Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's Official

Brewers name Macha as their new manager.

The Brewers called a 2 p.m. CT press conference Thursday during which they will name Macha, 58, as the 16th skipper in club history. Macha passed on the Brewers' offer in October 2002 to remain in Oakland, but quickly became the leading candidate earlier this month as Melvin searched for a replacement for Ned Yost and Dale Sveum...

As I Predicted: New Manager ASAP

The Brewers are going to name their new manager (I'll be stunned if it's anyone but Macha) "either today or tomorrow."
The Brewers were honoring the moratorium on announcing managerial
hirings during the World Series, so now they can go ahead with their
business. Had Tampa Bay won last night and forced the Series to go on
to Game 6 and perhaps 7, I'm not sure what the Brewers would do because
they want to get this done and move forward.

But it's my information that Macha is the man. I've expected all along
he would be the favorite because Melvin wanted to hire him before the
2003 season but Macha was promoted from bench coach to manager in
Oakland instead. So, Melvin hired Ned Yost, who was fired with 12 games
remaining this season.

I like the pick, for all the reasons laid out here. Plus, hopefully it makes Kendall retire.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hair of the Dog, Thursday, 10/29/08

Apparently Paul is working in the tallest building in the country for the next few weeks and for some reason, they can't figure out how to get him access to the Internet up there. And there always seems to be something wrong with the connection of his cat-infested apartment. For that reason, our alternating "daily" post--or Hair of the Dog--will be in my hands for a little while. But that's okay on days like this, when there's positive news for Wisconsin sports fans.

For starters, Geoff Jenkins earned himself a World Series ring. The Phillies won game 5.5 tonight to take the series. The game started in a 2-2 tie in the Bottom of the 6th. Jenkins was the pinch/lead off hitter (something you don't see every day) and smashed a double. He was sacrificed to third and scored on a Jayson Werth bloop. This would have been the go-ahead run but for a Rocco Baldelli dinger in the top of the 7th. The Phils scored again in the Bottom of the 7th to take the lead for good. Good for them. Good for Jenkins. Good for the Brewers. Good for the National League. Also, with the series done, expect the Brewers to name their new manager in the next day or two.

The Bucks also picked up a win against the Oklahoma City Thunder, whoever they are, 98-87. They looked alright too. The starters all played well with Redd, Jefferson and Charlie V each putting up 20 points and Bogut adding 14. As a team, they shot 46% including 7-18 from 3-point range. They looked okay on defense too, even if they were playing a pretty shaky team. The Bucks have a .500 record. Let's hope it lasts a while (or gets better?). Next up for the Bucks is the home opener against Chris Bosh and the Toronto Raptors. I'll be there--of course, I only go to see the dancers. Anyone else going?

Brewers' minor league stud Mat Gamel won the Spink award.

Folks around baseball, however, know just how accomplished a player Gamel is. To that end, it was not much of a surprise when it was announced on Wednesday that the former fourth-round selection was named as the 21st annual J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner, emblematic of the Topps/Minor League Player of the Year.

Other Spink Award winners include Cliff Floyd (1993), Derek Jeter (1994), Johnny Damon (1995), Andruw Jones (1996), Paul Konerko (1997), Eric Chavez (1999), Josh Beckett (2001), Delmon Young (2005), Alex Gordon (2006) and Steven Pearce (2007).

This is somewhat confusing because Wikipedia and like 15 other baseball websites think the J.G. Taylor Spink Award is for writers and that Larry Whiteside won it this year. That seems like some minor league reporting. I wonder what award he really won?

That's it for today.

Brewers DFA Joe Dillon

The Brewers designated Joe Dillon for assignment to make room for Casey McGehee, a 3rd basemen from the Cubs' farm system they claimed off waivers. I guess I see the wisdom in this. McGehee was apparently solid in AAA, and Dillon had a pretty bad season.

Hair of the Dog-10/29/08

Okay, I'm still running around like a crazy man right now but there's still time for a short post.

The Bucks lost their season opener to the Bulls 108-96. I didn't watch the end, but from what I saw it looked closer than that, due to some pretty pedestrian performances by both teams. Michael Redd had a very Michael Redd-like performance, scoring 30, but grabbing just 2 rebounds and taking some dumb shots. Bogut got into foul trouble early on an was a non-factor. Richard Jefferson was not the star we all hoped he'd be, scoring 15 points on 5/17fg and 4 rebounds. Also of interest is the fact that Charlie V. barely played and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (can somebody come up with a nick-name for this guy?) barely sat down. Overall, the team looked rusty and when all was said and done, lost by double digits to a weak Bulls team. Not a good way to start off the season.

Packers DT Johnny Jolly has been indicted on felony drug charges. This can't be good. No word on whether that brings a suspension with it just yet. It sounds like he'll play against the Titans though. The loss of Jolly would be big as the Packers aren't particularly deep in the defensive tackle position. I guess it'd all be up to that guy from the Weigel, Carlson, Blau and Clemens commercial.

That's all I got for today. Two things. But hey, it's a slow news day and I have briefs to write. Now off to put my brilliance down on paper for the next 8 hours. And then find a Halloween costume. Any suggestions?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hair of the Dog, 10/27/08

This post may be a bit sloppy since I have about 10 minutest to throw it together. But there's just too much interesting news that I had to at least throw up a few links, and Paul is apparently without a computer for a few days. I assume his exploded.


MLB trade rumors is reporting a rumor that the Brewers will offer C.C. Sabathia $100 Million over 4 years. That would give him a higher dollar value per year than the Santana-like contract most people have been guessing, but for two fewer years. They also note that Sabathia and Mike Cameron are buds and it would improve the Brewers' chances of re-signing him if they keep Cameron around. That's cool with me.

On the fat vegetarian front, the Brewers have stated for the first time that they will entertain offers for Prince.

On the Manager front, it looks like Macha has the inside track. He seems to be the preferred choice of Brewed Sports, although I do find it troubling that Jason Kendall doesn't like him. Unlike "hitting," one of Kendall's skills does seem to be "thinking." Interestingly, Yost is a candidate for the Seattle job working for Jack Z.

The Favre family is blogging at So far it's been the wife and daughter, and it's been really really boring. The last post is from Deanna. If you have six hours to kill, give it a read.

The Badgers finally looked like a Division I football program in their win against Illinois. Sherer even looked sort of like a quarterback in the second half. But Beckum is out for the season.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Marquette Basketball Preview

The Marquette Men’s basketball team officially began their 2008-9 basketball season with a Midnight Madness over the weekend. I thought that this made it a good time for a preview of Marquette’s basketball team and season. The big news in the off-season was the departure of head basketball coach Tom Crean to Indiana. He has been replaced by the young Buzz Williams. Buzz was previously the director of recruiting under Crean and before that was an assistant coach for Billy Gillespie at Texas A&M.

Luckily for Buzz, he inherits one of the top backcourts in the country with Seniors Dominic James, Jerel McNeal, and Wesley Matthews. These three came in as one of the most highly regarding recruiting classes in Marquette history. Barring any serious injuries, all three will be 1000 pt career scorers at the end of the season (James and McNeal are already there).

James struggled down the stretch last season with a wrist injury, and hopes to return to the form that he exhibited during his Freshman year. If his teammates can continue to rise in offensive production, James can probably excel as the team’s #2 option, while focusing a bit more on distribution of the basketball as he did as a Freshman playing with Steve Novak.

James’ struggles allowed McNeal to step into the role as the team leader on both ends of the court. He has always exhibited strong defensive skills (Big East Defensive Player of the Year, two years ago) which helped a team that last year relied heavily on its defense, holding opponents to just 93.8 points/100 possessions, which was 10th best in the country when adjusted for strength of schedule. McNeal’s improvement on offense will help the team to have reliable scoring options.

At the power forward position, Marquette returns Junior Lazar Hayward. Hayward is on the small end (6’6) for a power forward. He generally plays as more of a fourth guard rather than providing a post presence, leading the team in effective field goal %(eFG%, which weights field goal % to account for the 3-point shot). However, he also led the team in defensive rebounding %.

Marquette’s biggest weakness has been, and continues to be, its lack of a viable post presence. Marquette has not had a national-caliber big man since Robert Jackson helped (with Wade) to lead the team to the Final Four in 2003. Last season, the center position only provided 14.3% of Marquette’s scoring, ranking it 311th out of 341 Div. I teams. Marquette returns half of a starter though, in Dwight Burke. Burke played about 1/3 of the minutes at center last year, and replaces the graduated Ousmane Barro, who only played about ½ of the minutes at the position. When in the game, Burke provided similar production to Barro in terms of rebounding and Offensive rating.

The bench provides many question marks going into the season. Key backcourt reserve David Cubillan, is recovering from double shoulder surgery to repair both rotator cuffs. It is unknown how his recovery will progress and if he will return to the impressive shooting behind the arc that he exhibited two years ago. The other returning backcourt player is Mo Acker, who last year distributed the ball well, and was able to knock down shots when he was open; however, listed at 5’8”, he is simply too small for the college game and opponents were able to take advantage of him defensively.

