Wednesday, July 16, 2008

An Argument With...Myself

I call this blog the Midseason Forum, so I guess (given the mid-season baseball classic is about to begin) I’m obligated to post something this time of the year…The problem is: I’m having far too difficult a time focusing on baseball lately. And I guess that’s to be expected. After all, it’s not every day a legend says he wants to abandon his franchise. And it’s even rarer for a franchise to want to abandon their legend…

So here I sit, watching the first ever Milwaukee Brewers pitcher to start an all-star game, and as Sheets gets introduced and shakes hands with legends like Steve Carlton, Don Sutton and Whitey Ford, I can’t help but wonder if our Lambeau legend is hoping to shake hands and join forces with evil empires in Minnesota or Chicago. I mean, dammit, it’s the all-star break. I should be relishing in the CC trade. I should be rejoicing in the fact that baseball’s smallest television market managed to get Ryan Braun and Corey Hart into the all-star game. I should be wondering how Tony Gwynn Sr. came to get so friggin’ fat and should be worrying that just maybe he’s eaten Tony Gwynn Jr.

But no. I have to deal with the emotional roller coaster of Ted vs. Brett. And it pains me.

You see there are two sides to this blogger known as Tom. There is the Packer Tom, the guy who has admitted that he was wrong about Teddy T all along and believes this franchise is heading in the right direction…the guy who sweats green and gold…and who has considered shaving a large capital G into his private region but doesn’t know of the barber he would trust with the clippers.

And then there’s Favre Tom. The guy who defends Brett Favre’s every interception, who has a “Wall of Favre” in his rec room, and who has considered tattooing Favre’s likeness onto his backside (think Henry Winkler’s Roy Orbison in The Water Boy.) if only I wasn’t so afraid of having hot pokers near my supple tushy.

And these two Toms have been going back and forth inside my head since last Friday when the news broke that Favre had asked for his release. And they won’t stop bickering inside my head. It’s not fair to the Brewers. It’s not fair to my family. Hell, it’s not fair to me. And since I’ve been tortured for the past week, I thought I’d open my mind up to my seven readers…

PACKER TOM: I think we should just go ahead and call Favre “Moses” from now on. Not because he’s old, but because he’s managed to split the Green and Gold Sea better known as Packer Nation into two equal halves.

FAVRE TOM: That’s not Brett’s fault. That’s all on your boy Ted. All he had to do was welcome Brett back with open arms.

PACKER TOM: Ted didn’t retire. Brett did. And nobody made him retire. He even said so himself. He went out of his way to say as much at his press conference in March. Nobody forced me. I just don’t have it in me. But now, all of a sudden, his story changes. The guy has problems. Seriously. I think he’s mental.

FAVRE TOM: Why is he mental? Because he wants to play again? Great. Bring him back, hand him some shoulder pads, and snap the ball. We get another year of Favre. What’s the problem?

PACKER TOM: Look, it’s like that episode of Saved By the Bell. Remember the one where Zack sells a skin care product to everyone, but it actually makes Kelly’s face turn red? That’s how I feel about Favre. It’s like he’s selling us a different story all the time, and I just can’t trust him anymore. I just wish he’d go away and retire with a little grace.

FAVRE TOM: Are you really comparing Brett Favre to Zack Morris? So what does that make Ted Thompson—Screech? You should be embarrassed for even mentioning that show. And you should be more embarrassed for not standing up for Brett.

PACKER TOM: Hey—you know our old roommate, Eric, watched that show religiously. We were forced to watch so many episodes of both that show and Boy Meets World that it’s possible we actually went through puberty for a second time. Forget the Zack comparison. Think of it this way—when Javon Walker was threatening to hold out, Brett said a player needs to honor his contract. So if he comes back, and the Packers want him to be Aaron Rogers back up—he should honor his contract. Or is he saying that his words don’t apply to him? Only he’s allowed to play hardball and ask out of his contract? Seems like a double standard to me.

