Friday, December 3, 2010

Where is the 2022 World Cup? Qatar for some reason.



Before I start ranting and bitching about how lame FIFA's decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar instead of the United States is, let me just share with you one passage I found from some random chicks blog describing what summers are like in the middle-eastern country:

I can't begin to explain the heat here! I have no idea how people survived in this country before Samsung and LG start selling airconditioners en mass.

Let me try to give you an idea of this heat if you're lucky enough not to be in Doha right now:

1. It's 11pm and I've just taken a shower. The sun has been down for about 5 hours now. When I turn on the cold water tap the water that comes out is uncomfortably hot. That's right - this is not water coming out of the water heater - this is water from the cold water tap. It's so hot from the sun that boiled the tanker that it stays in during the day (5 hours ago!) 
2. If I walk out of an airconditioned lobby with my sunglasses on they will immediately steam up (you won't believe it until you experience it!)
3. If I walk from the car park to the office block I feel as if I just took a shower - I'll be drenched in perspiration.
4. If I walk outside right now (at 11pm) it is hotter than any English summer midday I've ever experienced (even the heatwave) 
5. I have four airconditioners on in the house and I am still breaking a sweat.
So there are about five million reasons why the United States should have received the World Cup bid over Qatar (ever heard of it before today?), but I'm telling you, the fact that their summers average 115 degree temperatures is enough for me. Also terrible reasons for hosting the Cup in Qatar include the fact that nearly none of their stadiums are built yet, Qatar as a nation is going to be a terrible World Cup team (the host country automatically qualifies), and did I mention already that they are in the Middle East!

I don't want to be offensive here, but hosting the biggest sports tournament in the world doesn't seem like something a middle-eastern country that is smaller than Connecticut is capable of. Then again, I think that is exactly why FIFA chose them to host the 2022 World Cup. Lately when it comes to FIFA, the illogical has become the logical when they are making decisions. The World Cup in South Africa seemed like a bad idea at the time, but the fact that the Cup turned out successful is more reason why FIFA head Sepp Blatter went with unproven Qatar for 2022, and took Russia over more logical choices such as England and Spain for 2018. The whole theory of thinking outside of the box seems to be FIFA's end game right now, and one could argue that they did the same thing when they chose the United States to host back in 1994.

The biggest thing to take away from this announcement, besides the fact that is a terribly stupid one, is that FIFA wants to spread the game and impact countries that wouldn't normally be impacted, and that's ultimately why they chose Qatar. Even though America has better facilities, better transportation, a safer environment, and fan bases from every country in the tournament, FIFA decided to go with the underdog. Nevermind the fact that I'm sure Qatar bribed them with a shitload of money because there's no way in hell they should be hosting this tournament.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

What ever happened to The Bucky Channel?

I feel like I've seen this exact post written one a hundred different blogs out there, so I'm going to keep this short and sweet. After the Packers loss last week to the Bears, I sat at my computer for a good while trying to figure out how to write a column that would be seemingly be going against the grain. Despite everyone panicking that the season was over because we lost to the Bears on the road, I didn't think the loss was that much cause for alarm. I'm not sure if it was because of how mad I was at people that were overreacting or if I was just tired, but I just did not feel like writing the article.

 
As the week went by, I still just did not feel like writing the article, and that has kind of been the problem around here lately. I'm not going to pretend like I'm a terribly busy guy, but when this blog was in it's heyday it's because I was either a) writing it from work, which is impossible now or b) working very little if at all, which gave me mounds of freetime. Hell, I've been planning on this article for five days, and I just haven't been able to.

It sucks because I've seen so many blogs come and go, and while I'm not saying that I'm shutting things down completely, I can now realize why those blogs packed it up and said goodbye. If I really wanted to make this site to be what I really want it to be, that would take up a lot of time and energy that I just don't have right now. Because I've been looking at this as more of a chore than a hobby, I'm probably going to shut it down for awhile. I don't really know what that means, or how long I'll feel like this, but to those of you that have been coming here this week wondering what the hell has been going on, I wanted to write this little blurb.

In the meantime, thanks to everyone who has come here and read the things I've had to say. Thanks to Bear and Gweeds for contributing, thanks to Dan for the good things we were able to do on SportsBubbler, thanks to Wally and PocketDoppler for letting me write some Winks Thinks over there (which I will still probably do on occasion). Thanks to everyone really.

Honestly, if this was my final post I would probably just take the site off of Blogger. I do love writing, and I do love sports, but I just need an extended break right now from The Bucky Channel. Unfortunately, it's going to be an indefinite break and I don't have a timetable for my return. Who knows, maybe in a couple of weeks I'll get the itch, and something will be bound to happen.

Man, Favre is such a douche.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

If Brett Favre isn't retired, then I will retire from Brett Favre

I remember exactly where I was the first day that Brett Favre retired from the Green Bay Packers. 

Not from football exactly, but as it turned out just from the Packers, as this moment would become the first in a long series of quote unquote retirements from the ol' gunslinger, as everyone likes to call him. On that fateful March day, I was covering the La Crosse Aquinas Blugolds basketball team as they were taking part in the state tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison, but my attention was quickly averted to the television in the press area under the stadium. By the time word spread of what was unfolding, at least fifty some press pass wearing individuals were watching Favre trying to keep his tears off of his buttoned-up blue shirt. While the details of that day still remain quite vivid, what I remember most was how much emotion I felt that day, and how sad I was to see my hero walk away.

How quickly things change.

We all know the details of what happened since then. Favre started to get that infamous itch, and then "something was bound to happen". He tried to come back to Green Bay, but Teddy Thompson made his best move to date and shipped him to the Jets. Favre had a successful twelve weeks in New York but then collapsed and the Jets missed the playoffs. He retired again. Next thing you know, Favre was a Purple People Eater and the Vikings led by Favre were beating the Packers at Lambeau Field. Favre took his new team on a clear path to the Super Bowl, threw a terrible pick for no reason against the Saints, and then went into offseason number six where his main objective was to be as coy as possible about his future. Hell, remember the season in 2005 where the Pack went 4-12? I did whatever I could to get to Lambeau for the last game of the season because I thought that was Favre's last game. Clearly, I was fooled. As were we all.

It's easy to see though that the last two years have been quite tumultuous in the life of Brett Favre, and thus so have the lives of anyone that considered/considers themselves a Brett Favre fan. I always like to contend that I was amongst the most diehard of the bunch, owning as much Favre memorabilia as I could get my hands on with my most prized possession being the football he signed for me when I met him at the age of twelve. About two weeks before he ended up "retiring" from the Packers (and I truly believe no word has been used within the context of quotes as the word retirement as when pertaining to Brett Favre), I nearly bought a personalized red training camp jersey with the number four on both sides and the inscription of "GOD" on the back. This guy was my idol, there were no two ways around it.

But now, on the day that he has apparently decided to retire from the NFL for good after 19 years in the league, I feel nothing. My brother text me "No more Favre!" about twenty minutes after the news came down that he was to inform the Vikings he was calling it quits, but for some reason I didn't feel the same joy that I thought I would to see this man finally out of the league. When I came home for lunch, I turned on the 1pm SportsCenter as per usual and even though it was wall-to-wall Favre coverage, I didn't throw a temper tantrum as I had done anytime the network even mentioned his name in the last year. I realized then and there that it didn't and therefore doesn't matter to me anymore whether this man plays another NFL down again. When it comes to Brett Favre, my idol and hero for 16 years, I can honestly say that I just don't give a shit about him anymore (remember, I swear now on this blog. Hey, if Kenny can toss out a "bullshit" out of nowhere on TBS's My Boys, then I can take a little liberty to swear on this half-assed site as well).

The indifference could be because of the fact that I'm not entirely sure that Favre has even retired, but more on that in a moment. What I think is really driving my lack of caring about anything Favre related is that I'm just drained out by it all. Looking back on things, last year was an exhausting year for us Favre haters. First, we had to deal with all the so-called Packers fans that liked Favre enough to bolt the Packer bandwagon and head on over to Minnesota's. Lame. Then, we had to watch how Favre beat the Packers not once, but twice during the regular season, both in heartbreaking fashion. After all that, it finally became clear that Brett Favre was actually going to be taking the Minnesota Vikings to a Super Bowl until he threw arguably the worst interception of his career and gave the Saints a free birth to the championship. With that said, I still maintain that the fact that I am right now wearing the Saints NFC Championship shirt that I ordered five minutes after that interception happened is purely coincidence.
Honestly though, who is this decision really affecting anymore? The best part of this whole breaking news today is that I'm not even sure anyone believes it. Members of the Packers and the Bears and hell, anyone else throughout the NFL that was asked about the news on Tuesday spoke out about how they won't believe it until they see Favre's name isn't in the starting lineup before they play him. 

