8.31.2009

Spoiled Rotten

I have heard far too many times already, a statement that closely follows this, "Eh, I doubt I'll really go to anymore games since the Brewers aren't going to go to the playoffs" or this, "I haven't paid much attention, it's not like it matters anymore".

Yes, the Brewers would need a miracle to make the post season, but how is that different from what us Brewer fans are used to? Yes, in 2007 we weren't out of it until the final week. Yes, we made the post season in dramatic fashion in 2008. Why should we not care though in 2009 with one month to go just because we won't be making a September push?

We as fans, tasted the post season, and it was GREAT! We can't expect it every year though. I know football season is starting up, and us Sconnies were almost all born with a pigskin in hand, but the Brewers are our team as well. We can still beat that Cubs (currently 2 games behind), and remember when that was all we needed to have a successful season?

See you at Miller Park!



8.30.2009

September Swings

Sorry folks, summer is coming to end. Oh, we might get some sunny days and nice weather, but you can feel the inevitability of winter on the air. With the coming fall comes a great many things. Unfailing optimism for Packer's season, three-story beer bongs at Badger football pregame parties and in the world of baseball, the expanded roster.

Yes, September call-ups are just a few days away. The time when the past and present of a struggling baseball team collide for four glorious weeks. Last season we had a glimpse of Mat Gamel(left), Alcides Escobar and Brad Nelson (who?). In the past September has shown us players like Nelson Cruz, Drew Anderson and Mel Stocker (I'm not kidding, Mel Stocker, here he is).

So here's what you need to know, to be called up on September 1, a player must already be on the teams 40-man roster. Also, when a team in the minors is headed to the postseason the parent club is less inclined to loot the roster of their top players. Of the Brewers affiliates, Huntsville (AA) and Brevard County (High A) both won their first halves and are headed to the playoffs. Nashville (AAA) is a game and a half back going into Sunday. Finally, as of Sunday, the Brewers have only 39 players on their 40-man roster so there could be a dark horse candidate out their somewhere.

Now that we've got the details out of the way, who should Brewer Nation expect to see come September? We'll start with players already on the 40-man roster.

Mat Gamel - 3B - I'm going to operate under the belief that Nashville will end up missing the playoffs this season, which means their roster is fair game. Keep in mind that the Sounds' season doesn't end until the 7th of September so a call-up may not be right away. When they do come, Mat Gamel will be on that list. The lefty had a nice stint in the bigs in early summer, but struck out a ton. He was still striking out too much in the minors, but he is definitely in the plans for the Crew's future.

J.J. Hardy - SS - The worst part of Hardy(right) coming back means one more reason for Ken Macha
to not give at bats Alcides Escobar. Hardy's stint with Nashville was remarkably similar to his play for Milwaukee all season, promising, but in the end, not very good. Coming into Sunday he's hit .233 through 16 games.

Angel Salome - C - Salome's had a disappointing season at Triple-A this season. Yes, he's hitting .286, but he's struggled mightily at times and is currently injured. That said, if he gets healthy he will get a call-up for two main reasons. First, the Crew need to see what they've got in him. Salome is on the verge of being passed by Jon Lucroy as the teams top catching prospect and something will need to be done with him. Second, he needs to learn, and what better player to learn the position of Catcher from than Jason Kendall?

Hernan Iribarren - 2B/Util - Iribarren(left) will definitely get a call-up in September, he holds value as a utility infielder/outfielder and a left-handed bat off the bench. He's hitting .314 for Nashville and when he has had at-bats at the big league level they've been solid. Iribarren may finally receive some consistent appearances as well, depending on how far out of it the Brewers are.

Chris Smith - RP - They say Smith could start too, but
don't expect to see that happen this fall. Smith has been very effective in the Minors this year, sporting a 1.33 ERA and .89 WHIP. He was alright out of the bullpen for Milwaukee earlier this season as well. If he didn't give up so many home runs he would be a very effective pitcher, we'll see him up next week.

Tim Dillard - SP/RP - To say Dillard was awful in his earlier call-up would not be an exaggeration. And he struggled mightily after being sent down too. His last time out though, was good, and what better time to find out if Dillard can start at the big league level than in the last three weeks of a lost season?

Mike Burns - SP/RP - Ah, Burns(right). Boy was it exciting to watch him pitch wasn't it? Even so he was very good at Triple-A and occasionally good at the major league level. Adding another arm, even a moderately effective one, to the bullpen will be a big boon for a rotation plagued by five inning starts.

