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My Milwaukee Bucks

I really love “The Association”, and I will get more in depth when I can get my thoughts together with the loss of my buddy at home, but here it is short and sweet…and this is the guy that was one game off from hitting last year with my prediction.

The Milwaukee Bucks will be:49-33 winners of the Central Division title.

There it is from someone that has a clue, RIP Lucky Dog you will be missed.

Steve Haywood
On-air Host
“The Game”
Good Karma Broadcasting
540ESPN and ESPN Deportes 1510
310 West Wisconsin Ave Suite 100
Milwaukee WI 53203
(414)273-3776 p
(414)291-3776 f
http://www.espnmilwaukee.com
http://www.espnwisconsin.com


A Bird In The Hand vs One In The (Reggie) Bush!

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So let me get this straight, Reggie Bush won the 2005 Heisman Award Trophy as the best collegiate football player in the country for that year if I remember correctly…that is what I remember happening from the great runs all over the land. So because Reggie allegedly took a few dollars from someone who was not exactly on the up and up at that time that makes all of the games he played in forfeits and effectively he was an ineligible player, I understand and respect rules and realize that there has to be consequences for actions that are giving someone or somebody a competitive advantage, but riddle me this Batman…Did Bush play any harder or better with these alleged payments you tell me if he did? Look when it comes to college big time sports (D1 Football & Hoops) I really have found that I’m morally bankrupt…I just cannot pretend to be on this high and mighty horse and high ground of, “don’t take the money, don’t take the benefits, hey Reggie lets go to the USC Bookstore and see how many of your #5 jerseys sell today at 75-90 bucks a pop and you get nothing but that great education and room and board!”
I am jaded enough in living life in the real world that everybody has their hand out and these “assets” on these campuses generate a lot of revenue and give these “Mecca’s” of higher learning and opportunity at getting their message through the sports programs. I say do everything the right way the best you can but if you can get what you can get…don’t get caught and make peace with your higher being after the fact.

So USC gave back the Duplicate award and took anything that represented Bush at USC out of their achieves…that is ok, but if you want to impress me give back the money you made off of Bush in 2005, that will tell me that it is not just one big fat dump on the guy and passing the buck by the university.

Like I said a few birds in the hand are more than one in the BUSH!

Steve Haywood
On-air Host
“The Game”

That Being Said… 2010 Off To A Good Start

I have been very reluctant to write a blog over the holidays. I tried to enjoy my family and friends and read others points of view to see where my perspective falls in the general landscape. It has been a entire month and I’m ready to get back after it so I will start slow and ratchet it up rather quickly so stay with me people. Today’s blog is a few quick hitters of which I will get into more details with some of the topics later on in more detail.

My 1st thought is on the Green bay Packers potential run into the NFC Playoffs. They are next to the San Diego Chargers the hottest team in the NFL, and that will carry them only so far in the post season. Can they beat Arizona and then whomever after that the weeks after that get them to Miami the 1st week in February? Sure it can, will it? Nah…will not be the NFC rep even though they have all the pieces to get there. Got to catch breaks and that is really hard to do on the road for 3 consecutive games, if they do though it will be as sweet as anything I can remember in following sports ever.

Gilbert Arenas…there is so much here to delve into that I must write the long blog on this, but I will say this…guns are serious business, as well as forgetting to maintain a certain extent of common sense, in this case both have to be addressed and will be.

Manny vs. Floyd - Boxing’s biggest spectacle doesn’t look like it is going to happen because of concerns about who and when people will be tested. Trust me folks this the equivalent of anything you can have I have only my way…not yours. There is too much money and these two ego-maniacs have too much damn pride to not see who the better man is in the ring. They agreed to terms too fast, things were going to smoothly, there has to be drama either manufactured or real to create the animosity that helps to hype the fight. TRUST ME 2010 will not go by without a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight…it just won’t.

It’s good to be back…hope ya missed me.

Steve Haywood
On-air Host
“The Game”
Good Karma Broadcasting
540ESPN and ESPN Deportes 1510
310 West Wisconsin Ave Suite 100
Milwaukee WI 53203

Tiger… Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy

Tiger & The Wife During Happier Times

Attention…

People cheat on their spouses, it is morally wrong in some cases illegal in others and in our society mostly frowned upon. But more and more stats are proving that it is increasing or maybe we are just acknowledging it out in the open more than in the past. With all the stereotypes and double standards that have been tolerated over generations in our society we are now from a PC standpoint dealing with adultery with more tolerance than prejudice, racism and even some forms of political incorrectness.

Rachel Uchitel Hooked Tiger Up Globally

I am not here to pass judgment on Tiger, his wife or the scenario that happened at his home that has led to the revelations-speculation of what he has done or not done in his marriage or personal life…not my gig nor should it be yours in my opinion. But because we live in the high tech-cyber blog world of what should or should not offend you, what is good and bad or what is the truth or not the truth a car accident in the middle of the driveway on Black Friday at one of the most prominent, recognizable figures on the planet has led to this. From what really happened that morning, to how they are handling it from a legal and public relations standpoint is being put under the microscope and everybody is monday morning quarterbacking. I’m guilty as charged because I have done that too, but like a gapers block on the freeway, I’m glad I wasn’t in that wreck and keep it moving, I hope at some point you do the same. Because lets be brutally honest, if Tiger Woods follows the 2010 get back in good graces playbook he will admit guilt, then ask for forgiveness 1st from the wife, then those he loves the most, last but not least the people that get him paid, consumers and sponsors. When he picks up another trophy on a golf course we will remember why Tiger Woods is relevant to a lot of people in our society, because of what he can do on that golf course. Just think about it, would you rather be driving by in the gapers block or in the middle of the wreck?

