There’s no question that every GM makes a bad trade. Sometimes you have to blame it on the players for not living up to the expectations. Depending if a team is in the pennant race or looking to dump a contract, GMs want to swap quality for quality. Doug Melvin has made some great trades in his tenure for the Milwaukee Brewers. When Tim Allen asked me the other day “What were some of the bad trades Melvin has made?”, nothing came to my mind. Then, after looking back at Melvin’s trade history, I was reminded of a few things. Let’s take a walk down memory lane…
According to yours truly, here are Doug Melvin’s worse five trades as GM for the Brewers. Let's be clear - Doug has done more good than bad as a GM. These trades do irritate me to some extent, though.
5. Brewers trade OF Jim Edmonds to the Reds for OF Chris Dickerson. (Sept. 8. 2010)
Look, the Brewers were not going to the postseason in 2010. Several teams had interest in the veteran Edmonds. There was no question that fans and players liked the guy. Was it fair to trade Edmonds? Absolutely. My problem with the deal was what we got in return. Instead of acquiring a sub-par Double-A pitching prospect (remember Edmonds had a .286 Avg in 217 at-bats for the Brewers), they acquire Chris fricken Dickerson! A major league outfielder with a .205 Avg in 44 at-bats? By trading Edmonds, the Brewers only got worse. Dickerson ended up batting .208 (a slight improvement) in 55 at-bats for the Crew. The reason why the Brewers struggled in 2010 was because of the pitching. Swapping for a pitcher would have made the most logical sense. That deal will always be a head scratcher.
4. Brewers trade SP Doug Davis, RP Dana Eveland, and OF Dave Krynzel to the D-Backs for C Johnny Estrada, SP Claudio Vargas, and RP Greg Aquino. (Nov. 25, 2006)
Looking back at this deal, Doug Melvin traded crap for crap. I think the D-Backs got the better deal. Getting traded to Arizona was probably the best thing that ever happened to Doug Davis. He pitched three consistent seasons for Arizona with an ERA just above four. After we brought him back, though, Davis was horrific. Dana Eveland was supposed to be a young-up-and-comer in the Brewers rotation, but things never lifted off. He’s bounced around from team-to-team (he’s currently with Baltimore), and has a career 5.46 ERA. Having been traded to the desert, Dave Krynzel never got it going in the Arizona system. I don’t think he plays ball anymore…
As for what the Brewers received, God help us. Greg Aquino was a project in the bullpen and didn’t last long for the Crew. The Brewers also received one of the slowest players in the history of baseball – Johnny Estrada. His offense wasn’t bad (10 HR, 54 RBIs, .278 Avg), but he was lethargic and had a big mouth. Perhaps Doug Melvin’s favorite player ever, Claudio Vargas was a joke when we got him in 2007. In 2008, Vargas played for the Mets. He was then reacquired by the Brewers in 2009 (in exchange for Racine native catcher Vinny Rotino). Successful in the bullpen that season, Vargas was 1.78 ERA in 30 appearances. Then in 2010, Vargas sucked it up on the mound, as he put up a 7.32 ERA. After being released, Melvin signed him to a minor league contract this season. He’s currently with Triple-A Nashville. Why does Doug like to keep him around? Maybe Vargas is like a son to him…
Again, this trade solved nothing.
3. Brewers trade 1B Lyle Overbay and P Ty Taubenheim to the Blue Jays for SP Dave Bush, OF Gabe Gross, and P Zack Jackson. (Dec. 7, 2005)
There should be no debate about Lyle Overbay; it was imperative to trade him at his highest stock. With Prince Fielder on his way up to the big leagues, this was the perfect opportunity to reload the farm with young talent. Overbay should have been at least traded straight up for a solid starting pitcher in either Double-A or Triple-A ball. Instead, Melvin added three average players with big league experience. Pitcher Zack Jackson was given the opportunity to show his stuff for the Brewers, but never panned out. He would later be a part of the package for CC Sabathia. Gabe Gross turned out to be a great threat off the Brewers bench, but his numbers dwindled in 2007 and 2008 before he was traded to the Rays. Dave Bush, the man with the highest expectations in the deal, was given way too many second chances. Hard to believe Bush spent five full seasons with Milwaukee (his best came during the postseason push in 2008). Outside of 2008, Bush was dead weight to the franchise. In 2009, his ERA for the season was 6.38! Sure, he had a few outstanding starts from time-to-time, but he lacked consistency. That guy was a cat with nine lives…
2. Brewers trade OF Carlos Lee and OF Nelson Cruz to the Rangers for OF Laynce Nix, OF Kevin Mench, Closer Francisco Cordero, and pitching prospect Julian Cordero. (July 28, 2006)
This trade solved nothing long-term. It was important to get back what you could. In fact, Melvin traded a future player away in Nelson Cruz. Cruz, by the way, has had Corey Hart-like numbers for the Rangers for the last several seasons. Kevin Mench was an OK player; he spent a year and a half with the Brewers before leaving. Laynce Nix was constantly moving up and down between Triple-A and the Majors, and who the hell knows what happened to Julian Cordero? The key player in this trade was Francisco Cordero. In my opinion, of all the closers the Brewers have had in the last 10 years, Cordero was the best one. The guy has been closing games throughout his career, and for the most part, shows consistency in every save opportunity. After a season and a half, I was surprised we couldn’t re-sign him. With that being said, the trade, in general, had zero impact on the future of this franchise.
