It usually takes me a strong six week committment to getting in better shape. Started last Monday on a run that has me eating better and working out more.. The goal is to lose 20 pounds.. Ive done this before but for one reason or another,the weight usually returns. It sucks.. Trying to eat healthy is the toughest part. Taco Bell is my biggest weakness.. But then again, i cant start eating rice cakes to drop the pounds.. There is only so much salad I can eat.. Im a horrible cook.I dont want to drop beer but iam trying to scale back on my biggest weakness,soda.. ill let you know how it works out but dropping LB's in your 40s is challenging. Its an on going battle.. But taking it day by day and fighting thru the urges is the toughest part.
Its Tuesday so I'll step aside for Tuesday's Brewer Blog with Andrew Dunn-Bauman
Five Certainties for the Brew Crew
The 2014 Brewers are a difficult team to gauge in terms of potential...with so many questions marks surrounding this team from fans and pundits alike, here are my 5 things “guaranteed” to happen for the Crew in 2014:
#1: Aramis Ramirez hits .250 or lower through the month of April
Ramirez has been a traditionally slow starter throughout his career. Last year he shocked the world hitting .385 headed into May...but that was after appearing in just four games in April due to a knee injury. I fully expect another slow start from Ramirez this season, which translates into added pressure on Ryan Braun. Braun needs protection in the lineup, and a lack of early production from Ramirez could turn ugly if Braun starts pressing and expanding his zone. Combine this with circus that will undoubtedly surround Braun all season long and...
#2: Ryan Braun doesn’t hit .300
Braun averages 36 home runs per 162 games with a .312 lifetime batting average, but this is the year his production dips. Despite the calm, cool, collected vibe he effortlessly and constantly emits, there’s just too much pressure on him this year. Baseball is a game best played in a clear frame of mind, and that’s going to be next to impossible for Braun this season. He obviously has a lot to prove; to the MLB, to his teammates, and most importantly to the fans of Milwaukee. It’ll be tough to keep that weight off his mind when digging into the box.
I think he will still hit 30 homers this season, taking some healthy cuts to prove the banned substances he took weren’t boosting his power numbers, but the homers will come at the expense of his batting average. Between the pressure this season will bring and the necessity for some new (legal) medication for all of his nagging injuries, I can’t envision a season where Braun goes for .300/30 again.
#3: Ron Roenicke will underutilize the expansion of Instant Replay
For those of you concerned about games slowing down too much with the addition of manager challenges, making nearly all plays reviewable, fear not about the Brewers manager doing his part to slow down the proceedings. “I don’t need anything to make my job more difficult. And this is going to be more difficult,” Roenicke said of the replay expansion. “I don’t know if you need to replay something when you need five angles and super-slow-motion to see it. I don’t care about those plays. I care about the obvious ones that can change a game.”
That doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement of the new replay system, and seeing as Roenicke is not one to hop out and argue with umpires too often, I don’t see him challenging plays as often as most managers will this season.
#4: Team ERA drops from 3.84 last season
For the Brewers to be successful this year, team pitching needs to be a strength. The Crew posted a 3.84 team ERA last season, middle of the pack in the MLB at 16th. However, the staff seemed to figure things out a bit after the All-Star break, posting a 3.42 ERA in the second half of the season. The team returns most of its bullpen this year, and bolstered its starting rotation with the addition of Matt Garza. Yovanni Gallardo and Kyle Lohse both figure to be solid mainstays in the rotation, and having Marco Estrada as the number five starter (who posted a 3.87 ERA last season) is a situation almost any team would be happy with.
Wily Peralta is the “X” factor on this club. He had a very rocky start to 2013, but managed to turn things around, posting a 3.15 from July 1st onward. He showed the capability to go deep into ballgames, something the bullpen will desperately need as the season wears on, and has the potential to be a standout performer in his second season in the bigs. I see him shining this year in the middle of a very stable rotation, and therefore....
