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Posts from July 2013

PBA Summer Swing Memories, The Petersen Classic, The Bowling News and more!

Hello Spare/Time Bowling Show fans! Hope y’all are having a great summer! Have you been working on your game at all? Because Fall Leagues are now forming! Check your local bowling center for more information. :)

Well, two months after competing in the PBA Summer Swing, I still continue to work on my game! Tuesday nights, New Berlin Bowl, Team USA Sport Shot League, where a good sized group of men, a few women and youth too, challenge ourselves on World Tenpin Bowling Association Oil Patterns. These oil patterns are more of a challenge vs. your typical house shot and forces you to be more accurate! Frustrating? YES at times, but once you scale it back, do a little studying and find your groove, the payoff is excellent!

Unlike, The Petersen Classic in Hoffman Estates, Illinois which was NOT so excellent for me in my first time out! But I still had a great time nonetheless. My father always talked about The Petersen Classic, even competed a few times at the old location and won some $$$! If you’ve never heard of The Petersen Classic it’s a tournament like no other. 8 games across 16 lanes of HELL! You can only use two bowling balls, no practice beforehand, no arrows or dots on the lane for aiming and the oil, or lack there of... it really depended on which pair you were on. It really beats you up mentally unless you have the right equipment! 1100 after 8 games which I guess is ok for my first time. Can’t wait for next year!

Another way I challenge myself is Friday Nights in Dyer, Indiana, just over the Illinois /Indiana border, at a house called Stardust Bowl III. There, Sean Ciesielski and their fine staff run a boatload of tournaments including a weekly King of the Hill, where the BIG names and little names, like myself come to play on challenging oil patterns for $$$. Just a few of the BIG names I’ve run into while down there... Eugene McCune, E.J. TackettBrian Velenta, Jerry Mars, Kevin Kullman and many other PBA Regional and Tour Pros who will help you out if they find you struggling! Nice to see and have a passionate group of bowlers that love the game and help each other out! I’m not saying it doesn’t happen here BUT I wish we had a tournament like this in OUR area. If you’d ever like to join me and the carpool and challenge yourself, just let me know!

Before I go, I always get asked about my GEICO / PBA Summer Swing experience and how it was bowling against the BEST bowlers in the world, I’m always willing to share stories so don’t be afraid to ask. I just wanted to share a couple of memories and remind you that you can re-live my time on PBA Xtra Frame for a small subscription price OR watch my training and listen to stories about the experience on the show (for free), click here.

Just a couple of PBA Summer Swing Memories...

Getting yelled at by the great Walter Ray Williams Jr., “JUST BOWL!” I guess I was giving to much lane courtesy. I know better now! :)

Beating one of the greatest bowlers of our time in Norm Duke not once, but TWICE! It was all about the small victories for me as I was shaking in my boots at the competition during that two weeks they were in town. 

Remember to ALWAYS fill out your PBA score sheet completely, no matter how well you bowl, otherwise it’ll cost you and the person you verify for some $$$! In this case it was Anthony LaCaze and he playfully, “let me have it” if you will! Whoops!

Being on the call alongside former PBA Champion Johnny DiSantis and my coach Dwight Albrecht for the Brunswick Youth Super Classic where PBA Tour Pros Sean Rash, Walter Ray Williams Jr., Tom Hess and Tom Smallwood were paired with some pretty talented youth. You can watch that telecast here.

Lastly, getting interview by Mr. Mark London at The Bowling News about my experience. The Bowling News is a weekly publication that is read around the world! You can read the article, that will give you EVEN MORE insight of my PBA experience, here. Thank you to Mark and the crew at The Bowling News for taking an interest and to all the fans too!

For now, the grind continues! This PBA thing is far from over! I still have more work to do on my game before I even think about doing something like that again!
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Wickett's World - Ryan Braun's no dummy.

Ryan Braun is no dummy. He's actually quite smart. Is he a cheater? Yes. A liar too. And once he realized that he was finally busted, I'm guessing Braun & his team looked at the big picture and reacted intelligently& tactfully. 

