Thursday, May 31, 2007

What to make of John Jones

Well, everyone is all worked up about John Jones being rejected to run the Packers like a layup against Dikembe Mutumbo. Jones had been groomed for years as the successor to Bob Harlan, but now is deemed "unworthy" by those in charge, namely Harlan.

So what happened?

For years Jones and Harlan were a great tag team, they seemed to be on the same page with every decision. Then Jones had his big heart surgery in June of last year and we were told not to worry.

According to the reports that have come out, it was several months ago that the complaints started coming in. He was too abrasive, his management style wasn't easy, he bascially didn't play well with others.

People don't complain about their bosses very much and certainly not right away when they feel he/she is doing something wrong. They wait it out to see if it's just a passing phase, and give someone who has been their boss the benefit of the doubt, especially if they just came out of major surgery as nobody wants to look like an uncaring ass. Plus, nobody likes to put their job on the line like that. Challenging your boss is serious business.

Given this, likely it has been 4 maybe 5 months of issues with Jones that the members of the organization had prior to bringing it up to Harlan. Combined with the reports that they had come in for several months after that time that would mean about 8 or 9 months had gone by. This would make it shortly after his heart surgery. Coincidence? I think not.

It seems that Jones came out of his surgery a changed man, this certainly is not uncommon when someone has a major health issue like this. However in Jones' case if appears he did not change for the better when it came to his work relationships as the complaints indicate.

Given that nothing was brought up about the man who had been groomed for years until after the surgery lends weight to this argument.

Just my opinion mind you, but it seems to make sense. Any comments out there?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Panic! at Miller Park

Back on May 9th, the Crew was 24-10 and the darlings of baseball. They were about to enter a stretch of 19 games where they were going to play good teams and division leaders. This was to determine if the Brewers were for real or not. They are now 4-13 during this stretch of games and they have shown that they are not ready for prime time yet.

Were the Brewers simply playing over their heads or was it just the level of competition early on in the season? I'd argue both. They started off strong thanks to a weak schedule and the confidence level was soaring and they won several games that they should not have. Then the Philly series came and it all changed.

In the first game, the Brewers were cruising to a victory and it all fell apart in a 6-run 8th inning by Philly and the Brewers have yet to recover from that it seems. The confidence was shattered in that game as they had just lost the series against the Mets including a big beat-down in the last game and then this game was blown. The next night they Brewers lose another heartbreaker (thanks to Turnblow) and it was all over at that point.

The most pathetic stat of this whole thing? Even with the fall the Brewers are in, they still have a 5 game lead in the division. That's how bad the NL Central has been this year, it's the worst division in baseball and it's not even close. One of the teams behind them, likely the Cubs, will start playing to potential and make a run and catch them. Unless the Brewers right the ship and do so in a hurry they will fall back even closer to the pack and the hot start will have meant absolutely nothing.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Wisconsin is simply superior

Not that it's all that much of a surprise, but the Badgers once again win the Border Battle against MN. They even made it sporty and kept the score close, just so that the Goophs' spirits could be crushed on the final weekend. Brilliant strategy.

Grab a Miller beer, get a basket of deep fried cheese curds, a brat and celebrate fellow Cheeseheads!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Rockstar Weekend

Well, even though the Brewers lost the series to the Twins, I had a great time in Milwaukee with Shane and Dean (Freealonzo).

The drive down was early (like 6am early) on Saturday morning and we had a good time listening to some new music and chit chatting the whole way down. Time for the drive down: 5 hrs 34 minutes which included a 10 minute breakfast stop and a gas stop. Traffic was sweet.

Saturday we ate at Sobelman's, which is a fantastic corner bar and grill with some good outdoor seating. Eating cheese curds and a loaded burger on a sunny day outside... great way to start the weekend.

