Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bucks Survivor - Episode 7

Last Week: With just nine Bucks remaining on Bucks Survivor, the players in were for a shock when the decision was made to merge the tribes one week earlier than planned. The remaining Bucks were then put through a marketability challenge, and the hands-down winner was Yi Jianlian because of his impact on the Chinese population. Clearly, it's going to take a lot for the Bucks to get rid of the Yi, the one guy whose marketability could actually make them some money.

Results: Eight Bucks were placed on the chopping block, and three of them escaped without garnering a vote. Bogut, Mason, and Sessions were the three that were able to coast through another competition. Michael Ruffin had 4% of the vote, Royal Ivey had 8%, Charlie Villanueva had 17%, and Jake Voskuhl had 30%. This week's loser was none other than Mo Williams, who had 39% of the vote. It's not surprising, especially with Bogut's recent comments that Ramon Sessions was the first true point guard he's played with since he's been with the Bucks. Farewell, Mo Williams.

The Rotation: This was the milestone many of the Bucks were hoping to achieve. According to readers of The Bucky Channel, you'd like these guys to be contenders for the 2008-2009 rotation: Andrew Bogut, Desmond Mason, Ramon Sessions, Michael Ruffin, Royal Ivey, Charlie Villanueva, Jake Voskuhl, and Yi Jianlian. Throw a guy like Eric Gordon or Russell Westbrook in the mix, and we might have something here.

This Week: The players were in for another shock when they learned there would be no more immunity challenges from here on out. Now, it's all a matter of what the fans have to say. They also learned that this week will be a double elimination. Vote for who you'd like to see kicked off Bucks Survivor in the poll on the right hand of this page. The two losers will be announced Sunday, May 4th.

Max Scherzer is Awesome

If you play fantasy baseball, you knew the name Max Scherzer a long time ago. If you're just a casual baseball fan, you know the name now. The Diamondbacks pitcher made his MLB debut last, going 4.1 innings in relief, allowing no walks or hits and striking out seven. It's the first pitcher to pitch 4 plus perfect innings in relief, in his first game, since 1900. So why is this of interest to fans of Wisconsin? Ladies and gentlemen, Scherzer is the first La Crosse Logger to ever play in the big leagues!

The Loggers are in the Northwoods League, a league in the midwest for college athletes to play in the summer. I went to school in La Crosse, and have been to some Loggers games, so I'd like to give you a first-hand experience of what watching him is like. Sadly, of all the Loggers games I've been to, I can't remember if he pitched in any, and if he did I have no idea.

But hey, go Loggers!

We're Not Going Anywhere, Buzz

Meet Buzz Bissinger. Buzz is a journalist that used to work for the Chicago Tribune and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Buzz wrote Friday Night Lights, a novel later turned into a movie and then television show. Buzz is the winner of the Pulitzer prize, one of the highest honors bestowed to a writer.

Buzz doesn't like me. Buzz thinks that as a blogger, I'm not educated or qualified enough to give you my opinion on anything, especially sports. While appearing on the Bob Costas Town Hall Meeting about Sports Media on HBO, Buzz criticized blogs for being too vulgar and inappropriate to be considered as legit sports journalism. As a newspaper writer, Buzz is threatened by the internet, and how a normal guy like me can have his opinion transmitted for anyone in the world to see. According to Buzz, I have little if no right to be transcribing my thoughts for you in a forum like this.

Buzz has a lot to learn.

It used to be that you couldn't read anything about sports until a newspaper arrived on your porch the next morning. Then, television came along and we started getting our sports news that same evening, along with highlights. Now, we can find out what happens as it happens, through the wonderful media that is the internet. In addition to being able to read the opinions of sportswriters that have gone to school for a journalism degree and have worked hard to get to the position they are at today, we can also read the opinion of a guy who is just a fan and has some insight of his own to share. What Buzz doesn't understand is that the sports world is big enough for both the newspaper writer and any other member of mainstream media, as well as the blogger.

When I first started writing this blog, I was hesitant to use the word "blogger" because of the negative connotation that came with it. Bloggers have always been thought of as opinionated yet unqualified writers, and were looked down upon by anyone who had a journalism degree on adorned to their wall. But I realized that's what I do, I blog. I, along with my friend Bear, run our own website in which we give analysis, opinion, and insight, and try to do it in a humorous way. Most postings are quick reads, intended to be just one of your many destinations while surfing the internet on any given day. It's a forum for us to have our say, along with you the reader to interject with your own opinion. Writing a blog has become one of the more satisfying things I have ever done. I am proud to call myself a blogger.

Apparently, I am not qualified enough to give you my opinion. At least according to some mainstreamers like Buzz Bissinger, I'm not. I don't have the right creditials. If you want my credentials, here is what they are: I have a degree in communications, I have a job in which I've been able to spend time in the elusive press box and in team locker rooms, and frankly, I think I've become a pretty good writer. I write this blog as a hobby, as a way for me to do something I love, writing, about something I love, sports.

But those aren't the credentials I want to you to look for. My creditials for writing this blog are I'm a passionate sports fan, I live and die with my teams, and I'd rather sit on the bleachers at Lambeau Field in 20 below weather than sit inside a cozy press box. I write about sports because I love sports, and hopefully that is something that shows in each and every one of my posts. People read me because they can relate to me, I'm a simple fan who treats every ballgame they attend like it's a priviledge, not just another day at the office. You may have more experience and be more qualified than I am, but at the end of the day, both your column and my blog are nothing but our opinions.

I'm still a new blog on the scene, still not very well-known, but I do have a decent base of consistent readers. I couldn't be more thrilled there are people that actually take the time to look at the work I've done, and then leave their feedback. I find it very rewarding. There are reasons why those of you that come here do, just like there are reasons I visit sites like Deadspin and Awful Announcing everyday. Buzz is right, any old hack can start a website. But you'll only get a consistent reader base if what you write is well-done, informative, and entertaining. That's the way I strive to write. I have the same right to give my opinion as Buzz does, and as the guys from Deadspin do, and as the blogger who does nothing but swear about his favorite team. Don't tell us just because we don't have 30 years experience and a degree in journalism we can't have an opinion about something as harmless as sports.

It's unfair to say we can't have an opinion, as it is unfair to say bloggers are nothing but fat guys who live in their mother's basements. Those of us that do blog take blogging very seriously. Some guys are lucky enough to blog for a living, which is envious. Others, like me, find time in their busy schedules to write a couple posts a day, because it's something they love to do.

There will always be the need for journalists like Buzz Bissinger, there will always be the need for game recaps and mainstream media. But there is room, plenty of room, for those of us that consider ourselves bloggers. We are not here to destroy you, or tear you down. Our reasons for writing about sports are the same as yours. Don't attack me because I have passion for writing and sports and aren't "lucky" enough to have a prestigious job like yours.

So make room for us Buzz, because we're here to stay.

Bloggers vs. MSM Reaches All-Time High

As many of you that read blogs are aware, there is a great debate between bloggers and the Mainstream Media right now about the credibility of blogging. It reached a pinnacle last night (or perhaps just the tip of the iceberg), when Bob Costas hosted a forum on HBO about the merits of internet writing. Things got pretty heated between Braylon Edwards, journalist Buzz Bissinger, and Deadspin writer Will Leitch. As I've read other blogs today, many bloggers feel Bissinger attacked and even went nuts trying in his approach to Leitch.

If you're interested on this topic of MSM vs. Bloggers, I strongly encourage you to go to both Awful Announcing and Deadspin today. I'm going to post the video from Awful Announcing so you can see the debates.

This first one is the intro to the segment (about five minutes long):

This second one is part of the discussion (lots of swearing as it aired on HBO, so don't watch it at work, clocks in around 10 mintues):

I'll have more thoughts later in the day, in the meantime decide for yourself how "evil" blogs are being made out to be. Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Welcome Back Sheets, Cameron, Offense

If you love a pitchers duel, tonight was not your kind of baseball. I must say its about time for this Brewers offense. The Brewer bats exploded tonight for 17 hits as the Brewers toppled the Cubs 10-7. Four Brewers ended the night with 3 hits, Hardy, Hart, Hall and Cameron. In fact every Brewer position player had a hit in tonight's game. Corey Hart was a home run away from the cycle. Actually nobody hit a home run for the crew. Hopefully from an offensive stand point this kicks off a hot streak.

Ben Sheets came back tonight and seemed to struggle with his pitch location. He walked a career high seven batters, while only striking out 2 working over 5 innings. Sheets did get the win though as he gave up 4 runs, 3 earned. Riske came in and struggled some but got Derek Lee to hit into a key inning ending double play. Torres pitched decent, but 3 consecutive in field hits followed by a gapper allowed the cubs to score 3 runs in the 7th to make the score 9-7. Gagne made things interesting allowing two on base, but in the end pulled out the save, his 8th, without allowing a run.

