By Gregg Hoffmann Special to Published Jul 30, 2001 at 4:53 AM

Major League Soccer officials basically gave Milwaukee a ringing endorsement for a franchise last week, if Tim Krause and his fellow investors can build the stadium they want downtown.

Krause and his group made their presentation to the MLS board last week. According to all sources, the reception was very open. But, it also was made clear that Milwaukee can't drag its feet on a stadium like it has in the past.

MLS officials want to make final decisions on expansion for 2003 by this October. The estimate on construction for a new stadium is a minimum of 18 months, which means you'd like to see a groundbreaking before the frost settles this winter.

At the risk of repeating last week's column, let's not blow this opportunity with the petty, parochial politics we've seen in the past with the Bradley Center and Miller Park. I urge all parties involved to have the flexibility and creativity to solve any problems effectively and expediently.

An MLS franchise, along with the Rampage, Wave indoor team, Kickers' youth program and strong programs at UWM and Marquette, will establish Milwaukee as a major soccer town. That, along with the Brewers, Bucks, Admirals and college programs, will help keep this town an overall major sports city.

Arena Buzz Update

Let's hope Arena Football also remains part of the mix in the city's sports scene. The Mustangs' coaching staff reportedly has been fired. Rumors about the folding or moving of that franchise remain.

But, there is encouraging buzz for Arena fans. One rumor has the league buying the franchise and keeping it in town. The other has Madison investors buying the team, splitting games between Milwaukee and Madison next season while the Bradley Center is being remodeled and then playing all the games in the BC the following year.

It's about time the Vallozzi family goes public with its plans for the franchise A lot of backers of the Mustangs would like to know what to expect.

Biking Buzz

My favorite annual summer event in this town is the Downer Avenue Bike Race. An estimated 14,000 fans line Downer and other streets on the course. There is electricity in the neighborhood that really makes it fun.

The organizers of the Superweek event add a family element to it with kids' races before the pros take over the streets. Businesses along Downer sell their wares and goodies on the sidewalks.

At last Saturday's event, Jonas Carney of the Prime Alliance team wrapped up the International Cycling Classic overall title.

A lot of credit for the long history of the Downer Avenue event goes to Otto Wenz and his aides, who have worked tirelessly over the years.


Maybe it's the fact I'm part of the generation that used to take over the streets in protest, but my second favorite annual summer sports event in town is Hoop-It-Up, the 3-on-3 basketball tournament that is held on the streets outside the Bradley Center.

This year's tourney had to be capped at 750 teams. You can see some of the best playground players in town, as well as former prep and college players, in the tourney.

The tournament also benefits the MACC (Midwest Athletes Against Childhoos Cancer) Fund.

Allen in D.C.

Bucks All-Star Ray Allen will be in Washington today to aide First Lady Laura Bush and the Library of Congress in the announcing plans for the first National Book Festival.

Allen will join Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and First Lady Laura Bush to speak about how the NBA and the WNBA will partner with the Book Festival to build a nation of readers.

This past May, the NBA launched an extensive reading campaign - Read to Achieve - to promote literacy and encourage families and adults to read regularly with children.

This is just the latest example of how the NBA is using Allen more and more as one of their ambassadors. Without a Michael Jordan, the league needs new role models, and Allen is a good guy, bright, articulate and willing to give of his time.

Gregg Hoffmann writes The Milwaukee Sports Buzz column on Mondays and publishes The Brew Crew Review on OMC.

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.