Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Just wanted to say thank you all for reading every day. Hope everyone has a great day filled with family, friends, food and football. Enjoy the time you have folks, even when they get on your nerves, it's the only family you've got.

Today I'm thankful for many things, but instead of giving you a long, sappy list, I'll use this as an excuse to post pictures of my dogs. I'm thankful for the unconditional love, snuggles and laughter my dogs give me on a daily basis. I couldn't get through my days without them.

This is Jazz, the golden retriever

Flash, our second-ever foster and our first forever basset

And our newest addition, Betsy

Monday, November 23, 2009

Brandon Jennings for Rookie of the Year?

Here's an interesting read on Brandon Jennings' path to the NBA. There's a comparison to another player, the luck Jennings has had to be a starting point guard as a rookie, as well as some discussion of Jennings' possible candidacy for Rookie of the Year.

MU's Chris Otule likely out for season

He suffered a fractured foot in practice today and it looks like that injury will be enough to end his season. He also missed part of last season due to an injured foot. He played in just nine games for a total of 60 minutes Trend? I sure hope not.

Here's hoping Chris gets better. The injury bug needs to go on Thanksgiving Vacation elsewhere, please.

MU was looking for Otule to be a much bigger part of the team this season. Scouting reports said he had a productive off-season and that he'd come back bigger, faster and stronger.

John Clay named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year

Badger sophomore tailback John Clay was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year tonight as the conference announced it's All-Conference Teams.

Clay is just the sixth sophomore ever to earn the honor. He's Wisconsin's third winner, joining Brent Moss and Ron Dayne. With one regular-season game remaining, Clay currently leads the Big Ten with 1,224 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. His average of 111.3 yards per contest ranks 16th nationally.

Though I'm late with this link, make sure you read this endorsement for Clay's candidacy for OPOY.

Joining Clay in receiving top accolades, Badger linebacker Chris Borland was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

From the press release: "Borland was tabbed as the Big Ten Freshman of the Year by both the coaches and media, the first defensive player to earn top freshman accolades since Purdue defensive back Stuart Schweigert was honored in 2000. The Ohio native is the first Badgers defender to earn freshman laurels and the sixth overall, joining running backs P.J. Hill (2006), Anthony Davis (2001) and Dayne (1996) and quarterbacks Brooks Bollinger (1999) and Tony Lowery (1987). Borland ranked second in the conference and is tied for fifth nationally with five forced fumbles while also collecting 51 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, three fumble recoveries and an interception."

Overall, five Badgers were named All-Conference, three were named to the second team and seven players received honorable mention nods. The complete list, from the Journal-Sentinel article:

Clay was one of five Badgers to be named first-team all-conference. Clay was joined on the media’s first-team All-Big Ten ballot by junior guard John Moffitt, junior tackle Gabe Carimi, senior tight end Garrett Graham and senior defensive end O’Brien Schofield. Clay, Moffitt and Schofield were also first-team selections by the coaches.

The coaches’ second-team included Carimi, Graham and safety Jay Valai.

Seven Badgers earned honorable mention All-Big Ten including Valai (media), Borland (media and coaches), senior safety Chris Maragos (media and coaches), sophomore wide receiver Nick Toon (media and coaches), junior quarterback Scott Tolzien (coaches), sophomore punter Brad Nortman (coaches) and sophomore defensive end J.J. Watt (media).

Maragos was also recognized as Wisconsin’s Big Ten Sportsmanship honoree.
testing a new cell phone for moblogging

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Looks like so is Aaron Kampman

Initial reports are Kampman tore his ACL, though that hasn't yet been confirmed.

Al Harris done for season

This seemed like the likely outcome, but it still hurts to hear - the freak play that happened far from the action late in Sunday afternoon's game has resulted in an injury that will keep Al Harris from playing the rest of the season.

No more news, yet. But Nick Barnett just tweeted about it: NickBarnett Bad news!!! Lost al this whole season

According to the Journal-Sentinel, Harris tore the ACL in his left knee.


"Green Bay - The website part-owned by the agent for Packers cornerback Al Harris is reporting he has been lost for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee., which counts Jack Bechta, Harris' agent, and former Packers vice-president for player finance Andrew Brandt, as part-owners reported it on their website.