Some random observations I had. I love that the cubs fans come to the games in droves. It really amps up the feel of the game. Seriously though, by the 6th inning, the fans were booing at every called strike when the Cubs were at bat. Not only that but they would get really excited for any ball hit out of the infield. I've never seen a crowd go into home run mode for every routine fly and pop fly before.

It should be mentioned that home plate umpire Jerry Crawford had to leave the game early. Apparently, he had something wrong, and ended up going to the hospital. Hopefully, everything is alright.

It looked really cold out there. I'm surprised at the offense that generated tonight.

While Sheets did look off for his pitching location, it didn't appear his triceps were a problem, and his fastball was around the 92 mph mark. That's a little low but it was cold, and his curve looked decent. I have heard before that Ben is likes it warm out there so maybe that had something to do with struggling with is location a bit.

Big win by the Crew today, that brings their record to 15-11, one game behind the Cubs for the division lead. Tomorrow the Brewers will send Suppan to the mound against Ryan Dempster. The game will be televised on FSN and ESPN. A little national exposure is pretty nice. The game starts at 7:05 p.m.

Box Score

TBC's Player of the Game: Mike Cameron - The spark plug tonight, going 3-5 with 2 runs and 2 RBI's.

Meet Mike Peterson

If you have a few minutes, you can check out this piece on one of the Packers undrafted free agents, TE Mike Peterson (NW Missouri St.) Turns out he's more than a football player... he's also a lumberjack.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Packers Look For Free Agents

With the NFL Draft now over, Michael Redd kicked off Bucks Survivor, and the Brewers taking the day off, it's a slow news day here at The Bucky Channel. We're not going to disappear entirely from you however, as we wanted to pass along the Packers free agent signings, including two from Wisconsin.

The list is P Ken Debauche (Wisconsin), RB Justin Beaver (UW-Whitewater), LB Danny Lansanah (UConn), RB Kregg Lumpkin (Georgia), WR Taj Smith (Syracuse), TE Mike Peterson (NW Missouri St.), LS J.J. Jansen (Notre Dame), WR Jake Allen (Mississippi College), TE Joey Haynos (Maryland).

Update: Let's add a few more to the list: LB Marcus Riley (Maryland), LB Josh Ferguson (Purdue), C Brennen Carvalho (Portland State), LB Durell Mapp (North Carolina), LB A.J. Raebel (UW-Whitewater), WR Rod Harper (Murray State), S Tierre Green (Nebraska)

The Packers have also cut QB's Jerry Babb and Dalton Bell.

Here's a link from my uncle where you can see every undrafted free agent for every team. Thanks Uncle!

How Can You Not Buy Madden 09?

I'm posting this video for two reasons. One, it's cool to see the evolution of the greatest video game ever. Second, it's all Brett Favre!

Bucks Survivor - Episode 6

Last Week: The name of the game was to determine how cost-effective each remaining member of Bucks Survivor was. This was another contest in which team Todd Day, the young Bucks, dominated. I'm not really sure how I figured out the numbers, but I don't think you need proof to know that we still have some young guys for bargains, while we are overpaying the hell out of some of the veterans. Of those veterans, Michael Ruffin was deemed the most cost effective, gaining immunity. Redd, Williams, Voskuhl, and Mason were put on the block.

Results: This was a back and forth battle between Michael Redd and Jake Voskuhl, and according to the readers of The Bucky Channel, you no longer want Redd to be a Milwaukee Buck. It's a strong statement you guys made, giving him 42% of the vote. Jake Voskuhl was second with 37%, followed by Mo Williams at 20%. Desmond Mason had 0%, and he has yet to get a vote against him in this entire contest. Farewell, Michael Redd.

Big Announcement: The remaining contestants from the two tribes, Team Todd Day (Bogut, Yi, Ivey, Sessions, Villaneuva) and Team Eric Murdock (Mason, Ruffin, Voskuhl, Williams) were brought together for an emergency Tribal Meeting. There have been a lot of changes on Bucks Island since the contest started, a new GM, a new coach, even a guest appearance by Kelvin Sampson. The new Bucks brass has decided that they want to see all nine remaining Bucks in action, together, so thus, it's the much anticipated MERGER!!! Here's how it will go down. After this week's challenge, the top eight Bucks will be known as The Rotation. These will be the eight guys that we think deserve the playing time to win games next season. We'll then determine who the Sixth Man should be, followed by the Starting Five. After that, we will crown one Buck, and one Buck only, as The Franchise.

This Week: Before the Bucks are evaluated on skill, the brass is reminding these players that the NBA is a business, and they want to decide each how marketable each player is. I think the Chinese Government had something to do with this contest, as Yi Jianlian is the obvious winner. So Yi is safe for another week, and the other eight remaining Bucks will go on the block. Now that they are all together, who will be voted off quicker, rookies or vets? Which Buck won't be lucky enough to enter The Rotation? The power is in your hands, vote in the poll on the right side of this page.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fred Slacks' Fantasy Stats: Aimless Ramblings of the Week

Well sorry folks, this is going to be a shell of the FSFS Aimless Ramblings. If anyone is actually disappointed to see its a shortened version, no worries I'll be back in full force next week. I had a couple questions about possible save stealers in middle relief roles, Ryan Howard, and a question about Ryan Zimmerman, and some other 3B options. If you have any questions this week I'll be sure to address them next week. On to, just a few answers.

Ryan Zimmerman will be fine. He is going through a bit of a rough stretch here but he is still a guy who is going to hit 25 homers and knock in 100 runs. Lately he has made decent contact and has shown some promise of getting out of his slump. His RBI's situation should increase once the Nationals find someone who can take on the number 1 and 2 holes in the lineup. Zimmerman would be helped alot if Lopez can play solid second base and use his speed in the leadoff spot. Also I think if Lastings Millege was moved into the 2 spot Zimm would get some more RBI opportunities. I would rate Zimm a great buy low candidate actually. Another guy at 3B that could be good to get through trade would be Kevin Kouzmanoff. As for pick ups, Angels SS/3B/2B Erick Aybar could be a great stop gap 3B who should maintain good run totals and modest steals. Also injured guys such as Lowell and Wigginton could come off the DL this week and could be a great pick up off the wire, like Aybar, Wigginton offers position flexibility and everyone loves that.

The Mariners pen is sort of a mess. Putz really is one of the best in the league when healthy, and even though he came back and got a save after coming off the DL, he seems to have struggled a bit in a non save situation. I believe the move was just to get him a little extra work. He is still the closer. Mark Lowe was a guy who looked to take over closing duties for a while when Putz was injured but he gave way to Ryan Rowland-Smith. RRS is more of a left specialist than a closer. The guy who I really like is Brandon Morrow. He should be a top of the line setup guy for the rest of this year. He is a power pitcher who should rack up k's. The former first rounder could be on the same level as a guy like Scot Shields.

A few other guys who could get some vulture wins or saves this week. Dan Wheeler of the Rays could get use as the ageless Troy Percival has gotten alot of 9th inning work lately. Also while Trevor Hoffman is fairly entrenched in the closer position, his struggles this year could give way to Heath Bell to pick up some extra closer work. Lastly, if for some reason Jason Isringhausen continues to struggle I would bet the Cardinals would DL him rather than demote him, if that would happen look for Anthony Reyes or more likely Ryan Franklin to get door shutting duties.

Ryan Howard is a beast. Even though he looks about as scary as Shrek right now, he will still be a huge power threat this year. Plus once he gets hot, he should be getting RBI's and Runs in spades with the way Burrell and Utley are playing. Even Jayson Werth has been great in the 2 hole, and Shane Victorino should be back soon in the lead off spot. As for trying to acquire Howard, look at the team who has him and look for that teams needs. Send out a few feeler offers which favor yourself, but not too much. The point is to start a dialogue of trade possibilities rather than trying to make the owner of Howard think you are swindling him. A person will always be more willing to accept a trade if they feel like they had some sort of say in the terms, rather than just accepting something that was offered without countering. Good managers will realize feeler offers and rather than get offended, they will typically send out a similar offer back in their favor. At any rate, any 2nd or 3rd round pick that has performed normally, or any combination of 4th and 5th rounders who have far exceeded expectations should be enough to get the owner of Ryan Howard to think about letting him loose.