The departure of Crean led to the decimation of Marquette’s 2008 recruiting class. Buzz filled out this class by signing Juco transfers Joe Fulce and Jimmy Butler and freshman Chris O’Toole. At 6’10/245, O’Toole is a big body, but by many accounts is pretty raw in skills and therefore it is unknown if he will be able to provide a meaningful contribution at the center/forward positions.

In 2008, Marquette will likely play a similar style of basketball, relying upon tough man-to-man defense to cause turnovers that key offensive production. Defending against good post players will continue to be a weakness and Buzz must find a strategy to minimize the impact of some of the dominant big men that play in the Big East. However, with the change in coaching, expect Marquette to add some wrinkles to its strategy. Early reports from practices have indicated that Buzz intends on running more of a motion offense, rather than the play-based offense employed by Crean. I think that this is a good move, allowing Marquette’s talented guards to dictate more of the matchups. Often last year, the team seemed too robotic in its dependence on set plays and unable to adjust when stopped by the opposing defense. However, a motion offense requires a large degree of comfort between players and the large number of new/inexperienced reserves may cause some growing pains as the players adjust to a new offense.

With the return of their core from a team that was a last second shot away from the Sweet 16, Marquette will look to improve on that result in the tournament. However, the Big East is also greatly improved, and therefore it will be difficult to improve beyond their 4th place finish of a year ago. Season highlights will include the yearly matchup with Wisconsin, and non-conference games against NC State and Tennessee. In Big East play, Marquette plays Georgetown home and away, but unfortunately due to the Big East’s unbalanced schedule, plays conference foes Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame only on the road. Marquette finishes the season with a home game against Syracuse.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Badgers-Illinois Open Thread

The struggling Badgers take on the big offense of the University of Illinois at 11:00 am. Going into the season, I never would have guessed the Badgers would be a big underdog in this game, but that's how it is. Let's hope they can put a halt on their current free fall, make some big stops (maybe try hand signals instead of those big cards with defensive formations on them?), get the offense going, and maybe even complete a pass.

GO Badgers!

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Quick Glance at Plate Discipline

I was perusing my new favorite site last night and started looking at some plate discipline numbers.  O-Swing % measure how often a player swing at a pitch outside of the strike zone.

So who has the best "eye" on the Brewers?

Mike Cameron, with an O-Swing % of 17.77%.  Second?  Rickie Weeks, at 19.36%. 

On the other end are Braun (34.28%), Hart (31.74%) and Fielder (27.94%).

So what, if anything, does this mean to you?

Hair of the Dog, Friday, Ocotber 24, 2008.

Sorry for the boring Thursday. I was traveling for work and never found my way to a computer. It was a particularly brutal trip because I sprained my ankle playing kickball on Wednesday night. That's probably even more embarrassing than when I sprained my ankle exactly one year previous while playing Frisbee. The evening wasn't a total loss though. My team won our game. We had been tied for first in the league with the team we were playing. It was a thriller. And I scored another big athletic victory prior to the game when I maxed out in back squat, dead lift and press. I got personal bests in all three. Score! Although since I can barely stand on this ankle, I doubt I'll be throwing 2X body weight on the bar again any time soon.

Onto some real sports.

Best World Series ever? Ehh, probably not. But so far it's shaking up to be an exciting one. The Rays tied the Phillies with a 4-2 win last night. The Rays jumped out to an early lead and Shields threw 5.2 scoreless innings. It's pretty cool having teams you want to root for, instead of teams you want to root against. I hope it goes to seven games and the Phillies pull it out with a Geoff Jenkins pinch hit dinger.

Some Cubs website is reporting that the Brewers offered the manager position to Bob Brenly. I haven't seen this reported anywhere else, and I sure hope it's not true. I'd rather have Macha or Randolph.

The Brewers website has templates for carving Brewer pumpkins. I will be carving the old logo this evening.

Tom H. is reporting that the Yankees are interested in Cameron, should the Brewers be stupid enough to not re-sign him. I wonder how untucking would go over in NY?

The Bucks got their asses kicked by the T-Wolves again, falling to 1-6 in the preseason. Bogut didn't play and Gadzuric started in his place, but they still looked like garbage in the second half.

That's all I got for now. I'm off to Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Aw Crap.

Jack Zduriencik is the new Seattle GM. Good for him. Bad for the Brewers.

The "He Said, She Said" Continues

Here is Favre on Favre:

According to a source who was at the news conference, Favre said that Millen called him and that during his half-hour drive home from the Jets facility to his home in New Jersey, he talked about the Packers with Millen. He said, however, that he didn't have a game plan with him and that everything he discussed was pretty basic information, most of it based on the games he played against them last year.

Favre said he suspected that Millen might have put him on a speakerphone so that some of his coaches could hear what he had to say. He said Millen had been calling him about going hunting because Millen's home in Pennsylvania is only about an hour away and that he was returning the call.

Favre took offense to the notion that he "sabotaged" the Packers, the term cornerback Charles Woodson used after hearing the report that Favre had talked with Lions coaches for 60 to 90 minutes about the Packers. He intimated that the idea of sabotage was coming from the Packers front office and the players were just repeating what they had heard.

Make of it what you will.

Curt Schilling's Deleted Blog Ripping Manny

I read this, shook my head in disbelief. Then I went back to read it again and it was gone. He deleted it. Well, here it is, Curt Schilling on Manny Ramirez:

No one wants to hear less about the ending of the season and the whys than fans that love the Sox. While I am officially no longer a member of this organization I have read and keep reading the “What if” stories as they relate to Manny and the team and the playoffs.

Enough has been said by anyone, and everyone, involved that it makes peoples ears bleed but it still appears a huge important piece to the puzzle is being missed.

First off anyone saying

Jason Bay is a nice player, but he’s not Manny.

is just not a very smart baseball person. Putting up the numbers he did in Pittsburgh has been vastly downplayed in my opinion. Yes his last year was less than stellar but in the Major Leagues that happens. Bottom line is this guy is a 30/100 above average on base guy who plays his ass off in the field and runs the bases hard and right. Is he Manny? Hell no, who is? Who has ever been? But he’s far more than a ‘nice player’. Nice players are guys that play 140 games, hit 275 and drive in some runs, and are good guys. This guy is a very good, very good player. Not only that but he proved the October limelight is not something that will make him wilt. Oh and he had a hell of a nice run the last few months in a market that couldn’t be more opposite than Pittsburgh.

That’s beside the initial point though. People are going to say, and have been saying, what if Manny had stayed? What if Manny had done what he did in LA, in Boston? If TJ Siemers can crawl out of Manny’s butt long enough he’d objectively look at what happened and know he’s at the front of the ‘I’m going to look like an ass at some point’ line and wake up. I’ve made enough horses ass comments to know to at least be aware now, when I am headed down that path….

It was NEVER a question of Manny’s ability, ever. Hell I am not sure anyone had more run ins with him, as a teammate, than I did, but I’ll never say anything other than this guy studied and practiced the art of hitting, and executed, as well as anyone I’ve ever seen.

No, that wasn’t the issue, and no one argues that. What was the issue, and this is my opinion only, became very clear to anyone in or around the team at this point. The issue was not whether he would play ‘hard’ every day. He ALWAYS hit, but the game is so much more than swinging the bat it’s laughable. No, the issue was whether he would actually PLAY. I don’t mean play hard, play tough, play lazy, no, PLAY.

He had in the past taken days off. Hell most guys do. He certainly had his own way of doing it and it was never ever with thought to anyone but himself but for the most part I always took it with the “Manny knows his body better than anyone”. We all knew there were times it was just ‘He didn’t feel like playing today” and by ‘playing’ that meant anything. Pinch hitting, pinch running, anything. His days off for the most part were totally off. That’s not common, not at all. You played that day, or series of days, with a 24 man roster, that was never a thing you doubted or that came unexpected after awhile. As a pitcher that is and always will be a factor in being a leader in the clubhouse. A starting pitcher has very little idea what these guys do to their bodies every day. But what I do know is I played 23 years of professional baseball and have played with guys that ran the spectrum. The guy who said “I’m good” while trying to catch with a broken collarbone, and the guy who literally HAD to feel 100% to take BP. So for a pitcher to question a position player, well in certain contexts that just didn’t happen, but you also knew your teammates and you got to see ‘behind the curtain’ when that ‘hurt’ guy took 5 days off and spent less than 10 minutes in the training room. A direct opposite to the guy who took one day off, made sure the manager knew he could Pinch Hit if needed, and spent the game running back and forth from the bench to the training room getting interval treatment as he could.

No, by saying PLAY I mean exactly that. The issue got to the point where everyone finally took him at his word, there was no choice. A guy refusing to get on a team plane, having to be literally coaxed on, by people with pride and people that love the game, because meeting the obligations of a 20 million dollar contract were not even close to enough to get him going???? If he did not get traded he was going to need “time off” to rest his injured knee, and it got to the point where he made it clear time off could mean the rest of the season. Few guys will admit to it and that’s cool, I get that, but no one, if in the right situation, would ever deny that was anything but true.

