Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ned's Wednesday Meltdown!

This about says it all about Ned Yost's meltdown on Wednesday night against the Cardinals...

Ned Yost: Punk’d!
By Bernie Miklasz
09/27/2007 1:55 am
Watching Wednesday’s Cardinals-Brewers game, I half expected Ashton Kutcher and the crew from MTV to hop over the railing at the Milwaukee dugout to tell Ned Yost that it was all a setup by Tony La Russa, and that he should laugh at the joke, calm down and keep his focus on managing the Brew Crew to a victory.
Instead, Yost went vigilante, and what ensued was a baseball version of the MTV show, Punk’d. Stunned, we watched Yost lose his marbles, lose the game, and probably lose a chance to win the NL Central division title.
It came down to this: with the Brewers trailing only 3-2 in the 8th, Yost brought a nondescript, disposable reliever into the game to pop STL’s Albert Pujols with a pitch in obvious retaliation for the Cardinals’ earlier plunking of Cecil Fielder.
Fielder getting hit was most likely a carryover from prior hostilities in the first two games of the series - including Milwaukee pitcher Jeff Suppan buzzing Pujols’ jawline with a possibly errant fastball.
When Brad Thompson responded 24 hours later by targeting Prince, Yost went looney tunes.
That Yost could lapse into such horrible judgement with so much at stake for his franchise is beyond belief. The first-place Cubs had already lost at Florida, and with a win, the Brewers would have moved within one game of the lead with four games remaining.
At that point, 100 percent of Yost’s focus should have been on defeating the battered Cardinals and shaving a game off the Cubs’ lead.
Instead, Yost called for the hit on Pujols. Laughably, Yost denied it later. OK, Ned, if you didn’t order the HBP on Albert, then why did you have another RHP warming up, well in advance, ready to enter the game the second your designated hit man got tossed? Answer: Yost had to have a reliever ready, because the ump had issued a warning to both dugouts earlier, meaning that any drilling would result in immediate ejection of the offending pitcher and manager.
As soon as the pitch struck Pujols on the back, the home-plate umpire ejected Yost and the no-name pitcher. And Pujols trotted to first base to start a four-run padding that put Milwaukee away. (Final score 7-3).
Yost blew a gasket and Milwaukee blew a critical opportunity to leap closer to the Cubs. Instead, the Brewers remained two behind, with time running out.
As John Rooney said on the Cardinals’ KTRS broadcast: “This is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen a manager do.”
Remarkably, this was Yost’s third ejection by an umpire in the last four games. His team is scrapping to stay alive, and Yost’s way of demonstrating leadership is to keep getting expelled from games? Is this guy cracking under pressure, or what?
I can’t believe Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, who has dramatically increased payroll over the last three years, will keep Yost as manager if the Brewers go down. At one stage Yost had an 8.5-game lead in the division, but the stress has consumed him.
In early August, Yost snapped at one of the Brewers’ young players, then was confronted and shown up by two veteran Brewers, including career malcontent Johnny Estrada, in the dugout. Yost’s credibility has continued to deteriorate.
La Russa, no angel, is an expert at gamesmanship and he took Yost to school by raising the ante in this little game of manager vs. manager macho posturing.
It began Monday, the day after Yost embarrassed himself by getting bounced in a 7-4 loss to Atlanta. The Brewers fumbled a 4-1 lead in that one and Yost blamed the umpires for the loss. Said crew chief Ed Montague: “He should look in the mirror.”
Instead of being content to beat up on the Cardinals Monday night, the inexplicably confrontational Yost continually yapped at umpires throughout Monday’s 13-5 Brewers’ win until getting the heave-ho by an ump. The Brewers were up 12-2 at the time of Yost’s ejection.
In managerial circles it’s considered poor protocol to take on the umpires for gratuitous reasons when your team has a huge lead. Yost went there anyway, and that pushed La Russa into his famous “Don Tony” mode.
And no one messes with Don Tony. The Brewers got a sample when right fielder Corey Hart was nailed by a pitch in the back Tuesday. That led to Suppan’s near shave of The Mang. Next, Fielder had the bullseye as Don Tony clearly baited his hot-headed rival. (Didn’t these guys used to be pals?)
Instead of worrying about his team’s fate, Yost stroked his own ego and insisted on throwing the last rock at La Russa. And in doing so, Yost undermined his team’s chances of winning a must-have game. It’s incomprehensible, but Cubs manager Lou Piniella must appreciate how La Russa, his old boyhood chum, did such a psychological number on Yost.
When it comes to mind games, Don Tony usually prevails. Not always - Dusty Baker got the best of La Russa in September, 2003 - but most of the time.
When the mind games resumed Wednesday night, Yost lost his. Mind, that is.
Ashton Kutcher and MTV weren’t there, but Yost was Punk’d by La Russa.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Mascot Justice!