Like I said, I had no problem trading either Overbay or El Caballo. Those trades needed to be done. The returns were failures.
1. Brewers acquire RP Scott Linebrink from the Padres in exchange for pitchers Will Inman, Joe Thatcher, and Steve Garrison. (July 25, 2007)
Doug Melvin was quoted to say “You have to give up something to get something.” Very true. I could understand surrendering three pitching prospects for a legitimate starting pitcher, but for a reliever with sub-par numbers? I’m sorry the price was too steep for this guy. The Brewers gave up their number three prospect in the system, plus two other highly ranked pitchers in exchange for less than half a season of Scott Linebrink. I’m sorry…Linebrink was way over-priced.
If the Brewers really wanted to contend in 2007, Doug Melvin did not do enough as a buyer. (By the way, here’s an honorable mention. A couple of days later, Grant Balfour was dealt to Tampa for Seth McClung. That trade would rank sixth worse on my list). This was nowhere close to the CC Sabathia trade. Adding Scott Linebrink might have improved the bullpen, but it didn’t send a message to the rest of the league saying the Brewers were a force to deal with. Besides Linebrink wasn’t lights out for the Brewers on a consistent basis. As I recall, he blew some leads in close games. Who knows? Maybe the trade would have paid dividends if the Brewers resigned Linebrink, but he was worth way too much.
I think the Padres got a steal in this deal. However, of the three pitchers, the only one that panned out was Joe Thatcher. In six seasons with the Padres, Thatcher has a career 3.37 ERA. Wish we had him in our bullpen.
As you can see, Doug Melvin is no gifted genius. For the most part, though, I’m a big fan of the guy. He's part of the reason why we've made two postseasons in the last five seasons. I trust his judgment (for the most part).
The Packers reported for training camp this week and I get the feeling that many a Brewers fan is going back to their ways of the pre-Attanasio/Melvin era and that is to say checking out on the their ballclub well before their final game, October 3rd against the Padres, now that they've fallen out of playoff contention. As a Cubs fan, and someone who's only had a playoff push to entertain me once every 5-7 years of my entire life, let me help you out and give you a few things to hold your interest, at least until the NFL regular season is in full swing.
Between now and July 31st, the most entertaining thing about the Brewers may not be on the field, but rather what Doug Melvin does before the trade deadline. He has a lot of pieces that could draw interest with contending teams and I'm curious to see if he'll rebuild or re-load. We all know the list of usual suspects that are on the block due to expiring contracts, starting of course with Zack Greinke. What may tell whether Melvin is planning a quick turnaround back to contention or a long-term rebuild is what he does with Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart, who have reportedly drawn some interest. If either (or both) of those guys is moved, it may be a while before this Brewers team plans on contending.
Be a baseball fan
Even though the games don't mean much, I still enjoy breaking the game down and analyszing a manager's moves, etc. Also, I just appreciate great baseball talent, which you have in left-field on a day-in day-out basis. Not to mention the talent that will come into Miller Park or on your television screen. The Nats with youg phenom Bryce Harper blossoming before our eyes are at Miller Park as I write this. The Reds will Bring Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and Aroldis Chapman to town. and we'll see the Pirates a few more time with Andrew McCutcheon in the midst of a break-out (potentially MVP) season. Obviously, you don't want to see these guys beat your team, but that doesn't mean that as soon as you sit down when you'e done booing, you can't say to yourself or the person seated next to you, "Did you see that!?!". I've always said I can look at somebody in my rival's unifrom and say "Damn that guy is good!. Why does he have to be on that team!?!" (i.e Brett Favre)
The Ballpark Experience
I have never and will never be apologetic for enjoying a day at Wrigley Field. Go ahead call it the biggest beer garden in the world. Since when is Baseball supposed to be miserable or boring? Yes, I'm there for the baseball, but it also helps when a ballpark is pleasant and a fun place to be on a summer day. And you have that right here in Milwaukee, in Miller Park. Appreciate it, enjoy it, and then take a shuttle to one of the local establishments and enjoy your night as well. If baseball being fun is wrong, I don't wanna be right.
