Saturday, May 31, 2008

Red Hot Brewers Back to .500

It used to be that the day we hit the .500 mark was filled with joy and excitement. Now, with the higher expectations, and even playoff talk, it's filled with relief. It's also the point at which we say, "Alright, let's get this thing started".

I've been impressed with the Crew over the last week, and I don't know how you can't be. There are scoring just enough to win, and their pitching and defense has stepped up as well. Tonight was no different, with Ben Sheets going 8 2/3 innings, giving up 1 run on 7 hits, added 5 more strikeouts to his season total. He couldn't quite go the distance, but that allowed for a two-pitch save from Solomon Torres, 5th of the season.

The Brewers did trail in this one 1-0 until the 5th inning, when Ryan Braun stayed hot by bringing home Rickie Weeks on a single. Braun crossed the plate thanks to another 2 run shot by Prince Fielder, in an almost deja vu type situation from how the scoring happened on Friday. The Brewers would win the game over the Astros by a final of 4-1, as Russell Branyan added his 2nd home run of the season. It was the 3rd longest home run ever hit at Miller Park, sailing into the Dew Deck. Branyan now holds the longest, 3rd longest, and 4th longest home run distances in the history of the Park. Oh and by the way, please don't tell me that's a "soft" platoon at 3rd anymore, Ned. We're not that stupid.

Before the Brewers can start thinking about going after the division, they had to get to the .500 mark. A series sweep tomorrow would put them over that hump, and hopefully they can stay over the even mark for good, instead of tetter-tottering with it for the next week or so.

Box Score.

TBC's Player of the Game: Plenty of candidates in this one, but I'm going to give it to Jason Kendall. Kendall was 3 for 4 in throwing runners out at the bases, and the runner he missed stealing second (Kaz Matsui), he eventually got out at 3rd. May not be the sexiest player of the game we've given, but making outs on the bases early kept the Brewers in the game in time for the offense to take over.

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

U.S. in Play for 2018 World Cup Bid

Remember Striker, the mascot for the 1994 World Cup in the United States? I still have a poster of him somewhere in my parents basement, I'm pretty sure. Well, if the US Soccer Federation has there say, Striker will be gaining a buddy by 2018. The USSF is making a serious push to bring the World Cup back stateside.

Even though England handled the Americans the other day on the pitch, we might have the upper hand against them, as they appear to be our main competition right now for the bid. You'd have to think we'd have the upper hand, with the largest market-place in the world (for now), and more large stadiums than any other country can offer.

By 2018, I'm not sure the MLS or soccer in general will have gained much popularity in America, but even non-soccer fans are captivated by the World Cup when it comes around every four years. This would be a great event to attend, and I'm already figuring out my plans to do so. I was too young to get to it when it was here in '94, and plans to go to Germany in '06 never happened. The chances of going to the Cup in South Africa in '10 are slim, and this could be my best chance to attend a World Cup match.

Plus, Striker needs a mascot buddy to play with!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Braun, Parra, Lead Crew over Astros

These were the kind of games I expected the Brewers to be playing when I pondered how the season would turn out. A good pitching performance by one of our young guys, and effective new bullpen, some good offensive outpower, and displays of power by Braun and Fielder. And hey, even Cameron. Games where when the pitching excelled, the hitting did too. Games like the one's we haven't been having all year. Needless to say, I'm pretty happy with the way things went tonight.

Last year, the Brewers played much better at home than on the road, and the Astros were one of their favorite teams to beat up on while at Miller Park. Tonight was no different, as the Brewers cruised to a 5-1 victory, to find themselves 1 game under even once again. Leading the Crew from the pound was Manny Parra, who seemed locked in with Kendall tonight. Even though it wasn't the smoothest of outings, Parra made the big pitches when he had to. Manny went 6 innings, striking out four, allowing just one run.

In relief of Parra was Carlos Villanueva, who pitched two scoreless innings himself. Is Villanueva ready to move back into the rotation, should McClung struggle in his next start? I'm not quite sure, I'm starting to really enjoy him in the long relief role. He's had a hard time going through the lineup more than two times, so I wouldn't mind seeing him come out of the pen for a little longer. Guillermo Mota came in to close the game out, also allowing no runs.

Normally, when the pitching shines, the offense sputters. That was anything but the case tonight, as the Crew brought home five runs on nine hits, including three long balls. Things got started in the first when Cameron and Braun went back to back. Braun hit his in that little restaurant area over in right, which so many of us were screaming to be removed after a home run there cost us a game earlier in the season. Things will work out for both teams the same way, and I'd rather have a dining area out in right then a inclined hill and a flagpole out in center.

Braun wasn't done, as he went on to tie a career-high with four hits, including a single that scored Rickie Weeks in the 3rd. Prince Fielder almost fell over when he hit a two run shot in the 5th, but I was just glad to see the big guy still has some power left in him.

The other note of interest in this game is Branyan got another start as the Brewers faced a righty, but went 0-3. Ned's been calling it a "soft" platoon, but right now it looks like straight up Branyan vs. righties / Hall vs. lefties. We'll see how long that stays in effect.

Thank you Brewers, for playing the way I know you're capable of.

Box Score.

TBC's Player of the Game: Ryan Braun

(AP Photo/Darren Hauck)

He'll Just Have to Win Another One

Whether you pitch in the postseason or not, you still earn a ring if you pitched in the regular season and your team wins the World Series. I'm not sure how proud of that ring you would actually be, and you'd probably be better off selling it on ebay. But that's what happened to Julian Tavarez, who proudly owns an 07 World Series ring. At least, he thinks he does.

When Tavarez was designated for assignment earlier this month, he forgot the ring in his locker. The ring is worth $20,000, so maybe I wouldn't be surprised if it turned up on ebay. Tavarez believes the Red Sox will play nice and mail him the ring, but I still don't see how you forget something like that.

Hopefully this story just fires Tavarez up to win another one, that he can then forget in his locker when Milwaukee doesn't re-sign him next year. Ah, who am I kidding. At this point, I'm just hoping to finish over .500.

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Lost is My Favorite Show of All-Time

This post is for all the "Lost" fans out there. If you're not interested, just pass it right by. If you are, make sure you've watched the finale, because this shouldn't be the way you find out about the twists and turns of the season finale.

I still remember the first time I ever watched "Lost". I was in college, and my friend had seen previews for this show about a plane crashing on an island. I had a crush on said friend, so I went over to her house to watch the show with her. I thought it was a very good show, I loved the flashback element, and the drama, and even the weird sounds from the jungle. It was the fourth episode though that hooked me, entitled "Walkabout". This was the episode where we learned Locke used to be in a wheelchair. That moment set up how great this show could be.

My friend graduated and moved away after season one, and I still watched season two as best as I could, but didn't catch every episode. I'd read a recap if I missed it, but I was like many who abandoned the show in that second season, although not entirely. I decided to give it another full-out effort in the third season, when I discovered how great DVR was. Now, there was no way I would ever miss an episode, and by the time the season three season finale brought us one of the biggest game-changing moments in television history, I had already purchased and pre-ordered the first three seasons on DVD.

This year, however, the show has not only gone to that next level for me, but taken off and ran away with the title of "My Favorite Show. Ever." This was a title that has been reserved for 24 for six years. Even though 24 had to take the year off due to the writer's strike, I still think if both were new, and I had to pick, I'd go with Lost over 24. I didn't come into Lost expecting a sci-fi type show, I'm not sure anyone did when it first started. But even though circumstances have become increasingly more science fiction as the show developed, my love for it has grown right with it. The drama, the mystery, and the excitement are something I've never seen on any other show. And while there have been hiccups along the way, the writing and storytelling have been a work of genius, only to be matched by the acting.