Mark Rogers - SP - Okay this might be wishful thinking, but why not? Rogers has been supremely effective for Brevard County this season, with an ERA of 1.72 and 66 K's in 62.1 innings, plus he is already on the 40-man roster. So why not? Well, first, the Manatees have a good shot at a deep playoff run this year, they've had a fantastic season. Second, Rogers(left) is coming off two seasons of not pitching while reconstructing his shoulder. With him headed to the elite Arizona Fall League it's not likely the organization would want to run up his innings up too high. But he could be an effective arm out of the bullpen and give the fans a pitcher to hope for in the coming seasons.

That's it for the likely call-ups off the 40-man roster, as I said earlier there is one open spot though, and here are the candidates to be the 40th man.

Corey Patterson - OF - I know this one must instill excitement in fans. But the journeyman center fielder has hit the ball well for Nashville, batting .343 and slugging .608. He's also driven in 19 runs in 24 games. Let's face facts though, Mike Cameron will likely not be back next season and Milwaukee needs to find a Center fielder. That means they'll give Jason Bourgeois, Jody Gerut and Patterson all the chances in the world to be that guy.

Adam Heether - UTIL - In the past the Brewers have been known to reward players for good minor league seasons (see Drew Anderson, Stocker), even if they aren't considered top tier prospects. Heether has had a fantastic season, he's hit .297 with 14 homers and an on-base percentage of .409 while playing nearly every position on the diamond. Hard to ignore.

Lorenzo Cain - CF - Lo Cain's season was disrupted by a severe knee injury back in May. He seems to be coming around lately and will be heading to the Arizona Fall League as well. Cain is widely considered the future at Center field for Milwaukee and they may elect to bring him up and give him a taste of the show in September. Huntsville is headed to the postseason so no guarantees. If he wants to learn Center field defense though, there isn't a better player to learn from than Mike Cameron.

Mike Jones - SP - Classify this as a why not? The organization has been remarkably patient with Jones, and he's pitched his way up to Triple-A this season. If he finishes out the Triple-A season well he may have a shot at the rotation next spring (that's how desperate Milwaukee is for Starting pitching). So why not give him a quick look here at the end of the season?

Really most of the help Milwaukee will get when rosters expand will come from players coming off the DL. Corey Hart, Jesus Colome, maybe Seth McClung. And until the team is mathematically eliminated, guys like Gamel and Escobar won't get consistent at-bats. There is usually one or two surprises in the call-ups, so be prepared.

Oh, and that 40th spot will go to Corey Patterson and we will be reminded why he's in his fifth organization without sticking.

8.29.2009

Five moments I'd like to forget: Lange

Well, we've gone ahead and filled you in on some of our personally favorite moments in Wisconsin Sports, so to be fair, we will now give you some of our most heartbreaking moments.

I know the Packers didn't make it into my top five great moments, but they will be well represented in my worst five, I guess Green Bay really knows the art of the heart breaker.

5. Brett Favre's last pass as a Packer

Much like many of his playoff appearances in the 21st century, Brett Favre's last pass was a disappointment. Overtime, at Lambeau Field, NFC Championship game and he threw the ball away. I was still working in the media that week and had covered the press conferences that week, the team was confident. That night I was anchoring the 10 o'clock news after the game and was all set to wear my Packer jersey on the air and announce to northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin that
the Green Bay Packers were going to the Super Bowl. And then he threw it away.

4. Jerry Rice's fumble that wasn't

Also known as "The birth of Terrell Owens." I guess it's some consolation that I can't blame any one player on the Packers for this play but it doesn't make me feel any better. If you remember, the Pack held a tenuous lead in the last several minutes of the 1999 wild card game. Steve Young hit Jerry Rice over the middle for a first down and Rice inexplicably fumbled the football.

It was obvious, everyone watching the game could tell, but the officials saw it differently. They called Rice down by contact and the drive ended with Young hitting an underachieving Terrell Owens in the end zone for the game winning touchdown. The play made then Green Bay Coach Mike Holmgren a believer in instant replay, but what does it do for Packer nation? Not a damn thing.

3. Brett Bell out of position

It was November 2001, and the Badgers were tied with the No. 11 Michigan Wolverines late in the fourth quarter. Bucky had just stopped the Wolverines and had forced a punt. The Badgers had all the momentum and were set to play for overtime, they didn't even send someone back to receive. Just let Michigan down the ball and we'll head to OT.

