Monday, December 29, 2008

Stories on two different Brewers

Found these two links about Brewers Brian Shouse and Seth McClung.

This one looks at how faith played a part in Shouse's life and career.

This one
is about how McClung spends time and money running baseball clinics in his home state of West Virginia.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Probably should have put this up earlier, but I was on vacation all week in Memphis, visiting family, which is why posting was non-existent.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Cute Sports sends Holiday wishes to everyone today!!

Hope you have a good, safe holiday with friends and family.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mark A says baseball may need a salary cap

From Sporting

After watching helplessly as the Yankees outbid Milwaukee by a reported $61 million for ace lefthander CC Sabathia this offseason, Brewers owner Mark Attanasio knows the power of the Yankees' checkbook. So, too, does the rest of the league after watching New York add first baseman Mark Teixeira to its offseason bounty Tuesday.

In an e-mail to Bloomberg News, Attansio voiced his frustration, while hinting at a solution: "At the rate the Yankees are going, I'm not sure anyone can compete with them. Frankly, the sport might need a salary cap."

Speaking to Bloomberg News on the phone, Attansio added, "They (Yankees) are on a completely different economic playing field. I paid $220 million for my team; now they get three players for $420 million."

Friday, December 19, 2008

CC explains why he chose New York

Apparently it's not the masses of money they threw in him, it was the pressure Milwaukee put on him.

In his introduction to the media, CC tried to take all attention and expectations off himself.

"I am not going to be able to have stretches like that so...[its good that the Yanks have other good players]."

I understand that he's been in the spotlight for literal months now and that probably does get a little old, but seriously, you're the highest paid player, you're the new ace, you're the highest profile FA in years. The attention comes with the territory.

"If I had gone back to Milwaukee, they would have been looking to me to win every single game. I expect to win every single game here, too, but there would have been more immense pressure there because they wouldn't have been able to put the pieces around me to help me win. I think I can get that here....

If I had went somewhere else, they would have expected me to do what I did the last second half in Milwaukee and you know that's kinda unrealistic."


Also, Doug Melvin has said all trade rumors circling about Mike Cameron to the Yankees for Melky Cabrera are dead. He also said he wasn't even sure he'd be interested in resuming talks.

Ryan Braun has said he'll be a part of Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

College Bball quick hits

I'm way late, but the UW men's team beat the UW-Green Bay Phoenix early in the week. Senior Joe Krabbenhoft led the Badgers with 15 points - a career high. He also had five rebounds, a block and a steal. Full story here.

Marquette met Tennessee in the Big East/SEC matchup/showdown/tournament/whatever they call it. Despite losing the close game and giving a big game to UT's Chism, the Golden Eagles showed that they're 1-3-1 defense, which really showed to advantage against Wisconsin, is really going to work for them this season.

The play was sloppy, with a multitude of Marquette players fouling out. Jerel McNeal was all but non-existant, putting up just 10 points. Dominic James also had a pretty rough game, shooting just 3-13 for eight points.

Not sure if it was panic because of the close game, but Cracked Sidewalks pointed out that more than 50% of our shot attempts from the field were from behind the three-point line. The announcers made a big point of how few touchs MU was getting in the paint. It's clear that Marquette's lack of height is going to continue to be an issue.

Badger Football's Ken Urbik honored

Senior offensive lineman Kraig Urbik was named a First-Team All-American by

Writer Ivan Maisel named his very own All-American list.

Urbik was also honored by the Big Ten as a consensus second-team All-Big Ten selection this season after earning the same honors in 2007.

He was a team captain this season. He started 45 straight games before being injured late in the season. The Badgers' bowl game will be his 50th career start in cardinal and white.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Marquette one of nine Big East teams in the Top 25

AP Top 25
1. North Carolina
2. Connecticut
3. Pittsburgh
4. Oklahoma
5. Texas
6. Duke
7. Xavier
8. Gonzaga
9. Louisville
10. Wake Forest
11. Syracuse
12. Notre Dame
13. Purdue
14. UCLA
15. Georgetown
16. Tennessee
17. Ohio State
18. Villanova
19. Michigan State
20. Arizona State
21. Baylor
22. Davidson
23. Memphis
24. Marquette
25. Clemson

Groundhog Day?

Stop me if you've heard this one before...

The Packers dominate a game, both in points and possession, fail to score all the points they should, have a fourth quarter lead and fail to bring home a victory.

I believe yesterday was the sixth loss of four points or less on the season.

Had the Packers won just half those games - or really, even just a third - the NFC North playoff picture would look completely different.

It's so much more heartbreaking when your team just barely misses than if they just completely suck that season. To know that this year's team was thisclose to following up last year's NFC Championship appearance with another playoff run is enough to make a Packer fan pull their hair out.

Once again, Aaron Rogers was forced into hurry-up mode in the final two minutes, where he's clearly not comfortable, and he threw an interception to end the game.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Rodgers clearly can't yet handle high pressure situations. I don't blame him for the interception or feel that the loss is his fault - the coach's need to realize that he's still young and he's just not accurate when he's forced into the two-minute drill.

Rodgers has exceeded my expectations this season, but the one thing that reminds us that he's all-but-a-rookie is his accuracy and touch when he feels the pressure is on. Whether it's nationally televised games or two-minute situations, Rodgers seems to miss-time routes, overthrow guys and generally lose all finesse when it comes to getting his receivers the ball.

Thankfully, this nightmare of a season is almost over and, if we're lucky, Ted Thompson will use Free Agency and the draft to fortify our offensive and defensive lines.

Brewers don't tender offer to Capuano

This was expected, but after the final day passed to offer players arbitration, the Brewers allowed Chris Capuano to enter the Free Agent market, though they've expressed interest in bringing him back.

Capuano had his second Tommy John surgery this past season and it will be interesting to see what kind of shape his arm is in and whether he can return to form.

The Brewers did, however, offer arbitration to Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, Seth McClung, Dave Bush and Rickie Weeks.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We lost CC

Sources: Yankees, Sabathia near deal


The New York Yankees were "very close" to a preliminary agreement with CC Sabathia on Wednesday morning, following an in-person meeting between Yankees GM Brian Cashman and Sabathia in California, a baseball source with knowledge of the deal told

Sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney the deal offered by the Yankees is now worth $160 million over seven years -- the most money ever paid a pitcher in major league history. The team had originally offered six years and $140 million.

While a deal is not yet done, a source told's Jayson Stark there are "zero major road blocks" that would prevent the Yankees from reaching agreement with Sabathia. Not all terms of the deal are agreed to yet, the source indicated. Sabathia also would need to take a physical.

The New York Post first reported Wednesday that Sabathia, the prize of this year's free-agent class, had decided to go with the Yankees after fielding offers from a number of teams.

Sabathia had been courted by the Milwaukee Brewers, the San Francisco Giants and the Boston Red Sox. The Los Angeles Dodgers said that Sabathia, who lives in California, had expressed interest in playing there, too, although the team did not publicly make him an offer.

But in the end, it was clear that no other team was going to come close to what the Yankees offered. That was despite varying signals from the Dodgers -- owner Frank McCourt reached out to Sabathia personally -- as well as the Giants, who had talked about meeting with Sabathia this weekend, and the Los Angeles Angels.

The Yankees had extended their six-year, $140-million offer to Sabathia nearly a month ago and were beginning to get nervous that he simply didn't want to pitch in New York.

But two days of face-to-face meetings with the Yankees in Las Vegas, followed by Cashman's session Tuesday night with Sabathia and his wife Amber in California, sealed this deal for Sabathia. "He's now excited about becoming a Yankee," a source told Olney.

