12.30.2008

THE Wisconsin Sports Wank . . .

Is back. Yes, yes please save your applause and do not gesticulate wildly in front of your computer or you may frighten your loved ones.

It's been over a month since I've done a proper Wank so let me just clear some things up for anybody who might happen to visit this site for any reason other than the link to a picture of Tamia that happens to be in my article archives.

1. I didn't stop posting because the Packers stopped winning. The Packers losing ways this season while concerning haven't caused me to spiral into sports fan despair. I grew up in the '80's as a Packer fan, 'nuff said.

2. The state of Wisconsin sports is sucking just a tad bit right now.

3. I have a lot of respect for the many blogs that cover Wisconsin sports teams and manage to post on a consistently regular basis, I'm not worthy.

You know what it is, let's get down to it.

Packers, D+.
Could the Pack deserve any other grade for a season as dismal as this one turned out to be (well I know it could be lower but we're not the Lions)? Even after what was probably one if not the most controversial offseason in the franchise's history expectations for the Pack was still pretty high. We thought we knew that if AR held up the Packers should at least make the playoffs with a stingy D as our strong suit (yeeeeaaah that didn't work out so well). Well AR turned out to be the real deal. I don't think you could throw any 1st year starting QB into a situation like the Packer's and expect a better result (switch places with him and Offensive ROTY Atlanta QB Matt Ryan and I think we end up with the same record). But the defense came off like a horrible impersonation of last year's unit. Without DT Corey Williams taking up a lot of room LB's Barnett and Hawk got exposed big time like most middle line backers do when their defensive line couldn't stop the push of a lightly gusting wind. The secondary, which had been heavily maligned by fans and the media in the offseason for giving up big plays last year, wound up being our strength this season and even sent two members to the Pro Bowl. But key injuries to starters Al Harris and Atari Bigby seemed to harm the continuity of the unit and their performance slipped considerably down the stretch. In fact the only thing the Packers managed to do on a fairly consistent basis this season is lose in the same way. This season it didn't matter what had happened in the game prior to the last minutes. If the other team had the ball last needing a score to win they were going to get it. It was frustrating to the point of laughing to keep from crying watching our defense generate these interceptions and turnovers but not being able to come up with one stop to save a game. And while overall AR was solid in his first full season as starter, the offense has to share some of the blame for late game collapses for not being able to sustain drives when they need to. In several of those losses the Pack had the ball late with the lead needing only to get a couple of first downs to run out the clock but were unable to avoid a 3 and out.

I believe the root cause (and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out) for the sub par performance of the offensive and defensive units respectively comes back to talent. Despite a lot of homers out there still saying The Great One would have had this team back in the SB this year, there are a lot of stats out here in the cyberverse that suggest that AR was one of the best players on the team this year. I say his play gets even better when he has time to develop a rhythm behind consistent blocking. Good blocking from good linemen, the kind TT needs to go out and find cuz this group ain't cutting it. Same on D. If we could find some linemen that actually needed to be blocked maybe Hawk and Barnett could revert to their former selves.

I hate to say it but looking back now last year was an aberration, a charmed season. The team was (is) talented but also got a lot of good fortune: Grant comes out of nowhere to save the running game, Greg Jennings exploded on the scene, we had a relatively injury free year, some players had career years; those things all factor in when chasing a championship. Sometimes things just fall a certain way to enable something good to happen, we didn't get that this year. But with some tweaks and upgrades (and a show of favor from the football gods) we could be right in the mix again next season.

Before this turns into one long rant on the Packers some other quick thoughts:

I too am troubled by AR's ability (inability?) to make things happen offensively at the end of close games a'la The Great One. I don't think AR needs to be a gunslinger, but I do agree with (gulp) Lovie Smith's observations about how QB's are ultimately evaluated in this league; how do they perform at the end of games in crunch time.

Chillar gets the nod over Poppinga next season right? Brady may be smart but his body cannot keep up with NFL caliber athletes anymore.

I never understood why Jon Ryan was cut in the first place and by the way I still think Craig Heintrich is a traitor.

Packers will have the 9th pick in the draft this summer. That should be high enough to get a ready-to-start impact DE, but are there any like that coming out this year? Should TT trade it for a talent upgrade?

I saw a poll in local Milwaukee paper Shepperd Express last week that asked readers if they would welcome back Mike Holmgren as coach of the Packers and 62% responded yes. WTF?!

Bucks, C+.
I can't give them lower than that after they just beat the Spurs the other night (although these are not the same Spurs as say 2 years ago). Bucks are in 3rd place in the Central at 15-17, 6-4 in their last 10. Like many fans in southeastern Wisconsin this time of year I've been a little too busy angsting about the Pack to pay close attention to the Bucks. But they do bear some observation this season. They have a new coach, new GM, couple of new players so it's been, ahhh, interesting watching their progress when I've had the chance so far this year.

The results have been mixed so far. Something seems to have happened to Bogut since the Olympics as he's not being very aggressive offensively this year. But his rebounding is up, so maybe my hunch that the ankle injury from the Games was worse than Bogut let on and it has been affecting his play is way off. He certainly showed his ass against Duncan with 29 and 10. And with him being the leading percentage shooter on the team (but only taking the 5th most shots on the team) we need more of that kind of play on a consistent basis. And enough about the 'development' of his game already. If the Bucks are going to make any kind of run at the playoffs Bogut has to 'bring it all together' this year.

Redd started of the year kinda hot, but was quickly sidelined by an injury and ended up sitting out almost a month. If you look closely you can see the beginning of the end for Redd in his game. Never the most athletic guy you can see age starting to mess with the form of his pretty jumper and robbing him of what little explosion to the hoop he used to have. He's almost like Chuck Person now without the gimpy knees. So of course rumors are strong now that the Bucks are actively shopping him, looking to get as close to equal value as they can while they can (at the beginning of the season Bucks blog Bob Boozer Jinx proposed a hypothetical trade with the Suns Redd for Leandro Barbosa and Boris Diaw, too bad Charlotte beat us to it).

A couple of the draftees are coming along nicely. Ramon Sessions, who was last year's pick and did real well in the D-Leauge, has taken his opportunity at increased playing time and ran with it literally. He's had several games where he finished with double figures in points and assists while coming off the bench. I think we can at least say he and Ridnour are providing what we lost in Moe Williams: scoring (and a little more efficiency). And the Prince Mbah Moute has been a welcome surprise. With the ability to defend at the NBA level from day one (and better than you think offense) Luc has been a fixture in the starting lineup since a couple of games into the season. He's going to be fine but if he keeps playing like this and improving we may have to pay to keep him when his rookie contract expires. This year's pick F Joe Alexander's troubles were well documented during the summer and they pretty much have carried over to the season. Still learning, still developing, still looks lost at times when he does touch the floor (which isn't often).

As I recall one of the knocks against Skiles in Chicago is that he didn't seem to have any consistency or reason to his lineups and substitution patterns. That doesn't seem to be a problem here so far. Right now he seems to just be concentrating on getting everyone on the same page offensively and defensively getting them to play the style he wants, smart and tough. The Bucks were roundly picked to be the worst team in the league this season but so far they're not rolling over for anyone.

Brewers.
Well since we lost out on CC things are pretty quiet on the offseason front for the crew. There were a few moves made like signing Julio Jorge, 3B Mike Lamb, former Red Sox Trot Nixon and a few more players to minor league contracts but nothing major. Trading Mike Cameron to the Yankees has been dead since Melvin was turned off by getting the brush off from Yankees GM Brian Cashman while he was wrapping up the CC and A.J. Burnett signings. The latest semi-big name pitcher linked to the Brewers in rumors is Braden Looper, who I last remember as being an effective closer for the Mets. In my last Wank I mused that Ben Sheets might end up staying a Brewer after all as I hadn't really heard much talk about other teams interested in him. I still haven't heard anything much but it would seem to me that the Brewers would be the very last resort at this point for Sheets because that would basically amount to him accepting whatever the Crew can offer because he won't get anything better anywhere else. Sorta sucks for Ben because with his age and injury history his career window for that big payday contract is closing pretty fast (if it's not shut already).

