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.