Steve Haywood
On-air Host
“The Game”

Kansas Football & Basketball Teams Brawl

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Jason Whitlock wrote a very interesting column about the the infighting at Kansas between the football and basketball teams. As one that has the privilege of covering teams in The State of Wisconsin in particular the Milwaukee area I see the points Whitlock tried to explain by giving background on the “why” more than the “what” here. I also have a similar background as Whitlock in the sense that I didn’t live this hip-hop gangstar lifestyle growing up, but have always been exposed to it. The question of how to fix this was brought up, the answer is complex, but the foundation of it is simple, it is the word “NO!”

In our society privilege and access to certain opportunities come with one abilities to perform certain tasks and having special talents. Lost in the context of this is the ability for those who have these special talents from entertainers, politicians, sports talk show hosts (myself) to athletes to respect and have those around them suggest to these gifted citizens not to say or do certain things. Once they realize the power they have to respect boundaries, they don’t… because they don’t have to. Why? If it were that easy I would package, market and distrubute it myself.

Steve Haywood
On-air Host
“The Game”

Brewers Bring Allstars To St. Louis

Here we are in mid July and Baseball celebrates itself as a sport and a part of our american culture. The All Star Game still resonates as a point baseball fans step back assess their team they follow, and curse the teams that are their rivals. For this town that is our Milwaukee Brewers baseball team. a couple of games over .500 and a factor in the National League Central Division. Considering the circumstances of Injury (Weeks), lack of consistency (Hardy, Hart) or just flat out under performance (Parra, Hall). There are the good things like the All-Star performances of Prince “P-Phunk” Fielder and “The R” aka Ryan Braun, Trevor Hoffman is pitching like he is a youngen all over again and others have stepped up to try to fill holes that were not anticipated to happen.

That being said it has not been uneventful has it? A lot of second guessing, over thinking and knowing better than those involved, it has been a summer of I feel as casual fan and observer tension. After the trade for CC Sabathia and momentum built through the second half of last season with that out of world performance he had and just the consistency they had last season. We haven’t had that moment of definition…we will have that moment come up really early in the next couple of weeks. Enjoy what happens as it happens or suffer with it.

Steve Haywood, Host of “The Game”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


Twitter, The New Sports Media

twitter

I know this is insane for someone like myself to say, but I speak on this from more of a fan point or athlete point of view and not as a media person. Social electronic networks like Twitter, My-Space or Facebook might in some cases serve a better purpose in some instances than dealing with the media.

Understand when I say this that if you are a smart media personality, athlete or otherwise you can utilize both to get out your message, thoughts or point of view in the context that you want to have represented through both avenues.

These are new tools in the world of electronic communication & media. Like it or not we live in the need to know as soon as now era, and these tools are already changing the landscape of communications and making a connect easier between certain groups. Ill give you an example of how this is working in real time life…as I write this blog I have not 1,2,3,4 but five people at the NBA Finals Tweeting live from the Staples Center and it is from a diverse group of personalities including Kareem Abdul Jabaar on the LA Lakers Bench to Jeannie Buss (who is the President of the Franchise) tweeting from the Floor to Jalen Rose of ESPN and Model Melyessa Ford doing their thing courtside at the game. Alot of interesting perspectives from all these different people giving more of a feel of the atmosphere there.

It is a double edged sword though because it does not always show your tone or the context in which you make your point of view known, that is where media like myself still serve a purpose in that we are a conduit to the masses of people who have interest in what these poeple are talking about.
I know as someone that needs that pipeline to remain strong that this is a tool that will be a factor in how I do my job in the short and long term future.

Unlike my colleages who didnt respect the impact of the internet on the newspaper business, I think I will try to be ahead of the curve on this one.


Sideline Reporters: Eye Candy With Microphones

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Ines Sainz – Mexican Sports Reporter

I guess I never really give it any thought when I’m working in a locker room, the radio TV studio or anywhere in which my path crosses with an attractive female colleague…but I do have an opinion on it though and it is not PC. My feeling is that if you are a sexy, attractive female that can use you looks, figure, attire or sexy attitude to do your job better, do what you need to do.

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Ines Sainz – At The Super Bowl Media Day

I know that my friends and others that do what we do in this business feels that this is not fair, and it probably isn’t but life isn’t fair so deal with your realities as they are. I know they will be a day that comes where a pretty lady with nice breasts and a great smile can take my spot or a sharper, smoother good looking young fella, but who is to say that I did not get access to the opportunity because of my skin color. I feel like that is not the case, but I also know that people in this profession of sports broadcasting feel some of my colleagues of color do not warrant their positions, but have them because the are minorities.

jill_arrington
Jill Arrington – Former ESPN Reporter

I stopped trying to fight that battle alone a long time ago, and the reason why is the quality of your work will dictate those feelings one way or the other. I assure anybody who has worked with me can tell you that I earn my right to be in that locker room, press-box or sports venue because I don’t worry about how they (my colleagues) feel I am doing my job, I take care of that on my own. This gets me back to the Erin Andrews, Rachel Nichols, Melissa Starks and Jill Arrington’s of this world known as sports broadcasting sexy divas, last I checked they have the same access I do to players, coaches, sports locations etc.

jillian-barberie-1
Jillian Barberie Fox Sports Reporter

The difference is because of that mic flag they carry they may get more access than the average reporter does that is where I sense the bitching and moaning from the great masses I work with. That is not the fault of these good looking reporters, if you have have a beef with the quality of their work, guess what? Blame yourselves because they wouldn’t have the jobs they have If they didn’t grade out well at least in their “Q” ratings and most important satisfy their employers and the watching consumers.

These women are not exactly enthused that they are looked at as “tarts”, but also understand this is the price they pay to do what they do. God blessed them with pretty legs, nice breasts, killer body or beautiful smile and it is not their only attributes. Reality is though that you wont have your average 17 year old giving himself a fantasy tug watching Chris Berman? Think about you know it is sooooo true.

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


The Professional: Damon Jones

 dwayne-wade-and-damon-jones

There he is…MY MAN! Doin what he do…doing it the way he do it. Another game win or loss, another trot off the court for my guy who always make me chuckle because he gets it!

