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Countdown to a championship…or a choke

In approximately 10 hours, give or take, the Milwaukee Bucks will either be (a) National Basketball Association champions for the first time in 50 years, or (b) getting ready to fly to Phoenix for a seventh game vs. the Suns on their home court.

The Bucks haven’t been in this position since Mother’s Day 1974.
That was the date of the seventh game of the 1974 championship series, with the Bucks hosting the Celtics at the MECCA, the franchise’s first home.
The series didn’t lack for star power. Milwaukee had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson and Bob Dandridge, plus original Buck John McGlocklin. Boston featured Dave Cowens, JoJo White, future Bucks coach Don Nelson and the ageless John Havlicek.
At this time, the Bucks were in the Western Conference, where they remained until the Mavericks came into the NBA in the 1980-81 season.
Boston won 68 games during the 1972-73 season, one shy of the record set by the Lakers two years prior, but choked in the Eastern Conference finals, losing in five to the Knicks, who went on to defeat the Lakers for their second title in four seasons.
Milwaukee won 66 games in 1970-71, its third season. The Bucks had little trouble in the playoffs, ousting the Warriors and Lakers in five apiece, then sweeping the Baltimore Bullets to set the record for shortest time from first game to championship.
Through the first six games in 1974, Milwaukee and Boston alternated wins, with the Celtics claiming the odd-numbered games and the Bucks the evens.
In the sixth game, Milwaukee kept its season alive when Kareem arched a 12-foot sky hook from the right baseline over reserve Boston center Hank Finkel, forced into action in the second overtime when Hall of Famer Dave Cowens fouled out. The Bucks prevailed 102-101.
Little did anyone know the Bucks would not win another game in the NBA championship series for 47 years and two months.
In what myself and Bill Franques call the Mother’s Day Meltdown, the Celtics won the deciding game 102-87.
Boston won titles in 1976, ‘81, ‘84, ‘86 and 2008 to go along with the 11 it won in 13 seasons from 1957-69.
Milwaukee took a nosedive the two seasons following, thanks to Oscar’s retirement and the trade of Kareem to the Lakers. The Bucks moved to the Eastern Conference with Dallas’ entrance and were a consistent playoff team, but were thwarted by the 76ers and Celtics, eliminated by one or the other every year from 1981 through ‘87.
By the mid-1990s, the Bucks were as wretched as the Clippers, Nuggets and other perennial losers. There was one brief moment of glory, a run to the Eastern Conference finals in 2001, but for 25 years, basketball in Milwaukee was a distant third to the Packers and Brewers, and sometimes behind the Wisconsin Badgers as well.
Things got so bad for Milwaukee that new NBA commissioner Adam Silver gave the Bucks an ultimatum: build a new arena or lose your team. The good people of Wisconsin got the message, the Fiserv Forum was built, and now the Bucks are one win away from the title.

Speaking of the Brewers, I’m reminded of them as the Bucks prepare for what could be their championship moment.
In the 1982 World Series, Milwaukee held a 3-2 advantage over St. Louis after taking two of three at County Stadium. The Brewers, powered by Robin Yount and Paul Molitor, had proven they could win at Busch Stadium, as evidenced by their 10-0 rout in the first game.
October 19, 1982 was supposed to be the night Harvey’s Wallbangers were coronated as Milwaukee’s first baseball champion since the 1957 Braves.
Instead, the Cardinals crushed the Brewers 13-1, then won the next night 6-3.
Milwaukee did not return to the postseason until 2008, ten years after it moved from the American League to the National. The Brewers reached the NLCS in 2011 and ‘18, but have yet to get back to the final round. If the Brewers can find some offense to go along with their pitching, 2021 might be the year.

The Bucks need to take care of business tonight. No goofing off. No taking the chance on a game seven on an enemy court. Get it done.
The good news is the Suns’ history in this situation is not promising.
In its two previous appearances in the final round, Phoenix lost game six and the series, to the Celtics in 1976 and the Bulls in ‘93. The 1976 series featured the famous triple-overtime game five, voted by many experts as the greatest in NBA history.
Both of those games were in Arizona, so you have to hope the chances are even better of it happening in Wisconsin.

I guess I’ll be tuning in to the NBA tonight. If the Bucks lose, I definitely will NOT watch game seven. It would be too gut-wrenching.

Rambling nooner

It’s high noon in Kansas City, and I’m about ready to get the heck out of my hotel room and do something. There are a few afternoon MLB games, but my big action comes tonight at 7 when LSU and TCU square off for the second time at the College World Series. TCU won Sunday 10-3, putting LSU in the unenviable position of needing to win four consecutive games to reach the championship series, something it has never done.