FAVRE TOM: Seriously, you think Brett Favre should be the back up QB? To Aaron Rogers? I can’t figure out what Packers nation is thinking. Rogers plays one good half of a football game in Dallas and suddenly he’s a better option than Favre? That’s ridiculous.

PACKER TOM: It’s not just about that half of the Cowboys game. Aaron’s been there all off-season. He wasn’t the one who said in March that he wouldn’t be able to give it 100%. He’s got the support of a lot of players in that locker room.

FAVRE TOM: But he’s Aaron Rogers!!! He’ll be hurt by Week 4, and then we’ll be wishing we did let Brett come back.

PACKER TOM: So then why doesn’t Brett just come back as the #2 QB? If everyone thinks Rogers is going to be hurt by Week 4, then why can’t Favre just wait until then to get his snaps? It might keep his old ass in shape for the post season.

FAVRE TOM: Because he’s BRETT FAVRE. He’s not a number two QB.

PACKERS TOM: But HE retired. He gave up his starting spot that day. Why shouldn’t the Packers brass tell him he needs to earn the spot back? Favre could have eliminated all of this nonsense by just saying, “all right, I’ll come back as the #2. But I’m leaving as the #1.” Instead he feels slighted. It’s ridiculous. His whining is driving me crazy.

FAVRE TOM: He’s not whining. He just wants to play football.

PACKERS TOM: Not whining? You heard the interview on FOX News as well as I did—

FAVRE TOM: Of course, I did. I am you.

PACKERS TOM: Why didn’t Ted sign Marco and Wahle? Whine, whine, whine. Why didn’t Ted hire Steve Mariucci and his oh-so-impressive record as head coach of the Lions? Whine, whine, whine. Why didn’t Ted get Randy Moss for me? Well you know something Brett? Greg Jennings and Donald Driver didn’t lose the NFC Championship game against the Giants. You did! Yeah, that’s right. Even if that last pass was headed for Randy Moss, it still would have been picked. 90% of the QBs in this league would be giddy to have a receiving core like you had last year. So how do you show them the love for all of the YAC they racked up? You complain that Ted didn’t get Moss. Let it go you, horse’s ass. There’s nothing wrong with the personnel Ted built around you.

FAVRE TOM: (Long pause.) Wow. Tell me how you really feel.

PACKERS TOM: Look, all I’m saying is Brett had a chance to be a team leader and instead he reverted to his usual selfish self. We keep hearing people say that the Packers should trade Aaron Rogers and let Favre play this year. But what if Rogers is the Matt LaPorta of QBs?

FAVRE TOM: So what if he is? Isn’t another year of Favre just as valuable as a half season of CC Sabathia? The guy was second in the MVP voting, for crying out loud. If the Packers can get something good for Rogers, make the deal. We know how Ted loves his draft picks…

PACKERS TOM: Until Favre calls it quits again in mid August, right? Look, we both suspected that Favre was going to call it quits when we saw him in that Bears game last year. Sure, he said it was the coldest game he’s ever played in, but that was the not the Brett Favre that we have grown to love. The playful, fun Favre would have toughed those cold conditions and put forth a much better effort. This Favre didn’t even want to be on that field at all. And it showed. Sure, we saw that playful Favre again during the Seahawks game, but we’ve come to expect it game in and game out. The current Favre only seems to bring the joy when they’re winning. Well, I’ve got a news flash for you: the Packers are going to lose some games. There’s going to be some missed tackles. And there’s going to be some dropped balls…I don’t want to watch a Favre that doesn’t have the joy of playing through thick and thin…maybe the Packers are right not to let him tarnish his legacy…

FAVRE TOM: That’s not for the Packers to decide. It’s Favre’s legacy. So he’s the only one who can determine how it’s written. So if the Packers aren’t going to let him start, maybe they should just grant his release (crap, I just threw up in my mouth a little…)