He just enjoys the moment for what it is, this is one of the best people in the NBA… DJ 19, Damon Jones currently of the Milwaukee Bucks. Here is a young man who has started in the NBA Finals and rode buses in the Black Hills of South Dakota in the CBA. Here is a young man that was a ball boy for the championship teams back in Houston in the mid 90s, but has played side by side with all-stars Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and in his 1st run here with Michael Redd in Milwaukee. Here is a young man that was undrafted out of the University of Houston, but has been on MTV Cribs and co-hosted Dick Clark’s New Years Eve Party in New York.

dj19-2003

So many contradictions, but like the transformers…there is more that meets the eye? I sat down with DJ 19 and asked him a few questions about being in the league for this long, and how he has done it. Although the Bucks are the only team he has played for twice in his career, he has enjoyed being on ten other teams.

I asked him how he keeps so even keel and he told me several things help him with that. “By keeping my mind fresh and going one day at a time, it helps me focus and since I have seen it all in this league, I try to share a lot of those experiences with the young guys.” Every player, and just about every coach I spoke to about Damon said the same thing, it was said over and over about his attitude, which is basically this…he takes the game very serious, but not to the point it isn’t fun to play the game. DJ 19 did acknowledge in our conversation that their have been peaks and vallys. “A lot of highs and lows.” He also reminded me to tell any young ball-players out there. “No one can ever tell you or dictate how you want your career to go…ever!” Not bad for a career 40% FG and a 39% 3pt FG shooter, 647 games (and counting) and more importantly 6 post seasons in ten years.

For a guy that never saw a seven figure salary until he joined the Miami Heat in the 2004-05 season, he has never shown outwardly signs of that petty jealousy or politics that I seen destroy teams, locker rooms and communities.

So I send this shout out to people who are tired of all the negativity, bad actors and actions in the very insulated world of professional sports, here is a guy you can cheer for who came from the bottom and is still trying to reach the top.

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


Wisconsin Is A Hoops Hotbed

devin-harris-mike-taylor

Devin Harris is the New Hype of the NBA…

I was watching NBA TV the other night and was watching how Devin Harris was clowning on the west coast, while Harris was killing the Phoenix Suns it made me take a minute and think about how rich and talented this area is when it comes to basketball players and how damn competitive it is in this region of the state of Wisconsin.
 
It goes back to the “Downtown Freddie Brown”, John Johnson era of the mid 60s and just kept rolling…and rolling…and rolling, but you would never think of it that way because these guys just did their thing without a lot of fan fare (except Sprewell). Just think about guys who have or are playing in “The Association” and had good solid runs in the league from this part of the state. These are their roots…this is their foundation.
 
Some names are familiar to anybody that follows the “Glorius Association”, names Like Porter, Sprewell, T. Smith, Chones, Harris, Wolf, Novak, Diener and Van Excel. Then there are the guys like Carl Landry, Mike Wilks and Mike Taylor from the city who fly under the radar screen who carve their place in the league quietly. The point is this, the next time you here about how Memphis, Dallas, Oakland or Atlanta is this basketball hot bed tell whoever is hollaring that to bring their best up to Milwaukee-Racine-Madison area of Wisconsin or from this point foward known as the B-Ball Triangle and play some of the best AAU teams and high school teams in the country. They will find out the hard way that teams will get their @*ses run out of the gym, because there is some serious talent up here. 
 
That being said there is a big time tournament at South Division this weekend named after former NBA, South Division HS and Stevens Point great…The Terry Porter Classic will put the best teams in the region against each other Friday and Saturday at his old school. The stakes get raised the week after that when the Converse Eastbay College Scholarship Classic comes to town at the Al Maguire Center, sponsored by MPS and Jim Gosz long time coach at Rufus King High School.
The Converse Eastbay College Scholarship Classic is putting some of the best high school teams in the country on the floor at the Al in Milwaukee, just remember Milwaukee will represent itself very well, trust me. The next wave of NBA talent will be on the floor to watch, and enjoy.
 
If I were you I would go see for myself.

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


Green Bay Packers Are Searching For Answers

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Now what?
 
The Green Bay Packers are 5-6 and looking less and less like a playoff team unless they win the NFC North division. That being said, the Packers are not catching or creating the breaks that went their way last year. The easy answer is the fact that #4 is a New York Jet and they are reapping the benefits of his aura and presence by becoming one of the best teams in the AFC, and you may hay have a point with that way of thinking because it is a results oriented business and 8-3 is better than 5-6 period. 
 
Go Back to August and ask yourself if this was expected and the answer is problably not. If anything coming off a NFC Championship appearance you would hope that other elements of the team would have improved including the coaching, yes the coaching which has most of the season been kind of been overlooked and not as scrutinized as the play of Aaron Rodgers, the D line and other players specifically. Special teams has been at best suspect especially the coverage teams, the defensive line coach has not got anything special out of his unit, my man Edgar Bennett can also be taken to task a little for the lack of progress in the running game until very recently and for all the accolades Winston Moss get as assistant head coach-linbackers coach have we seen any real improvements in the that group? If anything Barnett before the injury didnt look sharp and A.J. Hawk and Poppinga have regressed so far this season. Has coach Mac done anything with his play calling and in game adjustments to make you believe he has grown as a play caller…you tell me?
 
The great thing about this is all the worts exposed this year can be forgotton if the Pack surge and when 4 of the last 5 or even better sweep out and go 10-6. That will surely guarentee another playoff for the Packers and keep those whispers at a minimum for a little while, but those whispers will be statements of loud opinon, especially if Brett Lorenzo Favre keeps the streaking Jets rolling along, stay tuned.

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


Brewers Season Over As Phillies KO Crew

Man, what a ride…it lasted a little too short, but it was fun wasn’t it? As I sit here in the press box at a dark and empty Miller Park I am less the 3 hours removed from watching a capacity crowd stand up and cheer the Milwaukee Brewers players as the Philadelphia Phillies celebrated at the pitching mound moving on to the NLCS. They gave you a season to cheer didn’t they? They gave you reason to become a regular user of Malox and Bayer in the month of September and then a reason to get out the bottle of the good hooch the last game of the year and party like its 1982.
 