The show delivered again Thursday night, with part two of the season four finale "There's No Place Like Home". I'm not sure how the best way to write a recap for this episode is, so I'm just going to write thoughts as they come to my head. I guess we'll start with the first scene of the episode, which picked up at the exact moment the season three finale left off. Brilliant. We learned that Jeremy Bentham was in the casket, but we wouldn't learn who exactly he was until the show's final scene. What we did learn was that he's been in contact with members of the Oceanic Six, telling them they need to go back. We also learned he paid a visit to Walt, who, as Hurley would put it, "is getting big, dude."

Before we talk about why they need to go back, let's talk about how they got off in the first place. The Oceanic Six started the episode apart, and the thrill of the episode was watching how they all made it on that helicopter. Jack and Sawyer started by meeting up with Locke and Hurley at the Orchid Station. Jack and Locke had one of their best Jack/Locke talks of the series. Locke is right, Jack knows he crashed on that Island for the reason, only Jack won't allow himself to admit it. Three years later, he wishes he would have, but for now, Jack is hellbent on getting off that thing. Ben meets up with the group, and Locke stays with him.

The group then meets up with Kate and Sayid, who have taken care of Keamy's team along with help from Richard and the "new" Others. I'm still not sure what the Others been up to the last couple of weeks (Island time), but I'm sure we'll find that out eventually. They head onto the chopper, piloted by Frank, and off to the freighter they go.

However, it appears one of the bullets has left a hole in the fuel tank, and the chopper needs to lose weight (felt bad for Hurley when Frank said he'd like to lose a few hundred extra pounds). Sawyer decided to take one for the team, and he jumped back into the ocean, after whispering something to Kate (most likely about his daughter).

They get to the freighter, but there is another problem. Desmond, Jin, and Michael are trying to figure out how to stop the C4 from detonating. It will do so only if Keamy's heart stops, as he set up a remote bomb. Well, Keamy was also in the process of dying, as Ben stabbed him to death in the Orchid. So here comes the explosion.

The helicopter leaves the freighter in the nick of time, with Frank, Desmond, Hurley, Jack, Sun, Aaron, and Sayid. No luck for Jin, who just missed the chopper leave. Sun begs Frank to land, but they can't and Jin bites the dust. Also dying in the blast is Michael, who's work appears to be done. At least that's what he's told by Christian Shephard, who either is Jacob, is working for Jacob, or has taken over for Jacob. I never would have guessed Jack's (dead) dad would have played such a role in the series, but then again, it looks more and more likely that Jack is the one destined to be on that Island.

Speaking of the Island, Ben is working on moving it. To do so, he has to fill the Orchid portal with metallic objects. I'll call it the portal because I don't remember the name, although it was used to move Bunny Number 15, as seen in the Dharma video. I thought just the metallic objects set in there alone would move the Island, but rather that is what has to be done in order for the wall behind it to break. Beyond that wall is cold, dark, shaft which includes a "Frozen Donkey Wheel". You may remember, last year the producers code name for the title was "Snake in the Mailbox" as the flashforward delivered us something we didn't expect. This year it was "Frozen Donkey Wheel", and there literally was, a frozen donkey wheel. Ben got the strength to move the wheel, which moved the Island, and some how transported him to Tunisia (as hinted at in "The Shape of Things to Come", earlier this season).

Tunisia is also important because that's where we first met Charlotte, who found a Dharma polar bear there some time ago. Does that mean that the Island was previously moved by a Dharma polar bear? I don't know how to explain that one, but it would appear the Island has moved before. Whether through space or time, that is something that will be addressed in season five or six, but we do know that Widmore was looking for it, and having a tough time doing so. Also, Miles hinted at the fact that Charlotte had been on that Island before, who / what / where / when / why / and how is another question the finale poised to us.

So Ben turns the donkey wheel, and the Island vanishes into the water in a sinkhole like fashion. What does this mean for Locke, the new leader of the others? How about for Juliet and Sawyer, sharing a bottle of rum? And what about Faraday, who was on a raft at that time? Presumably, season five will be about two things: What happened on the Island after it moved, and how the Oceanic Six are going to get back. A few questions emerge when thinking about the next season. Sawyer and Juliet (among others such as Rose and Bernard) saw the freighter explode, so they have to assume everyone is dead, right? Can they be mad at Jack and the gang when they do come back, for not coming back sooner? What the hell are they going to do on that Island for three years? Does Sawyer become the Losties new leader, and fight against Locke? Or do they team up?

As for the Oceanic Six, they did find rescue, in the form of Penny's boat. A great reunion for Penny and Desmond, as they show's central love story has a happy conclusion, for now anyway (as Ben is looking to kill Penny, in revenge for Alex). Because of Locke's words, Jack says they have to make up a story, and Penny's boat takes them to an island belonging to Indonesia, where the whole cover-up of the Oceanic Six begins.

In future time, Sayid takes Hurley out of the mental ward to "keep him safe", although we have no idea where that may be (Checkmate, Mr. Eko!). Kate has a dream in which Claire warns to never take Aaron back to the Island, and Jack goes to visit Jeremy Bentham's coffin once again. While he's there, Ben shows up and tells Jack all Six of them need to go back (I think all six of them. I don't know if this means Walt needs to go back, or Desmond, or Frank. Also, how does nobody question Walt for being on Flight 815? Did he lie about that, or change his identity? Or is it because he's so freakishly big now?). Jack says it will be hard, as he's lost contact with the other five, including Sun, who may or may not blame Jack for the death of Jin (unless that's what they want us to think...). Ben says he has a few ideas how to get them all together, but to do so they also need to bring back Jeremy Bentham, the man in the coffin. Otherwise known as.... John Locke.


That blew my mind. Some people say they knew it would be him, and that's fine. But doesn't it still blow your mind? How did Locke get off the Island, and why did he get off in the first place? Did Locke move the Island, again? Or is that not really Locke, but a different version of him, similiar to the hijinks that go along with the Orchid Station and Bunny Number 15 (If you've never seen this video shown at Comic-Con last year prior to season four, now would be a good time to watch it)

See how there are two number 15's? Could there, for all intensive purposes, now be two John Lockes?

You gotta love the writers, for not only answering a bunch of questions, but at the same time posing a million more new ones. I've already rewatched the finale twice because I can't get enough, and for much of this posting I've been listening to the Lost soundtrack of season one. A little extreme perhaps, but these are the kinds of things do you when you wonder if you'll be able to wait until January for your favorite show to come back.

And I'm not talking about 24.

This Spelling Bee Stuff is Intense

The finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee are on ABC tonight (7CT), but I don't think I'm going to be able to work up the nerve to watch them. I was watching a little of the qualifying rounds today on ESPN, and I just couldn't stomach it. These kids are up there just sweating it out, trying to come up with the spelling of words like trophallactic and bulbul. I applaud them for dealing with the pressure, but there's no way I can watch something like this.

Also, the Spelling Bee is the yearly remember of how I failed so miserably in my 5th grade spelling bee, so many moons ago. I can't quite remember what word I got out on, but I do remember I was very confident and very upset once I lost. That was a terrible day.

For more on the spelling bee, including some kid trying to spell the word diener (like Travis, get it!), check out the summary at Awful Announcing.

Athletes Drink Too, You Know

I suppose by posting this picture of Matt Leinart at a party, I've just lost any credibility I may have had as a blogger. You see, these kind of pictures are one of the main arguments the anti-blogger crowd has against us. By posting these pictures, we are invading the athletes privacy, and lowering are credibility at the same time is the main argument there.

