Monday, March 31, 2008
As the boyfriend just called and said of our closer, Eric Gagne, can we have our $10 million back???
Sunday, March 30, 2008
The Badgers were just 1-5-1 in their final games of the season. They lost in the first round of the WCHA tournament to St. Cloud State.
Denver, on the other hand, entered last night's game on a 5 game winning streak and having been crowned champions of the WCHA tournament.
Coach Mike Eaves had said all week that he was a little concerned about his team being rusty since they'd had two weeks off since their last game, but there was no rust to be found on any of the Badger players last night. They won 40 faceoffs. They scored two break-away goals. While Denver hit the post four times without putting any of them in, when Cody Goloubef hit the post, his shot rebounded and slowly slid into the back of the net.
The Badgers had had a frustratingly streaky, unlucky and just plain painful season and last night's game couldn't have been more out of character for this team. Apparently being told they didn't deserve their tournament berth was the spark the team needed to ignite an offensive burst that had been lacking all season.
Penalty situations, both for and against the Badgers, had been a problem all season. We were awful at killing the penalty and gave up more short-handed goals than I'd care to remember. Last night, there were no signs of that as the Badgers killed all but one penalty while scoring their own power-play goal. (There was a point during the season where a player from Colorado College had as many goals during OUR power plays as we did!)
This was a team who all season long seemed like they couldn't catch a break. That's not to sat that they didn't have their fair share of bad games and worse decisions, but if ever there were a team that it seemed couldn't buy a break, this team was it. You only have to look at that series in Denver to see what I mean.
But all that came about 180 degrees last night. Instead of being on the wrong side of right-place-right-time opportunities, it seemed like Wisconsin had noting but those types of goals last night.
Michael Davies scored the first goal when he found himself alone in front of the back post and a shot was deflected right to his feet and he was able to put behind Denver goalie Peter Mannino who was completely out of position.
The first period ended 1-0.
In the second period, the Badgers got another deflection goal as defenseman Jamie McBain was camped on the post and was able to put his stick out and deflect a shot up and over Mannino's glove. The defensemen were spectacular last night as they notched 6 points - 3 goals and 3 assists. They have 21 goals and 70 assists on the season.
UW goalie Shane Connelly had a stellar game recording 30 saves.
The score was 2-1 until 10:41 left in the third period and I couldn't help thinking to myself while I was watching my recording that I couldn't imagine that this Badger team was going to hit 4 goals in the final 10 minutes (the aforementioned post-ringer that deflected in by Goloubef.)
John Mitchell scored exactly a minute later when he found himself with the puck in the neutral zone and he just plain out-skated two Denver defenders to have a breakaway on the net where he five-holed Mannino. Mitchell's an undrafted free agent and a rather large guy who just seemed to find another level of acceleration when he received the puck. The kid has some serious wheels.
A few minutes later, Micheal Davies scored his second goal of the night in much the same manner as Mitchell as he received the puck on the Wisconsin half of the ice and burned the Denver defense and five-holed Mannino.
Captain Davis Drewiske finished up the scoring with an empty-netter from near the blue line with under 3 minutes to go.
That 4 goal period is one of the two highest-scoring periods against Denver all season. The other is a 3 goal first that UW had the day after that controversial game. No other team has scored more than 2 goals in one period against DU all year.
The argument will likely be made about Wisconsin having home-ice advantage, but even that doesn't score you 4 extra goals.
The Badgers clearly had a chip on their shoulder and felt they had something to prove. Not only had they been getting crap about their undeserved berth, but the controversial game in Denver was a huge season-changer for UW. That one loss decided that we played St. Cloud in St. Cloud in the opening round of the WCHA tournament. We were one loss below .500. That one loss that should have gone to OT had to be on the minds of the players last night.
And let's not forget that Denver is hosting the Frozen Four this year. Wisconsin just crushed their hopes of hosting the finals in their home state, much like Wisconsin did in 2006.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
I like silly, stupid and nostalgic music. I have the New Kids on the Block and Foreigner Greatest Hits on my ipod. Under no circumstances would I suggest asking me about the greatest drummer in the history of rock and roll. I wouldn’t have a clue. I appreciate that many people out there take music very seriously, but I’m not that person. My music is entertainment. It gets me through a long day of work. I’m one of those people that always has a song in my head. So I apologize if this recap is surface at best. Discussing music is a little out of my element, but I saw a really cool concert last night and I thought I’d share.
I’m a member of FM 106’s listener program in which you sign in and earn points by answering questions and entering the name of the artist of the day, etc.. I’m pretty sure every station has a program like this. You usually use your points to “buy” entries into raffles, but on occasion they’ll have times when you can just trade-in your points and you get something in return. There’s no “contest.” A few weeks ago I noticed there was a new trade-in, so I checked it out. For 10,610 points you could get 2 free tickets to see a special “members only” concert by Jewel at Potowatomi’s Northern Lights Theater. Jewel is about to release a country album, so that’s the FM 106 connection. The concert didn’t appear on Jewel’s website nor the Potowatomi calendar.
I have a friend from high school that’s a HUGE Jewel friend. We’re talking she took guitar lessons to be like Jewel. In high school she took down a Brad Pitt poster to hang up a Jewel poster and her dad came in and asked if she still liked boys. Big BIG Jewel fan.
So when I saw the tickets I traded in my points and gave her a call. Despite the fact that the concert was a week before her due date, she jumped at the chance.
As far as I’m concerned, I enjoy Jewel’s music, but it’s not really my genre. She uses a lot of vibrato which can really get on my nerves. But a free show and a happy friend were enough to get me there.
If you’ve never seen an act in the Northern Lights Theater, I’d suggest you check it out. I’ve seen a rock show there as well as another country show and they were both cool, but last night’s “intimate” performance was one of the coolest things I’ve ever been to. It felt as though Jewel was sitting in my living room, playing to me. She couldn’t have been more than 15 feet away and the whole experience was very warm and personal.
She played for an hour and a half and I’d say she played about 10 songs. There was a lot of storytelling, which really enhanced the idea that this was a casual, friendly kind of performance. It really made it special and allowed you to connect further with the music. I have to say I’m a much bigger Jewel fan today than I was yesterday. I’m heading to the library after work to pick up a couple of CDs.
She opened the show by walking on stage and singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” acapella. It was haunting with her voice deepening and then hitting the high notes. The words hung in the absolutely silent theater. It was an incredibly gripping opening. She came onto stage and without a word launched into this achingly beautiful song that went up and down the register, with the trademark yodel sound coming from the back of her throat as well as the beautiful clear high notes. I don’t think anyone expected it to start like that and we all were pretty much frozen in place until the end.
Next came a song she said she wrote for her father, who raised her. He’s an Alaskan cowboy and the song had a sort of twangy western feel. It made me think of the old Westerns where the guitar is accompanying their slow trot into town.
Jewel addressed the audience quite a bit, asking if there were specific songs we wanted to hear as well as giving the background of some of the songs. She thanked the radio station and the audience profusely, saying that she often told her label that she had fans among country music fans and they should release her singles on country radio. She said the label disagreed. She also said that she had a 6 record deal with Atlantic – which seems crazy. She was signed at 19 and she said she felt they weren’t quite sure what genre she was. In another story she said that the first time she heard her song on the radio it was played between Nirvana and Soundgarden. She also said that by her last record of that deal she was happy with the songs, but they weren’t what the label wanted, so she basically accused the label of making it flop due to under promotion. She said that without bitterness and acknowledged that after that record it was time to move on.
