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Hughes: Thoughts on Beck, Al Harris

first_imgHave you ever been minding your own business, just you and your thoughts, when all of a sudden a song plays – on the radio or just randomly from a computer – that totally captures your thoughts?At one point Monday night, when I was sitting in The Badger Herald office working with InDesign, the eclectic musical artist known as Beck all of a sudden could be heard emanating from a nearby computer.The tunes were that of “Broken Drum,” off of the easy-listening Guero album. It’s a song about saying goodbye to a friend. Immediately upon hearing Beck sing so slowly, amid the weary guitar and synthesizer, a clear picture was painted in my mind (if you have your iPod or iTunes ready, I highly recommend playing it as you read on).I see you there/Your long black hair/Your eyes just stare/Your mind is turning.When I heard that, it was clear to me and everyone else in that room that for those four minutes and 30 seconds – just that one time – Beck was actually singing about Green Bay Packer fans saying fare-thee-well to Al Harris (and not the girl that Beck’s probably singing about in all other circumstances).Harris, the dreadlocked cornerback caper that every Packer fan loved to love, was released Monday to his and our own amazement – a casualty of roster building. General manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy decided they no longer had a place for Harris, a 35-year-old veteran on the cusp of returning from a devastating knee injury a year ago.Was it necessary? Sure. As Harris treaded the road to recovery, Tramon Williams evolved into a reliable, playmaking defensive back in his stead while rookie Sam Shields burst out of his shell as a nickel back against Dallas.You could make a case that it was a bit rash, though. With Pat Lee, Brandon Underwood, and Jarrett Bush all that’s left to fill in any injury absences that might surface through the rest of the season, you begin to weigh the benefits of keeping around one of the most physical and experienced backs in the game.But sadly, that’s not how life in Green Bay is, and to think the team wouldn’t stick to its guns this time around is just a mistake. Thompson’s always thinking about the future. He wants Lee, Underwood and Bush to develop just as Williams did. Harris would’ve taken away from that.The move makes sense, but this transaction still marks the departure of one of Green Bay’s most beloved players over the last decade. He played a significant role in helping the Packers be a winner for eight years and in shaping the team’s image of the 2000s. Nevertheless, his performance over those years in Wisconsin and the fanfare that came with it will immortalize him in Packers lore.Green Bay acquired Harris from Philadelphia in 2003, a place that, over the last couple years, became known for producing an abundance of excellent pass defenders just like the city produces delicious Philly cheesesteaks.He proved you didn’t have to be a ballhawk in order to be an elite defensive back in the NFL. In eight years with Green Bay he snagged just 14 interceptions, never exceeding three in one year but never short on league-wide respect. He was named to the Pro Bowl twice and also garnered a second-team All-Pro selection.He received those accolades by turning opposing wide receivers into rag dolls. One time I think I remember seeing him carry a limp wide receiver back to the line of scrimmage with his mouth, like a cat catches a mouse. His physicality was unmatched, and Harris was, in my eyes, one of the hardest working players in the league. He probably still is.He terrorized human beings just as the titular creature of the 1979 film “Alien” did. In fact, he looks a lot like the alien too.That abusive style of his landed him more than a fair share of penalties, but it also landed him a team record 28 passes defensed in 2004, and 108 over the course of his Green & Gold career. He made his opponent work for every catch.During the 2007-08 season, in a big road game against Dallas, I remember watching Terrell Owens trying to block Harris as a harmless rushing play went down the other side of the field. Owens quickly glanced at how the play was developing when the 6-foot-1, 190 pound Harris, not but arms length away and with no momentum, hurled his hands into the chest of the 6-foot-3, 224 pound wide receiver. Owens fell harder and faster to the ground than when the anvil met Wile E. Coyote’s head.That’s the kind of player Harris is. Never a moment off.And who could forget the time Harris made Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck say to himself, “Oh, shit,” in that 2004 playoff game? On the heels of Hasselbeck announcing to Lambeau Field that he was going to “take the ball and score” in overtime, Harris jumped the route and ran down the sideline and into the end zone with one arm tucking the ball away and the other pointing one finger skyward. It instantly became one of the most memorable Packer moments in decades.It’s sad that I, and probably many others, can’t even remember Harris’ last game as a Packer. I had to look it up – it was November 22 of last year, when Green Bay hosted San Francisco. Harris gave up a long pass for a touchdown in that game, even though Michael Crabtree clearly pushed off in the end zone.And now, with Harris gone, the only beloved familiar face of the 2000s that remains is Donald Driver and perhaps Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher. Green Bay truly has a new identity now. There’s no more Favre, Green, Franks, Freeman, Sharper, Rivera, Whale, Gbaja-Biamila or Harris.The Packers have now truly donned a new identity for a new decade behind the faces of Rodgers, Matthews, Jennings and Collins.It’s almost becoming a clich?, but the NFL is indeed a business. So it goes. And here, in some of Beck’s last verses, we again picture Harris – even if we had to slightly change one of the words.Your setting sun/Your broken drum/Your little dreads/Never forget you.Elliot is a junior with an undecided major. How bummed were you to hear Harris was leaving Green Bay? Where did he rank among your favorite Packers? Send your thoughts to ehughes@badgerherald.com.last_img read more