The Bayou Bengals defeated Cal State Fullerton 5-3 Tuesday to stay alive, while the Horned Frogs fell 1-0 to Vanderbilt, which is waiting for the winner of tonight’s game tomorrow at 7 p.m. The other bracket final is set, with Florida and Virginia playing at 2 p.m. tomorrow. The Gators need to win to force a second game between the teams Saturday afternoon. The Cavaliers defeated the Gators 1-0 Monday.

I spent almost 10 hours at Buffalo Wild Wings yesterday. It was blissful during the evening, with Brittany Davidson, Raymie Lepetit and Rue Jean-Klapproth all on shift. They were so excited to see me, and I felt the same way about seeing them. Brittany was gushing over her July 11 wedding, as she should be. I’ve been invited to the reception, and I had better go, because I shudder to think how she would feel if I didn’t show up.

Raymie is leaving for a vacation to Costa Rica Wednesday. I haven’t been outside of Kansas City since last July when I drove to Omaha and Lincoln to raid Raising Cane’s chicken fingers, which was founded in Baton Rouge.

It isn’t the chicken so much as it is the toast and the sauce. MMMMMMMMM. If the CWS weren’t in Omaha right now, I might have slipped away today. Maybe a day trip there or to Tulsa is in order.

My trivia pals Dawn and Robert showed up at happy hour. That was another nice touch.

Liz is supposed to be working today. That will be an interesting reunion. She doesn’t like it when I’m away for long periods. I’ve got to enjoy the days I see her, because she’s moving soon to Colorado. I guess that will mean a few road trips west.

She isn’t the only one leaving. Lisa is moving to Chicago with Jeff very soon. Jeff showed up sans Lisa last night, because she’s in St. Louis for her brother’s wedding.

It’s going to get very hot starting this weekend. The mercury in Russell will be hovering near 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) consistently through at least next Wednesday. OUCH. This means if I want to do anything in Hays before my appointment with Crista next Thursday, going to have to do it very early to avoid the heat.

The Royals are rolling at the expense of the Brewers. Except for the ninth inning Monday when Kansas City reliever Greg Holland got shelled for three runs, Milwaukee has become beyond inept. KC won 7-2 Tuesday and 10-2 last night. More of the same on the way. The Royals had better take advantage of tonight and three games this weekend at home against a bad Boston team.

Not counting Christmas Eve and breaks during the playoffs, last night was the first night without an NBA or NHL game since early October. For those who don’t like baseball, there isn’t much choice in the sports world, especially on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, until August when NFL exhibition games crank up. The weekends have golf. And please resist the temptation to watch Wimbledon. I would rather get a root canal without anesthetic than watch tennis right now, especially women’s tennis.

Party like it’s 1985

The Royals won again last night. The Brewers and Indians both lost.

This is starting to look a lot like 1985. That was the year Kansas City won its first–and only–World Series championship, rallying from a 3-1 deficit vs. St. Louis, thanks in large part, though, to a blown call at first base in the ninth inning of game six by umpire Don Denkinger.

Meanwhile, the Brewers and Indians were in a dog-eat-dog race for sixth place in the American League East. The two teams occupied the bottom rungs of the division in 1984, with Cleveland 75-87 and Milwaukee 67-94. Although the Brewers played the entire 1984 season without their future Hall of Fame third baseman and team leader, Paul Molitor, there wasn’t much hope for the Wisconsinites even with Molitor healthy in 1985. The Brewers, who won the American League pennant in 1982 and came within one win of a world championship, simply didn’t have any pitching, despite Molitor and another Hall of Fame shoo-in, Robin Yount, anchoring the offense.

At least Milwaukee could hit. Cleveland couldn’t hit, nor could it pitch.

Sure enough, when the season ended, Milwaukee found itself 71-90 and in sixth place, a cool 25 1/2 games behind division champion Toronto.

As bad as that was, Cleveland was 11 1/2 games WORSE, going 60-102. The only thing which saved the Indians from the worst record in the Majors was the beyond pathetic Pirates, who were 57-104.

Pittsburgh baseball hit rock bottom in 1985. Numerous Pirates, both on the 1985 team and since departed, were addicted to cocaine, and they were subpoenaed by a grand jury in the Steel City to testify about the rampant use of the illicit drug in Major League Baseball.