She played her hits like “Foolish Games” and “Who Will Save Your Soul.” If you didn’t know the lyrics, you wouldn’t have recognized “Foolish Games” but she gave it an interesting, hippie/folk treatment. After last night I feel that Jewel is one of those artists who’s “hit” songs are actually nothing like what she really plays. (Go see a Goo Goo Dolls show. They play fairly loud, hard music, but all their radio hits are soft ballads. They’re not popular for “their” music.) She drew a few of the songs into almost spoken word metered poems.
In the middle of the show I was almost brought to tears by a song she sang called “Violet Eyes” that Jewel said she wrote for her very best friend who had died from cancer. It’s was hauntingly beautiful and simple and you could tell that just singing it was a chore for her. She said none of us would know the song because she doesn’t sing it very often. I understand why it’s not on any album as you could tell it was a deeply personal song for her. I felt a bit like a voyeur watching her sing this song that was so obviously a tribute and was a part of her healing process from the passing of her friend.
I find when I go to a concert where the artist tells anecdotes and stories I’m always wary of the sincerity of them. I often wonder if the same story is told in every city. For the most part, Jewel came across as earnest and sincere. There was a part where she was talking about people asking her about which of her songs is her favorite and she launched into a polka ditty and my friend, the fan, said she’d heard that verbatim before and it was even on one of the CDs.
There were two stories that stuck with me.
The first was the story I mentioned before. Apparently “Who Will Save Your Soul” is the first song Jewel ever wrote at the age of 16. She told the story that it was played between those two bands and she had a very dramatic build up about how she pulled over to the side of the road and was crying and then she said “I was so embarrassed. I sounded like Kermit the Frog!” You were ready for her to tell you how moved to tears she was about finally hearing her song and instead she just kept saying how embarrassed she was. Then she paused and said “I was embarrassed ….all the way to the bank! So I guess that worked out.” It was a very honest, funny moment.
The second story was to introduce the song “Hands.” She said she was living in her van in San Diego and she said she wasn’t proud, but sometimes she resorted to shoplifting things like peanut butter in order to eat. She said she was in a store and saw a sundress she really wanted that was $34. She said she was standing there, gripping the dress and she couldn’t stop staring at her hands wrapped around the material and it struck her how insulting she was being to herself as she thought about stealing it. She said it really hit her that she was giving herself no credit if she thought she didn’t have the ability to earn $34. It was a very interesting take on the things we do to survive and how she viewed herself in what was the lowest point in her life. I never took that song to be an empowerment, but as she explained it you could see how the song is about taking responsibility for yourself and not blaming others and having the faith in your own hands to accomplish what you need to accomplish. She finished up by saying that she was in the mountains with her husband on Sept. 11, 2001. She said the emerged on Sept. 13 and had no idea what had happened. They saw flags at half-mast and signs that proclaimed how much people loved America so they put on the radio and were trying to piece together what had happened. The DJ of one of the stations then played “Hands” and said it should inspire everyone out there. You could tell that was a profound moment for her.
All in all it was a really cool experience that I’m glad I was able to be a part of.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
In a move that surprised everyone, including Claudio Vargas, the Brewers released him today. No one's quite sure why we released him as opposed to trading him. Even if we traded him for a prospect, we could have "controlled" where he went and kept him out of our division. It's a highly suspect move, but it appears to be for purely monetary reasons. The move lends credence to the rumor that Brewers are considering making contract offers to Prince and Braun.
Brewers release Vargas
By Tom Haudricourt
Tuesday, Mar 25 2008, 01:38 PM
Phoenix - In a somewhat surprising move and a definite commitment toward youth, the Brewers just released veteran right-hander Claudio Vargas.
The move paves the way for two young pitchers, Manny Parra and Carlos Villanueva, to make the starting rotation, along with Ben Sheets, Jeff Suppan and Dave Bush.
"This will let us keep them both (Parra and Villanueva) for the time being, unless something changes," said Manager Ned Yost. "You don't back yourself into a corner.
"In our evaluations, (Vargas) was the seventh guy on our staff," said Yost, also including Yovani Gallardo, who is expected to join the rotation in mid-April after recovering from knee surgery.
"We feel, in all fairness to him, we didn't see him pitching in Triple-A. We feel like he's a big-league pitcher."
Yost said there was some slight interest in Vargas on the trade market but not enough to make a deal. When Vargas cleared waivers, the Brewers decided to release him.
I need to check on the rule, but there might have been a financial component to making the move today, also. Vargas has a $3.6 millon salary for this year and the Brewers might have saved some of it by releasing him today. I'll get back to you on that.
As might be expected, Vargas was somewhat shocked by the move.
"I thought that when they signed me, they needed me here, so I'm kind of surprised a little bit," said Vargas, who was 3-1 with a 3.86 ERA in five spring outings. "And the way I've been pitching, I've been (as good) as any starter here, maybe except one or two.
"I understand, they want to keep Carlos and Parra in the starting rotation. And Yovani will come back soon, so someone (was out). I know I can start at some point in the major leagues for some other team."
Vargas, 29, spent most of the 2007 season in the Brewers' rotation, going 11-6 with a 5.09 ERA in 29 games (23 starts).
Yost said he would announce his starting rotation after the Brewers' exhibition game today but this is my guess at present:
RHP Ben Sheets
RHP Jeff Suppan
LHP Manny Parra
RHP Dave Bush
RHP Carlos Villanueva.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
St. Norbert wins NCAA hockey title
St. Norbert College capped an improbable season Sunday by winning its first NCAA Division III men's hockey championship.
Scott Pulak and Marc Belanger scored second-period goals and Kyle Jones thwarted five power-play chances and stopped all 32 shots he faced to lead the Green Knights to a 2-0 victory over Plattsburgh State in Lake Placid, N.Y.
St. Norbert (27-1-4), making its third appearance in the title game, finished the season with a 29-game unbeaten streak (25-0-4).
Jones recorded his 10th shutout of the season and his 25th overall, both NCAA Division III records.
Plattsburgh state finished 25-5-0.
It would seem likely that this could mean that Cappy has pitched his last time as a Brewer. His salary will be even higher next season and I can't see that we'll spend the money on him when we'll be needing come up with money for Prince and Ryan.
I would venture to guess that we have had the feelers out to trade Cappy for awhile and have had no nibbles. That being the case, Manny Parra will be our left handed pitcher and we'll need to get to building up a left-hander in the minor league system.
Season-ending surgery likely for Capuano (updated)
By Anthony Witrado
Sunday, Mar 23 2008, 02:18 PM
Phoenix - Left-hander Chris Capuano has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow, the Brewers announced Sunday.
Capuano will seek a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, before deciding on Tommy John surgery or an attempt at rehabilitation. But the fact that the ligament is torn pretty much rules out the rehab route and makes surgery about definite.