But Brett Bell, one of the two gunners, didn't get that message. Bell played the gunner role and the punt bounced off his leg. Michigan jumped on the ball and kicked a chip shot field goal for the win. Did I mention I was at the game? We canceled our family's season tickets not long after that season (too expensive) and to this day I have never seen the Badgers beat the Wolverines live.

The video is long, so jump to the 8:40 mark to see the play.



2. Derrick Turnbow Sucks

In my opinion baseball is the greatest sports in the world. Nothing else compares. It's a goal of mine to see a game played in every single baseball stadium, so far I've made it to just four... Miller Park, Old Busch Stadium, The Metrodome and Great American Ballpark. It's my visit to Cincinnati that comes to mind here.

There was a group of us, fellow poster Dustin included and we drove nine hours to get to Cincy in time for the game, through Chicago construction, through Indianapolis. We thought we'd be late to the game but because of a rain delay we didn't miss an inning.

The Brewers were cruising, they were up 5-1 through five and we were sufficiently lit up. It was Geoff Jenkins birthday that day so we sang 'Happy Birthday' to the right fielder. Needless to say, we were not the most courteous fans.

Finally, with a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the ninth inning Derrick Turnbow came in to nail it down. He did not. In fact he blew the game. I couldn't even watch... turning my back on the field and watching the river instead.

1. 4th and 26

This one hurts. January 11, 2004 and the Packers have Philadelphia pinned with just over a minute to play and a three point lead. Donovan McNabb hits Freddie Mitchell for a gain of 28 yards and the Eagles would go on to tie the game. Then in overtime, Brett Favre threw yet another costly playoff interception and the Eagles win the game.

So what hurt the most? Was it Darren Sharper way out of position as usual? Was it the three yard spot that the officials gave to Mitchell. I can't point to one particular part of that play, but it was one of the most heartbreaking moments of the last ten years. You know it's bad when a play has it's own wikipedia entry.


8.28.2009

Five Great Moments I'll Never Forget: dbauhs

My list didn't turn out the way I'd expected. When I thought, "Most memorable Wisconsin sports moments," the first three that came to mind were Yount's 3,000th hit, the 94 Rose Bowl, and Super Bowl XXXI. What I hadn't considered was the difference between memory and folklore. I was young enough to be collecting the Brewer baseball cards the Madison Police handed out when Yount reached his milestone. I never saw it. And even though I watched as the Badgers beat UCLA in Pasadena, I was more interested in the nacho cheese dip on the snack table than I was the game. These two events are just such milestones in Wisconsin Sports history that its easy to remember the repeated clips and stories behind them rather than the moment.

So with those out of the way, there are also a handful of Packer games which I've attended, but as much fun as I had, the games themselves don't stick out as anything more than a game at Lambeau. And don't get me wrong--a trip to Lambeau is an amazing experience in and of itself. But not a moment of any of those trips lived up to the following five:

#5 Badger hoops taking the Big Ten outright in 2003

You can have sky diving. Give me an elated student section at center court any day.

I had season tickets in the student section for the 02-03 season and was in attendance for the last Big Ten game of the year. #14 ranked Illinois came to town ready to battle for the title. After 39 minutes and 59 seconds, it was a tie game at the Kohl Center and Devin Harris was at the line. He missed the first. He hit the second.

The final second passed harmlessly and the tie-dyed Grateful Red stormed the court. Senior Kirk Penney and the rest of the Badger basketball team were hoisted into the air as the Badgers celebrated their first outright conference title since 1947. After the game, Bill Self called the atmosphere as good as any he's been a part of. That goes likewise for me.

#4 Matt Schabert rains on OSU


To defeat the conference powerhouse is one thing. To have your backup QB deliver the knockout blow in front of a prime time national audience is something to cherish.

The Buckeyes were riding a 19 game winning streak as they rolled into Camp Randall with ESPN at their side. Against the backdrop of a late night downpour, the Badgers surprised the Buckeyes by being locked 10-10 well into the 4th quarter. I was in attendance, my white badger shirt soaked and stained red from the body paint splattering off the fan in front of me, and I'm sure I was freezing. I had to have been--it was 11pm on a rainy October night in Wisconsin. But I can't remember. All I recall is the excitement I felt as Matt Schabert tossed a perfect pass over the shoulder of Lee Evans for what turned out to be the game-winning TD, and jumping around despite the lack of House of Pain on the PA.

