Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mike Burns > Johan Santana?

Clearly, Mike Burns is not a better pitcher than 2-time Cy Young award winner Johan Santana, but Burnsie did have the better pitching line tonight. In 6 2/3 innings, Burns gave up just two runs, while Santana gave up five earned in six frames. Granted, many of Santana's runs were scored because the Mets absolutely forgot how to field on Tuesday night, but that shouldn't take away from the fact that Burns has performed admirably in his short stints with Milwaukee so far this season.

As well as Burns pitched however, Ryan Braun is going to get the Player of the Game in the Brewers 6-3 win over the Mets. Braun went 3-for-4 with 4 RBI and a run, and is now batting .327 on the season. Yeah, I'd say he's deserving of a starting All-Star Game bid.

Couple this victory with a St. Louis loss, and the Brewers are once again two games up in the NL Center. Game three of the series is tomorrow at 1:05pm, and you can catch day baseball on FSN Wisconsin.

Farewell, Best Damn Sports Show Period

Didn't expect this news when I clicked over on Deadspin tonight. Apparently, the episode of the Best Damn Sports Show Period! that will air tonight will be it's last episode ever, which actually kind of saddens me. I haven't been the biggest BDSSP fan, but there was a stretch in high school where I watched it like every night for a month, so there were some fond memories there. At least, until the show turned into Chris Rose and John Salley counting down the top 50 of everything, those got kind of repetitive.

The show will definitely have a lasting impact on the sports broadcasting scene. Many of the familiar faces you know and love today started on Best Damn. Of course, many of the people you know and hate started there as well. For every Charissa Thompson, Lisa Guerrero, and John Kruk, we get a Chris Rose, Michael Irvin, and Stephen A. Smith (sidenote: I like Mike Irvin, just not as a broadcaster).

So farewell show that was hardly watched except during rain delays or when the bar leaves FSN on after the baseball game, it's been a good eight years.

Thank You, Quevedo at the Buffet

I'm certainly not rooting against the success of Tony Gwynn Jr., but I can't say that I'm rooting for it, either. I've long said that if this kid's last name wasn't Gwynn, he would have been out of the major leagues a long time ago. Too many Brewers fans thought this guy was going to be our centerfielder of the future - myself included - but we were all duped by him as he constantly underachieved when he did find himself on the Brewers roster. And even though the guy we traded him for, Jody Gerut, has turned out to be garbage, I'm not unhappy about the TGJ era being over in Milwaukee.

With this being said, you can imagine my dismay when the main article on ESPN.com was a puff piece about how Tony Gwynn Jr. is fitting in brilliantly with the Padres, following the footsteps of his dad. Check out Tom Friend's article here.

As a Brewers fan, you don't need to get halfway through the article before you realize just what a load of crap it is. That's where Quevedo at the Buffet comes in. Just one week ago, I was upset with this blog for their bashing of the Bucks' Brandon Jennings pick, but now I will happily sing their praises. Quevedo takes Tom Friend to task hardcore in their latest post, for overlooking many facts in an attempt to make it seem like the Brewers really let one get away in TGJ. Here's a preview (Quevedo's comments are in italics):
First, (Milwaukee) signed Mike Cameron, even though Cameron had to serve a 30-day suspension to start the season. And when Little T went down with a hamstring injury (after beginning the season 4-for-7)...

Yes, friends, your eyes don't deceive you – that's a sample size of SEVEN AT-BATS cited as proof that TGJ was off to a good start in '08. I also enjoyed the part where Tom Friend (he's another dude whose full name must be used at all times, I've decided) glossed over the fact that the guy couldn't even stay healthy for five fucking games at the start of the year; nothing like taking advantage of your (allegedly) long-overdue opportunity by blowing out a wheel in the first series of the year. Carpe diem, indeed.

...they fell in love with another center fielder, Gabe Kapler. The timing couldn't have been worse.

… except for the Brewers, who went 8-12 in April and May with Gwynn (when he wasn't on the DL), and promptly ran off a 58-30 stretch between the time TGJ got sent down (May 23) and got called back up (September 1).

Hardy, McGehee Power Brewers Past Mets

Well if you wondered where the offense was on this club after getting shutout on Sunday, your questions were answered. The Brewers put up 10 runs on 19 hits to knock off the Mets 10-6 in one of the more memorable games of the season.

The game was memorable for a few reasons, first being Casey McGehee. A brutal dropped catch by McGehee in the 6th inning lead to two unearned Mets runs, and put New York within one. I thought that frustrated was going to get to McGehee when he came up to bat in the bottom half of that inning with the bases loaded, but Casey Mac responded with his first career Grand Slam. The home run put Milwaukee up 7-2, and was subsequently followed by the most angry celebration of a Grand Slam I've ever seen, as well as the shortest curtain call in history. Either way, Redemption is spelled C-A-S-E-Y.

Our Player of the Game honors though actually go to J.J. Hardy, who was overshadowed by McGehee despite a 4-for-4 performance. Hardy was a triple away from the cycle during his fourth at-bat, and nearly pulled it off when his poke went through the Mets outfield. He settled with a double though, but it was a valiant effort.

The other memorable performance came from Trevor Hoffman, who pulled off the rare one-pitch save conversion, which is always nice to see.

Game two of the series tonight at 7:05pm.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Farewell, Charlie Villanueva

The Bucks roster continues to evolve as they head into the 2009-2010 season, and it looks like it's going to be a roster without the servies of Charlie Villanueva. The Bucks did not extend their $4.6 million qualifying offer to Skillanueva, which means he is now free to negotiate with any NBA team, and that the Bucks won't get a chance to match the offer.

Basically, this means we don't want him anymore. I get the feeling John Hammond never really wanted this guy on his roster, but he sucked it up for a year before he could let him go. I have mixed feelings about Villanueva, I guess. While I like the guy, and he did play pretty well in spots this season, I just don't think there is too much unique about his game. You can find another guy like Villanueva out there no problem, so I'm not going to argue the move. As for CV31, he seems to think he's going to land in Cleveland, so have fun I guess.

The Bucks did extend a pair of qualifying offers to two guys who I think they absolutely need to resign, Ramon Sessions and Ersan Ilyasova. We all know the deal with Sessions, but Ilysaova hasn't been in a Bucks uniform in two years. Since then, he's been playing with Regal FC Barcelona while the Bucks have hung on to his rights. Ersan could easily fill the void left by Villanueva, although he's more of a defensive guy.

All that we know is that the Bucks are nowhere near done retooling their roster for the seventh year in a row.

Why Did 149,288 People Vote For Bill Hall This Week?

Here are the facts: Bill Hall went 1-for-7 this week, appeared in only two games, and lost even more time at third base because of how well Casey McGehee has been playing. Yet, in that time frame, he also garnered 149,288 votes towards the MLB All-Star Game. This clearly begs the question, who is still voting for this guy?

Look, I understand that many of us like to just vote straight Brewers, and I have no problem with that, as long as the guys that are represented on the ballot are actually legit members of the Milwaukee Brewers Ballclub. I say instead of voting for Hall, take the extra seven seconds and write-in McGehee's name instead. Does McGehee deserve to be an All-Star? No, but if you're trying to get an entire lineup of Brewers to start in the All-Star game, at least try to vote in a guy who actually starts for the Brewers. Elswhere, much of the voting remains similar to last week, in terms of which place these guys are in:

First Base - Prince Fielder (3rd place)
Second Base - Rickie Weeks (3rd)
Third Base - Bill Hall (5th place)
Shortstop - J.J. Hardy (3rd)
Catcher - Jason Kendall (4th)
Outfield - Ryan Braun (2nd)
Outfield - Mike Cameron (6th)
Outfield - Corey Hart (10th)

There's not much time left to vote, but you can do so here. Remember to write in Casey McGehee!