So it’s not ‘what could have been’, we knew what was to be, and what was to be was that if he did not get a contract extension he was going to take a seat, and in taking that seat he didn’t give a rats ass what anyone thought, including the 24 guys that wore the same uniform. So the ‘what could have been’ in the post season is not the question. The question is would there have been a post season if he had stayed, and that’s a question, and a gamble, that I think everyone felt they knew the answer too and in the end a gamble no one was willing to take, and rightly so.

People continue to try and assign logic to the thoughts and decisions made when we all knew so many illogical things were said and done that logic was far from a factor in 99% of the things happening at the end. I don’t think Scott Boras told many to ‘tank it’, Manny’s a grown man and any decisions or actions he made are all on him.

It is demeaning and disrespectful to the guys that did respect their teammates, the game and the fans by busting their asses through broken down hips, sore arms, strained abs and whatever, to grind it out for each other and the fans, their love of the game and anything else you can think of, the organization, to hear people question the hows and whys of this whole thing. That was why I said ‘he flipped you all off’ because if you heard ANYTHING he said after he left, he did.

Ya, remember this guy was at the forefront of bringing the first world championship to Boston in 2004 (but please also throw a cheer or three Foulkies way, that guy was the man in October of 04), remember this guy, along with David, made the most fearsome middle of the order of our lifetimes, remember when he was at the plate you better not THINK of not being able to watch what he might do. This guy, when he hit, changed games BEFORE he came to the plate.

But the thing that killed me in the end was this; he never gave a rats ass about any of us that suited up with him, not one iota. He was, and he said repeatedly, about going to the highest bidder and getting as much money as he possibly could, period. If that meant pissing on us in the interim, so be it.

Hey! That’s cool, that’s 100% your prerogative. But please don’t crap all over the guy, or guys that spent years as your ‘teammates’ covering your ass by saying “Aww that’s just Manny being Manny” and the hundreds of thousands of other things we needed to say to stop the stories from being more than they could. Please don’t piss all over the Manager and GM who pretty much swallowed every ounce of pride they possessed because they knew that it was ‘win above all else’ here to the fans and owners. Manny had a cult following because Manny could hit and act goofy, period. Hey that’s cool, that’s what some fans love an that’s fine, but that’s it.

Manny left because Manny wanted to get Manny the largest possible contract Manny could. That happens and that’s fine. But the Sox got a player that’s going to help them get back to October next year out of a situation they could have been left with a player not playing, and a patch work of guys filling in for the rest of the year.

That doesn’t mean, to me anyway, that the question should be “How much farther would we have gotten” but rather “Would we have gotten there?”

Why on earth would ANY situation be as good as it’s ever been? Why would things be so fun and nice and happy and exciting AFTER you lose a first ballot HALL OF FAME PLAYER? Is the rest of the baseball world that much smarter than a guy widely recognized as one of, if not the, best GMs in the game? Is a guy widely recognized as one of the best managers, and on top of that best human beings, in the game that dumb? Couldn’t it be that the opposite is true?

Don’t ask how far they could have gone. Let it be what it is. That team went from 7 runs down and 7 outs to the end of a season that had more turmoil and injuries than the Dallas Cowboys, to tying run on base in the 8th inning of game 7. One game from the World Series.

Is that good enough? Ask the players, they’ll all tell you hell no because it’s now different here. They now, and rightly so, expect to win the World Series every year. Anything short of that is disappointing and you can scream all you want but it’s realistic, and earned. Ya it’s not the Yankees of the late ’90s, but it’s getting there. This group has earned a place of respect in baseball that’s been earned and the onus is on them to maintain that level of expectation through performance, on and off the field. But for me, personally, the far cooler piece is that the composition of players on the team now, and the organization, is now setup to be held to a far higher standard personally and professionally, and with that comes good things. The fans deserve that, the game deserves that.

Joe Maddon benches his star young player twice and his team reaches the World Series. Hell Scioscia has to pretty much kick a star offensive player off his team during the playoffs, it might even have cost them a shot at getting to the World Series in 04. I’m ok with saying it because while you can scream all you want about things I’ve said in the past, I’ve never intentionally disrespected the game, or my teammates, never. I’ve said dumb things and done a few real stupid ones, never was anything said or done with the intent to disrespect either, anyone telling you otherwise is a liar.

I promise Tito, Jim Fregosi, maybe even Bob Brenly and Frank Robinson will tell you I was a pain in the butt at times because I talked too much though the GMs might say it a little more adamantly. But there isn’t a coach or GM I ever played for that will tell you I didn’t bust my ass every day I had the ball in my hand or that I was ever unprepared for the job at hand, or that I ever played the game with anything but respect. I am not a Hall of Famer, I’ve known that since suiting up with one. I played with guys that don’t and will never like me, hell that happens. But I cared about every teammate I ever had and I cared what my teammates thought of me when it was my day, and I cared what the guys in the other dugout thought of me when they had to compete against me. Beyond that what people ‘knew’ of me was/is far less than anyone ever will beyond my friends and family.

The Sox are poised to be a force in baseball for the next decade. The Left Fielder is a perennial All Star, the staff is littered with aces, the bullpen is anchored by a guy that will end the decade as the games most dominant closer, the first and second baseman should finish 1-2 in the MVP race (not sure what order), the team has a HUGE pool of young, homegrown, talent in the majors, and on the way, the manager, though bald with an enormous nose, is as good a manager as anyone in the game and manages people better than anyone I’ve been around, he cares, deeply, about his players and hsi staff and that matters to them all, the coaching staff has 2 future managers at least, one future GM, the fans got their 4th ALCS in 6 years. It’s a new time, a new team and the future is awesome. Remember the 2008 Red Sox as a team that persevered thorugh a lot more than 90% of the teams in the game and battled their asses off to within 2 runs of a World Series while authoring the greatest comeback ever for a team faced with elimination. Remember them for the 3rd baseman that played through what could only be described as a broken hip, an Ace that gutted out a game that will be horribly under appreciated forever, in a must win. Remember 2008 as the year Jon Lester, a cancer survivor, turned into one of the premier pitchers in the game, not the league, the game. Remember them as the team who’s closer extended a record post season scoreless streak even farther, remember them for their 2nd baseman, a five foot nothing guy who can fricking rake (though he knows he can’t hit me) a gold glove first baseman who cemented his place as a premier all around stud (though bald and a mullion). Those are the things to remember this team by, those are the things that matter.

No more ‘what could have beens’, they are good enough now to take responsibility for what is, and what will be, and there isn’t a player on this team that will shun accountability or responsibility for their actions or their teams. That’s a pretty cool thing.

HOTD: Paul Utilizes The Patriot Act To Eavesdrop On Other Brett Favre Phone Calls to…

Jessica Simpson – I told him to play through that pinky injury. You really want to be hangin’ around with a “man” who misses games because of a little useless finger?

Jay Glazer – (Giggling) Hi Jay, is your refrigerator running? (Guffawing).

Ted Thompson – (See: Jay Glazer.)

Bill Belichik – Hey Bill, I know you’d be interested in some ill-acquired scouting reports on someone else’s team. Call me man.

Peter King – No way man. I didn’t talk to Matt Millen about hunting or anything else. I certainly never mentioned this great new tree stand I got the other day. You should see it, it’s like being in the recliner at home. Strong too. Even held Madden. Yeah, he told everyone that he didn’t want to go cross country again but really we were out huntin’ elk. Matt was really interested when I mentioned it to him. What? Oh, right. I never mentioned it to him. Never told him about my new 8-pointer either.

Tony Gonzalez – You wouldn’t have liked it anyway, after that big city KC lifestyle.

Mike Holmgren – Hey Mikey, it’s Brett. I heard you’re going to open a coffee house. If you need any tips let me know. I used to work at the only coffee shop in Kiln in high school, and I picked up a few things. Course I had to quit when I made the football team, but then I came back for one more summer. Then I quit again and thought I’d never be able to take another summer job, what with off-season workouts and such, but I missed those guys and missed the brewing, and came back my junior year too. I even offered to come back my senior year, but they told me their only opening was at their sister-store in Biloxi. I ended up showing up for work anyway though, you know me. Then they called the cops. Anyway, feel free to give me a call.

Leroy Butler – Leroy, you mentioned those other stories. What are those other stories, cause man, I was really wasted? Can you give me a clue? I’ve got this tattoo, and I never did find out about the rash. And those calls I keep getting from Gruden are just creepy. Not to mention the flowers. Anyway, I thought I should find out before anyone else does. Give me a call.

Jeff Fisher – Fish, how they hangin? Look, I’ll give you the same scoutin' I gave the Lions if you want. It’s only fair. I’ve been thinking’ bout starting one a them blog deals actually. or somethin'. I think it could be a big hit.

Feel free to contribute your own in the comments field.

