First impressions, second thoughts and the third degree:
You could have a pretty healthy debate over what has been the biggest revelation for the Brewers this season.
Is it Corey Hart as a first baseman or Norichika Aoki as an everyday right fielder and leadoff hitter?
Is it Mike Fiers, Wily Peralta or another rookie, Mark Rogers, as a front-line starting pitcher?
Is it Martin Maldonado as an everyday catcher, Jean Segura as a starting shortstop or Jim Henderson as a set-up guy?
They all have merit, especially Aoki, who has gone from a projected backup to being a stealth candidate for NL Rookie of the Year.
The discussion will be spirited until someone astutely throws second-year manager Ron Roenicke into the mix. The biggest revelation is how he can take two distinct products — one a trade-deadline buyer loaded with star power; the other a trade-deadline seller beset by key injuries, youth and mind-boggling slumps — and patiently will them into the playoff conversation.
Yes, it helps to have a Most Valuable Player-quality talent as the bridge between those two clubs — left fielder Ryan Braun may not win it like he did in 2011 because of lingering questions about a positive drug test even though he might be more deserving — but Milwaukee has endured and prospered mainly because of the tone set by Roenicke.
Yes, it helps to have second baseman Rickie Weeks and closer John Axford snap out of their extended struggles, but Roenicke's patience set the stage for those critical recoveries.
Yes, it helps to have the playoff format altered this season to include a second wild card team, but all you can do is control what you can control, something Roenicke has done with ingenuity and aplomb.
Consider: The Brewers were 45-54 and left for dead when they traded ace starter Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels for three prospects, including Segura, on July 27. Since then, Milwaukee is 34-20 (.630). That includes a 25-8 run (.756) since Aug. 20.
Teams don't do that without the right guy setting the course. Roenicke is indeed a revelation.
IF YOU'RE NOT CAREFUL: Those who thought Gary Bettman had the market cornered when it came to awful commissioners — two player lockouts/greed grabs by owners on his NHL watch since 2004 — beware of a challenger.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell seemed competent and properly authoritative until he allowed replacement officials to compromise the integrity of his product. Now he looks stubborn and foolish in the face of chaos and controversy.
Once a commissioner allows an in-house work stoppage to alienate fans, it takes years of scrubbing to get the stain out. Just ask Bud Selig, who continues to carry around rubber gloves and a scouring pad from 1994, when baseball killed a World Series.
WHEN RULES ARE DUMB: The NFL prohibits players from wearing gear with the logo of a company that isn't an NFL sponsor for 90 minutes before and after a game.
The NFL considers Major League Baseball a competing entity, which is why it fined San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith $15,000 for wearing a Giants cap while in street clothes after a game.
The fine was rescinded, but if Smith does it again he'll get an unwanted deduction from his paycheck.
Those who want Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers to support his 49ers buddy and endorse the local playoff contender, raise your hand and pass the hat.
Contact Andy Baggot at email@example.com or 608-252-6175.