How many changes are coming for the 2012 Milwaukee Brewers? THAT is now the question. With everything that has happened this season, if there are no changes, somebody is doing something wrong. The results are just not there. Whether it's the injuries, bullpen issues, offensive slumps, or just bad luck the fact remains, changes are a MUST. Now, you have to make the right decisions, and you can't bat .1000 with trades, it's now up to Brewers GM Doug Melvin to go to work. When Ryan Braun is up in the 8th inning, and the crew is down by 2 the pressure is on Brauny, now Melvin gets to feel that pressure. While we're watching the bullpen melt down, or Ricky Weeks strike out, remember this Brewers fans, Melvin is making 'franchise changing' decisions right now. Now HE gets to know how pressure works. Not to say that his job has been on cruise control until now, but the way the organization currently stands, some of the upcoming decisions will affect the crew for years to come. Let's all wish Doug Melvin good luck as he grabs a bat for an action packed couple of weeks. Hey, remember this, 'Smile Milwaukee, the world will smile back'. See you after the game.
Haven't blogged in a while, so i figure with the trade deadline near, I might as well....Heres's the 3 Milwaukee Brewers that teams will ask about at the trade deadline:
1) SP Zack Greinke: do you really need me to tell you why he may get traded? Cy Young...near the top of the games best pitchers...yada yada yada...ITS ZACK GREINKE. A contending team will DEFINITELY come calling for ZG.
2) 3B Aramis Ramirez: Some people think I'm crazy for thinking Aramis may get dealt. Think about it. He was brought to continue the "run" the Brewers could be on for the next 3 years...well, that doesn't look like it's happening now does it. If another team (the dodgers) want to offer a top tier prospect for Ramirez, I'm ok with that. I'm not pushing him out the door, but his name is not on the "untouchable" list. If this team is going to lose 3 starters from this rotation, they're taking a step back in 2013 no matter WHO they sign in the off season. It could be a while til they compete for the division title again. I did NOT feel this way at the all star break.
3) SP Randy wolf: teams look for veteran left handers. And I feel bad for Randy-nobody has had more leads blown by the bullpen IN THE MAJORS than Randy Wolf (8 as i write this on 7/24)
others who may get dealt:
RP John Axford-hey, he can still get the fastball up to 98.
RP Francisco Rodriguez-he was good....til the Phillies game on 7/23.
In closing...pretty much anybody not named Ryan Braun is fair game to get dealt. He's the only "untouchable"
Below is my take from the games I watched between Monday, July 16th and Thursday, July 20th.
Keith Benson- F/C- 6’11”- I was impressed from what I saw a year ago. He seems more comfortable around the rim and looks like he belongs now.
John Jenkins-SG-6/4”- A Hawks first round pick, Jenkins was known for his shooting but displayed quickness that many
didn’t anticipate. I didn’t have a huge opinion on Jenkins coming out of school but I really liked what I saw in Vegas.
Jordan Taylor-G-6’1”- While you hope he can make a roster, I think it will be difficult because of his lack of quickness. His basketball IQ is very high but will it be enough to earn him a spot in the NBA?
Derrick Caracter- F-6’9”- Liked him coming out of college but based on what I saw, it appears he’s headed back to the D-League. If I was his agent, I’d work on getting him in better shape.
Jared Sullinger-F-6’9”- He looked like a senior playing against underclassmen. I didn’t see any signs of his back being an issue. You really couldn’t see the full impact of what he will be as the summer league games don’t believe in post play.
Fab Melo-C-7’0”- He needs some of Jordan Taylor’s basketball IQ. Melo looked lost a majority of the time I watched him. He has the physical tools but will his brain be able to keep up with the complexities of the NBA?
Byron Mullens-C-7’0”- While us Bucks fans have seen him have success, I think most are starting to believe that he might end up being the player that some thought coming out of Ohio St. While the horrible season by the Bobcats didn’t net Anthony Davis, it did net an invaluable amount of experience for Mullens.
Kemba Walker-G-6’1”- He appears to be a huge disappointment. I’m not sure he can even be a Ben Gordon type player in this league. His shot remains inconsistent and his ability to make the right pass remains non-existent.
Marquis Teague-PG-6’2”-He’s a solid PG. Teague didn’t make any glaring mistakes. Not an all-star guard but a solid one.
Leon Powe-PF-6’8”- Why again was he there? I tend to believe if you are a vet then you better play like one against a bunch of 1st and 2nd year players. He didn’t stand out at all, other than trying to start crap with opposing players.
Tristan Thompson-PF-6’9”- I was really impressed by how he really dominated at times in the paint. This is another example like Mullens, of a guy who took advantage of the increased minutes given to him by a bad team. He could be a breakout player in 2012.
Dion Waiters-G-6’3”- Wasn’t really good but displayed his quick first step and ability to blow by people. He showed toughness when driving the lane and finishing around the rim. His shot leaves a lot to be desired but he doesn’t need his jumper to score. It was interesting that while he didn’t start at Syracuse, he didn’t even start on his summer league team.
Jae Crowder-F-6’6”- Really liked what I saw from him. One scout asked “What do they do to those at kids at Marquette? They’re all really tough, scrappy type of guys.” Crowder isn’t a special player but he can hit the three, provide some solid defense, and provide a spark of energy when he’s on the floor.