Brewer's owner Mark Attanasio was still feeling the pain from losing out on CC last week and said some stuff. And I agree because without revenue sharing teams like Milwaukee will never be able to compete on a consistent basis. I mean didn't baseball kind of used to be like this before free agency? Back then teams kept a stranglehold on players' contracts to build dynasties, nowadays they keep a stranglehold on the players thru their greed in seeking the most money.

University of Wisconsin football, D.
The season on the whole was a big disappointment. The Badgers were supposed to challenge for the Big 10 championship this year but instead ended up mired in inconsistency. It came to an end mercifully last weekend with our shellacking at the hands of Florida State in the Champs Bowl. Going into it I was confident we had a good shot at winning this game but the defense quickly showed they were not up to the task of stopping the Seminoles offense and we made some key mistakes that we weren't good enough to recover from against a team of that caliber. Next year will be even more of a question mark after losing a lot of senior leadership that was supposed to be the strength of the team this season. Bielema and his coaching staff need to prove that they can do a better job of developing talent as there were several guys who were expected to make big contributions this year but seemed to digress a little. One of the hallmarks of the Alvarez era was the coach's ability to take mid level recruits and turn them into above average college players and that is one of the biggest necesseties required to coach here because we will always lose out to the Michigans and Ohio States in terms of high level recruits.

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12.23.2008

Personal Jewels

I've learned some things over the course of my absence about blogging that I thought would be constructive to share (ha!) and also I figured it could serve and kind of posting 'filler' until I get back on track with the Wanks and whatnot (so much that I've missed out on from DD's daddy to Plaxico to this).

One is that it's true that blogging is addictive. It's amazing to me now that I've been forced into a semi-hiatus how strong the urge to blog is. The weird need to put your thoughts out there for everyone to take a look, so certain that the world needs to hear what you're saying and is waiting for you to say it (even if Google Analytics and SiteMeter suggest otherwise). That feeling of determination has to be at the base of what drives an obscure blog to the heights of a Deadspin or Huffington Post.

Two, writer's block is a bitch. Recently there have been a couple of days where I could have squeezed a post in between work and the kids if I had just been efficient with my time. But when I logged in and generated a blank for the new post . . . nothing. Nothing that grabbed I should say. I mean our Wisconsin sports teams aren't being too helpful either, the Packers have lost the last 5 games the same way how many different ways can you break that down. And I hate being like everyone else with the same 'ol analysis, break down the details spiel. That stuff is good but I always have sought to carve out my own unique style, something that would bring visitors to the site on that merit alone whether they were Wisconsin sport fans or not. That requires creativity which has been a little stifled lately.

Third, I learned I'm not going anywhere. I like blogging, makes me feel like I'm making an effort to do my part in making this mess a better place. Until the next wank . . .

12.14.2008

Ummm . . .

Has anybody else seen this besides me? I know I'm not the only one who thinks that this is fucked up. One of my initial thoughts after seeing this was is it just my imagination or have incidents like this been on the rise since November 4? Or maybe they are just being reported more since then. Comments?



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12.06.2008

Random Awsomeness

I saw this recently over on Afronerd and it was so cool I thought I would post it here to fill the void on my little site while I continue to sift thru the responsibilities of life. Doing a proper Wank require time that I just cannot spare right now while I bone up for the CCNA.

Bruce Lee as a martial arts super star was larger than life and I've heard about many myths and rumors about his martial arts prowess. But when you see an example of it like this, well . . . it kind of makes you think they were all true. No camera tricks here.





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11.25.2008

Hi

Hey anybody who reads this site on a regular basis (:)). I felt like posting but I don't have anything in particular to write about that I'm not saving for the next Wank. The Bucks are . . . being the Bucks. They're 7-9, 4-6 in their last ten still bottom of the Central. After starting off the season kind of solid they've faltered a little bit lately but I still subscribe to the Gradual Rise Theory. The Packer just got shellacked by the Saints on Monday Night after giving a beat down to the Bears in Lambeau, secondary got torched, Al Harris's dreds was on fire (Bigby's too). The Badger managed to eek by tough FCS foe Cal Poly because their place kicker missed 3 PAT's. Chris Pressley has gone on the record saying he would prefer not to play in Detroit but he better be happy if the Badgers get invited to go anywhere. Speaking of U Dub the basketball team got ran out of there own gym by Hasheem Thabeet and UConn last night. Marquette is going to have their hands full that game. Still no word on CC and you get the feeling this is kind of holding up any other potential deals Melvin has cooking. I thought he was going to ask CC's people for an answer last week but I guess not, huh?

That's all I was thinking, anymore and it will turn into a full blown post which I do not have the inclination or time to do right now. Sleep beckons . . . oh, don't think I forgot to mention DD's father, more to come . . .

11.15.2008

THE Wisconsin Sports Wank


Here it is again on a semi-consistent basis, what I was thinking as I eavesdropped on The Great One's phone call to Mike McCarthy. . .

Packers, D
Packers are 4-5 with only lowly Detroit separating us from the bottom of the North. This is why I often blog while drinking, but seriously the Pack did enough last Sunday to win the game against the Vikings and then again they didn't. They were able to put points on the board mostly thru special teams and defense, but once again in the end the run defense couldn't hold up against Adrian Peterson and a game winning drive. I like this breakdown of the game best. The offensive line continues to play inconsistently. Chad Clifton was like an open door for Jared Allen but no one else on the line played particularly well either. This translated into another so so day for AR, who has been getting pummeled by opposing linemen more and more often in recent games. The shoulder injury from earlier this season still has not fully healed (partly because he continues to play and take big hits) and limits him in practice which does nothing to help maintain his rythm, mechanics, and timing with recievers. And no I'm not an Aaron Rodgers apologist, I'm just saying these are legitimate factors.

I'm afraid I feel like the author of the post linked to above regarding the defensive line. The main problem with the D line is personnel and that can't be fixed this season. And now there is word that DT Justin Harrell is injured. . . again, so we're even more shorthanded (although it's not like he was making a big difference for two games). But of course even with the dearth of talent there are things a good defensive coordinator can do with his scheme to compensate for that. So we'll see what Bob Sanders can do.

LB Nick Barnett is out for the year with a torn ACL. Earlier in the year I had predicted a breakout into star linebacker status for Nick and he promptly preceded to prove me wrong with his less than mediocre play this season. Does he still have his club? Maybe he needs a hobby or a woman or something, anything to improve his attitude and effort on the field. I hope him and A.J. Hawk aren't about to start fizzling out already. Speaking of Hawk with Barnett out for the year it seems like he is the main candidate to fill the middle linbacker spot. This makes good sense to me. Some have suggested Desmond Bishop and I agree that his instincts might be best suited for that position, but he is just too slow. Let Bishop stick to special teams and keep Chillar on the field. He's an average run defender but he's by far the best coverage backer and the Pack has been getting burned underneath lately especially by running backs releasing in the middle of the field and the flat.

There were a couple of blown calls in the Vikings game that even the head of officials agrees were wrong. One on the game winning drive when AP took his helmet off after he scored and then the second safety where AR was called for an illegal forward pass. My feeling is that the calls were effed up and I'm glad that that's being acknowledged but it wasn't those two plays that lost the Pack the game.

Next up are the despised Bears and this one is going to be a battle. Hopefully 'ol Rex will toss us some ducks, although I hear Kyle Orton will definitely be available and might possibly start. Whoever, just throw like a girl and stay nice and still in the pocket until one of our linemen reaches you.