Macha Should Be The Man

The Right Field Bleachers endorse Ken Macha as the next Brewer manager. It’s a must-read for fans of the Crew:

You manage to your players and that’s really what you try to do. When I managed in Oakland, we didn’t have many runners. We didn’t steal bases. Why bunt when you’ve got a guy who may hit a home run? You know, you hear what I’m saying? Maybe that doesn’t endear you to fans because the fans want to see more bunting and hit-and-runs and action and things like that, but as a manager, what you need to do is have your players do what they do best and win the game.

They also detail Macha’s perceived negatives, and his clash with Billy Beane. Read the whole thing.

NFL Interception Leaders:

1. Nick Collins, GB - 4
1. Cortland Finnegan, TEN - 4
1. Michael Griffin, TEN - 4
1. Charles Woodson, GB – 4

Green Bay and Tennessee will square off in two weeks.

Excuses, Excuses…

I’ve also heard many Brett sympathizers blame the “terrible Jet offense” for his struggles. That’s just silly. Laveranues Coles is still a very good receiver (and he’s only 31, it’s not like he’s over-the-hill) averaging 12.2 YPC. Jerricho Cotchery is just entering his prime, and coming off of a season in which he caught 82 balls for over 1100 yards, with bad quarterbacks throwing to him (following another 82 catch season for just under 1000 yards). Moreover, Thomas Jones and Leon Washington are both good checkdown options. I will grant you that there is no Greg Jennings on this team, but there are weapons on this offense, and I thought that Favre would turn Cotchery into one of the league’s best receivers. Favre hasn’t exactly been bad, of course, but aside from his spectacular day against Arizona (minus Adrian Wilson) he’s been pretty ordinary.

It is getting harder to make the case that the Packers made the wrong decision.

Today's HOTD is brought to you by Kwak, and their awesome glass.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Free Agent Signing of the Year

Mike Cameron

Mike Cameron: 1 year at $7 million with $10 million team option for 2009

Signed to provide some outfield defense at a bit of power, Cameron exceeded expectations for the Brewers, having a terrific season at age 35 and helping push Milwaukee into the playoffs. Injuries and a suspension limited him to just 120 games, but that makes his 1.42 WPA/LI all the more impressive when you consider he racked it up in just 508 plate appearances. When you combine average to above average center field defense with a bat that’s worth 1.5 wins over an average hitter, you have a +4 win player. Based on Cameron’s 2008 performance, he was worth between $15 and $20 million on the free market, or more than twice what he actually made. Toss in the team option that now looks like a no-brainer, and Cameron was truly one of the best signings of the winter.

I fully agreee. The author also points to Bradley and Lohse but ultimately goes with our boy:

You could make an argument for any of the three, but I’m going to go with Mike Cameron as the 2008 free agent bargain of the year, since he will continue to provide value in 2009 for the Brewers.

So good.

The ESPN Gag Order

Pro Football Talk is reporting that ESPN put out a gag order to all of their reporters preventing them from reporting on the "Favre Is A Douchebag" story:

A source, who for reasons likely related to making the monthly mortgage payment has asked not to be identified, has forwarded to us a version of ESPN’s internal “Hot List,” which provides a detailed rundown of the current stories that might merit mention on the various ESPN properties.

It’s a lengthy collection of news and nuggets regarding all of the major sports (and golf). At the bottom, there’s a description of one specific story that should be avoided.

Under the heading “DO NOT REPORT . . . DO NOT REPORT . . . . DO NOT REPORT . . . DO NOT REPORT” (um, we get the point) appears the following:

“Yesterday, FoxSports reported that Brett Favre spent 60 to 90 minutes before the Week Two game between the Lions and the Packers educating the Detroit coaching staff regarding the Packers’ offensive strategies. WE HAVE BEEN TOLD BY RELIABLE SOURCES THIS REPORT IS NOT TRUE. We did NOT report it yesterday. Today, the NFL responded to the report, saying even if Favre did this he did not break any league rules. We are NOT reporting it today, because that would mean airing the erroneous report. DO NOT REPORT IT.”

The popular theory is that ESPN does not want to jinx its cozy access to Brett, which, I suppose makes some sense as if they did piss him off he would be on the phone to SI the next day telling them all about how Chris Mortenson vets all of his stories through his imaginary friend Crinkleberry the Magical Sports Cow.

At any rate, they should probably change the name of ESPNews to ESPNscooped or something like that.

Hair of the Dog, 10/21/08

Nothing in the world of Wisconsin sports happened yesterday, unless you count Randy Moss giving me a loss in my fantasy football game, and I'm guessing you don't. Therefore, all you get are some links:

TNT's David Albridge ranks NBA teams in terms of best offseason moves. The Bucks came it at #11 with more of the same analysis we've been hearing. Hammonds is a great GM, Skiles will improve their defense, Jefferson is a big upgrade, they got rid of Mo Williams's silly contract, etc. Curiously, he ranks the New Jersey Nets, who lost Jefferson to get Yi, at #1.

The search for the new Brewers manager continues. Tom H. believes there are 5 names on the short list with 2 more on the slightly longer list. I'll sum up his thoughts:

1. Bob Brenly. Won a WS with the Diamondbacks in 2001. Knows the NL Central because he's a Cubs broadcaster. History of being member of media may make him less likely to be a total asshole to the media like Yost was.

2. Ken Macha. Macha has already interviewed. He was Melvin's original choice in '03, but turned the job down forcing him to settle for Yost. Macha posted 4 winning seasons in Oakland including 2 division titles. He was canned because he couldn't win in the playoffs and for being Billy Beane's bitch. Jason Kendall thinks Macha sucks.

3. Buck Showalter. Won 100 games in Arizona in '99. Was in first with the Yankees in '94 before the players strike. Otherwise sucks.

4. Willie Randolph. Black guy. Interviewed with Brewers in 2000 but was passed over for Davey Lopes. Managed the Mets to an NL East title in 2006, followed by a historic collapse in 2007 and a mid-season firing in 2008 that gave the Mets the opportunity to show the collapse may not have been his fault.

5. Jim Tracy. Had some solid seasons with the Dodgers including an NL West title in 2004. Had 2 losing seasons with the talentless Pirates.

6. Bobby Valentine. Managing in Japan. Had some success with the Mets. Kind of a dick.

7. Jerry Narron. Has had no success. Friends with Melvin.

Can't we just have a computer be our manager?

Rumors of Favre's douchebaggery are becoming more believable. Glazer is standing behind his story "100%." And he's a pretty stand-up guy. Leroy Butler says he doesn't believe Favre made the call to the lions, but he does think Favre is a dick:

“Brett didn’t do a whole lot of calling around,” Butler told WSSP. “People called him, and he loves to talk and the phone was passed around.”Butler also said there are “other stories that are going to come out” about Favre.“This is just the beginning,” Butler said. “This is only the smallest one.”

This could get uglier.

The not too clever Tyler Mass of Bugs & Cranks has a round-up of the Wisconsin connections to the World Series.

That's all I got today.

Monday, October 20, 2008

HOTD: Brett Favre Goes From the Quarterback Club To The Babysitters Club

You’ve seen it on crappy CW-type shows hundreds of times. Girl gets dumped, girl spreads rumors about the guy/the new girl behind their backs, everyone finds out and shuns the girl. Well, you probably haven’t actually because you’re a guy reading a sports blog and you don’t watch those kinds of shows. At least, you’d never admit to it. And if you did you would claim it was just to ogle the more attractive cast-members. But you probably get the idea.

The girl, in this case, is Brett Favre who continues to act like an overly hormonal teenage princess, first calling BFF Tony Romo and helping her through the trying times of a broken pinky, and now, apparently, calling the enemies of her Ex and spreading around embarrassing secrets about their playbook. I hear she was up all night talking to the Detroit lions. OMG can you believe it?

Seriously, what a douche. He’s definitely taken over for John Edward (the psychic, not the politician, although it’s actually an open question at this point as to whether John Edward or John Edwards is in fact the bigger douche, I suppose) as the biggest douche in the universe. Brett Favre should be helping the Jets. He should not be helping the Cowboys, and he should not be helping the Lions. Burning bridges is always a bad idea, but it’s a really bad idea when that bridge probably leads to a substantial income for life, fan worship, and a fawning press corps.

What's wrong with him? Is he just a weirdo? If he drinking again (again)? This behavior is simply bizarre.

Fortunately, Brett Favre’s gossip to the Lions does not seem to have hurt the Pack (possibly because he was gossiping with Matt Millen). In fact, the intended harm has boomeranged right back where it belongs.

I’d also like to note that Brett has not played two really shitty games in a row, and has, in general, been a downgrade from Chad Pennington.

Chillar Than You

One of the interesting things about football is that one player can have an enormous cascade effect, for good or ill, on everyone else. For instance, typically a strong pass rush will make defensive backs better by forcing the quarterback to hurry his throws. Defenses that have strong pass rushers need not employ top corners, however, should one of their pass rushers get hurt, that team will become much weaker everywhere.