#3 Ryan Braun downs the Cubs in one swing

This will be the common denominator among any Wisconsin fan's top five for years to come.

Brewers-Cubs games always carry a certain level of intensity, but when CC Sabathia is pitching for the Crew, its the last game of the year and playoffs are on the line, well, things go up a tier. This was a huge game, and when you can't actually attend the huge game, you go for the next best thing: the bar. Normally nothing compares to being at the game, and even at such watering holes as Madisons Echo Tap, its hard to capture the feel of a crowd. But when I saw Braun's tie-breaking home run swing, stood up on the rungs of my bar stool and shouted the incoherence of a victorious moment with my fists raised, it didn't matter where I was. It doesn't even matter that it didn't end the game. That moment was the pinnacle of my excitement during the Brewers' Playoff run, and I'm perfectly happy to have seen it at The Echo.

#2 Reggie White at the Super Bowl.
Though I've always been a Wisconsin sports fan, my tenure as a Packer fanatic began before that of any other team. So the 1996 Super Bowl in New Orleans belongs high on this list. But I feel my favorite moment from this game sometimes gets overlooked, for whatever reason.
If you're going to see a highlight from Super Bowl XXXI, you'll most likely see Favre's audible TD pass to Andre Rison, Freeman's then record-long TD reception, or Desmond Howard's 99 yard kickoff return TD. Each of them is worthy, but to me the defining moment of that game belongs to the Minister of Defense. Reggie's 3 sacks clinched the game, and seeing him tear around the Superdome with his first and only Lombardi Trophy gripped in his giant mitt will forever be the foremost image in my mind. As a sidenote: can you imagine being a quarterback and seeing this man charge at you? I mean, consider he's happy in this photo.

#1 Casillas drives an axe into Goldie's heart

I've never seen such a 180 in a student section. A game which was all but decided ended perfectly for the Badger football team when Jonathan Casillas blocked and recovered a punt in the endzone with less than a minute to go in the game for the lead over host Minnesota.

It was an unlikely turn of events. The Badgers trailed by 10 a mere minute earlier when John Stocco drove the offense in for a touchdown to bring it within 3. The raucus Gopher fanbase was unsettled, but hardly quieted. They continued to talk until Casillas stormed around the corner, blocked the kick, and saved the ball from rolling out of bounds for an insufficient safety. The ref's arms shot in the air.

That was when the student section stopped. Deflated is probably a better word, as all life seemed to have drained from the section. There were no chants of "You still suck!", no exhibits of frustration. They just stood and stared as every red-clad Badger fan absorbed their lost energy and celebrated. It was glorious. My favorite sports moment of all time.


8.27.2009

The thing about Waivers

Yesterday, foxsports.com reported that a number of Brewers players were placed on waivers. The players on that list include Centerfielder Mike Cameron, Infielder Craig Counsell, Closer Trevor Hoffman, Infielder Felipe Lopez and Catcher Jason Kendall. Basically, every veteran player on the roster.

Waiver claims will be made on a number of these players, and the front office of the Milwaukee Brewers will have to make some honest and realistic decisions about the future of this group.
So what can we reasonably expect the Crew to do with their veterans?

Mike Cameron: The Gold Glover might be the most likely player the Brewer to be dealt. It wouldn't be surprising if he clears waiver due to the size of his
contract and if that happens a number of contending teams might have an interest. Cameron is a plus defender and has good
pop in his bat. That said, he'll be 37 before the start of next year and the Brewers will not offer him arbitration because he'll receive a raise from the $10 million he made in 2009. Also, his strikeouts with runners on-base have been increasingly frustrating.

Craig Counsell: Unless Counsell asks to be traded (he won't) I don't expect to see him going anywhere. The main reason being, if he wants to play again next year the Brewers will almost certainly be interested in bringing him back. The team isn't going to be interested in trading anyone that they would like to bring back next year.

Trevor Hoffman: Which brings us to the Closer, Trevor Hoffman. Hoffman would certainly be a value to a team like Florida, who has struggled to close the door all season. But if Hoffman goes, who closes next year? He's a proven commodity who, if he pitches next season
(and it sounds like he will) will almost certainly have an interest in returning to the Brewers, and the Crew will have an interest in bringing him back. And if another team signs him, he'll likely be a type-A free agent, which means two extra draft picks.

