By Gregg Hoffmann Special to Published May 26, 2005 at 5:21 AM

{image1}At first glance, Mark Attanasio, Harris Turer and other members of the new breed of sports franchise owners in Milwaukee seem very diverse.

Attanasio is from the Bronx and now lives in L.A. Turer is a lifetime Milwaukee guy and avowed local sports fan.

But, the new principal owner of the Brewers and the main owner of the Admirals have some traits in common, as do the people who they have hired to help bring Milwaukee sports into the next era.

Attanasio and Turer have done well in businesses other than sports. One made it in the investment industry and the other in real estate. So, they bring some pragmatic, business principles to the table.

Both are avid sports fans. Attanasio grew up a Yankees' backer (which still should make it interesting when the Yanks come to Miller Park in June) while Turer grew up loving the Brewers, Bucks, Packers, Badgers and, obviously, the Admirals.

These men have brought in other investors who share these two traits of having business experience and loving sports. They also have hired people who have these traits.

Rick Schlesinger, who actually already was in place from the Seligs' ownership group, basically is serving as club president for the Brewers. He learned the baseball business with the Angels, one of the better organizations in baseball.

Jon Greenberg, who Turer hired away from the Brewers to be president of the Admirals, learned plenty in his role as PR man for the baseball club. He admits he has things to learn about the hockey business, but he brings those two major qualities of practical experience and the love of sports with him.

Schlesinger and Greenberg also are Milwaukee natives. The former left and has returned. Greenberg never left.

All these men share another common trait. They believe in Milwaukee as a sports market. "I believe Milwaukee is an up-and-coming city and a great sports town," Attanasio said in an interview this spring.

"I've seen how this town can respond when a sports team gives them something to be excited about," said Turer, who recalls fondly the Brewers' 1982 pennant, and serves on the Brewers' board as well as principal owner of the Admirals.

These new owners and sports leaders join Wave owner Charles Krause in believing in the Milwaukee market and wanting to think big. Krause has talked about building a first class soccer stadium in town for several years. He was a member of the new breed before the others joined in.

Some will dispute these men's beliefs. Sports business publications and analysts around the country regularly list Milwaukee as an "overextended" sports market that has geographic, population and demographic factors working against it in the big money, modern pro sports world.

But, these experts don't know the quirks and wonderful unique qualities of the Milwaukee and Wisconsin sports fans. They also don't know the tradition and stability of sports ownership here. That's another trait shared by the new breed -- they appreciate the efforts of the outgoing generation of owners.

All of them mentioned the dedication of Bucks' owner Herb Kohl, for instance. Kohl is a member of the old breed still hanging on, although he is reportedly interested in offers for his NBA team. But, Kohl will not sell to somebody who does not share that loyalty and devotion to Milwaukee.

Attanasio and Turer have mentioned the dedication of the Selig family and their fellow investors in the Brewers, and Turer and Greenberg referred to the Admirals during recent interviews as "Jane Pettit's team."

This historical perspective can only help the new owners understand the present and prepare for the future. It's the new breed's turn now. It should make for some interesting and exciting times in local sports.

Kudos to the Wave

Congrats to Krause, coach Keith Tozer and the Wave on winning the MISL championship last weekend. After making it to the finals the last three years and losing, the double overtime win over Cleveland had to be that much more rewarding.

The game was played at a neutral site in St. Louis, but it created plenty of buzz here, perhaps fueled by the fact ESPN2 carried it.

Wave representatives and their fans held a celebration of the title Wednesday night at Turner Hall.

Bucks get top pick

In case you missed, the Bucks won the NBA lottery Tuesday night and will have the No. 1 pick in the June 28 draft.

Utah center Andrew Bogut of Australia is considered the top pick by most experts. The Bucks could use a big man with his skills.

There are other possibilities too. Look for a NBA draft preview later in June in Weekend Sports Buzz.

Player of the Week

Pitchers Doug Davis, Chris Capuano and Wes Obermueller share the honor this week. Davis pitched a masterful shutout in the Metrodome last weekend.

Capuano allowed only one run in each of two games, but had only a 1-1 record to show for these efforts. Obermueller flirted with a no-hitter in a win at Washington and went head-to-head with Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana Sunday in the Dome.

Hot Tix

The Brewers continue their home stand with a weekend series against the Astros. Game times are 7:05 p.m. Friday, 6:05 p.m. Saturday and 1:05 p.m. Sunday.

In Grand Chute, the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship will be held Friday though Monday. UW-Whitewater is representing Wisconsin in the tourney.

UWM, the only Division I baseball program in the state, is playing in the Horizon League tournament, which started Wednesday.

Tournaments in other sports on the collegiate and prep levels are continuing on their way to championship rounds in early June. You can check some of them out in next week's monthly State Sports Buzz.

Gregg Hoffmann Special to
Gregg Hoffmann is a veteran journalist, author and publisher of Midwest Diamond Report and Old School Collectibles Web sites. Hoffmann, a retired senior lecturer in journalism at UWM, writes The State Sports Buzz and Beyond Milwaukee on a monthly basis for OMC.