By Tim Gutowski Published May 10, 2005 at 5:22 AM

{image1} Sick of the steroids talk yet? Yes, it's all so shocking and disgusting that we can't even bear to think about it. Pro athletes cheating! Imagine that. Congressional hearings aren't enough. I want more of a public spectacle. I'm talking Salem witch trials.

I long for the old days, the days when I could turn on "Baseball Tonight" and see actual baseball highlights -- even though the Brewers' are always truncated and only shown after a worthless segment where Harold Reynolds demonstrates how to turn a double play or some such thing. Now, I get 10 minutes of "Can the Yankees turn it around?", five minutes of "Hey, Roger Clemens is still good!" and 15 minutes of "steroids roundtable" -- all involving John Kruk.

Lately, it's Milwaukee's own Bud Selig who has made headlines regarding 'roids. The commissioner proposed a three strikes and you're out policy which progresses from 50- and 100-game suspensions to a lifetime ban. Selig also wants to ban amphetamines, which players seem to consider their birthright. We now await the players union's reaction, but it's not expected to be a cheerful, "Sounds good, Bud!"

I applaud Selig's proposal, even though he's clearly late to the party. Selig's suggestion that MLB's power structure had no idea players were using steroids in the late 1990s is a silly notion, even for a romantic guy like him. But the fact owners were willfully ignorant as players shot up -- and that fans didn't question it when Sammy Sosa's head ballooned to twice its normal size -- isn't entirely Bud's fault, either. But no one plays the role of public scapegoat quite like Selig.

When Selig's family finally sold the Brewers this winter, the entire city rejoiced. Bud and Wendy Selig-Prieb are many things, but neither is particularly adept at owning a small-market baseball team. But the continual demonization of all things Selig is a little wearisome. Selig stared down the player's union to avoid an awful labor impasse in 2002, oversaw the successful transition to a wild-card based playoff system in the '90s and clearly loves the game -- even if he loves the Brewers a little more than he does most big-market teams. He's got plenty of well-documented problems, but maybe some of baseball's foibles aren't entirely his fault.

Et Cetera

  • Ben Sheets may not return from his viral infection until Memorial Day weekend. That means he'll end up missing five or six weeks of the season ... if he's healthy for the duration. Considering he's just 1-3 thus far, it'll be difficult for him to top 2004's career-high of 12 wins.
  • So where does Lyle Overbay play when Prince Fielder is ready to take over first base in Milwaukee? Overbay is the team's best pure hitter, and he seems to be coming into his own power-wise, too. His .648 slugging percentage is fourth in the National League.

    Reportedly, Fielder is improving defensively, but it'll likely be Overbay who needs to switch positions to accommodate the youngster. A corner outfield slot makes the most sense, but Carlos Lee and Geoff Jenkins are established in left and right. Let's see how the season plays out, but GM Doug Melvin may shop Jenkins near the trade deadline in order to clear the way for Fielder next season.

  • My advice to Marquette students and alumni: get over the Gold thing. Is the new nickname lame? In my opinion, yes. But MU is joining a conference that also features the Orangemen, Red Storm and Scarlet Knights, a few nicknames that probably felt equally lame when they were dreamt up. I understand that those nicknames at least included nouns, but they also take longer to chant.

    For political reasons (and my guess is alumni donations had something to do with it, too), MU wasn't going back to Warriors. And no one seemed to love Golden Eagles. So the change was made. Que sera. If you're going to protest something, protest the team's sorely lacking inside game, not its new nickname.

  • In better news for MU supporters, former Golden Eagles star Dwyane Wade has elevated himself into the NBA's stratosphere. Wade averaged 24.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists this season, just his second in the league, and his Heat appear poised to challenge for the NBA title. If only he would have slid down three more picks to the Bucks at No. 8 in the 2003 NBA Draft.
  • The Javon Walker situation is the latest episode in a bad offseason for the Packers, at least in the short-term. But it does make the team's selections of a couple wide receivers on draft weekend seem a lot more prescient.

    In the long-term, hope remains that the additions of defensive coordinator Jim Bates and rookie quarterback Aaron Rodgers will turn out to be winning moves.

  • Michael Redd is a very good player and seemingly an equally good human being. But can the Bucks build a winning team with him as its centerpiece? That appears to be the idea, at least, as GM Larry Harris and coach Terry Porter prepare for an important offseason.

    Like any team, the Bucks need either a great big man or a great point guard in order to become a legitimate NBA contender. Among the current teams left in the playoffs, most have either or both -- with Seattle and Ray Allen being one exception. But since no one knows what will happen with T.J. Ford's future, Harris and Porter face long odds for immediate success in 2005-'06.

Sports shots columnist Tim Gutowski was born in a hospital in West Allis and his sporting heart never really left. He grew up in a tiny town 30 miles west of the city named Genesee and was in attendance at County Stadium the day the Brewers clinched the 1981 second-half AL East crown. I bet you can't say that.

Though Tim moved away from Wisconsin (to Iowa and eventually the suburbs of Chicago) as a 10-year-old, he eventually found his way back to Milwaukee. He remembers fondly the pre-Web days of listenting to static-filled Brewers games on AM 620 and crying after repeated Bears' victories over the Packers.