Capuano had Tommy John sugery in 2002, performed by Andrews, and it took him 11 months before he was back on the mound competitively. On Saturday, Capuano was told it could be a tear of the same ligament from 2002, and today it was comfirmed to Capuano and the team by team physician William Raasch.
"It's very daunting to think about going through that rehab again," Capuano said.
If it is determined Capuano needs a second Tommy John, which again is very likely, he would have it as soon as possible and probably before opening day.
The injury happened Monday in a split-squad game against the Mariners. After giving up a home run to Richie Sexson, Capuano felt a "bite" against the next batter, Vladimir Balentien. Capuano tried to pitch through the pain, which he said was similar to the tendonitis he had in 2004, but his next pitch went directly into the dirt.
Capuano said he knew then it could be more serious than just soreness or inflammation.
While battling for a spot in the starting rotation, Capuano was 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA, giving up 21 hits and 11 earned runs in 11 innings this spring. Last season, Capuano was 5-12 with a 5.10 ERA.
Men’s Hockey Gains NCAA Berth
For the 23rd time in school history, and for the first time at the Kohl Center, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team will compete in the NCAA tournament. The Badgers earned the No. 3 seed in the 2008 NCAA Midwest Regional and will take on second-seeded and WCHA playoff champion Denver on Saturday, March 29. The game is slated for 5:30 p.m. CT. The 16-team tournament field was announced Sunday morning on ESPN2.
Joining the Badgers (15-16-7) and Pioneers (26-13-1) in the WCHA-heavy Midwest Regional is top-seeded North Dakota (26-10-4) and fourth-seeded Princeton (21-13-0). Princeton earned its first NCAA tournament bid in 10 years and its second in school history when it won the ECAC playoff crown on Saturday night. UND and the Tigers meet Saturday at 2 p.m. CT.
The winners of the regional semifinal match-ups will skate Sunday at 6 p.m. CT in the regional title game. The regional final champion will advance to the 2008 NCAA Frozen Four, which will take place April 10 and 12 at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Wisconsin split two games at Denver this season in the season’s only meetings between the WCHA rivals. Denver earned a 3-2 victory at Magness Arena on Jan. 11, while the Badgers returned the favor the next night, winning 7-2 over the Pioneers. All-time, however, Wisconsin holds a 70-50-9 edge in the series, including a 2-0 mark in NCAA tournament action and a 4-2 victory in the 1973 NCAA Championship Game.
The Badgers must overcome recent history if they hope to advance in the tournament. Wisconsin has dropped the last five meetings against Denver at the Kohl Center and is 1-11-2 against DU in the building since it opened in 1998.
The game for the Badgers and Pioneers will mark both teams’ first NCAA appearance since winning NCAA titles. The Badgers won the 2006 crown but missed out on a bid in 2007. The Pioneers won NCAA titles in 2004 and 2005, but missed NCAA competition the past two seasons.
The winner of the Midwest Regional will take on the winner of the Northeast Regional, which runs March 29-30 in Worcester, Mass. In the Northeast Regional, Miami (Ohio) holds the No. 1 seed, while No. 2 Boston College, No. 3 Minnesota and No. 4 Air Force round out the bracket.
In the remaining brackets, New Hampshire meets Notre Dame and Colorado College meets defending NCAA champion Michigan State in Colorado Springs, Colo., for the West Regional, while No. 1 overall seed Michigan skates against Niagara and St. Cloud State meets Clarkson in the East Regional in Albany, N.Y.
Tickets for the 2008 NCAA Midwest Regional are currently available at UWBADGERS.COM.
Saturday’s Wisconsin game will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on ESPNU, Sunday at 1:30 p.m. CT, while the regional final airs live on ESPNU. The North Dakota-Princeton contest airs tape-delayed on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. CT. All the action will air live on ESPN360.
Live television coverage for Wisconsin’s game on Saturday is yet to be completely determined. Midwest Regional semifinal action has already been cleared for live broadcasting in Milwaukee on Time Warner Wisconsin.
The game can also be heard live on the radio. Check your local listings.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Of course, he also proved that being cold from the floor didn't mean he was giving up and put the game on ice as he was fouled 4 times and hit 8 of the free throws.
David Cubillan has also been extremely cold in the most important part of the season. He's been 2 of 18 and just 1 of 13 from three point land, his specialty, in the post season.
The strangest fact of this game is that MU vs Kentucky is the most played match-up in NCAA history with Thursday being the tenth. Until they told us that 15 times during the game, might have been one hell of trivia question.
The other bits of trivia from this game are that it was the first opening round game Kentucky has lost since 1987 and the first one we'd won since the D-Wade led team that made it to the Final Four.
And the absolute biggest story of the game was Kentucky's Joe Crawford, who had an absolutely stunning 35 points. He played 39 minutes, sitting just 1 minute in the first half. The kid put on a one man show and single handedly kept Kentucky in the game. He also had 5 rebounds and 2 assists.
My favorite moment of the game came in the waning seconds when Dominic James went over and shook Crawford's hand. It was a classy move on James' part to acknowledge this kid's accomplishments before he celebrates the win.
Friday, March 21, 2008
story from jsonline.com
Badgers' spark provided by a short fuse
By MIKE COOK
Special to the Journal Sentinel
Posted: March 20, 2008
Duluth, Minn. - Wisconsin's smallest player had the biggest game-changing moment Thursday.
Buy a link here
Erika Lawler scored once and added an assist to lead the Badgers past Harvard, 4-1, in the semifinals of the 2008 women's hockey Frozen Four.
Jinelle Zaugg scored twice and Jasmine Giles once for the two-time defending champions, who will face Minnesota-Duluth for the second straight year in the title game Saturday.
Meghan Duggan had two assists, and Jessie Vetter stopped 33 shots for the fourth-ranked Badgers (29-8-3).
The loss was the first in 22 games for top-ranked Harvard (32-2-0). It was only the second time this year the Crimson allowed more than two goals. It lost both games.
Lawler, who stands just 5 feet tall, tied the score 18 seconds into the second period by turning a Crimson turnover into a tying Wisconsin goal. Lawler gathered a loose puck behind the net, came out front and backhanded the puck past Harvard goaltender Christina Kessler.
"Whenever you get out there first you want to be the one to create the momentum, you want to get everyone going, get everyone fired up. You want to get everyone back in the game," she said.
Giles scored 2 minutes later on a one-timer from the right circle.
"It's fun to participate in a game, but we didn't come to participate, we came to play," Wisconsin coach Mark Johnson said. "You've got to go out, play and do what you're capable of. I didn't see it for stretches in the first period."
Lawler did everything but score the third UW goal.
She was checked behind the Crimson net, bounced back up, corralled the puck in the left corner and fed Zaugg in the slot. Falling forward, Zaugg put a shot past Kessler at 6:56 of the second period for a 3-1 lead.
"Erika brings a lot of energy and she's very quick. She goes 100 mph, it looks like, and she ducks her shoulder and gets around people," said Zaugg, who also tipped in a pass from Duggan early in the third period for her ninth goal in nine NCAA tournament games.
Harvard coach Katey Stone was especially disappointed with her team's play in its own end.
"We had breakdowns and things happened. We weren't as good on defense as we've been all year. They capitalized on their chances."