The same site broke the news of Harris' lacerated spleen last season."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I usually spend a good chunk of my night catching up on all "the internet" I feel I missed out on during my day at work. Today I came across quite a few good articles and they're all on sites I don't think too many people check out on a daily basis, so excuse the linkies, but I'd highly recommend reading these.

This one is about Dodgers' part-time 87-year-old amateur scout George Genovese - and how the Dodgers cut his salary 56%.

This one makes an interesting contention that the Brewers' recent moves have little to do with 2010. He says the team's building for 2011.

Over on Sports Bubbler, this column talks about why it sucks to be a Wisconsin sports fan lately and gives some suggestions for how to fix it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chiming in on the Brewers' busy week

I may be the only woman in the greater Wisconsin area to say it, but JJ Hardy never really did it for me and frankly I’m more than a little sick of the implication that I’d be against the trade merely because I’ll miss Hardy’s baby blues.

A lot of fans are really against this trade, but I can’t get too up in arms about it. Hardy was on his way out the door and the Brewers were trying to get as much as they could for him. He’s been dangling for at least six months and I have no doubt Gomez was the best someone offered for us.

As I mentioned in the post with the Boston Globe article, the Brewers may have had Hardy out there for awhile, but it’s obvious they had very specific requirements they were asking for in return.

The weirdest part about the whole months-long drama is the “shoot-ourselves-in-the-foot” move of sending JJ to the minors. It automatically devalued him. That’s not to say that we were ever going to get a Clay Buchholz for him, but we basically showed every team we didn’t think he had the stuff. It was a very weird managerial choice.

Despite the thousands in lost t-shirt and jersey sales, this was still the right move. Much as I hoped it wasn’t the case, the Brewers could not afford to keep Mike Cameron and in Gomez they got another defensively talented center fielder. I can handle the loss in offensive numbers – there are other bats in the lineup that can provide a power spark – but had we lost the defensive prowess of Cameron, it would have been a tough blow to take.

Fans are upset about the move, but though I’m beginning to question his eye for pitching talent, I do still trust Doug Melvin’s judgment. He knows his butt is on the hot seat and he knows the pool of available players is thin. He didn’t move Hardy just to move him. He took the best deal he could get and ran with it. I believe that.

As for JJ – when it came down to it, Alcides Escobar is just so much more exciting to watch. Fans seem to be worrying about the errors, but since both Mat Gamel and Rickie Weeks are on the team, errors are something we’re quite accustomed to. Al wasn’t particularly error-prone in his time with the club last season and I certainly didn’t cringe every time he picked up the ball as I did with Weeks two seasons ago

Escobar has the speed that has been missing in this lineup and if Weeks comes back strong, their base-stealing ability could be a huge boon for this team. Snagging free bases and moving guys around the carousel may be able to help make up for some of the lost power in the 2010 lineup.

The thing fans have to remember is that trades like this are going to continue to happen. Ryan Braun is the only player that is tied up long term. We’ve been spoiled with this solid group of young, talented, exciting players that we brought up through our system. We’ve seen them together for multiple years and we’re comfortable with them. Every time one gets traded away fans will be upset, hurt and feel that we didn’t get enough in return for them. We’re severely emotionally attached to these players. Hard core fans have been following the careers and paths of Fielder, Hart, Weeks, Hall, Hardy, Braun and Gallardo since they were drafted. That’s a lot of years to invest and that’s why it’s so hard and heart-breaking when they leave.

Milwaukee’s payroll and small-market team status mean that they aren’t going to be able to keep all these players long-term and it’s going to feel like betrayal when Prince is gone in a year or two because the Brewers can’t afford the salary he’s going to demand (and deserve).

Only time will tell, but right now I’m thinking the biggest loss the Brewers have had over the past few seasons isn’t CC Sabathia – it’s Jack Zduriencik. As our director of scouting and draft guru, it was Jack Z who brought all these now-household names to our system.

Fans have to hope that without him at the helm, the Brewers can continue to draft and grow talent, because that’s how baseball works. It’s cyclical and the Brewers have to hope that they can continue to have prospects grow through the farm system. We’re not the team that’s buying multi-million dollar players – we have to be the team that’s selling them and getting as much as we can for them.

