Hey, it's yours truly ... Happy Holidays to you and your family, friends, enemies ... whomever you get down with during the holiday season. In the holiday spirit, I figured I would write a blog with a bunch of different "presents" you can enjoy so here we go, the Chocolate Santa is giving written gifts.
First things first -- congratulations to the Green Bay Packers, they have provided an exciting, physical, fun winning style of football all season long. I never saw it coming. Brett Favre is having one of his best seasons and other surprises like Ryan Grant, James Jones and Donald Lee make the future look as bright as the present.
No matter what happens the rest of the way, it's been fun ride for me. Congrats to my guy Al Harris for getting his Pro Bowl nod. "Well done is better than well said." Tom Brady is right. I hope we see him or whoever in Arizona around my birthday.
Marquette is legitimate. I say that knowing the Golden Eagles are undersized, have only played one big game on the road (beat Wisconsin) and went to the Maui Invitational (finished second to Duke). Here's why you can see they are ready do big things: those three juniors (James, Matthews and McNeal) play young, hungry and broke on both the ends of the floor. With the injuries guys, are stepping up and making contributions out of attrition and no other options. Coach Tom Crean seems to have the right pulse of his team and they play as smart as they do hard. We will revisit the topic in mid-February, but I feel confident this squad will do very well in the Big East this year as long as they don't lose one of the three juniors to injury, academics etc.
My Bucks are like a girlfriend you see a bunch of potential in, but she does stuff that just doesn't make sense. You know the type. She wears open-toe shoes to a outdoor football game in December, blue jeans to a formal dinner or asks you why they sing the Mexican national anthem in Spanish ... You know the type. The Bucks need to find an identity of who they are and play to their strengths while hiding their weaknesses. You see the talent although not in sync every night, players like Redd, Bogut and Mo Williams are giving you steady numbers just about every night, but making major errors at crucial times in games just about every night.
The rest of the team makes you scratch your head in games. The guys are passionate, clearly like their coach and are buying into the system, but its not translating into victories that have to be banked before the heart of the schedule in January and February.
Losses against the Knicks, Seattle, Atlanta Sacramento and Portland on the road and Sac-town and Philly at home are games you can't get back. All winnable games that will come back and haunt the Bucks in April. They are catching a break that Miami and Chicago stink worse than Milwaukee does right now, but that may not last. Stay tuned for more soap opera that is the NBA season.
Finally, a few stocking stuffers:
HBO's reality series "24/7" is the best reality show on TV period, before major fights.
Skip Bayless has made himself into a buffoon on the Lebron James, Terrell Owens arguments he makes just about on a daily basis on "First Take" on ESPN2. It's just a matter of time before someone plays the race card in terms of his opinions of those two superstar BLACK athletes. I don't think he has a racist bone in his body, Sometimes, I have colleagues in this business that take the easy way out in sports-talk debate on radio or TV, which to me is formulate opinion and maintain it based drawing response from others ... not on the facts in front of them at that time. It's called selling woof tickets. Don't buy any. Remember, its not who you think they are, its what they do and the results of that performance that matter. You're only as good as your last performance.
The Mitchell Report is proving two things; Jose Canseco is not necessarily a hero, but a whistle blower that had it right. It will also prove that profit is more important than integrity in baseball. This could be said in all sports; it's just that baseball is the flavor of the moment.
To all my family, friends, fans, enemies and just in general life forms, enjoy all the blessings the day brings your way.
Steve Haywood is the host of That Being Said, which airs weeknights at 6 p.m. on Milwaukees ESPN Radio 1510 Days / 1290 Nights. A lifelong Milwaukee resident, Steve has been working on the radio since 1996 and also is executive producer of Sports Perspectives on MATA Community Media.
After graduating from Milwaukee Tech High School in 1985, Haywood attended college at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he graduated in 1991.
He has covered a number of major events, including the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 2002 and the NBA All-Star Game in 2003.
Haywood, 39, is married with two kids, a dumb cat and a dog described as a real curmudgeon.