Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wasn't Chandler Traded Anyway??

Now obviously I know the specifics of the trade, then no trade of Chandler, but if he wasn't a Hornet, this game could have had a much different outcome. Lets rewind a bit. The Bucks played the Bucs last night. It was a game you would have been able to see on ESPN, if they would of let you. The New Orleans Hornets donned some old school "Bucs" unis while the Bucks wore their reds. Other than having a cool look, ESPN missed out on a great finish. I would say game, but the truth is Milwaukee was manhandled until late in the 4th quarter. Down, 15-20 most of the game, the Bucks made a furious comeback with Bogans, Bell, Allen, Jones and Gadzuric. You read that right. They made a comeback from down 89-72 to up 94-93 in 3:22 minutes, which included 6 consecutive three pointers. Charlie Bell hit a three with 10 seconds left to go up 1.

Tyson Chandler would end the euphoria however, as he would secured the victory for the Bucs with a tip in on a missed David West shot. Heartbreaker. Only, I didn't see any of it until later last night on the TV. Instead, I got a play by play account of the game from Winks, who was getting a play by play from our buddy Gweeds, who was watching the game on satellite at a bar in Oshkosh. Thanks ESPN. Thanks OKC for backing out on the Chandler deal, because of a "failed physical" we all know was a change of heart due to money. While I'm in the mood for thanking people sarcastically, shout out THANKS to David Stern for hating on Milwaukee. (Nothing new, I just feel its necessary to still let off steam about the Sixers/Bucks playoff series at least once a month until I die.)

The Bucks were led by Richard Jefferson who scored 22. But the TBC player of the game has to be the bench spark provided by Charlie Bell who dropped 21 points on 5 three pointers. Meanwhile, Chris Paul added 20 assists, so that was awesome. If you gander at the conveniently placed link of the box score, make sure to look at the +/- stat, its pretty astonishing.

Yo, bartender, Jobu needs a refill.

Milwaukee will try to get on the right track tonight, against the Washington Wizards at home, set to tip off at 7:30 pm.

If it is any consolation, Milwaukee still miraculously holds a half game lead for the 8th seed over New Jersey, and a game over Chicago.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Parra Looks Good in Brewers Victory

I should tell you, even though this is a picture of Chris Duffy making a catch against the Oakland A's in Spring Training, it's actually from a couple of days ago. Once again, Morry Gash and I are unable to get on the same page, and I was unable to find a picture from Friday's game. Usually his pictures are posted with the game recaps on Yahoo!, but as you can see, Yahoo! isn't trying very hard right now.

Of course, I could just give up my obsession of making sure every post has a picture, but that would be too easy. Instead, I have chosen to delay talking about the Brewers' 8-5 win over the A's until my brief rant was over. Their first win of the 2009 season, by the way.

Even though 13 total runs were scored in this one, the game was scoreless until the 6th frame. This was thanks to Manny Parra and Mark DeFelice, both who pitched two scoreless innings to start the game. Bear's guy R.J. Swindle picked up the win, but only after blowing the save.

Offensively, the Brewers were able to see Angel Salome (whether or not you can pronounce his name correctly this the first test to determine how serious of a Brewers fan you are) hit his first home-run of the season. Other offensive highlights included two hits from Counsell and Thorman, as well the Brewers five stolen bases in the game.

Box. TBC Player of the Game: Thought about Parra, but let's give it to Scott Thorman, because he probably won't be winning too many of these this year. Next up for the Crew is a game against the Angels on Saturday afternoon.

While we're talking Brewers, the season isn't more than three days old and we already have our first feature story about the 1982 team again. The latest story is how you can watch Cecil Cooper's heroics in the '82 ALCS on or something. Great. Can we get over this '82 team yet? I mean, we did make the playoffs again, let's talk about that a little bit. I just think it's so sad how much we have celebrated a team that lost the World Series, but that's been the rough history of Brewers baseball, I guess.

Let's Boycott ESPN For A Few Days

We all know that there is no escaping the necessary evil that is ESPN. If it wasn't for Monday Night Football, Sunday Night Baseball, the upcoming World Baseball Classic and their rights to the MLS (yes, I watch it), I'd have no problem boycotting the network altogether. Basically, I only watch them for the games they broadcast, but not the way they broadcast them or for their original programming. I can't even remember the last time I watched an entire episode of SportsCenter.

The reason I want to boycott them for awhile isn't because they employ both Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, nor is it because SportsCenter has become basically Access Hollywood with highlights. It's because the Milwaukee Bucks had one nationally televised game this season, and that was supposed to be tonight, Friday the 27th of February. But The Powers That Be at the Leader decided that their game against the Hornets was no longer national television worthy, and it has been bumped for a game between the Pistons and the Magic.

Seriously? Look, I know the Bucks are a bit depleted right now, but you're telling me ESPN can't sell the story of a team playing without their two biggest stars, yet finding ways to win and compete for the playoffs? You're telling me that ESPN doesn't want to subject the country to this game, but they had no problem airing a couple of blowouts to the Thunder earlier in the season?

You know, when the schedule first comes out every year, the first thing I look at is for any national televised games. It's bad enough to only have one of these games, but much much worse to have it taken away from us. The Bucks have earned a little national exposure, if you ask me.

I understand why ESPN would rather show the Magic than the Bucks, but you're really telling me it's going to kill them to air ONE Bucks game this season, one that airs on an early Friday evening when nobody is probably watching TV at that time anyway?

If you would like to watch the Bucks, they play at 7pm in New Orleans tonight. On FSN Wisconsin. Actually, no. As b2 reminds us: no. thats the thing. because the game was on espn, they ARENT on fsn wisconsin. they arent on tv at all today. i hate espn.

Yeah, um, this is so lame. I know a lot of you don't care about the Bucks, whatever. I like to watch every game. I don't mind if a game here or there isn't on TV because FSN can't afford to cover all 82 of them, I get that. But to not have a game on TV because ESPN just changed their mind about who is priviledged enough to be shown on their prestigious network? I know I try to make this a family blog and all, but fuck that.

Let the boycott begin.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Reporting Live From Brewers Spring Training

Not more than five minutes after I posted Thursday's Brewers recap, my prayers were answered. Loyal Bucky Channel reader Chad Lyons was in Mesa for Milwaukee's matchup against the Cubs, and sent a few pictures. Pictures which you may see quite often during Spring Training if Morry Gash continues to disappoint, as I'll use them as stock footage. The above photo is a Ryan Braun at-bat, below is a Mike Cameron home-run mid-flight as well as Yovani Gallardo warming up. Thanks again, Chad, for the pictures, and for this message you sent us:

"Just got back from the Brewers/Cubs game in Mesa and thought I'd send along some pictures. The Brewers didn't look too sharp today, Gallardo and McClung both got touched up and the reserves looked especially rusty (Escobar in particular). I got Cam and Braunie's autographs though so it was definitely a good trip. Be jealous, very, very jealous."

Cubs Take Round One

Not being able to find pictures for Spring Training games is going to kill me, I swear. It's just not our style. Apparently Arizona has too much to offer, and it's keeping our old friend Morry Gash away from his duties.

If I did have a picture to show you, it would probably be of Seth McClung getting rocked, which was the story of the Brewers 7-4 loss to the Cubs on Thursday. Big Red gave up four runs off three hits in 1 1/2 innings of work, and the Cubs got a lead they would never relinquish. McClung was the second pitcher on the hill in this one, the first being future ace Yovani Gallardo. Yogi gave up one hit and a couple of walks, but didn't give up any runs, so I'd say it was a successful outing.

At the plate, the Brewers went long-ball courtesy of Mike Cameron and Mike Rivera, but both were solo shots. Chris Duffy added a triple to the box score, and J.J. Hardy (TBCPOTG) had a pair of doubles.