Bears Apparently Out of Burress Sweepstakes

I don't know about you, but even with Jay Cutler I am not really worried about the Chicago Bears right now. I personally think that Cutler is a tad overrated, and don't think his appearance in a Bears uniform is going to make them a playoff team. That being said, Cutler has performed well with decent receivers such as Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal, and I think if the Bears were to get Plaxico Burress I would start to become a little more concerned.

Right now, the Bears wide receiver depth chart is littered with guys I've never heard of and then Devin Hester, who can't even catch. But if you put Plaxico Burress in that mix? The Bears offense becomes a little more threatening, and then I'd be a little more worried.

Burress is looking for a nice, healthy one-year deal similar to the $6.5 million T.O. was able to get from the Bills, and it sounds as if the Bears aren't interested in paying that much. However, Florio says that this report could just be a rouse by the Bears in their efforts to ultimately sign him.

Because if things remain they way they are with Cutler having nobody to throw to, the Lions flipping between Culpepper and Stafford, and the Vikings getting ready to throw their season away with Brent Favre, things are looking good for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers to storm through the NFC North this season.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Aaron Rodgers' Girlfriend

Apparently Aaron Rodgers is dating this SI swimsuit model, Julie Henderson. Interestingly enough, this chick used to date 51-year old founder of Def Jam, Russell Simmons, even though she's only 23. Not really sure what Simmons and Rodgers have in common as far as what her taste in men is, except for the whole rich and famous thing of course. As long as she doesn't one day embarrass herself while doing the intro for Monday Night Football against the Broncos (Deanna reference), I fully support Rodgers in his decision.

Giants Blank Brewers

In a game that saw Mat Gamel try things off from the leadoff spot and Jason Kendall go hitless on his own bobblehead day, the Brewers really just got nothing going as they fell to the Giants 7-0. With the win, the Giants take back the Wild Card lead that the Brewers had taken from them just one night before.

As for a Player of the Game? Yikes. Suppan sucked of course, so he's out of the running. Let's see, we could go with Casey McGehee. He only had one hit (no Brewers had more than one) but his went for a double. Chris Narveson was the only pitcher not to allow a run, so that's something. Basically with McGehee hitting .336 right now and Narveson's ERA being at 10.27, I'm going to reward McGehee for how well he's been playing lately and give him the honor, as he becomes our poor man version of Mark DeRosa (who the Brewers asked about before he was shipped off to St. Louis).

As for the reference contest, sorry about the wrestling one last night, yikes.

Today's another day to find you, shying away. I'll be coming for your love, okay?

Brazil 3, United States 2: What This Loss Does For American Soccer (In A Good Way)

All afternoon long while I was watching this soccer game, I was looking forward to writing an article about how the United States has finally arrived on the world soccer scene. The focus of my article was going to be about how a win against Brazil in the Confederations Cup finals was going to be the defining moment in American soccer history. After Landon Donovan converted a beautiful transition attack to put the U.S. up 2-0, I thought for sure this game was in the book. But Brazil rallied back and beat the U.S. 3-2, and the Americans were left to wonder about the game that got away.

With that said, what an incredible tournament this turned out to be for the American side. While we still have a long way to go before we're equal to the likes of Spain and Brazil, we definitely showed that we belong at the party. The United States have gotten used to being a top 20 team in the world, but with this tournament they've shown they eventually be one of the elite.

Funny how that happened, too. This tournament started out as a disaster for Bob Bradley's team, as losses in group play to Italy and Brazil left the United States embarrassed. After it looked like they were going to be eliminated, I wrote this: The larger picture though is how will the U.S. use this experience to help them come 2010? They do have a year to figure it out, but judging by this tournament and the disappointing loss to Costa Rica a few weeks back, one year may not be enough.

Turns out all the United States needed was one week, and a couple of lucky breaks. Beating Egypt 3-0 proved that they were no fluke, and having Brazil beat Italy gave America a second life. The U.S. went from going home with an overall subpar performance, to gaining a couple of extra competitions against some of the world's best. The 2-0 win against Spain sent shockwaves through the soccer world, and their 2nd-place finish is proof that the United States will be a contender in next year's World Cup.

Despite the loss, it's probably the most optimistic a team has to feel after a loss since the New York Giants almost stopped the New England Patriots from going 16-0. This loss, and this tournament, showed the world that it shouldn't expect the same old America in South Africa next season. I don't think that the United States will win the World Cup next year, but now I know that they can. With their experience, their new familiarity with the South African venues, and their overall play, the United States is a legit contender to capture the trophy next year, and they have to walk away encouraged about that.

What a difference a week makes.

I'd Like to Write More, But...

Wow, do I need to get off working weekends. Anyway, the Brewers are back in front for the Wild Card, as they beat the San Francisco Giants 7-6 on Saturday night. Trevor Hoffman essentially blew the game, but thank god for Corey Hart, J.J. Hardy, and Prince Fielder, who helped lead the Brewers to a late-inning victory. Speaking of Prince, he was the Player of the Game, pretty much that's what happens when you knock in four RBI as well as a home run.

On this day, I see clearly, everything has come to life (I don't want the artist, I want the wrestler).

Saturday, June 27, 2009

POTG: Brewers 5, Giants 1

Yikes, I almost forgot to do this!

Player of the Game: Yovani Gallardo.

Suicide, it's a Suicide.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Jeffress Might Smoke Himself Out of Baseball

In baseball, it's three strikes and you're out, and Jeremy Jeffress is awfully close to getting strike three. Already suspended 50 games during 2007-2008 for testing positive for marijuana, Jeffress has again tested posted for a "substance of abuse" and will now be forced to serve a 100 game suspension, which will carry over into next season. One more positive test from Jeffress would lead to a lifetime ban under the Minor League Drug Treatment and Prevention Program.

Jeffress can go one of two ways here. He can keep smoking pot, spend the rest of his $1.55 million signing bonus on Cheesy Gordita Crunches and watch "Out Cold" every other night, or, he can shape up and act like the first round pick the Brewers thought they were getting in 2006. It's your call, Jeremy.

Grizzlies to Eventually Cut Stiemsma

If you're in Vegas this summer, make sure you get a chance to check out Greg Stiemsma in a Memphis Grizzlies summer league uniform, because it's probably the last chance you'll get to see him in an NBA uniform. Stiemsma has agreed to play for them this summer, but you never know, maybe he's got a future as a 15th man somewhere out there.

Marcus Landry and Joe Krabbenhoft have also received summer league interest, but have yet to make a decision on who they will play for, respectively.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Finally, A Bucks Draft I Like

I've been looking around some Bucks blogs during the last ten minutes, and seriously, does anyone like Brandon Jennings? This is a guy that rolled the dice, went to Italy instead of Arizona, played a decent year of professional ball, and is now a Milwaukee Buck. With Jonny Flynn gone, this was the guy I wanted, and I cheered about as hard for this pick as I did when the Packers took B.J. Raji. The Bucks took the guy I wanted them to take, and I'm pretty pleased about the decision.

But, the backlash is there. BrewHoop is hesitant at first about the pick, but realize that we may have just drafted a superstar. Bucks Diary finds about 40 things wrong with the pick, which is annoying. And this article is just pure shit. Especially when they agree with the fact that the Bucks should have taken Flynn or Curry over Jennings (um, they were both drafted already, do the math).

What's wrong with the Jennings pick? Is he a risk? Probably a little, but this guy is a stud, and has actually shown bits of talent, so comparing him to Yi Jianlian or Joe Alexander isn't really fair. Totally different scenarios. Plus, Jennings has shut down my boyfriend Ricky Rubio in European play, so I'm sold. Is this the best analysis of the Bucks draft you're going to find on the internet? No, it's not. But to come out and lamblast the Bucks selection right away is pretty unfair, especially when we may have drafted one of the top three talents in the draft.

