10
Nov 09

MPD Book Club: The Book of Basketball

brooksteppeBill Simmons is a writer for ESPN that you probably have heard of. He's probably the biggest "celebrity" writer on the internet and is responsible for roughly 1/5 of the posts at Deadspin. Despite influencing roughly every sports blog on the internet and setting a gold standard that anyone who thinks that it's a good idea to write on the internet should try to attain, he is one of the most divisive figures in the sports blogging world. Often accused of being smug, a name dropper and overusing the same references time and time again (I once emailed him begging him to stop with the Battle of the Network Stars references) Simmons is generally un-apologetic over his style. His style is his style. He has his fans (which I count myself as one) and his detractors, but in the end there's not much you can say negatively about him. His "voice of the fan" perspective has become skewered a bit over the years, but it still is a "voice of the fan" because when it comes to baseball, the NFL or gambling on the NFL he doesn't know what he's talking about most of the time (just like a real fan.) However, when it comes to basketball Bill Simmons leaves the "voice of the fan" behind and becomes something wholly different, one of the greatest living basketball writers alive.

Now, I've never been the biggest basketball guy. I think it's a great sport to watch, but there have been one too many times in my lifetime when the officials have clearly affected the outcome of a game and you can't tell me any different that the league didn't influence these decisions. The most egregious example would of course be the Dallas/Miami Finals from a couple of years back. I know that I'm not the only one who feels this way and was completely turned off by this series, but somehow the NBA always finds ways to pull me back in. Whether it's Lebron James or Brandon Jennings, I always find a reason to end up watching some games and a lot of this can probably be attributed to the writing of Bill Simmons. His passion for the game in his columns is infectious and there have been more than a few times I have ended up watching a playoff series because he will not shut up about it (Bulls/Celtics from last season is a great example.) When I found out that Bill Simmons had written a 700 page book about basketball I pre-ordered it right away. I've always enjoyed him as a writer and he is far too serious about the sport of basketball to mess this up. When The Book of Basketball arrived eight days ago I dug right in and I wasn't disappointed. Continue reading →


04
Nov 09

The Next Big Thing in Milwaukee is Brandon Jennings

You probably don't come to a site called Miller Park Drunk to read about the Bucks. We don't really care, it's our blog we'll write what we want. Don't believe me? Tomorrow we're talking about the Admirals. Seriously.

brandon-jennings-is-a-buckBrandon Jennings is the most important athlete in Wisconsin not named Rodgers, Fielder or Braun.

There, I said it. It's out there and I can't take it back. After watching the Bucks take on the Chicago Bulls last night, I feel this stronger than anything I've felt since I said that The Happy Youngster was a douchebag. I've made my fair share of Bucks jokes in the past and I've even made fun of Brandon Jennings before, but I had no idea he was this good. I had no idea that he'd be, within three games, the best point guard the Bucks have had since Sam Cassell flew away on his spaceship.

Looking back maybe we should have know. I mean, look at his Wikipedia:

In his senior year of high school, Jennings averaged 32.7 points, 7.5 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 3.7 steals per game and set the school record for points in a season. This performance earned him some of high school basketball’s most prestigious awards: the 2008 Naismith High School Basketball Player of the Year, 2007-08 Gatorade Player of the Year (Virginia), 2008 Parade Magazine Player of the Year and 2008 EA Sports Player of the Year.

I mean, they don't just hand out the awards for "Best High School Basketball Player in the Country" to just anybody. Kenny Anderson (more on him later), Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Dwight Howard and Kevin Love are a few past winners of the Naismith Award. It's not like this guy just came out of nowhere. Then again as a guy drafted #10 overall in a draft that Bill Simmons called "the worst draft class since the infamous Kenyon Martin Draft in 2000" by a team whose recent draft history includes Joe Alexander and Yi Jianlian (not necessarily saying Yi is a bust, I just like typing his name) he wasn't quite a "sure thing" either. Put it this way, Brandon Jennings didn't even show up for the 2009 NBA Draft because his agent wasn't sure if he'd get picked in the first round (leading to him showing up in the middle of the draft to get his picture taken with Stern.) He hardly played in Europe and everyone forgot about him. One day, this will be considered one of the greatest things that ever happened to both the Bucks and Brandon Jennings. Here's the others: Continue reading →


02
Nov 09

The curious case of Jody Gerut

As the Phillies gift wrap a World Series for the Yankees, the time for offseason moves is approaching. The Hot Stove League is one of the best times of the year. Lots to think about, lots to talk about, tons of speculation and none of those pesky losses to agonize over. As the days roll on, I become more and more convinced that my favorite player, Mike Cameron, won't be back. Rumors of him signing with the Cubs swirl and all of the sudden I start to feel like this guy:

“It’s like going into church on Sunday and the priest says, `Everybody go home, Jesus has now sided with the devil,”’ [Packers fan Mark Fields, who was wearing a Favre jersey with "JUDAS" written on the back] said.