That's all for this Brewers recap, which are going to be shorter than the Bucks recaps apparently, as our good friend Bear would like you to know. Next up for the Crew: Manny Parra vs. Dana Eveland in a rematch against Oakland.

UConn Effectively Ends Marquette's Season

How come whenever one of our teams lose one of their big stars to injury, we always end up losing the game as well? Which forces me to write titles like "Marquette Loses More Than Just The Game." Either way, that's exactly what happened on Wednesday night as Connecticut came into the Bradley Center, got Jim Calhoun his 800th win, and left Marquette forced to play through the rest of the year without Dominic James.

A broken bone in his left foot will end the James' career at Marquette, an injury which occurred just four minutes to play in their 93-82 loss to UConn. It's obviously a worst-case scenario situation for the Geagles, who have depended heavily on their three senior guards to get where they are at this point in the season. I still think Marquette can win the Big East regular season with some help, and still expect them to make a run in the Big East Tournament. But as far as national title hopes? Gone. Best case scenario for Marquette without James is a trip to the Elite Eight, but even that seems unlikely now.

Unless Maurice Acker pulls a miracle and picks up James' slack and then more, Marquette's season isn't looking as hopeful as it was a few days ago. The injury to Dominic forced Wesley Matthews and Jerel McNeal to play a full 40 minutes, a trend that probably shouldn't continue. Again, I still think this team is capable of making a run, but you can't take the injury to James lightly.

In the end, it was a tough loss to take, injury notwithstanding. The Daily Drink credits UConn for their second chance points in the second half, and the play of A.J. Price. The Brew Town Beat has 25 random facts about the game, written in list form.

As for me, I would have had this recap up a lot sooner, but Thursdays are usually busy for me. And by that I mean there are like five different Lost recaps I have to read during the day before I can even think about The Bucky Channel. Thanks though, for your patience!

Next up for MU is a contest at #6 Louisville on Sunday morning, followed by a matchup against (soon no longer to be) #1 Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Little Too Much Dallas

Not quite the game that the epic battle between the Milwaukee Beers and Dallas Felons was, as shown in picture. But at least I could look at this picture and smile, cause it certainly wasn't happening during the game against the Dallas Mavericks. The Bucks dropped the third game between the two teams 116-96. This season, it appears that when the Bucks and Mavericks play each other, you are going to get a blowout one way or the other.

Charlie Villanueva did his part tonight, at least on the scoring end in the first quarter. After a 19 point first quarter he finished with 25 points. Richard Jefferson had a rough shooting night going 6-17 and adding 16 points. Also the bench showed up some as Charlie Bell had 19. I suppose CV gets TBC player of the game, even though he was pretty worthless after the first quarter. Dallas definitely racked up the "psych-outs" tonight, thats for sure.

Steve Perry.....Steeeevee Perry.... Should have been gonnnnnnne.

The problem tonight, people, was the rebounding. The Bucks were out rebounded 25-51. Yikes. It was a disappointing loss, but the Bucks still hold a game lead over the 8th seed over NJ and CHI, which is good I guess.

Milwaukee faces a tough test Friday at 7pm at New Orleans Hornets. I'm sure the Bucks pull this one out, about as sure as I am that Shaq got rich playing in college.

Brewers Are Back Baby!

I can't take credit for any of this. Winks sent it to my email to post since he is at an Appleseed Cast concert in Madison. Not a big fan on this side of the computer, but to each his own. Anyway on to the crew.

Given the way the 2008 season ended, I'm not really sure how to take what just occurred in the Brewers 2009 season opener. And by that I mean the fact that Corey Hart not only got the first hit of the new campaign, but also hit a home run. It's good to have you back, Corey. Could have used you in the playoffs though.

Hart's offense wasn't enough to win the game for Milwaukee, but it wasn't really a losing effort, either. The Brewers started Spring Training off a with tie against the Oakland A's, finishing with 3-3 on the scoreboard after ten innings. But if you actually care about wins and losses in Spring Training, you're an idiot. Lets take a look at what we should care about:

The Brewers had good performances not only from Hart, but also Counsell (3 for 3), Kendall (3 for 3), and 1B hopeful Scott Thorman (2 for 2). Ryan Braun went 0 for 3 in one of the few appearances he'll have before he represents Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Jeff Suppan went two innings on the hill, and gave up a run, while Jorge Julio got rocked. Elsewhere, Casey MaGehee got the start at 3rd, someone I left off my preseason roster but could very well easily make the Final 25.

Basically, it's just good to have the Brewers back, no matter how insignificant the games may be. The Bucky Channel will have recaps of every game along the way as we did last season, including Spring Training. Usually, they will be posted sometime after the game, but if it's a weekend, then you can pretty much except them late Monday, due to how much we like weekends.

Bear interjecting here: Go figure, a polarizing figure amongst Brewer fans (although I don't know why, he has never shown to be any good really in the minor or majors) Tony Gwynn Jr. will miss about a month due to a shoulder injury. Thus giving even more TGJ fanboys reason to claim hes never seen enough playing to show how good he is. Can you tell I am not really a fan?

I think you could also expect most recaps to be shorter than bucks ones, writing over 162 of them will wear thin on us and you.

First Box Score of the Season!

Player of the (Exhibition) Game: Corey Hart

(AP Photo by "look who's in Arizona" Morry Gash)


We here at The Bucky Channel make a lot of mistakes, we'll be the first to admit that. And even though we constantly get called out on it, the airs keep coming (catch that one?). But our blunders aren't usually as bad as some of the other errors we've seen out there, including this recent one from the guys at Yahoo! Sports late Tuesday night. As you can clearly tell, this is a picture of Gabe Gross in his Brewer days. Not, as the article would suggest, about Gabe Gross. A larger picture below.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Projected 25-Man Brewers Roster

We're going with gut feelings as I try to predict what the Brewers roster might look like in 2009. Basically, I think Macha and Melvin are going to go with their veterans for Opening Day, and then bring up guys like Gamel and Escobar as the season progresses. Here's a look:

Starting Pitchers - Yovani Gallardo, Manny Parra, Dave Bush, Braden Looper, Jeff Suppan

Barring an injury, this is the starting five the Crew is going with on day one. Don't listen to what Macha is saying right now, Gallardo will start Opening Day. Suppan will probably anchor the rotation, unless he really has an impressive camp, or Macha decides to use him as the "ace" for some reason like he is in camp.

Relief Pitchers - Trevor Hoffman, Carlos Villanueva, David Riske, Seth McClung, Mitch Stetter, Todd Coffey, Jorge Julio

The first four are set in stone, and I think Stetter easily wins the role Shouse occupied last season. Todd Coffey meant too much to the Brewers last season for them not to give him a shot, while Julio fills out the 12-man pitching staff Macha has said he's going with. Edward Morlan will not make the roster and will be sent back to Tampa Bay, big deal. Tim Dillard gets some work in AAA, while Eric Gagne will go to Nashville as well. Gagne will be the first one called up when the Brewers need to replace a bullpen arm, and will be a key contributor to the Brewers this season.

Catchers - Jason Kendall, Mike Rivera

Mikey is going to get a lot more playing time this season, which is fine with me. He's the better hitter of the two. Salome will be up eventually, but will get a little work in Nashville.

First Basemen - Prince Fielder, Brad Nelson

I see them keeping Brad Nelson on board to spell Prince and be the fifth outfielder. Nelson is probably my least confident selection on this roster I've made.

Second Basemen - Rickie Weeks, Hernan Iribarren

Iribarren gets the call if Hall needs to start on the 15-Day DL, which he does in my scenario. Otherwise it's back to Nashville, a town he's growing very familiar with.