Dominique Jones-SG-6’5”- I had high hopes for Jones coming out of South Florida a couple of years ago but it doesn’t appear he has improved in any area. The other issue with him is he thinks he is much then he actually is which results in bulk shooting with a low field goal percentage.
David Harrison-C-7’0”- For a guy with four years of experience, you would expect more then what I saw. He’s a seven foot five year old with the way he acts on seemingly every possession. Body language is something that as a young player you expect not to be the best but with maturity it should get better. I’d argue he’s actually gotten worse as he’s gotten older.
Evan Fournier-G/F-6’7”- Didn’t see the Nuggets but once however a guy that people like a bunch is Evan Fournier from France. The people that saw him play told me that they think he could be a real nice piece for a championship caliber team in the next few years.
Solomon Alabi-C-7’1”- Torn meniscus took out early on and being a free agent probably cost him a chance to be on a roster this season. One other note, these Florida State guys are real tight with one another. I’d say Marquette and them were the two schools that really supported each other the best.
Golden State Warriors
Charles Jenkins-PG-6’3”- He showed flashes of greatness that got people really excited. However, he still needs to play under a little more often but I like what I saw. Considering Stephen Curry will probably not the be the future point guard for Golden State, Jenkins needs to make the most of his opportunities to show he can be that guy.
Harrison Barnes-F-6’8”-He played well in his first game which I didn’t see as I was still in Milwaukee but was very underwhelming after that. Golden State people are impressed by how explosive he has shown he can be in practice. I on the other hand didn’t see it translate to game situations.
Royce White-F-6’8”- Prior to the draft many suggested to us on the Wendy’s Big Show that the Bucks should target White with their draft selection. I was opposed to it, but let me say that I came away impressed with what I saw. His maturity level is that of a veteran and court vision is that of a point guard. I knew had a knack for passing but his understanding of everything going on around him really makes him dangerous. White also appeared more physical when banging inside then I thought. Leon Powe got into it with him and he stood his ground and didn’t get sucked into Powe’s antics.
Jeremy Lamb-SG-6’5”- In person, you really appreciate how long he truly is. His wingspan will help him to become a really good defender, that if he wants to put in the time to do so. Silky smooth player but I have to say there is something about him that bugs me. I think it’s maybe his demeanor or the fact that he really wasn’t talking with any of his teammates. Either way, I’m sure I’m just reading into stuff.
Terrence Jones-F-6’9”-He fell down the board on draft night to Houston and the Rockets appear to have a guy who has the knack for knowing when and where to be. Jones is a solid player. I heard an interesting tidbit that the Rockets were apparently drafting Jones for another team to trade him but were told by the other team that in fact Jones wasn’t their guy like the Rockets had thought. That mistake might prove to be a stroke of good luck.
Scott Machado-PG- 6’1”- Not sure if he can be a starting point guard in this league but I see no reason why he can’t be a nice option off the bench. Machado shows he can get good penetration and has the ability to kick in traffic to the open player. Those qualities should find him a spot on somebody’s roster by the end of the season.
Marcus Morris-F-6’9”- Having a brother like I do I know brothers can be very different. In this case, the Rockets have the wrong Morris on their team. Totally non-existent in the time I saw him.
Los Angeles Clippers
-Didn’t see them play-
Los Angeles Lakers
Darius Morris-PG-6’5”- There were questions coming out of Michigan if he could play the point. I’m pretty sure he proved that he is more than capable of creating for others and makes smart decisions when running the offense. He didn’t shoot well early but got better as the games went on. I like him.
Darius Johnson-Odom-G-6’3”- He was simply bad. I’m pretty confident in saying he couldn’t have played worse than he did. The D-League is in his future. He must work better at getting teammates involved and understanding the difference between a good shot and a bad shot.
-Didn’t see them play-
Norris Cole-PG-6’2”- Looked like a guy that was in the NBA already. Looked like a guy who understood how to run an offense and when he needed to be the guy to score. I believe he can be a solid point guard if given the chance to do it.
Dexter Pittman-PF-6’11”-He has the body of Packers rookie DT Jerel Worthy more than of an NBA player. I think he needs to lose some weight and get some quickness. I didn’t hear anybody being impressed by him.
Tobias Harris-SF-6’8”- He played at a different level then everybody else. His offense is good enough to be starting for the Bucks, but will his lackadaisical defense keep him on the bench?
John Henson-PF-6’11”- His energy makes up for his lack of weight. His one post move that he showed was a lefty hook while he shot his mid-range jumper with his right hand. Henson needs another move in the post and he’ll need to show that he can face up bigger defenders and drive past them. His jumper was short most of the time hitting the front of the rim, which might have been due to weak legs from illness/amount of minutes he was getting.
Doron Lamb- SG-6’4”- He is your new 6th man of the future. Lamb will be a shooter that can come off the bench and provide some offense. He reminds me of a better version of Jodie Meeks.