The Brewers did all of that and then some, they dealt with adversities like losing Ben Sheets who has probably thrown his last pitch in a Brewer uniform, and not getting a lot of runs. They also gave you late game heroics in the last week of the season against Pittsburgh and those Cubbies from the city of Chicago, via Braun, Weeks and P-Phunk Fielder. We watched Corey Hart go out there and struggle like no other Brewer down the final run of September, but keep humping along, fighting through it and of course we got to see the greatest stretch of clutch pitching by C.C. Sabathia, who not only help carry this team to the post season, but revive hope in a fan base and community that had lost it’s faith that it could happen here and happen now.
 
They gave us the awkward firing of Ned Yost, who in a lot of ways is the reason they got this far, and maybe the reason the scuffled the way they did too. They did all of these things on this great ride of following a sports team trying to get to the top of the heap, living and dying with every pitch, at bat and going from sipping champagne to packing boxes and saying good-byes in a week period.
 
All of this happened, it was so much fun that if you didn’t enjoy the ride you have only yourself to blame. The Phillies may have celebrated at Miller Park on Sunday, but we celebrated the last three weeks with baseball games the mattered, a venue worthy of coming to see them in (thanks Selig and Petak), and an experience that took 26 years to have happen. It is time to get off the ride for now, but next time lets stay on a little longer and have a little more fun…Buckle up!

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


Brew Crew Needs To Bring It Against Philly

Aiiight…it’s time to get grimy!

If you don’t understand the definition of the first word used here find someone that speaks Haywood-ease and they will explain it to you. 26 years is a long time to drop a beat down on somebody, and not a lot of people have that patience except Nelson Mandela and Brewer Fans. At the time I drop this knowledge on you the Brewers are preparing to take the field at Miller Park and try to get back in the series against the Philadelphia Phillies who dragged them in the illa-delph for a 2-0 series lead and beat are ace, C.C. Sabathia. Most of the year C.C. handled his business like grown folks do, but gave up one bad inning and 3 bad pitches in game 2, cost him a loss…Damn!

Nobody could hit the ball with a tennis racket, sheet metal, much less a bat in Philly, which compounded the problems at Citizens Bank Ballpark. Well guess what, this team is flat out due to have the baseball gods shine on them again like they did last Sunday when they got an invitation to the dance called the MLB post-season. There is no reason to believe this team has any shot to win this game, much less this series…got them where we want them.

So I will roll into my pre-game show at a local establishment and spew greatness for a couple of hours, then step to the yard Ipod bangin some Public Enemy, KRS-1 or P-Funk (I don’t know no better), hit the press box about the time Bob Uecker puts the 1st pitch out there and enjoy all the elements that are to be enjoyed after a 26 years of neglect in this town. I suggest you do the same.

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


I’m Back & Ain’t Scared Of You Critics

I apologize for the delay, I was a little ill and I allowed someone to convince me my blogs don’t make sense to the people that read and edit them. After having my little hissy fit, I realized where that comment came from and thought like you are the end all be all of blogging. I never really care what people think about me or my points of view, I’ve gotta be who I am. In a lot of ways it was a cop-out, just felt that people didn’t want my thoughts in written form, can barely stand my points of view on the radio. Well guess what…It is what it is, deal with it!

Guess what? I could care less what people think about my blogs, never did. I am going to write them like I feel them, these blogs are coming out in a rapid fire format and in quantity with the quality that they have proven to be all along.

Last but not least, for those that don’t understand the thought process of Steve Haywood in blog form, you can always hit the comment portion after the blogs in their different websites and get clarification or just find someone else that uses better punctuation, vernacular and context and enjoy their musings. Other than that I could take the high road, which I should do, but the high road in this case is to tell the critics of my blogs to kiss my a*#!

Have a nice day.

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


Brewers Black Baseball Players Excel

Just because I don’t play the card does not mean it is not in my deck!

The last place outside of the media free locker room or clubhouse that political correctness is not a worry is the barbershop. As I sat at my barbershop which is Ronnies on Center street in Milwaukee I heard something that caught my attention about the Milwaukee Brewers that I thought was funny and at the same time sad.

The elders in the shop were talking about how it was about time the Brewers got over their hatred of black ballplayers and put winning first. Hatred of black ballplayers? The Brewers? Put winning first? I was at a crossroads of thought when I heard this brought up and wondered aloud if that was the case in the past and now. I really have never sensed the Brewers from a standpoint of racial aspect have been a franchise that has went out of their way to avoid black ballplayers. I also feel they have never went out of their way to cater to brothers either, they just went for what they thought were the best players for their franchise at that time.

The one instance where there was a question of racial issues in the Brewers franchise was with one Gary Sheffield, and even with that one you have to cite the source at the time of the allegations of racism. I can think of a lot of ballplayers from back to George “Boomer” Scott, Cecil Cooper, Darryl “Hambone” Hamilton, Gregg Vaughn, Eric Young, Jeffrey Hammonds, Jeffrey Leonard and so on and so on. Henry Aaron is the most revered baseball player in Milwaukee history, so there is love from that perspective. The Brewers even gave a black manager a shot in Davey Earl Lopes, that didn’t work out to well so we just move on. My point is the Brewers under the old regime of the Selig Family and the new regime Run by Mark Attanasio have been at least on par from what I can see in terms of ratio of African-American ballplayers as major aspect of the franchise. Actually the Brewers in 2008, which are 20+ games over .500 can on any given day if C.C. Sabathia is pitching have as many as 5 brothers on the field which is way above the ratio of 8-10% of African-American ballplayers in the Major Leagues now.