Shortstop - J.J. Hardy

Third Basemen - Craig Counsell, Mike Lamb

This is what we got until Hall returns. After that, if Hall struggles, Gamel will be our starting 3rd basemen by the break.

Outfielders - Ryan Braun, Mike Cameron, Corey Hart, Tony Gwynn Jr.

Last shot for Gwynn. Duffy and Trotter will see some time eventually, depending on how soon Gwynn gets dealt to San Diego, his destiny.

What do you think? This is a pretty conservative roster, in my opinion. Feel free to leave your roster predictions in the comments. Please!

Time To Start Thinking March Madness

Last year, I showed that you don't need to watch every Sunday Night ACC Showdown or every Big Monday contest to accurately pick the winners of the best tournament in sports - March Madness. By picking Kansas, I was overjoyed with a tremendous amount of pride, but other than that I only pocketed $125. If only I would have invested a little more into my picks, I could be at a tropical resort writing this post rather than at my part-time $6.50/hr job.

This year, I am not going to make that mistake again. Because when it comes to sports betting, there is only one site I turn to, So if you think you have what it takes to actually profit from your sports wisdom, reading this was the first step. It's up to you to go out and make some coin.

Also, stayed tuned for The Bucky Channel's March Madness pool, winner gets a free shirt. Which means I better go and make shirts.

Don't Get Too Excited, Milwaukee

Like any guy attending a university, I found myself watching a lot of television instead of working harder towards getting my degree (a degree which has proved to be pointless, I might add). Throughout all this television watching, I saw a lot of commercials for the popular Sonic Drive-In restaurants. But since these were nowhere to be found in Wisconsin, me and my college roommates were often left to wonder just how good these burgers really were.

The above picture was taken about one year after I finally did graduate, when me (fattie on the left) and another buddy visited our friend in Lawrence, Kansas. We decided that this would not only be a great time to finally eat at a Sonic, but also a great time to take a picture and send it to another former roommate of ours who was unable to make the trip, and thus miss out on Sonic.

My happiness in the picture would be short lived, however, as I quickly realized that this food just wasn't as good as we had initially thought. Now granted, I didn't try the breakfast food or any of the famous desserts, but if you're looking for a good burger and fries meal, drive past Sonic every time.

Sadly, however, few of you in the Milwaukee area will take my advice. Now that the restaurant has opened a store on Miller Park Way in Milwaukee, many of you are going to be flocking to get a taste over the next couple of days. And if you miss out, don't worry - Sonic plans to open at least 20 stores in the Milwaukee area, and another 10 throughout the state.

But I won't blame you if you don't take my recommendation that their food just isn't very good. I know what it's like when a new restaurant opens in your hometown. Here in the blue-collar town that is Fond du Lac, we were recently welcoming to the opening of a Taco John's. That puts the grand total of Taco John's in this town up to one, which caused a lot of excitement for us (even though we ran a Taco John's out of town about ten years ago, but apparently it's good now).

When the store opened last Wednesday, the drive-thru was backed up all the way down to the busiest intersection in town, which is a good two to three blocks away from the new restaurant. Now, it's not really a comparison, because Taco John's is way better than Sonic, but it always fascinates me how a city - no matter the size - just seems to shut down whenever a new fast food restaurant opens.

So get your Sonic if you must, Milwaukee, I won't blame you for doing so. But don't go in with high expectations, because they will be as much of a letdown as my college degree has turned out to be.

(It's safe to assume this would have been "Winks Thinks: Sonic Edition", had I not taken the week off. Seriously though, Sonic sucks.)

Lawrie Switches to Second

One of the Brewers best young catching prospects has now become one of the Brewers best young prospects at second base. Milwaukee's first-round draft choice of 2008, Brett Lawrie, has requested the position switch after playing through an instructional league last fall.

Lawrie doesn't seem to be joking around about his intentions to get to the big leagues as fast as possible. He has noted that there's a lot more preparation into making the big leagues as a catcher, and despite how much he loves the position, the 19 year-old Canadian sees a quicker jump to the bigs as an infielder. And with few real good second basemen in the Brewers system plus the struggles of Rickie Weeks, Lawrie sees this to be the easier competition than the likes of catchers Angel Salome and Jonathan Lucroy.

I don't really think the competition has anything to do with it though. Personally, I think this is the case of a young kid wanting to have as long of a career as possible, and sees more benefit in playing the infield than roughing up his knees behind home plate. You shouldn't really make position switches based on the players in front of you in the organization, in my opinion, especially for as green as Lawrie is.

Realistically, his shot to the bigs as a catcher could be just as even as a second basemen. You never know how the personnel at either position will shape out or who might move positions (I still see either Hardy or Escobar at second after we finally give up on Rickie). I say you just play your hardest at your position, and eventually you will either make the majors with the team who's organization you belong to, or you will get traded and start for another team.

I'm not saying this is a bad move. The kid is a talented ball-player and I think he'll excel at whichever position he plays. I just think he'd rather play second base than play catcher, even though he entered the draft as a catcher because he figured he'd get drafted higher as one. I don't know how the Brewers front office feels about the move, but I'd be kind of pissed if I thought I was getting a player at one position only to find out I'm getting him at another. If the Brewers wanted a second basemen, they would have drafted one.

Reading this over, I feel I'm coming off anti-Lawrie a bit, even though that isn't my intention. I just feel he may have pulled a fast one on the Brewers. We'll see in a couple years though, I guess.

Lawrie will leave minor-league camp in a couple of days to go play for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic. Meanwhile, the big league club he aspires to one day be a part of start their exhibition season on Wednesday, as the Brewers take on the Oakland A's.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Two-Man Show Leads Bucks Over Nuggets

Who would have thought that the two guys most crucial to a Bucks run at the playoffs this season wouldn't be Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut, but rather Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions? I mean, you knew they were valuable to the team, but those two guys are the only reason Milwaukee is even staying afloat at this point. Also, am I surprised that the two Bucks that played in the Olympics are out with long injuries? No, not at all.

With those two out however, the Bucks needed new players to pick them up. Enter Charlie V, who with his season-high 36 points in the Bucks 120-117 win over Denver on Sunday, continues to make that straight up trade for T.J Ford look like Larry Harris's last stroke of genius. The Bucks entire offense is running through him at this point. He's the guy they look to for the big three-point shot, he's the guy grabbing the boards and throwing the rock back in on a monster dunk. Charlie Villanueva, who would have thought.

Also enter Ramon Sessions, who had 27 points and 8 assists in the Bucks victory on Sunday. Sessions is barely leaving the floor at this point, and that is a good thing. He had 43 minutes against Denver, even though Luke Ridnour still played 21. The strategy of playing both Sessions and Ridnour at the same time seemed like the discovery of the atom when Scott Skiles first implemented it, now it's become a standard and effective 1-2 punch at the guard positions.

If you are still doubting the level of contribution Sessions and V bring to this team, go and re-watch the Nuggets game again. I am getting to the point where I am going to be depressed if the Bucks can't keep both of these guys next season. As great as the standard 17 points from Richard Jefferson are a night, I really thought he would have had more of an impact this season. He's still effective, but I'd much rather see the Bucks dump him to keep Charlie Villanueva, something I never thought I'd say in the history of my life.

It was an impressive win against a Nuggets team that is 37-19 on the season, one of the top contenders in the West. With the victory, the Bucks improve to 28-31, which is fascinating to me because it doesn't feel like they are three games under .500. Maybe that's because they still hold a 1 1/2 game lead for the glorious Eastern Conference 8th Seed.

I'm not getting Bear's Box Score references lately.

Player of the Game: Chuckie Vills.

