The Brewers put on an offensive show on Thursday.
The Brewers put on an offensive show on Thursday. (Photo: Andy Tarnoff)

On expectations

Three years have passed since the Packers last played in the NFC Championship Game. That fall, the Cubs won the World Series.

Seems like longer, doesn’t it?

The Packers and Cubs – whose fans are dedicated loyal to the point of being delusional – haven’t met expectations in the years since. The Brewers exceeded expectations in each of the last two seasons, missing the playoffs by a game in 2017 and falling one game short of their second pennant/World Series trip last October.

The journey has been thrilling. The expectation among many fans is that progress will continue in an upward direction. But, sports doesn’t always work that way. It’s not always linear. Promising young players who enjoy "breakout" seasons often fade into oblivion afterward. (In the press box at Miller Park, this is known as the "Bill Hall Syndrome.") Teams that narrowly miss a major goal often find that the window has closed. Sometimes the house has burned to the ground.

The Brewers enter this season with the talent, experience and hunger necessary to accomplish great things. But, they will need the secret ingredients that all winning teams utilize – good health, good timing and a fair amount of good luck. Their division has been fortified, with St. Louis and Cincinnati adding key pieces and the Cubs welcoming back some contributors who were injured/unproductive. There is a chance that the teams will beat up on each other to the point where the division winner has between 89-92 wins.

The Brewers have the pieces to get back to the postseason, with either a division title or a wild-card berth, but you can’t bluff your way to success over 162 games.

I expect the Brewers to be good this season. I expect them to compete for a post-season berth. Will they win one? Ask me in September and I’ll have a better idea.

Happier days.
Happier days.

Hog wash

Have you ever heard the term "Irish exit?"

I apologize in advance for being culturally insensitive, but I’ve always been a fan of the term. For the uninitiated, let me save you a trip to the Urban Dictionary, which tells us the term "refers to the departure from any event without telling any friends, associates, or acquaintances that one is leaving. It is almost always the result of being very inebriated/intoxicated."

Well, not always …

Regardless of alcohol consumption, I don’t like to make a grand entrance or a grandiose exit when I attend a gathering. My wife thinks it’s unconscionable to leave without thanking the host. My dear friend, Dashal, generally spends more time leaving an event than he does at the event. (If you think that’s impossible, you’ve never met Dashal).

So what’s this all about?

I want to explain my "Irish exit" from "Bob and Brian in the Morning." For 19 years, I served as the "Brewers guy" on the show, which airs on 102.9 The Hog. For as long as I can remember, I appeared at 7:50 a.m. on Wednesday, just ahead of their sports guy, Steve Czaban.

Cliff’s notes: We are a nearly a month into the baseball season, and I’m no longer on the show.

A lot of people have been asking – via social media and in person – what happened. It’s not a very exciting tale, really. We’ll start with the usual suspects, the questions that arise in conversation with fans:

I didn’t ask for more money, nor was I dumped in a cost-cutting move. For nearly 20 years, I was paid the same amount for every segment. Truth be told, I’d have done it for free.

I didn’t say or do anything to anger a show sponsor (as far as I know).

I don’t think segments on the show became stale or lost their edge. The Brewers and baseball provided an endless stream of material.

I didn’t anger Bob or Brian, news queen Carrie Wendt, producer Eric Jensen or program director Joe Calgaro (again, as far as I know). I’ve known Bob and Brian going on 30 years a…

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A simple solution for residency resolution

After taking a few hours off -- presumably to focus on their NCAA tournament brackets -- our elected leaders, electronic media and advertising-supported pundits have resumed their partisan pugilism.

With the budget apparently repaired, they've begun talking about whether or not it's cool for Milwaukee to require its police and firemen to live within the city limits.

The residency requirement -- kind of like collective bargaining for public employees -- has existed for years before becoming a major problem in the last few months.

Apparently, some of the same folks who don't want teachers and custodians and dispatchers to have a say in their working conditions are now working to make sure that cops and firefighters can live wherever they like (as long as it's within a specified five-county area). 

Mayor Tom Barrett and a bunch of aldermen are afraid that lifting the residency requirement for 3,000 police officers and firefighters will prompt a bunch of them to flee the city, lowering the tax base and leading to further reduction in services and safety -- not to mention longer response times in emergencies. They point to cities like Detroit and Camden, N.J., as places harmed by similar decisions.

The opposition says that these heroes should be able to pay property taxes on the Wauwatosa side of 60th Street or -- gasp -- in Brown Deer, Hartland or Menomonee Falls.

If I've learned anything from watching the political tennis match play out over the past few weeks, it's this: money talks.

That leads me to humbly suggest a solution to this thorny and multifaceted issue:

1. Let the cops and firefighters (and eventually the teachers) live wherever they choose.

2. If they choose to live in the City of Milwaukee, give them a little something extra in their paycheck or portfolio. It wouldn't have to be much. It could be $50 per paycheck; maybe $100. Or, it could be a slight reduction in their annual property tax bill. It could even be as simple as an extra day off ever…

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Ken Casey and Dropkick Murphys feature Boston legends in their new video.
Ken Casey and Dropkick Murphys feature Boston legends in their new video.

My first favorite music video in 20 years

Remember when video was an exciting, vital part of the music industry?

Yeah, I'd just about forgotten, too.

For many of us, MTV fell off the radar about 10 versions of "The Real World" ago. There was a time, though, when a well-made video could expose you to a new song and maybe convince you to check out a band.

I honestly can't remember the last time I saw a music video. That changed, though, last weekend. I was lucky enough to spend some time with Ken Casey, founding member of Dropkick Murphys, before the band played a postgame concert at the Admirals-Wolves hockey game.

Ken showed us the video for the song "Going Out in Style," the title track of the CD that dropped on Tuesday. The song is written from the point of view of a man envisioning his own funeral.

You can take my urn to Fenway and spread my ashes all around
Or you can bring me down to Wally Beach and dump the sucker out
Burn me to a rotten crisp and toast me for a while
I could really give a s@#% - I'm going out in style!

The video is shot in and around the band's hometown of Boston and includes cameos from a handful of Boston icons, including former Bruins legend Bobby Orr and Red Sox slugger Kevin Youkilis. Ken's children make an appearance, too.

I enjoyed the video a great deal and it got me thinking. If you were to make a video with Milwaukee "celebs," who would you put in it? What landmarks would you feature?

Take a look at the video for inspiration and use the Talkback feature to share your suggestions.