Now the next question is have the black ballplayers been the anchors and or focal point of the franchise identity over the years and my answer to that is, NO! That is no up until recently, and I mean the last few years have the black ballplayers been highlighted as much as any other players on the team. Prince Fielder gets a much push by the franchise as Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks as much as J.J. Hardy and now C.C. Sabathia is bringing a exposure to the Brewers they have not enjoyed since Yount or Molitor. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t try to in the past, just not as hard to me as they should of tried and promoted the black ballplayers over the years.

Now back to the barbershop. I think those feelings presented have some merit, but not as much as one would believe. I really see it this way, we got a good thing going on here right now in Milwaukee. The team is winning and I see a lot of black ballplayers helping get that job done. If I need to play my race card I will play it, the game I see right now doesn’t justify doing so.

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


Time Is Now For Rickie Weeks

Photo Courtesy Of Allen Fredrickson

Hang in there Rickie… hang in there!

I know this is not easy to write because easy to write is bury him, he has under-performed even by his standards this baseball season statistics wise. Easy to write is let’s just play Ray Durham, everyday we will be better if we do, easy to write is Ned Yost protects him too much and now has to make him accountable…more and more he makes too many mistakes at too many times in to many big moments, Rickie doesn’t get on base enough. I hear it all, from some more than others.

Ok…

All of that has merit, all of it does no point in trying to argue it does not when it does. There are other things that have merit too in this conversation of Rickie Weeks, the biggest being to me if you believe in the short term and long haul that Rickie is not the answer at second base, understand that the people who are trying to win and bring a pennant back to the Milwaukee Brewers since 1982 do not agree with you. Rickie is the victim to a certain extent of his own immense talents, the rapid success of a few of his teammates, self applied pressure to make everything perfect as well as the hype of being the number 2 overall draft pick.

When you look at Rickie and where he has come from, but where he was projected to be it is about right, if you really balance it out and are objective and fair about what he has done in his brief four year major league career for the Brewers. Look at his numbers and compare them to others that have become multi all-star 2nd basemen, it takes more time for some than others, that doesn’t excuse some things that should not and cannot happen. Rickie has to be more consistent in the field late in games, patient at the plate and not make the type of mental mistakes we have seen in recent games on the base paths.

He is still been a huge part of the Brewers team recent success, more than he can be blamed directly for certain failures of the team. Accountability becomes more of a issue when your team gets good enough that it matters if and when they make mistakes. Rickie Weeks is a front line guy for the Milwaukee Brewers, has to be held as accountable as Ben Sheets, Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, Ryan Braun, CC Sabathia, Bill Hall and others. But in the process of doing that don’t lose perspective of what he brings to the team.

Ill take talent, every time and 2 times on Sundays. Talent can be taught, skill most times just can’t take it to next level. Second comes success and the impact of what that talent brings in terms of success, I know we have had some hard working, smart and skilled guys play in this town over the years, but when you combine that with the best talent then you have something big time, Rickie has the talent and is hard working and smart, he just has to be more consistent.

As the mouth piece for certain athletes, I know the easy way out was to bury 23 of the Brewers like a few of my colleagues in the media are and some fans are doing too,which is their right to do. All I will say is what I say to Rickie; “Hang in there”, and Brewers fans believe you will truly reap the benefits in the short haul of the rest of this season and long haul of future seasons.

And for those that think it is time for him to go, you serve a purpose too… motivation! I can’t wait for him to shut you up, here or someplace else which I believe he will do big time. We will revisit the journey of Rickie Weeks soon.

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


Buckle Up… This Could Get A Little Bumpy

It is not conjecture, speculation or hypotheticals no more, it is all about decisions and actions now. Brett Lorenzo Favre signed and faxed his re-instatement papers to the NFL and it is a matter of time now the Green Bay Packers have to make moves that impact the short and long-term results of the franchise. Ted Thompson now is going to make the move he is being forced to make, either trade #4, ask him to stay at home or bring him in and deal with all the distractions that brings.

The latest strange turn in “As the swamp-billy turns”, Packers President Mark Murphy flew down to the Hattiesburg Compound and ask Favre to stay on the tractor, or go huntin…not gonna happen. Deanna (the wife) and “Bus” Cook (the agent) thinks Brett is getting played by the organization, just being a “dummy” as far as they are concerned. So it looks like after the soft deadline he is gettin in dat der flying machine and coming up to the stadium. Players are in camp and practice is in full effect mode, my guess is the Favre questions are already annoying the heck out of everyone at 1265 Lombardi Avenue, get use to that boys & girls it’s only going to get worse and weird.

Throw in the fact that this whole swamp billy soap opera is effecting other NFL Camps in Hempstead, NY, Disney Sports Complex in Orlando FL and Mankato MN…you figure out the
teams. And causing coaches and quarterbacks to not just look over their shoulders but step out of the way of these bullets being shot them from Green Bay WI. Bringing the swamp-billy saga to different zip codes, yikes!

Now we get to the fun of this soap opera, what happens next? Does Favre get his way? Do the Packers get their way? Aaron Rodgers twist an ankle? Does this change the pre-game free meal we get in the press box. Who are all those security guards going to protect now running off the field? How can we some how blame Mike Tyson for all of this? The most important question; what would Lee Remmel do? These are questions that demand answers.

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


Brandon Jennings Takes Game To Europe

As we continue to enjoy “As the swamp-billy turns”, to the joy of some and pain of others I just want to hip you up on something that kind of flew under the radar in the past couple of weeks. It involves the game of basketball on all levels, from high school to the pro game. 
 
A McDonalds All-American who I had the pleasure of watching here in the game in Milwaukee by the name of Brandon Jennings out of LA who went to Oak Hill Prep Academy in Virginia and in a lot of circles is considered the best prep player in the country committed to the Arizona Wildcats. With the loss of guard Jarryd Bayless to the NBA after one year, Jennings was counted on to lead the Cats back to the top of the college basketball world, well guess what happened?
 
Brandon Jennings decided to skip out on that commitment to take his game and that one year out of high school requirement and 19 year old rule the NBA installed a few years ago and signed with a team overseas. Huh? What did you say… HE DID WHAT!
 