Could this guy be a bust? Yes, but which pick doesn't that apply to? The Bucks actually drafted a guy who could be a legit superstar, and given how terrible the Bucks have played lately, who really cares if they try to make a splash or two? Plus, how can you not like a guy that crashed the Draft?

Awesome. With their second pick, the Bucks drafted guard Jodie Meeks out of Kentucky, which is a pretty solid pick as well. If you were looking for the Bucks to deliver with a draft that will make them a contender next season, well then you're going to walk away unhappy. But if you're looking for a draft where the Bucks brought in some more pieces that could make them better in the long run, this is draft should do the trick.

Either way, maybe we'd all be better off holding the criticism for awhile.

Thank God We're Done Playing the Twins This Year

In a word, games against the Minnesota Twins are annoying. I just hate Minnesota so much, and the Twins are no exception to that. I'm not sure what about the playing the Brewers brings out the best in the Twins, but they certainly looked like world beaters in both series against the Crew this season. In six games against us, the Twins took five of them, including Thursday's 6-4 win in Milwaukee.

I think the thing I hate the most is that when I hear the crowd cheer on television, I have no idea what has happened unless I'm looking at the screen. More often than not, cheers I think are meant for the Brewers are actually designated for the Twins, and that's just not cool. Maybe someday we can stop losing to these guys like it's our destiny, but we'll have to wait another year to see if that will happen.

The Brewers needed some runs if they were going to win this one, especially as it was Mike Burns' first major league start. I have nothing against Burnsie, it was just that I expected something like a five inning, three earned run performance out of him. In actuality, Burns went 5 2/3 innings while giving up four runs. Chris Narveson let a couple of runs across the plate as well, and the Brewers couldn't quite make a comeback despite home runs from Casey McGehee, Prince Fielder, and Ryan Braun.

Next up, a series against the NL Wild Card leading San Francisco Giants (???).

Player of the Game: I don't know, I guess McGehee's home run was a two-run shot, we can give it to him.

There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't. My ex-wife loves him.

Stage is Set For a Rematch Against Brazil

A goal in the 88th minute was just enough for the Brazilian side, as they knocked off South Africa in the Semifinals of the Confederations Cup 1-0. This sets up a rematch for the United States, and they will face Brazil on Sunday at 1:25pm in the Finals, with the game to be broadcast on ESPN2.

It would have been better in the USA's interest if South Africa could have squeezed out a victory, as Brazil is clearly a much better team. Brazil has already had their way with America once in this tournament, beating the U.S. 3-0 in the first round. But if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best, and after the States win against Spain yesterday, I guess anything is possible.

Winks Thinks: The Apology Edition

Not everyone has been happy with the subjects I've chosen to write about lately here at The Bucky Channel, and this week I finally face the music and apologize for my actions. At least, most of them. I also reveal which hockey team I will be following next year, comment about the U.S. soccer's big win against Spain, and have some parting words for the guy behind "Boom Goes the Dynamite". All that and more, in this week's edition of Winks Thinks.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Kendall Wins Player of the Game???

When you're struggling for wins, you'll take whatever you can get. That was definitely the case for the Brewers Wednesday night, when Jason Kendall turned a double to the wall into the game-winning run, thanks to the comedy of errors from the Minnesota Twins.

Down a run, Kendall nearly hit a home run in the 8th inning to score J.J. Hardy, but the ball just missed the top of the fence. Hardy beat the play at the plate to score the tying run, but the ball got away from Joe Mauer and Kendall advanced to third. Nick Blackburn then made a ridiculous throw to third base that ended up in the outfield, and Kendall scored. A Lemony Snicket type series of events for the Twins that led to a 4-3 Brewers win. Watch it.

For his efforts, Jason Kendall will buck the odds and earn his first Player of the Game award. He also had an RBI single in the 6th inning.

In other news, Looper got nailed with a shot from Carlos Gomez, but he should be okay. Mike Burns will be on the hill for his first major league start when the Crew takes on the Twins at 1:05 on Thursday, and Seth McClung will start in Parra's place on Saturday. Oh yeah, and Hoffman got his first save in like a week.

U.S. Knocks Off a Soccer Giant

After improbable circumstances helped land the United States into the Confederations Cup semifinals against Spain on Wednesday, there was no way that U.S. could actually pull off a victory against the unstoppable force that was the Spanish side. Somehow though, they pulled it off, scoring goals when they had the chances and playing lockdown defense to earn a 2-0 victory over Spain.

A week ago, I had said that with the way the United States was playing, they were still a long way from finding any sort of success at next year's World Cup. Um, wrong. In the last four days, the U.S. has outscored Egypt and Spain 5-0, looking like a completely different team than the one that played Italy and Brazil at the beginning of this tournament. This is the kind of soccer the United States should be playing at this point in their development. While they are clearly not better than Spain, they still can beat the world's top teams when they play their best soccer, and there's nothing wrong with that at this point.

The win will pit the U.S. against the winner of Brazil/South Africa for the finals of the Confederations Cup, which would be a huge get for the United States. By beating Spain, they could definitely beat either team that they would have to face on Sunday, but either way, a successful tournament for the United States.

More on the U.S. soccer team's play in the Confederations Cup can be found in the Thursday edition of Winks Thinks.

Update: United States 2, Spain 0

Yeah, so that's actually the score right now. Landon Donovan put a ball across the mouth of the goal which was deflected by a couple of defenders. Somehow, Clint Dempsey was there to put his foot on it and blast the ball into the back of the net to give the States the 2-0 lead. There's about ten minutes left to go, and you can bet the Spanish attack is going to be insane all the way up until the final whistle.

Update: Halftime

It's still United States 1, Spain 0 as we head into the locker rooms for halftime. Spain has had plenty of chances, but so far the U.S. defense has stayed strong. As good as keeper Tim Howard is though, I don't see Spain not scoring in this game. If the U.S. is going to win, I think they're going to have to score at least one more goal. Still, to go up 1-0 at this point is very satisfying.

Update: United States 1, Spain 0

The U.S. gets the upper hand early as Jozy Altidore shields a defender off the ball at the top of the arc, turns, and strikes one past the Spanish keeper. The keeper Casillas actually got some body on the ball, but the shot deflected off of him and then the left post to trickle into the goal.

As of this posting, 35 minutes have gone by and Spain nearly just tied the game up. But for now the U.S. leads 1-0, with Jozy Altidore and Landon Donovan both already being shown yellow cards.

More updates to come.

Your Friendly Reminder to Watch Soccer

The United States takes on Spain in the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup today. Coverage starts at 1:25pm (Central) on ESPN. Don't miss it!

Twins Stay Perfect Against Brewers in '09

It's safe to say that as of right now, the Minnesota Twins really do have the Milwaukee Brewers number. This fact is one that bothers me immensely. It's one thing for Cubs fans to come into Miller Park and be obnoxious, but it's a completely different story when it's the Twins. This is a fanbase that should have been contracted a long time ago, and now they are coming into our park and celebrating. That doesn't sit well with me.

Like the games the Brewers played in Minnesota, this one was pretty much over before it started. Jeff Suppan and the Brewers kept giving the Twins extra chances, be it through errors or dropped foul balls, and the Twins took advantage every time. The result was a 7-3 Twins victory.

The loss drops the Brewers to two games back in the NL Central, and one game back in the Wild Card. At 37-33, the Brewers are now just four games over .500 and looking more vulnerable than they have at any time this season.

Game two of the series tonight at 7:05pm.