To the Yankees, Sabathia was more than just the No. 1 prize on the free-agent market. He was the centerpiece of their entire offseason game plan. They went into the winter determined to add Sabathia and two other free-agent starters.

They have also aggressively pursued A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe and Ben Sheets, and have made a one-year, $10-million offer to retain Andy Pettitte. So a rotation of Sabathia, Joba Chamberlain, Chien-Ming Wang and those two free-agent starters to be named later puts the Yankees in prime position to return to the postseason for the first time in two years.

But without Sabathia, that rotation would have had a whole different look. And had the Yankees not been able to land him, they might have shifted philosophies and made a major play for the biggest bats on the market, Mark Teixeira and Manny Ramirez.

In fact, the Yankees had begun to send signals that if Sabathia didn't accept their offer soon, they were ready to pull it off the table and move on. But all that became a moot point late Tuesday night, when Cashman was able to satisfy the Sabathias that they could play and live happily in New York.

Sabathia, who was dealt by the Cleveland Indians to the Brewers before last season's trade deadline, went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in Milwaukee, carrying the Brewers into their first playoff appearance since 1982.

He has a career record of 117-73 and a 3.66 ERA in eight big league seasons, mostly with the Indians. He won the American League Cy Young Award in 2007, going 19-7 with a 3.21 ERA as the Indians reached the AL Championship Series that season.

Friends of Sabathia have been making clear for some time now that had one of the west-coast teams been able to make an offer close to the Yankees' bid, Sabathia almost certainly would have taken it.

"He's one guy, I'm absolutely convinced, whose decision will not be about getting the last dollar," one long-time friend of Sabathia told's Jayson Stark earlier this week. "That's not the way he thinks. This isn't a business decision for him. This is a life decision. So if he chooses New York, it will be because he wants to be there, not because they were the team that offered the most money."

As it turned out, however, the Yankees offered by far the most money.

The Brewers made a five-year, $100-million offer, but with much of the money deferred. The Giants, according to sources, never made a formal offer, but indicated they could be willing to extend a bid slightly lower than the Brewers' offer if the deal was structured carefully.

The Dodgers and Angels were interested but had other priorities. And while Sabathia and his agent, Greg Genske, met with the Red Sox during their visit to Las Vegas, the Red Sox never loomed as serious bidders.

So in the end, there was a vast economic difference between the Yankees' offer and anything else on the table. Yet Sabathia still couldn't bring himself to agree until he and his wife had convinced themselves that New York was the right place for them to play, live and raise a family.

By the time Brian Cashman walked out their door late Tuesday night, those doubts had melted, and his team's mission was accomplished. CC Sabathia was going to become a Yankee. senior writer Jayson Stark and ESPN The Magazine senior writer Buster Olney contributed to this report.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Marquette 61, UW 58

I didn't get to watch the game since I was at the hockey game in Madison. We listened to the second half in the car.

UW led most of the game, though only by a few points at a time. Marquette managed to keep it close and Jerel McNeal was the biggest factor in this game.

Sitting just one minute of the 40 played, McNeal was 10-18 with 26 points and seven rebounds. Nineteen of those points came after halftime and twelve were in a row for MU.

It's clear that Marquette's senior leadership is going to be crucial for the Golden Eagles down the stretch. UW's seniors were barely factors.

Though much smaller in stature, MU dominated UW for offensive rebounds, which was crucial in MU's 21-8 second half run.

Despite the loss, it was a coming out party for UW Sophomore forward Keaton Nankivi. The team's second leading scorer with 11 points, Saturday was the first time he logged signigicant minutes. He will be someone to watch.

Men's Hockey wins 6 straight, takes conference lead

Voting should end now and Mike Eaves should win coach of the year this season.

After an abysmal 0-6-1 start to the season, the Badgers were looking rough, run-over and ragged. They started with 5 of 7 on the road, with the only home games being against Minnesota - never an easy task. They faced the #1 and #4 teams in the country the first weekend and it didn't let down from there.

Now, the team is 9-7-2 and holds sole possession of first place in the WCHA - one point ahead of Minnesota (who, by the way, have played four less games than Wisconsin).

I'm pretty new to the whole hockey thing, but I'd wager that kind of turnaround is fairly unprecedented.

Quick research shows that Andy Baggot over at the BadgerBeat blog broke it down:

Prior to this season, the Badgers have fallen at least six games under .500 four times going back to when they joined the WCHA in 1969-70. At no time during those years did they return to the surface.

They finished 12 under in 1975-76 (12-24-2).

They finished five under in 1979-80 (15-20-1).

They finished three under in 1995-96 (17-20-3).

They finished 10 under in 2002-03 (13-23-4).

The closest UW came was in 1995-96 when it fought back from 10 games under .500 (8-18-2) to finish three under."

Over at 60 min, writer Gandalf the Red looked at the situation on Oct. 29 and laid out how he thought the schedule could and should breakdown just to get the Badgers to .500 before Christmas. It seemed doable, if not a little optimistic at the time.

Not only was he completely correct for the first 4 weeks, but the Badgers then surpassed expectations, sweeping at the College Hockey Showcase and accomplishing the goal a week early.

Two early disappointments of the season were Mike Davies and Podge Turnbull. They were sluggish and lazy looking.

Eaves did the right thing and benched both of them. He was pretty frank about it and did save the kids a little face by saying it was part injury, part performance.

Davies was held from the roster a little longer than most imagined he would be, but since he's been back he has 3 goals and 2 assists in four games. Clearly he needed to adjust his attitude and refocus and Eaves made sure he did that. It's tough love, but good on Eaves for knowing what it would take to bring back one of his best players.

Thus far unranked, the Badgers throttled #15 Alaska-Anchorage 7-2 Saturday night to extend their win-streak to six. And they did it without Street, Geoffrion, Gardiner to start the game and lost Ben Grotting partway through the first period.

Not only was the score impressive, but so was the scoring. Goals came from six different Badgers who play on all four lines. Turnbull and McDonagh had the most beautiful hockey goal I've ever seen as they caught the Seawolves on a bad line change and Turnbull raced down the ice. Instead of taking a shot, he slotted it to McDonagh who one-timed it back and Turnbull had a split second to slide it in the net before they missed the opening completely. It was gorgeous!

That's the second goal I can think of in which Turnbull cherry-picked and took advantage of an odd-man rush situation. Before he was benched, he was lazily hanging around the blue-line and not going back to support. Now, he's got a lot more movement and it's paying off.

Brewers Update

Winter meetings start today and first on the agenda for Doug Melvin is to meet with Sabathia's people to find out where the Brewers stand. It's been a month since the Brewers made their offer and since then, the lines of communication have been pretty closed.

*The Brewers signed former Orioles closer Jorge Julio to a non-guaranteed one year deal last week. Though he has prior experience as a closer, it's still being said the Brewers are looking for a closer on the free agent market, so it's not definite that Julio's the new guy.

*This article from says that JJ Hardy is on the edge of his seat during the winter meetings because rumors have been swirling that he'll be on the trade block. The Brewers ARE desperate for some pitching and JJ's likely the most solid player we have that we're readily willing to trade, since we've got Alcides Escobar ready and waiting in the wings.

All of the Brewers dealings hinge on whether or not they get Sabathia. From the article:" That answer will help dictate the rest of the offseason for a team that needs a quality starting pitcher if Sabathia moves on, plus left-handed bats and a reliever or two -- possibly a closer -- regardless of Sabathia's decision."