PACKERS TOM: Absolutely not. Favre is a commodity and you don’t just give him away. You have to trade him and get something for him (crap, I just threw up in my mouth a little…)

And the debate rages on in my mind. There’s no simple answer. And I feel like both halves of me are right. So I can’t even enjoy Sheets two solid innings right now. Now with all this background noise making me dizzy. All I know is something needs to be done to resolve this mess in Green Bay real soon. And if I were a betting man, I’d say this whole Favre mess is not going to end pretty…

Crap. I just threw up in my mouth a little…

Thursday, July 3, 2008


So much has happened since the last post on Weeks: Rickie got food poisoning, someone reminded JJ Hardy that he can hit to all fields, the Bucks are movin’ on up to the East side with Mr. Jefferson, and Favre got a nasty itch. With so much excitement bubbling, you’ll have to forgive me for needing to ramble…

With all the attention on getting Ryan Braun to the all-star game (which I do think is deserved, don’t get me wrong), I feel like Corey Hart’s first half of the season has gone a little unnoticed and unrecognized. He’ll never make it this year, but Corey Hart deserves just as much mention as a viable candidate to play at Yankee stadium. That’s why I was extremely happy to stumble upon this story on Yahoo!, in which Steve Henson lists Corey as a deserving starter for the National League team:;_ylt=As9YtsJtwUSEaOKtd7nnr6wRvLYF?slug=ys-allstarpicks070208&prov=yhoo&type=lgns
Again, I realize it won’t happen, but it’s nice to see Corey getting at least a little national attention. I have to admit, he’s certainly been well used in the five hole protecting Fielder, but he’s also proving he could produce from any spot in the order. Rickie’s out? Let’s hit Corey lead-off. Prince is going to get a day off? Let’s hit Corey clean-up. Ryan’s got a sore thumb? No problem; Corey can hit third. Now that Braun is a Brewer for years to come, there’s no player I want locked up more than this kid.

I’m going to have to declare Monday night’s loss to the Diamondbacks the most painful loss of the season. Not because Dave Bush gave up a 2-0 lead quicker than Lindsay Lohan gave up on the idea of wearing underpants. No, it actually had nothing to do with the final score, or the return of Dave Bush to his usual meatball tossing self. What made the game so painful was the foul tip that Arizona catcher, Chris Snyder, took to his giblets. When it happened, Bill and Brian did the usual, “he’s going to need a couple of minutes” routine, and the camera crew panned in on guys who were grimacing, but also smiling (because it wasn’t them). Then, early in Tuesday’s telecast, Brian Anderson announced that Snyder was placed on the DL with a fractured testicle. As my wife declared, “I didn’t even know that could happen,” I immediately curled myself into the fetal position and breathed deeply, desperately wishing I had taken that yoga class the company offers. Even just the fact that I typed the words seconds ago is causing me to ….type…much…slowe…r…
I think from now on, teammates should not be allowed to take these foul-tip-to-the-nards moments so casually. Instead, it should become an unwritten rule, that guys treat these incidents the same way football players react when a wide receiver is laid out and lying unconscious. They should huddle together, engage in a group prayer, and treat it as the solemn moment that it really is…any less respect for the injury is just plain nuts. (Forgive me.)

As long as I’m proposing unwritten rules, let me propose a written one as well. Last night, David Riske got the win after blowing the 3-2 lead in the 8th. There is no rule in sports that infuriates me more than this “win” rule in baseball. If a starting pitcher can’t earn a win without pitching 5 innings, why should a relief pitcher get a win after blowing a save (or a hold)? I just don’t get it. Why can’t the win get credited to the last pitcher of record (in this case Shouse, who performed an amazing escape act in the 7th)? If a relief pitcher blows a lead, they should have to pitch two more innings to qualify for a win. That’s a simple rule. We can add a Wild Card, realign divisions and move the Brewers to another league, but no one thinks it’s feasible to change this ridiculous rule? Who’s with me? (cricket, cricket)

