It's been a long year, so how about we stray from tradition and have a little fun with this week's column?
From time to time, a sports writer's head gets cluttered with half-thoughts, ramblings and unfinished ideas. Also, from time to time, these members of the great unwashed find an inability to concentrate entirely on the task at hand (such as writing a full, complete, and coherent piece of journalism), and use the first part of this paragraph to bail them out of the problem listed in the second. And you, the dear reader, are the lucky beneficiary this week!
(A side note, fans of a certain writer on a certain sports Web site may claim "rip off" but bear in mind, journalists have been rambling since Gutenberg printed his first Bible!)
- Is there anything better than a good, old-fashioned Milwaukee-Chicago rivalry? The Brewers-Cubs series is a long way from being a true rivalry, as there are just too many fans with split passions. The little thing with the White Sox was fun, if only for Phil Garner threatening to beat the snot out of the Sox' announcers. You bought a ticket to that game, you were getting a ballgame and some pro wrestling, guaranteed bargain. The Packers-Bears annual dance marathon has lost some luster during the Brett Favre era, especially with the Cowboys and Vikings seemingly always in the way. But watching the Admirals take on the Chicago Wolves last weekend, one couldn't help but be filled with a sense of civic pride watching the boys from the Windy City get knocked around by a bunch of Milwaukeeans. And it's even better when your date starts screaming for blood, too. There really isn't anything quite like the atmosphere than a hockey rivalry.
- Mike Sherman wasn't really that mad about the cell phone going off during his press conference last week. The only problem he had was that the still-unnamed scribe or squaker wasn't using a Cellcom phone, which Sherman is a pitch man for. OK, all jokes aside, shouldn't Sherman be worrying about something more important than a cell phone going off during his press conference? Even better was the PR staff's "we'll take our ball and go home, meanie" approach in canceling Brett Favre's weekly press briefing. A newsflash, it's 2005. Incidents like that -- despite all the warnings in the world -- are going to happen. It always happens. Besides, Mike. Your team is 1-7, and it looks like things aren't going to get better any time soon. One-and-freaking-seven. You get more upset about a reporter's cell phone than you do about Ahmad Carroll's ability to play man-to-man coverage in the secondary. Or lack there of. Anyway, it's just a thought.
- So Robin Yount is back in Milwaukee. Dale Sveum is, as well. Gorman Thomas and Jim Gantner can often be found milling around the batting cage. Bill Schroeder is up in the broadcast booth, right next door to Bob Uecker. Kudos to the Brewers for building a bright future and paying due respects to a storied past. Now if only the day would come when Bernie Brewer finally returned to his roots. Hmmm, that's a good idea ....
- Why the hell does Bernie Brewer slide onto a platform? Honestly, what sense does that make? It's understandable that the Brewers wanted to make the guy more family-friendly. But let's face it, they're the BREWERS (def: makers of beer) and the team plays its games in MILLER Park. Beyond that, if the high-rollers chilling in the .300 Club don't want to look out at a giant beer stein, perhaps their priorities are in the wrong place. Finally, BRING BACK THE LEDERHOSEN. Here's a deal for the Brewers. On the next retro night, if you put Bernie back in the lederhosen, I'll sing Roll out the Barrel while wearing mine.
- If you haven't done it yet, get out to one of the state's big time basketball schools and watch them take on their Division III cousins in exhibition play. Marquette knows first hand how good these teams are after watching defending (and eventual) national champion UW-Stevens Point hang with the Golden Eagles for a while. Better yet, maybe pile the youngsters into the car for a trip to Oshkosh or Whitewater to watch some of the most competitive, fundamentally sound, and exciting basketball played anywhere. Making it even better, tickets are usually about three bucks.
- Random thought of the day: Which sportscaster would you most like to hear as an MC at an adult entertainment establishment? This could provide plenty of time-wasting fodder on your next trip up to Green Bay or Madison. Would it be the dulcet tones of Mr. Gary Thorne? Perhaps the southern styling of the esteemed Keith Jackson is more up your alley. Marv Albert is a natural: "here comes Candiiiiiiii, yeesssssssssssssss!" OK, enough babbling.
- Back to the Admirals ... the Poop Deck is hilarious. Sure, it's a rip off of the highly popular Buckethead Brigade at Miller Park, but honestly, it's a great idea just because I got to use the word "poop" twice in a column and its considered approptiate. But the team will also hold Athletic Supporter night, in which the team will hand out one-of-a-kind ... jock straps. Remember, if you can't be an athlete, be an athletic supporter! Is it hokey, sure? Juvenile, no doubt. But entertainment is the key. It's about time teams in this town doesn't try to take themselves so seriously. Poop (wow, three times) and jockstraps. In the same paragraph. Amazing.
- I added this after spell-checking. Is there anything more fun than adding words like Uecker, Yount and Buckethead to the built-in dictionary? Ah, it's the simple things in life.
So there we have it. One writer gets to clear his (admittedly addled) mind, and you got to waste about 12 minutes of your boss's time. Hope you were able to have a little fun and realize that, after all, it's just a game. Things have to be fun once in a while.
See you next week, when you'll no doubt want to throw your monitor out the window.