I was all set to write my first article in over a week.
My company's annual meeting had wrapped up, the 7th Harry Potter book had been read, and I was ready to rant about yesterday's Brewer disaster in St. Louis. I was ready to show how the blown 6-0 lead was the exact polar opposite of Hall's HR against the Tigers the day after the no-no. I was ready to discuss how my year's of joking about just wanting the Brewers to get me to Packers training camp may have come back to haunt me, as the Brewers had their worst loss of the season on the exact day that training camp opened and then managed to make a pitcher with a 0-10 record look a little something like Bob Gibson. I even intended to apologize to my unborn daughter, who had to have heard my uncensored tirade following Cordero's 5th blown save of the season. That's not how daddy normally communicates, honey. It was just a tough loss.
That's right. I was actually prepared to be negative about the Brewers.
But then I went on to JSonline and read Bob McGinn's candid interview with Ted Thompson. Suddenly, the outlook of the Crew didn't seem nearly as bleak. 'Cause after all, we have Doug in Milwaukee. And no matter what happens the rest of the season (which I am by no means giving up on, nor will I be content to say, "well, at least we had a winning season" when it concludes), the Brewers' young talent has given us enough promise to know that the days of "just get me to training camp" should be far behind us.
And then there's Ted.
I have to give McGinn credit. His interview with Teddy certainly included the type of questions that a GM with Ted's putrid record should be asked. And it's the kind of interview that my co-worker Aaron (who works in media relations, mind you) feels the Journal never has the balls to put in print (my words, his would certainly be more eloquent). For those of you who might have missed it, the entire interview is here:
I need to, however, take a look at a few of my favorite Teddy-speak responses...
Q.Brett Favre will be 38 in October and is nearing the end of his legendary career. Yet, your major addition on offense was a second-round pick at running back. Why didn't you do more to provide some firepower for Favre in what might be his final season?
A. I think we try to do the best we can for the team. If our team gets better then that's better for Brett. We're trying to do the best we can. In the draft, the board works a certain way and that's the way we pick guys.
TRANSLATION: "I added a guy through the draft to help Brett. You're almost making it sound like the NFL has added free agency as an option for GMs to improve their roster. This isn't baseball."
Q.Favre has never come across as a shrewd judge of personnel, but in his mind he saw Moss doing damage in Green Bay with Donald Driver and Greg Jennings. He wanted Moss and said Moss would have done the same reduced deal that he took in New England. Given the circumstances, why didn't you obtain Moss?
A. Randy Moss is a member of the New England Patriots now. That's the way it is. It's inappropriate for me to be discussing a player that's on another team.
TRANSLATION: "Randy Moss is a wide receiver, right? Please don't compare me to the front office of the New England Patriots. That's just not fair."
Q.Ron Wolf and Bob Harlan almost always explained themselves to fans when given the opportunity in similar forums. Don't fans in this state deserve an explanation from the general manager three months after the fact?
A. Right. I still think it's inappropriate to talk about a player that's on another team.
TRANSLATION: "Have I done anything to make you think I should be compared to Wolf? Geesh. First the Patriots now Ron Wolf. Just what are you expecting from me?"
Q.You're well into the third year of a five-year contract. No matter what you inherited, the team is 12-20 during your watch. Do you worry that your tenure might be short-lived if the team doesn't start winning this season?
A. Well, we would like to win this season. I've said that publicly and privately, saying we expect to win. I don't worry about things like, "Am I going to be here after this year?" That never enters my mind.
TRANSLATION: "I told you already that I expect to win. I even told my wife I expect to win. I told the guy at the auto shop, my banker, even my dentist. It's just that we're not very good. But I do expect to win. As far as my job security... Well, I don't think about this as a job so much..."
(It never enters your mind? Ted, Ted, Ted. Perhaps it should...)
Q.On the day after Green signed with Houston for $5.7 million per year and $8 million guaranteed, running back Travis Henry went to Denver for an average of $4.5 million, with $12 million guaranteed. You're sitting here now with about $15 million in cap space. Why didn't you go get Henry?
A. That's another example of someone that's on another team and I'm not really going to get into that.
TRANSLATION: Travis Henry would have all made an immediate impact on this team. And that would have cut into my being able to dazzle you with my draft in a couple years."
Q. Joseph Addai, the 30th pick last year, helped lead the Colts to the Super Bowl. Little Maurice Drew, the 60th pick in '06, had a great first year in Jacksonville. Do you like Brandon Jackson as much as them? What do you expect from him and Vernand Morency?
A. I don't know how to compare them. They're different running backs. I think Brandon Jackson is a good player. Vernand Morency came in and played a role last year and did a nice job. All the guys in the backfield can catch the ball. They have different running styles. We think it's going to be a good group. It may wind up running back by committee, or someone might establish himself.
TRANSLATION: "I don't know how to compare them."
Q.Do you expect another major addition at running back before Sept. 9?
A. I don't know that you can predict anything like that. Depends on if some other team is looking to do something.
TRANSLATION: "We're going to wait and see who's available after the final cuts in August."
Q.Given that you didn't add much beyond the draft, you must be comfortable with your roster. Is this team pretty much where you hoped it would be?
A. Yeah. There's still a lot of unknowns. I believe in my heart the competition we have at every position will make our team better.
TRANSLATION: "We have average players at several key position, including RB and TE. I believe competition is going to raise the level of some of these average players so that they are slightly above average when training camp breaks."
Q.Sometimes the mark of a strong, confident leader is being able to admit mistakes. You know better than anyone when you've erred. What were some of your major miscalculations?
A. I don't do too much looking backwards. Probably the one that sticks in my mind is we weren't able to shore together the offensive line in 2005. We didn't do a very good job of that.
TRANSLATION: "Well, if I started looking back on all of my mistakes, we'd be here all day. But that Mike Wahle guy was pretty good. Who knew?"
Q. Would you fault yourself for not thinking bigger? Being too caught up in the minutiae of your job?
A. No. It's difficult to give a self-evaluation on something like that. I don't consider that a problem, but now that you mention it I'll look into it. We have some grandiose ideas at times. A lot of people say we're not very flashy. There are a lot of things that we discuss that don't come to fruition. I have a lot of different personalities working with us. It's their job to bring ideas and thoughts and what-if this and what-if that.
TRANSLATION: "The minutiae of my job? What does that even mean? No, don't tell me--I'll look into it. I bet someone in the office knows what that means. Perhaps Andrew Brandt. He's sharp. And very helpful. Yeah, he'll know what it means for sure."
Yep, suddenly things with the Brewers don't seem quite so bad...