By Drew Olson Special to Published Oct 04, 2008 at 10:15 AM

Welcome to Saturday Scorecard, the Playoff Edition. After 26 years, the Brewers finally get to haul out the red, white and blue bunting for something other than opening day.

Of course, I didn't see any bunting at Miller Park during the workout Friday. Maybe they threw it all away when Ned Yost was managing. He wasn't much for bunting.

With the Brewers on life support, the Badgers battling the Buckeyes without the support of the band and Aaron Rodgers shouldering a burden for the Packers, this will be one of the busier sports weekends in memory.

On to the notes...

History class: Two games into their first playoff run in 26 years, the Brewers found themselves talking about what happened 26 years ago.

Several players talked about wanting to establish their own identity outside the shadow of 1982 has been hanging over the clubhouse. One step in that direction came last week, when they decided not to wear the 1982 "throwback" uniforms for a key game against the Cubs. (Educated guess: the throwbacks won't be a weekly staple next year).

"I think 26 years is a really long time," Whitefish Bay native Craig Counsell said. It's a large portion of a baseball fan's life. I think in that respect, (the playoff run) is pretty important to a lot of people. When you wait that long, you want to be rewarded a little bit. Hopefully, we can reward them a little bit."

Bench coach Robin Yount thinks that that shadow of '82 may be disappearing. And, he's not upset about it.

"They've created their own identity by winning a playoff berth," Yount said. "In all fairness, there is not a comparison between this team and that team. They're totally different teams.

"I don't blame them if they don't want to talk about '82. I don't want to talk about '82, for that matter," Yount said. "I have it here (in my head) and I'll always remember it and cherish it, but being involved with this with these guys, I'm more concerned about what's going on today than I am about '82. I don't really care much about '82 at this point. Those are memories that I'll have forever, but we don't need to hear any more about it around here."

Yount, who said the series "is a long way from over," is looking forward to creating new memories.

"The further you go, the greater that identity is going to be," he said. "No question. It's been a long time since this organization has been able to feel anything like this."

Yount, who spent his entire career in Milwaukee, said he will always be a Brewer.

"I live and die these guys," he said. "Whether I was here or not. The years I was here, I did. Whether I was here or not, I still was paying attention as often as I could to know what was going on. I stayed in contact with the people that are involved on a daily basis pretty regularly. I know what's going on here. I still live and die Brewer baseball, whether it's been good or bad. I spent two and a half years in Arizona, but I was still a Brewer."

Part of the reason for that, Yount said, is because of the way fans embrace the team.

"Everywhere you go in Milwaukee and Wisconsin, (the playoffs) is what they're talking about. These people care. They have such a passion for this stuff.

"We didn't win the World Series (in 1982). You'd have thought we did when we came home. We were treated like we were world champions, even though we didn't win. I don't think there's too many places that would have accepted the team back in quite that manner. I'm telling you this place has got something going for it."

Scouting report: The Brewers have a solid scouting report on Phillies left-hander Jamie Moyer. Then again, Moyer is 45 years old and pitched to both Yount and manager Dale Sveum while they were still active players.

"I have no clue what I did against him," Yount said. "Guess what: it doesn't matter. I can't be activated for this series."

For the record, Yount was 3 for 11 against Moyer and walked four times. Sveum struck out and was hit by a pitch in two plate appearances against Moyer.

Counsell faced Moyer extensively -- in college.

"When I was at Notre Dame, he used to live in South Bend," Counsell said. "He used to throw against us all the time. I was a switch-hitter at the time, so I faced him right-handed."

In the Soup: If the Brewers' seasons ends tonight, frustrated fans will be looking for villains.

They'll curse the Baseball Gods. They'll blame Ben Sheets for being hurt. They'll blame Mike Cameron for failing to come up with a couple of line drives. They'll blame Eric Gagne for speaking French. They'll blame Corey Hart for some of the ugliest at-bats in recent history. (More on him later). They'll blame Yost, because... well, let's just say that old habits are tough to break.

If the Brewers don't extend the series, Jeff Suppan won't start Game 4 and many fans will overlook the role he played in the team's demise.

How can you blame a guy who doesn't pitch?


He didn't pitch.