Jarrid Famous-PF-6’11’- The South Florida product impressed in his Summer League time he was given and did virtually everything right. He’s a technically sound ball player that will help a team. It’s just not going to be the Bucks who are stacked at the power forward position already. I don’t believe he is thick enough to play the center position.
Larry Sanders-PF-6’11”- My patience is running thin with him taking jumpers when he might be one of the ten worst shooters in the league. Horrible decision maker with the ball (did make one nice pass). His role should that of Dalembert, shot blocker and rebounder with an occasional dunk. Once he knows his role and accepts it, the better off the Bucks and Sanders will be.
Kammron Taylor-PG-6’2”- I really like what I saw from the former Badgers guard who has been playing in Ukraine. He’s in real good shape and ran the team well. Taylor is probably bound to be overseas for his career but a nice player.
Wes Johnson-G/F-6’7”- Yet again another guy who needs to work on being more physical and getting quicker off the dribble. He is so stiff for a shooting guard. I didn’t see any difference in him from the regular season until present.
Derrick Williams-F-6’8”- He shouldn’t be in the Vegas Summer League. When you go as high as he did in the draft and do as little as he did really makes you wonder. One personal guy said he is just a ballplayer rather than a small forward or a power forward by definition. I tend to have visions of Marcus Fizer while watching him play.
New Orleans Hornets
Austin Rivers-G-6’4”- He looked overwhelmed from one of the Summer League. Rivers didn’t play toward the end because of what the Hornets deemed as leg soreness. There really wasn’t much of anything good about what I saw of out him. There were questions on him if he could play point guard at the next level, I don’t have the answer for that just yet be couldn’t even score in Vegas. He may regret leaving Duke after just one year.
Xavier Henry-G-6’6”- Put a fork in him, he’s done. I wish I knew why he seemingly has never taken the next step. He has lots of talent but can’t figure out how to use it.
New York Knicks
Nobody stood out
Markieff Morris-F-6’10”- He was simply dominant. Morris looked like a future all-star at times while playing in Las Vegas. If he brings the effort every night like he did during the Summer League, watch out!
Diante Garrett- G-6’4”- I thought he represented himself quite nicely in Vegas. I’m not sure if he is an NBA player but certainly can get a job overseas for a number of years.
Kendall Marshall-PG-6’4”- The first game I saw him was the single worst point guard performance I can remember watching. He didn’t do a single thing right. The second game he improved but still not to the level expected by me when having watched him play at UNC.
Patrick O’Bryant-C-7’0”- Whoever pays this guy to play basketball should have their head examined. He’s simply not very good. He did have a beautiful female companion.
Damian Lillard-PG-6’3”- He was the most impressive player during the time I was there. Lillard displays Iverson like quickness with a great ability to finish around the rim after having been fouled. He’s got Russell Westbrook like explosion. His leaping ability allows him to hang for seemingly ever before hanging to fire up a shot in traffic. Lillard showed good court vision while making a couple great passes to guys cutting baseline.
Will Barton-SG-6’6”- While the spotlight was on Lillard, Barton did his job by hitting open jumpers when they were available. The backcourt of Lillard/Barton could be a scary proposition for defenses for years to come.
Luke Babbitt-F-6’9”/ Jon Diebler-G-6’6”- Both of these players couldn’t hit a jumper if their life depended on it in Vegas. Babbitt is simply not at the level needed to be worth where he was drafted a couple of years ago. I will say it, Luke Babbitt equals bust!
Jimmer Fredette-G-6’2”- He showed his shooting touch that had people drooling when he came out of BYU. Fredette needs to be utilized properly as a spot up shooter and nothing more then that.
Thomas Robinson-PF-6’9”- He himself admitted to playing bad, citing that the only thing he did well was pass the basketball. Clearly the Kings weren’t envisioning what they got from Robinson in Vegas and can only hope this isn’t a sign of things to come. I don’t believe he’s as bad as he played.
San Antonio Spurs
Kawhi Leonard-SF-6’7”- This is another guy who simply was dominant when he wanted to be. He’s a very good basketball player that most of the league missed on, during draft day last year.
James Anderson-SG-6’6”- The more you watch younger players come into the NBA the more you realize how difficult it is to forecast just how good they might be at the next level. Anderson is one who I clearly missed on. He is very underwhelming when you simply watch him from play to play.
Terrence Ross-SG-6’7”- My guy! He didn’t disappoint in Vegas by putting on a clinic when he had the ball. Ross isn’t a dynamic guard like Lillard of Portland but probably is better than Landry Fields on offense already. If I was DeMar DeRozan, I wouldn’t be getting too comfy in Toronto.
Ben Uzoh-PG-6’2”- He played well in the Orlando Summer League and he was good in Las Vegas. He’s deserving of a bench spot somewhere in the NBA.