Brandon Chillar was absolutely outstanding yesterday in an area where the Packers have struggled in the past: Coverage Linebacker.

Chillar made Dallas Clark miserable most of the day (most of Clark’s yards came on one deep ball on which Chillar was not the defender), and provided excellent run support and short-pass support, making several excellent open-field tackles. Chillar basically took away the flats and the short middle of the field, which allowed the corners to keep to their receivers, and allowed the Packers to maintain pass coverage even in their base defense.

The other big factor in the defensive domination of the Colts was physical play in the secondary. It’s common knowledge that the best way to deal with Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne (and Anthony Gonzalez as well) is to hit them and to disrupt their timing, but for that strategy to work the officials have to allow some leeway. The officials on Sunday flagged everything, but by and large they let the guys in the secondary play (with a few exceptions).

Everything came together for the Pack in this matchup. The offense played conservative, mistake free ball and watched the Colts screw up repeatedly. Aaron Rodgers looked like the calm veteran, and Ryan Grant wasn’t terrible (although his gross numbers were more a function of his carries than anything else. His YPC was still lousy).

The Packers will take some momentum into the bye week where they can get healthier before they take on the murderously tough Titans in two weeks.

Rays. Phillies. It’s on.

In what is sure to be an exciting World Series, and a ratings disaster for Fox, the Philadelphia Phillies will take on the Tampa Bay Rays, who overcame an enormous choke job to take game seven against the Boston Red Sox behind the stellar pitching of Matt Garza and a big base hit by Rocco Baldelli, he of the mysterious muscle/mitochondrial ailment.

This series will feature a ton of stars like Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and the young stars of the Rays like Scott Kazmir, BJ Upton, Evan Longoria, and Matt Garza. In theory, this should be a highly entertaining series. It says a lot about baseball that geography is a bigger driver, ratings-wise, than is talent. National games almost always feature a New York team, the Red Sox, the Cubs, or an LA affiliated team, and therefore the highly desired “casual fan” is not exposed to these good players regularly. Football would never allow such a thing to happen.

Fortunately, we appreciate good baseball around here and know enough to know that Evan Longoria is not married to Tony Parker and is, in general, super-awesome at baseball. I’ll take the Rays in 7. It should be a good one.

The Badgers Are Now Double-Secret Horrible

I suspect that no one will watch them at this point, which explains the double-secretness. I can’t really even write about their QB situation without the risk of turning someone into stone. The defense can’t stop the run or the pass. It’s just a complete debacle.

So what gives? Is it recruiting? Coaching? Effort? Well…

1. Typically, teams that do not conduct a nation-wide search for a new coach do poorly. Bret might not be up to the task.

2. The QB recruiting has obviously suffered. You can win without a prototypical QB at Wisconsin. The best Wisconsin QBs tend to be runners more than passers (See: Bollinger and Samuel, and Stocco a little bit.) QB is super important, and can drag down a whole offense.

3. The Big Ten is changing. Illinois. Michigan. Northwestern. The Terrell Pryor Ohio State Team. Purdue. Indiana. These are teams that run some form of pass-happy spread with tricky, counter-style rushing attacks. Wisconsin has typically struggles with spread offenses, and the more the Big Ten goes in this direction, the more Wisconsin will have to change.

4. Maybe it’s just one bad year. Hey, it’s possible.

Iowa beat the Badgers badly, and I’m not sure there are specific lessons to learn other than this is a lost year. Alas.

Today’s HOTD is brought to you by Unibroue. Unibroue, that’s a funny name.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Badgers Are Bad

Especially at QB. I thought Allan Evridge was dumb, but this kid is untalented and dumb.

And we just get screwed on a bad pass interference call. Ugh. And Iowa scored again. And this now officially sucks.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Dale Svuem is Gone

And Doug Melvin is in through 2012.

And starring Brad Pitt as... Billy Beane?

Fuck the heck? I was skeptical of the idea of turning Moneyball into a movie in the first place. I'm even more skeptical now that I hear Brad Pitt is playing Billy Beane.

This guy:

will be played by this guy:

Okay, I guess I see it.

Another Bucks preview

Over at Deadspin. This one isn't so kind:

Let's not mince words here: In 2007-08, the Bucks were to defense what George W. Bush is to the English language. They were dead last in opponents' field goal percentage (.480) and fourth-worst in opponents' three-point percentage (.384). It's called a hand in the face, people. You should really try it some time. But hey, that's why they brought in defensive swami Scott Skiles, right? But it remains to be seen whether he can transmute the marshmallowy softness of Redd and Bogut. Plus, can he get Vilanueva to, like, pay attention and stuff? And who the hell's Luke Ridnour going to guard? He'd get abused by most teams' ball boys. On the subject of Skiles, there's the another point to be made regarding that Dr. Frankenstein analogy: He has a history of wearing out his welcome rather quickly and then getting run out of town by mobs with torches. (Even on Christmas eve!) Outside of Bogut, their "best" frontcourt players - Dan Gadzuric, Francisco Elson, Malik Allen and Villanueva - would be a great group of guys to have around if all you wanted was help retrieving things off of shelves that are too high for you to reach. Their one-two punch at point guard (Ridnour and Ramon Sessions) is more like a weak slap. Oh, and did you notice they have 10 new players? Unless you added guys like, oh I don't know, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, that kind of turnover rarely leads to a dramatic turnaround.

Well, when you put it like that.

Free Agent 3B In-Depth

This is a pretty good look at three baggers entering the market. As with most intelligent articles, this one praises 3TO.
Hank Blalock (28): 65 g, .287/.338/.508, 0.21 WPA/LI
Willie Bloomquist (31): 71 g, .279/.377/.285, 0.32 WPA/LI
Joe Crede (31): 97 g, .248/.314/.460, -0.57 WPA/LI
Ramon Vazquez (32): 105 g, .290/.365/.430, -0.10 WPA/LI
Russell Branyan (33): 50 g, .250/.342/.583, 1.21 WPA/LI
Nomar Garciaparra (35): 55 g, .264/.326/.466, 0.26 WPA/LI
Casey Blake (35): 152 g, .274/.345/.463, 0.89 WPA/LI
Craig Counsell (38): 110 g, .226/.355/.302, -0.29 WPA/LI

I cannot speak enough about Russell Branyan
and it pains me that he does not play more. Yes, he strikes out, but he
walks and absolutely mashes as well. In 132 at bats this year he hit 12
home runs, and managed to play +2 defense when he found himself at
third base. Three true outcome players usually decline around the 35
years old mark, so the Bran-man should have a couple more productive
years in him.

Red Sox Now Officially Yankees

Why won't you die?

Hair of the Dog, October 17, 2008

Buster Olney is speculating about the future of Jake Peavy. He mentions that Peavy wants to be traded to an NL team and mentions the Braves, the Astros, the Cardinals, and Your Milwaukee Brewers. Buster also suggests that the Padres want two young starting pitchers and a center fielder. At first glance, it would appear that the Brewers would not be a good trading partner as we only have one functional center fielder and are a little dry on young starting pitchers in the system. However, it's important to note that to the city of San Diego, we DO have another center fielder. He's bad at baseball, but his last name is Gwynn. Could the Padres be hoodwinked into trading Peavy for some combination of Gwynn plus Bateman and Narveson or Gulin or Narron? Or Jeffress?

Meanwhile, Tom H. is throwing out some names on the short list for manager alongside Sveum. He mentions Cubs broadcaster and former Arizona manager Bob Brenly, former Oakland manager Ken Macha, and ESPN analyst Buck Showalter. Based on his comments, it seems like Sveum has been, or will be, passed over for the job. That's reading between the lines, but it doesn't look good for Dale.

In other, bigger baseball news, the evil Red Sox came back from a 7-run deficit to force a game 6 against the Rays. I sure hope the Rays don't blow the series now, but that was some crazy baseball game.

Over at Brew Hoop Frank Madden has his 2008-09 season preview up. He predicts a record of 37-45. I know Paul thought they'd win 40 when I asked him a few weeks ago. What do you guys think?

This is kind of old news by now, but I was on the road, so I'm going to mention it now. Apparently, Brett Favre has taken a job as Tony Romo's pain treatment specialist. The reports aren't mentioning drugs, but they do all seem to say that Favre told Romo he thought he was one of the top 5 players in the NFL. I wonder who else is on that list. If Romo is #5 and Favre, obviously, is #1, who are 2 through 4?

And here's Devin Harris getting schooled by a short brit in jeans:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Who Hit "X" Home Runs?

Match these former Brewers to their career HR totals. Answers will be posted around 1:00.

1. Matt Stairs
2. Rob Deer
3. Geoff Jenkins
4. Dave Parker
5. Robin Yount
6. Gorman Thomas
7. Richie Sexson

A. 230
B. 251
C. 306
D. 221
E. 339
F. 254
G. 268


1. Matt Stairs - F. 254
2. Rob Deer - A. 230
3. Geoff Jenkins - D. 221
4. Dave Parker – E. 339
5. Robin Yount – B. 251
6. Gorman Thomas – G. 268
7. Richie Sexson - C. 306

The Packers Had Gonzales

Until the Chiefs backed out 10 minutes before the deadline:

According to Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal, the Packers drew up the paperwork that would have sent a third-round pick to Kansas City for Gonzalez, only to have the Chiefs back out ten minutes before the 4:00 p.m. EDT trading deadline, and demand a second-round pick.

