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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Spring Cleaning and Money Woes

Jim Cryns on Sports

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It’s been a busy, busy few weeks for the Milwaukee Bucks. A spring-cleaning if you will, including a new general manager and the replacement of the current head coach Larry Krystkowiak an uncontested lay-up away. There’s been a fair share of moaning by Bucks owner Herb Kohl regarding the finances and the woes of a smaller market team. This is stuff we’ve all heard before with the Brewers, a rhetorical deja vu.

A couple of weeks back, Kohl told flatulent members of the press the Bucks have been losing money for a long time, bleeding like a stuck-deer. Kohl has an incredible knack for stating the obvious. The revenue the team produces is barely enough to cover the electric bill, and Kohl has repeatedly been forced to extract cash from his own pocket to keep the team afloat. For whatever reason, Kohl is adamant about restricting the sale of the team to someone committed to keeping the team in Milwaukee. That’s very noble of Kohl even if it is a business nightmare. As the man said Platoon while he was hauling a large bucket of human waste, ‘You gotta’ be rich to eventhink like that.’

Kohl also dismissed his general manager, Larry Harris, personal masseuse, and hired John Hammond from the Pistons organization. The consensus seems to be this was a sound move. Hammond, who served as vice president of basketball operations with Detroit, says his only goal is to get the team and the franchise “where it needs to be.”Just where the team belongs is anybody’s guess. Above-ground and breathing oxygen would be a nice step as opposed to the life-support system the team has been relying on for the past seven years. If this team were in intensive care, the doctor would have pulled the plug a while back.

At Marquette

Buzz Aldrin? Check. Buzz Lightyear? Check. Buzz Williams? Buzz Williams?Bueller?Bueller?The Golden Eagles have plopped Brent “Buzz” Williams into the head coaching position at Marquette after the abrupt departure of Tom Crean, whose seat was still warm. Williams, 35, appeared on the Marquette scene after a season as head coach at New Orleans. Buzz will become the 16th head coach of the MarquetteUniversity men's basketball program.

Baseball

Peaking too soon can be a good thing, or a bad thing. If you ask your wife, she’ll probably think your peaking too early isn’t so great.If you ask Ned Yost, manager of the Brewers, about his young team’s early success, I’m sure he’d tell you it’s a very good thing indeed. Ted Simmons is Yost’s new bench coach, one of the veterans of the Brewer’s solitary World Series team.He too says it’s never too early or too much.

“Winning never acts against a team,” Simmons said, “if you win early, you’re more likely to be in first at the end of the season.” Simmons says the statistics all work out the same way so it’s just as well to win early. “Just win consistently, you don’t need to lose five games to tell yourselves it’s time for us to go on a winning streak.” It’s a pleasure to talk with Simmons, who is back with the team for the first time in more than 20 years.Since his playing days Simmons has worked at high levels of the front office for various teams.Watching him from the dugout he stares straight ahead like a statue, all the while keeping his eyes on everything.That’s his job. It’s also part of his job to assist Yost in making sound decisions both before and during the game. If Simmons is asked, he’ll give Yost his straight opinion, always, Yost counts on the candor. Yost might ask Simmons what he’d so in a certain situation; hit-and-run, bunt, steal. More times than not they tend to be on the same page philosophically, other times an entire chapter away. Both are catchers by trade, and they’ve got the rickety knees to prove it. They share a long-lasting friendship which ultimately led to Simmons taking the job with the Brewers. Simmons says it’s more than likely he wouldn’t even have considered a bench coach position with another team.

I don’t know where the hell Ryan Braun came from, but the Brewers should find out if he’s got any brothers. Braun, like Fielder, constitutes a new breed of superstar. Braun, last years National League Rookie of the Year, is one ‘righteous dude.’ You may be asking yourself if this kid is the real deal. Does Dolly Parton have stretch marks?He’s got that something special, whatever that may be. When Braun walks up to the plate, the umpire shakes his hand, opposing pitchers tip their cap, the organist plays Hail to the Chief.Some would say Braun is confident, others might call him cocky. In my opinion, you need a little bit of both to make it in the majors.He’s the head-honcho, the big-cheese, numero-uno, top dog—well, you get the idea. “I just make a minor adjustment to my swing when necessary,” Braun said, which fortunately isn’t very often.The oncoming pitch must look like a grapefruit to this kid.I couldn’t hit water if I fell out of a boat.Braun is in command during each plate appearance, the magnificent bastard.

Bone Heads

Did you know Milwaukee had another indoor football team? The last I heard about this sport was when the Mustangs rode out of town. It doesn’t appear the Bone Crushers will be around much longer as part of the Continental Indoor Football League. Head coach Gilbert Brown, general manager Chris Kokalis, defensive coordinator Gene Rhodes, Jr., and offensive coordinator Jeff Hermann have left the team faster than rats leaving a sinking ship.Rumors are swirling that the team may be forced to declare bankruptcy and cancel the remainder of its season.

Maybe Senator Kohl should be glad he’s not in their shoes.