*Spring Training tickets went on sale today

*Sheets, CC and Shouse all declined arbitration

*Rumors abound that Melvin will be offering to add a 6th year to the Brewers offer to Sabathia if that would sweeten the deal.

*Former Brewer Don Money, who had been managing in Huntsville, is the new Nashville Sounds manager.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I will miss you, 3TO

My favorite Brewer, Russell Branyan, was stolen away by that defecter Jack Zduriencik yesterday. story here.

Branyan, who for a few weeks this summer seemed to single-handedly carry the Brewers this summer, has been with, now, 12 MLB teams. For a stretch of 30 days or so in late June/early July, he had 11 home runs and an OPS of over 1.2.

He also is responsible for my favorite losing-game-moment at MP this past season. Sitting in the left field bleachers in the bottom of the 9th inning against the Twins, we're desperate for runs and the BF and I are laughing that "the Muscle" has to be the guy here. Of course, he comes up to bat and we're still talking stupid. Then Russell hits a pinch-hit 2 run HR to send the game to extra innings. The place went absolutely nuts. The Twins fans near us thought it was just as funny as we did.

You cannot stop The Muscle.

Pittsburgh's getting desperate

This bit from the Pitt. Post-Gazette says the Pirates are in talks with none other than Derrick Turnbow.

Apparently big on understatements, the sub-headline to this article is: "Free-agent reliever found hard times with Brewers"

Monday, December 01, 2008

State college basketball

We won't talk about Marquette's embarrassing loss to Dayton -

Instead, let's focus on Wisconsin's last-second win over Virginia Tech in the Big Ten/ACC Shootout.

Despite leading most of the game, the Badgers needed a last-second shot from Trevon Hughes to secure the win.

UW started strong, building their lead to as much as 23-12 at times in the first half. The VT big man (who's name currently escapes me) was in foul trouble early and often and allowed the Badgers to keep their momentum coming out of half, building a lead of as many as 13 points.

But VT's A.D. Vasallo hit six 3-pointers in the second-half, including one to tie the game with just seven seconds left, and the Hokies just would not go down without a fight.

It took a last second slice-through-the-lane-floater from Hughes to quiet the crowd and give the Badgers the final edge.

Story and highlights here.

Big matchup this weekend as Marquette and Wisconsin battle in the annual rivalry game.

Still love me some Eric Gagne

Ok, so he was a bust as our closer (though I still think there's a valid injury argument to be made), but you cannot deny that Eric Gagne is a class act.

To mark the Thanksgiving holiday, the Brewers official site had an article about the team and charitable giving and pointed to Gagne has the player who gave the most this season, including a $50,000 donation to the MACC Fund - the largest single donation they've ever received.

Gagne's numbers don't even include the money spent to buy out Miller Park near the end of the season and give the tickets away for free.

From the article:

"In 2008, according to Sprangers, Brewers Charities infused $850,000 into the community, about half of which came directly from players. That total did not include the value of the more than 60,000 tickets distributed by the team as part of its "Brewers Buddies" program, or the 5,000 tickets purchased and then given away by reliever Eric Gagne on Sept. 25, when the Brewers were in the middle of their National League Wild Card push.

After signing a one-year, $10 million contract with the team last winter, Gagne told Sprangers he wanted to focus his efforts on children's health initiatives. That conversation led to a $50,000 donation to the MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes against Childhood Cancer), the largest single donation in the charity's history.

Gagne was the team's leading contributor to community causes, donating about $200,000 in 2008. Sprangers said starters Jeff Suppan and Ben Sheets, center fielder Mike Cameron and infielder Bill Hall were also active in various initiatives, and each identified their own areas of interest. Suppan, who had a $100,000 per-season donation written into his four-year Brewers contract, has been particularly supportive of causes that benefit U.S. military families. Cameron expressed desire to help charities that benefit single-parent families. Hall has become a leading supporter of the Milwaukee chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which raises funds for breast cancer research."

Brewers and arbitration

The Brewers offered arby today to Brian Shouse, Ben Sheets and CC Sabathia. They declined to offer it to Eric Gagne.

While we obviously wanted to offer it to CC, things become a little muddier in terms of Sheets.

While the Brewers likely offered arby to all three in order to secure supplemental draft picks should they leave Milwaukee, they've also tied themselves into a good size $11 million or so salary for Sheets.

It's risky, but it looks like the Brewers are rolling the dice that someone will offer Ben more money than he'd be making here.

We make 'em mighty crazy in Wisconsin

In what must be the absolute oddest stalker combination, a former Wisconsin Badger football player has been harassing Athletic Director (and his former coach) Barry Alvarez with threatening phone calls about Maria Sharapova.

There's not a lot of information, but the guy, Leonard Taylor Jr., 32, of Indianapolis, is a former player who's father is saying he's a paranoid schizophrenic who isn't taking his medicine.

ESPN's got just meager information here

Packers leave me speechless

I haven't been blogging on the Packers much lately because I've been struggling to find something - anything - to say about the disappointment this team has levied on their fans, but thus far I've come up empty.

Tallying 16 more minutes of possession than your opponent and not coming up with the win?

There's no explanation for that. Not that there's been any forthcoming from Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy.

There have been a ton of excuses, but no explanations.

This team has redefined heartbreak with ever loss this season and after the dismantling of the Bears a few weeks ago, fans know what the team is capable of. Instead of a repeat performance, we've been forced to suffer two of the most embarrassing defeats any team has seen all season.

Special teams play needs to be discussed and dissected by the coaching staff. Our lack of yardage on punts and kick-offs has been disappointing and other than the odd return-for-touchdown, the Packers have been unimpressive.

The thing is, they have a blueprint for how to be successful - just watch tape of what every other team has done to us.

Forget worrying about stopping the run when the quarterback is behind center - it's not hard to score points when your opponent is playing with half a field every time they get the ball.

Between the mediocre net yardage from punter Derrick Frost and the inability to tackle anyone, the Packers are digging themselves a hole they're rarely able to get out of.

Despite dominating possession on Sunday, the Packers had a meager lead at the end of the fourth quarter and were unable to put seven points on the board when it mattered most. Settling for a field goal, they then gave up a huge kickoff return to leave the Panthers just 30-or-so yards needed to get in easy field-goal-range.

The Panthers didn't bother with that, though. Instead, they exploited our supposedly strong secondary for 50 yards and put the ball on the Packers one-yard-line with a catch by Steve Smith.

That was Smith's second huge-yardage catch and came on the heels of two seperate 70-yard catches given up during the Saints game the previous Monday night. What happened to our stellar secondary? It's not like we didn't know they were going to throw in those situations. Despite the fact that we suck against the run, the Saints lead the league in passing - so that was inevitable - and Carolina was short on time. Everyone watching the game knew those passes were going to be made.

Why didn't Mike McCarthy?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Turkey Day

A short list of things I'm thankful for, serious and not-so-much:

My boyfriend, the Brewers, CC Sabathia, that I was at so many pivotal games, people who read my writing, my new opportunity at Bleacher Report, my columns at RealGM, my basset hounds - who never fail to make me smile, laugh and generally brighten my day, diet Wild Cherry Pepsi, Dr Pepper, cheddar popcorn, the new make-your-own-salad bar at the grocery store near my work, my friends, my family, that I still have a job (or four)...

And a lot of things I'm forgetting, but it's late and I'm getting up at 3 am to go shopping...

And lastly, that the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade got Rick Rolled!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Sporting News interview with new Brewers manager Ken Macha

Read it here.

My favorite quote: "Talking to (Brewers catcher) Jason Kendall, he said these guys just don't know how good they are, how good they can be. To me, that's just a maturing process."