You know why these pictures are posted in the first place? Because it's funny to see pictures of drunk people. It's also another reminder that these athletes, while superstars, are no different from any other guy their age (Chris Cooley is very open about the topic in his blog, where he also has posted recent wedding pictures, and pictures of his hot wife. This guy just became an instant fantasy pick for me, every year).

Well, our friends at Stock Lemon have took this phenomenon one step further. If you're sick and tired of seeing famous athletes get drunk, why not check out some obscure athletes "get their drink on".

National Media Just Can't Let Go of Favre

I just can't, for the life of me, figure out why we just won't let Brett Favre retire. Whether it's David Letterman, Peyton Manning, or any one of us Packer fans, it just seems like we have this craving desire to have Favre return to the league. I can't tell you how sick I am of the "he didn't file his papers argument" either. First of all, Favre said it himself, those papers are signed by players looking for benefits which Favre obviously doesn't need. Second of all, it took a guy like Bill Schroeder four years to officially retire, so I don't see what the big hurry is.

The latest chapter in the quest to bring Favre back is the discussion about how his locker is still in tact, equipped with his nameplate and shoulder pads. NFL Live on ESPN just ran a story about it on Wednesday. Also, sites like ProFootballTalk pump out as many "Favre to come back?" stories per week as they can. How come, more than two months after he officially retired, we are practically begging for him to come back?

The Packers took steps to hopefully put some of these Favre rumors to rest. Thursday, they finally took down the Favre nameplate and replaced it with the standard "Packers" one. The locker may now be given to Favre as a gift, explains Mike McCarthy: "I think it's been totally blown out of proportion. It's frankly an excellent idea that Ted Thompson and the organization had as far as a gift on a personal note to Brett. It's been discussed with Brett, and we can talk about it at a later date. But its really a construction concern, is the reason why the locker hasn't been taken out of there. So there's nothing more to it."

So that issue is taken care of, for now anyways. Check back in two weeks when the national media has found another reason why Favre might return to the league.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Will Weaver Opt Out?

After a tough outing from Seth McClung Thursday, the speculation around the Brewers pitching staff once again comes to the forefront. While I still think McClung will get a few more outings for the Crew to truly see what he has, I'm sure many fans are beginning to wonder about the situation regarding Jeff Weaver.

Weaver is currently pitching in Triple-A Nashville, although he hasn't been spectacular, to say the least. He was rocked again on Monday, and is currently 1-3 with a 6.69 ERA. "Right now, he's only into 30-something innings," Melvin told Fox Sports. "That's only a little more than spring training. Any pitcher could use more time. But he's just trying to get comfortable. He had no spring training whatsoever."

Their is some timing involved in this move, as Weaver can opt out and become a free agent if he hasn't been called up by June 15. Even though our staff has had it's problems, Weaver is still a good three to five weeks, in my opinion, from being called up. If Weaver did opt out, I don't see another team picking up him and putting him straight on the big league roster. I think Weaver's best chance to pitch in the bigs again is in Milwaukee, and I don't see him opting out.

Braves Put the Hammer Down on Crew

Seth McClung's second outing as a Brewers starter didn't go nearly as well as his first, as he was pounded for 8 hits and 6 runs in 4 2/3 innings. The Brewers still come away with 2 out of the three in the series, even though they only scored 5 runs in the last 3 games. The way our offense has been playing, this one was pretty much over as soon as McClung started given up those runs.

In his relief, Tim Dillard and Brian Shouse were able to keep any runs from scoring. Newcomer Julian Tavarez, however, wasn't as fortunate. He gave up two more runs in the 9th, and the Braves won this one, 8-1.

As I mentioned, it was another rough day for the offense. The only run of the day was a Russell Branyan home run, although Braun did have a run called back because of interference at the plate by Corey Hart. Still, as they head into their series against Houston, the offense is going to need to click much better than they have been.

Box Score.

TBC's Player of the Game: Russell Branyan

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

One is Enough for Brew Crew

I'll gladly pay Jeff Suppan some 10 million dollars a year for performances like the one he delivered on Wednesday night. Suppan went 8 innings, giving up four hits and striking out 7. His season ERA dipped to 3.93, and he won his 3rd game of the season. Most of all, he gave the kind of performance the pitching staff needs to give, especially as our offense is still looking to find it's rhythm.

On the other side of the coin was the offense, which only mustered up three hits in the contest. However, they finally came through when they needed to, as a Rickie Weeks triple scored J.J. Hardy in the 8th inning. With a 1-0 lead, Solomon Torres then came in for the save, and picked up his 4th of the season.

The Brewers are now back to 1 game under .500, at 26-27, and will be looking for the series sweep Thursday afternoon. They are still not hitting on all cylinders, but appear to be regaining some of their swagger, which is a great sign at this point.

Box Score.

TBC's Player of the Game: Jeff Suppan. He gets it for his efforts throughout the game, but mainly for his matchup with Braves catcher Brian McCann in the 8th. McCann was complaining about balls and strikes, and wouldn't enter the batter's box. The ump told Suppan to pitch, and he threw a perfect strike to bring the count to 0-2 and eventually strike him out. Just one of the key pitches by Suppan tonight, who really looked impressive.

(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Get Out the Vote, Wisconsin!

Last year, we were able to vote Prince Fielder in for the NL All-Stars. This year, we're going to need to step it up if we'd like another starter in the Midsummer Classic, as they call it (and you can bet we're planning on our tradition of Live Blogging All-Star Games!). The first set of results were released today, and the Crew needs some help.

For a list of the top NL vote getters, you can head here, but otherwise here's what you need to know:

* Chase Utley leads all NL players with 537,788.

* Lance Berkman leads 1st basemen, Prince is 4th with 151,894 votes.

* Chipper Jones leads the NL at 3rd, Bill Hall has 106,870 for the 5th place spot.

* Ryan Braun is 9th among all outfielders, with 189,505 votes.

* Three Cubs would be voted in if this ended today - Geovany Soto, Kosuke Fukudome, and Alfonso Soriano.

So come on Wisconsin, let's get out the vote and get some Brewers into the All-Star game! (because they're not doing a very good job of making a case for themselves)

Vote Here.

Brits Take Care of Yanks

When I think of John Terry, I usually think of the actor that has appeared on 24, Lost, and more of your favorite primetime programming. But if you said that name on a World stage, you'd most likely draw to mind the Captain of the English soccer team, who just days ago became known as the man to miss a penalty kick for Chelsea against Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League Final. That name should become a lot more familiar to Americans after he scored the winning goal against the U.S. Soccer team today (I know, nobody likes soccer, but go with me on this one).

Terry's goal came off a David Beckham assist, and along with a goal from Steven Gerrard, England was able to beat the Americans in their friendly Wednesday by a score of 2-0. The U.S. performance was described as uninspired, and their biggest problem was their lack of any offensive threat, especially from their forwards. The United States team has a reputation of beating up on the little guys yet falling to the big ones, and that came true once again today. Even though it was just a friendly, it would have been nice to come away with a better result in our quest to be on stage with the world's best.

(Ian Kington/Getty Images)

If You Watch One Soccer Game This Year, Watch This One

When you think United States Soccer, the average person probably can't name more than Alexi Lalas, Cobi Jones, and Freddy Adu, and might not have even known we had a team before the 1994 World Cup. Well, they did, and they pulled off one of the greatest upsets of all-time against England in the 1950 World Cup (yes, that's them above). Today, it's not quite a re-match, but the two teams are matched up against each other once again. Kick-off is set for 3ET/2CT, and can be seen on ESPN Classic.