Here's my best estimation on what Braun & Co did:

-During/Near Braun's "bereavement" leave, he met with MLB officials
-MLB's evidence was going to lead to a 100 game suspension for Braun.
-Braun pleaded down to a 65 game suspension without appeal. Appeals suck. They cost a lot of money & time. This way MLB can say they "got" the guy who "got" them.

This all makes sense to me for several reasons:

1- Get it out of the way, especially if you know you're guilty. 
2- Be the 1st guy and other busted MLB'ers will take your place in the papers.
3- Losing $3.5 million isn't going to break Braun's bank. A bigger suspension next year when his salary elevates will cost him more money.
4- This Brewers season isn't exactly going well, so why not miss the remainder?
5- Arod's next. (and then about 20 others). He's the big fish in the big pond. That will push Braun's name to the back pages. 
6- Packers season begins Friday (training camp). That means most of the sports media & fans in Wisconsin will focus on Green Bay. 
7- NFL, NCAA Football, NBA, College Basketball seasons are all coming up. National media outlets will pay less & less attention to Braun, especially if he's not appealing the MLB's penalty. 

After all of this & by the time the Brewers open up Spring Training in Maryvale, Braun won't be forgotten, but a lot of the hate & steam will be gone. He & the Brewers can begin the 2014 MLB season with less distraction. There will be questions, scrutiny, etc BUT getting it out of the way will lessen the blow.

Ryan Braun may be a lot of things, but stupid isn't one of them. He may ACTUALLY be taking the best route on this one. We'll see...

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wickett's world - Ryan Braun: How SHOULD you feel?

I don't know what to tell you, Milwaukee Brewers fans. I honestly don't. After the suspension came down from MLB, and Ryan Braun was done for the rest of the 2013 season, I immediately wanted to gauge the fan reaction.
The twitterverse blew up. Facebook  exploded. And the reaction? Mixed. Some were angry. Others disappointed. Many were in shock. I can’t tell you how to feel. You need to do that. 
Is Braun a cheater? Yep. Is he a liar? Yep. Do you care? I don’t know. Will you give him a 2nd chance? Not sure. How about on opening day in 2014? We live in a pretty forgiving society so I’m going to guess that MOST Brewers fans will eventually look past this and Braun will be in the good graces of Milwaukee. Notice that I said MOST. Not all of you will…and you know what? You have every right to.
We ALL were in shock in December, 2011 when we heard the news. Most of us thought Braun was telling the truth during his spring training speech in 2012 and we rooted for him to match his 2011 just to say to the haters, “see? We told ya so”. Many still believed him when the news was slipping out during super bowl week this year. And now, it’s official. Ryan Braun is a cheater. Ryan Braun is a liar. Should you forgive Ryan Braun? I can’t make that decision for you. 
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Grading the Bucks' offseason thus far