Player of the Game: Cameron had a couple of RBI, why not.

Some friends become enemies, some enemies become friends?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Bucky Channel Conversation... Greg Winkler

Update: So many things happened today, but I wanted to keep my dad's book plug at the top of the page for a little longer. Can't blame me for that.

I like to think that every soccer coaching honor my dad has ever received has been because of me. When I was five years old, I played soccer for the very first time and our team needed an assistant coach. Not knowing a thing about soccer back in 1989, Greg Winkler took one for the team and gave coaching soccer a try. Twenty years later, Pops has received numerous honors for his efforts, including two NSCAA Regional Coach of the Year honors, Wisconsin's Boys State Coach of the Year, and Youth Coach of the Year. Needless to say, the guy has come a long way.

His latest achievement might actually be the one he's the most proud of, and that is that he is now a published author. In his book, Coaching a Season of Significance, Greg talks about how to make each season of yours a special one. Chapters include Setting Team Goals, Team Building, The Difference Between Boys and Girls, as well as chapters dealing with parents, players, and school administration. It's a book where he has taken all the lessons he has learned in his thirty years coaching a variety of sports, and put them within the binder of one informative, easy-to-read book. I chatted with the old man earlier today about his foray into the world of publishing.

The Bucky Channel: What compelled you to write a book after almost 30 years of coaching sports?

Greg Winkler: I would often have other coaches ask me questions about how I've handled different situations with both players and parents throughout my career. Somebody finally said, "Maybe you should write a book', which wasn't that bad of an idea. So I starting jotting things down during the last few years. Eventually it started taking shape, and before I knew it I had some material for a book.

TBC: Much of your expertise is in the world of soccer, but you've also coached football and wrestling. Is this a book just for the soccer coach out there, or can any coach, regardless of the sport, find this book helpful?

GW: If a coach gets this book and reads this, and then uses some of my practices, his/her team will benefit no matter what sport they coach. Coaching isn't just about strategies and methods to win the game, it's about relationships with kids and providing positive examples for them. That's mainly what this book is about.

TBC: What I can find in this book I can't find in other books?

GW: This book talks a lot about things outside of practice time. It gives you things to think about while preparing for a season or maybe if you're just starting a coaching career. My goal is to provide you with things you might not have considered otherwise.

TBC: Is this a book recommended for a beginner coach? A novice? Someone who has been coaching for 15 years?

GW: Any coach looking to read in hopes of improving their team and their relationships with their players can benefit. There are things in this book that can benefit you if you've coached one years or if you've coached ten years. I'd say I read anywhere from five to ten coaching books a year looking to pick up new methods. I just hope this book can be another helpful tool for a coach, just like the books I've read have been helpful for me.

Honestly, it's a good book for any coach, and I'm not just saying that because of the obvious reasons. I've gotten into coaching myself over the years, and the amount of information I've learned from my dad has been invaluable. Regardless, I'm proud of my dad for successfully putting something like this together.

For more information on "Coaching a Season of Significance" by Greg Winkler, check out gregwinkler.net. This book is available for sale on Greg's website as well as on amazon.com.

Bucks Pull Off Another Trade

I hope you didn't already pre-order your Fabricio Oberto Milwaukee Bucks jerseys after learning he was involved in the trade for Richard Jefferson on Tuesday. Oberto's stay with the Bucks ended up being shorter than Jeff Hardy's latest title reign (WWE reference.... sorry), as he was shipped off to Detroit for Power Forward Amir Johnson. He's young, full of energy, and a good defender, perfect for the Bucks system.

I don't know about you, but I think John Hammond is going to sleep well tonight.

Greg Jennings Gonna Get Paid

I told my dad I'd keep the Q&A on the top of the page for as long as I could, but another "Greg" has stole the show. The latest bit of news is that Greg Jennings is in for a monster pay-day, although a well-deserved one. Greg Jennings needed to be signed to a long term deal because a) he's insanely awesome and b) fans needed to see that Thompson does know how to spend some cash now and then.

According to... ahem... Fox 6 Milwaukee's Twitter page, Jennings is about to become the second highest-paid wide receiver in the league, behind only Larry Fitzgerald of Arizona. Maybe my old boss was right when she said that television stations would be all online in a few years, but I thought that meant they'd still share news via their own websites, but not Twitter. I seriously can't express to you in words how much I hate it when a story is broke because of Twitter. It's the least intelligent form of human conversation, and it makes us look terrible as a society. When news like this breaks on Twitter, I don't even want to believe it because it's such a piece of crap mechanism of communication. Old Man Winkler rant over, back to the story...

Jennings new contract is reported to be a four-to-five year deal which should net him about $8 million per year. This is a move that absolutely needed to happen so that not only would talk of an extension not be a distraction this season for Jennings, but so that the Packers could ensure Rodgers-to-Jennings touchdowns for years to come. I still don't know how in the world Thompson found this guy in the draft, but I thank him every day that he didn't take the guy I wanted in Chad Jackson. But hey, I was never named the NFL Executive of the Year (let's never forget that about Ted, people.)

In conclusion, buy my dad's book.

Burns Called Back Up As Bush Heads to DL

Mike Burns will get another shot at the big leagues with the Milwaukee Brewers, only this time he will be doing so as a start. Burns has been again recalled from Nashville to start on Thursday against the Twins in place of Dave Bush. Bush, who has been struggling mightily as of late, is headed to the DL with a fatigued arm.

On a related topic, I love how you can just send people to the DL these days with made-up reasons. Fatigued arms is obviously just another name for "sucking right now", so kudos to the Brewers for thinking of this. Bush definitely could use a few starts off, and then hopefully he can rebound in time for the second half.

Burns did well in his previous stint with the Crew, known for the time he came in for Manny Parra against the Marlins and threw four shut-out innings (earning a TBC Player of the Game no less!). I'd think the Brewers would hope for something like a five inning, three earned run performance from Burns on Thursday and hope that the offense can muster something up. Burns did well in his first outing though, so who knows what he'll deliver this week.

With that hole filled, the Brewers are still looking to fill the void in the pitching rotation on Saturday. That was to be Parra's next start in the rotation, but it looks as though Seth McClung may get a spot start. That is just speculation though as of now.

The Crew is back in action tonight against the Twins, first pitch 7:05pm.

Farewell, Richard Jefferson

If nothing else, the latest Bucks trade is another reason for us to use our favorite Richard Jefferson picture. You know, I was pretty hard on GM John Hammond when he couldn't move Jefferson at the trade deadline last season, but Hammond finally came through and moved his $15 million contract to the San Antonio Spurs today. In return, the Bucks will receive Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas, and Fabricio Oberto.

I wouldn't get too excited about the players received however, Bucks fans, as this seems to be a contract-clearing move. All three players are in the last year of their contracts, and Bowen and Oberto only have $2 million and $1.9 million guaranteed to them next season, respectively, so it's likely the Bucks will just outright release the both of them.

By then hanging on to Thomas, the Bucks will have saved a cool $6.35 million for next season. This extra room will help keep them under the dreaded luxury tax threshold, as well as clear up some room to re-sign either Sessions or Villanueva. At this point, even though many reports have the Bucks drafting a point guard on Thursday night, I think Sessions is the guy that would likely re-sign if it came down to just one of the two. Still, it's looking good that the Bucks will keep at least one of these guys.

As for Jefferson, he was a great addition to this Bucks team, it's just that he cost so damn much. Jefferson started all 82 games for Milwaukee last season, and at times was the Bucks only legitimate scoring threat. He stepped up when both Bogut and Redd were out with injuries, and he was a much better fit on this team than the Yi/Simmons combo was, the two guys he was traded for last off-season. Jefferson should thrive with the Spurs next year, and this is a move that should help the future of both clubs.