#5 The Brewers make the playoffs
Don’t get me wrong. The Crew has no shot at winning the NL Central. Barring something catastrophic, the Cardinals will take the division crown once again. And even if they falter, most people have the Brewers pegged as the third most likely candidate to challenge them in the division. There’s just too much competition. The NL Central could quite possibly be the best division in baseball this season, and with two Wildcard spots in each league, I see three NL Central teams making the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
The Brewers will have to duel it out with the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates for a wildcard spot, but with an improved pitching staff and an unsuspended Ryan Braun, I see them sneaking into the playoffs with 90 wins.
It’s sure to be a highly entertaining season in Milwaukee and in the NL Central, and I’m more than ready for the season to get underway. With another “polar vortex” settling in this week, I know you are too.
The Badgers are back. What a week!! Capped off with a win at Iowa on Saturday,the Badgers are gearing themselves up for a high seed for the NCAA Tournament. They were never as good as a one seed but were not as bad as the stretch that had them losing five of six. No one in the country has beaten more top 25's than the Badgers.
One thing with Wisconsin is that they have a very short bench and no one in the Big Ten logs more minutes for its starters than the Badgers. Health is the utmost importance for a team so dependent on its starters. All the pieces are there,including potential "home games" in the NCAA Tourney in Milwaukee.
There is much to be excited about for a deep run, I have been down this road so many times with Bo Ryan's teams that iam going to maintain my stance and temper my enthusiam until they get at least to the Sweet 16.
What is the best fast food? Tacos? Burritos?Chicago Style Dogs? For my money, a Gyros rings the bell everytime. Take a trip around the neighboorhood of any college campus in America and you will find a spot that has the best gyros in town. Middle of the day,dinner.bar time, even breakfast, a gyro is a excellent option. The key to a good gyros place is the sauce. Dont be giving me a small dixie cup... Give me the bottle to spray. Women generally do not like gyros,most likely because of the after taste, which sticks for quite a few others even after a gulp of mouthwash and brushing of teeth.I think Sometime this weekend, I'll be sure to be hitting a gyros shop and I always go with the platter,with the greek salad and fries..
I was fired up going into last night's Marquette game agianst Creighton. They had been playing well as of late and were looking for a benchmark win. By 9:15pm last night, reality set in. Creighton was pumping in three pointers and clearly showing why they are a NCAA Tourney team, and why Marquette is not there this year. Reality is,MU's talent level is that of a NIT team. I was hoping they could overachieve but if there were any hopes they could get to the tourney,they fizzled out last night. Marquette just doesnt do anything special to make the dance. They can play a little defense and play as hard as anyone in the country but the reality is this will be Buzz' first time in the NIT.
Marquette may not make the NCAA tournament even with a strong finish but I have to give Coach Buzz Williams all the credit in the world for the "second wind" that the team has. After a Saturday drubbing at St Johns a couple of weeks ago, they have reasserted themselves and are at least going down with a fury. Practices have stepped up in intensity,a few players have stepped things up, and they are seeing results.. If Buzz gets this team to the tourney,it will be his best coaching job. They have a huge game with Creighton tonight. A win would be a landmark win on their resume.
Its Tuesday, and that's when I step aside for Andrew Dunn-Bauman's weekly Brewers blog..
Rickie Weeks is due $11 million in 2014, the final season of his contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. Big money doesn’t automatically equate to success, as the Brewers know all too well. The Crew paid Jeff Suppan $42 million to compile a 29-36 record with a 5.09 ERA before they mercifully cut him part-way into the 2010 season.
There was the sentiment among many in Milwaukee that continually trotting Suppan out to pitch every 5th day was merely a feeble attempt by the Brewers to get their money’s worth from Suppan. At the time, the $42 million was the richest contract in team history, and the organization seemed attached to the belief that they could still extract some positive production from “Soup”.
Here’s hoping the Brewers can remove any and all emotional attachment from that $11 million they owe Rickie Weeks. I’m talking North Pole, Neverland distance from it. It seems to be a generally accepted truth in the Brewer organization that Scooter Gennett, after hitting .324 last season in 230 plate appearances, is the better second baseman, and the starting job is his to lose. But it needs to be set in stone. Ron Roenicke needs to come out this Spring Training and announce “Scooter Gennett is my second baseman, no doubt in my mind.”