We then went to the Miller Brewery for a tour, but there was an hour and a half wait so Gabe gave us a driving tour of the scenic parts of Milwaukee (there's not that many, so it was quick) but fun nevertheless. We actually went past the lakefront park where my wife and I watched fireworks together on the night we met (Awwwwww) so that was a nice trip down memory lane. The Brewery tour was fun and the free samples were good, then it was off the the ballpark!

We had killer seats for Saturday's game. Section 214, Row 1. Just a wonderful view of the action from just inside first base. Saturday night's game was fun... for the first inning. Hardy continued his year of being the top offensive SS in the game (and continued huge boom for my fantasy team) but the Brewers simply could not get any breaks and Bush was awful. Scott Baker had his stuff working for the Twins, but really was not as dominant as the stat line indicated. The Brewers hit plenty of hard balls, but they were right at the Twins defenders. A couple of those go over a few feet and it's a completely different game, but the Twins won and that's the bottom line. The place was packed and a fair estimate of 20k Twins fans were loud. Great atmosphere and fun for all. The roof had to be closed part way through the game as rain was coming in. Funny, there was no loud grinding sounds and it was a pretty quick process unlike what myths the naysayers proclaim about it.

Sunday's game was unbelievable:
We had tickets in section 120, row 6. We were 6 rows behind the Twins on-deck circle. We were so close I could see Morneau's steroid zits. I did some minor heckling, but overall was real polite.

Without a doubt, they were the best seats I've had for a game. I always wondered what the game would look like from down there and I wasn't disappointed. You could really see that the ump, Bruce Froemming was all over with his strike zone. The look on Punto's face when he struck out looking in the 9th was priceless. The ovation Jenkins got for his 200th HR was loud, real loud.

For you Bucks fans out there, new HC Larry Krystowiak was sitting 2 rows in front of me with his 3 boys. I let him be as there's no need to bug a guy who's out for a nice father/sons outing. As he left, I did wish him the best with the Bucks this year. He was kind, said thanks and had to attend to the kids.

I also got a high five from the Polish Sausage before the game. They were out taking photos with kids. The Polish won the race as well, and yes, that was all because of me.

Just a real good time overall. Hopefully the 4 of us can do this next year as well.

The Brewers are in a bit of a slump with a 3-7 record in their last 10. They seem to have lost some of that confidence that their cup was overflowing with a few weeks ago. Gotta finish the month strong at SD and Atl.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Off to the Motherland!

It's that great time of the year when I get to go to Milwaukee for the Brewers/Twins series. I've made it a 2 game weekend the last 3 years and this year my buddy Shane is once again joining me. We are joined this year by Freealonzo, who promises to buy polish sausages for all of us.

My best buddy Gabe as always is joining me and is kindly letting us crash at his place in Milwaukee, plus he procured some awesome seats for us as well. He always comes through.

Shane is wanting to see some of the history of Milwaukee, so a tour of one of the Miller Brewery is in order. Beer was such a major part of Milwaukee's history (and current status as well) that this is a must. Plus, free samples is always a good thing. We'll be taking him to some other "must" eateries as well.

I love Miller Park. It's a great place to watch a game and it's always a fun time. Great food, comfortable seats that actually face the action (right Shane?), state of the art scoreboards, sitting close enough to the concorse so that one can hear Bob Uecker call the radio action, the always fun sausage races. Ahhh... just doesn't get any better. Plus, the place is usually packed as several thousand Twins fans make the 6 hour trek down to watch the games as well. To me, that says a lot about Miller Park.

Here's to a great weekend and a Brewers series victory. They need one after that last 2-5 road trip.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Is Favre turning into a lockerroom cancer?

Well, the 8 people who read this site may jump on me for this, but frankly this is a legit question. I know it's heresy to say anything negative about Brett Favre in Packerland but hear me out.

Brett has done several big red flag items that one associates with players who are considered "cancers". From selfish comments and actions to outright disagreements with management, it's all there.

First there was the usual waffling on if he was going to retire. After 3 seasons of this, it can offically be classified as severely selfish and distracting behavior. It casts a huge shadow over the team and Brett is putting himself before the Packers with this need for a media circus. Brett knows this and it's obvious that he loves the attention, even if it's not as blatant as how other players show it.

