By Dave Begel Contributing Writer Published May 25, 2007 at 5:28 AM

There are very few rules for sports columnists. They pretty much have the run of the land, as they say.

But, over the years, a few rules have developed and everyone who writes a column on sports ought to obey these rules.

No. 1: Write it only if you believe it. Don't do it just to start a controversy or stir things up. People have a sense of phonies. They understand when someone is trying to pull the wool over their eyes.

No. 2: Think about things before you write them. Throwing a column together just moments before your deadline leads to stupid stuff in print with your name on it.

No. 3: Don't believe everything you read.

No. 4: Don't ever write a column while you are a) drunk, b) high on controlled substances c) high on uncontrolled but illegal substances, or d) suffering from a major depressive episode or any disease that affects the mind.

I mention the rules of being a sports columnist because Andrew Wagner, who writes for and is a perfectly decent guy, appears to have violated at least three and maybe all four.

He's the guy who wrote a column last weekend suggesting that the world would be a better place if Brett Favre retired from the Packers.

Now, his nonsensical tirade was apparently based on the fact that he read somewhere that Favre demanded a trade after the Packers failed to sign Randy Moss. (See Rule No. 3)

Anybody who believes this has not been paying attention to the career of an athlete who will do anything to win, has been more durable and skilled than anyone else who has ever played that position and who has always worn his emotions on his sleeve.

Wagner goes further to suggest that the present edition of Favre is similar to the early days of Favre's career, a time noted for excess more than discipline, in all phases of life.

He also seems to feel that there's something wrong with letting Favre sit out a practice or two or an occasional meeting.

Andrew, my friend, my colleague, my dear young man: THIS GUY IS A HERO! GET IT! A HERO!

You treat heroes differently in this world. Babe Ruth got special treatment when they allowed him to eat hot dogs on the bench. Wayne Gretzky got special treatment when he was allowed to fly on his own private jet occasionally to get to games.

And, perhaps the most important point of all is this: Brett Favre is the best quarterback the Green Bay Packers have. The best. And whoever is second is not even close.

So, if you want to win next year, the quarterback who gives you the best chance to do that is (DRUMROLL, PLEASE) Brett Favre.

So, sober up, Andrew. Head up. Puff out your chest. And write another column. But don't forget the rules. One more obvious violation and we'll start talking penalties here.  

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.