By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Jun 09, 2009 at 2:18 PM

It's been an eventful couple of weeks and I've got lots of stuff on my mind. Here we go...

Tapped out: The other night, I was channel surfing and inadvertently saw the END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT! It was Mixed Martial Arts, a match between two thugs who looked like they were anxious, willing and able to kill each other. I'm not kidding here.

We can say that Tiger Woods killed Phil Mickelson in that match. But in MMA, we are very close to the truth when we use the word "kill." I don't know if you've ever seen this thing, but it's unbelievably violent and destructive. They have judges, but they hardly ever decide a match. Matches almost always end with a knockout or a submission.

This thing is proving to be very popular among men between the ages of 18 and 49. That doesn't give me much confidence in our future. This sport was an obvious outgrowth of the chaos and relative civility of boxing. And I'm worried that the logical outgrowth from MMA is to put a fighter in a ring with a lion, a tiger or a pit viper.

Somebody in Wisconsin ought to get on the train and take steps to outlaw this abomination. We are one of the few states in this country that outlaws capital punishment. Let's lead the way on this one, too.

Hire learning: I'm beginning to think that Doug Melvin's decision to hire Ken Macha may be his best decision since acquiring CC Sabathia last year. Maybe even better.

Macha has set a tone and atmosphere for the players that seems to allow them to flourish. He's kind of like your avuncular neighbor who always has a pat on the back, an encouraging word and a piece of candy for the little ones.

Of course, it's been pretty successful this year. The true measure of Macha will be when the Brewers inevitably go through a slump.

Stay local, play local: I love high school sports. I especially love high school track meets. And I especially love the state track meet. I couldn't go this year because it was held in La Crosse. Once again, the WIAA is being stupid. The biggest high school market in the state, of course, is Milwaukee. Kids from all around the state are thrilled when they get a chance to visit and compete in Milwaukee. The WIAA ought to make an arrangement with Marquette to use the beautiful track and field facility down in the Menomonee Valley and stage the annual showcase track and field even in Milwaukee.

Local hero: Does anybody else think that if the Brewers were to name a Most Valuable Player for the first one-third of the season that Craig Counsell wouldn't be a great choice? The veteran has done everything asked of him, done it well and never complains. His presence at second base has improved the Brewers' defense, despite the fact that Rickie Weeks seemed to be improving. Counsell, at $1 million, is a steal.

How long? You've got to wonder how much longer the Brewers will keep trying to find the Bill Hall we used to know and love. It's not a stretch to say that Hall is the worst hitter on a team that features such feared batsmen as Jason Kendall, Counsell and J. J. Hardy. You can bench him, platoon him and give him a pink bat and nothing seems to be able to bring him back to the player he was before signing his gigantic contract. It's undisputed that there are athletes who went into the tank after getting their big pact. Maybe Hall is going to end up joining that list.

News blackout: I wonder if there is some kind of judicial gag order on news about the Packers. They've been in weeks of OTA's and you hardly hear anything about them. This is a team with two highly-touted draft picks, a bunch of new coaches, a whole new defensive system and about all you read about is their plans to sell space on their practice uniforms to increase revenue. I wonder if this is about lazy reporters or about a new regime (read, no Bob Harlan) that has decided to play everything close to the vest. Either way, it stinks.

Not great expectations: The Bucks have always been the one team in this state that has perfected the delicate task of creating expectations that actually might be exceeded. The Bucks have slogans and advertising, but they never get so far out on a limb that they are sure to get it cut off behind them.

Having said that, the current "we are in a financial pickle and hope our fans will be patient while we work our way out of it" mantra seems a little much. Nobody understands salary caps and luxury taxes. What we understand is players who play hard and teams that win games. I wonder if the Bucks are selling themselves a little short this off-season.

Dave Begel Contributing Writer

With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.

He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.

This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.

Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.