The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Cheeseheads, Red Wings and Choosing Sides

When I was driving home from my dentist appointment on Wednesday, I noticed that there was a car in the lane ahead of me on Bluemound that was driving a bit slow. It appeared that the gentleman who was driving the car didn't quite know where he was going. When I saw the license plate, I knew exactly why:


He was from "Cudahy, dere hey."

On to less important things:

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Badger Babes On Skates = CHAMPIONS!


Let's make it two-for-two...

(And they did - thanks Jack!)

Cinderella's Still Dancing

I want to meet anyone - anyone - who actually had George Mason in their Final Four brackets.

On to what's important:

Fifteen Years Ago

Fifteen years ago…

…no one would be screaming bloody murder when an out-of-town announcer mispronounced the name of a player on your local sports team.

…if you would have told someone that not only would there be four NHL teams in the southeastern United States, but that one of the teams would be the defending league champions – you'd have been laughed at.

…being a fan of a major pro sports team that wasn't in your area usually meant videotaping ESPN's SportsCenter and praying that they'd post more than only the results of last night's game.

…you had to hunt around to try to find a jersey from your favorite sports team, if you weren't priviledged enough to live in the same zip code.

…the only way you found out about some up-and-coming player in a sport was either via a brief comment in SI's Faces In The Crowd or by some short mention on ESPN.

…trying to manage either NCAA brackets or a Rotisserie League team (it wasn't called "fantasy sports" back then) was a long and tedious task.

…if you ran into a pro sports player in a bar, you couldn't verify that you actually met him – nor could you tell anyone except your closest buddies, who were probably there with you.

…collecting sports memorabilia meant going to card collecting shows, shilling out some cash to get someone like Pete Rose or Brent Fullwood to scribble their autograph on a piece of paper. Game-worn stuff was nearly out of the question. And forget about caps or jerseys from 20 to 30 years before; unless you knew some obscure company based on the east coast, you'd never be able to get one.

…short of actually sitting down and watching videotapes all day, there was no way you'd be able to tell exactly why your favorite sports team was tanking in close games.

…your choices for news about your favorite team's minor league system was either USA Today or (if you could actually find it on sale anywhere) Baseball America or The Hockey News.

…you couldn't find much non-sanctioned college sports info out there, short of the local newspapers in the college towns – and even that was unreliable.

…trying to find out how a particular player did in a particular situation at a previous point in his career meant having to either drag out books or magazines, or take a trip to the library to scan the microfiche, praying you could find a boxscore.

…there was no such thing as professional women's team sports.

…by the time you heard a rumor about a player on your team, it wasn't a rumor anymore.

…people were skeptical that places like Phoenix, Arizona and Miami could sustain multiple professional sports franchises.

…a newspaper devoted entirely to sports was not just a novelty, it was unsustainable.

…if there was a player or a team in your favorite sport, located in another country, you didn't find out about their performance until months after the fact.

…the idea of a player from outside of North America playing in one of the four major pro team sports was unheard of.

…only big cities like New York, Philly and LA had "sports-talk" radio stations. Other cities had only an hour or two of some ex-jock or sportscaster doing a talk show with local fans on the station that held the broadcast rights for the team.

…if you didn't have cable, you were mostly in the dark as to what was happening in the sports world.

…if you traveled a lot, you were mostly in the dark about what happened to your team while you were gone.

…the only time you ran into idiotic fans was in the concourses of the stadiums when you were heading off to your seats.

Monday, March 20, 2006

10 Changes

Now that the Marquette Interchange reconstruction project is reaching its halfway point, now's a good time to start looking at what else needs to be done to the freeways in Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin.

Just off the top of my head, I came up with a list of 10 things that really should be done to the Milwaukee freeway system.

As a driver that uses the system on a regular basis, I can verify that these are definitely needed changes.

1. Construct a HOV lane on both the North-South and East-West Freeways. The HOV lane would extend in three directions – North on I-43 from the Appleton Avenue (formerly Park Freeway) exit to the Ozaukee County line; South on I-94/43 over the High-Rise Bridge to the Airport, all the way south to the Racine County line; and West on I-94 to the Waukesha County line. The HOV lane could be made reversible or even a "zipper" lane, allowing the flow of traffic to be altered during rush hours.

2. Make the section of the East-West Freeway between State Fair Park (STH-181) and the Stadium Freeway a double-decked Freeway. The bottlenecks on this stretch are horrible, especially before and after Brewers games and during the morning/afternoon rush hours. Since the lanes can't be expanded, due to the cemetary on both sides between Hawley and Miller Park, the only way to go is to stack the freeways. Have one or two lanes in each direction be exclusive "HOV" lanes, with one of the lanes being an express lane from the Zoo Interchange to the Miller Park Way exit.

3. Eliminate the exit from STH-100 Eastbound onto I-94. This on-ramp has been the cause of numerous accidents and needless merging delays onto the I-894 bypass. The single-quadrant interchange worked back in the days when there wasn't much traffic on the bypass, but this exit is just a nuisance. Route the traffic to the National Avenue exit onto I-894 instead.

4. Expand the southbound ramp from I-94 East to I-894 East/US 45 South to more than one lane. The single-lane ramp causes more merging delays as trucks slow down, not only because of the curve, but because of the resulting merging issues for National Avenue and STH 59. There just is not enough room for traffic to safely get on to the Zoo Freeway, and this change, along with the following proposal, would alter that.

