Most good coaches, like politicians, lawyers, and P-R pro's, have mastered the art of saying nothing by saying something. Fans of the Badger basketball team know that Bo Ryan is as good at this as any coach that ever lived. This morning's delicious tidbit of nothing is Bo's answer to a State Journal sports reporter's question about Trevon Hughes, and whether he'll be playing against Illinois Saturday. Hughes was mysteriously benched for the Iowa debacle. Bo's reply: "He'll be ready to play. He just has to be careful on his decisions and make sure the game is out there in front of him, not things that you have to try to over-create."
Say WHAT? First, this masterfully-created response avoids the real question, which is whether Hughes will play. He's "ready" to play. Poor question; great response. Doesn't answer the question. Then, the "dismiss and re-direct" which is so critical to sales, public relations, and politics....moving quickly off-topic to something that muddies the waters. "Be careful on his decisions and make sure the game is out there in front of him"? What the hell does THAT mean? Look both ways before crossing Dayton Street in front of the Kohl Center? And what is "over-creating"...a turn of phrase the coach was most pleased with, analogizing in the "raw" videotape that if the artist uses too much paint, it ruins the canvas. Bo is really great at this stuff.
A little farther down on the sports page is the story about the Brewers' young slugger, Prince Fielder, and his new deal with the team. 18 million over two years. He made 670 grand last year, and in arbitration as of Tuesday, he was asking for 8 million and the Brewers were offering 6 million. So they settled at......18 million over two years. Say WHAT? He wanted 8 million a year, but had to settle for 9 million. Say WHAT? The AP story doesn't break down how the contract will be administered, probably because that's not even finalized yet, but....ya gotta wonder. Is it a million the first year, and 17 million the next? A straight 9 mil a year? No matter how ya divvy it up, it's one whale of a raise, akin to the kind of bonuses Wall Street bankers get for running their companies aground.
And, over coffee and strawberries and the State Journal this morning, I had on one of the local TV morning shows, and the anchor-ette announced that the current time was 6:47. One hopes she'll tell us when she's announcing a time that's not "current". Say WHAT?