Thanks to Brew Crew Ball for the link

Marquette 100, UWM 80

Wesley Matthews and Lazar Hayward each had 25 points and Jerel McNeal added 22 to account for almost a third of the Golden Eagles' scoring Saturday night.

UWM kept it close in the first half, with Marquette leading by just five at halftime. However, the Golden Eagles scored the first ten points of the second half and never looked back.

Though they're still in the cupcake portion of their schedule, it was the third straight game in which Matthews had scored at least 25 points. Let's hope he can keep that up in Big East play.

The score is impressive for UWM, who managed to shoot just 38% from the field.

Badger Men's BBall in finals of Paradise Jam

While the women's hockey team enjoyed Florida, the men's basketball team enjoyed the warm weather in the US Virgin Islands. Must suck to be a Badger!

The men's bball team advanced to the finals of the Paradise Jam tournament with a 64-49 win over San Diego State yesterday.

The team faces #2 UConn tonight. Flip to that during breaks in action of the Packers Monday Night Football game. The bball game is on FSN.

Badger Women's Hockey still undefeated

The women's team was in Ft. Myers, FL this week playing #3 UNH. I'm still not sure why they played there, but they swept UNH, taught a few hockey clincs, visited the Red Sox Spring Training facility and set records.

Saturday's shutout was career #31 for goalie Jessie Vetter, breaking the NCAA record.

Read about the games and a blog from one of the players here.

Badger Men's Hockey splits with St. Cloud State

It was a tale of two team this weekend at St. Cloud. Friday night, the team that started the season a dismal 0-6-1 showed up and got absolutely demolished by SCS 6-2. The game wasn't televised, but by all accounts, the problems taking care of the puck and puck control and poor goaltending meant the Badgers looked silly.

Fortunately, those problems were shoved back into the closet on Saturday and that Badgers held on to a slim 1-0 win to split the series.

Friday night's game was a gut-check and made me wonder if the five games prior to Friday were just a fluke and not the norm for the rest of the Badgers season.

With Saturday night's win, the Badgers proved they can take a beating, learn from it and come back better. It was a little surprising that Eaves put Connelly back in the net after Friday night's debacle, but apparently Eaves told Cons that he believed in him and gave Shane the chance to regain some pride and prove himself.

The Badgers have a nice home-stretch coming up, with the College Hockey Showcase against Michigan and Michigan State this weekend and Alaska-Anchorage to open December.

Also, this story has some awesome ridiculous quotes from Shane Connelly about the student section at SCS heckling him for his "waddle."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Very cool

Negro Leagues exhibit coming to Milwaukee

Nov. 20, 2008 7:40 a.m. | The Milwaukee Public Library has been selected to host "Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience" national traveling exhibit.

The exhibit will be at the library from July 22 through Sept. 4, 2009.

The library is one of only 25 libraries in the nation to host the exhibit. The exhibit features the history of baseball's Negro Leagues, and how African-American players fared in the major leagues since Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.

The exhibit looks at baseball as a reflection of race relations in the U.S. It features photographs, team rosters and other baseball memorabilia. It's based on a similar exhibit at the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y.

The exhibit is made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities – Great Ideas Brought to Life. Supporting programs and other special events are being planned at several library locations.

Badger Hockey

The men's team tied and won Friday and Saturday at Minnesota-Duluth, leaving town with three points and some nice momentum.

Blake Geoffrion was named WCHA Offensive Player of the Week. On Friday, he scored back-to-back goals to come back from 2-1 down on MN-D - it was the third time in four games he put the puck in the net twice. Saturday night, he had the assist on Podge's goal.

Podge Turnbull returned to the ice and scored a great "poaching" goal coming out of the penalty box.

Michael Davies still seems to be MIA from the team and Mike Eaves had some interesting quotes about that. From the weekly presser:

QUESTION #6: Have you had talks with Michael Davies about where he’s at and what he needs to do to get himself back into a spot where he can be in the lineup, and what are those things he needs to do?

EAVES: Talked to Michael before we left. I’ll talk to him again today about what he needs to do. Nothing has changed. I think that Michael knows that he’s a very skilled young athlete, and I think that he understands we need more from him, not just power play points, and it’s a pretty interesting spot for young Michael right now. I think for the first time in his life he’s reevaluating what his talents are, where he needs to improve, and, first of all, not playing him in a couple games and then not taking him on the road trip, something that he’s looking himself in the mirror and asking himself, okay, what am I going to do about this situation now. So I’m sure Michael will respond the right now and be back in the lineup sooner than later.


A third member of the current recruiting class decommitted - this time it was Brock Montpetit.

Each time, the recruit has had a different reason - but three decommits has to be concerning for Eaves...


New Packer Column

I write two columns a week over at - one preview of the upcoming game and one review of some aspect of the previous weekend's game.

Go to, make sure you're on the NFL tab and go to the Packer team page on the pull-down menu on the left-hand side. Voila! All my work.

Here's this week's column on the Bears game. Off to write the Saints preview...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Vote for Badger Football

The Badgers are nominated for the Pontiac Game Changing Performance this week. The hit on the Minnesota punt returner that went out the back of the endzone, giving the Badgers a safety and a lead they wouldn't relinquish is the play in question.

Go here and vote!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Congratulations Ryan Braun

Braun won the NL Silver Slugger Award yesterday.

The award is voted on by MLB managers and coaches and is given to one player at each position in each league.

Braun finished the season batting .285 with 37 home runs and 106 RBIs .

Read about it here

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Basset Interruption

As you know, I'm a basset hound owner who works with basset rescue. This article (and accompanying video) was passed on to me and I couldn't resist. Since Barack Obama mentioned that his daughters will be getting a dog, everyone seems to be wanting to have an opinion about what breed they should get.

No political commentary here, folks. Just basset love...

Bassets want to be Obama's dog

November 9, 2:09 PM

Obama, and his waddling mate.
Less than a week after the election, President-elect Barack Obama has learned that everyone who supported his election wants something in return and some of the requests are out of proportion with the significance of that support.

One of the first to come calling was a group that is eager to place a basset hound in the White House.

“Bassets are a dignified breed, and ready to handle any diplomatic tasks,” said Gretchen Shelby, president of the Society to Land Obama with a Basset Rescue (SLOBR). “And it is true that basset owners’ votes pushed him over the top this year.”

Well, not really. A scrubbing of the voter numbers showed that most basset owners voted for Obama, but were offset by their girlfriends and wives who hate the dogs and all they stand for. Said one source “It was a wash, which is a pretty appropriate word to use when talking about bassets.”

Obama exacerbated the situation last week, when he actually said that he wanted to get a dog for his daughters. He first milked it for political advantage, saying he would prefer to adopt a shelter dog, but soon backtracked, His eldest daughter has some allergies, and the chosen pup will need to have smooth skin that can be easily cleaned, and not a lot of hair.

Obama tried to make light of the situation by referring to himself as a "mutt," but it was too late. He was already in trouble on two fronts. The basset advocacy organization protested because you never see bassets in a shelter. And an independent group immediately accused Obama of discriminating against skin type.

"This is unacceptable," said pet activist Pete Bisket. "It's unbelievable that one of our new presidents' first important appointments is based on race. There is a reason that bassets should be disqualified. They smell."

“You shut up,” said Shelby. “They don't smell.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Holy Crap we have bullpen problems...

Torres decides to retire

Nov. 11, 2008 1:32 p.m. | I just spoke on the telephone with Brewers reliever Salomon Torres and he gave me some surprising news. Torres said he called general manager Doug Melvin today to announce he is retiring from baseball as an active player.

