"UMD Skates to 4-2 Victory, Earns Sweep of Gophers"
October 25, 2003
Badgers Lose Again
Two weeks ago after beating #3 Ohio State, the Wisconsin Badgers were giant killers. Now, after a loss to Purdue last week and a loss to lowly Northwestern today, the Badgers are imploding. Two weeks ago, the Rose Bowl was in sight. Now, let's see if the team can get through another game without anyone getting hurt.
October 21, 2003
Week 7 Freaks
October 16, 2003
If anything happens to the guy that went after that foul ball in Game Six of the Cubs-Marlins series I'm holding The Smoking Gun partially responsible. Publishing his name and some of his bio is irresponsible. It doesn't add to the story. All it does is draw attention to the person.
Credit should go to the Chicago Tribune for not publishing Steven Bartman's name until he made a public statement. He's made himself publiclly known. I hope no crazy Cubs fan goes after him.
"The Fan: ' I am so Truly Sorry'"
"Marlins End Cubs' World Series Dream"
October 14, 2003
Nebraska Player Punches Fan
After Nebraska's loss to Missouri Saturday, an angry Cornhusker took his emotions out on a Tigers fan by decking him. As you can see in this video clip, #29 punches someone in the face. The fan crumbles to the ground. According to the Cornhuskers website, #29 is Kellen Huston, but while not being able to clearly see the name on the attacker's jersey, it doesn't look like Huston. No one has filed a complaint or made any arrests.
Robert Reynolds, the Ohio State player who choked Badger QB Jim Sorgi on nation-wide cable television apologized publicly and will serve a one-game suspension. This is what he said:
I'd like to start out by apologizing again to Coach Alvarez and Jim Sorgi for my actions during the game. You know, it was uncharacteristic of me, and I lost my poise for one second, and, as a result, I have to sit out this next game. And I'd like to apologize to my teammates for my actions also, and to my family for having them had to put up with what I've done and just hope we can move on from this. And I'm positive that this will never happen again and is definitely not in my character to do this.
It sounds sincere and missing one game seem appropriate. This event is done with as far as I'm concerned.
"Reynolds Meets With Media To Apologize Publicly"
October 12, 2003
Fans Rail on Linebacker
Ohio State fans are ticked at linebacker Robert Reynolds for what appeared to be a choke hold on Badgers QB Jim Sorgi. On a Buckeye's fan board, on person wrote:
I'm terribly ashamed to be a Buckeye fan today. Not for the loss so much as for the actions of Robert Reynolds. Had we won, it would have been scarred and shameful. To beat them by choking their quarterback . . . no.
"Buckeyes' Fans Pile on Linebacker"
A Beating in Beantown
I don't remember a sports rivarly this nasty since that Packer defensive lineman Charles Martin grabbed the Chicago Bears' QB Jim McMahon and slammed him into the turf.
"Book Details Bears-Packers Rivalry"
Despite a cheap shot (or choke) by a Buckeye defender, the Wisconsin Badgers pull off the program's biggest win since the 2000 Rose Bowl. After Badger QB Jim Sorgi left the game with an injured throat, Ohio State figured Wisconsin wouldn't use the pass with second-stringer Matt Schabert running the show. But Schabert showed everyone he had nerves of steel by running for important first downs and completing a beautiful throw to wide receiver Lee Evans in the fourth quarter to regain the lead.
Now, everybody sing along: "On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin!..."
Or we could dance if the badger song site was up.
"Singing in the Showers"
October 08, 2003
My latest Freaks of the Week column is up on SportsBlog.
October 07, 2003
NFL Joke Voting
Here's a reason why fans shouldn't vote for NFL rookie of the week. Jacksonville's QB Byron Leftwich threw for 336 yards and 2 touchdowns. That's a great performance even for a seasoned veteran. Yet he's down in the voting because hoards of Packers fans (including me) have stuffed the ballot for linebacker Nick Barnett. He had 12 tackles and one sack, but even I think Leftwich had a better week.
October 05, 2003
Michele Knows Football
This post is one reason Michele's my favorite NY weblogger. If she weren't happily married I'd kiss her. Us weblogging Packers fans must stick together.
"On the Offensive"
September 30, 2003
Week 4 Freaks of the Week
My latest Freaks of the Week column is now up at SportsBlog.
September 27, 2003
A SportsBlog Testimonial
In my fantasy football league I have Buffalo's Travis Henry. Last week he injured his ribs. All this week I didn't know if he would start. Thanks to the post by Kevin Pritchard I have enough information to bench him.
Thank you SportsBlog.
Football is in full swing, baseball playoffs will soon begin, and hockey and basketball will soon start. If you like sports and want to write about it, SportsBlog's here for you. Just e-mail Kevin (admin at sportsblog dot org) or myself (sean at theamericanmind dot com), and we'll get you set up.