For all the hype and anticipation going into this offseason, I was expecting a whole lot more from the Milwaukee Bucks. Remember, this offseason was supposed to represent one of the biggest moments for the franchise going forward. Were the Bucks going to blow it up and rebuild, or were they going to add some top tier (not superstar) quality free agents to the roster and push for perhaps the fourth seed? I would have been fine with either direction, quite frankly.
But no, neither one was the case. Herb Kohl and his cronies have one goal in mind – being the mediocre eighth seed. So far, that goal for this offseason has been well accomplished.
This is ludicrous.
Granted, the offseason is not over, and we don’t know what will happen to Brandon Jennings. Before I go any more into the Jennings hoopla, let’s recap this offseason starting with the ever-important NBA Draft. There will be a letter grade for each acquisition.
First round pick: Giannis Adetokunbo
My grade: D+
I hope I’m wrong about this kid. Unless John Hammond and Larry Drew were full of crap in the draft presser, they both seem very high about the Greek Freak. He has tremendous size for an 18 year old (6 foot 9, 196 pounds), and hopefully he’ll grow a little more once he hits his 20s. I’m big fan of his wingspan (7 foot 3), but outside of that, what makes the Greek Freak so special, and why did other teams in front of the Bucks pass on him? I had never heard of this kid long before the NBA Draft got underway!
In Greece’s second tier basketball league, Giannis averaged 9.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.7 steels, and 1.0 blocks per game; these numbers came over the course of 26 games. BIG DEAL. For the Greek Freak, I don’t find anything freakish in his stats. That’s not a “Poor-man’s Kevin Durnat” as everybody has been comparing him to. While Hammond and others say he’s a great passer and can play solid defense, that’s all fine and dandy. The competition he’s playing against in Greece is nowhere close to what the NBA or even the NBA Summer League has to offer! Oh and by the way, Giannis isn’t even playing in the Summer League this year!
I hope Hammond and Co. drafted a superstar. They make is sound like he's something very special. Hammond has done a very good job when it comes to the draft. If this kid is not a superstar, then the pick is a total bust.
Second round pick: Nate Wolters
My grade: B+
You needed a shooter. You got one. While he doesn’t play any defense, Wolters had solid shooting numbers for South Dakota State. Last season, he averaged 22.3 points per game. Although his impressive shooting numbers weren’t against some of the best teams in the country, he’s seen better competition than the Greek Freak. Wolters should fill the void at some point to be a great go-to guy from off the bench.
Now, let’s look at the rest of the Bucks’ moves…
Bucks trade J.J. Redick, acquire two second round picks.
My grade: D
Don’t tell me that it’s something rather nothing at all. The Bucks could have acquired Eric Bledsoe from the Clippers, and instead the Suns took him. Acquiring two second round picks is an insult. You mean tell me Tobias Harris, Doron Lamb, and Beno Udrih are worth two second rounders? Why couldn’t the Bucks acquire a first rounder from either team? This trade sucks. If you know anything about the NBA, second round picks mean almost nothing. Here's something positive...You still have Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith...yeah, about that...
Bucks trade Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, acquire two second round picks.
My grade: F
This is a bone-headed, idiotic move. Despite his lackluster scoring around the rim, he’s one of your best defenders. Prince Luc has done an outstanding job holding his own against some of the NBA’s elite. Once again, the trade is an insult. Two second round picks are unacceptable. You basically gave him away to Sacramento for free. If you’re going to trade him, package him with Ersan Ilaysova and acquire a couple of first round picks or a top-tier shooting guard!
Also, who is going to be the starter at small forward next season? Literally, the Bucks have nobody to take the reins at the position. Carlos Delfino? Oh Boy, do I miss Tobias Harris…
Bucks sign O.J. Mayo.
My grade: B-
It’s an OK move. I think he’s an upgrade at shooting guard over Monta Ellis. However, Ellis was better off at point guard anyway. Mayo is coming off one of his best seasons of his career. My question is can he take his game to the next level. If Brandon Jennings does not return, Mayo will be your number one scorer; that’s rather disconcerting. Last season, Mayo had a nice 45% field goal percentage, along with 40% from three point land. He averaged around 15 points per game for the Mavs, but don’t expect much from his defense. He’s a talented player, but nowhere close to superstar caliber. Like I said, it’s an upgrade at the position.
Bucks acquire Luke Ridnour for practically nothing.
My grade: B
It’s nice to acquire a decent off-the-bench shooter. While I’ve always had an issue with bringing back former players, this individual move is fine. That’s all I have to say about it.
Bucks sign Zaza Puchilia
My grade: B-