5. Eliminate the onramp from I-894 East/US 45 South to National Avenue. This is another reason for the bottlenecks at the Zoo Interchange. If there was no exit at National Avenue, there would be room for traffic to merge onto I-894 from I-94. The other option would be to move the ramp to the south side of National Avenue – and that wouldn't make the problem any better. Route the National Avenue traffic down to the next exit.

6. Change the on-ramps from I-94 East to US 45 North, and I-894 West/US 45 North to I-94 West, from left side to right side ramps. This may mean construction of new bridges through the Zoo Interchange, but it will cut down on traffic issues where cars and trucks are trying to merge onto the Zoo or East-West Freeway.

7. Consider connecting the Stadium and Fond du Lac Freeways. The current level of traffic on both the Zoo Freeway and the East-West Freeway needs to be relieved in some manner. A "completion" of the Stadium Freeway to Fond du Lac Avenue would help that – and let's be honest; the section of Milwaukee that the freeway would be routed isn't exactly prime real estate at the moment. Of all the things on this list, this one's the most far-fetched, because of the cost and required real estate purchasing.

8. Make an off-ramp on the Airport Spur to the Amtrak Station on South 6th Street. If WisDOT wants people to use the Hiawatha to go to Chicago, they need to make it easy for people to do it. The way to do this is to make the station accessible from the spur.

9. Convert the Zoo Freeway to Interstate. It doesn't matter if it's renamed I-41, I-143, or I-594 – the highway between Hales Corners and the Fox Cities has been a freeway for years. It's time it finally got upgraded from being a US highway.

10. Consider electronic tolling for the HOV lanes around the system. If people want the convenience of being able to travel in the express lanes to and from downtown, have 'em pay for it. You want that trip from the country line to downtown to stay at 10 minutes all day? Get a transponder box, pay $10 a month, and you've got it. This would be easy to do in conjunction with the construction of the HOV lanes, right off the bat. I'd be against doing this for the bypass, or the Zoo Freeway - but if Milwaukee County really wants to be able to pay for these changes, this is one way to do it. Once the bonds and debt are retired on the freeway repairs, consider removing the electronic tolling.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

This That & Another Thing

The brackets are out.

No, not those brackets; the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey brackets.

Wisconsin is the #1 seed, set to face Bemidji State in the first round on the road to Milwaukee. The only thing keeping the UW faithful from a trip down I-94 is either Cornell or Colorado College, in the other part of their bracket.

Meanwhile, in other things:

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Financial Karma 101: On the same day that you get word that you're going to be getting a raise, your credit card company informs you you're approaching your credit limit.

The good news, thanks to the IRS, is that I can solve problem B while I wait (wait wait wait wait wait) for not-a-problem A to happen.

It does mean I'm not going to be getting anything new for a while, though.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Waiting on Witt

All right, it's "the day".

The trading deadline is 3:00 PM ET today, and everyone's favorite blogger, Eklund, has already claimed that Washington D Brendan Witt is headed to the Predators today.

Since numerous trades were accomplished overnight (including Jose Theodore and David Aebischer trading spaces in net for the Habs and Avs), I half-expected to see the trade announced this morning.

I still have the feeling that the trade isn't going to happen, but the Predators are behind the eight-ball right now.

On to other things:

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Books, Classics and Such

Okay, call me crazy, but I'm actually getting into the World Baseball Classic. Of course, it might be because the Far East group (Group A) is playing while I'm normally up. I do feel sorry for the Mets, who have twelve of their players playing in the WBC. I don't feel sorry for the Orioles, though - think that Bud may have tweaked it a bit that they got 11 players sent off to the Classic?

There are all sorts of rumors floating around about the Predators and trades, most of them centering around Brendan Witt. With the injuries to Mark Eaton and Yanic Perreault, however, David Poile is caught in a position he generally doesn't like - trading from a position of weakness. In the past, when Poile is forced into a position such as this, he doesn't make any trades. That is going to hurt, especially considering that Scott Walker and Vern Fiddler are still out. Fiddler would have been the logical choice to replace Perreault, but it's more likely he would have been the designated scratch on a regular basis.

I finally sat down and read through the book, Left Behind, by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. A couple of things about the book really got to me - the feeling that Rayford Steele had in discovering half his family was gone, and the absolute sinister nature of how Carpathia took power. I don't really have a desire to read the other 11 books in the series, but after completing this book, I feel like my faith has been strengthened.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Last Time

This is more than likely the last time I'm ever going to do any web-surfing on my old Gateway, as the next time I turn it on will be to wipe it.

I've had this thing since November of 2002 - way back when Gateway still had "stores" that they sold their "custom made computers" from. That store is now a mini-mall with a Starbucks.

Not a bad transition for a place that used to be a car dealership; in fact, when you went into the old Gateway store, you could tell it was an old car dealership by the front lobby. The door was big enough to drive a car through.

Anyways... this thing has served me well, but it's proven to be way too buggy for my liking. Part of me suspects that the Sasser worm may have snuck on to the machine without me knowing/realizing, but I can't verify that because Norton says everything's okay. (shrug)

Leroy "Satchel" Paige always had that quote: "Don't look back, something might be gaining on you."

That may very well be the case with this old 300S.