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Friday, May 31, 2013

Bucks Hire Larry Drew to be New Head Coach

Larry Drew has agreed to a four-year, $10 million contract with the Milwaukee Bucks.  He replaced interim head coach Jim Boylan, who took over for Scott Skiles mid way through last season.  Drew was previously the head coach for the Atlanta Hawks for the last three seasons.  He compiled a 128-102 record and led the Hawks to the playoffs in each of those three seasons.

Larry Drew is not a wow factor like Jerry Sloan or Stan Van Gundy, but he is a veteran coach who has had success throughout his career.  The Bucks are a young, talented team led by big men Larry Sanders and John Henson, but they are in a rebuilding stage with J.J. Redick, Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings all set to hit the open market.  Larry Drew needs to focus on building the Bucks into a solid playoff team year in and year out, with Sanders and Henson being focal points of the team.

Time will tell if Larry Drew was the right man for the job, but as of now this was a smart hire for the Milwaukee Bucks to bring in an experienced coach, who has had postseason success in the past.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Changing a Team's Name Because its Offensive?

Is the word Redskins really offensive to Native Americans? Ten members of Congress believe so and they have sent letters to Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, urging him to change the name of his football team.  The Redskins should not be forced or even told to change their team name. 

The Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, Chicago Blackhawks, Kansas City Chiefs, Florida State University Seminoles, and many more professional and college teams are not being told to change their team names that refer to Native Americans, so why should the Redskins. 

Native Americans should be honored that professional and college teams have a team name that refers to them.  If they do not like it, then they do not need to be a fan of those teams.  These name are here to stay and they will never be changed because they are liked by many fans and do not disrespect any Native Americans in any way. 

Should teams be able to use a name that refers to Native Americans?  Leave your thoughts below.

Don't Blame Roenicke for the Brewers Struggles

The Milwaukee Brewers have struggled mightily this season with a disappointing 19-30 record, but you cannot blame Ron Roenicke for the teams poor performance.  Doug Melvin is the one to blame.  He assembled this team and Roenicke can only do so much with the little amount of talent he has.  Here are three reasons why all of the blame should be placed on Melvin:

1st -- Pitching wins championships and the Brewers lack the pitching to be competitive.  Their starting five is filled with average pitchers who are at best middle to back end of the rotation pitchers and they have all been dreadful this season.  The Brewers pitching staff holds a 4.48 ERA overall and that is mainly because Yovani Gallardo, Marco Estrada, Mike Fiers, Wily Peralta and Hiram Burgos all hold an ERA close to or well over five.  The only exception is Kyle Lohse who has had a solid season as the ace of the Brewers staff.  The Brewers have struggled to find any consistency from their starting rotation and it has really hurt them this season.

2nd -- Doug Melvin made the decision to bring back John Axford this offseason and made him the closer before Spring Training even began.  Axford has been dreadful this season posting a 6.64 ERA with ZERO saves and three blown saves in 20 1/3 innings, and has already been removed from the closer role.  With the Brewers now having to use different options in the ninth inning, it has hurt the entire bullpen.

3rd -- As a small market ball club, you need to have a strong farm system to be competitive year in and year out.  The Brewers have a weak farm system that was ranked 29th by Keith Law of ESPN entering the season.  With no pitching or hitting prospects projected to have huge upside, the present and future is not bright for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The blame has to be put completely on Doug Melvin's shoulders for this disappointing season and he should be fired for this.  He has not been able to build a consistent playoff contending team over the course of his tenure because he does not know how to build a team through the draft and develop prospects and it is finally starting to show.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Q&A: Oakland Athletics Sidearmer, Pat Neshek

Pat Neshek is best known for being great with the fans and a sidearm pitcher, but ever since his MLB debut with the Minnesota Twins he has also been a solid relief pitcher.  He has experienced many highs and a few lows throughout his baseball career, but he always seems to deliver in the clutch.  Check out what he had to say about his life and career so far!

Pat Neshek Q&A:
How did you first get interested in baseball?  My parents played a lot in our yard and I loved it.

Did you have a favorite team or player growing up?  Tony Gwynn and Kirby Puckett

When and why did you become a side arm pitcher?  It felt natural to me so I changed to it in high school.

Did you have any other college baseball offers besides Butler?  If so what schools?  Creighton, Northern Iowa and Iowa State

Why did you choose to attend Butler?  I had a full ride and it was expense to go there!  I knew I would pitch a lot as a freshman.

What was the draft process like for you?  It was a long process.  My junior year of college I thought I would go in rounds 2-5... I went in the 6th round.  It worked out good but at the time I had a chip on my shoulder.

What was the first big purchase you made after signing your contract with the Twins?  Lasik eye surgery

What has been your biggest challenge throughout your professional baseball career so far?  Coming back from Tommy John surgery.

Who has been your toughest batter to get out in your career?  All slap hitting lefties

Why do you spend so much time interacting with fans and signing autographs?  It's something I do outside the game so I have no problem if people need me for anything.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not playing baseball?  Collecting baseball cards/autographs.  Playing with my dogs.

What is your favorite baseball park to play in? Why?  Metrodome.  Always dreamed of playing there when I was younger.

Who is your favorite person to follow on Twitter?  Any teammates because you never know what they will write.