Last week Tony, from Toledo, gave his opinion on streaming. For the record I would never stream relievers. Again when looking for relief pitchers looking at how the bullpen has been used of a certain team, is the key. As far as starting pitching streaming, like I said it will work, but I would be willing to bet in that league one of the following were true, A) It was a shallow league. B) No one else was streaming. C)Luck played a big part. D)You probably had great hitting and solid relief pitching in which streaming probably wasn't necessary. Definitely good to hear from you though Tony, keep us posted on the Vote Smart front. Check out Big Dunc for some of Tony's thoughts on his travels throughout the U.S. Its a good read.

Just so you are updated: Ichiro is hitting 28/109. That's good for a .257 Avg.

Be back in full next week, remember ask questions!!!! It makes my post easier.

Dave Bush Sent to Nashville

In somewhat of a surprising move, Dave Bush has drawn the short straw and will be sent down to Class AAA Nashville to make room for the debut of Mike Cameron. Of course, Bush was stunned. "I didn't have much choice in the matter," he said. "No one prefers to to to the minors."

Bush, Villanueva, and Parra have been linked for the entire season, as the roster was probably not big enough for the three of them. They all survived the Gallardo return, which was surprising. But with 14 pitchers on the roster, one of the three would be sent down to make
room for Cameron, and that has been Dave Bush.

According to Tom Haudricourt at, Bush has three years of service time in the majors, with one minor-league option remaining. So when he cleared waivers, the Brewers were able to option him to Nashville.

One may have thought Bush would have been moved to the pen, with a guy like Turnbow, Stetter, or McClung being the one to be cleared off the roster. Who knows how long Bush will stay there, most likely until an injury or either Villanueva or Parra struggle.

The move was possible because Ben Sheets has been cleared to pitch Tuesday.

Really, Wes Helms?

After his lackluster stint with the Milwaukee Brewers, Wes Helms is slowly turning into a Brewer Killer. He cost us a game last year when he was with the Phillies, and now his 10th inning home run in Sunday's game was the difference as his Marlins beat the Brewers in Milwaukee, 3-2. It was yet another extra innings game for the Brewers, and the second in this series. The result for the Crew was the same as it was Friday night, when the Brewers lost in 10 innings, with the Marlins putting up 3 runs.

All position players were used (all 11 that is) in a game where Manny Parra went 5 1/3 innings, giving up 2 runs and striking out 3. After David Riske, it was Derrick Turnbow that took the ball in the 6th, and then promptly loaded the bases without collecting any outs. Not surprisingly, he exited the game to another chorus of boos. His ERA did not suffer however, thanks to Mitch Stetter. Stetter entered the game with men on all three bases behind him, then struck out two batters and got the third to pop up, as the Brewers then trailed just 2-1.

That momentum carried over to the plate, as Bill Hall entered the game on a double switch (Counsell, Gwynn, and Rivera all got the starts today). Hall hit a bomb on the first pitch he saw, and the game was tied at two. Mota and Gagne held the fort down, but then McClung let Helms go yard on him and the Marlins won, 3-2.

This was a tough loss for the Crew, as they went 3-4 on their seven game homestand. They have an off-day Monday, and then will travel to Chicago, Houston, and Florida, all of whom are playing good baseball.

Box Score.

TBC's Player of the Game: Mitch Stetter

Packers Add Two in Seventh Round

Kurt Campbell, Will Whitticker, Dave Tollefson, DeShawn Wynn, and Clark Harris. These are the five men Ted Thompson has previously selected for the Packers in the seventh round of the NFL draft. Who would join this immortal list?

Round 7, Pick 209 - Matt Flynn, QB, LSU

It's been awhile since the Packers took two quarterbacks in the same draft, but this is a good pick here. The Packers have their starter in Rodgers, have a guy who can be the No. 2 in Brohm, and now have a developmental project in Matt Flynn. Flynn started just one year at LSU after backing up LaMarcus Russell. He's a good athlete, which will come in handy when he's holding a clipboard all season.

Round 7, Pick 217 - Brett Swain, WR, San Diego St.

I could try to come up with a clever ancedote about how Green Bay still has a "Brett" on their roster, but I'm going to save that duty for some one from the Green Bay Press-Gazette. The Packers selected take another wide receiver in Swain, one who could be a special teams specialist, as well as punt returner. He was ranked towards the bottom of receivers that were eligible for the draft, but the Packers liked him enough to bring him in for a visit. If they didn't draft him, they were probably going to bring him in as a free agent, so you might as well draft a guy if you like a guy. I don't have much complaint here, although he's probably practice squad at best.

Round 7, Pick 237 - Traded to New Orleans for 2009 6th Rounder

Looks like Ted got tired for the day, and decided he was better off starting to stockpile for next year. Nice way to end the draft.

I may be going the homer route on this one, actually I know I am, but I'm going to give the Packers an A- for their draft. Nelson was a surprise to us, but it seems he can really make an impact. And maybe they could have got him at 56, but they got their guy Brohm anyway, so you really can't be upset. The rest of the draft was used to fill depth needs, and take guys that can be groomed to start in 2, 3 years time. Low on the "sexy" picks, but this could be a draft we remember for a long time.

Packers Draft Picks: Rounds 3-5

If you're a die-hard Packer fan like me, you're probably familiar with the most of the names that were called on day one of the draft. However, on the draft's second day, I'm usually limited to guys from big schools or the Big Ten. I wish I had more time to study and learn about some of these day two guys, but I probably won't be able to do that until The Bucky Channel becomes my full-time job (hey, a man can dream, right?) With that said, here's a recap of the Packers draft action in rounds three through five.

Round 3, Pick 91 - Jermichael Finley, TE, Texas

I figured the Packers would take a tight end on Day 1, so it's no surprise they acted early on Day 2 and snatched one up. The Packers look to Texas for Jermichael Finley, who will compete to backup Donald Lee and be used in the two tight end sets. Finley is described as being very athletic, so he should be a good weapon for Aaron Rodgers (or Brian Brohm question mark?) It's another good pick for Ted Thompson, and this is someone that should be able to contribue this season. Some criticism on him is that he may be too "raw" (draft buzzword alert!)

Round 4, Pick 102 - Jeremy Thompson, DE, Wake Forest

For the first time in the Ted Thompson era, the Packers have traded up in the draft. Maybe Ted really wanted this Jeremy Thompson, or maybe he just wanted to show Packer fans that yes, he was capable of doing it. Either way, the Packers used the pick to select a defensive end. It seems like Thompson is a very versatile guy, and that Packers are hoping to groom him into a pass rush specialist. Most people seem to like the pick, although it may be a year or two before he becomes an impact player.

4th round trades

After trading up to get Thompson, Ted Thompson decided to make up for the picks he gave away. Ted gave up 113 and 162 to move up eleven spots and get their defensive end with the 102nd pick. So with his next fourth round pick at 128, Ted sent that to the rams for picks 137 and 217. He then sent 137 to the Vikings for 150 and 209. Follow that? Let's move on.

Round 4, Pick 135 - Josh Sitton, G, Central Florida

The Packers finally began to address any offensive line concerns towards the end of round 4, selecting guard Josh Sitton from UCF. Sitton is also described as a versatile guy, who mainly played tackle in college. The Packers feel he would be best suited at guard, but also playing tackle and center. He should compete for playing time, and will likely make the roster, although his impact won't be felt for two to three years, in my opinion. Ted does a good job of drafting guys who even though may not contribute right away, will be key players on the team in a couple of years time.

Round 5, Pick 150 - Breno Giacomini, T, Louisville

Honestly, the only thing I know about this guy is that he's probably Italian. That's about as good as insight as I can personally give you. Thank god there is something called the internet, where in cases like these I can find information and pass it off as my own (without plagiarizing, the cardinal sin of writing). In college, Breno has some good quickness, and supposedly some decent hands, as he split time in college between tackle and tight end. He's a physical guy, coming in at 6'7" and 303 lbs. Giacomini is not a lock to make the roster by any means, but at the very least will be a buddy to fellow Cardinal Brian Brohm.

The Packers have three more picks the rest of the day, all of which are 7th rounders (209, 217, 239). The Giants own their 6th rounder, which the Packers traded away for Ryan Grant, and we all know how much of a steal that was.

Again, can't stress this enough, so far Ted, so good.

Eagles Select Ikegwuonu, More Badgers Follow

It's the latest a Badger has been selected in the NFL Draft since 1996, but with the 131st pick, Defensive Back Jack Ikegqwuonu was taken by the Philadelphia Eagles. Ikegwuonu's stock feel in January, when he suffered a serious knee injury. He will be a work in progress for the Eagles this year as he tries to recover, but the Eagles are fairly deep at corner that they can afford the risk. Here are what others are saying about the Ikegwuonu pick. Many consider the pick to be a steal.