September 24, 2003
Freaks of the Week
My latest Freaks of the Week column is now up at SportsBlog.org.
September 18, 2003
Cheerleading Mode On
To all Packers fans:
Vote for Nick Barnett as last week's Rookie of the Week. He had 14 tackles, an interception, and one pass defended. Be like Chicago (the city, not da Bears): vote early, vote often.
September 16, 2003
Week 2 Freaks
September 15, 2003
Down to the Wire
Going into tonight's game between the Giants and Cowboys, I'm trailing Kevin by 13 points. Fortunately, I have Amani Toomer and the NY defense. With Travis Henry scoring 3 TDs for me yesterday, I don't know how I'm behind. Here's keeping my fingers crossed. Go, G-Men go!
UPDATE: For anyone who really cares, I beat Kevin. The Giants' defense couldn't stop the mediocre Cowboys from scoring, but they got a TD and a few sacks. Also Amani Toomer caught at TD.
September 14, 2003
Jamal Lewis made what will go down as one of the greatest predictions in sports history. Earlier this week, while talking to a Cleveland Brown player, he predicted he would break the single-game rushing record if given 30 carries. Today, Lewis did it by rushing for 295 yards. He certainly talked the talk and walked the walk.
The Cleveland Browns feel really, really bad. Safety Earl Little said,
This is the most disgusting feeling I've had in my whole life. He said what he said, he did it and it's in the history books.
I predict Lewis won't make anymore predictions this year. Never tempt fate, I say.
"Baltimore 33, Cleveland 13"
"J. Lewis Breaks Rushing Record"
September 09, 2003
Fantasy Freaks of the Week
The first ever SportsBlog Freaks of the Week have been announced.
September 07, 2003
Those Darn Vikings
All right. All you Vikings fans can start ragging on me. Any team that gave up that many 10+ yard plays deserves plenty of ripping.
September 06, 2003
For everyone besides the Jets, Redskins, Bucs, and Eagles the NFL season starts tomorrow. The Green Bay Packers begin their season by bringing in the Minnesota Vikings to dedicate the newly-remodled Lambeau Field. The new additions of more seats (bringing total capacity to over 72,000) and an atrium to make the stadium an all-year attraction will be successes, but what of the team?
An analysis of this team requires three separate examinations. First, is the team better than they were last year? Second, Are the teams in NFC North better than last year? Third, what intangibles will affect the Packers?
Did the Packers Get Better?
The question on offense is whether linemen Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher can come back from last year's serious injures to open holes for Amman Green and to protect Brett Favre, the NFL's #4 player.
The real problems for the Packers last year were on defense. By bringing in linebacker Harvey Nickerson, Green Bay thought they'd be tough against the run. Oh, were they wrong. They couldn't stop anybody on the ground. Even though they won their division they couldn't stop Atlanta's T.J. Duckett in the home playoff loss. This year stopping the run is still a question mark. Lineman Gilbert Brown is playing with a torn bicep. Don't expect him to play the entire season. Unless someone like Rod Walker does a good job in Brown's absence rookie linebacker Nick Barnett will have a really tough time.
Looking at both sides of the ball, it seems the Packers are about as good as last year.
What About the Opposition?
Detroit may be slightly better simply because Steve Mariucci is their coach. QB Joey Harrington has one year behind him and will be throwing to top rookie WR Charles Rogers. The Lions suffered some bad luck by losing RB James Stewart for the year. Orlandis Gary is in to replace him, but we'll see if he can regain his Denver form with Detroit's offensive line.
The Chicago Bears were awful last year and will be awful again. Their defense had the potential to regain their dominating form of two years ago, but they traded lineman Ted Washington. That leaves linebacker Brian Urlacher with a big bulleye on his helmet. On offense Kordell Stewart is running the offense, and no running back has impressed the coaches.
The NFC North is only slightly better than last year. Minnesota and Detroit have made efforts, but they don't look to have much of an effect this season.
What's With Intangibles Anyway?
Another intangible is team chemistry. The Packers cut center Frank Winters. By all accounts he was Favre's best friend on the team. Do players feel a connection with each other and the fans to want to do all they can to win? Can the coaches rev up the players to play their best?
Hurry Up! We Want Your Predictions?
As a special bonus, I offer up my Super Bowl picks. The Philalephia Eagles will beat the Tennessee Titans.
September 05, 2003
Rush on ESPN
It sounds like Rush Limbaugh did all right in his debut on ESPN's NFL pre-game show. I only saw him offer his Super Bowl prediction, so I don't have an opinion of his performance. From the AP review it looks like Rush critics will have little to blast him with, but I'm sure they'll find something.