Yes that is right, Brandon Jennings took his very unique basketball gift and will make millions overseas at least for one season. This is the ultimate test of how the system of structure is set-up for basketball in this country. Just this week a top ten draft pick in Josh Childress of the Atlanta Hawks bolted for Europe and a 20 million dollar deal for 3 years, are you kidding me?
 
In response to this Arizona head coach Lute Olson who has been victim of this 1 and done mentality more than his share has sworn off kids who are not committed to being division 1 student-athletes… great Lute, we will see how long that lasts.
 
This is the best thing that could happen for basketball, and I know you think I’m nuts for saying that but it is true, here is why. Everybody thinks that it is the best thing for some of these gifted athletes to go learn their trade and mature in a college environment.

In most cases that is very true… everybody is not an NBA lottery pick, but for the handful that are you should give them that access to opportunity that exists if some professional sports team owner wants to risk their money on that type of potential/talent. 
 
This is America where we take chances; gamble is the word that best describes how we do things in this country, some calculated and some not, but we make the choice within the context of the rules, when a rule is a bad rule we change it (or circumvent it). I believe that the choosing of who you think can be an asset to your business should be made by that business, not by people concerned about the potential of bad choices. Last time I checked the Kevin Garnetts, LeBron James and Kobe Bryants of the world are what that potential can turn into. The Kwame Brown and Eddie Currys are out there to, but like anything else in life, you better do your homework and get it right. 
 
The college game has enjoyed the fruits of the athleticism of these elite athletes for years and given in fair trade a college scholarship. Ok, that is all good but as we evolve as a society that changes with the times we need to get away from this silly, unrealistic romantic thought that we are still in the socio-economic lifestyles of the 1950s. 
 
I speak only of the best of the best when I talk of making this system more balanced to reward those that create the most within it. For those others that both parties benefit from this system, keep it rolling and fine tune-it to better it for all parties. The student-athlete and the universities, as well as other business interests can and should all benefit if we quit lying about what it really is. I believe education can and does make us as individuals and as a society better, but there are many ways to learn things and profit from that knowledge. Didn’t Bill Gates drop out of school early to start that Microsoft whatever. Make sure they are student athletes after all and compensate those that generate dividends to your university so they can enjoy the life like every other college student who has a job. 
 
Unlike most young men who play out this farce of being a student-athlete when they are athletic mercenaries, Brandon Jennings did the best thing for him and his future, and by doing so may have also done something constructive for the hypocrisy that we turn our heads to here in this country in big time sports. Jennings is taking a gamble, I really hope he wins big!

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


That Being Said II – Packers & Brewers

Hello to all of those that have their facts in order, numbers in line and points of reference ready to drop on anyone willing to listen to them.

Yes, that loud minority that is my bread and butter who I never under appreciate is the fans that are stirred into a frenzy or as I was once told ( by the “great” William Johnson) herded as sheep to what is important in the world of sports. If Ted Thompson makes the move to trade future NFL Hall of Famer Brett Lorenzo Favre it would be something; until then it is just conversation. Like I said all along, after doing this for about ten years now the levels of passion and interest in a player, team or sport depend usually on the player, team, or sports current status of success (paging Tiger Woods), that also includes what fans focus on.

If this was 2002 The Brewers would not be uttered out of any ones mouth in this town stats or otherwise, that is the level of indifference they had gotten to. Like the Packers of the eighties… start winning and the tone of conversation changes, and gets more and more dissected. Throw in the internet, sports talk radio, instant access on cable and satellite television and fantasy sports leagues and you have the perfect storm of stat-heads. They can site at the drop of a hat what Trent Green’s completion percentage is or the on-base percentage of Rickie Weeks is. That is ok, except sometimes it doesn’t explain why this team won or this team lost, the competition usually determines that, not stats.

The Brewers are winning now and they are fun to watch and give you something to talk about every day which creates natural thoughts of anxiety and concerns about what is next… fair enough. Stats are something that are used as an point of reference when it benefits ones point of view or even better to justify ones thought process or argument. As we progress the the rest of the baseball season we will see how Rickie Weeks and other “stats” will impact others points of view or will it be plays made or not and if they win… I’m betting on the 2nd one.

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


Farve Can’t Stay Away

Brett Lorenzo Favre…

Where do we start? Well let’s start with the obvious, Favre still wants to play, the Packers wanted Favre back but he changed his mind again and the Packers moved on. Ted Thompson has put together a championship caliber team with one unproven position player; the quarterback, and Aaron Rodgers is now that guy. Mike McCarthy is on-board publicly with Ted Thompson as well as the new president Mark Murphy. So these are facts that we would all agree upon, now is where it gets dicey, where speculation, innuendo, perceptions and personalities of all these parties have made this the best reality T.V. I’ve seen since the Real World 2 on MTV many years ago. 

Favre has waffled more on this issue than you can buy at The International House of Pancakes. Ole’ Teddy T. is ready for the band to have a new conductor, and his lack of back side kissing to Favre over the years has made that clear to Favre, from firing Mike Sherman the day after the Packer season ended in ’06, to blowing off the request to trade for Randy Moss last April. Favre read in between the lines and being the diva he is decided he had enough.

Three time MVP, Super Bowl Champion, record holder of all significant records for quarterback position in the history of the NFL…nothing left to do, but get on the tractor in Hattiesburg and call it a career. There’s only one problem with that, its that championship game, its that pass in overtime, its the whispers that he’s uncomfortable in the cold weather games. Then there’s the other problem, he could still play, had one of his best seasons of his career, and competitors never quit, they get it taken away from them.
 
