Thursday, November 27, 2008
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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...
Go to RealGM.com, 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
Go here and vote!
Friday, November 14, 2008
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
No political commentary here, folks. Just basset love...
Obama, and his waddling mate.
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
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.
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 USCHO.com 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
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
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."
"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
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
"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
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
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.
ADD TO ORIGINAL POST:
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."
*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.
"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."
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
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
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.
Further analysis here