It’s the New Year, a time to resolve to change the things we didn’t like about the previous one, or to do something we didn’t quite accomplish. We’ve already looked back – now it’s time to "move forward," as our troubled athletes and coaches like to say.
The athletes and teams in Milwaukee and Wisconsin made national news throughout 2013, in good ways and bad, which should lead to some resolutions in 2014.
For these three guys, though – they’re not going to change much.
Resolves to continue deflecting any and all questions surrounding the circumstances that led to him accepting a season-ending suspension by Major League Baseball when the league dug into the Biogenesis clinic. People may have found his late-November press conference lacking, but he said his piece and he won't say any more.
Resolves to not change a thing about the way he puts together a roster for Mike McCarthy and the Green Bay Packers. The general manager came under fire in 2013 for the way many second and third-string players didn’t perform when Aaron Rodgers was out in November and much of December, but Thompson will point to the fact his team was 6-2 with Rodgers, and feel they’re on the right track.
Which leads us back to Mike McCarthy….
Who resolves to not fire defensive coordinator Dom Capers. At the start of the season the defense was one of the top units against the rush, despite not forcing many turnovers. When Rodgers and Clay Matthews went down, this group took a tumble. They’ll feel a healthy Matthews and new blood will make it a top 15 group yet again in 2014.
These people will have their resolve tested:
Local and state politicians
The arena issue should be the biggest sports story of 2014 (barring any other unforeseen superstar suspensions or catastrophic injury) and that will put elected officials on the spot. No one wants to have taxes raised. Many feel sports teams and entertainment complexes shouldn’t receive public money. Perhaps more feel the Milwaukee Bucks don’t deserve to lease space in a new arena. But politicians are supposed to represent the greater good and cater to the not only the immediate interests of the city and state, but act in a way that protects the future interests. The construction of sports stadiums is big business and a bit scary, too, for politicians. Everyone involved will need a gut check.
The Wisconsin Badgers football coach will be settled in and has star running back Melvin Gordon coming back to lead the offense. But, Gordon’s Heisman hopes and any national championship dream begins (and could end) on Aug. 30 down in Houston, Texas when the Badgers take on the LSU Tigers at Reliant Stadium. It’s one of the biggest, and most important, season-opening games any Badgers coach has faced.
The leadership at Marquette University
Like it or not, men’s basketball coach Buzz Williams’ name is always going to be floated when premier jobs open up around the country. That’s what happens when A) you’re a good coach and B) one of those premier programs just might happen to be, maybe, the University of Texas. It’s no guarantee that particular job will open, of course, but others will – and the pundits will float Williams’ name. He’s already well compensated by the university, but what if a bigger program with deeper pockets comes a callin’?
These guys? Well, they should resolve to completely, completely forget 2013:
Christian Ponder … Josh Freeman … Matt Cassel … 68 catches … Who?
What was that? Three wins? #Karma
And finally, a wish for 2014:
I wish that the Baseball Writers’ Association of America gets off its high horse and does the right thing by sending Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. I have a feeling it’ll just be Maddux and holdover Craig Biggio, but this is a year where a very special class should be treated as such.
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.