Ted Thompson is screwed 6 ways to Sunday, only one way out, Aaron Rodgers NFL MVP and Packer Super Bowl champions, probability about the same as my skin color changing to that of Michael Jackson’s complexion… not gonna happen. So Teddy has to balance what is best for the Packers and his coach, these players and Ted Thompson. So here is my suggestion if you listen to my radio show, “That Being Said” on 540 ESPN (shameless plug) I’ve said all along the best way to address this situation is wait for the official request for reinstatement by Favre’s representation to the team, acknowledge it, remind Brett that training camp starts July twenty-whatever, and inform Brett Lorenzo Favre he is the back-up to Aaron Rodgers.

Here’s why this works; Favre’s ego and pride may not allow him to show up, if he does he’s banking on one of two things; Rodgers getting hurt which historically has happened to him, or ineffective play. Don’t worry about pressure, that was going to exist whether Favre is there or not, internal and external for the team and Rodgers, might as well have the 800 lb white elephant on the sideline in uniform instead of haunting the facility at 1265 Lombardi Avenue day in, day out.
  
From the Packers standpoint, its high risk, high reward. Rodgers gets his shot and you have one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the game as a back up. As a Packer observer from a media perspective I could care less about anybody’s ego, feelings etc. As a fan, all parties need to understand that it is about winning first and foremost. The most dysfunctional team in the off season last year were the New York football Giants, look at what they did. It is possible, at the same time you could have the team implode around this whole issue if it hasn’t already. Favre could become the issue in the locker room that could splinter guys off into taking sides. Team chemistry is very important in locker rooms and clubhouses, respect if not love or like for one another is essential for team success, once the respect is lost you never can get it back.
 
Are we at that point already? We will find out soon enough, Favre is still on the schedule to induct his boy Frankie bag of doughnuts (Frank Winters) into the Packers Hall of Fame on July 19th. That will be a very revealing moment in this drama that gets more entertaining and complicated by the day. Stay tuned (like I had to tell you to do that).
 
I have to close with a special shout out to two of my colleagues who have pretty much nailed this whole thing down from that NFC Championship Game till now. Jason Wilde of The Wisconsin State Journal and Mark Chmura (Big Chewy) on 540espn have been on point with this Favre topic since it became a topic. I salute your candor, humor and insight of this whole topic, thanks for setting the tone its on us to keep up now.

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


That Being Said…

It is that time of the year again…

You know the annual gathering of music lovers who get to drunk, eat too much and live life beyond their means in terms of behavior young and old…it’s Summerfest”!

As I sit at our Milwaukee Mile 540 ESPN Broadcast Center on the festival grounds I ask myself questions to help me past time and calm down. I am a little angry about some things that have happened that out of our control, but I’m starting to believe my road dog Scotty Wiz that the show may be cursed, too many strange things happening to us the last few weeks, so I need to get into another place, so it’s blogging time!

The NBA Draft has come and gone and all I can say is John Hammond is changing the culture of the franchise in a numbers of different ways on and off the floor. The drafting of Joe Alexander was no surprise, but in a way it was because of the straight forward way the Bucks went about doing it. The brought him in twice and actually admitted they wanted him and on draft night, they actually took him! Hmmmm, this is uncharted territory for me in terms of blunt straight honest actions with no cloak and daggers. I usually get to the truth, but totally off the record. The second round pick is Luc Richard Mbah a Moute out of UCLA, (that is Luke Ra-shard M-Boo-a-Moo-tay), we’re gonna have to give him an nickname real quick. Bottom line is we will see what the vision is pretty soon of the new GM, stay tuned.

Let me ask you something about the NFL off-season? What the hell is the big deal about off-season OTAs (organized team activities) and minicamps? The most dysfunctional team last off-season was the New York Football Giants, they had all kinds of issues last year from Michael Strahans’ should I retire or not to is the head coach got control of the team or not. You know what, they still won the Superbowl didn’t they? I have not heard one player, coach or management type say that the key to their Superbowl success was how they came together in the off-season OTAs, not one…ever.

So it seems the only folks that make a huge deal about off season absences of veteran players at these gatherings are coaches trying to make a point, fans and MEDIA. Not one off-season workout would have made a difference in that pass Favre threw in overtime for the pick in the NFC Championship.

In looking at few other things, the Brewers are right about where they should be considering loss of players to injury and under-performance by certain members of the team. Pitching has stepped up and been better than thought and Salomon Torres next to Ben Sheets is the MVP coming in and holding the closer role. By the way my newest nickname is for Prince Fielder is “P-Funk”, the reason why is simple, you know that look you get on your face when something stanks that scrunched up face, that’s the same look I get when Prince mashes the ball, that is why I will call him “P-Funk.”

Enjoy the annual drunken, musical pilgrimage to Milwaukee’s Lakefront…I know I do. 

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


NBA Finals Recap

Did you see that…well did you? I saw it and I thought it was interesting that of all the NBA Finals in which KG, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce would win a championship it was together in BOSTON! The one of the two epicenters in the history of the NBA, the other being the team they beat Los Angeles. It all becomes one big cycle, the alpha and the omega. I say this because of the NBA Draft coming up. The NBA Draft is the start of the cycle in terms of major success or complete failure depending on what you do that particular draft and who you pick. Some turn out to be exactly as predicted in terms of turning the fortunes of an franchise around by their mere presence and weight of pure impact due to talent, from Bill Russell in the beginning of the Celtics Dynasty to Tim Duncan making the San Antonio Spurs a every other year Champion and everybody in between. Then there are other drafts like, well lets not go there, it is too many Sam Bowie, Kwame Brown etc…lets just not go.  
 
KG carried a franchise for an generation, did the best he could but not enough, Ray Allen and Paul Peirce had a little taste of success in years of their careers, but just needed a little more help and incredibly it was with each other this season they got it done. All three were without question impact draft picks and had major impact on the franchises they have played for. The draft gets you to a place where develop a foundation, a stable anchor but it is like my haberdasher Elliot Torrence has taught me about putting together a great suit, the foundation is the pants and and blazer, the key to the look is the accessories, from the shoes to the sunglasses.
 
