by Troy Sparks
If you’re looking for some improvement from the Milwaukee Bucks, don’t hold your breath. It’s one thing to have talent on your team, but getting that talent to play together is another thing.
One look at how the team is performing through the preseason and you can see why it’s hard to think they will make the playoffs in 2013.
Since none of the Bucks’ preseason games are on TV, you had to see firsthand as I did last weekend why some basketball experts think the playoffs aren’t on the horizon.
Starting guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis don’t want to hear that kind of negative talk. The two recently held a powwow at a location inside the apartment building where they live. Jennings spoke up during a team dinner to declare that he’s the man to lead the deer to the postseason.
Based on the offseason acquisitions, draft picks and free-agent signings, it looks like the Bucks can back it up on paper. Add that to the sense of urgency of sending head coach Scott Skiles either riding off in the sunset if they’re winning or packing by midseason if their progress as a team goes south.
Skiles is in the last year of his contract. Team owner Herb Kohl will retire as U.S. senator at the end of the year, so he will have lots of spare time to track the return on his investments, all 12-15 of his players, during the upcoming regular season.
When the Bucks played the visiting Washington Wizards, Oct. 20, at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, I expected a blowout win by the home team. The lineups and team chemistry is still a work in progress, but based on the results in that game, Jennings and Ellis took most of the shots.
When Jennings threw up two off-balance air balls, I was mumbling to myself that he shouldn’t shoot any more the rest of the night. I don’t think making five of 15 shots in 36 minutes will win many games.
Maybe he should have passed more to the three frontcourt starters. They had a combined 25 shot attempts, but they also bricked too many of them. If you’re counting on center Samuel Dalembert and forwards Tobias Harris and Ersan Ilyasova to pick up the slack when Jennings and/or Ellis have off shooting nights, then you’re in trouble.
And to think that watching the Washington Wizards play good preseason basketball was refreshing. For once, they didn’t play like the Washington Generals. If you don’t know who the Generals are, they are usually the opponent that loses to the Harlem Globetrotters all the time.
The Wizards had a 1-4 record entering the exhibition game against the Bucks.
You can say that it was only a preseason game, but if Milwaukee shoots 36.7 percent in the first half and 39.5 percent in the game, then there will be plenty of times that fans will exit the building when the opposing team steals a road win. That’s what Washington did in their 102-94 victory.
Skiles is challenging his team to put forth more of a defensive effort, especially when they let the Wizards score 54 points in the second half. “Overall, it has been our third game in a row where our defense hasn’t been very good,” he said after the game.
With the regular season beginning on the road at Boston, Nov. 2, and the first home game, Nov. 3, at the BMOHBC, the Bucks must get it together or they will be left in the dust. “We still have multiple guys that aren’t real sure what we’re executing out there (on offense),” Skiles said. “It’s stuff that we got to clean up.”
And who says that going through the motions in the preseason campaign carries over into the regular season? It will be time for the Bucks to shape up or ship out when the season starts.
“We need to tighten things up before the real stuff counts,” forward Mike Dunleavy said. “Hopefully we don’t wait until then. We get some momentum and play well (the final stretch of preseason).”
So are you sold on the Bucks making the playoffs or not? With no real superstars on the team that will draw fans to the arena, it could be hard to sell the concept of “Work Hard, Play Hard,” which was their slogan two years ago or the “Be Milwaukee” slogan from last season. I didn’t hear of any new team slogan yet. Maybe it should be, “Oh well, we’ll put anybody out there and see what happens.”
The Packers and Brewers didn’t play last Saturday night and the Badgers football team played earlier in the day. I brought this up because the BMOHBC needed just 33 more people to come into the building to make it an even 10,000.
When you’re 33 people short of 10K for a practice game, I’m sorry, that doesn’t get it done for the bottom line. Without giving away the answer, subtract 33 from 10,000 and that’s how many people were interested in watching the Milwaukee Bucks because they played the Wizards. If Miami, Boston or the L.A. Lakers were in town, almost the whole arena would have been packed because those teams have all-stars and superstars.
Both Jennings and Ellis shot a combined 12 for 33 from the field. If you’re counting on those two to take up the scoring load and try to win the game, then you need to wake up. Maybe Ilyasova may get some shots every once in a while. Dalembert and Harris – if that starting lineup stays the same for a while – might not get many touches on offense.
