The View From Wisconsin
Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Did some updating of my card lists, and that Whitey Ford Topps All-Time Fan Favorites Autographed card is still my MVC (Most Valuable Card) at $150. My MVC on the hockey side I may keep for a while - a Steve Yzerman Upper Deck Jersey card, currently valued at $30. Once he gets elected to the HHOF in 2009/2010, it may be worth more along the lines of Whitey's card.
Things I really do not get department: Upper Deck has listed on their website that many, if not all, of the cards numbered 501-670 in their 2005-06 Parkhurst hockey set are "1:1" - meaning that you are supposedly likely to get one of these cards per pack. I'm pretty sure I've railed before about "short-prints" of sports card products, in an effort to drive up value and scarcity. I'm just asking if it's too much to want to be able to complete a regular card set by buying packs/multi-packs/cello-packs?
Have we officially established that Turnbow and the Brewers bullpen are officially kaput? D-Blownsave has done that four times in July, going 0-4 with a 27.00 ERA and 3.857 WHIP ratio. 14 runs, 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings in nine apperances. Good night, see you in April.
Packer training camp is underway in Green Bay, as is the EAA Air Adventure/Convention in Oskhosh. This means, of course, that you travel north on US 41 at your own risk beyond Fond du Lac.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
- There is a downside to being able to pay your bills online. One of my oil company credit cards decided to stop taking online payments via CheckFree back on July 1, but I was under the (mistaken) impression that I'd be able to make one more payment before they did so. Surprise, surprise, my bill for July came back with a huge balance, a late fee, and finance charges. So, now I'm waiting for my payment to be registered, and then call the company back and ask if I can get those charges taken off.
- I'm also waiting on the new copy of SOM Hockey on CD-ROM - and a new remote for our upstairs TV/DVD/VCR combo. The worst part about ordering stuff online is the waiting for it to show up in your mailbox or at your door.
- I'm into collecting the 2005-06 Parkhurst Hockey set (a Fleer knockoff by Upper Deck), and was actually rewarded with an "authentic autograph" card. It wasn't anyone special, though - Brad Winchester of the Oilers. His only notable action this year was that he carried off an octopus thrown onto the ice during the Wings-Oilers CQF series this year. I do like the overall design of the set, though not having more than just stats on the back (no vitals or anything) is a bit strange.
- In response to a situation last week where my wife ended up late for work because of a brief power outage, I bought one of those Emerson self-setting clocks. In a few minutes, I'll get to see if the alarm works for my wife.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
- I am officially on a diet, as of last week Thursday. A visit to the dietitian put me on a track to count carbs and calories, watch portion sizes and monitor when I eat. Not an easy task, but I'm at a point with my A1C levels that I need to help my body process carbs as best I can. I've at least lost a few pounds already, which is a plus.
- The implosion of the Brewers has begun. We've lost four in a row and six of our last eight. Derrick Turnbow has gone from flamethrower to firestarter. We can't keep a lead to save our lives. Even scoring six-seven runs doesn't guarantee victory. I fully expect Carlos Lee to be gone to some other NL contender by the trade deadline.
- I got the postcard this past week from the Admirals, featuring the four previous incarnations of team logos: the original "skater on an oval", the cutesy "skatin' sailor", the famous "skating Admiral", and the current logo. The font of the announcement was vaguely Pirates of the Carribean-ish, which makes me suspicious. In a little bubble to the right, there's a note that says, "The First 2,000 fans will get a commemorative cup and all kids will receive a FREE Jibbit for your Crocs!!" I'm officially worried that we're going to a pirate ship theme in 2007.
- Summer has come to Wisconsin full-tilt. We had all those consecutive days last week of 90+ degree (farenheit) temps, and it was absolutely miserable. It's cooled down, but I think some people are leaving their AC on in fear that the temps will shoot up again. Last week Saturday was a record-setter, as WE Energies reported the largest power usage on one day in state history.
- Meanwhile, Saint Louis, MO and Queens, NY are experiencing blackouts at the absolutely worst possible times of the year. Incredible heat and no power are a deadly combination.
- Is it just me, or did Discovery look a little like something that Luke Skywalker would call "a hunk of junk"? Those black marks along the side of the fuselage, and what looks like some "creative" tile placement doesn't make me eager to go up in the next shuttle mission.
- I honestly do NOT know what is going on in Long Island, but Neil Smith must have been scared off like a spooked jackrabbit to leave the way he did. Unfortunately, Ted Nolan will be getting the rep of being a GM killer yet again. And what is Wang on, thinking that Garth Snow is GM material?
- Apparently, the next owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins will be a financier based in, of all places, Hartford. The Pens have apparently told the combination of Dan Marino and Mark Cuban, "Thanks, but no thanks." I don't think that the Cuban/Marino partnership would have been all that and a bag of chips, so I honestly believe this could be a good move in the ongoing struggle to keep the Pens in Pittsburgh.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
I've made some jokes about the "pink stick" and everything, but this trade just floors me.
