By Gregg Hoffmann Special to Published Aug 30, 2008 at 5:23 AM

The Packers trade of Brett Favre has to be rated the top sports story in the state in August.

Hopefully, it will also be the last time the summer-long melodrama has to be even mentioned in this column, much less rated No. 1. But, when a sports icon gets dealt, even if it is what he seemed to want all along, it is big news.

Coach Mike McCarthy, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the Packers have moved on without No. 4 and are ready to start the regular season. Don't expect any spectacular results. A winning record will be a good accomplishment, but at least the inevitable rebuilding after Brett Favre has finally started.

"It wasn't Brett's fault and it wasn't our fault, but the relationship got to a point where it couldn't go forward," Packers president Mark Murphy said. "Don't try to blame either side. It's like a marriage that ends. It happens. Neither party is at fault, but you move forward. Ultimately he decided he wanted to play. But not for Green Bay.

"I know as an organization we have taken hits, and it has split our fans," Murphy said. "But it is important as we look to the future that we come together."

Here is the rest of the Top 5: 

2. Brewers remain in contention: The Brewers played some of the best baseball in the big leagues in August, but were matched almost game-by-game by the Cubs. So, the Crew didn't really gain any significant ground in the NL Central and remained just about as many games out as they were when they were swept by the Cubs at Miller Park at the end of July.

But, the Brewers also maintain the lead in the NL wildcard race, and after 26 years without October baseball in Milwaukee a wildcard berth would be just fine.

September should be very interesting with six games against the Cubs, including the final three of the regular season at Miller Park.

It's too bad the Brewers won't play the Cardinals any more because that rivalry really heated up at the end. It seems the Cardinals, especially Albert Pujols, didn't dig some of the demonstrative celebrations of the young Brewers. Albert said they didn't show enough respect for the game that he loves.

Of course, losing seven straight to the Crew also might have influenced Albert's mood a bit. The Brewers should tell Albert to "stick it in your ear" and come close to doing that with the first pitch to him in 2009.

3. Wisconsin Olympians: Led by swimmer Garrett Weber-Gale, Olympians from the state brought home a half dozen or so medals from Beijing and continued the tradition of Wisconsin athletes contributing to the U.S. Olympics team.

Weber-Gale of Fox Point and now the University of Texas brought home two gold medals, from the 4 X 100 freestyle and medley relays, but like every other swimmer on the U.S. and other teams was overshadowed by his relay teammate Michael Phelps' phenomenal performance.

4. Time Warner and Big Ten Network reach truce: Some of you might not consider this a true sports story, but the agreement between the cable TV giant and the network is huge for any fan who loves the Badgers.

This writer has been able to get the BTN in our small town since it started and enjoys getting extensive Badgers' coverage, not to mention that of other conference teams. Now what's the latest with the Time Warner and the NFL Network?

5. NWL Comes to Waukesha: Again, some of you might dispute this selection, but the approval of a Northwoods League team for Waukesha, and the needed updating of Frame Park to host the club, could contribute a great deal to the baseball scene in Southeast Wisconsin.

The NWL bring in some of the best talent from the collegiate ranks all over the country. Some question how well it can do this close to Major League baseball with the Brewers, and Cubs and White Sox just down the road.

But, it's low cost entertainment, and some of the collegiate players you see might very well be playing for those three teams just mentioned some day.



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.