Wednesday, May 30, 2007


The moment I arrived back from Cancun, I jumped on my computer and started searching for it...

...and I was stunned when I didn't see it show up anywhere...

No, I'm not referring to a Michael Vick arrest or a Brewers victory (I had actually planned on writing my next article chronicling the "Brewers withdrawal" that I suffered from while I was in Cancun. Since they managed to lose every game during my trip, however, I've decided that perhaps the Brewers were suffering from a little "Rosenthal withdrawal". And perhaps what I was suffering from was, in fact, merely diarrhea. I was in Mexico, after all.) There's certainly plenty to discuss in regards to the Crew struggles, which I'll get back to in the next couple days, but for now I'd like to focus on the fortunes of your Milwaukee Bucks...

One of the last pieces of sports news I suffered through before our early Wednesday departure was that Portland, Seattle and Atlanta moved ahead of all three of the bottom feeders in the NBA Draft Lottery. And as I sat on the plane, I knew that I would return to an inbox full of messages from my friends regarding a conspiracy theory against the teams that so obviously tanked down the stretch of the regular season--especially the Bucks and Celtics. But nothing was there.

So I waited for Bill Simmons blog attacking the commissioner for this obvious affront to his beloved Celtics. After all, it is Simmons who has carried the torch towards revealing the conspiracy behind the Knicks receiving the rights to Patrick Ewing all those years ago...but when I checked his column, Simmons had written about the "luck" of his Celtics, but never pointed a finger towards the commish for setting it all up:

So i guess I'm going to have to--The 2007 draft Lottery was rigged. Rigged, I say. Rigged, rigged, rigged.

David Stern was not about to let what happened in March and April of the 2007 season become a trend for future NBA seasons. He doesn't want it to happen ever, ever again. And he sent a very loud and clear message to the Bucks and Celtics (and to some extent Memphis) that the NBA will not tolerate blatant tanking for any portion of the NBA season.

Now, before you start to tell me that this is what a lottery system is all about, please spare me the lesson on chance. What I look at is the numbers. And these numbers say that the chances of all three of these teams falling out of the top three spots was very, very slim.

Consider this:
Memphis had a 25% chance of landing the top pick.
Boston was at 19.9%
And Milwaukee 15.6%

That means there was a 60.5% chance that one of the top 3 teams was going to land the top pick.

And, yes, i can deal with the fact that it also means there was a 40% chance against any of the top three teams being selected. But on the second pick? And again on the third pick? And keep in mind, those odds only would have increased in favor of the tank masters when Portland and then Seattle were taken out of the mix.

Do you know what the probability of those three not being selected for any of the three picks was?

Me either. But it was damn low.

(And actually, if anyone is good with probability; please share...)

No. Stern sent a message. And you know what? I agree with it.

What the Bucks did for the last month of the season was wrong. And it wasn't fair to the fans who bought tickets months in advance expecting to see the real Milwaukee Bucks in April and not the Earl Boykins lead jv team. Now don't get me wrong...I was cheering for the Bucks to lose as much as the next fan. Visions of Redd to Bogut to Durant eased me into a blissful state of sleep on many April evenings. But it's one thing for me to want them to lose and another when the Bucks do everything in their power to make it happen.

Perhaps Charlie V really did need to get shut down. And maybe Andrew did too. But boy it would have been nice to see coach K get a chance to work with Andrew on playing with his back to the basket.

And as far as the games that Michael Redd seemed to need rest at the most crucial points of the 4th quater? Well, he's made no bones about his desire to play with his large fellow alum from Ohio State. So maybe even Michael was a co-conspirator of the stanky tank of '07.

And I know some will argue that my theory doesn't hold water since Atlanta was one of the teams to make the top three, despite the fact that they too took part in Tankorama '07. But Commissioner Stern is smart. If you were going to try to hide your fix, what better team to allow into the top three than the team that has managed to screw up the past two drafts? Isn't it punishment enough for the Atlanta fans to have to watch their front office pass up on Conley Jr. in the same way they passed on Deron Williams and Chris Paul?