So when it’s a close game in the fourth quarter, who will be the closer? That was one problem the Bucks had in some games last season when the game was down to the last four minutes and they let the other team come back to win. I know anything can happen in the last minutes of the game, but this team has to close out games in order to win. We will see very soon if this squad has what it takes to hit the ground running for 82 games.
by Troy Sparks
Those kids on the Milwaukee Washington football team deserve a better fate than what they were dealt recently. While we’re focusing on the drama surrounding the police chief in our city and the backlash it’s bringing, why can’t we channel some of that energy and direct it at those who may be responsible for what happened to the young men?
The boys endured the heat in the summer when they were out on the field by the high school running through drills and trying to do something constructive and positive. Given the area in the inner city where the school is located, they could’ve been getting into negative activities because they see some of that in the surrounding neighborhoods of the school or at least know people who do wrong.
Add that to the general feeling that some of them may have participated in football just to have something to do for nearly three months would go a long way in maintaining a positive life and knowing that their hard work paid off.
Now granted that the Purgolders haven’t been that good in a while, the guys still represented their school and made people proud despite being undermanned and undersized. That’s a perfect combination for the City Conference schools which have similar size and number issues.
In fact, the City schools which have football teams have dropped down to 11. Every City school had enough players to field their own teams at one time, but the lack of numbers to have full teams forced some schools to combine with other schools to make a full team.
That was the case with Washington. They combined with other schools to get guys who were interested in playing football. It worked out well for them. The numbers were adequate. It was gut-wrenching just to get 30-35 out for football.
It was a big deal for Washington to have a team after once sitting out a year for not having enough players to field a varsity team. A sophomore led the team this year. He was a good running quarterback who ran for 842 yards. A’maru King played youth football last year. He felt that this Washington team would be special.
This was the guy who encouraged some of his teammates to come to practice when they would be interested in getting into other stuff. Some of them probably said, “What the heck? We’re going to lose anyways.”
Now a sophomore who ran the offense for head coach Thoples Carney was like Moses handing the reins over to a young Joshua to lead the people to the promise land. It was supposed to be a shot in the arm for a school that won five City titles, had 18 winning seasons and made the playoffs nine times during the Greg Lehman era.
The Purgolders looked at the schedule and knew that they would be outmuscled and outmanned in non-conference games against Campbellsport and Little Chute, but in the City Conference, everyone was almost equal in size and talent, except Milwaukee Riverside, which Washington didn’t have to play this year.
After losing to Campbellsport, they rolled through the next four opponents and were on track to challenge Milwaukee King for a share the City championship with Riverside in what would have been a big game with a huge turnout at Custer Stadium. They were already playoff bound at that point. The showdown was heating up until the other shoe dropped.
Washington learned that they were ineligible for the playoffs because two of their seniors were in uniform and participated in the four wins. Their conference record went from 4-0 to 0-4 because they had to forfeit those wins over Morse-Marshall, Milwaukee South, Milwaukee Bay View and Milwaukee Pulaski. They beat Milwaukee Madison Co-op and would have been 5-0 leading up to the game against the Generals. You couldn’t blame them if they weren’t motivated to play in their 20-0 defeat after that letdown.
According to the WIAA, the two players in question were fifth-year seniors and needed a waiver to play. Maybe they participated in other sports for four years and decided to play football the fifth year because they wouldn’t be able to graduate from high school in four years or transferred from other schools. Whatever the case, a high school athlete trying to compete in prep sports for five years is unheard of.
So who dropped the ball on this one? You should start with Washington’s athletic director, Marlon Boyd. Give him credit for reporting the violation to the WIAA, but there should’ve been some communication between him and Carney and the rest of the coaching staff about who was eligible to play before the season started. Obviously, it appeared not to be an academic issue with the two players. Did anybody ask whether they attended another school or Washington?
Now the Purgolders will miss the playoffs. All the hype was buzzing in that building about the team being on the verge of winning a championship. They would’ve printed up T-shirts. The principal would’ve been beaming with joy and the community would’ve been proud of these young men who accomplished a goal. And with the team finishing 1-7, you wonder if some of them will have the desire and the enthusiasm to play football there next year or even if there will be a football program for the north side school in the future.
by Jay Scott Smith–The Grio.com
Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker could rejoin his team in time for the start of the MLB Playoffs next week after suffering a stroke in Chicago last week. Baker suffered the “mini stroke” as he was being released from Northwestern Memorial Hospital where was being treated for an irregular heartbeat last Friday.
