Far from Panic

It has been 32 years since the Milwaukee Brewers have tasted what it is like to be in the World Series.

Back then, the Brewers were solidified in the American League, Cal Ripkin Jr. was finishing up his rookie year in Baltimore, and Ryan Braun was not even born.

The city of Milwaukee has witnessed the long journey of this organization through the years since, including some unbearable years along with a few glimpses of hope. All in all, it’s been a rough trek since those sweet days in the early 1980’s.

Back to the present where the Brewers have stood on top of the National League Central Division for the heavy majority of the 2014 regular season. The team has gotten into this position with a quality starting rotation and a well-rounded batting lineup.

The entire state of Wisconsin wants the Brewers to win the World Series this year after a strong start, but it not a realistic goal with a team that was suppose to finish around the .500 mark on the season.

The Brewers have gotten lucky with the amazing MVP-caliber production out of All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy along with the emergence of Wily Peralta out of the starting rotation and the resurgence of Francisco Rodriguez in the bullpen.

Milwaukee has become a quality contender in the NL Central and has a good possibility on making the postseason for the third time in the past several years. The prolonged success of many of the players on the roster over the course of this season should ease the concern of many fans.

However, in the month of July, Milwaukee has squandered their padded lead into a four-way race in the division. The fans of the team have begun to panic, pleading for the front office to strength the current team even further.

Smartly, General Manager Doug Melvin and the front office of the Brewers decided against a panic trade at the July 31 trade deadline. The only move that the organization did was taking on outfielder Gerado Parra, a back-up position the team desperately needed.

This was the type of move that the Brewers needed to do. Parra is a gold-glove winner in the outfield and provides speed and a sense of hitting late in the game.

With two months to go in the season, Milwaukee Brewers fans need to take a deep breath. Trust the guys on the field that have performed all season. Trust the managerial staff that has stabilized the organization.

Hopefully, a postseason berth will come along with success in the month of October. But, baseball is a long journey, so take every series as it comes.

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OKC Sweep Dallas

In the past five series, there has been only one occurrence of where a sweep happened in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

It has already happened this season in the NBA.  The Oklahoma City Thunder took game four on Saturday night and took the series win against the Dallas Mavericks.

Behind a dominant James Harden performance, the Thunder were able to take care of the defending champs.  The 103-97 win was another close game in a very close series.  Three of the four games were decided by six points or fewer.

(NBA)

The Thunder have relied on its three-prong attack of Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Harden.  In game one and two, Westbrook was the best player on the court. In game three, it was Durant who took over and crushed the Mavericks.  And, finally, in game four, it was Harden’s turn to take control.

This is the effect of great drafting by the Thunder.

On the other end, the Mavericks are heading into an offseason with a bunch of question marks.

Oklahoma City will now rest of wait for the winner of the Lakers/Nuggets series.

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The Boring Series in the Playoffs

No Dwight Howard.

No ‘sexy’ name on the other side.

Put those two together and you get the Indiana Pacers/Orlando Magic series.

The first couple games in the series were flat and boring contests and received the lowest television ratings out of any of the playoff series in the first round this year.

Saturday’s game four still received low ratings, but it was much more exciting than any of the previous matches.  It took overtime to decide a winner. Behind David West’s 26 points, the Pacers were able to win game four, and take the series lead to 3-1.

(NBA)

This series would be totally different if Dwight Howard never got hurt last month.  The most controversial player this season in the NBA discovered that he had a herniated disc and was out for the remainder of the series.  A Howard versus Roy Hibbert matchup at the center position would have allowed the world to see the top two centers in the Eastern Conference go one-on-one with each other.

Instead, it’s a flat matchup with the Pacers waiting to play again to put the series to bed and prepare to face the Miami Heat.

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Miami Take a 3-0 Lead

Even though the Miami Heat have now taken a 3-0 series lead against the New York Knicks, the series has been full of drama and basketball goodness.

In game one, the Knicks were embarrassed by the Heat.

In game two, Miami took complete control of the series and won again.  Directly after the loss, Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire decided to take his frustration out on a fire extinguisher in the locker room.

The series took its trail up to New York City, but Heat forward Chris Bosh eagerly went back home Tuesday night for the birth of his first child with his wife.  Yet, he was able to hustle back up to Madison Square Garden for game three on Thursday.

The Knicks dominated most of the first half, but the Heat closed the half on a 7-0 run and took the momentum with them in the locker room.  In the second half, it was the Heat show.  New York didn’t have a chance after that.

Star Lebron James bursted out with 13 points in the fourth quarter and led the game with 32 points.  Miami won 87-70.

Now, the series could be over any day.

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Memphis Gives Up a Huge Lead, Loses

The Grizzlies were up 21 points in the middle of the fourth quarter, ready to coast to the end of the game.  Instead of letting up on the gas, Memphis hit the brake entirely and allowed the Clippers to gun it, allowing a 28-3 run late in the fourth quarter.

A 99-98 Los Angeles win was a shock to all after the way Memphis dominated the first 40 minutes of the game.  This wasy the one game I got to witness because I worked all weekend, but I was sure that the Grizzlies were still going to pull out the win, even during the late part of the fourth quarter.

But, that’s basketball.  Basketball is a game of runs, and Memphis could not stop it.

Clippers guard Chris Paul is known for dominating fourth quarters of games and had 11 assists to go along with 14 points.  It was a total team effort for Los Angeles in the fourth quarter.

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Bynum Goes Big

In the playoff series between the Nuggets and the Lakers, the frontcourt battle between the two teams were probably going to be the different and allow the Lakers to move on.

Game one on Sunday showed that the frontcourt of the Lakers is just too tough to handle.

Lakers center Andrew Bynum had a triple double and paved the way for 103-88 victory.  If you look at the box score, you will notice that it wasn’t a normal triple double. Bynum didn’t have a single assist in his stat line.  Instead, he had 10 blocks to go along with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Kobe Bryant was the leading scorer in the game with 31 points.  The way the Lakers want to attack this series is to be patient and pick their spots and allow their ‘Big Three’ to take care of business.  The Nuggets want to sprint all 48 minutes because of the depth the team has.

While the Lakers should win the series, I expect the Denver to keep the game close because of that depth.

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The Shocker of the NBA Playoffs

The rest of the blog entries this semester are going to be about the NBA and the playoffs.

The NBA season ended on Thursday night, and the playoffs started up on Saturday with four great games.

Perhaps the series that no one really cared about was going to be Chicago against Philadelphia because Philly struggled in the second half of the season and had no reason to make it in the playoffs.

Well, game one was more than interesting on Saturday.

Image(Getty Images)

It wasn’t about the score.  It was truly behind the box score.  Bulls point guard and leader Derrick Rose went down with a minute and a half remaining in the game holding his knee.  In a point of the game where the coach didn’t need the Bulls starters on the court, Rose torn his ACL.

One of the heavy favorites going into the playoffs will have a lot tougher time getting to the NBA finals.  Rose missed bits and pieces in the year to various injuries, but headed into the playoffs totally healthy.  The freak injury is being blamed by the shortened season by some.

The Bulls and 76ers continue play on Tuesday.

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