Rankings: Marquette Moves Up, Loss Costs Badgers

All season long I've been saying that no matter how good Marquette might appear to be, we won't no anything until the final five games of the season. It's a five-pack of games I have non-cleverly dubbed "The Stretch". Five games against five quality opponents that will let us know where Marquette ranks in the Big East.

At one time, all of these opponents were ranked in the Top 25, an even though that is no longer the case, it's still one of the tougher stretches of games in college hoops this season. Marquette started the stretch off right, with a 78-72 win over Georgetown. Wesley Matthews had 23 points while Jerel McNeal had 22 points, leading MU to a season sweep over the Hoyas.

But it's only going to get tougher from there. There next three games are as follows (using AP rankings, cause they are better): vs. #2 UConn, at #1 Pittsburgh, at #6 Louisville. I'm expecting a 1-2 record in those next three, but I'd be more than happy with a 2-1 mark, and just ecstatic if they won them all. After that, it's a matchup against unranked Syrcause, although they are #25 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll. March Madness is definitely coming early for the Golden Eagles.

Marquette won't be any slouch when they face these teams, however. Their 23-4 record has them ranked #8 in the Associated Press Poll, and #10 in the ESPN version. Also, their 12-2 record in the Big East has them just 1/2 game out of first. Not bad for a team with a first year coach.

As for the Badgers, they no longer enjoy the thrill of being listed in the "Others Receiving Votes" column. Even though at one point the Badgers were cruising against Michigan State on Sunday, their horrendous second half collapse snapped Bucky's five game losing streak, and kept them out of the Top 25. This loss says everything you need to know about the Badgers this season. They are probably the most mediocre team in the history of the world. They can't really beat anyone good, they still lose to crappy teams, and when they are beating a quality opponent they get nervous and choke. They'll still make the NCAA Tournament, for sure, but I'm not picking them to advance past the first round.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Well At Least We Got To See One Of The Games Greatest

Short Bucks post today. Mainly because there is no reason to break the surface on a game where the Bucks were simply LeBroned. King James put up 55. He went 8-11 in threes. The insane thing is he ACTUALLY needed to score 55 to get the win. The Bucks were leading most of the 1st half and after blowing the lead in the 2nd, still made it a close game, but in the end it was just too much LeBron, the Cavs won 111-103.

Ridnour came back, off the bench, and definitely cut into Sessions minutes and performance. CV gets the TBC player of the game for his 26 points, 13 boards and 6 assists. Sessions scored 12 in only 22 minutes while Jefferson scored 17. Strong bench play from Bell and Bogans netted the bucks 15 and 10 respectively.

That's a lotta Dimp.

Chicago won, so now Milwaukee has a 1/2 game lead over the Bulls and a 2 game lead over the Nets for the 8th seed. The Bucks (27-31) get Denver at home tomorrow at 4 pm.

(AP Photo By Darren Hauck)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Of Course Wisconsin Will Make the Tourney

A few weeks back many Badgers fans, us included, started getting a little nervous about whether or not the Badgers were going to make the NCAA tournament this season. It would be another embarrassing season in a year that hasn't gone very well for the University of Wisconsin athletic department (at least in the sports people actually care about). You couldn't really blame anyone for overreacting, as the Badgers were in the midst of a six-game losing streak.

The date was February 5th. The Badgers had not won a game since they dismantled Northwestern nearly one month prior. Wisconsin was just coming off their sixth straight loss, when Northwestern was able to exact their revenge. Noticing the symmetry in their schedule, the Badgers realized that if they went on a long losing streak after a win to Northwestern, why not go on a long winning streak after a loss?

A winning streak is exactly what Wisconsin has been able to do, knocking off Illinois, Penn State, Iowa, Ohio State, and finally Indiana on Thursday night. Now, had the Badgers been unable to beat the Tom Crean and the Hoosiers, who came into the game 1-11 in the Big Ten, then maybe things wouldn't be looking so good for Bucky. But they cruised to an easy 68-51 victory over Indiana, lead by 21 points from Trevon Hughes.

On a side note, I realized why the Badgers have started winning games all of a sudden: I haven't been watching them. Every time they play lately I'm either working or Lost is on, so I don't get to catch the action. Last night I was going to watch the game, but got sucked into the slot machines at a bar. I only mention this because I am quite possibly the biggest curse of all time, so this little winning streak of the Badgers is not surprising to me at all. Once I get close to them again, they will crumble. It's a terrible life to lead, and I apologize for all the agony I've caused fans throughout the years because I've rooted for their team.

But that's an issue for another day. The Badgers have four games left in the Big Ten, and if they are going to extend their winning streak they are going to have to do it against Michigan State, currently the number five team in the country with a 20-5 clip. The game will be broadcast this Sunday, 2 pm, on ESPN. I'll be at the Wave game, so once again I won't be able to watch this one. So at least the Badgers have that going for them.

After that, it's games against Michigan, Minnesota, and Indiana. They aren't going to lose the Indiana game, so the worst they can finish is 17-13 with a .500 conference record. They'll get in with that, no problem. I see them, now recharged for a playoff run, going 3-1 the rest of the way. That should give them a good 7 or 8 seed in the tournament. Currently, most predictions have them as a 9 or 10.

And I'd rather see them predicted as a 10 seed in the NCAA tournament than see them predicted to host a home game in the NIT.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ridnour Could Be Ready Against Cavs, Other Bucks Ramblings

Yeah, that video pretty much sums up the Bucks season at this point. Bango may have been injured in the process, but at least the ball went through the hoop! Once again, another Buck gets injured, yet the team shoulders on. But fortunately, Luke Ridnour may be one of those injured Bucks that could soon return to the floor.

According to JS Online's Bucks Blog, Ridnour participated in contract drills on Thursday and hopes to be ready to go against the Cavs on Friday night. This would be great news for the Bucks, as long as he doesn't return to the starting lineup. Look, we all love Luke Ridnour and his shop class looks, but this Bucks team needs to keep Ramon Sessions as the starter. I just think Sessions has so much more to offer than Ridnour, and the Bucks are better suited letting him get this quality experience at 22, rather than giving time back to Luke.

Of course, this train of thought is useless if the Bucks can't keep Sessions next year. But their chances of doing that decreased significantly with Milwaukee unable to trade Richard Jefferson at the deadline on Thursday. One quick glance at the Bucks salary cap situation will show you that if Jefferson stays on the books, there's not a lot of wiggle room to sign guys like Sessions and even Charlie Villanueva.

As I argued in this week's Winks Thinks, I want the Bucks to succeed. But making the playoffs as a low seed that is likely to lose in the first round is pretty much the same thing as missing the playoffs a few games under .500. I don't think the Bucks should be thinking short-term here, they need to think long-term. Trading Jefferson, or his contract anyway, would have been a better move in the long run. Now, we know Hammond did offer Jefferson in a couple of trade scenarios, but I wish he would have been able to get the job done. Who knows when the next chance to move that contract might be.

But alas, no trade was made. Actually, barely any trades were made in the NBA at the deadline - another year of all buildup, no action. So this is the team we're going this rest of the way with. It's time to put whatever thoughts about whatever possible would-be trades aside, and ride this thing out with the Bucks.

I guess making the playoffs as a low level seed wouldn't be that bad.

Winks Thinks: The Trade Deadline Edition

An apology: I would have posted this about two hours sooner, but I've been sucked in reading stuff about "Lost" ever since I got home from work. Can't blame me though, the show is awesome. Anyways, there's a new Winks Thinks up and running which you know have the link for to check out. First read about how I pre-emptively scold John Hammond for not making a deal, then laugh at the guy who calls me not for not proof-reading when he didn't proof-read his own comment. Good times.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bucks Drop Important Game As Trade Deadline Looms

This one is a little bit hard to swallow. The Chicago Bulls are one team that are chasing the Bucks for that 8th seed. Milwaukee (27-30) couldn't keep the charging Bulls at bay dropped to Chicago 113-104. This leaves the Bucks 1 1/2 games up on Chicago and 2 games up on the New Jersey Nets as they looked to lose as well, being down 20 late in the 4th quarter. Although Milwaukee does lead the Chicago by 3 wins in the win column.