"Limbaugh Makes ESPN Debut on Pregame Show"
August 27, 2003
Another Fantasy Game
Yahoo's got another free fantasy game. This one has a twist on the basic "predict a winner" game. Each week you pick a team. If they win, you survive to the next week; but if they lose, you're gone. The catch is once you pick a team you can't pick again. That means you can't pick the Texans or Bengals every week. This is a good game for football fans who don't have the time or desire to run a fantasy team. All you have to do is pick one team to win each week.
If you're interested in joining the Webloggers Survival league here are the important details:
If you have a free fantasy football league you need another player for feel free to drop me a line. Just leave a comment or send an e-mail.
August 26, 2003
SportsBlog is Born
Here ye! Here ye!
[more trumpet fanfare]
In a couple weeks we will have NFL kickoff weekend. Some of you fantasize about this time of the year. Some of you have a satellite dish just to have NFL Sunday Ticket to watch as much football as humanly possible. Then there are some of you who think you can run a team as well as the real guys so you play fantasy football. For all of you SportsBlog is the place. With our vast (and growing) number of contributors SB can cover the NFL at the speed of the Internet. There will be news, opinion, and analysis. And if that isn't enough for you, there are forums to yap with for fellow football freaks. SportsBlog takes America's love of sports and gives it that extra high-speed kick that only a weblog can do.
We're looking for more contributors to SB. The nice thing about a weblog is writers can be as broad or as narrow as they like. With SB you can post on the injury to your favorite teams second-string QB or complain about kickers jumping around like they're on fire just for kicking a 30-yard field goal. SB will not be successful unless we have contributors. For those of you who just read weblogs and aren't sure about starting your own, SB can be your way of dipping your big toe into it. Joining is easy. Just send an e-mail to admin at sportsblog dot org.
Now, are you ready for some football!?!
August 23, 2003
Sports Webloggers Wanted
Like sports? Want to write about it? Want a chance to get in on the ground floor of a cool new addition to the blogosphere? Then join Kevin and I at the soon-to-be-open SportBlog. We're looking for contributors. All the details are over at Wizbang.
August 20, 2003
Fantasy Football Help
CBS Sportsline has a nifty index of players' durability. It's not perfect. When it comes to QBs nobody's tougher than Brett Favre.
After looking at a number of mock drafts and draft results [here, here, here, and here] RBs will go fast. That means you have to go after quality right away at that position because little may be left when you need to fill in slots. That also means that quality players at other positions will fall. In the SI draft, Brett Favre and Drew Bledsoe fell to the 7th round.
USA Today gives you a listing of player projections. Just plug in you league's scoring system.
August 19, 2003
To all members of the Webloggers League the draft is less than 24 hours away. If you can't make the live draft make sure you edit your pre-draft rankings so you don't get stuck with picking Michael Vick in the first round. That was the only draft hint I will be giving you. For the rest of the night I'll be plowing through mock drafts, schedules, and stat sheets to put together the ultimate team that will rule the blogosphere. I'll pass on any good sites I find beyond the obvious (ESPN, CBS Sportsline).
August 18, 2003
Jets Not Extorting
Michele rants on the New York Jets' new policy of making people on their season tickets waiting list pay to stay in line.
The economist in me has no problem with paying to stand in line. (If you read James Fallows' Atlantic article on Rupert Murdoch you know they do it on Capitol Hill.) My beloved Green Bay Packers have over 50,000 people on their waiting list. It's common for new parents to put their child's name on the list immediately after birth so they have a possibility of getting season tickets by the time they're 40. For a really small-market team like the Packers paying to be in line would be a good money-maker. Sure, people will be ticked and drop out of line, but that would only make those left move up that much faster.
Where the Jets went wrong is for their president Jay Cross to say the charge was to keep fans "in the family." That's gobble-dee-gook. That's not even good spin. He could have been honest by saying that since there is so much demand just to wait to get Jets' tickets it is appropriate to charge for the privilige. Phil Mushnick is just wrong when he writes, "Jets are now charging something for absolutely nothing." That's not true. The Jets are charging $50 to get on the list for season tickets. Fans saw value by going on the list when the cost was zero, and they'll see value when they pay their $50. Phil certainly showed that any economics classes he took ever rubbed off on him.
With the Jets (and Packers and Redskins) having huge waiting lists for season tickets, that tells me those teams charge too little. Demand is outpacing supply. Of course, I'm being pretty simplistic. Teams want to connect with people. Having very expensive ticket prices could and do alienate fans. Just look at Michele's reaction. Then there are teams like Oakland and Arizona who can't fill up their stadiums. In their cases, if they want to maximize stadium revenue they should lower ticket prices. Since they don't some other factor comes into their decision-making. It might have something to do with shared revenue (ticket money is partially shared with the visiting team) or with television money.
