Welcome to Saturday Scorecard, where Diet Mountain Dew and crullers are considered "performance enhancers" and we'll spend most of our day trying to figure out how Hannah Montana tickets can be more coveted than those for Bruce Springsteen, a home playoff game at Lambeau and The Masters.
These are interesting times. On to the notes...
By George: Thanks to George Mitchell and his 409-page opus, the usually enjoyable, thrilling and humbling privilege of filling out a Hall of Fame ballot has taken on a new dimension.
The notion of "innocent until proven guilty," a core principal of the American judicial system, has been turned upside down in the baseball world. Fair or not, when considering the accomplishments of players in the "steroid era," one almost has to adopt a skeptical stance and assume guilt.
When Mark McGwire first appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot last year, friend and colleague Buster Olney from ESPN advocated an "all or nothing" or, more specifically, an "everyone or no one" approach to the voting process.
Olney said that since it was impossible to determine who did what and when, the only logical stance was to consider players' accomplishments in the context of the era and vote accordingly or eliminate them from consideration.
Buster took a fair amount of heat for his viewpoint at the time, but it now seems visionary. As shocking as it was to see Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Miguel Tejada on Mitchell's report, when you consider that the bulk of the evidence was provided by one former clubhouse guy and one ex-trainer, you can assume that dozens, if not hundreds, of other players who cheated were not exposed because their suppliers haven't been caught.
The report would have had far less impact, but you wonder if Mitchell would have been better served to leave out the names.
With little cooperation from players and no aid from subpoenas or search warrants, Mitchell did the best that he could. He didn't bring closure to the issue, but that was pretty much impossible given the scope of the situation. While Bud Selig deliberates about possible penalties, Hall of Fame voters have to decide whether McGwire, Barry Bonds, Clemens and their steroid-stained contemporaries are worthy of enshrinement.
It's not going to be easy.
Players would have to be able to appeal the "first strike" status. Some players named are making noise about circumstantial evidence and due process. If they feel that strongly, let the libel/slander/defamation suits begin.
Tough situation: The timing of the report's release wasn't great for the Brewers, who had just signed Gagne to a $10 million contract.
"We know that this is a black eye ... and it is a lot of money, but I said it was a lot of money before the Mitchell Report came out," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said. "We had decided as an organization we could not wait until the report came out, that it was important for us to move forward and make the necessary changes to improve the club. I don't think there was a club out there that sat and said they were going to wait until the report came out. We had to move forward."
Addition by subtraction: The Brewers clubhouse should be a sunnier place without Johnny Estrada and Kevin Mench. One former insider called their departures a "double flush."
HGH issues aside, Gagne is regarded as a likeable fellow and a great teammate.
Try, try again: For the third straight season, UW-Whitewater will face Mount Union in the Stagg Bowl, which determines the national champion in NCAA Division III football. It'd be great to see Justin Beaver and the Warhawks hoist the trophy. Then again, to make it as far as they have is an achievement worth recognizing.
False advertising: Remember when the Celtics added Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett and everybody assumed they wouldn't have enough basketballs to keep everyone happy and that defense would be a rumor in Boston? Well, the Celtics pounded the Bucks last night, holding Michael Redd to seven points, and have a 19-2 record. Apparently, former Marquette star Glenn Rivers raised his IQ a lot from last season, when fans there were calling for his head. Let that be a lesson for bashers of Ned Yost, Larry Krystkowiak and others. Coaching is important, but players usually determine success in pro sports. Period.
Dome, sweet dome: Years ago, Packers fans dreaded seeing their green and gold heroes play indoors. But Brett Favre and Co. have pretty much put those fears to rest by winning some dome games. The Packers may be challenged Sunday in St. Louis, but they'll prevail in the end and cover the 9 1/2 -point spread.
Stuck in neutral: Black and gold outfits outnumbered cardinal and white in the stands as Wisconsin pounded UWM Wednesday night at the U.S. Cellular Arena. But, the atmosphere wasn't exactly hostile. Yes, the Panthers were outmanned. Their fans faced a dilemma. Almost all UWM fans cheer for Wisconsin and former UWM coach Bo Ryan every other night of the year. There isn't as much love in Panther Nation for Marquette, but it's not that much different.
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.