ProFootballTalk is flat out convinced that Favre will be in a Vikings uniform this season, and even the anchors on ESPN where skeptical when they were showing basically the same interviews and highlights regarding Favre's retirement that they have been showing for the past two offseasons. I can't believe how much coverage Favre did receive on Tuesday about retiring even though we never heard straight from the man himself, but something tells me that is exactly the kind of thing that makes Favre tick.

Who's not to say that a few days from now, or hell, even twelve minutes after this is posted, that Favre won't hold a press conference to dispute all the speculation that he is retiring. Can't you see it now? Well golly gee, I didn't never know what all this fuss was about. I was just out on the farm picking some good ol' strawberries all day, and I get home to my portable phone and see all these text messages about retirement. I didn't say nothing to nobody, guess it was just a misunderstanding. I'm still waiting to see how my ankle feels, might throw a little ball with the high school lads this afternoon. I can't say I've made up my mind, it's too early for that. I wish I knew, I just don't know. Favre is retiring apparently, but we never heard Favre say that yet, and that has me believing that come that first game against the Saints, Favre will be under center and this will just be another wasted day in the lives of anyone that follows football.

Honestly though, right now. You. Do you feel like Favre is retired? If you do, can you honestly say 100 percent that is the case? Because I can't. I really think that because we haven't heard anything remotely close to Favre or even his agent, we can't take this seriously. If you look at every fantasy draft board out there, Favre is still going in the fourth or fifth round. The Vikings are still a good bet to head to the Super Bowl this season, and Tavaris Jackson still doesn't think he'll be taking the first snap on Thursday night of week one. Favre's whole motivation these last few offseasons has been to skip training camp and get a few snaps in before the season starts, and I don't see him changing his tune this season. I do feel though that Favre will be starting against New Orleans week one, and we'll all just laugh about this pseudo retirement come that night.

In the end though, I don't care if he's taking snaps that game. I also don't care if he's sitting at home watching the contest on his big screen television that night. Nor do I care if he chooses to sit out with the Vikings but then joins a team after their starting quarterback goes down in week three. No matter what Favre does this season, I just don't care. And I think that's actually why I'm happy about all the news or fake news that has been reported on Tuesday. Because whether he stays or whether he goes, I just don't care anymore. And not caring about Brett Favre, while something I never thought would be possible, is something that I have no problem with.

Come back, don't come back, I just don't care anymore.

Oh, how quickly things change.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

This Is Why I Don't Believe in Anything

Alright, so maybe I'm overreacting with the title here, but what a heartbreaking loss it was for the United States on Saturday. Even though the circumstances were different, the result was the same - a 2-1 loss to Ghana has eliminated the United States from the World Cup.

I know that once things settle and I look back at this World Cup I'll remember it for how miraculous some of the things that happened to the USA were, and that it was a great time where the nation really started to rally together around this team. From the Clint Dempsey goal against England, to the Slovenian comeback, to the Donovan goal in extra time against Algeria, it really has been quite amazing what has happened to and for this team. But the fact remains that even with that, even with all the luck on our side, another team I root for not only has their run come to and end, but it ends in heartbreak.

For many of you, watching this game may have been a decent way to spend an afternoon, but tomorrow you'll be back in your regular sports mode where soccer is on the backburner. But for me, soccer is a big deal. This national team is a big deal. Watching them try to improve their position in these World Cups every year since 1994 has been a big deal for me, and it's just gut wrenching to watch the Americans exit a little earlier than they should have, again.

In 2002, there was a non-called handball in the box by the Germans, but it went undetected and the Americans were sent home. In 2006, it was a disappointing loss to Ghana that kept us from advancing out of group play, losing because of a unquestionable penalty kick that was awarded to the opposition. This year, it was the fact that 120 minutes was just too much for these team, as they had already been pushed to the brink both physically and emotionally. In every one of these Cups though, the U.S. could have done better, and I keep waiting for the Cup where they do in fact do better. This year just isn't the year.

It makes me wonder - as all heartbreaking ends often do - why I even root this passionately for this stuff. The Packers loss to Arizona left me in shambles, and that's pretty similar to how I feel today. There's just a feeling of emptiness, a feeling of frustration, a feeling of wondering when all this fan heartache is going to finally pay off with a championship of any kind. As stupid as it sounds, it's hard being a sports fan, especially when you really do put a lot of your own emotion into the battles that someone else is fighting for you. It's a strange phenomenon really, how affected we are by sports.

But if I'm feeling this way, God knows how the players are feeling. Even though it's one and done in the knockout stage, you really have to be proud of these guys. They fought hard, came back to tie the game, and ended up running around a soccer field for 120 minutes, just one goal short. Hopefully people realize how special this team was, instead of retreating back to pissing all over soccer again.

The game itself started just like any other typical U.S. game as of late, as they gave up an early goal when Kevin-Prince Boateng scored in the game's fifth minute. It was a goal that had many questioning the starting nod to Ricardo Clark by Coach Bradley, and why Bradley didn't go with the lineup that looked so strong against Algeria. The defense was cut up on the play, the ball squeaked past Tim Howard on the near side, and the Americans once again found themselves needing a comeback.

They were granted with one when Clint Dempsey was ripped down in the box, setting up a penalty kick for Landon Donovan. Donovan barely made this kick, using the inside of the right post to guide the ball into the back of the net. At that point, the U.S. was in control of the game, and they had plenty of chances to take the lead. But just like the first ninety minutes of the game against Algeria, no matter how good the chance the U.S. just couldn't convert.

With the game tied at one and the final whistle blown, the stage was set for extra time. Thirty more minutes were to be played, no matter what. If the game was still tied, we were going to the penalty mark. But again, Ghana found a way to shred the defense and score early, as Asamoah Gyan somehow was able to keep his balance and lift a ball just over Howard. From that point on, the Ghanaians used every time-wasting tactic in the book, but it didn't matter. This game was over from the moment that ball hit the net, and the U.S. just didn't have anything left in them to comeback once more. There were some chances late, but when you run out of gas you run out of gas, and the tank was empty for Uncle Sam.

This wasn't a team that was going to win the World Cup by any means, but they did have a great opportunity to at least make it to the semifinals and play on the final weekend of this World Cup. Ghana will now take on Uruguay (winners over South Korea) in the quarterfinals in what has to be the weakest quadrant of this tournament's knockout round. Both teams are deserving, for sure, but both could have been beaten by the United States. Especially Ghana, although they were ready to capitalize when they had opportunities while the United States could not.

In the next couple of days, Bradley will be questioned for his lineup, I will be questioning why Jozy Altidore thinks he's a wide receiver instead of a top striker, and people will go back to not caring / hating soccer. Things will revert back to normal, and you won't hear from this sport again until the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

In the next four years, the United States better hope the young guys have learned from this experience while grooming new members to step in, because one of these times we can no longer be waiting for a future where we are a soccer powerhouse. We should have the team that wins a game like this, and we should have the type of team that is playing after this weekend. We need to do everything in our power to make sure we keep developing players and building the sport. Because soccer in this country is never going to be more than a four year event until we have a team that can consistently make a deep run every four years.

Thank you though, to all of you that have hopped on the bandwagon. You may all now return to your normal everyday activities. I'll be in the corner crying, waiting for the heartbreak to pass.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Thoughts on Nebraska to the Big Ten

For a guy that has been struggling for the last 26 years to get out of Fond du Lac, believe me when I tell you that I do love change. I love when people move away from me, because they have the balls to change their lives in a way that I never could. I love when new buildings and streets are created, and I've often spent many sleepless nights scouring the Wisconsin DOT website for upcoming projects. That kind of nerdiness is why I'm so giddy at the prospect of Nebraska joining the Big Ten, not only for what it means for our conference but what it means for the entire landscape of collegiate sports.

For the Big Ten, the main change in all of this is that they will finally be able to get a conference championship game for college football, something the conference has been dying for so that they are no longer irrelevant for the entire month of December. Of course, there are like twenty other collegiate sports this will affect too, but really we all know that football is the driving force behind this move. Hell, we know it's not basketball. At least, Gweeds and I didn't because we just had about a ten minute conversation wondering if Nebraska even had a basketball team. Apparently, they do.

