By Bob Brainerd Special to Published Jan 23, 2007 at 5:25 AM

Notes on a scorecard:

THEY SAY FREE THROWS are simple. Last weekend, I saw two basketball officiating mistakes that had unusual outcomes. The first was in Eau Claire, where the Blugolds were hosting La Crosse. When the Eagles' Brandon Brown (from Whitefish Bay Dominican) drove to the hoop and was fouled, Blackmon, a 55% free throw shooter, didn't take the shots. T.J. Nereng, a guard who shoots 81% from the line, did. Nereng hit one of two, and then after the fact, one of the Eau Claire players noticed the mix-up. Following a discussion, the point was taken away, and Brown went to the line -- where he made BOTH shots!

In the UWM-Wright State game on Sunday, Panthers guard Avery Smith was fouled. Upon handing the ball to Smith, the "zebra" signaled TWO SHOTS! Smith missed the first, but a different official said the foul occurred on the floor, meaning it was a one and one. Since play was frozen in time, it went to the possession arrow and the Panthers kept the basketball.

Speaking of free throws...

Marquette's free throw woes as a team had you thinking that somewhere along the way in their Big East journey; it would cost them a game. Instead, the Golden Eagles bang down ten of them in ten tries in overtime to knock off Pitt on the road. That was a sturdy showing and proves that those shots from 15 feet away are more crucial than ever. As a result, the national polls showed Tom Crean and Co. some love...wins at UConn, Louisville and Pitt were worth some movement upward.

On to other matters...

I like to call the New England Patriots "robots" because they are all programmed to win, and Bill Belichick even sounds mechanical when he speaks. That was fitting following the Pats blown lead and loss to the Colts in the AFC Championship. When CBS' Solomon Wilcox interviewed Belichick outside the locker room, his answers were short, curt and usual. Even the guys back in the studio threw their hands up wondering about the dust off tone in the coaches answers. Hey, Belichick is human...but just barely.

The fact that Corey Koskie is not responding from his concussion is alarming to the Brewers, but I have the solution. Stick Bill Hall back at third base! I know the plan is to maneuver Hall to the outfield, but they need a big bat at the hot corner and the platoon of Tony Graffanino and Craig Counsell just doesn't cut it. Hall loves third base, plays solid defense there, plus, the Brewers have a surplus of outfielders to plug the holes in the grass. When I talked to Hall at a recent Bucks game and asked him about bringing his outfielders glove, he smiled and reluctantly said he's ready to give it a shot...not exactly a ringing endorsement that he wants to make this move. Hall will do what's best for the team, but the team should keep their 2006 MVP happy if Koskie is still on the shelf come Opening Day.

Remember all the rumblings, second guessers and critics who hated the new Admirals logo? Some may still have their thumbs down, but the cash register at hockey headquarters continues to ring. Ads President Jon Greenberg told me sales are up over the last three years COMBINED about 1000%! Greenberg added, "I'm not exaggerating." And these numbers are based on sales only from their office and website, since the hockey team doesn't receive any revenue from merchandise sold in the Bradley Center. But fans worldwide have purchased jerseys, some even sent to Japan.

Don't believe in the Sports Illustrated cover jinx? Check out the last couple of week's worth of cover boys:

Ray Lewis -- Baltimore linebacker (Ravens ousted in playoffs)

Troy Smith -- Ohio State Quarterback (Buckeyes bounced by Florida in BCS title game)

Dwyane Wade -- Miami Guard (Heat struggles without Shaq)

Vince Young -- Tennessee Quarterback (Titans lose and miss the playoffs)

LaDainian Tomlinson -- San Diego Running Back (Chargers post best record in the AFC and lose to Patriots at home)

Jeff Garcia -- Philadelphia Quarterback (Eagles fall to Saints at the Superdome)

Drew Brees -- New Orleans Quarterback (Saints get mauled by Bears in Chicago)

My story last week on Brett Favre, and the 10 reasons he should retire now reminded me that you don't ever tug on Superman's cape. Not even in jest. Some of the responses resorted to name-calling and a breakdown of my points with serious sided retorts. Hey, it's a great debate here in this state, but folks, you gotta know that this stuff is tongue in cheek. Does anyone really think I want Favre to hang it up so that the NFL Films DVD has a happy ending?


Bob Brainerd Special to
Born and raised in Milwaukee, what better outlet for Bob to unleash his rambling bits of trivial information than right here with

Bob currently does play-by-play at Time Warner Cable Sports 32, calling Wisconsin Timber Rattlers games in Appleton as well as the area high school football and basketball scene. During an earlier association with FS Wisconsin, his list of teams and duties have included the Packers, Bucks, Brewers and the WIAA State Championships.

During his life before cable, Bob spent seven seasons as a reporter and producer of "Preps Plus: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel High School Sports Show."

And the joke is, Bob has a golf shirt from all four Milwaukee television stations. Sad, but true: Bob has had sports and news anchor/reporter/producer stints at WTMJ, WISN, WDJT and WITI.

His first duty out of college (UW-Oshkosh) was radio and TV work in Eau Claire. Bob spent nearly a decade at WEAU-TV as a sports director and reporter.

You may have heard Bob's pipes around town as well. He has done play-by-play for the Milwaukee Mustangs, Milwaukee Iron, and UW-Milwaukee men's and women's basketball. Bob was the public address announcer for five seasons for both the Marquette men and women's basketball squads. This season, you can catch the starting lineups of the UW-Milwaukee Panther men's games with Bob behind the mic.

A Brookfield Central graduate, Bob's love and passion for sports began at an early age, when paper football leagues, and Wiffle Ball All Star Games were all the rage in the neighborhood.