Another former player? Puchilia is an upgrade. He’s better than Samuel Dalembert. I expect him to be the back-up behind Larry Sanders. That’s the only reason why the Bucks signed him, correct? There’s no way in hell he’s going to be your everyday starter. Puchilia isn’t Al Jefferson. Puchilia does, however, bring you some veteran leadership into the lockerroom.
Bucks sign Carlos Delfino
My grade: F
Wait a minute, is Herb Kohl and John Hammond seriously bringing the band back together? This is the third former Buck signed this offseason. Delfino has always been a streaky shooter. If he’s going to start at small forward, I’m going to lose my mind. He’s a downgrade from Mike Dunleavy. I’m not sure what the Bucks were thinking here. This signing is an epic fail.
Bucks amnesty Drew Gooden
My grade: A+
YAAAAYYYYY!!!!! Bring out the champagne bottles! Drew Gooden is gone! This is the best move Kohl and Hammond have made this offseason.
Guess what’s even better? You didn’t have to trade Gooden for another player with a bad contract! This release is really “Good”en. In his tenure as GM for the Milwaukee Bucks, this was Hammond’s worse possible free agent signing. Cheerleaders, like Gooden, are nice on the bench, but they don’t get you NBA Titles (or playoff victories for that matter).
Well, well, well. Now all eyes are focused on Brandon Jennings. After reading numerous reports, Jennings does not want to be here, the Bucks may find themselves in a dreadful situation.
Hammond has said that the Bucks will match any offer sheet. That’s been a lie. The Bucks made a play for Jeff Teague and the Hawks surprisingly matched the offer. Now what? Well, you’re stuck with Brandon.
No NBA team has thrown an offer his way. If you're Jennings, take the $4.3 million tender, play 20 times better this coming season, and then look for the big $$$ next season. Jennings’ ego, however, is telling him something completely different. I don’t think Jennings is worth $8 million. His play is average at best. At this point, I hope he stays in Milwaukee where Nick Van Exel can groom his game. Van Exel claims he can relate to Brandon Jennings – that could be the type of influence Brandon needs going forward. At the age of 23, his potential to be a great scorer is still there, but he needs to act fast.
Like I said, if Jennings says ‘screw it’ and leaves Milwaukee, the Bucks are screwed as well. Then again, maybe not...
Here are three potential starting lineups come October.
C Larry Sanders
PF Ersan Ilaysova
SF Carlos Delfino
SG O.J. Mayo
PG Brandon Jennings
C Larry Sanders
PF Ersan Ilyasova
SF Carlos Delfino
SG O.J. Mayo
PG Luke Ridnour
C Zaza Puchilia
PF Larry Sanders
SF Ersan Ilysova
SG O.J. Mayo
PG Luke Ridnour/Brandon Jennings
(There’s no way John Henson will be able to start this season. Had the Bucks traded Ersan like I was calling for, Henson would be your everyday power forward.)
None of these three potential lineups look promising. Maybe it is a sign that Bucks are in fact tanking. If Luke Ridnour is the starting point guard, you know you’re going to be crappy. Otherwise, if Brandon leaves, you can choose between Nate Robinson, Beno Udrih, or Mo Williams to fill the void. They'll probably sign a fourth former Buck, Mo Williams, to be their starting point guard. Would it surprise any of you?
While the Bucks could be tanking with this roster, it’s also a sign that they’ll either just make or just miss the playoffs. No matter how you look at it, this offseason has been one giant disappointment. Herb Kohl may do everything in his power to keep this franchise in Milwaukee, but he’s clueless when it comes to putting a legitimate product on the floor. Individually, some of these moves are fine, but it doesn’t mark a clear-cut direction of where this team wants to go.
Unless some blockbuster move happens between now and October, this was not the offseason I was hoping for.
Overall offseason grade: D
Follow me on Twitter: @RadioJoeZenzola
Until next time, Milwaukee…

By the way, here's who remains from last season's team. Until a player signs elsewhere or we know for certain they're not coming back (like Drew Gooden), they will not have a black X over their face.

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What next for the Crew?

Now that the 2013 season is well over the halfway mark for the crew, what do they do now? As the days go by, Brewers GM Doug Melvin has a decision to make. Does he stand pat, and go back at the 2014 season with essentially the same line-up, or does he make wholesale changes?

When you break down the contractual situations for key players, he actually could come back with: Lucroy, Ramirez, Segura, Weeks, Braun, Gomez, and Aoki. The hole will be at first base, and he could entertain the idea of Mat Gamel or Taylor Green. This line-up has been and can be very productive.

In terms of the pitching? Yo, Loshe, Peralta, and Estrada could comprise 4 of the starting pitchers in the rotation. The bullpen would have Kintzler, Axford, Henderson, Hand, and Figaro. Would it surprise fans to come back with these players, maybe, but it could happen. On the other hand, the trade potential is certainly there. Buy or sell, could have BIG ramifications for years to come. Let's enjoy this important July. Smile Milwaukee, the World will smile back.
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