The move, assuming it's finalized of course, isn't going to take affect until 2012, but expect a lot more moving and shaking to happen once Nebraska does accept the invite to the Big Ten. Some Big 12 insiders are saying already that the conference is dead, as a handful of the conference's teams have an invite to join the Pac-10 in their quest towards a 16-team conference. Some of the Texas teams could then be heading for the SEC, leaving teams like Kansas and Missouri as possible Big Ten targets as well.

For years, the popular speculation was that if the Big Ten ever did expand to twelve teams that the logical choice would be Notre Dame. Notre Dame however has been beyond stubborn in their desire to join the conference, and continue to say that they enjoy being a football independent. But I have a hard time believing that if all this moving keeps happening, if the Big 12 truly dies, and if it really becomes four superconferences, I have a hard time believing that the Fighting Irish will still be as stubborn. Eventually, I would guess that the Big Ten is going to expand to 16 - Notre Dame, Missouri, Kansas, and possibly Rutgers (New York market for the Big Ten Network).

It's funny but really, the Big Ten Network was pretty much the reason all this has happening. The conference has banked off of having their own network, even though the selection is pretty weak between March and August (unless you like watching Iowa/Indiana football games from 1998, and Penn State campus programming). Other conferences now want to follow suit, and are gathering up as many teams as possible to being to build a strong television network. Like I said though, I'm all for this change, and can't wait to see how this all shakes out.

Now, if only I could get the hell out of Fond du Lac.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bucks Survivor: Round Ten

And then there were four. Slowly but surely, Bucks are being eliminating from this Bucks Survivor contest. Similar to the NBA Playoffs themselves, the contest starts out hot in April and then wears a little thin on you by the time June comes around. At this though this contest is proving to be somewhat interesting, outside of the lackluster NBA Finals. I don't know, maybe it's because the Celtics and Lakers got together already a few years ago, but I'm surprised with how uninterested I am in these Finals.

Nevertheless, the Bucks Survivor finals are just one week away, as it's now time for another double elimination round. Not joining us this week will be Carlos Delfino, as he was eliminated with 51 percent of the vote. Ersan Ilyasova was next with 24 percent, while Luc Richard Mbah a Moute wasn't too far behind with 18 percent.

This week's double elimination will be a bit different, as you'll be voting on which pair of Bucks you'd like to see eliminated. Whichever pair has the most votes will not be advancing to the finals, but I think by now everyone understands how the process of voting works. Again, voting can be done at the top right of this blog, and vote for which pair you'd like to see eliminated.

Brewers Continue to Build for (Near?) Future

After using their first round pick to take a prep pitcher in Dylan Covey, the Brewers looked to the college ranks for arms in the early rounds of day two. With the 64th pick, Milwaukee nabbed James Nelson out of Alabama, and then followed up with Tyler Thornburg from Charleston Southern. Both of these guys seem to have a capable future as starters in the big leagues, or least solid options out of the pen.

With their next pick, in the 4th round, the Brewers selected one possible replacement for Prince Fielder when they took Hunter Morris out of Auburn (pictured). Morris is another left-handed power guy, just like Prince, and was actually a second-round pick back in 2007 to the Boston Red Sox. He can also play either of the corner outfield positions, so it's highly likely there will be a spot for him sometime in the future at Miller Park.

After that, the Brewers continued to stock up on pitching, including spending three of their next four picks on right-handed arms. MLB.com has the rundown of the rest of the picks from day two, make sure to check it out.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Brewers Select Dylan Covey

He may not know how to spell Milwaukee, and the only thing he might now about the Brewers is that they have a slide in the outfield, but Milwaukee Brewers fans should get to know Dylan Covey. Taken by the Brewers with the 14th pick in the MLB draft, Covey is a right-handed pitcher set to graduate from Marantha High School is Pasadena, California. The Brewers could have taken a guy from college in an effort to get their first round pick up to the big leagues faster, but they instead chose the third prep pitcher taken in the draft.

Covey seems like a good kid, already drawing comparisons to Chad Billingsley. This season at his high school, he went 7-1 with a 0.40 ERA, collecting three saves as well as striking out 138 batters. He's got a fastball that can hit 96, and also seems to have a pretty effective slider, curveball, and changeup. Sounds like a quality pitcher to me.

Of course, the issue with drafting prep players is that you have to get them to sign rather than to go to college. He does have a scholarship to the University of San Diego, but in the previously linked article to Haudricourt's story, Covey seems like he definitely does want to sign. From everything I've read, I honestly don't see how this kid doesn't sign, and the Brewers seem to have added a quality arm to their minor league system.

Don't be going out and buying Covey jerseys already though, as again, this kid is just 18 years old. We have to remember that the MLB draft is completely different than that of the other leagues, and rarely does a guy go right from the draft to the bigs. Even Stephen Strasburg, a can't miss guy, spent a year in development before finally debuting Tuesday for the Nationals. Hell, we drafted Jeremy Jeffress in the first-round in 2006 and still haven't heard from him (remember, he's currently serving a 100-game suspension for drug abuse).

Still, I like the Covey pick here, and I'm glad that the Brewers got a guy that not only seems legit but one that also seems likely to sign. A lot of the players that the Brewers were projected to add in the first round were taken much earlier, but I'm thinking things turned out already for Milwaukee.

But I guess we won't really know though for another five years or so.

The Nightmare is Finally Over

You know what, I've decided I'm not going to gloat about this. I've been about as hard as you can be on Jeff Suppan during the last few years, and I suppose that I can lighten up on him now that's he finally been released from the Milwaukee Brewers. You know, Jeff Suppan the person is not a bad guy. I've met him before, he was very friendly, and of course we all know that he's been generous to charities and in the community. But he's just no longer a major league pitcher, and the time had come that he had to be released.

Actually, the time had come probably two years ago, but when you pay a guy $42 million over four years, it's hard to just cut ties with him so suddenly. But there was just no way to justify keeping this guy on the roster anymore, and as stubborn as Doug Melvin is he finally realized that fact. This year, in mostly mop-up duty even, Suppan went 0-2 with a 7.84 ERA. He was given a chance about a week ago against the Mets when Macha put him in when the game was tied at three in the sixth, but predictably Suppan struggled and the Brewers lost the game. For many, that was our final straw, and Melvin finally agreed.

The release of Jeff Suppan means that Chris Smith will be called up from Nashville. Smith pitched alright when he was up with the club last year, and has been pitching very well so far in Nashville as their closer. It's always a lot better to have guys in your bullpen that you are confident in, and it was apparent that the Brewers had lost all confidence in Jeff Suppan. I'm not sure if any other team is going to pick this guy up or not, but I doubt it. A minor-league contract maybe, but that's stretching it.

One of the reasons why Jeff Suppan was expendable at this point in the season, according to Doug Melvin, was that the Brewers are more comfortable with their pitching depth now than they were at the beginning of the season. It's hard for me to believe that the Brewers have any comfort level with their pitching staff, but to each their own.

Enjoy your $10 million parting bonus there, Jeff.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Brewers Salvage Sunday, Drop Series to Cards

This post was originally written a full day ago, but Blogger decided to go ahead and crash so I wasn't able to enlighten you on the Brewers series against the Cardinals. Thankfully, the site is back up and running. Also thankfully, nothing major happened today so I don't feel like I missed out on anything. Oh, what's that? Suppan was released? Damn you, Blogger!

The Brewers do not have a lot of series victories under their belts this season, and when you're heading to Busch Stadium to take on the Cardinals, you don't often come home with said series victory. It was decided before game three of this set that the Brewers weren't going to win this series either, but they did have a chance to salvage things on Sunday night with Manny Parra on the hill.

Parra got the start over Dave Bush, although Ken Macha never really gave a clear reason why. The real reason though is because the Brewers need to start decided what this team is going to look like the next couple of years, and we have to make sure we know what we have in Parra. Even if they would have won this series, this season is pretty much lost already, and if that's the case we need to put our eggs behind Parra rather than Bush. But Parra did get the start, and he made the most of it, going 5 1/3 innings with ten strikeouts (including four in one inning due to a wild pitch).

The wheels did start to come off a bit for Mannywood though in the fifth inning, and the bases were quickly loaded up. Enter unlikely heroes Dave Bush and Kameron Loe. Bush struck out one batter to get the second out, and then Loe got the next guy and pitched 1 1/3 innings more as well. The bullpen actually didn't do half bad in this one, although Villanueva did allow one of Loe's baserunners to score and the game was tied at three heading into extra innings. Kudos to Zach Braddock for keeping the Cards off the board in the ninth (he gets credit for the win), and nice work by John Axford to pick up the save in a 4-3 victory.