Scott was the last of the "original" Predators players - the ones who were on the ice when Nashville played game number one in the NHL on October 10, 1998.
This trade is right up there with the Dunham trade, the Fitzgerald trade, and the Ronning trade as ones that we never saw coming.
Well, actually, we kinda knew it might happen - but didn't expect it to happen now.
This is going to take a while to process.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
A word of notice before you read this: I was at the dreaded 2002 All-Star Game in Milwaukee. With that revelation (and that I also read Paul White's article in last week's USAToday Sports Weekly), here's my ten suggestions as to how they can improve this game.
1. Dump the "It Counts" schtick. The AL hasn't benefited more than usual because of their success in the All-Star Game. Keep the mandate that there needs to be a winner in the game, but that home field in game seven of the World Series aren't the stakes. Home field in the WS, by the way, should go to the team with the best record of the league champions – not the team whose All-Star Squad won the midsummer classic. And no, I'm not bitter because I'm in a National League city. Really.
2. Switch the format to USA against the World. It's already the method used in the Futures Game; since we've already decided not to play for home field in the World Series, why not play up the World Baseball Classic angle? And, as an added bonus, during years where the WBC is played, have the WBC championship game be played instead of the Futures Game – the night before the All-Star Game.
3. Get the rotation of teams/cities hosting the game tightened up. There's quite a few teams and cities that have yet to host the game; let them take their turn at hosting the showcase event. Phoenix, Miami, Tampa, the Mets and the Twins should get one of the next six to eight games.
4. Give the players a choice in who plays. In the last week of voting, the MLBPA circulates ballots and has the players vote – online or otherwise. If the players' selections for the teams matches the fans, great. If they don't, both players are named to the team. Let the players choose one starter and one closer for the team as well.
5. Use the DH, regardless of the venue. Call this the "Travis Hafner" rule if you will, but truth be told: in an All-Star Game, you don't want to see the pitcher batting. The AL has the designated hitter as a position; let that "position" get elected to the game and allow the NL manager to use any one of his non-starters to play DH.
6. Forget the "each team needs a rep" rule – except the host team. As much as this rule aids in the sales of All-Star Game merchandise, it doesn't do anything for the managers who are trying to win a ballgame. Realistically: would it be better to have a guy like Travis Hafner, who's playing lights-out as the Indians DH, or Mark Redman of the Royals – who has a whopping 5.35 ERA with a 6-4 record? The only part of this rule that should remain intact is the home team; the home crowd needs someone to cheer on, regardless of how few players may be deserving from their squad.
7. Tighten up the rosters – you don't need 35-36 guys on the team. Since we've guaranteed that only the best of the best will be there, you don't need to have 35 players on the squad. Cut it back to 30, maybe 32 if there are injuries.
8. Allow for two position players to return to the game after the eighth inning. One spot can be reserved for the catcher, while the other can be for a PH or DH. Imagine that it's late in the game, and a team is ahead in the game by a couple of runs. All of a sudden, in a Kirk-Gibson-like manner, the big star who was already pulled from the game earlier comes back to pinch hit. Boom, game winning homer, we all go home happy.
9. Extend the All-Star Break by a day. Play the game on Wednesday evening, and allow the Futures Game to have its own full day on its own (Monday night), followed by the Home Run Derby. The Celebrity Softball game can be put in the Futures Game slot on Sunday afternoon. Don't schedule any games on Thursday, and mandate that no game can begin earlier than 5:00 PM local time on Friday night.
10. Make sure the Home Run Derby has the home run hitters. Have the four leaders in HR in each league – whether or not they are All-Stars or not – appear in the HR Derby. Then, include the player with the next highest HR total from each league that is on the AS roster in the competition.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
The Village of Pewaukee sent one of their meter guys out to put a new water meter in my condo unit. I had no idea where the meter was, but the guy said it's usually right by the water shutoff valve.
That put an "uh oh" on my lips. The water main shutoff is hidden up and behind a panel in my basement - one that is nailed shut on the wall.
I discovered that this framed section of the paneling in the basement was for just that specific purpose - to allow access to the meter and water main valves.
Unfortunately, that meant having to take the "framed" pieces off of the wall to allow the panel to slide out. And, as is typical when you're de-constructing things, something ends up breaking. That's exactly what happened to the lower piece of the frame. It snapped right in two as we were prying it off the wall.
The new meter is in and everything's okay (for now). I'm going to see if perhaps somewhere down the road I could just make a door where the panel is currently located, so it could just be opened and shut as needed.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Jason Arnott, the guy who scored the Cup-winning goal for New Jersey in 2000, is now a member of the Nashville Predators.
Pardon me while I mop up all this drool over thinking of a line of Sullivan, Arnott and Kariya...