Other Badgers taken were Taylor Melhaff (K) by the Saints at pick 178. Nick Hayden (DT), was taken by the Carolina Panthers at pick 181. Paul Hubbard (WR) then went to the Cleveland Browns with pick 191.

The other Badgers that entered the 2008 Draft are Marcus Coleman (C), Andy Crooks (LB), Ken DeBauche (P), and Luke Swan (WR).

More former Badger news, former Buffalo Bill Jim Leonhard has signed with the Baltimore Ravens.

And lastly, a player with UW-River Falls ties was taken 163rd overall. West Virginia fullback Owen Schmitt played two years at River Falls before transferring, and was selected by Seattle.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fielder Leads Brewers Past Marlins

The Brewers just can not avoid these close games. In their last 11 games, the average margin of victory has been just 1.63 runs per game. Six of those games have been one-run contests, while five have them have gone to extra innings. Saturday night brought another nailbiter, with the Brewers victorious in this one 4-3.

Prince Fielder led the charge for the Brewers, going 2 for 4, scoring three runs. He scored on a squeeze bunt from Villanueva in the 3rd, and then provided the game winning home run with a solo shot in the bottom of the 8th. It was Prince's fourth home run of the year, and third on this home stand.

Carlos Villanueva went six innings, giving up two runs and striking out five. His ERA on the season now stands at 4.66, which is respectable, but may not be enough to save him from an impending roster move. I'd expect either him or Parra to get sent back to Nashville in the next few days, as it looks like Sheets will be ready to go Tuesday. I'm not sure both of them will survive not only the Sheets roster move, but also the move when Cameron able to join the club this Tuesday. As for the rest of the pen, Torres is credited with a blown save, but earns his third win of the year. Gagne pitched quite well to earn his seventh save of the season. although his ERA is a Todd Jones-like 6.75 right now.

The other interesting tidbit is that I was unaware Marlins starting pitcher Mark Hendrickson used to play in the NBA, before he made the switch to the big leagues. In fact, he also had a brief stint in the CBA, as a member of the La Crosse Bobcats. This where where I'd like to thank the guys of some random house party I attended freshman year, because I stole a pretty nice Bobcats mug that currently sits upon my shelf. Thanks, guys!

Box Score.

TBC's Player of the Game: Prince Fielder (We have a new leader!)

Round 2, Pick 60 - Patrick Lee, CB, Auburn

There was some mixed reaction to the Nelson pick, I think everyone is on board with the Brohm pick, and I'm not expecting too much backlash regarding the pick of Patrick Lee. With their third pick in the 08 draft, the Pack take cornerback Patrick Lee out of Auburn. The Packers needed a corner to provide some quality depth behind the aging Harris and Woodson, and this was about as good of a pick as any. Other teams may have taken different corners at this spot, but Lee is an aggressive and physical guy and should fit into our system nicely, even though we haven't had the best history of drafting corners recently.

In the end, I'm very satisfied with the first day of the draft, and not just because of how awesome the new time format is. The Packers went after their best player available, and filled some key needs in the process. Seriously though, the biggest thing you need to learn from today is that ESPN's draft coverage got destroyed by their challenger from NFL Network. I'm not trying to go all Pro Football Talk on you and praise them because they are a sponsor (clearly, they are not), I'm just saying that watching NFLN was a much better experience than I've heard watching ESPN would have been.

Check back to The Bucky Channel tomorrow for my Day 2 recap posts. I won't be able to go pick by pick tomorrow because of prior commitments, but I'll have analysis up at some point. And while we're here, was anyone else aware Lenny McGill is a scout for the Packers?

Round 2, Pick 56 - Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville

Nice work, Ted and company. It was widely speculated the Packers would take a quarterback in the first two rounds, but nobody thought they'd be able to get a guy like Brian Brohm this late in the draft. I thought the Packers would decide between Brohm and Henne at pick 36, instead, they had the same option at pick 56. The Packers got their guy in Brohm, and again, credit Ted for taking the risk but still coming out with both his guys, Brohm and Jordy Nelson. The Packers said they'd go with the best available, that seems to be what they are doing. Chad Henne, coincedentally, went with the next pick to the Miami Dolphins, joining former teammate Jake Long.

Brohm hails from Louisville, the all time leading passer in Big East history. I have to say, I'm excited about this pick, a great insurance policy in case Rodgers doesn't work out (although he will). Don't expect Brohm to compete for the starting job this year, but do expect him to be able to fill in if (and I guess, when) Rodgers goes down with an injury. I'd still like to see the Packers re-sign Craig Nall, but this should end any speculation about Daunte Culpepper coming to Green Bay.

It's impossible to grade a draft appropriately on the day that it happens, but I'd say the Packers are 2 for 2 right now. Keep up the good work, Ted. Profile: Brian Brohm

Round 2, Pick 36 - Jordy Nelson, WR, Kansas State

It's another pick for the Packers that absolutely no one saw coming. With the 36th pick, the Pack grab Jordy Nelson, a WR from Kansas State. Apparently, he's only been a WR for three years, previously spending time as a quarterback. I thought the Packers would go quarterback here, which they still could at picks 56 or 60, although they won't get Henne or Brohm. I thought they might even go Brandon Flowers here at CB, but he went to the Chiefs one pick earlier.

The NFLN guys seem to be alright with the pick, Marshall Faulk says he reminds him of Brandon Stokely. I wouldn't have imagined the Packers taking a receiver in the first two rounds, but this could be goodbye for either Koren Robinson or Ruvell Martin. It's not a bad pick by Ted at all, just a little surprising. But we wouldn't expect anything less, would we? Profile: Jordy Nelson

Round 1, Pick 30 - Traded to Jets

We plan on giving you brief analysis on every pick the Packers make in the 08 version of the draft (maybe we should have advertised that a little). Like most of you, I've been waiting three and a half hours to see who the Packers would take, although I have to admit there was a pretty good nap inbetween picks 10 -25. But I woke up in time to see the with the 30th pick of the NFL Draft, the Packers select.... well, no one. They've traded the pick to the Jets for the 36th pick, and they gained a 4th round pick at 113. The Jets took Purdue TE Dustin Keller with the pick.

I don't mind moving down, and I'm starting to think the Packers are going to go for either Chad Henne or Brian Brohm. They may be able to get either one of those guys at pick 36. I really don't see two teams from the Giants, Dolphins, Rams, Redskins, or Chiefs taking a quarterback. One of them could, but two of them won't. The Pack will be able to get their guy and gain a pick in the process. That is, if they are going quarterback.

The first round of the draft is now over, taking just 3 1/2 hours, quickest since 1990. I love quick draft, and I have not been disappointed with the NFL Network. How have things been at ESPN? One other note here, Radio City Music Hall played the "Da Da Da, Da Da Da Da, Go Pack Go!" theme. That was awesome, too. We'll be back in four picks.


It's been more than a month since we've held the NFLN vs. ESPN contest, and what better day to do so than the NFL draft? If you're not familiar, this is a contest where I flip between ESPN and the NFL Network to determine which channel I'd rather watch. It's a contest that started when I declared the NFLN was better, so I decided to see if that was indeed the truth. Before today, the NFL Network lead ESPN 4-3 (If you want to see all the matchups, click on the NFLN vs. ESPN label underneath this post).

The NFL Network started crashing ESPN's draft party a few years ago, and I have always been reluctant to switch to the NFLN for draft coverage. With the late start time to the draft this year, I decided to take that time to see which network I should go with. The winner: NFL Network.

All the NFL Network does is cover the NFL, so you'd have to think they would be on top of this thing. In the beginning, it seems like the NFLN was crashing ESPN's party, now it seems like it's only a matter of time before ESPN is kicked out of Radio City Music Hall. The NFLN pregame has just been sharper. Better analysis, better interviews, better rumors (Adam Schefter being all over the Ravens possibly trading up to pick number two). The only thing ESPN had going for it was an interview with Roger Goodell, but of course that'd be an interview the NFL Network would get as well. They had him interviewed by Rich, Marshall, and Mooch, while ESPN went to a one on one with Berman. Let me tell you, the last thing I want to do today is sit here for seven hours and listen to Chris Berman. I'm with the NFLN, leather. (Also, Suzy Kolber annoys me).

Better talent, better analysis, better insight. If it's the draft put on by the league, why wouldn't you watch the network put on by the league. I'm just glad I have the option.