Although the 2015 season is not a month old, the Brewers and Indians are in free fall. Through tonight’s games, they are a combined 10-30 (Cleveland 6-13, Milwaukee 4-17), and not surprisingly, own the worst records in their respective leagues.

The Cardinals and Dodgers, the two teams which played for the National League pennant in 1985, lead their divisions. The Mets, whose 98 victories left them three games shy of St. Louis in the NL East, have the best record in the Senior Circuit right now. 1985 AL East champion Toronto is hovering around .500, but it’s early, and the AL East figures to be a mediocre division.

I wasn’t quite nine years old in April 1985, but for some reason, several events from that month stick out in my mind three decades later.

The first came on the night of April Fool’s Day, when Villanova stunned Georgetown in the NCAA men’s basketball national championship game at Lexington’s Rupp Arena.

The Hoyas won the 1984 national championship, and with three-time All-American and 1984 National Player of the year Patrick Ewing back for his senior campaign, John Thompson’s club was the overwhelming favorite to repeat.

Villanova finished fourth in the rugged Big East Conference, finishing behind Georgetown, St. John’s and Syracuse. The Wildcats of coach Rollie Massamino earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, which expanded to 64 teams in 1985. The Wildcats, who had not been to the Final Four since All-American Howard Porter starred for the south Philadelphia Catholic school in 1971, were seeded eighth (out of 16) in the Southeast region.

However, once the tournament began, the Wildcats roared to life. They upended top seed MIchigan in the second round, and won regional games at Birmingham over ACC powers Maryland (led by Len Bias) and North Carolina to reach the Final Four, where they would be joined by conference rivals Georgetown and St. John’s, plus Memphis State (now Memphis) from the now-defunct Metro Conference.

Villanova dispatched Memphis State and Georgetown ousted St. John’s to set up the fourth meeting of the season between the Catholic schools, separated by less than 150 miles of Interstate 95.

The Wildcats played what has been called by many the best half of basketball in tournament history in the second half. Villanova hit 22 of 25 field goal attempts, an astonishing 88 percent, and won 66-64.

It was the final game before the NCAA adopted a shot clock for all games. Several conferences had experimented with it in the early 1980s, but it was not universally adopted until the fall of 1985.

Less than 48 hours after Villanova’s amazing victory, my parents, my brother and I departed for an Easter vacation to Walt Disney World.

Let me just say that trip is not one of the most pleasant memories of my life.

In fact, the opposite.

The first night told me this would be trouble. My father insisted on stopping for dinner at a truck stop off of Interstate 10 in the Florida panhandle, approximately 70 miles west of Tallahassee, the state capital and the city where we would stop for the night before completing the trip to Orlando the next day.

The food was terrible. The service was awful, and we got the short shrift since we were not truckers. My dad vowed never to eat at a truck stop again, the only good thing to come out of this trip.

The next day, it went from bad to worse.

One of the tires on our 1978 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser station wagon went flat on Interstate 75 near Gainesville, home to the Florida Gators. I already was not enamored with Florida, since it was a rival of LSU’s in the Southeastern Conferenc,e but the tire blowout gave me another reason to loathe Gainesville.

It wouldn’t be the last bad experience with the city.

Since only one tire was damaged, my dad put the spare on and we made it to Kissimmee, where we checked into our hotel.

I found nothing really exciting about the exhibits at Disney World. The lines were way too long. At least a cold front came through central Florida, meaning it was nowhere near as bad as it could have been. However, the Saturday before Easter, we were stuck in the hotel most of the day by rain.

We visited Epcot Center the last full day, which was far better in my estimation than the Magic Kingdom. If I had my druthers, I would have far preferred Anaheim to Orlando.

When we left the Tuesday after Easter, my father got lost and we took a circuitous route back to the Florida Turnpike, which led to I-75 south of Ocala. Gainesville was on the horizon.

And more trouble.

Two tire blowouts on one trip is almost unheard of. To have it happen in the same city must mean we did something very wrong to anger God.

This time, TWO tires were blown out in Gainesville, and we spent almost three hours in a Firestone store in Gainesville while the tires were repaired.

I have not looked at photos from this trip. Ever. Maybe they were flooded by Katrina.

Two weeks after the trip to Disney World, New Coke debuted.

There were rampant rumors throughout the first quarter of 1985 Coca-Cola would be changing its formula in order to combat the rapid rise of Pepsi, which had been a rival of Coke’s for nearly a century, yet never could come close to eclipsing Coke’s popularity, especially in the South. Coca-Cola’s world headquarters are in Atlanta, and in the Deep South, when you say “soft drink”, it almost always means “Coke”. Pepsi is frowned upon as “Yankee Cola” by many southerners, although it was invented in North Carolina.