It was a back and forth game, one that Milwaukee seemed lucky just to be in. Poor shooting was the Bucks theme tonight. Last night Milwaukee had 5 turnovers, tonight 21. Yet the Bucks looked to be in the game even into the 4th quarter. The momentum changed oddly enough after Kirk Hinrich looked to be fouled, and was not called. He became fired up as did the Bulls coach who got T'ed up but at the same time, looked calm and cool only asking "how was that not a foul?" a few times. At any rate after the free throw, a very fired up Hinrich stole the ball from Sessions and then went on to hit a 3 pointer on the next possession. The Bucks couldn't recover from that as the teams went on and swapped buckets for free throws.

It's a shame to lose to a team fighting for the same spot as you, while at home, and while they have a few key role players unavailable due to a Gooden and Nocioni, for Brad Miller and John Salmons.

The Bucks got a big effort out of RJ who scored 32 points, 6 boards and 11-12 from the line. Give him his second consecutive TBC player of the game. CV had a solid game with 17 and 12 but you put together he and Sessions' shooting night and you get 10-27. That's a lot of missed shots. Tough to make those points up. Session and Bell also had 12 and 10 respectively. It's really uncertain if this game outcome has any ramifications on whether or not the Bucks make a deal before tomorrows deadline

As far as Bucks trade possibilities, ESPN has a running post going that seems to sum up the chances well. Basically it says the Bucks could send Jefferson to the Cavs for Wally Szczerbiak's expiring contract or to the Trail Blazers for LaFrentz's expiring contracts and pieces. ESPN's Chris Broussard cites a "person close to the Vince Carter situation" as saying he expects Jefferson to be sent to Portland. Well, ok then "person". It seems though as if LaFrentz and Outlaw for Jefferson and Ridnour deal was nixed by Portland. Broussard even lists San Antonio as a possible destination for Jefferson, the pieces in that deal were not listed.

I can't make that pitch Coach.

Milwaukee gets a tough match up Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers 7:30 pm at home.

(AP Photo By Darren Hauck)

Melvin Keeps Arbitration Streak In Tact

In the time that he has been the General Manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, Doug Melvin has been able to avoid heading to arbitration in every single possible scenario. With the Brewers and outfielder Corey Hart agreeing to a one-year, $3.25 million contract on Tuesday, that streak was kept alive.

Hart and the Brewers were $1.1 million apart when they first submitted their figures for a contract this season. Hart was asking for $3.8 million, while the Brewers had submitted a figure of $2.7 million. Ultimately, the two sides decided on a deal right smack in the middle, and Hart was able to make it to camp instead of sitting through arbitration hearings. The contract has includes certain incentive bonuses, including $50,000 if Hart makes the All-Star game again.

I'm glad that they were able to come to terms so that Hart could get on the field right away. I'm also glad that Hart is interesting in a multi-year contract which would keep him in Milwaukee for a long, long time. But only if he learns from his mistakes of being the worst September player in the history of baseball.

I couldn't have been more high on Corey last season, even purchasing an All-Star game jersey shirt of his at one point last summer. But Hart nearly single-handily cost the Crew a spot in the playoffs, as his plate discipline grew weaker, and his appetite for swinging at strike three low and away grew stronger.

So yeah, don't do that again.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bucks Tighten One Race, While Extending Another

Well I guess the question of whether the AS break would help or hurt the Bucks was answered. Milwaukee looked energized and ready to play tough defense tonight as they outlasted a surging 4th quarter Pistons team to win 92-86 at Detroit.

I got to admit right now this team is focused. Getting Ridnour back in a bit should be nice but Ridnour has either has to start along side Sessions or come off the bench. There is just no reason to disrupt what this team does best and that is drive to the lane. Redd's injury has allowed Jefferson and Session comfortable with taking their man to the lane and getting the foul. Thus in turn making the defense sink and allowing open perimeter shooting. It's really no secret as to why Milwaukee's shooting percentages have gone way up. Its more open shots created by Ramon, RJ and even CV going to the basket.

Redd is great, but he just doesn't do it enough. In the grand scheme the Bucks will be that much better if Bogut makes it back this season. His ability to run the floor and dominate the inside game against most NBA centers is a dimension this team just doesn't have. His defense is also good enough where his presence shouldn't disrupt the flow but enhance it. Elson has been playing great, he has done all the little things especially on the defensive end (4 blocks and 2 steals tonight).

Richard Jefferson was the star tonight for the Bucks, he was knocking down big shots at key moments and getting to the line all game long. He ended with an extremely efficient 29 points on 4-5 from 3 land and 9-11 at the free throw line. He also added 5 board and 5 assists. He edged out Ramon Sessions who ended up with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. CV added 10 and Malik Allen had a big 14 off the Bucks pine. Most impressively, I believe, is that Milwaukee committed only 5 turnovers all game.

Fantastic win against an East Conference contender on the road. The (27-29) Bucks have now pulled within 2 games of the 7 seed and extended their 8 seed lead to 1 1/2 games. The Bucks go back to back with a game at home tomorrow night against the Chicago Bulls.

Yeah.... That's the ticket.

(AP Photo By Duane Burleson)

The Bucky Channel Conversation... Mark Murphy (Kinda)

On February 16th, 2008, I had the distinct honor of meeting and interviewing now President Barack Obama. One year later to the day, I had what could be just as equal of a privilege when I met and interviewed Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy. Well, by met, I mean took a picture with, and by interviewed, I mean I listened to him talk at a Rotary function. Either way.

Let me just use this space by talking about how comfortable I am with the Packers future after hearing this guy talk. Sure, it's his job to paint an attractive light on the franchise he runs, but I bought into everything he said. Mark Murphy is a guy who doesn't like failure. With his experience as a trial lawyer, his time working for the NFL Players Association, his time as an athletic director at Colgate and Northwestern, to his current position with the Packers, he is one of the most successful former NFL players of all time. With a work ethic like that, it's easy to believe anything this guy says.

He doesn't really sugarcoat things though. He acknowledges the fact that a 6-10 season in Green Bay is unacceptable. He made plenty of jokes about the Brett Favre situation, which are a lot more easy to laugh at one year after the fact, no matter what side you're on. He revealed that if you approach him while wearing a shirt that says "The Three Stooges", with his, McCarthy's, and Thompson's heads on it, he'll still sign it if you ask him. He's also a terrific public speaker, and a humorous one at that.

Coming into his presentation, I wondered how much Murphy would talk about the Favre situation, especially because he just fake retired again. Murphy was very candid on the matter, admitting it was a "very difficult situation". But the biggest point that he made is the point that all the Gene Wojo's of ESPN out there don't understand. Regardless of your position, this isn't really a situation you can judge after one year. Murphy said that "our quarterback situation is secure for the next decade", and that's really what we have to remember here. Also, I know there were members at that Rotary luncheon that still can't believe Favre is gone, kudos to them for not attacking Murphy on this occasion.

Murphy also talked about the future of the team's defense, which has gone through many changes this offseason. He seems confident the hiring of Dom Capers and the switch to the 3-4 will make the Packers more aggressive, but you could see him curb expectations a bit when he said this year would be a transition process. They still don't know which linebacking position Hawk will play, they still don't know who will anchor the defensive line. He says the prototypical end in the 3-4 is a guy that is in the 6'4'', 300 pound range, although I'm sure he'd welcome a certain free agent of the 6'7'', 283 pound variety.