Bucks, C+.
The Bucks are an even 5-5 good for next to last in the Central right above Chicago (??) but they were 2-1 this week losing to the division leading Cavs but managing to best the hobbled Spurs and win in Memphis Friday. Rookie Luc Mbah a Moute continues to impress getting two starts in a row and producing. I don't know who Hollinger's top rookies are at the moment but Moute has to be one of them. In Memphis he had 19 pts and 17 boards. The Bucks haven't seen consistent productivity like this since maybe Vin Baker's first seasons. But let's remember Mr. Wolf's advice it's only ten games into the season, let's see how the rook is doing in say February.

An interesting trade scenario with the Suns was brought up the other day on the excellent Bob Boozer Jinx blog, Boris Diaw and Barbosa for Redd. According to ESPN's Trade Machine the salaries match up so it would be a go from that standpoint. Realisticly though my gut says it sounds to good for it to actually happen.

Redd is still sitting out games with the ankle injury which is sparking a little discussion. Which is actually nothing new. It's clear that the Bucks are a different team without Redd on the floor, more defensive minded moving the ball more on offense. But on the other hand having a scorer like Redd is the difference between hanging in and having a chance against teams like the Cavs and getting blown out. Redd's not getting any younger and is probably at the career height of his trade value so now would be the ideal time to ship him in a trade if Hammond is so inclined. But if he isn't perhaps Skiles can find some way to make those 20 points a game contribute to more wins.

Brewers.
Once again this week a considerable amount of news coming from Miller Park (I guess this is how it is when your baseball team actually starts to be successful). The Brewers have named their new scouting director, promoting from within as was thought they would. No one seems to know much about Bruce Seid but he was hired by Jack Z. so lets hope his talent evaluation skills are of the same quality.

Reliever Salomon Torres has retired. I never realized how long a career Torres has had or about the 5 year gap when he was out of the majors but he sure did contribute to the Brewers making the playoffs this year. Fittingly enough he picked up the save in the only win the Crew could manage against the Phillies. And he stepped up to save the day when it became clear that Gagne would never again be the lights out closer he once was. Here's to wishing for many happy days chilling for Salomon and his family, the fans sure do appreciate your hard work. Wow the bullpen is going to look a lot different next season with Torres, Sabaithia, Sheets, Gagne, and Mota all potentially gone. We're going to quickly see just how good a coach Bill Castro is.

Last week I questioned if Sheets leaving in free agency was the forgone conclusion it seemed to be after the ALDS simply because I haven't heard much buzz from other teams about him and it seems like Melvin is thinking the same way. But if Sheets does end up leaving Kerry Wood is available to replace him in his role as the staff ace who can never pitch more than 200 innings a season.

Ryan Braun has won the NL Silver Slugger award for his position this year. To be honest with you I have barely even heard of this award but hey we'll take it. I was a little surprised though to see all the other Brewers players who have won the award in the past like Molitor, Yount, Cecil Cooper, Ben Ogilvie (who lived next door to me when I was a kid), and Prince Fielder who won it last year. Nice to see some of our players getting some individual accolades for a change, even though CC got ROBBED for the Cy Young (just kidding I know Lincecum deserved it).

Brewers have a new bullpen coach, Stan Kyles, called up from their minor league affiliate Nashville Sounds where he was the pitching coach. He's had good success as a coach in the minors and hopefully that success will follow him up here.

Still no response from CC on the Brewer's offer with word out the the Yankeess have offered him the richest contract for a pitcher ever. Doug Melvin isn't going to wait around on him forever, look to hear something within the next week.

This would not be The Rogue Hour if I did not mention that the Negro League Baseball Museum recently named Doug Melvin their Executive of the Year award named after Andrew 'Rube' Foster a dynamic figure in baseball's history.

University of Wisconsin football, B-.
Well looky here. While everyone has been busy ranting the Badgers have managed to win 3 out of their last 4 games, become bowl eligible, and are a couple of Illini and Minnesota losses away from going to a 2nd tier bowl game. Not a horrible recovery for a season that has fallen way down from expectations.

UW managed to squeak one out against Minnesota Saturday afternoon and retain possession of Paul Bunyan's axe in one of the oldest and hotly contested rivalry games in the country (if you don't believe that check this out). The way the Badgers won this game seemed eerilly similar to the way the Vikings beat the Packers last Sunday with the two safties. Sherer had a little more luck today and was able to complete some critical passes especially in the fourth quarter when everyone was expecting UW to stick heavily to the running game. Once again they had to overcome numerous mistakes early but showed their ability to recover and fight back like in the Illinois game. Badgers lost an important part of the offense though with WR Kyle Jefferson going down in the first half. Hopefully his injury is not serious.

Last game of the season is against Cal Poly which may be a smaller school but are no pushovers. If the Badgers don't keep their heads in the game a boneheaded mistake could result in a loss and make bowl officials looks elsewhere for participants.

On the UW basketball front the new class has come in and most of them look ready to contribute right away to varying degrees. Guards Diamond Taylor and Rob Wilson are probably the most game ready right now, while swingman Ryan Evans has already decided he will be redshirting this year. The media feeling about this team right now seems to be that it's a typical Bo Ryan team. No one player jumps out at you as being dangerous, but we were the Big10 champs last season and there are no obvious reasons why we shouldn't be able to do that again. Hell Joe Lunardi already has UW as a 2 seed in his Bracketology.

Marquette University men's basketball.
Haven't said much about MU since last season but basically the same team is back ready to go (with the new coach of course). James, Matthews, and McNeal still stock the backcourt so we can still run and play defense but there are some guys who should be able to create an inside prescence for the Warriors this season, something that hurt them down the stretch last year. And check out this year's signing class headed by nationally recognized recruit Jeronne Maymon. So far Buzz is delivering on his strong points. More to come when the games start counting.

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11.09.2008

Get used to this



Today's loss to the Vikings doesn't hurt quite as much as the feeling after the loss in the NFC Championship game pictured here, but it's still tough to swallow. And we'll be seeing a lot more of this for the rest of the season if the Packers, or maybe more specifically Ted Thompson, can't find a way to shore up this collapsed run defense. Our opponents have us figured out, they know the formula for beating this team. Just keep running the ball and play defense. If it's close at the end just make sure you have the last possession and run it down their throats for the win. It sounds too simple, but that is how the defense is getting played lately even while consistently generating turnovers. In terms of close games that end in heartbreaking losses yet to be experienced this season I fear this is but the tip of the iceberg.

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11.08.2008

THE Wisconsin Sports Wank


No shenanigans this week because I'm tired and I wanted to post this week's edition a couple of days ago but there are just not enough hours in the day. Shall we?

Packers. B+
Even though the Pack lost to undefeated Tennessee in overtime last Sunday they turned in a pretty good performance. The Titans are a physical team and for the most part our defense matched their play. But once again they just could not make the plays that they needed to when they needed to.

The secondary could not stop Titans WR Brandon Jones late in the game and he came up with some big plays that extended drives. The defensive line could not slow down Tennessee's running game. Seemed like they were just getting blown off the line all game and especially on the Titans last drive in regulation. Though one bright note was the play of recently activated Justin Harrell. He was active in pushing to close the pocket and he held his ground pretty well against the run. That was the story on him coming out of Tennessee where he showed glimpses of great talent but could not stay out of the training room. If he could bring it all together to start being a consistent contributor that would be a big boost for this unit.

If I'm not mistaken I think this was the first game this season where the Pack didn't get a turnover. The d-backs had a sudden case of the dropsies. Even the game announcers could point to at least four potential interceptions dropped, including one in the fourth quarter that the Pack could have used to try to seal the game. The Titans are not the perfect team like the Pats almost were last year, they're just really good at playing their game. They play defense, they run the ball, and they don't get behind. Getting them to turn the ball over was a must if the Pack wanted to leave Nashville with a W, unfortunately they just couldn't get it done.