When you retire what do you want to be best known for?  Being a normal guy that made it in the big leagues.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A New Field is a Must for Milwaukee

The Milwaukee Panthers have won the Horizon League regular season title, their first since 2001.  Even though their baseball team is on top, their baseball field is the complete opposite.  Henry Aaron Field was opened in 1957 and it only seats 500 fans.  There is no excuse for why the Panthers play in a glorified high school field and it is time for them to improve their facilities.

Although playing their entire home schedule at Miller Park would be the first and best option, it is unrealistic to think the Milwaukee Brewers would change their mind on allowing the Panthers to call Miller Park home.  Instead the Panthers need to build a state-of-the-art baseball facility similar to Kapco Park, which is home to Concordia University.  It should be built near campus and have a capacity of 1,500-2,000 people to allow students and local fans the opportunity to come and support the Black and Gold.  It would also be smart for the Panthers to have a synthetic turf field to allow for consistent play all season with less rainouts.

The Panthers are the only Division I baseball program in the state of Wisconsin and it is time for them to have facilities to show it.  Building a new baseball field is a must and it will improve recruiting and the overall look of Panther baseball.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

It is Time to Bench Rickie Weeks

With the second overall pick in the 2003 MLB Draft the Milwaukee Brewers select... Rickie Weeks!  Once a highly touted prospect, Rickie Weeks has never been able to live up to his abilities and expectations.  His 10-year career has been filled with numerous injuries and disappointing play, but this season has been worse than any other.

Through 32 games this season Weeks is hitting a dreadful .188 average with two home runs and nine RBIs.  He is on pace to strike out 197 times this season, which would be a career high.  For a guy making $10 million this season and with tons of athletic ability there is no excuse for these awful numbers.

With $21 million remaining on his contract the Brewers can not part ways with him, but they need to bench him.  His lack of production has hurt the Brewers offense with being unable to deliver in the clutch and produce in the middle of the lineup.

Scooter Gennett would be a solid replacement for the Brewers at second base.  He is a left-handed batter who would help break up the right-handed heavy lineup and he is a career .303 hitter in the minor leagues.  Even though he does not present a real powerful bat, he is able to get on base, unlike Rickie Weeks.

The one weakness for Gennett is his defense.  Last season he had 19 errors and holds a career .966 fielding percentage.  While he defense is below average, Weeks has never been great with the glove as well.  Throughout Rickie Weeks' career he has a .969 fielding percentage.

It does not matter if a player makes $10 million or the league minimum, if they are unable to produce at a major league level and help their team win, then they should not be playing.  Rickie Weeks needs to be benched and replaced by the young and talent Scooter Gennett.

What should the Brewers do with Rickie Weeks?  Leave your comments below.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Milwaukee Bucks Need to Trade the Turkish Thunder

The "Turkish Thunder," Ersan Ilyasova, has been a solid player throughout his career with the Milwaukee Bucks, but he has never developed into the star the Bucks hoped he would, averaging 10.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.

His stats are excellent if he was a role player but not for a sixth man/starter making $40 million over five years.  The Bucks made a huge mistake last summer signing him to this outrageous contract and it is time for them to fix it.

The Bucks do not have a need for Ilyasova with up incoming star John Henson manning the four position for the years to come.  They need to trade Ilyasova and acquire players who will be financially cheaper and help them in the future.

Acquiring MarShon Brooks from the Brooklyn Nets would be the solution.  He is an athletic guard, with tons of upside, but he is stuck behind six-time NBA All-Star Joe Johnson, making him a moveable player for the Nets.  Brooks is a dangerous shooter from inside, but he does need to improve he shooting range and defense in order to become a well-rounded player.  MarShon Brooks needs a change of scenery and Milwaukee is the best fit for him.

Trading Ersan Ilyasova might not be a popular decision, but it is a move the Bucks need to make.  Ilyasova is overpaid for his limited production on the court and does not fit into the Bucks future plans, making him expendable.  They need to acquire a young, dynamic scorer and MarShon Brooks is the guy who makes the most sense for the Bucks now and in the future.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Star is Born in Milwaukee

Jean Segura has burst onto the scene with the Milwaukee Brewers after being acquired from the Los Angeles Angels last season.  Jean Segura has hit the cover off the ball throughout the first month of the season, hitting .367 with three home runs and nine RBIs.  He ranks first in average and second in on-base percentage and slugging percentage among MLB shortstops.  Segura has been solid on the base pads, besides when he went backwards, stealing seven bases.

Not only has he been an impressive at the plate but he has been a solid defender as well, with a .991 fielding percentage.  Jean Segura has developing into one of the best young shortstops in the game today and has been a great acquisition by the Brewers front office.

Even if Segura does not keep up this extremely high level of production he still deserves to be the National League starting shortstop in the All-Star Game over Troy Tulowitzki.  Tulowitzki does have more pop in his bat, but Segura beats him out in wOBA (.422 to .418).  Segura is also able to hit for a higher average, steal more bases and remain on the field unlike Tulowitzki.

Segura has been the prize of the Zack Greinke trade last July and has had an impressive start to this season, developing into a solid young player.  Although it is early, he does deserve to be the starting shortstop in the Midsummer Classic this season, as long as he is able to produce at a relatively high level.

What are your thoughts on Jean Segura?  As of now is he the NL starting shortstop?  Please leave your comments below.