December 2008

Lambeau “I love you”

I have returned from my parents home in the shadows of Lambeau Field.  My excursion to the hallowed grounds is over.  And, so is the 2008 football season for “Wisconsinites.”

It was a short drive up Interstate 43 from Milwaukee to Green Bay.  I stayed at my parents house Saturday night (just a hop, skip and a jump from the legendary battlegrounds).

               I had a little too much fun Saturday night with one of my childhood friends. 
drunk people.jpg                                             Not us…damn litterbugs.

drunk broad.jpgDon’t know her…I had to make this picture smaller for the entry (want people to come back to my blog).
I apologize in advance if this is someone’s girlfriend/wife/mom/daughter/lover/etc. ;)

batman drunk passed out.jpg                  Bruce Wayne…err…Batman drunk on expensive wine again? 
                     Not me either.  This guy doesn’t do those tights justice.

You get the point.

After about 4 hours of sleep into Sunday morning…I woke up not feeling so good. 

So, after a breakfast consisting of this…
sierra mist can.jpg                              (Mom always said it would “quiet” the tummy)
                                            I began my slow recovery.

But, still felt like this…
molasses.jpgin the wintertime.

                  I felt like I was losing the battle…until we drove up and I saw this…
lambeau pic.jpgIt was like a beacon guiding me to the promised land.
A ray of hope.

                     Then, I ran into the founding father…Earl Louis “Curly” Lambeau.
curly lambeau statue.jpg                                 I looked up at the man, asking for direction. 
                            I heard him whisper, “go.  I shall show you the way.”

Little did I know, he was directing me to this man…
vince lombardi statue.jpg                     Vincent T. Lombardi, himself.  The man, the myth, the legend.

There he stood.  Such a stoic figure looking down upon me. 
It was my moment of truth.  I could either run and hide OR I could “man-up.”

I heard him say, “get yourself together, young man” (actually, he yelled it).
“If you will represent PackerBackers under my watch, you will act like a man!” 
Staring into the eyes of our heroic leader, I decided it was time to put up or shut up.

So, we headed here…
krolls.jpgLiterally, in the shadows of Lambeau Field, Kroll’s West is a must stop for anyone who ventures to Titletown.  Heck, I grew up near Green Bay, and still can’t get enough!

     Here was my view waiting in line…
DSCN1847.JPG     And a picture of my actual recovery meal…
DSCN1844.JPGnothing-I mean nothing, beats a Kroll’s burger on gameday.

After eating that, I felt as good as new!  Like a gift from the heavens…thanks Mr. Lombardi.
Thank you Kroll’s Restaurant/Bar!

Now, it was gametime.

I’ll spare you the details.  You probably heard what happened.  If you didn’t, let me tell you.

0-16!!

That’s all you really need to know…poor Lions.
I’m just relieved the Packers didn’t choke under the pressure (the ghost of Lombardi works in mysterious ways, you know).

After the game, we headed back (you guessed it) to Kroll’s!

     I had my ceremonious post-game meal…
DSCN1848.JPG     Kroll’s chili…second to none…simply, the best.

Can someone say…
antacids.jpg

So worth it.

After my meal, I went to wish some of the players well into their offseason.

As an avid sports memorabilia collector, I was able to get a few items signed by some of the Packers star players.

Former Heisman Trophy Winner Charles Woodson was gracious enough to sign the Packers mini helmet pictured below.
signed minis from 122908 001.jpg
charles woodson action.jpgCHARLES WOODSON 2008 Statistics:
7 Interceptions/2 Defensive Touchdowns/3 Sacks
2008 Pro Bowl Selection

Rising NFL star Greg Jennings also was kind enough to stop and sign a collectible helmet for me.
signed minis from 122908 002.jpggreg jennings action.jpgGREG JENNINGS 2008 Statistics:
80 Receptions/1292 Yards/9 Touchdowns
2008 Pro Bowl Selection (1st Alternate)

Thank you Mr. Woodson and Mr. Jennings for taking the time to add to our collection.

Helluva good time had by all!!

Now, forget snowballs…bring on the baseballs!!

Headed to the hallowed ground.

Well, a few football buddies and I will be headed up to “God’s Country.”

The place? The team?

How about the most sacred turf in all the land.
The home of the most storied franchise in all of professional football.
One of the birthplaces of the NFL.
Where 12 Championships have come home.
Only team to win three straight titles (having done it twice).
The site of John Madden’s lovefest (not really).

                                             I’m talking about this place.
lambeau field pic.jpg                        LAMBEAU %$*#in’ FIELD, BABY!!