The offense shoulders some of the blame too starting with it's best player AR. Rodgers had his first shaky performance throwing a pick in the red zone and losing a fumble, which means he may have been watching The Great One a little too closely. Emulate the good AR not the bad. Still he's the first quarterback to throw for over 300 yards against Tennessee this year so he did have his moments. The offense as a whole though could not sustain drives and score when they needed to. Ryan Grant had a so-so day with 86 yards rushing, but you can see that he is getting better; hitting the hole quicker, running harder, breaking more initial tackles. I'd still be embarrased if I were him though creating all that fuss this summer about his contract and then coming in and not doing jack isht.

As everybody who cares knows by now Rodgers got a contract extension last week. Some are questioning if this is too soon and think management should have at least waited until the end of the season, but I think it is well deserved. QB flukes get exposed over the course of a season and I think Rodgers play has shown he's no fluke, on the contrary he is solidly one of the best players on the team. And after the way he's carried himself thru the controversy this summer I think he's shown he is a person of good charachter also, so why not.

Jermichael Finley made some waves in the media this week stating that he's "ready to execute" and to be used more in the offense. Laughable to say the least if you saw how he had trouble catching a 5 yard pass over his shoulder on that 4th and 1 McCarthy went for in the first half. Keep mouthing off rook if you want a short NFL career cause behavior like that will get you out of here quicker than you can say Javon Walker.

Up next are the dysfunctional Vikes in the Metrodome. Everybody seems to think Jared Allen not playing is a big advantage for us but I like our chances even if he does play. He's like Chris Hovan was; lots of talk but come Sunday nothin'. He was a non-factor in the game earlier this year. I'm more concerned that AR does not emulate The Great One's often wretched performances in the dome.

Bucks, C.
Bucks are 3-3 are getting bushwhacked by the Celtics, second to last in the Central. Bucks play has been rather up and down this season, but they are showing a marked improvement over last season's campaign.

They are playing defense better. Most of that of course could probably be attributed to the installment of Skiles as head coach, but it is also greatly aided by the play of some of the new guys Luc Mbah a Moute the second round pick and newly acquired Richard Jefferson. And it can also be attributed to an increase in effort. I think everyone has kinda picked it up a little bit intensity wise to keep up with Skiles's coaching style. Offensively, we know the team can score. The problem has always been stopping the other guys from scoring.

Speaking of Mbah a Moute it's beginning to look like we might just have found ourselves a diamond in the rough. At UCLA he was strictly known for being a defender, but as often happens in the league with guys like that coming from college into an NBA offense he's starting to show that he has some offensive skills also. And he's also showing some great versatility as a defender able to guard multiple postitions. His continued emergence could be one of the keys to the Bucks crashing the playoff party next April.

When I first heard that Luke Ridnour was going to be our new point guard, let's just say it didn't make me feel very inspired. But he and Ramon Sessions are so far making a good tandem at the point. In the Bucks recent win over the Wizards Sessions and Ridnour combined for almost 30 assists between them. It's nice to see Sessions bouncing back after a nondescript preseason. This tandem could get better as the season goes on.

I'm concerned about Bogut. He seems to be playing even less aggressively than usual this season, certainly less than the effort he gave in the Olympics for Austrailia. Could his ankle injury from the Games still be bothering him? He seemed excited about this season over the summer so I hope this isn't one of those attitude things. We need him to play like he did in Beijing if the Bucks really hope to do something this season.

University of Wisconsin football, C+.
I'll give the Badgers an average grade after splitting a bad loss at Michigan State, a game they should have won, with an expected blowout against Indiana Saturday afternoon. The loss in Lansing was very similar in fashion to the Packers loss in Nashville. After having a three score lead reduced to a field goal margin in the fourth quarter the Badgers still had a chance to close out the game on a possession with less than 3 minutes left if they could have just made a couple of first downs but they could not sustain the drive. Sherer really showed his weaknesses as a QB on that drive, unable to execute properly on a roll out on 3rd down when the receiver was wide open. Michigan promptly marched down the field kicked the field goal to send it to overtime and when they won the toss Javon Ringer drove them right down the field for the winning score.

I gotta say Bielema deserved the heat he took this past week for the MSU loss. That's a game that was in hand and should have went in the win column if not for poor execution and crucial game management mistakes like not milking the clock during their possessions in the 4th quarter and having the defense in a 'prevent' mode leaving the underneath routes and middle of the field wide open, instead of continuing to attack. Under Alvarez UW strangled teams when they had leads late in the game bleeding the clock unmercifully, maybe Bielema should seek out some words of wisdom regarding this season's slide. And yes it's still way too early to talk about firing him.

So now all we have to do is beat Minnesota and Cal Poly at home to finish up 7 -5. I read somewhere that Minnesota ended up with a record like that last year and went to the Insight.com bowl. Yipeeeee. (I am such a spoiled fan. I should be happy the Badgers could even be going to a bowl game. It wasn't that long ago when that alone would have been a great accomplishment for this program.) I've loosened up a little on my rant from the last Wank. Saying the team doesn't deserve to go to a bowl game comes from bitterness about what could have been. A bowl game can be a great experience for a team, especially the young guys who might not get to play much. From that aspect these kids deserve it if they can get eligible.

Brewers.
Lots of Brewer offseason news to comment on this week. New manager Ken Macha is starting to round out his coaching staff with numerous appointments, the funniest of which has to be Dale Sveum coming back as the batting coach. Really?? The guy had like a career .230 average with several seasons that dipped below .200. Really??? That's your new batting coach? Doesn't this just turn batting practice into one big fuck off session? And I was joking but now I'm really starting to worry.

Willie Randolph was named bench coach. I always liked Willie as a player and I thought he got a little bit of a raw deal with the Mets, so I'm happy to see him working again. However I do wonder how he will mesh with this current group of players. Did you know that Randolph actually played a season in Milwaukee in '91 hitting .327?

Bill Castro was named pitching coach replacing the departed Mike Maddux. Castro has been in the Brewers organization for 17 years including 7 as a pitcher and ten as the bullpen coach. No one was more deserving of the appointment than him.

The new third base coach is one Brad Fischer a Wisconsin native who has almost 30 years of baseball experience. Don't know much about him but if he's been around that long he must know something. Besides he couldn't any worse than Sveum was right?

The Brewers picked up the $10 million option on CF Mike Cameron and extended a formal offer to CC Sabaithia this week. GM Doug Melvin will not discuss details publicly, but most bloggers and sources believe the deal is for $100 million over 5 years. That's quite a significant amount for the Brewers and probably represents close to their realistic limit as a small market team, but it's definitely beatable by suitors like the Yankees. So we will see how CC decides.

Remember this 2008 team well, it may not be together for much longer. Besides CC other Brewer free agents include Russell Branyan, Guillermo Mota, Craig Counsell, Gabe Kapler, Ray Durham, Mike Lamb, and of course Ben Sheets. Speaking of Sheets I haven't really heard any free agent buzz on him like a Jake Peavy or Sabaithia. Perhaps it's not not a forgone conclusion that he's gone if the Brewers make him an offer.

Brewers blog Bernie's Crew is doing individual post season reviews/projections on the players. Here's the first one on Prince Fielder.

Not everybody is happy with the choice of Macha as manager.

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11.05.2008

Untitled


Because I'm kind of speechless. Wow.

I've always felt like it was kind of a blessing to be born into the world at the time I was, to be present during this time in history (to see these last dayz). But to actually bear witness and have had a hand in the election of the first American of African descent in history to the Presidency of the United States, that's something.

I will gladly eat some crow on this one (though I won't be running thru downtown Philly au natural) because I admit I did not think it was possible. I thought the influence of this nation's past was still to strong on it's psyche to handle seeing a black man as POTUS. Still to much prejudice and racism, overt and hidden. But obviously I was wrong. This nation is capable of much more than I thought. Perhaps it's finally living up to it's declared belief that all men are created equal.

