Complaints And Grievances In Green Bay

At the Madison Mallards game Saturday night, I was unfortunate enough to spend some quality time with a fan full of nothing but bitterness (well, and maybe some Bud Light Lime).

Oh, he wasn’t bitter at Maynard G’s team. He was steamed at the overworked, underpaid people manning the concessions booth.

His ire was raised when he first tried to order at the “pick up” window and was told he’d have to go back in the other line to order. It was a scene reminiscent of “The Movie” episode of Seinfeld, when George mistakenly stood in the “ticket holders” line instead of the “ticket buyers” line, forcing Elaine and Kramer to take in Rochelle, Rochelle instead of the more desirable Checkmate.

The fan then did his best George Constanza impression, ranting to no one in particular about how he’d been wronged and how the food service was better in Eau Claire, where he was obviously from. I kept waiting for him to bellow “We live in a society, people!”

Later in the pick up line, the perturbed fan went for my order, even though my order of a popcorn, a water, a cheeseburger, and french fries had little in common with his order of two sodas and a popcorn.

When I informed him that the order was in fact mine, he took the opportunity to complain that the staff shouldn’t trust people to pick up the right order, despite the fact that by trying to make off with my order, he himself was the sort of customer that he was bitterly complaining about.

When he acknowledged that he was in the wrong, I said to him, “No problem. Have a good night.” Then I threw in, “I can tell you’re having a rough time,” which was my polite way of saying, “I have to assume that you’re not this big of a jerk all of the time.”

The incident with the crabby fan put me in the mood to complain. So here are my top two complaints about what’s going on with the Green Bay Packers.

1. Seriously, Michael Vick? I have to assume that nothing is going to come of the reports that the Packers have had serious internal discussions about signing the disgraced quarterback. Because it makes almost no sense.

I say “almost” because Vick will likely be able to be had on the cheap. But even if the Packers could sign him for a couple of tickets to the upcoming Rick Springfield cruise, they should stay far away.

Even before Vick’s dogfighting scandal, I wasn’t a fan. Sure, he’s an amazingly mobile quarterback, but he’s barely a 50 percent passer. His career quarterback ranking is 75.7, which is lower than Minnesota’s much-maligned Tavaris Jackson.

I’ve only personally been impressed by Vick twice, once when he ran for 173 yards against the Vikings in 2002 (in the process accounting for practically all of his team’s offense), and also later that season when he led the Falcons over the Packers 27-7 and singlehandedly ended the Packers’ undefeated playoff record at Lambeau Field. And both of those instances were over six years ago.

Add to Vick’s questionable NFL quarterbacking skills the fact that he hasn’t played in the league for over two years and will undoubtedly need time before he can be expected to compete on the NFL level. Add to that the fact that the organization and Aaron Rodgers in particular do not need any 2009 drama swirling around the team’s quarterback position.

Then add to that the immense public relations disaster that will greet any team foolish enough to sign Vick. Most Packer fans laughed when PETA took on the Packers over their name’s roots (the team was named after the Indian Meat Packing Company) and suggested “Pickers” or “Six-Packers” instead. Methinks many fans, even those like me who believe that PETA is way too radical, would agree with the animal rights organization’s inevitable outcry over whichever team takes on Vick.

Now the Packers rumored interest in Vick may well be strictly in his athletic ability; in a league in which so-called trick formations and plays are becoming more and more commonplace, it’s not impossible to accept that his presence in the Packers backfield would stress out opposing defensive coordinators.

But this is a team that was fine on offense last year – fifth in overall points scored and eighth in yards gained per game. The Packers need to focus on improving their defense. They don’t need to waste time focusing on defending a wrong-headed decision to sign Michael Vick.

2. The B.J. Raji situation. Speaking of the defense, one player who was supposed to take a large role in the Packers’ new 3-4 scheme, first-round draft pick B.J. Raji, has so far failed to impress in camp. That’s because he hasn’t shown up.

Not much has been made public about how far apart the Packers are money-wise with Raji’s agent, but we do know, thanks to Raji’s mother, that Raji has been “cooking and all of that, fixing up his townhouse” in his new hometown of Green Bay.

Well, at least he feels confident enough in eventually signing with the Packers that he bought property in Titletown.

But wait, didn’t we also hear that Brett Favre had bought a condo in the Minneapolis suburb of Edina? And we all know that the purchase didn’t foreshadow a signed contract with the Vikings. (Unless you’re one of those who feel the Favre/Vikings saga is not yet over. In which case, in the words of Big Brother’s Ronnie, “I absolutely feel sorry for you.”

I will also feel sorry for those who had high hopes for the Packers’ new 3-4 defense should Raji miss much more training camp; Raji’s role, as a starting defensive end, was hoped to be significant in Dom Capers’s new scheme.

It’s rumored that the negotiations between Raji, the ninth-overall pick, are tied to the negotiations between the 49ers and wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who San Francisco picked tenth.

Apparently Crabtree is looking for a contract more in line with a top-five pick. If he gets it, Raji’s agent will undoubtedly ask a deal commensurate with Crabtree’s deal, which could throw a serious wrench into the negotiations between Green Bay and Raji.

All of this is bad news for the Packers, as they not only are trying to make the most of what was for them an unusually high draft pick in 2009, but they also need to compensate for their last first-round draft pick, Justin Harrell, who’s been the biggest bust since Viva Laughlin.

But maybe Raji, who chose Boston College after being recruited by Rutgers and Wisconsin out of high school, just doesn’t like America’s Dairyland. Hey, if he really is that Wisconsin-phobic, I hear there’s a condo in Edina that’s sitting empty if he wants to try his luck across the border.


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