I have to say…if you have never been to Lambeau Field, you have never seen football like it was meant to be. 
Of course, I’m extremely biased…having grown up minutes from the hallowed grounds. 
I usually attend 3-4 games a season.  Only 2 this season :'(

I have attended probably 50 games at Lambeau over the years…it never gets old.
Words cannot explain how it feels to walk into Lambeau Field.
It’s probably like walking into old Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park. 
The history, the smells, the fans…it’s a place you most definitely have to see before you die.  Football fan or not.  Packers fan or not.

It has been a disappointing season for my Pack. 
A 5-10 record going in to this must-win game against the winless Lions.
Yeah, I said must-win.
How would you like playing under that kind of pressure? 

The way I look at it-either way, I’m going to witness history.
The Packers are either going to send the Lions to the first 0-16 season in history
OR
the Packers will go down as the team that prevented the Lions from finishing as the only 0-16 team in history.

I shall blog about my latest Lambeau trek upon my return.
Until then…only 50 days until pitchers and catchers report!!

Thumbnail image for packers logo.jpg

“Happy” Holidays!

EVERYONE!!

Have a safe and happy holiday season…!

Thumbnail image for smiley face.jpg

The key to the Brewers 2009 season…Ben Sheets.

To my Milwaukee Brewers fan readers,

No, I am not crazy (at least not diagnosed, anyway).

Over the last few weeks, I have had a startling revelation.
I believe that the success of the 2009 Milwaukee Brewers lies with the re-signing of this man.
sheets pitching.jpg                                                 Ben Sheets

Here’s my reasoning:

1.  We know him best – We drafted him in 1999 with the 10th overall pick.  We groomed him and we brought him up.

2.  4X All Star – The guy has nasty stuff…4-seam fastball clocked around 96 mph, a devastating 12 to 6 curve and an occasional changeup.

3.  Top of the rotation starter – Ben has made six (6) opening day starts for the Brewers since making it to the big leagues.

4.  Keep pace with the hated Cubs – Bringing back Sheets would put us in good shape to keep up with the Scrubs…errr…Cubs.  The Cubs throw out Zambrano, Dempster, Lilly, Harden and possibly Marshall (helluva rotation).  Without Sheets, we can’t match up.

5.  Very little depth – The Brewers don’t have jack for starting pitching depth in their system.

6.  Rotation in need of boost – After losing C.C. to the Yanks, it would be devastating to that rotation if we also lost Sheets.

7.  Market has dried up –  Available quality starting pitchers on the free agent market have vanished.  Many of the good ones that are left do not wish to work in Milwaukee.

8.  Slow market for Sheets – Due to his injury history, the market has not developed like most had expected.  This could result in a discounted price to bring him back.  Which would also give Sheets a chance to re-establish himself on the market.

Considering these points…what’s the alternative?

-Comb the scrap heap in hopes of finding a diamond in the rough?
-Not doing anything and go into the season riding the potential of Gallardo and Parra?
And get whooped on by the Cubs in the process?
-Rebuild?
-Hope and pray that everyone stays healthy and overachieves?

I think not.
Still think I’m crazy?

If the Texas Rangers can’t move payroll and the New York Yankees bring back Andy Pettitte, I think the Milwaukee Brewers have a legitimate shot at bringing “Sheeter’s heater” back at around 25 million for 2 yrs.  Maybe even on a 1 yr. deal for the 12-13 million he would have received if he had accepted arbitration.

Whaddya think?
I think the 2009 season depends on it.

Think Spring!

            The man pictured below is the reason the hot stove has cooled, considerably.
mark teixeira pic.jpgMark Teixeira waves to Angels fans as if to say, “It’s been a great two months, please forward my fan mail to the east coast.”

                    Unfortunately, the hot stove is not the only thing that has cooled off.
wisconsin map pic.jpg
During the cold months, I ask myself the following question almost daily…

“Why on earth do I live in this part of our great nation?”

                                                            
                                                                Do I ski?
skiing pic.jpg                                                             NOPE.

                                                      Do I snowboard?
Snowboarding pic.jpeg                                                             NOPE.

                                                     Do I snowmobile?
snowmobiling pic.jpg                                                              NOPE.

                                                         Do I ice fish?
ice fishing pic.jpg                                  Used to.  But, not since moving to the city.

                               Although, I might start up again after seeing this…
bikini ice fishers pic.jpg                                               I need friends like these.

Where was I? 
I’m easily distracted.

Oh yeah, Wisconsin.