I voted early, last week so I approached today with a matter-of-fact type of attitude (partly because I still did not really believe that Obama would win). I was kind of looking forward to the evening's media watch of the election results but even so it was more for the "watch how hype the media is" aspect of it rather than the "ooohh I hope he wins" viewpoint. But when I saw the lead and then heard that McCain had actually conceded, that feeling was undeniable. I had the same feeling the morning of 9/11 when I woke up to the image of a smoking tower on the tv screen in my bedroom. That feeling that everything is about to be different now and that this very moment is a turning point in history.

I saw and read a wide variety of reactions tonight. There was a brother at a gas station I stopped at who when he saw me quickly raised a fist and hollered "Obama!", then promptly hounded me for change. The overheard phone conversation of a co-worker about a friend who had declared that they were "ready to move out of the country" and expressions of shock at their "racist" attitude. Two young boys who probably were under sixteen walking the street at 3:00am yelling "Fuck McCain! We got Obama nigga, we got a Black president! Fuck whitey!". Popping by my parents house after McCain conceded and seeing them glued to the tv (unusual behavior for them) and actually seeing the hint of a tear in my father's eye. All of this to me is mind blowing. Truly whether you voted for Obama or not I bet this will be one of those days you won't ever forget.

Don't get me totally twisted. This doesn't all of the sudden make every thing right in the world. There's still Iraq and the economy and health care and other major issues for the president-elect to address. And let's be real the real powers that be don't sit in the Oval Office, they just pull the strings there. But for a majority of the population of this country to suddenly be able to cast aside it's problems and differences to pull together to make a mark like this in history is something beautiful.

Well I'm going to get some sleep, after all today really is a new day right?

11.01.2008

Again, so long and thanks for all the fish


ESPN.com is reporting that after activating DT Justin Harrell the Packers have waived Kabeer GBaja-Biamila. As a commenter to the article noted this makes good business sense because the cap hit for his salary will come this year instead of in 2009. His production has fallen significantly over the past few years but it still is sad to say goodbye to a true Packer stalwart. He managed to collect 74 sacks during his time here, good enough to be tops in Packer history surpassing even Reggie White. And he was just as good of a human being off the field, known for his charitable work in the community. Some fans balked about him really being just a niche pass rusher when he got his big payday a few years ago, but he deserved it. He always left it all on the field and conducted himself in a professional manner (never heard about any off field incidents with KGB).

So long KGB thanks for the passion and effort and good luck with the next team you sign with (except if they are in the division), or if you decide to hang it up the next challenge in life you take on.

Perhaps we'll see you in Lambeau in the next couple of years when you go up on the Ring of Honor.

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I'm Done

That's it. How do you blow an 11 point lead with 7 minutes to go in the fourth quarter???!!! Well the Badgers just showed us how. Inept mincing coaching decisions, timid play calling, playing a 'prevent' defense with corners giving 10 yard cushions instead of going with what got you the lead in the first place, and poor clock management. I don't think Bielema needs to go (yet) but I now understand all the haterism. When a team has let downs like this the root cause goes back to the coaching. Players have to have it drilled into them that in situations like this you have to stay calm, think, and execute. This season this team has showed that they do not have a firm grasp of the fundamentals. And it doesn't look like they have any interest in getting better.

So I'm done for this season. I'm looking toward the college bball season. Badgers are exactly where they belong this season, bottom of the BigTen. How disgraceful for a team ranked in the top ten at the beginning of the season. They do not deserve to go to a bowl game. They do not deserve props for anything. And they really don't even deserve to be mentioned in my blog.

In case you can't tell, I am REALLY pissed.

10.29.2008

THE Wisconsin Sports Wank


Forgive me if the Wank seems kind of dry this week, but I do not want to be in Milwaukee right now. I need to be in Nashville for Tennessee State University's homecoming week for my classe's ten year reunion. But alas those days are pretty much behind me now that I am the responsible father/husband type . . . but I got to get down there next year fo'sho.

So anyway without further ado:

Packers.
No grade this week, they had a bye. But I heard they have been doing a good job of healing up. Safety Atari Bigby might be ready to return to action Sunday, DT Jason Harrell is looking like he is ready to start trying to earn some playing time, and anytime AR is not throwing is good rest time for his seperated shoulder. With the bye week there hasn't been a whole of news coming out of Lambeau. Aaron Rouse was the NFC Defensive Player of the Week last week for his performance against the Colts (that's another questionable TT draft pick that looks like it is finally paying off). Nick Collins was also up for the honor so that's a good indication that maybe fans can start thinking of the Pack's secondary as a strength again, instead of nervously crossing fingers whenever a team with a big receiver has a 3rd and long.

Being that this is the bye week it's also about the time we start to see the inevitable midseason grades being thrown out. Here are some midseason rankings for those who obsess over them, and Acme Packing Co. rates GM Ted Thompson's job performance so far. Not surprising to note that the Pack is dead last in penalties, but 6th in 3rd down conversions and 1st in turnover margins. Big reasons why the Pack has never really been blown out yet in any game they played (yes except Atlanta).

Looking ahead to the next opponent Tennessee, linebackers and defensive linemen will have their hands full trying to contain their power running game. Hopefully Hawk will be closer to 100% and the real Nick Barnett comes back from whatever planet he has been on this season. If we can just get some pressure on Collins and force him to speed up his progression I think we can turn the ball over in the secondary and that is what will probably be key in handing this team it's first loss. But the Titans have a pretty good secondary of their own so we also need for AR to play his patented no mistakes/good decisions game. And I don't think the Titans are keying on our running game, so any success we can have with that increases our chances of winning. Right now Tennessee is definitely one of the best teams in the leauge so it's a good barometer game, even more so than against Indy.

The NFL scheduling committee must love to see the NFC North beat up on each other every year. Or is it just a coincidence that the whole division had a bye this week with only a game seperating the leaders . . . except for Detroit . . . so yeah every team took last week off.

If the recent Favre rumors are still leaving a bad taste in your mouth check out former Packer executive Andrew Brandt's take on the whole thing. This guy was/is a master of diplomacy, no wonder he kept the salary cap in such good shape.

Bucks, D.
Right now the Bucks' play is not generating the kind of optimism felt over the summer with the hire of Hammond and Skiles. The coach and players are still "feeling each other out", waiting for some sort of regular lineup to emerge while the team "meshes" or "gels". They only won 1 preseason game (and that was in China) and in the season opener against Skiles' former team they picked up right were they left off in March, losing. Redd got his 30pts of course (on 10-19 shooting) but as it was discussed at length over the summer on blogs like Bucks Diary, that doesn't really do much for the Bucks overall goal of winning. Put simply the Bucks do better when Redd scores less, like tonight against the Oklahoma City Garth Brookses (and the Thunder rolled!). Redd got 20, RJ got 20, Charlie V got 20, everybody was happy and the Bucks win. So the style of play in those two games could be indicators on game outcomes this season. If you turn on the tube and see Redd pulling up on fast breaks with no one under the basket and Bogut high-fiving himself on the charity stripe, that game is probably going in the L column. But if you see guys hustling, smiling, and Redd playing within the flow of the game but looking kind of pouty chalk up the win.

Sifting through all the preseason predictions, I saw an interesting philosophy or rather theorem regarding the outlook for this season over at Bucks Diary. The Gradual Rise Theory basically states that the Bucks will start off playing inconsistently but as the season goes on their quality of play will improve. A fitting way for any Bucks fan to frame their expectations for the season as Skiles implements his five-point plan.

I was a little disappointed at some of the Bucks roster moves right before the season opener. For one Damon Jones is still on the roster and I was hoping he might have been shipped out in some sweet trade by now (has any team ever just obviously carried a player for trade bait like this?). And we waived Adrian Griffin to pick up Austin Croshere. Couldn't we just have kept Matt Freije (who is basically a younger version of Croshere) and traded Griffin and Jones? Seems common sense to me, but then again there is a reason why I'm just an Armchair GM. Besides Croshere probably better fits Skiles coaching profile (he's a veteran, knows how to play decent D, etc.).

