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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, April 21, 2014

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Spring training offers the chance to answer many questions fans have wondered about during the offseason.
Spring training offers the chance to answer many questions fans have wondered about during the offseason.

My 2014 Brewers spring training checklist

Each March, before I flee Milwaukee and head to sunny Arizona for Brewers spring training, I make myself an informal checklist of what questions I’d like answered on and off the field.

This exhibition season, many questions loom large. Coming off an extremely disappointing year, Brewers’ owner Mark Attanasio will spend a record amount to field this team, and we still don’t who will man first base.

So, while I’ll only see four games during my time out there, March 14-18, it will still be enough time to form some opinions. These are my questions I hope to answer. And if you have some, let me know. I’ll report back from Maryvale this weekend.

Who’s on first? I wasn’t overly enthusiastic when I learned of the Mark Reynolds signing, but I have an open mind. My sentimental side is rooting for Lyle Overbay, who did nothing but hit doubles last time around. But he’s quite a bit older. His defense remains sound, but how does he look at the plate? And what about the strikeout-prone Juan Francisco? Did the coaches really fix his swing?

K-Rod distraction? In a way, I’m glad that Francisco Rodriguez is back for yet another hitch with the Brewers, but I’m not sure he’s great for bullpen morale, especially if the team is banking on Jim Henderson as the closer of the future. Henderson said all the right things about K-Rod, but he did allude the reputation K-Rod had in Baltimore last year as last to arrive, first to leave. I’ll keep an eye on their body language when together.

Which Weeks? Maybe no one else does, but I still believe in Rickie Weeks. When he's healthy, I’m confident that he’s a real quality player. Still, he’s running out of chances, and he’s so, so streaky. Could this be the end of the line for him? Maybe this spring will answer that question.

Braun’s sense of humor? I remember a spring training game in 2012 against the Angels in Tempe, when Anaheim fans were heckling Ryan Braun mercilessly. Between innings, he overthrew the g…

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What's not to like?
What's not to like?

Hotels rooms: love 'em or hate 'em?

Check in early and stay late during OnMilwaukee.com's "Hotel Week" sponsored by VISIT Milwaukee. The next seven days will be packed with stories about historic area hotels, reviews, famous guests, food and drink, overnights with kids and more. Find out what it's like to be a tourist in this town. (Chocolate on your pillow not included.)

Well, that’s a dumb question, right? Of course you love hotels. You’re probably on vacation. Someone is making your bed and cleaning up after you.

But then why do I hear so many people complain about hotels? People who don’t sleep well in them. Or they’re too loud. Or they’re afraid they’ll get bed bugs. Or they can’t wait to get back home. Or they don’t like living out of suitcases.

Maybe people just like to complain.

Personally, I love staying at hotels, as long as they’re clean, and as long as they’re actually hotels – not motels. In others words, if they have inward facing hallways, and they’re not on the first floor. And if they’re quiet. And if they have free wi-fi. And comfortable beds. And a pool. And a hot tub. And free parking.

I’m just kidding. I really do love them, although the above makes a good stay great. How about you? Chime in using the comments section below.

Who's thirsty?
Who's thirsty?

Celebrate Bar Month all across Milwaukee

"Bar Month" at OnMilwaukee.com – brought to you by Absolut, Avion, Fireball, Pama, Red Stag and 2 Gingers – is back for another round! The whole month of February, we're serving up intoxicatingly fun articles on bars and clubs – including guides, the latest trends, bar reviews, the results of our Best of Bars poll and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!

You're hearing an awful lot about our liquor sponsors for Bar Month on OnMilwaukee.com. If it's all making you thirsty, then let us help you quench your thirst.

Visit any one of these Milwaukee area bars during the month of February and cash in on drink specials with 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey, Absolut Vodka, Avion Tequila, Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, Pama Liqueur and Red Stag by Jim Beam.

2 Gingers Irish Whiskey, Absolut Vodka, Avion Tequila, Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, Pama Liqueur and Red Stag by Jim Beam can also be found at these area liquor stores:

  • Avenue Wine and Liquor | 4075 S. Howell Ave. | (414) 481-3500
  • Consumer Beverage | 5313 S. 108th St., Hales Corners | (414) 425-1550
  • Discount Liquor | 5031 W. Oklahoma Ave. | (414) 545-2175
  • Discount Liquor Waukesha | 919 N. Barstow St., Waukesha | (262) 547-7525
  • Gary's Beer & Liquo…
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The event formerly known as the Bartender Olympics - reborn as the Bartender Games!
The event formerly known as the Bartender Olympics - reborn as the Bartender Games! (Photo: Mckenna Marie Shaffer)

Get ready for the new, improved, renamed Bartender Games

"Bar Month" at OnMilwaukee.com – brought to you by Absolut, Avion, Fireball, Pama, Red Stag and 2 Gingers – is back for another round! The whole month of February, we're serving up intoxicatingly fun articles on bars and clubs – including guides, the latest trends, bar reviews, the results of our Best of Bars poll and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!

It’s been an OnMilwaukee tradition for several years now to host the Bartender Olympics every winter. That is until last year, when the U.S. Olympic Committee called me about 25 times with a cease and desist order to change the name of our awesome event.

It seems that they were afraid our annual party would be confused with whatever is going on in Sochi, so this year, we’re calling our competition the OnMilwaukee Bartender Games, and it takes places Feb. 27 at Turner Hall.

It’s going to be better than ever.

Emceed by FM 102.1’s Jon Adler, the new and improved and copyright free Bartender Games kicks off at 7 p.m. and is free to the public. Events include a signature cocktail contest and tasting, the Pabst can stack and the talent competition. We’ll have more details on the participants soon.

As for tasty drink specials, there will be plenty from our sponsors, including:

  • Absolut
  • Avion Tequila
  • Pama
  • 2 Gingers
  • Red Stag
  • Fireball
  • Pabst

Special Guests also include:

  • Johnson Creek Smoke Juice (available for sampling)
  • Red Bull (available for sampling)

If you’ve been to this event before, you know how fun it is. And if you haven’t, trust me. It rules.

So mark your calendars now. Watch our participants go for the gold, assuming we’re still allowed to say that without getting sued. See you on Feb. 27!

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