“I guess on the way out he was feeling pretty good, he was leaving, and he had some slurred speech,” Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo said to the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I guess they diagnosed a real minor, slight stroke. They said they see it all the time with that kind of irregular heartbeat.”
Baker, 63, fell ill last Wednesday while the Reds were in Chicago for a three-game series against the Cubs. According to the Chicago Tribune, he received immediate treatment, the effects of the stroke were minimized and Baker returned to Cincinnati on Sunday, where he has made nearly a full recovery.
“While at Wrigley Field I was blessed to have our trainer, Paul Lessard, have the good sense to call in Cubs team physician Dr. Stephen Adams, who examined me in the clubhouse, immediately determined how serious my condition was and personally rushed me to Northwestern Memorial Hospital,” Baker said in a statement. “My family and I are very grateful for the support we’ve received the past few days from Mr. Castellini and our ownership group, (General Manager) Walt [Jocketty], our friends, the baseball family and especially Reds fans.” Baker spent 19 seasons in the majors, from 1968-1986, with the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, and Oakland A’s. Baker was a member of two World Series teams as a player, including the 1981 World Champion Dodgers. In his 20th season as a manager, Baker has won 1,576 games with the Giants, Cubs, and Reds. He has won five division championships and one National League Pennant – 2002 with the Giants. He will make his sixth postseason appearance this season.
Baker addressed the Reds at batting practice on Tuesday and could return as soon as next Monday for the final three game series of the regular season against the St. Louis Cardinals. In his absence, bench coach Chris Speier managed the team as they clinched the National League Central Division title – their second in the last three years – last Saturday in a 6-0 win over the Dodgers.
“Chris Speier and my staff are doing a terrific job,” Baker said. “I’m feeling much better, and it’s great being back here in Cincinnati. I look forward to getting back to the dugout.”
Expert Offers Tips for Creating Championship Teams
Great coaches take into consideration an athlete’s talent and heart when they’re building a team, but they consider group dynamics, too, says entrepreneur J. Allan McCarthy.
“It’s not just a matter of getting the fastest, strongest and smartest players on your side,” says McCarthy, an international scaling expert and author of Beyond Genius, Innovation & Luck: The ‘Rocket Science’ of Building High-Performance Corporations (www.mccarthyandaffiliates.com).
“If you’re building a championship team, you’re gauging how the individual athletes fit together; how their personalities, talents, drive and abilities will mesh to meet the team’s goals. It’s exactly what you need to do to build a winning corporate team. As Michael Jordan, put it, ‘Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.’ ”
In the 2011 film Moneyball, Coach Billy Beane picks his players based on analysis and evidence, says McCarthy, who has worked with hundreds of companies. He doesn’t ever just “go with his gut.”
McCarthy provides key points for building a successful, effective team:
• Lead with a team, not a group: A team of leaders behaves very differently than a group of leaders. Many companies don’t know the difference. “It comes down to clear goals, interdependencies and rules of engagement,” McCarthy says, Every corporation claims to hire only the best and the brightest but it is evident that getting the best and brightest to function as a team can be a challenge.
• Know your goals: McCarthy cites Bill Gates – “Teams should be able to act with the same unity of purpose and focus as a well-motivated individual.” Many big-name CEOs like to say their talent runs free with innovative ideas. “It makes for compelling literature,” McCarthy says. But would that work on the football field? Corporations need their personnel to think out-of-the-box but also act in a prescriptive culture – to work within a system in order to achieve common objectives.
• Not everyone can be the coach – or the quarterback: The problem with executives is that they all want to lead and none want to follow, McCarthy says. A team made up of executives is like a group of thoroughbred stallions confined to a small space called an organization — plenty of kicking, biting and discord. Thoroughbreds don’t naturally work well as a team. Better to define responsibilities that build a “foxhole mentality,” wherein one person has the gun, the other the bullets, McCarthy says. It’s in the best interests of both for each to succeed.
• The strongest teams are adept at resolving conflict: Hiring the best and the brightest should create a diverse, competent group — but inevitably these stallions generate friction that can sabotage company progress. So, sensitize team members to the early warning signs: know-it-all attitudes, multi-tasking during team meetings, exhibiting dominant behavior, not responding in a timely fashion or engaging in avoidance. Agree, as a team, on how to mutually manage and minimize counterproductive behaviors as they surface.