The Bucks have always had a solid fan base in southeastern Wisconsin but they know things have been a little lean this decade on the success side. And they know with the economy being how it is things are kind of on the lean side with fans too. So Bucks owner (and U.S. Senator) Herb Kohl wants to assist you in supporting your Milwaukee Bucks by pricing all 8,000 upper level seats in the Bradley Center at $10 a pop for the first 2 months of the season. It's nice to here about an NBA team lowering prices for a change instead of hearing about $93 dollar 'cheap seats' and $5.00 hot dogs so I have to give props to the senator for that. Finally we're getting our money's worth when we attend a Bucks game.

Brewers.
All the talk lately is about who the Brewers will pick for the manager spot (most bloggers are saying it will be Ken Macha) and if they can really afford to give CC Sabaithia the new deal he deserves.

The popular thinking is that Macha gets the nod because he has ties with Melvin and has experience being successful with a small market team. I vaugely remember Macha's managerial style from his days in Oakland (they used to have a young roster packed with talent too) and judging from that I think he would be alright here (though I still think Melvin should have just stuck with Svuem). I do feel for Willie Randolph though (but I don't think he would be right in Milwaukee) cause it just always seems like he got a raw deal with the Mets after quietly paying his dues for years on the coaching circuit. Hopefully he can get another managerial post somewhere. Oh and whoever the new manager is Al has some questions for him.

The Crew will also be replacing their scouting director after Jack Z. skipped off to Seattle to be their new GM. Most fans are probably familiar with Zduriencik's role in the Brewers recent resurgance but for those who are very casual fans like me he is the guy who was responsible for drafting Prince Fielder, Manny Gallardo, Ryan Braun, and JJ Hardy among others. Obviously he will be missed but word is that his replacement will be coming from inside the organization so hopefully the dropoff will not be too great.

So lots of folks have been analyzing this CC thing, breaking down the numbers to properly evaluate whether the Brewers, as a small market team, can afford to keep a player with the kind of salary that Sabaithia will demand and just what kind of deal we can offer. At the same time the rumors have been swirling again that the Yankees and their deep pockets are after Mike Cameron who also contributed greatly to the success of this season. As I understand it if we resign both they will account for a significant percentage of the total payroll, and that means some of the other players who made big contributions this season won't be around next year. Guys like a Gabe Kapler or a Craig Counsell. And then the Brewers would be at a crossroads of sorts. Will the future makeup of the team generally be a collection of good solid players, guys who know their roles, with a few young stars like Braun and Fielder? Or will it become a team of mostly mediocre journeymen type guys with a few really good players (one of whom is sliding down the hill to 40). Maybe that's another reason why I have never become a hardcore baseball fan. It's easy to root for a team that is always generally successful because they can acquire all the players they need, and can afford to keep them together for an extended period of time. Alas in a small market baseball city it just can't go down like that. So we develop the players, witness their ascension to The Show, watch while they give us a few great years, and then watch when they inevitably leave for that big payday. I think we should try to resign CC for a fiscally responsible amount and let Cameron go if he wants. I'll go to war with guys like Prince, Braun, and Hardy as the stars. In my opinion we should try as much as we can to be the MLB version of the NFL Patriots. If your organization is tight it doesn't matter who you plug in. Again it may not be the best baseball strategy but I'm speaking more from the heart of a fan right now.

Rickie Weeks was often a target for fan and blogger ridicule this season, but according to this sites numbers he was the 14th best 2nd baseman in baseball this year.

In the Right Field Bleachers it's never too early to try to predict next season.

Brewers have put the word out that Fielder is available.

Update: Macha is the man.

Badgers, B+.
Badgers continue their dismal season this Saturday in East Lansing against a ranked Michigan State team. Needless to say they are not in the running for anything much more than a whiff of a bowl game (although I'm sure if they can eke out 2 more wins to be bowl eligible some bowl will invite us because our fan base travels so well). UW stands at 9th in the Big10 with a 1-4 conference record. That one win came against an inconsistent Illinois team last week in Madison where the Badgers suddenly turned out the performance expected of them earlier in the season. It helped that Juice Williams did not have his best game and that the Illini coaching staff seemed to have a curious game plan (A. Benn only had 2 catches) but the defense finally showed that big play capability that we've been told they have. New starting QB Dustin Sherer will not draw any comparisons to Joe Montana, but he made enough plays to ensure the win (I really hope Curt Phillips is ready next year). Can we play spoiler at MSU? It will take another consistent offensive outing (consistently making plays) and another max performance for the defense against future NFL'er Javon Ringer (who ran all over us last year).

TE Travis Beckum is out for the rest of the year with a broken fibula. Tough way to end not only a season but a college career for one of the most heralded recruits in the state of recent note. Beckum was heavily recruited out of Oak Creek by the Michigans and Ohio States before he decided to stay at home and help out the state school. He played linbacker and defensive end in high school but never could break through on defense at the college level until the coaches brilliantly recreated him as a tight end where he's been an All-American and probably would have been a top draft pick if he had come out last year. He's had a disappointing injury plagued senoir season but I think his name will still be called in June (or whenever the draft is). Thanks Travis for being loyal and contributing to the success of the Badgers these past 4 years. Good luck on Sundays.

Ok enough with the depressing UW football season, it's almost time for UW hoops! The early preseason rankings put the Badgers at 29th so no one is really checking for the defending conference champs. But by now you know how Bo does it; just win baby and eventually the media will have to start respecting us again. I know, I know you hate our style of play and we're so boring to watch in the tournament but get used to it because Bo Ryan and his highest winning percentage in the Big Ten since 2001 are not going anywhere.

Let's end the post on one of those sappy-feel-good-story points. With all we hear about T.O. and Pacman and NBA "thugs" it is nice to see a story in the media about a responsible athlete. Marcus Landry is one of such. I have two toddlers to account for most days too; but I'm not sure I could have done it going to school full time, playing basketball, with all the other responsibilities. Regardless of the direction UW basketball takes this season, this brother has his head on straight.


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10.20.2008

THE Wisconsin Sports Wank


Well since my last wanking 2 of our major sports teams have pretty much slipped off into that good night. The Brewers struggled valiantly against their streak of subpar performances, but finally succumbed to the will of a Phillies team that was playing pretty good ball and is now in the World Series. The college football season is far from over, but it's pretty much a done deal for the Badgers hopes of a conference title and room service on New Year's Day (unless they have tickets to a BCS game). One team who many thought may be down for the count continued to show signs of life Sunday while another's newly hired management team turns an optimistic eye towards the hope of a new season, seeking to rise from the depths of past failure. All coming up in this week's edition of THE . . .Wisconsin. . . Sports. . . Wank!!!(cue dramatic theme music).

Packers B+.
The Pack has performed well in back to back victories on the road in Seattle and against the Colts in Lambeau this past Sunday, particulary heartening after the shellacking dished out by Atlanta. As Packer's radio announcer Larry McCarren is fond of saying the bye week couldn't come at a better time providing a much needed chance for Atari Bigby and Ryan Pickett to get healthier, Woodson and Rodgers to rest their respective injuries, and Justin Harrell to work his way into the game rotation. Pack stands at 4-3, tied with the meatheads to the south for the division lead. Next game up is against Tennessee where we will see just how strong the defenses resolve is. They seemed to take the challenge of stopping Peyton Manning personally and they'll need the same mind set going up against Tennessee's running game, our weakness all season.

So after 7 weeks of live competition what do we know about this team, if anything? Well I think one of the things we know is that we will be ok at the quarterback position from both the health and the talent standpoints. AR showed me something last week in Seattle. He showed me that just because at lot of folks think he is a little bitch, he doesn't have to act like one (and he doesn't need phone calls from The Great One to convince him to play thru pain) and that he's tougher than a lot of people thought. Usually being 'injury prone' goes along with a prissy attitude, but Rodgers has shown that he is willing to play thru the pain and that makes a big difference. The Great One was always getting banged up during the season (how do you think he got addicted to pain killers?) but no one ever labled him as injury prone. I think AR has earned a little of that respect now and even the veterans who were loyal to that other guy are starting to see that.

