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?