Welcome to Saturday Scorecard. This week's edition is dedicated to Les Paul, who was buried Friday in Waukesha. Paul was a musical genius and a gentleman whose passion and creativity has inspired millions and will continue to do so as long as music is played.
On to the notes ... Today, we are going to play a tantalizing game of "what if." Use the Talkback feature to provide your own answers and questions.
What if ... the Brewers had made a big trade at the deadline?
This question came into focus as the Rays beat the Rangers, 5-3, Friday night in St. Petersburg. The victory moved Tampa Bay three games behind Boston and two behind Texas in the American League wild-card race, and Scott Kazmir was the star of the show.
Kazmir, who has struggled at times this season, allowed one run in 7 1/3 innings to pick up his eighth victory of the season.
How does any of this effect fans in Milwaukee?
Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said he was close to acquiring a big-name pitcher, but wouldn't name the player. Baseball sources have indicated that Kazmir was the guy. Getting a stud starting pitcher would have energized the Milwaukee clubhouse, stabilized the rotation and probably improved the bullpen. On it's own, though, it may not have been enough. The Brewers are not one player away. However, acquiring a top-flight pitcher, and one under control for a couple years, may have prompted the Brewers to make some other moves.
It might not have resulted in a playoff berth this year, but it may have staved off some frustrating losses on Pittsburgh and San Diego and made it easier to have a winning season.
What if ... Brett Favre hadn't thrown that interception in the NFC Championship Game against the Giants?
I pondered this one when a rusty Favre made his debut for Minnesota last night in the Metrodome. He completed one pass for four yards in two lackluster series and told reporters after the game: "I just didn't want to fumble the snap," Favre told reporters after the game. (I) wanted to make sure I got the handoffs. If you complete passes, great. But I was nervous about that."
We have a lot of time between now and Oct. 5 -- when the Packers travel to the Twin Cities to face Favre on "Monday Night Football." You can bet that a good portion of it will be spent recounting the events that led to Favre's messy divorce from Green Bay.
Rather than argue about whose fault it was, who lied or who was wrong (hint: everybody), ask yourself how things would have turned out had Favre engineered a scoring drive on that frigid day at Lambeau and sent this team to the Super Bowl.
The Giants went on to shock the Patriots in what is regarded as one of the more thrilling Super Sundays of all time. Could the Packers have done that? It's tough to say. Had they won it, Favre may have decided to ride off into the sunset like John Elway did after his second championship or Michael Jordan did after draining that jumper against Utah.
Of course, Favre may have decided to come back for a season. It's doubtful the Packers would have imposed a deadline for a decision his return because, as stunning as it was for them to usher out a Hall of Fame quarterback, it would have been more amazing to do it to one who had just led you to the Super Bowl.
Would that Super Bowl trip have cost the Packers a chance to keep Aaron Rodgers? Would it have prevented the sale of thousands of No. 4 jerseys in Greater New York and Minnesota?
It's a fascinating point to ponder.
What if ... Andrew Bogut and Michael Redd had remained healthy last season?
With their two best players at full force, the Bucks may have crept into the NBA playoffs. That would have been seen as a sign of progress, it also would have prevented John Hammond from continuing to rebuild the team with an emphasis on youth, athleticism and small (or expiring) contracts.
A one-and-done trip to the post-season would have been good for the marketing department, but it may have delayed the development of the basketball operation.
What if ... Jane and Lloyd Pettit had been successful in their quest to acquire a National Hockey League team in the early 1990s?
The Bucks would be playing in St. Louis.
What if ... the Brewers had given Prince Fielder a multi-year contract before last season?
Fielder has been on a tear lately, putting up six homers and driving in 10 runs in the past week, and is a legitimate candidate for MVP honors. (He won't win, because players on losing clubs almost always get overlooked).
You can trace Fielder's breakthrough to patience at the plate (he may be the first Milwaukee player to draw 100 walks) and his ability to use all fields, but Prince himself admits that have contract security has allowed him to focus on baseball.
Last year, he was mad in camp when the Brewers and agent Scott Boras couldn't come to a deal. He seemed dour all season. His numbers were good, but not great.
Had Fielder performed at this year's level, perhaps the Brewers wouldn't have limped into the post-season as the wild-card team.
Then again, if he had been performing at a higher level and had Yovani Gallardo not been hurt, the Brewers may not have had need for CC Sabathia.
Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at OnMilwaukee.com. Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.