Sad to see him go, but thankful that contract is gone.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hall and Kendall Still Somehow All-Star Relevant

Go figure the one picture I could find featuring both Jason Kendall and Bill Hall also includes Eric Gagne, another major Brewers failure. In the latest updated NL All-Star voting results, Bill Hall and Jason Kendall still remain in the top five at their respected positions. Clearly, there is no way in hell that either of these guys will be voted as a starter into the All-Star game this July, but the fact that both of these guys even make it on the press release every week boggles my mind. As I've said, I'm glad we're voting in strong numbers, Brewers fans, but let's be real here. A look at where the Crew stands:

Catcher - Jason Kendall - 4th Place
First Base - Prince Fielder - 3rd Place
Second Base - Rickie Weeks - 3rd Place
Shortstop - J.J. Hardy - 3rd Place
Third Base - Bill Hall - 5th Place
Outfield - Ryan Braun - 2nd Place
Outfield - Mike Cameron - 7th Place
Outfield - Corey Hart - 10th Place

It does appear that the Brewers are slipping a little each week as the rest of the NL's fans catch up with our initial push, especially those in Philadelphia and St. Louis. Outside of Hall and Kendall, you can't really complain with where the Brewers are in the standings, including Rickie Weeks. In fact, I encourage the continued voting of Weeks, because of the Brewers 14-17 record since he has been out of the lineup. Keep voting here.

WWE Ascends Upon Green Bay Tonight

Any Donald Trump fans out there? If so, tonight is your chance to see the guy in person as he's heading to Green Bay tonight as part of WWE's Monday Night Raw production taking place at the Resch Center. The latest WWE storyline has Vince McMahon "selling" RAW to Donald Trump, so apparently Trump is going to be back in the ring tonight.

Because I'm in to wrestling all of a sudden (it's getting less likely that this obsession will go away, gulp), I wanted to make it up to Green Bay to check this out in person, but unfortunately, I will be watching it at my friend's mom's house. I know, I know, it's bad enough that I'm already blogging from my parents' basement and now I'm adding loving wrestling on top of it, but when you're down, you're down. What can I say?

I'm not going to try to get you to watch this tonight (although it is commercial free tonight, and there should be a good one between Randy Orton and Triple H), I know that would be a lost cause. I just wanted to post this article so that when I finally do find some decent success in my life, I can look back and see just how hard I hit rock bottom.

Enjoy your wrestle-free Monday night.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The U.S. Re-Defines "Sneaking In"

After getting destroyed by Italy and Brazil in their first two games of the Confederations Cup, the United States received an incredible gift when Egypt beat Italy 1-0 last Thursday. While still a longshot, that result meant that the United States still had a slim chance of advancing to the semifinals of the tournament.

Still, they needed some crazy results to happen, such as Brazil beating a strong Italy team by a score of like 3-0, and they themselves needed to be Egypt by a score of 3-0. Somehow, someway, that is exactly what happened, and the United States is moving on to face Spain in the semifinals next Wednesday. Unbelievable.

Even though they've already been blessed with one miracle, there's no way in hell they are going to beat Spain this week. Spain hasn't lost in thirty-five straight games, including a current seventeen game win streak. Still, the United States is much better off getting a game in against a quality opponent then they would have just flying home after beating Egypt. I guess you never know though, maybe the U.S. could pull this thing out (no chance).

As I said in my last soccer blurb, the U.S. still has a long way to go before they can feel comfortable heading into the 2010 World Cup. However, knocking off an emerging team in Egypt in convincing fashion, as well as advancing to the semifinals of this Confederations Cup, is a huge boost of confidence for a team that was desperately looking for one.

Milwaukee Swept By the Tigers

The Brewers need to realize that they absolutely can't not give away games in which Craig Counsell hits a home run. Seriously, this event is about as rare as Haley's Comet (Shinedown, drink), so you have to take advantage. Casey McGehee also hit a home run but those were the only runners the Brewers would plate on Sunday, as Detroit beat Milwaukee 3-2 en route to a series sweep.

With the loss, the Brewers are now 1.5 games behind the Cardinals for the NL Central lead, and currently tied with the Giants for the Wild Card lead. Seriously, how are the Giants this competitive right now? I thought for sure they'd finish last in that division, but apparently not. You never really hear anything about them either, which is why I did about seven double takes before I put this one to print. The Crew needs to pick things up a bit here, or the division is going to get away from them in a hurry.

Player of the Game: Yovani had 8 K's over seven innings, but one bad pitch left the park in the form of a Brandon Inge three-run home run. He pitched well enough to deserve the title, but I just can't decide between him and Casey McGehee (2-for-4, HR). I think I'm going to give it to McGehee for ultimately breaking up the Justin Verlander no-hitter. Even though he was the second batter in the game, I did not want to see that crap happen again. Good work, Casey.

I'll see you again tonight when I go to bed in my head movies. But this head movie makes my eyes rain!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Back Playing Second Fiddle

Not a very good series in Detroit so far, to say the least. It was another rough outing from Dave Bush as the Brewers fell to the Tigers 9-5 in the second game of the series. Couple that with the Cardinals 7-1 victory over the Royals today, and you have a new leader atop the NL Central. The Cardinals are now a half game up over the Crew for first place. In what I think is a very telling stat, the Brewers fall to 14-16 since the injury of one Rickie Weeks.

Hey, I have a question. What is with the Brewers letting people rock them in their major league debuts on the mound? Doesn't this seem like this is always happening? Saturday night, the Crew made the name of new Tigers pitcher Alfredo Figaro look more like an All-Star candidate and less like a dish at Fazolis. Between that and our ability to let pitchers hit home runs off of us, the Brewers have been very kind to the opposition's hurlers this season.

As for Player of the Game in this one, which is why we are all here of course, let's give it to Ryan Braun. There's really no arguing this one, Braun was 4-for-5 with a HR, 2 runs, and 2 RBI. He improves his batting average to .325 on the season.

And hey, be sure to thank Jody Gerut for another hitless performance. Mrs. Gerut went 0-for-4 as she was filling in for Mike Cameron, who served his reduced one game suspension. Thanks, honey!

Brewers Lose Rain-Shortened Affair

Rain and thunderstorms may have saved the Brewers from a loss a few weeks back in St. Louis, which is why many Brewers fans were optimistic when the game on Friday night went into a rain delay, as the Brewers were down 7-4 in the 4th innings. You need to complete five innings to make a game official, and even though the game was delayed for more than two hours, it eventually resumed and the Brewers were handed a 10-4 loss. The game was called after the seventh inning, as the rains would hit Detroit for a second time, and this time everyone agreed to just call it a day.

The main problem again, as you can guess by the score, was the pitching. Looper got rocked for seven runs before the delay, and then Chris Narveson gave up another three after. Clearly, this where we have to look towards the offense for a Player of the Game, and tonight Prince Fielder takes the honors. Fielder went 2-for-4 with one run and 3 RBI, which came off of a home run in the first inning. Other than that, not much else to talk about. This was just one of those games.

The loss drops the Crew to 37-30, but they remain atop the NL Central. The next two games are day contests in Detroit, with the Saturday game taking place on Fox, and we all know how well the Brewers do on national television (although the 14-12 win on Monday against Cleveland was a nice surprise). It's still hard for me to watch the Brewers play Detroit without immediately thinking of the Justin Verlander no-hitter against us a few years back, so hopefully we can do a little bit more this weekend to exact our revenge.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tony Mandarich's Life Keeps Getting Better

More fun times in the wild life that is Tony Mandarich. You'd think being known as the biggest bust in the history of sports would have been enough for him, but no, this guy isn't done yet. The latest? His ex-fiancee is claiming Mandarich set up a porn website under her name so that when people google searched for Sharra Ferbrache, the first site that popped up was full of sexual content of her and the like, including pictures from when they were together back in 2002. Don't bother searching for her now though, the sites have long been taken down.