For a better preview than I have time to give, check out Jeff Carlisle's write-up on If you want your preview with an English flavor, the London Times has an article, mainly about captian John Terry. And if you want to see Blogspot work at it's finest, my younger brother started a blog has a "preview" at The Kicks.

If you hate soccer, and don't want to watch the game, that's fine too. Just please don't try to tell me how awful of a sport it is as I'm trying to sneak to a TV and watch it at work today.

Nevermind, Erasmus Was Actually Traded

We weren't wrong when we said that Erasmus James was cut by the Vikings last Friday, but apparently he was, for lack of a better word, "un-cut". Actually, there is a better word for that, and it's called rescinding the move. I had no idea you could get second chances like this in the NFL, but what do I know, I'm just a blogger (althought I don't live in my parent's basement... well, not yet anyways).

This is what actually happened, per the Star Tribune: "It appears to be a savvy move by the Vikings. Because of the holiday weekend, James was not due to go on the waiver wire until 3 p.m. Tuesday. Thus, making it known the team was planning to waive him on Friday actually bought the Vikings three-plus days to listen to trade offers for the 18th-overall pick in the 2005 draft."

So Erasmus James is now a member of the Washington Redskins, in exchange for a 7th round pick in 2009. You may be getting better Vikings, and even smarter, but I'm still not ready to crown you as the NFC North Champions like everyone else. As a Packer fan, I'm scared of that team for sure, but let's not crown their asses just yet.

No idea who that is, by the way.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Brewers Steal One From Braves

After a road trip that even the players will admit "seemed like forever", the Brewers finally made the return back to Miller Park Tuesday night. With a 9 game homestand on the horizon, the Brewers were expecting big results. Things didn't get off to a smooth start however, as starter Dave Bush gave up a solo shot in both of the first two innings to put the Brewers down 2-0.

Bush pitched well the rest of the game, and left it up to the offense as to whether or not the Crew would win this one. RBI's from J.J. Hardy in both the 7th and 8th innings tied the game up at 2-2, and the Brewers were headed to the 9th inning tied with the Braves.

After griping about his situation earlier in the day, Bill Hall was given the opportunity to put his money where his mouth was in the 9th inning. Russell Branyan once again got the start at 3rd, but was pulled in the 9th for Hall on a double switch. Hall would deliver with a broken bat blooper, but that got him on base. A sac bunt by Weeks got Hall to 2nd, with Mike Cameron at the plate. On a 3-0 count to Cameron, Hall decided to try and steal 3rd, and did so uncontested. A Mike Cameron pop fly would be all the Brewers needed, as Hall tagged up and was safe after the play at the plate.

This was a huge win for the Crew, not just as a way to kick off the homestand, but as a momentum builder. Winning games like this will always inject that extra something into a team, especially when the hero of the game is trying to play his way back into a full-time starting role. The team responded with one of the more joyous celebrations I've witnessed from them this season. and may have been just what they needed.

Have to give credit to Dave Bush in this one, for settling down after been taken yard twice. He gave up just six hits and struck out three. Also credit to Julian Tavarez for a quick, scoreless inning in his Brewers debut, and to Solomon Torres who picked up the win. We should also mention Ryan Braun, who went 3 for 4, and seems to have recovered from his head cold.

Brewers and Braves go at it again Wednesday night at 7:05pm.

Box Score.

TBC's Player of the Game: Almost gave it to Hardy, who is just as deserving, but we have to give it to Bill Hall tonight.

ZachJack Sent Down for Tavarez

This team has really turned into a revolving door situation, hasn't it? Never at the beginning of the season would I have expected Julian Tavarez to be a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. But he is, and made his debut appearance Tuesday night against the Braves. It's his 9th major league team, and I have to admit it's going to take me awhile before I'm used to him in a Brewers uniform.

To make room for him, the Crew sent Zach Jackson back to Nashville after just a short stint with the Brewers. Haudricourt is a little surprised by the move, because Brian Shouse becomes the only lefty in the bullpen. In just five innings of work, Jackson left the club with a 4.91 ERA. I think most of us thought Mark DeFelice was going to be the guy sent down.

Tavarez is only costing the Brew $390,000, as the Red Sox are accountable for the rest of his $3.85 million salary. Seems like a low-risk, high-reward move to me, now let's see how it plays out.

Brewers Hoping for Big Homestand

Because I have absolutely nothing to write about today, let's take a look at the upcoming homestand. The Brewers are coming into to their three-series homestand at 24-27, which puts them at 5th in the NL Central and six games back of the Cubs. They'll play three against the Braves, a weekend series against the Astros, and then three more against the Diamondbacks. I'd love to see a 6-3 record out of the next 9 games, which would put them back at .500 for the season.

Here are the pitching matchups for the next 5 games:

Tues (Atl) - Tim Hudson (7-3, 2.97) vs. Dave Bush (1-5, 6.56)
Wed (Atl) - Jo-Jo Reyes (2-2, 5.84) vs. Jeff Suppan (2-4, 4.47)
Thur (Atl) - Jorge Campillo (1-0, 0.86) vs. Seth McClung (2-1, 3.55)
Fri (Hou) - Brandon Backe (4-5, 4.19) vs. Manny Parra (2-2, 5.11)
Sat (Hou) - TBA vs. Ben Sheets (5-1, 2.93)

That's really all I got today, other than mentioning that Bill Hall is unhappy, or that Reggie McKenzie got somewhat of a promotion, it's been a slow morning. We should find out who was sent down to make room for Tavarez later in the day.

One another note, it's a good day if you've been stashing Jay Bruce on your fantasy rosters!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Kapler Salvages Series for Crew

I'll tell you one thing, I was not ready to write up a game recap had the Brewers lost today, especially after that controversial home run from Dmitri Young in the 8th inning. I was not ready to write a recap after a 1-3 series loss to the Nationals. Thankfully, Gabe Kapler comes through once again, and the Brewers have a victory, and you have your recap.

With a 3 game set in Pittsburgh, and 4 games in Washington, I was hoping for the Brewers to go 5-2. They ended up going 3-4, and 3-7 total on the road trip, as they are now 3 games under .500. They still have a lot of work to do, as we've mentioned, but it's a lot better to return home with momentum than it would be on the downturn.

Things didn't look good initially, as the Brew fell down 2-0, despite a decent six inning outing from Ben Sheets. The Brewers then put some runners on in the 7th, and up to bat came Jason Kendall. Kendall hit out of the 8th spot today, after another lineup switch from manager Ned Yost. You could tell Yost was nervous when Kendall came to bat in the 7th, as he feared our catcher may hit into a double play and end the inning, and their best chance at a comeback. Kendall delivered though with an RBI single, and then Joe Dillon drove in the next run to tie the game for Milwaukee 2-2.

The Brewers added a run in the eighth, but were matched when Dmitri Young hit a solo shot in the bottom half of the inning. Young's hit was initially ruled a triple, but was quickly reversed by the umps into the game-tying home run. Washington doesn't have a yellow home run line on their outfield wall, so you couldn't really tell where the ball hit. I'm not sure if they got the call right or not, but at that point you felt like luck just wasn't on Milwaukee's side. The home run started a mini-tirade from my brother, who I was watching the game with, about how baseball is too archiac of a game and needs instant replay (he also said that there needs to be no DH and a salary cap, it was a pretty detailed rant). Nevertheless, the game was tied at 3.

The game headed to extras, after a solid outing from our bullpen, including Carlos Villanueva. Gabe Kapler then brought Prince home in the 11th, and Solomon Torres closed out the game for the save. Villanueva earned his 3rd win of the season for his efforts.