"Jets' List Real Steal"
The league draft is in two days. I don't recognize all the players' weblogs by team name, so if you want leave a comment with your team name, weblog, and URL. I might actually play around with my template and add the list. I know at least one of you doesn't have a weblog. Don't worry, the rest of us will just rag on you for not having one. Dems the breaks.
August 14, 2003
Webloggers League Full
The league is full. The draft is next week so get your mock drafts and cheat sheets together. For the rest of you on the outside looking in there will be occasional updates. Especially if I'm in first.
My first week's victim, I mean opponent is Mr. Wizbang himself, Kevin.
August 12, 2003
To get you fantasy footballers ready for next week's draft here's a mock draft from NFL.com. Based on it, lots of running backs will go early.
"The Solo Mock Draft: August"
Here is further proof that Green Bay Packers fans are the most devoted in all of sports. I guarantee Packers fans will just eat this up. Now, if only they could find a way to have people buried at Lambeau Field.
Can you imagine any Minnesota Vikings fan wanted to have anything related to the Metrodome near their grave? The die-hards still want Metropolitan Stadium back.
"Packer Fans Can Take it with Them to Memorial Park"
August 10, 2003
Less Than 10 Days...
That's all the time you have left until the draft of the Webloggers Fantasy Football League. Three spots are still open with the winner having major bragging rights. He or she will be the first bonafide champion of the entire blogosphere. Doesn't Webloggers League Champion have a better ring than "blogfather?" And Glenn doesn't even have the guts to join. Since you really, really want to sign up, here are the details.
Pack Over Falcons
Packers won, but it's pre-season. At least Favre wasn't hurt. I had to work, so I didn't see any of the game. Therefore, no pithy comments or insight.
"A Georgia Peach"
August 06, 2003
Only 14 days left until the Webloggers League draft. Seven are in. That means there's room for three more teams. Having a weblog isn't a requirement. To join, just follow the instructions here.
August 03, 2003
Lofton in HOF
Today, James Lofton was enshrined in football's Hall of Fame. He becomes the first Green Bay Packer to enter after the eras of Lombardi and Lambeau.
His numbers are deserving: 14,004 receiving yards, 764 receptions, and an 18.3 yards/catch average.
Lofton spent most of his career in Green Bay but left under a dark cloud when he went on trial for sexual assault. He was aquitted but his days in Titletown were over. He had three chances for Super Bowl glory, but he was on the Buffalo Bills.
Green Bay eventually forgave Lofton for bringing shame upon their town and team. He now is also enshrined in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and has his name on Lambeau Field's Ring of Honor.
"Lofton's Big Catch"
"Image Makeover Helps James Lofton"
"James Lofton Goes from Titletown to the Hall of Fame"
July 31, 2003
Snazzy Packers Tickets
Alright, I should be asleep, but the good-looking Packers tickets have to be mentioned.
"Packers Tickets Sport a Makeover"
July 30, 2003
The fantasy football league is half-way filled. There are still 5 spots remaining. Go here for the vital info.
For those of you who have joined and noticed some weird line-ups, that was just me not thinking clearly when I set up the league. If you have any concerns leave a comment or e-mail me.
July 29, 2003
Fantasy Football Options
Fantasy football players have plenty of options for Internet leagues. Here are some well-known options:
I've compared these services solely on price. Most of my experience has been with ESPN.com and Yahoo so I can say anything on how nice SportsLine.com is.
Only 21 days until Webloggers draft day. Only three teams have signed up so there's plenty of room left. Just go to Yahoo's page and register. Here's the league info:
The draft is at an odd time of the day. If you can't make the live one, you can still play. Just fill out your player rankings and they'll be automatically picked (if still available).
July 28, 2003
Fantasy Football League
Attention football fanatics! I challenge readers and fellow webloggers to a season of frantic, gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, and, at times, hilarious fantasy football. For those of you who don't know the game, it doesn't involve Hooters' girls putting on pads every weekend. It's a simple, yet sophisticated game of drafting players, picking a line-up each week, and hoping the Metrodome's astroturf doesn't tear up your star running back's knee. There is a total of 10 teams in the league, so space is limited. To join, go to Yahoo! Fantasy Football and register. Here's the info for the Webloggers League:
If space runs out and there are people interested in joining a league, I'd consider joining an ESPN or Sportsline league.
July 27, 2003
Bucks Coach Candidates
For the three people who read this that care about the Milwaukee Bucks, here are some rumored replacements for George Karl's job:
On the early list of candidates for the Bucks job is Hawks interim coach (and former Milwaukee assistant) Terry Stotts, whose falling out with former Bucks coach George Karl remains a mystery. Other possibilities are Pistons assistant Mike Woodson, Kings assistant Terry Porter, Suns assistant Marc Iavaroni and Bucks assistant Sam Mitchell. Milwaukee would like a coach who can identify with and grow with its young roster.