Who's inside the KC Wolf mascot costume? Lt. Frank Drebin from The Naked Gun? The mascot "assisted" stadium security at last Sunday's game against the Vikings.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Football Ramblings...

Here's a few rambling thoughts from this weekend on the gridiron...

Preps...When's the last time that Fond du Lac and St. Mary's Springs were both 0-4 to start a year? I bet you'd have to go back to at least the 1960s for that stat. Both teams will be very hardpressed to qualify for the post season with where they stand now.

As for Fondy, even though they came up short Friday night against Appleton East, you saw some positive signs from coach Koz's squad. The Cards made a few changes on offense that seemed to have given them some life. Sophomore Tucker Reimer was inserted at quarterback, Joe Bertram was moved to a half-back and freshman Miles Groeshel was also inserted into the starting lineup. Talking to many of the old timers, Groeshel may be the first true freshman to play on the varsity in a long, long, long time. With the changes Fondy added some speed to the outside from their backs, and added a little bit more passing ability from the QB, which will be great for this team....if not this year, in the next two seasons.

As for the Ledgers, sitting at 0-2, Bob Hylands' squad will have to dig deep if they want to make a run at the playoffs. They have to get to 4-3 in the Flyway to get to the post season. The Ledgers will be favored against Lomira and North Fond du Lac, but then must win two of three against Laconia, WLA, and a very good Kettle Moraine Lutheran team. If they don't it will be two straight years outside of the post season for St. Mary's Springs.

On to college...The Badgers looked awful on Saturday against The Citadel. I was expected a lot more out of the defense this year. So far they haven't gotten much pressure on the quarterback and as always, the spread is torching them. How can a QB from The Citadel go 13 of 16 against UW in the 1st half? Brutal! Wisconsin's only saving grace could be that the Big Ten is so bad that they may still be OK.

The Packers are 2-0. I didn't think there was anyway Green Bay would be 2-0 at this point. When the schedule came out I thought it would be another slow start...possibly 1-5 heading into the Bye with the long win being Washington at home. After an ugly win against the Eagles and a whipping of a lifeless Giants team, Green Bay sits at 2-0 heading into Sunday's game with the Chargers at Lambeau. I'm not getting too excited yet, as I still see this team as a .500 squad, but stealing a win against the Eagles, and winning on the road, could somehow push Green Bay into a playoff berth. Also, watching rookie DeShawn Wynn run makes you think he could be a decent NFL back. In limited action, he has shown the ability to make the first tackler miss. He's a big guy with sweet feet, and could be a productive player. Remember he was considered the best high school back in the country when he went to Florida.

OK....that's it for now....have a great day!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Don't Dog Teddy T!

Hey I'm back after 6 months in the Amazon jungle to add to my blog...and I'll start with the Packers. Somehow the Packers were able to squeeze out a 16-13 win over the Eagles in the opener on Sunday at Lambeau. I really think they did it with mirrors because the offense was so bad, but then again, a win is a win and it doesn't matter how they got it. The defense rocked and the special teams was huge...well at least they took advantage of the junior high level return game of the Eagles.

OK, now on to my point. On the various Packer post game shows and also in the office this morning, people continue to bash GM Ted Thompson for the way he is building the team. People complain that he hasn't done anything for Brett Favre as he is in the twilight of his career. It boggles my mind how fans wanted Ted to go sign Randy Moss or some other high priced veteran to add to the mix, to help Brett go out a winner. This team isn't going to the Super Bowl with our without Randy Moss, so why would you mortage the chemistry of a young team to bring a guy like that in. Yes, Moss had a huge opening week, but lets see how the whole year plays out.
If you read my blog from back in April...hey, it was my last blog...I'm a lazy piece of garbage, I know....I was evening questiong why Ted didn't trade for Moss and instead took James Jones...well, it turns out, I may want Jones more than Moss on the team now, simply because Jones has shown that he could be a starter for the next decade on this team. Same goes for Brandon Jackson, he hasn't been horrible. Granted, he can't pick up a blitz, but there is potential there.

To say Thompson did nothing for Favre is a lie. In 2006 he drafted him an entire new offensive line and this year he took a running back in round 2 and a receiver in round 3. What more do you want? Let's trade for Ladanian Tomlinson, or how about bring in Larry Johnson as well, and while we're at it, trade for Marvin Harrison and bring Anthony Munoz out of retirement to protect his backside.

I'm on the Thompson bandwagon and believe in what he's doing with the team. Mike Sherman left the roster in such a mess that he had to break it down and build it back up. He's building a defense first, so you can win games 16-13 when the offense sputters.

Ted Thompson has a plan, and he won't move away from the plan even if it ticks off fans of Brett Favre who want veteran stars around the future Hall of Famer. If he does, it will just stunt the growth of the franchise, which will hopefully bring Green Bay back to the top of the NFL.