And who knows maybe the 6th pick ends up being next year's Brandon Roy and not another Tractor Traylor. And maybe the Bucks keep Villanueva, Bogut, Redd and Simmons healthy for the next few seasons so that they avoid the lottery for years to come. There's really no telling.

But I'm willing to bet, no matter what happens next year, the Bucks will be playing hard until the very end.

And for that, Mr. Stern, you have my thanks...

Monday, May 21, 2007

Now batting, #....

Sunday afternoon I was working at Miller Park, and during my break (which I always try to take during the home half of the 7th inning, which, thanks to Jenkins, proved to be the go-ahead inning on Sunday...) I found myself gazing up at Molitor, Yount, Fingers and Aaron's retired numbers, wondering which, if any, of the current young guns might find themselves up there 25 years from now. Quickly I realized that I was probably getting just a wee bit ahead of myself. After all, I should probably wait until these kids at least become the best Brewers to ever wear their respective jersey numbers. Despite his fantastic start to this season, for instance, J.J. still has a way to go to catch Don Money as the greatest number 7 that the Brewers have ever seen...and that got me thinking about today's list--the greatest Brewers to wear every jersey number from 00 to 59.

(Editor's note: Please understand that as I created this list, I focused on the guys who became fan favorites based on their play during their time here in Milwaukee. So in many instances, I'm not necessarily referring to the best player, but rather, the best Brewer. For that reason, you will not see Gary Sheffield anywhere on the list. And as far as I'm concerned, that's the way it should be.)

#0--Franklin Stubbs. The only reason he wins is because he is the only one to wear the number. And, boy-oh-boy what an appropriate number it is for this knucklehead. "Stubbs" became synonymous for me to the words "loser" or "scapegoat." Comments like "I think Jose Valentin is going to be my Stubbs this season," were typical comments in the mid and late '90s...

#00--Curtis Leskanic. He had a nice, allbeit brief, run as the Brewers closer, and was known as one of the more colorful personalities in the clubhouse. It also helps that the only other player to wear this jersey # was Jeffrey Leonard, who was the first in a long line of big-name disappointments that the Brewers obtained over the course of the mid to late 80s and early 90s.

#1--Fernando Vina--the heart and sole of the Brewers teams in the mid 90s--I will remeber him best for getting trampled by Albert "Joey" Belle in the first of a succession of plays that lead to the most famous brawl in Brewers history. And we let the Indians play here this summer?

#2--Bill Hall. I'd argue that Billy has already done more to preserve his place in Brewers lore than Jose Valentin. Pink bat, walk-off suicide squeeze in the 9 run comeback, walk-off homer the night before, face it...Bill Hall wins games.

#3--Gorman Thomas--Before you holler at me that Gorman wore #20, just keep your panties from getting cinched. Thomas actually started his career in #44, but gave that up when Hammerin' Hank came to town. His two season in #3 are still more important to Brewers history than Dante Bichette's single season. Interestingly enough, three managers (Garner, Royster, and Yost) also donned #3.

#4--Molitor. If I need to explain this any further, you've stumbled upon the wrong blog...

#5--Geoff Jenkins. I had a very difficult time choosing between Surhoff and Jenkins, and it's possible that yesterday's heroics are tainting my judgement...Nonetheless, 200 HRs is nothing to scoff at, and despite what you say about his strikeout totals, no one plays harder than Jenks.

#6--Sal Bando. Not much of a GM, to be sure, but he was a fan favorite as a player. His 5 seasons certainly top Cirillo's last two seasons here and Mike Hegan's (one of the five Brewers to hit for the cycle) 2 seasons in this uniform #.

#7--I loved Dale Sveum as a kid, but as I mentioned in the intro, this one is Money.

#8--Mark Loretta--I'd give anything to trade the Astros Grafanino for Loretta. Something tells me they won't take us up on it, however. The guy is a constant pro...

#9--Larry Hisle--speaking of class acts...

#10--Bob McClure--never spectacular, but he wins by basis of tenure, if nothing else. Ronnie Belliard finishes a distant second.

#11-Davey May. Hard to go against Sexson and Overbay, but May was one of the first fan favorites in club history and holds the second longest hitting streak (24 games) to Molitor's 39.