Second there was the story of Favre essentially asking for a trade after TT failed to land Moss from Oakland. When a teams most famous (and arguably best) player and leader starts questioning managments direction of the team it does several things: One it causes the other players to start wondering if the right moves are being made themselves and they may lose faith in the system that put in place. They say confidence is contagious, but so is lack of confidence. And two, what message is the trade demand saying about the guys on the team? You know, the guys Brett has to work with every day? It says "these guys aren't good enough to win". This is a huge slap in the face to the rest of the team. McKenzie and Walker wanted out for more money and they were spat on by fans as they left, what Favre is saying and doing is far worse.

Third, now we are hearing that he wants to miss a manditory mini-camp. He states that he is hurt and won't practice anyway plus there are family things he wants to do. The camp is to get the vets to meet the rookies, get them familiar with each other and build up some team chemistry. It's friggin' MANDITORY! Yes, everyone else would rather spend more time with their families than go to work, but that's not how it goes with a job, deal with it. But Brett's already said through his actions that this team is not worthy of him anyway. This is simply another slap in the face of the coaches and teammates.

How can Brett effectively lead this team when his actions are saying that he doesn't believe in them?

If one would put virtually any other name instead of Favre in the above scenarios, many of the Packer fans would agree that this person could very well be considered a "cancer". We need to take off the green and gold glasses and set down the Kool-Aid for a minute and look at this objectively. When a player puts himself up as more important than any of the other players and the management and coaches and starts vocalizing it, especially if that player is in a position of great influence like Favre is, that bears serious consideration of being a "cancer".

These are thoughts for discussion. Feel free to comment.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Yes, it did hurt

This past Thursday night I was dominating, as usual, in the football league I'm in. We were up 12-0 and on defense and a pass was thrown to the guy I was guarding. He tipped the ball and it came at me. I had nothing but green in front of me and it was an INT for a TD for me.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the end zone. The ball was going end over end and my right pinky had an issue with this and the ball hit it and I got a compound dislocation. Basically, the lowest bone of my pinky was sticking out of the skin just under the knuckle on the palm side of the hand. It wasn't broken, just dislocated. Needless to say, I didn't catch the ball and immediately went to the ER as bones sticking out of your skin is not usually a good thing.

After a while and with the help of wonderful localized pain killers, the bone was popped back into place and back inside my body. I was held overnight for surgery, but since I had feeling in the finger and decent motion, surgery was not needed. Turns out there was no tendon or nerve damage. God sure was watching out for me on this one.

So I have a wrapped up right hand and typing is fun to say the least. I'm learning how to type with my left hand and just the thumb of my right hand. It's better than just hunting and pecking with just the left hand.

I know about the Favre tading fiasco and I'm waiting for a few days to let it settle down. Franky, it seems like his agent is being a dink and trying to make himself look good to Brett by giving him bad advice. More on this in a few days.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Simply En Fuego

The Brewers beat the Nationals 6-4 last night to claim yet another series win and keep themselves in a rather commanding position atop the NL Central with a 6.5 game lead over the Cubs at this point.

This series win gives the Brewers a 9-1-2 record in series so far this year. Keep winning the series and don't worry about the bad games and you end up having the best record in baseball.

But how long can this .700 winning percentage last? Seriously, is anybody else a bit worried at this point? Here is what my concern is.

The Brewers may very well be expending loads of energy to win games now. Not that there is anything wrong with this mind you. When your last winning season was before Noah got on the ark, being 13 games over .500 is a very good thing. But this was something that was brought to light with the Pistons over in that NBA last year. They raced so hard to win every game in the regular season that they had nothing left when the post-season came around and they were bounced out.

I don't want this happening with the Brewers. I'd rather they save something for October as it's a long 162 game season. Going balls out for 120 games and getting a great record would mean nothing if they fall apart for the last month and a half and either not make the playoffs or barely get in and get swept which would negate one of the best seasons in memory.