The Chiefs' front office is really stupid.

Two Interesting Brewer Snippets

from Jon Heyman

First, Melvin...
Word is going around that Brewers GM Doug Melvin may emerge as a
candidate for the vacant Mariners job if an extension isn't worked out
in Milwaukee. While one person said Melvin wasn't exactly thrilled that
Brewers owner Mark Attanasio made the call to replace Melvin's manager Ned Yost with Dale Sveum,
a promise of more autonomy could still lead to an extension for Melvin,
who has a year to go on his contract. (By the way, while a GM would
never take such an extraordinary step of removing his manager with 12
games to go, Attanasio absolutely made the right call.)
I read last week on some dark corner of the internet that Melvin was pissed he was made the fall guy over Yost. I don't really remember it happening that way but people like to tell stories. If Melvin does go, I imagine the Brewers would have zero problems finding an excellent replacement. A great foundation of young talent, a superstar signed forever and an owner with deep pockets and limited day-to-day meddling. GM dream job.

More importantly to me, however, is the following:
Hank Blalock was "the best hitter I saw in the second half,''
one scout said. Of course, you have to remember some scouts don't see
all players. But it's good to see Blalock getting his act back together.

Blalock is good. When Blalock is healthy he is very good. Compared to Bill Hall? Hank Blalock is Mike Schmidt. Prince Fielder and Bill Hall for Hank Blalock, Frank Francisco and Franklyn German.

Make it happen!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Take that Texas Stadium

According to Sports Illustrated readers, Lambeau Field is the best NFL stadium.

Addai To Miss Packer Game

Joseph Addai is going to miss 2-4 weeks, (including this Sunday in GB) with a slightly torn hamstring.

How do you say "Hair of the Dog" in Mandarin? 10/15/08

Maybe Joe Alexander can tell us. The Bucks are currently playing the Golden State Warriors in China. As I write this, they're down by 4 at the end of the third quarter, Redd isn't playing, Charlie Villanueva left the game clutching his neck, and they barely look like an NBA basketball team. Well, Bogut has 12 points and is starting to look better. If Skiles really is big on fundamentals, defense, free throws and that sort of thing, I question his methods. That's the stuff they appear to suck at.

Update: Bucks win 97-94! They came back for their first pre-season win in the Hammond/Skiles era.

I went to the last home game against the Pistons on Saturday too. The Bucks lost 111-99, and at least those numbers have some sort of attractive symmetry. Although there were a few brief spurts when the Bucks looked tough, and even brought the game within 2 in the third quarter, this game was even more troubling than their previous ass-kickings. They were basically at "full strength" starting Bogut, Redd, Jefferson, Villanueva and somebody's little brother. They all played for a big chunk of the game too. At least until Jefferson got ejected for some BS technical. The other highlight came from the most recent in a long line of mediocre big white guys playing over their head for the Bucks, Matt Freije, who added 11 points of the bench and appeared to be trying hard.

The JS is reporting that Badgers' back-up Dustin Sherer will be replacing the very bad Allan Evridge against Iowa on Saturday. No word on who the Badgers' back-up head coach is.

If you were planning on going to the Brewers' Winter Warm-up in three months, too late. It's sold out. I think that's a good sign. Despite an early exit from the play-offs and the likely departure of Sabathia and Sheets, the Crew still has a lot of fan support in Milwaukee.

In other baseball news, it's looking more and more like the World Series will feature Geoff Jenkins and the Phillies vs. Gabe Gross and the Rays. Both teams pulled ahead 3-1 in their respective league championship series. Short of the Brewers being involved, this is about all we could ask for. It would be great to see Jenkins there, it'd be the team that knocked us out against a low payroll powerhouse, and it would spare us all of the Manny vs. Red Sox nonsense.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

All Your Roy Williams Are Belong To Us

The Cowboys have cornered the market on players named Roy Williams, and the Detroit Lions have found a way to make themselves worse.

That said, while they may not win a game this year (seriously, how is this team going to win a game this year?), this is probably a smart long-term move. Roy Williams would not have been back with the team absent the franchise tag, and Detroit has needs at too many positions for that.

Independence, Integrity, Intelligence

My sister-in-law is entering a contest through her work where she has to write an essay identifying the NFL player or coach (current or former) that best exemplifies the above three qualities. When she first asked me about who she should write about for the contest, I naturally thought Bret Favre was the best choice. I initially responded to her citing his accomplishments, admission and treatment for pain killer addiction, and his continued consecutive start streak through numerous injuries. However, thinking about the question more, Favre's accomplishments don't really reflect the three values cited as the criteria. Who would be other NFL figures that do embody these qualities? I think that part of the problem (with the question), is that these qualities don't necessarily translate into success or popularity in the NFL. Are there any figures in sports (NFL or otherwise) that would embody these qualities?

Gonzalez to the Pack?

From the Kansas City Star:

The NFL trade deadline is today, making it the last day for the Chiefs to honor Gonzalez’s request for a deal. The Chiefs also have tried to trade running back Larry Johnson, but had failed to attract any interest.

Not so with Gonzalez. Several teams, including the Giants, Packers and Bills, expressed an interest, and the Chiefs have until 3 p.m. to work out a trade.

We're not exactly short on playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, but it couldn't hurt.

HOTD: All The Little Chicks With the Crimson Lips Are Correct

The “best division in football", I’m told, is the NFC East. The Eagles looked like they play in said division, posting a 40-26 win over the 49ers, however, the rest of said division did not acquit itself so well.

The Cowboys lost Tony Romo and the game to the Arizona Cardinals, and as much as TO whines now, just wait until the elderly Brad Johnson gets behind center. The Washington Redskins lost a shocker to the absolutely terrible St. Louis Rams, who scored a flukey TD on a fumble return near the end of the first half and managed to kick a game-winning field goal after Donnie Avery made a great adjustment on a severely underthrown bomb by Marc Bulger.

And finally, the New York Giants were absolutely walloped by the Cleveland Browns, who picked off the younger Manning 3 times. Braylon Edwards had 5 catches for 154 yards to out duel Plaxico Burress in the battle of receivers who played college football in the state of Michigan and now wear number 17. Apparently only one Manning can be good at a time. And where’s Ahmad Bradshaw?

Nice work NFC East. Nice Work.

A Note To Chris Berman

Is it really the “Fastest 3 Minutes” if you leave out a game. Say, for instance, the Packers-Seahawks game? Shouldn't you be penalized for that, or at least forced to call it "the regular length 3-minutes?"

Trade Deadline

The NFL trade deadline is today, and while there are normally no deals of consequence on deadline day in football, the Lions may have a fire sale.


Terrence Metcalf has been a naughty boy.

Today’s HOTD is brought to you by wine. Why wine? Because I was at a wedding on Sunday in Colonial Williamsburg and had to miss most NFL action, and wine was what they had. There are barely any bars in that town, even though it contains the campus of The College of William and Mary (Darren Sharper’s alma mater). Apparently the kids go to Delis, which do serve alcohol and even occasionally show football, but I was looking for the Packers-Seahawks game, and the Ravens, Redskins and Panthers were all considered local, and no one was interested in showing a game between a struggling NFC West team and the Packers. Instead we went with ye olde phone internet updates, and did not get to see Greg Jennings 45-yard touchdown catch, or anything else.

I did get to see Wisconsin get mauled, but let’s just skip that one for this week. Is Wisconsin this bad, or is Penn State just really really good?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Jason Elam We Love You!!

hahaha, awesome finish to the Bear game!

Fuck you Jason Elam

that is all

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Badger - PSU Open Thread


Friday, October 10, 2008

The Brett Favre Backup Club

Here's a cool article from the NY Times about the Brett Favre Backup Club.

Then there was the time when Favre, Brunell and Detmer went hunting in Wisconsin. Favre showed up in blue sweat pants and an orange hunting jacket. When Brunell noticed the shotgun in Favre’s hands, it made him nervous. While walking through the woods, they spotted a deer, and Detmer remembers Favre asking, “Is that a dog?”

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Amazing Movie Sports Feats

The Onion AV Club compiled an entertaining list featuring the Triple Lindy, The Crane Kick, Roy Hobbes mighty, not-true-to-the-book blast, and many others.

Hair of the Dog, 10/9/08

I'm guessing that the daily "Hair of the Dog" posts will start to become less "daily" due to the lack of baseball games. Being a football fan is a little different than being a baseball fan. Football involves so much more anticipation. It doesn't lend itself to a nicely wrapped discussion every day like baseball does. I'm sure we'll still have a lot to say from October until March, but it may take a slightly different form--the HotD post may only happen every other day or consist of lots of links or something like that. Of course, there's always stuff to be said about the Bucks too, right? Actually, I'm going to be increasing my level of Bucks-fandom this season since I basically have tickets to every home game. It could be a long season.