A lot of debate is going to occur over the next three to four weeks in regards to how much the Brewers should be willing to give up for an ace pitcher. The Sabathia rumors abound, but there seems to be a large contingency who don’t think the Brewers should be willing to part with the likes of Matt Gamel. All I know is I’ve waited far too long for the Brewers to be legitimate buyers at the trade deadline, and even if Gamel ends up being the next Jeff Bagwell, I’m willing to take that gamble. Considering that we’ll probably lose Sheets after the season, the Brewers have to take a run at it this year…there’s simply no guarantees that a team, no matter how young and no matter how talented, can duplicate their output from year to year. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the Colorado Rockies…

Aaron Rogers is a smart man. I don’t know if he’s going to be a quality starting QB in the NFL, and I don’t know if he’s going to be able to stay healthy for four games, much less a full season. But I do know that he is smart. That’s why I couldn’t help but wonder if his comments in Sports Illustrated weren’t actually a little more contrived than he’s letting on. After all, for three years he’s had to deal with the Favre rumors every time he opened up his newspaper or turned on his tv.

“Will Favre retire?”
“Will Favre come back?”
“Does the fact that Favre has given up eating bagels mean he wants to return in August?”

It has to get old very fast. So why not purposefully say things about the fans needing to “shut up” just to draw a little attention to Aaron Rogers? Then you can quickly let the fans know how much they mean to you, and even if there’s a recovery period with the fans, you have them thinking about you, instead of the Hall of Famer that isn’t around anymore.
But then, of course, that attention goes away as soon as an unscratched itch is reported. I’m guessing it was a nice 18 hours of fame for Aaron while it lasted. I’m also guessing he ripped up his copy of the SI Special Edition Favre Tribute issue. Just a guess.

Every time I see that Kyle Lohse put up another quality start for the Cardinals, I can’t help but remember that the Twins wanted to trade Lohse for Hall, straight up. At the time I thought it was ridiculous. Billy was ten times the prospect of Lohse. And, of course, when the Twins finally gave up on him, I was feeling even cockier that I was right. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem like such a bad trade. Funny how these things go in cycles, huh?

I can’t ever remember being as excited about a Bucks off-season as I currently am about this one. I love the Jefferson trade. I like the draft picks of Alexander and Mbah. I’m excited that Skiles plans to instill a defensive mindset. And I think (forgive me, given my Pistons roots) that John Hammond will bring a winning attitude to the organization. I still think Mo and Charlie V are on their way out the door, given the fact that one of Hammond’s first comments was that he could ask Skiles to hide one poor defender, but not three or four. I have to assume that "one" is Michael, who they’ll try to hide. "Two" is Bobby, who is gone. And "three" and "four" are Mo and Charlie V. Package the two of them for a defensive minded PF, and I’ll really be ecstatic.

But as excited as I am about the direction of the team, I’ve been here before at trading deadlines and off-seasons gone by. Probably the best way to sum up my problem with the NBA is that I’m never as excited during the regular season as I am in July, when hope springs eternal. That’s the only league I can say that about. Let’s hope the Bucks can do something to have me as excited in January…you know, when they’re actually playing games…

I know this old news, but I just have to wonder what would have happened if Danika Patrick had taken a swing at the guy that she was pissed at a few weeks back. I know nothing about car racing, but i do know that you're never supposed to hit a lady. But what if she clocks you on national tv? You still can't hit a girl, right? Or is it offensive not to swing back at her, because she wants to be treated like an equal? I'm perplexed. And it's just another reason not to get into to car racing...

Finally, I close with the words of Ned Yost, after Rickie hit his pinch-hit home run last night--

"We figured Rickie's a leadoff hitter, let's see if he can't lead off and get on base," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "He put a jolt into one."

Is he really, Ned? ‘Cause he looked a lot like a power hitter to me…