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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014

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The Milwaukee Brewers will honor outgoing Major League Baseball commissioner and former owner Bud Selig with a retired number.
The Milwaukee Brewers will honor outgoing Major League Baseball commissioner and former owner Bud Selig with a retired number. (Photo: David Bernacchi)

Brewers will honor Selig with retired number

Hands folded, head down, Allan "Bud" Selig had to take a moment to find the proper words.

Milwaukee Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio sat to his right. His wife, Sue, sat across from him. To his right was a framed "1," to signify the number that will be retired in his honor next year.

The Brewers were the team he founded, and he was visiting the stadium he built in his last days as acting commissioner of Major League Baseball on Friday as the Brewers hosted the Cubs.

"I’m usually not speechless," Selig said. "But (it’s) more than I can really articulate. It’s a wonderful honor."

He relived the struggles he faced in bringing baseball back to the Cream City, the two decades of labor peace, noted that he would not reverse any decisions he’s made in his tenure as commissioner – and said that bringing the Brewers to Milwaukee was what he is most proud of.

Attanasio said the Brewers were fortunate that the person responsible for founding the club was still around to be honored, and that the club would look to further commemorate Selig in the future.

"We look for ways to honor him here," Attanasio said. "But for his blood, sweat and tears – as well as his daughter Wendy – we wouldn’t be sitting here. We did a statue out front, but it didn’t seem to be enough, frankly."

Selig was visiting each ballpark in the league and meeting with each organization’s respective front offices, and he’ll be in Boston on Friday before visiting the playoff teams.

"Obviously, this one is particularly sensitive and particularly emotional," Selig said. "And Mark knows how much I appreciate this, and the whole Brewers organization.

"I’m never at a loss for words, but I am right now."

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New Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd, left, and the rest of the team was at Westmoor Country Club to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
New Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd, left, and the rest of the team was at Westmoor Country Club to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Bucks charity golf outing unofficial start to season

BROOKFIELD – The Milwaukee Bucks once again teamed up with the Waukesha-based Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to raise money in the fight against the disease with the team's annual golf outing on Monday at Westmoor Country Club in Brookfield. It was a light-hearted start to the new season for a good cause.

It’s not often when world class athletes feel out of place on any field of sport, but it was apparent – early – that the golf course isn’t really a field of dreams for the current Bucks players.

Nate Wolters was ready to go in jeans. Chris Wright wore his work clothes (basketball shorts). Khris Middleton figured he had nothing to lose in trying something new since he has already milked a cow at the State Fair.

Ersan Ilyasova, I thought, may have hope as a future golfer – this was his second go-round at the outing. He even went so far as to get the proper equipment (albeit with some difficulty).

"Yeah, size 16 is hard to find," he said of his custom golf shoes. "Especially these golf clubs; the custom building because of the size of them."

I saw him about an hour later, driving through the woods two fairways over from his tee box, looking for a wayward tee shot.

"I’ve lost two balls," he said. "Maybe three now."

We’ve all been there.

While head coach Jason Kidd seemed like the only member of on-court portion organization truly comfortable with clubs in his hand, the entire team did show up in some capacity, as well as some key members of the great teams from the 1970s.

As for Giannis Antetokounmpo, he tried playing last year, but opted to just mingle with the golfers in the dinner portion later.

He said he was no good at the game, and mimicked his golf swing in the dining room – "I kept hitting the ground."

I could see why.

But, he seemed amenable to giving it another go in the future. There seems to be little he can’t do on the court – the adventures of Giannis on the links could make for another viral highlight package.

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I've held on to all of the autographs I collected as a kid.
I've held on to all of the autographs I collected as a kid.

Autographs provide a trip down memory lane

I was (OK, still am) a sports nut. I love the games. I have an appreciation for the players and respect what they do. But when I was a kid, the athletes (and some coaches) were superheroes. I only saw them on TV, or maybe a couple times a year at a ballpark. One way for a younger me to connect was to write letters and ask for autographs.

I came across those old mementos recently, and it was a flashback to a simpler time. An avid baseball card collector as a kid, I learned from publications like Beckett Baseball Card Monthly that if you sent a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to a player at the stadium, you might get it sent back signed.

This idea blew my mind. I don't remember who the first player was that I wrote to, but it did work -- and I was hooked. I've got a random assortment of autographs, from former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart to former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver J.J. Stokes to Washington Redskins (and eventual Packer) Desmond Howard.

I've also got some "good" ones this way: Karl Malone, Jerry Rice, Herschel Walker and Phil Jackson.

Not all came by way of mail, though.

Cal Ripken, Jr.'s autograph came through a trade with a childhood friend whose dad used to play with the Baltimore Orioles. To get it, I gave him a Gregg Jefferies Upper Deck rookie card. I broke the New York Mets team set to do it, but I think it was the right decision.

I first met Sammy Sosa when I was 10 years old, at an autograph signing. I had a card, and my dad had a ball. My dad tried to say something to him, but Sosa's representative said not to talk to him. Sosa, who wore a Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts, sandals and dark sunglasses never looked up, signed both and we moved on.

It's still the prettiest signature I've ever seen, and my dad never liked him from then on.

Obviously I've never forgotten it, and I could never have imagined I'd be interviewing him a decade later in the Wrigley Field clubhouse.

We saw former Chicago Cubs and Philadelp…

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Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers have struggled the last two months.
Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers have struggled the last two months. (Photo: David Bernacchi)

Brewers out of top spot for first time since April

The Milwaukee Brewers fell, 4-2, to the Chicago Cubs Monday afternoon at Wrigley Field in Chicago, their sixth straight loss and ninth out of their last 11 to fall one game behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central divisional race.

It is the first time the Brewers have not occupied the top spot in the division since April 5.

By occupying the top spot from April 5 through Aug. 31, the Brewers owned (or shared ownership) of the division lead for 149 straight days, or 4 months and 27 days. Or 3,552 hours. Or 213,120 minutes.

(Note: Saying the Brewers were in first for 150 days isn’t wrong, either – they began Sept. 1 in the top spot. Fun with numbers!)

The Brewers will begin play Tuesday in the hopes of snapping their losing streak, as another "L" would match their season-high stretch of seven, set July 6-12.

A loss Tuesday (and a Cardinals win) would also push the Brewers the furthest behind in the divison they have been all year – their previous depth behind the leaders was 1 ½ games way back on April 2.

Since ending April with a 20-8 mark, the Brewers have gone 53-56. Since they were a season-high 19 games over .500 on June 28, they have gone 22-32.

So, how long ago was April 5? In the sporting sense, it was a while ago.

That same day ...

  • The Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team lost 74-73 that night to the University of Kentucky in the NCAA Final Four.
  • Toronto beat the Milwaukee Bucks 102-98 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Two players who started, Ramon Sessions and Jeff Adrien, are no longer with the team.
  • Tyler Thornburg and Jim Henderson pitched. Both have had their seasons ended due to injury.
  • Matt Flynn wasn’t a member of the Green Bay Packers.

April 5 was, indeed, a long time ago.

But there is only one other number to chew on, really: 29.

That is Sept. 30, the end of the regular season. That is not a long time from now.

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