Here's the rest of the latest sad, twisted chapter of The Incredible Bulk's life, as told by Deadspin.

I Guess This League Is Actually Happening

This United Football League has been very secretive about their upcoming debut in the Fall of 2009 so far, but it looks like they are ready to start divulging some information. It appears there will be four teams to start the 2009 season, with another two to join in 2010. The teams will be located in Las Vegas (coached by Jim Fassel), New York (Ted Cotrell), Orlando (Jim Haslett), and San Francisco (Dennis Green). Teams from Hartford and L.A. are expected to join the league in 2010. For more information about the league structure, check out the Wikipedia entry, it's pretty informative.

The league held it's first draft last night, and there are already a ton of Wisconsin connections that I wanted to share with you. Here they are team-by-team, and I've extracted the notables for you:

UFL Las Vegas

NT Wendell Bryant (UW-Madison)
WR Andrae Thurman (former Packer)
Other notables: DB Adam Archuleta, WR David Kircus

UFL New York

No significant Wisconsin connections
Other notables: RB LaBrandon Toefield, RB Cecil Sapp

UFL Orlando

QB Brooks Bollinger (Wisconsin)
Other notables: NT Fred Bledsoe, DB Mike Doss, RB Chris Perry, NT Larry Tripplett, TE Jermaine Wiggins

UFL San Francisco

DB Marviel Underwood (former Packer)
DB Jeremy Unertl (UW-La Crosse and former Packer)

I'm not sure how they fill out the rest of the rosters, but it should be interested that there is no mention of guys like Quinn Gray, Mike Vick, Tim Rattay, Ken Dorsey, or J.P. Losman, all guys who were expected to be sought after by the UFL.

It's really up to you guys how much you want me to follow this league for you, because I don't want to get burned again by an upstart league. I was all aboard with the XFL, and the Orlando Rage were my favorite team (I still have a Rage jersey even). I told all my friends to come over for the inagural game, but the only person that showed up to watch it with me was my brother. I watched the games whenever I could, but ultimately the league folded and I was left looking stupid. This UFL seems to be way more legit, although the first season will only feature six games per team, which will be broadcast on Versus on Friday nights. I'm sure I'll check it out with a curious eye, but we'll see what happens.

Congrats to all the guys with Badger, Packer, and even UW-Lax connections that were selected.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The U.S. Has a Long Way To Go

Seven years ago, the United States put together a run and nearly found themselves in the World Cup Semi-Finals. Now, one year away from another likely World Cup appearance, the progression the U.S. has made in these last seven years seems minimal.

Sure, nobody really expected us to beat either Italy or Brazil, but that might be part of the problem. When I say nobody expected us to win, I'm including the eleven guys on the field during those games. The United States soccer team seems to be missing that sort of character that allows them to perform against the heavy hitters, and you can blame that on the players or you can blame that on the coaching. Former soccer star Alexi Lalas said on ESPN today that he thinks the problem is with the players, in that a) this team has no true leaders and b) it's just not the right collection of guys to make any sort of a run.

You can't be upset with the fact that U.S. lost to Brazil, but you can be upset with how they lost to them. Check out the highlights from ESPN (I'd put them up here, but they usually take it down after a day), and it's flat out embarrassing. The U.S. was outclassed and outplayed in every way. You might expect to be outplayed by one of the world's best, but a lot of the things that happened today were less because of what of Brazil did, but more because of how the U.S. reacted.

So the U.S. is basically already out of this Confederations Cup, that is unless Egypt can somehow pull off an upset against Italy in a game going on right now. The U.S. would then have to beat Egypt and Brazil would need to beat Italy. They'd probably have to score a ton of goals as well because of goal differential, so this thing is all but over.

The larger picture though is how will the U.S. use this experience to help them come 2010? They do have a year to figure it out, but judging by this tournament and the disappointing loss to Costa Rica a few weeks back, one year may not be enough.

Update: Wow, what a thrilling last twenty minutes of the game between Italy and Egypt. Seriously, there is nothing better than International Soccer, especially on a weekday afternoon. Egypt knocks off Italy, 1-0, in a big, but not quite major, upset. Italy had about 45 chances in the last ten minutes, but just couldn't put it past the Egyptian keeper. This means the U.S. has a chance to make the next round with a win against Egypt on Sunday, although a very small chance.

Winks Thinks: The Pick Sticks Edition

Fergie: Hot or Not? I can never tell, but lately I'm really into her. Hence the picture. But she's just a small part of Winks Thinks this week, which mainly focuses on my quest to try to like the NHL next season. I run through the teams and come up with eight squads that I wouldn't mind following next year, but I need your help. All that and more in this week's edition of Winks Thinks.

I Have To Have This Shirt

I don't know who made this shirt up, or where it came from. All that matters is that I need to get my hands on this, ASAP. Thanks to Shep for passing this along.

Brewers Use Extra Innings to Sweep Tribe

Not a bad way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Major League if you ask me, as the Brewers sweep the Indians in Cleveland with a 8-7 extra innings victory. J.J. Hardy hit a sac fly in the 11th to score the winning run, and then Mark DiFelice and Mitch Stetter were able to keep Cleveland off the board to get the victory.

There was some bad news in this one though. Braun left the game early for Jody Gerut because his back was acting up, although Braun should be fine after Thursday's off day. Bill Hall hit a home run, which I see as bad news because it just prolongs his time on this team. But the worst news is that Trevor Hoffman had another rough outing, this time blowing a save when he gave up two runs in the 9th. Yikes.

But the Brewers won, and the POTG honor is going to go to one of these two men:

Corey Hart - 3-for-5, HR, 3 RBI, one run scored.
J.J. Hardy - 2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 run scored, game winning sacrifice fly.

This is about as tough of a pick as we've had all year, but I'm going to go with Corey Hart. Yes, Hardy had the sac fly, and had it been a hit he might have got the honor. Hart hit his home run in the 9th inning when this one looked to be in the hands of Milwaukee, but as it turned out, that home run kept the Brewers in the ballgame. That, and he had two of his RBI with two outs, which is a big stat. I could have gone either way on this, but tonight I'm going Corey.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

POTG: Brewers 7, Indians 5

It was another rough night for the pitching staff, including starter Yovani Gallardo who reached 116 pitches in just five innings. But once again, the offense was able to deliver, and the Brewers have won their series against the Indians after Tuesday's 7-5 win in The Cleve. There's still one more game to go in this series though, that will take place Wednesday night at 6:05pm.

Our Player of the Game tonight could have gone to a number of people, but we're going to give it to J.J. Hardy. Hardy made a huge effort to snap his slump tonight, going 2-for-4 with 2 RBI and a run, all coming from the eighth spot in the lineup. Every Brewer got a hit tonight except for Casey McGehee, who left the game early with knee problems, and Bill Hall, who just flat out sucks.

Congrats to Chad Lyons for getting the first nod in the Box Score Contest. This contest will go through the end of July, so make sure to get as many as you can.

Brewers vs. Indians LIVE BLOG!!!

