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Sports Editor Jim Owczarski at Lambeau Field - which wasn't his favorite Wisconsin sports venue!
Sports Editor Jim Owczarski at Lambeau Field - which wasn't his favorite Wisconsin sports venue!

Milwaukee favorites for someone who's coming ... or going

Well, I’m off to a new adventure, leaving the Cream City after over three years here at OnMilwaukee.com. It’s been fun, very memorable, and full of fun people, places, drinks and food. On my way out, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorites in all of those categories – sports or otherwise.

We’ll start with the non-sports favorites...

Milwaukee old fashioned: Distil

Photo: Distil / Facebook

I can’t say I’ve had them at every place in the city, but I’ve tried a ton over the last three years – and hands down, the bartenders at Distil do it right.

Local coffee: Valentine

They’re all good, with their unique twists on roasting, but I was fortunate to drink Valentine’s blends every day, five days a week, for a long time at OnMilwaukee.com, and I’m definitely bringing a few bags with me on the way out.

Dish: Comet’s mac ‘n cheese

Photo: Comet / Facebook

I first tried this nine years ago when I began coming to Milwaukee regularly, and it was an immediate favorite. I tried food all over this great city, looking for a contender to knock off the champ. Nope, still undefeated.

Burger: Oscar’s

Photo: Oscar's on Pierce/Facebook

Finding one was a challenge, seriously. I couldn’t find a suitable cheeseburger for years. Until I found Oscar’s (h/t to OnMilwaukee.com’s own Molly Snyder for that). I made sure to make it a regular stop.

Restaurant: Sanford


Photo: Sanford Milwaukee / Facebook

What can I say? Sometimes, the best is just the best, and Sanford does it every time. You can sit for hours, talk, and course after course is just … unforgettable.

OK, some quick sports favorites...

Venue: Miller Park

Lambeau Field is a close second, but I appreciated that the press box has remained behind home plate, and it was always a positive work environment that, save for the random elevator issue, was easy to do my job in.

Athletes / coaches to work with

I couldn't pick just one, because frankly every team, every clubhouse …

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Badgers red became the unofficial alternate color of the Brewers on Opening Day at Miller Park.
Badgers red became the unofficial alternate color of the Brewers on Opening Day at Miller Park.

Brewers share spotlight with Badgers

The 2015 Major League Baseball season began at Miller Park Monday afternoon, a day that always belongs to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Well, at least until this year. 

The Brewers didn't exist the last time the University of Wisconsin men's basketball team played for a national championship (1941) and in 1977, Marquette University won its lone national title on March 28, well before the Brewers opened their home schedule on April 12.

So, Monday has proven to be a unique set of circumstances for the Crew, who had to adopt red as an alternate color with the Badgers taking on Duke University later Monday night. 

Doug Melvin joked about the Brewers playing 21 innings to divide people's attention, but there would be no need for that -- people already had Bucky on the brain. 

And, as a result, so did the Brewers.

In their pregame media sessions, owner Mark Attanasio, manager Ron Roenicke and Melvin were all were asked about sharing the spotlight.

"As long as we both win I think it's great," Roenicke said. "It's a big day, no question. I'll certainly watch that game tonight."

Added Attanasio: "Nothing makes me happier. I didn’t realize, because I’ve only owned the team 11 years, it’d been, what, 78 years that they’ve been in the finals? It’s so hard to compete this year and win in anything, or in sports these days, Bo Ryan and that program, the way they’ve put things together, in my mind, done things always the right way, and the emphasis on teamwork and execution, we’ll all be watching them tonight, that’s for sure. I love it."

And of course, former Brewers owner and Major League Baseball commissioner Allan "Bud" Selig had to weigh in, as Wisconsin alumnus. 

"I'm worn out already," he quipped, noting the tough games leading up to the national title game. "It's great. I'm proud of the Badgers, proud to be a Badger.

"I'm hopeful tonight."

As were many in attendance at Miller Park, who weren't shy about representing both teams.

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Kobe Bryant, apparently, is the favorite son of all Wisconsin jersey purchasers.
Kobe Bryant, apparently, is the favorite son of all Wisconsin jersey purchasers. (Photo: Mitchell & Ness)

A throwback throw up

The jersey apparel company Mitchell & Ness released an sales infographic of the most popular "throwback" jerseys by state, and there is a glaring, gold and purple mistake representing the state of Wisconsin:

Kobe Bryant’s No. 8.

I had to blink twice before that sunk in.

What? Kobe?

And while that was settling, I look over to the great plains and see "Nitschke" – yes, that Nitschke – somewhere other than Wisconsin!

Tell me why this makes sense:

KANSAS
Ray Nitschke – Green Bay Packers 1966 Replica Jersey
Nitschke spent his entire 15-year career with the Green Bay Packers winning the NFL Championship 5 times including 1966, a season where Ray was also a First-team All-Pro selection. Ray remained popular in Green Bay after retiring, having his phone number and address published in the phone book and appearing in local TV commercials for his auto dealership. His #66 jersey is retired by the Packers and he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978.

Every Packers fan in the state knows this, no? You know, on account of him being a Packers legend.

But, nah. Kobe.

And, to add salt to the wound, to try and clarify why Kobe is such a hot jersey, it says this …

Really, Mitchell & Ness? See Minnesota?

Ouch.

Well, let’s see what it says under Minnesota:

MINNESOTA
Kobe Bryant – Los Angeles Lakers 1996-97 Authentic Jersey
Kobe was the first guard to ever be taken out of high school as the 13th overall pick and in his first season became the youngest player ever to play in an NBA game and the youngest NBA starter ever. During All-Star weekend, Bryant became the youngest player to be named slam dunk champion at the age of 18. Although he initially played limited minutes, his playing time rose throughout the season to the point of taking crucial late shots against the Utah Jazz in the 2nd round of the playoffs.

This makes no sense to me.

But what it does say is that Packers fans are not the best in the country as some polls want you to believe, be…

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