Don't mean to be a downer here, and certainly feel free to jump on the bandwagon. Just be aware that this is uncharted territory here and if the Brewers hit a slump, don't be shocked. This is baseball, streaks one way or the other happen and do so with a fair amount of regularity.

Over the rest of the month, the Brewers will be put to the test. We will face the Mets, Phillies, Twins, Dodgers, Braves and Padres over 19 games with only 1 day of rest in it. These teams combined have a .553 winning percentage. No slouches here.

We're about to see how good the Brewers really are.

Monday, May 07, 2007

I love my daughter

So, we're sitting at the dinner table and my wonderful 4 year old daughter, Leah, has been asking for a pet lately. Here is how the conversation went:

Leah: "Can we get a kitty?"

Mrs. Cheesehead: "Well, if you can make your daddy not be allergic to them we can."

Leah: "How about a doggie?"

Mrs. Cheesehead: "Well, if you can make mommy not like dogs then you can. But you have a better chance at making daddy not allergic to cats."

Leah: "Well, if I had a different daddy then I could get a kitty."

Mrs. Cheesehead (laughing): "What would we do with this daddy then?"

Leah: "He would get a poodle."

There you have it. My kids get a new dad, my wife gets a new husband and they all get the cat that they want. My parting gift: a poodle. Yep, I'm bringing this up when she wants a car.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Look, more sports stuff!

There's a bunch of garbage out there about draft grades and how teams did. These are all done by sportswriters who apparently have nothing else to do. These same guys will come out and say that a true test of the draft is after 3 years, that's when you can see how your draft class really did. But they want to only grade on the immediacy of the help that the picks will get. This is hypocritical of the media and frankly I could care less on how some writer thinks the Packers did. Hell, they all hated the Bills draft last year and it turned out to be one of the best. They all do their mocks and when they get less than 30% right (wow, such great experts) they get all pissy at the teams that showed how little they know.

I get a kick out of the fans who think they know more than TT or any of the scouting department and decry the draft as garbage as their expertise is by watching about 10 minutes of the picks on YouTube or what they saw from a couple of plays from ABC back last October. They all have jobs as well (not related to football) but do their "scouting" and somehow grade these players, say how they will/won't make it in the NFL. After all, they played high school or DIII football and thus know what it takes to be in the NFL.

I touched on some of my initial feelings in the last post about the draft and I made my predictions for fun. But then again, I'm just a fan. I work in mortgage. I'm not making my living by watching hours and hours of film on players and going to games and interviewing them and going to the combine. I haven't made it my life to judge NFL talent. It's akin to these fan-draft "gurus", since they have mortgages that they know more than I do, even though I've been doing this for over a decade. It's silly. I have to trust that TT and the gang know what they are doing and see what happens. If the product on the field stinks, then we have a basis to complain.

Now fans certainly are entitled to their opinions, I've got no problem with that. If they don't like a pick they certainly can yell about it until their eyes bug out their head. But don't try and tell me this draft is a bust without these guys playing a single down. It's like declaring who will be the SB Champ w/o playing a single game. I for one will simply wait and see how they do before judging on the quality of the players the Pack got.

Look who is tied with the 2nd best record in baseball! The Crew is certainly showing what they can do when healthy and Suppan has shown he was worth the big contract so far. Cappy is showing that he is one the best #2s out there. The young kids are hitting and the vets are contributing big time as well (nice starts Jenkins and Estrada). The bullpen is solid with Turnbow and Cordero finishing games with authority. Just a lot to be praised on this team now.

We're almost 15% of the way through the season and so there's plenty more ball to go. Just remember, don't get too wrapped up in any single game loss and keep your eye on the big picture. The Brewers are winning series after series and that's how you do things.

Plus, it helps to have voodoo dolls that represent the other teams in the Central to make sure they remain in mediocrity.