Artie Lange Outdoes Brett Favre

Even though Brett Favre compared him wanting to play for Minnesota to when Vince Lombardi went to coach the Redskins, Favre is not the newsmaker from the debut of Joe Buck Live last night. That distinct honor goes to Artie Lange, who did want many of us have wanted to do for years, and ripped apart Joe Buck right to his face. Warning, the following video is very offensive if you don't like vulgar language or references to sexual activity. It's also offensive if you do like Joe Buck. Via Bob's Blitz:

Insane, simply insane. That certainly was Artie Lange doing what Artie Lange does best, and you could see the worry on Joe Buck's face intensify with each comment. That's the problem I have with Joe Buck, I would have liked to see him deal with the situation better. Granted, it's hard to comeback from something fairly unexpected like this, but it's just another example of why Joe Buck is called "out of touch". The man just has an aura of "I'm better than you", and Artie took full advantage of tearing that apart. Classic stuff, if you ask me.

But wait, there's more! For some reason, Buck decided to continue this train wreck for another eight minutes on HBO's website. The Big Lead has that video, which is just as hilarious if not more so.

I would just like to end this column by personally thanking Artie Lange for making him the focus of the first Joe Buck Live, and taking some of the media coverage away from Brett Favre today. It was refreshing.

Monday, June 15, 2009

POTG: Brewers 14, Indians 12

Talk about a game I actually want to do a recap on. Unfortunately, a 5:30am start time at work tomorrow is sending me to bed, so here's one of those abbreviated editions I was talking about. I tried to keep things a little suspenseful with the Player of the Game by showing both Braun and Fielder, and here are their stat lines:

Ryan Braun - 3-for-4, 4 runs, 5 RBI, a double away from the cycle.
Prince Fielder - 2-for-3, 6 RBI, go-ahead Grand Slam in the 8th.

As deserving as Braun is, I have to go with Prince on this one. Not only did his grand slam put the Brewers on top once and for all in this back-and-forth game, but it also forced FSN Wisconsin to delete every "Prince Fielder: No Career Grand Slams" graphic that they have in that truck. Again, Braun had one hell of a night, but I think even he would give the award to Fielder tonight.

Again, if you know the box score reference, tell me in the comments. This game is that simple.

You Can't Win With Ten Guys

Imagine playing basketball, and one of your teammates fouls a guy pretty hard at half-court sometime during the second quarter. The foul is so hard that your teammate is not only kicked out of the game, but you can't replace him. For the rest of the game you're forced to play a man down, and you're going at your opponent four-on-five.

Yeah, it's a little different because of the numbers, but in soccer losing one guy has about just as much impact as it would it another sport. Soccer people know that when you lose a guy to a red card, as was the case with the United States and Ricardo Clark today, it's pretty much hard to come back from that if it's early enough in the game. This red card happened at the 33 minute mark, which is still fairly early.

The play in question was a hard tackle from Clark, and should have been a yellow card for sure. But a red card was crossing the line, especially as there were much harder fouls during the match as it progressed. Nothing you can do about it though.

The U.S. did buck in the odds when Landon Donovan nailed a penalty kick a short time later, but Italy would control the second half and pound shots mercilessly at U.S. keeper Tim Howard. Howard played a great game, but still gave up three goals as Sam's Army lost 3-1. The first two goals were long shots too, which is always disheartening. ESPN's Alexi Lalas said after the game that playing a man down can be no excuse for those goals, because you usually play a man short on offense, not on defense. Good point by Lalas. (Sidenote: This is the 3rd straight game Donovan hit a PK.)

The problem though is that when a goal is allowed, it's very tough to score with only ten men. It's hard enough to score as it is in soccer, and that point was proven today. The loss to Italy isn't a surprise, but the U.S. really needed a draw to have a shot at advancing in the Confederations Cup. Next up is Brazil on Thursday, and a loss would definitely make their Sunday contest against Egypt meaningless.

Update: Here's video from Awful Announcing, until the YouTube gods take it down anyways.

Brewers Staying Steady in All-Star Voting

With about a month to play before we reach the Annual Mid-Summer Classic, the Brewers are holding steady amongst fan voting. Ryan Braun still remains in 2nd place in the outfield, and would be a starter should the voting end today, although he's likely to maintain that position anyway. As for the rest of the Brewers, here's what we got:

Catcher - Jason Kendall - 3rd Place
First Base - Prince Fielder - 3rd Place
Second Base - Rickie Weeks - 3rd Place
Shortstop - J.J. Hardy - 3rd Place
Third Base - Bill Hall - 5th Place (Sigh...)
Outfield - Mike Cameron - 7th Place
Outfield - Corey Hart - 9th Place

I still say that Braun gets voted in, and then Prince, Hoffman, and possibly Gallardo will be selected into the game. Mike Cameron would be the next most deserving Brewer to make the cut. Here's the link so you can continue voting for non-Bill Hall Brewers.

Let's Not Forget About Soccer Today

I know you've been loving the World Cup Qualifiers as much as I have (except for the tough U.S. loss to Costa Rica last week), and I wanted you all to be aware that more great international soccer is one the way. Before South Africa hosts the World Cup next year, they are preparing by hosting the Confederations Cup, in which champions of soccer tournaments from all around the globe take part in this international competition.

The participants are as follows: South Africa (2010 World Cup host), Italy (2006 World Cup winner), Brazil (2007 Copa America winner), Iraq (2007 AFC Asian Cup winner), Egypt (2008 African Cup of Nations winner), Spain (UEFA 2008 winner), New Zealand (2008 OFC Nations Cup winner), and of course, the good old US of A (2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup winner). There will be two groups of four and the teams will square off in round robin action, followed by the top four teams advancing to the semifinals. It's kind of a like a mini-World Cup, to put it more simply.

Since I know all of you love soccer, you'll have plenty of chances to watch all the games on either ESPN or ESPN2. The full television schedule can be found here. But if you're only interested in Uncle Sam, here are the times and dates when you can catch them (all times are Wisconsin Central Time).

Monday, June 15th (TODAY!!!)
1:25pm - vs. Italy - ESPN

Thursday, June 18th
8:55am - vs. Brazil - ESPN2

Sunday, June 21st
1:25pm - vs. Egypt - ESPN2

It's going to be a tough road for the United States for sure. You'd think they could get in with a win and a draw, so hopefully we can be Egypt and tie one of the powerhouses. The United States is going to need all the support they can get, so make sure you are watching every single minute of every single game!

Just In Case You Care....

Two of the biggest d-bags in the world will be in the same room tonight, when Brett Favre will appear on the first episode of HBO's "Joe Buck Live". This is going to be the first time we hear from Favre directly regarding the whole Vikings situation, so it should be interesting, or something. The show will be broadcast live, hence the title, at 8pm Central tonight. Chances the following will occur:

80% chance Favre will appear smug and act like he's above us all.

65% chance Favre will say actually what Deanna has told him to say, because we all know she's the puppetmaster here.

40% chance Joe Buck will make jokes that nobody will laugh at.

25 % chance Favre pulls the "something's bound to happen" routine.

0% chance I'll be watching.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Happy birthday to the man that always has my back!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Lake Show Does It Again

Hey, look at that, Kobe finally won a title without Shaq. While I'm a huge fan of the Big Shaqtus, I was rooting for Kobe to get the Shaq monkey off his shoulders. Granted, he had Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, Trevor Ariza, and many others (including my first favorite Fisher, Derek), but this has always been Kobe's team. Call me bandwagon or whatever you want to call it, but I've always been a "Lakers Guy", and I was happy to see them win tonight ("Lakers Guy" is a term not to be confused with "Lakers Fan", by the way). I am, however, a big Kobe fan.

This victory of theirs, their 15th NBA Championship, and Phil Jackson's incredible 10th title, brings to mind a post that was written on this website well over a year ago. Bear made his first contribution to this site by posting "Off Topic: Why the Gasol Trade is Not a Guaranteed Winner", and it's worth a look back if you're bored. This article holds a special place in my heart because after Bear wrote it, I posted it on Lakers message boards to bring in some traffic, and boy did those people go off on him. Anyways, it's a little Bucky Channel nostalgia for you.

