Letters, We Get Letters . . .

Well, I got a little behind this week with things, so I thought a good way to sort of sum up a busy week in sports would be to answer some of the e-mails that I’ve received in the last few days. Sort of a “A Mr. Richard Fader from Fort Lee, New Jersey, writes in and asks . . . ” thing if you catch that old school reference. Here we go:

“Jeff, what did you make of the Greta Van Sustren interview with Favre? — Kyle in McFarland”

Well, first I have to admit that I saw only the first part of the interview. I watch Fox News only slightly more frequently than I watch the Retirement Living TV network, so I DVRed Monday’s Greta Van Sustren show and didn’t get around to watching it until later in the week. I was surprised when I found out too late Monday’s show didn’t contain the full interview.

Anyway, despite reports to the contrary, I thought Favre came across very sympathetically. Again, the major frustration for me was when Favre said he retired because he didn’t feel 100% like playing in March when he says Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy pressed him for an answer, but that that wasn’t unusual, because he hadn’t felt like playing in March for a few seasons. Now here’s a guy with apparently very little sense of himself. Because if Favre recognizes that his pattern is that he doesn’t feel like playing in March but he does feel  like playing once July rolls around, then why not say yes in March, knowing that the desire will kick in later? And if it doesn’t, well, then retire in July and leave Rodgers as the man. He’d be ready — hell, Rodgers could be the most ready-to-start back-up quarterback of all-time.

Anyway, I didn’t think Favre said anything to further burn any bridges that haven’t already been burned with the Packers nor did he say anything to change my opinion of the situation. Look, athletes — especially healthy, productive athletes like Favre — can’t be expected to retire like Johnny Carson did, with no waffling and when we still want more. They’re too young and have too much of their lives ahead of them to walk away cleanly. Yes, the Favre thing has reached ridiculous proportions, but the Packers are as much to blame as Favre is for that.

They should welcome Favre back as the starter or release him. End of story. Because as Favre said to Appleton’s own Greta Van Sustren, not doing so basically means the Packers are telling him, “You can’t play here and you can’t play anywhere else either.” Why? Because Thompson claims he’s worried about Favre’s legacy. What pigheadedness. What arrogance on the part of the Packers. What crap. Thompson’s worried about Favre going to Minnesota and watching Favre lead the purple over his old team at Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football. Because that’s what would happen. So if you don’t want him to play elsewhere, you take him back, dump Rodgers as a courtesy, and groom Brian Brohm as Favre’s successor. Brohm will be a fine successor in two years — or three years — or four years — when Favre finally, finally retires.

You know, I’m not surprised that these Favre rallies across Wisconsin have generated little interest. I think Packer fans recognize that Thompson’s Texas-sized ego is not going to let fans’ opinions alter his decision. But I am surprised when I talk to people who have been drinking the Packers’ Kool-Aid who say they think it’s time for Rodgers, especially when they cite Favre’s overtime interception against the Giants as proof that Rodgers can do better. Uh, you have to get to the NFC Championship Game in order to lose it, and there is no way that Rodgers could have led the Packers last year to the NFC Championship Game or will lead the Packers to the NFC Championsip Game this year. Packer fan: I recognize your frustration with Favre. I agree with it. But don’t take Favre for granted. He’s one of the best ever, and you should hang on to him like grim death for as long as you can.

“Jeff, in light of this year’s marathon, what changes — if any — would you make to the MLB All-Star Game? — Nathan in Stoughton”

Well, first of all, baseball needs to drop this whole home-field advantage in the World Series is decided by the winner of the All-Star game thing. It’s the silliest thing in professional sports outside of Hank Steinbrenner. Because “if it counts,” then managers should be allowed to manage as they would any other game that “counts,” and that means playing whomever they wish, even if it means riding a hot starting pitcher for six or seven innings or leaving numerous fan favorites on the bench. But the overwhelming opinion is that’s not what fans want, so fine, manage it like an exhibition game, make sure everybody gets in, but don’t expect the outcome to mean anything more than the lyrics to Miley Cyrus’s new single.

Given that I would not “count” the All-Star Game for anything other than as entertainment, I would end the game no matter what after 12 innings. An exhibition game going five hours, past 1:30 AM in the city where it’s being played is insanity. Only morons like myself stayed with it to the bitter end, which came not with an exciting hit, but a — yawn — sacrifice fly. Wow. Glad I stayed up for that.

I was annoyed by all of the Yankee Stadium hype during the All-Star Game too. Especially since we’re going to have to sit through more of that when the Yankees host games this postseason, as you know they inevitably will. To me, Shea Stadium has a richer legacy anyway, thanks to the landmark 1965 concert appearance of four men from Liverpool.

“Jeff, you’re from Minnesota, what do you make of this tampering thing between the Vikings and Packers — Morgan from Janesville”

What, more Favre? Jeez . . .

Petty. I’m sure this sort of thing happens all of the time with no charges being filed. It’s just another way for management to turn public opinion against Favre — “Theodoric of York, I saw him, he consorted with the Devil!” On second thought, scratch that. Darrell Bevell isn’t interesting enough to be the Devil. He’s not even interesting enough to be Max Devlin.

“What’s the most interesting storyline going on with the Brewers? — Jeremy from Whitewater”

Well, the most interesting thing going on with the Brewers is that they’re winning, and  they’ve been winning consistently now since mid-May. But certainly the most fascinating thing happening is with their pitching, as Ned Yost has committed to the Dave Bush/Seth McClung experiment, with Bush pitching at home and McClung pitching on the road. I doubt it will work, and hopefully McClung will be called upon for middle relief, which is the most glaring weakness on the Brewers right now. But the starting pitching has been strong.

It’s also going to be interesting how long Ned Yost keeps Rickie Weeks in the lead-off spot. He’s kept him there longer than a player barely batting .200 should be kept there, and the Journal Sentinel is now reporting that the Brewers are close to landing Giants second baseman Ray Durham, possibly in a trade that could involve Rickie Weeks being shipped to the Bay Area. If this goes through, the Brewers could have solved their second biggest problem.

But I believe the Brewers will overtake St. Louis somewhere in the course of next week’s four game series and never look back. Their biggest concern now might be the Mets, who are quickly becoming a bigger wild-card threat than the Cardinals.

Well, many thanks for the questions and keep on sending them. I’m off to see The Dark Knight. That’s the one with all the ABBA music, right?


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