Of course, the Bucks did look better last night against the Pistons than they did on Monday against the T-Wolves. They lost 85 to 71, but there were glimmers of hope. Richard Jefferson, Luke Ridnour, Charlie Bell and Joe Alexander were all out with injuries, so the Bucks were short-handed again. They got off to a good start and led 25-12 at the first quarter, and were still up 42-37 at the half. It fell apart from there though. Charlie Villanueva led the Bucks with 20. It'll be interesting to see how a guy like Charlie V responds to a coach like Skiles. If he can add a little hustle to his game, the Bucks would improve as a team. They take on the Pistons again on Saturday in their final home game of the preseason (I think they have one in LaCrosse too).

Sausage Links:

Yesterday, the JS mentioned that Bruan thinks the Brewers have a shot at signing Sabathia. Sabathia's agent probably disagrees.

Baseball Digest's Geoff Young doesn't think that 3TO is just a platoon hitter. Or at least he doesn't have to be.

The Cubs were mentioned on Tuesday's episode of the Daily Show. Check it out:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Welcome to the NFL, Taylor Mehlhaff

It appears that the former Wisconsin Badger will be taking over for Martin Gramatica in New Orleans.

Baseball Reference Rules

Baseball Reference asked for a post-season shout-out from anyone who makes frequent use of their most excellent website. I use BR almost every day of the baseball season, and there is probably not a baseball blog out there that could survive without it. (At least, there's not an interesting baseball blog that could survive without it.)

BR provides splits, matchup stats, a bunch of other fun stuff that helps you understand that Ned Yost was an idiot. If you have a baseball stat question, it should be your first stop.

ESK: If Baseball Reference were a woman, I would have sex with it.

Hair Of The Dog, Wednesday, October 8th, 2008: Low Key and Damp

Baseball is basically over, but there are a few more things to take care of.

First of all, I need to mention the White Sox broadcast crew. This year the White Sox hired former Cub color analyst Steve Stone to work with Ed Farmer on the radio. Stoney used to work with Harry Caray for many years and you will be hard pressed to find a better straight man. Stone also has an excellent appreciation for the nuances of the game. In general, I’m a fan of Stone.

His current partner is Ed Farmer, who is a clown, but this isn’t about Ed. This is about Kenny “Hawk” Harrelson. Hawk is the play-by-play man for the Sox on TV. Hawk speaks in a sort of low-brow, broken English. He will never be branded as an “elitist” by an opposition political party. He would instantly understand the language of Mike Judge’s Idiocracy. He did this to Linguo the Grammar Robot:

You get the idea. He also has the worst home run call in all of baseball, which brings us to the next part of our story.

Hawk’s stupid home run call is synchronized with his color commentator, formerly Darrin Jackson. It is as follows (phonetically):

Farmer alone: You can put it on the boarrrrrrrrd,

Farmer and Jackson together: EeeeeYes!

This home run call takes about 15 seconds to say, and typically the slugger in question is rounding third by the time they actually complete it. There’s also usually a delay while Hawk makes sure that DJ is ready for the "EeeeeYes!" I suspect they argue about synchronization errors during commercial breaks.

Next year, Steve Stone will be moving over to television to replace Jackson, and this could be hilarious. I can’t imagine Stone partaking of this call. If you know what Steve Stone sounds like you know that he’s almost always on an even keel, and for a home town announcer, he’s really not much of a homer. It would be very out of character for him to join in the worst home run call in all of baseball. As far as non-Brewers baseball events go, the thing I’m looking forward to the most next season is the awkward first home run call from Hawk when Stone remains silent. It’s going to be hilarious. Stone and Hawk both have strong personalities and have clashed with on air talent (and management) before. This will not end well.

Packer Problems

The Football Outsiders agree. It isn’t Aaron Rodgers. Did you know the Packers currently have only the 26th best run defense in football?

Viking Problems

Bernard Berrian had the Vikings' first 100-yard receiving game in in the last 35 games.

Miller Park Makeover

New Scoreboard, new High-Def, and new outfield grass.

Chicago Athletes Suck At Driving, Part 4127

Carlos Marmol was in a 2 AM car accident in the Dominican Republic. He’s OK.

Todays HOTD is brought to you by…

Two Brothers Heavy Handed IPA. It served me well on a rainy day.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My New Favorite Football Offense

The A-11.

Free Agent Starting Pitchers

Any names jumping out at ya?

Kris Benson (33)
A.J. Burnett (32) - can opt out after '08 season
Paul Byrd (38)
Roger Clemens (46)
Matt Clement (33)
Bartolo Colon (36)
Ryan Dempster (32)
Shawn Estes (36)
Josh Fogg (32)
Freddy Garcia (33)
Jon Garland (29)
Tom Glavine (43)
Mike Hampton (36)
Mark Hendrickson (35)
Livan Hernandez (34)
Orlando Hernandez (43)
Jason Jennings (30)
Randy Johnson (45)
John Lackey (30) - $9MM club option for '09 with a $0.5MM buyout
Jon Lieber (39)
Braden Looper (34)
Rodrigo Lopez (33) - club option for '09
Derek Lowe (36)
Greg Maddux (43)
Pedro Martinez (37)
Sergio Mitre (28)
Jamie Moyer (46)
Mark Mulder (31) - $11MM club option for '09 with a $1.5MM buyout
Mike Mussina (40)
Carl Pavano (33) - $13MM club option for '09 with a $1.95MM buyout
Brad Penny (31) - $8.75MM club option for '09 with a $2MM buyout
Odalis Perez (32)
Oliver Perez (27)
Andy Pettitte (37)
Sidney Ponson (32)
Mark Prior (27)
Kenny Rogers (44)
Glendon Rusch (34)
C.C. Sabathia (28)
Curt Schilling (42)
Ben Sheets (30)
John Smoltz (42)
Tim Wakefield (42) - perpetual $4MM club option
Kip Wells (32)
Randy Wolf (32)


Never Suicide Squeeze!

I wrote the following on May 11th of this year. If only Mike Scioscia was a more avid blog reader, the Angels might be alive.

The Suicide Squeeze falls into the category of "exciting but shitty." Like Juan Pierre.

For the squeeze to work there has to be fewer than two out, so you're sacrificing an out, and there is no guaranty that the squeeze will even work, or that the guy will get the bunt down. But the worst part is that figuring out that the squeeze sucks doesn't even require much in the way of math.

A runner on third with one out has roughly a 70% chance of scoring on the next at bat. This is because he will score on hits, soft grounders, fly balls, most balls in play to the right side, wild pitches, and errors. There are a ton of ways to score from third with one out.

But even if the runner does not score, you still have about a 35%-40% chance of scoring that run on the next hitter. (Probably no more than a 30% chance on the next hitter, but then you have to add in the chance of a walk X the chance of the following player getting a hit, etc.).

All in all, my back of the envelope math puts you at like an 80%+ chance of getting that guy home through conventional means.

The worst part of the squeeze? If the guy misses the bunt (or misses a sign) you no longer have a runner on third. It kills your entire potential. And it happens all the time.

If you don't put a ball in play while swinging away (or bunting for a hit for that matter) you still have a guy on third.

The squeeze is far too risky to be valuable. It should be cast to baseball's graveyard.

Ed Hochuli's Rough Year Continues

In a 3-point game, missing a blatant face-mask penalty that cost the New Orleans Saints a turnover is inexcusable. It really was one of the most blatant face-mask penalties ever. And it's not as if it was incidental to the play; the face mask caused the turnover.

And not only that, but Hochuli and company keep screwing up calls in non-reviewable ways. Quick whistle? Not reviewable. Miss a linebacker trying to tear Reggie Bush's head off? Not reviewable. Which is stupid. Face-mask penalties are objective, and should therefore be reviewable, but they're not.

As a result of Hochuli and company blowing calls, the Chargers have one extra loss, the Broncos have one extra win, and the Saints probably have one extra loss and the Vikings one extra win. The "fumble" occurred at the Minnesota 35 yard line. If you tack 15 yards onto that, as Hochuli should have, the Saints have the ball, 1st and 10 at the Minnesota 20, which would have almost certainly resulted in at least a field goal for the Saints.

Something to keep in mind when playoff time rolls around.

Hair of the Dog, October 7, 2008

Baseball Post Mortem. The season is over, and I think most of us will agree that it was a good one. We opened the season with a win against the Cubs, took a commanding lead in the Wild Card race at the mid point of the season, sent several Brewers to the All Star game--including late addition Corey Hart, acquired big-time free agent CC Sabathia who hoisted the team onto his back and stole our hearts, signed Ryan Braun on for 7 more years, saw Sabathia throw a near-no-hitter, saw Dave Bush throw one for 7 innings, witnessed what a vegetarian diet can do to a player's power, fired Ned Yost, and by ending the season like we started it--beating the Cubs--we made it to the play-offs for the first time in 26 years. It was the best baseball season I can remember. Pitchers and catchers report to camp in what? 4 months?