Now, one of the most interesting things for me this season is this little Player of the Game contest I do, and on Sunday ESPN gave their honor to Prince Fielder. Prince went 3-for-4, which is very respectable, and it does put him in contention for his first Bucky Channel POTG. However, Prince also had zero RBI and only made it home the one time, although it was the winning run. Offensively, he would be my POTG (Weeks, McGehee, and Hart all had RBI, but just one a piece). But in this game I'm going with Parra, for pitching effectively against a good team on national television, in a game he wasn't sure he'd be starting until just a few days ago.

Ugly girls be quiet, quiet. Pretty girls clap, clap like this.

This was a series that did go the Cardinals way however, as they won both Friday and Saturday night, finding different ways to bring pain into the lives of Brewers fans. On Friday, the misery was at the hands of Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright who pitched his first career complete game shutout all while holding Milwaukee to just a pair of hits. In nearly game in which you get just two hits, you are going to lose. That's even more true when you are spotting your opponent eight runs.

St. Louis had no problem taking advantage of the Brewers that were on the bump that evening, as they got after Randy Wolf over 6 2/3 innings, collecting five runs off of him. Jeff Suppan - yes, he's still on the team - game in to pitch the remaining 1 1/3 innings, in which time he gave up three runs of his own. Really just a frustrating performance all around.

As for a Player of the Game for Friday night, these are the games in which I'd probably be better off not giving out the award. But I do like to hand it out the full 162, so let's pick somebody. Let's see, the pitchers were terrible, so they're ineligible. Taking at look at the two guys that had hits in the game, it looks like Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart could both be in line. Both hits were doubles, so that's a wash. But Hart struck out two times to Weeks' zero, and Weeks didn't leave any on base. Let's give it to him.


On Saturday the Brewers managed to deliver a little bit more of a respectable performance, although they still did come away without a victory. Things started off about as well as they could have for Milwaukee when Rickie Weeks hit a lead-off home run, but then the Cardinals answered right back with four runs in the bottom half of the first. Things looked gloomy from there, and it looked like it was going to be another Cardinal rout.

But the Brewers kicked it up a notch in the 6th inning, starting with a Casey McGehee RBI double. Corey Hart then grounded into a fielder's choide that brought home a runner, and then George Kottaras brought McGehee home via the sacrifice fly. The Brewers tied the game up at four and were able to extend this one into extra innings.

It was in extra innings though when the heartbreak struck us again, only in an entirely different way than the night before. After Chris Narveson went six innings, the Brewers used Kameron Loe and Carlos Villanueva before they got to John Axford. I've been real impressed with the Ax man since he came to Milwaukee, but the Cardinals got to him on Saturday and Colby Rasmus finished it off with a walk-off single to end the game. The Brewers have done real good this season at allowing teams to win in their final at-bat, and this was no exception.


Thankfully though, Milwaukee did pick up the win on Sunday night, and at least fooled a national audience into thinking that they are competitive team. We'll see what happens against the Cubs this week, as their three game set with them starts Tuesday (see you at Miller Park on Thursday if anyone's going).

Saturday, June 5, 2010

While We're Getting Hammered at a Wedding, Here's Some Bucks News

You may be asking yourself, why is there a picture of Anthony Mason on this post? Well let me explain, his son Anthony Mason Jr. worked out for the Bucks recently. Many other players worked out, but it was funny to see a Mason back at the Bradley Center. Let's pray to God that Milwaukee will pass on him, but who knows. He doesn't look like he will get drafted, because he was hurt and missed part of the season last year. He did however bring up how Wesley Matthews was undrafted, and started in the playoffs. So maybe someday he will find himself wearing a Bucks jersey, but for now lets build this team around people not named Mason.

A couple of other names that worked out are: Luke Babbitt, Jordan Crawford, and Keith "Tiny" Gallon. I will explain Mr. Tiny later, but first lets take a look at the other two guys. Luke Babbitt is a 6-foot-9 athletic player from Nevada. He has really impressed I guess at different workouts for teams. He has a 6-11 wingspan and 37.5 inch vertical jump that has really opened people's eyes. They think in the NBA he would be a small forward, but could possibly play some power forward. The Bucks are looking for a power forward to play along side Andrew Bogut to take some pressure of him. Keep this guy in mind as the Bucks get ready to pick, because he could be joining the team.

Jordan Crawford on the other hand is a 6-foot-4 guard who made a name for himself at the Bradley Center in the NCAA tournament. He also has some inside track to the Bucks, because coach Sampson recruited him to play in Indiana. Crawford ended up transferring to Xavier to finish out his college career. In his two tournament games in the Bradley Center he scored 28 in a win over Minnesota, and 27 in a win over Pittsburgh. So this may be more of a situation where he has a few connections so lets talk him up a little more, but who knows. He would be more of a second round pick for us I think if he falls that far.

Keith "Tiny" Gallon is another guy that has an in with the Bucks. He is a former teammate of Brandon Jennings at Oak Hill Academy. He is a 6-foot-9 296 pound power forward, but says he is a little brother to Jennings. He still talks to Jennings, and Jennings is helping him with his draft workouts. So coming to Milwaukee was a big thing for him, because he would really love to run the court with his boy Jennings again. If he was taken by the Bucks it would be with their last pick in the second round. But little background stories like this are always cool to talk about. My guess is he doesn't get drafted, and the Bucks throw him on the Summer league team if anything.

These are just a few of the things going on right now for the Bucks. Milwaukee has brought in many other players including some bigger names like Wayne Chism (Tennessee), Deon Thompson (North Carolina), Jon Scheyer (Duke), and Raymar Morgan (Michigan State). Those are just a few of the bigger names, but my guess is none of these guys become Bucks.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bucks Survivor: Round Nine

It's our first true upset this season for Bucks Survivor as John Salmons has been eliminated. I figured that Salmons would make it to the final three with Bogut and Jennings, but that's why we play the game. One of two things could be going on with this result. Either A) people are unsure of Salmons' status and that caused him to be voted out earlier than normal or B) people are trying to sabotage my Bucks Survivor creation. Either way, Salmons has been eliminated, and the beat goes on.

Here's a look at the results for the last round. I'm going to show you how much of the vote the players got percentage-wise rather than showing the actual vote totals, because it's less depressing for me that way.

John Salmons - 28 percent
Ersan Ilyasova - 25 percent
Carlos Delfino - 21 percent
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute - 17 percent
Andrew Bogut - 7 percent
Brandon Jennings - 0 percent

So with Salmons now officially the sixth man, we're down to just five Bucks left which will make up the starting lineup. I'd assume we'll go with Jennings at the point, Delfino at the two, Mbah a Moute at the three, Ersan Ilyasova at the four, and then Andrew Bogut at center. The five of them will now be on the block, before a double elimination next week. You, as always, can vote at the top right of this blog, choosing who you would want to eliminate.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Capuano's Return Doesn't Spark Brewers

It's a return that has been nearly three years in the making, but the end result was pretty unspectacular. As good as it is to see Chris Capuano pitch again for the Milwaukee Brewers, this is not the point of the season where you'd like to see your starting pitchers go just 3 2/3 innings. Actually, maybe it is. This team clearly isn't going anywhere, what's the harm in starting a guy who is trying to recover from two Tommy John surgeries?

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for Capuano returning, I just part of me just hoped that he would come out and throw seven scoreless innings and be the talk of the MLB for a couple of days. But instead, we got the kind of performance we should have expected. He pitched well enough, although he did need to be taken out after 82 pitches. It wasn't a terrible performance, and it was good to see him throw again, but like I said, now is not the time to be throwing out starters and hoping for four innings at maximum.

Still, even with the early struggles, the Brewers had a chance to win this game late. Actually a few chances. Rickie Weeks gave them a run in the 7th when he hit a sac fly to score Jonathan Lucroy, and Ryan Braun had an RBI single in the 9th as well to put the Brewers within a run. But neither Prince Fielder or Corey Hart could drive the tying/winning run home, and the Brewers were left to sulk over a 3-2 loss to the Marlins, losing the series three games to one.

The bright spot in this game was that the bullpen pitched fairly well, a performance that included guys like Kameron Loe, Trevor Hoffman, and Zach Braddock. But at the end of the day, this was just another loss. I told fellow TBC writer Gweeds when the Brewers were fighting for a comeback, "If they can pull this game out, I will believe in them because these are the kind of games they need to start winning. If they lose, then I have no hope for this season." I know I'm sort of balancing on extremes there, but that's the way I feel about this squad right now. They just don't have what it takes as a whole to put a playoff season together, much less a winning one.