(It's okay, buddy. Have some milk and cookies then go take a nap. Everything is going to be all right.)

The consensus seems to be that Mike Cameron will not be back and that the Brewers starting center fielder for 2010 will be none other than Jody Gerut. He's cheaper, he's under team control and he could put up roughly the same numbers. To prepare for this seemingly inevitable move I keep looking at Gerut's stats, his projections, his Wikipedia page and I just can't figure him out. He just doesn't make any sense. He's either going to be a great steal and an amazing asset or one of the biggest busts in team history. I haven't been this confused since my middle school thought the best way to teach kids about sex was by watching Degrassi episodes from the 80s. Not that I was complaining. (Hey Shane, if you think you are responsible enough to handle a kid when you are in middle school maybe you shouldn't eat acid and jump off a bridge a couple years later. Just a thought.)

Let's take a quick look at Jody Gerut's career: Continue reading →


27
Oct 09

Ryan Braun’s Tavern and Money Pit

moneypitI've heard so many rumors that Ryan Braun was opening a restaurant in Lake Geneva for so long that I just assumed that it was true. (Kind of like Rod Stewart having his stomach pumped.) I've know about this for awhile, but didn't want to post about it just in case it wasn't true. One day the sign out in front of the restaurant was changed to say "COMING SOON BRETT FAVRE'S STEAKHOUSE" which was funny, but also made me think that there was no way it was Braun's place because no way he'd think of something that funny. Well, it all turned out be true and yesterday news started to trickle out about it, topped off by the great Adam McCalvy doing a full write up. In the write up McCalvy says:

A group of investors led by Madison lawyer Patrick Sweeney finalized a licensing deal with Braun and Major League Baseball this month. The group is spending more than $1 million on upgrades to a former Mexican restaurant at 430 Broad St. in Lake Geneva, a resort community about 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee's Miller Park, and the idea is to open for business within 6-8 weeks.

And then:

He got a first-hand look at the progress of the restaurant on Sept. 6, the same day Braun and his teammates executed their now-famous celebration of Prince Fielder's 12th-inning home run that beat the San Francisco Giants.

Now I've worked in and around restaurants for most of my life and if there is one thing that has been said at each and every establishment that I have been fired for drinking from it's this: "The most expensive seat in a restaurant is an empty seat." With the idea being that you can have the best service, best food, stiffest drinks, the sluttiest waitresses and everything else in the world, but if there is nobody there to eat it the restaurant will fail. By their own doing this restaurant has had it's door closed since September and all summer long before that. Why? To spend over $1 million on upgrades to a place that wasn't that messed up to begin with. Of course. Continue reading →


25
Sep 09

The final weekend

So, this is it. Our last chance to go to Miller Park. It seems like only yesterday I was doing a countdown to Opening Day, telling you what not to wear and how to drink. Now? It's all over. If you haven't been to a game in awhile and want to get one last one in, stubhub has some truly crazy deals on tickets right now (Terrace for $.50, Field Infield Box for $15, Loge Infield for $10, Loge Diamond Box for $10, tons of deals). They might win, they might not. Doesn't really matter. Miller Park is a great place just to hang out. If you don't have faith in the team on the field just stay in the parking lot for the first four innings. I can't say I've never done it and I know you'll have a good time because it's ALWAYS a good time. Personally, I am happy with my last game of the season being Wednesday's game (and not just because I'm still hungover.) I got to see Prince go yard, a starting pitcher actually do a good job and Trevor Time. I can't think of a better way to remember this season than that (outside of flipping The Happy Youngster over the railing into the bullpen).

Speaking of my last game, something really weird happened at it: I met some readers and they were happy about it. "It's a pleasure to meet you" they said. My only reply? "Really? Seriously? You're kidding right?" I'm glad that people read this blog and I'm more glad that the people who read it really like it, but let's face the facts. I'm just another douchebag who spills his beer on a pregnant chick. Nothing to get excited about.

Anyways, enjoy the weekend gang. I'll be back Monday with more stuff, just like I'll be back every week all winter long. Just because the Brewers will be gone doesn't mean I suddenly have important stuff to do. Quite the opposite.

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