#12--Johnny Briggs. Not really a whole lot to choose from at this #. No one has even put up a decent season for the Brewers in this jersey # since Scott Fletcher in '92. You know it's a weak crop when Henry Blanco makes a case to be the top runner-up.

#13--Jeff D'Amico. Another weak cast of characters provides Roy Howell as Big Daddy's only real competition. Howell had some key hits (HRs) as a DH in the '82 season, but D'Amico had a short run of dominace on the mound in which he show cased the best ERA in the league.

#14--Dave Nillson--The less-than stellar defensive catcher doesn't get the nod at his other two numbers (11 and 13), but there were a couple years when Nillson supplied the only offense the Brewers could muster. Then he decided he wanted to support the Australian National team, and he was never heard from again...

#15--Cecil Cooper. With all due respect to Big Ben, who has been the ace of the staff since he arrived from the minors, Cecil Cooper may be one of the most underrated hitters of all time. When the Brewers set a major league record in '82 for hitting back-to-back-to-back HRs three times in the same season, Coop was involved in all three of the dinger assaults. And, of course, we all remember him motioning that infamous hit to left to "get down, get down." In the late summer of '83, the national writers were ready to hand him the MVP trophy, until the Orioles pulled away from the Brewers and Ripken became the obvious choice.

#16--Sixto Lezcano. Tiny Felder and Rookie of the Year Pat Listasch were certainly fan favorites, but the first player I remember cheering for as a toddler was...Sixtooo!

#17--Gumby. Gantner's number isn't officially retired, but you'll notice that no one else has wore this # since the kid from Eden hung 'em up. Hands down, one of the greatest defensive second basemen to ever play the game.

#18--Jose Hernandez. Yeah, not a lot of Brewer pride emanating from this choice: Hamilton wore the # for a year, but other than him it's stars like Wes Helms, Tom Brunansky, Todd Dunn or Duanne Singleton. If he can ever become a starter, this one might be Gabe Gross' to claim.

#19--If you don't know who this is, please drive immediately to Miller Park and kiss the feet of the statue outside the home plate gate...

#20--Gorman Thomas. Hands down the strongest # in the history of the Brewers. you could make a case for any of the following fan favorites--Kenny Sanders, Juan Nieves, Kevin Seitzer, Jeromy Burnitz or Scott Podsednik. But none of them have a cool nickname like "Stormin' Gorman" and despite Burnitz's all-star game appearance and Nieves' no-no, none of them have the credentials like leading the AL in HRs.

#21--Cal Eldred. With all due respect to what Hall-of-Famer Don Sutton did to push the '82 Crew over the top, Eldred's resume over his first few years was stellar. Unfortunately, arm problems doomed him, but he was the ace of the '92 team that made a run at the Blue Jays....

#22--Charlie Moore. 2 other catchers, charlie O'Brien and Mike Matheny, wore 22 as well, but neither of them would have been able to transition as one of the top defensive right fielders in the major leagues. His throw to get Reggie at third still seems like yesterday to me...Here's one that a current young gun, Tony Gwynn, has a realistic shot to claim...

#23--Ted Simmons. Argue with me long enough and you might be able to convince me that it's really Greg Vaughn. When I heard Ned Yost talk about Simmons at the preview of the Harvey Wallbangers DVD, however, it became pretty clear that, despite all of the talent on that '82 team, they might not have reached the Series without Simmons leadership and fire. And for every incredible month that Greg sent 10 to 12 long balls into Vaughn's Valley, there seemed to be three months of a .125 average with 537 strikeouts.

#24--Ben Oglivie. I was always a Daryll Hamilton fan (and I still say he was Freeway's twin brother), but Oglivie was one of the premier power hitters during each of his two stays with the Brewers. As a kid, there was no better batting stance to imitate on the playground.

#25--Bill Travers. Finished the '76 season with an ERA under 3 and was selected for the all-star game that season. Unfortunately for Travers, he left the Brewers as a free agent in '81 and never got to be a part of the real fun.