                                      Is it because of my favorite football team?
packers logo.jpg                      &
nbsp;                                       NOPE. 
I could fly to see them play.  Besides, they only play 8 regular season home games a season (only 3-4 of which I personally attend).

                      Why do I live in Wisconsin?

                 Take a look at some photos of the Milwaukee area over the past week.
milwaukee lakefront snow pic.jpg                                               ATTN:  Jake Peavy
                  I told you Milwaukee was a beautiful city…even in the winter months.

snow and lights pic.jpg                                                       Beautiful scene.
snow pic 2.jpg                             The ice scraper.  Milwaukeeans weapon of choice.
snow pic 3.jpg                                                     Shovels.  Ditto.
snow pic 5.jpg                      UW-Milwaukee students trudging to class during finals week.

snow pic 4.jpg                                                                 WOW!
snow pic 6.jpg                         Trucks loading salt to clear the roads and ruin our vehicles.
                        Milwaukee resident walking aimlessly in the wintery abyss.
snow pic 7.jpg                      Milwaukee area man arming himself with some tools of choice.

I must admit…I’m feeling mildly depressed.

                                          I think it’s time to think spring.
cactus pic.jpg
                                 Cactus League…here we come!

Yet another shameless act of self-promotion…Charlie Hayes game home run catch

From time to time, I like to look back at a few of the home run catches I’ve made over the years; take a trip down memory lane.

It’s also nice to have video footage of some of the catches…validates what I’m sayin’…know what I mean?

Shameless…I know.  But, what can I say?  I like being on TV :)
Check it out anyway-it’s only 41 seconds long.

Gotta love a sports anchor willing to give a plug (to someone not on the field of play) from time to time.

And as you probably noticed, I’m kinda passionate about ballhawking!

          Here’s a picture of the Charlie Hayes home run baseball I caught in the video.
Charlie Hayes game home run.jpg                            Here’s a picture of the man who hit the home run.
charlie hayes brewers pic.jpgSome
of my Yankees readers (She-Fan!) may remember this moment (for which
Charlie is most fondly remembered for).  That was one helluva team!
charlie hayes last out pic.jpg
Home run details

Date hit:  June 4, 2000
Player:  1B Charlie Hayes
Team:  Milwaukee Brewers
Vs:  Colorado Rockies
Against:  Pitcher Kevin Jarvis
Inning:  Bottom of 4th
Venue:  Milwaukee County Stadium
Type:  solo shot
Career home run # 140

A “Penny” for your thoughts?

Most Brewers fans have come to terms on two things:

1.  Our two best starting pitchers from 2008 are long gone
jet pic.jpg
sabathia walking pic.jpg

                 C.C. walks to his waiting jet plane.  Destination=New York City

door co pic.jpgsheets waving.jpg

Ben and Seaver Sheets say goodbye to
“God’s Country”

and say “hello” to
texas logo.jpgAND

2.  We don’t plan on spending significant dollars on front-line free agent pitchers

crossed out dollar sign.jpg

Okay. 

If we won’t spend this…

wad of money pic.jpg
How about this?

penny picture.jpg
Well, not really.
But, we would get this guy.
brad penny pic 1.jpgCould be a good #2 addition sandwiched between Yovani Gallardo and Manny Parra.

brad penny pic 2.jpg                                    Plays with passion (usually a good thing).

brad penny pic 3.jpgJust cut the sleeves off that flannel and he’ll fit right in with the laid back country folks of Wisconsin (maybe swap that hat out for a John Deere hat, too).

They say he’s working hard this offseason because things kinda fell apart in L.A. last year.  He has a proven track record and has a great groundball ratio (good for pitching at Miller Park).  He also seems to be determined to prove some people wrong.
I like pitchers with attitude.

Could get him for 2 yrs. 15 million…I don’t know-just a guess.
I say, “why not?”

Peavy to Cubs=DEAD!

Words cannot begin to explain how unbelievably daunted I felt around the beginning of December.  This is about the time the (hated) Chicago Cubs became serious suitors for the services of the spectacular Jake Peavy.

peavy pic.JPGWords cannot begin to explain how unbelievably amended I now feel (mid-December) that trade talks between the Padres and Cubs now appear to be dead.

Kinda went down like this…
Thumbnail image for scared picture.jpg

Hey, did you hear the Cubs are trading for Jake Peavy??

NOOOO!!

picture of excited cat.jpg

Don’t worry, that trade is most likely dead!!

YIPPEE!!

I must admit, I’m not the cat type, but his (or her…how can you tell?) face says it all.

cartoon picture of runner.jpgWithout Peavy, the Cubs won 97 games and ran away with the N.L. Central Division during the 2008 season.