Felipe Lopez: Lopez has been a hitting machine since coming over to Milwaukee in a July trade. He's a free agent at the end of the year, so why wouldn't the team move him again? They won't, for starters, the Crew will have to seriously consider trading Prince Fielder this offense as his value will never be higher. Also, Rickie Weeks is still an unproven commodity. I think the prospect of bringing him back next season might hold some appeal. Doug Melvin & Co. would just as soon take the draft picks for Lopez who will likely grade out as a type-B free agent.

Jason Kendall: Two months ago I would've said no way, Kendall will be back next year. Now, I'm not so sure. Realistically I expect that the Brewers will hold onto Kendall for the duration and re-sign him next year as a bridge to prospect Jon Lucroy. But the more and more Mike Rivera plays down the stretch the more you have to question that. Really though, what is Jason Kendall worth in the way of prospects? It's hard to quantify his value to a team which means you may not get a worthwhile return in any trade.

The thing about placing a player on waivers is... they don't mean much. Players are posted on waivers every year and very, very few of them actually get traded. If the Crew are serious about contending next season than it would be shocking to see Hoffman and Counsell move. Cameron and Kendall, who knows?

Five Great Moments I'll Never Forget: Dustin

When Lange first told me of this idea, I figured that this would be one of the easiest things that I could write about, as a few of my favorite moments instantly came rushing into my head. The problem though was the cut off point. So many great memories throughout my life, how could I possibly choose just five? I immediately scratched personal sports moments off the list (hole-in-one, state football), as no one else really cares. I finally picked my top 4, but had a tough choice for #5. Those that didn't make the cut but deserve mention are:

-Watching Prince collide with Todd Greene
-Watching Geoff Jenkin's last game as a Brewer
-Watching Ray Allen hit a buzzer beater in the playoffs
-Watching Carlos Lee's walkoff on Father's Day, with my Dad

Anyways, here are my top 5 sports moments!

#5 - Kyle Orton Goes Head Over Heels For Scott Starks
In a battle of unbeatens, Bucky and Purdue clashed in what turned out to be an instant classic. Purdue was just attempting to get a first down then run the clock out. It appeared like Purdue had it too after Orton rolled out in a naked bootleg. Then, one of those "miracle" plays happened. Kyle Orton out in the flats after crossing the first down line, gets hit low by Scott Starks, upending Orton, then another hit by Robert Brooks, jarred the ball loose. Starks picks up the ball and runs it in for the deciding and go ahead score.

The emotions from accepting defeat as I watched Kyle Orton cross the yellow line on TV, to a miraculous victory, all within seconds were overwhelming and intense. I was in a bar with a group of friends when it happened. We all start yelling in pure primal joy. I got hoisted/squeezed half to death by a friend (happened to be a bouncer to give you an idea). Myself and A. Guss rushed to our house and blared the Badger fight song and the "Budweiser" song outside of the house for all of Whitewater to hear. It was probably the best celebration I have ever been a part of. As the announcers on ESPN2 said, "what a cataclysmic turn of events". For Badger fans, a turn for the best.


#4 - My first trip to Lambeau Field. Green Bay Packers QB #4 (1992-2007) Carves the Defending Superbowl Champion Ravens on 10/14/2001
Sure, this is a personal experience, but I think most viewers of this blog can relate to, or at least be jealous of my experience. Not having ever been to Lambeau, I instantly jumped at the chance when a friend asked me to go. It was a beautiful October day, and we had pretty good seats, I think 13 rows up on the side of the end zone. Smelling the grills and watching the hustle and bustle of the small Green Bay city is an experience in itself, let alone when first walking in the (not yet remodeled) stadium and seeing the field for the first time. Experiencing the rush as the jets flew overhead before game time (just over a month since the 9/11 attacks) with the kickoff immediately following was absolutely amazing.

As if that wasn't enough, my childhood hero not named Michael Jordan had one of his best days of his (still ongoing) career. Green Bay QB # 4 (1992-2007) threw for 391 yards against the league's top defense and reigning champions. I had a perfect first Lambeau experience. I did get to watch the Pack take down the Bears on a classically frigid day in a nail-biter...but you'll never forget your first time! Even the brat I had was better. Yes, I actually remember eating my first Lambeau Field Brat!

