Thursday State Sports Briefs: Melvin not bothered with comments from Fielder, RodriguezWisconsin Sports
-- Milwaukee Brewers’ general manager Doug Melvin does not believe some sharp comments from Francisco Rodriguez and Prince Fielder will affect the way the team plays on the field.
MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee Brewers’ general manager Doug Melvin does not believe some sharp comments from Francisco Rodriguez and Prince Fielder will affect the way the team plays on the field.
Rodriguez said he’s not happy, because the Brewers failed to keep their promise to give him save opportunities after he was traded from the New York Mets in mid-July. And Fielder said he probably won’t return to Milwaukee next season – opting instead to leave for bigger money in free agency. Melvin told WTMJ in Milwaukee, the Brewers’ flagship radio station, that free agents will always speak their minds at some point. And Melvin said he did not believe either players’ remarks were an issue with their teammates or the coaching staff. The GM said winning teams get asked a lot of questions down the stretch and quote, “Someone might say something that they look back on and whether they mean it.”
Manager Ron Roenicke pleaded guilty to not giving Rodriguez save opportunities – but he noted that John Axford has had the hot hand the entire second half with his string of 38 save conversions. Roenicke also said there’s still a chance to give Rodriguez some critical ninth inning work. Roenicke also insisted the matter would not be a distraction. Melvin says he’s more concerned about the Brewers’ lack of offense over the last eight games. They’ve scored no more than three runs in any of those contests. The Brewers’ division lead has dropped to five-and-a-half games, and their magic number is eight to clinch the NL Central crown. The Brewers are off today, and will open a weekend series at Cincinnati tomorrow night.
University of Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst says he’s not bothered by the rough condition of the field where the Badgers will play on Saturday. Seventh-ranked Wisconsin and Northern Illinois will square off at Soldier Field in Chicago – on a natural grass turf that gets a lot of complaints from NFL players including some of the home Chicago Bears. But Chryst says it doesn’t matter to him – and he players will adjust to whatever conditions they face. Wisconsin officials were told the stadium’s owner – the Chicago Park District – would put in a new playing surface in time for the Badger game. But it didn’t happen, after the plans were changed. Still, head coach Bret Bielema says he doubts the NFL would let multi-million-dollar athletes risk their bodies on an unsecure field. The Badgers take a 2-0 record into Saturday’s contest. Northern Illinois is 1-1.
The University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team has lost its first home match in over a year, falling to Central Michigan 2-1 yesterday. Chelsi Abbot scored the game-winner in the 89th minute. The Badgers dropped to 5-3 overall. They were 6-0-3 in their last nine home games – and the loss was their first in Madison since falling 1-0 to Cincinnati in late August of 2010. Central Michigan improved to 6-1-1.
More doubts were raised today about whether Green Bay Packers’ corner Tramon Williams will play in Sunday’s contest at Carolina. Williams sat out yesterday’s practice – and he remained on the sideline in the portion of today’s workout that was open to reporters. Coach Mike McCarthy has said there’s a chance Williams can play against the Panthers. He’s had more time than normal to get over a deeply bruised shoulder suffered last Thursday night in Green Bay’s Opening Night win over New Orleans. Also, linebacker Vic So’oto was on the sideline in the early part of the practice, after having limited participation yesterday. He missed the season opener with a back injury.
The Packers’ new-and-improved sound system was not exactly an improvement for many fans attending last week’s regular season opener against New Orleans. About a dozen fans complained to the Green Bay Press-Gazette that the new system was hard to hear. Most of those fans were close to the south end zone. Instead of a single bank of speakers in the north scoreboard, the new system has 16 speaker sections on the roof around the stadium. Packers’ spokesman Aaron Popkey says engineers have been tweaking the system according to the feedback they get from fans. The new sound system was put in before the Family Night Scrimmage in early August – and it was used in two exhibition games before the regular season opener. Popkey says the fan comments are appreciated, because it lets the team know what adjustments are needed – and engineers will keep tinkering during the season. The new sound system is part of a $143-million expansion of Lambeau Field which will include 6,600 new seats by the 2013 season.