The Brewers are now headed back to Milwaukee for a 3 game set with the Braves, and hopefully can benefit to the return to some home-cookin', as Brian Anderson would say.

Box Score.

TBC's Player of the Game: Gabe Kapler

(AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)

Brewers to Sign Tavarez

All signs point to Julian Tavarez becoming the latest member of the Milwaukee Brewers. Tavarez, who was cut by the Red Sox on May 11, has been actively pursued by both the Colorado Rockies and your Milwaukee Brewers. Sunday, he worked out for the Brewers in Washington, and will be flying back with the team tonight to Milwaukee for a physical. If he passes, it's almost a guarantee he's in uniform on Tuesday.

Tavarez will provide some experience and depth to a bullpen that has been depleted with injuries lately, including to David Riske and Eric Gagne. You would think either DeFelice, Dillard, or Jackson will be sent back to Triple-A to make room. Melvin says Tavarez could either come in for short appearances, or as the long relief guy.

At this point, this signing can't hurt, and seems to be just a band-aid to stop the bleeding rather than an actual cure. This team is struggling, and all the roster moves and lineup changes the Brewers are making won't mean anything until our guys start performing.

Geremi Gonzalez Dies from Lightning Strike

Former Brewers relief pitcher Geremi Gonzalez was killed by a lighting strike while on a beach in his native Venezula on Sunday. Gonzalez, who made his big league debut in 1997 with the Cubs, was 33.

Gonzalez's stint with the Brewers was a short one in the second half of the 2006 season. In addition to Milwaukee and Chicago, he also pitched for Tampa Bay, Boston, New York Mets, Toronto, and the Yomiuri Giants of Japan.

The right-hander appeared in 131 games with 83 starts, compiling a 30-35 record.

(Scott Rovak/US Presswire)

Beckham's 70-Yard Blast

In soccer, pulling the goalie is never really that effective. I've seen it done plenty of times, but I've never seen it pay off. The reasoning behind it, of course, is that by coming out of the net, you give your team another scoring option, but on a field that big with that many players, it never pays off.

Unless you're on the opposing team, and score a goal from the other half of the field, ala David Beckham this weekend.

That is about the only way I wasn't scored on as a goalie.

(Thanks Awful Announcing)

The Lemmy Channel

It's another edition of our latest feature, The Lemmy Channel. This new feature is our joint effort with one of our favorite sports betting sites, Stock Lemon, which has been instrumental in keeping our gambling addiction alive.

In the last week, their NBA Playoff Picks have been doing quite well, as they are 11-4 in their last 15, and 8-2 in their last 10. The MLB Free Picks have been doing well also, as they are 4-1 in their last five.

As for this week's betting trend from Lemmy, here's what they have to say about the Brewers recent struggles. "At 23-27, the Brewers are struggling. Don't give up on your home town team quite yet, though, especially if you're into betting. The Brewers have played 3/5ths of their games this season on the road, and I'm sure The Bucky Channel readers are well aware they play better at Miller Park. So fear not, Wisconsinites, a Brewers turnaround is inevitable. In themeantime, if you want to bet on the Crew but are sick of losing, try taking the under. Unders in Brewers games are 27-20-3 this year, which is a respectable 57.4%."

Thanks Lemmy, although we're not so sure about that Brewers turnaround right now.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Brewers Comeback Thrown Away

Russell Branyan. Mike Rivera. Craig Counsell. Gabe Kapler. The Brewers "B Team", if you will. As Hall, Braun, Kendall, and Hardy watched from the dugout, the efforts from our favorite benchwarmers and a recent call-up were almost enough to take the matinee game in Washington on Sunday. While they did what they were asked to do, and more, it ultimately came down to this season's theme. Say it with me in unison, won't you?

When the offense does well, the pitching game struggles. When the pitching game does well, the offense struggles.

The problems started once again with Parra, who couldn't even make it 5 innings today. He gave up six run in another tough outing for the young kid. On the broadcast, Rock says that we all know Parra will be a great big league pitcher, we just have to let him figure out these ups and downs. Do we know he'll be a great big league pitcher though? Yeah, he's got some good stuff, and I can't forget about the perfect game he threw last year in Triple-A. But all he's proved to be at the big league level is inconsistent. I don't think we can assume Parra is going to be in our lineup for years to come at this point. Wasn't Ben Hendrickson supposed to be an all-star by now?

After Parra's struggles, more of the new look Brewers took to the mound, as DeFelice and Dillard both pitched well. Guillermo Mota then came in for the 9th inning, but struggled quickly and then threw a wild pitch with a runner on 3rd, and the Brewers lost the game 7-6.

It looked like it would never be that close, however, as the Nats had a 6-0 lead in the 6th inning. That's when the Brewers did something I haven't seen them do much this year, and that was they put a rally together. Hart hit another 2 run blast, then Dillon, Cameron, and Kapler all knocked in runs to tie the game at 6. It was a short lived tease that the turnaround we've been hoping may have been happening right in front of our eyes. But it was not to be.

As for the platoon that could be Branyan and Hall, maybe Slacks is right. Branyan went 2 for 3 today, also drawing a walk. That means he's hitting .667 on the season!

The Brewers will try to even the series tomorrow in a Memorial Day afternoon game, first pitch 12:35pm.

Box Score.

TBC's Player of the Game: Mike Cameron.

Fred Slacks' Fantasy Stats: Aimless Ramblings of the Week

Happy Memorial Day weekend people. Fred Slacks is back this week after being pretty much lazy last week. We're gonna try and shorten this up this week as it is a great Sunday to be out and about. Also a washer box tourney and graduation party are in the mix today. Looking back, most of my production outlooks have been hitting decently but I did want to share one that I have completely missed the mark on. About 2 months ago I mentioned Wily Mo Pena being a force this year for various reasons, even after he came back from his injury. Well, that just hasn't happened. I still feel like if he hits a few out hes a great player to ride a hot streak on. He oozes power and potential and he still only 26, but lacks patience and control. It would figure that he starts to figure somethings out this weekend against the Crew. A few thoughts from the pockets of the slacks.

- Ryan Howard has finally heated up. It's about time, some people were getting worried he had too many holes in his swing. Now if only Prince Fielder would follow suit.

- Josh Hamilton is just a beast. He's currently leading the AL triple crown categories with a .337 BA, 12 HR's, and 53 RBI. I really don't see a slow down in sight. Barring injury, which is a stigma with him, he should be the best value due to draft position, and future 1st or 2nd round pick for years to come.

- About two weeks ago Tony Jackson of Inside the Dodgers wrote that Clayton Kershaw was not likely to see The Show before the All-Star break. Well Sunday Kershaw will find himself on the mound for the Dodgers. Apparently with 17 games in 17 days the Dodgers need a 5th starter and with Hong-Chih Kuo better suited for relief duties, Kershaw got the call up.

- Welcome back Jason Bay. After a disappointing 2007, Bay looks be returning to 2006 form. It helps when production is occurring around him as well.

- Just think, if things play out this season like they have so far, you could have the NL Cy-Young award winner traded for the AL MVP. Of course I'm talking about Edinson Volquez for Josh Hamilton straight up. I don't think anything like that has ever happened before.

- I saw the most ridiculous thing on TV the other night. The Puppy Bowl IV on Animal Planet. Words cannot explain how I died a little inside. Check out around the 2:25 mark, tell me how one gets this guys job. And is the guy doing the commentary in the very beginning an NFL films voice??? Just wrong on so many levels. Even big time dog lovers have to think this is stupid. Did I mention this was a three hour show?