Minnesota-Duluth 3, New Hampshire 2: Freshman forward Laura Fridfinnson scored a power-play goal midway through the third period to send the Bulldogs back to the title game.
Wisconsin 0 3 1 - 4
Harvard 1 0 0 - 1
First period - 1, HAR, Brine (Vaughn, Cahow), 4:42. Penalties - Matthews, UW (interference), 4:04; McDonald, HAR (cross-checking), 15:57.
Second period - 2, UW, Lawler (unassisted), :18: 3, UW, Giles (Hanson, Duggan), 2:25; 4, UW, Zaugg (Lawler, Morris), 6:56. Penalties - Morris, UW (checking from behind), 16:25; Matthews, UW (cross-checking), 19:40.
Third period - 5, UW, Zaugg (Duggan, Deluce), 3:15. Penalties - Griffin, HAR (interference), 8:59; Duggan, UW (tripping), 13:59.
Vetter, UW 6 13 14 - 33
Kessler, HAR 11 8 5 - 24
Summary: Shots on goal - UW 11-11-6-28; HAR 7-13-14-34. Penalties /minutes - UW 4 for 8; HAR 2 for 4. Power play opportunities - UW 0 for 2; HAR 1 for 4. T - 2:00. A - 3,023.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
1. Team of the 2000's? OK, that may be taking things a bit too far, but let's review what the basketball Badgers have accomplished since the year 2000. One Final Four, 2 Elite Eights, 3 Sweet Sixteens, 3 Big Ten Regular Season titles (2 outright) and two Big Ten Tournament titles. Although the casual fan might most easily identify with Indiana or Michigan State as traditional Big Ten powers, Indiana has not won an outright Big Ten regular season title since 1993 and Michigan State hasn't won one since 1999. The most amazing stat is Wisconsin has made the NCAA Tournament in 10 straight seasons. Coming in to this season, only five teams can top that streak: Arizona (23), Kansas (18), Kentucky (16), Duke (12), Michigan State (10). Not bad company. What is even more amazing is that prior to this run, Wisconsin only made the NCAA Tournament twice since their 1941 national championship; the 1994 Michael Finley-led team and the 1997 squad.
Those are some crazy and impressive stats and ones I don't know I've heard before.
Before the end of the tournament I'm sure I won't be able to refrain from my rant on courtside announcers and their two details/team that they beat like a dead horse. This is my case in point.
Instead of hearing them giggle and call Brian Butch polar bear over and over, hearing any one of the details listed above might have actually, I don't know, added something to the game.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Let me just tell you that collecting the pictures below as the best point of the game. Both teams looked like they couldn't hit the broad side of a barn for most of the game. The Bucks were fairly comfortably in the lead for most of the game. But as always happens with the Bucks, they completely unraveled in the fourth quarter. The Heat went on a 19-3 run in which those 3 points were scored on free throws. The Heat's backcourt duo of Jason Williams and Chris Quinn just plain rained 3's on us and the Bucks could do nothing about it. Michael Redd has 26 points and Michael Ruffin had 14 points and a very impressive 16 rebounds.
If my knowledge of the NBA is mediocre at best, the boyfriend knows even less than that. On the walk into the game he asked me if we were in the part of the season where we're trying to lose in order to get a higher draft pick. I pointed out 3 things:
1. The answer is yes, if by "trying to lose" you mean giving up huge 4th quarter leads and generally sucking.
2. If by "the part of the season" you mean November through April, then yes.
3. We've gotten numerous high draft picks in recent years - Glenn Robinson, Andrew Bogut, Yi - and we still suck, so tanking for a pick seems like a waste of energy.
Also, Brian Winters' number was "rededicated" last night. I'm not sure what that means, but I do know they had a frame with the front of a white jersey and the back of a green jersey and they were the jersey's the team is currently wearing. Meaning Winters never wore it. But there it was, with his name and number. Silly.
Plus, the whole halftime "rededication" thing reached highly amusing levels when Herb Kohl was introduced and the (sparse) crowd booed.
The boyfriend said I shouldn't boo because Kohl has done good things politically and built the Kohl Center in Madison. I said that he was introduced as Buck Owner Herb Kohl, not philanthropist or Sentor Herb Kohl. And since he sucks as an owner, booing is fully acceptable.
One last thought. A few guys in my office are inexplicably still Bucks fans and so Bucks shop talk comes up quite often. I know I have nothing to add, so I usually just listen. But I finally brought up this point the other day and so far no one's been able to come up with a satisfying answer. I'm not sure if I'm talking crazy or not..
Here's what I don't understand. We've been bad for quite awhile. We've gotten good players and high draft picks. There are numerous players that are former Bucks out there flourishing with other teams in the league. We've had numerous different coaches - some better than others. They too have gone on to do well with other teams.
It seems to me that there has been one constant through this whole awful process and that's Herb Kohl. How could the blame fall elsewhere? Does he have that much power/pull in day-to-day running of the club? Am I missing something?
Pictures from last night:
Split squad crushes Mariners
By Anthony Witrado
Monday, Mar 17 2008, 06:05 PM
Peoria, Ariz. - The Brewers split squad pounded Seattle, 17-3, racking up 25 hits.
Every starter had at least one hit.
Most of the devistation came from the bat of minor league outfielder Brendan Katin, who went 3-for-5 with two doubles, a three-run home run and six RBI. Rightfielder Corey Hart stayed hot with a single and two-run double and a stolen base.
Chris Narveson got the victory after taking over for starter Chris Capuano, who left with soreness in his left elbow. Narveson pitched 3.2 innings, allowed no runs, three hits and struck out four.
First is that, with the exception of Aaron Rodgers, we've used our first round pick for the past few years to pick up a defensive player.
The second nugget that came out was how last season's draft really ended up being a vote of confidence in Aaron Rodgers. I never looked at it this way, but Brady Quinn unexpectedly dropped in the draft and the Packers had a chance to take him if they were unsure or unhappy about the heir apparent they already had. Instead, they stuck with Rodgers and thus far, between the Dallas game that was the NFC game of the year and how he's looked in pre-season games, I think every fan as well as everyone within the organization feels a lot better about the possible future of this team.
This year's draft doesn't look like it will play out any different. I've read differing mock drafts, but it seems unanimous that we'll be going for some sort of player in the secondary. On SportsCenter they suggested that we'll be seeking a corner to back up the aging Al Harris and Charles Woodson. Most Packer fans who've seen these two get penalty after penalty might agree, but it's an interesting suggestion from the same people that couldn't stop extolling the virtues of the "best cornerbacks in the country." Last year every broadcaster spoke as if these two were the Messiah's of this team, but in the span of literally like a third of the off-season, they are now aging and we are in such need to cover their butts that we have to use our first round draft pick to do so. The SportsCenter guys suggested we'll take a CB out of the University of South Florida and the only name I can find is Mike Jenkins.
The other suggestion I've seen and read is to pick up another versatile Tight End. Donald Lee really stepped it up and proved that he's our go-to TE. When Bubba Franks decided to show up for part of last season, we had a very effective two TE set. We (thankfully) got rid of Bubba and he signed a one-year deal with the Jets. That means that a key pick up this draft has to be a TE that can support Lee and give Aaron Rodgers more options.