Miller Park News:’s twitter feed just announced that the ivy has been removed and the batters’ eye in center field will be black for the 2010 season. They are also installing black mesh below the scoreboard.

Does removing the ivy make way for the ever-growing movement to grow hops on the outfield walls at Miller Park?

Friday, November 06, 2009

I heart you Dwyane Wade

Check out the Marquette alum single-handedly beat all 5 Bulls and finish with some style

Red Sox wanted Hardy

As was rumored for quite a while, the Boston Red Sox were interested in acquiring J.J. Hardy from the Brewers, but weren't able to agree with the Brewers on a trade. The Brewers apparently asked for pitcher Clay Buchholz or reliever Daniel Bard, but weren't interested in pitcher Michael Bowden, who was offered.

This article from the Boston Globe says the Sox weren't able to offer a CF with a skill-set to match the Twins' Gomez. Apparently the Brewers asked for pitchers or a CF and wouldn't take anything else.

Brewers Trade Hardy, hundreds of tweens weep

I'm at work with limited internet availability, so I can only provide you with the text of the article my boyfriend sent me. I even forgot my phone at home, so I'm even Twitter-less.

Alcides Escobar more than proved his worth this season and showed that he's ready for the big leagues, so it was only a matter of time before this trade happened. Hardy's trade value has continued to slip and I'm certain the Brewers were just trying to get as much as they could for him.

The halls of Milwaukee high schools will be coated in teenage tears today mourning Milwaukee's loss. The rest of us will be happy to never hear a "JJ makes me Hardy" joke again!

Brewers trade Hardy for Gomez
By Tom Haudricourt of the Journal Sentinel
Nov. 6, 2009 10:50 a.m.

As it turns out, the Brewers will not be trading shortstop J.J. Hardy for pitching help after all. Instead, the Brewers used Hardy today to address their centerfield position, trading him to the Minnesota Twins for Carlos Gomez, a speedster who has been an offensive underachiever.

The move makes it clear that the Brewers have decided to part ways with veteran centerfielder Mike Cameron, who is eligible for free agency. Cameron, 36, has been the starter in center for two years but made $10 million in salary this year, and the Brewers obviously plan to use that money in their attempts to upgrade their starting rotation.

Gomez, who will be 24 on Dec. 4, was one of four players traded by the New York Mets to the Twins on Jan. 29, 2008 for left-hander Johan Santana. Considered one of the top prospects in the Mets’ organization, he replaced the departed Torii Hunter as Minnesota’s starting centerfielder and batted .258 in 153 games that season with 24 doubles, seven triples, seven homers, 59 RBI and 33 stolen bases.

Gomez began the 2009 season as the starting centerfielder but batted only .195 through the first month and was moved to a reserve role. In 137 games and only 315 at-bats, he batted .229 with three homers and 28 RBI, with 15 doubles, three triples and 14 stolen bases. His on-base percentage was .287.

In 348 major league games, the right-handed-hitting Gomez has batted .246 with 12 homers and 99 RBI, with 59 stolen bases. He has a .292 on-base percentage and .337 slugging percentage. Not exactly what you want to see from a player whose main tool is speed.

Hardy, 27, became the Brewers’ starting shortstop in 2005, a role he held until August of this season. Mired in a dreadful slump that he couldn’t shake, Hardy was sent down to Class AAA Nashville in a somewhat stunning move and replaced by prospect Alcides Escobar, promoted from that club.

In 115 games, Hardy batted .229 with 11 homers and 47 RBI. It was in start contrast to the previous two seasons, when Hardy batted .277 with 26 homers and 80 RBI, and .283 with 24 homers and 74 RBI, respectively.

By keeping Hardy in the minors exactly 20 days, the Brewers pushed back his free agency until after the 2011 season, making him more palatable in a trade. In the meantime, Escobar took over the shortstop job and excelled, batting .304 in 38 games.

Hardy mostly sat on the bench after returning in September, and it was evident that the Brewers were ready to turn the page at shortstop. It was quite a fall from grace for a player who made the National League all-star team in 2007.

Escobar, who turns 23 in December, batted .298 with 24 doubles, six triples, four homers, 34 RBI and 42 stolen bases in 109 games with Nashville before being promoted. A superior defensive shortstop, he is rated the No. 1 prospect in the organization by Baseball America magazine.