On while we're on the topic of finals winners, congrats to the Pittsburgh Penguins as well, in what was actually a terrific Stanley Cup finals.

Brewers Close Out Disappointing Homestand

Oh, the highs and lows of a 162 game schedule. Last week the Brewers were building a nice 2.5 game lead in the NL Central, but this week they've come back down and could be out of first after tonight's Cardinals game. This is the result of a 1-5 homestand, where they were first swept by the Colorado Rockies and then lost two out of three to the Chicago White Sox. Chicago was able to knock off Milwaukee 5-4, to send the Brewers down to a 34-29 record as they continue to show signs of struggle.

The main story of this game in my opinion? It's that all things that end, end badly. Otherwise they wouldn't come to an end. This game's version of that was Trevor Hoffman's scoreless innings streak as a Brewer, which was snapped at 18 2/3 innings care of A.J. Pierzynski. Hoffman entered the game in the 9th inning with the score tied at four, struggled a bit and then let up the run. Unfortunately, I kind of had a feeling when he came in that today was going to be the day the streak ended, and that's exactly what happened.

Another negative from this game? The Brewers and their inexplicable love of letting the opposing pitcher get a home run. Last week it was Josh Johnson, this week it was Mark Buerhle. Mark Buerhle, a guy who pitches in the American League hit his first career home run courtesy of Braden Looper in the 3rd inning. Looper ended up going six inning while allowing four runs.

The Crew did their best to bring power back to the offense, but unfortunately all three of the homers they cranked were solo shots. Casey McGehee hit his first of the year as part of a 3-for-4 performance, while Corey Hart had two himself. It's a close one today, but Hart is going to get the Player of the Game. Prince Fielder also added an RBI.

So that's the recap, even though I said I wasn't going to do recaps anymore. I guess I lied. I'll probably still do them more often than not, but if I don't, we'll at least throw up a box score reference and a POTG. Speaking of Box Score references, tomorrow will be the debut of the Box Score Reference Contest. By now you've noticed I link to the box score through some random reference, and the person that gets the most correct will win the soon-to-be created (......) Bucky Channel t-shirt. Probably. All you have to do is say the reference in the comments, all are eligible. G'luck (that's a soccer reference in itself).

Next up for a Crew is a three game set in The Cleve, starting at 6:05pm. Also, another programming note. We'll be doing the SportsBubbler live blog for the game again on Tuesday night, so feel free to stop on by.

I'm Starting to Like Lance Briggs

“We know he’s going to throw us a few (interceptions). He’s thrown me a few, but I’ve also dropped several that I should have caught. We’d love to see Favre go there to play. We’d welcome it.”

These are the words of Lance Briggs, linebacker for the Chicago Bears. I'm trying not to comment to much on the Favre/Vikings saga, but I will say this - what a difference a year makes. After he "retired" from the Packers, the world wondered why on earth the Packers wouldn't welcome Favre back. But after he "retired" from the Jets, defenses throughout the league are dying for the old man to return so they can catch another one of the all-time interception leader's errant throws.

I'm actually enjoying this latest round of Favre drama, because if nothing else he has now become a major distraction to Brad Childress and the Minnesota Vikings. As I've said before, I am praying every night that Favre plays for the Vikings, mainly because my sentiments resemble that of one Bears linebacker.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The All-Former Brewers Team

Inspired by Tomo Ohka's start on Saturday for the Cleveland Indians, as well as the recent conversation Bear and I had about how many former Brewers are currently playing down in Tampa Bay, I wanted to see just exactly where are the former Brewers are playing these days. The real question I wanted to know is would a team of 25 ex-Brewers be better than the 2009 model of the club? Without further adieu, here is the all-former Brewers roster of guys currently active in the MLB (I'm including players on the DL, and yes, it's Saturday night and I'm bored).

C - Henry Blanco (Padres)
1B - Russell Branyan (Mariners)
*Lyle Overbay (Blue Jays)
2B - Mark Loretta (Dodgers)
3B - Wes Helms (Marlins)
SS - J.J. Hardy (Red Sox) (Only kidding! For now...)
OF - Nelson Cruz (Rangers)
OF - Carlos Lee (Astros)
OF - Gary Sheffield (Mets)
UTIL - Gabe Gross (Rays)
UTIL - Scott Podsednik (White Sox)
UTIL - Tony Gwynn Jr. (Padres)
UTIL - Gabe Kapler (Rays)
UTIL - Laynce Nix (Reds)
UTIL - Fat Stairs (Phillies)
SP - CC Sabathia (Yankees)
SP - Jorge De La Rosa (Rockies)
SP - Tomo Ohka (Indians)
RP - Mike Adams (Padres)
RP - David Weathers (Reds)
RP - Francisco Cordero (Reds)
RP - Brian Shouse (Rays)
RP - Grant Balfour (Rays)
RP - Luis Vizcaino (Indians)
RP - Greg Aquino (Indians)
RP - Scott Linebrink (White Sox)
RP - Dennis Sarfate (Orioles)

* How could I have forgotten about DoubleBay?

Guillermo Mota and Julian Tavarez don't make the cut, although you could argue for them over Vizcaino and Aquino. That, and I couldn't find someone to play shortstop, I guess Joe Dillon could fill that role, but he's not currently active. Either way, while this team wouldn't be very good (they only have three starting pitchers), it's safe to say the Brewers let a few get away, but they also used to have a lot of very shitty players. Let me know if I missed anyone. Good night!

Manny Headed to Nashburg

Looks like I was wise to post those flight times after all, because Manny Parra is definitely going to be on one of them. After his dreadful 1 2/3 innings performance in which he gave up six runs, Parra has been sent down to Nashville. This should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody, as Parra has been the weak link of this pitching staff for over a month now. By getting his 8th lost of the season on Saturday, Parra now has as many losses to his name by June 13th as he did all of last year. We hope to see you back up soon, Manny, but this move absolutely had to happen.

Lefty Chris Narveson, who you know from Spring Training box scores, has been called up in place of Parra and will be used in the bullpen. Because of the scheduling, the Brewers don't need a fifth starter until the end of the month, so it appears they'll be going with a four-man rotation until then. Narveson will get the big league experience he deserves, while Parra will get to work with former Brewers pitcher Chris Bosio, now the pitching coach in Nashville.

I'm optimistic this move can work out for Manny the way it did for Dave Bush last season. However, if Parra doesn't get his act together soon, we may be looking at another failed Brewers pitching prospect in the likes of Ben Henrickson, Dana Eveland, and Jorge De La Rosa. Good luck, Manny.

As for Manny's performance today, it doomed the Brewers early and they knew it. Jose Contreras only gave up two hits across eight innings, and the only run the Brewers could muster was a Casey McGehee RBI in the 9th as the Brewers ended up losing 7-1.

Todd Coffey, Trevor Hoffman (who needed the work), and Carlos Villanueva all pitched well in relief, but the Player of the Game award goes to Chris Smith. Smith filled in for Manny Parra and stopped the bleeding, going 3 1/3 innings while giving up just one hit, and that happened to be a home run. Smith also struck out five and while able to save the bullpen from being entirely depleted. This award should come as no surprise, Mike Burns got the honor for doing the exact same thing - stopping the bleeding - during a Manny Parra start last week.

The other worthwhile note from this game was we saw Frank Catalanotto play some second base for the first time this season, that was interesting. Rubber match is Sunday afternoon at 1:05pm.

No matter what, no matter when, no matter who... any man has a chance to sweep any woman off her feet. He just needs the right broom.

Total Pageviews


This site is not affiliated with, nor endorsed or sponsored by, the University of Wisconsin.