Daniel Orton-C-6’10”- A message from me to Mr. Orton: If you don’t want to play NBA basketball and you don’t want to commit yourself to the game then maybe you should just quit! It’s an insult to see this guy on the floor and think that somebody is paying their hard earned money to watch this out of shape kid go through the motions.
Bradley Beal-SG-6’5”- He was a solid performer. Beal displayed his ability to be an intimidating and tough defender. I will say that he didn’t exhibit that special quality I was looking for on the offensive end.
Thomas Satoransky-SG-6’7”- A player out of the Czech Republic that looks to be a young athletic wing player that will serve the Wizards well in the future. He can shoot the rock, while still being able to put the ball on the floor and not embarrass himself. There is still question of whether he will play in the league this year or return overseas.
If Tiger Woods would have shot a simple one under par round in the final round of the British Open, he’d be in a playoff right now with Ernie Els. Instead, Tiger adds another minor collapse to his career, beginning with a triple bogey on the long Par Four sixth hole, a hole he birdied in the first three rounds. While I believe his use of iron play off the tee was fairly wise throughout the entire tournament, that particular play lost fluidity in the final round. His new swing developed by his new swing coach Sean Foley is coming along round after round. I think he’s settled into that swing. However, when he needed it the most today, his ball striking was as poor as it ever was. To make matters worse, the wind, the fescue, and the diabolical pot bunkers proved to be a major dent for Tiger. It was nice to see Tiger birdie the 18th to conclude a roller coaster weekend, but in the end, Tiger will return home to Florida without the Claret Jug, and another failed opportunity at winning a major championship title. Just about everybody following the game of golf has been asking this universal question since Tiger won the 20-player field at the Chevron Classic last December. “Is Tiger Woods Back?”
We’re use to Tiger getting out of trouble in awkward lies, making those clutch five-footer, ten-footer, and even 20-footer par putts, and winning tournament after tournament after tournament. After his personal life intervened with his near-perfect and unstoppable golf game, Tiger has not been the same golfer we know today. As we all know, you either love Tiger or despise him. Because of that, you set the bar at a certain level for his golf game. For those that loved him, winning for the first time at the Chevron was a sign that the ‘Old Tiger’ is back. For those that hated his guts, winning the Chevron was a joke. If he ever wants to be the same player he was before his infidelity, he must break Jack Nicklaus’ major record. No matter where the bar is set, there’s always going to be bias.
I’ve always been a big fan of the guy. I was crushed to hear Tiger’s sex exploits when Elin wasn’t around. It was disheartening to see a man, who was practically the king of the world, betray his family, friends, and fans. His whole life crashed to the ground. Deep down as a fan, I know Tiger wanted to get out of this humiliating and unsettling nightmare. If it was going to be anybody that could save Tiger from ruining his life, image, and career, it was going to be Tiger. While I don’t know Tiger personally, I know he’s improving year after year. In the 2012 PGA Tour Season, Tiger is getting close to coming back.
Winning the 20-man field at the Chevron Classic was just the beginning. Tiger has won three times on Tour this year – the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Memorial, and the AT&T National. Tiger also had a tie for second finish earlier this year at the Honda Classic. Leading the PGA Tour in the FedEx Cup point total, Tiger has risen from the mid-20s in the World Golf Rankings to now number four in the world (before the British Open results). In front of him are three golfers that have not been on their A-game - #3 Lee Westwood, #2 Rory McIlroy, and #1 ranked Luke Donald (who has yet to win a major). At this point, Tiger is in the driver’s seat.
On the flip side, while Tiger has won three times, he’s also had some abysmal tournaments. He’s missed cuts at the Wells Fargo and The Greenbrier Classic, while having poor finishes at the U.S. Open (T-21), the Players Championship (T-40), and surprisingly The Masters (T-40). To me, Tiger reminds me of the average Tour player. There are so many great talents on the PGA Tour. The majority of these pros have the tendency of winning at least a couple of tournaments during the season, and then also missing a few cuts. There’s not one golfer on tour as of right now that consistently can win tournaments and/or finish in the top-10 week in and week out. When Tiger Woods was at the top of the world, he never missed a cut. If you follow Tiger close enough, he was always on the first page of the leaderboard, whether he ended up winning or not.
