I tweeted a few times about Anthony LaPanta being named the voice of the Wild on Fox Sports North, but haven't commented on here. LaPanta has me by a few years (he's publicly admitted to being 43, while I'm a couple months short of 35), but our pedigrees aren't that dissimilar. I don't know him that well, but he's talked about dreaming of this kind of opportunity his whole life. I grew up a relatively uncoordinated chap who would carry a tape recorder around all the time. Called ninth-grade basketball games on public access television when I was in the seventh grade. It just was something I enjoyed doing from the start, and like Anthony, I have my dream jobs. I have one of them now (UMD), and I couldn't be happier for LaPanta that he has achieved one of his career dreams.
As for the public backlash, I know Gopher fans didn't like him. I've heard some of the reasons, and with my own responsibilities, it's been hard to judge his work.
(The couple times I DVRed Gopher games last year to help with my own UMD game prep, I actually thought he did an okay job, if not better. But honestly, I wasn't watching the game to critique LaPanta. I was watching it to see tendencies of the Gophers' opponent, because UMD had a game coming up against that team.)
I've met him a few times at the rink, certainly not nearly enough to be a fair judge of a man's character. I can tell you that there aren't many guys in the business I've met who work harder than he does. If that work ethic carries over, I don't see any reason he won't succeed with the Wild. It will help him immensely to have a steady, experienced analyst in Mike Greenlay after two years of a rotating booth for Gophers games.
As for the Gophers' vacant TV gig, don't worry, Minnesota fans. I won't be applying. :)
I'm on one of my three to four vacations from Brewers baseball this week. Even in years where the team has been good, I've found myself needing a week or so at a time to stop watching the team because they're constantly aggravating me by playing bad baseball. I expected the offense to struggle, and it has. It's scored a few runs here and there, but with no consistency. Too many guys are struggling at the dish for anything better than that.
What's been a huge disappointment is the starting rotation and the defense. They've been kicking the ball around like amateurs lately, and that's hard to watch because it's usually not a sign of a winning ballclub. I don't expect Randy Wolf to win a Cy Young, but more is needed from him, along with Yovani Gallardo and Shaun Marcum. Zack Greinke has been good, but he can't carry the team while pitching every fifth day.
I'll be back this weekend. Or next week. Hopefully the team will be playing better at that point. In a long season like this, it's hard to write anything off. But the longer this goes, the longer the summer will be in the Brew City.