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WISCONSIN SPORTS BRIEFS: Baseball to expand instant replay system

MILWAUKEE - Major League Baseball expects to have an expanded instant-replay review system in place by the start of next season. Commissioner Bud Selig announced details today, after two days of ownership meetings.

The owners plan to vote on the new system in November. Selig, a former Brewers’ owner who still lives in Milwaukee, calls this an historic moment for baseball. Atlanta Braves’ president John Schuerholz says umpires are receptive – and 89-percent of incorrect calls made in the past will be reviewable. Managers would have two replay challenges in the first six innings of a game, and one challenge after that. A crew at Major League headquarters in New York would do the reviewing, and then alert the field umpires. One thing not addressed in media accounts of the new system is whether fans in the stadium will see the controversial replays, now that they’ll be a bigger part of the game. At Milwaukee’s Miller Park, the paying fans do not get to see the currently-reviewable home run calls on the large video board – even though fans at home get to see multiple angles. In the past, Selig has expressed concerns about possible anger by fans when controversial replays are shown. But those replays have been shown for years at Green Bay Packers and UW football games. The NFL has made it a league-wide policy to show fans the same replays an official sees.


Milwaukee starter Kyle Lohse is 5-0 in his last seven starts at Miller Park – and he’ll try to keep that streak going tonight, when the Brewers host Cincinnati. The veteran right-hander has not lost at home since May eighth against Texas. Lohse is 3-0 in his last five overall appearances, with a 1.74 ERA in those contests. He’s 8-7 for the year, while giving up just over three-and-a-quarter runs every nine innings. Rookie left-hander Tony Cingrani will start for Cincinnati tonight. He dropped his last outing to San Diego, giving up two unearned runs in five innings with five strikeouts. Cingrani is 5-2 with a 2.87 ERA. The Reds hold one of the National League’s two Wild Cards at the moment. They’re third in the NL Central, three-and-a-half games behind front-running Pittsburgh. The Brewers are 19-and-a-half back, tied for last in the Central with the Chicago Cubs.


Even without his biggest stars, Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke says his team has enough in the tank for another strong finish – just like the last two years. The Brewers won the National League Central with most of a week to spare in 2011. Last year, Milwaukee struggled before rallying in September to finish just short of a playoff berth. In both those years, the Brewers had sluggers Ryan Braun and Corey Hart, plus Rickie Weeks – all of whom are out for the rest of the season. The Brewers have won three-of-their-last-five after a two-game split with American League West-leading Texas. Roenicke said the team played good overall baseball on its just-completed nine-game road trip which included five Brewers’ victories. Milwaukee pitching has been solid, with a 1.62 ERA over its last eight games.


Retired Green Bay Packers’ receiver Donald Driver says that Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings will eventually resolve whatever they have against each other. On ESPN’s “Mike-and-Mike” show this morning, Driver said he never saw amiss between the two either during last season or afterward. The veteran receiver Jennings left for the rival Minnesota Vikings. He’s told interviewers there that Rodgers puts himself above the team, and the Packers brainwashed him into thinking they’re better than any other team. Jennings apologized for the Rodgers remarks after his new coach called him on it. Driver said Rodgers is a nice guy, and he’s doing what’s best for the team by not taking pressure off his receivers to perform. Driver said that attitude appears to be what’s behind Jennings’ criticism. As far as being brainwashed, Driver says every organization tells their employees they’re the best – and it’s just natural. Driver said Jennings’ move to Minnesota was a business decision and quote, “it’s not a bad thing.”


Donald Driver says don’t worry, he won’t pull off another Brett Favre. During a visit to Green Bay this week, Driver admitted that he thought about un-retiring so he could return for a 15th season with the Packers. Receiver James Jones recently played in a charity golf tournament sponsored by Driver in his home town of Houston – and Jones said he thought Driver might want to come back. Driver said his ex-teammate wasn’t lying, and he always has an “itch” to return. But the 38-year-old Driver says he’s been so busy, he does not quote, “feel the need to come back.” Driver is Green Bay’s all-time leading receiver with 743 catches for just over 10-thousand yards and 61 touchdowns. Driver’s brother Marvin said Donald would return if the Packers called him – but he wouldn’t do it for any other NFL team. Driver says the team has moved on to younger receivers, and he calls that a smart decision. 


The Packers were holding their final practice today before their second game of the pre-season on Saturday night at Saint Louis. Mike Neal – who’s still listed as a defensive lineman – had his best practice of Training Camp yesterday at an outside linebacker spot. If rookie defensive end Datone Jones pans out, Neal just might have a new home on the field opposite Clay Matthews. Coach Mike McCarthy said he saw for the first time yesterday how much of a difference-maker Neal can be from a two-point stance, especially with his quickness. Neal, a fourth-year pro, lost weight during the off-season to make a move possible. He’s still at 275 pounds, which brings a lot of power to the outside spot. The Packers have had trouble finding a reliable outside linebacker opposite Matthews. Second-year pro Nick Perry could show promise, after missing about half of last season with an injury. Second-year linebacker Dezman Moses provides another option for defensive coordinator Dom Capers – who’s been looking for a more reliable pass rusher at the outside linebacker spot.


Madison golfer Jerry Kelly shot a two-under-par 68 today in his first round at the PGA’s Wyndham Championship in Greensboro North Carolina. Kelly was tied for 10th place after the morning group of 78 players finished, and a small part of the afternoon group had started. Pewaukee native Mark Wilson was tied for 19th at that juncture. He shot a one-under-69 this morning. Chris Stroud was the mid-day leader at six-under.


The only Wisconsin golfer still competing at the U.S. Amateur Championships won his second-round match this morning. Charlie Danielson of Osceola defeated Chase Koepka of Lake Worth, Florida 3-and-1 at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. Danielson advanced to the Round-of-16, where he was playing Brandon Matthews of Dupont, Florida this afternoon.


The Midwest League, the Beloit Snappers will try again tonight to put a chink-in the-armor at Cedar Rapids. The Snappers dropped to nine games behind the Western Division-leading Kernels with a 3-2 loss last evening. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will host Peoria again tonight on the heels of an 11-inning, 3-1 Rattlers defeat. Also tonight, Clinton hosts Quad Cities. Kane County plays at Burlington. East leader Great Lakes is at Dayton. Lansing plays at West Michigan. Fort Wayne entertains Bowling Green. And Lake County hosts South Bend.


The Madison Mallards will try to win their second Northwoods League title, and their first since 2004, when they play Duluth in the Summer Collegiate World Series. Game-One is tonight in Wisconsin’s Capital City. Game-Two is tomorrow night just across the Wisconsin border from Superior. Duluth will also host a third-and-deciding game on Saturday night if it’s necessary. Madison advanced to the title round by beating the Lakeshore Chinooks two-games-to-one in the South Division Finals. Duluth – playing for its first championship – comes in with a nine-game winning streak, after upsetting Waterloo in the North finals. Madison scored 19 runs in its last two contests. After winning the league crown in ’04, the Mallards have lost twice in the Summer Collegiate finals – in 2005 and 2008, both to Thunder Bay.