April 23, 1985 was the big day. It wasn’t a day which will live in infamy, like Pearl Harbor Day was, but it certainly will be remembered as the introduction of one of the great marketing flops in American history.

Less than three months after New Coke hit the shelves, Coca-Cola agreed to bring back the old formula as Coca-Cola Classic. You would have thought cancer and AIDS had been cured in one fell swoop.

Nobody had any idea what was in store for the rest of 1985. But April had more than its fair share of hijinks.

MLB’s second act at its end

The 162nd game of the Major League Baseball season will be meaningful for four teams in particular, maybe more.

NOTE: the second act is the regular season. The first is spring training, the third is the postseason. At least I can spin it that way.

The Central divisions of both leagues are still in question. The Tigers in the American League and Cardinals in the National League each have a one-game lead, but both missed opportunities to close out today.

Detroit lost its second consecutive game at home to last place Minnesota, 6-1, while St. Louis fell in Phoenix to the Majors’ worst team, the Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-2.

The Pirates came back from an early 3-0 deficit in Cincinnati and went to extra innings, but the Reds’ Todd Frazier launched a grand slam in the bottom of the 10th to doom Pittsburgh, 10-6. The Pirates must win tomorrow and the Cardinals must lose to Arizona to force a one-game playoff Monday in St. Louis. Regardless of what happens, the Pirates will be no worse than a wild card and play the Giants in the one-game playoff.

The Royals almost came back, but left a runner stranded in the ninth as they lost to the White Sox in Chicago, 5-4. If the Royals and Tigers end up tied, the playoff is Monday in Detroit. The worst that can happen to the Royals is the wild card game is in Kansas City. It will be the first playoff game at Kauffman Stadium since October 27, 1985,, the night the Royals won the World Series by blowing away the Cardinals 11-0. Back then, the stadium was known as Royals Stadium, the playing surface was artificial–the hard stuff, not the rubbery faux grass you see today–the seats were hard red plastic, and there was no replay screen, although there was the original crown scoreboard in center field.

Oakland still has a hold on the second wild card, but just barely. If Seattle can oust the Angels tonight, it will come down to tomorrow. The Athletics would have to lose and the Mariners would have to win, but there would still be hope in the Pacific Northwest. Every eye in Seattle and Washington State would be watching the M’s, because the Seahawks have a bye tomorrow.

The Brewers FINALLY clinched a winning season tonight by beating the Cubs 2-1. Milwaukee was 73-58 on the morning of August 25, and it has gone 9-21 since. Ouch. Pittsburgh was six games out of first on that earlier date.

Labor Day slipping away

Where is the time going on Labor Day? It’s already after 6 p.m. I guess my time is winding down in Kansas City. Back to Russell soon enough. I probably should drive back tonight to Russell and save the hotel points or money, but if I do stay, I can get some work done, finish it off, then drive back from 10 to 2 at a more leisurely pace. I have a decision to make. Soon.

The Milwaukee Brewers’ rapid freefall continued today at Wrigley Field. Their 4-2 loss to the Cubs, plus the Cardinals’ 5-4 victory over the Pirates in St. Louis, puts Milwaukee out of first place, whether it be tied or alone, for the first time since the first week of the season. I didn’t expect the Brewers to make the postseason after their fast start, but for it to be happening now is a little distressing. I’m doing my best not to get emotional over it, and so far, I haven’t.

The Royals were spared by Mother Nature early this morning when heavy thunderstorms suspended their game with Cleveland. The Indians scored twice in the top of the 10th to take the lead when the game was halted. The game will now resume in Cleveland Sept. 22, since the Indians don’t visit Kansas City again this season. Luckily this was a division game, or else the Royals might have had a hard time getting the game resumed.

Prior to 2006, the game would have been declared a tie, Under baseball’s official rules, when the visiting team breaks a tie and the home team cannot take its turn at bat, the game reverts to the last completed inning. That would have forced the game to start over, even though the statistics would count.

The Royals host Texas at 7:10.

This is the last Monday without the NFL until December 29. There is a college game on tonight, Miami at Louisville, the Cardinals’ first in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Midnight musings from Monday

Don Pardo, the longtime voice of NBC, is dead at 96. I wonder who will be the new announcer for Saturday Night Live when it returns for its 40th season next month. Don was one of the first people to announce the death of President John F. Kennedy that tragic day in Dallas, breaking into programming on WNBC in New York about 19 minutes after JFK died, although the death was not made official until 35 minutes after the bullets rang out.

