I don't know if I buy this guy's premise, but this is a solid read for area sports fans.
An OnMilwaukee.com blogger says Milwaukee, to paraphrase, pretty much ignores the Bucks while heaping unconditional love on the Brewers.
"I am constantly perplexed by the fanaticism surrounding the Milwaukee Brewers in this city," he writes. "I have never seen a more popular team at the turnstiles that underperformed, lied to fans, had a weak and conservative MLB payroll, and failed to qualify for the playoffs for 25 years? Are we baseball fans here, or just fans of drinking in a parking lot in the warm weather?"
There IS a certain charm in swilling warm Miller Lite on a hot August night while standing amid a sea of asphalt--face it, we don't need much of a reason for a party in these parts, and we squeeze in a lot of life between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
"The truth of the matter, is that the WI sports fan ignores the "Big League" approach of the Milwaukee Bucks and favors the anemic, small-time goodwill of racing sausages and nostalgia.", he says. "How can attendance have dropped at Bucks games and there is no outcry to support our NBA team here with a much needed new building, when just 6 short years ago the Bucks were a shot away from the NBA finals?"
The answer is simple: for all the good the Bucks did, they also blew some of their goodwill by putting a turnstile where the door to the coach's office used to be, and by trading away some fairly popular players (Ray Allen) with little to show for it. The Big Three went to war with a coach (George Karl) who turned on anyone in sight who took issue with his methods and motivational skills. That took a lot of the shine off that title run that ended with a soul-crushing loss in the Eastern Conference finals. And, there's a school of thought that Senator/Owner Herb Kohl should spent more time legislating and less time screwing around with his NBA holdings. As for that new building the Bucks need? Don't hang that on the fans, many of whom who'll swear allegiance to the Bucks but cuss a blue streak if asked to contribute tax dollars for a new arena. And the good Senator? Ask him about a new building and you'll get a fade-to-black-before-the-Sopranos-roll-the-final-credits silence. It's a nuclear subject that no one wants to touch because no one likes any of the answers.
He goes on: "The sad truth may be that short of winning an NBA title, the Bucks may never draw in Milwaukee. We'll be too busy posing for pictures with a man in a Chorizo suit, while Michael Redd scores 60 in a game, and Larry Harris goes out and signs multiple players away with big league money to really try to bring an NBA title to Milwaukee."
Ah, if only money were the answer. There's no doubt Kohl ponied up big dollars to bring a winner to Milwaukee and for that, he should be commended. We all remember the successes of the big-spending Yankees, but we forget the years they fell short despite payrolls that would gag an anaconda. Other teams tried buying titles, too--the Baltimore Orioles come to mind--without adding to the trophy case. If won-loss records determined fan support, the Milwaukee Admirals should be the reigning box office champs, having strung together several strong playoff runs that included an AHL title a few springs ago.
Then there's the product itself--baseball is on the uptick, and the NBA is admittedly in a bit of a funk. It's a league that relies too much on stars and too little on team play, which is one reason I've fallen away a bit. Officiating remains a joke--the star system prevails, and a pro hoop game often has the regulatory credibility of the WWF. Teams that play good pro "D" win yawns from fans, and t-v ratings slide.
And, I don't buy this premise of unconditional Brewers love over the years, either. Sure, we still celebrate 1982 as if it were yesterday, but doesn't this guy remember the empty seats that dotted brand-new Miller Park in the years after it's 2001 opening as the team swirled around the N-L toilet bowl? The arrival of Mark Attanasio and his marketing minions signaled a huge change in how the product is sold, and how the team plays. Talk unconditional love? Look at the pass the Packers get. We filled Lambeau no matter how badly the team played in the post-Lombardi days--the season ticket waiting hardly shrunk as the Pack strung together some two decades of futility.
Sorry, friend, but I'm not shedding any tears for the Bucks. The town was stoked a few years ago when Milwaukee turned the top NBA draft pick into Anthony Bogut who, in the time since, has done little to distinguish himself or make the Bucks contenders again. I think the same fire would've been lit had the Bucks done better in the lottery, and it'll be up to Larry Harris and crew to turn that number six overall choice into something that'll make fans want to buy seats again.
"The truth is," our blogger writes, "the Milwaukee Bucks will be in the playoffs and contend before the Brewers do."
Read the entire piece at: