Pat from Edinburg, VA

Vic, what play will be the Packers’ trademark this season?

With the return of Jordy Nelson, I suspect the back-shoulder fade will also return as the Packers’ signature play on offense.

Mario from El Centro, CA

I read the sports page first because it’s the page that tells the truth, and that’s because there are too many witnesses.

I love it: too many witnesses to tell a lie.

Michael from Milwaukee, WI

Vic, today our lunch at the Hart Park Senior Center was Polish sausage because Polish Fest is this weekend. We also got beets! Have you ever heard of beets with sausage?

If I was inviting friends over this weekend to watch the U.S. Open, I wouldn’t be serving sausage and beets.

Daniel from Greenville, SC

Vic, I need a win. Last year, both of the teams I pledge my allegiance to (Clemson and Green Bay) lost big games days apart in the same stadium, many miles away from home. Different circumstances, equally heartbreaking. In your highly regarded opinion, what are the chances both of my teams bring it all home this year?

I think you’ve got a good shot. Let me guess. You drive a pickup truck with a tiger paw sticker on the back window. Am I right?

Bob from Managua, Nicaragua

So Oakmont is for good putters who hit the ball high, long and straight. Vic, I think any course is open to someone who can do all four of those things!

And nobody does those things better than Jason Day. This is his major and I think he knows it. Oakmont is a unique golf course. Some might even consider it weird. It has a 300-yard par three a lot of golfers can’t reach, and a 313-yard par four that’s drivable. The green at No. 3 has a false front and is shaved in the back. It’s like trying to stop a ball on a bald man’s head. The greens are rock hard and run forever, thus putting a premium on hitting high, soft shots. Rory McIlroy has the long game to win at Oakmont, but I don’t know if he has the putter. Jordan Spieth has the putter, but if he sprays the ball as he did at Augusta, he won’t even make the cut. The rough at Oakmont is nearly unplayable, and rain today will only make it juicier. Five over par won at Oakmont in 2007. If you enjoy seeing golfers suffer, this is your kind of golf course.

Tal from Ascot, UK

What has been Mike McCarthy’s best season in Green Bay, apart from the Super Bowl winning one?

He had his team right where it needed to be in 2014. He peaked it perfectly. You know the rest.

Vernon from Simpsonville, SC

Marichal? I remember it well. I grew up in Southern California and was watching the game. If not for Willie Mays it could have been much worse. Marichal lost some respect that day, but he and Roseboro made up some years later. The Giants-Dodgers games at that time were great to watch.

Such is the drama that was lost in the American League when it adopted the designated hitter rule.

Jack from La Crescent, MN

Found the picture of the press box most interesting. The number of ties worn surprised me. Is there much conversation between writers or are they mostly in their own little world?

They’re working. Fans just don’t seem to be able to understand that concept.

James from Milwaukee, WI

I’m tired of “I’ll do whatever they ask me.” Can’t you still ask the questions that make the players human?

When a reporter gets that kind of an answer, it’s his cue to find someone else to interview, or he’s going to come away with a whole lot of “I just want to contribute.” I think it also sends a message to the player that he’s got to do better than that. If you use that kind of quote, you just reinforce the behavior. I want the player to talk to the fans. I want him to express something that will make the story worth reading.

Gary from Topeka, KS

How about an all-sports Mt. Rushmore? What about Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Jerry Rice and Babe Ruth?

Ruth, Ali, Jordan and Thorpe.

Greg from Ann Arbor, MI

What’s the relationship between the Vic who says, “I’m not looking for an emotional experience” at a football stadium, and the Vic who wrote that “Field of Dreams” imitation?

He’s the same person. He feels the fans’ passion, but when it’s time to go to work, it’s time to stop feeling and start doing. Try to understand. Those stories don’t write themselves. You don’t make them appear by squeezing real hard. The quarter updates, the “Ask Vic Halftime,” the bulletin story, the game story and editorial all have to be written and, in some cases, re-written as events dictate. In Seattle two years ago, I wrote enough ledes for a season worth of games. In your world, it’s all about feelings. In my world, it’s about words. Try it sometime. Try writing as you watch. Maybe you’ll get a feel for being me.

Jake from Madison, WI

Vic, what draws you to golf?

It’s the grass. I don’t think I realized it until now.

Stephen from Madison, WI

How did football influence your parenting style with your sons?

Their mother would probably say I was too hard on them. Their academic accomplishments would suggest otherwise. Football taught me, and then I used football to teach them.

Sean from Arlington, VA

Can coaches and GMs accomplish their preseason objectives with two games instead of four? Could the joint practice model adequately fill the void?

Yes. Now how is the team’s business manager going to accomplish his objectives with the revenue that’s lost from the two missing preseason games?

Zach from Monterey, CA

You mentioned grass might be the root of your love for football. When you smell freshly cut grass, where does your mind take you? It takes me back to a simpler time.

It takes me back to the neighbor’s yard where we played tackle football as kids. He had a brick path that ran down the middle of his yard, so all plays had to be run right or left. It takes me back to the first frost of the year, when the smell of grass was mixed with the scent of cold, wet earth. It takes me back to my office in the stadium in Jacksonville, where the humid air would carry the smell of grass up the tunnel and into the hallway. The smell of grass is football. That’s what it’s always meant to me.

Shawn from Colby, WI

Pellet grilling is the way to go. You get the quality of charcoal because you get the smoked flavor of whatever pellet you use, and the convenience of gas because you can start cooking quickly!

I’ve invented my own technique. I line the grill with small, thin oyster shells that can be scooped up into a bucket at the beach. I mound the charcoals on top of the oyster shells and then light the fire. The shells intensify the heat, protect the grill and add flavor.

Bill from Coral Springs, FL

Five games of young desperate dreamers on the edge between being set for life playing the game they love or finding a way to make a living. How do fans get the most out of watching the preseason?

Feel their passion, just as you want them to feel yours.


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