Michael Hermosillo homers as Angels rally to beat Indians

first_imgUP NEXT: Angels (RHP Dylan Bundy) vs. Mariners (LHP Nestor Cortes), Wednesday, noon, Tempe Diablo Stadium Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Related Articles PreviousThe Angels’ Taylor Ward makes a leaping catch on a fly ball hit by Domingo Santana #24 of the Cleveland Indians during the fourth inning of a spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark on March 03, 2020 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)Angels center fielder Mike Trout throws the ball into second base after making a play on a line drive hit by the Indians’ Franmil Reyes during the fourth inning of Tuesday’s Cactus League game at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Ariz.(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney throws to the plate during the first inning of Tuesday’s Cactus League game against the Cleveland Indians at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Ariz. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) SoundThe gallery will resume insecondsThe Indians’ Franmil Reyes hits a two-run home run against the during the second inning of Tuesday’s Cactus League game at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Ariz. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney throws to the plate during the first inning of Tuesday’s Cactus League game against the Cleveland Indians at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Ariz. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)The Angels’ Mike Trout gets ready to step into the batters box against the Cleveland Indians during a spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark on March 03, 2020 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)The Angels’ Taylor Ward makes a sliding catch on a fly ball hit by Oscar Mercado #35 of the Cleveland Indians during the second inning of a spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark on March 03, 2020 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)GOODYEAR, ARIZONA – MARCH 03: Matt Thaiss #23 of the Los Angeles Angels hits a single during the second inning against the Cleveland Indians during a spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark on March 03, 2020 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)The Angels’ Matt Thaiss celebrates with teammates in the dugout after scoring of a single by Michael Hermosillo #21 during the second inning against the Cleveland Indians during a spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark on March 03, 2020 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)The Angels’ Michael Hermosillo hits an RBI single during the second inning against the Cleveland Indians during a spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark on March 03, 2020 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)Angels Manager Joe Maddontalks with his players in the dugout prior to a spring training game against the Cleveland Indians at Goodyear Ballpark on March 03, 2020 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)The Angels’ Jahmai Jones hits an RBI single during the second inning against the Cleveland Indians of a spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark on March 03, 2020 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)The Angels’ Taylor Ward makes a leaping catch on a fly ball hit by Domingo Santana #24 of the Cleveland Indians during the fourth inning of a spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark on March 03, 2020 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)Angels center fielder Mike Trout throws the ball into second base after making a play on a line drive hit by the Indians’ Franmil Reyes during the fourth inning of Tuesday’s Cactus League game at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Ariz.(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)NextShow Caption1 of 12Angels center fielder Mike Trout throws the ball into second base after making a play on a line drive hit by the Indians’ Franmil Reyes during the fourth inning of Tuesday’s Cactus League game at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Ariz.(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)ExpandTHE GAME: Andrew Heaney made his second start of the spring and Michael Hermosillo hit a home run as the Angels rallied for an 11-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday at Goodyear, Ariz.PITCHING REPORT: Heaney reached three innings, giving up two runs and three hits, including a two-run home run by Franmil Reyes with the wind in the second inning. Heaney is in the mix to be the Opening Day starter on March 26 at Houston. “If it’s me, that would be awesome,” said the left-hander, who has never made a start before April 13 in his career. “… If I make the first start of the year, or the fifth start of the year, that, to me, is a win. I just haven’t been able to do that.” … Relievers Keynan Middleton, Mike Mayers and Jose Rodriguez all gave up at least one run, but Maddon was satisfied with the performances. … Left-handers Jose Quijada and Hector Yan each pitched a scoreless inning.HITTING REPORT: Hermosillo hit a three-run home run in the sixth inning, his first of the spring, and had four RBIs. He also had a stolen base, giving the Angels eight in 11 spring games. … Matt Thaiss had a hit in his fourth consecutive spring game going back to Friday. … Mike Trout went 0 for 2 but is still hitting .364 this spring. … Victor Acosta gave the Angels the lead in the eighth inning when he scored on a wild pitch, while Connor Justis added another run on a wild pitch in the inning.DEFENSIVE REPORT: It’s hard to catch Trout off guard, even in spring training. Reyes tried to stretch a base hit into a double in the fourth inning, but Trout threw him out from left-center field, with Jahmai Jones applying the tag at second base. Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros last_img read more