I think we also know that we do have some playmakers in the secondary. This unit was a big question mark during the offseason after big receivers ran freely for big plays last season like Plaxico in the NFC Championship. The question was what do we have after Charles Woodson and Al Harris, can anyone currently on the roster step up if these guys go down? 4 picks returned for touchdowns later I think we have an answer. Collins, Bigby (when healthy), Trammon Williams, and Aaron Rouse have all stepped up big this season while Harris mends his spleen. One play in particular where Collins came from the other side of the field and leapt in the air to deflect a pass to a receiver about ten yards behind him in the end zone made me say 'wow, so that's what they saw when they drafted him' (and I love the handshake ritual after an interception). The way they put the clamps on the Colts recievers for 4 quarters a fan can't gush enough about the way this unit has performed under pressure. Now keep it up for 9 more weeks.

The O line did a good job this week matching up with the smaller very quick Colts front, Tauscher in particular. Who says the tackles are washed up!?

It's been mentioned that Woodson in having a Pro Bowl caliber season, but Nick Collins really looks like he is 'getting it'.

Earlier this season I said Nick Barnett looked like he was poised for a breakout year to 'star player' status. I now officially recant that statement.

RB Deshawn Wynn is back on the roster, special teams ace Tracey White was cut the other week. Sorry to see White go, glad to see Wynn back (he reminds me of like a Kenneth Davis type).

TT whiffed on not dealing for Tony Gonzalez for a second rounder. It would have given Rodgers a virtual security blanket and provided a good means to attack those seams down the middle more. I think that is an often overlooked detail that contributed to The Great Ones development as a quarterback, he always had a good TE saftey valve. Give AR something to work with besides Donald Lee and Tory Humphrey.

I've been hearing the rumors of The Great One taking the initiative to call the coaching staffs of Packer opponents to give them the scoop on Green Bay's offensive philosophies. I must add that right now this is only a rumor and is only really being reported by FOX Sports (and we know how reliable FOX News is, not). We'll see how this shakes out and if The Great One even responds to it, but my gut tells me that this is a little far-fetched for someone to have made up on their own without there being some truth to it somewhere. And if it is true . . . I'm speechless. Getting traded to another team and giving them info on your old team when the two play each other is expected. A player going out of his way to contact his former teams opponents and offering to break down their playbook? WTF is that? Packer's Ring of Honor? That is reserved for men who understand the meaning of the word.

Brewers B+.
Well the Crew hung in there when the going got tough, but they ran out of lives against the Phillies. But it's still sunny here in southeastern Wisconsin. The Crew did accomplish some of the major goals they sought to acheive at the beginning of the season. Season attendance went well beyond the 3 million mark thanks to the Crew being in contention for the division title for most of the season. And we finally made the postseason again, even if for only a few games. They made baseball in September relevant again in Wisconsin. A lot of today's fans are too young to remember '82 so they got a little taste of what that was like (and it was so fitting that some of the guys who were here then were running the show this season: Yost, Simmons, Yount). From every fan account I heard and read just getting there was worth it. Having seen both I would have to say both seasons were equally special but in different ways (mostly because of the outcomes).

So now on to the offseason matters. GM Doug Melvin considered keeping Svuem on a manager, but ultimately decided they needed someone with a little more experience (Melvin got the extension he was looking for though). MJS's Tom Hardicourt runs down some of the early candidates. Right now I would guess Ken Macha could be called the early front runner because he was offered the Brewers post right before they hired Yost. No one available right now jumps out at me as being the perfect fit for this team. I think Melvin should have stuck with Svuem.

Brewers pulled off one of the greatest mid season trades in history by acquiring CC Sabaithia and it has been pretty much assumed that he will walk in free agency. But CC is not saying that's a done deal and neither is Melvin. But if CC does end up walking, maybe the Crew could pick up a guy like Jake Peavy?

University of Wisconsin football, D+.
Maybe with all that went on this summer and then the excitement of the Brewer's run I just haven't paid enough attention to UW football. We've been spoiled ever since Alvarez resurrected this program. For the past decade it has pretty much been the most consistent (major) sports team in the state, but all things move in cycles. For whatever reasons (inexperience and subpar QB play are most often cited) this team just cannot get it together consistently this season and has opened with their worst record in Big Ten play since '96. I hear there are still some bowls we could make but no one is really holding their breath for the Motor City Bowl.

When a team underperforms like this a lot of the blame tends to fall on the shoulders of the coach (deservedly so), but fans calling Bielema's firing are way out of line. It's way too early for talk like that. Bielema is a good coach, was hand picked by Alvarez, and before this season had only lost like 4 times in his tenure. Believe me I understand the addiction to winning and being ranked but this isn't some football factory where quality coaches are lining up waiting to come here. We don't need to start firing coaches every 2 -3 years like Alabama or somebody. Just be patient and stick with Bielema like we stuck with the other guy named Brett for so long.

And I feel you Camp Lambeau, but UW is still a football school first. This is Big Ten country and that has always meant football.

Bucks.
If I were giving the Bucks a preseason grade it would be a D. They have only won 1 game in the preaseason so far and have not really been competitve in most of them. I don't really have any high expectations for this team, but I expect them to do better than last year in both effort and results. What that expectation is based on is not anything I could rationally explain so let's just say I have hope in Skiles and Hammond.

The Bucks have a lot of new pieces and it looks like right now everybody is just kinda feeling things out, seeing how the pieces will fit together. The two rooks haven't really shown too much during the preseason. Luc Richard has pretty much been as advertised; high energy guy who defends and rebounds and has shown glimpses of offensive potential. Alexander still looks a bit overwhelmed but has shown some improvement.

The Bucks invited four players to their training camp and have cut the two guards already. Matt Freije has made a good impression so far so the Bucks may be trying to figure a way to keep him although they already have 15 guys signed (remember Damon Jones is not in camp and has an expiring contract).

Check out Charlie Villanueva's blog over on NBA.com. He's got some interesting perspectives on the Bucks moves this summer, the outlook for this season, and how he has supposedly been refining his diet. Something I found interesting was the fact that he had his first child this summer. Often time that maturing process you go thru as a first time parent carries over to the rest of your life. Maybe Charlie will finally be able to channel all that talent he has into consistent performances on both ends of the floor.

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10.19.2008

Obama's the racist huh?

My favorite comment in this video is the lady who says "I'm concerned about Obama and his wife, that they might be anti-white and that they may hide it".




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10.16.2008

LOST


Ok back to this guy. Please forgive if you were looking for a quicker follow up post on Mr. James T. Harris, but I was thinking since he has become (for the moment at least) the face representing all Black Milwaukeeans to the nation (and I'm only barely exaggerating) I had to take the time to break this brother down properly.

It didn't take that long. A little while after I first read the commentary and saw the video from the rally in Waukesha I just happened to get a phone call from one of my old college running partners, known for his 'radical' views on politics, history, and such. I was still steamed about this cat so of course I began venting to my old friend. After letting me ramble on about how much Nigga Jim was setting back our race (my friend happens to be mixed race btw, black and white) he cut me off in mid-sentence. "Why would you even waste your time try to reach this guy or start some kind of protest against him? He's lost bro. There's not anything anyone could say to that man that would convince him to change his views. The best thing you could do for him would be to attract more attention to him."

And as I did my due dilligence as a credible blog writer and looked at his posts on WTMJ's site and then took the time to read some of the posts on his site National Conversation, I realized my old friend was right.

This guy has totally disassociated himself from being a part of the African-American community. The tone of his posts makes it clear that he does not consider himself to be a part of the diaspora. You can tell that from his post on the fate of Milwaukee's Black Holocaust Museum (which may not close after all) alone. Let's just say it wasn't sympathetic (and I'm not linking to any of this brother's shit anymore, look him up if you have a strong stomach).