#3 - The Badger's Road to the Final Four in 2000.
The ultimate moment is of course when the Badgers and their "boring" style of play beat Gene Keady's combover Boilermakers. As the clock ran to zero I was in sheer giddiness, and in just unbelievable shock as I watched the Badgers cut down the net. I titled this though, "The Road to the Final Four" because the whole tourney was an experience. I wasn't really expecting the Badgers to do all that much in 2000. I most certainly didn't expect that they could get past the mighty Arizona Wildcats in the 2nd round. When it was evident though, that the Badgers belonged in that game against 'Zona, I started catching the fever.

Nationally, they were a team of unknowns. Players named Mike Kelley, Mark Vershaw, Andy Kowske, Maurice Linton, Jon Bryant, Freddie Owens, Duany Duany etc... are not supposed to make it to the Final Four. A team that rarely scores more than 65 points, is not supposed to go to the Final Four. The rest of the country despised it, but I loved watching Dick Bennett's crushing defense dismantle each team. Of course I will always remember Jon Bryant's amazing hot streak of 3-pointers during the whole tournament. The Badgers were beaten by the eventual champions and conference foes, Michigan State, but my happiness was all but exceeded.

#2 - Packers Win Superbowl XXXI on January 26, 1997
This is the cliche pick, yes, but I was a huge, HUGE Packer fan during my middle and high school years (still am, but not as fanatic-y). The previous couple years prior, I watched as the Packers got progressively better, but just couldn't get past the mighty Cowboys. They didn't have to face Dallas though and made the Superbowl.

The 2nd offensive play for the Packers, literally left me jumping for joy. Watching "Bad Moon" Rison haul in that perfectly placed deep ball and the celebration that followed, you know the one that involved a player with his helmet raised in the air, well that moment perfectly summed up my own feelings. Then as things got tight later in the game, I was able to breath easy as Desmond Howard returned the Patriot's kickoff to all but prove that the Packers were in charge of that game. Reggie White then made sure of it, with three consecutive sacks. If there was ever a player in the history of the NFL who you could physically see "the want" of a championship, it was that game and Reggie White. Watching him run around with the Lombardi trophy in hand was an emotional moment for many.


#1 - Brewers Win the 2008 Wild Card
I actually sort of have a 2 moments in 1 with this, but I don't think it to be cheating as the whole final week of the 2008 MLB regular season helped to turn a 25 year old gray.

Moment 1 - Ryan Braun hits a walk-off grand slam against the Pirates. This was the first time I had seen a stadium erupt the way it did. a) a walk off, b) a grand slam, and c) playoff implications. Yeah, awesome!

Moment 2 - I scored tickets to the Saturday game against the Cubs. It was the second to last game of the season and the Crew had a chance to clinch. They didn't. I didn't have tickets to Sunday's game, and I was unemployed, so I couldn't really go spend money at a bar either, so instead, I just watched the final game at home by myself. That was probably for the best as well, because I was an absolute wreck for that whole game. Hanging on every CC pitch, and every swing of the bat. When the Mets/Marlins game came on, I was able to watch that as well since it was on ESPN, and was living and dying on every pitch in that game as well! Then it all fell into place, Ryan Braun hit the go ahead homerun for the Brewers, and in an odd sense of irony, the former Brewer that I probably made fun of the most during his Milwaukee tenure, Wes Helms, came through for the Marlins to help sink the Mets.

Watching as Miller Park went wild, listening to Rock's call of "YESSSSS, YESSS, YESSSSS", watching as Miller Park watched the Mets game on the jumbotron (I just got goosebumps writing this), the on-field celebration by the players sharing the moment with the fans....it was all surreal and amazing. Instead of jumping up and down and yelling in joy, I was speechless. I was sitting on the balls of my feet rocking back in forth with my hands folded over my mouth. The 26 year drought was over! Sure, there was no championship, but I didn't need a championship to feel 100% satisfied with the 2008 season.


8.26.2009

Five great moments I'll never forget: Lange

With our brand new forum for all things sports in the state of Wisconsin, we here at the tap thought we'd give you some insight into who we are. What better way to kick off a new site than with five moments in Wisconsin sports that we will never forget? Each of our writers will be sharing their top five moments and we'd love to hear yours too.

So here are my top five moments in my Wisco sports history.

5. Ron Dayne sets the NCAA Rushing record.

Any Badger football fan remembers vividly when Ron Dayne set the NCAA record for career rushing yards. This would se
em like a copout choice but as far as major sports moments go in the state of Wisconsin this has
to be one of the biggest. Why did I choose it? Because I had the good fortune to be there live. It was against the Iowa Hawkeye
s at the end of Dayne's Heisman
season. 68,000 people waving their #33 towels and watching as Dayne tore through the Iowa defense and set the record in the first half of the game.