With that, I say at this point let's play for next year. We have solid guys like Braun, McGehee, and Gallardo to lead us to the promise land. Now let's trade guys like Hart (when he's hot) and Prince to fill in the rest of the gaps. I really think that this year needs to be a reboot year. If we put some games together and make a little run, then I say go for it. But if things continue as is, then Doug Melvin better start reevaluating the situation and start building for next season.

POTG: What the hell, welcome to the dance Kameron Loe. As in, Kameron Loe got a POTG award before Prince Fielder did.

Braun Still Leading NL Outfielders in Fan Voting

This is the face of the Milwaukee Brewers franchise? Ha, I love it. No matter what Ryan Braun is choosing to do outside of the ballpark, his play on the field is continuing to give him national love in the All-Star voting. Braun is still the NL leader in outfielders for fan votes, currently racking up 693,460. He has the third most votes among any National League player, behind just Albert Pujols and Chase Utley who are both running away at their respective positions.

As for the rest of the Brewers, it doesn't really look like we have a shot to get any one else in the starting lineup. I thought that Casey McGehee would be able to make a claim for himself at third base, but it doesn't look it that will happen. Here's a quick breakdown of where the Brewers stand and how far they trail the position leaders (or you could just look at it here too):

First Base - Albert Pujols leads with more than one million votes, Prince Fielder is in third place trailing by nearly 700,000 votes.

Second Base - Chase Utley leads the league with more than 1.1 million votes, Rickie Weeks is in second place although he's nearly 900,00 votes behind.

Shortstop - Jimmy Rollins has the lead, with Alcides Escobar dropping to fifth place in the voting about 300,000 votes back.

Third Base - Casey McGehee is in third place, and David Wright is in second. Who's in first then? How about the Phillies' Placido Polanco. Sure, whatever. McGehee is 170,000 some votes behind the Phillies third basemen.

Outfield - Braun of course leads, with Jayson Werth and now Andre Either joining him as starters. Shane Victorino had a starting spot as of last week, but dropped down to fourth. Braun's lead isn't very comfortable though, as Victorino is just 150,000 or so votes behind Braun. Jim Edmonds and Carlos Gomez are afterthoughts at 13th and 14th, respectively. Corey Hart, your league leader in NL home runs, is nowhere to be found.

Catcher - Yadier Molina isn't too many votes ahead of Carlos Ruiz or Ivan Rodriguez, but Molina still is the pacesetter. Gregg Zaun was in the top five last week, but understandably he's out of the running thanks to an injury and that fact that he is not an All-Star caliber player anyway.

If Only We Had Five Yovani Gallardos

Boy, Yovani Gallardo sure does make the rest of the Brewers pitching staff look stupid, doesn't he? Not only is he the only pitcher that can deliver a performance that doesn't embarrass the hell out of us, but he also makes up for anemic offensive performances with his bat. Gallardo met both of those requirements on Wednesday night, as he lead the Brewers to a 7-4 victory over the Marlins to give the Crew their first win of the series.

It was a slow start for the Brewers, who gave up a couple of runs to the Marlins in the first few innings but were kept in the game by Gallardo. YoGa actually did something very rarely done by the Brewers this season, which was that he made it into the seventh inning. In those seven frames, he gave up the two runs on just four hits, while also striking out four. But the big moment in this game came when Gallardo lead off the top of the 7th inning with a home run, his second of the season.

It really is night and day how much better Gallardo is than the rest of our staff. In his last ten appearances, Yovani is 6-0 with a 1.93 ERA. As Tom Haudricourt says, he really is the oasis of this pitching staff, but it's almost sad that we can really only hope for quality pitching once or twice a week. I don't know if we have to literally clone him four times to get a quality staff, but right now Gallardo is the Stewie Griffin to the rest of the staff's Bitch Stewie personas.

After the Gallardo home run, the Brewers would tack on five more runs which included home runs from George Kottaras and Prince Fielder. Carlos Villanueva did threaten to give away the lead a little bit, but John Axford came in to record a five-out save and secure the victory for the Brewers. Overall, it turned out to be a decent game for Milwaukee, but they never get that chance late in the game without Gallardo.

With the win, the Brewers are one game better than they were yesterday, but that is still nine games under .500. Thursday night's game is a big one though, as it's going to be Chris Capuano who hopes to even the series for the Brewers. Cappy's appearance will be his first in the major leagues since 2007, so all eyes will be on him to see what he's got. Best of luck.

In other news, the Brewers signed recently-released-from-the-Nationals Brian Bruney to a minor-league deal. Alright, sure.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Baseball Needs Instant Replay, Immediately

Jim Joyce may have made the worst call in the history of baseball on Wednesday night, and that is an understatement. Detroit's Armando Galarraga threw a perfect game Wednesday, only to have Jim Joyce take that away from him because of a terrible call. With two outs in the ninth inning, Cleveland's Jason Donald hit a slow roller to Miguel Cabrera, who threw it to Galarraga who in turn touched the base a step and a half in front of Donald. Somehow though Donald was called safe on the play, and Galarraga only ended up with a complete game shutout instead of the 21st perfect game in MLB history, which would have been the third this season.

You have to give all the credit in the world though to Galarraga, as he didn't freak out after the horrendous call. He just said you have to be kidding me, and recorded the last out of the game. After the game he talked about what pitches were working for him, and how his fielders played very well. I can't say I would have reacted the same way he did.

But it shouldn't have had to be that way, because the MLB needs some sort of instant replay for reasons just like this one. All humans make mistakes, but when they are this bad there has to be rectification. I think replay works well for the NFL, as well as in the NBA for buzzer beaters. Baseball only uses instant replay for home runs, but after what happened Wednesday night it needs to be used more often. I know baseball games are long already, but it just isn't fair for these players to put everything they have into a game and get screwed over by a bad call. How hard can it be to pay another umpire to sit in a booth, and figure out what the right call is. You see too many times when managers come out to argue a call which delays the game, why not instead delay the game for a productive reason?

I just can't agree when a guy works his ass off for 8 2/3 innings, only to have everything he did just be another game. When players go down in history they earn what they did. Wednesday night Armando Galarraga will go down in history for having a perfect game taken away from him on just an awful call. It just seems that this season you see a lot more players getting thrown out, and umpires are missing more and more calls. I'm I saying that I don't respect what umpires do, no, what I'm saying is they shouldn't decide who wins the game. People make mistakes, so having a replay wouldn't be the worst idea in the world.

Also if you didn't see the ninth inning of this game you have to try and watch it. Austin Jackson made an awesome catch for the first out in the inning. So congratulations to Armando Galarraga for throwing a perfect game in his career, even if it never goes down in the record book. Jim Joyce is a great umpire, but Wednesday night he made a bad call that he will feel bad about forever.

(Sidenote - In Game 3 of the NHL finals the Flyers second goal wasn't counted until it was reviewed upstairs. Not saying that I'm always right, but this just helps my point even more. Sports today are just getting too fast for the human eye.)

Winks Edit: Well said, Gweeds, but I think you might even have to be more harsh to Jim Joyce. If Joyce felt bad about his call, then he should have reversed it when he had the chance. I have no idea what compelled this guy to call the runner safe when he was clearly not, but I think overall umpires are trying to be the story instead of be in the background. When we know the umpires by name, that's a bad thing, and I've heard of Jim Joyce before which means that somewhere prior he already made a name for himself. Keep your face under the mask and don't make me learn your name, umpires. And don't screw kids out of perfect games because you are too proud to admit an error in the moment. I don't care what Joyce said after the game, that call was unforgivable.)

Bucks Survivor: Round Eight

When we got to this point in the contest, I figured that the battles would be come a little more tighter and that each round would bring some drama to it. But it seems instead that there is a very distinct order in just how valuable each individual Bucks player is to this team. Last week, Jerry Stackhouse was kicked off overwhelmingly, and this week, it wasn't close at all, again. With 67% of the vote, it's time to say goodbye to Luke Ridnour.

That leaves us with six Bucks to go, and by the looks of things it may be Carlos Delfino's time to exit, as he was second in voting last week with 17 percent of the vote. It's down to him, John Salmons, Andrew Bogut, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Brandon Jennings, and Ersan Ilyasova. Basically the question this week becomes not who should be eliminated from the contest, but which of these six guys is the best choice for the sixth man?