During his absence, not one golfer took it upon themselves to steal Tiger’s mojo. Most of the attention has been centered around some of the young up-and-comers on Tour. Rory McIlroy was supposed to be ‘the guy’. So far, his play as of late has been an utter disappointment. Rickie Fowler, whom I consider to be the most overrated golfer out there, hasn’t done enough, outside of his only career victory at the Wells Fargo this year. Dustin Johnson is another talented stud, but he’s had a difficult time finishing down the stretch, especially major championships (Exhibit A: the bunker situation at the 2010 PGA Championship). In my opinion, Bubba Watson may be that one player that could mimic Tiger’s game. His shot shaping is one of the best on Tour; he can blast the crap out of the ball; not only does he have 4 career wins on Tour early in his career, he’s consistently appearing in the Top-10 on leaderboards. Plus, he has a Masters title under his belt. He’s also a guy that can successfully battle emotions on the golf course. His personal life has always been on his mind - he’s lost his father due to throat cancer; his wife was unable to conceive children, and for a while, they had a hard time adopting a child. Most recently, they were chased in their car by some crazy person in the middle of the night. Perhaps his only flaw, Bubba will also call things like he sees it. For example, he said his game was not fit for the Olympic Club at the U.S. Open (he missed the cut because of that attitude). Bubba, however, strikes me as somebody that can take his game to the next level. And by the way, where has Phil Mickelson been in all of this? That might be the biggest shocker, while Tiger was trying to deal with his personal life.
Case and point - Tiger is at the same playing level as the rest of the professional field. At the same time, not one golfer on Tour wants to take over the power that Tiger once had. This is Tiger’s opportunity NOW to regain and take back the power he lost three years ago. It starts by locking down a major championship. While he’s 0 for 3 in Majors this year, he has another shot at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island in August. Whether he wins it or not, I honestly believe that it’s just a matter of time before he wins another major. Although Tiger did not show his best at the British Open this weekend, he managed to finish tied for third. A lot of people from both biases do agree that Tiger will be considered “back” when he wins a major. I believe so, too. We know the guy can win again on Tour; let’s see if he can bring that spark to the Majors. Tiger has a lot of fuel still in the tank. Theoretically, if the guy can stay healthy, the sky is the limit. Remember, Tiger is 36 years old. Tom Watson was 59 when he almost won the British Open a couple of years ago. People thought Jack Nicklaus was washed up at the age of 46 before he won the Masters in 1986. I’m sorry, but if Tiger can’t at least win a Major by the time he’s 46, then we know Tiger is probably done for good.
I find it awfully interesting that Zach Greinke is skipping his start on Wednesday to "recharge his batteries" according to GM Doug Melvin.. Hmm... Really? Perhaps Noah's Ark in the Dells,some water rafting on the Wolf River?,Door County? Never heard of that excuse for someone missing a start. Something doesn't sound right to me.
In my previous blog, I teased that I was going to talk about trading Zack Greinke. Since this topic has been the talk of the town for the last couple of weeks, I’ve decided to give my short take on the matter, and move on to something a little more interesting to the reader…well hopefully.
Should the Brewers trade Zack Greinke? Yes.
What do I want in return? Shortstop prospect Jurickson Profar from the Rangers. If Greinke goes anywhere else, give me a shortstop prospect and/or a couple of talented pitching prospects.
This blog is a compilation of three things – my vacation in Door County, my golf game, and The Green Mile.
This last week was perhaps the most stress free week I’ve had since graduating from Carthage College. In need for a break from reality, I managed to make it happen. After board operating the Rupena’s Baseball Post Game Show last Sunday, as Tim and Sparky were live at Summerfest, I met up with some friends and drove over to Summerfest myself. Bumming around the grounds, we had a couple of beers and some greasy (but great) hamburgers. It was nice to reconnect with some of my closes friends, and regain a social life. While not seeing any of the headliners, we stopped at a couple of bars on Water Street…yes, we all got home safely.
Come Monday, I would meet my family in Door County, and spend the next few days there.
If I retire anywhere, it’s Door County. I’ve been coming up to the peninsula since I was youngster. Why do I love Door County? The answer is simple - the scenic beauty, the fresh air, and the feeling that you’re far away from civilization.
Typically, my family stays at Little Sweden, a timeshare resort just south of Fish Creek. After some complications getting a week in our condo, my mom settled on a small cottage just off the water near Sturgeon Bay. While the pictures of the cottage looked harmless, it was nowhere close to Little Sweden. In fact, we all felt we went back in time. The cottage was clearly something out of the 1970s – old furniture, shag carpeting, a TV the size of a lunchbox (I kid you not), uncomfortable bed mattresses, no internet, and not much room to move around. At least the place was very clean, but outside of that, I promised that I would only spend time there to sleep…I kept that promise.
My week in Door County was this - eating, sleeping, drinking, swimming, and golfing. The biggest thing on my mind, however, was trying to correct my golf game in preparation for the Kenosha County Open.