If Gennett comes out of the blocks like Aramis Ramirez and hits .180 in April, there can’t be rumblings that it’s time to cut the cord and plug Weeks back into the lineup. Gennett has endless potential at the young age of 23. Weeks on the other hand, at 31, has been battling injuries and seen his numbers at the plate steadily decline over the past four seasons. He is an average defender, and doesn’t offer more than Gennett in any faucet of the game.
That being said, Weeks can still contribute for the Brewers coming off the bench. He still offers some speed, and a bat with a charge in it, and can potentially be used as a utility infielder. But he is not starting second baseman quality, as the Brewers have been hoping for the past nine seasons.
The best sign that Gennett is solidified as part of the everyday Brewer lineup so far is the announcement of his bobblehead day in June. I’ll take it for now, knowing that Roenicke doesn’t like to ruffle any feathers in the offseason or early in Spring. But come the end of March, Rickie Weeks better be a distant second in the race for a starting spot at second base.
A few weeks ago, it was easy to be down on the Badgers basketball team. After a 16-0 ,they were flying high,reaching third in the AP rankings. Then came a funk where they couldnt beat anyone-having lost 5 of 6. But now,a four game winning streak, including their biggest victory of the season,at Michigan yesterday. Yes this team could make a deep run but then again if the shots arent dropping, it could be a early bust out. The Badgers are at least a four seed which i would be plenty happy with. They are playing better defense. Im going to continue to hold my reservations about their March success but there is plenty to like about this season so far. Its been one of my favorite Badger teams.
I was not pleased to read that the Bucks are interested in Kansas Center Joel Embiid over fellow Jayhawk Andrew Wiggins and Duke's Jabari Parker.. Both Parker and Wiggins are widely considered the best two players and have NBA stardom written on their games from the guard position..Embiid is considered a project. Big men are so hit and miss coming out of college and the Bucks don't need to be risky at this point.. Wiggjns or Parker would not only inject some fan interest in this team but more importantly,provide much needed scoring punch from the wing. So I hope ESPN's Jeff Goodman is wrong on his reporting that Bucks' GM John Hammond prefers Embiid over Wiggins and Parker, if the Bucks's get the top pick.
Its that time of year.The sports dead zone..Its that three week span in February between the Super Bowl and the college basketball conference tournaments where there is a major lull going on locally.The dreary weather certainly doesnt help February's rep.. No Packers,Bucks are not much interest these days, and the Brewers are just starting to hit Maryvale..I hate this period of the year. I dread it in sportsradio.. I can't wait for March to get here.. March, turns into Madness which leads us right up to Opening Day at Miller Park and we are good again..Just have to trudge thru the dog days of February..
On Tuesdays, thru basebal season, I will feature a baseball blog from WSSP's Andrew Dunn Bauman. He is the son of legendary Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Columnist and MLB.com's Michael Bauman.
Ryan Braun makes his not-so-triumphant return to Miller Park on March 31st when the Brewers take on the Atlanta Braves on Opening Day. It will be his first game played in a Brewers uniform in 254 days, and will set in motion the most important season of his Major League career. Braun doesn’t have a payday on the line; he’s guaranteed $113 million over the next seven seasons, but he will be playing for something even more important: his legacy.
Regardless of how the 2014 season unfolds for Ryan Braun, it will go down in the books as the year that began to solidify his place in baseball history.
The pressure on Braun will be greater than ever before. He will be booed and jeered at every road game this season. He will be taunted and showered in expletives. He may well even be booed by the home crowd upon his return to Miller Park. If he doesn’t come out of the blocks quickly in April, tension will swell in Milwaukee, where many fans already feel the face of their team’s franchise has betrayed them.
Team executives can’t feel too good about Braun’s travails either. The Brewer franchise now comes with the stigma of paying millions of dollars to a cheater, a player who broke the rules and then repeatedly lied about it. The organization entrusted Braun with their future, a future that now looks much bleaker than when he signed his $105 million contract extension in April 2011.