Voting will start a bit later than normal, but it will still commence at it's normal time of Friday night at 6pm. Again, vote for which Buck you want to eliminate at the top right of this blog.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Running Out of Ways to Describe Losses

I posted a picture of Dave Bush and stared at it for a good twenty minutes in an effort to come up with anything to say. I then wrote that sentence and stared at it for another twenty-five minutes, and still came up blank. Fact of the matter is, what can you really say about this Brewers team anymore that hasn't already been said. That behind us, let's look at the disappointment of game fifty-two.

This game was kicked off with a rough first inning from Dave Bush, and the Brewers found themselves down 3-0 right away. Bushie actually was able to settle down after that and the Brewers did get back in the game in the top of the sixth. Both Prince Fielder and Corey Hart (yes, again) homered in the inning, and we had ourselves a tie ballgame. But not for long.

If there has been any discussion as to whether or not Trevor Hoffman should regain the ninth inning duties anytime soon, you can put those to rest. Hoffman entered the game in the seventh inning and got shelled, giving up three runs of his own, and the Marlins went on to beat the Brewers 6-4. Hoffman was forced into duty even though Bush had been throwing well and only threw 85 pitches at that point, mainly due to the fact that he had a blister. That's a new one.

And that's really all I got tonight on the matter. If you saw the game, it wasn't anything special. It wasn't a heartbreaking loss, it wasn't a devastating loss. It was just another game where the Brewers weren't good enough to win, at at 21-31, those are becoming all too common lately.


Also, Haudricourt has a much of minor league news, check it.

Ahman Green to the UFL?

Remember that upstart football league that played it's first season last year, the UFL? Well, it's actually going to make it for a second season, and it could be bringing Ahman Green into the fold. The teams aren't really the same as they were last season, and one of the new teams being brought into the fold is the Omaha Nighthawks. Green is reportedly mulling an offer to play for the Nighthawks, which would bring him back to the state where he flourished in college football.

It's a push by the league to get bigger named players to come play for their teams, and also to sign players with previously established local ties to an area. Green would fit the latter, and if so he would be joining Daunte Culpepper in coming into the league, as Culpepper has signed on to be a member of the Sacramento Mountain Lions.

So to review, the Florida Tuskers and Las Vegas Locomotives still remain in the league. Out are the California Redwoods and New York/New Jersey Sentinels, in are the Omaha Nighthawks, Sacramento Mountain Lions, and Hartford Colonials. Coming into the league are players such as Daunte Culpepper, possibly Ahman Green. And people still won't watch.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Changes May Be Coming to Lambeau

I've yet to chime in on this whole discussion about whether or not Green Bay could host a Super Bowl, which a lot of people are speculating on after it was declared the 2014 Super Bowl would be in a cold weather stadium (the new home of the Giants/Jets). Quite simply, I think Lambeau Field would be the perfect place to hold a Super Bowl, and I think the NFL isn't opposed to doing it. But it will never happen, mainly because of the hotel/transportation situation. Still, it's fun to dream.

I still did find it curious though that right after all this Super Bowl talk we started hearing about the Packers organization hiring consultants to look at possible improvements to Lambeau Field. Pure coincidence, I'm sure. But what the Packers are looking at doing is renovating the south end zone, which is currently more open than that of the north side. It sounds like in any option the scoreboard would have to be raised, and that they could go ahead and just install new club seats which would increase capacity by up to 8,000 seats. But there are some more interesting scenarios to, as presented by Don Walker of JSOnline, and I wanted to take a look at some of them.

1. A tailgate-theme area, with barbecues, seating in front and picnic tables in the back.

Not bad, but I think when you look at making improvements to the actual stadium, you really don't need to corporate the best aspect of being outside the stadium. To me, the whole point of tailgating is getting ready for the game, or even winding down after it. This wouldn't be a bad idea, but I'd prefer to keep the tailgaiting aspect of the Packer game experience away from the actual game.

2. A large seating area, half of it indoor and half of it outdoor (approx. 6,000 seats).

This seems to be the most popular option according to the JSOnline poll, and I really can't find any fault in it. It adds a ton of seats, which in turn hopefully moves me up on the season ticket waiting list. You basically just fill in the stadium at this point and go for as many more seats as possible, and again it's not like they'd have a hard time filling those seats. The more the merrier. If any option, I would have to guess that they'd go this route - the safe route.

3. A Bavarian-style brew-pub setting, in which fans would sit at long tables to watch the game.

Now this option, I like. They kind of had a set up like this at the Alliant Center in Madison when I went to watch some indoor team called the Mad Dogs like 15 years ago, and if I liked it then I'm sure I'll like it now that I enjoy drinking a large quantity of alcohol in a short period of time. The Bavarian option would incorporate a little bit of the German tradition that is prevalent in this state, and I think the beer hall setting would work quite well in Lambeau. I like it.

4. A play-zone area, featuring pool tables, arcade games and other interactive types of games. This area would have minimal seating, according to the rendering shown to attendees.

Laaaaaame. It's going to be a little hard to play a game of billiards when there is two feet of snow in the stadium, and if you really want to play a game of pool don't do it when there is a freaking Packers game being played right in front of you. I never really liked all the interactive, kind of kid-friendly areas in stadiums. I buy a ticket to watch a game, not to see how hard I can throw a fastball. I guess something like this might be alright before the game, but it seems like a waste of space to me.

5. A fully enclosed press box-type setting, in which radio or TV stations could host live events, and fans would sit in traditional seats. One attendee said this concept called for moving the current press box to the south end-zone area, and building the new press box-themed area for fans in the current press box area. The current press box is in the southwest corner of the stadium.

Too confusing, and not worth it. Trust me, I've been in the press box, it's lame. Now I'm sure if they opened that area to fans, the whole unwritten rules of watching a game in the press box would be lifted (no cheering, no cheering, absolutely no cheering), but still the press box is not in a good location. It's pretty high up there, and it's not the best view in the stadium. Plus, if you're a member of the press, you want to see the action go left and right, not north and south. It's a bad move for everyone.

6. Another concept would be the creation of a restaurant along the lines of Friday's Front Row Sports Grill at Miller Park. Fans would be able to sit at tables and watch the game at the restaurant. The Packers presumably would contract with a national chain to run the restaurant.

This isn't bad. I like the Friday's Front Row setting at Miller Park, but it would seem kind of weird to see something like that in Lambeau. I guess if they combined with a Dave and Busters or something they could kill two birds with one stone and get those pool tables in the there.

7. There was some talk of a rooftop type setting, similar in nature to what fans can do in buildings across the street from Wrigley Field in Chicago. Cubs fans sit in bleachers atop buildings on Waveland and Sheffield avenues.

This doesn't make any sense to me. At first I thought they might build actual buildings outside of the stadium, with the sole purpose of wanting to have rooftop seating, but I suppose it would make more sense if they just sort of built it within the stadium there. I don't know, the rooftop thing is something that happened organically, which is why its so awesome down at Wrigley. Plus, that'd be like trying to build another Green Monster sort of set-up, trying to replicate something that's already been done. I say no to this one.

Looking at as a whole, I think the regular club seating may be the best bet, but I wouldn't mind them trying to throw something different in there. Again, I really do think the Bavarian style seating would work here, and it'll be interesting to see what the consultants, and other fans that will be asked for their opinion, come up with.

Watch Jeff Suppan Cheat Death Again

Word out of Milwaukee is that Kameron Loe has been called up as a reinforcement for the bullpen, since the Brewers' pen is about as depleted as it can be right now. Loe, 28, is 4-3 with a 3.16 ERA in ten starts at Triple-A Nashville this season, and a decision had to be made on him by this Friday otherwise he did have an out clause in his contract. This was a move that was expected to be made for awhile now, no surprise here.

But with Loe coming up, who is going down? No word yet, but you'd have to think that Jeff Suppan is finally going to get the ax. Earlier this morning I said that within two weeks I think Suppan will finally get DFA'd and finally be sent packing out of Milwaukee, either because of a Loe promotion or the impending return of Doug Davis. But sadly, something tells me Suppan will escape another round of "Is This the Day Suppan Finally Gets Cut?", and rather Marco Estrada will get sent down to Nashville or something like that. Lame. We'll see though, should be interesting.

And oh yeah, Adam Stern. Back to Nashville again, as Jim Edmonds has been taken off of the DL. See you again in another week, Adam, as your crazy back-and-forth season is likely to continue.