He also spent a lot of time talking about the upcoming collective bargaining agreement and possible labor dispute. I usually skip over those articles when they are posted on PFT, so it's no surprise I kind of zoned out during this portion of Murphy's speech.

During his question and answer session, he talked about how having four preseason games in today's NFL is basically pointless, and he personally would like to see a schedule with two preseason games and eighteen regular season contests. He noted though, that if the league did this the regular season would still start after Labor Day, which would mean the regular season would go into mid-January. Murphy wasn't the only one thinking how cold a night game in Lambeau could get in the middle of January.

In fact, that thought must have been a real pressing issue to one member of the audience, who asked if the rumors about the Packers installing a dome over Lambeau were true. First of all, what rumors? Second of all, hell no. Murphy reiterated that Lambeau is and always will be the Frozen Tundra, which would be more awesome if Chris Berman didn't come up with the name.

The Mark Murphy speech may not have had the same security measures as the Obama event I attended one year prior, but I gotta say, as a Packer fan, it's hard for me to choose which event I enjoyed more.

(Just kidding. Dude, I interviewed the President of the United States. Come on.)

Brewers Sign Former Cy Young Winner...

... which is basically just another way of saying that the Brewers have re-signed reliever Eric Gagne. Things are going to be a little different though this time around, as it's being reported he's only initially being signed to a minor-league contract, likely with incentives. That's quite a step down from the one-year, $10 million contract a desperate Doug Melvin gave him last year.

If the guy from Lie to Me was able to see the look on my face for when I first saw this announcement, there's no question I would be one of his go-to examples for when he showed people the expression of shock. And I know I'm not the only one who felt this way. But once you get past the initial surprise, you'll see that Dougie has once again made another good, low-cost, low-risk signing that could pay big dividends at some point this season.

Personally, I am excited about this move. I'm always up for a good "why the hell not?" signing. However, with a 5.44 ERA and 7 blown saves last season, I'm sure a lot of Brewers fans would have rather seen him go the way of Derrick Turnbow. Looking around the Brewers blogosphere, there are already several mixed opinions. Right Field Bleachers says Gagne now has the chance to earn the money he made last year. Quevedo at the Buffet didn't even realize Gagne was still alive. Bernie's Crew says talk about surprises. And Brew Town Beat says with Hoffman and Gagne, the Brewers have a chance to have the most bad ass bullpen in history.

So it looks like Doug Melvin clearly lied when he said a few weeks ago that the Brewers were done in free agency. It seems he's taking the same approach to his bullpen as I am to my life right now. While I have four part-time jobs hoping that something works, he's signing multiple bullpen options hoping one of these guys pans out. Clearly, I'm very pro this strategy.

Perhaps Chad Cordero is next?

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Sweet Sounds of Cory Provus

This is the face of the man you'll be hearing on your radio dials throughout the summer, as Cory Provus has been announced as the new partner to compliment Bob Uecker. Provus replaces Jim Powell, who has accepted a job calling games for the Atlanta Braves. It will be hard to listen to the radio without expecting to hear Powell's voice, but I'm wishing Provus the best of luck, and hope that his insight will mesh well with that of the man from Mr. Belvadre fame. It probably will though, or else he wouldn't have been hired.

Provus comes to Milwaukee just a few miles south on I-94, as he was recently in a similar broadcast role for WGN and the Chicago Cubs. As you imagine, this news really bothers some of the lame Brewer fans out there (yes, we're not proud of everyone). The guys over at Chuckie Hacks do a good job of calling out the idiotic fans. I personally don't think it matters who he roots for, as long as he does a good job with the Crew.

Even though I would prefer watching every game on television over the course of the summer, it's not a complete baseball season without a few nights tuning into the radio. The Bucky Channel would like to wish all the best to Cory Provus, and he can work with Uecker a little better than this guy....

Hey, Wisconsin Got Two Votes!

With NBA All-Star weekend in full swing, I have to admit that the Badgers and Marquette games on Saturday kind of got pushed to the backburner. Even though both were victorious the other night, I decided I would rather watch the skills competition and slam dunk contest as opposed to either team's games. Call me what you will, but the dunk contest is awesome. I have no regrets.

What I missed though was two teams on the rebound in their quest for postseason success. The Badgers rattled off their fourth straight win on Saturday when they beat Ohio State 55-50 at the Kohl Center. The Badgers turn around has been in large part because of their defense, averaging just 49 points allowed per game during their current winning streak. That might not be enough to get you recognition in the ESPN / USA Today Coaches poll, but it does get you two votes in the AP version! Congrats, Wisconsin!

Marquette broke their two-game losing streak on Valentine's night with a 73-59 win over St. John's. Their week keeps them at the number ten spot in the Associated Press poll, while they move up one spot in the ESPN / USA Today poll, now tied at number eleven.

An interesting week for state hoops, but one that ended on a high note. Unless you're UW-Green Bay, who celebrated their recognition from the Associated Press by dropping games to Youngstown State and Cleveland State this week. Oh well.

Happy President's Day!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

NBA All-Star Game Live Blog 2009

Here Ye, Here Ye!

Come one, come all! NBA All-Star game live blog at 7 p.m. Lets hope for a good crowd, as lately the "Train Wreck Video" has made its presence too often.

UPDATE: Due to unforeseen circumstances, we will be starting the live blog around 7:20. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

First Look at Chicago's Olympic Bid

Those of us in Wisconsin have taken a keen interest in where the 2016 Olympics will be held, if only because of the fact a couple of bike races will be held outside of Madison. You really can't blame us though, as this would be the biggest international get for the state since ESPN's Great Outdoor Games a few years back.

So we're rooting for Chicago to get the Games, and they have made the final four of host city applicants. Also in the running are Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, and Tokyo.

Chicago has taken the next step in their bid process, which is the releasing of their official proposal. It's some interesting stuff to look at, especially the section about their proposed venues. The city would use many of their existing structures such as the United Center and Soldier Field, but would also build a new Olympic Stadium and Aquatic Center. To me, the most interesting part of this proposal is where the preliminary soccer matches would be played - Los Angeles, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New York. Officially, Madison would host the mountain biking and road cycling events.

For some reason, I have a pretty good feeling Chicago can pull this off and bring the Olympics back to the United States. If so, I'm moving to Chicago as soon as that announcement is made.

Happy Valentine's Day

I'm 24 years old. I have a blog. I live with my parents. From those stats, you might guess that I'd probably be alone on this Valentine's Day. If so, you would be right.

Growing up, I always thought that I was going to be married by the time I was 18, and never have to worry about who I'd spend my Valentine's Day with. This plan of mine was going accordingly throughout high school, as I was constantly pulling in girls I had no business being with, as I was a skinny dork, while they were relatively hot.

But then college happened. I gained some weight, couldn't really find a life focus, and was involved in some overly dramatic situations that killed the romantic in me. Now, as I finally want to put the pieces of my life together, my hair is starting to thin. I guess I'm not really what you call "a good catch".

Why do I bring this up? Because I've been sitting in front of my computer for the past thirty minutes trying to find an interesting topic to write about on this Saturday night. You see, instead of, you know, trying to improve my sex appeal, or perusing the local scene for a fine young woman, I am sitting here Valentine-less looking for something to blog about. And in true egotistical fashion, I have chosen to blog about... myself.

Now, here we are a few paragraphs in, and like a bad Saturday Night Live sketch there is really no logical way to end this. I can't really think of a joke, although I would like to comment about how the red and white uniforms of the Badgers and Ohio State really go well with the whole Valentine theme.