Virtually unbeatable in August, Suppan pitched so poorly down the stretch that the Brewers configured their rotation to use other pitchers during the final week of the regular season and the first three games of the playoffs.

That increased the workload for CC Sabathia, who was superhuman until Thursday night, and prompted the Brewers to rush Yovani Gallardo back to the mound after knee surgery.

Suppan, who was signed to a four-year, $42 million deal in part because of his reputation as a "big-game" pitcher, lost games to San Diego, Philadelphia and Cincinnati in the closing weeks, often giving up runs early and putting the Brewers in a hole.

In 65 starts with the Brewers, Suppan has a 22-22 record with an earned run average nudging toward 5.00. Nobody expected him to be a Cy Young Award candidate, but it's not unreasonable to ask him to start important games and keep the score close, which is what he did in his final regular season start against the Cubs

If the series goes to a fourth game, Suppan can endear himself to fans with a quality performance. If he doesn't get to pitch again, though, he shouldn't escape blame for the way things transpired.

Shrine on Shady Lane: Former Packers quarterback Brett Favre's house in Ashwaubenon is for sale. It is listed at $475,000, but you figure some superfan will buy it and give tours.

Welcome back: It seemed a bit strange that injured lefty Chris Capuano, who has been out all season after undergoing elbow surgery in spring training, wasn't around to see the Brewers clinch the wild-card last weekend.

"He probably should have been here," one player said.

"I think sometimes guys who are hurt don't feel like they're part of things," Counsell said. "It can be tough. When I was in Arizona in 2002, I was hurt and I didn't even want to travel with the team during the playoffs.

"When you're hurt, you feel like an outsider."

General manager Doug Melvin said that Capuano will be at the game Saturday.

Close friends: Brewers shortstop J.J. Hardy's has a friend in town this weekend - Dustin Yount, Robin's son.

"We've been buddies a long time," Hardy said. "Sophomore year (in high school), we were on the same (baseball) team and we became really good friends."

Hardy, who has scuffled at the plate recently, said he feels strong.

"This is the best I've felt ever since I was drafted," he said. "Body-wise, everything feels healthy. Maybe I finally got past the growing pains, or whatever it is. I feel better than I have in a long time."

Though he wants to extend this season, Hardy is looking forward to a healthy off-season.

"I'm actually looking forward to it," he said. "I'm going to be able to lift with my legs this winter. Haven't been able to do that in eight years. Every year, if it wasn't something else, I had knee problems. I feel good now. I'm excited about being able to do some lifting with my legs."

Hitting help: Some ugly recent at-bats by Corey Hart and other Brewers hitters has brought increased attention on the notion of swinging at the first pitch.

"It's a fine line between being too aggressive and not too aggressive," Counsell said. "If you look at it, the league average on the first pitch are really good. If you look at averages on the first pitch, being aggressive isn't a bad thing. If the pitcher is getting ahead (in the count), do you want to sit there and take strikes and go 0-1? I think the key is putting good swings on pitches early in the count."

Counsell credited Cole Hamels and Brett Myers for keeping the Brewers off-balance.

"Whenever Myers got behind, he got back with breaking balls in fastball counts. I really think the pitchers deserve some credit, too."

Psychology 101: On the day before Game 3, reporters asked Brewers players about a Game 4. The thinking is that the pressure in Game 4 would fall on Philadelphia, because they would want to avoid the prospect of playing Game 5 against a rested CC Sabathia.

"There is always pressure," Counsell said. "You get in these playoffs and everybody tries to put the other team on a couch and break ‘em apart. It's all perspective. Is it do-or-die? In a certain aspect, that's how you approach every game."

This Bud's for you: Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is expected to attend Game 3 at Miller Park.

Band ban: Wisconsin's marching band has been suspended because of serious hazing allegations. As a result, the band won't perform at the game against Ohio State tonight at Camp Randall Stadium.

According to the University, the alleged conduct is consistent with behavior that resulted in the band being placed on probation in 2006. In particular, the new reports of alleged conduct include inappropriate alcohol-use, hazing and sexualized behavior.

"I'm truly disappointed to have received these serious allegations, and I will assist this investigation in any way that I can," band director Michael Leckrone said. "It is my expectation that the members of the band will cooperate and come forward with any and all relevant information."



Drew Olson Special to

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 Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.