With Peavy, the Cubs would easily top 100 wins in ’09 and become an absolute powerhouse in the National League.

(they appeared to be just posing as powerhouses last year)

cubs choke logo.jpg

Did you know that Cubs is actually an acronym?

Stands for

Completely
Useless
By
September

Heard that one already, eh?

witch casting spell.jpg

Now, understand…I’m not the type that wishes ill will upon anyone.

 

 

voodoo doll pic.jpg

I don’t have a Cubs voodoo doll at home.

But come on…it’s the Cubs!!

I must conclude this on a positive note…

bartman 1.jpg 

Moises!!  You were so close!!

bartman 2.jpg

Another angle——————————->

bartman 3.jpg                                                          NO!!!

Only a team like the Cubs would blame their losing ways on one of their own dedicated and diehard fans.  What’ s a fan supposed to do when he sees a ball coming at his head?  Duck out of the way like a ninny?  Or, jump up like a stud and grab the damn thing?!!
Poor Bartman…Milwaukee is only 90 miles north.
Heck, I’ll even show him around.

Sorry, small tangent. 

Back to this man…
peavy 2 pic.jpgJAKE – DO NOT APPROVE A TRADE TO THE CHICAGO CUBS! 
Either stay in San Diego or come to beautiful Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
(Click here for travel info)

                 

                   If you haven’t noticed, the Chicago Cubs bring out the worst in me.

smiley face.jpg

Meet your 2009 Milwaukee Yankees!!

Okay, seriously…what the heck is going on? 

First…
sabathia in yankee hat.jpg

then…
cameron brewers pic.jpg

Possibly…
sheets pitching.jpg

and…??
billy hall pic.jpg

Are you serious??

Actually, I’m kind of flattered that the Yankees want half of our roster
(actually just about 16%).

I hope everything works out the best for all involved.

BTW, Cashman, you can have Bill Hall for the following…
bag of baseballs pic.jpg

AND…
chewing tobacco pouch.jpg

Just get accustomed to him taking the slow walk back to the dugout after a three (maybe 4) pitch strikeout.  Then, politely spitting his dip into the air out of frustration for all eyes (YES Network) to see.

Brewers fans certainly grew tired of this mental image…
hall striking out pic.jpg

As far as dipping is concerned…
francona dip in mouth.jpgthis man has nothing on Bill Hall.

So, the question is this:  If I was a fan of Sabathia, Cameron, Sheets and Hall last year as members of the Milwaukee Brewers, does that make me a small fan of the Bombers in ’09? 

I doubt it. 

But, I will certainly follow the Yanks box scores a little closer.
:)

It’s official…

I was just finishing up my shift around 6am this morning (Wednesday the 10th of November) and heard on sports radio 1250 WSSP (here in Milwaukee) that the big fella has officially accepted the Yankees offer.

Is this really a surprise to anyone? 

Most of us around Milwaukee knew he was just a rent-a-type when we obtained him from the Indians.  Yeah, we gave up a lot to get him (young stud-Matt LaPorta, among others) but it was well worth it.  You ask anyone around Milwaukee that question…they’ll tell you. 

C.C. sent us to the promised land nearly by himself.  He put the team on his burly back and carried us to the Wild Card.  All those complete games down the stretch…he was awesome. 

I was three years old (1982) when the Brewers last made the playoffs!  The 2008 season will forever be one of the greatest years as long as I live.  I was there, sitting in the front row of the bleachers, waiting for a prized playoff game home run to come for both Game 3 and Game 4 of the NLDS.  While the souvenir home run never came, a ton of memories did.

Actually, the day the Brewers clinched the Wild Card, I was on the front row of the Brewers dugout during their celebration.  I was sprayed with champagne by everyone from Mike Cameron to Robin Yount. That was an amazing experience!  For the first time in my life, we were champs!

My wife took this picture from above the Brewers dugout during the celebration

Clara 2year pics 177.jpg

Check out what I was a part of first hand that last wild card clinching day…even if you’re not a Brewers fan.

Click here to view the slideshow.

Also, I would like to revisit a blog post I made November 13th, 2008.

Check it out by clicking here.

I’m not sure where the Brewers go from here…tough to say.  Management has already told us not to expect the C.C. money to be directed elsewhere:(  They said he was a special case.

One thing is for certain…if they don’t get a decent # 2 pitcher, they’re in for an uphill battle to compete with the hated Cubs, the bounce back Cardinals, the veteran Astros and the young Reds (sorry Pittsburgh).

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