Leading to the second point in this blog, my journey to Door County allowed me to spend all the time in the world to figure out where I stood as a golfer. Because of my crazy work hours, I haven’t had time to golf. Door County is known for their golf courses, so I played two of the most popular. Booking tee times for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I played twice at Maxwelton Braes in Bailey’s Harbor and once at the Orchards in Egg Harbor. The weather was perfect, and oddly enough, there weren’t as many golfers out there as I thought (maybe because of the economy). In the two days and 36 holes at Maxwelton Braes, I shot 94-92 (there were a couple of mulligans in that round). While my putting was almost stellar, I struck a ton of poor shots with my woods and irons. The problem with my game is consistency, and while shooting in the mid to low 90s is good, it’s not good enough. At the Orchards, a course that plays much longer and wider than Maxwelton Braes, I shot a mediocre 101. The course should be the next stop on the PGA Tour. It’s a titan of a course, and scenic as hell. Although I wasn’t impressed with particular elements of my game, I had to buck up. The County Open loomed…
Leaving Door County early Friday morning, I returned to K-town, changed, and checked the newspaper to see who I was playing with. Sure enough, they had me paired with the two-time defending champ (and Pro) Bob Tierney and former champion Dave Wente. Great…watch me make a complete ass of myself on the course. Struggling to hit quality shots in Door County, I knew that my confidence was lacking. Hopefully, I do something right when playing with these guys.
For the first two holes, I was toe-to-toe with the best-of-the-best. We all pared the first two holes. I couldn’t believe what was happening. Then, my flaws settled in. We were playing the white course at Brightondale. If you’re familiar with the course, the 5th hole has a tight dogleg Par 4, loaded with trees on both sides. If you miss the fairway, you better figure a way to get back on it. So what do I do? Two tee shots in the woods and a couple of penalty strokes later, I holed out for an 11. An 11?! Hell, Bob made a birdie! At least Bob and Dave were very good sports, and did not laugh at me. That’s part of the reason why they were champions.
After having four bad holes throughout my first round, I managed to put up a 101 (53-48). I clearly showed my good, bad, and ugly moments, but had I not butchered some of those holes, I would have shot low 90s for sure. In my opinion, Brightondale is more challenging than the courses I played in Door County.
This is my third year in the County Open, and I have had zero success. In fact, my best score to date in that tournament was a 99. It was my goal to prove that I could go much lower. In the second round early Saturday morning with a different group and course, I fired back with a 92 (49-43). I was dialed in both with my driver and irons; I stayed away from three putts on the greens, and only hit into a couple of hazards. On Sunday morning, it was more of the same consistency I’d been praying for. I fired a 94 (48-46). We played on the white course again, and the holes I butchered on Friday, came with pars and bogeys on Sunday. As for the 5th hole, I made an 8 instead of an 11. It’s an improvement, right?
While I was nowhere close to winning the tournament, I’m glad I battled this weekend on the golf course. I’m glad my confidence level has returned. I’m glad I can hit better shots. What’s the next big event I’m playing in? The 1250 Golf Outing. Last year, our group was second to last at +4. This year, I have a whole new group. In my humble opinion, we’re going for the win in August. Larry Harris (if he plays) and his group better watch out. We’ll give him a run for his money.
Although I was home from Door County, I still took off from work this weekend. The only thing on my agenda was playing in the County Open. Outside of that, I was still on vacation.
My dad has been encouraging me to watch The Green Mile. It’s from Frank Darabont (the same guy that directed the Shawshank Redemption, one of my personal favorites, as well as The Walking Dead, my favorite TV Show), and the story was originally written by the great Stephen King. The Green Mile is set in the Depression Era down in Louisiana. Tom Hanks plays Paul Edgecomb, a prison guard situated in cellblock E, Death Row. He guards those prisoners, and escorts them to the electric chair when it’s time for their execution. Michael Clarke Duncan is John Coffey, a GIANT and burly man convicted of raping and murdering two little farm girls. As Paul looks over the inmates, Coffey begins to perform miracles. Coffey represents a Christ-figure. Without giving anything away, Paul is put in a difficult situation. Should he execute somebody capable of healing others back to life? Would anyone believe what Coffey is doing? I was very impressed with the movie, and the ending made me choke up just a little. Recommend it to anyone.
That was my vacation in a nutshell. Back to reality. It starts with waking up at 3:30am to produce Chuck and Wickett on Monday. While I’ll miss Door County, it’s always nice to get back into the swing of things. After all, there are always more vacations to look forward to…
You know the cool thing about sports? We don’t all need to be fans of the same games. You like what you like and I like what I like…so…to clear a few things up…
Top 3 sports I don't like to talk about on air that you may be a fan of: 1) MMA - I'm much more of a boxing guy. Don't tell me to "give it a chance". I have. I don't get it. 2) Soccer - Are they athletes? Yes. Is it boring? Yes. Is it the same as a 1-1 baseball game? Nope. 3) Tennis - move on. I'll never get why we needed 2 channels of Wimbledon. Give me SportsCenter replays any day.
Top 3 sports I like talking about on air that you may not be a fan of: 1) NBA - Maybe it's just because there's so much negativity around the Bucks, but for some reason some in Milwaukee don't quite "get" the NBA today. 2) NHL - No NHL team in town. I get it. But there is NOTHING like being at an NHL game or watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 3) Auto Racing - I wasn't a gear head till I did 2 things: 1) Pick a driver to root for-just like picking a favorite team. I'm a Tony Stewart fan. 2) GET TO A RACE. 1/2 the fun is the sound/smell of a race track.