Monday, March 17, 2008
The article is a part of a series on scholarships the paper is running. There's a sidebar on the left-hand side of the above linked article that links to all the related articles they've run.
I'm going to bold a few parts that I think are particularly interesting. I have some thoughts on this, but I'm at work and have to do payroll so I'll come back to this later. In the meantime, the article is well worth the read.
Expectations Lose to Reality of Sports Scholarships
At youth sporting events, the sidelines have become the ritual community meeting place, where families sit in rows of folding chairs aligned like church pews. These congregations are diverse in spirit but unified by one gospel: heaven is your child receiving a college athletic scholarship.
Parents sacrifice weekends and vacations to tournaments and specialty camps, spending thousands each year in this quest for the holy grail.
But the expectations of parents and athletes can differ sharply from the financial and cultural realities of college athletics, according to an analysis by The New York Times of previously undisclosed data from the National Collegiate Athletic Association and interviews with dozens of college officials.
Excluding the glamour sports of football and basketball, the average N.C.A.A. athletic scholarship is nowhere near a full ride, amounting to $8,707. In sports like baseball or track and field, the number is routinely as low as $2,000. Even when football and basketball are included, the average is $10,409. Tuition and room and board for N.C.A.A. institutions often cost between $20,000 and $50,000 a year.
“People run themselves ragged to play on three teams at once so they could always reach the next level,” said Margaret Barry of Laurel, Md., whose daughter is a scholarship swimmer at the University of Delaware. “They’re going to be disappointed when they learn that if they’re very lucky, they will get a scholarship worth 15 percent of the $40,000 college bill. What’s that? $6,000?”
Within the N.C.A.A. data, last collected in 2003-4 and based on N.C.A.A. calculations from an internal study, are other statistical insights about the distribution of money for the 138,216 athletes who received athletic aid in Division I and Division II.
¶Men received 57 percent of all scholarship money, but in 11 of the 14 sports with men’s and women’s teams, the women’s teams averaged higher amounts per athlete.
¶On average, the best-paying sport was neither football nor men’s or women’s basketball. It was men’s ice hockey, at $21,755. Next was women’s ice hockey ($20,540).
¶The lowest overall average scholarship total was in men’s riflery ($3,608), and the lowest for women was in bowling ($4,899). Baseball was the second-lowest men’s sport ($5,806).
Many students and their parents think of playing a sport not because of scholarship money, but because it is stimulating and might even give them a leg up in the increasingly competitive process of applying to college. But coaches and administrators, the gatekeepers of the recruiting system, said in interviews that parents and athletes who hoped for such money were much too optimistic and that they were unprepared to effectively navigate the system. The athletes, they added, were the ones who ultimately suffered.
Coaches surveyed at two representative N.C.A.A. Division I institutions — Villanova University outside Philadelphia and the University of Delaware — told tales of rejecting top prospects because their parents were obstinate in scholarship negotiations.
“I dropped a good player because her dad was a jerk — all he ever talked to me about was scholarship money,” said Joanie Milhous, the field hockey coach at Villanova. “I don’t need that in my program. I recruit good, ethical parents as much as good, talented kids because, in the end, there’s a connection between the two.”
The best-laid plans of coaches do not always bring harmony on teams, however, and scholarships can be at the heart of the unrest. Who is getting how much tends to get around like the salaries in a workplace. The result — scholarship envy — can divide teams.
The chase for a scholarship has another side that is rarely discussed. Although those athletes who receive athletic aid are viewed as the ultimate winners, they typically find the demands on their time, minds and bodies in college even more taxing than the long journey to get there.
There are 6 a.m. weight-lifting sessions, exhausting practices, team meetings, study halls and long trips to games. Their varsity commitments often limit the courses they can take. Athletes also share a frustrating feeling of estrangement from the rest of the student body, which views them as the privileged ones. In this setting, it is not uncommon for first- and second-year athletes to relinquish their scholarships.
“Kids who have worked their whole life trying to get a scholarship think the hard part is over when they get the college money,” said Tim Poydenis, a senior at Villanova receiving $3,000 a year to play baseball. “They don’t know that it’s a whole new monster when you get here. Yes, all the hard work paid off. And now you have to work harder.”
Lack of KnowledgeParents often look back on the many years spent shuttling sons and daughters to practices, camps and games with a changed eye. Swept up in the dizzying pursuit of sports achievement, they realize how little they knew of the process.
Mrs. Barry remembers how her daughter Cortney rose at 4 a.m. for years so she could attend a private swim practice before school. A second practice followed in the afternoon. Weekends were for competitions. Cortney is now a standout freshman at Delaware after receiving a $10,000 annual athletic scholarship.
“I’m very proud of her and it was worth it on many levels, but not necessarily the ones everybody talks about,” Mrs. Barry said. “It can take over your life. Getting up at 4 a.m. was like having another baby again. And the expenses are significant; I know I didn’t buy new clothes for a while.
“But the hardest part is that nobody educates the parents on what’s really going on or what’s going to happen.”
When they received the letter from Delaware informing them of Cortney’s scholarship, she and her husband, Bob, were thrilled. Later, they shared a quiet laugh, noting that the scholarship might just defray the cost of the last couple of years of Cortney’s youth sports swim career.
The paradox has caught the attention of Myles Brand, the president of the N.C.A.A.
“The youth sports culture is overly aggressive, and while the opportunity for an athletic scholarship is not trivial, it’s easy for the opportunity to be overexaggerated by parents and advisers,” Mr. Brand said in a telephone interview. “That can skew behavior and, based on the numbers, lead to unrealistic expectations.”
Instead, Mr. Brand said, families should focus on academics.
“The real opportunity is taking advantage of how eager institutions are to reward good students,” he said. “In America’s colleges, there is a system of discounting for academic achievement. Most people with good academic records aren’t paying full sticker price. We don’t want people to stop playing sports; it’s good for them. But the best opportunity available is to try to improve one’s academic qualifications.” The math of athletic scholarships is complicated and widely misunderstood.
Despite common references in news media reports, there is no such thing as a four-year scholarship. All N.C.A.A. athletic scholarships must be renewed and are not guaranteed year to year, something stated in bold letters on the organization’s Web site for student-athletes. Nearly every scholarship can be canceled for almost any reason in any year, although it is unclear how often that happens.
In 2003-4, N.C.A.A. institutions gave athletic scholarships amounting to about 2 percent of the 6.4 million athletes playing those sports in high school four years earlier. Despite the considerable attention paid to sports, the select group of athletes barely registers statistically among the 5.3 million students at N.C.A.A. colleges and universities.
Scholarships are typically split and distributed to a handful, or even, say, 20, athletes because most institutions do not fully finance the so-called nonrevenue sports like soccer, baseball, golf, lacrosse, volleyball, softball, swimming, and track and field. Colleges offering these sports often pay for only five or six full scholarships, which are often sliced up to cover an entire team. Some sports have one or two full scholarships, or none at all.
The N.C.A.A. also restricts by sport the number of scholarships a college is allowed to distribute, and the numbers for most teams are tiny when compared with Division I football and its 85-scholarship limit.
A fully financed men’s Division I soccer team is restricted to 9.9 full scholarships, for freshmen to seniors. These are typically divvied up among as many as 25 or 30 players. A majority of N.C.A.A. members do not reach those limits and are not fully financed in most of their sports.