The Brewers had a $3.75 million option for 2009 on Torres, which they certainly would have exercised by the Saturday deadline after he emerged as their closer last season. But Torres said he wanted to take that out of Melvin's hands by telling him he was retiring.

"I wanted to make it easy for him," said Torres, 36, reached at home in Pittsburgh. "I already had made up my mind and wanted to tell him this was my last season."

Torres, a deeply religious man, said he wanted to devote more time to his wife and three children as well as his faith.

"It's time for me to dedicate more time to my family and my religion," said Torres. "Doug was very understanding, which I appreciate. I had a wonderful experience in Milwaukee but he knows I am serious about it."

The loss of Torres creates a huge hole in a bullpen already thinned by free agency. Torres took over for faltering closer Eric Gagne in late May and was a stalwart in the pen, saving a career-high 28 games in 32 appearances from that point (he was 28 for 35 overall).

Torres led the Brewers with 71 appearances and 80 innings out of the bullpen, compiling a 7-5 record and 3.49 ERA. His numbers were much better until a September fade in which he posted a 12.46 ERA over his last 10 outings.

Torres said the fact that he would walk away from the $3.75 million option shows how serious he is about retiring.

"It was a given (that the Brewers would exercise the option)," said Torres. "It's a small sacrifice I'm making. I know I'm doing the right thing. It might be a surprise to a lot of people and some might not understand, especially from a money standpoint. That shows you how determined I am to lead by life in another way."

Torres briefly thought of retiring after he was traded to the Brewers last December but decided to give it a shot in Milwaukee and said he was grateful for doing so, especially after experiencing the playoffs for the first time. He saved the Brewers only victory in the NLDS against Philadelphia, escaping a bases-loaded, no-out jam.

"It was a great season," he said. "I thank everybody in the city -- the fans, my teammates, the reporters -- for all their support. It was a privilege to play there but you don't want to have me there half-hearted.

"This decision has been a long time coming. I'm happy I have the strength and faith to do it. This is the route I want to go."

Torres retired in August 1997 after pitching for Seattle and Montreal that season, but returned to baseball in 2002 after signing a minor league deal with Pittsburgh. Torres said he would not change his mind this time about leaving.

"I am very confident I am doing the right thing," he said.

With Gagne, Guillermo Mota and Brian Shouse all free agents, Melvin has to do some retooling of his bullpen, including finding a reliable closer.

Badger Men's Hockey

Went to another Badger game Saturday night and this game was more than worth our while.

The Badgers beat the Michigan Tech Huskies 6-0 and finally looked like they had some life.

We had pretty good seats, so I took a bunch of pictures. Considering how fast hockey is, how new I am and that we were in the stands, I was pretty impressed with the number of goal shots I got.

Check out the slideshow here

On the weekend, our defensemen notched 14 points. Prior to this weekend, we would have been happy if our WHOLE TEAM or just the offense had that many points, so it was nice to see guys like Jamie McBain step up and show that this team isn't totally dead, yet.

While walking the hallways of the Kohl Center, I saw Podge Turnbull in his suit, not dressed for the game for what coach Mike Eaves said was 50-50 because of injury and because of on-ice play. He was bitching to someone about how he wasn't happy about the situation and it was tough to not break in and tell him to suck it up and start playing with some passion and skill if he was so upset. You'll be happy to know I kept my mouth shut, not embarassing myself or the boyfriend.

On the ice, the Badgers showed signs of life and won their third straight. They also managed to find an answer for two of the glaring problems early in the season. We scored five power-play goals and managed not to let down in the third quarter.

Before I mention anything else, the absolutely stellar play of keeper Scott Gudmandson has to be mentioned. We were on his end for two of the three periods and he made some saves that were just jaw-droppingly good. I haven't been too impressed with his play prior to Saturday, but he had 34 saves and got his first career shutout and the Badgers first shutout in almost a year - since Nov. 9 of last year.

The Badgers were 5-for-7 on the power play, or just over 71%. On the season, we're 14-of-71 for about 23%.

The last time Wisconsin scored five PP goals? 1995! And even then, we were 5-for-11 on the PP - the fact that we converted SO many Saturday night was just plain stunning.

My favorite part was watching the Huskies on PP. I'm not that mean - it wasn't my favorite because they were bad, but because their PP reminded me of the Badgers at times in the past. What was great about it is that it was nothing like how we were on Saturday night. The dichotomy was great in my mind and gave me a little bit of hope. The Huskies were slow and tentative and looked like the Badgers have at times in the past. They barely got shots off, there was no urgency and a few times I forgot they had a PP going, that's how bad it was.


I almost forgot to mention something and then I was reading the Badger thread at and was reminded.

Keep an eye out for freshman Jake Gardiner. He's a freshman and was incredibly impressive Saturday on his skates. He out-skated everyone on the ice. He's crazy quick and he's got six assists already and it would seem it's only a matter of time before he nets his first goal.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Need Work!

So I just got my hours cut at work. While that sucks, I'm maintaining my insurance and it could have been a complete layoff, so it could be worse.

In the meantime, I need to pick up a part time job. I'm available from 3:30 pm on every week day and all day on the weekends.

I have experience as a receptionist, office manager/assistant, waitress, hostess, barista and in retail. Need something written or proof-read? Need help with your Spanish?

I'm your gal!

In all seriousness, I have a wide variety of experience, I'm a hard worker, an outgoing person and I need more cash than I'm going to be making with my reduced hours.

I'd be happy for any leads or information anyone out there has! Thanks!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Bill Castro Promoted to Pitching Coach, Willie Randolph named Bench Coach

From the official site:

On Bill Castro
"Longtime Brewers coach Bill Castro happened to be at Miller Park , arranging for some items to be shipped home to the Dominican Republic, when he got the call he was waiting for.

Brewers manager Ken Macha was on the other end of the line. He offered Castro, the Brewers' bullpen coach for the past 17 seasons, a new opportunity as pitching coach.

"It's a dream come true," Castro said a few hours later. "It's a big foot in the door for me."

Castro, 56, will be serving under his seventh different full-time or interim manager in 2009, his 18th season on the Major League coaching staff and his 35th season in some capacity with the Brewers as a player, scout or coach. He will replace Mike Maddux, who had an offer from the Brewers to return for a seventh season as pitching coach but instead took a richer offer from the Texas Rangers.

Castro was the only candidate interviewed for the Brewers' opening."

On Willie Randolph:

"The Brewers were looking for experience in their bench coach, and they found it in one of their managerial candidates.

Former Mets manager Willie Randolph, one of three finalists for the managerial vacancy eventually filled by Ken Macha, on Saturday was named Macha's bench coach. It was the team's second coaching appointment in as many days -- Bill Castro was elevated to pitching coach on Friday, and it left the bullpen coach as Milwaukee's only vacancy.

Randolph said he spoke with Macha the morning after the Brewers made their managerial choice, simply to offer congratulations. Four hours later, Macha called with the bench-coach offer.

"It surprised me, too," Randolph said. "He had what you call a brainstorm, I guess."

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told Randolph he will be free to interview for managerial openings as they become available. Randolph has already been mentioned as a possibility for Seattle's vacancy.

"'I didn't really want to wait around," Randolph said. "If I get a job that will put me in the manager's seat any time in my tenure, I could do that. It was nice that Doug left that as an option.'"


According to the Randolph article, he was offered the position on the same day the Brewers decided on Macha, which means that they've been sitting on this announcement for almost two weeks? Surprising

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Women's Hockey's Jessie Vetter

Badger women's hockey goal Jessie Vetter is currently playing for Team USA (along with other current and former Badgers playing for both USA and Canada) I don't know a whole lot about team and club hockey, so I'll point you once again to these guys for everything you want to know.