But despite all of the negatives now attached to his persona, Braun still has an opportunity to go out and silence his critics this season by posting the kind of numbers fans in Milwaukee have become accustomed to seeing. In his first seven years with the Brewers, Braun has averaged 36 home runs per 162 games, while hitting .312.
Those are Hall of Fame type numbers if sustained over the course of an entire career.
Braun may well never make the Hall of Fame as a result of his drug use and the subsequent suspension that saw him miss the final 65 games of the 2013 season. But if he continues to produce near the same clip as before his suspension, it will make for a convincing argument to be admitted to the Hall.
“During the latter part of the 2011 season, I was dealing with a nagging injury and I turned to products for a short period of time that I shouldn't have used,” Braun said in a statement released following the suspension in August of last year. “The products were a cream and a lozenge which I was told could help expedite my rehabilitation. It was a huge mistake for which I am deeply ashamed and I compounded the situation by not admitting my mistakes immediately.”
If what Braun claims about his drug use is true, then a dramatic dip in production shouldn’t be anywhere in his near future.
As of now, only Ryan Braun and his “Cream and a lozenge” supplier truly know if the banned substance he used was only for recovery purposes, or if it enhanced his baseball performance. But one thing is for certain, the numbers don’t lie. For Braun to have even an outside chance at etching his name in baseball history as one of the greats, this is the season he must make a statement.
If he stumbles, the collective groans and sighs will be heard all across the state of Wisconsin. He will be definitively labeled as a fraud and an impostor, even by his hometown fans. But if he succeeds in posting another .300/30 season, all could be forgiven in “Cream” City.
Braun will likely deflect any questions about his scandal once baseball operations begin for Brewer Spring Training in Phoenix, claiming that he needs to focus on playing each day and improving his game. And that’s the type of approach necessary for him to be successful this season, with all of the distractions that will go on around him.
But despite how much he may downplay his return, don’t let it fool you. This season is the definitive chapter in Ryan Braun’s legacy.
In addition to covering the Pro and College teams in this state,on Tuesday and Friday nights,you will find me in a high school gym in South Central Wisconsin,following my son's JV basketball team, the Lomira Lions.. Its been a struggle for the Lions,another losing season,but sadly the season comes to an end next week. Im going to miss it.. Usually my son's team is on the short end of a 20 point game and at one point i was seriously wondering if his class would go their entire high school careers,winless in the Flyway Conference. As much losing as i have seen,nothing like watching my son play...Funny how the winter seems to last forever yet the basketball season goes so quickly.
Mike Wickett and I like to talk college basketball on our show. Probably would have liked to do today's entire show on the Wisconsin victory over 9th ranked Michigan State. The problem....college basketball doesn't fly in Milwaukee until March Madness..It is only then where the Milwaukee sports fan will pack the sportsbars..
Here in February, the Badgers and Marquette barely push the needle among the Milwaukee sports fans. I wish it were different.. Yes there are college basketball fans in Milwaukee. But Milwaukee,like most major market professional sports towns, does not have a high priority in college sports..This is a Packers,Brewers,Packers town. The major college sports like basketball and football don't draw major interest until the post season
First of all, I want to thank Tim Allen for coming in this week to fill in for Wickett,who was on vacation. Somehow when Allen fills in,we somehow almost squeeze in a topic that mingles together "women" and "sports". Today, our phone lines flooded on the question, Have you ever met a woman at a Sporting Event?" This topic flew off the charts. I would think if you are in your 20's or 30's,meeting a woman at Miller Park would be the way to go.. The place is crawling with women on Friday and Saturday nights, and the calls we had today,confirmed it.
What is it about the Winter Oympics that I like so much? I have never ice skated or gone downhill skiing and dont know the first thing about it. I will never watch the World Championships. But when its the Olympics, it doesnt matter. Watching the results of years of training and hearing the background stories on the athletes are priceless.. At night, if the local teams aren't playing, the Olympics are on in the Freimund household. So bring on the luge,figure skating and the 500 meter speedskating, I can't get enough of it.