Hardy made $4.65 million this season and Escobar will make just over the minimum of $400,000, so there’s a financial component to the deal as well. Hardy is eligible for arbitration again this winter and such players usually get raises even with off seasons.

Gomez made $437,500 this year and I believe he qualifies for arbitration this winter exactly with the 2 years, 141 days needed for “Super 2” status.

The Brewers will lose considerable pop in center with the exodus of Cameron. He hit 25 homers with 70 RBI in 2008 after signing a free-agent deal, and socked 24 homers with 70 RBI this year. Cameron also played Gold Glove-caliber defense in center but was strikeout prone, with 142 Ks in ’08 and 156 this year while compiling a .342 on-base percentage.

Cameron is a Class B free agent. To get a supplemental draft pick in exchange for him signing with another club, the Brewers would have to offer him salary arbitration. Because the signing club doesn’t forfeit a pick, he might sign before that deadline, however, giving the Brewers the draft pick.

Cameron filed for free agency Thursday, the first day players were eligible to do so. Other Brewers filing were catcher Jason Kendall, second baseman Felipe Lopez, and outfielders Frank Catalanotto and Corey Patterson.


“Carlos brings to our club great speed, athleticism and energy at a position that we needed to fill,” said Melvin. “His defense will serve as a key component to us improving our pitching. At only 24 years of age, Carlos can further develop the offensive aspect of his game and give us a different look to our lineup.”


“J.J. has been a steady performer for the Brewers,” said Melvin. “His professionalism and popularity with our fans and his teammates made this difficult, but he has been given the opportunity to go to a great organization to play and perform at the high level he is capable of playing.”

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The dumb Yankee fans are everywhere

Last night I attended an AHL hockey game that took place at the same time as Game 6 of the World Series.

Sure, NHL great Chris Chelios was playing on the opposing team, but it was a Wednesday night and there probably weren’t 2,000 people there (I’m awful at estimating numbers, FYI).

And amongst those few apparently hard-core hockey fans, I saw at least a half-dozen New York Yankees hats.

You know the Yankees - that baseball team that won the World Series last night?

These hat wearers were such devout Yankee fans that they not only left the house while their team was playing for a World Championship, but they went to minor-league hockey game instead.

This is why people hate the Yankees.

Because on the opposite side of the spectrum from the loud, self-important fan who barks his “Yankee Pride” far and wide are the “fans” who didn’t really know who this Matsui guy was until they read the internet this morning, buy pinstripe jerseys with a name on the back (the Yankees only have numbers on the back of their jerseys) and generally are “fans” of the biggest team because it’s the only one they can name and they think it’s cool.

Sure, there are half-assed, casual fans of every team in their hometown/state. But you don’t spot a guy walking around Chicago in San Francisco gear while his team is playing in the World Series. There aren’t half-assed Giants fans like that out there.

This drives me nuts. If you like a team enough to fork over the cash for the gear, you don’t skip the teams’ World Series games. Hell, I hate the Yankees, but even I was popping into the hallway and check my phone to keep up on the score. Because it’s the World effin’ Series.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Minnesota football- big fat liars!!!

As if Wisconsin fans needed another reason to dislike the Gophers - but this one was too great to pass up and not share.

Over at SportsbyBrooks, there's a link to a video tour of Minnesota football's new digs at TCF Field from EveryDayShouldBeSaturday. When you watch it, you see a giant, tacky flashing M on the ceiling, but really, on first viewing, it's nothing exciting.

But Brooks points out that Minnesota coach Tim Brewster's push for the Gophers to once again find the status the school once enjoyed includes displaying a fake National Championship trophy.

From the SportsbyBrooks post:

Inside the locker is the iconic “crystal football” trophy for Warmath’s 1960 national title with Minnesota, the last in Gophers history. It’s a perfect reminder that expectations in Minnesota are for a title and nothing less.

One little problem, though; the title was in the 1960 season, but the “crystal football” trophy wasn’t first issued until 1986.

Digging a little further, and trying to give Minnesota the benefit of the doubt, SbB hypothesized that the crystal football may have been retroactively handed out.

No such luck.

We talked to someone at the AFCA, however, who assured us that they never issued any of the trophies to teams who won the title earlier (like, say, Minnesota in 1960), and that the Gophers would have had to order one from elsewhere.