Rangers fan hospitalized after being struck in head by foul ball

first_img Astros’ Justin Verlander makes insane MLB history with 200th strikeout this season Calhoun looked upset as he watched the fan being tended to before he returned to the batter’s box. Related News Chris Sale not optimistic umpire will be held accountable for missed calls: There’s nothing MLB is going to do A Rangers fan was taken to the hospital after she was struck in the head by a foul ball off the bat off Willie Calhoun, the Star-Telegram reported.The incident occurred in the first inning of Sunday’s game against the Tigers. Calhoun drove the foul down the right-field line, where it hit a woman in the forehead.center_img There has been a call for all 30 parks to extend their netting, especially after a young girl was seriously injured at Minute Maid Park in May. The White Sox recently installed extended netting, and the Nationals, Dodgers, Pirates, Orioles and Royals all said they would do so in the near future.Calhoun got back in the swing of things quickly — his bases-clearing triple helped put the Rangers over the Tigers and secure their 9-4 win. With help from Globe Life Park personnel, she was able to walk away from her seat to receive help.last_img read more

Floodwater recedes in Willow Houston officials eye Little Su

first_imgHeavy rain mixed with snow throughout Southcentral Alaska has caused some flooding and has city and borough officials around the Matanuska-Susitna Valley keeping a close eye on creek and river levels.Download AudioUp to 10 homes and cabins in the Willow area and a couple homes near Houston have been affected by the flooding of area rivers and creeks.Mat-Su Borough officials say waters in Willow Creek crested Wednesday morning and have started receding.Houston Mayor Vergie Thompson says her community is still keeping an eye on the Little Susitna River.“We don’t believe that the river is done rising, although precipitation has let off, which is great,” she said.Thompson says a couple homes have been affected by the flooding, but the extent of the damage is unknown.“We have a couple roads that have some small streams running over them, but nothing that’s major flooded, that has stopped anyone from getting to their property or home,” she said.Thompson says the city of Houston is working with the Mat-Su Borough to evaluate the damage.The Borough deactivated it’s emergency operation center, but is standing by for more possible precipitation Thursday night and Friday.last_img read more