They're responsible for pointing out this link, which is an awesome profile of Vetter that recently ran in USA Today. How cool for both a Badger and women's hockey to get such high profile attention.

Read the story here

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Brewers name Fischer third-base coach

From the official site:

"MILWAUKEE -- Brad Fischer, Michigan-born but Wisconsin-bred since his Minor League managerial days in Madison, officially joined the Brewers' coaching staff Tuesday and reunited with former A's boss Ken Macha.

Fischer was tabbed as the Brewers' new third-base coach to replace Dale Sveum, who was formally named the team's hitting coach. The Brewers also made the official announcement that Ed Sedar would be back as first-base coach and that Bill Castro would be back on staff for his 18th season. For now, Castro remains the bullpen coach, but he will be the first candidate interviewed for the Brewers' pitching-coach vacancy."

Read the whole thing here


The Major League Baseball 2008 This Year In Baseball Awards are up and quite a few Brewers are up, so on this Election Day, forget about Barack and John WhatsTheirNames.

Vote Brewers!

Ryan Braun is up for Hitter of the Year

CC Sabathia is up for Starter of the Year

CC's complete game shutout with seven strikeouts on Sept. 28 to clinch the Wild Card is up for Performance of the Year

Gabe Kapler's ridiculous diving into the stands catch is up for Play of the Year

Ryan Braun's homer in the September 28 game is up for Moment of the Year

Doug Melvin is up for Executive of the Year

Click here and VOTE

Monday, November 03, 2008

Brewers pick up option on Mike Cameron

I, for one, would have been shocked had we not done so, but the longer it went on, the more everyone began to question whether we would.

It's now official.

Tom H has a bunch of quotes from Melvin and Cameron, so I'm giving you the whole thing:

Brewers exercise Cameron's option
By Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel

Nov. 3, 2008 8:53 a.m. | Mike Cameron will be the Brewers' centerfielder once again in 2009.

The Brewers have decided to exercise the $10 million option in Cameron's contract for next season. Today was the deadline for exercising the option or paying a $750,000 buyout.

Cameron, who will be 36 in January, signed as a free agent last winter, for a bonus of $1.25 million and a $5 million salary in '08, plus the option for '09. His salary was prorated last season because he sat out the first 25 days while on suspension for using a banned stimulant the previous season.

Cameron played in 120 games for the Brewers last season, batting .243 with 25 home runs and 70 RBI. He struck out a team-high 142 times in 444 at-bats, with a .331 on-base percentage and .477 slugging percentage.

Cameron lived up to his Gold Glove reputation in center, committing just one error. He also swiped 17 bases in 22 attempts.

I'll talk with GM Doug Melvin later today, to get his reasoning for sticking with Cameron as his centerfielder. I hope to speak to Cameron as well.

Some might think that by paying Cameron $10 million it doesn't give the Brewers the money necessary to re-sign CC Sabathia. Well, they've already offered Sabathia $100 million, an extraordinary offer considering the club's revenues. And Cameron and Sabathia became very good friends, so this might actually help the Brewers in their quest to keep the big lefty.


I just spoke with Doug Melvin from California, where he is attending the GM meetings. This is what he had to say about exercising the option on Cameron's contract:

"In a statistical analysis, he ranked as the sixth-best centerfielder in the major leagues. And he improved our pitching by playing centerfield the way he did.

"The only difficult thing is that we're so right-handed (throughout the lineup). But we felt he has value. When you look at his contract, we paid him $7.5 million average for two years. That's the way we viewed it.

"He has great make-up and gives us good chemistry in the clubhouse. There's a value to that as well."

I just spoke with Cameron's agent, Mike Nicotera, who told me Cameron is "very excited" to be coming back to the Brewers. I hope to speak to Cameron before the day is over.


I just spoke on the phone with Cameron and he is pumped about coming back to Milwaukee. And he said he honestly was surprised that the option got picked up because he wondered if the Brewers would have to divert the money elsewhere.

"I know we've got so many young players about to get pay raises," he said. "I didn't think my option would get picked up. This was a surprise, to be honest with you.

"I'm very excited to be coming back to Milwaukee. I'm just thankful to get another opportunity to be inolved with a team that's one the verge of knocking some doors down on a yearly basis."

Brewers this and that

With all the other hullaballoo, I wasn't sure where to include these, so here's a few more quick hits on the Brewers.

*We declined our 2009 option on Craig Counsell. While I'll agree that Craig is clutch and he was a solid left-handed option off the bench and often a better option than Bill Hall at third, he was not worth the millions we paid him this year and the $3.4 million that option was worth. Presumably, he and the teams are now in renegotiation talks. Counsell's been around a while and is from Whitefish Bay, so my guess is he'll take a severe pay cut to finish out his career in the comforts of home.

*We DFA'd Joe Dillion when we signed former Cub Casey McGehee last week. Dillion was claimed off waivers by the Oakland A's. We'll miss ya Crazy Joe Dillon! Prince will miss using your bat.

*Dale Sveum will be the new hitting coach next season. Apparently Sveum ASKED Macha if he could be the hitting coach and Macha agreed. Sveum learned how to switch hit when he was a player, so that knowledge should come in handy. It will be interesting to see how much his hitting philosophy comes into play versus Macha's in terms of their new roles. Macha, as part of the Billy Beane A's, was notoriously anti-small-ball whereas Sveum stressed small-ball from the moment he took over as interim manager. Could be an interesting battle of philosophies and wills.

*Over in Seattle, Jack Z fired the Mariners' chief scout and hired two guys out of Milwaukee. The Brewers will now need to compensate for the loss of Tony Blengino and Tom McNamara as well as Jack Z.

Brewers officially make CC an offer

Buried at the bottom of this blog post about pitching coach Mike Maddux departing for Texas is the news that the Brewers officially made their offer to CC Sabathia this weekend.

"Melvin also confirmed that the Brewers made a formal contract offer on Saturday to left-hander CC Sabathia, who filed for free agency that very day. Melvin wouldn't reveal details of the offer but I was told by one baseball official that it's probably for five years at $100 million."

Maddux heading to Rangers

Saw it on the ticker this morning and now there's stories to corroborate - Mike Maddux will be the new pitching coach for the Texas Rangers.

I personally think this raises a few questions about the Brewers clubhouse. Maddux was asked a week or so ago whey he didn't sign a contract extension with the Brewers and he said that he wanted to know who the new manager was, first. Macha was already strongly rumored to be the choice at that point, and presumably those in the clubhouse already knew what was going on, so the comment was strange at the time. Now that Macha is officially the choice, Maddux got the hell out of Dodge and I'm wondering what his problem is with Ken Macha? Is this something the Brewers are going to have to deal with repeatedly? As in, are there lots of guys who are going to have a problem with Ken Macha? Why the defectation for Maddux? Clearly there's more to the story...

Story for the Official site here which says sources are reporting the switch

Info from Tom H's Brewers blog says Maddux told the Brewers he's gone

Badger Men's hockey finally gets a win!

The men's hockey team finally came away with a win Saturday night in North Dakota beating the Sioux 5-2. Of course, the game wasn't televised, so I can't tell you too much about the win other than that all the scoring came in the third period which is HUGE for the team, as the third period has been absolutely sad in the prior 7 games.

And while the win, in such a convincing fashion, no less, is exciting, Friday's game couldn't have been a better example of the many problems with this team.

