Friday, July 10, 2009

Sports Tidbits

It's a library blog, so I won't spend too much time on this, but I do enjoy sports, playing and watching, so I have to pop in with these observations from time to time.
  • The baseball season is WAAYYYY too long. 162 games is absolutely preposterous. 120 would be just fine, allow the season to start later and end earlier, and improve the overall product since less players would break down over the course of the season. It will never happen, of course, because the owners and the league would lose 25% of their revenue, but still.
  • Ken Macha is doing a fine job with the Brewers. I agree with nearly all of the moves he's made and his calm, calculated approach to the game is a welcome breather from the tightly wound anxiety of Ned Yost. The one move I don't agree with? Having Carlos Villanueva pitching as a late reliever, occasionally even in the closer role. Villanueva is a pretty good pitcher, with some good value as a long reliever (as a former starter, he can go two or three innings semi-regularly). But he is not a closer. Or even the set up guy to the closer. Case in point, last night, when Manny Parra, recently returned from a stint in the minors, pitched brilliantly and left the game after seven innings with a precarious 1-0 lead. Enter Carlos V., supposed set up man and alternate closer. A single and a triple later, the score is tied and the flood gates are open. Brewers lose 5-1. Ugh.
  • It is appearing more and more likely that Brett Favre will play as a Minnesota Viking next year. Unbelievable. I cannot remember a sports icon so firmly and consistently determined to trash EVERYTHING about his legacy. Two years ago, Brett Favre was a demi-god in Wisconsin and everywhere Packer nation has taken root. He was, arguably, the most popular Wisconsin sportsfigure ever-- though fans of Lombardi, Starr, and Yount might disagree. But now? The hissy fits, the Diva stomp offs, the high school histrionics and communication via cell phone. The lies, the exaggerations, the stated desire to get back at Ted Thompson no matter the cost, fans be damned. It is breathtaking. In a year-and-a-half, Favre has managed to go from beloved icon to a disliked, even hated, representative of all that is wrong in sports. And now he will likely not only play against the Packers but with one of their two biggest rivals. He will be booed at Lambeau field. Loudly and lustily I suspect. And he'll have earned all of the ill will, derision and scorn that will be heaped upon his back by people who used to adore him. Unbelievable and unbelievably sad. He could have retired as the most popular guy in the state and one of the classiest, most down to earth guys ever to have played the game. Instead, his legacy as a great QB will always be tainted by his classlessness, his disregard for the fans, his narcissism and his small-minded vindictiveness.
  • As a contrast to Favre and his "me, me, look at me, aren't I great, me!" attitude, I watched the Wimbledon Final last weekend. Good heavens what a match. I cannont imagine how crushing it must have been for Andy Roddick to have played that well, for that long against the best tennis player ever... and to lose. To have his serve broken once--once!-- in five sets... and to lose. And yet afterwards he showed tremendous class and sportsmanship. He acknowledged the fans and he lauded Federer. To borrow a British expression-- it was Brilliant!
Go Brewers! Go Packers!

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