Category Archives: Sports

Baseball Humor

One of the things I like about the Milwaukee Brewers is that they have a healthy sense of humor. Here, relief pitcher Tim Dillard hijacks an ESPN microphone and does a spot-on impression of stat-obsessed journalist Tim Kurkjian (click here if the embedded video doesn’t work):

Aaron Rodgers Wins 2011 MVP

There are 50 voters for the NFL’s MVP award. 48 of them chose Aaron Rodgers. He is the first Packer to win the award since Brett Favre won the last of his three consecutive MVPs. He set team records for touchdown passes (45), yards (4643), and set the NFL record for passer rating with 122.5, eclipsing Peyton Manning’s record of 121.1. Rodgers was nothing if not deserving.

The award caps an amazing year for Wisconsin sports. The Packers and Brewers are rarely competitive at the same time, but this year they had eerily similar seasons. Both teams set franchise records for regular season victories, with 15 and 96. Both teams had a league MVP, with Ryan Braun winning the NL MVP back in November. Braun and Rodgers even look a little alike, though the Californians’ resemblance does have precedent; Brett Favre and former Brewer Geoff Jenkins were famously hard to tell apart.

Neither team could duplicate its regular season success in the playoffs. The Brewers lost to the eventual world champion St. Louis Cardinals. The Packers fell to the New York Giants, who will play in today’s Super Bowl. Should they beat the Patriots, that would be one more piece of symmetry.

Whichever way the Super Bowl goes, the last year or so has been  a joy for fans to follow. It all started with Aaron Rodgers winning a different, more meaningful MVP award — the Super Bowl MVP. Now he has a regular season award to put next to it on his shelf. May he win several more. Of each.

On to the Playoffs

What a game. Lots scoring, lots of lead changes, and there was even a streaker on the field in the fourth quarter, making this writer glad he listened to the game on the radio. When it was all over, the Packers backups beat a good Lions team 45-41 to finish the regular season 15-1 — the best record in franchise history.

The team went 13-3 in 1996 under Mike Holmgren and 13-1 in 1962 under Vince Lombardi. They won championships in both of those years.

Detroit remains winless in the state of Wisconsin since 1991.

Backup quarterback Matt Flynn also made himself a lot of money today. The team decided to rest Aaron Rodgers and give Flynn his second career start. He did not disappoint.

In addition to throwing 6 touchdown passes — something Rodgers has never done — he set the franchise record for most yards in a game with 480. The Packers have a long tradition of great quarterbacks, from Bart Starr to Lynn Dickey to Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers. None of them have thrown for as many yards in a game as Flynn did today.

He will be a free agent at season’s end, and should draw a lot of interest; hopefully he doesn’t sign with the Vikings.

The defense was missing its two best players today, Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews. It showed. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 520 yards — meaning the opposing quarterbacks combined for precisely 1,000 passing yards. Receiver Calvin Johnson torched the Green Bay secondary for 244 yards, which is the most any receiver has ever put up on the Green Bay defense in the team’s 92-year history.

Despite all the yards allowed, the defense recovered two fumbles and intercepted Stafford twice. The second interception, courtesy of cornerback Sam Shields, clinched the game without about a minute left in the fourth quarter. It’s hard to win with four turnovers, but the Lions sure came close.

Both teams will be in the playoffs. The Packers get a bye week, and the Lions will find out who their next opponent will be shortly. If Detroit wins next week, they could well make a return trip to Lambeau Field in two weeks. The Packers will not be resting their starters in that game.

13 and Uh-Oh

The lowly Kansas City Chiefs have beaten the Green Bay Packers, 19-14. Most people were expecting a lopsided Packer victory; the Chiefs have an interim head coach after firing Todd Haley earlier this week, and their starting quarterback is on injured reserve, as is their best defensive back.

On the other hand, Green Bay receivers dropped at least four passes in the first half alone, and two offensive linemen were injured and did not return. Aaron Rodgers also had an off-day, though his completion percentage would still have been over 60 percent without the drops. And so they move from 13-0 to 13-1. Still not a bad place to be.

Here’s hoping they put up a better fight next Sunday, when they play the Chicago Bears in Lambeau Field.

Should Matt Kemp Have Won the MVP?

Ryan Braun won the NL MVP even thought Matt Kemp put up better numbers. Over at The American Spectator, I explain why Braun was the more valuable player. The economist’s habit of thinking at the margin shows why:

Kemp clearly had a better 2011. But at the margin, Braun was far more valuable. Without Kemp, the Dodgers would have won 72 games. With him, they won 82. That’s not a big difference at the margin. It’s nice to finish above .500, but there’s no real difference between a 72-win season and an 82-win season. You miss the playoffs either way.

Braun took the Brewers from 88 wins to 96 wins. There is a world of difference between 88 wins and 96 wins. It’s the difference between missing the playoffs and winning the division. Every single win that Braun created was absolutely crucial to the Brewers playing in the postseason instead of watching it from home.

So even though Braun created fewer wins, each of them was extremely valuable. That’s why he’s the MVP.

Read the whole thing here.

Ryan Braun Wins NL MVP

The crime scene above that Braun’s teamates put together recreates the time he tripped and fell rounding third, but he is still a deserving winner. Braun earned 20 of 32 possible first-place votes, and is Milwaukee’s first MVP since Robin Yount in 1989. Congratulations, sir.

Fellow Brewer Prince Fielder came in third place.

9-0

On Monday, the Packers put up 45 points on the Vikings. Since they only gave up 7 points, they earned the win. They are now a perfect 9-0 on the season.

The day before, my rec league softball team won its first playoff game to match that sterling 9-0. We have a chance to move to 12-0 this weekend if we win the championship tournament. Can the Packers possibly match our greatness?

Packers 45, Chargers 38

Earlier today, a rec league softball team I play for won both games of a doubleheader. We finished our regular season 8-0. Minutes ago, the Packers just topped the Chargers in cardiac fashion. They’re 8-0, too.

Coincidence? Definitely.

John Axford Profiled in WSJ

The Wall Street Journal has a nice profile of how mustachioed Brewers closer John Axford crawled, clawed, and climbed his way to success in the big leagues.

Read it here.

The article doesn’t show it, but Axford is known for his wry sense of humor, which is one reason why he fits in so well in what may be baseball’s loosest clubhouse.

In addition to being a proud nominee for the American Mustache Institute’s 2011 Robert Goulet Memorial Mustached American of the Year award (vote here), he also endorses Ax Mustache Spray in this video:

NLDS at Stake

Over the weekend, the Brewers handily won their first two playoff games since 2008. But those were in Milwaukee, where they had baseball’s best home record.

Tonight, they play game 3 in Arizona. And the Diamondbacks are worthy opponents, who have their own home field advantage.

If the Brewers win, they advance to the NLCS. The winner of the best-of-7 National League Championship series advances to the World Series. That means the Brewers are 5 wins away from playing for all the marbles.

Can they do it? We’ll find out. We’ll get some indication in as soon as an hour from this posting. Here’s hoping.