Friday's game was on the NHL Network and was just plain painful to watch. The Badgers gave up not one but two goals on horrific puck handling and lazy play in their own zone.

The loss Friday contributed to the worststart to a season for the Badgers in the modern era. It's also the first time they started 0-5 in the WCHA since 1975.

There's no way to further stress how absolutely abominable the Badgers' passing and puck handling has been. These are basic skills the individual players learned in pee wee and it's ridiculous to see a team at this level struggle to put passes together in succession. Last Saturday in Madison against the Gophers, late in the game, our group decided we would stand up and yell when the team put together two clean, successive passes. It didn't happen.

Friday night they allowed 45 shots on goal, leaving poor Shane Connelly alone to face the barrage a few times in the night. They managed a measley 22 SOG themselves. The Badgers had the lead twice in the night, but squandered it both times and once again gave up the game in the third period.

It's so bad, that prior to Saturday, the Badgers have held the lead 10 times this season - 4 times in the final period - and had not gotten a win. It was so bad that Friday night, coach Mike Eaves reportedly asked the team if they were afraid to win.

Friday night, Ryan McDonough was the goat on each of the last two UND goals, just plain turning the puck over in the Badgers zone and allowing the Sioux an easy shot on goal and fanning a clear that left the puck open for UNDs game-winning goal.

Any thoughts of getting a game-tier went out the window when Blake Geoffrion committed an incredibly stupid, obviously frustrated slashing penalty.

The Badgers are in a funk, no doubt about it. Michael Davies, the Badger with the most career goals, has been so bad he's been called out in local press and demoted from first line to fourth. And how do you think he responded? According to the guys over at 60 min, he basically has been hanging out in the neutral zone, cherry picking and waiting for the play to come to him. Nice initiative there Davies. According to that link, Davies has just 2 SOG in the last 3 games and just 13 SOG overall.

The new star of the team appears to be Tom Gorowsky (the total man-crush of the guys at 60min, ala Brewerfan's Russell Branyan)- a perpetual bench-rider earlier in his career, reportedly due to less-than-stellar skating, Gorowsky has stepped up and on Saturday was promoted to the top line along with Andy Bombach, in part because those three accounted for more than a third of the Badgers' shots Friday night.

The up-side is that Saturday's win was a bold statement, hopefully signifying that this team has chosen to actually show up and play to their potential. Despite what they've shown so far, this isn't a bad team. According to this article in a ND paper, the UND coach thought Wisconsin was the most complete team they've played so far this season. (from 60min). They're scoring goals - something that was a problem at times last season. In fact, Saturday night, thanks to some Sioux penalties, they scored 3 goals in 1:21.

I've not been a huge supporter of Shane Connelly, but he should get major recognition for his play over the weekend. The Badger defense allowed him to be absolutely shellacked for 5 periods over 2 days and if it weren't for his stellar play in the 1st and 2nd on Saturday, the Badgers would have had a much larger whole to climb out of in the 3rd.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Packers make a somewhat shocking move...

Justin Harrell was activated from the physically unable to perform list and longtime Packer Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila.

KGB is the highest paid Packer in terms of cap salary and his ability to play has gone progressively downhill. He's started just one game this season and has just 1/2 a sack.

Story here

Further analysis here

Friday, October 31, 2008

Macha Madness

Official Site Story

OS Story on Player reactions

Video of the news conference

Associated Press story

USA Today story

Macha was the obvious choice from the get-go. He was all but in the jersey 5 years ago when he was offered a promotion to manager in the A's system. He stayed in Oakland and Ned Yost took the job in Milwaukee.

As soon as the Brewers' job was opened beyond Dale Sveum, it was clear that Ken Macha was the number one guy on Doug Melvin's list. Macha's appointment might have been one of the worst kept secrets of the past few weeks.


Having learned nothing from jumping the gun on Ryan Grant, the Packers have extended Aaron Rodgers' contract for 6 years.

Look - he's been pretty damn good so far, and I'm totally grateful for that. But he still hasn't proved he isn't the Packers equivalent of Ben Sheets "The Man of Glass." It's great that Rodgers has been playing through the pain - but still. It's been 7 games. I'd love to see a bit more proof before I go tying our future to him for the next six years....

Packers sign Rodgers to contract extension through 2014

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers signed first-year starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a contract extension through the 2014 season on Friday. Rodgers was the Packers' first-round pick in 2005 but didn't get his shot at starting until Brett Favre retired in the offseason. Favre then abruptly unretired and was traded to the New York Jets. Rodgers so far has justified the Packers' decision to stick with him in his first seven games as a starter, leading the team to a 4-3 record while throwing 12 touchdowns and four interceptions.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

Looks like I'm not alone

I've been pretty worked up about how much the refereeing and rule changes have affected college hockey thus far this season. Thankfully, I'm not the only one. Even coach Mike Eaves is upset by the situation - so much so that he sent clips and his comments to the league.

College hockey: Have refs gone overboard in rules emphasis?
The Capital Times

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- It was no secret that there were going to be more penalties called in college hockey this season, what with the emphasis on punishing crimes that previously went without a whistle.

Wisconsin Badgers coach Mike Eaves was one of those who said the game would be better if players didn't have to fight through holding and interference -- a change the NHL had already successfully made, albeit with growing pains.

Eaves didn't know the pains at his level would be quite like this.

As the Badgers open a Western Collegiate Hockey Association series at North Dakota Friday, they are no different than any other college hockey team -- trying to adjust to the new way that things are being done.

But Eaves is concerned that referees, in an effort to push the NCAA rules emphasis, have gone a little overboard.

He sent WCHA supervisor of officials Greg Shepherd a series of video clips from last weekend's series against Minnesota to illustrate his concerns about the officiating.

"They're going through a learning process, too," Eaves said. "The comments that I had on my clips were along those lines: Let's not make up penalties here. We want to make calls, but there were a couple calls that were ghost calls."

Eaves heard back from Shepherd, who said he had a conference call this week with all league referees to point out some of the concerns.

After last Friday's 2-2 tie with Minnesota, which featured 10 power plays for the Gophers and nine for the Badgers, accounting for nearly 28 of the 65 minutes, Eaves said he understood there would be an adjustment period, but that "it's not fun coaching" right now.

Imagine how it is playing.

"These first couple of weeks are going to be tough because the players are adjusting, the coaches are adjusting, the refs are adjusting," Wisconsin freshman forward Derek Stepan said.

Through 12 league games, power plays are up 3.5 per game over the same span last season. Penalty minutes are up 11.5 per game.

That may not sound like much, but 3.5 power plays, taken at the full two minutes, is the equivalent of seven more minutes of special teams time, which puts more of a strain on those players who are asked to play on the power play and penalty kill in addition to their normal 5-on-5 shifts.

Eaves said he'd like to see all sides develop to the point where, by Christmas, teams are down to seven or eight penalties per game. That, he said, would allow for the kind of flow to the game that allows for quality play.

Is that possible? Eaves is keeping hope alive.

"I'm hoping that Greg Shepherd has the wherewithal and leadership to hold guys accountable," Eaves said. "And the referees know that we all want to get better. We're trying to coach our players better. We want them to make the calls that are there better.

"Hope runs eternal, and let's see what happens here. Because if it does work out, in the long run, we're going to have a better game."

Sveum, Casto and Sedar to return as coaches - Maddux's status up in the air

This article on the Brewers' official site says that Bill Castro, Dale Sveum and Ed Sedar will remain as coaches in the Brewers organization. Good for Sveum, who all but thought he was out the door.

Noticeably absent from that list is Mike Maddux.