Michael Redd in Jeopardy

Just one day remains in the next round of Bucks survivor, and we are locked up in a tight one. It's a three horse race between Mo Williams, Jake Voskuhl, and Michael Redd. Currently, Redd is the front runner to be sent home with 45% of the vote.

I bring this to your attention because we are just two round away from the tribes merging, when just eight Bucks (the rotation), will be standing. Make sure to vote if you haven't voted, and feel free to tell a friend. You can vote, as always, in the poll on the right hand side of the page.

If you're a Redd fan, you better do what you can to save him. If you think it's time for him to go, make sure he does.

The next round of Bucks Survivor will be Sunday night.

Friday Night Fish Fried

Hey, the retro jerseys are back! Sadly, that was one of the few pleasant things to look at in Fridays game against the Marlins, as the Crew fall to the Fish 3-0 in 10 innings. Yovani Gallardo wasn't unpleasant to look at, as he pitches another gem but comes away without a win. Gallardo went seven innings, giving up six hits, no runs, and 5 K's. Shouse and Gagne pitched well in relief, but then it was Guillermo Mota who let three runs in on his watch to ultimately spell doom for Milwaukee.

Offensively, they just couldn't get it done, coming away with only six hits and left 24 men on base. This drops the Crew to 13-10 on the season, which is kind of surprising to me. Doesn't it seem likely they've lost more than 10 games this year? I guess that's a good thing, if we're competiting with the top of our division, and not even playing as well as we could be.

That's really all I can contribute to the recap for this one, because I did decide to go to the Larry the Cable Guy show I had free tickets for. The show was about what I expected, laughing a few times, but mostly I was just dumbfounded. The crowd was about what you'd expect too. Trucker hats, cowboy hats, flannel cut-offs, the smell of hog on their breath. My favorite thing Larry said was the first thing he said. After looking at the crowd right away, he said, "Now would be the perfect time to go to the Wal-Mart." But, the tickets were free, so I can't say the show wasn't worth it.

I'll be happy to be able to watch the Crew in action tonight, taking on the Marlins tonight at 6:05pm.

Box Score.

TBC's Player of the Game: Yovani Gallardo

Friday, April 25, 2008

Again, Favre is Not Coming Back

The Packers made a move concerning Brett Favre today, and it wasn't to announce his comeback to the NFL. Along with cutting three guys (Tony Palmer, Cliff Washburn, and Chris Patrick, for the diehards), the Packers have placed Favre on the reserve/retirement list. Greg A. Bedard explains why the move had to be done from a numbers standpoint, but hopefully this is proof enough for those who need it, that nothing's bound to happen.

According to the league, a person on the Reserve/Retirement list are not eligible to practice or return to the Active/Inactive list in the same season that they play on reserve. To me, that sounds like there is a zero percent chance Favre returns, doesn't it?

All that's left for Favre is to file his retirement papers, but as Favre stated on Letterman, that's something for the players in order for them to collect pension and benefits. Two things Favre really doesn't need with the money he's made, and money he'll continue to make through endorsements and perhaps TV work (although he can't be as nervous as he was last night).

Again, growing up Favre was more than I could have ever asked for as a Packer fan, but it's time to write the ending to this long, drawn-out chapter.

Update: Don't believe me? Listen to the man himself try to clear things up.

Favre on Letterman

It's actually not that thrilling, but here it is, in it's ten minutes of entirety.

With thanks to Awful Announcing.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Let's Try Not to Make Any Cell Phone Jokes

According to "sources", Kelvin Sampson is on his way to Milwaukee to become an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks. Maybe the real reason is to wait around the Bradley Center like a hawk and take the Marquette job once that crazy Buzz Williams gets fired.

Nothing is official, as is only reporting that Sampson is discussing an assistant's job under new coach Scott Skiles. I'm in favor of this move, if only because I want him to be the coach Scott Williams interviews before the second half of every Bucks game on FSN Wisconsin.

Also, I forgot about this earlier, but Sampson could turn out to be a great move especially if the Bucks draft Eric Gordon.

Nothing's Bound to Happen

I really didn't want to have to make this post, so I'm going to keep it short and sweet, Favre is NOT coming back. I know on Friday, many Packer fans will be buzzing, as will members of the national media, about comments Favre made on Letterman Thursday night.

At one point, Letterman asked Favre about when training camp rolls around, if Favre will maybe get the jitters about playing again. Favre responded with, "Something's bound to happen". Letterman, being the showman he is, overreacted to the statement and hinted he may indeed come out of retirement. Packer fans everywhere called each other saying, "Oh der hey did you see dat Letter man show? He's coming back, I know he is!"

Favre's not coming back. Why do we keep insist on playing this game with him? Look, Favre may just be a country boy that found NFL fame, but he loves that spotlight. How many people have ever gone on a talk show before to plug their Madden cover? Zero. Favre is an attention whore, and we need to stop feeding into it. I love Favre as much as the next guy, but there is about a zero percent chance he ever takes the snap in the National Football League again.

Pack, Crew, Doing Something Right

You know, ESPN does a lot of stupid things. From "Who's Now", to the thing were Berman redoes the greatest highlights of all time, and to the search for Titletown, which is so absurd I can't even stand thinking about it. But one thing they do that I do like is their Ultimate Standings: Fan Satisfaction Rankings.

The top three of the standings include the Colts, Spurs, and then Hornets. Coming in at number four is the Green Bay Packers, up almost twenty spots from a year ago. This year, they earned the number one ranking in terms of stadium experience. The Brewers have also landed high on the list, coming in at 13th overall. Their best ranking comes in the affordability category, where they are fifth.

On the flip side, the Bucks came in at spot 109 of 122. The last place team, not surprisingly, was the Knicks. You can see the full list here.

Things Get Riske Against Phillies

David Riske hasn't been pitching very well lately. He's got a 7.36 ERA now on the season, which was inflated when he gave up a 2 run double to Pat Burrell in the 8th inning. It was the difference today as the Brewers lost to the Phillies 3-1.

Jaime Moyer, the oldest current player in the big leagues, gave up only one run to the Crew in 6th innings. After that, the Phillies bullpen held strong, giving up just one hit in three innings. The Brewers made a lot of outs on the bases, something Bill Schroeder absolutely can't stand. Corey Hart tried to turn a double into a triple into the fourth, but was unsuccessful. The Brewers also were picked off a few times, as Weeks and Hall were both caught stealing.

Jeff Suppan took the hill for the Crew, pitching quite well. He went seven, giving up only one run on five hits. Sidenote here, I'm in a 14 team fantasy league, which means it's a pretty deep league, and good starting pitching is hard to come by. I picked up Soup a few weeks ago, but recently dropped him. Do I dare pick him enough again? Is he turning into a reliable fantasy starter? Either way, we're going to give him player of the game honors, just edging out Bill Hall and Ryan Braun, who both went 3 for 4.

I'd write more about the game, but Lost is about to come on.

Box Score.

TBC's Player of the Game: Jeff Suppan

Favre to be on Madden '09 Cover

As if we needed any more proof about John Madden's insane crush on Brett Favre, it was revealed today that Favre will be the next Madden cover. It's the first time a retired player will be featured on the game, which is celebrating it's 20th year. The game is scheduled to be released on August 12th.

Not sure how the cover jinx applies to retired quarterbacks, but we think it's pretty neat a Packer (at least former one) has finally made it to the cover of the game. Here's a fun fact: Earlier today I actually said to a friend that this was going to be the first year I was not going to buy Madden, because I do not yet have PS3 or the XBOX 360. By putting Favre on the Madden cover, I will now not only buy the game, but a new console to play it on. They suckered me right in.

Have you ever seen a guy retire, and then get this much press following the announcement? Oh by the way, Favre will be on Letterman tonight, too.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Prince Wakes Up Against Phillies

One day after manager Ned Yost told reporters to not ask questions about the effect Prince's vegetarian diet had on his production, Prince belts two home runs including a go-ahead 2 run shot to lead the Brewers over the Phillies 5-4. Let's go with a list format to run through some of the highlights of this game:

* First, let's talk about Fielder some more. I never took seriously people that blamed Prince's diet for his home run total. Just because you eat out of a garden rather than eating from a grill, that doesn't mean you are going to lose your home run power. That's the problem with people these days, everyone is quick to make assumptions about things. Don't we remember he had a slow April last year as well, in terms of home run numbers? He blasted two no-doubters tonight, and hopefully answered some of those critics. And if you have him in fantasy, don't trade him! Expect more of this as the season winds on.

* This one looked like a rout early, but Cole Hamels settled down and basically owned the Crew from innings 2 through 7. It was crucial the Crew got those early runs, good work tonight striking early.