Of those listed, I like either Stotts or Porter. Stotts is a well-respected up-and-comer while Porter has local connections and his court savy could fare well with a young team.
"Inside Dish: Hawks Shed No Tears over Robinson's Departure"
July 24, 2003
After reading this Wired News story I did a quick Google search for fantasy football weblogs and came up with one that hasn't been updated since last year. This is a niche that could garner a lot of traffic. If there is any interest I'd be willing to start up a group weblog on my server. Just leave a comment or send me an e-mail.
"Divvying Up the Pigskin Pie"
July 22, 2003
Michelle's a Packers Fan
Michelle has the best Packers story I've ever read in the Blogosphere. Why she hasn't been on it before I don't know, but she's earned her way onto my blogroll.
"Answering Steve's Burning Question: Why do I Root for the Packers?"
John Forgets Packers
John at Right Wing News listed his top athletes. There isn't a single Green Bay Packer on the list. Shame, shame. Here are some suggestions:
July 20, 2003
On a good local sports note, Randall Simon went 0-4 with a strikeout in Saturday night's game, and he didn't play on Sunday.
With George Karl getting the axe, Milwaukee can lay claim to two of the most screwed up teams in sports. But at least the Brewers are making some progress. The team is playing hard for Ned Yost. As for the Bucks, with no-names like Brian Skinner and Eric Strickland pencil them into the lottery already.
All this doesn't matter because Packers training camp has started! Go Pack Go!
"Karl Out as Bucks Coach"
Training Camp Starts
Yes, yes yes! Packers training camp has started. That means football season is only six weeks away. But poor Brewers. With real football stuff happening in Green Bay it will be all Packers all the time for Wisconsin sports fans.
"Training Camp Report - July 19, 2003"
July 18, 2003
No Randall Simon update tonight. He didn't play in Pittsburgh's 7-2 win over Milwaukee.
July 17, 2003
Even though the Brewers beat the Pirates, I'm bummed Randall Simon went 2-4. At least it was fun watching him get caught running to third.
Limbaugh on ESPN
Rush yapping about football is great. But the price is losing Sterling Sharpe. For a guy who hated the media as a player, Sharpe turned out to be a pretty good commentator. And boy was he one hell of a receiver. His hands were like super glue, and after the catch, he ran like a running back.
July 14, 2003
Baker, Rocker, Simon, and Welch
Matt Welch notes baseball's double standard when it comes to racial speech:
It is heartening that Baker hasn't been officially punished for saying what he believes, but for now it proves nothing about the colorblind exchange of ideas. John Rocker -- an individual performer, not a manager of men -- was suspended for 63 days three years ago after complaining that a New York City subway ride could mean sharing space with "some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids," and for describing an overweight dark-skinned teammate as a "fat monkey." That former teammate, Randall Simon, was just suspended for a grand total of three days after swatting a 19-year-old woman with a baseball bat. Until a white player or manager can say something more or less equivalent to Baker's comments and avoid punishment, we won't know whether sticks and stones will finally be valued by Major League Baseball as more hurtful than names.
On a bad note, Randall Simon went 2-4 in Pittsburgh's loss to Houston. Don't worry. I won't start calling Randall Simon a "fat monkey." I just want him to go hitless for the rest of the season.
July 12, 2003
In a twist only PETA could add to Simon's Sausage Swat, here's a portion of a letter to the Milwaukee Brewers:
"Violence is violence, whether it’s toward ‘sausages’ or living animals," says PETA’s Sports Campaign coordinator, Dan Shannon. "Putting a veggie dog in the Sausage Race would help stop the violence and make animals ‘safe’ in the baseball world."
First, PETA is run by idiots too lazy to do a quick search through the Brewers' website to find out who they should contact. Wendy Selig-Prieb no longer is president of the Brewers. That would be Ulice Payne Jr.. Selig-Prieb is Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Second is Dan Shannon's claim that Randall Simon might have been "expressing his frustration at the fact that the vegetarian hot dog was not allowed to compete." Yeah, Simon's swing was for animal liberation.
Wurst Baseball Commissioner
In Bud Selig's vision of baseball players are given passes when assaulting people in costume (a new victim group?) but raked over the coals for saying politically incorrect speech. Selig also has a racial double standard. Selig permits racist words from blacks that he would never accept from whites. Selig's value system sees words as more harmful than physical actions and racism from whites as more harmful than racism from blacks.