Ms. Milhous, whose Villanova field hockey team plays in the competitive Big East Conference, must make tough choices in recruiting. The N.C.A.A. permits Division I field hockey teams to have 12 full scholarships, but her team has fewer.“I tell parents of recruits I have eight scholarships, and they say: ‘Wow, eight a year? That’s great,’ ” she said. “And I say: ‘No, eight over four or five years of recruits. And I’ve got 22 girls on our team.’ ”
That can mean a $2,000 scholarship, which surprises parents.
“They might argue with me,” Ms. Milhous said. “But the fact is I’ve got girls getting from $2,000 to $20,000, and it all has to add up to eight scholarships. It’s very subjective, and remember, what I get to give out is also determined by how many seniors I’ve got leaving.”
Two Brothers, Two Stories
Joe Taylor, a soccer player at Villanova, received a scholarship worth half his roughly $40,000 in college costs when he graduated from a suburban Philadelphia high school three years ago. He had spent years on one of the top travel soccer teams in the country, F.C. Delco, and had several college aid offers.
“It was still a huge dogfight to get whatever you can get,” Mr. Taylor said. “Everyone is scrambling. There are so many good players, and nobody understands how few get to keep playing after high school.”
In 2003-4, there was the equivalent of one full N.C.A.A. men’s soccer scholarship available for about every 145 boys who were playing high school soccer four years earlier.
“There’s a lot of luck involved really,” Mr. Taylor said. “I can pinpoint a time when I was suddenly heavily recruited. It was after a tournament in Long Island the summer after my junior year. I scored a few goals. The Villanova coach was there, and so were some other college coaches. Within a couple of days, my in-box was full of e-mails. I’ve wondered, What would have happened if didn’t play well that day?”
Mr. Taylor has a younger brother, Pat, who followed in his footsteps, playing on the same national-level travel team and for the same Olympic developmental program.
“He did everything I did, and in some ways I think he’s a better player than me,” Joe said. “But you know, I think he didn’t have the big game when the right college coaches were there. He didn’t get the money offers I did.”
Pat Taylor is a freshman at Loyola College in Baltimore. Though recruited, he did not make the soccer team during tryouts last fall.
“I feel terrible for him — he worked as hard as I did for all those years,” Joe Taylor said.
Their father, Chris Taylor, said he once calculated what he spent on the boys’ soccer careers.
“Ten thousand per kid per year is not an unreasonable estimate,” he said. “But we never looked at it as a financial transaction. You are misguided if you do it for that reason. You cannot recoup what you put in if you think of it that way. It was their passion — still is — and we wanted to indulge that.
“So what if we didn’t take vacations for a few years.”
Pat Taylor, who started playing soccer at 4, said it took him about a month to accept that his dream of playing varsity soccer on scholarship in college would not happen. He looks back fondly on his youth career but also wishes he knew at the start what he knows now about the process.
“The whole thing really is a crapshoot, but no one ever says that out loud,” he said. “On every team I played on, every single person there thought for sure that they would play in college. I thought so, too. Just by the numbers, it’s completely unrealistic.
“And if I had it to do over, I would have skipped a practice every now and then to go to a concert or a movie with my friends. I missed out on a lot of things for soccer. I wish I could have some of that time back.”
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Looking ahead - it could be an interesting ride for MU. A possible second round matchup against Stanford. If they get past that, a possible matchup with Texas. If the right MU team shows up, I don't automatically take Texas in that game. Plus, how do we work the theory that MU beat Wisconsin, who beat Texas? UW's win over Texas and MU's win over UW were very early in the season, so we're looking at very different teams at this point in the season.
With a win over Illinois in the Big Ten tournament today, this year's team became the first Wisconsin team ever to win both the regular season and tournament championships.
Congratulations also go to Marcus Landry who was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament.
Michael Flowers was named to the all tournament team.
Subsequently, we got the shaft and received a #3 seed in the NCAA tournament. We will be playing #14 Cal-State Fullerton. I don't want to get ahead of anything - especially after the horrible way this team played in last year's tournament.
But the possible matchup of Wisconsin/USC in the second round could be an incredibly interesting game. I'd like to see how UW handles OJ Mayo and I'd like to see what USC does against a team who's system they never see.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Marquette beats Seton Hall, moves on to face Notre Dame tonight in the quarter-finals of the Big East Tournamnet
Lazar Hayward was one offensive shining star as he collected his fifth double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The big story of the night, however, was the spectacular defense of Jerel McNeal. He was all over Brian Laing like white on rice. Laing has averaged 19 points a game this season and McNeal kept him to just 6 points last night.
The entire team seemed to get with the program near the end of the second half (finally!) They held Seton Hall scoreless over the final five minutes of the game and went on a 10-0 run to close the game.
All of Seton Hall's big men were frustrated throughout the game and all three ended up fouling out of the game. At one point, the announcers ruminated that Seton Hall was running low on players. They speculated that Seton Hall had just nine guys, with three already having fouled out, leaving them with just one sub.
My biggest fear with this Marquette team this season has been the inability to put teams away. We have seen it happen over and over this season and it always made me say the next day that we wouldn't be able to do that against a "real" team because it would come back and bite us. Here we are at the end of the regular season and Marquette's racked up a pretty impressive record, are ranked in the top 25 and should be a solid middle seed in the NCAA tournament. My fear, apparently, had no basis in reality.
At work today we went over the many, many things about this team that we don't understand/drive us nuts/we think will eventually be the downfall of the team. Number one on this list is Dan Fitzgerald. As far as I'm concerned, he's the embodiment of the Golden Eagles' biggest fault: unfortunate and inappropriate shot selection. We all know MU is a small team. Too many games we'd seem them attempt to penetrate, get rebuffed by some big men and regress behind the 3-point arc where we put up countless questionable triples that never had a shot at going in.
I've never been able to figure out why MU doesn't use their size to their advantage. We're going to bounce of the defense's big men on our way to the basket and most times we're going to draw the foul. We should be able to put two-to-three guys a game on the bench in early foul trouble. Instead, we putz around on the outside until there's only a few seconds on the shot clock and have to heave something up. It's so frustrating!
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Yes - this guy's name is Wacey Rabbit. Apparently he's named after a world-champion bull-rider. And though he's a hockey player and getting your name from a bull-rider is quite tough, I'd have to think he's gotten beaten up more than once over this name.
I'm a big word nerd. I love fun sports names. Plaxico Burress. Tebucky Jones. Dick Trickle. CoCo Crisp. Lucious Pusey. Craphanso Thorpe. But this poor fella takes the cake.
| || |
Tags : springtraining
I was just relaxing at the game yesterday (Sunday) with my 3 year old son. We went to the game played at Maryvale and sat in the Right Field lawn seats. My son brought a small collection of his matchbox cars and a small fold up matchbox playset. It wasn't long before another little boy, about the same age, came over and asked if they could play together. The boy did not speak too much english but they had a great time playing anyways. The boy's mother sat off in the shade but came over to make sure it was ok for them to play together. Midway thru the 3rd inning, the boy's father showed up and called out for him. The boy got up and ran over and was telling his father how much fun he was having playing cars! The little boy brought his father over to say hi... As I looked up, it sure as heck was Yovani Gallardo! Maybe I should have expected as much as the little boy had a custom fit, #49, Gallardo Brewers jersey on... Yo was in street clothes and it amazed me that no one recognized him but me! He introduced himself to me and my boy! He thanked us for allowing his son to play! My son reached up and gave his boy the matchbox car that he had taken a liking to! The moment was so great that I didn't want to ruin it by asking for a picture or autograph. I told him I was a big fan and hoped that he got back soon! He said the rehab was going great and he was expecting to get back on the field soon! We shook hands and they were off! What a great moment for me and especially my son! Spring Training is AWESOME!!!!