* What's the count on Brewers that have the porn stache's? Hardy, Prince (with burns), Hart, Villanueva, McClung, Kendall. Missing anyone?

* Dave Bush pitched well enough tonight, giving up four runs in six innings. A decent fill-in start for Ben Sheets tonight.

* Mitch Stetter pitched excellent in relief, especially picking off the batter Bush had left on base for him. From there, he pitched two scoreless, and it's a good thing we brought him up when we did.

* Welcome back, Geoff Jenkins. It was good to see him at Miller Park tonight, and I was glad he got a standing ovation. Anything other than that would have surprised me, quite honestly. Even though it cost the Brewers an out, it was nice to see another typical Jenkins diving catch out in right.

* Nice to see Gwynn back in the big leagues. He walked in his only appearance at the plate.

* Of course, my favorite part of the game had to be the top of the ninth. Even though Turnbow struggled just nights before, Yost decided to go with his former closer in a save situation, has he had no choice but to rest Gagne. Brian Anderson of FSN was right when he said this wasn't just another baseball game in April. You have to give credit to the moves Ned made tonight. Keeping Bush in to hit, knowing when to pull him, and then going to Turnbow. He made the right moves tonight.

* As for Turnbow, the same fans that called for his head nights before were the same ones praising him for his save efforts tonight. One year to the day he earned his last save for the Milwaukee Brewers, he does so again, striking out two in the process. Turnbow stepped up to the plate in a must save situation for him. I love Ned for throwing him back out there, even though he has struggled, Turnbow still has the stuff to get it done. I came to his defense pretty strongly on Monday, and took a lot of heat for it. Agree with me or not, you have to admit Turnbow was money tonight, and he definitely knew it.

Box Score.

TBC's Player of the Game: Derrick Turnbow

Just kidding, it's Prince.

Bucks Survivor - Episode 5

Ladies and Gentlemen, your Bucks Survivor Top Ten! After tonight's elimination, just ten Bucks will remain as we try to find out who should be next year's starting five, and who should be the one Buck we build center the franchise around. We've already seen the departures of Awvee Storey, Dan Gadzuric, Bobby Simmons, and tonight we'll say goodbye to another one of the Bucks. Play along with the game that has everyone talking (not sure what about, but they sure are talking!)

Last Week: In case you are new to the game, the Bucks were separated into two teams. Team Todd Day consists of everyone that has four or less years experience in the NBA, Team Eric Murdock features the veterans of the ballclub. The rookies and young Bucks of Team Day had won two contests in a row, but couldn't keep the streak alive when they were put through the Field Goal Percentage contest. Team Murdock had an average percentage of .480, while Team Day had an average percentage of just .430. Andrew Bogut had the best percentage among the kids, so Sessions, Ivey, Villanueva, Bell, and Yi were put through tribal council.

Results: The Bucks fans have spoken, and Charlie Bell is the next Buck to be eliminated from Bucks Survivor. Bell ends up with 50 percent of the vote to be the fourth player eliminated. Villanueva had 35 percent of the vote, Ivey had 10, Yi clocked in with 3 percent. Ramon Sessions had zero votes against him.

This Week: We have been using stat categories to decide which team would win, such as points, boards, assists, and FG%. Today, we're going to do something different. Since the Bucks are $8,018, 469 under the "cap", we're going to see how cost effective some of these Bucks really are. I'm taking their yearly salary and dividing that by their minutes per game. I'm only counting the minutes of games they appeared in, instead of 82 games. Then we'll see how effective they are per game.

Team Todd Day: Bogut costs $143,023 per game he plays, Ivey $40,135, Yi $111,110, Sessions $16,119, Villanueva $112,655. Average: $84,608

Team Eric Murdock: Mason costs $173,611, Redd $387,200, Ruffin $56,248, Voskuhl $340, 909, Williams $213,013. Average: $234,196

Results: I'm not sure if this was a fair challenge, or if it even made sense, quite honestly. Yet, that's how we're rolling. The rookies are most cost effective, and out of the veterans, Michael Ruffin is the most cost effective. Thus, Michael Ruffin earns immunity, while Redd, Voskuhl, Williams, and Mason are up on the block. This could be a very interesting week. As always, you can vote for Bucks Survivor on the right hand side of this page.

Guess What I Have Tickets For?

I'm looking for some words of wisdom, and where better to turn to then to the viewers of The Bucky Channel. I was just notified I won tickets to see Larry the Cable Guy, after signing up for them at work, just for giggles sake. Well, I now have two of said tickets in my hand, and am wondering whether or not I should go. The performance is this Friday night, and I have two dilemmas facing me right now. One, the Brewers play the Marlins Friday night, and I have real hard time doing anything else when the Brewers are on. Two, I don't think Larry the Cable Guy is funny, and I'm afraid if I go, I will end up laughing. A lot.

What do you guys think, should I stay (in)? Or should I go?

Welcome Back Geoff Jenkins

Jenkins makes his return to Miller Park as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies tonight. We remember the good times.

Culpepper Visits Packers... For Real

Please God, no. Daunte Culpepper is probably a great guy at all, or maybe he's not, but he was the latest free-agent to visit the Green Bay Packers. Curious move just days before the draft, where has the interest been before? I really think this is a red herring to the rest of the league, as Ted may be trying to fool people that we are not after a quarterback. However, why would Culpepper come if he didn't think he'd have a shot at joining the roster? Maybe he was just bored, and wanted to check out Brett Favre's Steakhouse.

My prediction is the Packers entertain the idea, but ultimately don't sign Culpepper, and draft a quarterback sometime in the draft. I think it's still likely they bring Craig Nall back to back-up Rodgers.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Never Again...

The real question is, why would anyone post this clip on YouTube?

Gross Traded to the Rays

In this picture, Gabe Gross thinks he has scored the winning run for the team he will contend for the playoffs with throughout the season. However, about just ten minutes after this photo was taken, Gabe Gross learned he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays.

"Something had to give," said Gross after the game. "I do my best not to try to figure this game out as far as trades and different things like that."

Room had to be made in the outfield, where Tony Gwynn Jr. is set to return from a rehab assignment and Mike Cameron is scheduled to join the team next Tuesday. So the Brewers made a pre-emptive deal, sending Gross to Tampa for right handed pitcher Josh Butler, who is currently pitching in single A.

Gross was never starting material for the Brewers, but was always a serviceable fourth outfielder. He'll missed though, especially for his warm-up music. When most guys have classic rock or the latest rap tune, Gross never wavered from the religious, "I Can Only Imagine".

Another One Down to the Wire

You had to know that after a weekend filled with extra innings, blown saves, and missed chances, it would only be fitting for the Brewers to go through one more kind of those games. As of today, Milwaukee has only played about five games that were not save opportunities for either teams. The Brewers have played in few blowouts, as they have seem to have relished the close game situation. Tuesday, even after they looked like they would pull it out, was another one of those close games.

The Brewers fell behind early, but eventually took the lead against the Cardinals 4-3. The Brewers then rallied up four runs in the sixth, and it look like the game was over and our bullpen could get a rest. Well, St. Louis put up four right back at the Crew and were down just 8-7. Then in the ninth, the Cards struck again, as Gagne blew his fourth save in ten tries. As is commonplace with the Brewers these days, we were headed to extras.

From there, Mota and McClung pitched well in relief, and then Gabe Kapler knocked in Gabe Gross for the winning run in the 12th. The Brewers won 9-8, to improve to 12-8.

This game was interesting for a whole number of reasons. First, it's incredible we have 14 pitchers on the roster, yet still have an overworked bullpen, and almost had to make up some interesting decisions had this game gone on a few more innings. In 12 innings we went through Parra, Stetter, Riske, Shouse, Torres, Gagne, Mota, and McClung. Who would have pitched once McClung had to leave the game? McClung could have gone five max I'd say, which could realistically have happened. Nobody wanted to see Turnbow back in there, I know that. They wouldn't have went to Dave Bush, because if he pitched Tuesday, he wouldn't be able to pitch Wednesday.

Then if Bush can't pitch Wednesday, who does? The next guy in line would be Suppan, but he pinch hit for the second straight day (still can't believe that), so he's out. There's no way Villanueva or Gallardo would be ready. Think about it, if this game went a little longer, we could have seen Ben Sheets. I know he's out Wednesday, but that's more precautionary. The Brewers are lucky they got out of this one when they did.

Still, these are the game where I love looking at the box score. Crazy box scores like this are one of the main reasons I love the National League rather than the American League. I mean, who doesn't love a double switch! Also, how many people that didn't see this game looked at the box score and said, Albert Pujols, second base? That's how crazy this game was, people!

