By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published Oct 30, 2007 at 5:17 AM

Several things today:

Let's start with the final exhibition game for the Milwaukee Bucks.

They lost, but that's not what caught my attention.

After the game coach Larry Krystkowiak said, "It was really a pathetic effort. I thought it was a horrendous effort."

Mo Williams chimed in, "We didn't have the effort. Plain and simple."

Effort is the act of trying. You can have good effort and bad effort. But effort is all about trying.

It's not like this is unique to the Bucks. I've heard athletes in every sport say the same thing.

And you've got to ask yourself, "How in the world can a professional athlete not try?"

They make gazillions of dollars. They have people do everything for them, with the possible exception of going to the bathroom and having relations with their wives or girlfriends. They have nothing to worry about. They only work a couple of hours every few days or so.

How in the world can they not try? Lord knows that the evidence is clear that the harder you try in sports, the better the results, usually.

You can blame the players and you can blame the coach. But I will never, ever be able to figure out why professional athletes don't try.


The other day I was listening to WSSP and they had a very intriguing subject that really made me think.

Gary Ellerson treated the subject with maturity and I thought and he was provocative, while his partner, Cliffie, acted, as always, like a 10-year-old kid who has been given a Mr. Microphone to play with.

The topic was whether it is OK for professional athletes to complain in public about coaches, teammates, fans or organizations.

This is an issue that goes back a long, long way.

Babe Ruth complained to The New York Times when his manager, Miller Huggins, refused to let Ruth eat hot dogs in the dugout. Huggins was incensed that Ruth would go public with his complaints.

Back when I covered the Packers, they had an All-Pro cornerback named Willie Buchanon who never hesitated to question the wisdom of Coach Bart Starr.

Buchanon thought Starr did not treat players equally and didn't hesitate to say so in public.

Now we have people like Terrell Owens, Ray Lewis and Allen Iverson who show no reluctance to tell reporters that their teammates or coaches or front office personnel or owners are stupid, incompetent or cruel. They make as many headlines with their off-field comments as they do with their on-field performances.

The question is whether the way they handle stuff is the way they should handle stuff.

My take is that it depends on who's doing the judging.

If you are a reporter, you like players who are outgoing. There is nothing like covering athletes who pop off at the drop of the hat, rip anyone and everyone in sight and have absolutely no judgment about appropriate behavior.

If you work for a team, in the front office or on the coaching staff or even as a teammate, you probably don't like guys who pop off in public. It causes all kinds of consternation and disrupts the idea of a smooth running machine.

I also happen to think fans are well served by public spats. They may not actually say so, but I think it adds an element of enjoyment and discussion to their lives.


Speaking of sports radio the summer ratings are in.

WSSP, the new kid on the block, saw a climb in ratings from .7 to 1.1. The veteran station, WAUK, saw its ratings drop from .7 to .6.

There are a couple of ways to explain it. WSSP is very aggressive with its promotions, and runs tons and tons of giveaways. And they have a strong AM signal. WAUK does almost no promotion and I rarely hear any giveaways and their signal is only a sometime thing.

But one thing you have to say, nobody does an interview like Steve "The Homer" True. Last week, I heard him do a long interview with Marquette junior guard Wes Matthews. The interview was graceful, touched with humor, full of solid information and a real pleasure to listen to.

I will say this. If I ran WSSP, I would do whatever I could to steal The Homer and bring some knowledge, some recognizable names and some brains to my station and junk the children. If you kept WSSP's promotional skill and added solid content, you'd have a major force in radio in this city.


Finally, I am actually considering going to a Milwaukee Admirals game. I went to one, many, many years ago with Lloyd Pettit. He wanted me to see how exciting hockey was.

I left, unimpressed, but didn't write anything because Lloyd and Jane were such nice people.

Now I'm thinking of going back. Lord knows the Admirals keep on trying and so I'm getting ready to see if there is genuine sport there.

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.