Evening State Sports Briefs: Packers to raise ticket pricesWisconsin Sports
-- The Green Bay Packers will raise their ticket prices by two-to-five-dollars a seat for next season.
GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers will raise their ticket prices by two-to-five-dollars a seat for next season.
The team announced today that the 100-and-300-level seats at Lambeau Field will cost anywhere from $74-to-97, depending on the location. And the new seats above the lower bowl in the south end zone will cost $82-to-89-dollars. Packers’ president Mark Murphy said the increases would keep his team around the league average for ticket prices. Visiting teams get one-third of ticket revenues, and Murphy told season-ticket holders he needs to be fair to the visitors and quote, “be as affordable as possible for you.” He also said the Packers needed to coordinate their lower-bowl ticket prices with those in the new sections. Payments for season tickets are due on March 28th.
Don’t be surprised if the Green Bay Packers do not use their franchise tag to keep a free agent around for at least one more year. Yesterday was the first day that teams could use their tags, and the Packers have five unrestricted free agents – receiver Greg Jennings, running backs Cedric Benson and Ryan Grant, and linebackers Erik Walden and Brad Jones. There’s been at least some speculation about whether the Packers could keep Jennings – but if they use the franchise tag on him, it would cost around 10-million dollars for a one-year deal. And the 29-year-old Jennings has missed some major time with injuries over the past two seasons. Meanwhile, the Packers also have five restricted free agents, and they have until March 12th to give them tender offers. The Green Bay Press-Gazette figures that center Evan Dietrich-Smith and corner Sam Shields will get second-round tenders, with mandatory one-year offers of just over two-million-dollars each. If the Packers don’t match other teams’ offers, and they lose those players, it means they’d get an extra second-round pick for each loss. Other restricted free agents are tight end Tom Crabtree and linebackers Frank Zombo and Robert Francois.
It’s only been 16 days since the Super Bowl – and the off-season is already over for Wisconsin native Colin Kaepernick. The San Francisco 49’ers quarterback is training for 40-hours-a-week at the CES Performance facility near Atlanta. And trainer Aaron Roberts was shocked to see Kaepernick work full-tilt with the linemen who’ve showed up early. Kaepernick’s vacation only lasted for a week – just long enough to attend the Cartoon Network’s “Hall of Game Awards” and a pre-Grammy party in Beverly Hills. Kaepernick – who spent his first four years in Fond du Lac and New London –threw for 302 yards in the Niners’ Super Bowl loss to Baltimore. And when he was asked most what he’d remember about a nearly storybook season, he said quote, “It wasn’t good enough.” Niners’ tackle Joe Staley says he’s not surprised. He says Kaepernick is quote, “one of the most competitive people I’ve ever been around … He has all the fuel he needs for a lifetime.” That doesn’t bode well for the Packers – whom Kaepernick burned for 181 rushing yards and two touchdowns in last month’s playoffs. The Packers are scheduled to play at San Francisco again this fall.
Milwaukee Brewers’ first baseman Mat Gamel said today he was shocked to learn that he tore his right knee ACL for a second time – and that he’d be out for the season because of it. Gamel originally tore the ligament last May – and after having it surgically-repaired, assistant general manager Gord Ash said there was only a 10-percent chance it would be torn again. That’s why Gamel and the team were surprised when an MRI yesterday revealed the new tear. Gamel said the knee never buckled – but he could feel it shift when he was batting at the Brewers’ first full Spring Training workout last Saturday. Gamel said he’s not going to be upset about it, because it wouldn’t change anything or do any good. He said he needs to be positive right now – and his all he can do is get a stronger rehab and start over in 2014.
Sectional play begins tonight for Wisconsin high school boys’-and-girls’ hockey teams. The boys will play in the Round-of-32. Returning champion Green Bay Notre Dame is still alive, along with all seven other Number-One boys’ seeds. The girls will play their Sweet-16 round this evening. Defending champion Schofield D.C. Everest remains in contention, along with all three other top-seeds. In both tournaments, the sectional finals will be played Thursday and Friday. State competition begins a week from Thursday in Madison.