Randall Simon got a three-game suspension for swatting a sausage. If you or I would have struck someone at our workplace, we would have spent the night in jail, and our employer would have fired us. Simon takes a few days off--that he wouldn't have played anyway since he's in a hitting slump--and pays a few dollars in fines.
Sammy Sosa was suspended for eight games earlier this year for corking his bat. All he did was get caught cheating and got a severe punishment. All Simon did was wack another person in the head with a bat.
Then compare Simon to the way John Rocker was treated for saying some harsh words about foreigners and gays. He was suspended for two weeks. All he did was say a few things that ticked off people. He said politically incorrect speech, and baseball hammered him. Rocker didn't hurt anyone when he made his bigoted remarks and was suspeded for two weeks. Simon swung a baseball bat a another person and was only suspended three games. It makes no sense. Who actually did more harm?
You could say that Simon didn't intend to hurt Mandy Block, the woman in the Italian sausage costume, but so what? I may have not intended to hurt anyone if I (hypothetically) drank too much, got into a car impared, and hit someone. Just like a drunk driver, Simon irresponsibly put himself into a position where someone could have gotten really hurt.
But I could also turn it around by saying Rocker didn't intend to hurt anyone when he made his remarks. He was just telling a reporter why he didn't like New York. His intent wasn't to hurt or offend even though it did. Intent isn't as important the possible harm the action could cause.
Now onto Selig's racial double standard. Dusty Baker shared his opinions to reporters about the difference between races:
Personally, I like playing in the heat, you know. It's easier for me. It's easier for most Latin guys and most minority people because most of us come from heat. You don't find too many brothers from New Hampshire and Maine and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, right?
Imagine the suspension if Rocker would have said what Baker said. Even if he still could throw a strike he might not be playing. Other than public embarassment, Baker hasn't been punished for his racist statements.
But we don't have to imagine what would happen to a white person. We have Marge Schott who was forced to sell part of the Cincinati Reds because of her racist statements. But if she would have swung a bat at a mascot, she might have survived (unless the person inside was black). Also there's the incident when ex-Dodgers general manager Al Campanis said blacks weren't capable of managing. He was quickly fired.
When it has come to punishing players, managers, and owners, Selig has taken the politically correct route of making symbolic gestures by punishing certain speech from certain people while letting speech from others off with nothing.
Selig needs to take Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Had a Dream" speech to heart. He's judging by the color of people's skin instead of the content of their actions.
Is Selig going out of his way to embarrass his city and his team? Is making Milwaukee the nation's laughingstock his way of proving he's a fair commissioner showing no bias toward the team he used to run? There was last year's failure to finish the All-Star Game in Milwaukee, and then, almost on the one-year anniversary, Simon gets away with swatting a sausage.
"Simon Suspended for Three Games"
"Baker May be Misinformed, but He's not a Racist"
Lollapalooza and Sausage Swat
I just got back from Lollapalooza. Even though I'm starting to get into more organic, roots music (like John Hiatt, the Thorns, and the Jayhawks), I'm glad to know I could still enjoy a bunch of loud, high energy rock and roll.
I'll post a review later along with some Selig bashing for letting Randall Simon get away with assault.
July 10, 2003
Pillaging Pirate Gets Away with it
Simon tried to justify his swing by saying he was just playing around. "That wasn't my intention in my heart for that to happen. I was just trying to get a tap at the costume and for her to finish the race." Simon has an unsual way of tapping. It involves swinging a baseball bat at someone's head. If I did that at a local softball game, I would be arrested if not beat up by my target and his friends.
Since local authories won't punish Simon, Bug Selig has a big responsiblity to demonstrate that using bats as weapons is unacceptable behavior for players. Sammy Sosa got suspended for corking his bat. He was punished because cheating damages the integrity of the game. John Rocker was suspended for two weeks for derogatory remarks about gays and foreigners. Not severely punishing Simon would mean Baseball considers cheating to be more vile than physical assault or some bigoted remarks. Sosa's and Rocker's behavior didn't harm anyone while Simon's swing could have hurt Mandy Block.
On a lighter note, ESPN's Page2 has the police report on "Sausagegate."
And then here's what happened at today's Sausage Race:
Later that day, four new people were inside the costumes, and Pirates players moved into the dugout and away from the field during the race.
As a service to my readers, Milwaukee Brewers fans, and those that think Simon got soft treatment, I'll be following the rest of his season hoping he strikes out at every at-bat and bobbles the ball every time he's playing defense. Today, Simon didn't play in Pittsburgh's 5-4 win.