Brewers hit much better today, racking up 15 hits on the day. Every started got a hit besides Bill Hall, who went 0 for 6. And a nice performance from Gabe Gross, going 2 for 4 with 3 runs, including the game winner. Farewell, Gabe Gross.

Box Score.

TBC's Player of the Game: Gabe Kapler

Afternoon Baseball Today!

The Brewers will be taking the field for the 20th time today, their 13th time in the afternoon. These day games are really cramping my style if you ask me. Let's take a look at the lineups.

2B Rickie Weeks
SS Craig Counsell
LF Ryan Braun
1B Prince Fielder
RF Corey Hart
3B Bill Hall
CF Gabe Gross
LHP Manny Parra
C Jason Kendall

CF Skip Schumaker
LF Brian Barton
1B Albert Pujols
RF Ryan Ludwick
3B Troy Glaus
C Jason LaRue
2B Aaron Miles
RHP Kyle Lohse
SS Cesar Izturis

So we got another battle of pitchers in the 8th spot, as well as a Counsell replacement for Hardy. The Brewers are really struggling on offense right now, hopefully a good day crowd can turn it around. Also, more of Gabe Gross in center, Kapler must really be dinged up.

I've taken a lot of heat for trying to stick up for Derrick Turnbow last night. I am not delusional, I realize that he's not nearly the pitcher he used to be, and his days as a Brewer, and in the bigs, may be numbered. I was trying to point out two things:

1) As soon as he lost the game, I knew Turnbow and Yost would be the only two things Brewer fans would be talking about, and that frustrated me. I know Yost has botched some bullpen management situations, and I realize we've all turned on Turnbow, but I just didn't think that's all we should have been talking about last night.

2) Derrick Turnbow was unhappy. He wanted to pitch in a meaningful situation. Couple that with the fact we can't wear the bullpen out in April, and you have the reason Ned stuck Derrick in the game. We had to see if he had the stuff, but now it appears there may be no place for him. I got a little overzealous last night, but I still don't think that booing helps.

Alright, Brew Crew. Let's put last night behind us and earn a split today against the Cardinals, because they and the Cubs are on fire right now, and we aren't playing that well.

Game time at 12:05, FSN Wisconsin.

Monday, April 21, 2008

If You Hate Turnbow, I Don't Want to Hear It

The Brewers lost tonight to the Cardinals 4-3 at Miller Park. Corey Hart had a hard time in right field, the Brewers left 16 men on base, and the Cards were able to get a run off Turnbow in the 9th en route to victory. Which one of those things do you think people will be talking about tomorrow. I can already hear the conversations and read the blog postings through the state right now:


"Yost, why did you put in Turnbow! Man Yost sucks. Yeah, Yost sucks."

"Derrick Turnbow sucks."

If that's what you're going to take away from these last two games, then I have to disagree. Don't call me naive, I just disagree. Derrick Turnbow and Eric Gagne were not the sole reasons the Brewers lost the last two games. They did contribute to the loss, but they weren't the only reason. Yet, all Brewers fans have been talking about the last two days is how Ned screwed up by putting Gagne in for the 4th straight day and putting Turnbow in during a tight situation.

When did this happen? Two years ago, we were riding high on Derrick Turnbow as he was dealing his way to an All-Star appearance. Then he started to struggle and the "Turnblow" nickname happened. Then we started booing him after every rough outing and he hasn't been the same since. Seriously Brewer fans, you think booing the guy helps him? I just don't think when a guy on your home team is working his ass off to perform for you, yet he ends up struggling, you should boo him. Do you really want to make Miller Park more hostile for Derrick Turnbow than a road stadium is? When did we get this way?

Even Cordero was getting booed when he hit a rough patch last year, and this year people are already quick to get on Eric Gagne. You're not booing Rickie Weeks because he's batting .178, or Bill Hall because he's batting .200. So why do relievers, especially closers, get such a short leash? There are 162 games this season, the season isn't over because Derrick Turnbow or Eric Gagne made a bad pitch. Let them work it out, give them your support, and if they really start struggling the manager and general manager will take the necessary action. There is nothing we as fans can do about personnel moves, so let's support the guys that are out there.

I feel like every time I watch the Cubs when they are losing at Wrigley, the home fans instantly turn on their lovable losers and boo. However, the moment they take the lead, everyone is cheering the same player that just messed up. Please, Miller Park, don't turn into a bunch of fairweather Cub-like fans. Let's support our guys. We have a very strong relief staff, but they are not perfect. Yeah, I would have liked if Turnbow would have went 1-2-3, but it didn't happen. Let the players learn from the loss, and we'll root them on tomorrow.

I feel like a lot of people are going to disagree with me on this one, so I'm going to switch gears and point out a few other things from tonight's game.

* We found out that Ben Sheets is going to miss his start this Wednesday, and will be replaced by Dave Bush. I think once Sheets is ready to go, you'll see that 14th pitcher get either sent down or traded, if not sooner. I have a feeling Doug has a move in the works, and doesn't want to lose a pitcher on waivers, so he's got to keep them on the roster. That, and even though we have a pitching abundance, the bullpen is overworked, so maybe we need 14 right now (Let me make this arguement for you. Winks, we have 14 pitchers! Why are we using Turnbow in that situation when we have other options! Well, even though there are a ton of pitchers, they've been used a lot lately and the team hasn't had a day off in awhile Turnbow hasn't pitched in almost a week. He's used to pitching in those situations as a former All-Star. That wasn't a bad play. You have to manage for the season while managing game by game, remember. Also, as Bear says... Turnbow wanted to pitch more, so put up or shut up. He didn't pitch well, and likely won't see that situation anymore for a while. So rest easy, Turnbow haters. )

* Speaking of pitchers, Jeff Suppan laid down a nice bunt while pinch hitting in the 7th. That's where the Crew is right now, calling on starting pitchers to pinch hit. Yeah, they can get the job done, but I'd still like to see more than 3 players on the bench.

* Two funny moments from FSN tonight. After the game, Craig Coshun and Davey Nelson tried to re-enact the misplayed balls in right field, and they had no idea where to look, and the cameras missed them half the time. The other was in the 7th, FSN took a shot of a guy buying beer and he looked at the camera and said, "Great Taste. Less Filling." I thought to myself, turn the camera off, FSN before this guy does something stupid. Sure enough, they kept it on him, and he started dropping F-bombs. If anyone has video from either of these events, let me know.

Box Score.

TBC's Player of the Game: Carlos Villanueva

Second-Tier Milwaukee Sports Update

Of course we love the Brewers, Bucks, and Marquette, but that doesn't mean we should forget about the other teams that call Milwaukee home. Let's take a quick look on how some of our other favorites are doing.

* The Admirals lost to the Chicago Wolves on Sunday 4-3, and are now down 2 games to 1 in their playoff series.

* The Wave were swept by the Baltimore Blast in their semifinal series and have been eliminated from the MISL playoffs.

* Milwaukee Bonecrushers - No Apology. No Mercy. Only Football. Well, that and No Wins. They are 0-5 on the season.

Meet Scott Skiles

I wanted to find a transcript of today's press conference to learn more about the Bucks new coach, but I couldn't. So instead, I'm posting this video of Scott Skiles from a 1986 NCAA tournament game. The video is rough, I apologize, but look closely as Skiles makes an around the body pass, and then runs around like a kid.

I love this guy.

Looks Like it's Skiles

It appears that after being reportedly in Milwaukee over the weekend, Scott Skiles will likely be the next coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. The New York Post is reporting Skiles has verbally agreed to a deal. No word on when an official announcement is expected.

Skiles is familiar with Milwaukee, having played for the Bucks in the 1986-1987 campaign. He also spent time with Orlando, Indiana, Washington, Philadelphia, and a stint in Greece. His coaching career has brought him to Phoenix and most recently Chicago, where he was fired by the Bulls on Christmas Eve of last year.

Should this report be true, it would give the Bucks a completely different coach than Larry K. Skiles is a hard-nosed guy who's not going to put up with some of the antics of this current Bucks roster.

I'd expect an announcement soon, but again nothing is "official" just yet.

Update: It's official. The Bucks will introduce him this afternoon, and have signed him to a four-year guaranteed contract. The turnaround has begun.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Fred Slacks' Fantasy Stats: Aimless Ramblings of the Week

Alright! Finally got some questions this week. As well as comments. It makes writing this so much easier when you people give me topics. Travis as for your comment on Valverde, it seems as if you are some how skeptical that hes going to be trash this year. Well, his stats would say otherwise. Your questions I'll address down in the ramblings. Jessie brought up some names of players he liked in Joe Niemann and Justin Germano. Both appear to be rotation fillers right now, with Matt Garza and Mark Prior on the DL respectively. While I'm not much of a fan of Niemann, Germano should have solid value over the next month or two. Niemann is a very temporary solution, and will likely be sent down within days. Germano won't strike alot of guys out, but he gets outs and eats innings, and so far he has been money in terms of WHIP and ERA.