It's Macha's Turn to Be Criticized

My goodness, how many different ways can this team lose this season? Just one day after Brewers fans rallied together in their disgust over Jeff Suppan, Ken Macha steps up to the plate to become public enemy number one instead. The backlash you'll hear about Macha for the next 24 hours results in his decision to keep Chris Narveson in the game at a point where Narveson probably should have been lifted. It's always hard for me to debate whether a guy should stay in or be taken off the hook, but in hindsight all we can really say is that keeping Narveson in was a bad decision, a decision which was made by Ken Macha.

The situation was this: Chris Narveson had been pitching very well through five innings, but started to unravel a bit in the 6th inning. He was losing a bit of his command, and he all but lost his ability to get his pitches down. The Marlins had plated one run to narrow their deficit to 4-1, but there were two men on the bases with Cody Ross at the plate. Narveson was already at 100 pitches, and there were two outs already down in the inning.

You'd like to see Narveson get out of the mess he made, feel good about his outing, and save the bullpen for just one more inning. That's the ideal situation. But that wasn't what happened on Monday, as instead Narveson gave up a three run bomb to Ross, and then the Marlins managed to score another three runs in the inning. They entered the 6th inning down 4-0, but left the 6th inning with a 7-4 lead. But it's an inning that could have been avoided.

Ken Macha did come out to talk to Narveson before he was to face Cody Ross, but it was basically to ask him how he was feeling. With Narveson not being the kind of guy that is going to want to be taken out of the ballgame, Chris said he was fine and believed he could continue. Well, he was wrong, and by Narveson continuing to pitch the Marlins were able to take the lead and then extend it in the inning afterward, eventually winning this contest 13-5.

The game actually became quite comical in the later innings, as defensive miscues by the Brewers allowed the Marlins to make this thing look worse than it needed to be. After making us fall in love with him for hitting yet another home run, Corey Hart showed why he still is a defensive liability by allowing a ball to get by him in the sixth. Carlos Gomez couldn't get to a Cameron Maybin line drive in the seventh, which allowed Maybin to hit an inside-the-park home run. Errors by the Marlins allowed the Brewers to score later on as well, but by then it was far too late, this one was over.

So Macha will continue to be on the hot seat, at least with Brewers fans, and we'll continue to watch our pitching ruin what has been a very solid season offensively so far for Milwaukee. I don't see things getting much better on Tuesday as we trot Dave Bush out there, but we do have Yovani again on Wednesday and we'll see how well Capuano has recovered on Thursday.

POTG: Rickie Weeks.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Do the Admirable Thing, Jeff Suppan. Quit.

Before Jeff Suppan even threw a pitch in Sunday's 10-4 loss to the Mets, the boo-birds were out in full force. Just the mere sight of this guy made 36-thousand plus just emphatically show their frustration about how this guy is still on our team. Again, this was before he gave up four runs off of six hits in 1 2/3 innings of work.

The frustration likely mounted because of when Suppan game into the game. Because the Brewers don't have an off day until next Monday, and because of the relievers that were used in Saturday night's game, the Brewers were kind of limited in their options of who to put into the game in the 6th inning. That meant that Milwaukee's best option for a pitcher at that time was Jeff Suppan, which was a terrible situation because the game was tied at the time. Suppan was moved into the bullpen to hide him from the starting rotation, not to come in when the game was on the line.

Suppan is not a very good pitcher, and the only time he is able to do decent is when he has control of his pitches, when he is in command. He doesn't have shit for a fastball, and if he can't paint the corners than you might as well get Bill Hall back here and pitch instead, because I can't say it enough, Bill Hall looked worlds better on the mound a couple of nights ago than Jeff Suppan has this season. If you're Jeff Suppan, what do you tell yourself when everyone in the stadium is booing you without giving it a second thought? How do you sleep at night? Do you realize that you're just going to finish out the season, make an insane amount of money, and then probably never find a job in the big leagues again?

This is the problem with Doug Melvin. He needs to just cut bait while he can and salvage this situation. Pay Suppan the rest of his contract, that's fine. But fake another DL stint for him or just outright cut his ass. Good general managers don't keep guys like this on their team just because they want to save face because of how much they are paying him. Good general managers pick up on the signals that 36,000 people are sending by booing Suppan before he takes the field. Hey, Lost fans were able to get the producers to kill off Nikki and Paulo, we can get Doug Melvin to kill off Jeff Suppan, can't we?

Still though, if you are Jeff Suppan, how can you really keep doing this? I would fall in love with this guy if he went into Melvin's office tonight and said, "Doug, it's fine. Just cut me. I'll take the money, I know I'm a determent to this team, just cut me and move on." Of course, that will never happen, nor should that have to happen because Melvin should just stop being a pussy and cut this guy already. Whew, I need to take a breath here.

Anyways, that really is all that I'm taking away from Sunday's Mets, because this is why the Brewers lost this game. Of course, outside of Rickie Weeks' two home runs (POTG), the Brewers struggled all the way around. Corey Hart went hitless, Casey McGehee went hitless in back-to-back games for the first time this season, and Zach Braddock struggled pretty bad as well. Not a good way to end the homestand, but at least it was a winning homestand.

The Crew are back in action right away on Monday, with a noon game set in Florida against the Marlins. Chris Narveson is on the bump, looking to rebound from a poor performance earlier in the week. Jeff Suppan, well you know he'll still be there. Yay.

U.S. Knocks Off Turkey in Tune-Up

It will be listed as a 2-1 win in the record books, and a good one at that, but a lot of the weaknesses that currently come with the United States World Cup were exposed on Saturday against Turkey. This game was their last stateside tuneup before they head to South Africa. The Americans do have another friendly scheduled against Australia on Saturday, and then it's World Cup time, as the 2010 installment of the tournament is now less than two weeks away.

It's no small accomplishment beating a team like Turkey - they took 3rd place back in the 2002 World Cup, although did not qualify for this year's tournament. But in the victory the United States did not look all that impressive - getting really only one quality scoring chance in the first half before getting goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey in the second. But it was the defense that caused the most concerned, looking a little more suspect than you'd like two weeks before the Cup.

Jonathan Spector and Jay DeMerit didn't turn in the best peformances, and Oguchi Onyewu is still struggling to regain the form he had before his injury. I have no concerns about the American's ability to score goals come World Cup time, but we do need the defense to play a bit more solid if we're going to have a shot at this thing. Keeper Tim Howard is Superman between the posts, certainly, but come June 12th Howard is going to need some help if we're going to beat the mother country, England, in our opening game.

I had to sling cable on Saturday so didn't see as much of the game as I would have liked, so let's kick it on over to the New York Times for a complete recap. Also, if you're planning on throwing a little green down on the World Cup this summer, Stock Lemon is putting together some odds and suggestions for who you should beat on. Head on over there if you get the chance, and check out their analysis of Group C (hint hint, the U.S.'s group).

Corey Hart is On Fire

I know that I don't like it when people talk about their fantasy teams because it's about as interesting as talking about your dreams, but I can not get over the fact that I traded Corey Hart two weeks ago. The trade was a minor one, I was giving up Kris Medlen of the Braves for Juan Uribe of the Giants. But my trading partner also had Nate McLouth, who sucks this year, and I had Corey Hart, who had been sucking. We were both frustrated with our two outfielders, so we just threw them in the deal. Lo and behold, I got fucked (and this sentence continues our ongoing struggle whether or not we want to swear on the blog).

Hart has been on an absolute tear, and not here's something you never thought would happen. Heading into Sunday he was leading the National League in home runs. Yes, we are still talking about Corey Hart here. He hit two of those home runs, one actually a grand slam, which gave Milwaukee an 8-6 victory over the New York Mets on Saturday. Hart had a total of six RBI in the game, and is clearly our Player of the Game for his efforts. It's the kind of play that we have been waiting for from Hart since he became an All-Star two years ago only to end up struggling, both offensively and defensively, since then.

I traded Hart before this home run tear of his happened, but there have been pleas to Doug Melvin to trade this guy for the last few seasons. With this hot streak, Brewers Bar argues that there is no better time than now to trade Hart. Their main argument:

The Brewers are still unlikely to contend this year, thanks to the hole they dug for themselves with the 9-game losing streak. If you're going to entertain trade offers for Fielder, you might as well trade Hart -- a guy many people were expecting to get non-tendered after this season -- while you're at it.

