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Wisconsin
This article is also viewable at my website, theroguehour.

Brewers. D Brewers are currently still in second place, but now 5 games back in the NL Central after being owned in all four games of our home stand against the Cubs and dropping 2 to the Atlanta Braves. What colossal (and collective) whiff on an opportunity to really position ourselves heading down the stretch, but it doesn't mean the end of the season quite yet. Taking a look at the Crew's schedule in August, they should have a chance to make up some ground with an easier schedule while waiting for the Cubs to go into their yearly implosion.

I really wish we could have stuck it to them though especially with most of the nation paying attention, we could have garnered some well deserved respect from the media. And for GP's (general principle) sake too, I mean it is the Cubs. Being the casual baseball fan that I am I will probably never fully appreciate the levels of loathing to which Brewer and Cub fans regard each other ( at least some of them), but as a staunch Packer fan and therefore Bear fan foe the feeling carries over. And when Cub fans do stuff like this, it's pretty easy to feel that way. But Al's Ramblings has a good point. The Cubs don't really view their games with the Brewers as a rivalry per se. I think it's probably due to the fact that the Crew is relatively new to the NL central after moving to the division in '98 after being in the AL central with the White Sox and Cleveland. They haven't been arching us as long as St. Louis or Cincy. So maybe we should just keep it moving, and exact some revenge in those 6 games in September.

The issue of Eric Gagne's performance has just sort of faded into the background hasn't it? Not that it has improved but it's not the hot topic it was in June. What if we had never signed him? Would there be more money to entice either Sheets or CC into extending their contracts?

Speaking of inept pitching, it's looking more and more like Suppan is officially the weak link in the rotation with Turnbow's torn rotator cuff mercifully ending his season. But I'm sure Yost will stick with him as long as possible because he view's that as showing loyalty to his guys. Don't feel bad Soup, you got Rickie Weeks to keep you company in the fan doghouse.

Bucks. So unlike some of the franchises in this state there's only been good news for the Bucks as of late. Andrew Bogut is continuing to improve his international game at least. He pretty much beasted Yao and the China team in a warm up game (Yi was a non factor). So I don't think it would be unfair to expect big things from the big man this winter, especially now that he has a contract that some feel he doesn't totally deserve.   Michael Redd is in a zone playing for Team USA right now. Not sure what his shooting percentage is, but he hasn't been putting up anything but jumpers from the outside and I haven't seen him miss many in the games I've seen so far (at least as much of the game as I can see at 3a.m.). He even had a breakaway dunk but it was kind of lacking on the athletic side. I've never quite realized how unathletic Redd is until I saw the clip of that play, too bad I forgot where I saw it or I would link to it.

An SI journalist pegged the Bucks John Hammond as an early candidate for executive of the year. I would have to agree if the Bucks make a significant turnaround this year. So far it seems like he is doing a good job infusing some new energy into the corporate culture, but let's at least wait until the season is a quarter of the way done before we crown him.

My last post was pointed at Caron Butler chastising him for not checking in his teammate Gilbert Arenas about his "nobody wants to come to Milwaukee" comments on his NBA blog, though now it seems as it the comment was more to take a dig at Richard Jefferson rather than to dis our fair city. Either way that particular post is now gone from Arenas's blog. Whether it was the backlash from Milwaukee area fans toward NBA.com or Caron actually standing up for his state that made it go away is unclear.

University of Wisconsin football. The Badgers will lose some of their great depth of talent at the tailback position due to Lance Smith being suspended from the team indefinitely because he is an idiot. Seriously. I mean he had already had an incident last year that he was on probation for but he got a sweet deal. All he had to do was go thru this Dane County first offender program where he basically did a bunch of community hours and his record gets expunged. Simple right? Thanks for saving my college career judge! Right? Nooo, not for Lance. Seems he dragged his feet on fufilling his obligations so blatantly that the DA rescinded the deal so now he's going to jail. So long Lance, no will remember you five years from now.

I don't usually go in much for preseason predicitions . . . but I can't resist because UW is getting a little respect from the media this year.

Marquette University men's basketball. Once again Buzz is showing what all the 'buzz' is about when it comes to his skills as a recruiter. Junior Cadougan, a point guard signee for the '09 season, is rapidly rising in the prospect rankings to become one of the elite players in his class. At this rate he could become one of the top prospects in his class regardless of position by the end of his senior year. And he's from Cananda too. That Buzz can get around.

Packers. First of all a wrap up of the action from the Family Night scrimmage Sunday night. Uneven performance overall for Rodgers and the offense, almost like he seemed uncomfortable for some reason. Most curious.

Some links from recent training camp notes on the JS Packer blog. Among the things that stood out to me were: Harrell, last years first round draft pick, sidelined by injuries still; The secondary worries me seems like Bush especially is getting burned a lot and we need some of these guy to step forward this year, Woodson and Al Harris will not hold up forever; there's some good competition going on on the offensive line; Brohm shows flashes of his prodigious talent and then reminds you he is still a very raw rookie; I like the fact that Brandon Jackson is indirectly applying pressure on Ryan Grant to get his deal done by showing some marked improvement this year, the official line from the coaches is the starter is Grant but the longer he holds out the longer they have to look at Jackson and change their minds.

All right. You can't blog about the Packers and not mention The Great One (the term this blog will henceforth use to refer to Brett Favre) though at this point it really is beginning to be a chore, at least for me.

So by now everyone has heard that the standoff between The Great One and Packers management is over. The lengendary quarterback has his wish and shall return to the field of glories to do battle for one more season. The pro Favre fans are escatic, the pro Packer fans are kind of disgusted but really more relieved.

It's been said before, but this truly has been a soap opera. The situation has been updating daily so frequently that I've been reluctant to post on it because as soon as you do, your opinion is outdated.

But in the final analysis (as if there could be a definitive one out of all this mess) there was accountability for taking it this far to be had on both sides, as many bloggers have been saying all along, and some stereotyped realities about professional sports has been reaffirmed by this whole episode.

The Great One reaffirmed the notion that star, future HOF type players who play the majority of their careers with one franchise usually get their way and their say if they push hard enough. He took the sissy's way out under percieved pressure from Packer brass to make a decision and retired without being fully committed to it. Then waffled so much that management finally got fed up and decided to finally move on to the future. But inevitably The Great One changed his mind once again and pushed the issue long enough for public (and the NFL's) sentiment to turn his way and force the Packers to either give in or do something stupid (release him or trade him within the division, or give him $25 million to stay retired).

Ted Thompson by bungling the public relations aspect of his job as it relates to Favregate showed us just how much it can suck being the head of an NFL franchise and it gives us a study on how the limitations of a GM's power can be directly correalated to the ego of his star player. Aaron Rodgers is done as a Packer, doesn't matter if he wins the training camp 'competition' or not. I expect he's pretty fed up with management and The Great One and would not be surprised it he elects to walk next year no matter what happens this season.

This is not good for the team as a whole. I predict the Pack will have a season that falls well short of expectations this year. In real reality the Pack has a very slim chance of going to the Super Bowl this year. SB championship teams are special. Everything has to come together just right somehow. Not every SB winner has done it in the same way, but they all have that completness quality about them. Whether it's that they have a knack for big plays at the right time or the fact that they can beat anyone anywhere they all define and adjust to some identity and are masters of being themselves (or 'playing their game'). The Pack won't have that this year because they will be too busy figuring out who they are: The Great One's Packers or a new generation of stars ready to start their own Lambeau traditions. One thing for sure that will not be defined this season is what the post-Favre era with look like in Green Bay.

Update: Grant is signed and was present at the Packer scrimmage Sunday night.


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