PD Sunday Sampler: Christmas Wishes
I have to admit that between work (yes, I do have a day job & not in my mom’s basement) and the holidays coming up, I’ve been a little out of touch with the sports world this week. Quite frankly, there hasn’t been much that has piqued my interest and/or raised my ire other than the obvious Packers’ stuff that has been well covered by others on this site.
I suppose I could comment on the Big(11/12)Ten’s new logo or division names but, really, what else is there to be said about them beyond that they’re incredibly stupid. So much so that league commissioner Jim Delany admitted that they are already revisiting the idea of the division names due to the overwhelmingly negative reaction from the public. I did hear an interesting suggestion from Mel Kiper, Jr. (“draft expert”) on ESPN Radio that the conference should honor two of its legendary coaches by re-naming the divisions after Michigan’s Bo Schembechler and Ohio State’s Woody Hayes. On the surface, that sounded like a good idea until I considered that each year there would then be a Big(11/12)Ten championship game representative from the “Woody Division”. It seems to me that may not be the image that Delany was trying to convey. Here’s a radical idea: Divide the conference between East and West geographically as they should have done originally and name them accordingly. (Yeah, I know, something like that would never catch on.)
So, instead, I’ve decided to “e-mail in” this week’s column (the more discerning among you probably feel that I already do that every week) and rely on a traditional (read: tired & lame) year-end staple: ‘Christmas/New Year’s Wishes for Wisconsin sports figures’. To keep things organized, I’ve broken them down by their respective teams. So, without further ado, here are my wishes for…………
THE GREEN BAY PACKERS
President Mark Murphy: A new collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Player’s Association that allows the Packers to not only survive, but thrive. And preferably one that comes without a work stoppage.
GM Ted Thompson: A Super Bowl title to get the doubters off his back. Oh, and no further mention of a certain narcissistic future Hall of Fame quarterback during his remaining tenure.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy: A balancing of his karma to allow him to play with a full roster of his preferred players next season.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers: A clear head…..and the good sense to know when to use it.
RB Ryan Grant & TE Jermichael Finley: A healthy and productive Pro Bowl quality 2011 season.
WR Greg Jennings: Better focus than he had last Sunday.
WR Donald Driver: The good grace to approach the waning remainder of his career with the class that he has always displayed as a member of the Pack.
OLB Clay Matthews: A bookend pass rusher from the other side that will allow him to complete the DPOY season that he began this year.
Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers: A contract extension that will keep him in Green Bay for a few years.
LB Desmond Bishop & DE Cullen Jenkins: See above for Capers.
DB Charles Woodson: A few more years of the same. As Jayme noted the other day (in ‘Dreamy Dudes’), Chuckie has been a god-send for the Packers and their reputation with players around the league in much the same manner that Reggie White was almost two decades (jeez, has it been that long ?) ago.
Packers’ fans: A new special teams’ coach and hopefully the improvement in the kicking and return games that would follow from it.
THE MILWAUKEE BREWERS
Owner Mark Attanasio: Continued good attendance at Miller Park that will permit him to keep a competitive team on the field.
GM Doug Melvin: A trade for a number one starter that won’t decimate the farm system. (If the Phillies can get 4, can’t we at least get one ?!)
New Manager Ron Roenicke: Improved pitching and at least one season of being given the benefit of the doubt by Brewers’ fans.
1B Prince Fielder : A new agent and a trade to an American League team that will net the Brewers something useful in return.
LF Ryan Braun: A new, mentally tough attitude so he won’t whine about playing in day games at Miller Park.
2B Rickie Weeks: Continued good health along with a healthy contract extension.
Pitcher Yovani Gallardo: See Doug Melvin above. IMO, YoGa would be better if he didn’t feel the pressure to carry the pitching staff.
3B Casey McGehee: Some grudging and long overdue respect from the Brewers’ “blogosphere”.
RF/1B(?) Corey Hart: Some grudging and long overdue respect from me.
OF Lorenzo Cain: An everyday starting job in centerfield.
SS Alcides Escobar: A realization of his considerable potential; at least with the glove if not with the bat.
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy & Closer John Axford: Performances next year that prove their 2010 seasons weren’t a ‘fluke’.
Pitchers Manny Parra & Kameron Loe: The good sense by management to keep them in the bullpen where they belong.
THE MILWAUKEE BUCKS
Owner Herb Kohl: A long, long life. Kohl remains the best bet for keeping the Bucks in Milwaukee long term.
GM John Hammond: A metaphorical break from the physical ones that his team has suffered the last couple of years.
Coach (gritty, gutty) Scott Skiles: Better team shooting and the player availability to actually set a regular rotation.
Center Andrew Bogut: See John Hammond above.
Guard Brandon Jennings: Continued progress toward becoming one of the elite lead guards in the league.
Forwards Drew Gooden, Corey Magette & Luc Richard Mbah a Moute: Established roles on a playoff team.
Forward/Center Jon Brockman: A little court time so fans can appreciate his hustle.
Lastly, but not least(ly?), I would like to offer a few further wishes to the amalgamation that is the ‘Pocket Doppler family’………………..
Wally Pingel (part of my real family & the only ‘little brother’ I’ll ever have): Final ascension to the throne of ‘Master of the Internet’. Oh, and a Bucks’ game from the owner’s box at the Bradley Center.
Chris Richards: The patience to deal with his “Packers’ Therapy” co-host Dave (not to mention his best friend)
Jon Schleusner: An NCAA Regional Final between the Marquette Warri, er… Golden Eagles and the Wisconsin Badger basketball teams (and I’d like to be sitting beside you for that one, Jon)
Brian Carriveau: A lucrative full-time gig covering sports which he so clearly loves.
Rich Ward, Jr.: A successful conclusion to ‘finals week’ at UW-O.
Colleen: That Ted Thompson and the Packers expend a late round draft pick on Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick.
Anita: A return to respectability and prominence for the Fighting Irish football team.
“Milwaukee” Brian: All of the things I wrote about above with the Bucks and more.
Pete Seroogy: Unfortunately, I’m not as familiar with Pete as with some others here but I’m assuming he’d appreciate a Packers’ playoff appearance this year, as would the rest of us.
I have one final wish for myself and a ‘shout-out’ to John Rehor from GreenBayPackerNation.com and C.D. Angeli from TundrVision.com, two of the most insightful and articulate bloggers I’ve had the pleasure to read. I would like to meet you guys at Lambeau sometime; I believe that would make for an interesting game whatever the outcome.
To everyone else who is kind enough to visit these pages regularly and appreciate what we do, I think I can safely speak for everyone here at PocketDoppler in wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year. As always, thanks for reading and we’ll “see” you in 2011.