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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014

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Bango can perform conventional dunks, too. But, adding a ladder gained him national attention.
Bango can perform conventional dunks, too. But, adding a ladder gained him national attention.

Bango's aerial act makes national headlines

If mascots could talk, Bango Buck would be the talk of the mascot world.

The Bucks mascot created a huge buzz with his amazing ladder dunk during Game 4 of the team's first-round playoff series with Atlanta. Video of the show-stopping stuff, which took place during a timeout, is getting heavy play on YouTube and cable sports highlight shows. It's not just people in costumes who noticed.

"I did watch it," Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings said. "It was unbelievable."

Watch the video and judge for yourself. Then, check out the video of Bango pummeling unsuspecting Hawks fans.

 

Brewers bullpen coach Stan Kyles will undergo prostate cancer surgery.
Brewers bullpen coach Stan Kyles will undergo prostate cancer surgery.
Fred Dabney, the coach at Class A Brevard County, will fill in during Kyles' absence.
Fred Dabney, the coach at Class A Brevard County, will fill in during Kyles' absence.

Brewers coach Kyles to undergo cancer surgery

Brewers bullpen coach Stan Kyles will leave the club at the end of this week to undergo prostate cancer surgery.

Kyles, 49, was diagnosed during a physical examination at spring training. He will undergo treatment near his off-season home in Spartanburg, S.C. Kyles is expected to miss four to six weeks. He will be replaced by Fred Dabney, who had been coaching at Class A Brevard County.

Kyles, a native of Chicago, is in his second year as the Brewers' bullpen coach and spent the previous four seasons in the Brewers' minor-league system.

 

It was 63 years ago that Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier.
It was 63 years ago that Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier.

Brewers, MLB celebrate Jackie Robinson Day

CHICAGO -- As you go about your business on this fine Thursday, I hope you'll take a moment to think about Jackie Robinson.

It was 63 years ago today that Robinson broke Major League Baseball's color barrier by playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers in a game against the Boston Braves at Ebbets Field.

Major League Baseball is commemorating the event, as it has since the 50th anniversary in 1997. All players will wear No. 42 in the game today as a tribute to Robinson. The number has been retired throughout the game. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is the only active player still wearing it. Once he retires, it will only appear on outfield walls and on April 15.

As sports tributes go, that one is pretty awesome.

Each year, when Robinson's legacy is discussed, people talk about the dwindling number of African-American players in the major leagues. This year, according to USA Today, African-Americans represented 9.5 percent of the players on opening day rosters.

There are plenty of reasons for the decrease, including the emergence of basketball and football as alternatives and the influx of Latin and Asian players into the sport.

Baseball officials have implemented a number of programs in an attempt to revive interest , but it has been an uphill battle.

Earlier this spring, I spoke to Brewers reliever LaTroy Hawkins about this topic. He has a lot of very interesting theories, one of which is that the nature of the game, in which successful hitters fail seven out of 10 times, does not appeal to youngsters seeking instant gratification.

"In football, guys can score touchdowns or get interceptions," Hawkins said. "In basketball, you can keep track of points. In baseball, you can go 1 for 4 with three strikeouts and a nice play in the field and your team can win a game, but that's not really what gets kids excited."

There are no easy answers to these questions, but baseball officials are trying. The best thing baseball can do is marke…

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Wrigley Field was festive on Monday, but not as crazy as you'd think.
Wrigley Field was festive on Monday, but not as crazy as you'd think.

On opening day, Cubs beat Brewers on and off the field

Attention, Brewers fans. I've got some bad news. Well, it might not be bad, per se, but it may ruffle feathers, raise hackles, impugn a sense of civic pride and prompt a few angry Talkbacks. It's just something I've got to get off my chest, OK?

Here goes ...

As you probably are aware, the Cubs beat the Brewers, 9-5, Monday afternoon at Wrigley Field. That is a fact. In my opinion, the Cubs also bested Milwaukee off the field.

The vibe at the Cubs home opener was festive. The bars outside the ballpark were serving customers at 5 a.m. (the first pitch came at 1:20 p.m.). Beverages were consumed. Many, many beverages.

A friend asked me about the game, which I covered for Fox Sports Wisconsin, and before I could answer the friend said, "I bet it was insane."

My answer: Not as bad as you think.

Many of the customers looked comfortably buzzed. A fair number of them probably went a few steps beyond comfortable. But, the atmosphere was that of a friendly backyard barbecue with a baseball game as a backdrop. Sure, there was a fight in the center field bleachers. It looked like a doozy, too. But, I walked around the stadium and found people in good spirits and -- contrary to a popular stereotype about Cubs fans -- acting responsibly.

A week earlier in Milwaukee, opening day was a different story.

Over the past several years, too many fans at the Brewers' home opener have come to embrace the worst elements of New Year's Eve, St. Patrick's Day and Halloween. It's spring break on steroids, a party-till-you-puke ritual that puts the baseball game on the back burner.

At Wrigley Field, the pre-game ceremonies -- foul line introductions, a moment of silence for the tragedy in Poland and the national anthem -- constituted the first high point of the day. The stands were full and people paid attention.

In Milwaukee, these things are sparsely attended because people prefer to hang in the parking lots with their beer and bean bags until t…

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