Another mighty good Monday. The cheeseburger at Buffalo Wild Wings was outstanding, Megan’s service was outstanding, and I got to spend time with my dear friend Elizabeth Psenski. I probably stayed too long, but I figured why not? I had the computer with me and I was wrapping up my previous blog post about the 45th anniversary of two landmark events of August 17, 1969.

The Pulse threw me for a few loops tonight, but by time it ended, I was over 28,000 and probably back on top. I’ll find out for sure by noon, but I’m guessing those questions about Formula One, the Canadian Football League and Katie Ledecky may have caught the boys at Walsh’s in Naperville, Illinois off guard, too. I almost didn’t come back for the try at four in a row, but now I guess I’ll be going for five next Monday at 7 p.m.

I got to see two of the nicest people I’ve met at Buffalo Wild Wings, Dan and Pam. They sit at the bar and play trivia, too, and they are impressed by my knowledge. Dan is a very fortunate man to have a beautiful lady like Pam at his side, but he deserves to.

The Royals won again, so they’re two games up in the AL Central. The Brewers didn’t play, having flown back from Los Angeles, where they swept the Dodgers over the weekend.

Johnny Manziel, aka Johnny Football, all but blew his chance to start the season opener for the Cleveland Browns. He was mediocre to bad last night in Washington, going 5 for 13 for 49 yards, and saluting the Redskins bench with the universal gesture of ill will. Coach Mike Pettine was very unhappy, and if Brian Hoyer is not named Cleveland’s starting quarterback for Sept. 7 in Pittsburgh, Pettine isn’t playing with a full deck.

I’m going to Buffalo Wild Wings later today to see Brittany Davidson, who spent the weekend in California. Then I drive back to Russell, where I’ll be until at least Friday afternoon.

Act II of August upon us

I was in Santa Clause mode once I got to Buffalo Wild Wings–at least in everything except trivia.

There was a group of seven teens from Smithville, a small town north of Kansas City in northeastern Clay County, who sat at the booth to my left while I was playing trivia. I decided to give each of them one of my many $5 discount tickets. They were very excited. I think I made some new friends.

Smithville is home to a beautiful lake and a visitor center named after Jerry Litton, a U.S. Representative who died in a tragic 1976 plane crash in Chillicothe after winning the Democratic nomination for one of Missouri’s United States Senate seats. Litton was thought to be Missouri’s brightest political star at the time, and some thought of him as a potential presidential candidate.

Just now, I went and picked up Lisa a pretzel from Quik Trip, much the way I did for Liz last Monday. I also got Liz and Brittany Davidson pretzels from Pretzelmaker in Zona Rosa Tuesday. Of course, Lisa loved it. I was happy to do it for her, because she has been a very good friend to me.

I wasn’t having any of the generosity in trivia, however. I had a great comeback in Countdown at 9 p.m., rallying from as many as 2,050 points down to down two guys from St. Joseph who were playing together. There’s few better feelings than overcoming a deficit, especially when people are teaming up.

And how about this? The Brewers lead the Dodgers 3-1 going into the 7th–and that’s with Clayton Kershaw on the mound.

I nearly forgot today is the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. He died on August 16, 1977 at his Graceland estate in Memphis. The official cause of death was a massive heart attack, but he had many other healthy problems brought on by drugs and obesity. According to many of his closest associates, his favorite meal was fried banana and peanut butter sandwiches.

Today was the halfway point of August. Now the fun begins.

Tires, spirits inflated

I had a very very bad morning after I left my house. I thought for a while I was going to be stuck at Hays Chevrolet all day waiting for my tire to get fixed. I was upset at Dad for suggesting it. I actually took a long nap on the floor, waking up just before 11.

Fortunately, just after 11, the tire was fixed and I was on my way. It cost $26 to get the tire patched and fill all four with nitrogen. Filled up with gas in Hays, and the drive to Kansas City took right at four hours, with a stop at Starbucks in Junction City. I passed on Burger King both in Hays and Abilene, although it was tempting. Probably a good thing, since I have some appetite now at Buffalo Wild Wings.

Back in the bar area, sitting at my usual booth with Lisa Toebben, one of my favorite people in the world right now. Liz isn’t working tonight, but that’s not a big deal. I saw Brittany Mathenia-Tucker before she left; the other Brittany is in California this weekend.