• Create individual and team agreements: Here is where the “rubber meets the road” – it’s the final stage of planning who will do what for team objectives, as well as a collective agreement on team rules and interdependencies. Ask individuals to openly commit to what they will do, and how the team is to function. The public declaration stresses employee obligation and collaborative management.
“We live in a 21st-century economy where speed and efficiency is a top priority, and that often means a ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ mentality,” McCarthy says. “But you get the team that you plan for, not necessarily what you pay for. If time is money, then I’d invest it in creating and building a championship team.”
Dance team hosts tryouts Tuesday, Sept. 11, at the Milwaukee Bucks Training Center presented by the SURG Restaurant Group
Energee!, the official dance team of the Milwaukee Bucks, is looking for new talent to join the squad for the 2012-13 season. Open auditions for the squad will begin Tuesday, Sept. 11, at the Bucks Training Center with registration starting at 6:00 p.m. Auditions are presented by the SURG Restaurant Group. Call backs are slated for Wednesday, Sept. 12. Dancers must be 18 years of age or older by Nov. 1, 2012, and must have graduated high school in order to tryout.
Attire for the tryout is an athletic or tank top (form fitting), shorts or dance pants and dance or athletic shoes (no black soles). No pre-choreographed routines will be necessary. Candidates should be available for all Bucks home games (regular season and playoffs if necessary) and dance practices held two nights a week from September through June.
The 2012-13 season marks the 23rd year for Energee!, and the team continues to perform and appear at numerous corporate, charitable and community events throughout the year, in addition to all Bucks home games.
For more information on the tryouts please contact the Milwaukee Bucks at 414-227-0500. Dancers can pre-register and find additional details at Bucks.com. Fans can also log onto Bucks.com for video coverage of this year’s auditions.
ENERGEE! AUDITION INFORMATION
WHAT: Auditions to join the Milwaukee Bucks Energee! Dance Team
WHO: Dance enthusiasts
WHEN: Tuesday, Sept. 11 – Auditions
Registration begins at 6:00 p.m. (advance registration available at Bucks.com)
Wednesday, Sept. 12 – Callbacks
WHERE: Milwaukee Bucks Training Center
3501 South Lake Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53235
Families and baseball fanatics alike converge on Miller Park for the recent Negro League Tribute game
This family broke out in a dance as music played during the recent Negro League Tribute tailgate party at Helfaer Field just outside of Miller Park. The party was held in conjunction with the team’s annual tribute to Negro League Baseball stars of the past. The event also featured a Little League demonstration and attracted a number of family reunions. (Photo by Yvonne Kemp)
SIX-PERSON NEWS TEAM FORMING THIS FALL; WILL DEVELOP DISTINCTIVE VOICE AND LEAD CONVERSATIONS ON-AIR, ONLINE
August 2, 2012, 12:30PM (PT); Las Vegas, N.V. – Today at the UNITY 2012 Convention, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) announced it will award NPR a $1.5 million grant to launch a major journalism initiative to deepen coverage of race, ethnicity and culture, and to capture the issues that define an increasingly diverse America. With this expansive effort, NPR will produce compelling stories and present new voices and conversations online and on-air, staffed by a six-person team.
“This new team and defined area of coverage will empower NPR to cover news and issues across the U.S. more fully, delivering on our promise for NPR to look and sound like America ,” said Gary E. Knell, President and CEO of NPR. “CPB’s forward-thinking commitment to diversity challenges public media to do more, and to do better, and we accept that challenge wholeheartedly.”
Once assembled, this team of six journalists will deliver a steady flow of distinctive coverage on every platform. Reporting will magnify the range of existing efforts across NPR and its Member Stations to cover and discuss race, ethnicity and culture. NPR will also create a new, branded space within NPR.org. The first platform is expected to launch this fall.
“We want to dive beneath the surface and capture real conversations that people are having about race and ethnicity,” said Margaret Low Smith , NPR’s Senior Vice President for News. “ America is a fascinating and complex place – we want to shed light on that with original and nuanced coverage.”
With this work, NPR hopes to grow on-going efforts to expand its audience with coverage that is welcoming and relevant to more people – reaching those who are more racially, geographically and ideologically diverse. The team’s coverage will provide a portal for new listeners and readers, while enriching the content that NPR provides today to an audience of 26 million on radio and nearly 23 million online. The editorial team will also work across NPR to infuse more story ideas and diverse sources that reflect the world we live in – spanning beats and platforms to touch more of NPR. This initiative will serve as a model for future topic-focused channels.