4. Jon Bryant from the corner.

In 2000 the Wisconsin Badger basketball team made one of the most improbable runs to the final four of any team, ever. While most fans will remember Mike Kelley and the stifling team defense of Dick Bennett's squad as they handled LSU, Fresno State, Arizona and Purdue, I remember something distinctly different, Duany Duany and Jon Bryant nailing three-pointers in the corner against the Boilermakers. Every time Purdue made a run there was Bryant, from the corner with another big trey. And there I was, in my parent's basement (I was 16 at the time) cheering every time.

3. Scott Starks fumble return for a touchdown.

Fast forward to 2004, in a battle of undefeated teams the Wisconsin Badgers are taking on the Purdue Boilermakers in West Lafayette. The game was over, Bucky was out of timeouts and Purdue had the ball on third and short. All they had to do was get a first down and hold onto the ball. Kyle Orton rolls out, is helicoptered and fumbles the ball. Cornerback Scott Starks picks up the ball and runs it into the end zone to give the Badgers the lead and the win. This time I was at a sports bar on the west side of Madison, I was pumped and the bar went crazy. As far as great games in Bucky history, that ranks towards the top.



2. Ryan Braun's homer breaks 26 year playoff drought.

The home run that Ryan Braun hit against the Cubs in game number 162 of the 2008 season is easily the greatest Brewers moment that I've ever been able to experience. With C.C. Sabathia pitching late in a 1-1 game you knew that Brewers would win as long as they could get a couple of runs, you just knew that it could happen. Then up came Ryan Braun with a runner on and he jacked a no-doubter out to left-field. This one I celebrated with my wife in our crappy apartment in Duluth, MN... I seriously doubt that the neighbors had any idea what was going on.

1. Boston College puts a shot off the pipe as time expires.

In 2006, my Dad somehow managed to get a pair of tickets to the Frozen Four and National Championship game played in Milwaukee, at the Bradley Center. The tickets were row YY, which for anyone whose been to the Bradley Center, means we were sitting in the very last row. But it didn't matter, I've been going to Badgers hockey since I was born and I was getting a chance to see them play for a national title. As time would down and Bucky clung to a 2-1 lead, Boston College put the pressure on. With time running out BC put a shot by Badger goalie Brian Elliott, only it didn't go in, it went off the pipe and time expired. An inch to the right and the puck goes in, the game goes to overtime.

But it wasn't an inch to the right. It was off the pipe and out and the Badgers won the National Title in front of a decidedly pro-badger crowd. Amazing does not express what it was like to watch my favorite Badger team win a title live and in-person.


8.25.2009

Welcome, Grab a Frosty Mug & Enjoy

Do you like sports? Do you like sports teams based in Wisconsin? Do you like beer? Do you like talking about sports over a nice cold beer? Of course you do! And so do we!

As, two of the contributors from Sheffield's House (Lange & Dustin), we decided that there cannot be enough sports blogs dedicated to the topic of Wisconsin based sports, and thus have branched off. No, this isn't a mutiny, just a slightly different approach. So, we have teamed up with a couple of other friends, including our friend at Tepid Epics, to bring you more comprehensive stories, some humorous looks into current happenings, and perhaps even some off topic stories.

Below are some links to stories we have written:

JJ Hardy Traded for 1969 Chevy Camaro
Farm Report: T-Rats Special
New Brewer Nicknames
The Brewer Killer Lineup
Manny Parra's Inbox
Brewer's Rumor Mill
Brewer Players Potential Football Positions
The Swagger of Ryan Braun
The Bucks Strategy - Win Eventually

About Us

We are the Wisconsin Sports Fan and accordingly we all have some very strong opinions about what goes on in all sports in the great state of Wisconsin. We also like beer, hence the title.

What we hope to do here at the tap is provide another perspective on sports and occaisionally beer in the state of Wisconsin. Whether it's the Green Bay Packers, Wisconsin Badgers, Milwaukee Brewers and yes... even the Milwaukee Bucks we'll have an opinion on just about everything they do.

And like any good bar, we love to listen. Whether it's comments, emails or even tweets we want to hear from you. So sit back, put your feet up, and enjoy... The Tap is always open.

Contact Us

Have an idea for a story? Want to complain? We're here to listen. Email us at wisconsinsportstap@gmail.com

Just remember, anything that you email to us could be posted on our site!