- Russell Branyan is back in Brewer blue. I know Winks thinks a weak platoon is in affect with Branyan getting 2 starts per week. I actually feel it's going to be a little more aggressive. Branyan was just raking in AAA. His left handed bat should be a mainstay against all righties in the near future as Bill Hall has just been abysmal versus righties. I'm thinking hes fully platooned until he or Bill Hall phase out completely. Branyan could be a sweet pick up in NL-only leagues, but in mixed I would stay away until it becomes clearer what Yost is going to do with these two.

- Jesse Litch gave up his first walk in 6 games on Saturday's complete game effort. In that six game span he went 4-0 with 18 K's, a 2.31 ERA and a sparkling WHIP of 0.86 in 39 innings. You just have to love this guys control. 8 walks all year in 58 innings. Daisuke Matsuzaka had 8 walks in 5 innings against the Detroit Tigers a couple weeks back.

- Giants closer Brian Wilson has struggled lately. You really shouldn't worry though, they really don't have anyone else who can close. Tyler Walker has done it before but that experiment failed.

- Speaking of closers, with Eric Gagne on the DL, it looks like Solomon Torres is the man in the 9th regardless of the situation. So what I'm trying to say is a closer by committee doesn't look like its going to happen.

ICHIRO UPDATE: In the debut column I stated my claim that Ichiro Suzuki 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 he's doing so far. Drum roll please..................................... .286. He's 59-206 through Saturday's game.

Is that Russell Branyan?

Russell Branyan has been all over since his last stint with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2004-2005. Since that time, the 3rd baseman has suited up with the Cardinals, Padres, Phillies, and as you can see, the Rays. Now, after a two month stint in Nashville, the Brewers have called up Russell Branyan, sending down Tony Gwynn Jr.

Many people have been wondering when this callup would happen, as Branyan has hit .359, 12 HR, and 36 RBI while with the Sounds. In addition, Bill Hall has been struggling big time at the plate against righties. We don't have a problem with the move at all, especially as this team tries to find that offensive spark and really turn this thing around. That, and Tony Gwynn Jr. just wasn't seeing the field, with pinch hit opportunities being better spent on Joe Dillon or Gabe Kapler.

How effective will Branyan be? That remains to be seen, although he did just get a hit in his first at-bat, as he was thrust right into the lineup on Sunday. I would expect two starts a week from Branyan, unless he really explodes and fights Hall out of a job. No matter what happens, it's good to see Branyan back in a Brewers uniform.

McClung Delivers Against Nationals

He only pitched five innings and 68 pitches, but Seth McClung's start on Saturday was a welcome sign to Milwaukee that maybe there is hope in that pitching staff after all. Thrust into the starting role after the struggles of Carlos Villanueva (among others), McClung didn't waste his opportunity in making his switch from the bullpen. McClung gave up 2 runs and struck out 4, and earned his second win of the season.

McClung was aided offensively as well, more specifically by the long ball. Corey Hart hit a 2 run shot in the 4th inning to give the Brewers the lead, and then later Mike Cameron added one for some insurance. Weeks and Kendall also added RBI's in the game.

As well as McClung pitched, his bullpen stepped up for him as well. Villanueva came in relief to pitch one scoreless inning, followed by two scoreless from Guillermo Mota. With Gagne on the DL, Solomon Torres came in for the save, even though the 9th inning wasn't easy to get through after some Bill Hall errors.
But the Brewers took care of business, and took the game from Washington 5-2.

Every win we've had in the last week has been of the "Ok, we can turn it around now style", but then the Brewers sputter a bit in response. Hopefully Saturday night's win can actually get things kick started.

Box Score.

TBC's Player of the Game: Seth McClung

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Everybody Hates Ned

First off, yes, that is Ned Yost on the left. Looking good, Ned.

While I'm back home in Fondy taking in a high school girls soccer game (hey, my pops is the coach), I thought I'd share this article that showed up on CNNSI earlier in the week. The Brewers fans here know that there is a lot of Ned Yost backlash right now, and it's only heightened when the team is losing. John Donovan takes a look into Ned Yost: The man Brewers fans love to hate, and live to bash. It's a pretty good read, and features Jeff Sackman of Brew Crew Ball.

Donovan does a good job of letting the nation know just how hated Ned can be around these here parts, and why we blame him for every one of the team's failures.

Hardy Error Leads to Brewers Demise

I just realized that all week I've been saying the Brewers need to go 4-2 during their trip to Pittsburgh and Washington for me to avoid going into panic mode. Actually, the Brewers play a four game set in Washington this Memorial Day weekend, so what I meant to say is that I'd like them to go 5-2. Well, they already have those two losses, and hopefully they can recover in a big way and heat up in the nation's capital.

I was listening to this one on the radio, and Bob and Jim were talking about how on the 35 plane ride between the two cities, the Brewers were talking sweep in Washington, and righting the ship. That's good to hear, but now they just need to execute. Things weren't looking terrible Friday night as the Brewers took a 1-1 tie into the 6th inning. But then with one out, Hardy bobbled a double play ball and the Nationals turned that into a four run inning, and a 5-1 victory over the Crew.

Soup pitched well in this one too, only giving up 3 hits in his 5 2/3 innings of work. The Brewers also got hitless innings out of Shouse and the debut of Tim Dillard. But as it's been the case all season, when our pitching is on, our hitting is off, and vice versa. That wasn't more evident than in the 9th inning, when the Brewers put their first two men on base, and then quickly got three outs and the game was over.

The ball will now be in the hands of Seth McClung for the second game of the series, tonight at 6:10pm.

Box Score.

TBC's Player of the Game: Jeff Suppan

Friday, May 23, 2008

Erasmus James Cut by Vikings

Unlike Bill Schroeder's retirement with the Packesrs four years after he last suited up in the NFL, I feel like this is actually a revelant story. Former Badgers defensive lineman Erasmus James has been cut by the Vikings, after an injury plauged stint with the team.

Not much to say about this one, as we're sure he'll find work somewhere. Maybe I'll try to contact him about the matter. After all, he was one of the athletes I became friends with on Facebook, when becoming friends with athletes on the site was popular.

When is Ryan Grant Going to Sign?

I wouldn't call this a hold-out, actually maybe it is, but Ryan Grant has still not signed with the Packers, and this is troubling me. Grant had a great season last year, and while he deserves to be paid accordingly, I hope he's not expected more than he's really worth. Grant has decided not to sign his one-year $370,000 tender as an exclusive rights free agent, but is still able to work out and attend meetings. The one thing he can't do at this point is practice.

Grant is optimistic about a new deal, as he and the Packers are currently working towards an agreement. PFT mentions that, really, his only bargaining chip is not playing until week ten, but at that point we'd likely have found his replacement. There is a lot of talk against giving him a big deal, because he could turn into another Samkon Gado. Clearly, Ryan Grant is a different runner than Samkon Gado, and I think he is vital to any Packers success this year. But, we don't want to overpay him and have him turn into a bust. I say he should sign for something like a one year deal for around $800,000, and then negotiate a long term deal during the season. But the sooner he can suit up, the better.

Brewers Looking for Pitching

According to Jayson Stark of, Julian Tavarez was pretty close to becoming the newest member of the Milwaukee Brewers. Stark says both the Brewers and the Rockies have been going after the Boston reliever, in hopes of bringing him back into their starting rotation. A trade never materialized, but apparently the Brewers aren't done looking. They do have Jeff Weaver (who struggled the other night), and are looking for some other well-known names that are currently stuck in Triple-A.

