As I Write...

Jeff RobbinsContributor IApril 19, 2009

As I write, Jeff Suppan has just finished an incredibly not-too-awful outing for the Milwaukee Brewers. Yes, he gave up eight hits over six innings against the New York Mets, but he only allowed one run and more impressively, only walked one batter.

In doing so, he sliced his ERA from 12.91 to 7.90. I guess that one extra day of rest really did work. Now if the Brewers could start scoring some runs...

As I write, I’m wondering if the strategy employed by the Brewers to try to help Jeff Suppan would work at all for struggling Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang. Wang was tagged for a whopping eight runs on Saturday in only one-and-one-third innings, as Cleveland bombed the Bronx Bombers 22-4 at New York’s swanky new Yankee Stadium.

But apparently Yankee manager Joe Girardi isn’t concerned about Wang or his 34.50 ERA, saying of Saturday’s shelling that ” I thought he threw more good sinkerballs today.”

Hey, Girardi, the only people that thought anything Wang threw was good were the Indians batters. If I was managing a team that had just moved into a $1.5 billion ballpark and it had been outscored 37-12 in its first three games there, I would be a tad more upset.

Like Christian Bale-Ozzie Guillen-Casey Kasem upset. Because I would know my job was suddenly in danger.

As I write, I’m still struggling to come to terms with how I feel about John Madden’s surprise retirement. On the one hand, I love to hear Madden do a game: I find him extremely knowledgeable, free of crap, and immensely entertaining.

On the other hand, I take a great deal of satisfaction in knowing that insufferable “comedian” Frank Caliendo’s stock has dropped even further—Caliendo’s two biggest draws were his impressions of Bush and Madden, and they are now both out of work.

But I think the reason I am largely indifferent to John Madden’s retirement is because I don’t pay that much attention to sports announcers anymore—I’ve often got kids running around while I’m watching a broadcast, ensuring that I see much more than I hear.

And an announcer will never matter so much that I would ever choose to watch or not to watch a game based on who is calling the plays or doing the color commentary. It’s like the revolving schedule on Nick at Nite: I’ll miss you, Designing Women, but hey, Family Matters is a fine replacement. Similarly, Madden will be missed, but Cris Collinsworth will be a very acceptable substitute.

As I write, the Packers are just a few days away from one of their most important drafts in recent memory. Coming off a lousy 6-10 season in which their defense tanked (20th overall, 22nd in points allowed), the Packers have a lot of holes.

Fortunately, the holes are concentrated in the defensive front seven and fortunately, the Packers have a lot of picks—nine overall, including four in the first 83 selections—in which to address these needs.

But I’m still nervous. Ted Thompson’s last two drafts have been questionable at best — Justin Harrell’s been an out-and-out bust, the team needed Jordy Nelson like it needed Don Majkowski to come out of retirement, and second-round QB pick Brian Brohm was quickly outplayed by seventh-round QB pick Matt Flynn.

Not that the Packers needed either untested quarterback when beginning the season with a (mostly) untested starting quarterback. (Who admittedly was the Packers’ uncontested MVP last season.)

Two things you can be sure of Ted Thompson doing—trading down to accumulate draft picks and drafting not by need, but by best player available.

If he trades down, as he has done in each of the past four years, he may miss out on defensive talent such as Boston College DT BJ Raji, Texas DE Brian Orakpo, LSU DE Tyson Jackson, or Penn State DE Aaron Maybin, all of whom seem primed to pay immediate dividends in Dom Capers’s 3-4 scheme.

If he picks the best player available, he might be tempted to grab Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree, who, despite being one of the most talented players in the draft, may fall to the Packers at ninth pick due to questions about his work ethic.

Adding another receiver, especially that high in the draft, would be akin to Today adding a fifth hour to its already-bloated four-hour show: Ridiculous overkill. 

The good news is that in 2006, the last time the Packers had a pick in the draft’s top 10, Thompson kept it and drafted Ohio State LB A.J. Hawk, which has turned out to be one of Thompson’s wisest selections. So there is hope that Thompson will snag another quality player with his first pick on Saturday.

As I write, the Brewers have completed a 4-2 victory over the New York Mets, giving beleagured pitcher Jeff Suppan his first win of the season. The best news of the weekend.