Now don't get my reasons for saying this twisted. There's nothing wrong with being a black conservative (though in this society it is not in your best interest) or a black Republican. If you want to vote for John McCain and happen to be black there's nothing wrong with that (though again, not in your best interest). But this guy has turned against his people, his heritage. How? It's right there in his blog. He takes care not to use the words 'they' or 'them' when referring to African-Americans but that artifical seperator is there. You know, like how some white people refer to African-Americans. It just something that you hear in the tone of their voice, the tone of their writing. His posts have a pattern of focusing on effects (or symptons) rather than causes, jumping on the current popular conservative sentiment that institutional racism is no more and blacks have only their own laziness to blame for their current state. Because of this he can never get to any real causes, so I guess in his diseased mind he decides that all Blacks are like animals who have no higher morals or values and would like nothing better than to just get high and shoot at each other all day until our welfare check comes.

So yeah this guy is lost. He's not going to change his thinking for anyone (except maybe McCain). All the hate comments and emails calling him a race traitor and an uncle tom, he was LOVING it. He had more traffic on his site last week than in the past year. And he's finally shown his conservative buddies at AM620 that he can be just as spiteful to the liberals as they can. Given all that I would have to say that scene at the rally was staged and that he is loving every second of the controversy it sparked in the blogosphere.

But I for one will not fuel his need for confrontation to spread his ridiculous rhetoric. The best way to silence this dude is to pay him no mind. He'll have to find his own way back to self. It might be harsh but it's best to just dismiss brothers like that, because when the real revolution manifests itself and it becomes apparent that we are uniting as a people, brothers like this will feel threatened just as if they were white.

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10.13.2008

On a lighter note

It's not all about sports and social commentary here at the Rogue Hour.  Sometimes it's about inspiring too.  This post is for my baby Jailah who just loves to putter away on the keyboards of her mommy and daddy's computers and really could not care less if the Packers won Sunday or if Barack Obama becomes president, but is happy as long as her daddy is happy.  And who has taken shine to a certain 50-year old bear that I was very fond of when I was a child.  If you are say in the 27 - 38 years age group let your inner child enjoy this clip.

10.10.2008

Milwaukee's Black Rush Limbaugh

Fellow Black Milwaukeeans, can you believe that this man is actually one of us? What an embarrasment to the African American population of Milwaukee. There's nothing wrong with supporting whoever you want to vote for, this goes beyond that. The mudslinging in this campaign so far has already been thick and he's calling for more of it. As pointed out in the comments of Fields post the enthusiasm of the cheering was because it was a black man saying this about Obama, not because he said anything remarkable. And the worst thing about this is that the black community here is really just to weak and disorganized (in the wake of scandals like Ald. Michael McGee and State Sen. Gary George) to even voice some objection to this guys rhetoric (to bad brothers like Homer Blow aren't still on the air). Well, rest assured I am going to start keeping close tabs on this 'brotha'. Times like this I wish this blog had a higher following 'cuz I bet most registered AA voters in the Metropolitan Milwaukee Area are not even aware of this. More to come(H/T the Field Negro).



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Donna Brazile

As usual says it best.

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10.09.2008

White Folks, y'all got to do better.


Ok. This is the final straw.
I was kind of trying to stay above the fray regarding the presidential election that is now less than a month away for several reasons. One of which is there are so many other blogs out here in the diaspora that do a tremendous job of dropping social commentary like the Field Negro, Jack and Jill Politics, Fackin' Truth Blog, etc. that I feel inadequate. I'm a brother who has knowledge and awareness of self and where I am (or should I say where we are) and I've taken part in some pretty 'radical' activities to express my views, but I wouldn't dare to style myself as an 'activist'. I have too much respect for real ones (and honestly I think I'm better at writing critiques about sports than politics). But with this last round of mudslinging by the McCain campaign I just can't keep silent anymore when I have this forum to vent, especially as this tatic is working.
Back during the Summer Olympics I had a great idea for a post, after I had read an article on ESPN.com that speculated on the idea that fans expectations of the USA Men's basketball team's performance in Beijing were too high. It got me to thinking that that same description could be applied to America's viewpoint on the world in general. When it comes to competition in certain sports fans here feel a kind of sense of entitlement. We kicked the world's ass for so long in basketball in the Olympics we were shocked and kind of took it personally when we lost the gold in '88. We are used to that feeling of superiority, and not just when it comes to sports.
In my experience a lot of my countrymen express befuddlement when it comes to understanding why the world's opinion of these United States and it's citizens is pretty low these days (and to be sure there are a lot of people who could not give a fuck less what any other nation thinks of us). But I believe if the average American citizen is honest with themselves, is interested in having some kind of awareness of the world around them, and is willing to make the effort to not just accept everything mainstream media spurts out as gospel, they would actually be willing to admit that perhaps, just maybe, there is a remote possibility some of this nation's actions in the past have led to this viewpoint.
My point is this: If you are one of those people who actually cares about how the world at-large perceives the U.S., about how you as an individual are viewed when you travel abroad, and you want to dissprove the view that this is one of the most morally bankrupt societies in the world, think seriously about casting your vote with Barack Obama.
Now like I said I know a lot of people could not give a fuck less what other countries think about the good old U.S. of A. I'm not talking to you (and besides I suspect you guys would rather cut off your own genitalia than vote for a black man as President). I'm talking to the people who do care, and most specifically the white people who care. The ones who think our country's reputation for neo-colonialism is undeserved. And the ones who are of the opinion that Blacks need to stop whining about racism and 'stuff' that happened 40 years ago, because the only reason (or should I say the main reason that will never be officially acknowledged) Obama will not (I don't think he will) be elected is because of this society's refusal to deal with it's issues of race.
I had a relationship with a woman once who had a lot of 'issues' on a personal level and they kept manifesting themselves in our relationship. When we used to discuss these issues and I would bring up specific examples to illustrate my arguments she would always evade responsibility for her actions saying that I was being passive aggressive trying to play the victim role and it was I who was really at fault because I didn't love her for who she was, etc. Finally I said to myself, 'fine maybe she has a point' and put aside my issues and assumptions, but you know what she kept proving me right by exhibiting the same behaviors until eventually we ended the self destructive cycle that was our relationship.
I see a lot of (assumedly) white commenters on blogs like Field's going on and on about how it's really black folks who are racist these days and that we keep excusing our own laziness as a people based on events that happened decades ago, and that they can't even take pride in their race without being labeled a racist, and of course that institutional racism is practically non-existant these days and black people are just crying wolf. But when white politicians running against black opponents steady resort to tatics like the ones linked to in this post's first paragraph and I keep seeing these independent documentaries on current.com and other places showing countless white people in America's Heartland solemnley stating that they don't care (or even really know) what Obama stands for but they will not be voting for him because it's "just not right", I know I'm being shown that race is still a deep part of this country's legacy. You guys keep proving people like me, who say that racism is alive and well, right.
And let me just digress here with one of my favorite jewels: A lot of people confuse the concept of racism with prejudice. The basic difference is racism involves the use of power to subjugate a particular group of people based on race. A prejudice is a preconceived stereotype based in ignorance (of which many people of all colors are guilty of possesing). By it's definition African-Americans in this society are not capable of racism because we don't have the institutional power to practice it.
So that's why I say it's not only black folks who need to 'do better'. You want terrorists to stop fucking with this country so our children and loved ones don't have to die in a desert somewhere to defend it? You want some of these other nations to start showing some gratitude for the genuinely good things we do around the globe? Do you care about being perceived as an airheaded member of a decadent society? Then open up your mind to the possibility that a black man can be POTUS. Stop accepting every convenient excuse McCain will hand you to fear an African-American in office. Stop letting them cater to your fears based in ignorance and embrace your higher calling as a human being. If you can do this it will go a long way towards showing the world that this is not the America that they think it is.


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