This column talks about the situation

The Dallas Morning News is keeping a keen eye on the situation and notes that the Rangers will be able to talk to Maddux scott free tomorrow.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Coaches poll is out for Men's Basketball. Marquette at 17 and Wisconsin at 21.

SPN/USA Today Poll
1. North Carolina (31) 0-0 775
2. Connecticut 0-0 707
3. Louisville 0-0 694
4. UCLA 0-0 650
5. Duke 0-0 578
6. Pittsburgh 0-0 576
7. Michigan State 0-0 572
8. Texas 0-0 538
9. Notre Dame 0-0 525
10. Purdue 0-0 465
11. Gonzaga 0-0 437
12. Memphis 0-0 425
13. Tennessee 0-0 408
14. Oklahoma 0-0 387
15. Arizona State 0-0 304
16. Miami (FL) 0-0 233
17. Marquette 0-0 219
18. Georgetown 0-0 175
19. Florida 0-0 161
20. Davidson 0-0 158
21. USC 0-0 153
21. Wisconsin 0-0 153
23. Kansas 0-0 130
24. Wake Forest 0-0 129
25. Villanova 0-0 122
Others Receiving Votes
UNLV 60, Saint Mary's 59, Ohio State 54, Baylor 47, Xavier 27, Syracuse 23, Texas A&M 19, LSU 19, Arizona 18, Virginia Tech 15, Brigham Young 13, West Virginia 10, Washington 8, Siena 8, Kentucky 7, Vanderbilt 7, Oklahoma State 4, Clemson 2, Washington State 1.

It's official

It's on the Brewers website. Ken Macha will be the new manager.


10/30/08 1:00 PM ET

Brewers to name Macha manager

Former A's skipper won two division titles with Oakland

MILWAUKEE -- Six years after Brewers general manager Doug Melvin first asked Ken Macha to be the team's field manager, Macha is poised to accept.

The Brewers called a 2 p.m. CT press conference Thursday during which they will name Macha, 58, as the 16th skipper in club history. Macha passed on the Brewers' offer in October 2002 to remain in Oakland, but quickly became the leading candidate earlier this month as Melvin searched for a replacement for Ned Yost and Dale Sveum. Macha beat out former Mets manager Willie Randolph and former D-backs skipper Bob Brenly for the job.

Before interviewing those candidates, Melvin flew to Phoenix to meet with Sveum, who managed the Brewers for the final 12 regular season games in 2008 after Yost was dismissed. The team won the National League Wild Card under Sveum, but Melvin decided he wanted a full-time manager with more Major League experience.

The Brewers decided on Macha as their choice as early as Sunday and were waiting for the World Series to end to make the formal announcement. The Phillies did the Brewers a favor by winning the championship on Wednesday night; had the Series shifted back to Tampa Bay, the Brewers were considering asking Major League Baseball to waive the moratorium on making news so they could name Macha on Thursday. Melvin leaves town for the Managers Meetings on Saturday and wanted the staff settled before then.

The Brewers also were expected to make some announcements Thursday about the coaching staff. Sveum could be back as third-base or bench coach, and Melvin also encouraged Macha to retain pitching coach Mike Maddux, bullpen coach Bill Castro and first-base coach Ed Sedar.

Macha was one of five candidates for the Brewers job after the 2002 season, when Melvin was brought in as GM to turn around a franchise coming off a 106-loss season. Macha, who had been Oakland's bench coach since 1999, was Melvin's first choice, but when A's manager Art Howe left for the Mets, Macha was offered the manager's position in Oakland. The Brewers instead gave the job to Yost.

The A's owned a 368-280 regular-season record in Macha's four years as manager and won two AL West division titles, but he was abruptly dismissed two days after the A's were swept by the Tigers in the 2006 American League Championship Series. Oakland general manager Billy Beane cited "a disconnect" on both sides.

Macha spent the past two seasons as a studio analyst for Red Sox television broadcasts.

The Pirates selected Pittsburgh native Macha in the sixth round of the 1972 First-Year Player Draft and he played parts of six Major League seasons, primarily as a third baseman. He then played four seasons in Japan before beginning his coaching career in Montreal in 1986.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers price increases not so big

I was expecting this announcement yesterday, but here you go. Brewers ticket prices aren't raising as much as I would have expected. Parking rates are the same except for marquee games.

They also announced a new section in the outfield where the tickets will be a flat $10 and will only be available day-of-game.

Terrace Reserved seats - some of the most affordable in baseball, stay at $14.

The report says that increases amount to about 5% over last year.

From the report: "The Brewers plan no price increases for individual non-marquee games in the Loge Infield Box, Bernie's Terrace and Uecker seats. "

Read all about it here.

Tom H says expect Macha announcement soon; ESPN now on the bandwagon

It should be soon

Oct. 30, 2008 8:21 a.m. | Philadelphia - Now that the World Series is over, I'm expecting the Brewers to name Ken Macha as their new manager, either today or tomorrow.

The Brewers were honoring the moratorium on announcing managerial hirings during the World Series, so now they can go ahead with their business. Had Tampa Bay won last night and forced the Series to go on to Game 6 and perhaps 7, I'm not sure what the Brewers would do because they want to get this done and move forward.

Macha, a former manager with Oakland, was one of three finalists for the job. General manager Doug Melvin also interviewed former Arizona manager Bob Brenly and former New York Mets manager Willie Randolph.

Melvin has not been returning telephone calls for the past few days because he obviously doesn't want to talk about the situation until it can be announced. Having made his choice, it just would have been awkward to fend off questions about it without being able to announce it.

But it's my information that Macha is the man. I've expected all along he would be the favorite because Melvin wanted to hire him before the 2003 season but Macha was promoted from bench coach to manager in Oakland instead. So, Melvin hired Ned Yost, who was fired with 12 games remaining this season.

If you like a guy once, you'll like him again. The thing that has to be addressed is all of the problems Macha had with players before he was fired after four winning seasons in Oakland. Melvin has looked into that situation and believes there were extenuating circumstances that weren't all Macha's doing.

As I've been writing in recent days, I'm expecting Macha to bring Dale Sveum back onto the coaching staff, as either third base coach or bench coach. And as I wrote yesterday, pitching coach Mike Maddux might be leaving for Texas.

So, there are matters to be addressed. And in the coming days, some big decisions with personnel, such as the club option on centerfielder Mike Cameron. And, now that the World Series is over, the Brewers will be preparing their offer to free agent pitcher CC Sabathia.

It's going to be a busy and very important winter for the club, especially if it would like to compete for the playoffs again next season.



Sources: Macha to be named Brewers manager

Updated: October 30, 2008, 11:25 AM ET

The Milwaukee Brewers are expected to name Ken Macha as their choice to succeed interim manager Dale Sveum, two baseball sources have told ESPN. The official announcement could come later Thursday.

Macha, who managed the Oakland Athletics from 2003 to 2006, former Arizona Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly and former New York Mets manager Willie Randolph were considered the finalists for the job.

As the NL wild-card qualifier, the Brewers reached the postseason for the first time since 1982, but lost to eventual World Series champion Philadelphia in four games in the division series.

Earlier this month, at the same time Milwaukee announced general manager Doug Melvin would receive a 3-year contract extension, it said Sveum was no longer under consideration to become manager full-time.

The Brewers went on to win the wild card with a 90-72 record after Sveum replaced Ned Yost as manager with two weeks left in the regular season.

Macha was fired by the A's after Oakland was swept in the '06 AL Championship Series by Detroit. The A's went 368-280 but failed to reach the World Series in his four seasons as manager.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.