Basically, this is my awkward way of wishing all of you a Happy Valentine's Day, but more importantly a Happy Valentine's Night. Hopefully, when you wake up after a walk of shame and read this on Sunday morning, you'll realize that maybe your love life isn't so bad after all. I intend to use this posting as motivation to find Mrs. Winks sometime before Cupid strikes again next year.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need another drink.

Don't You Look Like...

Timothy Hutton of TNT's "Leverage and former Milwaukee Brewers catcher Damian Miller.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Rare Hockey Post

I'm posting the following video for three reasons. One, slow day. Two, I love references. Three, I haven't done a "Hey, Look What I Saw on Awful Announcing!" post in a while. So enjoy, via Awful Announcing, via the Dan LeBatard show, a collection of goal calls by Florida Panthers radio announcer Randy Moller, each followed by some of the more random pop culture references you'll hear this weekend.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Brewing Up Some Moves

I think my goal this year as a blogger is to see how many Brewers headlines I can start with the phrase "Brewing Up....". It's a classic go-to headline that I am going to do my best to overuse. I start with that phrase on this Thursday, as the Brewers made some moves which are sort of significant.

The more significant of the moves they made is the official signing of starting pitcher Braden Looper. He'll make a base salary of $4.75 million this year, with an additional $750,00 to be earned through incentives (I love contracts with incentives, whoever came up with this idea is a genius). He's signed through 2010, however the second year of the deal is a mutual option between both him and the club.

The sad news in this story is that Vinny Rottino has been designated for assignment. Rottino has always been a favorite of mine, if only for the fact that we share the same university alumni catalogue. The Brewers now have ten days to either release, trade, or sign him to a minor-league deal, but it doesn't look like this La Crosse hometown hero will ever get the same chances that another La Crosse hometown hero, Damian Miller, was privy too. Trust me, La Crosse goes crazy for Damian Miller, but it doesn't look like you'll see a daily Vinny Rottino box score in the La Crosse Tribune anytime soon.

The other move the Crew made was another last ditch effort to improve their starting pitching depth, as pitchers and catchers are set to report on Saturday. Milwaukee claimed Nick Green off waivers from the Angels, a pitcher who was made available after they signed Bobby Abreu. To make room for him on the 40-man, the Brewers DFA'd 26-year old Luis Pena.

With the start of baseball season just days away, it's probably a good time to get caught up on the position battles that will be going on in Arizona this spring for the Crew. Thankfully, Jim over at Bernie's Crew apparently never goes to class and just works on his blog all day, and because of that he is able to give us this wonderful Spring Training Primer. He's definitely Brewing up some good research.

Winks Thinks: The A-Roid Edition

Dear Elizabeth Mitchell, I am in love with you. Your portrayal of Juliet on Lost is an art of perfection, and your sad/concerned/mysterious facial expression is one I want to wake up next to every day for the rest of my life. Please accept the offer of my Valentine.

No? Well, I tried. She is just one of the many topics covered in this week's Winks Thinks. In it, I rant about steroids for probably longer than I should, and I finally call out an columnist that too often pushes the boundaries of integrity. So make sure to check it out, and prepare to be disappointed!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Milwaukee Out-Paces Indiana

Does this team look on a roll right now, or what? The Bucks took over in the second half and went on to out shoot the Indiana Pacers in a 122-110 win. Milwaukee (26-29) just looks smooth on offense right now. They have kicked it up a notch, utilizing some run and gun. A little unorthodox it would seem from Skiles, but none-the-less shows that he can adapt playing style with personnel.

Sessions has manned the point extremely effective thus far. His ability to draw and kick as well as getting to the line has made him a tough player to defend. His defense leaves a little bit to be desired but he more than makes up for it on the offensive end. Maybe a little reckless at times, as he does end up on the floor alot but he does hustle and hasn't taken a whole lot of stupid shots since getting in the starting lineup.

Charlie Bell had a huge first half off the bench. In fact the Bucks bench shined tonight. Newcomers, Bogans and Gill were once again important, stepping it up with big plays in the second half.

Richard Jefferson led the way with 32 points, and Bell scored 20 off the bench. Charlie Villanueva added 17 and Sessions hit 15. Sessions also added 17 assists and 7 rebounds. That's worthy enough for TBC's Player of the Game.

Ahhhh..... there's the good stuff.

With Milwaukee a full game lead for the 8th spot, the All-Star break could be a good thing or a bad thing. Does it hurt Milwaukee's Momentum? Or does it allow Milwaukee rest up? I mean, this team has now averaged 122 over the last three games. I guess we'll find out Tuesday the 17th at 6:30 in Detroit.

Enjoy the All-star break, come back for the LIVE BLOG!!!!

(AP Photo by Morry Gash)

Badgers Make It Three in a Row

The phrase "three in a row" feels much better to type when in correlates to a winning streak, as opposed to the culture the Badgers were going through earlier this season. This time, it was a win in dominating fashion, knocking off Iowa at the Kohl Center 69-52.

The effort was lead by Joe Krabbenhoft and his tying of a career-high 16 points. Jason Bohannon chipped in another 15 points, while Trevon Hughes added 14 of his own. I can't add much more, as the Badgers play third fiddle for me on Wednesday nights behind the Bucks and Lost, but I thought I'd post this because people get mad when I have soccer as the lead story!

Next up for Bucky, a Valentine's night matchup against Ohio State on ESPN.

The Best of American Soccer

I couldn't even live up to the pressure of playing for my dad on his high school varsity team, so I can't imagine how Michael Bradley is excelling at the national team level, where his father is the coach. Bradley's right foot contributed to the only two goals of the night, as the U.S. Men's National Team knocked off Mexico in the first game of the final World Cup Qualifying Round, 2-0.

Bradley's first goal came just minutes before halftime, giving the U.S. a momentum they would not ever lose. DeMarcus Beasley found longtime teammate Landon Donovan on a corner kick, who then directed the ball to Oguchi Onyewu. Onyewu's shot was saved, but Michael Bradley was there to put the ball in the back of the net, making his father and coach, Bob Bradley, quite pleased.

Donovan would again be responsible for another, this time in the 90th minutes. Playing off an advantage call, Donovan exploited the Mexican defense by knocking the ball back to an oncoming Bradley. Bradley rifled a shot from 28 yards out that trickled under the arms of the Mexican keeper. Neither goal was necessarily pretty, which is somewhat fitting in this dirtiest of rivalries.

The game was played at the home of U.S. home fields, in Columbus, Ohio. The United States likes to schedule their games against Mexico in the northern half of the country, away from the Mexican fans who might otherwise travel to locales such as Texas and California. The colder weather and harsher conditions are also unfamiliar to many on the Mexican side, which is why the Americans are now 9-0-2 on U.S. soil since 2000.

Soccer in America is probably never going to be on par as even the lesser of sports leagues in this country, say, the NHL, mainly because the quality of the MLS is never going to be what American fans would like to expect, or even deserve. Many fans in the States would much rather wake up early on a weekend morning to watch the England Premier League than watch an MLS match on some idle Thursday night. I can't really blame them, as the quality of play is so much better over there.

But if you are looking for the atmosphere and excitement of a European game, matches between the U.S. and Mexico are worthy of the comparison to any game between two European countries. The atmosphere is electric, the play is fantastic, and the rivalry is unlike anything at the international level for the United States at this point. It's a fantastic game anytime the two match up, one that would get even the the most anti of soccer fans to change their mind.

It's a good start for the journey the United States is headed on, as they look to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Packers Give Jets 7th-Rounder in 2010

That's really the only thing I care about on a day like this. The trade for Brett Favre is complete. The Packers do get a 3rd rounder from the Jets this season, and because he will retire, the Packers are inclined to send New York a 7th rounder in 2010. Really, that's all I care about.