#26--Jeff Cirillo--the Brewers all time batting average leader just reminded the Crew of what an offense weapon he can be with a HR and a triple this past Friday night. Glenn Braggs finishes a distant second.

#27--Bob Wickman. Gorman actually wore this number for a year as well, and another closer, Pete Ladd, had a stellar season in '83 and was a key component to the '82 run once Fingers went down. But Wickman was the club leader in saves three times, including an all-star appearance.

#28--Prince Fielder. Yep, it's already his. You can make a case for Doug Henry or Jamie Easterly, I suppose, but neither of those guys ever meant as much to the Brewers hopes as Prince does today. He is the heart and soul of the current team, and the Brewers are better because of it. (You could also make a case for Rick Manning, but I've never forgiven him for getting the hit that ended Molitor's hitting streak.)

#29--Chris Bosio. A serious honorable mention nod goes to Mark Brouhard, but the Bos was a workhorse for several seasons. Ultimately, his constant butting of heads with Garner saw his days as a Brewer end on a sour note, but he was their best pitcher in '89 and a key to the late season success in '92.

#30--Moose Haas. Anyone named Moose is going to be a fan favorite in Milwaukee. Winning 91 games in a Brewer uniform helps too. No one else even comes close at this uni #.

#31--George Bamberger--I know I said "greatest Brewer players," but Bambi was the utlimate players' coach and a big reason for the success of the late '70s and early '80s. Honorable mention goes to Jaime Navarro, another key cog to the '92 team.

#32--Harvey Kuehn--You can't recognize "Bambi's Bombers" without recognizing "Harvey's Wallbangers." Harvey was the savior when the team was heading down the wrong path. And believe me, no one was a bigger John Jaha fan than me--but he takes honorable mention to Kuehn.

#33--Marty Pattin--lead the Brewers in wins in '70 and '71. This is before my time, so that's all I know of the guy. Regardless, it's a weak crop, so I'm confident it would be him. Villanueva has this one locked in three years.

#34--Rollie, Rollie, Rollie.

#35--Bill Castro. Well, hell he became our bullpen coach. That's got to be worth something, right? Right? Trust me, there's no other options.

#36--Mike Fetters. With all due respect to another reliever, Tony "the Mechanic" Fossas, Fetters was the Brewers best pitcher in '95 and'96.

#37--Dan Plesac. The Brewers really have had good success finding dominant closers. None of them had a better run than the "Sac Man." Not only was he the Brewers most dominant reliver, he was an all-star in four consecutive seasons....

#38--Matt Wise. Seriously. There's no one else of note. Navarro did wear the jersey for a season, but that was during his second stint (we swapped him for Eldred) when he was downright horrible.

#39--Dave Parker. He only spent a year here, but he was beloved for the attitude he brought to the club. The sledge hammer in the on deck circle is a memory all to itself. By next year, I'd probably put Cappy here.

#40--Mike Birkbeck. Seriously. This was the best I could do. The patheticness of this # continued last year with Hendrickson.

#41--Jim Slaton. Kolb made an all-star game, but Slaton is the Brewers all time wins leader with 117 and all times loss leader with 121. Quite frankly, you'd be hard pressed to find a pitching stat (both good and bad) that Slaton's name isn't in the top 10 of all-time Brewers.

#42--Scott Karl. You'll notice that we are getting into the numbers commonly worn by pitchers. Are you starting to understand why the Brewers were miserable for all those years?

#43--Doug Jones. As an 85 year old man, Jones somehow saved games without ever topping 60 mph...

#44--Hammerin' Hank. I know, his years as a Brewer were less than stellar, but how many times can i put Gorman on the list?

#45--Rob Deer. Maybe in five years the bitterness of El Caballo spurning our $48 million offer will wear off and I'll change my choice...but I doubt it. While most fans are going to remeber the towering home run balls and the high strikeout totals, I'll rember Deer as the outfielder who went into the wall defensively with reckless abandon. As good as Carlos was in his year and a half, i'm not sure he came close to giving us a memory like Easter Sunday...

#46--Bill Wegman. Not spectactular, but a solid workhorse. the same can be said for his runner-up, Jerry Augustine.

