It’s time, once again, to clear off the desk and the mental wasteland that is my brain as we head into the stretch run of baseball season and try to gear up for another NFL campaign. So here, for you’re reading pleasure is Half-thoughts, Ramblings, and Unfinished Thoughts, Vol. II. (Link to Vol. I is available at http://onmilwaukee.com/sports/articles/wagner111305.html).
- I was born and bred in Milwaukee. Thus, as a youngster, I followed the local teams religiously like anybody else. In those pre-cable, SportsCenter, and Internet days, the rare chance to see a local team on national television was exciting, especially when seeing the name of my hometown stitched across the chest. Why is it now that the two big boys in town; the Brewers and the Bucks, have all but neglected the city that supports them? Is it too much to ask to put Milwaukee back on a jersey? A shoulder patch is hardly enough; changes need to be made.
- I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. The Milwaukee BREWERS play at MILLER Park. It’s not too much to ask to have Bernie BREWER sliding back into the giant beer mug. What, exactly, is the point of sliding on to a platform and waving a flag? The Chalet and the lederhosen, also, are a must.
- Watching the Green Bay Packers this season will be only slightly less painful than watching Dr. Phil try to mend a broken marriage. You don’t want to see Brett Favre get hurt, but you just get the feeling that with the lack of experience surrounding him, it’s going to happen. Just keep this in mind; we’re only one missed block away from the Aaron Rodgers era.
- This column has said many good things about the Milwaukee Admirals over the course of the last 18 months. But this will not be one of them. The new logo is not cool. The skeleton head is similar to the portrayal of Canadians on the TV show “South Park”. Sometimes, it’s better to be classy than it is to be hip. The only thing that gives it minimal redemption is the cool video story that went along with it. Other than that … sorry, but Mom always said, if you don’t have anything nice to say …
- Speaking of the Admirals, it’s good to see Claude Noel will be back behind the Milwaukee bench this season. No doubt, the guy deserves a chance to be working in the NHL; two trips to the Calder Cup Finals in three years – including a Championship in his first season – should at least be impressive enough to land an assistant coaching gig. Yet, having Noel back another year should make fans breathe easier. In a town like Milwaukee, where winners are hard to come by, Noel is a nice commodity. Plus, he’s got a down-to-earth, workman-like mentality that’s quintessential Milwaukee. Despite losing a ton of talent from last year’s squad, it will be hard to count the Admirals out.
- Ned Yost is a pretty clean-cut guy. But you have to wonder if he’s smoking something really good to be able to stay as positive and focused as he does during the season. No knock on Yost, while the “one-day-at-a-time” mantra can become boring and even infuriating at times, it’s OK to admit you’d like a puff of that stuff, too. Especially now that the team has all but knocked itself out of postseason contention.
- If you need your PA announcer to instruct fans on when to make noise, you’re doing a bad job of assembling a sports team. That said, if you need an instruction from a PA announcer on when to make noise, you’re doing a bad job of being a fan.
- Owning “stock” in the Green Bay Packers does not make you a member of the team, and does not grant you license to use the word “we” in reference to the team. In reality, it makes you a fool that had nothing better to do with $200. Further, the use of “we” in regards to a team should be limited ONLY to paid, on-field staff or players of a team. This goes doubly for media members; especially those who don’t live in the city.
- To the “Brew Crew” kids at Miller Park: the polka is not merely hoping from one foot to the other. There are three steps. It’s not rocket-science.
- Say what you want about the scheduling rotation used by the Big Ten, as well as the Badgers’ annual tradition of playing non-conference tomato cans. With all the question marks surrounding Bret Bielema’s first UW squad, it would be perfectly understandable to think that this team may be able to make some noise come New Year’s Day. Here’s to hoping Bielema will be able to find a way to replace the likes of Buffalo and Western Illinois on future schedules with opponents that provide a slightly higher caliber of opposition for Bucky.
- On the subject of college football, as much as UW needs to find a way to bring back baseball, UW-Milwaukee should start investigating the possibility of adding a football squad. Marty Greenberg and his pals are trying to find a way to build a MLS facility in the Park East Corridor, but he once was thought to be looking to build a college football facility. We’re not talking Big Ten here, but a Division I-AA squad would do nicely in this market. Plus, as UWM continues to make its mark as a big-time university, what better way than with a football team? Somewhere out there, there have to be a group of alumni that have the wherewithal to make it feasible.
- The recent debate regarding Milwaukee’s two sports-talk radio stations was interesting. While both have their pros and cons, and have done some pretty impressive things, neither adds up to the original days of WAUK. Tom Lopponow and Scott Abley in the morning, the Afternoon Sports Exchange with Chuck and Bruce in the afternoon, and Overtime with Bill Johnson and Matt Marchese were entertaining, to say the least. Back then, it wasn’t about the ratings – at least on the surface. It was a group of local guys that loved sports, and the shows were more akin to a bunch of guys sitting in a bar talking about the local teams.
That’s it. One columnist fills valuable space with the often-insane thoughts that bounce around his head, and you the reader have just wasted another 10 minutes of company time. Next week, we shall return to our regularly-scheduled bashing of the Green Bay Packers.