Jessie also stated he isn't a fan of Bonser or Cantu. First, I like Bonser, because he's a fairly consistent pitcher that will get you 10-11 wins, moderate K's and a low WHIP. He doesn't walk guys often. He had a rough outing his last time out, but I feel its the exception more than the rule. He's a good 5th or 6th pitcher in a standard league. Cantu, can play 1st but he is actually playing 3rd right now for the Marlins. While he has made 5 errors thus far, he is doing some moderate damage on offense. His only current competition is the newly acquired Wes Helms. Dallas McPherson is sitting in AAA right now, and if he was brought up then I would start to worry about Cantu's playing time. For the time being though, I like Cantu as a 3rd base backup. Whew, now on to the rambles.

- Those of you who jumped on Skip Shumaker, congrats, you feasted on a .476 hitter with a homer and 3 SB's this week. Again monitor this situation carefully. Cardinals are shuffling 4 OF's in and out and have one stud OF prospect in AAA. Colby Rasmus could come up quickly if Ankiel, Shumaker, Duncan, Ludwick start to falter.

- Michael Bourn is a guy that I have often said is a one category guy who will pile up SB's. This makes him great trade bait, but this week he added 2 home runs. That gives him 3 for his career. So obviously that doesn't change his speed only status. His OBP is very average, and not great for a lead off hitter, which hurts not only his average, but his run production as well. Keep shopping this guy, he now leads the league in SB's, so someone will pony up too much for him.

- Hey, Carlos Quentin, knock it off. You teased everyone when you came up through the Arizona farm system, as a stud OF. Then you got to the "show" and disappointed everyone. Now you are playing for the overachieving White Sox and knocking homeruns. He was 4 for 22 this week, but made three of those hits count by hitting three homers. I'm on to you Carlos..... I am shopping Quentin like crazy if I own him, find a White Sox Bandwagon jumper who loves the guy(Travis).

- Speaking of Travis, he asked me a question on one of his incomprehensible man-crushes John Patterson. This guy showed flashes of brilliance with Montreal/Washington a few years ago. He seemed to have been cut from the same "Home-Stud-Road-Dud" cloth as Wandy Rodriguez. This spring however, it looks like his fastball was topping out at 80 mph. That's not gonna work unless you are Jamie Moyer or Tim Wakefield. He's still building arm strength and will be sent to the minors for some time once hes ready for live action. I doubt he sees the big leagues anytime before the AS break. The Ranger pitching situation won't hold him back from a start down the road some time this year, so he will likely be up at some point. Put him on your radar a month or two from now, if you are desperate for pitching.

- Did anyone see the Pope's speech a couple days ago. I didn't watch it but I did hear a sound bite that was absolutely hilarious. After the Pope gave his speech, President Bush got up and shook the Popes hand and said "Awesome speech". Classic.

- Can someone tell me why some people like to play extremely heavy metal at bars? I'm not talking Metallica, I'm talking Mudvayne and such. I can understand it has its place, such as pumping you up before a big game or interview or anything else that you wanna get amped for. But at a bar? Really? Every time we go to our local stomping grounds some burn out will pump this kind of music from the jukebox. At least Pop, Rap, Classic Rock have some beats that are smooth or lyrics that are singable. This psycho-metal junk just gives me a headache, plus immediately draws groans and mocking yells from about 80% of the bar clientele. You can always pick out the guy who played it too because he starts playing the guitar with a pool cue and looks like a dude who probably has made a "hit list" at some point of his life. Maybe I'm just used to the college bar atmosphere where you never get that. Maybe I'm used to people drunkenly singing "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. Maybe I just don't get that I should be pissed off about something, and slamming on double base drums and loud, deep-voiced, incoherent screams are the way to vent. Someone enlighten me please.

- Travis also asked a question about who would be coming up next that he could possibly use his #1 waiver priority on. I'm not really sure who would fit this category, it depends on if your league has released any possible minor league players before the season. I would definitely say Jay Bruce would be worth it, if he isn't already available in your league. But some guys that may see some playing time later in the year who I would consider worthy of using your #1 waiver on(barring someone stupidly drops a good player in your league), uber-talent Clayton Kershaw and stud Max Scherzer. Kershaw is a young lefty in the Dodger organization who could be the next great lefty in the majors, at least he has the potential to. Max Scherzer could be up sooner then later though, as his tantalizing fastball could be used in closing situations if the Arizona pen continues to struggle. Assuming that Scherzer would come up and be groomed as a closer, it makes him a great candidate for your #1 waiver priority.

- I would like to give a shout out to Tom Glavine. He has been a fantasy managers dream for many years for his ability to stay off the DL. 22 season in fact. That probably won't happen ever again. Harden and Sheets should take some notes.

- Frank Thomas was waived today by the Blue Jays. Go ahead and cut him. Considering the fact that Barry Bonds is having problems finding a team, I find it hard to believe that Thomas will find constant work somewhere. I can't even see a situation that would be ideal for him, maybe Seattle, when they figure out that Vidro is done. I'm sure he surfaces somewhere, but I doubt a team uses him as a full time DH. Stairs is the obvious benefactor here, but look for Adam Lind to reappear at some point in the near future. Lind was very promising last year.

- Prince Fielder finally hit a home run this week. I still fully expect him to hit around 40 homeruns.

- Look at Cliff Lee this week. Unreal. .56 ERA, .31 WHIP, 2 Wins and 16 K's in 16 innings. He looks like he could have a Fausto Carmona type breakout, with better K numbers. Now if only the Indians could hit.......

- Sabathia has looked ridiculously hittable this year so far. Another terrible outing this week. Gave up 9 runs in 4 innings. wow. Just hang on, hes too good of a pitcher to pull a Dontrelle Willis.

- Ben Sheets, this is Injury. Injury, this is Ben Sheets.
Wait, why do I feel like you two have met before?
Oh, you already know each other.
You know each other real well?
Oh, that well??
Ah, this is awkward, now I feel like the third wheel.
As my friend Eddie says, Ben Sheets is made from the finest china in all the land.

- Guys I really like this week that are probably available on your wire: Ervin Santana, Randy Wolf, John Danks, Clint Barmes, Melky Cabrera, Jayson Werth

- Guys that are played well this week that I don't like: Tim Redding, Aaron Cook, Jose Contreras, Carlos Quentin, Kevin Millar, Eric Hinske

- Fantasy Faux Pas: Misuse of Streaming. Streaming is the adding of probable starting pitchers for the next day, then dropping them for probable starting pitchers the following day. The thought process is that the manager is willing to lose ERA and WHIP but win K's and W's while having a strong bullpen. The art of streaming has been debatable since the inception of Fantasy Baseball. Does it help, doesn't it, is it ethical, isn't it. Well its generally excepted these days, and now some leagues lay transaction maximums per week to curb streaming. The thing with streaming is, that it can be very helpful if used in the appropriate situations. First of, know your league. If the league is big and extremely deep, streaming isn't going to be effective. Also know your managers tendencies. If several teams in your league have stream mentality, its not going to work. Think about being in a 16 team league with 24 man rosters, and now add 2 or 3 managers are streaming. The depth of pitching talent is thin and in most case not even helpful. Under no circumstances should one ever draft exclusively for streaming purposes. The best fantasy managers year after year, are ones that can remain flexible. Drafting to stream, cripples you into a one dimensional steam exclusive manager, then if other managers stream, or effective stream, you are left with a shell of a team.

Streaming can be effective though if used correctly. First off, make a decision around Thursday or Friday whether you are going to win ERA and WHIP big, or lose big. If its close don't stream, if its going to be a blow out either way then look for a few probable starters and plug them in for the weekend games to give you a boost in wins or strikeouts. Next, do your homework. Most guys on the wire are going to be extremely inconsistent. Don't look at overall season stats, look at home/road splits and how that pitcher has fared in the past against players on the team they are facing. Doing this increases the chances of picking up a player who will be effective in their start.

ICHIRO UPDATE: In the debut column I stated my claim that Ichiro would hit under .300 for the first time in his career this season. Take a look back to see why. Let's take a look at how hes doing so far. Double Base Drum roll please.....................................(Deep voice screaming) .259!!!! He's 22-85 through Sunday's games. Again so far so good.

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