#47--Jaime Cocanower. This is a pretty good summary of how bad things were from '84 to '86.

#48--Mike Caldwell. Colburn was a great pitcher as well, but Caldwell had some amazing seasons with the Crew long before he won game one of the '82 Series. His 22 wins and an unheard of (at least in today's game) 23 complete games in 1978 are still the club bests. As is the 2.36 ERA he sported that year. Add to that the fact that Caldwell looked like the kind of guy who belonged at a bowling alley, and it's easy to see why he was a Milwaukee favorite.

#49--Teddy Higuera. An injured shortened career is the only thing that kept this man from being one of the greatest pitchers in major league history. Even so, he remains the greatest Brewers pitcher of all time. He was a dominant force on some horrible teams, and an essential component to Team Streak. If you ever wonder why pitch counts are watched so closely, look no further than Higuera who threw 261.2 innings in 1987. He also struck out 240 batters, which means he threw a ton of pitches...

#50--Pete Vukovich. Cy Young winner in '82 and one of the true bad asses in the game. A starring role in the movie Major League saw Ricky Vaughn give him the heater. The real Vukovich had little left in the tank, but somehow managed to win...

#51--Jimmy Haynes. Hmmm. And we were doing so well there for a second...

#52--Rafael Roque--Brewers opening day starter in St. Louis in 1999. Based on what I can remember about him, that might just as well been his only start. (The Brewers did win the game.)

#53--Mike Felder. He only wore this # for the '85 season, but he's a better choice than any of the pitchers who followed.

#54--Jose Valentin. I have no recollection of Jose wearing this jersey in '92 and '93, but the Brewers media guide says he did. So there you go.

#55--Brooks Kieschnick. What can I say? The fans did like him.

#56--Rocky Coppinger. This is just getting silly now.

#57--Joe Winkelsas. I'm a huge Brewers fan. Huge. But I'm having a tough time even remembering the other guys who reportedly wore this number: Sean Mahloney, Greg Mullins, Pete Zoccolillo...

#58--Valerio De Los Santos. This seemed like a much better idea when I was still in the teens...

#59--Derrick Turnbow. Despite his meltdowns, there was a time when Turnbow legitimately reached "rock star" status in this town...

And there you have it. Perhaps the single most uselesss list any Brewers fan has ever constructed. Do with it what you will. I'm actually off for Cancun the next five days, so i won't be checking back in until Memorial Day.

Until then--

Go Brewers.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Great Outfield Debate

I had intended to sit down and share my thoughts on Rickie Weeks current struggles at the top of the order, but with the recent news in the Journal that he will probably sit for a few days with his sore wrist (, I thought I'd instead turn my focus to the man that everyone wants to see more of--Tony Gwynn Jr.

Let me start by saying that I am a huge Tony Gwynn fan, and was very pleased when he made the team on the last cut out of spring training. Many on talk radio in Milwaukee are quick to remind their listeners that Tony is not his father. And I agree with that assessment--he's not his father. But considering Tony Sr. was a career .338 hitter, Tony Jr. could hit 50 points lower than his old man and still have a solid career (I'd take .288 from my leadoff hitter.)

The problem with starting Tony Gwynn every day at the top of the order (which the masses in Milwaukee are calling for daily) is that Ned Yost is desperately trying to keep all of his OFers fresh. Ned faces the same dilemna that we all faced anytime we landed four Brewers tickets in high scool--what 3 guys am I taking with me today...There are those that argue that Ned should forget about equal playing time and just run his three best out there every day. Here's the rub--if you do that, you greatly diminish the trade value of the guys who ride the pines regularly. And it's pretty obvious that someone is getting shipped come the trade deadline.

Say what you will about Mench and Jenkins, but I think it's essential that the Brewers continue to find at-bats for Corey Hart. This is a kid who has proven himself time and again in the minors, and who often gets overlooked during the discussions of top prospects like Weeks, Hardy and Prince. His upside, however, is almost as high. And despite the fact that he looks like a small town high school basketball team's uncoordinated center, he has a great mix of speed and power.