CPB intends to provide initial support for the project with a two-year, $1.5 million grant, as part of its mission to strengthen and advance public media’s service, particularly to those who are un-served or underserved by commercial media. “We are pleased to support NPR’s efforts to strengthen public media’s capacity to better serve our diverse country on-air, online and in the community. Public media belongs to every citizen, and this free and commercial-free service is more important to Americans than ever,” said Patricia Harrison, President and CEO of CPB.
This initiative is part of a multi-year strategic imperative: to ensure that NPR “looks and sounds like America on air and online.” Over the past two years, NPR has improved its staff profile, which is one of the most diverse in American media, infused its journalism with more diverse sources, experts and story ideas, and stoked the conversation about these important issues with staff-run workshops.
“At NPR, we’re tackling diversity across a large swath of differences that include class, gender, ideology, sexual orientation, faith and, with this effort, race, ethnicity and culture,” said Keith Woods, NPR’s Vice President for Diversity. “With this team, we’ll report from the intersections where, as Americans, we meet and diverge. It’s a topic that touches all of our lives.”
NPR is an award-winning, multimedia news organization that reaches 26 million listeners each week, and nearly 23 million people monthly on digital platforms. In collaboration with more than 900 independent public radio stations nationwide, NPR strives to provide the public with a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures. To find local stations and broadcast times, visit www.npr.org/stations
(Reuters) – English soccer club Manchester United retained their title as the world’s most valuable sports team, according to an annual top 50 list released by Forbes on Monday that was dominated by National Football League (NFL) franchises.
The 19-times English champions, who are preparing for a listing on the New York Stock Exchange, were valued at $2.23 billion, up from $1.86 billion last year and 19 percent above No. 2 Real Madrid ($1.88 billion).
All 32 NFL franchises made the top 50 list with the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, New England Patriots and Super Bowl champion New York Giants all securing spots in the top 10.
The only teams in the top 10 that do not play soccer or American football were Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees, who were tied at third with the Cowboys, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were tied with the Patriots at No. 6.
The top 50 list included seven soccer teams, with Arsenal falling three places to 10th overall and Barcelona rising 18 spots to eighth.
Ferrari was the top motor racing team, listed at 15th, while the New York Knicks, in 43rd place, were the lone National Basketball Association franchise to make the list.
Forbes Top 10 teams:
1. Manchester United (soccer) – $2.23 billion
2. Real Madrid (soccer) – $1.88 billion
3. New York Yankees (MLB) – $1.85 billion
3. Dallas Cowboys (NFL) – $1.85 billion
5. Washington Redskins (NFL) – $1.56 billion
6. Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB) – $1.40 billion
6. New England Patriots (NFL) – $1.40 billion
8. Barcelona (soccer) – $1.31 billion
9. New York Giants (NFL) – $1.30 billion
10. Arsenal (soccer) – $1.29 billion
Free Admission to Summerfest on June 28 from Noon – 3:00 p.m. with the Donation of a Nonperishable Food Item and Klement’s Product Label
WHO: Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, Klement’s Sausage & Summerfest
WHAT: First 1,500 patrons will receive free admission to Summerfest with the donation of a nonperishable food item and a Klement’s product label (8 oz. or larger)
WHEN: Thursday, June 28, 2012
Noon – 3 pm
WHERE: Henry Maier Festival Park
200 N. Harbor Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Mid-Gate Promotions Booth Milwaukee, Wis.- Klement’s Sausage and Summerfest are teaming up to help feed the hungry this summer. The first 1,500 patrons donating a nonperishable food item and a Klement’s product label (8 oz. or larger) will receive free admission at the mid-gate promotions booth from Noon – 3 pm on June 28, 2012. Food donations will benefit Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. Summerfest fans will have the opportunity to see Foo Fighters, Rodney Atkins, Eric Benet and many more that night. 330,000 people rely on Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin each year, 105,000 of whom are children. With school out for the summer, most children are looking forward to summer fun and family vacations,
but for far too many children, the summer also means they will be missing the one regular meal they received through their school lunch program. 59% of Wisconsin children rely on free or reduced priced breakfast and lunch during the school year. When school isn’t in session, these children rely on meal programs during the summer months to get the nutrition they need to stay healthy. Join us in the fight to end hunger.