And this is another Brewerfan.net poster's first hand view of Spring Training
I got back last night from a weeks worth of games at Maryvale and elsewhere, and thought I would give a player-centric report of my trip.
Let's start with catching and go from there. Kendell is hitting and throwing very well right now. He seems to have severe opposite field and middle of the field tendencies, and like many of the Brewer regulars, started pretty much every one of the six games I saw. It would not shock me if he did not have a home run all year, as his swing is compact and single and double based. While Brewer players were stealing bases frequently, and with extreme ease, Kendell gunned down one runner, and was close on the other attempts. Vinny Rottino started the one "B" game they played when I was there, and was playing well. Clearly a maximum effort kind of guy, I think Vinny got double the catching reps of Munson and Rivera. Randy Choate was going off one day in the pre-game outfield near the stands about one of the catchers hanging him out to dry (I believe it was Rivera) by insisting on throwing a fastball instead of a slider to a hitter that Choate knew would feast on his fastball. Munson hit a double high off the batter's eye during one game some 400 feet away - so his power off the bench would be the reason he would beat out the others.
Prince was in a foul mood on 3/3 because a fan was razzing him hard about his contract as he was leaving the field via the tunnel in the 6th inning. Prince launched a few f bombs and challenged the fan to come down to him and say that. Prince then said he would not be signing any more autographs (he was signing again on Wednesday after taking Tuesday off), and the fan was escorted out of the stadium as some fans awaiting autographs were very perturbed. Prince does not have his stroke going at all yet, and was very frustrated, swearing after a couple of ground outs during my time down there. He was also hit twice in one game, and really straed down the pitchers....I would love to place a bet on whether Prince will serve a suspension for charging the mound this season.....I would almost guarentee that to happen.
Ok, a little out of sequence, but I have to talk about Braun. What a freaking beast. Just lazers lazers lazers all the time, whether it be the games or batting practice. On Tuesday i shagged balls during batting practice on the left field berm, throwing down the practice balls for the pitchers that had gotten hit out. During one stretch where Braun was having an extended session, I felt like I was under artilliary attack as Braun hit 9 of 10 pitches out to basically the same area. The three run homer Braun hit on Friday was an amazing at- bat, just measuring the pitcher till he got one to nail. Cameron has been working extensively with him on his outfield play - 45 minutes straight during Tuesday morning. Braun twice made great throws to nearly get a guy trying to stretch a single - with Weeks flubbing one that got called a Braun error (it should have been Week's error). Braun is a hard worker, and he is really putting his all into learning the outfield
Weeks on the other hand looked brutal defensively - with poor footwork being his main issue again. Weeks worked the count consistantly - striking out several times on 3-2 pitches. He crushed a long home run during a game the Brewers lost - and looked like he was in fine form in general batting. Corey Hart, on the other hand, looked lost batting the entire time I was there. Flailing at outside pitches with no power behind the swing, maybe Hart just needs to get that lanky frame going, and will start to crank it up - I saw he had a Rbi single yesterday. He looked great in the outfield, making several plays that were difficult look routine. If Braun does what I think he can defensively, the outfield d should be an actual positive. Cameron looks very good overall, showing power and obvious leadership - especially in his cameraderie with Weeks, Fielder, Gwynn. Those four guys were hanging together every time they had an opportunity from what I saw. Cameron looked fast, and played in pretty much every game, working out of the 2 or 3 hole. Gwynn looked very comfortable at the plate. While he will never be a .800 OPS guy, i could see him producing a hollow .300 batting average at some point. Gross looked solid, as did Kapler, actually. Kapler is a brickhouse as is Nix. They are both bodybuilder types. Neither did anything to embarrass themselves at the plate, with Kapler having a couple "clutch" hits. Our triple A outfield is going to be quality, for what it is worth, as even Brad Nelson was impressive offensively at times, producing a 3 run opposite field 400 foot homer one game.
Hardy looked like his stroke was in good form, and he was one of the kinder and friendlier players there - always smiling and signing the autograph requests for children. Hall was drawing raves in camp for his defense, and he indeed looked natural and smooth there. Among the youngsters, the coached absolutely love Alcides Escobar - as during the B game Ted Simmons compared him to Reyes of the Mets with his amazing speed and smooth defense. His hitting was iffy in the games I saw - but his d could be borderline gold glove caliber right now, if not soon. Hurricane Irribarran also looked very good, and he shocked me a little bit - I would say he is a legitimate 2nd base prospect, and I was not really expecting to see that. I bet he is up with the Brewers at some point this year, whether it be as an injury replacement or in September. LaPorta is just an animal...cocky and confident, he just exudes a superstar kind of vibe. He foulded one hard off his foot or shin on Friday, and I hope he does not miss time. He has huge thighs, but seems athletic, and did not see him look out of place in the outfield. I think he can handle left, but right I am not sure about. Gamel looked great on two plays during the Monday B game and made 2 horrid plays during that game, with Simmons saying after one missed line drive, that "he just HAS to make that play". Gamel struck out twice after that poor play, and I got the impression it was bothering him. In minor league camp, he did not seem to show the power I was expecting.
Other minor league players that made an impression were Cole Gillespie - really nice guy with a sweet stroke; Jonathon Lucroy - drew RAVE reviews from the catching coaches for his catching style and framing. It is hard to draw a crowd just catching a ball, but LuCroy did it, as several passers-by stopped during a catching session on Friday; Lorenzo Cain was really struggling with his swing, but seems to be getting noticed for his athleticism, as he was in the major league camp for the majority of the time, while Ford was in the minor camp the entire time; Charlie Fermaint looked like he did not give a hoot; Chris Errecart was practicing, and looked really good at the plate. Pitching wise, the one guy in minor league camp that stood out was Jeffress. Holy cow does he have amazing stuff...just an electric fastball, and a big league average curve or better. He threw 70 pitches or so during a live batting practice session on Friday, and made guys like Ford and Fermaint look lost. A coach from British Columbia that was there said that it was the most impressive performance by a pitching prospect he had ever seen. I think if he can get his personal life straight, he is a potential number 1 starter.
Capuano looked tentative and lacking in confidence, unlike Villanueva, who just projects poise. Bush was a picture of frustration on Wednesday, and he seems to be fighting his command. Gallardo was walking around well, and Sheets looked excellent on Thursday. Any other players I have forgotten just ask.