My suggestion: turn right field and left field into pure platoon situations with Hart and Mench standing in against lefties and Jenkins and Gwynn standing in against righties. I know that makes Gabe Gross the odd man out, and even though he carried this team to their only win this week, I think an occassional start for Hall is all Gross should see over the next couple weeks...So, as I see it, the line-up should look like this...

Against righties...

And against lefties...

In many ways, the logjam in the outfield is a nice problem to have, especially when you consider that not more than four years ago we were relying on the production of the likes of Jeffrey Hammonds, John Vanderwall, Chris Magruder and Jason Conti...I'd say we have a definite upgrade in talent since '03. Now Ned just has to figure out how to keep them all happy and keep Hart and Gwynn's development moving forward...

One other wrinkle exists in this whole logjam, and he is currently playing at Triple A. (Editor's Note: This will be the first of many bold predictions that I will submit to this blog. Hopefully they pan out better than JD closser...). I said at the time of the Carlos Lee trade, and I'll say again now--Lance Nix has the greatest ceiling of anyone in the Brewers crop of Outfielders (with the exception of Hall, who was a SS at the time of the trade). I consider Nix to be a young Jim Edmonds with a bit less range but, perhaps, a bit more power. When he first came up with the Rangers, Nix was an offensive machine. Slowed by injuries, the Rangers became frustrated with him and included him in the Carlos trade. When Nix first went down to Triple A for the Brewers he started tearing the cover up the ball, was called up, and hit a few dingers before he once again injured himself and was shut down for the remainder of the season. He began this year on the DL as well, but now he's back at Triple A, and through 7 games he is hitting over .400 with 3 HRs. If this kid can ever stay healthy, and admittedly that is a big if, he has the potential to be a .300; 35 HR, 100 RBI, 20 SB type player...with the current logjam, however, those numbers might be put up with another team....

I wanted to share a snippet of what friend and respected sports enthusiast Chad Privatt had to say about my opening blog:

"the best athletes being linebackers????what??? even on the football field- i would rate them 2nd, 3rd or maybe 4th.... i think alot of safeties and running backs are better overall athletes and that doesn't even get me basketball, some track & field athletes, and have you ever seen these professional wrestlers-the size, speed, flexibility, toughness, ect and you say linebackers?"

Personally, I categorize athletes as the combination of strength, speed and power. In all of sports, I can't think of a more apt description than having to shed a blocker, and then chase down a running back, before he gets to the sideline. Ray Lewis, Adalius Thomas, Joey Porter, Nick Barnett--to me these are the real freaks of nature that possess strength and power. But i'm curious what others think, so please feel free to share your comments, by clicking on the word comments and typing your thoughts. If you don't want to create an account, no problem--just make the comment "annonymous" and it should publish on the blog....

But remember to bring your A game.

Until next time...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Introducing the Mid-Season Forum...

Let it be said that when it comes to talking sports, I always feel like I am in mid season form...

But with so many of my friends moving away from our beloved state of Wisconsin, the opportunity to talk about our favorite sports teams--the Brewers, the Packers, the Bucks, the Badgers, and for some, the Warriors (I refuse to use that bird-brained nickname of recent years)--seems to be decreasing annualy. Don't get me wrong; I still find time to criticize Ted Thompson or praise Doug Melvin with friends via email on ocassion, but if I don't get my fix in daily, I begin to visibly shake and stutter...

Let it also be said that I never would have imagined that I would someday create my own blog...

But during last year's Fantasy Football Season in our "No Sally" League (a wonderfully sexist term that dates back to our high school days in Mayville when the first one to go home or opt out of a night with the guys in order to spend time with his squeeze was immediately labeled "King Sally") I started a weekly feature on the website called "10 Random Thoughts From Your Commish." It started mainly as a joke, but I noticed almost immediately an increase of smack talk and general chatter from owners in the league. By the third week, some guys were actually asking me when the 10 Random Thoughts were coming, and suddenly I felt like I was back in the high school cafeteria talking 'Sconsin sports and making my infamous predictions like "J.D. closser might be Doug Melvin's biggest find this off season" (JD was traded a couple weeks ago) and I was in heaven...The only thing missing was our friend Metke yelling "Aardvark" at the top of his lungs and smushing apple sauce down his pants...but that's another day's blog....Anyhow, with the fantasy football season still months away, I felt like I needed a place to stay fresh for my 10 Random thoughts...enter the Mid-Season Forum.