After coming into the season with pitching depth, the Crew are now desperate for someone to be able to go six innings without blowing the game. Sheets and Suppan will be in the rotation all year barring injury, Parra should be able to go the distance, we're not sure what to expect out of McClung, and Bush seems destined to be DFA'd. Villanueva is still a question mark as well. It seems to be like the Brewers ship is sinking, and they are trying to pail out water as fast as they can.

This team can still make a run at the playoffs, but I think they'd need to make a bigger splash than Julian Tavarez. I see them trading for a Greg Maddux or A.J. Burnett. We'll likely lose Gwynn in any deal, and perhaps part ways with a LaPorta or Escobar. That Gallardo injury really spun this team into a free-fall.

And remember, it was Reed Johnson of the Cubs that took out Gallardo. He's public enemy number one at this point.

Gagne On the Shelf

When Yost pulled Gagne out of the game the against the Pirates on Tuesday, I actually thought it was just a move to get him out of the game, and to buy some time because the Brewers didn't have a guy warming up in the bullpen. But then he was flown back to Milwaukee, and now it's been revealed he has rotator cuff tendinitis. Yikes.

According to Anthony Witrado at the Journal Sentinel (who has not yet taken advantage of bloggers, we might add), Gagne will be rejoin the team in Washington, but can't pitch until Sunday at the earliest. However, that might be a stretch, unless he's 100%.

The Brewers are doing everything they can not to put him on the DL, so for the time being we're a pitcher short. It did help that Sheets went the distance Wednesday, and I don't see this being a problem unless our bullpen really gets shelled in one of the next two days. If they did send Gagne to the DL, I'm really not sure at this point who the next pitcher to bring up would be, unless they give a guy like Mitch Stetter another go. I know there are a lot of people calling for Branyan's return to the bigs, but they won't bring up a hitter. My guess is no DL for Gagne, and we'll see him Monday.

Update: Looks like I'm wrong on that wrong. The Brewers have announced they've called up reliever Tim Dillard from Nashville. They haven't announced who for, but it's likely Gagne.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pirates Prevent the Sweep

The Brewers out hit the Pirates 14-13 tonight, but the Pirates come away with the 8-4 victory in Pittsburgh tonight to avoid the sweep. But if you're going to look at one stat tonight, it has to be men left on base. Pittsburgh left 11 on the bags tonight, the Brewers 25. Gotta do a little better with that Milwaukee, especially when those runners are in scoring position.

For the Pirates, it was the middle of their order that just took to it Dave Bush, who gave up 6 runs in 5 innings. Villanueva going to the bullpen to work it out was the right move, but Bush's days as a major league starter have to be numbered. The guy just doesn't have it, in my opinion. I'd love to see him try to close, perhaps, but we can't keep losing games because of Bush's struggles. As for those Pirates, Nate McLouth (he's still good?), Jason Bay, Xavier Nady, and Adam LaRoche all had multi-game hits, as they powered their team to victory.

The Crew got a hit from every batter that made it to the plate except for Tony Gwynn, including home runs from Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks, both who have been heating up lately. But the story still was men left on the base, and that ultimately was the Brewers' demise tonight.

The Crew will now head down to Washington, for night time affairs Friday and Saturday, and then matinees on Sunday and Monday.

Box Score.

TBC's Player of the Game: Not sure who to give it to, but I think I'll reward Bill Hall for his 3-5 night, and leaving no men on base.

Wisconsin Sports Despair

Doesn't this picture just made you sick to your stomach. I know it does for me. But as bad as the play that has effectively been dubbed "4th and 26" was, Wisconsin fans have suffered worse. I've been a Wisconsin sports fan since I knew what sports were, and there have been a lot of rewarding moments. I can't tell you how many times I've called my dad to thank him for growing me up a Packers fan. But, in my lifetime, our teams have only won ONE major championship, the glorious Super Bowl run of 1996. Other than that, there have been a lot of disappointments?

Want to relieve each painful memory, one at a time? Big Dunc has a great write-up on the despair of Wisconsin sports.

My Alma-Mater is Selling Out

Many of you that read this blog know that I, as well as my counterpart Bear, hail from Fond du Lac High School in Wisconsin. Six years after graduation, we still have an insane amount of school pride (townies at heart). Well, our school is making news by selling the rights of their fieldhouse for $525,000.

The gymnasium will likely soon be known as the Acuity Insurance Fieldhouse, as the company actually approached the school district about the rights. Half a million will go towards the school district's general fun, the other $25,000 will go towards a sign outside the fieldhouse with the company's logo. I'm not aware of another high school that has done this before, but maybe it's more common in larger markets, or in the high school arenas that look more like college arenas.

I really don't see how this is a bad thing though. School referendums fail all the time, and districts are left to cut programs and lay-off teachers to survive. If it takes selling out a little bit to keep my dad working, then I'm all for it.

(photo courtesy of The Fond du Lac Reporter)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bogut Wins Bucks Survivor!

Congratulations, Andrew Bogut! You are the first winner of the annual Bucks Survivor (assuming we're still around next year!) In one of the most anti-climatic victories of anything, ever, Bogut takes the title over Ramon Sessions. Bogut wins the contest with 82% percent of the vote, and is your choice for who the Bucks should build the franchise around. Let's take a look at the order in which players were voted out, and what GM John Hammond should do with them.

Round 1 - Awvee Storey - Storey is a practice body, I wouldn't mind if he stayed just for the sake of being there.

Round 2 - Dan Gadzuric - By God, if you can get rid of this awful contract, please do so. John Hammond has to be happy with Larry Harris for the mess he left him, doesn't he?

Round 3 - Bobby Simmons - Seriously, one bad contract after another. I realize a lot of these guys may be hard to trade, but give it your best shot, Hamm-dog.

Round 4 - Charlie Bell - I don't have as much of a problem with Bell as I do the other Bucks, and I wouldn't mind if he stuck around for another year or two.

Round 5 - Michael Redd - A surprising exit so early in the contest, but was it really. It seems like everyone I've talked to is tired of the Michael Redd era. Good news for those fans, as Hammond is doing his best to shop both him and Villanueva.

Round 6 - Mo Williams - Sessions stole the job away from Williams in April, and there is no reason for him to be on this team anymore.

Round 7 - Jake Voskuhl, Michael Ruffin - Of course, Voskuhl is a great cheerleader, and Ruffin is good for garbage team. Keep them if need be, but they are more than expendable.

Round 8 - Royal Ivey - Wouldn't mind him coming off the bench, at all.

Round 9 - Charlie Villaneuva - Milwaukee is only big enough for one Villanueva, but I'm still just not sure which one it is.

Round 10 - Desmond Mason - He's a playmaker, and Lord knows we need as many of them as we can get.

Round 11 - Yi Jianlian - If nothing else, we need him to keeping making us money to stay in Milwaukee. Although we found out it's useless to have him on the roster when the Olympic Games are approaching, as the Chinese Government was all over that one. Plus, he's kind of soft.

Round 12 - Ramon Sessions - I absolutely love this guy.

Round 13 - Andrew Bogut - Buying a Bogut jersey would be in my future, if I looked decent in basketball jerseys. I just can't wear them, my arms are too tiny.

So there you have it, Bogut is the Bucks Survivor. Thanks for playing, everyone!

Tom Haudricourt vs. Badger Blogger

Remember the other day when Brewers beat writer posted on his blog that there were rumors Ned Yost was about to be fired? And then the rumors turned out not to be true? Then do you remember how Tom Haudricourt slammed on the Badger Blogger for posting those comments in the first place? Well, there are people out there that are starting to think Haudricourt did this as a result of the Buzz Bissinger mess, just to show people that newspapers are still number one, and that bloggers can't be trusted.