Trevor Hass of UW-Stevens Point and Brittany Gregorich of River Falls are the WIAC men’s-and-women’s basketball players-of-the-week. Hass, a junior guard, scored the go-ahead basket in overtime as the Pointers beat Stout. And he averaged 16-and-a-half points in a pair of games last week, while shooting 50-percent from the floor and 53-percent from three-point range. Gregorich, a senior forward, had 13 points and 12 rebounds in River Falls’ victory over Whitewater – and she had 21 points and 13 boards against La Crosse. The WIAC also recognized Thurgood Dennis of Eau Claire and Jaime Ludwigson of La Crosse indoor track – Bryan Klister of La Crosse and Katie Capriglione of Superior in women’s field events – and Kambria Blakely and Courtney Benson, both of Hamline, in women’s gymnastics.
Conor Klusendorf of Lawrence University in Appleton has been named the Midwest Conference men’s basketball player-of-the-week. Klusendorf, a senior forward, scored 21 points in each of two Lawrence victories over Lake Forest and Grinnell. He shot 65-percent for the two outings, while averaging six-and-a-half rebounds. Marla Willard of Monmouth was named the top women’s player.
The Milwaukee Bucks have a 13-game winning streak against the Brooklyn Nets. It’s their longest current streak against any NBA team – and they hope to make it 14-in-a-row tonight in New York City. The Bucks are 2-0 against the Nets this season, with one victory on each team’s home court. The Bucks prevailed by 15 in Milwaukee on the night after Christmas – and during their win streak over the Nets, they’ve had an average victory margin of 15-point-three. Milwaukee has lost six-of-its-last-eight overall, but they’re coming off a two-point home win over Philadelphia right before the All-Star break. The Nets had dropped six-of-nine before beating Indiana and Denver right before the break. And in both those wins, the Nets were without former All-Star Deron Williams – who had an inflamed ankle. He’s expected to return tonight. Brooklyn is 31-22. The Bucks are 26-25, with a four-game lead for the eighth-and-final Eastern Conference playoff spot with 31 left. Bucks’ guard Monta Ellis is averaging 25-and-a-half points in his last two contests.
The Marquette University men’s basketball team has won only two true road games this season. And that’s not good news for the 17th-ranked Golden Eagles, as four-of-their-remaining-six regular season games are away from Milwaukee – where they’ve won 23 straight. Marquette plays at Seton Hall tonight in Newark New Jersey. The Eagles are 9-3 in the conference and 18-6 overall – while the Pirates come in at just 2-11 in league play, and 13-and-13 overall. Marquette remains tied for first place in the Big East Conference, despite being tied with South Florida for the fewest number of road wins at two apiece. Syracuse and Georgetown are also tied for first – and Syracuse has five road victories. Junior guard Vander Blue says everybody’s good at home, and the elite teams are those which can prepare for the road and quote, “bring it.” He said the Eagles could really be dangerous at tournament time if they can string up some road victories. Marquette is coming off a home win over Pitt last Saturday, in which they completed a season-sweep of the Panthers. Seton Hall is coming off an 11-point home loss to Syracuse last weekend.
Will Fadness of UW-Milwaukee is the Horizon League baseball batter-of-the-week. Fadness, a senior, went 6-for-18 in the Panthers’ season-opening series at New Mexico State. He homered twice, doubled twice, drove in 10 runs, walked three times, and scored five runs. Fadness hit a grand slam, and he did not strike out in 22 plate appearances, and he finished the weekend with a .778 slugging percentage. Also, Tomas Michelson of Illinois-Chicago is the league’s pitcher-of-the-week.
Among other things, Steve Stricker of Madison will try to improve his place in the World Golf Rankings when he starts competing in the Accenture Match Play Championship tomorrow. Stricker’s been off for over a month – and he dropped three spots this past week to 16th in the World. That’s still two places higher than at the start of the season, before Stricker took second at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. Stricker has limited his appearances this year to spend more time back home. He’s among 64 golfers in the World Golf Championships’ match play event in Arizona. Stricker is seeded fourth in his bracket of 16, and will play Henrik Stenson in tomorrow’s opener. Pewaukee native Mark Wilson dropped six spots to 119th in the new rankings. Madison’s Jerry Kelly rose 15 spots to Number-253, after tying for 38th at the Northern Trust Open in southern California.