Interesting point, and even though the Brewers are on a little bit of a winning pattern, they still don't seem like true playoff contenders to me. Still, there are plenty of months left to go through on the calendar before October, so you never know. If you're looking long term, hell yeah, trade him. But if we think we have a shot at this thing, if he continues to play like this we'd be foolish to get rid of him. In fact, Pocket Doppler suggests that Hart could play a role for the Crew in the future, perhaps at a different position:

Rather than breaking the bank on Prince Fielder, whose price will be astronomical, perhaps an idea is to deal Fielder and move Hart to first base, his original minor league position. Fielder would bring much more in trade and give the team far greater salary relief; dealing Prince would also create a hole at first, a gap that does not seem to have a ready solution in the team’s minor league system. Meanwhile, back-filling for Hart in right is a much easier problem to solve with the likes of Lo Cain and Mat Gamel.

It's definitely a decision Melvin will have to make this season, something that I think will depend entirely on where this team is come the trading deadline. I never really thought about the possibility of sticking Hart at first, but boy would it be nice to not see him crashing blindly into the right field wall ever again.

Regardless, for the time being Corey Hart is a Milwaukee Brewer, and right now a very valuable one. Without Hart, who knows if the Brewers would have recovered from a not so spectacular 4 2/3 innings from Manny Parra and Marco Estrada in Saturday's game. Great game from Hart, and we would though like to give props to Todd Coffey (2 1/3 scoreless relief innings, picked up the win), George Kottaras (home run), and John Axford (looked great picking up the save).

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Farewell (Again), Claudio Vargas

And the loser in the whole Capuano promotion turns out to be our old friend Claudio Vargas. I assume that Vargas just edged out Jeff Suppan for the honors of who would be the odd man out in that bullpen, but again something about that hefty contract of Suppan's makes it hard to let him go... for some reason. But I can't really argue about Vargas getting designated for assignment, as he had a 7.32 ERA in 19.2 innings of work this season. Vargas really never saw that much time, he again was more reserved for the mop up role.

As for Capuano, he's coming up to Milwaukee today, but still no word on what his defined role will be. The Brewers do not currently have a starter scheduled for their Wednesday game against the Marlins, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Cappy get the nod then.

Desmond Howard Has a Good Life

Last Thursday Desmond Howard was named to the College Football Hall of Fame, and when you think about it this guy just always seems to pop up in the news every once in awhile. Also named to the HOF was Barry Alvarez, the former football coach and now Athletic Director for the Wisconsin Badgers. More on Alvarez later, but how would you not want to live the life of Desmond Howard. He played college ball at Michigan, and won a Heisman Trophy in 1991. In 1996 he won the Super Bowl MVP for the Packers. He got a huge contract after that, which allowed him to play as mediocre as possible until 2002 when he retired. ESPN brought him aboard for College Gameday, and he gets to attend all the Heisman Trophy presentations. For as little as he did you sure see his face a lot. Now this is just another milestone in his awesome life, which I wish I had.

Don't get me wrong Desmond Howard was a guy that made plays when he needed to. But for me, having a buddy in High school that loved Michigan made it hard to like the guy. Seeing him score touchdowns in college was awesome, but never let a Michigan fan know that. His ability to return kicks/punts for the Packers is something this this team has never been able to replace. So the guy will always be an icon to me, but just the way he got there, it seems he really didn't do that much. Either way his life is way better than saying "Are you here for an oil change?" (Winks Edit: Ha, agree. But saying are you here for an oil change is way better than saying "Actually sir, limited basic is just your local channels, what you're looking for is actually called expanded basic.")

Barry Alvarez on the other hand has had a successful/long career, and still is having one at Wisconsin. He was one of those coaches that didn't really bring the big name guys into his program, but when they left they had made a name for themselves. He led Wisconsin to three Rose Bowl titles, and finished with a coaching record of 118-73-4 in his 16 years coaching.

The actual ceremony for the induction is Dec. 7, so it is a little ways out. Joining these two are 11 other players and one other coach. Another player name you might know is Pat Tillman from Arizona State. For some more information on the class of 2010 click this link to JSonline.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Gallardo Goes Complete, Cappy Called Up

If you're a Brewers fan, you had to think that a day like Friday would never come again, for two reasons. Not only did the news come down late that Chris Capuano will be back in a Brewers uniform (more on that later), but we saw something we haven't seen in well over a year - a complete game by a Milwaukee Brewers pitcher. Yovani Gallardo had his best stuff of the year without question on Friday, going the full nine innings, allowing eight hits, yet striking out seven batters. The last time a Brewer pitcher went complete was back in April of last season, so, it's well overdue to say the least.

The thing was though, there was a very real possibility that even with Gallardo going nine innings he still wasn't going to pick up the complete game. That's because when he went back into the dugout before the bottom of the 9th inning, the score was still tied 0-0. For as good as Gallardo was, the Mets' Johan Santana was even better, but Santana was lifted in the 9th inning and wouldn't have the chance to go nine himself.

The Miller Park faithful began to think that a 9th inning win was possible after Ryan Braun got on base, however Casey McGehee was unable to move him over. With two outs, the game was on the line and Corey "The Fact That I Traded Him Two Weeks Ago For Nate McLouth Shows You Just How Bad I Am At Fantasy" Hart hit a 2-run shot into the Brewers bullpen to give Milwaukee the 2-0 victory (or 1-0, if you ask party boy Witrado). Another walk-off win for Milwaukee, and the Brewers have now won four of their last five games. Not the best accomplishment ever, but after that horrid losing stretch we just sat though, this is more than welcome.

What an awesome game this must have been to go to, as you probably would have witnessed one of the finest pitching duels this season. When this game was being hyped as Santana vs. Gallardo, pessimistically I assumed that Santana would get the better end of that feud. But Gallardo kept the pace and was able to go the full nine, and then thankfully his offense finally helped him out in the end. Just an awesome game, and hopefully this momentum can continue through the holiday weekend. No question, your player of the game tonight is Yovani Gallardo.


Now, to speak a little bit about the aforementioned roster move. There were many people that doubted him, but somehow he did it - Chris Capuano is back in the major leagues. Cappy will be summoned up from Nashville on Saturday, as Doug Melvin realized that he didn't want Capuano to exercise the out clause in his contract if he wasn't called up by the weekend. Plus, it's not like Cappy has been struggling in Nashville, he's actually been quite solid. He will join the team in Milwaukee on Monday and presumably head to the starting lineup, at least I would hope. No word yet on who is being sent down, but the speculation says that Marco Estrada will go back and retain his starters role with the Sounds.

In one other bit of random pitching news, you'll never guessed who pitched for the Boston Red Sox on Friday night. The man was none other than Bill Hall, who coincidentally pitched against his former manager Ned Yost, as the Sox were taking on the Royals. I was able to catch Hall's ninth inning and holy buckets if that guy didn't actually look decent. The NESN gun said Hall reached 88 at one point, and he kept a lot of his pitches down to either get the called strike or force a ground ball. You have wonder, with how bad our bullpen has historically been, if Hall wouldn't have been a better option at times than the likes of Eric Gagne and Derrick Turnbow. Crazy to see Hall not only pitch, but actually look like a halfway decent pitcher.

Back to the Crew, they'll get another start out of Manny Parra on Saturday and then finish the weekend series against the Mets on Sunday, with a (dont forget!) afternoon game in Florida on Monday. With it being the holiday weekend, things will be a little slower around here than normal, but I imagine we'll have Saturday's recap up before Sunday's game starts. Check back for more and hey, if I'm not on here I'm kind of obsessed with this Twitter bullshit right now, so check us out on the Tweet Machine.

Bucks Survivor: Round Seven

Stack, out. Kudos to Jerry Stackhouse to making it into the final eight, but holy cannoli was he voted off with an overwhelming percent of the vote. Stackhouse finished with 65 percent of the vote, much higher than the second leading vote-getter in Luke Ridnour, who had 11 percent of the vote. Brandon Jennings is still receiving votes this early in the game as well, which doesn't really make sense to me, but oh well.

This week we're already down to just seven Bucks, and we'll find out soon who this year's Starting Five and Sixth Man will be. The way the votes went last week for second place, I'm expecting a three way race between Luke Ridnour, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and and Ersan Ilyasova. But I don't know, go head and surprise me.

Voting will last until 6pm on Tuesday night, and even though there is a holiday this weekend we're still going to keep the voting schedule the same. We know that Memorial Day weekend is a historically low internet weekend, so we won't be surprised if the voting totals are a little lower this time around (aka we know that people are leaving this site in droves, and are hiding behind our tears). Remember, you vote at the top right of this blog, and again vote for who you'd like to see be eliminated.

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