My goodness, does there really have to be this sort of hatred between the two sides? So far, newspaper writers are the ones throwing all the jabs, and bloggers are kind of just laughing them off. But clearly, blogs are a sensitive issue to newspaper guys, and they are clearly threatened by them. My question is if Haudricourt is going to tear apart the Badger Blogger for the rumors, why post them in the first place? In fact, one of Tom's co-workers, Dan Walsh of SportsBubbler, goes even further in questioning Haudricourt's actions.

There are several reasons I have a problem with what Tom Haudricourt did. First off, one thing that is common practice in blogging, don’t quote content without citing a url. You took the time to read the post and are talking about it, link to it in your blog. It's blogging 101. Nobody is in deeper with the Brewers than Haudricourt. Nobody. So why did he rely on a political blog that he apparently had never read before for his info? His quote was "Badger Blogger, whatever that is". Here Tom, I'll tell you. Badger Blogger is a conservative political blog that occasionally dwells on other things besides politics. They've been doing it for several years and have broken political stories in the past. Was TH so afraid of being scooped that he felt he needed to mention it? OR was he trying to reinforce his own creditability and discredit blogs at the same time? Both Badger Blogger and TH sited "team sources". In the comments of his blog, TH responds, "My source was credible. Their source was not. Therefore, they had the rumor. I had the facts." Let me translate that for everyone - "I am the ONLY place you can get credible Brewers information, oh and blogs are stupid". Doug Melvin chastised him for quoting it, "I have too much respect for newspapers and news stations for them to respond to a blog for their news," said Melvin. "When they do so, they lose their credibility. I refuse to respond to blogs because anybody can put anything out there," which is entirely true. Some blogs are very very good, some are bad. Some have insider info, some don't. That quote from Melvin reminded me of how Buzz Bissinger did Bob Costas's dirty work a couple weeks ago in their attack on blogs and, which I talked to Will Leitch about last week. Newspapers are dying and some are struggling to come to grips with it. Make no mistake, TH is no fool, yesterday was a calculated move to remind people he is THE source for credible information on the Brewers and all other Brewers blogs can't be trusted.

Pretty strong words for TH. Now don't get me wrong, Haudricourt does a great job of letting us know the transactions and lineups, and letting us know what's going on in the clubhouse. Just don't let your ego get in the way Tom, when in all essence, you have become a blogger yourself.

Man U Wins UEFA Cup, Nobody Seems to Care

Even if you're not a soccer fan, it was pretty hard not to be entertained by Manchester United's victory over Chelsea on penalty kicks for the UEFA Cup Final. Awful Announcing has the highlights, and the entire penalty kick sequence, which was ripe with drama. I watched what I could of the game and at work, and watching a masterpiece of a game like this only reminded me why I fell in love with soccer in the first place.

I know, I know, soccer will never catch on in mainstream America, and that's fine with me. Even though some people will just never "get it", it's the world's most popular sport for a reason. But as I've grown older, I've found that you either love soccer, or you hate it, and there is no inbetween. I've never met a person who told me they didn't like soccer, and that was the end of the conversation. They've always had to proceed to tell me all the reason they hated it, why offsides is stupid, and how the game is too boring and slow. It seems like many of these people also try to convince me to hate soccer right along with them, because there is no logical reason for me to like it.

Fact is, as awesome as the match on Wednesday was, it's just never going to be an American sport. I'm reminded of that everytime I bring this up. I was reminded of just how little people care tonight at the news station, when instead of running highlights of the UEFA Cup final, the sports department ran a version of this:

A bear twirling a stick beats the UEFA Cup Final! However, you gotta admit that bear is pretty awesome.

Winning the Games They're Supposed to Win

Just when everybody was beginning to expect nothing out of our starting pitchers for the rest of the season, Ben Sheets takes the hill and reminds everyone that he's in this to win it. Sheeter continues his Cy Young campaign by pitching the complete game, leading the Brewers to a 4-1 victory. Sheets had six strikeouts in the process, and is now 5-1 on the season.

The Brewers have looked like a different team in the last two days since getting swept in Boston, as their bats and arms are finally coming together at the same time. Even though you'd expect the Brewers to beat the Pirates, the Bucs (actually I hate it when people call them that, let's stick with Pirates) usually have the Brewers number. After taking two from the Pirates however, the Brewers will now be looking for their first sweep in PNC Park in two years. I've been saying they need to go 4-2 (at least) in Pittsburgh and Washington, and this isn't too bad of a start.

The Brewers plated four tonight, getting out to the early lead, and then pulling away in the fifth. The Brewers got two hits out of Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, and Rickie Weeks. One of those hits for Weeks was a solo shot, his 6th of the season.

The win puts the Crew at 22-24, with still some work to do before they're back to .500, but at least they are heading in the right direction.

On another note, closer Eric Gagne flew back to Milwaukee tonight after leaving Tuesday's game with an injury, and has been shut down until further notice.

Box Score.

TBC's Player of the Game: Ben Sheets

It's Coming to America!

Remember when I posted the video of a Japanese game show where contestants try to fit through the shapes that are cut out on a wall?

Well, it's coming to America! There is no way in hell I am not trying out for this game show.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the 8th Pick

After last night's semi-disappointing lottery draft, the Bucks are looking at the 8th pick. Last time the Bucks had the 8th pick Michael Jordan selected T.J. Ford for us. Just kidding, but not really. Eric Gordon seems like the early favorite thus far to don Bucks' Green and Red. Down the road at some point, I'll give my assessment on who I feel the Bucks should take but as of right now I thought I'd give a rundown of 8th picks from the last 20 years, just to show that were still getting a quality player. Looking at past drafts is always fun because some guys were just terrible, I'm looking at you Arajao!

2007 - Brendan Wright, F (North Carolina) Golden State

2006 - Rudy Gay, G (UConn) Memphis via Houston

2005 - Channing Frye, FC (Arizona) New York

2004 - Rafael Arajao, C (BYU) Toronto

2003 - T.J. Ford, G (Texas) Milwaukee

2002 - Chris Wilcox, FC (Maryland) L.A. Clippers

2001 - DeSegana Diop, C (High School) Cleveland

2000 - Jamal Crawford, G (Michigan) Chicago via Cleveland

1999 - Andre Miller, G (Utah) Cleveland

1998 - Larry Hughes, G (St. Louis) Philadelphia

1997 - Adonal Foyle, C (Colgate) Golden State

1996 - Kerry Kittles, F (Villanova) New Jersey

1995 - Shawn Respert, G (Michigan State) Milwaukee via Portland

1994 - Brian Grant, FC (Xavier) Sacramento

1993 - Vin Baker, F (Hartford) Milwaukee

1992 - Todd Day, G (Arkansas) Milwaukee

1991 - Mark Macon, G (Temple) Denver

1990 - Bo Kimble, G (Loyola Marymount) L.A. Clippers

1989 - Randy White, F (Louisiana Tech) Dallas

1988 - Rex Chapman, GF (Kentucky) Charlotte

As you can see getting a world beater at 8 is unlikely, but many of these guys became solid players. Rex Chapman, Rudy Gay and Vin Baker were all great selections. The Bucks have in the past 20 years have drafted T.J. Ford, Shawn Respert, Vin Baker, and Todd Day out of the 8 spot. It was a shame Respert had a career ending injury, I felt like he could have been a great player in the NBA. By the way, the worst player on this list is easily Rafael Arajao. Just awful. Lets hope the Bucks get more of a Rudy Gay type quality player and less of a Mark Macon type.

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