So the whole thing comes off as a little questionable and certainly inauthentic, but as SbB points out, it's not the first time Brewster has fudged the truth. They link to this BlackHeartGoldPants post pointing out that Brewster's own promotional materials are less than truthful, as well as un-spellchecked.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Fun with Badger Men's Hockey

This was tweeted today, but since the guy's are all in shorts and sweating, I'm guessing the video isn't recent, but has 10 of the guys playing a version of floor hockey on the Camp Randall field.

Click here to see the game and make sure you watch through to the end to see some teammate interviews.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Packers questioning coaching

Clearly as frustrated as the fans were by the two recent embarrassing losses to the Vikings and He Who Shall Not Be Named, Cullen Jenkins became the second Packers defenseman to tell the media he's not so happy with what has long been the vaunted change to the 3-4 defense under new coordinator Dom Capers.

Jenkins said he and others felt "handcuffed" by the new scheme. These comments come on the heels of safety Charles Woodson publicly wondering why the Packers D didn't blitz the Vikings more during the Oct. 5 game in Minnesota.

Here's what Jenkins had to say:

"Basically, we have good players on this defense," Jenkins said after Favre completed a two-game whitewashing of the Packers in which he was not sacked once. "We've got Pro Bowl players on this defense and they were sent to the Pro Bowl doing certain things. And they're not doing those things.

"It's tough. We have players who are good at doing stuff and we're not doing it. You want to win, and when you're not winning those things you start questioning, is it that people really want to win or they really want to accomplish another goal, just running what they want to run? I don't know. It's tough, though."

The Journal-Sentinel article points out that Jenkins wouldn't name any names, but hypothesizes that Jenkins is referring to himself, Aaron Kampman and Johnny Jolly, all of whom are playing different positions this season.

Woodson was likely happier this game, as Capers ran quite a few blitz packages, but as linebacker Desmond Bishop points out in the article, they were unsuccessful, mostly because Favre always seemed to know they were coming.

The J-S article ends with Capers pointing out that the defense held the previous two opponents to a combined three points and says that the team is frustrated with the loss because no one was complaining then.

Problem is, that's clearly not the end of the story. I guess we'll never know if someone in the room had the cojones to point out to Capers that dominating crappy offenses does not prove your defense is solid.

Because I'm not sure how you keep a straight face when Capers justifies the defense using their work against two bottom-feeder teams as examples. It’s laughable.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Brewers Trivia and Facts

Watching the World Series has me in the baseball mood - despite the fact that it feels like months since the Brewers played a game.

As always, answers posted in a day or two.

Brewers Trivia:

What Brewers pitcher won two games during the 1982 World Series

Who was the first Brewers player to hit for the cycle?

Who is the Brewers all-time king of relievers, who has appeared in more games than any other Brewers pitcher?

Robin Yount holds the Brewers record for consecutive games played with 274. Who was the iron man pitcher who posted a franchise record eight consecutive complete games?

Robin Yount and Paul Molitor rank first and second, respectively, on many Brewers all-time lists, including games, at-bats, runs, and hits. In which major offensive category is Molitor first and Yount second?

This former National League pitcher had his most productive years while with Milwaukee, including 1978, when he posted a franchise record 22 wins. Name this lefty hurler who also set club records for ERA and complete games that year.

Who is the longtime Milwaukee pitcher who holds numerous Brewers career marks, including starts, wins, shutouts, and innings pitched?

Brewers Facts (per my Brewers calendar):

"Bambi's Bombers," nicknamed for manager George Bamberger, posted the Brewers' first winning record in 1978, a 93-win season good for third place.

After losing the first two games of the 1982 American League Championship Series to the California Angels, the Brewers made history by returning home and sweeping the final three games to secure the pennant, the first such comeback in LCS history.

The top two games in Brewers history with the highest attendance occurred on the final days of two different seasons - 1999 (55,992) and 2000 (56, 354).

In the Brewers rookie year, 1970, Tommy Harper recorded a team triple crown, leading the club in batting average, homers, and RBI.

After beginning his career 0-for-10, Robin Yount got his first hit, a single, off Baltimore's Dave McNally on April 12, 1974.