As I've mentioned, my goal is to make this a place where my friends and I can share our thoughts on recent sports news and hopefully celebrate the continued success of the current Brewers season. Just in case I get any random visits to the blog, however, let me share a little bit about myself:

  • This blog will only cover the big three of sports--baseball, football and basketball. If you're looking for information on hockey, golf, boxing, Nascar or God forbid--soccer...please look elsewhere...
  • Although I share a couple of Packers season tickets with my long-time friend Eric, my first love is definitely the Brewers. I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried when they lost game 7 of the '82 series, and got goose bumps when my hero, Robin Yount, arrived at the post series celebration on a motorcycle. At that point, Robin Yount officially became cooler than Batman.
  • I strayed from the Bucks as a child and cheered for the Pistons. Before you assume that I was a fair-weather fan, let me explain. The first NCAA championship game I ever saw was Isiah's win in '81. I was three weeks from my 8th birthday, and Isiah Thomas instantly became my favorite basketball player. My brother will tell you that it was because his last name is the same as my first. I think it was because I was always the shortest guy at school, and Isiah was one of the greatest little men to ever play the game. Regardless, just note that when I became a Piston fan, the Bucks were in the midst of an impressive run as the dominant team in the Central Division. When Dumars retired and I moved to Milwaukee, I decided I wanted to cheer for the home team again, and the Grant Hill-lead Pistons held a better record than the Bucks. So although I was a traitor, it was never about jumping ship to the better team. Now I'm an avid Bucks fan, still believe in the Villanueva trade, and am in therapy for the damage Isiah has done since retiring from the game, both to the league and my psyche...but again, that's another blog topic.
  • I'm a Brett Favre apologist and make no excuses for it. If Brett throws an interception, I always believe I can find a way to blame Bubba Franks, even if he was on the sideline during that play...

And here are 10 mottos that I strongly follow as a sports fantatic...

10. With all due respect to basketball players who can dunk from the free-throw line, the greatest athletes in professional sports are linebackers...

9. All situational left handed pitchers should be taught to play another position, perhaps first base. Then in crunch time, when the other team's line-up goes lefty-righty-lefty, they can face the first lefty, play first base, and be eligible to pitch to the second lefty...

8. There is nothing sweeter in sports than a well turned double play.

7. Unless their name is Walter Stanley, all punt returners should be immediately benched if their first step upon receiving the kick is any direction but forward.

6. It's a fact: although there is certainly something honorable to the "acting like you have been there before" attitude, touchdowns are more entertaining when a dance, a flip or a prop are involved.

5. Anyone who boos the opposing pitcher for throwing over to first to keep the base runner in check, really doesn't understand (or at least appreciate) the cat and mouse element to the game...

4. The pass can open up the running game just as effectively as the run can open up the passing game.

3. Soccer is a sport. And I know the majority of the world has embraced it. But there's nothing wrong with the United states having different preferences to the rest of the world. Take, for instance, women with hairy armpits.; I prefer they stay in Europe as well.

2. You can never breathe easily if you bet on the under.

1. Home run hitters from the steroids era belong in the Hall of Fame. They didn't really cheat the game because they were hitting home runs off pitchers who were also taking steroids. If you want to keep them out of the Hall of Fame, then do it on the basis of smaller ballparks, watered down pitching, or juiced balls. But not on the drugs they put in their body to stay healthy. No one can convince me that steroids help you hit a baseball. And even if it adds distance to your home run ball, go back and check how many of McGwire's taters barely cleared the fence. Instead of traveling 500 feet, maybe they only travel 475...And remember as good as Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, etc were--they only played against the best white players in the game...Today's players go against the best players in the world....

So that's a little bit of me. Hope to see lots of people checking in and sharing their thoughts. Feel free to disagree with me, argue with me, even call me names...

Just know that you have to bring your "A" game if you want to participate in Mid-Season Forum....