The next generation of Lebron, Melo and DWade( who got his belt on 06) are the focus of the next generation of players coming up, but there are others too. this is why the NBA will become more relevant again as it was in the 80′s and 90′s because of its new blood coming in and spreading out through the NBA Draft. The Milwaukee Bucks and the other 29 teams will have a chance to change their fortunes with the reading of a name at a podium in a draft that can change history.
 
Just like a good suit don’t forget to hook-up the right accessories. 

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


Finally The Finals (pt. 1)

It really begins in earnest when you can’t wait for the game to come on. You start getting fired up around mid-afternoon at whatever you are doing in life, school, work or being a useless food eating, excuse making waste of someone else responsibility, also known as children, you start getting “that buzz” that you cannot explain. Then it is that time where you sit down in front of the TV and the music starts, the graphics and the visuals of all the main characters in the real-life tv drama that is “The NBA Finals.”

As a true NBA knucklehead it has taken me back to my teenage years when the Bucks were the 80s’ version of the Detroit Pistons modern day, the 76′ers and the Celtics used them as a just a passable obstruction to get over on their way to the Lakers and the finals, (damn it hurts to say that, but it is true). Then it happened, just like you thought it would with several current hall of famers doing their thing and a number of very great players accompanying them, it was always…and I mean always was worth everything to watch. The Boston Garden, The Forum, The Spectrum and all the pomp and circumstance would be replaced by the game, and the game would live up to the hype in these match-ups of the early to late 80′s. As a hard core Laker fan rarely did it happen, but when they lost to the Celtics or the Sixers it was not a good summer for me because it didn’t sit right.

Now let us look at it from a modern day era. We have had some semi dynasties in Isiahs’ bad boy Pistons, Shaq and Kobes’ Lakers, Duncans’ Spurs, Dreams’ Rockets and of course the real dynasty that was Michael Jordans’ Bulls of the 90′s. The one thing missing is the rival that pushes you to the limit. That doesn’t exist today like it did then and here is why I say that: everybody won and everybody lost that were the best in the league at that time in the finals. Today, the finals are interesting because of the players stories and their quests for the ring. In Boston for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen it validates the ultimate team success to go along with their great individual careers if they win, while Kobes’ quest to shine out of Shaq’s shadow in a Laker uniform is a great sub-plot.

Boston wins game one in a forgettable contest that lacked “sizzle”, except for the Pierce near-death experience, but was bringing back that buzz I had as a teenager in those great matchups at those great venues. It has all the potential to be one of those finals match-ups you never forget and I hope it turns out that way, but my experience in living tells some things don’t repeat themselves and generate that same feeling after it has been established. I rarely wish that a thought is proven wrong that I have…this is one of those rare occasions I hope that is the case. Stay tuned for more blogs on the actual games in the NBA Finals.

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


These Fathers Knew Best

     

Say what you want to say about them… but they were right!
 
It was at the time when they made the comments somewhat a general thought amongst the mainstream media and those that listened to what they predicted as the ramblings of just loving parents or crazy black men who had delusions of grandsire. It is about a decade and change later and those “ole crazy black men”, being the late Earl Woods and Richard Williams sound more like Nostradamus than Uncle June after some drank at the bar be cue.
 
They both predicted their seeds or children would be prolific athletes that would excel and succeed at the highest level of their sports and have proven to do so. We have watched the greatness of Tiger Woods from his here I am world performance in the ’97 Masters, to now being the greatest golfer in the world and it’s not even close. We are surprised when he doesn’t win a tournament now, we are somewhat disappointed when he doesn’t when a major.

We actually have suggested if he has the audacity not to win at least 1 or 2 majors a year that he is in a slump, but we didn’t set that standard for him as much as those goals were created and publicly put out there by Earl Woods, Tigers dad who groomed him for every element of challenge on a golf course, and showed what it takes in the world of golf from the time he could stand to live up to those expectations.
 
Tiger is a world icon now who has not just captivated his sport, but made golf relevant to people who could care less about the game, unless he is teeing off in that particular tournament. He not only has backed up his daddies bold assertions of success with what he has accomplished so far in the game, but seems to be in his prime even as he deals with the 1st significant injury of his career.

Remember, he played this year in The Masters on a busted knee and damn near won the thing! He has also carried himself without any major controversy or life issues that have impacted peoples opinion of him in terms of marketing or thoughts that he his a fraud. Earl Woods passed away a few years back and clearly has left a major mark on this world…job well done! 
 
Richard Williams was right about his daughters getting to their destinations of greatness, but he conducted them to it on an entirely different path. From the time the former junkman made the the decision to raise world class tennis players, he did it his way, from how they would learn the game, to grooming them himself and avoiding the tennis academies and junior tennis circuit that have burned out and ruined more than their share of tennis prodigies.

On the rough streets of Compton California, he took his baby girls to to local tennis court and taught them skills, stamina, mental and physical toughness. The biggest thing they learned from father Richard was total self-reliance and how to be great by playing each other more than anyone else. By doing that, he created ultra-competitive women’s champions who not just took the game by storm, but have taken it to a higher level.  The quick walking gray-haired smallish black man to this day is the trainer for his daughters many majors and many millions made, they still roll with papa Richard. There is still major work to do as both of them still have major years of quality tennis left in them.
 
The other aspect of their greatness is the way the have grown up right before our eyes and become great examples of not just women of color, but great role models for all young women, on and off the court. The absolute way they handle themselves with such class in all situations from the murder of their older sister in Los Angeles, to some of the racist issues they have had to overcome here in the US and around the world in the world of tennis…once again, job well done.
 
Now a major shout out goes out to moms for all parties too, but these great athletes and people have always went out of their way to talk about the driving force to their greatness being their dads. As we roll up on Fathers day here in the near future, remember what you may have thought when you first saw on television or read in a magazine the ramblings of these at the time “crazy ole black men.” They were crazy alright… I wish I was crazy like that too! 

Steve Haywood, Host of “That Being Said”
ESPN Radio 540 Milwaukee


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