The Bucks played a game last night. And I went to it. Since the Brewers were playing later than usual, and with Packers season under way, I almost didn't notice that the Bucks were about to start their season. As anyone that knows me will attest to, I know nothing about Basketball. However, my girlfriend recently took a job with the Bucks, so she (read: "I") get tickets to every home game. Score!

Last night, they took on the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Bucks lost, and frankly, it wasn't' very close. The final score was 117-79, but it actually looked worse than that. I'm not really sure what the preseason tells you in basketball, but this game didn't give me much hope for the season. They missed a lot of shots (they shot 33.8%) and looked awful on defense. Andrew Bogut didn't play, which is one excuse. But Redd and Jefferson and most of the other starters played a lot. I understand that the game plan is to run the offense through Bogut, so maybe his absence could account for 38 points... Still, they better hope he stays healthy.

Sausage Links:

Chuckie Hacks has a great Brewers season recap. says that Mark A. has been talking to Paul Molitor about returning to the Brewers. As manager? Another '82 guy? Really? Who knows.

Kevin Costner is getting the ball rolling on a sequel to his 1988 chick-flick-disguised-as-a-baseball-movie Bull Durham. Ugh.

Today's Hair of the Dog is brought to you by Leinie's Red, which they actually sell at almost all of the concession stands at the Bradley Center. Score!

Monday, October 6, 2008

BP Brewer Notes

Joe Sheehan's latest chat was very Brewer heavy. Highlights include:

Neal (Joliet, IL): Rickie Weeks has to be better than this right?

Joe Sheehan: I have no idea at this point. What I do know is that he's not a second baseman, so let's take that off of his plate, give him a shot in center field and see if that changes everything. B.J. Upton is the model here.


tommy (brooklyn): Wouldn't you deal Cain for Prince in a heartbeat, given what you said about Giants pitching? Here you have a what, 24-year-old who has slugged 50 homers in a season? That's worth Cain for sure, right?

Joe Sheehan: A bad-body 24-year-old who's had one good year and would be moving to a disastrous park. No, I don't do that if I'm the Giants, especially given I have Sandoval up and Villalona on the way. If they trade a starter, it should be for a comparable CF/RF. The Alex Rios deal rumored last year is the right type, albeit the wrong guy. You want to get...Adam Jones, or Matt Kemp, or Lastings Milledge...someone who will be your best player in two years.


Philip (Madison): Is trading Hardy and committing to Escobar the right move for the Crew? Or a year too early?

Joe Sheehan: I'm higher on Escobar than many, and the Brewers are lousy with guys like Hardy--RH, power, so-so OBP--so I'd make a deal soon.

There's more on Gallardo, Sheets, and Prince. Check it out if you can.

Bruan wants you to leave your barber in left field

Why Are The Packers Struggling?

Nothing brings out the stupidity of humanity in Wisconsin like a Packer loss. When things are going poorly for your local sports team, your local rubes will never take the obvious explanation. Instead, they will go for their preconceived notions no matter how baseless those notions are. Some will blame Ted Thompson, some Mike McCarthy, and some Aaron Rodgers. Some will probably balme magical Favre Pixie Dust and the Zombie Reggie White. There is a correct answer.

Occam’s Razor can cut through this crap. The Packers gave up 27 points to Atlanta. That’s a lot of points. While offenses can hurt their own defenses by committing turnovers (the Packers and Falcons each had one), generally when you give up a bunch of points, your defense is struggling.

The reason that the defense is struggling is obvious. Cullen Jenkins is injured, and out for the season. Al Harris has a ruptured spleen. Atari Bigby is out. AJ Hawk is hobbled. Charles Woodson has a broken toe.

The Packers are obviously struggling right now because of defensive injuries. This is not the only reason that they are struggling, but it is the main reason.

(And spare me the "injuries are not an excuse" line. Of course they are. Cullen Jenkins' backup does not have teh magical ability to suddenly try so hard that he plays as well as Cullen. If he did, he would be a starter, and not a backup. This should go without saying, but again, we have the rubes to deal with.)

Stat of the day:

Ryan Grant: 3.7 YPC, -4 yards receiving, 0 TDs
Brandon Jackson: 5.2 YPC, 69 yards receiving, 1 TD.

Let’s get Brandon a few more carries next week.

Stat of the day 2:

PJ Hill – 4.7 YPC, 5 TDs, 108 Carries
John Clay – 6.7 YPC, 4 TDs, 39 Carries

Let’s get John a few more carries next week.

Legitimate Criticisms of Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy

Most criticisms of these two are written like this:


And so we can safely ignore them, however, there are some real gripes to be had:

1. Thompson got rid of depth at d-line in the off-season, which is precisely where the Packers could use competent backups now.

2. Thompson’s offensive line is struggling mightily.

3. McCarthy’s offensive line is struggling mightily/Ryan Grant might not be quite right. Why not more Jackson?

4. The offensive line is penalty prone.

5. The Punter. You can teach a strong leg to punt, but you can’t teach a punter to have a strong leg. Replacing Ryan with Frost was clearly a mistake.

If you have any others feel free to toss them into the comment section. I’ve had many people ask me if I thought we would have the same record with Favre, and I honestly do, because QB has not been the issue.

Next week the Packers get the Seahawks. I fully expect them to take advantage of the depleted Hawks, who appear to be as big a mess right now as there is in the NFL. If they don’t we can revisit this discussion later.

Free Agent Third Basemen

Any names jump out at you?

Rich Aurilia (37)
Casey Blake (35)
Hank Blalock (28) - $6.2MM club option for '09 with a $0.25MM buyout
Willie Bloomquist (31)
Aaron Boone (36)
Russell Branyan (33)
Craig Counsell (38)
Joe Crede (31)
Nomar Garciaparra (35)
Mark Loretta (37)
Fernando Tatis (34)
Ramon Vazquez (32)

From MLB Trade Rumors


MILWAUKEE — CC Sabathia, who perhaps will become baseball's highest-paid pitcher as a free agent this winter, said he would strongly consider returning to the Milwaukee Brewers.

"I loved it here," said Sabathia, who went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 17 starts after a July 7 trade from the Cleveland Indians, and led the Brewers to their first postseason in 26 years. "It's one of the most fun times I've had in my life. It was definitely a blessing to be traded here.

"Everything was great. We accomplished a lot. This team will be back. There's a lot of good young players in here.

"I'll go home this winter and make the best decision."


Weekend Review: Brewers Wake

I'm too scattered to put paragraphs together, or even a proper HOTD. This is going to have to be bullet points.

1. Saturday's Brewer victory was the most exciting baseball game I've ever attended, and right up there with last season's Packer snow globe game over the Seahawks in my book. Never has Miller Park been so electric. Never have the fans been more into it. I've had a taste of the post-season and I want more.

2. It could be worse. We could be Cubs fans. As bad as our offense looked, at least we won one game. The Cubs scored 6 runs over 3 games. Kudos to the Dodgers for shutting down one of the best lineups in baseball for 3 straight games.

3. Allan Evridge looks good physically, and throws a nice ball, but man is he dumb.

4. John Clay is still better than PJ Hill.

5. Aaron Rodgers arm strength was impacted by his injury, which cost him that all important interception, however he played well for the most part.

6. The defense is in shambles due to missing personnel, and is especially weakened at the line of scrimmage. Not getting pressure on a rookie QB is inexcusable, even if you have to bring 6 guys.

7. To Brad Nelson. On Saturday, I was sitting right down the third base line, and I know that you did not go around. I don't know what that umpire was looking at.

8. I'll bet the Brewers won't sign any more pitchers because of "post-season magic."

9. I actually think Bill Hall is better than Pedro Feliz.

10. The Brewer bullpen deserves all kinds of credit. Until Guillermo Mota gave up a second HR to Pat Burrell yesterday, they had not allowed an earned run in the post season. According to the stadium radar gun, Gagne was back in the 94-95 range. It's about time.

11. I would always rather have talent than experience. Ryan Braun, one of the least-experienced Brewers, was clearly their best post-season offensive player. In baseball, playoff experience don't mean shit.

12. The Packer offensive line isn't any better than the defensive line, but they don't have a good excuse.

13. Don't count out the Brewers for next year. They will lose Sabathia and Sheets (probably), but small upgrades at 3rd and/or catcher can make up for the minor downgrade from Sabathia to a full season of Gallardo.

14. As bad as the Pack looks right now, they still play in a terrible division and there is plenty of time to right the ship.

Finally, the Brewers' season was the most fun it's been in a long long time. It's sad that the season is at an end, but the 2008 squad was a very good, and very entertaining team. Part of what made them frustrating also made them exhilarating, and their penchant for late-inning heroics (and melt-downs too) was second to none. I got a voucher for the 2008 DVD at Saturday's game, and I'm already looking forward to watching it.

Congratulations to the 2008 Milwaukee Brewers.