I don't care if Favre is "re-retiring". I don't care if he would have come back. I don't care if he winds up in a Vikings uniform next year. I stopped caring about this guy long ago, all I care about now is the future of the Green Bay Packers.

It wouldn't surprise me either way if in September, Favre is either hiding in Mississippi, on the ESPN pregame set, or on an NFL sideline. One thing I do know: His days as a Packer remain over.

And thus, I just don't care.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Marquette Officially on a Losing Streak

I'm not sure which was worse. The fact that Villanova put up more than 100 points on Marquette in 40 minutes of play, or that we were subjected to ESPN2's Interactive Tuesday for much of the game. Seriously, what is up with that scroll that posts text messages from viewers? How annoying is that? I want to hear commentary about the game from the announcers, not from random 'Nova fans that have access to a cell phone.

All game long we had to endure this crap. I'm really not sure what this technology does to "enhance" a broadcast, quite honestly. Between the messages about free cheesecake for everyone and how good the Big East, I found my eyeballs wondering to the top of the screen more than to the actual action. And for that, I am a tad upset.

When Villanova did knock off Marquette by a final score of 102-84, I wanted to hear about how good 'Nova might be, or how a two game losing streak would effect the Geagles from here on out. Instead, I got this little nugget from Roland3402: "Huge win for Nova".

Wow. Thanks ESPN2.

And now, as you've come to this site for reaction on the MU loss, you've instead gotten a bitchfest about ESPN2, and I am now providing you the same distraction that we were subject to during the game. My deepest apologies.

As for the game, Nova ultimately played just too fast and nailed too many three point shots for Marquette to keep up with. Marquette was playing well early on, and I thought for sure that they would be able to rebound after their loss to South Florida. But it wasn't to be, and MU will look to instead rebound against St. John's on St. Valentine's Day.
I'll be front row in front of my TV for that game as well, as I'm planning to spend the holiday alone (again). Maybe I wouldn't mind the company of Roland3402 after all...

Peppers to Packers a Reality?

I'm still going with the school of thought that Teddy Thompson won't be shelling out a ton of money this offseason when it comes to free agency, and that would mean that Packers will not end up with Julius Peppers. While this would be a dream free agent signing because of the Packers new defensive coaches and the switch to the 3-4, I still just think it's too good to be true. Cheesehead TV, however, came across a little something that may cause us to rethink that logic. This is what renowned football writer Mike Lombardi had to say about the situation:

The Panthers cannot let him go, and they must franchise him to trade him if they don’t want to pay the going rate. They must protect their asset. They have a better chance to recruit and match a deal for (Jordan) Gross than they do for Peppers. Where can Peppers go? Well, he’ll have many options, with the first being the Packers.
The Packers? Are an option? Like, a serious one? Inner resting. Usually, when a fan base wants their team to sign a particular free agent, said signing never occurs. However, the Packers did reel in Reggie White on a miracle back in the day, and Julius Peppers could be the next generation's version of that. I'll put the Packers chances at signing Peppers at 30%, but I still don't see it happening.

Meanwhile, the Packers have a lot of other decisions to make in free agency, as in their own free agents. Colin Cole, Mike Montgomery (Facebook friend alert!), and Mark Tauscher are all unrestricted free agents, all whom I would like to see at least compete start for starting gigs with the Packers next season. Atari Bigby, Jarrett Bush, Ruvell Martin, Tory Humphrey, John Kuhn, Jason Hunter, and Bryan Ekern's favorite Shaun Bodiford are all restricted free agents. Tom Silverstein says this group of free agents is very manageable for the Packers to re-sign, if they are willing.

As for Peppers, hopefully God gives him the same speech that he gave Reggie White.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bucks Play Rocket-Busters

You would think with no Bogut and an abundance center of minutes going to Elson and Gadzuric would spell disaster. You would think that coupled with going against Yao Ming it would be near cataclysmic. You would think with no Redd, the Bucks would not be able to score enough points to break 100 much less win a game. You would think a playoff bound upper-echelon western conference team would have no problem with a depleted bottom feeding eastern conference team(ha, I love the hyperbole in this statement). You would think that the Rockets would have the upper hand with a win streak dating back to 2004. You would think....... I know I did. Milwaukee did the opposite however, and won 124-112 in a game where they thoroughly dominated Houston.

While I try to refrain from getting really excited again(its hard too not to be after a win like this), it was a level of teamwork, offensive movement and great defense we have really only seen once or twice this season. I mention great defense because up until the 4th period, and really towards the very end, the Rockets had been held to right around 40% shooting. The Bucks on the other hand shot 52%. Yao only had 7 points on 18 minutes, and McGrady had 3 points. Milwaukee native Carl Landry spent his night at the free-throw line hitting 10-11 scoring 16.

Ramon Sessions led the way with 26 for the Bucks and CV and RJ added 25 while Bell and Bogans provided 21 and 13 respectively from the bench. New guy, Eddie Gill, showed some good passing skills amassing 4 assists and 2 points in 7+ minutes. I was impressed with one exchange where Gill hit Bogans on a back door, behind the back pass which led to a lay up.


Apparently Bogut's injury is unusual according to this Yahoo Team Report. Does this mean he is still growing????? I really don't know if that is a good thing or bad thing. I'll lean more to bad thing.

I really don't know what the win tonight says in the bigger picture for this season. Maybe Milwaukee continues to play with as much energy as they have shown in the last few games. Maybe it was just a fluke of one team catching a road team that is in a little bit of a slump, by surprise. I know I'll watch no matter what, but hopefully this kind of win gets some on-the-fence fans on board to still support this team.

What I know for sure is that the win moves Milwaukee back into a tie for the 8th seed as it goes into its matchup at home against the Pacers Wednesday night at 7:00 pm. Hopefully Milwaukee keeps it rolling, you would think this kind of win against that kind of team would give a young group of guys a lot of confidence.... you would think it would anyway.

TBC Buck of the Game: Ramon Sessions - 26 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, and 4 steals. 10-12 from the line and 8-12 from the field.

(AP photo By Morry "The Man" Gash)

It should be known that I stole the phrase "Rocket-Busters" from some Fond du Lac Cardinal t-shirts, soccer I think, which refer to the highschool sports rival Neenah Rockets. Its a shameless plug, Fox Valley Association BABY!

Sabathia is Raw

Forgive me for not excelling at the uploading video from the TV operation just yet, but look who was at WWE RAW in Oakland on Monday Night!

JaMarcus Russell. Nice touch, Carsten.

Brewers Close to Signing Looper, Sources Say

There are only three things I know about Braden Looper. One, he apparently has some sort of relationship with Lou Pinella. Two, he's very in touch with his faith. And three, his middle name is LaVern. There may be a fourth piece of information I'll know about him, which could be that he is a member of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Does that paragraph seem familiar to you in any way? If it does, it's because you've probably seen it before, as I straight just cut and paste that sucker. I took it from an article written on December 21st, 2008, from a blog I enjoy very much. That author? Me.

Yeah, we've been down this Braden Looper might be a Brewer road before, but apparently this time it's actually going to happen. Mustache Melvin confirms that a deal is close, and it appears a deal could be reached later this week, pending a physical of course. Looper would then service the Brewers as a back-end of the rotation starter. I'm guessing he'd start as the five man until Suppan collapses.

A move like this would have the biggest effect on the man who is possibly my favorite Brewer, Seth McClung. I would love to see Big Red as a starter, but I have to admit he's probably more effective as a late-inning set-up reliever. While Gallardo/Parra/Bush/Suppan/Looper isn't the most fantastic rotation in the bigs, it's certainly enough to at least relieve some of the panic I've had about our staff.

However, when you realize the Yankees rotation is Sabathia/Wang/Burnett/Pettitte/Chamberlain, it becomes apparent how insignificant this signing would be.

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