It figures to be kind of slow tonight at Buffalo Wild Wings, since the Chiefs don’t play until 6 p.m. Central tomorrow. Tonight’s live game on NFL Network is Ravens-Cowboys at 6. The Royals play at Minnesota.

My teams are also on the road. The Arizona Cardinals play the Vikings at the University of Minnesota, the home of the Purple People for the next two seasons while their new stadium at the former site of the Metrodome is built, and the Milwaukee Brewers play game two of their series against the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine. Clayton Kershaw goes for Los Angeles. Not expecting a win, but that comeback last night–2-0 down through seven before scoring five in the eighth and going on to win 6-3–was a salve for what should happen in a few hours.

Liz just texted me. She’s going to cash my tip checks tonight. I’m glad I could help her. I’m a little low on the bank account now, but I’ve got a $1,300 expense check to deposit, and I get paid Friday, so it’s all good.

Boredom sets in

A Friday with absolutely nothing going on, at least outside the basement. I did not leave my home today, and I got nothing done, save for extending the warranty on my computer for another year, which I did over the phone just before noon.

I fallen asleep now and then, although I haven’t dozed off since dinner, which is kind of unusual, since a big meal will do that to you from time to time. I’ve spent Friday night in front of my computer, with Monk on TV. I won’t have it this boring on future Fridays, though, because the high school sports season begins the Friday after Labor Day.

It has been a good night for the Brewers so far. Milwaukee has a 7-2 lead at St. Louis in the bottom of the seventh, and a victory will put the Brew Crew two up in the loss column (three overall) over the Cardinals in the NL Central. The Brewers still have another four game series at St. Louis in September, and the Cardinals still have one more visit to Milwaukee, but a series victory will help the Wisconsinites a great deal in their quest for their second division title in four years. I would never have dreamed the Brewers would be within two innings of their 61st victory this season on Aug. 1. I expected them to lose 88 games when I made my preseason projections. As of tonight, the Brewers are on pace for 88 wins. Not bad.

The Royals are in Oakland. They will face Jon Lester tomorrow as the left-hander makes his first start for the Athletics after he was traded by Boston earlier this week. Lester threw eight shutout innings against Kansas City at Fenway Park July 20, and Ned Yost has got to be wondering if the baseball gods don’t like him for some reason. Lester has always had the Royals’ number, and he threw a no-hitter against them in 2010 at Fenway.

I don’t know how much longer I’ll stay up. Then again, I probably could get a little bit of laundry done at this late hour. Who knows.

Thirty-one freaking hours

I wish I didn’t have much to report since I somehow found out I didn’t have a ticket to Friday’s Royals-Indians game. I wish.

Not the case. Not at all.

Francisco Rodriguez is going to cause someone at Miller Park to drop dead of a heart attack. The Brewers closer just cannot work a 1-2-3 ninth inning to save his life, and MIlwaukee’s chances of reaching the Major League Baseball playoffs are going to take a hit if he keeps on blowing up like he did Friday.

Rodriguez wasted a stellar effort by Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo, who pitched seven shutout innings vs. the Mets. In the ninth, Rodriguez could not get any of the first five Mets out, and it cost Milwaukee a game it should have won, a game which would have allowed the Brewers to extend their lead in the National League Central.

Tonight, Rodriguez had a couple of hairy moments, but he shut down the Mets, and the Brewers won 5-2. They’re three up (two in the loss column) on St. Louis, with a series at Busch Stadium this weekend.

I didn’t leave the hotel as early as I would have liked this morning, but a little after 9:30 did just fine. It got me to where I needed to go in plenty of time, and I was at Buffalo Wild Wings before the 11 a.m. opening. Everything went well until 2:30, when RONDO showed up. I couldn’t beat him, and the frustration finally got the best of me just before 4. At least I didn’t explode this time. Instead, I got in my car, drove around Zona Rosa and came back to the parking lot, where I laid down in my car for a few minutes. I wanted to go into Pretzelmaker, but the parking around there was all taken, and I wasn’t about to walk and waste more time.

I was really nervous about today, because today was the first day I was there and Liz was working since she got back from her Michigan vacation. I was there Thursday, but she wasn’t. I was really apprehensive, but everything worked out. Even better, once I walked back into the restaurant, RONDO was gone, dropping my stress level significantly.

Without RONDO there, I was hardly challenged. Nothing totally spectacular, but a lot of good games. Without the stress, I was able to relax and enjoy myself. I should have left earlier than 10:30, but I figured I had to stay a little longer since Liz was there and I wasn’t there at all yesterday.