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Vince Vitrano: Not For Broadcast



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Two things I read in Wednesday's sports section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel got me so fired up, I couldn't wait to sound off about them.

Let's start with Packers first, and why I now believe, if only out of spite, that Green Bay is going to win Sunday night against the Chicago Bears. The headline of Bob McGinn's report yesterday read, "Hibernating giant." I'd link you to the article so you could read it, however, this is one of those "only for paying customers" articles online. The link sends you to a page where they ask you for 5 bucks. Weak.

I'll save you cash and just quote the important part to ya. McGinn rung up some league scouting sources for their perspectives on this week's showdown, and here's one excerpt:  

"I think Lovie's going to steal one," one scout said, referring to Chicago coach Lovie Smith. "The key is if they can get to No. 4 (Brett Favre). The Packers go as No. 4 goes. I don't think that defense is that solid, anyway."

WHAT? Our defense isn't that solid? The Bears gave up 34 points in a single quarter last week to the Detroit Lions. That wasn't all the Bears' defense coughing up points. Brian Griese did throw 3 picks! But still, this Bears "D" is not last year's Bears "D." And another thing... those guys walked around last year like they were the '85 Bears and they weren't.

So don't tell me the Packers are the ones who need to be scared. We're 4-0. We're at home. We've got a hall of fame quarterback having an MVP year.

Bears have a guy who threw 3-picks last week at quarterback, and he's considered an upgrade from the previous guy. Bears are 1-3 and reeling. The best part of their game, the defense, isn't all that anyway, and 3 starters are hurt this week.

Look. I'm not saying the Pack can't lose. I admit, I have some uneasy feelings about this encounter. It's set up beautifully for a green and gold let-down. But I don't need to read that garbage from some nameless scout. The Packers are not in a position to have be afraid of anybody right now... least of all the Bears. Like I said, I'm not saying we can't lose, but I am saying we should win... and the pre-game hype ought to reflect that.

Also for the record, I'm not putting that on McGinn. He's the conduit. I'm glad he exposed that point of view for us, and hopefully the team to see. I know they "never read the papers" or "listen to the talk shows" but maybe just this once it could fire them up.

Okay... pause. Deep breath. Now, back to the rage.

Ben Sheets gets a B? I love the Brewers' writers for the Journal/Sentinel. Haudricourt and Braun do a nice job, but I must respectfully disagree with their end of the year grade for the Brewers' "Ace."

Here's a clip from their article: 

The Brewers needed him to stay healthy and Sheets did so in the first half, earning an all-star berth as the club hit the break 10 games above .500. The injury bug bit again shortly afterward, and he missed 6 weeks with a finger injury, a freak thing that he could do little about.

I agree. When Ben pitched, he was great. He had an excellent first half. The only trouble is, there was a lot of baseball after the break and Sheets wasn't there.

I do agree the finger thing was freak, and beyond Ben's control... but I don't care. He wasn't there. I understand that the dog ate his homework, but that doesn't mean he gets a pass. He didn't turn it in.

Never mind all that, anyway. The reason Sheets gets an "F" in my grade book is his failure to make his final two starts. The "strain" in his hamstring is not a valid excuse. A pull... maybe. A tear, okay. A strain. Nope. Suck it up and play.

I don't question it would have hurt for Ben to throw with a strain in his hamstring. I'm sure it would have. Throw anyway. That's why you get paid 4 Million dollars a year to play a game. You need to trot out there. I recall Haudricourt's book on the '82 Brewers where he points out Pete Vukovich pitched the second half of the season with a torn rotator cuff. Dude still threw... and his team made it to October. He ruined his arm, but he did what was needed.

When I read the other week that Sheets, bothered by the strain, told Manager Ned Yost he'd miss his start, but could maybe throw an inning out of the pen, I almost threw up.

He comes to me with that, I tell him to pack his stuff.  "In fact... we've packed your locker for you, since we didn't want to aggravate your injury any further. If you can't rally in the last week of the season with a shot at the playoffs on the line for the first time since '82, you don't deserve a spot on my bench. We packed your stuff. It's in a box. Take it to the bus depot. We'll see you in spring, if you don't stub your toe between now and then and have to sit out.


Have a great weekend everyone.



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