"Pirates Player Hit with Disorderly Conduct in Sausage Swatting"
"Simon Won't be Charged after Hitting Mascot with Bat"
Pirate Pillages Sausage
Going to baseball game you'd expect to see some good pitching, some good fielding, even a home run or two. But no one would have expected to see a baseball player with a bat hit a woman in a costume. That's what Pittsburgh Pirate first baseman Randall Simon did during the famous Milwaukee Brewers' Sausage Race. This video shows Simon delibrately swung at the sausage. It wasn't a case of him just poking his bat at her. Maybe he thought he was being funny, or maybe he just doesn't like Italian sausage. As a result of his clubbing two women went to the stadium's first aid station, while Simon was taken into custody by Milwaukee police.
July 08, 2003
Vote for Jenkins
For you Milwaukee Brewers fans, Geoff Jenkins needs your help. The final roster spots for this year's All-Star Game will be determined democratically. There's no Electoral College or the Supreme Court to make the final decision. All you have to do is vote on Major League Baseball's website. Since the game will be in Chicago next week, the saying "Vote early, vote often" perfectly applies.
June 05, 2003
Running Back Treats Wife Like Linebacker
Micheal Pittman, running back for the Super Bowl Champions rammed his Hummer into a car carrying his wife, son, and baby sitter. This is his fourth arrest for assaulting his wife. Probation and a treatment program obviously didn't tone down this guy's rage. Some jail time could certainly do the trick.
To show that I'm not just pointing out a bad apple from a team that beat my beloved Packers last year, there's the story of Joe Johnson and the mysterious marijuana. He was arrested on May 22 along a highway in Georgia. On Monday, Johnson talked to reporters with his explanation summarized by a Journal Sentinel reporter:
He said the marijuana did not belong to him. He said his only connection to the marijuana was that he owned the vehicle in which it was found. He said he was in the area of the car at the time the marijuana was discovered and that he had driven the car at some point, although he didn't specify when.
Johnson must think Packers fans are a dumb as the foam cheeseheads some of us wear (myself excluded).
"Tampa Bay Running Back Charged with Assault"
"End Discusses Arrest"
May 22, 2003
Annika at the Colonial
Annika Sorenstam made history today by not only playing in a PGA event, but doing all right. She shot one over par and would have been even if she didn't bogey the final hole. She played better than I expected, because I figured the added length of the course from the men's tees would have hurt her game more. It didn't, and she might even make the cut.
Unfortunately, ESPN has gone ga-ga over her performance. Announcers and commentators on SportCenter said she played amazingly well and was outstanding. No, she played one shot over par and is seven strokes behind the leader. She is beating Sergio Garcia and Tom Lehman, but for ESPN to fawn over Annika is to seriously insult the play of Rory Sabbatini and Mark Calcavecchia. Where their rounds god-like if Annika's was outstanding?
One example of ESPN's fawning was the mention that Annika out drove her partners on a hole. Sounds impressive. It sounds like she can hit the ball as well as a PGA man. What wasn't mention was what clubs they were using. According to the AP, Annika did out drive Dean Wilson and Aaron Barber on the 10th tee. But while Wilson and Barber used irons, Annika used a wood.
I admit that's a bit of knit-picking on my part, because what it all comes down to is the final score. Who cares what club Annika uses to get the ball in the cup. The question is if she can do it in fewer strokes than her competitors. After one round, she's beating 25 others.
"Annika Sorenstam Finishes Day 1-Over Par"
UPDATE: The NY Times' Dave Anderson determines what Annika must do to make the cut.
"Sorenstam Can Prove She Belongs"
April 27, 2003
I have no insight to offer on the Packers' two draft picks. I've never heard of either of them. What I am happy with is the emphasis on defense. Mike Sherman didn't pull any wild deals to draft a quarterback as the heir to Brett Favre. That's probably because he took Ron Wolf's advice on this year's crop.
What caught my eye were these few paragraphs about last week's signing of Eric Crouch:
Former Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch, the St. Louis Rams' third-round pick last year as a wide receiver, will play quarterback in his debut with the Packers in minicamp this week.
For any Chicago Bears fans reading this I'll give you a little help in reading between the lines: Mike Sherman thinks Kordell Stewart will the the Bears' QB the Packers will have to deal with. With Jim Miller's constant injuries it makes sense. And when you consider there's Minnesota's Dante Culpepper also in the division and a possible meeting with Atlanta's Michael Vick in the playoffs, the defense needs to be exposed to very mobile quarterbacks.
For my Minnesota readers I ask you this: How is Mike Tice allowed to coach your team? The guy's incapable of making trades and drafting players in the alotted time, he can't get picks signed in time for training camp, and he doesn't win on the field. Can someone inform Tice that there's no time out on Draft Day. I'd offer some sympathy, but anything that lets the Vikings be a losing laughingstock is good before my green and gold eyes.
