I don’t bleed for any team, but I do admit to a little bruising on occasion. I like sports as much as the next guy and while I appreciate Wisconsin’s sports offerings and am pleased when they do well, I’m primarily an observer, and certainly not a band-wagon jumper. If the Packers are doing well, that’s great, I’ll enjoy the ride. If the Badgers are stinking up the joint, I don’t take it home with me.
Golf tournaments are undergoing more name changes than Elizabeth Taylor.
The GMO, I mean the U.S. Bank Championship, has come and gone from Milwaukee. I understand golf tournaments are subject to the demands and orders from the PGA tour, but why is this town forced to compete for time against the British Open, I mean, The Open. The 2008 Arnold Palmer Invitational used to be known as the Bay Hill Classic until this year's name change. It probably doesn’t matter much as much to the General as making sure he has plenty of Ensure on hand.
The Milwaukee Brewers, like many other MLB teams, are being kicked in the teeth once again after living up to their end of a bargain. It appears the Brewers ‘Ace,’ Ben Sheets, is looking to take his accomplished resume elsewhere. Sheets says he’s headed in the direction of free agency, and we know how that usually turns out for the Brewers: bubkes. Despite the fact Sheets has been stained with injury, the Brewers have done a pretty good job trying to retain talent and has been candid about their intentions with players.
That’s what makes sports great: surprises. We’re surprised the Brewers were able to send three players to the All-Star Game. We’re astonished we have a baseball team who, in the thick of the season, acquired a reigning Cy Young Award winner. We’re surprised we’re talking about Brett Favre in July after he told the world he was done with football.
Surprises keep you young with anticipation, on your toes. That’s a good thing . . .
If someone told you they would let you do something really cool, like shagging flies for the Brewers during batting practice, or putting on catchers’ gear in the Miller Park bullpen and taking some pitches, would you do it? Hell yeah you would.
I met up with Marcus Hanel, the bullpen catcher for the Brewers for the past nine years, for a backstage pass to areas of MillerPark to which I had never been allowed access. I’ve covered the team for nearly 15 years, but this was a new one. I’d spent a game in the old chalet at CountyStadium, turned over the locker room as a new team came in to play the Brewers. I even ran the sausage race.
Soccer is alive and well in Milwaukee. This is a sport that didn’t exist in my neighborhood when I was a kid, a sport I probably would have played. My 7-year-old daughter loves the sport, and I’m equally pleased when she is exhausted after a practice or game from running around for an hour. What took it so long to catch on here?
In the culturally vapid ’70s, Black Sabbath wrote a cheerful little ditty titled “Iron Man.” The lyrics include:
Has he lost his mind?
Can he see or is he blind?
Can he walk at all,
Or if he moves will he fall?
Is he alive or dead?
Has he thoughts within his head?
Well just pass him there
Why should we even care?
Our society is enthralled with ceramic images of athletes whose heads bounce and wiggle like a man suffering from chronic seizures.
Left fielder Ryan Braun is the latest player to be ridiculed in such a manner. The doll is altogether unimpressive, a slim guy with an enormous cranium holding a bat above his head. His body is slightly contorted in a batter’s stance on a large wheel of cheese. Braun’s name is etched between his legs adjacent to a missing wedge. The bobble-head has eyebrows like a Cro-Magnon, and spindly Barney Fife arms.
It’s been a while since then-Pittsburgh Pirate Randall Simon took a good-natured swipe at the oversized Italian sausage at Miller Park. Swinging from the dugout steps, Simon swung the bat as the costumed consumable strode past, striking a 19-year old Brewers employee and causing her to nose-dive into the warning track in front of the dugout. Simon was escorted from the park in handcuffs, a ridiculous display of authority and overkill. The security power-play was reminiscent of the Harold Brier days when jaywalkers were ticketed and people going a few miles over the speed limit were sent to jail for the unpaid violation.