Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bucks: Settling In

Well, the Bucks are now 3-0 at home, and the game against Memphis last night is proving a few things the pundits have been saying all along: 1) Michael Redd is solid as a rock. 2) Yi is turning out to be worth the trouble this summer. He is an aggressive defender and he's a joy to watch play. I think he's settling in, still plays like the rookie he is, but a darn good rookie. 3) Bogut needs to step it up a bit on defense. I wonder if he's feeling a little ignored, like the older brother of the new baby who's now the center of attention, because he appears to be throwing a tantrum. I noticed this during one small, but telling play last night: Memphis scored and the rest of the team scurried to the Bucks' basket, and Bogut hung back by the Grizzlies' basket, but the look on his face didn't indicate that this was strategy it was more he just didn't feel like schlepping it down the court. And if you thought it was strategy, you'd have been proved wrong when Memphis stole the ball and headed back to their own basket within seconds, and Bogut -- who was there and coulda/shoulda be right on them, wasn't. They all too easily slipped right in and popped a basket. Offensively, he's doing good, but I still don't get this feel of 100% from him. Still, he did score well last night, and contributed to a Royale With Cheese victory.

The Bradley Center is still feeling out how to keep the audience entertained. Anthem tonight from the Mapledale Vocal Ensemble -- a chorus of elementary aged kids who were life-insurance-company-commercial cute. They sang it straight up, without even attempting harmony, but they hit the notes and stayed in tune, which is all you can ask for. Thus, it was unpretentiously stirring. The stadium is still playing with an intro montage. There's two now: the pre anthem, which starts out with a bit of "Enter Sandman" (you know, that acoustic guitar intro part) accompanied by a video slideshow of a 40th anniversary retrospective, with very Nine Inch Nails video production. Then, while they're introducing the visitors, we hear "Darth Vader's Theme," they introduce the coaches, and they we hit the lights for the starting lineup. OK, I'll go with hitting the lights, but they're still brining out the flaming flashpots (and for Michael Redd, they use RED flame). You get a montage that looks like the trailer for some psychological horror thriller on the Fox Movie Channel, complete with still shots of the stars that looked like they were rendered with a Lensbaby. But at least it's short.


cymbol of a drumline
Originally uploaded by V'ron.
I'll edit this post later tonight when I've had time to process the load of pictures I shot, especially of the wonderful halftime entertainment, the Chaotic Drumline from the (rougher) Chicago South Side. These kids take a marching band drumline to the next, highly choreographed, level. Chaotic they are not, they're tight, they're clearly well-rehearsed, and the cadences they render often play with unconventional time signatures while they break dance around their drums. Heartwarming backstory, too: leader Jamie Pointdexter started Chaotic Drumline to get kids in his neighborhood off the street. According to MSN News, he requires the kids to pull good grades, be polite to each other, all those good things you'd find in a Boys and Girls Club mission statement. In return, the kids have a safe haven ("If I wasn't here, I'd be out getting beat up," one tells the MSN reporter), they learn a skill, they learn to be part of a team effort, and they get a chance at the kind of NBA legendary status the Jesse White Tumblers have.

The Bradley Center has a whole pile of new Game Day Hosts (the people who introduce the promotions and do fun things with the fans during timeouts and breaks) settling in, and the most dominant is (I think his name is) Ronnie Taylor. At least that's how I understood it. He's asian, and clearly part of a major effort to capitalize on the interest in that community that Yi brings. First game, he was a little rough: he needed to get used to speaking in a mike and the delay you get in such a big room. But last night he was better, seemed more comfortable with it after a few home games under his belt. They've also got a couple new ones -- they're so forgettable that I'll call them Todd and Lisa -- that give away pizzas. But what of Andrea Williams? She of the perpetual smile, the comfortable-with-any-ridiculous-promo-they-throw-at-her delivery, the "I'm not a Energee Girl anymore so now I actually have time to boogie" approach, and the ample (J-Lo's Got Nuthin' On This) backside? She got just one intro telling people about the new exclusive bar and grill where some corporation's suites used to be. That's it. Are they phasing her out? She used to do almost all the promos, and here she is just inviting you up for a drinkie poo, not even giving away a gift certificate for a Palermo's pizza. I will keep an eye on this. It's just not a Bucks game without AHHN-dree-a Williams.

Speaking of promotions, new game that's kind of weird, then disappointing. There's two parts: first, the contestant is presented with five items one could buy at Pick 'n' Save, and in The Price Is Right fashion, they have to order them from cheapest to most expensive. (Girlfriend, I even knew that the pack of 50 trash bags -- while a generic brand -- was going to be more than the box of Oreos.) Then, in a totally unrelated part two, the contestant has to shoot a basket from the three point semicircle. I'm unclear if you had to do both to win the prize (she blew the ordering, and she blew the three pointer) but that's the weird part. Maybe they're hoping that the kind of person who knows their way around a grocery store probably doesn't spend a lot of time at the basketball park. I won't even get into the sexist assumptions that feed that conclusion. However, that might be a valid philosophy if you were really worried that somebody might actually win the prize, like the car the Chevy SuperShot gives away if somebody actually hits one from mid-court. But get this: here the prize turns out to be a $40 gift certificate (Bucks' 40 year anniversary, get it?) at Pick 'n' Save. Forty bucks? That's all you get for knowing that a whole salami costs more than some (albeit designer) shampoo and then being good at a round of Horse? I'm sorry, but if I'm gonna sink a three in front of a stadium of basketball fans, I want more than a nickel bag to show for it.

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