By Drew Olson Special to Published Dec 22, 2007 at 6:33 AM Photography: Allen Fredrickson

Welcome to Saturday Scorecard. With so much shopping to do and time running short, we'll keep the briefs brief this week and wish everyone a safe, happy and festive holiday.

Election fraud: If the Packers have a good season next year, maybe they'll get as many players elected to the Pro Bowl as the Vikings

That's right: Vikings 7, Packers 4.

The Pro Bowl voting was beyond ridiculous. Middle linebacker Nick Barnett, featured this week in USA Today, is one of the top defensive players in the entire league, not just the NFC. He deserved to go, even if opponents think he's annoying.

As is the case with many honors, Pro Bowl recognition often gets delayed a year (or more, if you are Al Harris).

The Pro Bowl is like the Grammy Awards. The selection process is a joke and nobody really wants to go the event. Yet it retains a degree of relevance. Players like the recognition from their peers and the free trip (though Hawaii is a loooong flight).

One idea we like: play the Pro Bowl game during the week between the championship games and the Super Bowl. Nobody in the Super Bowl wants to play in it, anyway.

An even simpler idea: keep the voting open until after the final regular-season game. If you want to make the award important, why vote after 13 games?

38 questions: There is nothing wrong with Boston pitcher Curt Schilling expressing his thoughts on the Mitchell investigation. If Schilling thinks that Roger Clemens needs to clear his name or return his last four Cy Young trophies, that's fine. Our only question for Mr. Schilling: Did you take amphetamines before a game or a workout? Although "greenies" were part of the baseball culture and weren't technically banned until recently, they were against the law in this country, just like non-prescription steroids and HGH.

Purple reign: It didn't get enough coverage, but UW-Whitewater's victory over favored Mount Union in the NCAA Division III championship game was one of the better sports stories of the year.

The Warhawks had lost to Mount Union in the final the previous two years, but Justin Beaver and his 22 senior teammates would not be denied.

First-year coach Lance Leipold deserves a ton of credit, but so do his predecessors, Bob Berezowitz (22 seasons) and Forrest Perkins (29 seasons).

During the past 50 years, Whitewater has collected 20 conference titles and five losing seasons. That's an amazing record.

Welcome back, Kapler: Some Brewers fans referred to rookie Ryan Braun as the "Hebrew Hammer" because Braun is half-Jewish. Gabe Kapler, the outfielder who signed a non-guaranteed one-year deal for $800,000 on Thursday, also is Jewish and has carried the nickname through parts of his nine big-league seasons.

Kapler didn't speak with Wisconsin media this week, but the Boston Herald got hold of him during a family vacation in Turks and Caicos.

"I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I'm in the best physical condition of my career," Kapler told the paper. "I'm looser, more relaxed and made some changes as it relates to stretching and flexibility that are really useful. The year off, the timing could not have been better. It really, really made me hungry.

"I really feel like this is an opportunity to be the player I can be. In 2006 I just wasn't quite back yet from my (Achilles tendon) injury I suffered in '05. And even in '05 I wasn't super-healthy. Health is everything to me. If my health is good, I can be the player I want to be."

Kapler said he'd miss the Red Sox, with whom he won a World Series ring in 2004, but is looking forward to joining Milwaukee.

"I've been incredibly lucky to have the support of the Red Sox organization," he said. "I've been treated like gold all the way through, from the organization as well as the fans. They've been so warm with me over the years, and for that I am eternally grateful.

"That said, the Brewers have been equally as warm and welcoming. I'm incredibly confident I will make the Brewers' (decision) right. I will make them right."

Kapler spent last season as a manager of Boston's Class A team in Greenville, South Carolina. His team was 58-81.

Interestingly, Brewers manager Ned Yost also managed in Greenville. That has to be some kind of first.

Flash in the fan: Scoreboard watching took on a whole new meaning Sunday night in Memphis. The Grizzlies were having a "dance cam" promotion during a time out and 35-year-old Stephanie Simpson lifted her shirt and bra and flashed the 10,000 spectators.

Simpson was arrested and ticketed, but it may have been the most exciting thing to happen during a Grizzlies game this season.

Having a ball: Remember when the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series and there was a big controversy over what would happen to the ball used for the final out? First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz and the club finally agreed to loan it to the Hall of Fame. That won't be a problem this time. Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, who received the ball from catcher Jason Varitek after the game, had the ball on a counter at his Mississippi home and his dog tore it up.

Quick hits: Bucks forward Desmond Mason underwent thumb surgery. We hope he has a speedy recovery... New Packers president Mark Murphy's first order of business will be to call around the league and find out how much he has to pay to extend coach Mike McCarthy's contract... The Brewers gave Eric Gagne $10 million to pitch about 60 innings. Some are wondering if they'd have been better off paying someone $15 million to pitch 230 innings.... Look for Geoff Jenkins to have a lot of fun hitting at Citizens Bank Park.... What was the most surprising thing about the recent Big Ten referee scandal? That it hasn't happened before.


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.