Up next: Right-hander Ben Sheets will start Tuesday for the Brewers against the Giants. Sheets will face right-hander Matt Cain in a game set to start at 3:05 p.m. CT in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Carlos Zambrano is slated to start Tuesday for the Cubs when they play host to Oakland at HoHoKam Park at 3:05 p.m. Zambrano, the Cubs' Opening Day starter, was pushed back a day to avoid facing the Milwaukee Brewers in spring and again in the regular-season opener.Because after years of facing the Brewers in multiple series a season, keeping Zambrano out of one Spring Training game is going to keep his "stuff" a secret.
Because after years of facing the Brewers in multiple series a season, keeping Zambrano out of one Spring Training game is going to keep his "stuff" a secret.
By Jesse Motiff | March 4th, 2008
The following rant will most likely sound like I’m not a fan of Prince Fielder. In reality, nothing is further from the truth. Prince Fielder is my favorite player in all of baseball. I had his jersey special ordered before he even made his Major League debut. His 50 home runs last year did not surprise me at all. In fact, I think that will be the career norm for the greatest slugger in Brewers’ history. And yes, he is that good already.
Prince had his contract renewed by the Brewers on Sunday at the reasonable price of 670k. Many have said it is quite unreasonable for a player that became the youngest player in Major League history to hit 50 home runs. Prince enjoyed nothing short of an amazing season last year and narrowly missed leading the Brewers to their first playoff appearance in 25 years.
Prince said he respected the scale the Brewers used to come up with his salary for 2008, but also indicated he was not happy and that his time would come. His case for his time coming was greatly enhanced when Ryan Howard was awarded $12 million in his first year of arbitration this year. Last year, Howard made 900k, roughly 230k more than Prince will make this season.
A quick look at the facts shows Prince should not have any problem with his salary. Ryan Howard won the Rookie of the Year award in 2005 while Prince finished seventh in the balloting in 2006. Howard followed up his phenomenal rookie season with the MVP award in 2006. Prince finished third in MVP balloting last year. Their overall numbers are very similar but Howard does have the advantage over Prince.
What should the Brewers have done for you, Prince? Give you equal to or more than Ryan Howard? That’s just absurd business practice on their behalf. Do you think you’re going to hold the Brewers hostage in arbitration over the next few years? Good luck with that one. You have made it clear you don’t want to sign a long-term deal right now, so you give the Brewers no other choice than to do what they have. They did the right thing. Prince, I think you are a great player and will love watching you hit massive home runs over the next four years, but don’t expect fans or management to show you any loyalty when you don’t show any yourself.---
In the comments is a link to this post in the Badger Herald, covering much the same topic, so I'm including the link
Here's the first few paragraphs:
Madison - If people didn't know before, they should know now to never count out one of Bo Ryan's teams.
The University of Wisconsin men's basketball coach has done some impressive work during his seven seasons as Badgers coach, but it's hard to top him when the chips are supposedly down.
His first season, he took an inexperienced team picked to finish at or near the bottom of the Big Ten and led them to a share of the conference title and the second round of the NCAA tournament. Three years later, the team lost an NBA lottery pick in Devin Harris but managed to get within one victory of a trip to the Final Four.
Why should we have thought it would be any different this season?
No Alando Tucker, the Big Ten player of the year. No Kammron Taylor, a second-team all-league pick. No Jason Chappell, the team's best post defender.
Those three accounted for more than 3,500 points as Badgers, but ultimately, Ryan had no problem moving forward. Once again, they made another seemingly seamless transition.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
That being said, the boyfriend found this banner ad and we both agree it's a cool, simple and classy way to handle the retirement..
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
"I talked to Brett this morning and I told him 'nobody forced you to make this decision to retire, but the flip side is nobody encouraged you to play,'" Cook told Mortensen. "Two years ago, Ted [Thompson, the Packers' GM] encouraged him to play, but there was nothing this time around from them offering encouragement or him to come back."
I think that says a lot about the new management of the team and the new direction of this club.
Now that's not to say that the new management is necessarily wrong. All Packer fans need to come to terms with the fact that we were running on borrowed time and this hullabaloo every off-season had to be trying for the club and the team. Whether it was last year, this year or next year, eventually the Brett Favre era has to come to an end. The man is more myth than fact and no one can live like that forever.
I know there are people out there that are fully distraught today and I find that just a bit over-the-top. Am I sad? Sure. This team isn't going to be as fun to watch for a few years to come. The Packers have been The Land Where Brett Favre Tread for so many seasons that I think the team is going to have a bit of an identity crisis and may struggle and stumble for a few seasons trying to figure out what the Packers can and will be without him.
The fact is that for a couple of decades, the Packers were a small-time team in a small town. No one took much notice of us and we struggled in anonymity. Brett Favre literally "made" this team in this generation. Super teams need SuperStars and without Brett we don't have that. We don't have a "face" of the team and we're going to struggle until we have that leadership.
That's not to say that there aren't leaders on this team. Maybe Aaron Rodgers can be the new leader. He proved himself a bit in Dallas this season. But even if he becomes a really good quarterback, I'm not convinced that he can become an icon.
Certainly Donald Driver is the other most recognizable face on the Packers lineup, but I can't imagine he'll be with the team much longer, either. He's had a spectacular run, but where he had Brett before, he is now the lone ranger of the old guard.
It's a new time and hopefully we'll be able to be the phoenix and become a new team.
Brett Favre has informed us of his intention to retire from the Green Bay Packers and the NFL. He has had one of the greatest careers in the history of the National Football League, and he is able to walk away from the game on his own terms - not many players are able to do that.
The Packers owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude. He has given Packers fans 16 years of wonderful memories, a Super Bowl championship among them, that will live on forever. Brett's many accomplishments on the field are legendary. He leaves the game holding virtually every career passing record, plus his consecutive starts streak, which may never be duplicated.
The uniqueness of Brett Favre - his personality, charisma and love of the game - undoubtedly will leave him as one of the enduring figures in NFL history.
Details of Brett Favre's availability to discuss his decision are still to be determined, and will be announced once set.
I did find this one article kind of buried and I thought it was a great story and it's worth it for the final two lines.
More info as soon as we have it.
Story on FoxSports.com here
ESPN is reporting that Favre's agent, Bus Cook, has confirmed Brett's decision to retire.
620 TMJ radio station just reported that Brett's brother confirmed the rumor.
The strangest question, though, is why Texas is ranked above Wisconsin in the AP poll. Wisconsin beat Texas earlier in the season and Texas has one more loss. Texas has lost to Missouri, Texas Tech, Michigan State and Texas A & M. Wisconsin has lost to Purdue twice, Marquette and Duke.
I'm trying not to be a homer, but Wisconsin won the head to head and has lost more games.
I have to preface this by saying that the Brett Favre hoopla is much calmer this year than it was last. Sure, there's a story on every newscast letting us know that he has yet to make his decision, but there's not that overwhelmingly obnoxiousness that pervaded last off-season.
The funniest story so far had the powers that be behind the Packers official website accidentally posting a story saying that Favre had retired. The story was up for about 7 minutes before the error was recognized, but that gaffe has made national headlines.
This article says new president and CEO Mark Murphy thinks Favre will return.
One local TV station has a "Brett Favre Tractor Watch" whatever that means - I guess if you're interested you can click on the video to find out. They also created the graphic I have up. Thanks TMJ 4!
Here's Mike McCarthy's take on the whole decision making process from Packers.com