"Wolf's Advice: Take a Pass"
"Vikings Get Williams After ''Passing'' at No. 7"
April 18, 2003
Bull Durham and War
Dale Petroskey, president of the Baseball Hall of Fame, got the message that his cancellation of the Bull Durham event, where anti-war celebrities Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, was out of line. In a letter, Petroskey writes,
There was a chance of politics being injected into The Hall during these sensitive times, and I made a decision to not take that chance. But I inadvertently did exactly what I was trying to avoid. With the advantage of hindsight, it is clear I should have handled the matter differently.
Petroskey's mistake was assuming Robbins and Sarandon were going to be jerks and pull a Michael Moore at the Oscars. What happened is Petroskey looked like the jerk, and a super-patriot one at that.
Robbins could have taken Petroskey's gesture graciously. Instead, in a statement, he snarkly stated, "I appreciate Petroskey's non-apology apology and his realization of the perils of paper trails."
To make up for the mess he started, Petroskey should reschedule the event. The Hall of Fame should honor the best baseball movie ever made. Invite Sarandon. She's prettier and hasn't been a public jerk like Robbins.
"Hall President Apologizes for Not Calling Actors Before Canceling 'Bull Durham' Event"
April 06, 2003
Jayhawks Snack on Eagles and a Star is Born
My how much things can change in a week. Last weekend, Marquette could do no wrong in their smashing victory over Kentucky. Last night, they got their clocks cleaned to a Kansas team that played suffocating defense and pushed the ball like it was a lay-up drill. It was painful to watch guard Travis Diener not getting any breathing room to make a pass. I grimised everytime the Warriors missed easy shots and the occasional wide-open jumper. I was hoping really hard that Kansas wouldn't reach 100. And what really hurt was that this game might have been Dwayne Wade's last as a college player. If it was his last game I really wished he would have shined on that national stage.
However, later last night, Syracuse's Carmelo Anthony rose to the occasion, put the Orangemen on his back, and led them into the national championship game by beating Texas. Regardless of Monday's outcome, Anthony could go into the NBA draft and be a lottery pick (I'd guess #2 behind LeBron James). He can shoot, pass, handle the ball, post up, rebound, take the big shot, and be a leader on his team. He can do all that, and he's only a freshman. Big things are in store for him.
"That's All She Wrote"
"Very Big Easy"
"Kansas Blitzes Its Way to Title Game"
"Big-Time Anthony Ready for Big Monday"
March 31, 2003
Packers Fans Don't Donate
Wisconsin taxpayers aren't donating their refunds to the Green Bay Packers. A local accountant told S.I. his clients haven't even mentioned it. It must be because few people know they can do it. Packers fans are rather weird. A few years ago a whole bunch of them bought shares of the team that can't appreciate in value. It was, in essence, a donation. Why fans would buy worthless shares but not donate their tax return makes little sense unless fans didn't know about the latter.
This check-off might not have been necessary if the Packers jacked up ticket prices to pay for the renovation of Lambeau Field. We wouldn't have the check-off and the burden on Green Bay/Brown County taxpayers would have been reduced.
"Limit to Their Love"
March 30, 2003
I'm 0-4 in picking this year's Final Four. Oh, well, Marquette made it and Michigan State could make the games in New Orleans really interesting if it can knock off top-seeded Texas.
March 29, 2003
Marquette in the Final Four
YES! YES! YES! "Holy Mackerel!" to use the late Al McGuire's words. Marquette beat Kentucky in Minneapolis and are going to New Orleans with a shot at winning a national title. Early on, the Warriors (TAM refuses to call them by the politically correct "Golden Eagles") had problems stopping the Wildcats on the offensive boards. As the game progressed, the rebounding evened out, in part because of Marquette center Robert Jackson.
This game may have been the moment when Warrior guard Dwayne Wade gave a big shout out to the sports world. He dunked the ball, passed the ball, shot the ball, blocked shots, grabbed rebounds and ran up and down the court. When the buzzer sounded, Wade ended up with a triple-double (29 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists). Kentucky coach Tubby Smith put it bluntly, "We had no answer for Wade."
To let you know how amazing Wade played, he became only the third player in NCAA tournament history to have a triple-double. Over the years and years the tournament has been played with countless basketball legends only Magic Johnson, Andre Miller, and Dwayne Wade have gotten a triple-double.
Next Saturday, Marquette will take on Kansas, and there will be two storylines following these teams. Marquette will be living with the ghost of Al McGuire, who took the Warriors to a national title in 1977. Reporters will be digging out all their favorite McGuire quotes and memories. For Kansas, Coach Roy Williams will be a sentimental favorite to finally win his first national title.
Marquette University, Milwaukee, and Wisconsin will be cheering on the Warriors, and I have a feeling Coach Al is grinning from ear to ear.
"(3) Marquette 83, (1) Kentucky 69"
"Eagles [Warriors ed.] Have Landed"