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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, July 31, 2014

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In Sports Commentary

If the attendance Sunday at the Milwaukee 225 was any indicator, the chances are slim for a return in 2012. (PHOTO: Chris Jones / IndyCar)

Sunday Scorecard: Has racing run its last lap at the Milwaukee Mile?


Faster than Dario Franchitti during a qualifying lap, we jump right into the notes...

Checkered flag: In the days leading up to the Milwaukee 225, somebody who knows a thing or two about putting together big time events said that the race, the first major motorsports event at the Milwaukee Mile in nearly two years, amounts to a referendum on racing in Milwaukee.

If that's the case ... well, the referendum has been defeated.

And what a shame it is.

The Milwaukee Mile is a piece of sporting history, not unlike Lambeau Field, Fenway Park or Madison Square Garden. It was, for a long time, a premiere destination for racers and race fans alike. Milwaukee was a big-time racing town and the annual open-wheel race was a fixture on the local and national sporting calendars.

Around the IndyCar circuit, people were excited to come back to Milwaukee. The track holds an important place in auto racing history. It's a difficult, challenging track that drivers look forward to visiting and they'd like to do so on an annual basis.

Give the promoters some credit. They did everything possible to accommodate fans and first-timers. They reached out to the community. They created affordable ticket deals – a lot of them. And in the final days, they practically gave tickets away.

Still, then the green flag waved Sunday, the crowd was nowhere near the listed capacity of 38,000. They were probably a third of the way full, and that's a generous estimate.

Making matters worse, the Milwaukee race was one of just five on the 17-race IZOD IndyCar Series to be broadcast on ABC (the remaining 15 races are aired on Versus). With a national television audience looking at a lot of empty seats, even if the promoters did find a way to break even, you can't expect the series to want the nation seeing its product drawing such little interest.

It's safe to say the broadcasters noticed, too. Lead ABC announcer Marty Reid wrapped up the broadcast with a tip of the cap to the race promoters, saying it's "hard enough to start a race but it's three times harder when you're trying to resurrect a race."

Don't expect there to be any resurrection in 2012. It doesn't seem likely that the race will be back next season. It's not completely out of the question, but if you were a businessman, would you?

Sponsorships are everything in sports and getting people on board with this event wasn't easy. The economy still hasn't turned around and the previous promoter didn't exactly build a lot of good will, leaving a lot of unhappy partners behind when things went sour. That put the current promoters behind the eight-ball from the beginning.

Still, they tried. Hard. If Milwaukee loses its race, it won't be for a lack of effort on their part. It's disappointing though that a market with such a long history of supporting racing would be willing to let that tradition disappear.

Not the end of the world: The Brewers' 2-4 road trip to Chicago and Boston creates a lot of questions but again, there's no need to hit the panic button.

Yes, it is disconcerting for a team to get knocked around like the Brewers did against the Cubs and Red Sox. The starting pitching, which had been as strong as advertised most of the year, finally hit some road bumps. It happens. It's going to happen again before the end of the year.

The Brewers have flaws – plenty of them, like any team – but the starting rotation is not one of them. The offense needs to be more consistent (spoiler alert...) and the bullpen hasn't been awful.

We're seen flashes of the Brewers when they click on all cylinders but we haven't seen them put together a lengthy stretch of good, solid all-around play. It's going to happen before all is said and done. Patience, as always, is the key.

Don't believe everything you hear: As great as Twitter and other social media outlets can be, they can also be dangerous for sports fans. All it takes is one ridiculous random thought to create a full-blown rumor.

Enter the case of Andrew Bogut. In recent days, the Bucks' oft-injured center has been linked to possible trades to either Minnesota or Golden State in a draft pick kind of deal.

Sure, the Bucks are in rough enough shape that nobody on the roster should be considered untouchable but to think that John Hammond would willingly part with Bogut is almost absurd.

He's had trouble staying on the court but when he's healthy, Bogut is a game-changer. It would take a lot more than a top draft pick and a serviceable replacement to bring Bogut's time in Milwaukee to an end.

Or, at the very least, it should.

Get your rings now: The Packers got their Super Bowl XLV Championship rings last week during a private ceremony at Lambeau Field.

In all, the rings have 109 diamonds. Four football shaped diamonds, located in the corners, represent the team's four Super Bowl titles; 13 diamonds on top of an 18-karat yellow gold "G" represent the 13 world championship in franchise history; and another 92 diamonds represent the team's 92 seasons.

The rings were made by Jostens.

Feel that you deserve a Packers Super Bowl ring to reward you years of support and your team stock portfolio? Well, the Packers agree. You can order a fan version of the ring from the Packers Pro Shop.

Former Admiral wins the cup: Boston Bruins center Rich Peverly became the 12th former Milwaukee Admirals player to win the Stanley Cup, and the first since 2009, when Mark Eaton won with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Peverly, who was promoted to Boston's first line when Nathan Horton was injured, scored two goals and two assists in the seven-game series. He played 176 games for Milwaukee between 2005-2008, leading the team in scoring during the 2006-07 season.

Larry King Lounge: Packers CB Charles Woodson was the grand marshal Sunday at the Milwaukee 225. Before the race, he was presented with a special helmet ... Heard a lot of outrage following the riots in Vancouver last week ... Chad Pennington won't play football next season. While he recovers from a pair of injuries, the quarterback will work as an analyst for FOX ... ESPN.com's Bill Simmons launched his new sports/pop culture site, Grantland.com, and so far, the writing has been pretty good. Though, it's hard to read the articles when the website is down.

Talkbacks

gypcasino | June 20, 2011 at 9:09 p.m. (report)

Wow janemarek that's amazing. Your mother is what, 130 years old?

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Sportsgirl | June 20, 2011 at 4:10 p.m. (report)

Maybe if they didn't have the race on Father's Day they would have had a better turnout...That was the big reason I wasn't able to attend. I realize there will always be something else going on...but Father's Day is just one of those days that might keep people away - Give it another chance guys!!

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janemarek | June 19, 2011 at 10:18 p.m. (report)

It is sickening loud for the people who live there. My mother bought her house before the track was even built and she has to put up with the abuse today every time there is a race.

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